In the News
December 18, 2002
2002: More News Dreck
CBS's The Early Show underwent another change; it seems as though this is a yearly event. The TV critics have not been impressed; almost every review of the new show has been bad. Here we are in December and The Early Show has taken more shots than Kobe Bryant.
Remember how at the end of 2001, in the wake of September 11, stations promised to make their news more civilized and less sensational? Well it seems they forgot they said that. When a celebrity shoplifting case in L.A. gets more time on the news than the stock market, Iraq, and just about anything else...Houston, we have a problem.
Although CBS still sucks in the morning, 2002 will be known as the year The Tiffany Network finally started to shine again. The "Eye" showed great gains in the 10 p.m. programming slot and that helped local CBS affiliates around the country. New York City saw some big shake-ups at the local level. WNBC General Manager Dennis Swanson got the ball rolling when he told NBC "c-ya" and headed for a new gig at CBS. That set off a turn of events that had GMs and news directors changing stations faster than Winona Ryder changed hats on security camera video.
Snipers took an entire region, as well as every television set in America, hostage. Local news from Buffalo to Boise covered the story as though it were an actress on trial for shoplifting. The cops messed the entire thing up when they arrested the suspect just days before the November book started. Chief Moose never did cooperate with the media.
Stations spent most of the summer of 2002 telling you that your kid was going to be snatched out of his bed at night. Even though statistics showed that kidnappings were actually down, as the old saying goes, "never let the facts stand in the way of a good story."
TV agents spent much of 2002 trying to shop their high-dollar talent to stations that were hiring kids. One station went so far as to hire an 18-year-old as its new reporter. Last I looked, I saw an agent from Ken Lindner and Associates staking out a nursery school for potential clients.
Next month, I will give you my predictions for the year ahead. I know some of you can't wait that long, so here is one of my forecasts: Winona Ryder will be named new anchor of The Early Show.
Scott Jones is a former photographer, reporter, assignment editor, producer, executive producer, and Top 20 news director. He runs www.ftvlive.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.