THE HALL OF FAME FOR RADIO LEGEND TOM CUDDY
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
GOOD WIFE CHAOS --- I finally watched the three Good Wife episodes culminating in the loss of Josh Charles; the show’s Will Gardner. First, I've been particularly struck by the nuances of all the shows this season; terrifically well written and acted, so these three fit seamlessly in and though some have argued that the writer’s painted themselves into a corner and just had to have a resolution like this, it turns out that this had been in the planning stages for almost a year.
Second, I have always liked Charles; I thought he was just terrific in the Aaron Sorkin show Sports Night many years back and have often run into him at various events around the city and found him to be one of the good guys out there. This change completely changes the dynamics of the show. He was the male lead for sure and, now, there’s really no one there to step into that role. Michael J. Fox will reprise his role for several episodes, but what the writers will do is really a mystery.
I've liked this show, but this is a seismic change for sure. Charles’ character was the other man in the lead character’s life, Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick. Here’s an interesting post from Deadline Hollywood that fairly states the case: “Having been a loyal fan of this show since the Pilot, I was concerned that the writers may have painted themselves into a corner when Alicia and the 4th year associates left, and the chaos that ensued. As such, tonight’s ending may have been the only viable option, yet this was such a huge mistake — killing the major B-story that kept me going. While I will continue to watch, I felt very betrayed tonight as a loyal fan. If Josh’s contract was up, surely they could have written him out without killing him.”
Heavy stuff for sure. I don't recall another event like this having stirred up the pot so precariously. The remaining episodes for the season have been filmed, it'll be interesting to see how they play out.
CUDDY CUT INTO HALL OF FAME --- The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announced the class of 2014 inductees and they include: current WOR, New York program director Tom Cuddy (who got his start in radio at WPRO-AM in 1980); air personality and programmer Rick Everett ; current WRNI news anchor/reporter and host Dave Fallon; New England Tech teacher and 30-plus year radio station staffer Paul Perry; the late Carroll “Pappy” Philbrook, who began his career in Rhode Island radio in the 1940's as an engineer at WHIM, WHJJ and WHJY; easy listening pioneer Tony Rizzini; and entertainment icon Saucy Silvia who hosted an entertainment program on WADK for 26 years.
We've known Tom and his lovely B.W. Lisa for years and there’s never been a nicer couple in the cut-throat radio world. I mean, you can be absent from a market for years, come back, showered with praise, and then be gone a month later. When Tom was at WPLJ, he consistently put on great shows in conjunction with the late-great China Club. James Blunt; Adele; Elton John; The New Cars; and Hall & Oates come to mind.
Congrats Tom … you've always been in our Hall of Fame!
9 MILLION DOLLAR GAL --- Chelsea Handler plans to leave the E! channel when her contract expires at the end of the year, bringing a close to her Chelsea Lately talk show after eight years, according to her manager, Irving Azoff.
Handler has long been vocal about her dissatisfaction with the network though such complaints could be perceived as part of a negotiation. In this case, Azoff said, "Chelsea intends to leave when her contract expires. She hired me to figure out her life after E! We have at least seven suitors and many ideas.” He adds that plans for Handler could include a radio presence and a possible nightly or weekly late-night show on another network or digital service.
An E! spokesperson stated to THR: "Chelsea has nine months left on her contract and E! will not comment on the future of Chelsea Lately at this time."
Handler is said to feel that she is at the top of her game with a new book, Uganda be Kidding Me -- her first to sit at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a week. She is in the midst of a tour of more than 30 markets, "a massive piece of business" that also will include dates overseas, according to Geof Wills, president of Live Nation Comedy. She will shoot her first stand-up special at the Harris Theatre in Chicago in June to air on cable in October.
Handler's reps at CAA have been setting meetings with companies including Sony Television and Lionsgate as well as FX to discuss her future. The extent of interest in her in those quarters is not clear. “I don’t know if anybody’s going to pay her as much as E!,” says a source at one company that has been contacted.
Handler is said to be making about $9 million a year while delivering average viewership of 572,000 a night -- a decline from 839,000 in 2010. But Handler is the lone female late-night host with a proven track record amid a sea of male hosts across broadcast and cable. And Azoff says his research shows Handler’s performance is stronger than those figures suggest. Despite shrinking overall viewership at E!, his numbers show that Chelsea Lately consistently has built on its lead-in and that this year, her show is averaging a 67 percent increase in viewers over that lead-in, the largest build in the show’s eight-year run. His data also shows her audience is more female than the competitors on any network and younger, with the exception of Conan O’Brien on TBS (though the data for NBC's Tonight Show predates Jimmy Fallon's stint as host).
Handler has been open about her frustration with programming at E! In a March 5 appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show, she described E! as “a sad, sad place to live,” adding, “They don't know what they're doing. They have no ideas. It’s a failure.”
While comics such as Jay Leno long have slung mud at their television homes, it’s hard to imagine that NBC/Universal cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer was amused by Handler’s appraisal of her strategy to re brand E! over the past few years as a more “aspirational” network.
A source at one company on the list to meet with Handler says those public remarks might make potential suitors think twice. “When you see talent go after a network like that, you think one day it could be me,” this person says.
Handler said on Stern’s show that she'd like a forum like Netflix. Broadcast networks probably are out, given Handler’s raunchy brand of humor.
She’s a talent for sure, but words like lewd, rude, and rowdy come to mind. Sure, she’s friends with people like Jennifer Aniston, but does that make a good talk show host. Face it, when she first appeared on the scene, she did indeed make a big splash. Nowadays, Andy Cohen's (Watch What Happens) show has become the place to be. Has her shtick worn thin? Unquestionably.
CLOSING NOTES --- Bruce Springsteen started his Australian shows with his own interpretation of the Brothers Gibb “Staying Alive.” Utterly brilliant if you ask me. No one comes close to Bruce’s sense of staging. He takes the song and owns it. He must have loved West Side Story! Here’s the clip.
How come there’s no Monkees date in NYC? The closest they get is NJPAC in Jersey and The Patchogue Theatre in Huntington. Inside sources say that the group wanted to do NYC but their price was too high? Hard to believe what with Rod Stewart and Santana going out with very nominal prices; Could Nez and the fellows be asking for more than that? Personally, I think they would have been great at Jones Beach. Stay tuned …
Jodi Blau Ritzen and partner Phyllis Pangnucci, who so successfully did last month’s Monkees Convention 2014, host their next event, this time for The Brady Bunch, on August 16 & 17. We’ll have details soon …
Broadway-inside man Donnie Kehr, who’s in Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys movie due out in June, preparing to kick off this year’s Rockers On Broadway Benefit Concert Series produced by The Path Fund and is writing and producing music for a 13-year old blues singer Megan Rice. More to follow ...
In light of other inferior versions of "Nessum Dorma" currently making the rounds; here's Pavarotti's take.
We were looking forward to the Rebecca Holden/Abraham MacDonald album on Silver Blue/Summit Records ... where is it?