C-SPAN Courts Viewers With 'Mr. Slotnik,' Congress' Cantankerous Landlord

Top Headlines

Entertainment

Your Horoscopes — Week Of July 7, 2014

ARIES: Your belief that nothing can stop you will be tested this week by depression, procrastination, concrete barriers, dysentery, armed gunmen, and the unanimous passage of several laws targeted specifically at stopping you.

Disney Unveils First Virgin Princess

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their audience, Disney officials this week introduced Lily of Hazelberry, the company’s first virgin princess.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 23, 2015

ARIES: The universe, in all its wisdom, has a plan for everyone. Strangely, you’re supposed to be the nun who holds up a distributor cap and winks while the Nazis try to start their car.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 9, 2015

ARIES: Your death next week will seem in­explicable until people remember the ill-advised 1985 “cross your heart and hope to die” pledge you made to be best friends with Jenny Bosben.

New Music Festival Just Large Empty Field To Do Drugs In

Declaring the event a rousing success so far, organizers confirmed more than 45,000 people turned out Wednesday for the first annual Cavalcade Folk and Roots Festival, a four-day gathering that consists solely of a big empty field to do drugs in.

Director Seeking Relatively Unknown Actress For Next Affair

LOS ANGELES—Saying that he’s going for a certain look and will know it when he sees it, feature film director Peter Hastings, 52, confirmed to reporters Wednesday that he hopes to find a relatively unknown actress for his next extramarital affair.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 26, 2015

ARIES: You’re not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Plan For Future Still Involves Drumming For Lifehouse

SOUTH BEND, IN—Fifteen years after first envisioning the path he hoped his professional life would take, local man Brent Gibbs is still planning his future around being the drummer for Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Lifehouse, sources confi...

Fox Revives ‘X-Files’: What To Expect

After months of speculation, Fox has announced that it is bringing back its hit ’90s TV show The X-Files, about a team of FBI special agents investigating unsolved cases about strange and paranormal phenomena, for at least six new episodes...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 24, 2015

ARIES: Your belief that everything happens for a reason may remain unshaken in the face of personal tragedy, but you'll certainly be upset when you find out the reason is "to get the Zodiac some chicks." 

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 10, 2015

ARIES: As long as people don't look too long and the lights aren't too bright, no one will be able to see where they tried to fix your face from what will happen to it this coming Thursday. 

Nation Delighted As Many Famous People In Same Room Together

HOLLYWOOD—Expressing their immense personal satisfaction at the gathering appearing on their television screens, millions of Americans across the country were reportedly delighted Sunday night upon seeing many famous people in the same room together...

Half Of Hollywood Test Group Screened Placebo Film

LOS ANGELES—Saying the methodology helps them ensure unbiased results in their marketing research, studio executives at Paramount Pictures confirmed that during a Hollywood test screening this week they showed half of all theatergoers a placebo film...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of January 6, 2015

ARIES: One of the worst moments of a person's life is when they finally realize that they're mortal and are going to die, especially when it's a person like you who only sees the cement truck at the last second.

A Timeline Of Upcoming Superhero Movies

Following the massive successes of the Spider-Man, Batman, Avengers, and X-Men franchises, studios Marvel and DC Entertainment have announced as many as 40 upcoming superhero movies to be released over the next six years ...

Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary: A Look Back

Sesame Street, the long-running PBS children’s television show starring a cast of Jim Henson muppets who teach children basic learning concepts and introduce them to difficult issues, turns 45 this week.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

C-SPAN Courts Viewers With 'Mr. Slotnik,' Congress' Cantankerous Landlord

WASHINGTON, DC—Citing lackluster ratings in an increasingly competitive cable market, C-SPAN announced Monday that it will beef up the cast of characters on its daily congressional broadcasts with "Mr. Slotnik," a gruff but lovable landlord who owns the Capitol Building where sessions of Congress take place.

Former <I>Three's Company</I> star Norman Fell (inset), who now plays C-SPAN's 'Mr. Slotnik,' the cranky, mop-waving landlord who drives his congressional tenants up the wall.

C-SPAN programmers are hopeful that the cantankerous Slotnik character, played by veteran sitcom actor Norman Fell, will inject a much-needed element of comic relief into the long-running legislative series.

"Many TV viewers are curious about Congress, but simply have no inclination to sit through countless hours of dry, minutiae-filled legislative discussion," said C-SPAN vice-president of programming Kenneth Silvers. "The added comic element of Mr. Slotnik and his humorous outbursts will help viewers stay interested in the lawmaking process. Hopefully, he will also attract TV viewers who just need a laugh, even if they don't care about the U.S. government."

Slotnik made his debut on Friday's broadcast during a debate on a bill to allocate $4 million for the preservation of Florida wetlands. As Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) was finishing a point about the economic viability of the resolution, Slotnik pounded on the doors to the Senate chamber and shouted, "Will you keep it down in there!" He then stormed into the chamber onto the senate floor, where he began arguing with members of the Senate Select Committee On Aging.

"You deadbeat legislators are two months behind on the rent!" said the cranky, mop-waving Slotnik to the bi-partisan committee of legislators. "If I don't have that money by Friday, I'll kick your butts so hard you'll taste my shoe polish for a week!" Slotnik then stormed out, accompanied by canned laughter.

C-SPAN programmers are elated by viewers' strong response to Mr. Slotnik. "Our focus groups consistently rate the new Slotnik character higher than any of the legislators, Senate or House," Silvers said. "And the decision to enhance congressional broadcasts with a laugh track has worked out even better than we had hoped."

Fell says his Slotnik character may seem gruff at first, but deep down he is a lovable softie. "The role of Slotnik is a complex one for me," the former Three's Company star said. "He seems angry at the congressmen for their non-stop bill-proposing and coalition-building, but underneath it all, he is very proud of his tenants for having been elected to lead America."

Though widely tagged as "risky" by TV industry insiders, C-SPAN's decision to add the Slotnik character is already paying off: The network earned its highest ratings in more than a decade for Wednesday's "hammock" episode. In the episode, Slotnik, attempting to skip out on the tedious chore of fixing congressional plumbing and catch a nap on the sly, falls out of a hastily constructed hammock numerous times, repeatedly disrupting an important House Standing Agriculture Committee discussion of a proposal to increase federal subsidies to independent farmers.

Said committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS): "No matter how hard he tried, Slotnik couldn't get a second of rest, as that hammock kept turning over and dumping him on the ground. I laughed so hard, I could barely keep track of which subsidies we were approving and which we weren't!"

While most legislators have not been able to get enough of the irrepressible Slotnik and his antics, some are finding him hard to handle. "My cake was ruined when Slotnik's hare-brained scheme to finance Medicare by raising and selling rare long-haired goats went awry," said Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK). "Now I may never graduate from chef school!"

Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) agreed. "That man is going to drive me bonkers," he said. "I'll never be in position to make a run for president in 2000 if he doesn't stop his incessant meddling. Look at what he did to my good tie!" Thompson then held up a silk tie full of holes. "I told Slotnik that his plan to fix the laundry machine himself instead of paying for a professional was a recipe for disaster. But did he listen? Of course not!"

If the strong ratings continue, C-SPAN plans next month to introduce "Slim," the Senate's streetwise, jive-talking sidekick.

Next Story