It was obscene that Brian Williams devoted more than four minutes of Monday's Nightly News to a fawning, obsequious interview with Jon Bon Jovi. More accurately, the story was about Brian hanging out with Bon Jovi and talking about all the great things the singer has done. Look how cool they are together! Meanwhile, on that same broadcast, a story about the historic health care bill was given less than three minutes of news time. I think we know where Brian's priorities are. Brian would much rather hang out (in his cool shades) with A-list celebs than report the news. In fact, each day this week, Brian will be doing a story about a different celebrity. Well, what do you expect? It's a sweeps month. Nightly News has become so much like an entertainment show that Brian might as well just drop the pretense and hire an Ed McMahon-type sidekick to sit next to him at the anchor desk. And Michael Douglas should start introducing Nightly News by saying, "Heeeeeere's Brian!"
But wait, there's more. Brian didn't mention that Bon Jovi's gig on Nightly News is part of an exclusive two-month "artist in residence" deal Bon Jovi arranged with NBC Universal as a way to promote his new album which will be released on Nov. 10 (the day after his Nightly News appearance). As part of the deal, Bon Jovi will also be appearing on Today, The Tonight Show, The Jay Leno Show, Saturday Night Live, and Inside the Actors Studio (which airs on NBC Universal's Bravo channel). So I guess that's the definition of a symbiotic relationship. Nightly News gets a ratings bump from Bon Jovi's appearance, and Bon Jovi gets to promote his new album. Sadly, Brian is taking Nightly News to a new low. We expect celebrities to go on Leno or Conan or SNL to promote their latest project. That's why those shows exist. But when a network news show invites a celebrity to appear for the purpose of promoting new material, that's just shameful. So from now on, every time we see Brian interviewing a celebrity on Nightly News, we should be wondering what type of promotional deal the celebrity devised with NBC. Brian, to paraphrase a Bon Jovi song, You Give News A Bad Name.