Education · Other

“Wall Street Week” – A Review

WSW   I was glad to see that someone decided to revive the iconic program that has been, for all intent and purposes, absent since 2002. If you remember, “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser” was a staple on Friday evenings from January, 1972 until Lou was let go by its Maryland Public Television producer. PBS tried to continue the series with Fortune magazine, but the program was never the same without Rukeyser’s trusted presence. This Sunday, a number of Fox broadcast affiliates brought the show back to life with a new format, but with the same cerebral discussions that have been lacking by the noise of the talking heads from the likes of CNBC.  The show is co-hosted by Anthony Scaramucci, founder and managing partner of SkyBridge Capital and Gary Kaminsky, former chairman of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. My initial reaction to the revival is positive. The debut episode focused on fixed income, and the discussions from the panelists were very informative and on point. The overall dialogues and the premise of the program also targets the long-term investor – for a welcome change. The format of the original program has been modified from a rotating panel of guests followed by an interview from a noted Wall Street guru to a small panel of what will likely be weekly invitees concentrating on a specific subject within the broad range of finance, the economy and the stock market. The program was low-key and will not be of interest to those looking for raucous entertainment in an effort to find the next stock pick of the trading week. According to the program’s website, only four Fox affiliates have so far picked up the series: New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The timing of the program – Sunday morning in New York – is not great, but that’s what DVRs are for. Also, full episodes and excerpts appear on their website: The cozy atmosphere of the old “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser” has given way to the more common sports show-like view, but only a minor negative. And Scaramucci, while respectful of Rukeyser and what he brought to investing, did not try to mimic his unparalleled style.  While the jury is still out as to the program’s endurance on television, it was, to me, a breath of fresh air.

2 thoughts on ““Wall Street Week” – A Review

  1. I stumbled upon this show Sunday morning here in NYC and was interested to see it as I was a fan of the PBS version years ago. I had never heard of the new host or co-host and am not a viewer of CNBC or Fox Business. In my opinion the new show comes off as an infomercial for the hosts’ company. The host and the co-host come off as hucksters. Frankly the discussion of bonds was boring, even considering this is TV finance. The Times Square background was distracting. If you were listening closely you heard a lot of noises on the set. Louis Rukeyser made the original show with his wit and presence. Neither of the co-hosts demonstrated any wit or warmth. They may be talented at making money but they came off as cold salesmen. I liked the clips from the original series of Steve Jobs and one of the panelists, but if you read the fine print at the end of the show, you saw that her company was a paid sponsor of the show. And that is the core of why I feel this revamp will not work. It just comes off as an infomercial, from the very beginning you see that the show is paid for by the host’s company. I wanted to like this but at the end of the day it feels like this is an attempt by the co-hosts to make a profit from their investment in the assets of the original show instead of providing an unbiased panel with recommendations you would consider investing in. It would be very hard to top the original and this version does not come close.

    1. Thank you for your comments. Your points are well taken, but allow me to comment. First of all, this program is not publicly sponsored as was the original “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser”, so it needs to be privately produced (i.e. financed), and SkyBridge Capital came up with the money. If you remember, the original program also had sponsors such as Oppenheimer Funds, Prudential and Franklin-Templeton, and representatives from these companies often appeared as guests, so I do not see the new version as being an infomercial. I agree, and was a bit surprised myself, that the premier edition focused on fixed income rather than equities, but let’s not judge until a few more episodes are broadcast. As I mentioned in my review on Monday, I was not a fan of the Times Square backdrop, or what I referred to as a sports show look, but I found the distraction minimal given the cerebral discussions from the guests. True, the only thing from the original “Wall Street Week” that remains, is the name. But we can’t bring Lou back and I was glad that the hosts did not try to mimic his unparalleled style. Yes, I am sure that SkyBridge wants to make a profit, but why not if they can deliver a refreshing program on the stock market. Low ratings of the original program forced even a public service organization like Maryland Public Broadcasting to fold on the original series. But I did not see the guests, including Liz Ann Sonders who was a regular on Lou’s program, trying to entice viewers to open an account at Charles Schwab. Your final comment “it would be very hard to top the original” is true, but I still believe that it offers an alternative to the raucous programming on Fox Business and CNBC, and I will give the program a chance. Let’s see how they move forward. Anyway, thank you Mo for your thoughts and for sharing them with my readers.

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