When people think of The Chat Pack they think of the big, sold-out casino shows and their number one rated talk show, Milwaukee Talk. What most people don’t remember is that they weren’t a big smash hit out of the gates. Far from it. Allen Kew wanted to distance their talk show from all of the others so, rather than the popular shock TV, he opted for a hard hitting news angle. In the words of Shell, “Mary and I are pros but let’s face it, the decision to have us do hard news was wrong… asking us to do hard hitting news would have been like asking Babe Ruth to pitch.”
But the experiment wasn’t a total waste. One morning Vic and Mary organically came up with a segment pitch that would hit this city in a few different ways. Read all about it in this Milwaukee American Log article from March of 2000…
MILWAUKEE, March 23 – In a bold new experiment, Milwaukee Talk’s co-hosts will be walking the Milwaukee streets to find a lucky job applicant to take under their wing in an attempt to turn their careers around. “Not our careers, theirs!” quickly quipped Vic Shell.
“It’s a two-month long experiment that is going to see both me and Vic at all hours dealing with this flunky”, co-host Mary Margaret said. “We’re really putting ourselves out.”
“Putting ourselves out there,” Shell corrects. “On each show this week we’re going to introduce you to a candidate for the project and on Friday we’re going to ask you to clip out the ballot in that morning’s American Log and mail us your vote for your favorite contender”.
“We were in our production meeting and Mary had this brilliant idea of a pitch”, executive producer Allen Kew began.
“I was driving into work and there was this squeegee kid who approached me at the stoplight on Locust Street,” Mary explained. “He started cleaning my windshield and I yelled at him through the windshield. ‘Don’t put that dirty water all over my windshield! I have a specialist at the garage that cleans my windows!’ As this kid continued I pulled out my cell phone and threatened to call the police. He started pleading with me not to make that call. I wish I could have told him right then and there that I could give him a job but I know there are no crew openings at Milwaukee Talk right now”.
“I told Mary that she was onto something”, Vic Shell continues. “Why don’t we call this kid’s bluff and see if he doesn’t screw something up for real?”
Raymond the squeegee kid will be the first candidate to be the Milwaukee Mentor and you can meet him Monday morning on Milwaukee Talk on WLKE-TV3 at 10am.
Shell and Margaret have never been leery of attacking a hard hitting news story when it comes their way. In this clip you’ll see Mary is quick to “put on the news shoes” when a big story literally came walking up to her doorstep….