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Goodbye 'Dayside'!

Reported by Judy - September 22, 2006 -

Friday marked the swan song of Fox News' "Dayside" afternoon show. Should viewers laugh or cry?

Co-hosts Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy inherited "Dayside" more than a year ago when Linda Vester went on maternity leave and never returned. Huddy and Jerrick moved from "Fox and Friends Weekends" to the afternoon show and Fox News began experimenting with the program.

The new blood, however, never boosted the show's low ratings. Nor did gimmicks like occasionally giving gifts to the audience members (no Oprah cars, but books, and so on.); promoting audience participation through reading emails, and promoting a phony romantic link between Huddy and Jerrick.

The demise of "Dayside" was signaled a month ago, when Fox News let it be known that Huddy and Jerrick would be hosting a morning show for Fox News affiliates starting in January.
Martha MacCallum will replace it with "The Live Desk," which sounds like a copy-cat of CNN's "The Situation Room." No mention was made of whether it will have a studio audience, but it doesn't sound likely.

Huddy and Jerrick mentioned their new project during their final show and seemed excited about it. Huddy, however, mentioned recently that Jerrick had applied for a job at a New York television station but did not get it. Would he be looking for another job if he truly were that excited about the new venture?

Of the two, Jerrick is the more professional. Huddy has a tendency to reveal way too much information about herself -- like the fact that she eats dog biscuits, where she's from, where her father lives, and on and on. Her questions are also clumsy and overtly biased and her preparation often seemed thin.

The show's major problem was that the audience never could be sure what it was going to get. During the final show, Jerrick described the show as going from "serious to silly in seconds." Because it was on a supposedly all-news channel, "Dayside" often had to scrap its planned guests and segments in favor of a George Bush news conference, a car chase, or some more compelling news.

Will I miss "Dayside"? I absolutely will not miss the ham-handed attempts to get the audience to boo liberal guests. The rest of the attributes of the show that I did not like -- the promotion of Bush's agenda, the "fair and balanced" interviews that are always stacked against liberal guests, and so on -- won't be going away. They are part and parcel of the way Fox News does business and they will be embedded in the replacement show.

The only thing that will change will be the name of the blonde hosting the show.