Some Cable Broadcast News

According to a report over at the TVNewser blog, which really is the go to place for information on the industry, MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann is getting a raise -- and probably a big one at that.

Ever since the former sports broadcaster started launching scathing attacks on the hypocrisy and wrongheadedness of actions taken by the likes of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly and others, filling in a much needed gap within the cable broadcast industry for a newsman willing to cover the issues without a noticeable right wing bias, Olbermann has seen his ratings climb while his competitors have fallen.

Back in July, Olbermann briefly bested his nemesis Bill O'Reilly in the key 25-54 year old demographic (the "demo") during one program. True, it was more of a symbolic than real victory, seeing that O'Reilly was on vacation (and thus his program was a rerun) while Olbermann was not; still, it did mark the first time, to my knowledge that Olbermann's "Countdown" had topped Fox's "The Factor". By the late summer and early fall, Olbermann catapulted ahead of Paula Zahn within the demo, his competition during the 8 PM Eastern timeslot on CNN, and has since reached the point at which he regularly beats her in the ratings, both overall and within the demo. And the trend has not been limited to Olbermann and O'Reilly. MSNBC's numbers have been up across the board while Fox News' numbers have dropped significantly. So suffice it to say that it is good news that Olbermann at least appears to be on track to stay on the air with MSNBC for a long time to come.

And what of Fox News these days? Aside from being shunned and ashamed for pushing the clearly bogus story about Barack Obama's educational background, Fox News is moving ahead with a comedy program created by a producer of the Fox broadcast show "24" that aims to be a conservative alternative to "The Daily Show". From the bits and pieces released thus far, it's stunningly bad. I've already posted the video over in Breaking Blue, but it bears repeating on the front page because it is just so, so bad.

It's difficult for me to imagine someone coming up with something less funny -- though perhaps unintentionally hilarious because it attempts to be funny but so clearly fails -- as this program. One conservative blogger even suggests that "the writers are all liberals deliberately sabotaging the show." If this is what Fox News is going to come up with, it's no wonder their numbers are plummeting.

Update [2007-2-15 1:0:47 by Jonathan Singer]:Yet another God awful clip emerges...

Update [2007-2-15 12:22:22 by Jonathan Singer]: The AP has more on the Olbermann half of this post.

Tags: Fox News, Keith Olbermann, MSNBC (all tags)



Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

"Material so weak, in fact, that one suspects the writers are all liberals deliberately sabotaging the show."

Best. Conspiracy. Ever.

by sdedeo 2007-02-14 04:12PM | 0 recs
Mallard Fillmore

Example #1 of why conservative attempts at "humor" usually fail.

In my hometown newspaper, Mallard Fillmore is paired with Doonesbury on the editorial page. One guess as to which is the funnier strip.

by FlyLeft 2007-02-15 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Mallard Fillmore

Oh god, Mallard Fillmore. Have you seen, by the way, the "editorial cartoon" at the Onion? The joke is that it's extremely conservative, and it's actually rather funny in the same way that watching these clips is.

by sdedeo 2007-02-15 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Mallard Fillmore

There once was a funny conservative political cartoonist. His name was Jeff McNelly, and he created a still-going strip called "Shoe." He could make me laugh even when I disagreed with him.

Mallard Fillmore is for the people who think that Rush Limbaugh's calling Chelsea Clinton the White House dog was funny.

by Pieter B 2007-02-15 09:46AM | 0 recs
Shoe is conservative?

Huh. How about that. I love Shoe and have never detected anything conservative about it at all, even if its creator is one.

Even Johnny Hart keeps his fundie-ness generally isolated to holidays.

But Mallard Fillmore is an abomination. It's even less witty and cutting than Day By Day, which is a pretty difficult feat to pull off.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2007-02-15 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

Wow. That is such incredibly weak humor. That laughter in the Obama piece was canned, right? If not it was the best imitation of canned laughter ever.

by Mullibok 2007-02-14 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

I actually found it kind of scary-mean laughter from a depressingly uncanned conservative audience.

by sdedeo 2007-02-14 04:33PM | 0 recs
As a comedy professional

including a stint as a TV comedy writer,
from experience, I know the forced laugh of a desperate producer/writer when I hear it (first part of tape) as well as the too-finely-tuned canned laughter.

But I couldn't even force a laugh for that clip.

So they're either going to have to rely on their own writers going hoarse at tapings, or somehow ship in dedicated audience from Rush or O'Reilly.

by judybrowni 2007-02-14 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: As a comedy professional

That is interesting -- stacking the audience with desparate writers and producers.

Man, when they read out loud the unfunny jokes that were already printed on the screen... kill me.

Any other comedy-writer insights on this train-wreck for us?

by sdedeo 2007-02-14 05:37PM | 0 recs
bad laugh tracks at that

by TarHeel 2007-02-15 03:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

That clip sounds like a bad TV sitcom, where the audience laughs on cue, and then is suddenly silent so we hear the next line. People in real life don't act like that.

