The Reality of Television

“As The News Breaks, I’ll Break It Down”


By Steph Watts

 “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last.”

After 10 years of hard time (the last year has truly been the worst; solitary confinement at a network), I’ve been paroled and the shackles have been unlocked. I’m a little sore, red and disillusioned, but ready to start talking about what’s really going on, on the ‘inside (prison lingo)’ of the business I (used too) love so much.
  I’ll try not to sound bitter as I write about the nasty business of news. It’s gonna be hard, but here it goes.

So, forget, “Survivor,” “American idol’ or “John Minus Kate Plus 8″ or “Speidi,” or “Octomom” the real reality TV is what’s happening on and behind the scenes of our national “news” shows. Case in point, and in case you haven’t heard; there’s a little battle going on between FOX and NBC fueled by their heavyweights’ O’Reilly and Olbermann, a battle of the “O”s, as I like to call it. I’m gonna ask the question then answer it…do people care?  Does the average viewer who turns in to get the latest news actually care?  Apparently the answer, if you look at the rating as of late, is a renowned “yes.”

O’Reilly had his biggest ratings ever the other night fueled by his rant against the Evil Empire (GE). But why??  It’s like a car crash, most of us can’t look away, but few stop to help. We as TV viewers have become so accustomed to conflict on television fueled by our insatiable appetite for “Reality” TV. The confrontations on “Survivor,” “The Real World,” and “American Idol,” have made us the American Idle. Hey, it’s no fun unless somebody gets bitch slapped or runs off crying. No need to fight with your spouse anymore, you can watch others do it on TV.  So gratifying. The trend has even carried over into the fluffy world of fashion and home design TV. With catty rhetoric on shows like Bravo’s “Project Runway” and HGTV’s “Design Star,” it seems no one is immune.  And don’t even think about changing the channel, it’ll just have Stephen Baldwin on another reality show pumping Jesus.  So who wants to watch feel good TV or nicey news anymore anyways?  Not I, gone are the days of “Little House on the Prairie,” and, to be honest, God knows I only watched to see what that little bitch Nellie Oleson would do next. So I guess nothings really changed. See it’s all her fault, blame Nellie Oleson, she started it. 

Anyways, now days, if you want nice, you can tune in at 7:00 a.m. to see the networks battle out the morning spots with a cheeky smile and a checkbook (we’ll talk about that later, but trust me we WILL talk about it).  You see they’re all happy and perky in front of the camera, but the real action goes on behind the cameras. During my short (very short, thank you Jesus and Stephen Baldwin,) stint through morning TV, I always thought “why the hell don’t they just turn the damn cameras around and shoot all those back stabbing, lying bitches behind the scenes. Trust me…you wouldn’t need coffee to wake up.  Anyways, if this is where we’re at, then where are we heading? No more Mr. Nice News Guy. I’m done. The years on the inside have made me hard. I’m crossing over to the dark side, and I’m starting here.  Now I have to say, and this comes as a big surprise to a lot of people, and I try to remain objective but I like Bill O’Reilly. If I was to be categorized, I would likely be called an extreme liberal based on my hairdo alone. I’ll never forget the looks on my friend’s faces when I announced I was leaving CNN to work at FOX.  As I raised my glass and awaited the cheers, I was greeted with a dead silence. Then one of my friends actually screamed “are you crazy?” then went off on some wild rant about FOX conservative bias, blah blah blah.  Fortunately for me, I was too drunk too care. Screw him. I just landed the highest paying job I ever had. I worked at FOX for over 2 years on Greta’s show and I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life.  Greta was a trip to work for. Hardest working woman in TV. I’ll leave it at that. I worked beside the O’Reilly staff.  Bill would come by and occasionally scream at the top of his lungs. Great bunch of people though. OHH, and I got stuck in the elevator on more than one occasion and I forced Mr. O’Reilly into elevator banter with me and he was always very cordial. I have to say, I may disagree with him on some issues, but he attempts to be honest, and keep em honest. He tells it like it is and he’s straight up and he tells people to their faces what he thinks. That’s more than I can say for the rest of us. Now thats reality.

 We’ll talk about the checkbooks tomorrow. Remember this is only the beginning.


6 thoughts on “The Reality of Television

  1. Break it Down Steph! It is sad that the days of quality, in depth, thoughtful news shows are gone. Networks today use a cut and paste mentality – without any true, hard hitting investigative research or differentiation; instead of research, they simply attack each other, pay guests for exclusives and treat their competitors with absolutely no civility. Today’s news programs are almost unwatchable. They invite 6 guests and fill up the screen like the Brady Bunch and then provide each participant 10 seconds to make a point while screaming over the others. Typically the loudest voice is the least informed, thoughtful or intelligent person in the picture. It reminds me of a health care town hall with trained, paid screamers. How can you intelligently discuss the problem and potential solutions with 15 seconds of 4 people screaming at each other?

  2. Nice post! You truly have a wonderful way of writing which I find captivating! I will definitely be bookmarking you and returning to your blog. In fact, your post reminded me about a strange thing that happened to me the other day. I’ll tell you about that later…

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