Booze, Schmooze, but Not Any News: The “Today” Show Fourth Hour

 

 

 

 by WALTER BRASCH 

 

The most important media story this past week is that the Kardashians were guest co-hosts on the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” show. One Kardashian sister per day, plus mother Kris and stepdad Bruce Jenner.

It isn’t bad enough that talk shows, which have descended into a morass of being publicity mills for celebrity hucksters, adore them. It isn’t bad enough that the E! cable network, owned by NBCUniversal, throws millions of dollars to create and promote their reality shows that are as real as unicorns and fairy dust. Now we have Kardashians in NBC’s Studio 1A, the window on New York City.

The three sisters are Kourtney, 32; Kim, 30; and Khloé, 27. Their mother is Kris, 54. Other than Jenner, whose career stems from having been an Olympian gold medalist and Wheaties box icon, the rest seem to have few discernible talents or skills, other than being celebutantes, socialites, and models. Even their various businesses exist only because they have the Kardashian name, earned because of Robert, a high-profile lawyer, who became a household name by defending O.J.

Upon their name, the three sisters wrote an autobiography and once again are about to leap to the best-sellers chart with a novel. There is no evidence that any of the three can write; there is evidence that bookstores and Americans buy books because of name recognition rather than talent.

But the real loser during Kardashian Week may be the integrity of NBC’s News Division. News, not Entertainment, produces the fourth hour, co-hosted by Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. At one time, Kotb was a good journalist. Now, with a larger paycheck and her hair dyed an unnatural blonde, she and Kathie Lee Gifford, herself an excellent singer/writer, co-host the fourth hour.

That fourth hour is filled with diets, makeovers, fashion, food, relationship advice, and celebrities huckstering their latest films, TV shows, and books. There are frequent short segments devoted to displaying semi-wild animals, the “ahhhh” factor in TV entertainment. But since Hoda, who has covered wars and natural disasters, seems to be afraid of any animal less cuddly than bedroom bunny slippers, those segments seem to be inserted into the show not as information but to give the audience an at-home laugh track to Hoda’s reactions. It makes little difference anyhow, since Hoda and Kathie Lee usually talk over whoever is trying to explain a little bit about each animal.

A typical show begins with Hoda and Kathie Lee interrupting each other with a few minutes of chatter. The chatter and interruptions occur throughout the rest of the hour. The guests, in rapid sequence, may actually have something important to say, but the endless babbling and cross-talk seemingly leave them little more than chum in a swirling pool of drunken steroidal fish.

Drinking is part of the fourth hour. Every day has at least a few seconds, often an entire segment, with the two co-hosts talking about booze and liquor, and then having demonstrations of how to make mixed drinks. Even the days are named. One day is “Booze Day Tuesday”; another is “Thirsty Thursday.” Guest co-host Seth Rogen two weeks ago had said he had never had a drink that early on TV. Hoda, joking it up, responded on the show’s Facebook page that the “operative words” were “on TV.” It isn’t too outrageous to believe that by the end of the Today’s final hour, even AA mentors are tempted to take a swig just to ease their pain.

Because the “Today” producers are “with it” and “one with social networking,” they underline the on-air show with audience contact through Facebook and Twitter. During the hour, Sara Haines conveys fan email to the co-hosts and occasionally discusses technology. There is no evidence she is a technology guru, just as there is no logic why she, like the two co-hosts, are bottle blondes.

Legendary TV pioneer Sylvester (“Pat”) Weaver created the “Today” show in 1952, filling a daily two-hour program with news and features. Two years later, now NBC’s president, he created the “Tonight” show.

For all but eight years of its 59 year run, “Today” has been the ratings leader in its two-hour time slot, mostly following the basic formula that Weaver established.

In 2000, NBC added a third hour. In September 2007, NBC expanded “Today” to the fourth hour. Kotb was the original co-host, along with Ann Curry and Natalie Morales. Gifford replaced Curry and Morales a few months later. After a dip in the ratings, the fourth hour again took over its time slot, adding to the News Division’s profit, a reason why it would do everything possible to stonewall any attempt to move that hour into the Entertainment Division where it belongs. The show itself is little more than an amalgamation of the worst parts of Cosmopolitan, Us Weekly, and just about any TV entertainment-and-gossip show.

