Anchors face new wrinkle: Botox
I sense trouble. Ever since Greta Van Susteren had her eyes redone before debuting her new show on Fox News Channel, I've been worrying that other news anchors and program hosts will follow suit and begin looking even more bizarre than they do now.
Forgive me, but I liked Van Susteren better with bags under her eyes. It gave her character and made me believe that the former attorney stayed up late at night poring over briefs and taking notes. But these days, wrinkles and lines don't count for much.
Have you checked out the other anchorwomen on Fox News Channel and CNN Headline News? I haven't seen this much makeup since Tammy Faye cried on 'Nightline.' Information about Osama and Enron is coming through collagen-plumped lips that would make Mick Jagger blush. Even the male anchors are sporting bigger, shinier hair.
What's happening here? It probably has more to do with television news thinking that it must compete with all those other showbiz types on TV who refuse to age.
It used to be that anchors overdosed on hairspray. Fifteen years or so ago, it was all about the hair. Now it's about buying a new face.
Van Susteren was quoted in The New York Times recently as saying that 'every person on television' uses the anti-wrinkle drug Botox, a neurotoxin that paralyzes muscles in the face (ouch) and is about to be approved by the FDA for cosmetic use. (Get ready for a TV ad bonanza.)
If that's true, I want names and faces. I want my anchorpeople to be good communicators who feel comfortable with their God-given looks. If I want something else, I'll go to a Michael Jackson concert.
I've always felt that the No. 1 criterion for successful anchors is the ability to be easy on viewer eyes. But my eyes start watering when I look at Van Susteren now. I'm happy she's happy (or at least she says she is). But I hope this trend goes away before we need to check the listings to see if the fill-in for Dan Rather really is Dan Rather.
And if we discover that Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw had their eyes lifted or wrinkles removed, forget about Enron. This would be worth a full-force investigation.