It’s been a long time coming but Proud FM radio’s afternoon host Shaun Proulx is finally ready to conquer Canadian screens as The Shaun Proulx Show debuts on OUTtv. “When I left my finance career,” he says, “I specifically wrote down The Shaun Proulx Show. I took a big piece of paper and wrote down everything that I could possibly imagine doing with my life and these are the things that are transpiring now.”
The weekly half-hour series will feature a combination of what Proulx calls “the best of the best—interviews and funny bits of mayhem” from the daily radio show, along with newly filmed segments, but nailing down this week’s premiere date proved a challenge.
“We started shooting pretty heavily around the May long weekend,” says Proulx, “There’s been cameras going at all times.” He teased his fans with news of the show before finally announcing its late August premiere.
Obviously, it was a premiere that didn’t happen. “It’s been a tricky situation,” says OUTtv’s Chief Operating Officer Brad Danks, “The Proud FM studios have been problematic.” As Proulx’s producer/co-host/straight-man, Mark Wigmore says he was astonished by the “onslaught of cameras and angles and recording devices” needed in the radio station’s cramped studio. “Figuring out the lighting alone was a challenge,” he says and it was important for everyone involved to get it right. “There are a number of radio shows out there who just run a camera and it’s a great big yawn-fest,” says Proulx, “We’re aiming for 24 minutes of good value TV.”
But technical problems were merely the most recent stumbling block. “I had been talking with OUTtv for about four years before this,” Proulx reveals, “and in all of their various incarnations, they expressed an interest in having me on the network.” Unfortunately, Danks says, the dysfunctional ownership arrangement at Proud FM (settled only earlier this year in a near-complete buyout of the station by the Evanov Radio Group) made it “impossible to move this show forward. We took a step back to wait until things sorted themselves out but we were never any less interested in doing something with Shaun.”
“We always want to be engaging directly with the community,” Danks says, “and Shaun is one of those people who stands out as someone people respect.” The OUTtv exec was particularly impressed by a piece Proulx wrote for Xtra about “his crystal meth weekend…I thought, ‘Now there’s a committed guy.’ Whether I agreed with it or not was irrelevant.” In a TV landscape filled with pundits and comics, Danks enthuses, “Shaun is a very bright, very introspective person. He’s funny, yes, but has such a depth when it comes to how he deals with issues.”
Proulx says it’s his mix of the silly and the serious that he’s proudest of. “You earn the right to say something really outrageous that might push the envelope,” he says, “because you then, in the next segment, deal with something that matters, like homophobic dancehall reggae or HIV and the law.” Citing Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman as influences, Proulx says, “To have a show that is edgy and entertaining, that crosses all those boundaries, is my ultimate goal.”