Minnesota Public Radio took another major step in distancing itself from the “A Prairie Home Companion” brand by officially renaming the show that Garrison Keillor built.
Chris Thile, who replaced his idol as host last season, announced at the top of Saturday’s broadcast from New York City that the program will now be called “Live From Here With Chris Thile.”
“ ‘From’ is one of my favorite prepositions,” he said in making the announcement.
“My hope is that this name captures the energy and enthusiasm that is really at the core of this show,” Thile said in a prepared statement. “ ‘Live From Here’ is about people making beautiful things and sharing them with our audience in real time. The fact that the show is live — where anything is possible — is part of what makes it so special.”
MPR severed all ties with Keillor late last month, citing allegations of the longtime host’s inappropriate behavior toward a co-worker while he was running the program. Keillor has spent the past two weeks defending himself in e-mails to the Star Tribune and other news outlets.
In the meantime, MPR has said it will not make past episodes of the Keillor-hosted program available to stations. All archived shows have been removed from the Prairie Home website.
“MPR does not fully own the rights to continue to use the names or provide archive content for A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and The Writer’s Almanac programs,” visitors are told when visiting the website. “Garrison Keillor and his companies own many of the rights to this artistic content.”
Saturday’s program was the last of the year. Thile will broadcast under the new name in January with stops in San Francisco, New Orleans, Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas.
Thile returns to St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater on Feb. 24, his first local appearance since the Keillor scandal.
Thile teased that he was writing a new theme song that he hopes will be “fresh but nostalgic” — and then launched into a merry mandolin-and-trumpet-laced version of the fanfare from “Star Wars.”