By CHASE CUNNINGHAM
The Voice-Tribune Intern
There are over 60,000 active child support cases across Kentuckiana. WBNA TV and BMB Productions are bringing the action and drama of these cases to television with their new program, â€œDeadbeat â€“ Kentuckiana Child Support Court,â€ which began airing in June.
WBNA General Manager Tom Fawbush has guaranteed that the narrowly focused but relatable program will â€œentertain and educate people at the same time.â€
Courtroom and prison coverage, post-court interviews and studio footage comprise the show. The staff hopes to include outside interviews and coverage of other related types of law as it expands.
Here are some of the key people behind the show:
Chief District Court Judge Sean Delahanty
Judge Delahanty approved the project and is one of the two district judges seen on camera. Those that find themselves in non-support court are usually given a chillingly clear decision to make. â€œWe have the big stick,â€ Delahanty said. â€œYouâ€™re going to have to go to jail unless you pay your child support, so letâ€™s figure out how youâ€™re going to pay your child support. Letâ€™s find out what these issues are.â€
The judge is excited that the show has shined an educational spotlight on the Jefferson County court system without interfering with the courtâ€™s usual procedure. The showâ€™s hands-off recording and production preserve the authenticity of the courtroom proceedings and serve the raw, direct purpose of the program. â€œTheyâ€™re not sensationalizing it. This is exactly what is occurring in the court,â€ Delahanty said. â€œTheyâ€™re being honest about it, and Iâ€™m very happy about that.â€
Delahanty is serving his 16th year on the bench and is up for reelection at the end of 2014.
District Court Judge Erica Lee Williams
Judge Williams has been on the bench since 2009 and also serves on the Governorâ€™s Scholar Programâ€™s board of directors. The Western Kentucky University and University of Kentucky College of Law graduateâ€™s non-support childcare docket made her courtroom an obvious choice.
â€œI think her personality lends itself to television very well,â€ said co-host Nichole Taylor Compton. â€œYou can see two totally different judges and what their approaches are.â€ Williams is also up for reelection at the end of 2014.
Carolyn Gaeta McLean
A former WAVE 3 newsroom reporter, McLean is the primary host on the show. She serves â€œsnarky commentaryâ€ on the courtroom action. â€œThey donâ€™t mind you giving your opinion,â€ she said. â€œIn fact, they want it.â€
McLean believes itâ€™s the real cases and real people that will make â€œDeadbeatâ€ such a success. Viewers will experience exposure to a side of Jefferson County they are not necessarily familiar with, and yet they may recognize someone that is standing trial or pressing charges.
â€œItâ€™s compelling. I think it has potential to go there in an emotional way, because I think once you start following certain characters, people get more and more invested,â€ McLean said. â€œI donâ€™t think Louisvilleâ€™s ever seen anything like it.â€
Nichole Taylor Compton
A practicing attorney and judicial candidate, Compton first began work on the project alongside Ron Burrell in late 2010. WBNA picked up the idea and began producing last year. Now, Compton co-hosts the show with McLean and provides legal analysis. As a former single teenage mother herself and practitioner of all kinds of law, the show is personal for her.
The show is what Compton calls â€œedutainment.â€ Viewers have already begun reaching out to ask the showâ€™s cast for personal legal advice. Although the material can be heavy at times, overall, the show is an energetic and fun piece of reality television.
â€œYou canâ€™t make some of this stuff up,â€ Compton said. â€œSome of the comments, some of the emotions, some of the things that happen in court are so hilarious or so serious or so entertaining that we donâ€™t even have to write it.â€
Editor with Bleacher Report, co-host of a sports radio program on 970 WGTK and former writer with the Voice-Tribune, Anderson has joined McLean and Compton as courtroom correspondent.
She sits in on every hearing the show covers, and she often discusses the cases with the individuals involved immediately outside the courtroom. â€œUsually, the prosecuting witnesses are the ones that really want to get their story up, because theyâ€™re trying to get money from their spouse,â€ she said. â€œThey can definitely be pretty heated. They want to talk about their situation. You see all sorts of situations through those first few interviews.â€
â€œDeadbeatâ€ airs daily on WBNA TV at 1:30 p.m. after WAVE3 News Midday. It also airs nightly on RTV 21.4 (TWC Channel 185) at 9 p.m.. Previously run episodes may be viewed on the showâ€™s Youtube channel.