Willard Scott to revive amateur hour

November 23, 1991|By New York Daily News

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. That old saw certainly describes Willard Scott's numerous attempts over the years at launching a series of his own. He's tried his hand at a couple of syndicated game shows and other programs, none of which has gotten past the pilot stage.

"But, this one is definitely going to get on the air," insisted the affable long-time "Today" show weatherman, who is celebrating his 11th year on the wakeup program. He was referring to his latest project -- a revival of the old-time favorite "The Original Amateur Hour." The show will be televised Sunday nights at 8 on cable's Family Channel, starting early in the new year.

"The Family Channel has ordered six hour-long specials," said Mr. Scott. "We've already taped two shows at the Universal Studios in Orlando. They've got a nice feel to them and were fun to do. They'll be different from Ed McMahon's 'Star Search.' On that show, the talent is made up of professionals. We'll have all amateurs, just like the old show."

The series originally was hosted by the late Ted Mack on NBC (1949-1954), and later on ABC and CBS from October 1960 to September 1970. The program was a descendant of radio's famed "Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour," which began in 1934. Bowes was the host of the program until his death in 1946. A year later, Mack, who had directed the auditions for the Bowes show, took over as host and brought the show to TV. The radio version lasted until 1952.

Mr. Scott said the new entry will also feature film snippets of some of the talent from the original series, which launched the careers of many an artist. "One show will feature the Hoboken Four, with a very young Frank Sinatra, singing 'Shine.' Pat Boone will be featured on another."

The new show will use the same format as the original, "just recycled."

Did he ever consider jumping on the talk-show bandwagon? "We've got enough talk shows on the air. We're being talked to death."

The effervescent 57-year-old weatherman said he'll soon start easing up on his "Today" workload. Starting in January, he'll appear on the show Monday through Thursday, with Al Roker taking over on Friday. Mr. Scott, who just signed on for four more years, reportedly for $1 million per, said he was looking for "more time off than money."

Mr. Scott and "Today" show colleague Katie Couric will host NBC's coverage of the the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 26, 9 a.m.-noon. It'll be Mr. Scott's fifth year in a row as host.

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