The actors of a live show have to wait for the applause to die down. Just compare any Jon Stewart clip and you'll see the difference.

It's just stunningly bad.

Having a live audience is supposed to show that you're hip. But, here they would probably have dead silence or mild chuckles at best.

A relentless focus on Obama for no reason other than to make fun of him about nothing that I can see? There's really no point except to attack him even though he hasn't done anything that is funny or strange enough to comment on. What's amusing about that?

Stewart's humor is to find outrageous or ironic situations and make fun of those, like when he said "leading off tonight's news, an entire week has now passed without the Vice President shooting anyone in the face."

It's funny because it plays off the surreal character of the Vice President of the U.S. actually shooting someone in the face.

The writers of this show don't understand the concept of humor.

Frankly, I would be worried if someone like Jeff Foxworthy of Blue Collar TV made a Redneck political show satirizing Hillary Clinton or something, because there is a reservoir of hatred on the right that could be tapped there.

But, this crap is just hopelessly off. The right's natural audience of blue collar rednecks and rural conservatives will hate it. It's a white middle-class group of 2nd raters who sound desparate to be relevant. Their audience will be reminded of the smarmy rich kids they used to bully in high-school and how much they hated them.

This show hasn't a ghost of a chance of success.

by Cugel 2007-02-15 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News
My God. Even its title, one of the only vaguely funny things about this show, is unoriginal: see This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a long-running Canadian political satire show. (It's a riff on the 60s-generation news show "This Hour Has Seven Days.")

I should also note that 22 Minutes, even in America where half the jokes make no sense, is still infinitely funnier than this bilge.

by MarkusRTK 2007-02-14 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

There was also the "Half Hour Comedy Hour" way back in the early days of MTV, am I right?

by Reelpolitik 2007-02-14 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News
Can't find any record of that online; but IMDB does yield "Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour" from 1970, and "Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour" from 1972, which featured a very young Steve Martin. Huh.
by MarkusRTK 2007-02-15 02:37PM | 0 recs
Sophmoric. n/t

by Jeff Wegerson 2007-02-14 04:56PM | 0 recs
YouTube comments say it all.

  "Belligerently unfunny."

by cilerder86 2007-02-14 05:00PM | 0 recs
This is mydd

This is mydd, not advertising age. in my many years on the net (since 1979) I have always applied acceptable use policy - it has been, more than government or country - my guiding principles to what I would do with any post, or  thread topic.

This is for everyone: news media entertainment should never be glorified in any way by repeating their brand.

Tomorrow, lowell bergman will dawn upon us his work on the news media entertainment people. I hope to watch it (as a researcher, I am usually not able to form a coherent schedule for TV and am forced to live with tapes and dvds - I sometimes must work nights).  I hope that some of us watch that.

I really wish however that someone here hadn't posted that video. mydd is not a forum for this kind of discussion.

"advertising age" is probably better. after all, every news organization is getting flattened in the 18-24 and all the ad agencies are trying to sell "bracketing" as a way to mix cocaine with chemicals and smoke it in a crack pipe and call it all a quality high

by heyAnita 2007-02-14 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: This is mydd

Aw man, I remember Ad Age (my Dad was an adman.)

But sunlight is the best disinfectant, no?

by sdedeo 2007-02-14 05:15PM | 0 recs


by Teaser 2007-02-15 02:21AM | 0 recs
Re: This is mydd

"(as a researcher, I am usually not able to form a coherent schedule for TV and am forced to live with tapes and dvds - I sometimes must work nights)."

Looks like you're having trouble forming a coherent comment as well. Honestly, WTF are you talking about?

by otto schmidlap 2007-02-15 03:28AM | 0 recs
Re: This is mydd

"(as a researcher, I am usually not able to form a coherent schedule for TV and am forced to live with tapes and dvds - I sometimes must work nights)."

Looks like you're having trouble forming a coherent comment as well.

by otto schmidlap 2007-02-15 03:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

Ick!  They are trying way to hard.  Fox should just let it go and slowly fade away with whatever illusion of dignity they had.

by dayspring 2007-02-14 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

If they're throwing this around as pilot material imagine what this show is going to look like when they need to actually fill 30 minutes everyday...

by blueryan 2007-02-14 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News
Is it just me, or does the crowd scene at ~1:19 when the anouncer is saying "'s official, AMERICA has a ..." look distinctly African?
Not that it matters in something so painfully unfunny and unprofessional, it just struck me as odd.
by jujube 2007-02-14 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News
I think that's footage of Obama's appearance in Kenya last August. My guess is that these producers just looked for whatever stock footage they had of Obama speeches, and threw this bit in without realizing the strange racist implications.

(Perhaps, like Colbert, they don't see color?)

by MarkusRTK 2007-02-14 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

A lot of the photos in accompanying the "magazine articles" are from Obama's appearance at USC about a week before the '06 elections.

