Television 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.
Why Is "American Idol" Contestant Robert Hatcher So Happy?
You'd think Robert Hatcher of Westwood would be pretty bummed after "American Idol" didn't show his audition last night on Fox. All we saw of him was jumping up and down outside the door, after his audition, with his golden ticket to the Hollywood round in his hand. It aired about 50 minutes into the show. He was on screen for all of maybe 5 seconds. (The same thing happened to Forest Park's Kenny Mathis two years ago, who made it to Hollywood with hardly being seen on the audition shows.) We saw more of actor Josh Hutcherson -- the teen-ager from Union, Ky. -- in the commercial for "Bridge to Terabithia" than we did of Hatcher. But Hatcher is happy to be seen on TV, and to be going to Hollywood. Here's the email I just got from him: "I'm not upset at all. I'm so grateful for the part that they did show. I am very appreciative of my local news station (Fox 19) as well. I loved the show last night, and I feel so humble from my experience in Alabama, and I can't wait for the world to see the upcoming shows. I haven't heard anything from anyone at Fox about the "Rest of the Best" show, but I would be very excited if they showed me. I'm just so grateful right now about everything that is happening." There's still a chance we'll see Hatcher audition. "American Idol" publicists told me today that the "Rest of the Best" show next Wednesday (9-10 p.m. Feb. 7, Ch 19 & 45) will be "unseen footage, so all new auditioners." Maybe we'll see Hatcher singing -- and dancing with Paula Abdul -- next week? Idol Thoughts Where was Paula for the second half of the show last night? That was never explained. You've gotta agree: Simon has been nastier this year than ever before. You getting tired of him? Is his act wearing out? Another observation: Last night's show confirms what I hear from "American Idol" auditioners. Remember how empty the arena hallways were for most of the Ryan Seacrest interviews? That's because Paula, Randy and Simon aren't there for the big cattle calls, when thousands show up (even though the editing makes it look that way). They come to town later, after the applicants have sung several times for producers. That's what I hear.
From the posts on the "Cheers" blog, it's clear folks want to talk about Ch 19 naming Paul Horton chief meteorologist. So I'll start a new string. Ch 19's four-month search to replace Rich Apuzzo ended with an in-house move. Horton, hired for the Fox 19 morning news in August 2003, officially begins his prime-time duties with Jack Atherton and Tricia Macke tonight (although he has filled in plenty on the Big Show since Apuzzo was fired Oct. 9). However, the move still leaves Ch. 19 short a weather staffer.... and another won't be hired until after February sweeps. Sweeps run the entire 28 days of February. So here's a new string to comment on the move. Sounds like some folks don't like the decision. You'd rather have Pat Barry on the 10 p.m. news? Have at it....
Just a quick note to "Cheers" fans here.... The CinCW (WKRC-TV's digital CW affiliate) started airing "Cheers" at 10 & 10:30 pm Monday. I stumbled into the 1982 pilot at 10, and what followed looked like the second episode. So if they run the shows in order, you can to catch the first season of "Cheers" by setting the DVR for 10-11 p.m. the next couple of weeks. It's Ch. 20 on Time Warner, and Ch. 25 on Insight. Thought you'd wanna know. And I recommend going to Comedy Central to see Bill Gates with Jon Stewart last night on"The Daily Show," http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_daily_show/index.jhtml or catching the replay at 8 p.m. tonight.
No suprise here: Tom Gamble, who has hosted WLW-AM's "SportsTalk" since Andy Furman was fired in early November, soon will be announced as the official permanent host. Darryl Parks, operations director for Clear Channel's AM stations here, says he's close to a deal with Gamble. "Nothing is signed yet, but we're working on it." Gamble confirms today that a deal will be announced very soon. Gamble, 43, a former Kentucky Post sports editor, had been co-host of the "Two Angry Guys" morning show with Richard Skinner on sister station WCKY-AM (HOMER 1530). By moving Gamble to WLW, Clear Channel didn't disrupt the Homer sports lineup too much. Skinner works solo in the morning, and Lance McAlister is quite popular in afternoon drive. I think he's done a pretty good job so far. He can be a bit bombastic, but not as over-the-top theatrical as Furman was (just to light up the phones?). So here's a poll question you won't get on Lance's show: Who do you listen to the most? Tom Gamble on WLW? Lance McAlister on Homer? Andy Furman on SupertalkFM96.5? Any why?
Bubba Bo says credits former Q102 morning show personality Jim "Squirrel" Stadtmiller, now a Clear Channel salesman, for his return to the America's Trucking Network overnight show last weekend. Eric "Bubba Bo" Boulanger was axed at the end of December in a budget cut, and reruns aired for three weekends. Bubba Bo says Squirrel "knows that seven nights a week of live programming is more attractive to clients than five nights live and two nights replays. Thanx also goes to Lee Webb of IdleBusters, the biggest ATN sponsor. He understands the importance of seven nights of live programming in reaching the potential purchasers of his product, an alternative power unit for semis. He'll pay me directly. "As for me, I'm pleased to -- once again -- be a small part of WLW's all-star lineup and to -- once again -- be the weekend overnight companion of truck drivers who are an overworked, underpaid and overlooked yet vital link to our economy."