Kardashian Week may have brought in greater ratings. It’s also why middle-class America willingly bathes in the limelight of the rich and famous, even those with little ability other than having created a following who make them famous for reasons no one yet understands.

[Walter Brasch is an a award-winning syndicated columnist and media analyst. His latest book is the fast-paced mystery Before the First Snow.]

 

 

 

Booze, Schmooze, but Not Any News: The “Today” Show Fourth Hour

 

 

 

 by WALTER BRASCH 

 

The most important media story this past week is that the Kardashians were guest co-hosts on the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” show. One Kardashian sister per day, plus mother Kris and stepdad Bruce Jenner.

It isn’t bad enough that talk shows, which have descended into a morass of being publicity mills for celebrity hucksters, adore them. It isn’t bad enough that the E! cable network, owned by NBCUniversal, throws millions of dollars to create and promote their reality shows that are as real as unicorns and fairy dust. Now we have Kardashians in NBC’s Studio 1A, the window on New York City.

The three sisters are Kourtney, 32; Kim, 30; and Khloé, 27. Their mother is Kris, 54. Other than Jenner, whose career stems from having been an Olympian gold medalist and Wheaties box icon, the rest seem to have few discernible talents or skills, other than being celebutantes, socialites, and models. Even their various businesses exist only because they have the Kardashian name, earned because of Robert, a high-profile lawyer, who became a household name by defending O.J.

Upon their name, the three sisters wrote an autobiography and once again are about to leap to the best-sellers chart with a novel. There is no evidence that any of the three can write; there is evidence that bookstores and Americans buy books because of name recognition rather than talent.

But the real loser during Kardashian Week may be the integrity of NBC’s News Division. News, not Entertainment, produces the fourth hour, co-hosted by Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. At one time, Kotb was a good journalist. Now, with a larger paycheck and her hair dyed an unnatural blonde, she and Kathie Lee Gifford, herself an excellent singer/writer, co-host the fourth hour.

That fourth hour is filled with diets, makeovers, fashion, food, relationship advice, and celebrities huckstering their latest films, TV shows, and books. There are frequent short segments devoted to displaying semi-wild animals, the “ahhhh” factor in TV entertainment. But since Hoda, who has covered wars and natural disasters, seems to be afraid of any animal less cuddly than bedroom bunny slippers, those segments seem to be inserted into the show not as information but to give the audience an at-home laugh track to Hoda’s reactions. It makes little difference anyhow, since Hoda and Kathie Lee usually talk over whoever is trying to explain a little bit about each animal.

A typical show begins with Hoda and Kathie Lee interrupting each other with a few minutes of chatter. The chatter and interruptions occur throughout the rest of the hour. The guests, in rapid sequence, may actually have something important to say, but the endless babbling and cross-talk seemingly leave them little more than chum in a swirling pool of drunken steroidal fish.

Drinking is part of the fourth hour. Every day has at least a few seconds, often an entire segment, with the two co-hosts talking about booze and liquor, and then having demonstrations of how to make mixed drinks. Even the days are named. One day is “Booze Day Tuesday”; another is “Thirsty Thursday.” Guest co-host Seth Rogen two weeks ago had said he had never had a drink that early on TV. Hoda, joking it up, responded on the show’s Facebook page that the “operative words” were “on TV.” It isn’t too outrageous to believe that by the end of the Today’s final hour, even AA mentors are tempted to take a swig just to ease their pain.

Because the “Today” producers are “with it” and “one with social networking,” they underline the on-air show with audience contact through Facebook and Twitter. During the hour, Sara Haines conveys fan email to the co-hosts and occasionally discusses technology. There is no evidence she is a technology guru, just as there is no logic why she, like the two co-hosts, are bottle blondes.

Legendary TV pioneer Sylvester (“Pat”) Weaver created the “Today” show in 1952, filling a daily two-hour program with news and features. Two years later, now NBC’s president, he created the “Tonight” show.

For all but eight years of its 59 year run, “Today” has been the ratings leader in its two-hour time slot, mostly following the basic formula that Weaver established.

