Robservations on the media beat:
An Off-Broadway play inspired by legendary Chicago journalist Carol Marin’s interviews with a former Death Row inmate is getting rave reviews in New York. "Natural Life,” written by Eduardo Ivan Lopez, recounts how the reporter (renamed Rita Hathaway) brought to light the shocking abuse suffered by Guinevere Garcia (renamed Claire McGreely) before she murdered her husband and daughter. Marin’s stories prompted Governor Jim Edgar to commute Garcia’s death sentence hours before her scheduled execution in January 1996. “I think they honored Guin’s truth,” Marin said of the play, which she saw earlier this month. “They raise truly serious questions, because there are so many people in prison — men and women — who have been sexually abused by family members and whose lives are utterly warped as a result.” Added Marin: “It certainly is strange to sit in an audience and watch someone play you onstage.”
Viewers who tuned in to 10 p.m. newscasts for primary election coverage Tuesday may have felt like victims of a bait-and-switch. I know I did. Instead of wall-to-wall election results, local stations opted for overkill on weather reporting, prompted by a tornado warning in Kankakee County. (No touchdowns were confirmed Tuesday night.) News seekers seethed on social media. The Nielsen totals: From 10 to 10:30 p.m. ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 led with a 9.2 rating (319,718 households), followed by NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 with an 8.9 rating (309,292 households), Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9 with a 3.8 rating (132,057 households), CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 with a 3.3 rating (114,681 households), and Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 with a 1.2 rating (41,702 households). NBC 5 won big among viewers between 25 and 54.
Colleagues at WXRT FM 93.1 honored Terri Hemmert Wednesday on her 40 years at the CBS Radio adult album alternative station. “It's actually 43, but who's counting?” she laughed. “I was on the all-night shift then so I probably slept through the first three years anyway.” The legendary midday personality and Radio Hall of Famer will host “The History of Rock and Soul,” a series of concerts by Chicago A Cappella, based on the popular college course Hemmert has taught for decades. The series starts April 15 in Oak Park, with subsequent venues in Evanston, Chicago and Naperville. For tickets: chicagoacappella.org.
Good news for fans of Mark Bazer: The host of “The Interview Show” on the first Friday of every month at the Hideout for the last eight years, is coming to television. Starting April 8, “The Interview Show” will air at 8:30 p.m. Fridays (following “Check, Please!”) on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. Bazer also is a freelance writer and an editorial director for Leo Burnett. Earlier he co-hosted “My Chicago,” WTTW’s weekly talk show on wheels, with Odette Yousef.
It’s love in bloom, as Kup used to say, for two of the best journalists in town. Sun-Times reporters Rummana Hussain and Mick Dumke announced their engagement Thursday. “Even though it's been official for awhile, it's safe to say it's ‘official’ official now,” Hussain told Facebook friends. “We're excited to celebrate with a few dear ones next month and our closest 500-600 friends in August — the Indian way.” Added Dumke: “The news is breaking and I'm thrilled to confirm it: The beautiful Rummana Hussain and I are getting married next month. Yes, it's fantastic.”