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On May 30, Tesh will take his place behind the E.T. anchor desk one final time.
For months, rumours of his imminent departure have circulated, and still the news hits with unexpected force. It's a blow to the infotainment industry, to millions of E.T. fans, and, of course, to the Tesh Files. In forsaking the consistent telepresence of daily syndication for the more low-profile life of full-time snoozician, Tesh seriously weakens the ubiquity that made him such a perfect emblem for these media-saturated times.
May 31 will be a sad day indeed.
Of course, that sadness is tempered somewhat by the news of Tesh's 50-date concert tour this summer. He's calling it the Undiscovered America Tour; it starts in Chicago on June 12 and ends sixteen weeks later at the Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville. What exactly is "undiscovered" about cities like Chicago or Nashville, or about Tesh himself, is a little unclear at this point. A promotional photo that accompanies the tour schedule does show the Bland One dressed all in black, sporting a turned-around baseball cap and a pair of aviator-style sunglasses; perhaps this is supposed to lend him an anonymous, "undiscovered" appearance. Unfortunately, it mostly makes him look like a star-high-school-fullback-turned-gas-station-attendant, the kind of guy who bores every customer with stories of his old exploits. Perhaps a better name for Tesh's summer caravan would have been the "Yeah, It's Me Tesh Again" tour...
For those dreading life without a daily dose of cathode Tesh, there is a slight consolation: the Human Screensaver will appear on TV for a few weeks this summer when he reprises his role as anchor for NBC's Olympics gymnastics coverage. It's always entertaining to watch Tesh cover a sporting event; athletes inspire in him an oleogenous reverence that the typical movie star interview just didn't seem to provoke anymore: his voice takes on a hushed weightiness that's as remarkable in its grace and economy as the kicks, splits, and tumbles of any Olympic gymnast.
I was disappointed, however, to learn that Tesh will interrupt his concert tour during the Olympics to give complete attention to his broadcast duties. It's just another example of his new singleness of purpose. Of course, there's always the chance he'll debut some new music for the event: his past sports soundtracks have been amongst his most popular work. (His scores for the 1987 Tour de France and the 1983 Pan American Games both won Emmys.) If Tesh were commissioned to compose background filler for Olympics gymnastics, one can only imagine that he would respond with something suitably bombastic; hopefully, NBC has retained him for these services as well.
At this point, true devotees of the Vanilla Volcano are probably thinking: "O.K., great, the summer's covered. I'll see him on TV for the Olympics, I'll check out his concert when he comes to town. But what about the fall? What then? I want my Tesh!"
It's a fair question, and up until a couple days, I wouldn't have had a sufficient answer. But then I discovered something that made me realize what I--alleged Tesh expert and erstwhile biographer--should have already known: Tesh is always one step ahead of the pack. Always. The discovery that led to this realization? www.tesh.com.