Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Nick Clooney Show

The biggest local show on TV for grown-ups when I was a kid was THE 50-50 CLUB aka THE RUTH LYONS SHOW. That legendary lady retired in 1967 leaving Bob Braun to carry her show forward for another couple of decades. I watched them because my Mom watched them when she was home but they were "old people's shows" or so it seemed. When Nick Clooney, a former co-star of the 50-50 CLUB who had left Cincinnati for more opportunities to shine, returned in 1969 he got his own competing show on WCPO. It wasn't really that much different but it was it was mine.

Nick was, of course, Rosemary Clooney's brother and he was both a good entertainer and a good host. His show was a talk a show and a variety show, aired live daily and soon enough he was attracting major guests. For reasons I can't recall, he left the station in the early seventies. Due to a non-compete clause, he was unable to appear on local TV for a year afterwards. While that might be death to some celebrities, Nick was welcomed back with open arms when he premiered the revised and improved version of his show on WKRC-TV a year later. Although he was once again successful, by the end of the decade Nick had unexpectedly morphed into the city's leading news anchor which he remained until being wooed to the West Coast. He would return as a deejay, a national movie host, a newspaper columnist, an author, a politician and a social activist. To most Americans who know Nick Clooney at all, he's just George's Dad. In Cincinnati, we know better. 

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