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Rickey Smiley part of experimental TV show ‘Dish Nation’ on Fox 5

Rickey Smiley is part of a test run of a show called "Dish Nation," seen at midnight on WAGA-TV. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Rickey Smiley is part of a test run of a show called "Dish Nation," seen at midnight on WAGA-TV. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

In this day and age, cross-media opportunities are rampant. Sean Hannity does both radio and TV. Frank & Wanda on V-103 air a 30-minute highlight show on CW 69 every evening. Atlanta’s Steve Harvey, who has a studio in Buckhead, takes highlights of his radio show and turns it into a TV show on Centric.

Now, a production company is experimenting by taking four different radio shows commenting on bits of pop culture news nuggets and merging them into something called “Dish Nation.”

Atlanta-based Rickey Smiley, heard locally on Hot 107.9 and in 55 markets nationwide, is part of the experiment.

Smiley, in an interview, said he is excited about the opportunity. “A lot of funny stuff we do in the studio doesn’t come off on the air,” he said. “The cameras will catch a lot of fun stuff in the studio.”

“Dish Nation” debuted last week in a handful of test markets, including Atlanta on Fox 5/WAGA-TV at midnight. So far, ratings have been decent in Atlanta, with “Dish Nation” finishing third last week behind Kimmel and the Tonight Show but ahead of Letterman and sitcoms in key demos and households. It’s set to air for six weeks before they decide whether to move forward with a full-season syndication deal.

The four morning shows also include Scott & Todd at WPLJ in New York, Blaine & Allyson at 96.3/WDVD-FM in Detroit, Felli Fel and Krystal Bee on Power 105.9 in Los Angeles. It’s a diverse group of radio hosts, providing a variety of viewpoints and jokes on specific topics. In a given 30-minute show, at least a dozen stories are touched upon and a celebrity interview from one of the shows is featured at the end.

“You get four comedic takes on the same story,” said executive producer Madeleine Smithberg, who co-created “The Daily Show.” “It’s fast-paced.”

Based on watching a few of the episodes, I have to say Todd is clearly a goofball and very funny. Blayne & Allyson have a natural rapport. Rickey Smiley and his team are always having a good time. In terms of humor, the weakest link in my mind is the crew out of Los Angeles of all places.

Smithberg said they send out topics the night before they want each team to talk about. They get shown clips. Then they just go. The show producers do a lot of editing, throwing in graphics and video based on what is said.

This format means Smiley has to talk about the Kardashians and “The Bachelorette” a bit more than he probably normally does. But he rolls with it. “We’re seasoned,” he said. “And we run a tight ship. We just take it and make it work. They’re not going to give us a topic we’re not familiar with.”

“He’s a force of nature,” Smithberg said.

On Tuesday’s show, for instance, they discuss Kim Kardashian: “Kim Kardashian: what is your obsession?” Smiley asks Gary with da T, one of his sidekicks.

“I’m sick of her,” Gary said.

“You would make love to her if you had a chance,” Smiley responded.

“Not in this lifetime!” Gary responded.

Smithberg said the breadth of personalities is what makes the show interesting. “This is America, man,” she said. “We are a hodgepodge. We’re all obsessed with the Kardashians – or not. This is a show that can poke a needle into the balloon and pop it and not have the reverence for entertainment some shows do.” (Then again, this isn’t nearly as cynical as, say, TMZ.)

On TV

“Dish Nation,” midnight, weekdays, WAGA-TV

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

8 comments Add your comment

Record Deal at the Funeral

August 3rd, 2011
11:31 pm

We Miss Robert!

Kelly

August 4th, 2011
1:11 pm

The Frank and Wanda show airs every night on WUPA/ CW69, not WATL.

Ky

August 4th, 2011
2:59 pm

@Record Deal at the Funeral I know right? lol.

TRUTH

August 4th, 2011
8:06 pm

Frank & Wanda are STILL on??!!! Lawd….

Mrsbanks

August 4th, 2011
10:30 pm

Dish Nation is hilarious…interesting to see other markets & dj’s

Gary B.

August 6th, 2011
3:48 am

This Show is a Mess ! The Humor is so forced its not very funny…and are they using a laugh track after every joke ? It should be off the air soon…Not funny !

Eric

August 7th, 2011
4:55 pm

I’ve taken notice of syndicated shows doing test runs. ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ had a 6-week test run in NYC, LA, Detroit, and DFW markets in 2008… before becoming a nationally syndicated talk show in 2009. The verdict is still out on ‘Dish Nation’… not sure if it’ll get a syndication deal, or if it’ll be canceled. Father Alberto Cutie is reportedly lined up to do a new daytime talker… test run of ‘The Father Albert Show’ will be contucted, in order to determine if it’ll become syndicated.

Yolanda

August 12th, 2011
5:42 pm

this show sucks in so many ways. that forced laughing that goes on and on and on HHaaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaaa punch line hasnt even been said yet. it is so fake they are trying to hard to be tmz funny you are not tmz funny “never” if they give them a show I want one too
I thought I was the only one that seen throug these fake laughing nuts you are not funny just be your self be your self be your self… its embarassing to watch you be fake

haaaaaa haaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaa I