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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, May 05, 2008

Omar Williams, Rest In Peace

Dayton has lost a TV icon. Long-time Channel 2 sports anchor Omar Williams died Saturday at his Florida home. He was 83.

Williams was a Cincinnati native -- all my years doing this job, I never knew that until I read his obituary -- who worked at Channel 2 for 45 years (1951-96). Channel 2 called him "The Dean of Dayton Sportscasters." If you wanted to see Dayton area sports, or get a Dayton take on Cincinnati sports, you either tuned in Omar Williams on Channel 2 or Tom Hamlin on Channel 7.

Here's the Dayton Daily News obituary:`N\NUOcNYUbTTUWUXUaUZTZU\UWUcUVUZU]UcUcTYWYWZV


at 5/05/2008 1:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese, unless I'm mistaken, Omar was on the first Bengals radio package with Phil Samp.

at 5/05/2008 2:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, it was Tom Hamlin Channel 7 sports. Ed Hamlin was a news anchor at Channel 2.

at 5/05/2008 3:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omar Williams definitely was part of Bengals pre-season games years ago -- he handled sideline reporting.

at 5/05/2008 4:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omar was part of the Bengals broadcast early on, along with Jimmy Crum, now retired of Columbus. That is back when they had radio broadcasters. Now like today where we have a non stop talker and a lead guy who thinks he is a play-by-play guy.

at 5/05/2008 4:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

off topic kiese but,
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution will supply programming for The CW’s 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekday block, according to a pending deal between the corporate cousins.

Beginning this fall, The CW, jointly owned by CBS and Warner Bros., will air Telepictures Productions’ rookie court show Judge Jeanine Pirro from 3 to 4, followed by a comedy block featuring The Wayans Bros. and The Jamie Foxx Show.

Eventually, The CW would like to have two full hours of first-run product in the block by next year. WBDTD and The CW originally discussed doing that immediately, but decided to just start with one hour for now.

While the network does promote prime time in the block, CW executives know the daytime court audience is not exactly the core Gossip Girl viewership. The daytime block marks one-third of the 30 hours the network programs.

But CW chief operating officer John Maatta says the move gives CW affiliates stronger programming in the block, which leads into comedies on most stations at 5. “Mainly we hope this will help our stations, which ultimately will help us,” he says. “This is an affiliate play for Tribune and our other stations.”

WBDTD president Ken Werner says the block is a perfect transitional lineup for the stations, which have early afternoon talk shows (like Maury and Jerry Springer) and court shows until 3, and then go into comedies at 5.

The block had consisted of comedies including All of Us, What I Like About You and Reba.

“If you look at the available audience, the combination of court with some iconic stars in sitcoms seems like a smart strategy,” Werner says.

The Wayans Bros. and Jamie Foxx are also probably better fits with the stations’ daytime audience, and are both well known to the former UPN stations that are now carrying The CW.

Maatta says the network looked at several first-run genres including court, talk and game shows, and talked to several potential partners. But keeping the pipeline in the company through a barter arrangement made financial sense and he was happy with the product WBDTD offered him.

“Obviously our partners at Warner Bros. have expertise in the genre,” Maatta says.

The new court show will originate in Chicago. Fellow gaveler Greg Mathis (Judge Mathis) will consult and his executive producer, Bo Banks, will handle the same duties for Pirro.

WBDTD previously had a show featuring Pirro, the former Westchester County (N.Y.) District Attorney and regular contributor to Fox News Channel in development. But until now the company never found a launch vehicle that made economic sense.

Telepictures president Hilary Estey McLoughlin hopes Pirro’s personality and experience, which includes a recent run for New York State Attorney General, will help her stand out in the crowded court genre.

And Werner is unconcerned by a perceived glut of court shows.

“All of court is down, but when you find a personality you think will work, you place that bet,” he says. “More often than not those bets have worked out for us.”

at 5/05/2008 5:10 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 2:29 p.m.:
Thanks. I fixed from Ed Hamlin to Tom Hamlin.

at 5/06/2008 7:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

5/05/08 4:59 PM Anon,

If the only way you can get somebody to notice your press release is to stick it into an obituary thread, you need to find another line of work other than broadcasting.

How crass...

at 5/11/2008 10:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omar once got into a little word speak with Mr Perfect Tom Server. Needless Omar got the better word and the bigger laugh. I grew up in Miamisburg, a friend and classmate of Omar and Janice's eldest daughter, Sally. When Omars book came out in 2000/01, I was line to have him sign it. Omar saw me beckon with his finger for me to COME ON NOW.. He gave me a hug, told all that I was at his house so much as a Kid, he put me down as a tax write off.. While signing all the other books that night, he had a running conversation with me. Updated me on where Sally was living, her kids, Scott and his wife, WHO BTW live in Cincy..

Find the book and have some good laughs.. Omar could tell a great story. That was back in the days of LIVE TV.. Things would go wrong LIVE, All you could go was laugh. Omar was just a good over all round down to Earth person.. He will be missed.

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