Tuesday, April 21, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Got a beef with television? Why not sue somebody?

By
From page A7 | August 02, 2014 |

NEW YORK — Republicans in the House of Representatives say they want to sue President Barack Obama.

Without taking sides, I want to say I find this Beltway brawl’s latest round to be inspiring. While the TV universe hardly compares to affairs of state, I’m moved to sue a few people myself (or think about it, anyway).

— For starters, is there someone I can sue to get rid of all those commercials for gold? Reverse mortgages? Personal-injury lawyers?

— Maybe I’ll sue the couples on HGTV’s “Househunters,” or the huge percentage of them who demand granite countertops in any kitchen they approve. Isn’t there a danger that their clamoring for granite countertops could spark a craze for granite countertops among all “Househunters” fans, with a resulting run on granite and skyrocketing prices? Wouldn’t that be followed by granite quarries stripped bare and, with no granite left, granite quarriers thrown out of work, thus losing their granite-countertop-kitchen homes? We must halt such granite mania with a lawsuit that requires house hunters to accept tile, marble or Formica, for every home owner’s good.

— Another worthy target of a lawsuit: Stephen Colbert. I might just sue him for abandonment in anticipation of his bolting to CBS next year to host the “Late Show.” With that move, he says, he will revert to his own real-life personality and scuttle the “Stephen Colbert” character who for nearly a decade has presided over Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report.”

That will mean the end of the self-satisfied blowhard whose lamebrain pronouncements, decoded for their ironic intent, have served as some of TV’s shrewdest analysis of current events. And for anyone who mistakenly admires him as a kindred spirit of the Fox News Channel ethos that he parodies, it will be nothing less than the loss of a national hero.

— I will be considering a restraining order against NBC’s Brian Williams, requiring him to stay at least 50 feet from any telecast that isn’t news. Doesn’t it seem like Williams is forever popping up on talk shows, TV tributes or anywhere else a lens is focused? He makes TV appearances even without meaning to. Like in June on “The Tonight Show,” when Jimmy Fallon premiered the latest mash-up of the NBC News anchor, this time rapping Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”

In July, Williams was a guest on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” He’s a frequent guest on David Letterman’s “Late Show” (or at least he made an appearance, not his first, in January). And everybody knows how often he drops in on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” (Actually, I don’t know how often, but I feel like it’s lots.) Shouldn’t Williams be spending more time with his family? And I don’t mean volunteering to play one of the pirates during daughter Allison’s star turn in “Peter Pan.” I’m concerned he might suffer from overexposure!

— Quite the opposite is the case for the targets of another of my possible lawsuits: the purveyors of such shows as Discovery’s “Naked and Afraid,” VH1’s “Dating Naked” and TLC’s “Buying Naked.” Shouldn’t they be cited for indecent (TV) exposure?

This bare-bones approach to programming seems likely to denude the TV landscape. What’s next: “Naked Meet the Press”? “Naked Iron Chef”? “Naked Ice Road Truckers”? “Naked Biggest Loser”? Left unchecked, such a sight could drive viewers to seek refuge in radio.

Hmmm. Who in radio could I possibly sue?

Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at [email protected] and at www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore.

 

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