TALLAHASSEE, FL (SatireWire.com) – Just one month after changing its name from ‘Good Day, Tallahassee’ to ‘Fuck No, Tallahassee,’ WFPE’s early morning show has leapfrogged the competition to become the Florida panhandle’s number one morning television program.
‘Fuck No, Tallahassee,’ which airs weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., beat out longtime market leader ‘Wake Up Tallahassee!’ on ABC affiliate WTXL.
Analysts attribute the improved ratings to a change in attitude of the ‘Fuck No, Tallahassee’ co-hosts, Trey Tarpley and Jenna Meyers.
“They still have a news segment, traffic and weather, and maybe a B-list celebrity interview,” said Tallahassee Democrat TV writer Brianna Kyle. “But you watch the show and you can’t help but feel that something is different.”
A recent transcript of the co-hosts’ banter with meteorologist Traci Mulvaney and traffic reporter Kelly Franks illustrates the point.
Mulvaney: … so enjoy the sun this morning because by this afternoon, clouds roll in.
Tarpley: Fuck no.
Mulvaney: I’m afraid so.
Meyers: Well I hope they won’t have to cancel the face-painting contest in the park!
Mulvaney: Fuck no. Rain won’t start till midnight.
Tarpley: Thanks Traci. And now to Kelly for the traffic!
Franks: Fuck no.
Tarpley: Or maybe not!
‘When I proposed changing our early program from ‘Good Morning Tallahassee’ to ‘Fuck No, Tallahassee,’ a lot of people told me, ‘Wow, that’s a really bad idea,” said WFPE station manager Rick Stingle. “But I knew something they didn’t. I knew we had a market survey that found 72 percent of Tallahasseeans, when they wake up in Tallahassee, immediately think, ‘Fuck no.’ So I said, ‘Let’s capture that market.’
“Also I was going through a divorce. And I was drinking a lot,” Stingle added. “Honestly I don’t even remember commissioning that survey. Possibly I dreamed it. But whatever.”
Anchors Tarpley and Meyers, known for their perfect teeth and unfailing affability, were among those who didn’t initially support the change.
“I’ve been stuck in this media market since 2004, so I relate to the ‘Fuck Tallahassee’ thing,” said Tarpley. “But the median average of our viewers was 61. I just knew they wouldn’t like the swearing.”
“Oh heavens, I was fine with the swearing,” said Meyers, a former Miss Florida. “I just didn’t want to lose some of our infectious cheerfulness. And have we?”
“Fuck no, Tallahassee!” Meyers and Tarpley said together.
Tarpley’s concerns about older viewers did prove accurate as many abandoned the show. But what he and others didn’t account for was FNT’s ability to bring in younger viewers who previously never watched broadcast television. While its competitors’ viewers are in their 60s, Viewers of ‘Fuck No, Tallahassee’ have a median age of 20.
“I never used to watch local TV, but one morning I happened to turn it on and I was like, ‘What?’” said part-time college student Ben Byerly, 23, of Woodville. “I love that they say, ‘Fuck no’ all the time. I have no idea why they say it, but it’s cool.”
Though popular, the show has courted controversy, particularly after this back-and-forth from last Thursday.
Tarpley: … for now, 10-year-old Anthony is hoping his mom can beat the odds and even, someday, walk again. And we at Channel 8 hope that, too.
Meyers: Fuck no.
Tarpley: (laughter) Oops. I guess we don’t.
“OK, that wasn’t my finest moment, but I did it because a lot of our viewers were probably thinking that too,” said Meyers. “I mean, they don’t know Anthony or his mother, plus they live in Tallahassee. In Florida. So they’ve got their own problems.
“Also I have to say ‘Fuck no’ 12 times per half hour,” she said. “It’s in my contract.”
FNT’s success is already having an impact on the TV landscape across the Sunshine State, as other affiliates rejig their morning show titles, including ‘Suck on This, Fort Myers,’ ‘Bite Me, Sarasota,’ and ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Goddamn Morning Already, Tampa/St. Pete.’