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Jamie Yuccas and Jason DeRusha. (Courtesy WCCO)
WCCO-TV is shuffling up its lineup in hopes of getting better traction in the mornings.
Angela Davis and Mike Binkley, who have co-hosted the AM and noon shows for five years, are being replaced by Jason DeRusha and Jamie Yuccas. The "Good Question" segment that has become a trademark for DeRusha, will go to Heather Brown.
Binkley and Davis, who is married to Duchesne Drew, the Star Tribune's managing editor of operations, will remain at the station, co-hosting the Sunday-night news editions and filling in for other anchors.
WCCO's 6 a.m. broadcast is third in ratings among 25-54 viewers. It's the only time of day that WCCO isn't either first or second in that valued demographic.
"This wasn't about performance," said news director Mike Caputa. "But we want to be in a position to grow. Expectations are high here to do better in the morning."
Caputa said June 2 is the target date for the changes.
Who knew Carol Burnett was still such a rock star? The adoring fans who gobbled up tickets fast to the legendary TV comic’s sold-out appearance Friday at the State Theatre came bearing gifts and even wearing Irish green Scarlett O’Hara dresses (with curtain rods, no less!). They had a whole lot of stories to share with Burnett, too, many of which involved some kind of ailment or sad story that her classic TV show helped them or their late parents bear. In fact, at times it felt like Friday’s interactive discussion – modeled after the opening Q&A montages of “The Carol Burnett Show” (CBS, 1967-1978) – was more about the fans than it was about the still-redheaded and resplendent-looking comic, who turned 80 last month.
When she wasn’t directly responding to the audience, Burnett made the show more about all the people she worked with in her storied career. She shared stories about her castmates from her series, like the time Vicki Lawrence called a jabbering Tim Conway a “little a-hole” in a famous blooper. Or when Conway came out of a bathroom at his wife’s bridge club party with Q-tips glued to his face (“They got divorced shortly after that,” Burnett deadpanned). Asked for a behind-the-scene story from rehearsals, she recounted one incident when the notoriously moody Harvey Korman threatened to quit the show. Burnett told him he would be welcomed back Monday morning if he came in skipping and whistling (he did).
She also told stories about all her guest stars, including Lucille Ball (who died on Burnett’s birthday in 1989, but somehow managed to still send flowers and a card) and Jimmy Stewart (who took a liking to Burnett after she bufoonishly stepped in a bucket of whitewash paint on a movie set upon meeting him for the first time). Each story was complemented with accompanying clips from the show, including the “Gone With the Wind” skit that prompted two theatergoers to come wearing the full curtain get-up – a gimmick she credited to her famed costume designer Bob Mackie.
While the average age of the crowd would've made an AARP sales executive salivate, there were a few equally adulating young kids in the audience – most of whom probably know her from her role as the villainess Miss Hannigan in 1982’s big-screen adaptation of “Annie.” She relayed another story about having to reshoot one scene in “Annie” a few months after filming wrapped – and a month after she had a little cosmetic surgery. “Um, I have to tell you, I have a chin now,” she recounted telling the studio rep when they called.
She also laughed at how she knows whenever she’s recognized from that particular movie. “Every once in a while I’ll see a little girl stop in the aisle at the store and go, ‘Huh!?’” she said in mock terror. They must be the only people she regularly encounters not thrilled to see her.
Nicholas David, a man of many hats, at an earlier Twin Cities gig/ Star Tribune photo by Kyndell Harkness
After making a national splash on NBC’s “The Voice,” Nicholas David came home to First Avenue this weekend to say: “I gotta be me.”
Any TV fan expecting an endless evening of a human jukebox – and there were clearly clubgoers who were at First Ave for the first time -- might have been disappointed by Saturday’s second of two sold-out nights. To be sure, David – who used to be billed as Nick the Feelin’ in the Twin Cities – reprised several of the numbers that led him to finishing No. 3 on “The Voice” last fall. Plus, he trotted out four other “Voice” contestants to join him.
But much of David’s nearly two hours onstage was devoted to original material, sort of 1970s-tinged soul music, some of which had a reggae undercurrent. Those selections, while not necessarily memorable, did establish that David, 32, is an incredibly soulful singer. But anyone who watched “The Voice” already knew that.
Nick Mrozinski, of Eagan, has certainly fashioned a distinctive image, with his LL Cool J cap, Bono sunglasses, Steven Tyler scarf, ZZ Top starter beard and college-professor suit. (Loved the top hat, with long, long feathers, he wore for Saturday's second set.) He’s got a mantra, frequently declaring “Hey now,” a catchphrase he may have copped from HBO’s “Larry Sanders Show” or from the lyrics of the New Orleans classic “Iko Iko.”
David certainly demonstrated a taste for Crescent City sounds, including his terrific reimagining of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which he took to a New Orleans church, emphasizing key phrases such as “I believe” that gave it a new-found gospel feel.
Some of the singer’s own tunes, including “Say Goodbye,” showed his flair for country soul. David is certainly versatile and prolific (he’s released five albums). He even had Twin Cities rapper Desdamona contribute to one tune on Saturday. He was backed by his Feelin’ Band, which included three backup vocalists, a saxophonist, two guitarists, bassist, keyboardist and drummer – as well as David on keyboards and acoustic guitar.
Of the four “Voice” alums who joined David, two of them detracted and two of them elevated the proceedings. Todd Kessler provided the high voice on a duet with David on Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone.” Thankfully, David dominated, not Kessler with his garden-variety voice.
Melanie Martinez, who may be 17 or 18 but came across like 14, essayed two originals whose titles – “Dear Porcupine” and “Rough Love” – were the best thing about them. She joined David for Fiona Apple’s “Criminal,” a smart arrangement that was, once again, all about David, not the other vocalist.
By contrast, Trevin Hunte nailed Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” though the soundman should have turned down the lead vocals a tad (and the bass guitar was too loud all night). Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” wasn’t a good choice for the talented Hunte because it lacks vocal range. Terry McDermott nicely complemented David on a duet of “Rhythm of Love.”
David’s mashup of a “Voice” revue and Feelin’ originals may not have been the show that clubgoers anticipated. But, whatever you expected, you might have come away with the impression that Nicholas David is perhaps the best male soul singer to emerge from the Twin Cities since Alexander O’Neal.
Gordon Ramsay/AP photo by Evan Agostini
Want a chance to have a meal prepared by Gordon Ramsay AND be on television? Here's your chance.
Fox's "Hotel Hell," one of about three billion series hosted by Ramsay, will be featuring Historic Calumet Inn in Pipestone, Minn. for part of its second season. That's not necessarily good news for the historic resort, as Ramsay's mission is to help struggling hotels get back on their feet.
Ramsay and the film crew will be in Pipestone from May 28 to June 1. You can try to book a room or a table for dinner by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fox has not announced when the series will return.
Mary Mack/photo by Richard Sennott
For those of us who have waited patiently for local comic Mary Mack to finally get her big break may not have to wait much longer.
The outstanding local standup has been cast as the voice of a 9-year-oldgirl with a monster as a best friend in "Golan the Insatiable," a cartoon series that will be part of Fox's "Animation Domination High-Def" block of 15-minute shorts that will air 10-11:30 p.m. Friday nights, starting July 27.
A Fox spokesperson said that "Golan" will not be one of the first shorts to be featured. Mack, who started working on the project last week, believes it may bow in September.
Minnesota native Joshua Miller wrote the pilot script.
"It's not for kids," Mack said this week. "It's really inappropriate language with a lot of words I did not want to say."
Mack described her character as a Goth kid who is constantly trying to poison the other kids at school.
More on the project when it goes closer to the premiere.