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Gil Noble remains in critical condition

HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 4/5/2012, 3:03 p.m.

Gil Noble, the legendary television host of "Like It Is" on WABC-TV, remains in critical condition in a New Jersey hospital after suffering a massive stroke last week.

Noble, 79, has suffered some paralysis and is in an intensive care unit. The family is requesting that only prayers be extended, not cards, money, flowers or fruit. They are also asking that their privacy be respected.

Meanwhile, the family has been besieged with hundreds of calls and emails, including from several well-known, concerned personalities. This would be expected considering Noble's program has featured practically every historic figure during Noble's long tenure at the helm-the show beginning in 1968.

The show's archives are a trove of priceless interviews and documentaries, and members of the community are voicing their concern about the show if Noble is unable to continue.

"Gil has created a valuable slot on the air, one in which folks anticipate each week. I know I'm often conflicted about whether to go to church or stay home and watch 'Like It Is,'" a fan said in an email, asking that his name not be used. Recently, he added, a friend has been taping the shows for him, thereby solving the problem.

Even so, there is a multitude who are afraid that if Noble is unable to continue, the show will be cancelled. For many years, the show and Noble have been rumored to be no longer vitally urgent by the station.

Community activists, particularly those affiliated with the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People, affirm that "Like It Is" is not to be tampered with. On more than one occasion, realizing the threat to Noble and the show's continuation, the organization has staged demonstrations outside ABC headquarters in support of Noble and the show.

"I would not be where I am today without Gil's support and endorsement," said filmmaker Keith Beauchamp. "He's a pioneer, and like Ed Bradley, has forged a remarkable path for all of us folks in the media to follow. I hope he recovers and resumes his matchless contribution to our culture and history."