In 2000, NBC added a third hour. In September 2007, NBC expanded “Today” to the fourth hour. Kotb was the original co-host, along with Ann Curry and Natalie Morales. Gifford replaced Curry and Morales a few months later. After a dip in the ratings, the fourth hour again took over its time slot, adding to the News Division’s profit, a reason why it would do everything possible to stonewall any attempt to move that hour into the Entertainment Division where it belongs. The show itself is little more than an amalgamation of the worst parts of Cosmopolitan, Us Weekly, and just about any TV entertainment-and-gossip show.

Kardashian Week may have brought in greater ratings. It’s also why middle-class America willingly bathes in the limelight of the rich and famous, even those with little ability other than having created a following who make them famous for reasons no one yet understands.

[Walter Brasch is an a award-winning syndicated columnist and media analyst. His latest book is the fast-paced mystery Before the First Snow.]

 

 

 

The Root (WAPO) and The Grio (NBC) Working To Control Black American Politics?

Yes, I said it. And yes, I am wondering out loud, if Corporate black blogs like The Root and The Grio are working to control black political thought in America?

AAP says: "Move over grassroots black political bloggers, NBC and The Washington Post have hatched a scheme to take over black political thought over the internet. They are like ATT taking over the smaller telephone companies. They are buying co-opting as many black bloggers as possible, and unfortunately it just may be working."  

Now the question is, on the immediate political front, whether both of these corporate media giants (WaPo and NBC) are doing nothing more than being under-cover operatives for getting President Barack Obama elected in 2012?

As I said in my earlier post, It get's under my black skin, that so-called black bloggers at (white controlled) corporate black blogs like The Root, owned by the Washington Post, and the The Grio, owned by NBC, are nothing more than a group of organized Obama loyalist who seem to never report on how blacks will lose $194 billion in wealth through 2012, or how the housing crisis continues to hits blacks the hardest and how President Obama (as Russell Simmons recently pointed out in his Open Letter To President Barack Obama) has all but ignored the plight of black America.  

I remember when I learned that NBC would launch a African American news site

and The Washington Post was planning to launch 'The Root', my gut reaction was, "there they go, white corporate America moving to "takeover" black political and social opinion over the internet."

I knew that folks at the Washington Post and NBC were getting concerned that black bloggers groups like the afrospear/afrosphere were getting too organized. I also felt in my gut that white media outlets, may have even sent its own operatives into the afrospear/afrosphere group to spread discontent. 

As I noted previously on this blog, there was a time when a group of black bloggers called the afrospear/afrosphere began to organize and became a force in the black America.

Unfortunately, the Afrospear/Afrosphere has seemed to 'step aside' as a group, and allow corporate black blogs like the Washington Post's The Root (owned by the Washington Post Company through its online subsidiary, Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive) and NBC's The Grio, to jump in feet first, and act as though they are the voice of on-line Black America

I guess the with big bucks from The Washngton Post and NBC, (The Root and The Grio) have just about become campaign organizations for President Obama's 2012 Campaign. Candidly, Both of these black corporate blogs or so-called black news outlets should be required to file with the Federal Election authorities as part of the Obama organization.

Will The Root and The Grio become the electronic voice of Black America?  I don't think so... the voice of the black blogging community continues to grow. It will take more than NBC and The Washington Post to control black political thought in this country... But they sure are trying...

 

Cross Posted on Black News Junkie.com, African American Pundit, MyDD, and African American Opinion and other blogs throughout the internet. Please feel free to link to, and report on this issue.

The Root (WAPO) and The Grio (NBC) Working To Control Black American Politics?

Yes, I said it. And yes, I am wondering out loud, if Corporate black blogs like The Root and The Grio are working to control black political thought in America?

AAP says: "Move over grassroots black political bloggers, NBC and The Washington Post have hatched a scheme to take over black political thought over the internet. They are like ATT taking over the smaller telephone companies. They are buying co-opting as many black bloggers as possible, and unfortunately it just may be working."  

Now the question is, on the immediate political front, whether both of these corporate media giants (WaPo and NBC) are doing nothing more than being under-cover operatives for getting President Barack Obama elected in 2012?

As I said in my earlier post, It get's under my black skin, that so-called black bloggers at (white controlled) corporate black blogs like The Root, owned by the Washington Post, and the The Grio, owned by NBC, are nothing more than a group of organized Obama loyalist who seem to never report on how blacks will lose $194 billion in wealth through 2012, or how the housing crisis continues to hits blacks the hardest and how President Obama (as Russell Simmons recently pointed out in his Open Letter To President Barack Obama) has all but ignored the plight of black America.  

