SAN DIEGO — It's been three years since comedian-newscaster Larry Himmel launched a home-grown half-hour daily comedy series, a television first in San Diego.
"San Diego at Large," on KFMB Channel 8, which Himmel hosts, has a decidely wacky point of view and often satirizes television, San Diego, its environs and denizens through visits to local communities and through features such as its tongue-in-cheek "Eye Witless News" segment. It also has a serious side and carries profiles of those who help others.
But as the third year drew to a close, the show suffered a surprising ratings slippage in November. Thursday's 7:30 p.m. anniversary program is in part a response to the lower ratings. Except for a couple of taped commercials, the all-comedy show will be broadcast live before an invited studio audience--a first for the show.
As happens in television, the ratings drop caused a certain uneasiness among the 13-member staff, producer Dan Arden said.
"We got a 7 in Arbitron and a 6 in Nielsen," he said. "Last year, we had an 8 and a 7 (respectively). We were feeling a little bit down."