Causing a Commotion

By: Janice Lynn


Causing A Commotion


J.P. Scott chewed on the end of his cigar and longed to light the damn thing. Too bad the Karlton Regal forbad smoking. These days the whole world forbade smoking. He longed for the good old days when smoking wasn’t such a big deal. Not that he hadn’t been known to break rules on occasion, but today wasn’t one of those times. An in-his-sixties-has-been producer on his way back could only take so many calculated risks.

“So,” he drawled, eyeing the self-important young man, Maxwell Arnold, sitting across from him in the private suite. A man who held J.P.’s future in his hands. Which was a hell of a place for any man’s future to lie. “You want me to take this boring political news show and spice it up a bit?”

“Not a bit, a whole lot,” the Wolf television bigwig said. Maxwell’s father had been a well-known television executive during J.P.’s heyday and J.P. always respected him. He hadn’t cast his vote on Jr. yet.

Every item in the privately held Wolf hotel suite screamed with wealth and an inflated ego. With a desire to impress and intimidate. J.P. was too old to bother with being either one. However, he wasn’t above kissing a little behind if it got him where he wanted to be--producing a winning show.

“We want to create real competition for the Ophelia Winters show,” the man continued, causing J.P.’s brows to hike up a few notches. Ophelia Winters was the talk show of all talk shows. “We think Colin Crandall has the potential to do that.”

“The guy is flopping in his own time slot,” J.P. reminded.

Colin Crandall. He knew the name. Who that followed current events a few years ago didn’t? The image of a man in his early thirties came to mind. Crandall was a handsome enough fellow, he supposed, probably close in age to Jr., here. But the man made stiff ole Al Gore look like the class clown. He needed to loosen up. Big time. Of course, rumor had it that the one time he’d let loose, he’d ruined a booming journalism career. Still, the guy had his own talk show so it couldn’t have been that bad.

“Why is that?”

J.P. was sure the young executive already knew the answer. Bigwigs tended to do that, ask questions they already knew the answer to so they could appear superior. Not one for being put on the spot J.P. stretched his legs in front of him and stuck the cigar between his lips. Maxwell glared, but didn’t comment.

J.P. took his time answering, savoring a few rolls of the cigar against his tongue, enjoying the tangy tobacco flavor.

“Because Crandall looks like he has a corncob stuck up his rear-end, and he’s reporting on politics, economics, and world issues that most of the world doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about. They’d rather hear about Brad and Angelina, the Kardashians, and other celebrity news that isn’t really news.”

“Exactly. Colin isn’t giving the audience what they want. Which is a death wish. That’s where you come in.” Maxwell leaned back in his leather chair and scowled at the unlit cigar. “Make the show over to appeal to viewers. I want a talk show with a punch.”

“Let me get this straight.” J.P. pulled the cigar from the corner of his mouth and twirled the Cuban between his arthritic fingers. “You want me to give this guy’s show a Jerry Springer make-over?”

Maxwell laughed. “Exactly. We want to make it a talk show that appeals to men and women. A show with audience appeal, period. Colin has potential.”

J.P. had watched the show once. He’d rather have his prostate checked as to have to sit through another episode.

“Find him a co-host, a female, who’ll stir things up. Someone who’ll offset his seriousness with her outrageousness. I want him knocked him out of his comfort zone.”

J.P. liked the idea of turning someone’s world upside down. Chaos was always good--at least, when it was someone else’s life involved. Too often it was his own. Six divorces would attest to that.

“How do you propose I do this?” J.P. waited for the catch. There was always a catch. Particularly in showbiz and his gut instincts were that something didn’t add up in what Maxwell was telling him.