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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

New broadcasts of NPR's "Car Talk" are coming to a halt.

"Car Talk" hosts to hang up wrenches


If you have gone through your time on this earth as a radio listener and don't know who Click and Clack are, I truly do feel sorry for you. No, really.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, known as Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, have helped diagnosed problems with cars (and sometimes personal relationships) as callers described the shakes, rattles, roars and other noises their rides make. "Car Talk" has been on the air for more than 35 years, 25 of them with National Public Radio.

"We found out before NPR sent out the announcement," Wisconsin Public Radio's Director of Content Mike Arnold said. "The nice thing is that the show isn't going away right at this time."

Tom and Ray have announced that as of this fall that they will no longer be producing new episodes, however the show will continue with archived content. I'm guessing, just because of the program's creative approach, the archived shows will still perform well and draw in listeners.

Click and Clack have a knack of being able to bridge different types of audiences, ranging from those who know little about cars to true auto buffs. As one of the most popular shows on many NPR stations across the nation, the relaxed approach is welcomed by true die-hard listeners and those that don't tune in as often, Arnold said.

"Saturday mornings are very popular for us," Arnold said, pointing to "Car Talk" and other programs like "Wait. Wait ... Don't Tell Me" and "Prairie Home Companion."

WPR has a gold star of its own in "Michael Feldman's Whad'ya Know?", a show it produces and syndicates to other stations. That program compliments shows like "Garden Talk" and "On Your Health with Zorba Paster" that are educational in their content but entertaining with their delivery.

Well, for now, listeners will not be missing out on their mechanic stories, puzzlers and favorite letters, but eventually Wisconsin Public Radio and NPR stations will have to figure out what to do when "Car Talk" sputters out and stops for good.

Arnold was given one option though.

"When Feldman saw the announcement he said he should get his brother on the air and talk about car stuff," Arnold said. "It was a typical Michael Feldman response."

WPR ON A TREK: "Star Trek" star George Takei will be in Milwaukee this weekend for an event with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. You can catch the actor who played Mr. Sulu on Wisconsin Public Radio with Veronica Rueckert from 9 to 11 a.m. You can find WPR at 90.7 FM in the Milwaukee area. For a state-wide list, go here.

PULLING THE WEEDS: Showtime's hit "Weeds" will come to an end this year, the network announced this week. "Weeds" started in 2005, and – with "Dexter" – gave Showtime its first real showing as a powerhouse in original programming.

For the final season, fans can expect a time jump and a trip back to the suburbs for Mary-Louise Parker's character, Nancy Botwin.

DARTH NEEDS OUR THOUGHTS: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that 7-year-old Max Page, who played Darth Vader in the hit 2011 TV commercial for Volkswagen, is undergoing heart surgery today. This is his eighth surgery after being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. May the Force be with him. You can see the award-winning commercial video here:

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