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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

Fiona Special Airs Thursday on WCPO

Tana Weingartner
Fiona swimming at the Cincinnati Zoo

WCPO-TV will celebrate Fiona the baby hippo. an "adorable underdog," with a one-hour special Thursday, Dec. 21.

Tanya O'Rourke will host "Fiona: The Story So Far” at 7 p.m. Thursday on Channel 9, before ABC repeats "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at 8 p.m.

Credit Provided / Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

It's the first of two local Channel 9 specials for the holiday.  The station will broadcast the Crossroads Church performance of "Awaited" twice on Christmas Eve, at 5 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Here's the release from WCPO-TV:


CINCINNATI — 2017 was the year the world fell in love with a hippo. Fiona was born six weeks too early, and there were times her caretakers at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden were not sure she could survive.

To celebrate this adorable underdog, WCPO 9 On Your Side is debuting a documentary of her life. "Fiona: The Story So Far" airs Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. The one-hour show, hosted by 9 On Your Side Anchor Tanya O’Rourke, chronicles Fiona’s fight for survival, her struggle to thrive and the hope and love she brings to others.

This documentary would not have been possible without partnership from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Credit Provided / WCPO-TV
Chapter 2 of "My Best Friend Fiona"

The zoo also partnered on the station’s recent children’s book, "My Best Friend Fiona." Narrated by Fiona’s best friend, Trixie the Tilapia, this book tells the story of the little hippo who never gave up and how she became the superstar she is today. The book and the documentary feature illustrations of Fiona, her family and her fans drawn by WCPO cartoonist Kevin Necessary.

"This community has rallied around Fiona," said Jeff Brogan, vice president and general manager of WCPO 9 On Your Side. "We wanted to give families a behind-the-scenes look at her story and something heartwarming this holiday season."

With this debut, WCPO will be taking additional pre-orders of "My Best Friend Fiona" at Twenty percent of proceeds will go to support Fiona's care at The Cincinnati Zoo. Book sales have already raised over $21,000. Both the book and documentary are made possible by sponsorship from Skyline Chili.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.