Remember Andrea Canning, Ch. 9's 5:30 p.m. co-anchor and reporter from 2001 to 2004? You may have seen her doing ABC News reports for Ch. 9 (last week on the State of the Union speech) as an ABC News One correspondent based in Washington D.C.? Well, you've never seen her like this: She's one of four newswomen modeling for W magazine's "Breaking News" fashion spread in the Febraruy issue. Check it out at http://www.style.com/w/feat_story/010207 She says she was flattered to be picked for the shoot (an ABC News publicist submitted her photos to the magazine) and to get more attention than the other women (including Laurie Dhue from "Geraldo at Large"). Canning, an Ontario native, says she misses Cincinnati a lot. "I could have stayed in Cincinnati foreever, but I had this dream that I wanted to go to the network." And in a few weeks, she takes another step up the network food chain. She leaves ABC News One and moves to New York, to become a full-time correspondent for the "Good Morning America" weekend shows. By the way, she says: "I'm not sure these pictures were flattering." Do you agree? (Gee, knowing how some Anonymous posters have been fixated on local TV women, who knows what kind of response I might get to this one. Just keep it clean and respectful.)
So Toria, how do you really feel? When CNN's Toria Tolley was on WLW-AM Saturday, Darryl Parks asked her to comment on the TV cable news landscape. The former Ch 5 anchor (1980-90), who now freelances for CNN from Atlanta, said: "Well. Fox sucks. It's all opinion. You get the anchor's opinion. You get the reporter's opinion. It's definitely not unbiased. I think any network with 'news' in the its name should be unbiased." So I guess Toria won't be applying for any openings at the Fox News Channel... but she might be putting her name in for talk radio opportunities. She quibbled with my description of her appearance on Parks' Saturday morning WLW-AM show as an audition. She says she had been talking with him in recent months, and he invited her into the studio when she was in town doing a story. (She was at Children's Hospital Medical Center Friday doing a story for Turner's AccentHealth Waiting Room TV Network, seen in doctors' offices.) She had talked to him last fall about possibly replacing WKRC-AM's retiring Jerry Thomas, but the station decided to keep it a guy thing with Brian Thomas (Jerry's kid) and John Phillips. Toria says she decided a year ago to try to break into talk radio somewhere, while continuing to freelance for CNN. She hasn't yet formally auditioned for anyone by hosting a talk radio show solo, she says. But she's anxious to try. For one thing, she likes the freedom to express an opinion after 25+ years in the news biz. Like her feelings on Fox News. After her WLW-AM visit, she told me: "When you're doing talk radio, you can say what you really feel. It's nice to finally be able to say it (about Fox) on talk radio. I've wanted to say it for years." I'd image the switchboard might explode from calls if she hosted a talk radio show with the topic "Fox sucks?" Did you hear her Saturday? How would she do as a talk radio host? And why don't we have more women as talk radio hosts on the air here?
This just in.... ABC is shuffling the Wednesday lineup. You may have noticed in "American Idol" vs. 11 p.m. news post that "According to Jim" was the No. 1 ABC sitcom here. So to build on that strength, ABC moving "Jim" to 9 p.m. Weds effective immediately, flip-flopping with "Knights of Prosperity." "George Lopez" stays at 8, "In Case of Emergency" remains at 9:30....
Another Talk Show Bites The Dust Sony has canceled "Greg Behrendt," the third syndicated talk show to get yanked this month. Unlike Geraldo Rivera and Megan Mullally, "Behrendt" (3 p.m., Ch 19) will remain on the air through the TV season, at least through May, and maybe until September, say folks at Ch 19. "Geraldo" vanishes after his telecast tonight (10 pm, CinCW). He'll be replaced with back-to-back "Cheers" 10-11 p.m. Monday on CinCW. Mullally ended a week ago, and has been replaced by a Maury Povich rerun (8 a.m., Ch 64).
If you're at Kenwood Towne Centre today, keep an eye out for a crew from "American Shopper" on Scripps' Fine Living channel. Host Lesley Ann Machado has been interviewing employees at six stores today: Sterling Cut Glass, Bankhardt's, Sephora, Brookstone, Arhaus and The Sharper Image. "American Shopper" looks at consumer trends and new prodcuts. I'm told that all the segments will be part of one show to air sometime in April or May. Fine Living can be found on Time Warner Cable Channel 136, and Insight Cable Channel 209.
