By Alan Prendergast
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By Michael Roberts
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By Melanie Asmar
Rumors that Channel 2 would be rebranding itself as "The Deuce" brought out the inner thirteen-year-old boy in most people who heard them, and why not? The phrase is a popular synonym for a bowel movement — because, after all, it's so much cooler to announce you're dropping the deuce than to whisper that you need to go number two. And the third definition offered up by the online Urban Dictionary certainly paints a picture. The site describes "the deuce" as "a crap measuring 2 lbs. or better." Sample sentence: "My bung hole was torn by the deuce!"
Granted, Channel 2 isn't the first station to use the nickname. Recall that ESPN2 employed the moniker following its 1993 launch — a decision memorably lampooned in 2004's Dodgeball, whose concluding tournament is covered by "ESPN8, the Ocho." But the sports network dumped the deuce once it became too closely associated with another kind of dumping, and by now the term is thoroughly mainstream, as its appearance in the March 16 episode of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother demonstrates.
Is it possible, then, that Channel 2 president and general manager Dennis Leonard wasn't familiar with its other meaning when he authorized this Deuce-y transition, which will take place on or about March 30? Hardly. Asked if he knew the dirtier designation, Leonard affects a comically exaggerated surfer's voice as he declares, "It's the shit, dude!"
Clearly, Leonard isn't concerned about the scatological connotation. "The deuce is also the victory sign, or the peace sign," he notes. And besides, the handle — which he says has long been used by station personnel behind the scenes — boasts the sort of slangy sound that should appeal to the younger demographic he wants the station to target, those viewers who tune in to Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, America's Next Top Model and other shows broadcast on the CW, Channel 2's network partner. "We are going to convert KWGN/The Deuce into a lifestyle station," he maintains. "We want it to mirror more of the 18-34 and 18-49-year-old groups who live in Denver — the ones who are more likely to snowboard, ski, extreme bike..."
With that in mind, Leonard is making live music a much bigger part of Channel 2's popular morning show, building a concert stage and booking twenty bands to kick off the concept. And he's also shifting the CW's prime-time lineup out of its current 7-9 p.m. slot and into an 8-10 p.m. block. The change allows the outlet's 9 p.m. newscast to relocate to 7 p.m., where it will no longer steal audience from the 9 p.m. headline-fest on Channel 31, its onetime rival-turned-sister station, with which it now shares plenty of content. The result, Leonard believes, will be "an alternative-TV station — and we hope to get people involved who ordinarily wouldn't have a voice in our medium."
Sounds like Leonard thinks he's got an ace in the hole — as opposed to a deuce in the bung hole.
A Rocky road: Another new name on the Denver media landscape is In Denver Times — but there's no guarantee at this point how long it'll stick around. The project, backed by entrepreneurs Brad Gray, Kevin Preblud and Benjamin Ray, teams thirty former staffers from the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News in a web-based newspaper that promises free news content as well as columns, chats and other extras available to subscribers only. However, Gray and company say they probably won't move forward unless they line up 50,000 subscribers (at around $60 per annum) by April 23 — what would have been the Rocky's 150th birthday.
Will it be a happy one? Follow the Times' progress and other media stories at blogs.westword.com/thelatestword.