Friday, August 17, 2012

EXTRA: News broadcasters finding employment (still) in entertainment

Watching the Friday night episode of “Boss,” I couldn’t help but get a kick out of the sight of Nancy Pender playing the part of a television reporter.

She was, after all, a 13-year veteran of WFLD-TV until she was let go in a cost-cutting measure a couple of years ago.

NOT LIKE PENDER playing a reporter asking questions of Kelsey Grammer’s “Mayor Tom Kane” character is anything unique.

It reminded me of that Harrison Ford film from a couple of decades ago based on “The Fugitive” television series, where real-life television reporters played the part of reporters in the film.

Broadcasters such as WBBM-TV’S Pam Zekman and John Drummond. “The Bulldog” lives on in cinema – as does the sight of Roland Burris as a “Chicago politician” trying to look Irish in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Or that firefighter film “Backdraft” that used one-time WLS-TV reporter/anchor Joan Esposito on a television set in the background. Or an episode of “The West Wing” that had WMAQ-TV’s Warner Saunders read copy on a television set in the background that was relevant to the political plotline of that episode.

BUT AS FOR “Boss,” tt intrigues me the way this program attempts to bear some resemblance to the real Chicago. Such as having Pender’s face and voice appear on camera. Even though some of its moments are so overly-hyped as to be ludicrous. Such as an alderman being arrested and incarcerated at a moment when her vote in the City Council was crucial. Or that same vote ending in a brawl ordered by "da Mare" himself on the City Council floor.

But I will be watching in coming weeks as the program works its way through a second season (I also am among those who purchased the DVD package of episodes for the first season).

To what devious extremes will Grammer’s character go to hide his rapidly-becoming-more obvious (and soon-to-be fatal) illness?

And just how many times will we get to see actress Kathleen Robertson (who plays a now-disgraced former mayoral aide) be nude this season. She kept her streak alive in Friday’s episode – albeit in about as unerotic a moment as possible for such a beautiful blonde woman.


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