ABC Chicago's new show "Windy City Live" takes over Oprah Winfrey's time slot locally on 9 a.m. Thursday, with Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner hosting, and native Chicago comic Mark DeCarlo performing as a roving reporter.
I met DeCarlo at the Renaissance Hotel in the Loop and asked him about his new gig on "Windy City Live."
"I'm not a big fan of celebrity news," DeCarlo said bluntly. "I'm here to find the people in Chicagoland who deserve to be recognized, either because they're funny, odd, interesting, heroic, or have done really cool or great things, and to bring a little notoriety to them."
Such as Tim White, who not only is retiring after 52 years of teaching at the Benet Academy in Lisle, but he was also DeCarlo's teacher.
"He made us read 'The Hobbit' over Christmas break my senior year. I hated 'The Hobbit.' I hated 'The Lord of the Rings'! Every time a character got into trouble, they would invent a magic rock that got him out of trouble. Ridiculous!"
White will be featured on "Windy City Live," along with local celebrities, such as musical legend Buddy Guy. DeCarlo also asks for life advice from 10 Chicago women at least 95 years old.
"It's all about finding people who deserve to be featured on the big blow torch of WLS TV," DeCarlo said. "I'm looking for people who are underappreciated and ideally comical. Funny is always good early in the morning."
"Windy City Live" originally was titled "Morning Rush," but executive producer Marlaine Selip said the "Rush" didn't quite fit with the show.
"I think a show that comes on at 9 o'clock, it's the first time you can sit down and relax," she said. "If you've got kids, they're out the door. I keep referring to this show as a second cup of coffee. Time to relax. That's the way I see it."
Note: I'll have a comprehensive interview with DeCarlo in next Tuesday's "From Suburbs to Showbiz" column.