Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ann Curry Loves George Clooney--I Mean Sudan!

Is there one person on this planet who believes that Ann Curry cares the slightest bit about what's going on in Sudan? On Monday's Nightly News, Curry reported from Sudan--with George Clooney! There's George and Ann riding on a truck! There's George and Ann riding on a boat! See how he takes her hand to help her onto shore! There's Ann interviewing George! See how he gazes into her eyes! And of course the story ended with Brian Williams reading a promo for Ann's exclusive interview with George on Tuesday's Today show. This wasn't a story about Sudan, this was a story about George Clooney. This is just part of the Nightly News strategy. Include lots of famous people on their "news" show so the ratings go up. This is the third time in five weeks that Nightly News has included Clooney in a story. An Oct. 3 story featured clips from "Up In The Air." And on Sept. 5, they aired a story ostensibly about how American movies need foreign box office receipts to succeed financially. In reality, the story was just an excuse to show 90 seconds of movie clips--including 30 seconds of clips from Clooney's movies and an additional 20 seconds of Clooney clips that ran as promos during earlier parts of the broadcast. Brad Pitt was also featured in that story--as he was on the Aug. 27 story about his post-Katrina work in New Orleans. For the Nightly News producers, George Clooney and Brad Pitt are part of a winning formula for ratings, although they will show stories featuring practically any celebrity that they think will help increase their viewership. Barely a day goes by without Nightly News featuring some actor or singer as part of a news story. It's becoming more and more difficult to tell Nightly News apart from the shows that follow it--Extra and Access Hollywood. Case in point--the final story of last Friday's Nightly News was reported by Maria Menounos who is best known as a correspondent for Access Hollywood. It's as if the Nightly News producers are making a point of blending their broadcast as seamlessly as possible into the gossip shows that follow it.

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