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Friday 18th June 1999

THIS WEEK IN DOCTOR WHO - Fri, 18 Jun 1999
By Benjamin F. Elliott
WUFT Gainesville, FL has put Doctor Who on HIATUS. Its future on that station is uncertain. And WQED Pittsburgh may not be far behind ...

(Theme for Nightline plays in the background)
As the column goes to press, Doctor Who is in danger of departing forever on at least 2 of its US affiliates - WUFT Gainesville, FL and WQED Pittsburgh, PA. WUFT has pulled the series, and WQED is less than 2 months from being forced to face that point.
It's slightly unclear what the circumstances at WUFT are, but we know that WUFT is willing to consider continuing the series. LLYOUNG contacted WUFT and got the following information:

"Doctor Who is now on hiatus. There has not been a decision made whether to bring back the series or not. If you have a specific Doctor you would like to see, please write back to me. I will pass on your requests to the program director, Mike Seymour." - Irena Melvin

WUFT can be contacted at and . I imagine they want to hear from Doctor Who fans who can actually receive their station, though pledge money is good from anywhere.
WQED may wind up dropping the show as well, and it is probably justified. When they picked the show up last year, they offered to order as many episodes as the fans actually paid for. TJ Lubinski, the WQED employee behind the deal (and the person who tried to organize a PBS national Doctor Who feed) struck a deal to get the early fourth Doctor stories at a discounted rate, and special underwriters and donors reduced the cost to $200 an episode, half the standard rate for a market the size of Pittsburgh. (The show will cost the standard $400 an episode this year.) Special arrangements were made to get selected other Who stories, like The Tomb of the Cybermen, without putting it on the bill for Doctor Who fans. Between the various pledge drives, enough money was *pledged* to air the first 46 Tom Baker episodes (Robot through The Seeds of Doom). This money would cover the cost of purchasing the episodes, not the costs of shipping, dubbing, and maintaining copies of the episodes at WQED, costs that WQED has apparently been eating themselves. Only enough money was *paid* to air the first 24 episodes (through Terror of the Zygons), and the show's future is in big trouble.

To put it in the words of Mr. Lubinski: "You have to understand, its revenue from our pledge drives that keeps us going. And although just paying for the episodes seems fair enough in the average fans mind, It doesn't account for what the time slot can generate with other programming. Yanni, for example - a program free of charge to us can generate up to $20,000 net dollars (after premium expense and program guide shipping) on a Sat. 11PM airing vs. pledging Dr. Who, which has at best sparked $4,000 per night. (Minus program cost is $3,000, minus tape shipping, dubbing and operations is $2,500, minus premium cost is $1,500, minus our answering services fees is $1,000). So you see, Dr. Who if we're lucky just about pays for the license fee, and does nothing to help us reach our financial goals.

"That being said, we gave both the Doctor and the Dwarf crew, more than a fighting chance to hold their own. Special marathons, viewers choice episodes, selected stories from other Doctors, pledge specials like Smeg Ups, and the sad fact is - we have not only not paid for future episodes, but we still owe money to the BBC for Red Dwarf 7 and Pyramids - Brain of Morbius. Again, because fans who pledged' didn't send in their money. And just like any other business, the BBC will cut us off if we don't send in our money to them."

So, here's the status of WQED, also from Mr. Lubinski: "So where are we? Well plain and simple, Pittsburgh fans will have ONE LAST CHANCE to keep the TARDIS materialized and that's by pledging on August 7th from 8PM to 2AM we will have a "Sci-Fi Saturday Night Fever" which will include the first 3 Red Dwarf 8 stories, and --- "surprise" ----- Dr.Who ------ (and it's not Tom Baker stories). Our fulfilled pledge goal is $10,000 in fulfilled (credit card or cash at the station pledges) for the evening.

"If we reach the goal, the shows continue. If we don't --- it's more Yanni I'm afraid. With $10,000 we'll be able to buy and show all of Red Dwarf 8, after the remastered Silurians ends....and run more Tom Baker's through Invasion Of Time. This should take us to next June, when the contract renewal will be up again.

