Monday, October 27, 2008

CNN: Comedy News Network

I've gotten a couple of emails inquiring as to why I'm not commenting on CNN's new "satirical" news show, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, featuring occasionally funny but somewhat culturally irrelevant comedian D.L. Hughley, uh, breaking the news (get it?). It premiered this past Saturday night and I have to be honest: I had a thing and didn't manage to catch it.

I could easily run down the reasons why the show is likely doomed to fail, regardless of its quality, beginning with the fact that it's the partial brainchild of the most unimaginative, reactive man in television news -- CNN President Jon Klein -- and that he and the rest of the powers that be at CNN will never truly take the reins off the show for fear of tarnishing the network's reputation as a serious news outlet (as if Lou Dobbs and Nancy Grace don't already do that in spades).

But instead I'll leave it to my good friend and fellow ex-CNNer Jacki Schechner to explain, in a quick little quote e-mailed to me today, just what's wrong with D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.

"Nothing about TV news surprises me anymore. But I guess what struck me here is that CNN’s been looking for the answer to The Daily Show for years. And they just don’t get it. The Daily Show succeeds because it points out the absurdity of networks like CNN. CNN can’t repeat that success without acknowledging its own idiocy. But for Jon Klein to think they can is indicative of just how not in on the joke they are."

Yup -- that about sums it up.


Vermillion said...

Figured as much. Funnily enough, I missed the show....because I was catching up on Daliy Show recordings.

Brings up a question: given a chance, would you do something for TDS? Or at least shill your book on there?

Chez said...

The Daily Show rules. I'll leave it at that.

Prozac Boy said...

I was going to catch a few of the shows, now I guess I will not.

Chez said...

Honestly, I haven't seen it. It may be fantastic.

I'm just talking about the fundamental problem with the entire concept of CNN running a show like this. It's always gonna be neutered at least to some extent. It'll face all kinds of hurdles from upper management, "The Row" (which overlooks all recorded content at CNN and clears it for air), and of course standards and practices.

Does that sound very funny to you?

Jacki hit it on the head -- they just don't get it. It's like your mom trying to make a McDonald's Quarater-Pounder when you were a kid.

dick_gozinia said...

I'm weighing in that the show is doomed to fail because DL Hughley just isn't funny.

drater said...

Good points. The Daily Show is funny because they don't care who they piss off, they don't have to worry about losing "access". CNN and the rest of the "serious news" gang, they worry. Ted Koppel admitted as much in a discussion with Jon Stewart.

It will be interesting to see what goes on at Fox once Obama is in the White House. He hasn't been shy about calling them on their bias. I doubt that Murdoch will let them back down, should make for some interesting theater.