Tuesday, October 10, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Big Chuck and Lil John Farewell?

OMW hears from a reliable source that long-time WJW/8 late night/weekend hosts "Big Chuck" Schodowski and "Lil' John" Rinaldi may be heading off into the TV sunset next summer.

The departure would appear to come due to pressure from FOX, which bought the station in that whole New World/Storer deal in the mid-90's.

OMW hears that after years of that pressure, local management on South Marginal Road has finally acceded to the wishes of the FOX corporate brass, and is not renewing the contracts of Schodowski and Rinaldi.

We hear the end of "Big Chuck and Lil' John" on FOX 8 could come by July 2007.

The show, in some form or another, spans generations. When your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was growing up, the late night movie/comedy show was "Hoolihan and Big Chuck", which had grown out of the popular "Ghoulardi" show (where Chuck was a staffer).

When Bob "Hoolihan" Wells scooted off to Florida, local jeweler and show skit staple "Lil John" took over...

30 comments:

74WIXYgrad said...

Hopefully WJW will give the show the sendoff it deserves. Maybe there will be DVD sets of the skits available in the near future.

Anonymous said...

The classic "ha-ha-ha!" laughtrack (apparently recorded by then-WKYC/1100 jock Jay Laurence) is priceless. I would love to get an MP3 of that...

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

Too bad. I rarely watch, but it is too bad that TV and deregulated-voicetracked radio have very little local flavor anymore.

Anonymous said...

But why cut the show? If you think about it, they like Goddard are apart of television history and if you look at their past 40+ years on the air it should make fox very proud to have them. BTW I read somewhere that when Arsenio Hall performed majic when he was 12 years old on big chuck's show. I also read that both Casey Casem and Paul Newman had worked for WJW. Now can someone please confirm thiese little facts because trying to research for the answer is getting nowhere.

newsnomore said...

Paul Newman never worked for WJW. However, Casey Casem worked there when WJW Channel 8 was WXEL Channel 9.

Casey hosted an afternoon movie show.

Anonymous said...

Casey Kasem was actually at WJW's old AM partner, WJW/850, in 1959. He took over a 8p-12:30a time slot once made popular by Alan Freed and Pete "Mad Daddy" Meyers.

He left WJW-AM in 1960, right when they flipped to an easy-listening format.

Tim Conway was at WJW-TV, along with Ghoulardi, in the early 60's. Apparently Tim (and Ernie) tried to lure Chuck to L.A. with the both of them, but Chuck decided to stay in Cleveland - and at WJW.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

Would this mean the saturday AM show just the skits will be replaced wih news since ch 8 is one of the few O&o's without a saturday AM news.

Maybe they will keep them on in some form kind of what they did with one tank trips with Niel Zurker

Anonymous said...

Could this mean Tim Conway and maybe Drew Carrey will come back for a final show? Since Drew is a big fan and Tim was once apart of the show can we hopefully see a big send off?

newsnomore said...

I stand correct. It was Alan Freed who hosted the move on Channel 9, not Casey.
;-)

VODood said...

Paul Newman's father owned Newman Sporting Goods in Cleveland. But Newman left soon after high school to do summer stock, NYC, etc, history as we know it, etc.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS SAD NEWS FOR WJW TV 8 and the whole entire community

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing up who used to work there and who did not. I apprieate it. At the new offical fox 8 webpage (the beta is now gone) the history section has changed from the old site. it is not as detailed but they added video: http://www.myfoxcleveland.com/myfox/pages/InsideFox/AboutUs?pageId=5.1

If you go to you tube (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wjw , http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Big+Chuck+and+Lil%27+John&search=Search, or http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Ghoulardi&search=Search )you see some classic clips of big chuck little john, and Ghoulardi. Who actually owns all of the big chuck and liitle john/ Ghoulardi clips?

newsnomore said...

All the info you need to know can be found on the Big Chuck and Lil John Web site.

Nathan, it also includes the laughtrack, which can be found at the bottom of the home page.

http://www.bigchuckandliljohn.com/

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping somebody in Cleveland has the sense to sign these two guys...I would check out what they were up to if I was sufing the channels..its something that is unique to Cleveland, and hopefully will be continued in some form..

Uncle Charlie's nephew said...

The question to ask is, why would a big company such as Fox arbritrarily and capriciously dump such a popular program?

I don't know, but I would guess that maybe the ratings might be down, and the ad revenue is not as good as it used to be?

In business, the name of the game is profit!

Anonymous said...

It might have to do with image. When it comes to FOX/MY-TV O&O's WJW is different in that they have a metrologist that has been on staff for over 35+ years, a local show that traces its roots back to the early 60's, the only O&O station owned by FOX that produces news in HD due to a need to upgrade equipment, and an image and concenseus that loves to foster and grow local talent and feels that local talet should stay here. This all does not really fit with the coprorate FOX/Newscorp image of young,hip, and cookie cutter station approach of Rupert Murdock and Mahoning valley native Roger Alies who is directly is in charge of WJW.
No offensie to Dick Goddard, Willia Smith, Tim Taylor, Big Chuck, or little John who are all the best at what they do but the bigwigs at FOX want a younger hip on air personalities that advertisers seek after. It is a damn shame but it is true.

