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Michael Smerconish's First TV Special Taped at Bucks County Playhouse to Air on CNN

Michael Smerconish's First TV Special Taped at Bucks County Playhouse to Air on CNN

Michael Smerconish will have his first-ever television special aired for one hour on CNN this Saturday July 11 at 10 p.m. "Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking" was taped live on May 19, 2020 at the historic Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He presented the entire show to an empty house, socially distanced with everyone involved, who were wearing a mask. It was professionally captured by his close friend of 40 years and independent television producer/director named Chris Strand.

This one-man show commemorating Smerconish's 30th anniversary in talk radio was originally planned as an autobiographical night of storytelling, intended to be funny, poignant and reflective. He explained it this way, "Beyond tracing my career while incorporating elements of still photography, audio and video, I offer serious thoughts on the (negative) impact of a polarized media." Several months ago, tickets were put on sale to launch this tour in Philadelphia. Two nights sold out immediately and a dozen dates all across country were about to be announced. Then, the pandemic hit. The Philadelphia launch was cancelled. Tickets were refunded. The tour postponed indefinitely.

continued, "Where I had spent considerable time preparing the entire program, and in a climate of uncertainty as to when (and whether) I would get to share it with live theatre audiences, I decided to deliver and record it. The finished product is really two stories in one - my own memoir, and the way we recorded it in the midst of a pandemic. Frankly, the third angle is my favorite - my relationship with Chris. We went to Holicong together and both had the TV bug. He went to Temple for radio, TV and film. I went to Lehigh for government and journalism. While in college, we recorded a TV short that we tried to sell to HBO. They had no interest. But here we are, four decades later, doing a TV project together for CNN - and from just down Route 202 from where we went to school."

While he hadn't expected it to be televised, after the taping at Bucks County Playhouse, he showed a five-minute sizzle reel to Jeff Zucker, President of CNN, who immediately said he would air it as a one-hour CNN special.

When asked why he selected Bucks County Playhouse as the location, he shared his history with the Playhouse. He said, "I launched one of my books there with a live event, I think it was my fifth, 'Morning Drive'. And, I hosted a live, radio book club event there with authors Barlett and Steele a few years back. Plus, I've attended many shows there with my family."

Bucks County Playhouse has not been open since March but has been active in creating digital content. "Word of Mouth Live" and the "Playhouse Virtual Variety Show" - play alternating Sundays at 7 p.m. on the Bucks County Playhouse website, Youtube channel and Facebook page. Recent special guests have included stars from Broadway, television, film and radio including NPR's Ophira Eisenberg, Marsha Mason, Julie Halston, Marilu Henner, John Tartaglia, Ben Fankhauser and others. The Playhouse is currently working on returning to live performances on its stage and details will be announced shortly.

For more information about Bucks County Playhouse, visit

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