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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Inventive fun tonight

While I don’t expect many of you to give up the NCAA tourney tonight (7:20 p.m., Ch 12), ABC’s new “American Inventor” (8-10 p.m., Ch 9) is fun to watch. TiVo it, and you’ll see a mix of Letterman’s Stupid Human Tricks, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” emotional personal stories, and “American Idol.”
When I interviewed Newtown marketing guru/inventor Doug Hall for my story today (, he told me that the woman judge on the show, Mary Lou Quinlan, played Paula Abdul better than Paul. After previewing tonight’s show, I must agree. She can well up with tears in an instant listening to contestants who lost their marriage or homes. She’s Paula on the show, and Doug is Simon.
Hall says the tapings had to be stopped for half-hour breaks periodically so a judge could take a walk and cool off. Hall says he frequently argued with fellow judges swayed by an emotional story when the contestant’s invention was merely an enhancement of an existing item, not truly an invention. “The show isn’t called ‘American Incremental Improvement,’ ” he told me. Another time (not in the pilot), while Mary Lou was all teary-eyed, he told a contestant the show wasn’t called “American Sob Story.” (Some viewers will hate that!)
It sounds crazy, but this show could work – maybe not as big as that “cheesy singing show” as Hall calls “American Idol” – but it could be a hit, and Doug Hall could be a big break-out reality star.
If you watch tonight, jump on my blog Friday and tell me what you think of the show.

Today’s burning question
So how long will it take WSTR-TV (Channel 64) to change that big billboard over the station along northbound I-75 at Towne Street? The one that says: “The Future of Prime-Time News, WB 64 at 10 p.m.” Channel 64 canceled its news three weeks ago.

ESPN madness
Don’t forget to vote for the Cincinnati couple – Lauren Kramer and Perry Seal of North Avondale – today in ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike Marriage Madness” contest.
Voting is open 7:40 a.m.-6 p.m. today.
Lauren and Perry are the only ones of the 16 finalists who play sports together (basketball, flag football). The other 15 just watch sports together, ESPN says. They’re up against a Cleveland area couple to advance to the “Engaged 8.” The winners gets the “ultimate sports wedding” in May at ESPN HQ in Bristol, Conn.


at 3/17/2006 10:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw American Inventor and I give it mixed reviews. I thought they could have done alot better so I was a bit disappointed. Hoepfully, it gets better with the next show.

There's a fun discussion of it going on about "Does American Inventor Suck?" at
if you want to take a look.

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