Friday, July 23, 2010

Some News About The News And The People Who Report It

It’s been an interesting week in television.  If rumors are any indication of anything – there will be one less female anchor hosting a network newscast in the not too distant future.  There have been rumors this past week – although no official confirmation – that CBS would like to buy out the remainder of Katie Couric’s contract with CBS News and replace her as anchor.  Would it surprise me if something like that happened?  Not really – especially with all of the rumors swirling around the internet and news blogs of some sort of deal being worked out to combine CBS News and CNN.  The other question is – who would CBS hire to fill the anchor chair if something like that did happen?  I dunno!  Maybe the news and entertainment division could work up a new program and call it something like “Who Will Be The Next CBS Evening News Anchor?” and have a bunch of reporters competing against each other for the position.  You could even have CBS/Viacom’s Chairman Sumner Redstone in the boardroom telling one reporter each week that they can “turn in your reporter’s notebook and go home’. 

Along with the talk of CBS wanting to buy out Katie Couric’s contract is the report that NBC’s Jeff Zucker (the man responsible for Jay Leno at 10) would like to have Katie Couric back home on NBC’s “Today Show”.  C’mon Jeff – do you really think that Katie is going to come back and be the perky one on the “Today Show” with Matt and Al after she has being the evening news anchor at CBS?  Jeff – Katie coming back to the “Today Show” wouldn’t exactly be a forward career move – that’s unless you have another brilliant idea – maybe something like “Today At Night” – a prime time hour of news and information and can use every Monday through Friday at 10pm.  Jeff Zucker could try and convince the affiliates on how cost effective a move having the “Today Show” on at night would be.  It would be less expensive that those pesky hour long dramas that you have to buy and schedule and what’s a more perfect lead-in to the late night local news that a network newscast.  Katie could report the news and do those hard-hitting interviews (like asking Sarah Palin what she reads) and the premiere show could feature one of Katie’s always entertaining colostomies.  Hell…maybe Zucker could be the one that the person that Katie chooses to insert a camera to go where cameras aren’t meant to go.  I know it all sounds pretty far-fetched – but nothing is impossible or far-fetched in the TV news business these days.

When I say noting is impossible or far-fetched in the TV news business these days – all you have to do is look at what’s happening at CNN.  Once known as the most trusted name in news -- CNN is quickly becoming the most desperate cable channel in America today.  When Campbell Brown resigned, CNN finally came to the realization that they couldn’t compete against the other channels with news and nothing but the news.  So, what does CNN do?  They are about to combine the news that you need to know with the equivalent of the kind of theater you’d expect to see on a prime time wrestling show.  If a bell is going off in your head that it sounds vaguely like “Crossfire”— the old CNN show where they pitted a liberal against a conservative and let them go at it – then you get a gold star for your forehead for having a good memory.  But they don’t stop there…the hosts that they have hired for this new program will be conservative columnist Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer, who was once the governor of New York until news came out that he like to hire hookers.  Don’t expect a lot of respectable polite political discussions on this show – be prepared for a lot of shouting and attention getting theatrics or, in other words, a reason for you to tune in to CNN instead of the other cable “news” networks.

And the hits don’t stop there – CNN is looking to replace Larry King – who’s turning in his suspenders after twenty-five years of softball questions to some of the most powerful people in the world.  It’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that CNN will hire British TV personality and hack journalist Piers Morgan to fill the 9pm slot.  Most Americans know Piers from the Simon Cowell produced “America’s Got Talent” and from his appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice”.    Hiring Morgan will be the dumbest thing that CNN has ever done.  Trust me – before six months time – Piers Morgan will do something and say something to embarrass the network and give CNN critics fuel to burn the whole house down.  Piers Morgan is an ass and there’s no way in hell that he should be allowed to do an interview with a serious newsmaker – if my memory serves me right – Morgan once asked a British Prime Minister if he and his wife are members of the “mile high club”.  So, brace yourself for CNN’s new prime time line-up of Parker and Spitzer followed by Piers (I know Sharon Osborne) Morgan.  It’s a line-up like that that might have Anderson Cooper seriously consider taking the evening news spot on CBS.

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