By Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel TV Critic Duane Dudek
Milwaukee Television History," the book by the late Dick Golembiewski, and the city's actual broadcast history are littered with TV talk shows.
On the eve of the premiere of a new one - "Real Milwaukee," at 9 a.m. Tuesday on WITI-TV (Channel 6) - let's take a stroll down the analog streets of old Milwaukee, courtesy of Golembiewski's book, available onAmazon.com and from Marquette University Press atwww.marquette.edu/mupress/.
Any flaws and omissions are, of course, my own and not the fault of the book, whose complete title is "Milwaukee Television History: The Analog Years."
• "Today for Women": Premiered on WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) in 1962. The first host was Jane Whalen. She was replaced by Bunny Raasch-Hooten in 1964.
• "A New Day": Premiered on WTMJ-TV in 1978. Hosted by Terry Meeuwsen, former Miss America and now inspirational author and co-host of "The 700 Club," and Pete Wilson. Shawn Briggs replaced Wilson in 1980. Meeuwsen left the show in 1986. Wilson later worked as a news anchor in San Francisco for 30 years, and also hosted a radio show. He died during hip surgery in 2007 at the age of 62.
• "The Morning Scene": The history of this is foggy. Pete Wilson co-hosted the show with former WITI-TV (Channel 6) anchor Joanne Williams "in the 1970s," according to a photo caption that accompanied Wilson's obituary. No channel was listed.
• "Dialing for Dollars": On WISN-TV (Channel 12) from 1968 to 1983. Co-hosted by Howard Gernette and puppeteer Bob Trent. After the first year, Trent was replaced by Rosemary Gernette, Howard's wife. Later called "At 12 With Howard and Rosemary."
• "Tempo 24": Two-hour daily(!) show was the flagship program of the then-new WCGV-TV (Channel 24), from 1979-'80. Co-hosted by Joe Thompson and the late BJ Rabb, who later filed a sex discrimination suit against the station.
• "More": WISN-TV show, hosted by Bobby Rivers and Liz Ayers, was on the air from January through December 1984. Myself, my big hair and very large glasses were all guests on the show several times.
• "Milwaukee's Talking": Hourlong weekday show on WISN-TV (Channel 12). Mark Siegrist was host from 1989 until 1991; Shaun Robinson hosted until 1993.
• "The Morning Blend": Hourlong weekday show still on WTMJ-TV. Many of its guests pay a fee to appear to promote their goods and services. Premiered in 2006, and is co-hosted by Molly Fay and Tiffany Ogle. The format recently has been syndicated to other stations owned by the Journal Broadcast Group.
It would be interesting to watch clips of those shows to see how similar or different they were. My guess is that not much about them changed over the years except the titles. Certain aspects of the daytime talk show format are writ in stone - hosts, guests, couches and chitchat, all aimed at women 25 to 54.
And "Real Milwaukee," weekdays at 9 a.m. starting Tuesday, is unlikely to reinvent the wheel.
It is hosted by Katrina Cravy, Rob Haswell, Nicole Koglin and Cassandra McShepard. Tony Clark joins the show Sept. 13. When asked if it was a talk, magazine or lifestyle show, its creator and executive producer, Anne Brown, said it's "almost easier to say what it's not."
"It's not going to be a newscast. Rob (who's also the 'Fox6 Wakeup' meteorologist) is not going to be doing the weather. It's not an infomercial," and it will not have paid segments - although Brown does host a four-minute paid interview segment (so labeled) - at 8:55 a.m.
Brown said the set will look a little like "The View." The entire cast will be featured in the opening segment to talk "about what's going on with them personally," after which the day's topics are introduced, each of which are handled by the various members of the group. Clark will do remote reports.
"One thing we want to do is involve viewers," said Brown. "I almost envision us having this cast of regular contributors" via Skype and Twitter, she said.
"I want to link people. 'How did you deal with that problem,' share the answer and have that mass conversation."
The show is part of a trend, Brown said, of local stations "controlling our own destiny and local content."
"I think you'll see everybody doing more of this rather than less," she said.
While "The Morning Blend" is produced by WTMJ-TV's sales department, "Real Milwaukee" is a product of WITI's news division.
"The news department is a content generator," said WITI news director Jim Lemon. "We produce local content, which no network will ever do."
But the trick is that "Real Milwaukee" is "a non-news show," he said. "It's totally fresh. It's totally different."
"Some people argue that we're stepping out on a limb," said Lemon. "But I don't think so. I just think we're being real."
To coin a phrase.