I’ll take Double Hosts for $200

Word came today “Jeopardy!” will retain its two hosts — Ken Jennings, previously a multi-game and multi-million dollar winner; and Mayim Bialik, co-star of one of my late brother’s favorite sitcom’s, “The Big Bang Theory”, and noted neuroscientist — after the two had been guest-hosting this season.

The season started with Mike Richards as the permanent host. Also serving as executive producer, he’d lose both those gigs and similar EP responsibility at “Wheel of Fortune” after controversial comments arose from a podcast and word of backstage drama during his time as EP of “The Price is Right”.

So, why aren’t the powers that be at “Jeopardy!” narrowing this down to one host? I have a hypothesis or two…

\ They’re working on a newish clue crew.

The clue crew as fans knew it has disbanded. Jimmy McGuire left the show after serving as a clue crew member and, later, stage manager — but not before one more round of giving answers from the field at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a NASCAR category. Sarah Whitcomb-Foss is behind the scenes (her Twitter indicates she’s a producer; a fan-built website indicates she’s an associate director). Kelly Miyahara left the show in 2019 — and was recently a contestant on “Weakest Link” (voted out just before the head-to-head final — and she was the strongest link; natch!).

So, when Ken’s hosting, Mayim could deliver clues from the field — and vice versa.

\ They’ve got an eye on the future.

At age 94, Johnny Gilbert, the longtime announcer, sounds fantastic. But let’s say he retires. Who would fill his shoes? At least temporarily?

Let’s say Mayim’s hosting an episode post-Gilbert. I could see Ken providing the opening narration even if they have to do it in post-production and Ken records from a remote location (home office/studio, for example).

The “Jeopardy!” team has proven resilient ever since Alex Trebek’s passing, the rotating guest hosts, the Richards controversy, and this still-existing COVID-19 pandemic. Post-production audio for the opening would be a minor challenge in comparison.

Of course, I could be wrong on these. And I’m sure if Geof were still with us, he’d see flaws in my thinking. You’re probably seeing flaws, too — and that’s okay.

Geof, who was hungry and thirsty for knowledge ever since he could talk (bugging the rest of us to say certain words he, at a young age, was seeing in print), once said he’d love to see a cable channel dedicated to nothing but “Jeopardy!” reruns.

Since he started singing perfectly with the angels, as one of his choral directors opined, Geof’s wish is, eventually, coming true. The PlutoTV streaming service announced an all-“Jeopardy!” channel earlier this month. It’s slated to debut next month.

Finally, this is my first post in about three years. I hope to blog more often. This is also my first post since Geof’s passing. To honor him, the best thing we, the surviving relatives, could think of is making memorial contributions to the math and science school in Columbus, where the aforementioned choral director still works.

That thirst and hunger for knowledge took him to Columbus after he completed his sophomore year of high school. Geof spoke highly of the school long after graduation.

From my Instagram, here’s how to contribute…


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s gonna take a lotto luck (reprise)

As a voter, I wrote the state representative and senator who represent me in Jackson — urging them to vote no on the lottery. I got no response from one of them — and one response from the other. The other who responded assured me there would be a vote of no from that person. If I said the politician’s name, you’d likely know it.

Despite my concerns, the majority does rule — and the majority approved plans for a state lottery. With no turning back and plans going full speed ahead, what’s next?

There are two big things to think about. Here’s the first. If you hear proponents sing the praises of the lottery and note how it will help improve schools, infrastructure, etc., please take it all with a grain of salt.

As a refresher, let’s revisit this episode of the short-lived reboot of the classic quiz show “Now You See It” and cue the episode up to the 6:37 mark for a quick math lesson from the Ohio Lottery.

Going forward, if your school’s PTO makes plans for a spring festival in addition to the annual fall festival, you’ll know the Mississippi Lottery isn’t helping.

If school districts near you put levies and/or bond issues up for voters’ approval, you’ll know the Mississippi Lottery isn’t helping. Levies and bond issues were a combined thing when I lived in the Dayton area for most of the 1980s.

If you’re not seeing construction signs and orange and white barrels near roads and bridges that still show their age, you’ll know the Mississippi Lottery isn’t helping.

The other big thing to think about can be summed up in two words. Play responsibly.

If you have the money to burn on lottery tickets, good luck. As the punny title to this and the original post implies, you’ll need it. If you can’t spare the dimes, don’t.