That's a good question, a very good question.... With Ch. 19 delaying "American Idol" to 10:30 p.m., how did it do in the ratings against the 11 p.m. news? Did more people watch the news or "American Idol? " Good question. The answer: In the 356 homes with overnight Nielsen meters, more people watched "American Idol" than local news. Fox's top-rated talent show averaged a 12 rating and 21.5% audience share from 11-11:30 p.m., beating Ch. 12's news, which did an 11.5 rating and 20.5% audience share. It was no contest against the other two late local newscasts Wednesday night -- with Ch. 9 getting a 4.7 rating and 8% share, and Ch. 5 getting a 4.6 rating and 8% share. For the two-hour telecast on Fox 19, "American Idol" averaged a 11.4 rating and 23% audience share.
Bonus trivia question Can you guess what was Cincinnati's top-rated prime-time (8-11 p.m.) network show Wednesday night without "Idol" in its normal time slot? It was on ABC, CBS or NBC, not the CW or PBS or Fox 19's 10 o'clock news. I'll let you guess for a day and then post the answer at 1 p.m. Friday. Here were the lineups: ABC: George Lopez, According to Jim, Knights of Prosperity, In Case of Emergency, Primetime. CBS: Armed & Famous, Criminal Minds, CSI: NY. NBC: Friday Night Lights, Deal or No Deal, Medium. What was the most popular show on Cincinnati's overnight ratings meters? And which show is your favorite among these, and should have been No. 1?
Trivia Question Answer: No deal! The #1 rated show in prime-time Wednesdsay was "CSI: NY" at 10 p.m. on Ch. 12, with a 12.4 rating and 20% share of the audience. Here's the top shows: 1. CSI: NY, 12.4 2. Criminal Minds, 9 p.m. CBS, and Fox 19 10 p.m. news, 10.9. 3. Deal or No Deal, 9 p.m. NBC, 7.4 4. According to Jim, 8:30 p.m. ABC, 6.9 5. Medium, 10 p.m. NBC, 6.6 6. George Lopez, 8 p.m. ABC, 6.3 7. UC-Pitt basketball, 8 p.m. Ch 19, 6.0 8. Knights of Prosperity, 9 p.m. ABC, 4.6 9. PrimeTime, 10 p.m. ABC, 4.3 10. In Case of Emergency, 9:30 p.m. ABC, 4.6 11. Friday Night Lights, 8 p.m. NBC, 3.7 12. Armed & Famous, 8 p.m. CBS, 3.4.
Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" last night: "Do you know what Cincinnati Bengals players call signing bonuses?" "Bail money!" And I hear that Letterman mentioned the Warren Correctional Institution jail in Lebanon one night last week, Wednesday I think. Anyone see that?
UPDATE: Memorial Services Set for Marian Spelman A memorial service, open to the public, for singer Marian Spelman will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, in the chapel at Arlington Memorial Gardens cemetery, 2145 Compton Road, Mount Healthy. +++ Posted Jan. 23: If you ever had the pleasure of hearing Marian Spelman sing, you knew who she was. Ruth Lyons and Channel 5 had many talented singers on TV -- Ruby Wright, Bonnie Lou, Colleen Sharp -- but Marian Spelman -- who died today at 85 -- was unique. She had this wonderful soprano voice, and a wonderful range -- and a wonderful sense of humor. She could do serious songs and hit these terrific high notes on Ruth Lyons' "Fifty-Fifty Club"... and the next day do a hilarious novelty song. Marian Spelman seemingly could do everything. She sang with the CSO and Cincinnati Pops. She did musical theater. She MC-ed fashion shows. She performed each year at the Ohio State Fair with other Channel 5 stars. On some Saturday mornings, she would schlep up to the WLW tower in Mason, and perform on the "Everybody's Farm" show. And longtime Reds fans remember that the baseball season never started at Crosley Field (and the early days of Riverfront Stadium) until Marian Spelman sang the National Anthem. I only met her once or twice, including seeing her perform with Ruth Lyons stars at Towne Mall in Middletown in 1986 or so to benefit the Ruth Lyons' Children's Christmas Fund. I was a bit nervous to meet her, thinking she might be stuffy (because she had That Voice), but she was as friendly as could be. And that's what her coworkers tell me about her today, that she was a sweet, funny, gentle lady, as I prepare the obituary for our Web site and tomorrow's paper. Anyway, I'm hoping some of you have fond and favorite memories of Marian Spelman.... and I'm looking forward to reading your postings.
