The Insider

Sep 1, 2003  •  Post A Comment

“The John Walsh Show,” NBC Enterprises’ sophomore syndicated daytime strip, will re-launch Sept. 8 with a broader focus and a younger, more hip look and sound.
Frank Radice, East Coast-based senior VP of advertising and promotion for the NBC Agency, solicited nominations for a new theme song from his staff. His assistant, Meredith Ahr, nominated “Back to the Innocence,” which also is the title of the first Atlantic Records release by New Jersey-based Seven and the Sun.
Everyone was blown away by lyrics such as “Never let ’em push us down/Never let’ em kick us around/Never let ’em take our pride/Or take away our innocence.” Go get it, said Vince Manze, NBC Agency co-president
Lucky for the NBC “Walsh” team, the band’s singer/songwriter/leader, known simply as Seven, is (a) married to McKenzie Westmore, the “Passions” star who stole his heart when the band appeared on the NBC soap and (b) a big fan of Mr. Walsh and his show.
Mr. Radice and pal Jay Stollman have a band (you’ve heard their work on the “America’s First Family” theme for “Today”). So Mr. Radice was able to talk “guitar player to guitar player” about the golden opportunity to amortize previously recorded music and to promote the band’s upcoming album (the show is cleared on 165 stations reaching 93 percent of the country).
After a couple of weeks’ work by the NBC music department, NBC had the rights to the song for as long as it is used on “Walsh.”
Seven and the Sun will perform on the season opener Sept. 8, when viewers will hear the new theme. They’ll also see a new open and graphics, set refinements and a bigger studio audience (courtesy of reconfigured studio space) in which Mr. Walsh and guests will spend more time.
“We are spreading our wings and we are going to grow the show as much as we can,” said “Walsh” executive producer Alexandra Jewett. Over its first season, “Walsh” grew 17 percent and averaged a 1.4 household rating nationally.
Mr. Walsh will not abandon the crime-and-punishment topics with which he is most identified, but there also will be lighter shows (including CNN’s Larry King, live) and trendy shows (“What Is a Metrosexual?”) and musical guests (Dolly Parton and Deniece Williams among them).
“John,” said Ms. Jewett, “is going to step out from his comfort zone.” Or dance, if he so chooses.