"Sadly, our ratings and pledge support have been dwindling and unless we have the money to sign the new one year contract with the BBC the TARDIS will dematerialize permanently."

WQED has started a 1-900 Phone line to call to voice support for the Doctor - 1-900-990-1313. More important will be their regular pledge numbers, 1-800-232-8813 (toll free) and 412-621- 5808 (local Pittsburgh). Pittsburgh is on Eastern Daylight Time, so anyone outside of their market wishing to pledge, particularly on August 7th, should bear the time zones in mind.

I'd like to note one point again. Last year, WQED was able to make deals that let its viewers essentially get the episodes for WQED for $200 an episode. They were also able to order Doctor Who by the story, instead of having to order a package of stories. And they have run a number of promotions and special nights to increase interest. Ratings have been too low to interest potential sponsors, and, more importantly, some who promised money for the station did not deliver, leaving WQED in the lurch. Now, for the show to continue, it will take $400 an episode, and they will have to have enough money to purchase a package of stories.

If anyone reading this column reneged on a pledge promise to this or another station, I hope you're proud of yourselves. It would be one thing if WQED was merely in danger of having to discontinue the show because the viewers opted not to pledge enough money to keep it on the air. There can be good reasons for that, from financial to lack of interest to disgust at other things a station is doing. There is no rule in the US saying that you have to give money to any station. But everyone who pledged made a promise, a promise they need to follow through. By breaking the promise, you make Doctor Who fans look very bad, leave the station with programming it doesn't have the budget to pay for, and make things harder on those who actually send in money and try to keep the show around. The only reason WQED hasn't yanked the Doctor already is because the staff are fans and are grasping at straws looking for ways to justify keeping the show. Almost any other station would have dropped it after being left in the lurch the way those who pledged and failed to deliver treated them. If you are one of the people who cheated WQED, and you're reading this column today, contact them and pay up, or stop reading the column altogether.
The following stations have discontinued Doctor Who for various
reasons since last July:
WFWA 39 Fort Wayne, Indiana (movie format Saturday nights at Midnight, discontinued November 1998)
KRCB 22 Rohnert Park, California (episode format, one episode Saturday nights at 11PM, discontinued November 1998)
WTBU 69 Indianapolis, Indiana (movie format Sunday nights at 6PM, discontinued November 1998)
Louisiana Public Broadcasting (episode format, 2 episodes Saturday nights at 10PM, discontinued May 1999)
Correction - Last week, MPT actually aired The Time Monster last week, as opposed to The Time Meddler.
Updates and corrections are always welcome at And now, the listings:

The UK:
UK Gold
Late Friday from 12:40 to 2:05AM The Daleks movie version, part 2 of 2
Sunday from 9:50 to 11:35AM Underworld movie version

On Friday night, those pesky Dalek mutants are attacked by the expedition of Thals. Can the Thals deal with the ordeal which can achieve the rescue of Skaro? On Sunday, set your VCR to tape Underworld. When you get back from services, see the story with the highest ratings of the 1977-1978 season. The Doctor helps a race of people whose lives have been ruined by the Time Lords to finish an epic quest.

UK Gold Classics
Sunday at 6PM Underworld movie version
Same story as on UK Gold, at a later hour.
BBC Prime
Late Friday at 1AM CET The Stones of Blood episode 1 of 4 (Europe only)
Saturday at 9:35AM and 6PM CET The Stones of Blood episode 2 of 4

The 4th Doctor and Romana search for the third segment of the Key To Time among an ancient stone circle. Meanwhile, a bizarre cult in the area needs to find an ever-increasing amount of blood to satisfy the demands ... of the stones?
Saturday at 1PM, Sunday at 2 and 8AM The Invasion of Time all 6 episodes
Monday through Tuesday at 11:30PM Warriors' Gate episodes 3 through 4 of 4
Wednesday through Friday at 11:30PM Earthshock episodes 1 through 3 of 4

