For the first time since “Bozo” went off the air in 2001, WGN-Channel 9 will be producing a local weekly entertainment program. This time the funnyman in the spotlight will be WGN Morning News sports anchor and stand-up comedian Pat Tomasulo.
The Tribune Broadcasting station officially unveiled plans Wednesday for “Man of the People with Pat Tomasulo,” to air from 10 to 10:30 p.m. Saturdays, starting in late January.
It’s described as a topical comedy show with Tomasulo “breaking down the week in news, current events and pop culture through a common sense perspective to the ‘everyman viewer.’”
Mocking his “man of the people” persona, Tomasulo entered the morning show studio Wednesday astride a horse and dressed as one of the founding fathers. “Fanfare for the Common Man” played in the background.
“We wanted to fill the void,” Tomasulo declared. “You know everybody is so mad in this country about everything. I want to unite us over the things that we all hate, right? And there are a lot of things that we all hate: Flo, the Progressive lady, we can’t stand her. Pregnant celebrity pictures. Why Panera gives you a side of bread with a sandwich every time you go in there. I mean there are a lot of things.”
In a statement released by the station, he said: “I never imagined I’d be hosting a late night show on WGN. Honestly, I figured they would have fired me long ago. So, before they finally come to their senses, I’ll do this show. Hopefully it doesn’t accelerate the process.”
WGN officials clearly have high hopes. In a promotional video to advertisers they said the show would have “national potential.”
Jennifer Lyons, news director of WGN, said of Tomasulo: “He’s such a rare talent. We’re excited to showcase him and give him his own outlet. It’s been 16 years since we’ve produced a program with a studio audience here at WGN . . . so we’ve gone from one Bozo to the next.”
Executive producer is Doug Karo, a native of Elmhurst and graduate of Columbia college. Karo previously was executive producer and showrunner for shows on TBS, truTV, SYFY, and Comedy Central.
Tomasulo joined WGN in 2005 from WKBW, the ABC affiliate in Buffalo, New York, where he was a sports anchor. He graduated from the College of New Jersey near Trenton and began his career as weekend sports anchor, reporter and sports director for WJFW, the NBC affiliate in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
In 2015, Tomasulo and his wife, Amy, created “Laugh Your Face Off,” an annual comedy show that has raised more than $625,000 for the Facial Pain Research Foundation.
Tuesday’s best comment: Al Usdrowski: Dear Diary: Surprise! Today I learned Mancow is still around.