Going back to my days in Ohio, I remember a time the long-running lottery game show “Cash Explosion” was in its infancy. It’s still on the air today, despite being canceled for “Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich” and only to be resurrected a year later.

Circa 1988, I can still remember seeing a lady at the service counter of a grocery store buying a scratch-off ticket for a chance to play for the then top prize of $50,000. As I recall, if a lottery player scratched off the ticket and uncovered the word “entry” in triplicate, that lucky person is one step closer to playing for the big money. If not, he or she gets some consolation prize or, likely, nothing at all.

So back to the lady — who was unlucky with her first ticket. She struck out with her second ticket. Her third ticket was not the charm. I lost count how many more times she tried to buy a winning ticket. All I can remember was her noticeable losing streak. I made a mental note from there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exposing a fake

For those who’ve wondered or asked, yes, I have dated other women since Cindy’s passing more than a decade ago. If you got to know Cindy really well, you’ll recall her father died in the mid-1990s and her mother later remarried. Now that our marriage ended under the articles of “’til death do us part” before we could celebrate the births of children or grandchildren, I’m searching for my next success story in the relationship world.  Cindy’s mom and stepdad have encouraged me to search for same.

It’s true Cindy and I met online. However, as we got to know each other, we realized we had mutual friends — some of whom I hadn’t seen in years. As our relationship leveled up, we realized there was a higher power in play.

In what I call postmarital dating, the internet hasn’t helped. You name any legitimate website or app — and the odds are good I tried it and have nothing to show for it (save for wasted time, wasted effort, perhaps wasted energy and, at times, wasted money).

It appears social networking doesn’t help much either. It is here I must expose a fake.

Earlier today, I learned about the story of one lady’s apparent search for love. I give you, or perhaps loan you for the moment, @MaryDennisDoyl1 on Twitter.

Mary Dennis Doyle notes she’s in California and looking for a long-term relationship. Would she be willing to travel and find her Mr. Right? Time will tell.

If she’s looking for love, she needs to be honest. On this video clip…

…she doesn’t say her name is Mary; she says her name is — Amber.

In case the above clip has been deleted by the time you read this (and, for that matter, her  Twitter account in its entirety), here the transcription. “Hey, guys. This is Amber,” she said in the bathroom selfie video right at the start. Automatic fail. “I am totally wasted,” she continued — with an unintelligible end to her sentence due to low volume and, well, the admitted fact she’s drunk. “I am having a really, really, really great time,” she noted. Then, she told viewers she was drinking champagne out of what looked like a Dixie cup.

How authentic is the clip? Judge for yourself. Is it a good idea to post drunk selfie videos? I’d say no. But when you have the name “Mary” in your profile, “Amber” in your video and “Amber” is nowhere else to be found in said profile, odds are good you’re faking all this.

Bottom line: When you’re looking for love, online or offline, be honest about things.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barred from television

Doug’s Place Flashback: I still remember the time Roseanne Barr performed — check that, butchered — “The Star-Spangled Banner”. What people usually don’t know, realize or recall is that happened before Game 2 of a Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres doubleheader.

Read all about it: http://articles.latimes.com/1990-07-26/sports/sp-1255_1_roseanne-barr

I lived in Dayton, Ohio, at the time and listened to the ballgames on the radio. ‘Twas a magical time in 1990 to follow the Reds. They started the regular season with a nine-game winning streak, stayed atop the standings through, and including, the last day of said regular season and went on to win the World Series in a stunning sweep of the Oakland A’s.

Not every day and night that season was joyous. (Anyone remember Lou Piniella’s disagreements with the umps? Stuff of legend.) On that night in late July of ’90 in San Diego, the radio announcers were perplexed as everyone was standing for a second performance of the national anthem. The legendary Marty Brennaman of the Reds’ network quickly criticized Barr’s performan– er, uh — butchering of the song.

Fast forward to the here and now. A racist tweet from Barr has resulted in ABC’s immediate cancelation of the revival of her eponymous sitcom. There’s word other networks that aired reruns of the original series have removed said original series from their schedules. There’s slim hope it can live on, and see the light of day, on a streaming service. Don’t hold your breath — unless you really like the color blue.

Then as now, there’s a lesson for all of us here. Think twice before you post, tweet or lampoon once.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why aren’t there five W’s in the puzzle?

Okay, so in a previous entry, I advised newscast producers should avoid satellite media tours like the plague. Now, I’d like to expand that plea just a bit.

