The dream is over: in a move that didn’t particularly come as a surprise, Michael Essany has shut down his nightly talk show strip Seven On Ridge due to several production disputes, reports Phil Potempa of nwi.com (The Times Of Northwest Indiana), where this was first reported. The show taped at the Gary Convention Center.
This past week, independent WJYS pulled Seven On Ridge from its 10:30 p.m. time slot, and replaced it with paid programming (what a shock.) Ridge was on opposite late-night heavyweights Jay Leno and David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien, The Colbert Report, and a second airing of The Daily Show on cable.
Essany, best known for his talk show from his Valparaiso, Ind. parents’ house back in the day, saw key staff depart – including members of his own band (The Seven On Ridge Orchestra) after complaining they were not compensated for their work after October 9.
Also out is co-exec producer Ian Ross Hayes.
Essany blames creator and executive in charge of production Frank Brammett for failing to meet financial obligations for the show, including paying the staff.
The series premiered on September 17 on WJYS, but was put on hiatus On October 9 due to production disputes. After opening up the show again October 15 to have Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas as a guest (Douglas has relatives in Northwest Indiana), Essany closed the show again and reruns started popping up. Since then, only one new show had aired, an November episode shot on location in a Valparaiso yogurt shop with wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.
Unfortunately, Seven On Ridge faced an uphill battle for viewers, thanks to its clearance on WJYS, a station known mostly for JBTV, paid religious programming, and infomercials, and never has resonated with Chicago-area viewers. In the analog era, the station only reached 7.5 million viewers due to a mostly weak signal. Currently, WJYS is the only local commercial station not broadcasting in high definition (and thus, Ridge was shot only in 480i standard definition.)
Ridge was also hamstrung by using substandard production facilities in Gary, though it was only temporary as the show was looking for an affordable home in Chicago proper. The last major TV production the Gary Convention Center hosted was the 2002 Miss USA pageant.
Essany told nwi.com he hopes to return with a new late night TV show set in Chicago next year.