Briefs: Escape becomes Court TV Mystery, new Star 94.1 PD, Laughing Skull has Pete Davidson, ‘Conan’ -approved comics

Originally posted Thursday, September 19, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Atlanta-based Katz Broadcasting, which relaunched Court TV earlier this year from a long hibernation, is rebranding its Escape channel as Court TV Mystery starting September 30. 

Since Escape launched in 2014, it had geared itself to crime and mystery so the content will not change significantly. Its current schedule features “The FBI Files,” “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Without a Trace,” “Boston Legal,” “Forensic Files” and “American Greed.” 

“The First 48” will be part of the new schedule and anchor prime time. New original programming will be added as well under the Court TV brand. 

The original Court TV focuses on live trials and analysis of current crime cases.

"Court TV Mystery will continue to focus on true-crime programming but will now be powered by one of the most recognizable brands in television history," said Jonathan Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Katz Networks, in a press release. "While increasing consumer recognition, aligning the two networks also creates increased marketing and co-promotional strength and the ability to naturally share content.”

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INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 27: Pete Davidson poses in the press room during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 27, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson is doing two shows at the Laughing Skull Lounge tonight. The 8 p.m. is sold out but there are a handful of seats remaining for the 10:30 p.m.

“His people reached out to us two days ago” said Marshall Chiles, owner of Laughing Skull. “He was in town doing something and wanted to test out some stuff.” [He has a role in the film “Suicide Squad.”]

In other comedy news,Conan O’Brien is highlighting 70 comics in 10 cities October 3-5, 2019, including several at Laughing Skull Lounge. Tickets are available for each 8 p.m. show.

*Where most clubs are doing a single headliner, the Laughing Skull Lounge will be doing the same five comedians, each doing 20 minutes because we have become primarily a showcase model club,” said Ben Evans, manager of the Laughing Skull Lounge. “Our audience has become accustomed to, and often prefers seeing a more diverse line up as opposed to just one performer doing a longer set.

Three of the performing comedians have appeared on “Conan” before: former Atlantan Caleb Synan, Dina Hashe and  Rell Battle. Evans said the other two are a pair of Atlanta's best up and coming comedians -- Katie Hughes and David Perdue.

Photo: LEFT: AJC photo of politician David Perdue; comic David Perdue on right (credit: Perdue)

And no, this is not Sen. David Perdue. He just happens to have the same name. And as the photo above shows, they look nothing alike. 

“It’s the best and worst thing to ever happen to me,” said Perdue, the comic who has been doing stand-up for nine years. “I get so many angry direct messages thinking they are getting to him. It’s ridiculous.”
Sometimes, he’ll respond by asking them to come to his comedy show. And he’s made a few jokes on stage about it.

He said his name has been a source of mockery since he was a kid, courtesy of Frank Perdue and his chickens, Perdue Hall at Morehouse College and former Gov. Sonny Perdue. And now there’s the dude with his exact name. 

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After a months-long search, Star 94.1’s new program director is Jerry McKenna. He spent most of his career in New England. 

McKenna starts September 30. He takes over for Ron Roberts, who lasted at Star for about a year. 

Star, which turned over almost its entire daytime on-air staff recently including Jeff Dauler, has not seen particularly good ratings of late, behind the other three pop stations in town B98.5, Q100 and Power 96.1. 

McKenna’s last job was at Cape Cod Broadcasting as director of programming for more than five years. Before that, he was operations manager and regional program director for Cumulus/Worcester and Springfield, Mass. clusters. And he spent many years at Kiss 108 and WZOU in Boston. 

In the 1990s, he was also Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart manager and director of Airplay Monitor. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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