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The Insider: (D)Rat It

Mar 26, 2007  •  Post A Comment

(D)Rat It

Here’s an appetite killer.

After New Yorkers were treated to endless loops of video of rats on a midnight gambol in a fast-food franchise restaurant, a crew from “Inside Edition” set out to see how hard it would be to spot frolicking and picnicking rodents in other Manhattan eateries.

The late-night Rat Patrol — correspondent Matt Meagher, producer Charlie McLravy, cameraman Bill Viskup and Paul Penders on audio — randomly selected blocks in geographically representative neighborhoods, from the toniest on down.

At first, cops’ suspicions were piqued by the crew, with lights, camera and peering-through-the-window action.

Soon, Mr. Meagher says, “The cops would say, ‘Hey, found any rats?'”

They did. They did. They did in almost 12 percent of the more than 100 restaurants they cased from the sidewalks of New York, Mr. Meagher says.

So successful were they, they’ve considered checking out other cities.

The Insider immediately dubbed the prospective trips “On the Road-ent With Inside Edition.”

At least visiting other cities would decrease the chances of a crew member repeating the experience of spotting rats in a well-known hot dog place at which he regularly eats.

All together now: Eeeeeeeewwwwwww!

Philly Fallout

The television beat is going to be a lot less boring now that the Philadelphia Inquirer has turned Gail Shister from a hard-nosed, news-oriented columnist into a soft-feature writer.

“I’ve been inundated with calls and e-mails,” sister Shister wrote in reply to The Insider’s say-it-ain’t-so e-mail last week. Among those who contacted her: Charlie Gibson, Matt Lauer, Rick Kaplan, Kathleen Sullivan, Steve Capus, Jim Bell, Jeff Gralnick, Jon Banner, Jeffrey Schneider and hundreds of readers from around the WORLD. Many say they’re dropping their subscriptions.

“Let me know if you want any quotes, background, etc.,” she concluded.

The Insider did want a classic Shister-ism.

Ms. Shister told The Insider there was no conversation about perhaps cutting the newsy columns back to once a week and focusing the rest of her time on features, which the Inquirer thinks will have broader interest.

“I picked the wrong week to give up crack,” she e-mailed late last week.

Breaking Red Meat

Chris Matthews was supposed to spend a couple of hours Tuesday night schmoozing with ad sales clients on behalf of his recently renewed syndicated “The Chris Matthews Show.”

He was to anchor “Hardball With Chris Matthews” live on MSNBC from a small studio on the third floor at NBC Universal’s 30 Rock headquarters and then take the express elevators to Top of the Rock atop the building, where Matthews’ executive producer Nancy Nathan was chatting up guests.

It would all have been so easy-breezy had not President Bush declared during the last 15 minutes of Mr. Matthews’ live telecast that Democrats on the Hill would never get to question advisers Karl Rove and Harriet Miers under oath.

Mr. Matthews and his show live for such juicy political red meat. So the party became an event he visited ever so briefly before returning to the third floor to anchor a second live show to accommodate the presidential gambit.

It’s a good thing he’s looking robust and svelte as a result of watching his health and diet since his 2006 hospital stay where he learned he has diabetes, because the adrenaline was pumping.