Stanley Knox is a big fan of Texas Hold 'em, the hottest poker game going. Two weeks ago, when Knox got the pink slip with a couple of other members of his Morning Buzz team at KABZ-FM, 103.7, the Cincinnati native was holding a 2 of spades and a 3 of clubs as his hole cards.
Thanks to owner Minor Booth and manager Mike Brown of Legends Sports Bar and Grill, the Texas Hold 'em flop cards, as it were, have given Knox two pair. Time to go all in.
So, beginning on Aug. 14, "Stanley Knox … Live at Legends" will be broadcast on KWBP-TV, Channel 42, at 11:30 p.m., with a rebroadcast each week on KPAX on Sundays at 11 p.m. Booth has committed to four shows, then they'll see where they go after that.
Knox will interview a local celebrity, include a couple of stunts, such as man-on-the-street interviews a la Jay Leno, and feature a local band in the final segment of the 30-minute show. He has middleweight boxer Jermain Taylor lined up for the first show, and Joe Kleine, Paul Eells and Corliss Williamson on subsequent shows. Superflux, featuring sizzling hot lead singer Cara Hayes, will be the first band featured. Look for One Stone and Afrodesia later in the month.
Larger markets have locally produced variety/talk shows; Little Rock seems ready for it. The most obvious strike against possible success is that it hasn't landed on one of the four major affiliates, but Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports editor Wally Hall has made a success of his call-in show broadcast over Comcast cable.
Knox and his show will be taped before a live audience; the first show will be taped on Saturday, Aug. 7, immediately following a celebrity roast of Knox at Legends by David Bazzel, Jennings Osborne and car man Steve Landers. Superflux, since it's being taped for the show, will perform at the after-party.
Legends' Mike Brown says that even if Knox were still leading the Morning Buzz, a TV show with Knox was in the works. The production issues will be handled by the WB affiliate, and it's a natural promotion for the sports bar. The placement puts it opposite the last half hour of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," a part of the show that tends to be lame anyway, Knox and Brown note, and following Fox's "Mad TV."
Knox went to college in Pittsburgh and has worked in Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Phoenix, but has come to love living in Little Rock, he said. He adds that he hopes the TV show can help him make Little Rock his permanent home.
It will at least keep his name viable in the market if something in local morning or afternoon drive radio opened up. Radio stations are regularly shuffling personnel, as Knox knows full well.
He's just trying to play his cards right.
Knox, Chris Brown and producer Phlip Satchell lost their jobs at the Buzz in the aftershock of Satchell allegedly handing out pornographic videos at a Gay Pride parade in Conway on June 27, including allegedly giving one to a 16-year-old. Knox, though he was at a lake house with friends that weekend, apparently was dismissed by KABZ owner Philip Jonsson because he led the Morning Buzz show. Brown was in Conway with Satchell the day of the parade.
Knox has had nothing but positive words for the Buzz, admitting that what the team did was a mistake.
Brown, who has appeared as a regular guest on KMJX, Magic 105's Rock 'n' Roll breakfast, says she's exploring her options, and one may be to move back to Dallas, where she worked previously and where she has several friends and the job opportunities are more plentiful.
We haven't talked with Satchell, who had previously worked at Applebee's restaurant before hiring on as producer, which at the Buzz apparently evolved into "stuntman." It was Satchell who carried a cross from The Home Depot to the Buzz studio the day Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" opened in local theaters. That stunt reportedly cost the Buzz some advertising dollars.
"He apologized to Chris and me for costing us our jobs," Knox said.
The Morning Buzz's Free Breakfast Friday crew was back in Conway last week handing out more videos. This time the title was "Finding Nemo."
Justin Acri, the weekend sports anchor at KATV, Channel 7, retained his Morning Buzz spot. He's temporarily joined by Ken Silverstein, a Cleveland native, until KABZ's new program director arrives early next month.
Silverstein has a strong sports acumen and has a great radio voice, but the show isn't completely going all sports, as some occasional listeners might believe.
Obviously, when the Razorbacks and pro football kick off, sports is going to take up the conversations of most local call-in shows, but the Morning Buzz will continue to feature entertainment segments and other news. I'll continue to report on the local entertainment happenings every Friday beginning at 7 a.m.
The KATV-Powerhouse Gym weight challenge update: I'm down 16 pounds since May 17, down almost 6 percent body fat. That's after a previous bad week when I went up slightly, as did the entire men's team, and we fell behind the fired-up women's team. It's going to be a fierce fight down the stretch; we're four weeks from the finish line.