OFFBEAT: Illness prompted Essany's TV talk show hiatus

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2012-11-18T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Illness prompted Essany's TV talk show hiatusPhilip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

For readers who contacted me with questions about local talk show host Michael Essany and his brief broadcast break for his "Seven on Ridge" weeknight chat TV series, here's the official answer.

According to Essany, in addition to production schedules, an illness also prevented him from recent show tapings.

"Dear Mr. Potempa: Thank you for the call today. As you know, I would have called you back promptly if it wasn't for one thing I'm missing ... my voice. No shows this past week, as I'm down with the flu/laryngitis, but looking forward to getting back for our upcoming slate of holiday shows. Thanks, Michael"

Essany's "Seven on Ridge" debuted Sept. 15, and is filmed at the Genesis Center in Gary Monday through Thursday and airs weeknights at 10:30 p.m. on Chicago's WJYS. Details are on the website.

Last Thursday, Essany was not only feeling better, but back to taping his show, not only in studio, but also on location.

"I taped my show on location Thursday in Valparaiso, the first time I've done my new show in my hometown," Essany said. 

He said he brought legendary pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page to area locations for "some region fun" as a way to replicate what he "used to do on the former E! show."

I'm told the outing included interviews at Yo Amazing Yogurt Shoppe, at 2620 LaPorte Ave., in Valparaiso, the business connected with Marci and Courtney Crozier. They are the mother and daughter duo from the NBC reality series "The Biggest Loser."

"Fun to catch locals by surprise, especially when one of the most famous wrestlers in the last 20 years shows up for yogurt," Essany said.

You name it

For last Sunday's Off Beat column, reader George Elish of Highland was kind enough to mail me a photo of himself and fellow Times readers who are WWII veterans from the recent August Honor Flight from Midway Airport in Chicago. Elish mistakenly mis-identified one of the men as Joseph McShane of Munster. Reader James Noland of Merrillville was nice enough to call me to explain it was actually HIM in the photo, not Mr. McShane. My apologies for the confusion and thank you for setting the record straight AND for your military service for our country.

Abstract entertainment

At the least, this concert concept is a little unusual.

Tickets have just gone on sale for "John Denver's Rocky Mountain High Concert" scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. Tickets are $39 and $49.

Denver died 15 years ago in October 1997 at age 53 after he crashed the small craft airplane he was flying.

So what will this concert be?

I'm told it will be "a projected video of John Denver performing on stage with live musicians featuring members of John Denver's touring band and a six piece string section and all your favorite John Denver hits." Tickets are available through the Star Plaza Theatre box office,, all Ticketmaster outlets or call (800) 745-3000.

Living John Denver performed on the Star Plaza Theatre stage (I was in the audience) in February 1992. Oh, and the tickets were $26.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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