PITTSBURGH - PBS will air a much-anticipated three hour special tonight, "To Market, To Market to Kill a Pig Critic," a cute title that belies the ghastly horrors to come. The show painstakingly chronicles filmmaker Rick Sebak's murder of beloved Pittsburgh Tribune-Review critic Bob Karlovits earlier this year. Tribune-Review critic Win Fanning, who replaced Karlovits after a several-decade absence from the Pittsburgh newspaper scene, explained that Pittsburgh's local PBS outlet, WQED, won't air the documentary "because the events are too close to us, and there's a Steeler game on." Fanning explained that Pittsburghers can problably catch the special on cable TV, "whatever the hell that is."

At the start of the show, narrator David McCullough warns faint-hearted viewers that the crime was "so grisly it is practically unspeakable." McCullough confides that this is what attracted him to the project. "I've grown weary of all that John Adams crap. What I really want to do is narrate true-life ghost stories."

The details of the Karlovits murder are well-known to residents of Western Pennsylvania. Sebak, silently enraged with Karlovits for his repeated scathing reviews of Sebak's home-spun specials, lured the critic to the roof of the Gulf Tower under the guise of showing him the endangered falcons Sebak supposedly planned to feature in his next show. When Karlovits walked out onto the balcony, Sebak suddenly slammed the door shut and turned to the falcons. "GEORGIE MILES," Sebak yelled at the top of his lungs. That was the cue for the ferocious mother falcon to grab Karlovits by the neck with her talons. She lifted the shrieking critic high above Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle, and as she hovered over Fifth Avenue Place, Sebak blew a whistle signaling the winged beast to drop her prey. The ghastly free fall ended with a sickening splat as Karlovits landed face-up atop the landmark building, its massive pole protruding through his crotch in a most sensational manner, both embarrassing and killing him instantly. Sebak filmed the lurid sight from atop the Gulf Tower, and his maniacal laugh boomed from Grant Street to PNC Park.

On Liberty Avenue below, cameras captured the stunned passersby, ironically a cavalcade of the sort of quirky characters
that are a staple of Sebak's specials. Tribune-Review sports columnist Mike Prisuta, who had never acknowledged Karlovits at the newspaper, was filled with regret as he stared at the astonishing scene. "I should have paid better attention to young Mr. Karlovits," Prisuta gushed. "It looks like he could really fill out a jock."

Strolling along Stanwix Street, WQED icon Chris Fennimore was describing to his cooking show co-host Nancy Polinsky a unique noodle dish he wanted her to try when the sound of Karlovits's shrieking interrupted them. Looking up, Polinsky was transfixed by the strangely titillating sight of Karlovits impaled. "I'll tell you what, Chris," she said without averting her eyes, "I doubt that your noodle can compare with Mr. Karlovits'." Just as in Sebak's specials, such off-the-wall statements give the viewer license to chuckle.

Win Fanning called the show a "winning concoction of eroticism and grisly historical accuracy." Fanning added: "And, the murder got me a newspaper job again." Sebak, currently serving time in the maximum security wing of the state correctional institution at Rockview, is preparing a new television special called What Makes Death Row Death Row?