Monday, November 24, 2008

Daytime Television

Allow me to bitch and complain a little bit about daytime television. Having worked in the television business -- I am quite aware that what programming that is aired during this day part isn't exactly of high quality -- it's basically mindless brain candy that gives the stations some place to air their commercials. It's also the lowest cost day part in the entire broadcast schedule -- which is the reason that you see the endless commercials for lawyers (that you'd be a fool to let represent you in you were in serious legal troubles), the 1-800-AS SEEN ON TV products category and the home improvement category (the carpet cleaners, furniture companies and window companies). These companies can buy spots during the daytime hours for literally pennies and they end up buying them in bulk so you can pretty much recite these damn ads in your sleep.

It use to be that the daytime schedule was filled with game shows and old reruns -- now it's talk shows and judge shows -- with a sprinkling of shows that not only question the intelligence of the people who watch them, but they make you wonder about the people who appear on them. When you turn on "Maury" -- you know that someone is going to find out that the DNA tests shows that he's the daddy of his sister's baby; and you know that when you turn on "Jerry Springer" that some fat broad is going to show her tits and some toothless a-hole wearing a pair of torn jeans and a dirty wife beater t-shirt is going to deck his daddy who made love to his girlfriend who is actually his first cousin on his Momma's side of the family. Yup, this is the stuff that daytime TV is made of.

Let's talk about daytime talk shows. When I was growing up -- we had a variety of talk shows to choose from: Mike Douglas, Woody Woodbury, Phil Donahue, Merv Griffin, Steve Allen, Della Reese, David Frost, Barbara Walters, and even David Letterman did a daytime talk show for a little while. Today -- who do we have to choose from: There's Regis and Kelly, Ellen, Orpah, Bonnie Hunt, Tyra, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray and there's even a talk show on Fox that gives a place for Geraldo to stop by and chat about legal opinions on a Friday morning.

If you watch these shows in daytime long enough -- you will find some similarities. Why is it that anytime these daytime talk shows feature a performer doing their hit song they have to show the hosts of the show either dancing or google-eying the performers doing the show live on the air? Hey -- I don't need some kind of certification from Orpah or Ellen that this song and that performer is good I can judge for myself.

Another one of my pet peeves: Can Rachel Ray talk to a guest on her show without having to look at a card to find out what question to ask? Hey Rachel -- I love you -- but you're not someone who's going to ask some serious questions most of the time you ask them what their latest project is and then ask them how important food is in their life -- do you really need to have a card in your hand with the question -- "Do you (or your significant other) cook?" Rach -- throw the damn card away and talk.
And dare I speak about "The View"? Joy Behar actually thinks that just because "The View" was quoted on in the New York Times this past election that played a part with some serious political discourse....pleeeeezzzzzeeeee! Every time they talked politics this past year it was the same old thing -- Joy was the Democrat and Elisabeth was the die-hard conservative voice who wouldn't get off the daily Republican talking points. It was boring and predictable and didn't even make for good TV. If they want to really do some interesting political discussions they should have tried to copy some of the old William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal style arguments from the old "Dick Cavett Show" that was some good TV.

Well, I could go on and bitch some more about daytime TV -- but I don't have the time -- I got to go watch Judge Judy yell at some jerk who hasn't paid child support and I hear that someone is going to win the 250 grand on the daytime edition of "Deal Or No Deal"

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