A Television Treat


Tuesday September 25th, 2012 – Gary, IN

   When ‘the call’ comes, one needs to be ready to answer it on a moment’s notice. I received one yesterday morning from a television producer of a new Chicago area talk show called “Seven on Ridge” that is taped in downtown Gary, IN of all places. That’s not exactly a media hotbed these days. I realize the Jackson Five came from there, but they left in 1968. I admit I was a bit leery.

I’d first heard of the show from a posting on a Face Book group somewhere, and to be honest I can’t remember exactly which one. It said they were accepting submissions from entertainers and wanted a video link, so I sent them my Craig Ferguson set along with an updated bio and resume.

That process tends to be completely useless 99.999% of the time, but once in a while lightning does strike and something comes of it. Today was one of those whiles, as apparently a comedian guest they had booked got sick at the last minute and they needed a fill in. I said I’d gladly do it, but I wasn’t expecting much. No offense, but how good of quality could a show from Gary be?

Boy, was I wrong – and I’m delighted to admit it. This is no half baked seat of the pants off the radar lunatic fringe piece meal production as I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. I pictured a ‘Wayne’s World’ scenario much like can be the case with Mike Preston’s ‘Psychobabble TV’.

I love Mike personally and I really am a fan of that show and all the people on it, but he cranks it out on less than a shoestring budget and it is what it is. Fun is one of the things it always is and that’s what keeps everyone showing up. If he is ever going to shoot for broadcast quality – and I sure hope he does – there’s going to have to be some production upgrades. Everybody knows it.

This show is completely different. There’s a very professional looking set and the equipment is top shelf, not something they bought at a flea market or rummage sale. They’ve also assembled a house band that absolutely sizzles. Wow, what a group of talented musicians they are and it gives the show a real boost. That alone was very impressive, but it wasn’t all. The show was great too.

The host is a gentleman named Michael Essany, and I found him to be very friendly as soon as I walked on the set. He shook my hand and thanked me for coming in on short notice. The entire staff was great, and I felt at home immediately. They gave me a dressing room and everything.

The head writer is a gentleman named Ian Ross Hughes, and he introduced himself and told me what the order of the show was. Then the stage director gave me an easy to follow outline of how the segment would go, and everything worked smoothly. This is a well run show top to bottom.

The guest before me was a fantastic singer named Terisa Griffin who was on ‘The Voice’ very recently, and she blew the roof off the studio. Wow, what a big time talent she is. These guys are doing a quality show, and I hope it’s successful for a long time. Their hard work shows through.

My set went well, and Michael interviewed me after that. It felt like a Johnny Carson scenario, and what entertainer wouldn’t enjoy that? It took a lifetime to prepare, but I was ready for this.

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