Channel 19 is doing it again to "American Idol" fans. Wednesday's two-hour show will be delayed because of the UC Bearcats-Pittsburgh basketball game. The same thing happens next Wednesday, Jan. 31, for the UC-Louisville game. The good news: These are the only two "American Idol" pre-emptions by Ch. 19. The remaining UC games will be on weekends. Ch. 19 "purposely stayed away from UC games that interfered with 'American Idol' voting nights," says Tony Phillips, station spokesman. Viewer voting begins Tuesday, Feb. 20, when the top 12 male singers perform. The station also lucked out. Westwood's Robert Hatcher sang at the Birmingham auditions, which air next Tuesday. To appease fans of the hugely popular reality show, Ch. 19 will shrink its 10 p.m. news to a half-hour Wednesday so the two-hour "American Idol" can start at 10:30 p.m. On Jan. 31, the one-hour "Idol" will air at 11 p.m., following a one-hour local newscast. "Bones," pre-empted that night, will air at 11 p.m. Thursday. So no "Simpsons" on those nights. For those who can get Dayton's Fox station, Ch. 45 will air "Idol" in its regular prime-time slot both weeks.
Did you see Kate Rockwell from Blue Ash on "Grease: You're The One That I Want" Sunday night on NBC? She advanced to the final 12 -- so she's one of the six women up for the role of "Sandy" in the July Broadway revival of "Grease." Kate, 22, was known as Kate Wilfong when she graduated in 2002 from Sycamore High School. She took the stage name Rockwell after she graduated last May from Balwin-Wallace College in Berea, and moved to New York. Rockwell is her middle name, and her mom's maiden name. In a refreshing touch of honesty, Kate lists her occupation as "waitress" on her NBC bio. That's how she has supported herself in college -- and now in New York -- while preparing for her break into show business. She's wanted to be in show business all her life -- taking 10 years of voice lessons, four years of dance, and six years of acting, including being a founding member of the New Stage Collective summer theater company here. Her bio is posted at http://www.nbc.com/Grease/contestants/kate.shtml To be honest, I missed her audition Sunday. Yes, I was watching the Colts-Patriots game. Did you watch? Does Kate have what it takes to win? Do you know her and can tell me more about her?
Watch the opening minutes of "CSI Miami" tonight (10 p.m., Ch. 12, 7) and you might recognize the bomb technician who defuses an explosive device on the beach which threatens the life of Det. Tripp (series regular Rex Linn). Playing the Bomb Tech is Tom McCafferty, a 1984 Oak Hills High School grad. McCafferty, a U.S. Army veteran, has been working as an actor in LA for about 10 years or so, says his sister, Kathie Snyder of Covington. His credits include playing a Secret Service agent on "24" in 2005, "ER," "Veronica Mars" and three episodes of "JAG." Check out his full list at the International Movie Data Base: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0564534/
"American Idol" smashed the competition again on Night 2 here, which is why the folks at Ch. 19 and all Fox stations love it. "American Idol" Wednesday averaged a 24.3 rating and 36% share of the audience on Channel 19 from 8 to 10 p.m. -- which was more than the combined ratings for Channels 5, 9, 12, 64, public TV on 48 and low-power 38! Ouch! And enough of the huge "American Idol" audience stuck around for the 10 p.m. news, which drew a bigger rating (more viewers) than the 11 p.m. newscasts on Channels 5, 9 or 12. The Fox 19 News averaged a 13.2 rating, while Ch. 12 news did a 12.3 at 11 p.m. So "American Idol" is not just a national prime-time phenomenon, it also lets Fox stations cash in with local news at 10 p.m. on the two-hour shows. More ratings A couple of ratings notes from last night: --Nobody is watching CBS' heavily promoted "Armed & Famous," the reality show about celebrity police in Muncie, Ind. It drew a 1.6 rating and 2% share of the audience 8-9 p.m. on Ch. 12. (Wanna bet Ch 12 folks are on the phone to CBS urging them to dump the show?) --Of course, that number looked giantic compared to the 0.3 rating for MyNetworkTV 's "Wicked Games" on Channel 64, which drew a 0.3 rating 8-9 p.m. Viewership was so low for MyNetworkTV's "Watch Over Me" at 9 p.m. that it got zilch ratings. Nada. Nothing. (Wanna bet some folks at Ch. 64 wisht they had the CinCW network?) --The overnights also show that the Ch 12 news on Ch 64 at 10 p.m. must have a small core following. Even though nobody watched the 9 p.m. soap on Ch. 64, the half-hour 10 p.m. newscast drew a 2.7 rating and 4% audience share. So its appointment TV for some people already. --At 11 p.m., Ch. 12's 12.3 rating was more than the combined news ratings for Ch 9 (4.9) and Ch. 5 (4.8). Thought you'd wanna know. Your thoughts?
Well, "American Idol" came back last night, and kicked butt in the local ratings, as usual. It averaged a 22.4 rating here and a 32% audience share. Channel 19's "American Idol" ratings last night equaled the combined ratings for network programming in Channels 5, 9, 12 and 64. However, Channel 19's rating was down slightly from the season premiere last year (24.3 rating/34% share).
