Wednesday, January 17, 2007

With TV ahead, TMZ needs to get out of the toilet

With word that the corporate tabloid scandal website TMZ is about to be turned into a syndicated television magazine show (replacing Geraldo At Large, which unceremoniously replaced the revived A Current Affair), it’s time for Harvey Levin and the boys at the AOL/Time-Warner subsidiary to clean up their act.

And we’re not talking about sending kids with home video cameras to stand outside restaurants taunting celebrities, its fawning over Matthew McConaughey’s “heinie,” or its exploitation of the exposed crotches of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and other young women. That stuff will be ironed out as the site is tuned into a graphics-happy, fast-moving fluff vessel like its secret TV parent, Extra.

What TMZ has got to stop doing is acting as pimp and salesman for companies selling disgusting “celebrity” sex tapes. Whether someone is getting a kickback or the TMZ journos really think the subject is news, the kinky raunch and reworded press releases are very off-putting, especially when the headline is as heavy-handed as the one they ran today:

Paris' BFF's Sex Tape -- It's a Pisser

We first noticed the TMZ-underground porn connection in September, when the site began running a series of “previews” for a scatological sex video featuring former child actor Dustin Diamond of the show Saved By The Bell. TMZ giddily named the tape “Saved By The Smell,” and giggled that it featured an act of coprophilia known as a “Dirty Sanchez.”

Now, TMZ promoting and helping sell a tape that defiles and degrades another young woman— this time with urine.

As proud syndication salesmen rush about the NATPE convention in Las Vegas, selling the TMZ show to stations around the country, the TMZ site is repeating a story that's been floating around for weeks now-- a rumoured sex video featuring the brother of the pop singer Brandy and a celebutard of little consequence named Kim Kardashian. Kim is the daughter of the late Robert Kardashian, OJ Simpson’s friend and idolizer, who scurried away from police with Simpson’s Louis Vuitton luggage the morning after the Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman murders.

In this alleged video, Kim reportedly is the recipient of a “golden shower” of urine. As with the “Screech Sex Tape,” TMZ and, by extension, its corporate conglomerate parents and their shareholders, are helping promote this sleazy sex tape-- offering a link to the company that’s allegedly offered $2 million dollars for the video. TMZ quotes a "source who has seen the tape" about its contents, and trumpets its come-on with the headline:

Paris' BFF's Sex Tape -- It's a Pisser

Sorry guys, this may get a laugh around the office, later on at the bar on the Boulevard, or even late night on a specialty digital channel
-- but it comes from a cynical, decadent and sheltered view that isn't shared by the majority of Americans outside your three-mile zone-- and it ain’t gonna fly on nationally-syndicated television, not even when you hide behind the pretty plastic "anchors" who'll front the show.

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