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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.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Cincinnati Needs A WKRP Landmark

Here’s a great idea from Jim Thompson, a huge "WKRP in Cincinnati" fan: He wants TV Land to erect a permanent tribute here to the beloved sitcom, a bronze statue of WKRP newsman Les Nessman, as part of the TV Land Landmark program.

http://www.tvland.com/landmarks/

Thompson, 59 of Clermont County’s Miami Township, wants all "WKRP" fans to nominate Nessman and Cincinnati for the TV Land Landmark statue at
http://www.tvland.com/landmarks/wheredo.jhtml

The cable network has put up bronze statutes of Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis; Bob Newhart in Chicago; Andy Griffith in Raleigh, N.C.; Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden in Manhattan; Elizabeth Montgomery from "Bewitched" in Salem, Mass.; and Elvis Presley in Honolulu, site of his 1973 concert.

So why not a bronze memorial for the Silver Sow Award-winning newsman? With turkeys lumped at his feet?

Of all the 'KRP crazies, Thompson picked newsman Nessman because he was at the center of the funniest episodes of the old CBS sitcom (1978-82).

"Most people will never forget Les's commentary in the famous Thanksgiving turkey drop episode. Like many of us, Les wasn't afraid to talk about something he knew nothing about, like sports, when he mispronounced golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez's name as 'Chy Chy Rod-ri-gqeeze.' There were many funny characters on that show, like the Big Guy and Dr. Johnny Fever, but none of them personified Cincinnati like Les," he says.

Thompson envisons a Lesman statute outside 617 Vine Street, the former Enquirer building, where the station was supposedly located. (Trivia buffs know they called it the Osgood R. Flimm building.)

Raymond "Buz" Buse, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber public relations manager, likes the idea. "It's something missing from our landscape. WKRP made Cincinnati a household name across the nation," he says. He'd like to see a tribute to each of Cincinnati's stars, possibly near the Aronoff Center. (Our own Walk of Fame? That's a cool idea too.)

But it may be too late for a WKRP statue, no matter how many online votes TV Land receives. Says Paul Ward, TV Land senior vice president: "TV Land is currently evaluating the landmarks initiates to see how it fits in with our branding strategy," he says. (It sounds like TV Land wants out of the statue business.)

I love the idea, especially with the 30th anniversary of the "WKRP" premiere this September. There should be a tribute to WKRP living on the ground in Cincinnati. Do you agree?


10 Comments:

at 2/22/2008 4:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheriff Andy's statute should have been in Mt. Airy,NC--where Mayberry was patterned after--not Raleigh. That's where Barney Parney Poo went to work when he left in his salt and pepper suit.

Goober says, "hey"

 
at 2/22/2008 9:43 PM Blogger Toddy-O said...

And don't forget about Les' scooter. Let the turkeys be a sidekick....and maybe a banner that reads W........K.......R.......P!

But please no booger!

 
at 2/23/2008 4:51 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

why not open a WKRP Museum where the
Freedom Center is now? It would draw more visitors and not cost us taxpayers so damn much money.

 
at 2/23/2008 8:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Band-aid. Les always had a Band-aid, somewhere on his hand or face.

 
at 2/23/2008 11:40 PM Blogger garbonzo said...

Why Nesman? How about a statue of Loni Anderson circa 1978 instead?

 
at 2/24/2008 7:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to see a statue of Jennifer! Is that wrong?

 
at 2/25/2008 8:25 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:40 is right about the Band-Aid, but I think they could take it one step further, and have whoever is resposible for maintenance around the staue also be responsible for moving the Band Aid from place to place on a monthly basis, to cover the wide variety of places Les wore one throughout the show.

 
at 2/25/2008 6:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ought to be the "Big Guy." Mr. Carlson ought to finally get the respect he deserves.

 
at 2/26/2008 12:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I am about to be stoned like a taliban prisoner for saying this, but I feel that the truth must finally be exposed. WKRP in Cincinnati was a mediocre sitcom, at the very best.

I know this show inspires a lot of pride and memories because the word "Cincinnati" appears in the title, and because local landmarks were used in the credits, and maybe even for the Cincinnati Zoo poster in the background of the office.

But in the grand scheme of things, this was not the greatest example of television at its best. WKRP is no M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Cosby Show, Honeymooners, or Seinfeld.

It had its place in TV history, but it just doesn't have a mass appeal, or even relevancy today. Its rarely if ever featured on TV (yes, I know some channel on cable #746 or higher recently aired episodes), and I dare say that if My 64, the CinCW, or any other channel picked it up for local syndication, it would probably barely get noticed.

So a WKRP statue would be fun. And we have the memories. But let's stop making this show something it never really was: A *great* show.

 
at 2/26/2008 12:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Jennifer would work as a full statue. A bust, perhaps?

 
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