OFFBEAT: Valparaiso's Michael Essany returning to broadcast with new TV venture

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2012-05-13T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Valparaiso's Michael Essany returning to broadcast with new TV ventureBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

When child star TV talk show host Michael Essany first launched his reality chat show series on cable's E! Entertainment in 1997, he shared his Sunday night time slot with model Anna Nicole Smith's zany reality series, also shot for E!, with both touted as rating anchors for the network.

In recent years, Essany, a 2005 graduate of Valparaiso University, has taken a break from the television biz to get married, help raise his daughter, dabble in politics, try an Internet interview show project, and most recently, he currently serves as vice president of Indiana Grain Company, LLC, based in Valparaiso.

But now, he's ready to jump back into the world of ratings and television production.

"Last summer, I was contacted about hosting a new late night talk show coming to Chicago in the fall of 2012," Essany told me.

"I'm elated to say that I will be hosting Chicago's first original nightly late night talk show called 'Seven on Ridge' beginning this September in 11 million homes on WJYS."

On May 22, he said he'll hold "a formal press conference/media kickoff" for the new show.

Until then, here's what the network's press release says about the new show launch:

Late night is coming home to Chicago this fall.

"Seven on Ridge" is Chicago's first and only late night talk show airing weeknights at 10:30 p.m. on WJYS.

Showcasing national celebrities and anything Chicago, "Seven on Ridge" blends talk, variety and all facets of entertainment into a nightly package unlike anything available on Chicago television today.

WJYS is an independent television station headquartered in Tinley Park, Ill., with antennae on top of the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago, serving 11 million viewers in the Chicago, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan markets.

"WJYS is proud to bring Seven on Ridge to Chicago viewers this fall," said Crystal Green of the board of directors at WJYS.

"The show will not only be a completely original must-see viewing experience for fans of late night talk, it will also dramatically alter the landscape of original programming in Chicago television. For too long, Chicago has been overlooked in late night, never taking its rightful place along with New York and Los Angeles. That all changes this September and we couldn't be more excited to provide the platform for this sorely needed brand of entertainment."

Talk show veteran and former E! Entertainment host Michael Essany has been tapped to serve as host of the new program. Essany will be joined by his cocky sidekick, Kaka, a 10-foot animatronic rooster and the hottest band on television, the Seven on Ridge Orchestra.

"Chicago deserves to be represented in late night," said Essany, in the press release.

"I'm excited to be part of a program that will deliver something fresh and innovative to late night in the greatest city in the world."

In addition to the nightly viewing experience, live audiences will be treated to an entertainment experience like no other. Set in the unique atmosphere of an elegant supper club from a bygone era, this upscale live experience of a show taping will become a top destination attraction in all of Chicagoland.

It launches Sept. 17 on WJYS as Chicago takes its rightful place in late night. Visit for more details.

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




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