Despite its pubic access cable origins, for nearly four years "Inside Broadway" has been perhaps the most prestigious cable show about theatre on New York television. Casting director Susan Haskins co-hosts the program with Daily News theatre reporter, Michael Riedel.
Now the show will be broadcast on WNET's channel 13, Thursday mornings at 12:30 AM, beginning Nov.6. Renamed "Theatre Talk," the program will still tape from the same cable studio facilities.
Michael Riedel, who started as managing editor of "Theatre Week" and can currently be seen in a weekly segment on CNN Financial Network's Biz Buzz program (Mondays, 12-1 PM), likened Theatre Talk to those "Sunday morning roundtables about news and politics. It's `Meet The Press' on Broadway."
Already in the can are taped interviews with John Kander & Fred Ebb, Peter Stone & John Weidman, with Elaine Paige, Christopher Durang also booked for the upcoming weeks. The first episode will offer critic Martin Gottfried discussing the work choreographer, Bob Fosse, and there will be regular appearances by major New York reviewers in a monthly roundtable discussion.
Michael Riedel told Playbill On-Line why "Theatre Talk" differs from other cable theatre shows: "Most of the so-called theatre reporters doing these shows are fans. The shows are . . . hippy-dippy theatre fan clubs, and they forget theatre is a business. Yes, it's a business with fun people who have big egos and lots of money, but it's a business. Theatre Talk is a news show -- but one that also understands the glamor and pizzazz of Broadway." In the four years Riedel and producer Haskins have been doing the show, some guests have had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts, but no invitees have ever turned them down due to Riedel's no-nonsense grilling. "Neil Simon told me I was the toughest interview he ever had," Riedel proudly added. "He said I asked tough questions, but I also gave him a chance to respond."
For more information on the show, viewers can TheaterTlk@aol.com.
-- By David Lefkowitz