I remember when I learned that NBC would launch a African American news site

and The Washington Post was planning to launch 'The Root', my gut reaction was, "there they go, white corporate America moving to "takeover" black political and social opinion over the internet."

I knew that folks at the Washington Post and NBC were getting concerned that black bloggers groups like the afrospear/afrosphere were getting too organized. I also felt in my gut that white media outlets, may have even sent its own operatives into the afrospear/afrosphere group to spread discontent. 

As I noted previously on this blog, there was a time when a group of black bloggers called the afrospear/afrosphere began to organize and became a force in the black America.

Unfortunately, the Afrospear/Afrosphere has seemed to 'step aside' as a group, and allow corporate black blogs like the Washington Post's The Root (owned by the Washington Post Company through its online subsidiary, Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive) and NBC's The Grio, to jump in feet first, and act as though they are the voice of on-line Black America

I guess the with big bucks from The Washngton Post and NBC, (The Root and The Grio) have just about become campaign organizations for President Obama's 2012 Campaign. Candidly, Both of these black corporate blogs or so-called black news outlets should be required to file with the Federal Election authorities as part of the Obama organization.

Will The Root and The Grio become the electronic voice of Black America?  I don't think so... the voice of the black blogging community continues to grow. It will take more than NBC and The Washington Post to control black political thought in this country... But they sure are trying...

 

Cross Posted on Black News Junkie.com, African American Pundit, MyDD, and African American Opinion and other blogs throughout the internet. Please feel free to link to, and report on this issue.

The Root (WAPO) and The Grio (NBC) Working To Control Black American Politics?

Yes, I said it. And yes, I am wondering out loud, if Corporate black blogs like The Root and The Grio are working to control black political thought in America?

AAP says: "Move over grassroots black political bloggers, NBC and The Washington Post have hatched a scheme to take over black political thought over the internet. They are like ATT taking over the smaller telephone companies. They are buying co-opting as many black bloggers as possible, and unfortunately it just may be working."  

Now the question is, on the immediate political front, whether both of these corporate media giants (WaPo and NBC) are doing nothing more than being under-cover operatives for getting President Barack Obama elected in 2012?

As I said in my earlier post, It get's under my black skin, that so-called black bloggers at (white controlled) corporate black blogs like The Root, owned by the Washington Post, and the The Grio, owned by NBC, are nothing more than a group of organized Obama loyalist who seem to never report on how blacks will lose $194 billion in wealth through 2012, or how the housing crisis continues to hits blacks the hardest and how President Obama (as Russell Simmons recently pointed out in his Open Letter To President Barack Obama) has all but ignored the plight of black America.  

I remember when I learned that NBC would launch a African American news site

and The Washington Post was planning to launch 'The Root', my gut reaction was, "there they go, white corporate America moving to "takeover" black political and social opinion over the internet."

I knew that folks at the Washington Post and NBC were getting concerned that black bloggers groups like the afrospear/afrosphere were getting too organized. I also felt in my gut that white media outlets, may have even sent its own operatives into the afrospear/afrosphere group to spread discontent. 

As I noted previously on this blog, there was a time when a group of black bloggers called the afrospear/afrosphere began to organize and became a force in the black America.

Unfortunately, the Afrospear/Afrosphere has seemed to 'step aside' as a group, and allow corporate black blogs like the Washington Post's The Root (owned by the Washington Post Company through its online subsidiary, Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive) and NBC's The Grio, to jump in feet first, and act as though they are the voice of on-line Black America

I guess the with big bucks from The Washngton Post and NBC, (The Root and The Grio) have just about become campaign organizations for President Obama's 2012 Campaign. Candidly, Both of these black corporate blogs or so-called black news outlets should be required to file with the Federal Election authorities as part of the Obama organization.

Will The Root and The Grio become the electronic voice of Black America?  I don't think so... the voice of the black blogging community continues to grow. It will take more than NBC and The Washington Post to control black political thought in this country... But they sure are trying...

 

Cross Posted on Black News Junkie.com, African American Pundit, MyDD, and African American Opinion and other blogs throughout the internet. Please feel free to link to, and report on this issue.

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