Monday, January 11, 2010

No Surprise, the 'Jerry & Bill Show' Leaves Much to Be Desired

It was a difficult task, but I managed to make it through the entire half-hour of the pilot episode of the "Jerry & Bill Show" this evening on FOX 19. The Tribune Co. decided that it would be a good idea to pit former Mayor of Cincinnati Jerry Springer against Conservative talk-show host Bill "Willie" Cunningham and have them argue about politics. From The Chicago Tribune's piece on the show:

"We'd go at it minute or two, a bell would sound, and then we'd go onto the next one," Cunningham said. "At the end, we'd each have a 60- to 90-second commentary."

Compton, 35, Tribune Co.'s senior vice president for programming, said that if he approves the show, it would air on many of the company's television stations and "hopefully others." It wouldn't be seen on WGN-Ch. 9, however, which is focusing on non-talk show programming, Compton said.

"We're going to run the pilot in the next two weeks, and if it rates, we're going to jump all over it and try to put together a deal," he said. "This is part of our quest to get back into original programming. Tribune was there once before, and with today's technology, it's a lot easier to do than it has ever been."

The pilot was shot at the Fox affiliate in Cincinnati, where all of the players first met. The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the taping.

When I first heard that this show was in the works, I expected that it would only air locally due to the strong local interest in both personalities. Call me crazy, but I don't think the country needs another show that is devoted to a Democrat and a Republican yelling at each other about politics. I guess the thinking was that if you create the conditions for a train wreck, people will tune in to watch it happen.

This show was everything that you would expect it to be. Frustrating, frantic, disorganized, and not helpful to the overall political discourse. As the show opened Jerry Springer stated that this was going to be a "political conversation where nothing is off-limits" (wait, is this supposed to be something different?) and Cunningham immediately launched into his normal ranting and raving.

"Your man," Cunningham said to Springer, "Barack Hussein Obama..." "Our President," quipped Springer, Cunningham: "Your man, Barack Hussein Obama..." and we were off down a very predictable road.

The two bantered about Obama's successes in his first year as President, each sticking to the normal partisan talking points before segueing into the current health care debate. Springer made points about European countries' life expectancy being higher than that of the U.S. and that 45 million Americans currently lack health insurance. "Medicaid and Medicare already cover those without insurance," Cunningham stated, "We have the best health care in the world".

Once Springer pointed out that you can't get Medicare until you are over 65 and that Medicaid is reserved for citizens who are really poor, Cunningham launched into his familiar diatribe against the poor claiming that there are not any "dirt-poor" people in this country anymore and that "there are poor people in this country, but they are fat." Cunningham also stated that "to be poor in America means that you are morbidly obese." He apparently thinks this because the Government gives out so many "handouts" to those in need.

The two briefly touched on Afghanistan (Cunningham wants to withdraw the troops) before they moved on to why the conversation on politics is so nasty. Ironic right? I thought this point had a little potential considering that Cunningham recently made the 2009 Media Matters of America "Most Outrageous Comments" list, but Cunningham set the agenda by claiming that liberals "control" the universities, the media and Hollywood. Reacting to this, Springer asked how Bush was elected twice if the media is so liberal. "Because people had talk radio to turn to," Cunningham replied.

Other topics included:

Global Warming

Which Cunningham claimed is a "liberal myth to seize control of the economy" and doesn't believe in because we are having such a cold winter.

and Tiger Woods

In perhaps the most incoherent moment of the show, Cunningham claimed that Lyndon Johnson is responsible for the whole Tiger Woods mess because Welfare took fathers out of the home. Therefore, children have had no role models in the home and have had to look to celebrities like Tiger Woods for inspiration.

The show closed with both of their hopes for the new year. Springer wants health care for all and Cunningham wants Obama to be impeached so Biden can become President.

Can someone tell me why we need this show? Real conversations about important issues are already few and far between within the corporate media, I don't think that we need more of this nonsense on the airwaves.

This is also posted here.


Grumpy said...

Because it's "entertainment", and entertainment sells.

Quim said...

What was up with the set?
The show had no redeeming qualities. Maybe, if it was on on a regular basis, they could have more focussed shows. This was just all over the place.