Code Red for frail, fading Las Vegas ONE

Condition: Comatose.

That’s the bleak status of the patient hospitalized in Room ONE.

As in Las Vegas ONE.

Last week, the sickly cable outlet went on life support with word that “Face to Face” and “In Business Las Vegas” would begin 2010 at Channel 3 — two vital organs transplanted from a dying station to a recovering one. That follows October’s cancellation of its “NewsONE at 9” newscast — a debilitating stroke that sent LV1 to ICU, where it now lingers, frail and emaciated, clinging to simulcasts/rebroadcasts of Channel 8’s news to give them life as a local channel.

“The community has not taken to Las Vegas ONE the way the three of us had hoped,” Brian Greenspun, chairman of the Greenspun Corp. — station co-owner with Cox Cable and Channel 8 — told this columnist last week, hedging on whether the company would even remain financially/creatively invested in Las Vegas ONE.

Yet … tis a season of miracles, no?

Taking an Olympian leap of faith, let’s assume the station could clear such programming obstacles as obtaining broadcast and property rights, securing studio space, negotiating complex contracts regarding performers’ availability and competing media partnerships, and outlasting a stubborn recession to hire staff. Following is a fanciful “dream” lineup that might transform a limp, empty-shell channel into an eclectic, Vegas-centric station:

Pair pot-stirring conservative Alan Stock and liberal torch-bearer Dave Berns, sparking “Crossfire”-style fireworks between the KXNT and ex-KNPR yakkers. (Suggested title, with apologies to Jane Curtin: “Alan & Dave: You Ignorant Sluts”). … Toss a talk show to Vegas paterfamilias Wayne Newton, interviewing entertainers of Sin City eras from gangster to gangsta. … Slip a camera in-studio to spy radio shows on-air — maybe Mix 94.1’s Mark and Mercedes, or KOMP’s Craig Williams and Co. in a Howard Stern-style steal (lesbian porn-star wrestling, genitalia measuring and the kielbasa queen not included). …

Create arts roundups — community theater, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, downtown museums and Nevada Ballet Theatre — combating all that kvetching about a Vegas cultural void. … Sports savant Chris Maathuis might anchor a show that eschews scores for deeper features on local athletes, teams and programs. … Explore interstellar intrigue with Area 51-ophile George Knapp. …

Comic kingpin George Wallace could preside over a showcase of comedians culled from local clubs. … Pattern programs after those tabloid-esque Vegas histories that pepper the Biography, History and E! channels. … Celebrate big/small-screen Vegas, showing Sin City-set movies (from “Diamonds are Forever” to “Oceans Eleven” to “Casino”) and episodic TV (Robert Urich’s “Vega$,” James Caan’s “Las Vegas”), perhaps hosted by a local critic, a la the TCM channel.

Logistical, contractual and monetary hurdles? Daunting, no doubt, starting with these frightening financial times.

“Las Vegas ONE will be meeting over the next few weeks,” Greenspun said last week, “and we’ll decide what kind of programming we will have going forward.”

This patient’s flat-lining. Resuscitation? Grab a defibrillator. Apply a j-j-j-jolt of creativity. … CLEAR!

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

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