Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Entertainment Shows RANT.

Maybe I'm just getting old (I turned 41 on Monday), but I have a bone to pick with some of the Entertainment News shows. In the past I’ve complained that Captain Kangaroo's (Bob Keeshan) passing was over shadowed by the Ben and J-Lo breakup. Ten minutes of airtime was given to the Binifer breakup while less than five seconds of airtime was given to the Captain. I consider Ben & Jen a non-story. It's gossip and there are plenty of shows dedicated to covering just that all over cable. Captian Kangaroo was to children's television what Johnny Carson was to Late Night Television. I have seen many examples of people who were part of our childhood dying and barely getting a sound bite if that. It's understandable when Bob Denver died during Hurricane Katrina that the story of his passing gets backburnered. But If memory serves (Please correct me if you can prove me wrong) Pat Morita's passing was totally overshadowed by the possibility of a Jessica Simpson and Nick Lechey breakup. This is not even a non-story but a potential non-story. Yes the rumors proved to be true, but who cares. After the passing of our beloved Grandpa (Al Lewis) I taped two entertainment shows and fast-forward through them. I found that one show made no mention of Al Lewis and the other gave him about four seconds of airtime or how ever long it takes to say, "The Munsters' Grandpa Al Lewis Died this weekend". The top story was the breakup of Sheryl Crow & Lance Armstrong. It always seems that these shows dedicate ten minutes of airtime to cover a breakup and end with something like, "Representatives for the couple request that the public respects their privacy at this difficult time". Al Lewis deserves better. To a whole TV generation he was Grandpa. Not Mr. Lewis. Not Al. I don't think Grandpa Jones (Louis M. Jones from Hee Haw) or Grandpa Walton (Will Geer) came close to making the connection that Al Lewis had with his fans. At least I and many of my fellow Bloggers do our best to honor those who were welcomed into our homes over the years.

One person told me that the people who produce these shows were not even born when my beloved shows were on the air. I don't buy that line of thinking. I was not around when I love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Steve Allen’s or Jack Paar's Tonight Show were on, but I do appreciate their contribution to Television History and American Pop Culture. In other words, "I wasn't alive during WWII, but I know who won".

I realize that this rant may qualify me for a SHATNER AWARD if it was not for rule number 4 that reads,

"To avoid any conflicts of interest, neither Mr. Shatner or any SHATNER AWARD committee member shall be eligible for a SHATNER AWARD, but it is an honor just being considered".

I do want to also stress that the on camera talent on these entertainment shows are more than just pretty faces. Many of them have impressive journalistic backgrounds and are capable of asking questions more complicated than, "Who are you wearing?" Of course when I want entertainment news I tend to go to the trade papers like The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety and Back Stage West.

Finally, even though I am ranting about the Entertainment News I am less forgiving when real News programs emulate the Entertainment News shows. I’m tired of anchors reporting on American children testing lower then children from other countries while on the crawl below there is a BREAKING NEWS story about Angelina and Brad having a baby. Ironic isn’t it?

To quote Walter Cronkite, "Give news a little more time and don't request that they also, in their news time, entertain. We're not entertainers. We're journalists. And we need more time to do our job well."

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa


Peter Miller said...

I've discovered of late that these entertainment news shows usually all boil down to one statement (or a variant of one statement) here are a few examples....

Angelina Jolie is with Brad Pitt....

not you.

Jennifer Aniston is with Vince Vaughn....

not you.

Renee Zellweger was with Jim Carrey before she was with Kenny Chesney...

never you.

Of course I'm a heterosexual male so I am using women as my examples, but those who are interested in men can definitely flip those examples around because it definitely works both ways.


Nick Lachey is cheating on Jessica Simpson...

not you.

I'm gonna close with a quote from my father who when turning on "Access Hollywood" last night said....

"Lets see what the shallow people are doing tonight"

-'course that's just my opinion,
I could be wrong.

P.S. anyone who reads this should see "Good Night & Good Luck", it's AMAZING!!!

Peter Miller said...

One more thing,

Where's my "Shatner"???

Brent McKee said...

Two things Tony:

1. I agree with you totally and whole heartedly, which is why I gave up on the entertainment news shows long ago.

2. In defence of ET and the others (I can't believe I used "defence" and "ET" seperated only by "of") I once hear Mary Hart or someone of that ilk say that they tended to avoid doing obituaries unless it was someone huge (Bob Hope huge or more likely Ben Afleck huge) lest they spend too much of their time memorializing people who weren't appealing to people (or more likely their target demographic) like Chris Penn and Al Lewis.

I feel like I need to wash my typing fingers after that.

Tony & Donna Figueroa said...

I think if you want to call your self a News Program (including Entertainment, Sports or the "700 Club News") they can't just be appealing to people or more likely their target demographic.

When I was a kid in the late 60s living at my grandparent’s house in Defiance Ohio, every day started with the "Today" show. The show then featured Hugh Downs, Barbara Walters, Joe Garagiola and Frank Blair. I was to young to understand the issues of the day, I just remember that The show always opened with "Good Morning", and "Welcome". Hugh Downs, Barbara Walters and especially Joe Garagiola would be upbeat. Then they would cut to Frank Blair with the news. I thought that this guy was kind of a downer. He would bum us out with footage of the war in Vietnam and riots at home. He really brought the party down. Then I turned six and realized that what he said was important, even if I didn't really understand it. New used to be like caster oil, we didn't like it but we knew it was good for us.

TV news has turned into a Las Vegas style buffet of stories. We have a large variety of stories served up quickly. Instead of us watching the news to be informed on what is happening in the world, we now have a menu from where we can choose whatever news we want to watch. If you don't like one brand of news, you can pick one that you do like. Fox News caters to those who find other media outlets to liberal (by the way I believe that the media is only as liberal as the corporations who own it). CBN presents the news from a Christian perspective. It’s the only news show where you can see an act of God, hear why God did what he did then find out what you need to do so he doesn't do it again. Many feel that the BBC’s news coverage is less slanted than their American counterparts. Others get their news from late-night comedians, especially "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" because they feel that the best form of comedy is based in truth. The show has managed through comedy to ask questions of the news makers (and the news media) that are on the viewer’s minds, but aren't being asked on the "real" news shows.

Peter Miller said...

Boy Tony,

This one got the room goin :-)