KGO nabs TV anchor Wilson as radio talk-show host

Move over Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Pete Wilson is coming on the air. ABC-owned stations KGO 810 AM and KSFO 560 AM will be doing some talk-show host-swapping come July 3 to respond to listener demands for more local talent. TV anchor Wilson will helm the weekday 2-4 p.m. talk-show shift on KGO. Schlessinger’s syndicated advice show will accommodate by taking the noon-3 p.m. shift on KSFO following Rush Limbaugh’s 9 a.m.-noon broadcast. It was announced last week that the pudgy pontificator was leaving KNBR for KSFO. KGO will also reinstate an hourlong noon news broadcast, moving Dr. Dean Edell to the 1-2 p.m. slot.

In a statement, Wilson professed a love for talk radio. “I started in radio in Milwaukee, so I’m coming full-circle. Having two hours each day to discuss major issues with Bay Area listeners, who are among the most informed and opinionated anywhere, will be fun and challenging.”

PRAISE CAN BE GOOD AND FRIGHTENING: The Backstreet Boys don’t just attract the Toys R’ Us crowd. The boy band can count Tom Jones and Barry Manilow among its fans. Manilow likes the way the Boys, as well as ‘N Sync and 98 Degrees, write the songs that make the whole world sing. “I hear melodies again, I hear harmonies again. I actually hear a decent lyric again,” Manilow said. “I think they’re bringing back hope to people like me who look for the melody and the lyric.” Meanwhile, Jones thinks the Boys have an “incredible sound.”

“I’ve got both their albums and I would love to cover one of their songs,” says the 59-year-old crooner of tunes like “It’s Not Unusual” and “What’s New Pussycat?” The Welsh warbler, who has been pelted on-stage with fans’ hotel keys and women’s underwear in his heyday, understands what it’s like to have an ardent female following. “When I’m singing a ballad and a pair of underwear lands on my head, I hate that. It really kills the mood.”

BATTERING DOWN THE CASTLE: Robert Urich filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Castle Rock Television for nearly $1.47 million. The actor claims the company canceled his TV series “Lazarus Man” one month after he told the company he had cancer and would have to undergo treatment. In the 1995 deal, the perennial television leading man was to be paid $70,000 per episode for the first season, with a $3,000 per episode raise the second season. A statement from Castle Rock claimed the usual “Lawsuit? What lawsuit?” ignorance. “If such a lawsuit has been filed, we will respond.” Urich successfully underwent chemotherapy, radiation treatments and two operations in the mid-1990s to fight synovial cell sarcoma, a rare cancer that attacks the joints.

DON’T TRY TO BOND WITH ME, BUSTER: Linda Fiorentino does not have kind words for Sean Connery in Madison magazine. The Scottish actor, who turns 70 in August, apparently pulled some double-timing when he agreed to play opposite Fiorentino in “Where the Money Is,” when he had already agreed to be in “Entrapment.” When that movie got the go, Connery left “Money” and, says Fiorentino, had the “caddish audacity” to offer her the role that later went to Catherine Zeta-Jones. A furious Fiorentino called everyone she knew at International Celebrity Management and dug up Paul Newman not a bad replacement, not bad at all.

TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL: Cheryl Ladd, who filled the Farrah Fawcett void on “Charlie’s Angels” as kid sister Kris Monroe, thinks she knows the secret of success for the movie version, which has so far been bedeviled by rumors of a bad script and haphazard shooting schedules. “They have to hold on to some of the sweetness of the show,” Ladd says. “The girls can’t be too tough. They can’t be too mean-spirited. You have to feel like they really like each other, but they’re in control and have some power in the world. That turns everyone on.” If Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu can’t pull off sweetness, power and control, there’s always the Powerpuff Girls.

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail


Honorary doctorate awarded: To Tom Selleck by Pepperdine University. The school cited Selleck for his outstanding character and ethic.

Birthdays: Former Minnesota Gov. Harold Stassen (93), author Eudora Welty (91), actor Howard Keel (81), movie director Stanley Donen (76), Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., (67), actor Lyle Waggoner (65), actor Edward Fox (63), playwright Lanford Wilson (63), actor Paul Sorvino (61), movie and TV composer Bill Conti (58), rock musician Jack Casady (56), actor Tony Dow (55), singer Al Green (54), actor Ron Perlman (50), singer Peabo Bryson (49), rock musician Max Weinberg (49), bluegrass singer-musician Sam Bush (48), rock musician Jimmy Destri of Blondie (46), comedian Gary Kroeger (43), actress Saundra Santiago (43), rock musician Joey Mazzola of Sponge (39), chess champion Garry Kasparov (37), actress Page Hannah (36), rock musician Lisa Umbarger of Toadies (35), actor Rick Schroder (30), actor Jonathan Brandis (24).