Media meltdown will burn viewers
- Pete Schulberg
- Portland Tribune - News
Call it June Swoon. We're not even a week into the month, and already the griping over stories and shows is making me dizzy.
Worst decision: The Federal Communications Commission sucking up to media conglomerates by voting in a new package of rules allowing for more TV consolidation and, by extrapolation, further homogenization of the media.
I've yet to hear a single compelling explanation of how this helps the viewers. Look for Congress and the courts to fall all over themselves in the rush to overturn the travesty. This entire controversy may well make FCC Chairman Michael Powell a household name Ñ though one not nearly so well regarded as his dad, Colin Powell.
Story that has the best chance of disappearing: Again, it's the FCC decision. The handful of media giants who control thousands of radio and TV stations and newspapers won't be anxious to keep this pot boiling.
Media members most adversely affected by the FCC decision: TV writers and producers, who will have fewer options in a scaled-down competitive universe, and local TV station employees who will find themselves having to serve two and three stations. (Just ask Portland radio news folks; they are already having to scramble for four and five stations owned by a single company.)
Another potential loser in this deal: Advertisers who find themselves roped into multistation package deals they would just as soon not have to deal with.
Worst summer programming idea: Roseanne Barr Ñ back to using a last name again Ñ will be the subject of a reality show to air in August on ABC. The show is going to be based on the behind-the-scenes doings of her other series, 'Domestic Goddess,' which debuts on ABC Family in the fall. Someone should have presented this to the FCC in order to buttress the case against network consolidation.
Worst 'American Idol' spinoff: 'Cupid,' which premieres on CBS next month, has viewers voting from home on which guy will end up with 25-year-old Lisa Shannon. Shannon, an advertising copywriter, starts the show with a hundred eligible bachelors to, as it turns out, not choose from.
The show's creator-executive producer? 'Idol' icon Simon Cowell, of course.
Saddest resignation: Oregon native Bryce Zabel, who just stepped down as chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. (Those are the folks who put on the Emmy Awards.) The brash and outspoken Zabel made the Emmy process almost interesting. Now, he'll go back to writing for TV. His latest project is HBO's 'Hearts and Minds,' about postwar Iraq.
Worst budget news: Oregon Public Broadcasting is looking at making cuts in local programming. In the last few years, OPB has made an effort to bolster its locally produced shows, which people actually watch.
Best TV producer raising the most eyebrows: David E. Kelley's summer began with the ceremonial axing of a few cast members from 'The Practice' and 'Boston Public.'
Worst invasion of privacy: TiVo, the personal video recorder company, has announced it will provide advertisers with information about the viewing habits of its individual subscribers. Almost makes you want to bring back Beta.