October 29, 2008

historic television

This is certainly not a political blog. Let's be honest, it's barely an intellectual blog. It's for fun, and I'm not about to change that. Real life is everywhere and sometimes you need a little escapism. For me, this is where TV comes in.

But TV also witnesses, affects, and interprets history, perhaps more than any other media. This is most evident during an election year. We've all heard plenty of debate about the "CNN effect" on the campaign process and arguments over existence of objective journalism. This could drive us into a chicken and egg argument, so I will refrain. But I will reference the father of modern public relations (nerd alert), Marshall McLuhan, who said "the medium is the message." Television has become it's own animal. Like it or not, elections will always be interpreted by the state of modern television at the time.

Bored yet? All this is to say that we will see many historical TV moments over the next few months - a major election night, the end of a two term presidency, an inauguration, and the first 100 days of a new presidency. In a way, one of these moments is happening tonight. In an unprecedented move by a candidate, Senator Obama has purchased space on NBC, CBS, and FOX to run a 30-minute infomercial providing what is basically a closing argument in advance of the election on Tuesday.

Regardless of your political leanings or opinions about campaign financing, this is a truly historic move on the part of the Obama campaign. I mean, they actually managed to move the World Series back 15 minutes! Many will be turned off by this spot, sick of political ads and news coverage taking over the airwaves. Many others have made their decision and will either tune out or tune in as a crazed Obama fan and save this on her DVR for years to come. I hope the rest will see it as an opportunity to gather more information in preparation for their final decision.

Now back to TV where I belong. ABC will not run the Obama ad. Whether this was an ABC decision or a financial decision by the campaign, it presents a unique opportunity to drive viewers not interested in the ad to a program that needs a ratings boost. In a stroke of pure genius, they moved Pushing Daisies to this slot. I've expressed my love for this show, so if you're looking for something different tonight, check it out. This show is the epitome of escapism. One final programming note, my pick for "best show that no one is watching this season" is Life (see past praise). Great show that was relegated to die on Friday nights, which was just moved to 9pm on Wednesdays. Happy to see NBC give it a fighting chance because it really is a well-written show with a super talented cast.

Now that my rant is done, I'll take a moment to remind my gigantic readership to go out and vote next week!


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