The bad news is that WGCL hasn’t given up its weekly feature called “Restaurant Report Card.” The good news is that it’s somewhat less embarrassing than it used to be.
Up until early September, reporter Adam Murphy typically started each RRC with a visit to a “good” restaurant. That portion of the report would feature Murphy wearing a Regis Philbin-style talk-show-host hat, laughing it up with the restaurant crew and showing off all the great chow displayed on a plate before him. Then Murphy turned into a pit bull, pursuing restauranteurs on camera whose restaurants had received failing health inspection scores. It was schizophrenic and just weird.
The last two RRCs eliminated the Murphy-as-Philbin intros and outros, sticking with the kicking-ass-and-taking-names portion of the report. And WGCL has dressed it up with a slick, somewhat edgy looking pre-produced intro and outro, showing Murphy as consumer reporter tough guy. We’ll admit, this improves this still-farcical franchise.
It appears WGCL’s new regime is sticking with RRC, a decision that confirms local TV will try anything to carve a niche. RRC remains flawed; Murphy’s on-camera pursuit of restaurant operators appears to be pretty arbitrary. Gwinnett and Cobb restaurants seem to be the most likely targets for the Murphy scoldfest. WGCL still doesn’t draw a huge audience. But in a tough economic environment, RRC can do some serious damage to some of these small businesses just by driving off a small number of customers.
We’re wondering if the September 5 segment is responsible for management fine-tuning RRC. As Murphy speaks on camera about “a great new restaurant” at Cobb Galleria, he’s in the kitchen, at the grill stir-frying something himself. As he closes the piece, he affably says “I’m hot. I gotta get out of here.” As he says it, he appears to be wiping sweat from his brow— as the food cooks below him. (And shouldn’t he be wearing a hat?)
Maybe somebody should stick a camera in that guy’s face.