Photo: Rodney Ho/Radio and TV Talk
Photo: Rodney Ho/Radio and TV Talk

TV/radio briefs: Atlanta Child Murders on ID, TBS/TNT plans, Kelly Cheese leaves Star 94.1

Originally posted Tuesday, February 12, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Atlanta-based Will Packer Media is exploring a series of murders that gripped the city in fear 40 years ago in a three-hour ID special aptly titled “The Atlanta Child Murders.”

The special is set to debut March 23. 

Last year, Atlanta-based Tenderfoot Productions and How Stuff Works created “Atlanta Monster,” a podcast on the same case and featured extensive interviews with the man held responsible for many of those murders Wayne Williams

Williams was convicted and imprisoned for murders of two adults. He has steadfastly denied his involvement with any child murders. Many families of the victims do not believe he was the serial killer of those kids, all black children between the ages of 9 to 14. To this day, he remains in prison on two consecutive life sentences.

“This case remains one of our countries’ most perplexing mysteries, and at ID we are proud to shine a light on every angle of this largely forgotten story,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery. “Will Packer’s vision to revisit this national tragedy through the never-before heard perspective of the victims’ families brings home the true devastation of these cases.” 

Packer, in the same press release, said:  "Having lived in Atlanta for over 20 years, the story of this senseless tragedy is personally important to me, and the echoes of what happened 40 years ago still resonate in the city. I am proud to give a voice to the victims' families, many of whom still seek closure to this day, and analyze how this story is more relevant than ever in today’s environment.”

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Kelly Cheese has left Star 94.1 as a producer.

Producer Kelly “Cheese” Cheesborough has left the Jeff and Jenn morning show on Star 94.1 after more than two years. 

Cheese joined the show in 2016.

She explained in Instagram, leaving a bit of mystery in her wake: 

It’s with a heavy heart, and a bright eye towards my future, I let you know I’ve chosen to leave the Jeff & Jenn Show. I can’t say thank you enough to the Star 94.1 team for knowing and understanding why I had to make this choice 💔 It’s personal and it’s something I’d like to keep close to the heart. Maybe one day that could change. Maybe not. 

At the time, Jeff Dauler told AllAccess how they found her:

Jenn actually found Kelly working in a boutique when she went in to get her daughter a hat! She called me that night and said, "We need to work with this woman!" So Jenn called the store back, described Kelly, and a week later we were all having coffee together. It didn't take long for us to realize that she had "it" and she is going to be the person who keeps us on track, focused, and will bring a great balance to the show. This is her first week as Executive Producer and she's already kicking ass! Love her!

Neither Dauler nor Cheesborough responded to inquiries for comment. 

***

"I Am the Night" was one of the darker offerings on TNT last month. CREDIT: TNT

TNT and TBS are adjusting to a new owner in WarnerMedia and a new streaming service which will likely use their content.

While some TBS/TNT staff remains in Atlanta, the creatives and top management are in Los Angeles. 

Former EVP of Original Programming Brett Weitz was recently named general manager for TNT and TBS. TNT EVP Original Programming Sarah Aubrey became head of original content for WarnerMedia’s upcoming digital platform. 

According to a Deadline interview, Weitz is seeking lighter dramas for TNT after a recent emphasis on darker ones, a difficult strategy in the face of the competition on pay cable, FX and AMC. But he isn’t necessarily returning to “Major Crimes” procedural-type shows either. He said he is seeking someting more like “Killing Eve.” He also said, besides “Drop the Mic,” other unscripted fare will pop up on TNT. 

Currently, TNT only has three active original dramas in play, its smallest number in a long time. Its most recent effort was “I Am the Night,” a period drama starring Chris Pine which came out last month but was deemed a “limited series.” Its most successful original program last year was the miniseries “The Alienist,” which drew 3.5 million (Live +7).

Last year, four of its scripted dramas all drew between 2.3 million and 2.5 million viewers: “Animal Kingdom,” “Claws” and two shows in their final seasons: “The Librarians” and “The Last Ship.” “Major Crimes,” also in its final season, brought in 4.3 million viewers but skewed much older than TNT wanted. Both “Major Crimes “ and “The Last Ship” were the last vestige of the Steve Koonin era, the last major TNT executive who was based in Atlanta. 

The biggest hit on TBS in prime-time was “The Last O.G” starring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish at 2 million viewers. Other shows: “American Dad” (1.2 million), “The Detour” (1.5 million), “Wrecked” (1.3 million), “Full Frontal” (1.5 million), “The Guest Book” (1.4 million), “Drop the Mic” (811,000), “Snoop Dogg’s Joker’s Wild” (888,000) “Final Space” (606,000) and “Angie Tribeca” (359,000). 

The interview did not really delve into TBS’s direction but presumably the network will stick with comedy. He also did not offer a definitive future for “Angie Tribeca,” “Wrecked” or “The Guest Book.”

“We still will be making a ton of comedies and a ton of dramas,” Weitz told Deadline. “We are going to make shows for the linear networks, and they will have some window on the direct-to-consumer offering as well. I don’t know how fast that’s going to work but we are going to have a much more of a cohesive relationship than we do with any other platform that exists in keeping all within the Warner Media family.”

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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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