This sitcom on NBC stars Al Franken as Al Freundlich, a vain reporter for the fictional news program "Lateline." Robert Foxworth stars as Pearce McKenzie, the anchor of "Lateline." Vic Karp... See full summary »
Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher's show is broadcast to dozens of radio markets across America, and beats many other competitors in the various markets. Franken's show is a great, truthful, intelligent, and often hilarious slice of political muckraking, where he brings on solid, constructively critical guests, some regular ones, and often layers it with the sense of humor that got him so much acclaim in Saturday Night Live and in his books. It's only a shame then that because the Sundance Channel (an off-shoot of IFC) is the equivalent of a slightly harder-to-obtain HBO, Franken isn't seen and heard by more. The problem is that despite his wide audience and big ratings, he is on during the day when most are at work or school. So the show being on at 11:30 to 12:30 every weeknight is convenient as a fine, condensed version of the three hour program. Once the Sundance channel becomes wider in range and gains more appeal, Franken's reach will only grow farther, and rightfully so. Obviously, Franken isn't for everyone; in fact, one of his segments on his show involves an old Elementary school friend of his, Mark (aka 'resident Ditto head') Luthor, who is a die-hard Rush Limbaugh advocate, and is given clip after clip of Rush practically pathologically lying to his listeners, as Luthor defends him mercilessly.
So there will be those who know where the line is. If you're a fan of O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and have 100% faith and trust in the Bush administration, you may curse the day someone recommended you the Al Franken show from Air America Radio (pretty much the one and only nationwide liberal radio network). But if you haven't heard much of Franken or his regular guests before listening to the show, and you have an open mind to the topics of the now, it could be very worth your while. Guests like Tom Olyphant, Joe Connasen, and David Brock are consistent regulars, and there are sometimes some surprise guests from infamous politicians too. So on that end, with just the interview section, it is very concise, and one thing that's hard to argue is that Franken does have his stuff together as a talk show host.
However, if you're already a Franken fan and are worried that all the politics might be a bummer before bed, not to fear. One of the treats of watching the TV show is seeing Franken on camera doing dead-on, sometimes laugh-out-loud imitations of politicians (or just random stereotypical voices) and the like. And of course the oy-oy-oy show is a staple of the show, except during national disasters, and kind of gives an in for Jewish listeners. There is never too much tension between Franken and Lanpher, because you can sense that once it starts to build up, there will be a laugh or a good quip or comment from Franken. Not that Franken and his team don't take the subject matter seriously; you do see him get angry, but not over-the-top like right wing talk show hosts. Like its host, the show is a self-contained, amusing, and constantly informative look at the current America, and the TV show brings out the best of these three midday hours. I think little by little the cult on the TV side of things will grow once the word of mouth continues.
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