Sunday, July 15, 2007

wondered whatever became of

Many average Americans found their ticket to fame on so-called "reality" shows. I prefer the term "unscripted" because there's not much that's real about them. It wasn't long before the semi-famous and formerly famous jumped on the bandwagon as a means of extending their own celebrity. "Back to the Grind," a new unscripted show on TV Land puts actors and actresses in the actual jobs their TV characters portrayed. I read about the show in a post on TV Squad, which provided links to some clips from it. I watched a ten minute segment in which Loni Anderson, who played the receptionist on "WKRP in Cincinnati," spends a day working at real radio stations.

In the show, Loni visited three Los Angeles stations. It was nice to see some studios I knew, but I think it would have made for better television if the producers had sent her to Ohio. Coincidentally, a station there has a name similar to WKRP. Imagine the hilarity of Loni Anderson answering the phones at WKRC in Cincinnati.

The episode must have been filmed at least a year ago. Loni started her day at KZLA, which changed its name and format last summer. In one scene, she brought coffee to a meeting between then-program director R.J. Curtis and and his staff, including morning host Peter Tilden. Peter is now back at KABC, hosting "America's Earliest Morning Show." Later, Loni went across the hall to Power 106 to learn some hip-hop lingo. While Loni reported on traffic conditions, a camera in front of the radio station's building was pointed down W. Olive Avenue and clearly showed St. Finbar church, my former parish. In the evening, Loni reported for duty at KROQ to screen calls for the long-running syndicated program "Loveline." She was greeted by producer Ann Wilkins, who looked like she was doing well. I'm glad the experience of having to share an office with me all those years ago didn't affect Ann adversely.

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