The ever-smiling Ann Delisi gazes from the cover of the latest Signal, house publication of public TV station Channel 56, WTVS. Would she have been smiling had she known that her show, “Backstage Pass,” was soon to have its production “suspended”? After five years, more than 500 segments dedicated to local artists and musicians, and seven local Emmys, the show’s been axed due to budget considerations.
“It’s such a disappointment,” the veteran broadcaster sighed. “I want to get money for the show so it can continue. It’s lived up to its mandate to expose arts culture here in Detroit, and that voice has been taken away.”
Executive producer Jay Nelson says that the station has been supportive of the show, but adds, “A lot of philanthropic dollars have gone elsewhere.” Nelson went on to say that a mere $175,000 would allow production of another full season. While he and Delisi hope that the program may appear occasionally as a special, there’ll be no broadcasts without the bucks.
The last two shows honor the 2001 ArtServe Michigan Governor’s Awards for Arts and Culture in Detroit. The final show airs Nov. 25. In front of a house packed with well-heeled arts supporters at the DIA, Delisi refrained from mentioning the program’s plight, not wanting to rain on ArtServe’s parade. A wag present said she should have just locked the doors and shaken down the crowd until they coughed up the cash. Tacky, yes, but worth it to save a local treasure.Vic Doucette contributed to The Hot & the Bothered, which is edited by George Tysh. E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org