Episode 59: Shell Game

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Although he wasn’t even nominated, Vic Shell may have won last night

MILWAUKEE, December 22 – Last night there were laughs and tears at the remodeled Klemmer’s Banquet Center in beautiful downtown Milwaukee, this year’s gracious host of the 2014 edition of the Talk’o’Waukee TV Awards.

The packed crowd of 252 waited with baited breath as Talk’o’Waukee TV Awards host Bob Uecker introduced the estranged former Milwaukee Talk co-host, Vic Shell, to present the final award of the evening at precisely 10PM according to a bizarre contractual demand made by Shell.

Looking a bit skinnier than most would remember, Shell was greeted to a sustained and rousing round of applause.  He was humble at first but once he realized he had an ally in the crowd, he used the opportunity to launch into a 20-minute, 3 cigarette roast of his favorite targets.

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“Have you seen Milwaukee Talk lately?   No huh?  Me either,” Shell quipped to an approving crowd.  He then delved into the widely rumored tenuous relationship between WLKE-TV3 station owner Honus Knox III and Milwaukee Talk executive producer, Tater Beutler.

“Apparently there is some discord over the hefty price tag Hoeney (Honus Knox III) had to pay for the two-tiered, hot pink set Beutler designed for the show.  The new set may have all the comforts of a dream home…gourmet kitchen, master bedroom with a walk-in closet and flushable toilet, but lately Tater’s only been able to spend her time in the dog house.  But, at least she had air conditioning installed in it!”

Then he threw a jab at his former boss. “Before I go on, I’d like to present a little gift to WLKE empire owner, Honus Knox. In light of your handling of Milwaukee Talk’s new executive producer, I’ve signed a worn-out and frayed 87 year-old book at the downtown Milwaukee Public Library in your name.  I don’t want you to read it, but I do recommend you use its spine instead of your own.”

And then Shell glanced at his former, eight-month pregnant co-host, Mary Margaret.  It was a moment he couldn’t resist.  “And there’s my former, trusty but yet still knowledgeable, co-host Mary Margaret,” said Shell to the loudest applause of the evening.  “How are things going?  Are you staying out of troub-,” Shell stopped cold mid-sentence, an obvious nod to Mary’s pregnancy.  The crowd bought into the moment and turned it into the loudest laughter of the evening.
“-ble… never mind”, Shell finally retorted to end the bit and switch gears. “Congratulations, all the best as always with the new baby, Mary.  And now it’s time to nominate three executive producers and their babies for tonight’s final award of the evening,” Shell segued.

After reading the nominees, Shell opened up the envelope and stared at the winner’s name for what seemed to be an eternity.   Slowly a smile crept to his face.  “That’s right!  It is a pregnant pause, Mary!  The winner is MILWAUKEE TALK!!” Shell exclaimed.

The crowd erupted as Tater Beutler swaggered onstage to the Milwaukee Talk theme song.  She grabbed the Talk’o’Waukee beer stein-inspired statue from Shell’s hands and began berating Honus Knox III for not standing behind her and losing his way when it came to making “good television”.

Then she turned her attention to Vic Shell, labeling him “yesterday’s man” and saying he was wrong to back a tired old race horse like Allen Kew.  Shell agreed with Tater that he was wrong and asked her to accept his apology as he examined the award envelope more closely.

“The winner is actually Morning Blend.”

The crowd gasped, then fell silent.  Ms. Beutler stood stunned, staring at a steadily fuming Honus Knox III in the front row.  Before she could collect herself, Shell took the award from Beutler’s hands and gave it to the Morning Blend production crew that was parading onto the stage.

“The 2015 Talk’o’Waukee Awards was certainly one the Milwaukee broadcast community won’t soon forget.  Vic Shell may have been presenting the award for best morning talk show, but he was all game show tonight”, quipped Milwaukee Talk co-host Mary Margaret.

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