How they do it? Watching last night, again I was struck by what an editing marvel the show is -- which is the hallmark of any compelling reality show. "American Idol" producers took hours and hours of video from Minneapolis, and cut it down to two hours of every entertaining TV. (The same way "Survivor" editors take three boring days on an island and make 44 minutes of interesting TV, complete with dramatic story lines involving distinct characters.) After talking to local "American Idol" contestants over the years, I've got a good hunch on how they assemble the show. Now this might be a big "Duh!" to some of you, but others may find it interesting. Here's my best guess how they make "American Idol" so entertaining...
Auditions The auditions were taped late last summer. I'm told that the judges weren't always there for the cattle call, like when 10,000 people showed up in Seattle, but then they show up later after producers have culled through the masses. Sometimes singers audition three or four times for producers before ever seeing Simon, Paula or Randy. This may explain why some of the awful singers who get through the initial process and sing for the judges are surprised to hear they're lousy. Just my theory. Anyway, the show is an editing marvel because of how they can keep track of the best moments, and how they can edit just the right judges reactions to an audition performance.
Hollywood round Watch the auditions for four weeks (through Feb. 7), and you'll realize that we don't see most of the people who are going to Hollywood. We see mostly bad singers, with a very good one every 20 minutes or so. What I've learned is that part of the "Hollywood Round" shows (Feb. 13-14) were taped in November. So the judges and producers have seen all the hopefulls, and made up their minds who will make the 24 semi-finalists (12 guys, 12 women). The singers haven't been told who the 24 semi-finalists are, and won't be told until the annoucement is revealed on the Feb. 14 show. But because producers likely knew their top 24 (privately) around Thanksgiving, then the audition shows could be edited and assembled with story lines about contestants that could make the semifinals -- the sailor, the auto shop woman in the Army Reserves, etc. In other words, producers also know which singers likely won't make the Top 24, so they won't devote much TV time to them. I'm guessing that's what happened to Kenny Mathis of Forest Park two years ago, when he advanced to the Hollywood Round but we practically never saw him on the show. The same thing could happen to Robert Hatcher of Westwood that I wrote about Tuesday; time will tell. But my guess is that decisions made by late November inform the editing of the preproduced (non-live) audition shows. Give Fox folks credit, they know how to craft dramatic story lines around the humor from the bad singers. Whether they can keep our interest for 10 hours of auditions over four weeks, we'll find out. Regardless, I expect continued big ratings for the competition shows -- the Top 24 starting Feb. 20, and the Top 12 beginning March 13. And I won't be surprised if the May finale matches or tops last year's 36.4 million viewers. Sorry this ran so long.... Hope you found it insightful. Are you watching "Idol" this year? What do you think?
Now we know why Radio One paid $5 million for the call letters and intellectual property of "MOJO" (WMOJ-FM, 94.9) in September. Acquiring an established brand – even though Radio One has radically changed the music – provided the boost the company wanted in launching a new Cincinnati station on a brand-new frequency (100.3) here. MOJO is the big story in the fall Arbitron ratings released today. The new MOJO debuted at No. 9, with a 4.4% audience share. That's close to the average for "jammin' oldies" on 94.9. It's too early to gauge impact of the other changes -- The Wolf, SupertalkFM96.5, The Sound -- since they occurred in the middle of the Sept.-Dec. ratings period. But here's one piece of significant news: Entercom's "The Sound," WSWD-FM (94.9) just hired Tommy BoDean as program director. He was KISS107.1 program director for 13 years, until last summer. With BoDean on board, they’ll start hiring local DJs soon. As usual, Clear Channel’s WLW was No. 1, as it has been for seven consecutive years. Clear Channel also had the top three stations in the 25-54 demo advertisers demands: WLW-AM, WEBN-FM, WOXF-FM. WVMX-FM (MIX94.1) had one of its best books, thanks to the boost from Christmas music, ranking 7th in the 25-54 demo. Whoopi Goldberg's syndicated morning show, which debuted in July on MIX94.1, was 6th in the 25-54 demo, ahead of morning shows on WUBE-FM and WGRR-FM. Here is the fall rankings by audience share for all listeners age 12 and older: 1. WLW-AM, 9.8 2. WRRM-FM, 6.2 3. WEBN-FM, 6.0 4. WUBE-FM, 5.3 5. WGRR-FM, 4.9 6. WKRQ-FM, 4.7 7. WKFS-FM, 4.6 8. WOFX-FM, 4.5 9. WMOJ-FM, 4.4 10. (tie) WKRC-AM, WIZF-FM, 4.3 12. WVMX-FM, 4.2 13. WSWD-FM, 2.4 (for only 5 weeks) 14. WAKW-FM, 1.7 15. (tie) WCKY-AM, WYGY-FM, 1.6 (Ratings for WYGY-FM are for 8 weeks of WAQZ-FM and 4 weeks of The Wolf on 97.3) 17. WHKO-FM, 1.1 18. WNKR-FM, WSAI-AM, 1.0 (WSAI as liberal talk) 20. (tie) WDJO-AM, WOXY-FM, WPFB-FM, 0.9 23. (tie) WDBZ-AM, WTUE-FM, 0.8 25. WLQT-FM, 0.6 26. (tie) WSCH-FM, WCIN-AM, WFTK-FM, 0.5 (WFTK-FM rating for 5 weeks as SupertalkFM96.5)
It's official: AndersonTownship’s Linz family won’t be part of "The Amazing Race: All-Stars" next month. Rob and Amber Mariano from "Survivor" and "TAR" season 7 are back again -- why doesn't CBS just let these people go away! -- but not the four Linz kids who won the million a year ago. "TAR: All-Stars"premieres Feb. 18 (8 p.m., Chs. 12, 7). The 11 teams include Kentucky coal miner David Conley and his wife, Mary, and "beauty queens" Dustin Seltzer and Kandice Pelletier from last fall, and Uchenna and Joyce Agu from season 7. Full details are posted at
OK, let's try this again. I'm back on the blog, and you will be able to be on it, too.But this is my blog, and we’re going to keep an eye on the posts. I love seeing your feedback -- and I know you do too -- and want to keep it up. It's fun to read your take on things, and see what interests you. Just keep it clean. You know what I mean. So let's try this again. Moving on, as Stephen Colbert would say...
