WNET Seeks Way to Keep a Favorite on Air

Dhaliwal and Woolsey? It doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Huntley and Brinkley, or, perhaps more to the point, like MacNeil-Lehrer.

But William Baker, the president of WNET/Channel 13 in New York, has an oddball idea, a way to capture some of the following attracted by Daljit Dhaliwal. Ms. Dhaliwal is the British news reader whose weeknight international reports for Britain's ITN News have been carried on 19 public television stations in the United States for the last few years but are being dropped.

Ms. Dhaliwal, a 35-year-old Londoner, is popular among Anglophiles and PBS news addicts in those 19 cities. Fans have put up a Web site devoted to her, and this month's Rolling Stone featured her on its "Hot List" as "Hot News Reader."

In New York, Ms. Dahliwal's followers have found her at 11:30 p.m. during the week on WLIW/Channel 21, the Long Island station that carried ITN's International News for six years. But WLIW plans to replace it, starting on Nov. 1, with three daily programs from ITN's better-known rival, the BBC World television news service.

"Daljit is a talent," Baker said on Friday. "But we have a very tight schedule carrying all the PBS lineup."

So he is toying with the idea of combining one-minute international reports read by Ms. Dhaliwal with one-minute local news reports by WNET's Midge Woolsey and showing them as "news breaks" in prime time.

"And maybe at the end of the day, after 'Charlie Rose,' we could throw on a longer show with Daljit and promote it in prime time," Baker said.

Garron Baines, an ITN managing director, confirmed by telephone that he had been talking to Baker about creating a news program for WNET.

"Midge Woolsey in New York and Daljit in England," Baker said. "That wouldn't be your usual local-station news break, with a bunch of car crashes and a quick weather forecast."


Article from the Aug. 3 on-line version of the New York Times.