Catch Up Time: Help Eric Pick the TCA Awards; Racist Journalist Tired of Media Attention; Matt Lauer Sorta Sticks Up For Katie
Have to sneak in a quick plea for some help here.
Haven't heard from many blog readers regarding my final picks for the TV Critic Awards, which we'll announce in July during our summer Press Tour. I'm really hoping to make my ballot a collaboration between you guys and me, so I need your suggestions for what to choose in my final selections. And I need your suggestions right away, because the deadline for votes is at midnight tonight, June 13.
Click here to see the finalists as announced by the TCA last week. As others have noted, NBC notched the most nominations -- just before its entertainment chief was replaced for low ratings -- followed quickly by HBO. But it's no surpriser that some of the best-regarded shows, including NBC's Friday Night Lights, would also be the lowest-rated.
So feel free to post here or on the original page with any suggestions about what I should vote for. I'll try to blog live from the actual awards ceremony, scheduled for mid-July in Los Angeles with host John Oliver from the Daily Show.
You've probably sat at home watching awards shows and gotten increasingly upset about their boneheaded choices; now's your chance to made a boneheaded choice of your own.
Racist Journalist Chafes Under Media Attention
Earlier, I wrote about how Gulfport Gabber writer Cathy Salustri met with my group, the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists, after admitting fears that living in her petty crime-filled predominantly black neighborhood was turning her into a racist.
Now, with attention from WMNF-FM, Creative Loafing, the St. Petersburg Times and the TBABJ, Salustri writes on her own blog that she's tired of talking about the issue, preferring instead to focus on the problems of her neighborhood, and tired of resisting people's refusal to believe she is actually racist.
Gotta say, this is an odd tale which keeps getting odder. Why write something so provocative in print and on blogs and then get upset when the community decides to engage you about it?
Matt Lauer Sticks Up For Katie as Dan Rather and CBS Trade Blame on Disintegration of the News Division
This week, Dan Rather finally began venting his anger over getting shoved off CBS a year before his 25th anniversary, criticizing Katie Couric's CBS Evening News on MSNBC by saying "the trend line continues, as I say, dumbing it down, tarting it up, going to celebrity coverage rather than war coverage." He also vented on Fox News Channel.
Since then, CBS Evening News producer Rick Kaplan has noted that the network had to do a lot of rebuilding after Memogate shattered the rank and file's morale. And Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal rightly notes that one reason CBS had such a thin anchor bench in the first place, is because CBS didn't develop a successor (something I've heard Rather, who was worried a successor might do to him what he did to Walter Cronkite, had more than a little to do with).
Now Couric's former partner Matt Lauer gets into it, telling Larry King in an interview pre-taped for 9 tonight that some criticism of Couric has been "unfair" and that Couric never "thought she was going to go over there and change the game like this, that the playing field would just be turned upside down."
Here's an excerpt:
KING: We have to concentrate on something so I - in an interview this week Dan Rather said Katie Couric, your own compatriot, "is a nice person but the mistake was to try to bring the 'Today Show' ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down and tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience."
CBS's CEO Les Moonves slammed Rather's remark as sexist. Rather denies he was referring specifically to Katie, Rick Kaplan the producer of that show now, of the news, has also chimed in with a critique of Dan. What's your read?
LAUER: You know, I like Dan Rather a lot and I always respected him. Was a fan of his when he was on there.
I'm not sure what the upside is for Dan Rather to be making comments about this. I just don't know. I think it's a lose-lose situation. I think the words he chose in his original statement were probably poorly chosen, I don't think he used some of the words he did in connection with Katie or that broadcast.
I think the controversy is an inside baseball controversy when it comes right down to it. I think we're interested in it.
LAUER: I don't think so. I mean, I think you'll find it on a lot of the media Web sites. I think you'll find it being talked about in the cafeterias in this building and at NBC and it's clearly at CBS. But I don't think that what Dan Rather says or what Les Moonves says is going to make a difference to someone sitting in Middle America.
KING: Do you take offense that Dan would refer to the "Today Show" effect on the "CBS Evening News" as dumbing it down?
LAUER: If that was his attention, to relate dumbing it down to the "Today Show," then do I take offense? I go back to my original statement, Larry, is I'm not sure what the upside is for Dan Rather, being removed from the situation right now to make that kind of comment.
But again, I have great respect for him. I just - I'm not sure what caused him to do it.
KING: Think he might still be angry?
LAUER: I mean, I think a lot of people who listen to the comments and who read the articles in the paper that both you and I have read might attach that meaning to it that maybe there is a little bitterness there but again, I think it's time to move on and I think enough has been said about Katie. She's a friend of mine and someone I worked with for more than 10 years.
KING: (inaudible) girl.
LAUER: Terrific. And you know what? I think there is something that's been unfair in dealing with the situation over there and I spoke to Katie a lot before she left but after it was known she was going to CBS and I do not - I never got the feeling from Katie that she thought she was going to go over there and change the game like this, that the playing field would just be turned upside down.
I think she thought, and as a matter of fact she said this to me on a number of occasions, this was going to be a long process and there are going to be advances and setbacks and so I don't think she ascribed to the hype that was attached to her move and as a result I don't think she should penalized for what is, I think, a normal feeling out period.