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Creesh, We Hardly Knew Ye…

| May 21, 2021

By Mark Wainwright
Talk Show Host

CNN’s “The Story of Late Night” overlooked both “Broadway Open House” and the brilliant young comedian/host who was stricken by tragedy on the eve of his network television debut.

SYRACUSE — Although I’ve enjoyed the first three episodes of “The Story of Late Night,” I was surprised that CNN barely acknowledged Jerry Lester and NBC’s “Broadway Open House,” which was TV’s first late night comedy/variety show. NBC aired it live, five nights a week between 11pm and midnight, and while a couple different personalities took brief turns hosting the program, most of the show’s run was emceed by the veteran vaudeville comic Jerry Lester.

Lester led a small troupe of performers through sketches, musical numbers, audience-participation gags, and whatever other silliness he could improvise. The program debuted in May of 1950, and after some early success, the show began to fade a bit over time. And when Lester walked away from the show a year later – evidently frustrated that cast member Jennie “Dagmar” Lewis was accidentally becoming the true star of the show, at his expense – that doomed the whole effort. NBC pulled the plug on August 24, 1951.

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MEET BRENT & MEG: Genesis of an Energizing Mid-Day Partnership

| June 18, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

LOS ANGELES —Journey back to the “Golden Age” of radio and television, and, you will promptly ascertain that, especially in terms of audience acceptance, pairing a real-life husband and wife was a brilliant programming strategy that tended to produce blockbuster results.

ozzie and harrietConsider such instantly familiar classic examples as George Burns & Gracie Allen; Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball; Ozzie & Harriet Nelson; and Jim & Marian Jordan as “Fibber McGee & Molly,” whose 24-year radio run concluded in 1959.

Contemporary “Windy City” radio partisans will surely cite “Don Wade & Roma,” who were staples on WLS-AM, Chicago for over 25 years; Don Wade succumbed to brain cancer last September.

brent and meg_61714 A 72 dpiFairly recently (then-married) couples Chet Curtis & Natalie Jacobson on Boston’s WCVB-TV, and Jim Lampley & Bree Walker on Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV co-anchored the news together on their respective stations; 74-year-old Curtis lost his fight against pancreatic cancer five months ago.

These are simply representative examples (certainly not approaching a definitive list) of the effective, albeit not now revolutionary concept.

Consequently, while it will hardly be precedent setting when Los Angeles-based Brent Seltzer and his wife Meg McDonald debut next Monday (6/23) on the Genesis Communications Network for their daily, two-hour (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, ET) broadcast, it nonetheless promises to be a wonderfully refreshing burst of fresh air to talk radio.

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