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A PLEA TO SAVE `SO-CALLED LIFE’

SHARE A PLEA TO SAVE `SO-CALLED LIFE’

It's time to dip back into your local television editor's mailbag and see what comes up . . .

- My Christmas came a bit early this year, courtesy of 15-year-old Jake Black of Orem, who started out by writing a wonderful letter to the editor that was printed in the Dec. 10 edition of the Deseret News:Quality television is dying, and we, the American people, are helping it happen. How? By watching the garbage and ignoring the quality. Just look at the tombstones in the graveyard of quality television. Programs like "I'll Fly Away," "Brooklyn Bridge" and "Life Goes On."

Oooh, how wonderful! I couldn't have said it better myself!

Jake went on to extol the virtues of a couple of very good programs - "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and "My So-Called Life," which doesn't resort to nudity and vulgarity, but it does tackle tough issues facing American teens like drug use, teenage identity and teenage sexuality.

Jake is committed to trying to keep "Life" on the air. (The show's last scheduled air date is next month.) He launched a letter-writing campaign and called your local television editor, urging me to help.

I was more than happy to lend a hand, printing an interview with series star Bess Armstrong and providing addresses for where interested people can write.

And Jake wrote me a lovely letter of thanks, expressing the hope that our efforts might do some good.

I also wanted to tell you that I've been working almost nonstop on the campaign, doing things like distributing fliers, writing to all the local newspapers. . . . I've written to national magazines like Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide, and written to ABC Entertainment President Ted Harbert, as well as to the actors, in a vote of moral support.

As someone whose job - and often life - involve supporting quality programming, it's often discouraging to see the kind of junk that so often attracts a big audience when great shows are ignored. And, worse yet, so often no one seems to care.

So thanks, Jake, and keep up the good work.

And, once again, here's where to write to express support for "My So-Called Life":

-Robert Iger, ABC Television Network Group president, 77 W. 66th St., New York, NY 10023.

-Ted Harbert, ABC Entertainment president, 2040 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

- I would like to write to the USA Cable Network concerning a series they used to run, "MacGyver."

Do you have an address that might be of help? - Carol Ford

Write to USA at 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020-1513.

(And forgive me for not getting back to you sooner. Your letter inadvertantly slipped out of the mailbag.)

- This charming note arrived this week - and I've chosen not to use the writer's name:

I always thought that television editors were supposed to be impartial. You are not!

I suggest you mearly (sic) state your figures, stop gloating and, as many of us do not like David Letterman, shut up!

Actually, you always thought wrong. Television editors, like all other critics, are paid to express their opinions. You are, of course, under no obligation to agree with those opinions.

(I suppose I could avoid the hazards of expressing an opinion by simply rewriting press releases. It would certainly be easier.)

Thank you for your lovely note. Miss Manners would be proud. Merry Christmas!