Thursday, March 12, 2009

Montel Williams joins Air America

Apparently, the rumors have been confirmed and former television talk show host and author Montel Williams will join the regular Air America lineup.

Williams' show, "Montel Across America", will debut in the 9A-12P timeslot on April 6, and will replace Lionel, who is reportedly developing a new show for the network.

From the press release:

“Montel is a multi-media star and a familiar name to millions of people across the country,” said Bennett Zier, chief executive officer of Air America Media. “The addition of Montel to our talent line-up is an important step for the continued growth of Air America, as we look to distribute Montel’s show across America.”

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to add such a talented, passionate voice to our programming line-up,” added Bill Hess, senior vice president of programming for Air America Media. “This program will give Montel an outlet to do what he does best--reach people with his probing questions and insatiable quest for knowledge.”

“After being on television for more than 17 years, I’m looking forward to engaging in lively conversations and interacting with the American public,” said Williams. “Air America is providing me with the perfect environment to do this every day from New York City, as well as reporting from cities around the world as a travelling correspondent.”

And in other TV-turned-radio talker news, Jerry Springer, who once held down the same slot on Air America to be taken over by Williams, is back in radio, albeit temporarily. You can hear him do the 1-4P CT shift on Chicago's WGN (720AM) this week, though this will not be permanent, as Springer has no desire to return to radio.


jvwalt said...

Will Montel give up his high-profile Big Pharma endorsement deal? He's on TV constantly touting their drug-assistance-for-the-poor program which has been described to me by health care professionals as worthless.

To me, he's going to have to get off the Big Pharma Bus to be believable as a progressive talker.

ctk said...

i can't speak for you. but to me, providing prescription drugs at low cost to the poor and underprivileged sounds VERY progressive.

to put another spin on it, who could you see being a spokesman for a program like that, a liberal or a conservative? i can see your average conservative hawking drugs, but i can't see them hawking for drugs at low cost to people who can't afford them without going through the insurance companies.

Jill said...

Thereby proving that even though Air America still has Sam Seder and Marc Maron in their stable -- the only two people left from the original AAR and the only two with a truly loyal fan base, they are still capable of making monumentally dumbass decisions. I wonder if Williams is buying in the way Springer did.

pureprairie said...

I miss Al Franken. Wait a minute! Didn't he win that MN Senate seat last fall?

tmode93 said...

Is Maury Povich available ?

Wonder where Lionel ends up ? He works best at night but that could be a mistake putting him against Malloy and Colmes leaving him few open affiliates. Maybe a midnight to 3 am program since only overnight "lib-talker" is Joey Reynonds? Would be a nice alternative to Ghost to Ghost AM.

jvwalt said...

ctk: In the abstract, "providing prescription drugs at low cost to the poor and underprivileged" is, indeed, progressive. However, the Pharma program is basically a PR-driven effort to counter the industry's lousy image.

As I said, the program seems to provide few benefits to few people. And Williams is the public face of this campaign. He's helping Big Pharma greenwash its image. And that is not progressive.

Linda said...

Any idea of Lionel's plans? (I am so disgusted with Air America's obvious bias against intelligence, wit, creativity, cultural literacy...)

FSL said...

I'm still trying to figure out why anybody should care what Air America does here. AAR has never gotten traction in that time period. Almost all stations which still have the progressive talk format run Stephanie Miller in that time period. For all practical purposes, she owns the day-part, and she launched her show after AAR started.
Some moves smack of desperation and hiring talent based on name recognition is one of them. Name recognition is why they hired Jerry and Lionel. We all know how well they worked out.
Insanity: Continuing to take the same actions while expecting a different outcome.
Put a fork in AAR. It's done.

ltr said...

I'm still trying to figure out why anybody should care what Air America does here.

Well, obviously you care. You can't stop talking about it.

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