Monday, November 20, 2006

Fox News to do their own "Daily Show"

In case you don't already think the programming on the FOX 'News' Channel is a joke, The Hollywood Reporter says that the "Fair and Balanced" network has taken an interest in a "Daily Show"-like program with their own patented 'fair and balanced' approach (read: wingnut whining) come late January. They're shooting for a test run on a few Saturday nights, with the possibility that it could become a weekly series.

In other words, a 'fake news' comedy/satire show created by people with no sense of humor for people with no sense of humor. Okay.

And I thought "The O'Reilly Factor" already filled this void, unless that show is really supposed to be serious. Then again, isn't their whole schedule already filled with fake news?

Perhaps they could do a show where a talking head reads John Moody's hilarious talking points memos. Never mind, they do that already.

Anyways, this half-hour Faux News "Daily Show" knock-off will be produced by "24's" Joel Surnow (Rush Limbaugh's Dominican Republic-hopping, Viagara-fueled party buddy), Manny Cota and creator Ned Rice, who previously wrote for "Politically Incorrect" and "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson". This show plans on taking aim at what Surnow calls "the sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows.

"It's a satirical news format that would play more to the Fox 'News' audience than the Michael Moore channel," Surnow said. "It would tip more right as 'The Daily Show' tips left."

The "Michael Moore channel"? How come I don't get that one on my cable system? Better call Time Warner Cable about that one.

The show was pitched with the working title "This Just In" (until HBO laid claim to the title) when it first got life as a 20-minute pilot presentation for Fox Broadcasting Co.'s late-night division. But when that network passed, Surnow said it attracted the attention of Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes.

"I showed it to Roger, and he really liked it and thought it could work on Fox News if we could make it conform to some of the restraints" of a cable news channel. Fox News Channel confirmed that talks were going on.

Taped before a studio audience in Los Angeles, the show will feature two co-anchors, actor/comedian Kurt Long ("Cuts," "Games Across America") and bit actress Susan Yeagley (episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and "Reno 911!", and wife of ex-SNL'er Kevin Nealon). It also will feature person-on-the-street interviews and correspondent reports like other shows. No word on any other personalities that are lined up for the show, but I do hear Michael Richards (aka Kramer of "Seinfeld") is available.

But Surnow said that it's not going to be strictly conservative but more in the spirit of the old and rebellious "Saturday Night Live," though I'm sure the "Not Ready for Primetime Players" were a far cry from what FOX News has in mind. Maybe they could hire Al Franken to write for them.

"It's not going to hit you over the head with partisan politics," Surnow said. "It'll hit anything that deserves to be hit."

Of course, right-wingers in search of whiny, angry humor are elated at the arrival of more fake news to their televisions. Some of the posters at Free Republic are even pitching gag ideas. Though, with suggestions like these, "The FAUX News Half-Hour Comedy Hour" could be headed for a quick demise:

One example would be when Katie Couric was interviewing the priest of Mark Foley and asking him about how he massaged Foley with his hands, etc.. I would have presented a parody where Katie goes beyond that and asked if the priest massaged the inside of Foley's thighs and whether he gave Foley a tongue bath. All the while Katie is getting hotter and hotter until she can't even do her broadcast because she is moaning in ecstasy at the images she is conjuring up while questioning the priest.

Another great parody clip would be when Nancy Pelosi (made up like the Joker) announces that Steny Hoyer has been elected Majority Leader while Murtha is angrily standing in the background. Murtha is getting angrier and angrier until he can't stand it any more and wrestles Hoyer to the ground while yelling that they must now all learn to work together.

The incident where Chuck Schumer told Kerry to get lost in the Senate hallway would also be great for parody. Maybe have a hurt looking Kerry in the background scream "PLEASE!" and a somewhat chastened Schumer returns and tosses Kerry a towel in a way reminiscent to that old cola commercial where the football player tosses a kid his towel outside the locker room.


Okay, not really.

The main obstacle in the way of this would-be "Daily Show" is that conservative humor is an oxymoron. The best topical comedy often pokes fun at the 'establishment' or 'authority', and you can't get more establishment or authority than the Republican Party. Case in point, how many funny right-wing comedians are even out there? No, Dennis Miller is not funny. And the "Blue Collar Comedy" guys like Jeff Foxworthy and the "Git R Done" guy are more about dumb redneck jokes than gags about Nancy Pelosi. Conservative writer and pundit P.J. O'Rourke is an exception, and admittedly one of the funniest political writers in America. But on TV, he's basically a doofus. So what does that leave? An overabundance of Monica Lewinsky jokes? Been there, done that.

Sad thing is, conservative attempts at comedy tend to be whiny, mean-spirited, unintentional, unfunny, or just plain moronic.

Well, I guess all I can say is 'good luck'. They'll certainly need it.


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