Is Randall Carlisle going to split up Two's Togetherness?
That possibility looms large this week at KUTV. Carlisle, a lead news anchor at Ch. 2 since 1984, is being courted by KSTP, the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, Minn. But when he was reached at his home Monday morning, Carlisle was quick to point out that no deal has been struck as yet."They (KSTP) called me and asked if I could be considered in a research project they were doing in their search for a new news anchor," Carlisle said. "I went to my bosses at KUTV and asked for their permission, which they gave. Everything was completely above board. I was just one of a number of people from around the country who were part of the survey."
But evidently Carlisle performed well in the research. Noel Holston, television critic for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, called Monday to get some biographical information on Carlisle, indicating that his sources there say the Salt Lake City news anchor will soon be moving east.
Carlisle, however, insists that "there is no deal yet."
"We haven't talked money or anything like that," he said. "It's all still up in the air."
Besides, he noted, he still has 14 months left on his contract with KUTV. "And I have to think about what's best for me," he said. "I'm doing real well here. I like it in Utah. I feel comfortable here, and there's a lot of security for me here. I'm happy."
But there's also a lot to be said about moving from the nation's 40th-largest TV market (Salt Lake) to the 12th-largest (Minneapolis). In addition to the increased prestige and what will surely be a more lucrative contract offer, Carlisle would also be closer to his eastern roots.
"Sure, I'd have to consider an offer if it comes," Carlisle acknowledged. "But at this point, I can't tell you for absolutely sure what I'd do."
He'd better start deciding. KUTV News director Mike Youngren said Monday that he's pretty sure KSTP will make a hard pitch for Carlisle. And one sort of gets the feeling he thinks Carlisle will go.
"It's the kind of job that doesn't come along very often," Youngren said Monday. "You can't force people to stay in place - even with a contract."
So does that mean KUTV will let Carlisle go if he chooses to leave?
"We're goint to protest," Youngren said. "We've got to protect our own interests. I'm just saying that we understand how this can happen. We're all in the TV business."
YESTERDAY we mentioned how thrilled KUTV is with its recent acquisition of Donahue, which they intend to play in the 4 p.m. weekday time period beginning May 30. Some parents, however, may be less enthusiastic about the placement of the controversial talk show in a time period dominated by young televiewers just home from school. Which is understandable. I mean, how would you feel if you walked in and saw your kids watching Phil Donahue interview transvestites who became priests after having sado-masochistic experiences with older women who were the product of broken homes because of alcoholism and mental illness brought on by the sugar in white bread?
"Our feeling is that every other station in town has kid's programming at that hour," said KUTV programmer Maria Smith. "Ours will be about the only adult-oriented offering from 4-5 p.m. So we're hoping that parents will steer their kids away from `Donahue' and towards shows that are more appropriate for them."
Smith said her staff will screen all "Donahue" episodes in advance, and will pull any installments that they feel are out of line. "That's not only our right," Smith said, "but we consider it our responsibility."
But seriously - is that going to be enough?
"Probably not," Smith allowed. "We're prepared for the angry phone calls."
AND WHILE WE'RE TALKING about KUTV personnel and programming moves, how about one show that's not moving? Smith said Ch. 2 signed a new one-year contract to produce PM Magazine, which means that "PM Magazine Utah" will likely be part of the KUTV evening line-up through September of 1989. That should put to rest all those rumors that have been circulating locally saying that "PM" would follow KSL's "Prime Time Access" into television's Never-Never-Again-Land sometime this fall.
Still, Smith said there will be some changes in the "PM Magazine" staff. Host/producer Craig Clyde will leave the show in the near future to start a new weekly program called "Backroads," in which he will travel Utah's highways and byways and report on what he sees and hears there. So the "PM" staff will be looking for a new producer and a new male host to join Tami Sanders in front of the cameras.
Last year it was the search for a new Skye Guy. This year, it's a quest to find someone to Team Up With Tami. Any takers?
CONFIDENTIAL to Colleen Christensen of Bountiful: Thanks - I needed that.