Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Syndicated Curiousity

When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs of Detroit with a family that was definitely not into pop culture and movies, I got my entertainment news from small soundbites on Entertainment Tonight for 20+ minutes every night of the week. I rarely watch that show now or any of its offspring like The Insider, Extra, or Access Hollywood. I get lots of entertainment news from a plethora of sources without it. But occassionally I'll tune in --especially around this time of year. I like to hear what people in the heartland are hearing about the worlds of film and television and especially I like to know what they're hearing about awards season. So I watched their Golden Globes day-after coverage with extended curiousity.

Maybe I'm just too old for these shows now but they seem to have gotten more and more manic. Am I imagining this? The news, or press releases rather, are now only about 15 to 30 seconds long (as opposed to maybe 45 seconds to a minute before?) and the editing is much more jarring. The other strange thing? The background music is played at equal volume to the people who are speaking. It makes for a very strange effect where I never know what I'm supposed to be listening to --their catchy jingle or Mary Hart shouting inanities at the top of her lungs with that frozen smile? That creepy but also weirdly genuine smile...like she doesn't have any other facial expression to use. Not creepy spooky like Tom Cruise's pearly white grin. But benevolent creepy.
I knew to expect a lot of Desperate Housewives chatter. I know that's the type of thing that mainstream viewers obsess on. I also knew there would be a lot of fashion coverage --fine by me. What I didn't realize and frankly what really alarms me is that there was almost NO mention of the winners. I watched for a solid hour. The lead in show (don't remember what it's called) and the ET 1/2 hour. They fawned over the Desperate Housewives. They named their Best & Worst Dressed. They fawned over the Desperate Housewives.They got mildly excited about Reese Witherspoon. They fawned over the Desperate Housewives.They drooled on the superstars (mostly Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney). They fawned over the Desperate Housewives some more.But they never once mentioned Brokeback Mountain. Not for the entire hour. Reminder: The entire hour was devoted to the Golden Globes!

Is this normal? I found it extremely odd. I mean... I knew that their core audience would want coverage of the Housewives. But not even one utterance of the name of the film that was the big winner of the night? Not even when they briefly showed Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams? If this is a new anti-Brokeback campaign by whichever media company controls ET and its syndicates it was pretty effective. Watching this show you would never ever know that the movie existed, much less that it was the big winner of the night. You would know only that Desperate Housewives was still on, that Geena Davis plays the President of the US on TV, and that George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Reese Witherspoon are very famous.

10 comments:

andy said...

I used to be hooked on enntertainment shows but gave around the time E! let go of Joan & Melissa Rivers. I can't stand them anymore. The coverage, the reporters---it's all terrible.

But that's surprising they didn't cover the winners. Do you think the fact that a lot of them came from films not widely seen by the public?

And is it just me or do these shows make you wish Desperate Housewives would disappear forever? I hate the way they always steal the spotlight at events like the Globes. Yeah, they had a nice run last year, but really. Enough is enough.

Neel Mehta said...

I remember the Entertainment Tonight of old. Unless it was mentioned on a nightly news show, you needed ET to find out what movie won the box office, or what your favorite actor was doing next. It was a source of entertainment news because there were no others. But times have changed.

Now, I think shows like ET have embraced the assumption that viewers only really care about who was there, what they were wearing, and if any good gossip took place. The winners are irrelevant unless they come up on stage and kiss Halle Berry.

Desperate Housewives hooks at least 25 million households a week. ET and the others want a piece of that action any chance they get. If these shows could get away with a whole hour on how Teri doesn't get along with Eva, and Nicolette and Marcia had their eye on the same dress, and the four of them hate Felicity for her aw-shucks speeches, trust me, they would try.

John T. said...

I don't think it's that odd-I mean, look at the sorts of celebrities that are winning awards and those who gain tabloid coverage. Only in rare instances like Julia Roberts do they mesh: Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Beyonce sell magazines and shows like this, while awards entities honor relative unknowns like Rachel Weisz, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti.

NATHANIEL R said...

Well the AMOUNT of coverage for DH is not odd, no. But the omission of even a casual mention of winners is extremely weird to me. They can't spare 10 seconds of ONE HOUR to mention that Brokeback Mountain won 4 awards including Best Picture ?

very strange. Seems like an agenda.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Watching ET is a crazy experience. It's on at 3pm here and I usually watch the first 10 minutes and then turn it off. The only interesting (i used that term mildly) are on in that timespan and for the rest it's about Jim Belushi and Eartha Kitt's domestics or "exclusive" interviews with people. I find it hilarious when they do THIS:

Mary: We discover what Jennifer Aniston thinks about Vince Vaughn!
*cut to clip of Jen*
Jen: I think he's a great man!

10 minutes later when they actually air the "interview"

Mary: Now in our exlusive interview with Jen, we give you all the details on her relationship with Vince Vaughn.
*cut to interview*
Jen: Ya know, I think he's a great man!
*cut to studio*
Mary: You heard it hear first!

...?

Anonymous said...

That drives me crazy about ET. Why even bother interviewing people when the interviewer is doing all the talking. They narrate most of the clips and the celebrity utters about two words.

Also, thumbs up to E! for getting rid of Star Jones and replacing her with Isaac Mizrahi. He gave Joan a run for her money.

Mic

Goran said...

Yeah I officially gave up on ET when I watched their day-after-Globes coverage in 2000. In the whole half hour they mentioned that American Beauty and Toy Story 2 were the big winners only once, in passing.

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