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After 'Whiskey Locker' fiasco, Corps debuts tamer news show

Jun. 20, 2013 - 05:41PM   |  
Sgt. Todd Hunter is back with a less irreverent news show on MarinesTV. 'The Corps Report' — the 't' is silent — is released each Thursday on the Marine Corps' official YouTube page.
Sgt. Todd Hunter is back with a less irreverent news show on MarinesTV. 'The Corps Report' — the 't' is silent — is released each Thursday on the Marine Corps' official YouTube page. (Marine Corps)
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Although “The Whiskey Locker,” an edgy, humor-laced Marine Corps news show, was abruptly canceled earlier this year, the people behind it are back with another program aimed at junior Marines.

“The Corps Report” has a decidedly more guarded tone; the producers hope to keep the news fun without crossing any lines.

“The Whiskey Locker” first appeared Feb. 15 on the official Marine Corps YouTube page, with host Sgt. Todd Hunter mixing standard Marine Corps news and public service announcements in a format reminiscent of the Comedy Central show “Tosh.0,” complete with slightly risque quips and winking references to rough-hewn Marine culture. Though the content of “The Whiskey Locker” was relatively innocuous, Headquarters Marine Corps found it objectionable and shut it down after just two episodes.

“The program was not meeting the expectations of the leadership here,” said Lt. Col. Joe Plenzler, then-spokesman for Commandant Gen. Jim Amos.

“The Corps Report” (yes, just like the wildly popular fake news show “The Colbert Report,” the “t” at the end is silent) debuted in May, with Hunter currently reprising his role as host and delivering the news in the same hip, quick-fire style. Envelope-pushing humor is AWOL, however.

Early episodes of the show — posted each Thursday — have shown major training exercises and the Warrior Games as well as content not typically addressed in Marine Corps news releases: the relief of three officers connected with the Camp Lejeune, N.C., unit that lost seven Marines in a training accident in March and a Marine crime-ring bust in San Diego.

In a phone interview, Hunter said the goal is to keep need-to-know information engaging, not stiff and canned, for the Marine Corps’ huge 25-and-under demographic.

“No one wants to feel like they’re watching a formation on their own computer,” he said.

The producers have experimented with a 30-second countdown clock, akin to ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption,” and borrowed a closeup shot technique from “The Colbert Report.” But after some viewers complained they didn’t get it, the show discontinued these features. As for Marines who’d like a return to Whiskey Locker humor, well, they are out of luck.

“We decided it just wasn’t the way we wanted to portray the Marine Corps image to the public,” he said. “We’re the commandant’s voice.”

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