Imagine a version of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show that leans rightward.
That’s the latest idea from the fertile minds at FNC. Fox News plans on airing 2 episodes of a right-leaning fake news show in January as a test run.
Of course, this begs the question "How will anyone be able to tell the difference between a fake Fox news shows and the rest of Fox News?"
The idea of this show comes at a time when Fox TV ratings have been sagging — down about 9 percent from depressed levels of 2005. Bill Carter points out this morning that the network’s new programs "have gone almost completely unnoticed by viewers — not one new Fox series ranks among the top 55 shows in television." At the same time, numerous Fox affiliates are pushing back against the controversial O.J. confessional show, leading to Rupert Murdoch stepping in, apologizing, and cancelling it.
On the news side, a ratings slide is blamed on the political cycle, the decline in President Bush’s popularity, and a plain old political burnout. In Q2, the No. 1 cable news channel’s primetime schedule has dropped 22% in its core 25-54 demo and 8% in total viewers. The first quarter was even worse. FNC remains the ratings leader of CNN, whose ratings have also slid, but somewhat less than Fox.
Here’s the commentary from TV Newser:
Last June, TVNewser asked: "Is Fox creating a show styled after Stewart’s Daily Show for FNC and/or Fox Broadcast?"
Now The Hollywood Reporter says yes. The show was first pitched to Fox Broadcasting, but when that network passed, it attracted the attention of FNC chief Roger Ailes, Paul Gough reports.
"I showed it to Roger, and he really liked it and thought it could work on Fox News if we could make it conform to some of the restraints" of a cable news channel, EP Joel Surnow (of "24" fame) says. He says it’s a "satirical news format" that would "tip more right as ‘The Daily Show’ tips left."
Gough says FNC may air two episodes of the show on "Saturday nights in late January, with the possibility that it could become a weekly show for the channel…"
This misses the entire concept of what makes the Daily
Show so successful: Its not that its a fake news show, but rather, that it mercilessly
mocks the absurdities of real news — for its superficiality, its celebrity obsessesion, and most strongly, for its
failure to meet its responsibilities as a key part of an open and free democratic
Its not funny because its fake, its funny because of how bad the real news is.
Let me give the folks that came up
with this a heads up: Half of the humor comes from mocking the powerful and
mighty, and even taking them down a peg. Look at any of the Preston Sturges’ films, or movies like Monty Python’s Holy Grail, or Caddyshack (some of the funniest films in history). They each derive some of their humor by making fun of the powerful, the arrogant, the self-important.
Deflating the pomposity of those in power is a strong aspect of
When Senator John McCain comes on TDS, he often mocks himself and the President. That’s the source of the humor — humility from a U.S. Senator. It is funny. Dennis Miller was funny when he was mocking President Bill Clinton, but — suddenly — became less so when he was shilling for the White House.
Its not a Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative thing, but a powerful/disenfranchised issue. The lesson from Dennis Miller’s disastrous foray into right wing humor was Is it doesn’t work when the Right dominates all 3 branches of government. Yet when a Dem was in the White House, Miller was very sharply funny. Its no coincidence that Bill Maher — who is too left leaning for me — suddenly seems much cleverer when he has a poweful political target on the opposite side.
Perhaps the thought process was that with the Democrats taking Congress, they will become (at least in part) the powers that be, and are potential targets for satire. My 2.75 cents (up due to inflation) is that’s where the humor may find the most fertile soil . . .
Via TV Newser
Fox News Channel preps right-leaning satire
Paul J. Gough
The Hollywood Reporter, Nov 20, 2006
For Fox TV, an Unusually Grim Autumn
NYT, November 20, 2006
Chernin Reveals Strategy for News Corp.
John M. Higgins
Broadcasting & Cable, 10/23/2006
Ailes Cracks Whip as Fox News Slips
Broadcasting & Cable, 6/26/2006 8:59:00 AM