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POVICH STICKS WITH `CURRENT AFFAIR’

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Maury Povich signed a new two-year contract as host of "A Current Affair" (weeknights, 10:30, Ch. 13) that gives him more professional freedom and "money in keeping with the success of the show," it was announced Thursday.

He referred all further money questions to his wife, who is Connie Chung of CBS."She thinks I talk too much," Povich said, laughing. "She told me, `You tell everyone to call me and I'll talk about it because I know I won't give them anything.'

"I will say the money was in keeping with the success of the show."

In May, after its first year of full national syndication, the tabloid TV magazine was the third ranked first-run daily access show.

Povich's contract expired May 1 which, he said, was when serious negotiations began.

"After very long, intense negotiations, at 9 o'clock last night Gerald Stone, our executive producer, and I sat down and signed and had a very long drink together," Povich said.

Povich said both network and syndicate officials had expressed interest in signing him, but he had not actually entered into negotiations with anyone other than Twentieth Century Fox Television, which distibutes the show.

"Our negotiations were very long and tough but honest," he said. "I think what carried the day was both Gerald's and my belief that we are family. I was there for the birth of this show; I was one of the parents in the delivery room. Just because we've gone from crawling to walking to now a strapping teenager is no reason to leave. I want to see this kid really grow up."