Well, I’m glad that Oprah has been brought down a few notches… by Oprah. I don’t know who annointed Oprah the arbiter of culture, ethics, and behavior in America. Well, actually, I do know who did that: Oprah. So now she had to confess her mistake annointing James Frey. But in typical Oprah fashion, she didn’t really take the fall herself. She pilloried Frey in the process. We already knew he was a liar of Glassian/Blairian proportion. But what this was about was really whether we can trust Oprah. That’s what her empire is built upon.
But we forget it was Oprah who trashed up daytime TV. She took the Donahue format and threw in shouting, screaming lowlifes, which made her a ratings hit and which everyone else — including Donahue — then copied. Then, and only then, did she get religion. She did a show about how wonderful she was to recant and become, overnight, the queen of quality TV. Her bookers tried to get me on that show — as a TV critic at the time — to praise her. To the consternation of my company’s flacks, I refused.
So Oprah is taken down a notch because one of her creations turned out to be a fake. I can only hope that the next one to fall is Dr. Phil.
: By the way, I’m scheduled to be on Howie Kurtz’ Reliable Sources Sun day to talk about this and other stuff.
Tonight Letterman talked about a dream he had about his last show. A hint?
I don’t like hospital shows since I’m always afraid they’re going to make a kid sick for ratings. So I never bothered to watch Gray’s Anatomy. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, since tonight, ABC gave us a one-hour episode that summarizes everything that has happened so far (following a similar Cliff’s Notes for Desperate Housewives). What’s fascinating is how this works without all the drawn-out drama and pathos, just the good bits, remixed.
Umair Haque reviews the state of TV news in America:
Now that I’m in the States, when I make the mistake of trying to watch some news, I get, instead, a dose of catastrophically stupid anchorbots yelling at each other (or better yet, at me). You know the score – O’Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn, etc…
This is a mini case study in why Media 1.0 is dying such an agonizing, painful, awful death. I mean, here in SF I get about 10 news channels – and I still can’t get any news. All I can get is screaming, shouting, honeymoon murders, infotainment, blah, blah. Not to mention about 30 mins/hr of ads.
Forget strategy for a second. We don’t need any economics to tell us why media’s dying anymore: (how can I put this nicely) it sucks. Beyond sucks. It absolutely blows. There are no words to express the suckage anymore.
Well, that’s perhaps too much of a blanket condemnation. But I have had the experience of having cable news on just to have something on and then looking back after two hours to realize I didn’t learn a damned thing new.
NBC says that Fear Factor now has a vlog, though there’s no video on it, so it’s a blog and it appears under a blogs.nbc.com address. But, hey, why be picky?
Before going on Howie’s show today, I went to makeup and saw something new: Rather than using little sponges and pads to make me look human, they used a airbrush to gently blow me-colored powder all over my face. She explained that they’re doing this to get ready for HDTV. Or maybe she was just being nice and she thought I needed sandblasting.
Kudos to CBS’ Public Eye for taking a camera and mike into the CBS Evening News editorial meeting. Having sat through all too many editorial meetings in my day, I can warn you that you will not necessarily see a great show. But, of course, that’s not the point. You now get to see the show behind the show. You see sausage being made. And that is great. That is what more news organizations should do. It’s not as if everyone is going to watch this. But the point is that now you can and now they are willing to let you in. That’s progress.
Here’s a suggestion to my friends at CBSNews.com and 60 Minutes (you know who you are, Dick and Larry):
Take the outtakes from the very good 60 Minutes story on Howard Stern and put them online. Good on you for putting up the segment itself. But Howard’s huge audience wants more.
Howard talked this morning about asking 60 Minutes for the video to put it on his pay-per-view channel. Thanks to damned Cablevision, I don’t have that yet.
But if you took all that material — more of the Howard interview, his trip to Roosevelt, interviews with the staff, scenes from the studio and office — and put it all up in separate chunks with permalinks to each, you’d get incredible traffic. Howard said this morning that 60 Minutes on Sunday got 17.5 million viewers, up from 10ish million usually (please comment and correct those figures if they’re off). And you can bet that the age demographic took a pleasant dive that day.
So you can attract that large and young audience to CBSNews.com if you’ll offer more of Howard. You’d also find yourself getting tons of links; you’d be in the conversation.
Now if you really wanted to be revolutionary and modern, you could take all those segments and put them up in downloadable form so people could remix their own segments on Howard. But I don’t want to push it too far. We’ll get there.
: MORE: Paul in the comments reminds us that for a higher cause and purpose, Jay Rosen also tried to push CBS to publish full interviews here.