Wednesday, January 19, 2005

TV JUNK

My computer is finally back online and finally working again so now I'm going to vent about TV and what's happening.

It's a big week for reality TV because American Idol is back with Season 4. And I get the impression the folks at FOX are a little worried. They see the ratings tanking for Reality TV all over the dial and they are seeing this franchise growing stale. Maybe it was the public getting sick of Kelly and Justin, I dunno, but I get the impression the novelty factor is gone and people don't want to see these manufactured Jessica Simpson clones on the stage. People are tuning in the first couple of weeks to see the embarrassing contestants humiliate themselves, and once that's done, well, show's over. It's the usual "Simon Cowell being himself" routine, right through to the finals. You know, I have to say, I can relate to Simon Cowell. He's usually dead-on about these imposters on stage. If I had to listen to the dreck he listens to on a consistent basis, I'd feel the same way.

I imagine Canadian Idol will be coming back soon- that is a huge monster hit here in Canada, the biggest hit show imaginable, bigger than Corner Gas. But I just can't get into it. I tuned out these Idol shows a long time ago. I'm tuning in to the first couple of weeks just for laughs, to see how bad these contestants get. Then I'm tuning right back out.

I'll save most of my fire for The Apprentice 3 until tomorrow night when I attempt the live blog again. But this show looks bad, and I think their latest gimmick is going to backfire badly. As you know I love The Apprentice shows and love tuning in, but I'm really worried about the gimmicks. This Street Smarts-versus-Book Smarts idea has me really concerned. I know who I'm cheering for, though: book smarts all the way. But I'll say this: to assume, as this show seems to do here, that people who have a lot of education aren't street smart is simply dead wrong. And I'm very concerned these book-smart people are going to be hosed, especially if they have to do these chimpanzee tasks the other contestants had to do. I'll have more to say about this later but I'm convinced Donald Trump and Mark Burnett are going to set the education system back YEARS starting tomorrow night.

I should mention though, that there was talk of doing a reality show about lawyers that had a book smarts versus street smarts theme. They were going to pit the book smart, Ivy League Grade A lawyers in court against the street smart state-school educated types who couldn't get into any of the corporate firms and ended up suing people for a living. And they were going to can people every week until finally a top litigator ended up winning. I think maybe the idea flopped when they realized some of these lawyers can make more money by actually practising law and suing people in court, and collecting millions of dollars for spilled coffee verdicts. Ain't America great.

But it's true, this show was supposed to be a go, but I read somewhere that My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss got started instead and that's what gassed the lawyers' reality show. Now Mark Burnett has up and stolen the whole book smarts/street smarts idea and is using it for a business show... which makes more sense when you think of it.

I think we could be seeing the beginning of the end for the reality shows: they're ALL tanking. The Apprentice is getting beat by CSI, Paris Hilton is a total loser, and those Fab Five guys are on the verge of being cancelled. Last week CBS yanked a reality show "The Will", all about who gets left somebody's estate, after one lousy episode! Good riddance. The fewer reality shows the better in my estimation. The only ones that seem to be any good are American Idol, The Amazing Race, and the shows Mark Burnett produces. That's it. The rest are all garbage, and that's why people aren't watching this junk.

But who knows. I don't know TV, as proven by the fact that Desperate Housewives won Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. I don't understand what's so funny about THAT show. Best TV comedy, my foot. That's what happens when you cancel every sitcom on TV: Teri Hatcher winds up winning an award. (Apparently Everybody Loves Raymond is shooting its final episodes around now.)

I found another web site for one of the previous Apprentice contestants: Jennifer Crisafulli's site is still up. She's now doing some color commentary for the Apprentice 3 web site.

In TV news news, CBS is still reeling from the Memogate disaster, and they still don't have a replacement for Dan Rather at the desk, but Katie Couric remains at the top of the rumor mill and could get the gig, then turn around and beat the heck out of Brian Williams. Where does that leave John Roberts, you ask? Well, he could still emerge as a co-anchor. There are increasing rumors about CBS Prez Les Moonves looking to completely revamp the evening news with multiple anchors in possibly multiple cities. Sounds like they're considering doing something a la the 1970s-era World News Tonight, which had 3 anchors: Frank Reynolds in Washington, Max Robinson in Chicago and Peter Jennings in London, England. Another rumor is that Jon Stewart may be recruited to do commentary- at which point the credibility of CBS News, which is already in the toilet, will be flushed straight down the pipes and downstream into the river. People will be quitting CBS News in protest if that happens, and frankly, I think it's a dumb idea to bring in Jon Stewart! I doubt that's even a serious story, it's probably someone with time on his hands, starting a rumor.

CNN is revamping Headline News to add Nancy Grace and a show called Showbiz Tonight. Sounds like they want to be the lighter, tabloid version of the main CNN- just in time for the big Michael Jackson trial. Also read on TVNewser that Rudi Bakhtiar is back doing afternoons at HN after being off the air in limbo for a while.

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