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Anchor returns to WTSP newscast

WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Pat Minarcin eased back into his job Wednesday, reading the news on the station's 6 p.m. broadcast after nearly a month away on sick leave.

Minarcin, who had been at home recovering from major surgery on his right leg, plans to share anchor duties on the CBS affiliate's 6 p.m. news broadcast with Sue Zelenko through the rest of the week.

Wearing a plaster cast that he briefly showed off to viewers Wednesday, the 52-year-old anchor says he was sidelined by surgery to repair ligaments torn in a fall while changing a lightbulb _ injuries aggravated while chasing stories during last year's disturbances in St. Petersburg and a later assignment.

"It's a question of getting deadly tired of sitting in a hospital bed at home doing nothing," says Minarcin, explaining why he's returned to work, despite fears his leg may swell during the broadcast if not balanced properly. "I could only read so many magazines and newspapers."

Doctors took bone from Minarcin's left hip to help repair his foot Oct. 9, soon after he had returned from a honeymoon with his new bride, WTSP weekend anchor Jennifer Howe.

The anchor hopes to return to work on the station's 5 p.m. newscast soon, though he is expected to wear the cast for about two months.

"Things went well (Wednesday), so it's entirely up to (Minarcin) on when he'll come back to the 5 p.m. show," says WTSP Vice President of News, Kevin Brennan. "I'm pretty confident he'll know when it's time."

Clearwater-based CPN Television studios announced this week a deal to handle all production work for Shopping America, a home shopping channel expected to reach 45-million viewers across Italy.

Based on popular American-style channels, Shopping America will air for three hours each day beginning Nov. 24. It will not be available through cable or broadcast in the United States.

Tampa Bay area sci-fi enthusiasts will be the first fans anywhere to get a glimpse of newly hired Star Trek: Voyager heartthrob Jeri Ryan at a Trek convention.

That's because the actor, who plays the Borg character Seven of Nine on the show, makes her first-ever convention appearance Saturday and Sunday at Vulkon '97 at the Bayfront Hilton in St. Petersburg.

"You really don't know what you're getting into when you take a Star Trek job," noted Ryan earlier this year, caught during a break in filming the show's fifth episode in Hollywood.

"It's like a freight train, because the fan base is widespread and they love Star Trek and know everything about it. I just hope they wind up liking me."