Wednesday, September 20, 2006

MY RANT ON ENTERTAINMENT REPORTING

Here is a long-pent-up rant about entertainment reporters, especially on these TV shows. I was going to mention this during the film festival, but I might as well mention it now before I forget about it.

I am completely fed up with what passes for entertainment news on TV and in some of these magazines. I'm convinced a lot of these so-called "entertainment reporters" are a bunch of fakers and hacks. These folks give the "real" entertainment reporters, the people who take this beat seriously, a bad name. These TV people are duck soup for the publicists and the spinmeisters in Hollywood, hyping up these movies and TV shows all the time, and their relentless coverage of gossip news drives me up the wall.

Watch these shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, and it's the same thing. You never get any real entertainment news watching these shows. Check out this TV Squad article about them. They were complaining about all the Anna Nicole Smith stories from last week--- it's either coverage of her son's mysterious death, or those stories about Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin dying. That TV Squad piece also complained about the relentless coverage of Dancing With the Stars from special correspondent Lisa Rinna. These shows also cover Paris Hilton a lot, and they have had plenty of coverage of Doctor McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy. That's what they actually call him! And people have clued in to this and have declared in print that they are fed up hearing these people refer to this actor as McDreamy all the time.

My beef about these TV shows is that they shortchanged the Toronto film festival coverage in favor of all this gossip nonsense. During the whole time the film festival was on, ET and Access Hollywood were covering Anna Nicole, Steve Irwin, and all this Paris Hilton nonsense. The films at the film festival were basically ignored by the Hollywood-based shows. There was no excuse for this. Heck, everyone else from the entertainment press was there covering it; why weren't they? This festival was getting front-page coverage in all these entertainment journals like Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, and on these movie blogs! You'd think there would be even a mention of some of the big successes at the Film Festival on these TV shows; you'd think they'd give their audience a head's up about how Borat rocked the house, or how All the King's Men laid a big egg with the critics. In fact, ET did a story the other day about the movie and you would have thought nothing had happened to this flick, that it still had a shot at Oscars. They didn't bother to mention how badly this flick got crucified in Toronto. But that's ET for you. They were like this at Cannes, where The Da Vinci Code laid an egg. But Mary Hart and crew ignored all that--- they didn't mention the booing or any of that at all!

And where were they when the world premieres of some of these smaller movies happened? I was at the theater that had the world premiere of Copying Beethoven. I saw Ed Harris, and Diane Kruger, and even Sela Ward. But I didn't see Mary Hart or Billy Bush or any of these important TV reporters there from the States to cover it, either. The print guys at least had an excuse not to be there, they went to press screenings and got to ask questions at press conferences. But these are the types of movies that need the press, folks, these small pictures! They need to get the word out so that people will go and watch! Instead, it's non-celebrity celebrities like Anna Nicole and Paris Hilton who get all the coverage on TV.

In fact, if you only followed these shows on TV you probably wouldn't have heard that Jim Carrey fired his agent, or that a couple of big agencies merged and a lot of people got canned. You wouldn't hear from Nancy O'Dell or Jann Carl about the bloodletting going on at Disney or all the problems Warner Brothers is having from all the flops from this year. Let's face it, if you want real coverage of important things like film festivals, or these distribution deals that were inked or any of that important stuff, you need to read the newspapers or go on-line. Heck, they were the only serious journalists who bothered to cover this film festival, these printed word people!

I worked some shifts at the Varsity, an excellent venue where all these press people go regularly for their press screenings. The press people I mainly saw there were these print and on-line people. A few of the more serious local radio and TV people were in there, too. But where was Mary Hart? Back in the USA, that's where she was all week! I will say this: one guy I saw from television who was there at the Varsity was eTalk's David Giammarco. At least give the guy credit for doing the grunt work of actually going to see some of these movies! Heck, if you're going to cover entertainment, watch the freaking stuff! So in general, there was a big divide between the TV entertainment reporters who stayed home, and the people from print publications who were there and actually doing serious film festival news coverage.

I noticed they were handing out copies of Screen International to people in the theaters, and they had daily editions of the publication giving the latest reviews and reporting on the big distribution deals going down for D.O.A.P. and all these other movies. Now that's what I call real entertainment reporting. This lousy stuff on TV, this crap--- this isn't entertainment news. This is gossip and hype, that's all it is.

Another thing that gets on my nerves are these supermarket entertainment magazines. I'm not talking about Premiere or TV Guide, at least they occasionally report real entertainment news. I'm talking about rags like the gossip magazines and these supermarket tabloids. I gotta say, these are a disgrace to the journalism profession. I'm convinced they are making their stories right up. Instead of covering Brad Pitt's premiere of his new film Babel and his thoughts about it and all that, these folks are still committed to live continuing coverage of, ahem, the state of the relationship with Angelina Jolie. One day, one mag declares in a world exclusive that Brad popped the question to Angie. The same week, another magazine declares that the two are splitting up. Then a third declares that Angie is pregnant. I think this is all ridiculous. These guys are totally speculating about what is going on and reporting the flimsiest rumors as news. Eventually one of these rags will be right and these two will either get married or split up, or have a baby or not have a baby. And these fools will be able to say they called it first!

They also do breathless coverage of whether or not Nicole Richie is anorexic, and keep drooling over Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston, and all these other big celebrities. A week or so back these rags had their big world exclusive that Jennifer said "I do" to Vince Vaughn, and that turned out to be junk, too. These mags are also constantly on the lookout for cellulite on these actresses, and they are continually trying to figure out if any celebrities need to be turned in to the fashion police for the ugly outfits they are wearing. These celebrities need to move out of Hollywood. They need to do what Demi Moore did, move to Idaho and get away from all the paparazzi. I know plenty of celebrities have places in Montana to go to so they can get away from these animals at these magazines and tabloids.

Anyway, I have had it! I'm sick of getting "entertainment news" that consists of speculation about whether these famous women are anorexic or having babies, or in or out of various relationships. Who freaking cares!! I'm sick of "style" coverage and gossip news masquerading as entertainment journalism. Give us some real entertainment news that we can use, darnet!

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