OK, by show of hands how many of you are finding USA Today: The Television Show (Weekdays at 6:30 and 11:05 p.m., Ch. 5) exciting, compelling viewing?I didn't think so. I'm going to give it another week or so to settle in before we go for an official review, but so far . . . well . . . the graphics are impressive. But holy cow - have you ever seen such flashy nothingness in your life? Methinks the decision-makers at KSL are doing a little second-guessing of themselves this week.
But meknows the programmers at KSL's rivals are ecstatic - and relieved. Especially at KUTV, where PM Magazine is preparing to start its new season Oct. 3 with a whole new look.
According to KUTV programmer Maria Smith, "PM" is going to kick off the season with a new co-host, a new producer and new animation and music. But most important, the show will have more immediacy and a stronger local orientation than it's ever been able to have before. For years "PM" has had to work more than a week in advance, which is why you've occasionally seen "PM" hosts chirping merrily away in the autumn sunshine while a winter storm raged outside your own window. That's also why "PM" hosts haven't been able to comment on current events, or visit local happenings like the circus or the arts festival.
But that's going to change this season. Beginning Oct. 3 Tami Sanders and her new co-host, John O'Connor, will tape their segments the day they air.
Smith is also excited about O'Connor, a five-year "PM Magazine" veteran who came to KUTV from Tampa, Fla., along with new producer Pat Weaver. "The national `PM' people say John is one of the best `PM' co-hosts in the country," Smith said. "We were able to get him away from a top 20 market because we offered him more production opportunities than he could get there. He's got a lot of talent, so we're going to want to use him in a lot of different ways."
With O'Connor joining the ever-improving Sanders on a "PM Magazine" program that has a stronger local emphasis than ever before, Smith is hoping to attract those "Prime Time Access" loyalists who are disenchanted with the high-tech emptiness of "USA Today."
Which is not to say "PM" is going to suddenly become weighty viewing matter. (I mean, let's face it - when you look up the word "fluffy" in the dictionary, you see a picture of the "PM Magazine" logo.) But compared to "USA Today" it's going to look like . . . well . . . like "Prime Time Access." May it rest in peace.