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Local TV Notes: Sharks, Anchors & Mind Games

"WBBM-Ch. 2 weekday news anchor Rob Johnson has paid more than $1.8 million for a four-bedroom house in Hinsdale," the Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, I'm searching for an apartment for around $800 a month. This is in inverse proportion to the amount of quality journalism each of us has done.

Shark Larks
"Trackless train-ride provider Fun Time Express on Friday night became the second Chicago-based company this season to come away with six-figure funding from ABC's Shark Tank television program," the Tribune reports.

"Fun Time Express received a $125,000 investment from Shark Tank investors Lori Grenier [Chicago's Shark] and Kevin O'Leary, who will receive a combined 20 percent equity in the company."

I saw this episode and Fun Time Express is a ridiculous company. First, it's not a "trackless train," it's a fake train on wheels. Second, driving a fake train around a shopping mall to entertain kids while their parents shop doesn't strike me as particularly innovative or scalable. Third, Fun Times Express operates eight trains in five malls. Not impressed. Fourth, shopping malls are "a dying breed."

Nice job, sharks!


"The company follows Chicago-based Packback, which appeared on the show in late March and came away with a $250,000 investment from billionaire entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban."

Packback "offers a pay-per-view way to read college textbooks," the Tribune reported last month.

"Packback's browser-based reader offers 24-hour e-textbook rentals for $5. The platform features 2,000 titles and reaches 3,800 students at 46 colleges nationwide."

Pay-per-view textbooks? I don't think so. The problem of expensive textbooks is real, but textbooks are just a vehicle to an education. The product isn't the book, it's the knowledge inside it. Paying for 24-hour access before a big test may be effective for some students, but it's incredibly cynical and antithetical to the point of going to college. And are the books "locked" to prevent printing and sharing? How do you mark up a book? Wither the highlighter industry? I just don't see it.

Mind Games Cancelled
The ABC show starring Christian Slater and Steve Zahn was based here in Chicago; the final scene for episode three ("Pet Rock"), directed by Timothy Busfield, was filmed on my front stoop.

Now it's gone - replaced by Celebrity Wife Swap reruns.

Original Reporting
Totally Uninteresting Chicago TV Personality Who Has No Personality Appears On Person of Interest.


Comments welcome.


Posted on April 17, 2014

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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