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Tune In Tuesday: Gimme the Mike ... Jimmy McGuire!

Posted on May 19, 2020 at 9:35 AM

Happy Tuesday Ginchers,

Time once again for Tune In Tuesday and time for "Gimme the Mike"!  Let's go back, the year is 2004, WPXI, Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center ... "Gimme the Mike, staring Jimmy McGuire!  Ok, let me refresh your memory ... Gimmee the Mike was an American Idol style local TV show that took place at several cities across America; Salt Lake City, Detroit, New York, Jacksonville, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.  Contestants auditioned at Malls and were narrowed  to 30 contestants.  Each week 6 contestants would compete with a panel of three judges (I was one of the judges at Wheeling for the Pittsburgh TV version) for a 5 week period.  There were also 5 alternates who would also compete for a slot in the finals.  At the end of the competion there was a final of 6 contestants and the winner got to open up for Brooks & Dunn at the Post Gazette Pavillion and won a new Cadillac.  For some reason, I was a judge on most of the recordings.  My most memorable was judging with Anji Corley of WAMO and the master, Marvin Hamlisch, conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony and winner of just about every imaginal music award in existance.  Our Host (Jimmy McGuire) for this program was Pittsburgh native and cast member of the popular TV Guiz show, JEOPARDY!  Jimmy could be seen on Jeopardy every week as a member of the CLUE Crew and was charming as the MC for Gimme the Mike.  I remember making the trip from Pittsburgh to Wheeling to tape the episodes and arriving at Wheeling Island only to be treated like royalty.  A make up artist, food and beverage and a green room to socialize.  It was a taste of the good life!  I would love to see this kind of local programming again, it was good for business, it gave local talent a venue for competing and potential stardom and families came together to see their favorite contestant have a shot at the good life!  When I was beginning my career in entertainment, we had battle of the bands at Malls and Amusement Parks and the Grandaddy of all competition was Ted Mack's Amatuer Hour ... but Gimme the Mic was a shot at being on Television, getting your face and name out to the massses.  Thanks to WPXI for the opportunity ... Gimme the Mike ... and Jimmy McGuire for the fun!

Johnny


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