Stripped of the Strip?
Local television coverage of our thoroughly fabulous thoroughfare, in any depth, anyway, is fairly bare, fading further when KSNV-TV, Channel 3 dumped its "Stage 3" segments, leaving entertainment news in the Entertainment Capital ... where?
Perhaps in a position to rethink it.
Golly-gee star-ogling, gushy celebrity interviews, excitable previews and dutiful reporting of headliner announcements -- i.e., the soft stuff -- have largely comprised coverage for years.
Beyond the gadfly adventures of now-gone Alicia Jacobs -- who, in fairness, did break some legit news -- what's left largely amounts to: Dayna Roselli's morning celeb watch/interviews on KLAS-TV, Channel 8; showbiz bits such as "In the Loop" on News-3's "Wake Up with the Wagners"; and occasional interviews on the pay-for-promotion "Morning Blend" on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.
"We have Dayna doing her report, whatever she finds interesting, interviewing a performer, as opposed to making a beat out of it, covering the twists and turns of the entertainment industry here," says Channel 8 news director Ron Comings. "I haven't found the appetite for that much entertainment news."
Measured in pure volume, the two-hour "More" franchise at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on KVVU-TV, Channel 5 is the King Kong of local entertainment froth.
"When we do research, we find there is interest in (entertainment)," says Fox-5 news director Adam P. Bradshaw, noting that "More" and the news department are separate, but the latter's Rachel Smith, Arran Andersen and Claudine Grant contribute entertainment stories to newscasts. "But to dig down to why a (Strip show) fails or doesn't, while it's an interesting story, I don't think that's going to make people watch."
Sure about that -- that analytical showbiz stories would send viewers diving for the remote? Like New York and Los Angeles, entertainment is an economic engine here, making this an "industry town" for it and elevating its importance.
Though newspapers have the staff flexibility to cover it more, stations' modest investment in it could pay off, proving viewers can handle more than empty-calorie, pretty-people swooning.
While print-based, the R-J's Mike Weatherford is an instructive example, his columns delving into how the Strip really operates. Recent columns tackled such subjects as the impact of low ticket-price services, the promotional value of a morning show, the possibility of alcohol concessions helping show producers getting clobbered by nightclubs, and breaking down the business repercussions of the Blue Man Group's jump from The Venetian to the Monte Carlo.
The pleasure of Weatherford's reporting is that it makes locals feel like insiders, while providing news of a business on which so many are dependent.
Certainly, freelance TV reviewers for new shows on the Strip -- as New York and L.A. stations do for Broadway and professional theater -- would be a viewer draw.
Why settle for the glamour gawking any station from Newark to Bakersfield can do when entertainment means so much more to this town?
Put stripped-down Strip coverage in a snazzy new suit.
Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.