John Kiesewetter: Media Beat

For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more.

Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU.

Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

United Feature Syndicate

Fifty years? Good grief! “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” first broadcast reluctantly by CBS in 1965, will air twice on ABC before Christmas, along with a one-hour musical salute to the award-winning cartoon.

ABC also celebrates the 20th anniversary of “Toy Story,” with a one-hour tribute in December to Pixar Animation Studios which revolutionized computer-generated animation.

“It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown” airs 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30 (Channel 9, ABC), as the TV networks start filling their channels with holiday programming the four weeks leading up to Christmas. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” follows at 9 p.m. Nov. 30.

60 Minutes

When “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker tells Hannah Morris of Worthington that she doesn’t look like a junkie, she says: “Even Miss America could be a junkie. I mean, anybody can be a junkie.”

Whitaker came to Ohio to report on how widespread the heroin epidemic is in Middle America for “60 Minutes” Sunday (7 p.m., Channel 12, CBS).

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine tells the CBS news magazine that heroin is “the worst drug epidemic I've seen in my lifetime… It just has permeated every segment of society in Ohio. There is no place in Ohio where you can hide from it.”

Drug overdose is the No. 1 cause of accidental deaths in Ohio, says DeWine, who will also appear on “CBS This Morning” Monday (7-9 a.m., Channel 12, CBS). Here’s the CBS release for Sunday’s “60 Minutes” segment:

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly…”

Those words were first spoken on TV 37 years ago today after “WKRP in Cincinnati” dropped live turkeys, which hit the “ground like sacks of wet cement,” at a shopping mall parking lot in a Thanksgiving promotion gone horribly, hilariously wrong on this date in TV Kiese history, Oct. 30, 1978.

“They’re crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes!” says WKRP newsman Les Nessman  in this clip below from the most memorable episode of “WKRP” (1978-82).

Food Network

Can he do it again?

Great American Ball Park executive chef James Major, who won a special “Chopped” competition for baseball park chefs last year, appears on the Food Network’s “Chopped: Impossible” at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Major, who attended the Culinary Institute of America, is competing against 11 other “Chopped” champs in the four-part tournament, says Michael Anderson, Reds public relations manager.

The winner receives $15,000 and a face-off with Robert Irvine, the “Restaurant: Impossible” star and “Chopped: Impossible” judge.

Cincinnati Public Radio

If Mark Perzel wasn’t broadcasting “Tunes From The Crypt”  music on 90.9 WGUC-FM on Halloween, he’d be cranking up the same creepy classical music on his front porch during trick-or-treat hours.

That’s how the popular “Tunes” tradition (airing 6 p.m. Saturday) started on our sister Cincinnati Public Radio station 17 years ago.

It’s one of my favorite local radio specials and –full disclosure here – a show I’ve written about for years, long before I brought my Media Beat blog to WVXU-FM this year.

WLWT-TV

Randi Rico’s first visit to New York City will be a memorable one – she’ll do a “Today” show forecast for Al Roker, then help dunk him in a dunking booth live on NBC.

WLWT-TV’s perpetually upbeat morning meteorologist was nearly speechless Tuesday when she learned – during the “Today” broadcast –that she won an online vote to appear on the show Thursday, the first day of the November TV ratings’ sweeps. (She tells me about her Thursday morning TV schedule below.)

“I'm crazy nervous Al,” she told Roker on the show. “I'm excited. I’ve never been to New York.”

Rico topped finalists from Manhattan and Minneapolis in the show’s month-long Pink or Swim promotion raising funds for breast cancer research.

The Weinstein Company

The date has been set! “Carol,” the Cate Blanchett-Rooney Mara period drama filmed here last year will have a Cincinnati premiere on Saturday, Dec. 12.

The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission announced the date – but no other details – in its October newsletter emailed today.

“The premiere will be held on Saturday, December 12th, with the venue and time TBA (to be announced). Stay tuned."

Kristen Erwin Schlotman, film commission executive director, told me earlier this month that “Carol” and Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead,” both filmed here last year, will have Cincinnati premieres.

Provided by Bill Whyte

After helping Gary Burbank create the Play It Forward nonprofit assisting local musicians years ago, former WUBE-FM DJ Bill Whyte returns Friday to help raise funds with a concert at Newport’s Southgate House Revival.

