After a tumultuous week of audition tape screenings and on-screen tests for the lucky 12 finalists, Kew and Shell realized they had a winner in Mary Margaret. Equipped with on-air charm and unparalleled basic knowledge and grace, hiring Mary Margaret was the easiest decision they would make in their broadcast careers. As fate would have it, she was a day away from re-signing with her Alabama station when she got a phone call from Kew that must have went something like this:
“Mary, it’s Allen Kew from WLKE-TV3 in Milwaukee.”
“That’s Kew. Mr. Shell and I have been playing your demo tape over and over for the last 2 hours or so. We were very impressed with it.”
“OK…. thanks, but can I call you back? I’m about to re-sign a two-year deal with my show here in Alabama.”
“I’d like you to consider what we’re offering you, Mary”
“Thanks Ellen, but I have a pretty good life here in ‘bama.”
“Well Mary, I think we are going to make you an offer to come to Milwaukee that you won’t be able to say no to.”
“Well, the weather here is nice, I don’t want to uproot the family…”
“I have a signed blank check from our station owner, Honus Knox the Third. You tell us what you want.”
The rest is history in this article originally published in The American Log…
MILWAUKEE, December 31 – Y2K may still be approaching but you can catch an hour long glimpse of the new millennium even sooner this morning at 10am on WLKE-TV3’s Milwaukee Talk.
After an extensive search executive producer Allen Kew has signed Alabama’s Mary Margaret, the former host of the popular crimson state’s BirminghAM to his show’s team.
“We went through so many show tapes even I got bored of cooking segments,” Kew mused. “And Mary’s on-screen delivery is head and shoulders above any of the other candidates”.
“I’m the first to concede Milwaukee Talk needed a shake-up”, admits current longtime host Vic Shell. “This morning’s show is going to be hard hitting. We’re moving the show in a more serious, news-oriented direction. Mary is going to be showing us how to effectively hoard cash and store fresh water for tonight’s likely Y2K meltdown hysteria at midnight. I’m going to show you how to quickly build a safe, containable fire and effective ways you can choke an unwanted intruder to death”.
Here are some questions we asked the new team on the eve of a new millennium…
Q: What is your best kept secret?
VS: My girlfriend thinks I make 38 G’s a year.
MM: People think my job is just giving the time and temp. If that’s all they think I do then I think I’m doing my job very well.
Q: What do you want people to say about you?
MM: Her job is just giving time and temp.
VS: Vic Shell always asks the right questions and does the right thing. If Jesus were alive today and had a talk show in Milwaukee this is what it would look like.
Q: When are you most happy?
MM: When the bar is open and they’re giving away free high-end appetizers.
VS: When that red tally light goes on I light up too. I love making love to that camera. No really, I’ve literally made love to it. That’s how I lost my job in Minneapolis and why I’m not allowed back in Minnesota any more.
Q: Can you elaborate on that for us?
VS: Only a TV man could get sucked into the allure of a camera with those perfectly manufactured symmetrical curves and all the enticing, unfulfilled concavities it has to offer. Not to titillate but one night in studio when I thought I was alone things went a little too far and I couldn’t… ahem… find the f-stop button if you know what I mean.
Q: What was the lowest point in your life?
MM: When I was left alone to raise my two step-kids after their dad died in a terrible car accident. To make matters worse, it was me who was driving.
Q: That’s terrible. How did you recover?
MM: It was the toughest thing I ever had to do in my entire life. But I found my inner strength and vowed to give Grizabella and Victoria a good, full life and leave a loving legacy for their father.
Q: That’s amazing. How are the kids doing now?
MM: Good, thank you. They are very well behaved, good kids but still like to have the occasional bit of fun. Every once in a while I catch them chasing a roll of toilet paper down the stairs or playing with a hairball they’ve coughed up.
Q: If you weren’t a morning show host what would you be doing?
VS: I don’t know but it would definitely be something involving children.
MM: Me too, teaching for sure. I’ve done it before and thought it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
Q: What was your favorite subject to teach?
MM: Hmmm…that’s a tough one, but…I’d have to say baton.
You can catch the new Milwaukee Talk team this morning on WLKE-TV3 at 10AM.
As you’ll see in this rare, never-seen-since scene of Vic Shell introducing Mary Margaret, the introduction was forced and stiff (note Shell booting her name in his intro). The tape don’t lie. Shell obviously needed some time to adjust having a co-host again…