The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Wait Wait to TV?

By Karl Klockars in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 9, 2008 6:30PM

waitwaitphone090908.jpgI was driving through central Michigan this weekend, when the Sunday afternoon host blurted out a rumor floating through the halls of NPR about a possible transition to television for Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. Was this a slip? Was someone supposed to muzzle this unwitting sap before he spilled the beans? No matter what, we now know that the hit WBEZ show has arranged to film a pilot episode has been talking with CBS about maybe making it into a series.

Phil Rosenthal at the Trib reports that Wait Wait will indeed be taking a cue from fellow WBEZ show This American Life and putting together a visual version of the weekly news quiz. Does this mean that we'll be getting Carl Kasell's voice on our DVRs as well as our home answering machines? Peter Sagal's witty banter with Paula Poundstone and Adam Felber in full 2-D glory instead of just in the theater of the mind? Could be. Will the nation want to see what Roy Blount Jr. and Charlie Pierce actually look like? Perhaps.

Sagal does seem a touch hesitant about the whole process. From his blog:

From the very beginning, and from the very top, all we’ve heard is that CBS loves our radio show, and wants us to keep it just the same as it’s been. Which is actually proving a little difficult, as we work through the plans… ya know, because TV, it’s a different medium. However: if and when it ever airs (and remember, most pilots never air) you will see (and hear, because most TVs have a sound feature now) myself, and Carl Kasell, and members of our panel, and silly games, and bad jokes, and my girlish giggle.

No matter what it looks like, it's certain that any network would be happy to tap into the millions of weekly listeners across the country as an instant fan base. Not to mention being able to get their hands on that pile of advertiser cash dying to reach that sweet, sweet, public radio demographic. As admitted fans of the show, we'd love to see it reach a broader audience. However, if you want to see how it's produced right now, hie thee to the Chase Auditorium before the cast gets huge The Hills-size egos and won't be seen on the same dais together. Can't wait for the Roxanne Roberts/Kyrie O'Connor catfight.