The Morning File / Dear NBC: You want newspaper reality TV? We got it.

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NBC Peacock Productions wants to make a reality television show that focuses on a newspaper office.

It recently put out a casting call seeking cooperation for filming at a "small-town local paper working hard to stay on top of breaking small-town news and keep financially afloat in an ever-increasing competitive world."

The Morning File is not authorized to extend any invitations, but we certainly feel NBC would be wise to get its cameras into a newsroom near us. Thanks to population loss since the mid-20th century, the local area has become much more like a small town. You can tell by all of the neighborly random acts of kindness that show up on this page each Thursday. Who in a big city would ever think of returning a lost wallet or helping someone change a flat tire?

As for other attributes, a Peacock Productions executive said, "We're looking for a great environment, colorful place, great characters."

That sounds like a place we know. We can only imagine the riveting scenes to be shared with TV viewers across America if the documentary crew comes to Pittsburgh ...

Reporter to editor: Hey, boss, I've got a story about the sewage authority's planned infrastructure improvements from this morning's meeting.

Editor: What's the Steelers angle?

Reporter: Steelers?

Editor: Our website traffic goes up every time there's a story about the Steelers. Try to work them in there somehow. Maybe something about whether Brett Keisel's beard trimmings clog up the pipes.

Reporter: Um, OK.

Editor: And be sure to tweet about it.

Reporter on the phone to public official: So what'd you tell the grand jury today about using your taxpayer-funded staff to get you re-elected?

Public official: That's secret. Why would I tell you?

Reporter: So you're confirming you forced your staff to work in your campaign?

Public official: I never said that! You guys are always twisting my words around.

Reporter: But I've got three of your aides on the record telling me they were coerced to do campaigning to keep their jobs.

Public official: You do? Oh, well, I guess it's true then.

Reporter: Ha, I was just faking about the aides, but now I've got you. See you on the front page, sucker.

Editor to reporter: How's about giving the weather service a call. We need a story about the snow and cold.

Reporter: But it's winter in Pittsburgh. There's supposed to be snow and cold.

Editor: Don't argue, or I'll make you cover a sewage authority meeting.

Reporter: I was already at the sewage authority today.

Editor: Whatever. Just get me that weather story in a half-hour, and make it sing this time. Lots of drama and pathos, and good advice on how to avoid frostbite and sledding accidents.

Reporter: Jeez, next you'll be wanting me to call the supermarkets to see if --

Editor: Good idea -- be sure to check if there's any milk and toilet paper left in town.

Reporter to editor: Why'd you change the top of my story last night? You took out all the color and emotion.

Editor: It took you five paragraphs to get to the point.

Reporter: But that was my creative prose style. I was painting a picture for the reader.

Editor: Save it for the museum, Van Gogh. We don't have that much space and people don't have that much time to waste.

Reporter: Well, if it happens again, I'm leaving to write my own blog for a living.

Editor: Good luck with that. Get over to the South Side -- there's a wild bunch shooting up Carson Street, and no one knows whether it's the bar drunks or the police.

Editor to reporter: I need you in Oakland stat. They're making a big Hollywood movie that stars a dog, and the dog ran into the wrong-way bus lane on Fifth and was about to get hit by a bus until Hines Ward, who is an extra playing a hospital surgeon, jumped out of a crowd and saved it. This story's got everything we could want.

Reporter: But I've got an interview about state funding for sewage control efforts.

Editor: Cancel it. Stories like this only come once in a millennium.

Reporter: You want I should get an interview with the dog?

Editor: Hey, I'm not expecting miracles, but ... yeah, give it your best shot.


Gary Rotstein: or 412-263-1255. First Published February 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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