You can see former controller Steve Westly - now Obama's California campaign chairman - and new Lt. Governor John Garamendi in two of the shots.

by Reelpolitik 2007-02-14 08:07PM | 0 recs

No, that clip was intentional.

by LiberalFromPA 2007-02-15 04:07AM | 0 recs
More Fox News fun just breaking in SF

Fox has had the War on Christmas San Francisco theme going. Papa Bear suggested that it was open season for terrorists to blow up Coit Tower.

A month ago, Hannity tried to turn a local assault case into another reason to hate San Francisco. He made a big stink and offered a cash reward. This isn't settled yet, but is breaking wide open tonight.

Guess where it should be going? It likes like it should be split by gay attorney and Green Party leader who might have revealed this to be an anti-gay hate crime by a member of an elite anti-terrorism team.

Nothing like watching conservative heads explode like Coit Tower in O'Reilly's fantasies.

by Bob Brigham 2007-02-14 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

That is the most pathetic attempt at political comedy that I've ever seen.

by areucrazy 2007-02-14 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

Oh my lord was that bad. I particularly liked the badly acted banner between the anchors--they weren't even trying to be ironic with their line readings. It was just that bad.

You can tell that some of the audience members think that the more forced their laughter, the more Conservative Points® they win.

And Marion Barry jokes? Awesome! I too love my humor to have a fine early-'90s vintage.

I also liked the shot of random African men jumping up and down--see, 'cause they're black and he's black and he's probably got weird black African friends.

I guess republicans only do anger and bigotry, not humor.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2007-02-14 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

This Hour has 22 Minutes it ain't.

by Fledermaus 2007-02-14 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

I've seen carwrecks on YouTube that I didn't scream as loud during. Are Limbaugh and Coulter supposed to be making fun of Republicans? By mocking a failed WAR where HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE DIED?

I guess maybe I'm also shocked that I'm still shocked by this...

by gordeaoux 2007-02-14 10:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

P. J. O'Rourke is, to my knowledge, the only conservative humorist going that MIGHT be able to save that show. But then, I view most of their news shows as a running fart joke.

by KevinHayden 2007-02-15 12:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News
Fox has produced some brilliant comedy.
Married With Children, Simpsons, Mad TV--
Oh yeah, all were written and performed by liberals.
by otto schmidlap 2007-02-15 03:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News
if anyone STILL--after O'Reilly, Hannity, Hume, and the rest--harbored any doubts as to the bone-deep racism of the Faux Noise organization, its employees, management, or ownership, the attached clips should dispel them forever...
jeesis fucking christ...
by Konopelli 2007-02-15 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

I think this clip is sad -- and crude.

by pol 2007-02-15 05:53AM | 0 recs
Olbermann Clip

There just needs to be a station continously looping Olbermann's highlights.  Let's use all of O'Reilly's turns as "worst person in the world" and all of Olbermann's responses to Bush destroying habeus corpus.  God I love Keith Olbermann

by ANewHope 2007-02-15 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

I just watched the second clip of Rush Limbaugh as President and it was mildly unfunny compared with the desparation of the first one.

It was pathetic in trying to blame 2 years of Democratic control of Congress for the troubles of the country, but generally harmless until the end

Then I was amazed Ann Coultour could make a joke "watch us or we'll invade your country, kill your leader and force you to convert to Christianity!"

Could there be anything less funny than that right now? My God! Nobody in America from left to right thinks that the Iraq war is funny now. What on earth were they thinking? I guess Rush gave them some of his meds!  

by Cugel 2007-02-15 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

Given that Fox News Corp. doesn't do actual news, it's not surprising that their comedy isn't actual comedy (as opposed to their entertainment division which is in the business of funny). However, it is interesting that Fox News would begin to openly conflate their "news" programs with "comedy". Their credibility, such as it is, can only suffer further.

by DanF 2007-02-15 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

Limbaugh bombed on TV before, and this clip is a good reminder why.  That was pretty darn awful.  You see better skits in a 6th grade class production.  

The Obama piece, on the other hand, was the most vile racist piece of garbage I can remember.

These shows being on Fox (unlike syndicated TV, e.g.), they don't need to worry about pulling good ratings to stay on for a while.  But since this is Fox "News," I would think it will piss off more than a few fewers who watch Fox and think of themselves as fairly moderate.  They'll be the ones turning the channel.

by JJF 2007-02-15 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

God this screams of Lt. Steven Hauk from Good Morning Vietnam.  Its like watching a train wreck... ..or current editions of SNL.

by purplefishies 2007-02-15 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

just. not. funny.

I can laugh if Dennis Miller makes his once in a decade jokes.  

But that...not funny in the least.

And those 2 actors.  Their careers are over.

by JJCPA 2007-02-18 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Cable Broadcast News

Oh my.... That was no fun at all!

Monica, Freelancer currently working on the Migraines Online Pharmacies project.

by Monica L 2008-02-25 09:43AM | 0 recs


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