Tuesday, July 3, 2012


On Ken Levine's blog, "By Ken Levine" yesterday, he posted a few paragraphs about NBC firing Ann Curry, and unceremoniously replacing her with Savannah Guthrie. I had seen the story, and while I was somewhat saddened, I didn't really have any intentions on writing about it, and there was already way too much in terms of speculation and tabloid rumor and gossip in regards to even the subtlest of changes regarding any of the morning news programs, and especially so with "Today" over the years, that I really didn't want to jump into this fray at first. Until I read that the supposed reasoning for Curry's firing, as given by President of NBC News, Steve Capus, when he said that, "Ann Curry was weak on cooking segments".

Okay, now I have to say something, and I don't want to reiterate everything that Mr. Levine said, in fact, here's the link ot his blog if you want to check it out, but I agree with everything he says, and when I started watching the four minute youtube clip of Ann leaving the show, I got only a minute into it before I had to turn it off, 'cause I just couldn't take it anymore.


That is a bullshit reason to reassign someone, who is incredibly good at a job she loved, and on top of that, is very likeable, and not replacing her with Hoda Kotb, is at least at a minimum, strange. Let's talk bigger picture though. The "Today" Show, sucks! It has for years, and it has gotten continuously worse over the years, and way, way, way too damn long! I can tell the jokes too. The "Today" show is so long, when it ends, "The Tonight Show," goes on. But why the hell is it four hours long? Does anybody know, honestly? It used to be two, like "GMA," and whatever-the-hell the CBS show was, (Oh, and don't you other networks think I'm leaving you guys out, your morning shows suck as well!) then, it was really popular, as it's always been, and still is, and it became 3 hours, and then, for some ungodly reason, they made it a four-hour show, oh and wait, there's more, making the fourth hour, basically a "Regis & Kathie Lee" style talk show, that follows, but is also apart of "Today", with Kathie Lee Gifford, coming back to daytime television, which I don't remember anybody particularly hoping that would happen, and come up with an hour of...-. What, ready-made self-depricating fodder for "Saturday Night Live", what the hell is that!? Has anybody watched the crap on the morning shows lately? At least CBS, to their credit, is at least trying to counter with the revamped "CBS This Morning" crew, bringing a more serious and professional undertone to the morning news this past year, but it's still fairly unwatchable, and half-the-time depressing, which is not how I particuarly want to feel when I get up in the morning, but why isn't anybody, simply, counter-programming? Does every channel have to have a morning news show, all fucking morning, now? The FOX affiliate in Vegas, where I live, has a morning news show, where they start, at like five in the morning, and continue, until like ten or eleven. I mean, I admire the difficulty in the skill, being on camera five, six hours a day, everyday trying to fill time, but good God, would a rerun of "Friends" kill ya? How often can you hear the same damn news. Literally, the same damn news, every half-hour! I can only get through two "Sportscenter"'s if my Phillies happened to win that day.

Let's try and do it, right now, two hours of news. Every half-hour, five minute news updates, not including three minutes for the weather, the going outside and talking to people on the streets of New York City, in the weather, that ten minutes, of a 22-minute half-hour, then a breakdown of a major news story, probably something, Washington related, it'll be easy to get pundits, they can kill time no matter how smart or dumb they are, we have the big celebrity interview, and if it's a musical guest, they'll perform on the street for the fans, that can be exciting, the news about your health and what normal food could kill you this week, the parents of the toddler who drowned after being bitten by the family's pet 25-ft long boa constrictor, or better, the parents of the missing kid, missing teenager, even better...., and it's important to get the parent first, because they're gonna drive across town, and do the other two shows later in that day, but, "Today," has a third hour, so they can come back, and have a 2nd interview later that day, on the same "Today" show, (I swear, I've seen John Walsh do that.) there's the product safety bit, there's the "How many calories are really in that Big Mac," bit, again, the stay-at-home-Mom Weight-loss challenge updates, can't wait for those, the how-to-cook-the-really-fattening-desserts segment, with the celebrity chef of the week, or whomever finished 6th on "Top Chef," the season before, whomever they can get that day...- Ugh.

The "Today," show, has basically become a glorified, time-waster, and I'm not talking about us watching it, I'm talking about them, doing the show. Four hours, live television, everyday, and you can just tell, half the time they're struggling to just fill the time, and this is with all, the early morning news shows, and I just have to ask, "Why?" We have 24 hour news, hell, we have 24 hour channels, devoted to sections of the news, like sports and business, and if we didn't have that, we have the internet? Unless they happen to have Justin Bieber on, that day, who cares? I don't even care about that, but it'd be the ratings winner, and that's all they care about. But what good is ratings for a show, that's basically a bunch of people trying to fill time on TV. You know when that's entertaining, when they screw up, and blooper, and frankly, that happens a lot because it's live, and they're on forever. Actually, you know when else that was passable as entertainment, (And let's be fair, the early morning news shows, this basically falls more into entertainment than news now.) when it was cool to see people trying to kill time on television? When MTV first started. Remember that, when they had the VJs, and they played the videos, and that was all they had on MTV (And I know, they don't have that anymore), that was entertaining, because it was a bunch of young people, who otherwise had no idea what the hell they were doing, trying to fill time on television, on a channel that barely anybody saw and barely made any sense at the time. People like Ann Curry, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric Charlie Rose, George Stephanopolis, Robin Roberts, Meredith Viera, both Gumbels, and all the others, are not MTV VJs, they're adults, with years of journalistic news experience and integrity. They've become glorified VJs now. It's beneath them. I know it's a tough gig, it's a good gig, it's a well-paying gig, and should be considering how hard it is. It's like, the equivalent of selling items on QVC for six hours at a time, trying to be excited about every piece of jewelry or clothes or whatever they're selling. It's a hard, demanding work, and they have to start at seven in the morning, so they're awake at like 3 or 4 just to get ready, but I can't think of a reason to watch it everyday, for more than, I don't know, twenty minutes at a time, maybe.

You know, one of the first blogs I wrote here was about why the cable channels weren't taking an opportunity to start making soap operas. They're dying out on basic, they're fairly cheap to make, they have more freedom than networks creatively, and it would be great counter-programming for the morning news shows, the talk shows, and judge shows that overcrowd the morning programming; I still think they're missing an opportunity. But, with the popularity of "Today," so undaunting, even now, why haven't any of the basic networks decided to counter-program at all? Doesn't have to be soap operas, it could be anything? Morning cartoons used to be big when I was a kid (who remembers "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers") , at one point morning game shows were huge, why can't that work at seven in the morning? Get our cognitive minds going. If there's a big news story, no biggie, you'll break in like you always do. Or if you still want a morning news program, just have an hour long one, do just the important stuff, and lead into something more fun and light. You know what I put on in the mornings, since I don't have cable? I put on PBS. A bunch of kid's shows. "Signing Time," and "Cat in the Hat," or whatever. I don't watch it, I just put it on so I don't have to deal with the insufferable morning news shows, while I'm still groggy and searching for milk for my coffee.

I'm sorry about what happened to Ann Curry. She got screwed, she didn't deserve it, and it was wrong of NBC to do it like they did. Rumors and ratings aside, this really isn't watchable, none of these shows are, and everybody's trying to hit lightning with a new version of "Today," and there just is nobody, coming up with anything, other than, another early news show! More people on television, trying to fill time. I'm sorry, but it seems so logical, just counter-program it. I can't be the only one, who's sick of having nothing good on television when I wake up in the morning.
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