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Executive defends coverage of blaze

A top executive at KVVU-TV, Channel 5, is defending the station’s coverage of the Monte Carlo fire.

In an e-mail, Holly Steuart, vice president and general manager at KVVU-TV, took issue with the wording in my Sunday item that said anchor Monica Jackson is “on the hot seat” for her reporting.

“On the contrary: I applaud her outstanding performance during a very fluid breaking news situation,” Steuart said. “Our reporting of workers on the roof was sourced on reports coming from our network, Fox News, and Monica attributed the information correctly.”

Steuart was referring to reports of trapped workers, which Clark County fire authorities said didn’t happen.

Steuart dismissed the on-air criticism by KLAS-TV, Channel 8, anchor Gary Waddell and KXNT-radio, 840 AM, host Casey Hendrickson.

“While I always appreciate the competition monitoring our broadcasts, their opinions are irrelevant,” she said.

“Our viewers are the final arbiters of our performance,” she said. “My news team produced over five hours of continuous live coverage when the fire broke out and I commend every one of them.”

ADVISE AND DISSENT

The wrong contestant won the 2008 Miss America pageant, said an adviser hired by the organization to encourage a new look.

Celebrity photographer Mark Liddell, a member of the three-person advisory panel for the reality show “Miss America: Reality Check,” said Miss Indiana Nicole Elizabeth Rash, who was first runner-up to 19-year-old Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund, “was the most modern.”

“Miss America isn’t totally ready for change,” he told me.

Twice asked for his reaction to Miss Michigan’s win, Liddell said, “No comment.”

“Change is a good thing,” he said. “Maybe next year.”

The reality show’s advisory board, which also included celebrity stylist Jeanie Mae and Us Weekly editor Dina Sansing, picked Miss Washington Elyse Umemoto as the winner in the final episode Friday. Rash was their second choice.

One of the Miss America judges, former Miss Ohio Robin Meade, an anchor on CNN’s Headline News, said Liddell “didn’t have the advantage of the private judging interview.”

Haglund was “very poised and very real” during the interviews, Meade said. “We want someone who is not a speaking robot. She didn’t act like she was a 40-year-old stuck in a 20-year-old body.

“This is not your momma’s Miss America,” Meade added.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

I’ll take a bow for this report I posted on normclarke.com after attending Tuesday’s preliminaries: “Most impressive of the night: The poise of Miss Michigan, 19-year-old Kirsten Haglund, who won swimsuit competition and undoubtedly scored high with her evening gown. From the row behind me, I heard a veteran pageant goer gasp and say, ‘Now that’s a dress!’ This kid is a natural.”…

John O’Hurley returns as King Arthur in “Spamalot’ at Wynn Las Vegas tonight. He left the show in September to promote his new book, “Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have To Do It — Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog to a Young Boy.” The break included a 21-city book tour, hosting the National Dog Show and attending his father’s 80th birthday. …

Las Vegas-based Mosaic, winner of CBS’ “The Early Show” a cappella contest in December, received the prize today: a live appearance on the CBS morning show. The judges were Boyz II Men.

SIGHTINGS

At Privé nightclub, in Planet Hollywood Resort, on Saturday: Socialite Kim Kardashian and boyfriend New Orleans Saints star Reggie Bush, actor Eddie Murphy, actors Mario Lopez, Kevin Connolly and Kevin Dillon, model/actress Stacy Keibler, actors Adrien Brody and Anthony Michael Hall, MTV reality star Audrina Patridge, actress Shar Jackson, MySpace founder Tom Anderson, celebrity bodyguard Chuck Zito and Houston Texans safety Glenn Earl.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Boy did it rain last night. Al Gore calls it ‘global leaking.’ In Beverly Hills? Over 3 inches of Pellegrino.” — Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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