Oh, great gatekeepers of the television news broadcasts, please do yourselves and your viewers this favor. Program any and all e-mails from out-of-town PR firms to go straight to junk mail.

In my previous television work, a plethora of press releases from 5WPR, based in New York, provided many a chuckle. As the name should imply, 5WPR should fully disclose the who, what, where, when and why of a particular proposed story.

I can’t think of a time 5WPR went five out of five when it came to providing these specifics. The who was always an unnamed “local expert on (whatever).” At least one other W per press release was vague.

One particular August, I saw a golden opportunity to take them to task. I can’t think of the name of the PR rep — so it’s just as well I leave that who vague. A lady e-mailed me a proposed back-to-school nutrition interview. She went on and on about how the summer’s ending and the school bells will ring again. The lady noted a “local health coach” (as was the case umpteen zillion times before, no name disclosed) was ready to come our way to tell viewers how their kids can eat healthy during the lunch break.

Well, the PR rep made the who and the when look terrible in just that one press release. How? If you’ve lived in my neighborhoods as long as I have, you’re well aware school starts back — wait for it — in early or mid-August.

So, I wrote her back asking this question. “Um — did this ‘local health coach’ tell you school’s already back in session?” No response from her. Looking back, I should’ve called her asking for a name of this coach — and then addressed the when. Then — sit back and listen to that awkward silence.

She, like many others before and since, don’t bother to do research on a targeted audience. They just put on blindfolds, pick up darts and hope they land somewhere on the dartboard — not necessarily aiming for a triple-20 much less a bullseye.

A few weeks ago, there was word the founder of 5WPR was hired to handle crisis control at the Sinclair Broadcast Group. If you have to ask why, you’ve lived under a rock. Either that or you’re writing up a press release for 5WPR on SBG’s behalf while not clearly defining the why.

Bottom line to producers: Local PR reps do a much better job of defining the who, what, where, when and why of a particular proposed story than 5WPR. Review the locals’ press releases on a case-by-case basis and go from there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rest In Peace, Tom

My heart sank after I read Tom Russo died over the weekend. If you lived in the Pine Belt in the mid 1990s, you likely remember he co-anchored the news at 5 and 10 on WDAM-TV.

From time to time, Tom was also a guest of what was then WQIS Talk Radio 890.  You might also remember the night Tom kept calm while reporting William Hatcher and Robbie Bond were murdered in Perry County.

Tom’s career took him to other stations in Mississippi and Alabama. His last job was assignment manager at WPMI-TV in Mobile, Alabama.

Based on my own recollection and other online accounts, when Tom took on a new professional assignment, he brought his keen sense of humor with him to the newsroom.

Thomas David Russo was truly one of the good guys of the news business — and left this life much too soon at the age of 56.

His obiturary: http://wolfefuneralhomes.com/obituary/thomas-tommy-russo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s gonna take a lotto luck

Long before I came to the Pine Belt, my family and I called Ohio home. When we arrived there in 1983, it was home to a state lottery. It still is.

If you ever wondered how a lottery helped school systems elsewhere — particularly my former neighborhoods in and near Dayton, Ohio — here’s your answer. Not much. In the eight years between our arrival and our departure for Mississippi, the schools in and near Dayton still put levies and bond issues up for votes.

About two years before we left, there was this admission from the Ohio Lottery’s then director…

…okay, it’s an episode from a short-lived revival of the classic word search quiz show “Now You See It”. At the 6:37 mark, you’ll see the start of a 30-second commercial for the Ohio Lottery from 1989. The leader clearly states the lottery doesn’t do a lot financially for the school systems of Ohio. If anyone ever tells you how a lottery would do wonders for Mississippi’s school systems, please take it all with a grain of salt.

Yes, in the here and now, it would be tough to see our friends and neighbors leave Mississippi and go on day trips, perhaps even mini-vacations, to states with lotteries when certain jackpots reach leviathan levels. But, considering the odds of winning any prize much less the jackpot, most of the money they’d take with them would most likely be added to fund prizes. And, yes, tourism out of state might see a slight bump thanks to our friends and neighbors dreaming of winning that leviathan jackpot. But the residual effects really wouldn’t extend much beyond that.

If a lottery bill comes up this legislative session, or any time after this year, my sincere hope is that the legislature will vote in the negative.