Over the weekend, the 4th Doctor becomes President of Gallifrey. Can even the Doctor be corrupted by power? As the weekday installments begin, the 4th Doctor and Romana learn the truth about the Tharils, as a dwarf star alloy ship threatens to destroy the gateway between the universes. K9 learns that he will never be able to return to the normal universe. Later in the week, the 5th Doctor stumbles onto a plot to destroy Earth in the 26th Century. An intergalactic conference is due to take place there, where the major power are to decide how to deal with the (censored).
(PBS stations with an * can reportedly be seen in all or parts of Canada.)
SPACE: The Imagination Station and
Saturday through Tuesday at 7:30AM EDT The Ambassadors of Death episodes 4 through 7 of 7
Wednesday through Thursday at 7:30AM EDT The Sontaran Experiment episodes 1 through 2 of 2
Friday at 7:30AM EDT An Unearthly Child episode 1 of 4

Three Doctors for the price of one on SPACE this week. First up, a classic Pertwee tale, where the 3rd Doctor searches for the truth behind the disappearance of astronauts who went to Mars, and now have the power to kill. In the midweek, the 4th Doctor explores post Solar flare Earth to see if it is inhabitable again, only to find an alien plotting an invasion. On Friday, relive the 1stepisode of Doctor Who, originally broadcast on November 23, 1963. It's also an excellent time to convince friends to see Doctor Who from the beginning. If by some miracle the fans begin watching the episodes on SPACE, maybe that network will finally order more episodes.
* MPBC Maine 10, 10, 12, 13, 26
Saturday at 11:30PM EDT (12:30AM ADT) The Deadly Assassin episode 1 of 4
For many millenia, Gallifrey has been a planet of extreme peace. Nothing of any importance ever happens there. The Time Lords live out their lives in sheer tranquility. Their lives are about to be altered forever. The Doctor has come home.
* NHPTV New Hampshire 11, 49, 52
Sunday at 3PM EDT The Sea Devils episode 6 of 6
Afterwards - The Mutants episode 1 of 6

Neither the Master's nor the Doctor's plans work out as they want as the Sea Devils comes to the end. As the Mutants begins, the Time Lords overtly signal to the Doctor that they want him to run an errand for them again. This time, they want a globe with important information to reach a rebel on a planet in the 30th Century Earth Empire. This rebel is about to be charged with murder.
WQED / WQEX 13, 16 Pittsburgh, PA zip 15201
Special pledge line 1-900-990-1313
Other pledge lines 1-800-232-8813 and 412-621-5808
Saturday at 11PM EDT The Brain of Morbius eps 1 and 2 of 4
Solon the scientist, ignored and forgotten by the rest of the civilized universe, works feverishly to try to find pledge supporters to keep Who on in Pittsburgh, er, a head for Morbius.

