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."