Your Show, which airs at 6 p.m. Sundays on Channel 20, Channel 9's sister outlet, is a very personal project for Schrager. "It's a premise I've been working on for years," he notes via e-mail. "When I watch the Sunday talk shows, I'm always amazed by what they decide is important to talk about rather than asking the public which issues they might find important. So, in my own petri dish of sorts, I'm going to put my hypothesis that people want smart TV to the test."
Here's the concept. Each week, 9News will post a listing of nine newsworthy events on the Your Show web page; the options for the March 25 program include everything from the "Trial of Joe Nacchio" and "War in Iraq" to "Underage drinking" and "Free Speech at Colorado high schools." Viewers can also suggest topics using e-mail, cell phone or web camera. Come Sunday, the top vote getters through the previous Thursday will be discussed by panelists during the first half of the show. After that, a segment will focus on a newsmaker such as Congressman Mark Udall, who's slated to appear on the 25th -- and viewers can submit specific questions they'd like such guests to tackle.
According to Schrager, Your Show will end with a feature called "What's On Your Mind?," which he describes as "a hybrid between the 'My Turn' feature in Newsweek and the 'This I Believe' feature on NPR. Maybe I'm overly idealistic, but I envision a place where people could talk about putting a parent in assisted living, coaching a Little League soccer team, etc. I'll be doing the first, which will focus on the fact I'm about to be a dad for the first time, and the lessons I've learned from my sister, who cares for a special-needs daughter."
Schrager is "pretty psyched about the opportunity," and that's understandable. Although 9News hasn't exactly been flooding the airwaves with promotion about the offering, it's committed to keeping it on the air through the 2008 election -- an impressive demonstration of confidence and support. "We've made a standing offer to all the presidential candidates to give them 20-30 minutes on the show," he adds. "Who knows -- maybe they'll want to come by and actually answer questions from Colorado voters."
That's one way of digging beneath the surface. -- Michael Roberts