ยป It seems likely that The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode 4 was broadcast rather than The Brain of Morbius: Part Two was broadcast, fitting with the channel pattern.
WYBE 35 Philadelphia, PA
Saturday at 11PM EDT The Android Invasion eps 1 and 2 of 4
The 4th Doctor and Sarah make it back to Earth, only to find the place abandoned. What has happened to England? Who are the indestructable men going around trying to kill them? What does ginger beer actually taste like? Some of these questions will be answered in the story.
MPT Maryland 22, 28, 31, 36, 62, 67
Late Friday at Midnight EDT, Late Saturday at 12:30AM EDT The Three Doctors movie version
A powerful force residing in a black hole cripples the Time Lords, then sets out in search of the Doctor. With his home planet out of action and dangerous blobs with no fashion sense hunting him, only two people could possibly help him. And sending them in would violate the ultimate rule of time travel.
WUFT 5 Gainesville, FL
Contact WUFT at or to find out how to pledge, express your support for the Doctor's continuing, and/or tell them which Doctor you want to see next. (Don't pledge unless you are actually going to pay up on the pledge.)
WUSF 16 Tampa, FL
Saturday at 11:30PM EDT The King's Demons episode 1 of 2
The 5th Doctor arrives in 1215, where King John welcomes him as an honored guest and demon.
WCET 48 Cincinnati, OH
Saturday at 11:30PM EDT Day of the Daleks eps 3 and 4 of 4
The Daleks hunt the 3rd Doctor, fearing that he will figure out the way to restore the course of history and erase this particularly successful version of the Dalek invasion. The rebels prepare to attack the 20th Century again, unaware that they are guaranteeing their own unhappy timeline.
WYIN 56 Gary, IN (Chicago, IL) zip 4????
Saturday at 10PM CDT Genesis of the Daleks episode 3 of 6 (actually Part Four)
Sarah is exposed to dangerous radiation levels as a prisoner of the Thals. The Doctor and Harry try to co-ordinate Kaled resistance to the machinations of Davros. A sudden betrayal results in the destruction of one of the races in the Kaled / Thal war.
* KTCA 2 St. Paul, MN
Saturday at 11:35PM CDT The Ark In Space episode 3 of 4
Noah makes a terrifying discovery. The Wirrn attack.
IPTV Iowa 11, 12, 21, 24, 27, 32, 36 and
Friday at 11:05PM CDT The Sea Devils episodes 2 and 3 of 6
The Master manipulates Colonel Trenchard into letting him develop the means to contact the Sea Devils, cousins of the Silurians who also wish to wake up and take over the world.
* PPTV North Dakota 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 19
Friday at 10:30PM CDT (9:30PM MDT) The Android Invasion episode 2 of 4
See WYBE for details.
KBDI / K32EO 12, 32 Denver / Colorado Springs, CO zip 80205
Friday at 11PM MDT Planet of the Spiders eps 5 and 6 of 6
Saturday at 10PM MDT The Ark In Space episodes 1 and 2 of 4

On Friday, the 3rd Doctor's run ends on Metebelis 3, where the Doctor must take on the Great One, a massive spider who needs only the Doctor's crystal to become all-powerful. Saturday, the 4th Doctor arrives on a space station in the far future where the survivors of humanity slumber, awaiting the call to return to life.
KNME 5 Albequerque, NM
Saturday at 11PM MDT Planet of Evil movie version
The 4th Doctor and Sarah visit a world on the border between the realms of matter and anti- matter, where the standard rules of reality do not necessarily apply.
KRWG 22 Las Cruces, NM
Saturday at 10:30PM MDT The Ark In Space movie version
The same story that KBDI is airing, but you get the second half as well.
* KSPS 7 Spokane, WA zip 99223
Saturday at 10:30PM PDT (11:30PM MDT) Kinda movie version
While Nyssa slumbers to recuperate from recent trauma, the rest of the TARDIS crew become caught up in the machinations of a peaceful paradise that is in danger of coming to a rapid dissolution.
* KBTC / KCKA 28, 15 Tacoma / Centralia, WA zip 98405
Saturday at 7PM and 2:30AM PDT The Mind of Evil episodes 1 and 2 of 6
The 3rd Doctor and Jo investigate a new treatment to make condemned prisoners viable members of society again. UNIT is faced with two challenges at once: a critical world peace summit that's going awry, and the disposal of a nuclear missile.
KTEH 54 San Jose, CA
Sunday at 11PM PDT The Robots of Death all 4 episodes
Late Sunday at 12:40AM I Was A Doctor Who Monster! documentary

The Doctor and Leela arrive on a sand miner which is being perplexed by a number of murders. Naturally, the Doctor and Leela are the prime suspects. Afterwards, see a special where various people who played the Doctor Who monsters give their memories of the show.
BBC America
Saturday at 5PM EDT, Sunday at 8AM EDT The Ark In Space movie version, part 1 of 2
See KBDI for details.
Saturday at 11:45PM Argentina Time (9:45PM Mexico City) The1996 Telemovie
Late Tuesday at 1:44AM Argentina (11:44PM Mexico City) The 1996 Telemovie

Two more appearances of the Paul McGann movie on HBO-OLE 2. I wonder if anyone at HBO has noticed that their programming in Central and South America is far superior to what they are showing in the United States.

The following resources are very good for tracking down potential US stations to convince to carry the Doctor. When I learn of similar sites for other countries, I will add them.
Until next week, take care.