Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tabloid Nightline

"Goldston took pains, however, to 'refute utterly' any speculation that Nightline is headed in a more tabloid-like direction, saying the revamped show will be true to the Nightline tradition'..."

That's from today's L.A. Times, a story about the new Nightline that premieres next week.

"Goldston" is Nightline's new producer, a Brit named James Goldston. Goldston isn't one of those ABC in-house producers. He comes from London, where he produced "Tonight with Trevor McDonald." McDonald is a Trinidadian television presenter with ITN, notable for being the first black newsreader in the UK (they call them "newsreaders," not the lofty "anchors" in Britain). Like Koppel, he's a stuffy type.

But there's another Brit in the Nightline line-up. Hosting from Times Square: Martin Bashir. The Oompa Loompalike guy who brings tabloid tactics to a sublime new level, whose m.o. was exposed and mocked during the Jacko trial, whose reports are hilariously edited to drive his preconceived points home, step by step-- the man who Jacko hired Maury Povich to refute!

Bashir's co-anchors?

Cynthia McFadden, for years rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (a fascinating real-life mystery. Bashir should check on it), and Terry Moran, who looks like the kid from Home Alone.

Make no mistake, these "anchors" and their producers are all tabloid babies, weaned and trained on the prime time tabloid magazines Dateline and 20/20, the phony-edgy news shows that hit all the tabloid topics, pump them up like we used to in the old days, while thumbing their noses at the circus they perform in.

A Tabloid Nightline has come to pass.

Dave Marash, no longer invited to the party, must be rolling in his beard. Remember the good old days when Nightline could refuse to cover stories like O.J. Simpson?

Check out the book, Tabloid Baby. See Chapter 27, "Butthole Surfers & A Mad Dog Nightline," starting on page 319, and of course, Chapter 30, "Jeff Greenfield is A Big Fat Humorless Putz," on page 365.

There's also the Tabloid Baby website at http://www.tabloidbaby.com/. There are priceless embarrassing videos of Greenfield chapter and former Nightline hatchet gal Judy Muller, and an excerpt from the Greenfield chapter. Plus it tells you how to buy the book.