Dispatches from the Control Room – January 28

* Oh, I see. Now that it’s “Ben’s Breakfast Blog,” Web Czar Marcus wants to join in. Pretty soon, he’ll start following me around and stealing my identity, like that movie, “Single White Female.” I have not seen this film, but I’m fairly sure my analogy is accurate.

Besides, Marcus, don’t you have anything better to do on a Saturday night? I expect to be sitting home with a jug of jelly beans, rocking back and forth while I stare at pictures from the last vacation I took (May, 2005). But you must get out of your home. Go, Marcus! Live! Live for me!

* Today was a horrifically slow news day. We’re still running off the fumes of Obama’s South Carolina victory Saturday. All of us were scraping the barrel to fill the shows today. Do you have a decent story to share? At this point, I’m willing to call someone up at 4:30 a.m. and have them thrill us with a list of things they ate the previous day.

* This was the first day we advertised the e-mail address, “bettersex@nbc5.com”. As previously mentioned, we’ll take your sex and relationship questions and feed them to world-renowned expert Dr. Laura Berman. As a bonus, I’ll get to read those e-mails, too, so make ’em steamy. And include pictures. You know what? They don’t even have to be true. Just make something up. E-mail us.

Executive Producer Wendy suggested when we run the graphic with the e-mail address, we should have some music. But I told her I like in-house promos like I like my women: silent and awkward.

* Today I talked into Dick’s earpiece to correct a news item we’d gotten a little wrong. He said on the air, “When Ben whispers in my ear, I get a little creeped out.” You and all the women in Chicago, Dick.

* Tonight is President Bush’s State of the Union address. I would give $20 if he’d just walk up to the podium and say, “Bad.”

* We ran a story today about a woman in Pennsylvania who has taken in 58 stray cats. She had to move to a bigger house to accomodate them all. I bet her place smells great, and I’m sure she has an active social life.

* This morning, we were treated to a guest appearance by Assignment Editor Jill. Two years ago, I made a bet with Jill that Taylor Hicks would beat Katherine McPhee to win “American Idol.” Initially, the wager was $5. But Jill wanted to press her luck. She insisted we go for something bigger. So I told her the loser would have to buy the debut CD of the winning artist and give it to the winner. Of course, Taylor won (as did I). Funny thing – Jill never bought me my Taylor Hicks CD. So when I see her, I usually walk alongside her and raise my eyebrows. And she laughs and promises to bring me the CD the next time she sees me. She fills in like once a month, tops. And she conveniently forgets every time. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want her babysitting my children, if I had any.

* Also today, we were discussing the case of the latest illegal immigrant to hole up inside a West Side church. Producer Carol suggested the authorities should just go in and get her. “She’s not immortal. She’s not protected on sacred ground,” she said.

This is a reference to “The Highlander,” and Carol should be ashamed of herself. That movie was awful. I tried explaining that to her and she started singing Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever” from the soundtrack.

Fun fact: Katherine McPhee also sang that during Queen Week on “American Idol.” This reminds me of my bet with Jill, and the fact that I still don’t have Taylor Hicks’ CD.

* Thrilling response for my tour of the studio Friday. Two whole comments. I’d have gotten a better response by posting recipes at which I’ve attempted and failed.

This next part is about to get boring, so you’ve been warned…

To answer lazynbc5junkie, I imagine those cameras aren’t seen on HAL’s screens because Studio 5 is under construction. I have no idea what they’re doing over there, although I hear it involves a disco ball. HAL lives in a brand new control room. It’s very pretty, but not terribly producer-friendly. There is no single person dedicated to controlling the cameras. It’s a two-man operation (the director and their assistant move them when need be). We’ve installed an HD graphics package, which is just a stretched out version of our regular graphics. These things sometimes look goofy in regular definition, but I assume all the kinks will be worked out soon. No new music on the horizon, unless you count the music we’re using for bumpers in the mornings. And yes, you can come and hang out every morning, so long as you get a job here. Take mine.

For mattrock2003, I’ll post those pictures tomorrow. The Telemundo set is more or less adjacent to the NBC5 set, as you’ll see. Obviously, Studio 5 is over on Michigan Avenue, so it’s nowhere near Telemundo town. My desk was annexed as part of the “En Contexto” set. It’s fun because I enjoy having my possessions moved at the whim of people I’ve never met.

4 responses to “Dispatches from the Control Room – January 28

  1. Don’t be too upset with only two comments on Friday’s blog. It was the end of the week and we we all ready for a weekend – we were all out of comments for the blog. Just think – no one picked on you in the comments – there’s a positive. :-) For what it’s worth – I enjoyed the picture and blog of the NBC studios.

    Don’t get upset with Marcus – no one even commented on his blog – at least you’ve had comments.

    I think you’re going to be having a little fun with this segment with Dr. Laura Berman. Looking to pick up a few pointers? (LOL)

  2. lazynbc5junkie

    Ok. I’ll take your job in December. Ill be 16 then, legal working age. And maybe all of the HAL issues will be worked out by then.

    You guys should have done a real HD graphics package. Not your old one(I never liked it).

    Oh and What I ment by hang out is just kinda loiter. Stand in the newsroom wave at the cameras….you know studio 5 but inside :)

    I do wish I Could come down. Went to ABC on Friday and go a tour….its SMALL!

    See ya!

  3. Geez Jakki, thx for pointing that out that I got no comments on my blog… I mean it certainly didn’t compare to the buzz and excitement you generated on the Cubs blog.. :)

  4. Ouch – but unfortunately you’re right. I’m sorry Marcus – I was just trying to make Ben feel better about Friday’s lack of comments. I was just trying to get him to have a more positive attitude – is that even possible? (LOL – no wonder his dating life is suffering)

    Speaking of the cubs blog (which Ben will probably get upset I mentioned in his blog – LOL) we’re going to have to do something to get more people commenting on it – not sure what but it needs to be good this year. The only time things got going a little was with the Cubs/Sox series but it got a little hostile with those south side fans so I don’t know if I want to go that route again. LOL

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