Anonymous said...

Channel 55?
Wouldn't suprise me one bit if they picked 'em up!
They would seem the most likely

Anonymous said...

The problem with WBNX is they are quicky moving away from shows like this as well. BTW why is the ghoul no longer on WBNX? If WBNX was not commited to the CW and the newer stuff shows like Big Chuck & Little John, the Ghoul, a ten o'clock news and local programming and a line up like a traditional independent would fit perfectly and is what Cleveland TV needs and craves for. Maybe the soon to be on air WBNX-DT 30.2?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason why ch 8 is not rewnewing Big Chuck & Little John is because they are going ahead with the new 9 AM news (I have read the new FOX AM show will air at 10 AM) and they are only given so many local hours to play with or they donot have much room in the budget for all of the local programming.

Anonymous said...

The Cat, put the show on the Cat!

74WIXYgrad said...

One thing I have noticed in all these comments, and that is nobody has mentioned the fact that Big Chuck is 72 years old. I know for a fact that he is a very devoted family man. Perhaps he doesn't want to do this any more and instead spend time with his family.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone realized big chuck's age (I know I didn't). But indeed it could be their decision on wanting to retire.

Anonymous said...

I grew-up with Hoolihan & Big Chuck and when it became Big Chuck &Lil John,it truly is a sad day in local tv for the end of such a great locally produced program that never crossed the line with the skits they would perform. As for them going elsewhere I doubt it will happen. Go out on top continue with your commercials for Pizza Pan and Ohio State Waterproofing. It would be nice maybe 4 times a year specials with them on FOX but again sad to say I doubt it. They out lasted The Ghoul,Superhost and even Johnny Carson. Fox is slowly pushing the vets out Zurcher,John O'Day,Tim Taylor,Bob Cerminara now BC/LJ. Wilma is probably next,along with Gary Stromburg,Belinda Prinze. 25-54 CONTROLS EVERYTHING IN THE RADIO AND TV BUSINESS TOO BAD THAT THE ONES THEY COURT FOR COMMERCIAL DOLLARS ARE THE ONE'S IN DEBT.

Anonymous said...

this may be outside the box but S-T-O should pick them up and wind their bits around sports related movies.....

i bet it would be a hit and sell well

74WIXYgrad said...

Only reason I realized Chuck's age is because his son Mike graduated a year later than myself from Medina Highland.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that WJW fought for a long time to keep this show on the air. Chuck is in his 70's and all good things must come to an end.

I doubt another station would pick this up, because the fact is, WJW would still hold the rights to the "old skits" and that is the most popular part of the show.

a clevelander said...

Stupid Decision!!!

STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!

Anonymous said...

How assinine is this?? Does anyone realize how hard it is to build goodwill with locally BELOVED tv personalities? And how easy it is to hold a grudge against the station/network for forcing them off the air? Geez, you have recognizable faces, you USE them...not diss them. FOX just doesn't "get it."

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it's just the way of the world. I resigned myself to this long ago.

Two of the most "recognizable faces" on WJW (I still can't bring myself to call it "FOX 8")--Dick Goddard and Big Chuck--are in their 70s. Two more "recognizable faces"--Lil' John and Wilma Smith--are well into their 50s (and Wilma Smith may have been at BGSU at the same time as my dad, which would actually put her in her early 60s).

I can understand the upper management over the head of WJW wanting to shake things up for the younger demographic.

That hardly makes it right, however.

The idea of "local institutions," "the names you know and trust," and other ideas like those, all seem to be hitting the wayside. And now, the last link to old-fashioned non-news local television may be dying as well.

I hope FOX likes the cookie-cutter nationwide approach they're taking and they enjoy all their profits, while the viewers are stuck with bland local television with absolutely no color. The McDonald and Wal-Marting of America continues unabated . . .

The Certain Ethnic Guy said...

I watched the show since it started in 1966. It will be a very sad day in Northeast Ohio when these gentlemen, who are a virtual Cleveland institution, finally retire. They will be sorely missed. But they have earned their retirement, and we're grateful for so many years of laughter. I for one am not at all fond of the FOX network. They have already done enough damage to the profession of newsgathering with their ridiculous propaganda cable channel. Now it appears they want to ruin local broadcasting as well with their fast-food approach to entertainment. They hurt the Chuck & John show by moving them to Saturdays and forcing them to run the most God-awful movies. Once Chuck and John are retired, no doubt what FOX chooses to replace them will be worthless crap. I for one will definitely NOT be watching after the Big Chuck & Lil John show ends.