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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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Monday, January 22, 2007

Another Reality TV Star In The Making

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
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?


at 1/22/2007 7:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How pleasantly surprising it is to see that there are still some intelligent people in this industry. Writers who still know how to think independently, spell, turn a phrase and place proper quotation.

In my humble opinion Zorklobster was absolutely correct in assessing the current state of Local TV News. It's a pathetic cycle of ignorance: Intelligent, technologically savvy viewers are dumping out of the market to more relevant forms of news; we're left (by and large) with a less-educated, less socioeconomically placed pool of viewers who buy into "flash and trash" media. That's our target.

GMs want NDs to heed the OCF bottom line. NDs hire three pretty young things at the rate of one mature, experienced journalist. The PYTs just want to get their stories finished with the least amount of effort or argument from management. They don't have the experience or the inclination to dig deeper or find more compelling angles.

I am never one to give up, but I've come to believe local news is never going to be what I want it to be. No matter how much I fight for what I believe is right (and I often win those fights), the industry "is what it is" and the few remaining idealists are not going to change it. The intelligent audience is leaving us in droves. The cycle of ignorance will continue, with or without us. We can either continue to swim against the tide or stop fighting and ride the wave.

I'm still going to wear red on Wednesdays until the day I walk out the door for a more fulfilling job.

at 1/23/2007 11:39 AM Blogger nky_jenn79 said...

I watched the Colt's game too, but then I watched Grease afterwards. I never knew that Kate was from the tri-state. In my opinion, she is one of the front runners for the part of Sandy. I believe she is the one who they keep saying has the perfect face for Sandy. She is very talented and seems down to Earth. Best of luck to her when the voting begins on Sunday.

at 1/23/2007 12:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well stated Anon 7:15. Money, of course, is at the root of the rapidly deteriorating news product. Your PYT's and other 6 & 11 anchors will still make the big bucks, but these "stars" do absolutely none of the grunt work.

The grunts are mostly inexperienced and underpaid and put together their stories from the news releases handed out by the spin-masters that are the source of the alledged "news".

Producers and writers that could do some digging behind the scenes have all but been eliminated from the newsroom in budget cuts.

There was an earlier comment on the usual menu of stories on a snowy day. 5 minutes of weather, the salt truck story,sledding kids, tapes of cars in ditches and no salt available at home depot. No one even gives a thought to some new approach.

I could give channel 5 several creative approaches, however, when I interviewed for an assignment editor job there several years ago, my 28 years of local news experience was overlooked because I was 49 years old.

Instead they hired a 24 year old(for $10,000 less) and had to move him up here from Florida. I think he stayed about 4 months. Oh well.

They get what they deserve. I have plenty of other news options on my dish.

at 1/23/2007 5:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what do the 1st and 3rd posts have to do with "Another Reality TV Star In The Making"??????

at 1/24/2007 10:01 PM Anonymous dawgsfan47 said...

I watched the entire episode of Grease and I honestly have to say I can't remember Kate. I guess she just didn't stick out in my mind. Good luck to her though! Have to root for the hometown girl!

at 1/25/2007 11:50 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wrote, "To be honest, I missed her audition Sunday. Yes, I was watching the Colts-Patriots game."

As a TV critic, don't you own a DVR?

at 1/25/2007 12:33 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Of course I have a DVR. And 2 VCRs. But I didn't think to record it, because I was watching the game and busy doing other things.

at 1/25/2007 2:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah the game was watched by 33 million people and only 6 million watched grease. Im one of the 33 million that watched football instead of an american idol wantabe

at 2/09/2007 10:27 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kate is wonderful talent! 2 of the judges identified her as having the best voice in the competition!
she's an always-dead-on actress who has been impressing local audiences since her high school years.

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