I wouldn’t have believed it back when I heard it a couple months ago, but KTHV general manager Larry Audas is apparently going ahead with his plan to keep a full house on the news anchor desk at Channel 11.
Since Dawn Scott’s Nov. 1 debut, KTHV has six (count ’em!) anchors serving up the evening news, with Ed Buckner on weather, Craig O’Neill on sports, Liz Massey on news at 5 and 10, Andy Pearson at 5, 6 and 10, Anne Jansen at 5 and 6, and Dawn Scott at 5, 6 and 10. At various times throughout the evening, Scott and Pearson are shuffled to a remote studio. According to their website, KTHV’s on-hand talent stable now stands at 20.
Some recent broadcasts looked awfully busy, with the KTHV anchor desk so cram-packed sometimes that Buckner actually has to stand. During the final month of Dawn’s pregnancy, it’s bound to get so crowded that they’re going to have to buy Craig a rain slicker and a folding chair and stick him out in the weather garden with Larry the cat.
Though current speculation is that someone is going to get the boot after Scott returns from maternity leave, KTHV news director Mark Raines insists the lineup won’t be changing in the near future. “We’ve got six very talented people that we are working into our shows,” Raines said, “and it’s so far so good from our standpoint and from some viewer feedback we’ve received. It seems to be going pretty well.”
Here’s the question: Is it libelous to call somebody gay? CNN seems to think so.
What I’m talking about, of course, are comedian Bill Maher’s censored comments from the Wednesday, Nov. 8, edition of CNN’s Larry King Live. Maher and King were talking about disgraced pastor Ted Haggard — who resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, admitting “sexual immorality” after a gay prostitute came forward to dish about trysts with Haggard — when Maher used the issue to segue into a bit about the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. Specifically, Maher talked about the fact that many prominent Republican leaders are gay. He went on to say that they deserve to be outed, given that many of them helped spearhead efforts at ballot-measure gay-bashing in recent years as a way of getting out the fundie/homophobe vote.
Asked by King to name names, Maher did.
In later, taped editions of Larry King Live, CNN edited out Maher’s comments, and removed the offending segment from the transcript of the show.
Thanks to the great liberator that is youtube.com, however, here’s the transcript of the excised bits:
MAHER: “A lot of the chiefs of staff — the people who really run the underpinnings of the Republican Party — are gay. I don’t want to name names, but I will Friday night (on Maher’s HBO show).
KING: You will Friday night?
MAHER: There’s a couple of big people who I think everyone in Washington knows, who run the Republican —
KING: You will name them?
MAHER: Well, I wouldn’t be the first. I’d get sued if I was the first, but — Ken Mehlman, okay? There’s one I think people have talked about. I don’t think he’s denied it.
In case you don’t know, Mehlman is the recently resigned chairman of the Republican National Committee. Unmarried and almost never seen in the company of young women, speculation about Mehlman’s sexuality has been rampant for years.
Knee-jerk censorship aside, Mehlman denied that he was gay in May 2006. “I’m not gay,” Mehlman told the New York Daily News, “but those stories did a number on my dating life for six months.”
And the award for the most surreal and/or horrifying moment of my election-night television viewing goes to: Switching over to KARK and having the color on my television tuned just right so that — for one awful second — I thought my boss Max Brantley was providing election commentary without pants. Thankfully, it was just a very pale pair of khakis.
Note to self: Buy new glasses.
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