We're still a reality TV hotbed We're still a reality TV hotbed, and the networks know it. The latest: Robert Hatcher, 26 of Westwood on "American Idol" premering Tuesday (, Chs. 19, 45).He's got a ticket to the Hollywood round next month in a story we just posted. http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20070115/ENT/70115013/ Hatcher is throwing a viewing party at Tuesday at Jazz in the Park II, 1180 W. Kemper Road, Forest Park (in the PromendaeShopping Center at Kemper & Winton). But if Fox shows his audition on "American Idol" this season, it will be in the Birmingham auditions episode on Jan. 30 (, Chs. 19, 45). And we’ve got Michelle Yi, a UC fashion design student on "Survivor: Fiji" premiereing Feb. 8.
Do you know her? And I need your help on a couple of others: Did you watch NBC Sunday night? Is P&G's Surya Yalamanchili still on "The Apprentice: Los Angeles?" Did you see Kate Rockwell (Wilfong) from Sycamore High School and Blue Ash on "Grease: You’re The One That I Want?" Did she make it through to GreaseAcademy for next week? Lemme know.
Clooneys tonight You’ve probably seen clips of George and Nick Clooney's Darfur visit last April when they appeared on the Today show or other network news programs. If you have Insight or Time Warner’s digital-level cable, you can see their documenary on their trip in "A Journey to Darfur" at today on Americanlife TV Network (Insight Channel 182, Time Warner Channel 141). Nick hosts this half-hour program. (It's on Americanlife, of all places, because Nick does periodic "Moments That Changed Us" interview shows for that channel.) Nick covers a lot of ground in 30 minutes. He explains that George suggested they go over in March, after winning an Oscar, to use his clout to get some publicity about the genocide. And the documentary shows how it led to George addressing the United Nations Security Council in September. It's a little weird seeing Nick formally interview George in a hotel room, but overall the show is a good overview of their campaign in the past year. With all the bad news or goofy things that some celebrities generate, it's impressive to see how one megastar and his father, a newsman living in tiny Augusta, Ky., are using their juice and skills to help end a truly awful situation half-way around the world.
Dancing with the Stars returns For the first time, ABC will do two "Dancing with the Stars" series in one year, following the "Survivor" model for success. A new "DWTS" debuts Monday March 19, instead of Tuesday, to avoid going head-on with "American Idol." Results will air Tuesday, which could compete with the "American Idol" performances on nights that "Idol" goes two hours. ("Idol" will be down to the top 12 finalists starting Tuesday, March 13. ) No cast announced yet for "DWTS." And don’t forget that Drew Lachey & Cherly Burke, Jerry Springer and Kym Johnson, and others will be here with the "DWTS" tour at US Bank Arena Wednesday night.
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Two Cheers. That’s what will replace "Geraldo at Large," which has been canceled, on the WKRC-TV’s CinCW digital CW affiliate. Geraldo Rivera's last syndicate show airs Jan. 26. On Monday, Jan. 29, back-to-back "Cheers" reruns will air , leading into the hour of "MASH." Pat O'Brien's "The Insider" gets bumped from to The CinCW also is losing "Party of 5" on Jan. 20. Starting on Monday, Jan. 22, more reruns of "America’s Funniest Home Vidoes" will air weekdays. Over on Channel 64, Maury Povich Show reruns will air at 8 p.m. weekdays starting Jan. 29 to replace the "Megan Mullally Show," which has been canceled. Her last telecast is Jan. 26.
Fall TV News Here's a really early warning for "Everybody Loves Raymond" fans, who will have to change their habits (and channels) in the fall. Ch. 64 has acquired"“Raymond" reruns from Ch. 12 starting in September. Ch. 12 will replace the sitcom with "Inside Edition" at in the fall. Ch 12 also has bought "2-1/2 Men" reruns for fall, but plans for now only to air the sitcom at on CinCW.
