Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Channel 4 Staffers Playing Musical Chairs

Anchors and reporters at Channel 4 soon will be playing musical chairs.

According to sources, anchor-reporter Michele McClintick will be moving shortly to become a reporter on the CBS affiliate's popular morning show “Wake Up.”

McClintick just came off maternity leave so she undoubtedly is used to waking up early these days.

Jericka Duncan, who has been the “Wake Up” reporter, will take McClintick’s old job as anchor of “Weekend Wake Up” in addition to working three nights a week.

And 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekend anchor Mylous Hairston moves from being a dayside reporter on the other three days to working nights.

It is unclear if the staffers are happy with the changes at a station that also loses retiring anchor Lisa Flynn on Wednesday and is known for its stability.

* It is looking more and more like the local stations will replace veteran reporters by hiring young no-names who come cheap. But you’d expect the stations will at least allow them to use their names.

Which brings us to the most amusing moment of last weekend: Channel 7 had a newcomer anchor its sports report Saturday. He wasn’t even introduced before he gave the report. On Sunday, the station identified him as Jason Greunauer before he gave another sports report.

Greunauer may have made local TV news history when he began his local career. He’s the first anchor-reporter I remember that started sporting a goatee. (If you know otherwise, email me.)
Greunauer, who previously had done news reports for Channel 7, hasn’t yet made it on the station's website so his resume isn't available.
But according to sources, he doesn't have much of a resume anyway. He's from Lancaster and graduated from Syracuse University last month. In other words, he's getting the kind of on-the-job training that used to happen at YNN, Elmira or Erie, Pa. He's a little raw on the air now but has a promising future.

* I loved the promo for FX’s “Rescue Me” that features the Jay-Z song “Empire State of Mind” with the memorable “New York” lyrics. But I didn’t love the first four episodes sent for review as much. The destructive behavior of alcoholic lead character Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) is getting very, very old.

In fact, practically everything about the dark episodes seems like it has been done to death – including the scenes dealing with death. The show returns at 10 tonight on the basic cable channel that runs shows that break normal language standards.

There is almost as much symbolism about heaven and hell as there was in “Lost” and there’s even a “Lost” reference eventually. Like "Lost," "Rescue Me" also has announced its end date. The final 19 episodes have been filmed, with 10 airing this summer and the final nine in the summer of 2011.
Things improve noticeably in the third episode, when Peter Gallagher ("The O.C.") pops up as an irreverent priest (now there's an unusual phrase) who Tommy turns to eventually for guidance as he is overwhelmed by his own demons and the troubles of his wife and an alcoholic daughter. There also is one humorous scene in that episode about all of the celebrities who are humanitarians that is priceless. In other words, don't give up on Tommy or "Rescue Me" just yet. Rating: 3 stars out of 4

* After “Rescue Me,” FX premieres a new comedy, “Louie,” at 11 p.m. It stars standup comedian Louis C.K., who previously starred in a failed HBO comedy, "Lucky Louie."
This "Louie" fits in nicely with the “Rescue Me” attitude. “Louie” is a hybrid of “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that unfortunately isn’t nearly as funny as either of them.

The star even has a more pessimistic attitude about humanity that “Curb’s” Larry David. Recently divorced, Louie is always looking for the dark side.

“I know too much to have any optimism,” says Louie.

The opener at 11 p.m. tonight is an amiable introduction to Louie, a 42-year-old father of two who is clueless about dating after 14 years of marriage.

Next week’s episode opens with a funny, but offensive scene in which Louie and his friends get a lesson on the origin of the word “faggot” from the gay member of the poker group. Eventually, there’s a bigger lesson in that scene that may get people besides Louie to think about the power of offensive words.

Unlike Louie, I have a little optimism that this unlovable loser will improve and grow on viewers. 2 and a half stars

* I'm not surprised by the poor opening weekend box office for the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz movie "Knight and Day." As I said in last week's blog, it's not much of a movie. When I saw it, the audience didn't have any reaction at all on opening night after it ended. I suspect it is getting lousy word of mouth despite some surprising decent reviews.

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