Whyte performs with his “Hits & Grins” trio of songwriters, Steve Dean and Victoria Venier. They’ll play songs recorded by George Strait, Alabama, Reba McEntire, Ray Stevens, Take Six and others.

“It’s my first time playing back in the Cincinnati area in a long time, so I'm looking very forward to seeing and playing from some old friends,” says Whyte, based in Nashville.

Brian Douglas

Brian Douglas, WKRQ-FM’s MVP – most versatile personality – leaves Q102 Friday to take a shot at becoming a full-time photographer.

After moonlighting as the official photographer for “Marauders,” Mariah Carey’s “A Christmas Melody” and Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead,” Douglas opened his show at 3 p.m. Thursday by telling listeners his last day is Friday.

“The past 28 years have been the absolute best years of my life. I have been blessed beyond belief to work at Q102 in my hometown of Cincinnati,” said Douglas, who will do some part-time fill-in shifts at Q102, as his schedule permits. 

The popular afternoon DJ with Laura Powell had been shifted to mornings with a revolving door of co-hosts before the station hired Jeff Thomas and Jenn Jordan in 2002. Douglas and Powell have been No. 1 in the afternoon Nielsen ratings since 2011 for women ages 25-54, the station's target demographic.

Mark Heyne / WVXU News

TV stations which loved the web traffic for the naked Bengals locker room video would hate losing unrestricted access to players immediately after games.

WCPO-TV’s John Popovich, WLWT-TV’s George Vogel, WXIX-TV’s Joe Danneman and Bengals announcer Dan Hoard do appreciate the concerns of Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth, who doesn’t like having media in the locker room while players shower and dress. He said the NFL’s policy “is dated, it’s old, and it needs to change.”

But local sports broadcasters are wary of any limitations or changes after the NFL’s own network crew positioned a camera to show naked men in the background while interviewing Bengals for the NFL Network Sunday.

John Kiesewetter

When Mariah Carey needed a child actress to sing her “Oh Santa” in “A Christmas Melody,” she signed Broadway’s “Matilda: The Musical” star.

Nine-year-old Fina Strazza had recently finished an 11-month run in New York’s Shubert Theater when she got the call for the Hallmark Channel movie Carey is appearing in and directing in Cincinnati this month.

It came just in time. Fina was en route to meet with a theater director when her agent and manager called to say, “Turn around! You’re going to Ohio!”

Fina, in her first major TV role, plays Emily Parson, daughter of a single mother (Lacey Chabert) who recently moved back home to fictional Silver Lake. Carey, who appears as the diva PTA president, rewrote lyrics to her 2010 “Oh Santa” hit for Fina to sing at the Silver Lake Elementary Snowflake Pageant.

Wikipedia

1:30 P.M. UPDATE MONDAY OCT. 19: Be on the lookout for Kathy Najimy. She’s also in Mariah Carey’s “A Christmas Melody” Hallmark Channel movie. She plays Aunt Sarah to Kristen (Lacey Chabert). Sarah owns the diner where Kristen often goes to eat.

NBCUniversal

You’ll never watch Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” the same way after reading this column.

I always learn a lot about TV when former NBC late-night programming executive Rick Ludwin returns to speak to students at Miami University, his alma mater.

On Thursday night, he revealed NBC's camera tricks on Fallon’s top-rated “Tonight Show” to overcome limitations of cramped Studio 6B in New York’s Rockefeller Center – and a few other observations about Stephen Colbert and the changes in TV’s late-night landscape.

NBCUniversal

When you watch this promo for Vanessa Lachey’s new NBC sitcom, “Truth Be Told” Friday, it’s clear what the premiere episode is about: sex and porn jokes.

Lachey plays Tracy, a “tough as nails attorney” married to a Mitch (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, “Franklin & Bash,” “NYPD Blue,” “Saved by the Bell”), who have a 4-year-old daughter.  They live next door to newlyweds Russell (Tone Bell, “Bad Judge”) and Angie (Bresha Webb, “Grey’s Anatomy”).

In the premiere (8:30 p.m. Friday, Channel 5, NBC), Tracy and Mitch search for a babysitter so they can go to a concert with their neighbors. That’s how they find Kim (Antonimar Murphy), a well endowed “delicious” young woman. To make sure you know she has a great body, the sitcom gives viewers a close-up of her cleavage. Then the guys and their wives think they recognize her from pornography.