I lived in a lottery state. The lottery didn’t help the schools in Ohio. I can’t see how a lottery would help our schools here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May TV co-workers, old and new, avoid certain PR tactics

Hi. Remember me? Long story short, 2017 was quite a busy one. Much of my free time was spent seeking new work and, ultimately, changing TV jobs. You can see the basic details at DougMorris.net if you’d like. The rest of the story is best saved for another blog entry or, perhaps better yet, my memoir that comes out in another two decades or so.

One thing I can go in-depth without much fear of retribution is this. Near the end of one year and/or the start of another, when I was a TV newscast producer, I would get showered with e-mails from certain representatives of certain products that would be on display at a certain Consumer Electronics Show in a certain Nevada city. Certainly, I’ve used “certain” more times that necessary.

These e-mails would invite stations (read: beg and plead) to book satellite interviews from Las Vegas as their products would be on display for stations’ viewers to see. If you’re a local newscast producer and you’ve already booked an SMT along these lines, bail out ASAP.

Broader picture: If you ever get a satellite interview request and the phrase “SMT sponsored by (insert company’s name here),” or something to that effect, is included therein, forward the e-mail to your news director and sales manager immediately. That company is looking to avoid buying up commercial time on your station and is taking a supposedly cheaper route (read: PR companies and representatives of products of company’s labors).

If the SMT request doesn’t have obvious commercialism, discuss the matter with your news director – who’s probably going to say no anyway. If the SMT is health-related, odds are good your boss will recommend a reporter speak with a doctor on the proposed matter at the local level.

Now — back to the Consumer Electronics Show. At my previous TV job, I had access from the feed services of two broadcast networks and CNN. History has shown correspondents from those feed services would be sent to Vegas to cover the CES – without endorsing specific products. I’m reasonably certain (there’s that word again) the 2018 CES will be no different in terms of news coverage.

As for said previous responsibility, my interest in satellite interviews was at an all-time low. The number of times I actually signed up for an SMT over a two-decade-plus-span I can count on one hand. About a year after I started producing a morning newscast, I would hear from several people on the phone wanting to book satellite interviews. Those calls would evolve into e-mail messages that would clog up my inbox.

I usually would respond with something to this effect: “Unless you’re offering an interview with strong Mississippi ties or a strong connection to a program that airs on our station, and it has *zero* business involvement, no dice.” In one of those rare moments of interest, I still remember actually booking an interview with Jillian Michaels, one of the original trainers on “The Biggest Loser”.

Michaels had written a book full of tips on exercise, weight loss, nutrition, etc. As I saw it, it was a golden opportunity to promote a then-popular show. Worries of product placement were minimal at best.

Days before the interview, I had to cancel. Change of heart and/or head? No. Mandate from the bosses? No. Technical issues? No. I still remember writing the companies that set this up that it was with major regret we had to cancel the arrangements in late August of 2005. We had to bail out because Hurricane Katrina was on the way.

The organizers were totally understanding. As consolation, they sent a DVD of generic clips from Michaels on her book. We ran a few of them months after the new normal settled in after the storm.

Bottom line: Thanks to evolving technology and evolving resources at the local level, TV newscast producers really don’t need satellite interviews. Local experts, feed services and content from sister stations should adequately pick up where SMTs leave off. Best to leave those SMT organizers – dare I say it – hurtin’ for certain.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


As the old saying goes, the show must go on. My radio friends and I are working to make this a productive 2017 — as we will always mourn the passing of our friend Joe. He died December 12, 2016, after he was injured in a wreck in November.

Please click/tap here for a statement from Blakeney Communications, the parent company of Rock 104.

Please click/tap here for his obituary.

Joe’s family thanks everyone for their love, prayers and sincere generosity during this time. Many of you have expressed a need to help in some way. In lieu of flowers, a special account has been set up for Joe and Rachael’s children’s future education. Memorial contributions may be mailed to: Joe Stianche, 5 Neil Road, Ellisville, MS, 39437.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Bet Your Exorcism?

An appearance on a classic quiz show with a comedy element, apparently, helped William Peter Blatty further his writing career.

Blatty, who as you probably know by now passed away recently, was a contestant on the game show “You Bet Your Life”, hosted by comedy legend Groucho Marx. Early on, Blatty is introduced as an Arab prince — but the truth would come out.

Looking to connect a Marx brother to “The Exorcist”? Here you go.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment