Look for more attitude and fewer blazers on local TV this spring when media mogul Barry Diller shakes things up. Diller owns WYHS-TV (Channel 69) which he's been using to air his Home Shopping Network in South Florida with around-the-clock broadcasts of such illuminating shows as "18k Indulgence" and "Rug Gallery."
Later this spring Diller is shifting Home Shopping to cable and switching WYHS to revved-up local programming and a different slant on news. "If you look at the stations side by side in Miami, they are exactly alike," Diller recently told the New York Times. "It is the same blue blazers. It is also the same generic point of view, the same slice of well-meaning, well-intentioned prose at work."
Diller plans to spend at least $20 million on the station; employment could jump from 35 to 200. He said WYHS news programming "is going to be different by attitude, opinion, and argument," including the idea for a two-hour program that begins with the news and ends with comments from a live studio audience.
Another incredibly creative idea: a series on local crime stories hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and novelist Edna Buchanan, perhaps even with a live audience shouting, "More blood, more blood!"
"Cole Man" lives! As Hollywood mayoral loser John Coleman gears up to run for the vacant city commission seat, political-music lovers should rejoice: the karaoke classic "Cole Man" may yet be heard on the streets of Hollywood. The song, loosely inspired by the real classic "Soul Man," sparked a mini-controversy (an Undercurrents exclusive) over potential copyright violations in the closing days of his mayoral campaign.
Taking himself much too seriously, Coleman told New Times he has charged "Cole Man" creator/lawyer Joe Schneider with writing a "new officially approved campaign song," and actually obeying the law by also writing to obtain limited rights to use "Soul Man."
Displaying an intellect that would fit in on a Hollywood commission seat, Coleman offered these profound thoughts on the mayoral election: "I didn't lose. You can lose a game, but maybe the game isn't over yet."
Sorry John, the Mayor Lady has sung, but here's a working title for your new song: "Nowhere Man."
Client alert for bottom-feeding lawyers: Hoping for judicial relief, New Times reader Richard A. Thompson II seeks a legal laxative.
Thompson resides in a travel trailer in a recreational vehicle park in southwest Fort Lauderdale. Until last week the park maintained a public shower and restroom for residents. Then the owners closed and locked the facilities -- allegedly without notice. "I am claustrophobic and cannot shower in a three-by-four-foot area, so I use these facilities on a regular basis," Thompson wrote Undercurrents. Reviewing Florida statutes he concluded the owners should have given 90 days written notice before closing a common area. "I decided to take the landlords to court for the illegal closing of the bathroom."
Determined to file the suit himself, he took off from work and entered the clogged world of Clerk of Courts Robert Lockwood, where he quickly confronted the bowels of reality: He could go mad before he got movement.
Thompson stands naked before the bar of justice, awaiting a lawyer to open the case of the closed crapper.
Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1572, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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