TV briefs: 'Harley & the Davidsons' Stephen Rider, Lauren Lake's 500th episode, Scott Slade honored

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Harley-Davidson is as much a part of Americana as apple pie and Coca Cola. Even to those who don't know the first thing about motorcycles are aware that Harleys represent American pluck, freedom and ingenuity.

In a six-hour, three night miniseries that debuted Monday night, Discovery recounts in fictional fashion how a trio of blue-collar men in Milwaukee managed to outshine hundreds of other motorcycle brands to survive and thrive more than a century later.

Stephen Rider, one of the actors in the miniseries, came to Atlanta last week for a screening. He plays Willam B. Johnson, the first African-American dealer of Harleys and first black to be licensed to compete in national motorcycle events.

To Rider, the founders of Harley Davidson were willing to set aside the prejudices of the day to embrace Johnson in an effort to expand their marketplace. "They were constantly trying to find new ways to reinvent themselves," Rider said.

The miniseries runs tonight and concludes tomorrow. Rider's character shows up for the first time tonight.

He said the producers, who shot the series in Romania, gave them a month of lessons on how to ride motorcycles designed like vintage ones. They had to create them from scratch because those that are original are too fragile to ride now. "It was a challenge" to ride them, he said, especially since the brakes often didn't work. And it rained - a lot.

Rider - who plays district attorney Blake Tower in Netflix's "Daredevil" - rode motorcycles in college but was accident prone. He said he can't straighten out his left arm because of a motorcycle injury.

Fortunately, he didn't get hurt shooting the miniseries.

"Harley-Davidson represents the American dream," Rider said. "It's about going from rags to riches... I believe even people who aren't interested in riding motorcycles will find the story interesting. Let's be clear: the races are bad ass. I don't know any guy who doesn't like speeding at some point - or any woman. It's something in us!"


Photo creidt: Donna Pernell/Orion Television

Lauren Lake last week celebrated the taping of her 500th episode of her show "Paternity Court." It's entering its fourth season next week and third one in Atlanta, shot at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown.

The daytime judge show is seen at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on CW69 and has seen steadily increasing ratings.

Lake gathered her production crew and local media for a speech on the set. In her signature robe, she became tearful talking about how David Armour conceived the idea and gave her a chance to realize it.

"It's been fantastic," said Lake in an interview with me you can watch below. (She lived in Atlanta in the late 1990s before her return in 2014 for the show.) "This show lasts because our viewers root for our families. There are no small claims in this courtroom. They have real family issues and we can all relate to... It's important to have a show with heart."

She is thrilled how much Atlanta supports her show and gets praise all the time from fans. "Even when I get to the airport, the TSA family tell me they watch the show," she said. "They really understand the sentiment of the show."


(L-R) Dr. Doug Graham, Director of Aflac Cancer Center; Scott Slade, Honoree; Ellanor Young, Leukemia patient; Dorothy Jordan, Honoree Kathelen Amos, President Aflac Foundation CREDIT: Aflac

News AM 750 and 95.5 WSB morning host   Scott Slade  was honored by Aflac this morning, receiving the Aflac Duckprints Award for creating the annual WSB Radio Care-a-thon to support the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Since 2000, WSB listeners have contributed more than $19 million to fight childhood cancer, including about $1.6 million this past summer. 

"It's a huge honor and as I said earlier today, it's symbolic," Slade said. "I came up with the idea but scores of people have put in a lot of hard work to make it work."

Star 94.1's Jenn Hobby's daughter Reese is currently fighting cancer at the hospital. She is just 11 months old.

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About the Author

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