Covering Anna Nicole - Broadcasting & Cable

Covering Anna Nicole

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The ink had hardly dried on Anna Nicole Smith’s death certificate when the press release flew in: BIOGRAPHYR (sic) REMEMBERS: Anna Nicole Smith, airing at 8 p.m. Saturday. Yes, the Biography Channel was frighteningly quick in its foray to attract viewers with a burning interest in the tragic life and times of the former Playboy Playmate and reality program star. “Against all odds," the press release stated, “few have lived such a headline-grabbing, real-life soap opera in such a short period of time."

One had to wonder: while newspapers like the New York Times notoriously pen obits for luminaries who are old but otherwise very much alive, had Biography Channel done the same for Smith, who was only 39, but surely had an inordinate amount of tumult in her life? A Biography spokesperson clarified: the Saturday program is an old Biography special with a freshly edited ending.

The news networks were of course quick to the scene as well. According to our colleague Mr. Eggerton, MSNBC appeared to be the first of the cable networks to go wall-to-wall, with Access Hollywood’s Tony Potts doing the reports. E! then issued a statement saying it was saddened by her death, while CNN aired clips of an interview with Larry King and also had him on live to talk about how pretty she was.

By Michael Malone

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