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The GEM Debate: TV Wars Or A Whimper?

If you watched even a tiny bit of television this weekend you know by now, there was about to be some sort of monumental shift on the airwaves. Or at least that’s what the people who run networks and write promos would have you believe.

Katie Couric is going back to mornings on GMA (for a short time), one-time vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is going to go anchor on Today (for an even shorter time) and Oprah talked about the long time struggles with her fledgling network. Yep, all in one week.


But there’s a tiny part of me that wonders if anyone really cares.

Yeah, yeah I know, spoken like a former network anchorwoman but hear me out. All of this feels a little tiny bit, um, contrived, for lack of a better term. Katie’s appearance I get; she has a talk show coming up in the fall. The Today show with Sarah Palin is a bit of counter programming because let’s face it; love her or hate her she makes good TV.



OWN is a whole different animal and one I outlined here. But they all share one thing in common, in my humble opinion; they are busy making buggy whips while the rest of the world has moved on to spaceships.

Look, anyone in TV knew this was coming. It’s insane to think that anyone is actually going to wait for a newscaster to come on to tell them the days’ events; anyone who thinks that is living in a dream world. Or 1987. Times have changed and in the land of Cable TV, the Internet and smart phones and it’s dumb and slightly antiquated to think that the audience hasn’t come to expect the convenience of information when they want it.

Proof of the direction the world is headed, is everywhere. Just today, it was reported that local, online advertising revenue will rise more than 20% this year. Why? Because that’s where the eyeballs are.

As a former broadcaster, I am watching with great interest, the way traditional television tackles this new medium and way of communicating. So far, minus a few bright spots like the upcoming Ricki Lake Show, they seem to be stuck in the old way of doing things. I’m convinced they’ll figure it out eventually. The question is, will it be too late?

Okay, show of hands.. how many of you watched Katie Couric’s return to morning TV? How many will watch Sarah Palin on The Today Show? How many can find OWN on their cable channel? When was the last time you learned of a major news event on TV, instead of online? Lemme hear ya!

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More in The GEM Debate

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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