True stories with a twist!

imagesWhat a perfect television family they seem to be; They all get along so beautifully; each respects the others on the team. They fit together and compliment each other so well; don’t you envy working with people you respect that way? Ads for their programs show the entire team; not only one star celebrity.

REALLY? Do your believe that hype? Do you buy those carefully controlled, groomed, color coordinated images? Do you think TV pairings are as cordial and supportive as the producers want you to believe they are? Turn on a morning news show on any leading channel. The anchors and supportive team members smile at each other, make little chit chat between stories, and ad lib during down time. images-5

I cringe every time a reporter approaches a victim of an unspeakable disaster, crime or other newsworthy story, as they shove a microphone into the person’s face asking, “What were you thinking at the time?”

The interviews: are they supposed to be informative to us, or to spotlight how much the anchor already knows about the subject? They all seem to love putting their own words into the guests’ mouths to improve the meanings of their words. Are anchors insinuating that we should all going back to second grade?

Have you ever noticed how the news team have to show the audience how much fun they’re having together? They laugh so whole heartedly, loudly and all at once, that we cannot hear or understand anything being said. They appear to be each others’ best supporters and biggest fans. But are they? Sometimes years after the show goes off air the truth about those relationships comes to light. images-2

Harry Reasoner hosted a news program years ago. Suddenly he was told that a co-anchor would be assigned to co-host his show. The new person on scene was Barbara Walters. Years after the program was discontinued the story was Unknown-2revealed about the hateful attitude Reasoner had toward being forced to have a coanchor. He resented sharing the credits and spotlight with her.

Bryant Gumbel hosted the Today Show, and after a while stories came forth about his despotic demeanor towards everyone working there.

…And more recently on the recent Today show, one day Ann Curry is the adored co anchor and the next day, without warning, she is sent floating out to sea on an iceberg. In her place comes a “trophy anchor.” The younger, glib new woman who has ambition written all over her face. Watch your step, Matt Lauer!

Look carefully; try to feel the chemistry. Some laugh at colleague’s jokes. But most of them are picking through ongoing conversations for a chance to break in with their own lines. They crave that all important, attention. It’s embarrassing when one makes a “clever” comment and nobody else thinks it is clever, funny, or worthy of notice.

Television anchors will bulldoze over a colleague in order to have their sage insights heard. You can recognize the Alpha person: just look at whom the others look at to speak first; the one receiving the bows and kowtows.

Who among them do you think really delivers news, and who touts their own screen images? Who among them can speak unscripted with knowledge of domestic or foreign incidents? Is there anyone of the caliber of Walter Cronkite, called “The most trusted man in America?” Who among them could you trust, and who is TV’s “news candy?”

Comments on: "THE ALLEGED TV FAMILIES" (22)

  1. They must be trying to feed the illusion that viewers have — this belief that the people on television are part of their extended family. Much of it, I imagine, is like those beautiful buildings in Las Vegas: perfect-looking facades that are really just plaster and paint, and maybe even crumbling on the inside.

    Great post, Ronnie. I’ve had similar thoughts about radio shows featuring two or three co-hosts who laugh hysterically every time the host says anything. After a while, it begins to sound very phony.

  2. An editor once told me that I knew when to sit back and listen (giving the interviewee a chance to talk). Sometimes great insights are developed during a brief bit of dead air.

    Your observations, unfortunately, are on target for those desperate types who want 24-7 attention. They make you wonder what goes on behind the scenes before the cameras and mics are turned on.

  3. A very honest and forthright blog, I agree wholeheartedly, I cringe when I see the bon homme attitude on these types of programmes, they all try to outdo each other with their wittisim, if not carefully scripted and following a prompt monitor they fall dead on the screen.
    Ian

  4. I used to believe that TV personalities had good relationships between themselves, but not any more. It has been revealed that some of these men and women are of the choleric type or are in the habit of taking others as second fiddle.

    But then, some of these companies would like to keep such strife in house, especially when they know that they have a large audience glued to one/some of their program(es).

  5. Morristown! Ronnie! My maiden name is Morris & my little brothers name is Ronnie 🙂

  6. Your post could be written for this side of the pond also – hence the reason I rarely watch T.V. radio is a much better medium for “watching” programming

  7. Is it not all about ratings and attracting viewers.. more viewers, the more they can charge for advertising.. to me it’s all about income, even most of the news is sensationalized to grab the attention.. sure there is news that does this for them… the child shooting in the school.. but a lot is made out to be worse than what it is to grab the viewers attention…
    I on occasions watch CNN or Sky News to see what is happening in the rest of the world, and also to get away from our petty political in fighting of our country… and low and behold I get a news item about my country where it is being made out 10 x worse than what it is … obviously a slow news day and they have to fill time, where best to do this? Overseas where confirmation of facts are difficult for individuals to check and their local reporters are given carte Blanche to sensationalize the circumstances…
    To me a lot of this is just money related hogwash… money not news is the driving force… and to fill time, place a group of people together who appear to be a family, false laughs and banter and they have a winner, when in reality the general public is aware of the falsities behind the whole show…

  8. Alice said:

    News is an entertainment industry.

  9. Lisa Honecker said:

    SSSSSSS (snake sound) hisssss! This is great, love the irony. Strong piece.

  10. This one is a sure winner. It’s going to ring true to so many frustrated viewers that have to be exposed to that nonsense. No, I don’t HAVE to watch it, but I do want to know what’s going on in the world. So,yes, I am responsible for my choice, but I really don’t have a choice because I think the whole industry has succumbed to ratings , sensationalism , and objectifying women. When’s the last time you saw an unattractive news anchor . Thank you for giving me a chance to vent. mimi

    • Actually I have seen some unattractive news anchors in places outside the NY area. I won’t name the towns because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it was quite a revelation to see ordinary looking people giving the news. And they were not gussied up in fashionable, expensive clothes, either. They were “just folks!”

      Excellent comment, Mimi. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  11. A whole lot of packaging and cover up go on, on the screen. Behind the scenes must really be as revealing as you are insinuating, if not more interesting. Time always reveals truth. Good observation there. We’ve got to be real with our lives; impressions don’t change who we really are. Lovely post.

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