Furman update So I was driving home last night at , and heard Andy Furman reading letters on the second day of his SupertalkFM96.5 talk show. Had he run out of callers already? He took a few calls in the last half-hour, one that went really long from awoman who had never heard him on WLW-AM. Like I said yesterday, getting listeners to switch from AM to FM for talk is his biggest challenge.
Musical Note Bridgetown native Gary Griffin, a former keyboard player with the Beach Boys, composed and produced the music for PBS' "Edens Lost & Found" 10 p.m. Thursday on Ch. 54 and Dayton's Ch. 16. (It's not on Ch. 48's schedule.) For the past year, Griffin has been playing with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. They play the Consumer Electronics Show today in Las Vegas, he says.
Reds Note Marty Brennaman takes his "Hot Stove League" call-in show on the road at 6 p.m. today on WLW-AM to broadcast from the Reds Hall of Fame Museum downtown.
Channel 5 news This just in: Randi Ricco, weekend forecaster at Dayton's WDTN-TV (Ch. 2), will head down the road to Ch. 5 here after February sweeps. She starts Thursday March 1, News Director Brennan Donnellan announced to the staff today.
It's fun to hear Andy Furman back on the air today, chatting with sports celebs, but the real test will be tomorrow... and the day after that... and the day after that. Given Furman's contacts – he sends newspaper clippings and notes to so many athletes, coaches, former players, etc. – it was relatively easy for him to put together today's show with guests Marvin Lewis, Tom Browning, Oscar Robertson, Ron Oester, Pete Rose, Sean Miller, Mike Martin, Marty Brennaman and others. His interviews were great. He effortlessly moved from talking Reds with Browning, to Bengals with Marvin Lewis, back to baseball with Pete Rose, and then basketball with the Big O and Wayne Embry, and then high school football with Mike Martin, college basketball with Miller, and then more Reds with Marty Brennaman. But how will he do without his big name friends? Will sports talk listeners remember to flip over to the FM dial to 96.5 after years of getting their sports fixes by switching between WLW, WCKY-AM, WDBZ-AM or maybe even WMOH-AM, Hamilton’s ESPN station. His success in part will be determined by how many people change habits. We'll see how he does. (Pete Rose will be in studio next Monday with Furman.) I don't know what Lance McAlister did today on Homer WCKY, or what Tom Gamble did on Furman’s old WLW "SportsTalk." Did any of you listen to McAlister or Gamble? What did we miss? Did you listen to Furman? What did you think?
Add weekend "Sci Zone" host Bill Boshears and weekend "American Truckin' Network" host Eric "Bubba Bo" Boulanger to the list of former Clear Channel employees. Neither were on the air last night. Reruns of Bill Cunningham's show aired Saturday night, and a repeat of Steve Sommers' truckers show aired early this morning instead of Bubba Bo. So we can add at least three more to the 19 people terminated in late November -- Craig Kopp from WKRC, Boshears and Bubba Bo. (Plus add in the salary savings from firing Andy Furman, and Jerry Thomas retiring.) Darryl Parks, AM operations manager, called dropping Boshears and Bubba Bo part of a "station restructuring" as the station puts more resources in podcasts, the web and "future platforms for delivery." The same reasoning was given by Ch 9 GM Bill Fee for the dismissal of weekend co-anchor Brian Patrick http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20070107/ENT/701070316/
Fee says Julie O'Neill now anchors solo, so more resources can be put into the web and other platforms of information delivery.
Opening Day for Furman Andy Furman expects a celebrity-packed first show 4-7 p.m. Monday on WFTK-FM (96.5), the new "SupertalkFM96.5," a live remote from Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse dowtnwon. He expects to hear from Pete Rose, Ken Griffey Jr., Tom Browning, Marty Brennaman, Oscar Robertson, Dave Collins and others. If you missed my Saturday story on Furman, in which he made it clear he hasn't mellowed by being fired ("I don't know what I did was that bad"), here's the link: http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20070106/SPT/701060443/
Don Imus and his "Imus in the Morning" syndicated show has lost its Cincinnati area affiliate. Middletown's WPFB-AM (910), which came in surprisingly strong down I-75 all the way to the Brent Spence Bridge, will dump its talk format tomorrow. The station becomes a classic country station Friday, playing Johnny Cash, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and the Oak Ridge Boys. The Middletown AM station had been the outlet for Imus, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham and other syndicated shows that couldn't get into the Cincinnati or Dayton markets. But WKRC-AM picked up Ingraham when Tony Snow left Fox radio for the White House, and then the new "SupertalkFM96.5" launched in November with O'Reilly, giving him a much better signal for the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky market. So Middletown is pulling the plug on talk and going country oldies, to go along with WPFB-FM (105.9), the country Rebel that plays Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood and current country stars. "Our focus will be on the biggest songs and artists from the '70s and '80s, with some handpicked country hits from the '60s and '90s," says Mark Evar, operations manager. I'll miss Imus, his interviews with NBC reporters and newsmakers, and his comedy bits. I can't think of any area station where he'd be a logical fit. Maybe if Mancow bombs on FM96.5, they'll pick up Imus. Any suggestions?
