Band: Donna Rhodes, Mike Douchetta, Bruce Watkins, Karyn Treece, Yvonne Jordan, Jana King, Dennis Wilson, Rick Murrell, Charley Abdon, Charlie Carter, Mike Maiocco, Rusty Pence, David Sloas, Mark Lavender. # Taped in Austin, Texas, at KLRU-TV in association with the Nashville Network. Executive producers, Bill Arhos, C. Paul Corbin; producer, Terry Lickona; director, Gary Menotti; Down-home chatter and live performances are the hallmarks of this latest programming entry from the Nashville Network. But “The Legends of Country Music, ” while apparently being positioned as an alternative to the cabler’s other variety/talker, “Music City Tonight,” brings nothing new to the party.
Host Tammy Wynette chooses to engage her guests in meaningful conversation rather than soliciting responses to a segment producer’s prefab questions. But her lack of skill as an interviewer is as evident as her top-notch singing talents, and show’s pace suffers as a result. While many viewers may be interested in hearing about the good old days between Wynette and her first guest, Loretta Lynn, devotees are bound to have already heard all the stories.
Musical selections tread equally familiar offerings, with Wynette warbling her signature nugget, “Stand By Your Man,” and Lynn delivering the umpteenth version of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Despite what show might indicate, Wynette is not stuck in a time warp: She has been in the studio prepping an album that will sport duets with Elton John, Sting and Wynonna, among others.
Performances by guests Joy Lynn White and John Berry are as low-key as Wynette’s interviewing style. Show was taped before Berry underwent brain surgery.
All things considered, “Legends” is a valiant attempt by Wynette, but one that ultimately fails.
After the first six outings, Wynette will be replaced as host by country’s elder bad boy, Willie Nelson, who will take the reins of the final seven programs, before what is almost sure to be show’s demise.