Episode 8: From Hard News to Hardly News

Major personality swing for resistant daytime TV talkfest
Major personality swing for resistant daytime TV talkfest

Not only was Vic Shell’s personal life up in smoke, so too was the hard news format he and Margaret had carefully honed over the previous 400 plus shows.  To say it was life-altering wouldn’t be that far of a stretch for the Milwaukee Talk team.

“But they took it in stride.  If it wore on anyone more than all the others, it was probably me”, executive producer Allen Kew would later confess.  No surprise, in that it’s always been Kew who carries the weight of his co-hosts’ fantasy world on his shoulders.  “When they sneeze, I’m the one who gets the cold.”

“I’ll never forgot what Allen said at the 11:01 meeting after that morning’s show,” Mary Margaret began. “He said the TV business is full of fakes, frauds, and empty promises from has-beens and hangers-on.  And I’m pretty sure I know who he was talking about…he was talking about himself…and maybe Vic and Les too…maybe even me.”

“We weren’t true to ourselves or to our audience,” Vic Shell admits, “and once you start lying to the audience….”

Here was The American Log article that signed-off on Milwaukee Talk’s hard-hitting news era….

Hardly News

MILWAUKEE, September 10 – Allen Kew was a guest on the show he executive produces this morning, Milwaukee Talk, to apologize for all of the shows that have aired since January 2000.

He also added he has vowed to change direction of the show saying they will lose the hard news angle and inject more variety.

“The days of hard news on Milwaukee Talk are over. Sure, we’ll tell you about the freight truck turnover if we think you need to know about it but in terms of big roll-out shows dealing with specific issues or themes… no.”

Vic Shell nodded his head in approval to his boss’s decision saying, “21 months is enough time to kick the tires and dig deep into the well. Let’s just take a mulligan and move on.”

Mary Margaret interjected that she too has to agree with them and that “variety is the spice of life.  I never totally signed onto the fact that the average Milwaukean housewife wanted to hear any more hard hitting news after the Today Show goes off the air.”


As Sinatra used to croon, here’s “one more for the road”.  It’s a clip from the hard hitting news era…but this one is just to show you it wasn’t all blood, gore, guts and explosions.  Sometimes there was some fun, like this bit from October 31, 2000, when the gang played a prank on TV’s leading straight man, Vic Shell.  You might be able to dress up Vic Shell, but you really shouldn’t take him anywhere….

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