Windy City Live Plans Ahead

This morning’s episode of WLS-TV’s “Windy City Live” program will not be live, but it will be new.

Val & Ryan

According to their Facebook page, the producers are holding a planning meeting today to discuss what to do with the show. It’s rare that a TV show would publicize something like that. Usually, the editorial meeting is top secret unless a guy named Harvey Levin decides to base a show off the meeting itself. (TMZ)

Being the media blogger that I am, you know that I have to throw my 2 cents into the offering plate.  I must admit that the show has gotten way better since my not so great time in the studio audience back in May. But there is so much more that the producers can do to create a unique program.


The show is definitely not “Oprah”, but they could take a few tips from her. One thing Oprah did well was conduct some really big interviews before she had big name stars. I think the show tries to book big name people but doesn’t know how to work with them. Sure, a Hollywood publicist will set the terms of agreement for the interview. But there is only so much you can ask a celebrity because of who they are–celebrities! Celebrities can’t really open up, unless they are friends with the interviewer. Even then, they want to stay out of the headlines if they can.

“Windy City Live” could get local folks to open up and share their stories much more than with a celebrity. They have tried this already with a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for over 20 years, a mother who lost her son in the war, and with the Urban Prep Charter School. If the show could find very interesting but overlooked Chicagoans with amazing stories, I would definitely tune in without feeling like it is a chore.


The only good thing about the show I attended was they let my sister ask a question from the audience. Other than that, I felt like a prop with a built-in laugh track and applause button. They should give folks in the audience a quiz about local attractions or have them participate in segments. If a cooking expert is there, allow one of them to be a helper; If a new gadget is being demonstrated, use a couple of folks from the audience. In addition to that, don’t just let the contributors talk about current events–get opinions from (carefully screened) audience members.


The anecdotes are not interesting. I think Val and Ryan are great people but I don’t want to hear about their weekend. How their weekends went has no bearing on how my day will go. I want a show that focuses more on what I need as a viewer rather than what the producers want.


I might work in journalism, but I am a marketing major. The biggest problem with the show is that there is no specific target audience. They are using the news approach to find topics that appeal to everybody. But you can’t do that with entertainment. News is more objective, whereas entertainment is more personalized. Everybody wants to know about the weather or public safety, but might not give a damn about a show taking place that they can’t afford anyway. So, if the show is for tourists–then be up front about that. If it’s for rich, elderly people–then make the show just for them.

That’s about it for now. I’ve got some planning of my own to do. 🙂

Leave a comment