John Kiesewetter

On this day in TV Kiese history… Over-the-Rhine resident James Hoskins, armed with five guns and 600 rounds of ammunition, held nine WCPO-TV employees hostage inside the station at 500 Central Avenue downtown on Oct. 15, 1980.

Hoskins, 41, gained entry after approaching reporter Elaine Green and photographer John Ehrhart with a semi-automatic rifle in the parking lot about 2 a.m., as they returned from working on a story.

Once inside, he wanted to make a statement on live television. Green instead offered to videotape him. Her 14-minute interview at gunpoint (see a clip below) won a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.

Hoskins shocked them during the interview when he confessed to murdering Melanie Finlay, 30, in their 12th Street apartment earlier that night. “I blew my girlfriend away tonight. It’s over for me… I killed her,” Hoskins said while waving the rifle.

Wikipedia

“NFL Turning Point” features Andy Dalton leading the Bengals comeback victory Sunday over the Seattle Seahawks on the NBC Sports Channel series Wednesday.

The weekly NFL Films’ program “reviews Andy Dalton’s performance on Sunday and provides an analysis of his consistent play through the first five games of the 2015 campaign. The segment then examines the thrilling conclusion of Sunday’s game and highlights how Dalton orchestrated the Bengals’ comeback win against the Seahawks to remain undefeated,” NBCSN announced.

Time Warner Cable SportsChannel

Before football was a national Sunday obsession, the first professional games were played throughout Ohio in Cincinnati, Dayton, Portsmouth, Akron, Ironton,  Akron, Canton, Massillon and other towns.

“Before The League,” Time Warner Cable SportsChannel’s new six-part series, looks at the kick off of pro football to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the American Professional Football Association, forerunner to the NFL. The first NFL game was played in Dayton on Oct. 3, 1920, when the Triangles defeated the Columbus Panhandles.

With rare photos, film and some re-creations, the documentary looks at the violent early years of the game, and the origins of small town teams like the Triangles, Portsmouth Spartans, Ironton Tanks, Massillon Tigers and Canton Bulldogs, plus the Buffalo (NY) All-Americans, Rochester (NY) Jeffersons, Milwaukee Badgers and Green Bay Packers.

Wikipedia

The new Comet sci-fi channel premieres here Oct. 31 on a new WSTR-TV digital signal, Channel 64.3.

Reruns of “Stargate SG-1” and “Outer Limits” will air on Comet, jointly owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the Sinclair Television Group, which operates WSTR-TV and WKRC-TV.

The 24-hour network will feature “a mix of science fiction, fantasy and adventure fan-favorite titles from MGM” including the “Poltergeist” and “Dead Like Me” TV series, according to the Comet announcement.

Provided by Zac Pitts

Reporter Zac Pitts is leaving WCPO-TV to return to Dayton’s WDTN-TV, the hometown station where he started his career as a teleprompter operator.

Pitts has been a Channel 9 daytime general assignment reporter for 18 months.

Starting Oct. 21, he will appear on Channel 2's “Living Dayton” noon-1 p.m. weekday lifestyle show with co-hosts Katie Kenney and Sallie Taylor, according to TVNewsCheck.

Matt Sledge

Why did WNKU-FM drop “UnderCurrents,” “E-Town” and “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” and move “The Real Mary Peale” and the “World  Café?”

“It’s fairly straight forward,” says Sean O’Mealy, general manager. “The objective is to appeal to and engage with a larger/wider group of music lovers in the Greater Cincinnati region who otherwise are ignored by mainstream radio.”

The new fall lineup implemented this week features more local shows. Former WOXY-FM host Matt Sledge will be heard 2-7 p.m. Saturday, with Peale moving to 5-8 p.m. Sunday nights. She had hosted  “Jelly Pudding” Sunday nights on WOFX-FM (92.5) before joining WNKU-FM in 2009.  "Mr Rhythm Man" now airs 7-10 p.m. Saturday, and Katie Laur's  "Music From The Hills Of Home" airs 8-11 p.m. Sunday. 

This is the second round of changes made by O’Mealy since he arrived in February.

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