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August 28th, 2003

Original Programming and Infotainment

Quick: when I mention The Weather Channel, what do you think of? Weather? Lots of maps? Finding out if it’s going to rain on your newly-washed car? Sure, sure, but what about… original programming?

I was amazed to hear, last year, that The Weather Channel had come up with its own programming in an attempt to, you know, gain ratings. I expect to turn on The Weather Channel, get weather, and then stop watching.

Now, ESPN wants a piece of the same pie with Playmakers, a “dramatic” series. Likewise, on the one or two times a year I turn on ESPN, I want sports news or analysis – and then I want to get out.

All of this points to even more “entermation” or, if you please, “infotainment.” So what can we expect next? I have a couple of ideas….

  • CNN unleashes “Behind the Headline News,” a reality show following its Headline News anchors around in their daily lives.
  • CSPAN launches “Extreme Government,” a hip new show that mixes the news from the day’s Congressional sessions with the latest hits from artists such as Eminem and Justin Timberlake.

Clearly, there’ll be no end to entertainment – even when we’re just trying to get some information. Sorry, gotta go check the weather – it’s in an exciting new game format, kind of like Tetris, and I have to put the blocks together before I can find out if it’s going to rain today!

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 9:40:52 am
I have to say, I do get miffed between 8 and 9pm when I try to get my local wx on the 8s, and I find them telling the story of the blizzard of 93...again...

My brother, a meteorologist who does NOT work for TWC, will be here this weekend so I will ask him if TWC is genuinely reaping any benefits from this programming. (He has a good friend there, who happens to be one of the funniest people I have ever met! Go ahead, guess who the funny one is!)

FROM: Greg
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 10:29:27 am
"There'll be no end to entertainment"

Don't television shows, first, have to entertain? There's very few of these left out there.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 11:54:50 am
ESPN needs to stick to what it does best -- Sports. Period. I wanna know how badly my Phillies are collapsing, not a poor man's remake of "Any Given Sunday".

Even worse is the trend that most network newscasts are following: Hyping their own shows during news casts, and reporting on them like its a legitimate news story. (I.E.: Fox News doing updates on American Idol, ESPN Sportscenter interviewing the cast of "Playmakers")..It's starting to happen all too often in newscasts, where reporters are just becoming pitchmen shilling the network goods and masquerading them as stories.


FROM: Chris
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 12:02:27 pm
ESPN does stand for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. I can remember when they had a business news on in the mornings.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 4:31:47 pm
Is that right, Chris? Well, I guess they're being honest then. Doh.

FROM: Maria
DATE: Friday August 29, 2003 -- 2:00:34 am
Sounds ominously like how we used to turn MTV on 15 years ago and expect to see videos. Maybe a few years from now we'll be seeing shows like "Total Request Weather" and "The Meteorology World" and nary a forecast to be found on the Weather Channel.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Friday August 29, 2003 -- 1:53:20 pm
sweeeht! But I don't think anyone wants "the Meteorology World" .... well, besides people like me who live in it anyway. ;-D

Baroclinicity!! (scurrying away)

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday August 29, 2003 -- 2:25:23 pm
Actually, "Total Request Weather" sounds like a pretty sweet concept..celebs doing the weather...

Beyonce talking about "High Pressure Fronts"...I smell ratings.

FROM: aharris
DATE: Friday August 29, 2003 -- 10:49:56 pm
Have you ever actually watched "Playmakers"? It's not half bad. It's well written and has pretty good acting. Perhaps you're is kind of weird having it on a supposedly all sports channel but IMO it's not half bad. ;)

And do you seriously turn to the weather channel to get the weather? I've tried that in the past but end up getting frustrated having to wait for my city to show up. It's much easier for me to just check online. ;)

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday August 29, 2003 -- 10:59:47 pm
aharris: Saw "Playmakers", and it was better than the ESPN movies like "Season on the Brink".

This is the kind of show that would be better suited for say, ESPN2 or even ESPN Classic. Classic doesn't have as big a clearance over cable networks, though, so that wouldn't make sense. I could live with the series being on the deuce, though, since on most nights, they seem to be doing a lot of fringe sports (Kneeboarding??)

FROM: sam
DATE: Monday November 14, 2005 -- 3:00:45 pm
this is the most boring website I've ever read

FROM: ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday November 14, 2005 -- 5:10:37 pm
that was the most boring comment I've ever read

FROM: me
DATE: Monday March 27, 2006 -- 5:52:54 am
i agree

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