Great news! Fox finally plans to release the first season of the "WKRP in Cincinnati," the beloved short-lived sitcom fictionally set in Cincinnati (1978-82). According to the tvshowsondvd Web site http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/newsitem.cfm?NewsID=6708 the three-disc set will include all 22 episodes, including some of my (and yours?) favorites: --Mr. Carlson's (Gordon Jump) infamous "Turkey drop" Thanksgiving promotion. --Venus Flytrup (Tim Reid) admitting he's draft dodger Gordon Sims. --Jennifer Marlowe (Loni Anderson) going as Les Nessman's (Richard Sanders) date to receive the Silver Sow award. --Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner) dressing up as the WKRP carp mascot. --Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) quitting for a job in LA. --The Sunday morning preacher who sells "religious artifcats" such as John the Baptist shower curtains. Extras include commentary on the pilot by creator Hugh Wilson and cast members, the making of "WKRP" and "Turning a Turkey Into A Classic." The set (561 minutes) will retail for $39.98 when releasedon April 3.
The worst-kept secret in town is finally official: Ch 5 morning meteorologist Derek Beasley will replace Jim O'Brien as Channel 5's chief meteorologist on Jan. 15. As I noted in a September blog, O'Brien was told his three-year contract would not be renewed at the end of the year. Soon after that, Beasley began working a split shift, coming back after the morning show to do weather at with main anchors Sandra Ali and Sheree Paolello. He'll do the late news this week and next, then switch back to mornings to train new hire Eric Green, weekend meteorologist at CBS affiliate WOWK-TV in Charlestown-Huntington, WV. He returns to the late shift by the end of January. O'Brien, 34, wouldn'’t say much today about what went south at Channel 5: "The station and I decided to go in different directions." That's all he 'd say. O'Brien still hasn’t found another job. He told me that his next gig will be filling in next week at WTHR-TV (Channel 13 in Indianapolis), where he had worked before. And he says he could do some fill-in work here, although he won't say what station. My best guess is that he could show up on WXIX-TV (Channel 19), which has been short a forecaster since firing Rich Apuzzo in early October.Ch. 19 news director Steve Ackermann confirms he has spoken to O’Brien, but won’t comment further. Remember when Channel 5 fired chief meteorologist Dave Fraser 5 in 1999, and he ended up over at Channel 19? He did morning weather for two years, until landing a chief meteorologist job in Denver. Could the same thing happend with O'Brien? O'Brien says he has turned down two offers to stay in the Midwest (his wife is from Louisville). "I want to take my time making a decision," he says. Being chief again "is not necessarily important," he says. Expect to see more changes in the weather at Channel 5. The station continues to search for a replacement for Marina Jurica, the weekend morning forecaster who abruptly left the station in mid-December. Channel 5 sub Keisha Kirkland, wife of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Levon Kirkland, had done weather in Lexington, as had Jurica. Levon Kirkland is an administrator at ClemsonUniversity, his alma mater. So if you were running Channel 5, would you have dumped O'Brien and promoted Beasley?
Some Channel 19 news Meteorologist Frank Field, who subbed on Channel 19 last month, is no relation to legendary New York weatherman Frank Field, says Steve Ackermann, Channel 19 news director. The younger Field is a former Boston-area TV meteorologist whose wife transferred from New England to Cincinnati when P&G bought Gillette.
Happy New Year! I'm back from vacation, and back on the blog....
Today's top story (for now, at least): No-longer-a-consumer-reporter Tom Sussi signs off next Ch 5 next Tuesday, packs up his Newport home, and heads to Fox affiliate WOFL-TV in Orlando. Sussi hasn't been happy since Ch. 5 ended his in-your-face "Taking Action" consumer segments in May. Ch. 5 is letting him out of his 3-year contract early to do his consumer advocacy thing in Orlando. "I had no intention of leaving town. I love it here. This is one of my favorite cities. I wanted to stay here as a consumer reporter, but they pulled the plug on Taking Action. They wanted to go in a different direction, and I didn't want to go that direction. It's business. It's their right. They put me on GA (general assignment), but I don't want to cover fires and shootings. I'm bored with it. There's no reason for me to stay in the market. So I’m going to Orlando to track down bad guys and hold them accountable. Nobody else really does that here. Nobody is really solving any problems (on TV news) except for Michael Flannery." Sussi says he regrets that he won’t have time to tell everyone goodbye. Fans and friends can email him at email@example.com.