Edited by Joel Topcik -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/20/2008 8:00:00 PM
With Alex Weprin and John Eggerton
For more BC Beat, Go to www.bcbeat.com
And All I Got Was This Lousy CNN T-Shirt...
CNN, apparently not content to offer news you can use, is peddling news you can wear.
Call it prêt-a-reporter: Beginning April 21, visitors to CNN.com will be able to purchase T-shirts featuring headlines from the site's video reports.
By clicking on a new T-shirt icon that will accompany the headlines, news fans can order a custom crew-neck—in white, black or grey—emblazoned with the headline along with the slogan "I just saw it on CNN.com" and the time stamp from the moment they clicked.
CNN won't offer all video headlines for T-shirt treatment, drawing the line at serious crimes, accidents and other potentially inappropriate topics (though, of course, that's a matter of taste).
Perusing the possibilities at CNN.com last week, we were already picking out slacks to go with our "Boy's Nose Blows Up 213 Balloons in an Hour" and "Toddler Forced to Smoke Pot in Video" T-shirts.
But we had to wonder if the campaign might draw readers to the more sensational headlines at the expense of the more newsworthy—or at least encourage CNN copy editors to punch up their headlines a little too much.
The opposite, actually—a CNN spokesperson says it's the editors' wit that inspired the idea.
Since the FCC adopted its Report on Broadcast Localism last December, public comments on the new rules have poured in.
The rules would boost local reporting requirements and potentially force broadcasters not only to staff their stations 24/7, but base their operations in the FCC-licensed communities.
And if past is prologue, proponents of more media regulation will trumpet the comment total as evidence of a public groundswell in support of the new rules.
With more than 102,000 comments, for and against, at presstime, well ahead of the April 28 deadline, there certainly seems to be public interest.
However, the final tally may require an asterisk. A spot check of the April 17 comments revealed multiple copies of an e-mail from the same author. Another several appear to be a mass spam e-mail with the garbled message: "Please, do not delete the given message. Money obtained from spam will go to the help hungry to children Uganda."
A worthy cause, to be sure, but beside the point.
Where's the Bromance?
If you caught Nightline's recent paean to the "bromance"—a Platonic yet extraordinarily close relationship between heterosexual men (and usually famous and handsome heterosexual men)—you might've enjoyed the helpful examples of such notable TV bromances as the Jerry Seinfeld-Keith Hernandez pas de deux and the general brotherly love among the boys on Friends.
But where, you may have wondered, were Denny Crane and Alan Shore from Boston Legal, arguably the highest-profile male bonders on primetime TV?
The characters (played by William Shatner and James Spader, respectively) hold hands, have sleepovers and demonstrate their mutual affection in the weekly Romeo and Julius balcony scenes that close each episode.
What's more, the Boston Legal bromance is practically a gilt-edged invitation for Nightline to cross-promote a fellow ABC show. (ABC News had no response at presstime.)
Boston Legal could've used the plug, too. While the show isn't exactly on the bubble, an ABC source confirms that it hasn't officially been picked up for a fifth season and that the network will likely wait until its May 13 upfront presentation to announce its fate.
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