Imagine if there was a real tabloid television show on the air right now. In the meantime, Anna Nicole Smith may have died too soon to save Geraldo, but her rapidly-decomposing corpse has been doing wonders for the series that are out there. The latest to get the good news? Inside Edition, the pseudo tabloid and A Current Affair knockoff that went on the air in 1989, and somehow, through a below-the-radar history of inoffensiveness and blandness that's moved from David Frost to Bill O'Reilly to Deborah Norville, has gotten a commitment to last well past its 20th year, into the 2011-2012 season. And today, Norville (being a good sport for her show, above) got a big vote of confidence with a big contract extension.
"We have a history with our viewers," she said today. "'Inside Edition' has been part of the television viewer's world for a generation now and there is an incredible amount of trust that goes with that. Even with the current coverage of Anna, we try to tell it in a non-sensational way. We make a point of talking about the water-cooler stories of the day, but we work hard not to abuse stories that are disturbing to our viewers."
"Deborah's solid news background and willingness to get in the trenches are a huge part of this show's success," said Inside executive producer Charles Lachman. "I can't think of anyone I'd rather have lead our news team."
You can read about Inside's history here. Meanwhile, TV scribe Marvin Kitman has finally come out with his long-awaited bio of former Inside anchor O'Reilly. Tabloid Baby author Burt Kearns, credited by Kitman as "tabloid historian," thankyouverymuch, is the authority on the Inside start-up years in The Man Who Would Not Shut Up.
We've been busy. But we'll get to the Kitman book-- and a very important correction to its text-- soon.