CONNECT to undergo a change

I am a Televisionary, but before that, I was a student reporter and director. The show I’ve worked most passionately on over that last 3 1/2 years has been CONNECT.

The public affairs program just finished its sixth semester of tapings today with an episode plagued by technical difficulties. (nothing new to CONNECT) After some minor post editing, it will be going out to our distributors at WSYR, WSPX, and Syracuse University’s OTN.

Due to some technological and personal frustrations this during the past two semesters, management has decided to change the format and style of CONNECT. As a public affairs program, it had previously tried to mimic the magazine style format of Nightline. In the future, it will aim to be more like 60 minutes with relatively unrelated in-depth segments. We will also work to eliminate on-set live interviews, a staple of the program for the last 3 years.

Previous guests have included members of the rock bands, elected officials and candidates for local government, university officials, doctors and medical professionals, and various economic specialists. All future interviews will become part of the long-form stories that CONNECT will begin to produce in higher numbers.

Also, in the change, the position for anchors will be eliminated in favor of 60 minute’s format where the reporters introduce their own segments.

These changes are being made with the best interests of the program in mind, but as a long time member, it is sad to see the program slide away from its roots.

CONNECT can be seen most easily on cable channel WSYR 9.2 (890 on Time Warner Digital).


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O.J. Back in the Courtroom

I was pretty young back in 1994 and 1995, when O.J Simpson’s murder trial unfolded before our eyes on television unlike any other criminal trial before. But I still remember a lot–the day he was acquitted, his weird, smarmy half-smile when the verdict was read, the celebrations outside the courthouse, the glove, and the white Bronco.

Simpson’s demeanor was much different this afternoon, as he was sentenced to at least nine years in prison stemming from a littany of charges from an armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel. Before the judge handed down his sentence, Simpson plead for leniency for five minutes.

As I watched the courtroom proceedings live, Simpson struck me as someone genuinely sorry for what he did, almost to the point where I felt sorry for him. He maintained he was only trying to get back his property that had been stolen from him by his friends.  He choked back tears throughout his plea. His co-defendant, C.J. Stewart, put on a similar but less emotional show, talking about he had filed for bankruptcy and what a good father he was. He even tried to sweeten up judge Jackie Glass, thanking her profusely and lauding her professionalism.

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Variety’s Mike Flaherty wrote an article about the upcoming makeover for WNBC in New York City. NBC Universal’s flagship station is scheduled to undergo a $15 million dollar technological and personnel upgrade. Many veteran (high salary) employees who aren’t already out will be early next year. Flaherty found one employee who aptly described the upcoming change:





“They don’t call Cheez-Whiz ‘cheese’ on the package; they call it a ‘cheese product’,” said one survivor. “What’s going to be produced here isn’t really news. It’s a news product. And you have to wonder what will happen when a major story breaks and you have someone from a small market who was cheap enough to hire.”

But what does he mean by “news-product?” 

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The Housewives are back

I hope you didn’t think I was talking about ABC’s Desperate Housewives because I could only mean The Real Desperate Housewives of Orange County have returned to television. After watching the housewives of Atlanta and New York, I’m glad Bravo decided to go back to wear it all started. The new girl to season four does bring the blond to brunette ration up to four to one.




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Tina Fey: Writer, Comedian, Role Model

There aren’t too many Tina Feys in the tv world. I see her as a kind of real life Miranda Hobbes, but cooler. Smart, funny, beautiful, honest, hard-working. To me, she is proof that you really can have it all.

That’s what it says in this month’s Vanity Fair cover story by Maureen Dowd. The focus of the article is Fey’s transformation from a “mousy brain to a brainy glamourpuss”, but Fey has long been one of the most unique women on television. She didn’t indulge in the drug scene of her former SNL castmates, and she’s proud of it. She’s so straight-laced, so live-by-the-rules, it’s hard to believe she can be in an industry that changes so much. Continue reading

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I told you so Philadelphia

A little while ago, I wrote a post titled NBC News. Fox News. What’s the difference? about how FOX and NBC in Philadelphia were planning to share their news gathering program. My conclusion was that it was being done to save money in a soft economy, but would only continue the trend of shrinking numbers of television news jobs. And, I was right. I told you so.

Michael Klein of the Philladelphia Inquirer and included some notes about the Philadelphia media industry in his latest column. It includes notes about job cuts in both TV and radio. What did Klein reference as a reason for the upcoming layoffs? 

“Every week seems to bring another notch of belt-tightening. Two weeks ago, NBC10 and Fox29 announced they’d pool routine video and helicopter time.”

I’ll say it again. Told you so.

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“Rosie Live” Could Be Dead, But Variety Shows Aren’t

rosie-variety1At least that’s what it looks like. After one episode on NBC, Rosie O’Donnell’s attempt at an old-school variety show seems like just a one-night-only gig. The November 27 show finished in a distant third place with about 5 million viewers.

On her website, O’Donnell responded to viewer questions about the show’s future by saying a number of things, most notably “there will b no more”. The posters call it like they see it, calling the show “awful”, “crappy” and “inauthentic”. There are a lot of supportive fans as well, encouraging her to keep working on re-finding her niche. Continue reading

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