Local expert on viral videos and penis enjoyment ABC 26 News is debuting a new show tonight in its latest attempt to boost ratings. ABC 26 will take your fake bath salts, WDSU, and raise you a News With a Twist: a lighthearted program complete with booze and a "barroom inspired" set from the same decorating team behind The Real World: New Orleans house (Blaine Kern Fever Dreams & Associates).
Actually, New Orleans folk artist Simon Hardeveld was behind the set design (he's featured in this month's CUE), according to an article in today's Times-Picayune. Besides [The House of Blues' idea of] indigenous New Orleans art and a staircase to nowhere (which I think could use a few Mardi Gras beads), the set also includes a bar, barstools, liquor bottles and "beer-bottle-cap filigree." So, it seems the "twist" here — SPOILER ALERT — is booze. Emulating former WWL-TV anchor Hota Kotb's current Today Show gig, drinking will be a large aspect of the show in the form of a "cocktail of the day" and a closing segment called "Last Call." It even seems from the show's preview (here) that hosts Susan Roesgen and LeBron "LBJ" Joseph are already a little toasty — Roesgen even let out a "Woo hoo!," which we all recognize as the wine-drunk mom's battle cry. It's five o'clock somewhere, amiright?! (Actually, it is five o'clock somewhere. The show airs at 6 p.m.)
A departure from more serious features like The Wheel of Justice, News With a Twist will be more about “what people are talking about, not the breaking news of the day,” according to executive producer Jeff Hamburger. News director Rick Erbach says it's “kind of a slice of what’s happening today in the city.” Like a slice of king cake! Le bon temps roule, cher!
In another parallel to Kotb, veteran anchor Roesgen — who has worked for WDSU, the National Geographic Channel, CNN and the local NPR affiliate WWNO FM — is trying out a fluffy gig in News With a Twist, hosting alongside KMEZ 106.7 host Joseph. While working for CNN in 2009, she inflamed conservatives after reporting at a Chicago Tea Party rally, where she aggressively interviewed attendees and mentioned the rally was being heavily promoted by Fox News (video below). Dave Walker mentioned in the article that a situation like the one in Chicago is not likely to happen on News With a Twist.
The show airs at 6 p.m. tonight on ABC 26. Kevin Allman contributed to this report.