Published on Monday, 11 June 2012 10:42
Chicago will soon have its very own late night TV talk show, "Seven on Ridge," hosted by Michael Essany. The new hour-long talk show will air each weeknight at 10:30pm on WJYS-TV exclusively in the Chicagoland market, premiering on September 17th.
The show looks to be a traditional late night TV talk show, with a host who delivers a monologue and interviews guests, a band, a sidekick, and a studio audience. The main difference is that the show will be very Chicago-centric, unlike most talks shows, which are produced in New York or Los Angeles studios, with either East Coast or West Coast audiences.
The host will be Michael Essany, star of the 1997-2002 local cable access production "The Michael Essany Show," which was later picked up and aired on the E! network for it's last two seasons of 2003-2004. That show, started when Essany was just a teenager, had the young host interviewing extremely big name celebrities in a TV talk show filmed inside his parent's living room in Valparaiso, IN. The underground popularity of that show allowed Essany to appear nationally on TV shows such as "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Today," "Oprah," A&E's "Biography," entertainment news magazine shows, and more. The new "Seven on Ridge" show will be an expansion of Essany's original show, but filmed on an actual TV studio set... and not by his parents.
The show hopes to make use of Michael Essany's unique ability to attract nationally-known big name stars to stop by the show, as well as having guests on that are Chicagoland celebrities and lesser known local acts.
In addition to being the host, Michael Essany also serves as the Co-Executive Producer of the program. When he's not in front of a camera, trying to be the next Johnny Carson, Essany is the Vice President of Indiana Grain Company, LLC in Valparaiso, where he has worked since January 2008. Essany, 29, graduated Magna cum Laude from Valparaiso University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He, along with his wife and young daughter, still live in northern Indiana where he was born & raised.
Michael Essany said in a recent statement: "Chicago deserves to be represented in late night. I'm excited to be part of a program that
will deliver something fresh and innovative to late night in the greatest city in the world."
For "Seven on Ridge," one aspect that will make the show different will be the announcer/sidekick. That role will not be played by a human. Much like how "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" uses an animatronic robot skeleton with a live voice behind it as its sidekick, the new WJYS-TV talk show will use a 10-foot tall animatronic rooster sidekick named Kaka.
The show may have a lower budget than the national late night TV talk shows, but it has wasted no expense on its in-house music. "Seven on Ridge" will be utilizing a live, 21 piece orchestra, along with six vocalists to begin and end each segment. The Seven on Ridge Orchestra is led by Terry Tritt, aka Sonny Lee, the well-known Chicago area saxophonist.
Also looking higher-budget than many national shows is the expansive set for "Seven on Ridge." The three-part setup has a center stage for the orchestra and monologue, a couch and desk arrangement for interviews on stage right, and a performance stage to the far left. The audience set up will have numerous tables for drinks and food upfront, along with regular seating behind them. The feel that producers are going for is that of an upscale Midwestern supper club from the 1950s/1960s.
For now, the set is being completed at a secret Chicagoland location, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. Details on tickets & reservations for being part of the audience for these nightly shows will be made available at that time. Each night's show will begin taping at 7:00pm, ending between 8:00pm-8:30pm, for airing later that night at 10:30pm.
"Seven on Ridge" marks a bold experiment for WJYS-TV, as the station is not known for original programming. For the most part, WJYS-TV airs little more than religious programming, with some infomercials and brokered programming mixed in. WJYS-TV is independently owned & operated by Oxford Media Group Inc., licensed to Hammond, IN, but headquartered in Tinley Park, IL. The station broadcasts from Willis Tower, with is strong signal reaching all of the Chicago market, well into Wisconsin, most of northwest Indiana and even into the southwest tip of Michigan. Even with its impressive signal, the station's ratings are nearly non-existent. "Seven on Ridge" looks to help change that, at least in the evenings.
Late last year, Essany and the "Seven on Ridge" backers approached WYJS-TV about this brave local television experiment. An arrangement was made that benefited all involved. Because of that, starting September 17th, Chicago area television viewers will be able to check out the most exciting new local TV project since the debut of WLS-TV's "Windy City Live"
in May of last year.
Crystal Green, speaking on behalf of the WJYS Board of Directors, said: "WJYS is proud to bring 'Seven on Ridge' to Chicago viewers this fall. The show will not only be a completely original must-see viewing experience for fans of late night talk, it will also dramatically alter the landscape of original programming in Chicago television."
She added: "For too long, Chicago has been overlooked in late night, never taking its rightful place along with New York and Los Angeles. That all changes this September and we couldn't be more excited to provide the platform for this sorely needed brand of entertainment."
WJYS-TV can be seen over the air on channel 62.1, as well as via all cable and satellite providers in the Chicagoland area.
For more information on "Seven on Ridge," visit the show's new website at this link HERE