Industry News

TMZ Tamed

Tabloid Baby reports:

With only three Harveys to go before the debut of the syndicated television series based on the corporate porn-pushing gossip site, its editor and “main on-air-personality” Harvey Levin confirms to the Associated Press that he has taken the free consultancy advice offered for months on– and that the television show will not include any of the sleazy, sordid, pornographic and crass elements that are hallmarks of the TMZ website.

“There are obviously things we can do on the Web site that we can’t do on TV, and we’re not trying to do that. So it’s finding the right tone and the right personality. But I know what people want: They want different and they want humor.”

Levin’s comments are ripped directly from advice we’ve offered TMZ, for free– far more knowledgably and effectively than that of their high-priced TV consultants.

On August 12th, when asked by Luke F-rd, we explained why we don’t like the form of tabloid journalism practiced by TMZ: “Good tabloid has a sense of humour… Tabloid is the ability to tell any story— no matter how sordid or shocking— to any audience, to the Queen of England, as we used to say, as long as you tell the story the right way.”

And on August 15th, we reiterated: “We’ve watched as tabloid television devolved from something truly revolutionary and funny– a cultural and political force– to a corrupt, celeb-kissing, product-pushing, epileptic fit-inducing irrelevant waste of airtime. If he really wants to succeed, Harvey should take the advice from people who know: the audience. And the audience is speaking…

We’re here for you Harvey. But the fact that the show promises to be a pale, whitebread, wimpy version of the kinky, nasty, dirty website– complete with serio-newso co-hosts— does not bode well for the show’s future. If you’re going to go for it, it won’t work if you go halfway. (Our point is that it won’t work at all, because what attracts people to the website just can’t work in a show aimed at a mainstream American audience (and we’re writing from Utah, so we have an idea of what we’re talking about).

Meanwhile, according to the AP, the producers of those corrupt, celeb-kissing, product-pushing, epileptic fit-inducing irrelevant wastes of airtime are excited to see TMZ try… and fail:

“The way I look at it, we’re in the limo with the stars. They’re chasing the limo,” said Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, “Extra” senior executive producer (and Levin’s former colleague on “Celebrity Justice”). “It’s a completely different point of view.”

Linda Bell Blue, executive producer for “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider,” adopted an equally confident posture in an e-mailed comment.

“With 26 years under `ET’s’ belt, we have the best connections in the entertainment business and the best connection with our audience. We’re excited that people’s interest in celebrity journalism remains very high ….” Bell Blue said.

As yet another show joins the fray, however, consumer fatigue seems to be a possibility.

“I don’t see any signs of it. The television marketplace has an insatiable appetite for celebrity news,” said Greg Meidel, president of MyNetworkTV.

Offers Gregorisch-Dempsey of “Extra”: “All this guilty pleasure stuff that people want to talk about … they have to get it somewhere.”

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