The launch of a new local television program may strike you as yet another attempt to appeal to the worst of America’s lurid curiosity about people exhibiting bad behavior in public. Alternatively, it may be seen as a serious attempt to help regular folks understand what really happens in child support court.
Either way, viewers will find stories like that of Gyasi Tucker, aka “Baby Maker,” an entertaining distraction. Tucker is featured in the show’s sample reel, which includes footage from inside the courtrooms of Jefferson County District Court Judges Erica Lee Williams and Sean Delahanty. “Baby Maker” is the father of 10, and has had so many appearances in court over child support that he’s earned the nickname.
“Deadbeat — Kentuckiana Child Support Court” is a 30-minute show, which debuts Monday, June 23, on WBNA-TV, Channel 21, in Louisville. The station, tucked away behind Brown-Mackie College on Fern Valley Road, primarily airs religious programming, but is also the home of “Red and Blue Review” (focused on college sports) and “Secrets of Louisville Chefs.”
“The stories are compelling. You shake your head and say, ‘Am I really seeing this? Are they that un-intelligent,’” said co-host Carolyn McLean, a former TV reporter at WAVE-3. “There is a lot of sizzle, but there’s an educational element to it. These are real people and real cases in Louisville.”
McLean’s co-host is Nichole Taylor Compton, an attorney with experience in family court cases. Compton, who was a mother at 16 and has been married and divorced, said she believes the show could be picked up in syndication nationally.
“This will educate men, or birth parents, on what to do in situations,” Compton said. “Many times they ignore the situation and hope it goes away. But if you have a job loss or go to jail, child support keeps going, and most don’t know what to do.”
But Compton acknowledges that the people in child support sometimes “embarrass themselves” with stories “you just can’t make up.”
In the sample reel, Judge Delahanty lectures a man in court with a threat that he will put him back in jail the first time he’s late with his child support payment. Judge Williams gives a no-nonsense speech to participants about how to act in court.
McLean said the show’s cameras will be set up in the courtroom, where they’ve been granted special access thanks to the cooperation and support of the judges. Producers will choose cases to cover and actually follow the people involved to get on-camera interviews immediately after court, the same as national court shows such as “Judge Judy.” Ashley Anderson, host of a local sports radio show, will conduct those interviews.
WBNA General Manager Tom Fawbush, in a news release, said he’s optimistic the show will find an audience. “Deadbeat is a unique show that will engage our viewers. We believe it’s a home run because it’s local, compelling and has a lot of personality.”
BMB Productions, which operates “Secrets of Louisville Chefs,” is on board to produce the show. Michael Lattin, who has won Emmy and Eclipse awards, is the executive producer.
The show airs on WBNA at 1:30 p.m. after the station’s airing of WAVE-3 News Midday. It will also air nightly on RTV 21.4 (TWC Channel 185) at 9:00 p.m. EST.