Friday, January 26, 2007

UPDATE: The FOX 'News' attempt at intentional humor looks to be a stinker

Radar Online has the latest on the FOX 'News' attempt to create their own "Daily Show" clone. And from the looks of it, it's not that funny.

Back in November, you may have heard about this show, tentatively titled This Just In. Well, AOL owns that title, as they use it on one of their broadband channels, so FOX went back to the recycle bin and appropriated another Time Warner property, swiping the name of an old MTV show by christening their new 'fake news' venture (as opposed to their other 'fake news' shows such as The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes) as The Half-Hour News Hour (my sides are hurting already - make it stop!). So far, FOX produced two pilot episodes of this thing this past weekend in front of an audience packed with gullible wingnuts. Unfortunately, the end result is being described as "more Mallard Fillmore than P.J. O'Rourke." Yikes!

Producer Joel Surnow, whose credits also include 24 and Viagara-fueled romps through the Dominican Republic with buddy Rush Limbaugh, has described THHNH as a cross between Comedy Central's Daily Show and Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update". Radar reports that a source who attended the tapings describes the format as far more similar to SNL's fake news, with a two-anchor setup and skits interspersed with the talking-head segments. "It was hit and miss—some stuff was inspired, and some was droppable, to say the least," says the source. Not surprisingly, in keeping with the FOX 'News' edict of being 'fair and balanced', most of the jokes had a conservative slant.

And in an opening sketch that seems more appropriate in a horror movie, Surnow's Dominican wingman Limbaugh made an appearance, playing (gasp) The President. Even scarier, Ann Coulter was his Vice President, meaning that this show may be a bit too intense for younger audiences. If that isn't enough, they went out and gathered some of the top celebrities in Hollywood for this mess, including comedian Dom Irrera and original Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall (you mean he's still alive?). Also, to hype up their self-anticipated cred, they went out and hired original Daily Show cast member Brian Unger as a correspondent. Of course, Unger was on TDS in the pre-Jon Stewart era, when Craig Kilborn was the host and nobody really cared.

The hosts are still Kurt Long (who's claim to fame is, well, nothing) and Susan Yeagley (who's claim to fame is being former SNL news anchor Kevin Nealon's wife). As for writers, that is not known at this time, though I'm sure they could find plenty of candidates here. I guess Michael Richards did indeed have other committments.

So, when will this thing hit the airwaves? Nobody's saying if and when this thing will occupy the current rerun space on FOX 'News', or if it ever will. So far, it's been just the two pilot shows. Second question, is anyone really going to watch this shit? Who knows? After all, there are indeed people watching FOX 'News' the rest of the day, right?

For more background on FOX Comedy Half-Hour Hour (or whatever the hell it's called), here's a blast from LTR's past.


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