Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reality TV - Some Good, Most Awful

I'm not a fan of most Reality TV, but some programs are so distasteful they should not be seen, much less broadcast to millions.

The rancor displayed by reality contestants puts the worst aspects of human behavior on display and contributes to those who wrongly contend that American society is declining.

The culprits are, for the most part, the producers and network executives who take a bunch of strangers, force them to live together, shut them off from the world and provide liquor.

Is it any wonder that the final products feature little but sniping and catfighting?

The worst examples are "The Bachelor" and "Survivor."

On the plus side, there are a few programs that bring us together - as viewers, music lovers, champions of young people trying to make it in the world and even aspiring business magnates.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the current run of "The Celebrity Apprentice" employs a respected group of performers and other semi-famous individuals who are showing viewers how to be effective and how to raise money for charity while remaining collegial.  Stand-outs are Holly Robinson Peete, Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders and, shockingly, Poison rocker, Bret Michaels.  What a great group!

While it's been said quite often that the current group of American Idol contestants doesn't measure up to past idols talent-wise, these young singers seem to be incredibly supportive of each other.  They're fighting for their artistic lives, but they still pat each other on the back.  The program is a further joy in that it showcases music appreciated by all generations and gives us all something to talk about the next morning.

I don't believe network programmers should eliminate all reality television, but I implore them to start weeding out that which offends.  I'd rather turn the TV off than watch programs that present people as lower life forms.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Deutsch, Olbermann and Biden

So MSNBC removed Donny Deutsch from its broadcasts because he named the network's own Keith Olbermann among others who are displaying intense anger during their political talk programs.  (Others were Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.)

MSNBC is correct from an HR standpoint - you can't have one of your top talkers maligned by his own colleagues - but Deutsch's thinking is right.  Who wants to watch these guys explode every day and why can't they speak reasonably?  On both sides, they're mongering fear and hate.  And, they're contributing to the divisiveness that precludes any positive action in Washington.

On "The View" today, Vice President Joe Biden was asked about the lack of decorum in politics by Joy Behar, of all people.  He recalled the late Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield, who lectured to Biden as a young Senator about discourse and collegiality.  Biden noted that some of his fellow members of Congress frequently refer to former President Clinton as "Bubba."  You wonder, he said, "why kids don't respect authority."

Let's get back to discussing ideas and refrain from spewing anger - in private and on TV.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Conan signs with TBS

Conan is going to cable, in my opinion, to be able to do the comedy he couldn't do at NBC.  At TBS, he'll be free to say the things that Bill Maher, George Lopez, et al, get away with. He won't be marginalized; he'll be unleashed.
He's probably also tired of the network hierarchy and the allegiance that must be paid to network programming and movies produced by parent companies.  At Fox, he would have been forced to promote everything that came out of that company's studio.
And, yes, basic cable is the new place to be.  TBS, TNT, HBO and USA are producing comedies and dramas that are better than those of the old networks.  Programs like "My Boys," "The Closer," "Leverage" and the dearly departed "Monk" are better than anything on CBS, NBC and ABC, with few exceptions.