Saturday, May 22, 2010

More on this issue...

A week or so ago, I wrote about the quality of television programming that we receive as part of the agreement we have with our service providers.

I spotlighted the E! entertainment network and the MSNBC news network as two channels to avoid if at all possible. As I thought about that, I realized that my previous column was incomplete.

I had a lot more ideas that I had to leave on the editing room floor so here are some other networks that should be avoided.

The Oxygen network is the network that was co-founded by media mogul Oprah Winfrey. There may be no more loyal audience than the one that follows Winfrey. If she says a book is good, then sales of that book explode. For her magazine, she puts herself on the cover each month instead of other media personalities or politicians. She is right to do that because she knows it is her face that sells her magazine, and nobody else but her can cause sales of it to improve.

The network was sold to NBC in 2007 for a tidy $925 million in an impressive example of how capitalism works. However, Winfrey's impact on the network still remains.

Keeping this in mind, I realize I may be putting my safety in jeopardy by criticizing the Oxygen network. Will her loyal supporters cause me to wake up someday with a horse's head in my bed? Time will tell on that, but there is no disputing that Oxygen's programming is lightweight. A show that must have a lot of popularity is Snapped because it seems to be on every time I turn to that channel. It is a true crime show that features women who murdered the men in their lives. And, like many other networks, Oxygen is on the reality-television bandwagon with shows focused on women behaving badly.

The network is an example of how flash and noise often add up to nothing. If I had the choice of watching either Oxygen or Telemundo, I would choose Telemundo, and I don't even speak Spanish.

Another network that has to be on this hit list is TruTV. The network tries to separate itself from the reality television genre by saying it is about 'actuality' not reality.

During the daytime, the network focuses on issues in courtrooms. However, after the sun goes down, it is all about shows that focus on home-made videos and the ways in which people embarrass themselves.

On these shows, celebrities like Tonya Harding, Danny Bonaduce, and Todd Bridges provide witty comments as clip after video clip shows people acting drunk, getting hit in the groin by someone, and/or acting stupid while somebody gets it on camera.

Now, I am sure Harding, Bonaduce, and Bridges are all very nice people in real life. But when I watch this, I have to wonder why they were chosen to do the ridiculing.

Harding is a former ice skater who allegedly played a role in the attempted knee-capping of rival Nancy Kerrigan prior to the 1994 Winter Olympics. Bonaduce was a child star on the show The Partridge Family who has lived an unpredictable and varied adult life. Bridges was also a child star on Diff'rent Strokes and later had problems with the law.

I know we are a nation obsessed with being on television. However, I would think twice before sending embarrassing video of yourself to their show. If you find yourself being ridiculed by them, it is my opinion that your life is not exactly working out. Please try something different.

The bottom line is we are all blessed with only so many years to live. Don't waste time watching these networks.

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