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InvisiblePGF
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Registered: 07/21/00
Posts: 8,642
Loc: Malaysia
Modern Day Black Listing
    #664397 - 06/05/02 03:45 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

or what happens when an American excercises his right to free speech:



Economically Incorrect:
The real reason Bill Maher got canned.
By Matthew Nisbet
Web Exclusive: 6.3.02
Print Friendly | Email Article

Last week, ABC officially announced what many industry watchers had expected for several months: The late-night talk show Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher would be canceled, and replaced in the fall by a new entertainment program hosted by Comedy Central's Jimmy Kimmel. When the news broke, most media reports pegged Politically Incorrect's demise on Maher's "unpatriotic" remarks in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Yet while there's some truth to the notion, this interpretation ignores other, more powerful market forces that have worked to replace an important televised forum of political dissent with the latest incarnation of "must-sleaze" TV.

A witty, irreverent, sacred-cow slaughtering libertarian, Maher created Politically Incorrect in 1993 as a nightly satire and comment program for Comedy Central. Three years later, seeking to finally fill the post-Nightline time slot with a reliable ratings grabber, ABC purchased Politically Incorrect, and the program has been a steady revenue generator for the network over the past six years. In format, the half-hour Politically Incorrect packs together an opening monologue by Maher on the week's breaking political events and an "honest" round-table discussion with guests that include celebrities, supermodels, political pundits, and "ordinary" dissenting citizens. At the height of its popularity (in 1997 and 1998), the show drew as many as three million viewers (roughly three times the average audience for CNN's Larry King Live or Fox's The O'Reilly Factor), and even beat CBS's Late Show with David Letterman in several major markets.
However, Maher -- who defines political correctness as the "elevation of sensitivity over truth" -- allegedly "went too far" when he remarked last fall that unlike the September 11 suicide terrorists, "we have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away." Reactions to Maher's words were swift and ferocious. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer condemned Maher's comments with his now-infamous warning, "There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is." General Motors, Politically Incorrect's biggest advertiser in 2000 (accounting for roughly $6 million of the show's $47 million ad budget), dropped its commercials from the program. Sears, FedEx, and Schering-Plough also pulled their ads. Network affiliates raised a ruckus, with 17 of them refusing to air Politically Incorrect. All told, the incident resulted in an estimated $ 10 million loss for ABC.

So with the official cancellation of Politically Incorrect, the media can cite cruel ironies and ABC can cite a mound of financial justifications. Yet there's a piece of the puzzle that doesn't quite fit: ABC's choice of shock comedian Jimmy Kimmel to replace Maher. The selection suggests that the September 11 flap may be a convenient excuse for the network to commit a cultural downshift in programming -- one ultimately aimed at capturing the lucrative ad revenue that Kimmel's elusive and highly-prized following of 18-to-34-year-old males can generate.

In appearance, the 30-something Kimmel could easily be mistaken for your typical beer-swilling, wisecracking, overweight frat brother. His following among young males stems from his success as co-host of The Man Show, one of Comedy Central's most highly-rated programs and a veritable Maxim magazine on the tube. Official promotional material for the program describes The Man Show as "a half-hour of joyous chauvinism ... each variety-style episode contains a whole truckload of man-fun." In a recent interview Kimmel called his show "The anti-Oprah. It's all the stuff you see on beer commercials. And every show ends with girls on trampolines."

In announcing the replacement of Politically Incorrect with Kimmel, ABC's Robert A. Iger explained to The New York Times that "we were looking for the person who was most compatible with Ted Koppel." If that comment strikes you as confusing, it's because Iger's remark requires some unpacking. Kimmel, a college dropout, is "most compatible" with the professorial and serious-minded Koppel of Nightline only in the sense that Kimmel provides the niche "narrow-casting" that is lucrative for the network.

In other words, if Nightline generally attracts a well-educated, older, and wealthier audience, Jimmy Kimmel will clean out these older viewers, keeping the 18-to-34-year-old male portion of Nightline's audience but also drawing additional hordes of channel-changing males. For advertisers, who are obsessed with the precise targeting of audiences, Kimmel provides the perfect magnet. Even if his new show attracts fewer total viewers than Politically Incorrect, his hard-to-reach young male audience will mean a major boost in profits for ABC.

Though revenues for ABC are likely to jump, the damage to popular discourse is apparent from Kimmel's plans for his January 2003 debut. Kimmel seems to recognize this himself. "Bill Maher's controversial stuff is serious, important stuff," he said in a recent issue of Newsweek. "My controversial stuff is nonsense. It's showing a monkey's penis on TV."

And indeed, ABC's move to coronate Kimmel as the new king of variety shows would make Steve Allen, the creator of late-night entertainment, roll over in his grave. In the years before his death in 2000, Allen had launched a public campaign against what he considered a significant shift in entertainment standards -- a trend typified, according to Allen, by the popularity of shock jock Howard Stern. Coining the term "vulgarians at the gate" to describe the new entertainment industry obsession with what he considered unredeeming comic fare such as Stern's and Kimmel's, Allen called for a return to standards of decency on television. A friend and fan of Bill Maher's, Allen appeared several times on Politically Incorrect and discussed his campaign.

And that's why ABC's cancellation of Politically Incorrect is such an affront to Allen's legacy. Bill Maher provided entertaining, politically unpredictable commentary and content of a sort that could rarely be found elsewhere in the mass media -- and that included criticism of the mass media itself. It's hard to imagine Steve Allen being invited on the air by Jimmy Kimmel.

Matthew Nisbet


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***The Real Shroomery nigger


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Offlinehongomon
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Registered: 04/14/02
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: PGF]
    #664503 - 06/05/02 05:03 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

It makes me wanna hollar! I remember the post-Sept. 11 uproar (concerning Maher), and I just knew this was coming.

scuze me while I go blow on my sails a bit.

Oh, and that comment about "watching what we say, etc." was one of the most shocking and eye-opening statements I've ever heard. "If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists" is close behind.


Edited by hongomon (06/05/02 05:07 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: hongomon]
    #664670 - 06/05/02 06:53 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I will mourn the loss of Bill. it iwas the ONLY show I watched (Besides Law & Order CI) on a regualr basis.
I was tuned in on the night Bill made the comments, and I did not think them so anit-american...yet, Ari's comments were as close to a marxist sentiment as could be. But the award for tom foolery goes to Dubya, If'n you aint wit us, yer against us' crack....some one get this guy a cap gun pistol for christs sake!
Hopeing against hope, Bill will be picked up by HBO, and given an hour long uncensored forum, would sooth all the ills done ot him on Network TV.
But I know this is a wish that will go unrquiet, like my pony and pet midget.
-OoD


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OfflineJammer
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Registered: 11/05/00
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: PGF]
    #664689 - 06/05/02 07:02 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I was a big fan of his show as well. And, I actually understood his point about 9-11.... however it was just the wrong time to say something like that... he sliped up bad. If he had waited untill now to say that... He might not of gotten so much attention.


--------------------
>>Jammer>>


Edited by Jammer (06/05/02 07:55 PM)


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InvisiblePGF
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Registered: 07/21/00
Posts: 8,642
Loc: Malaysia
Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: Jammer]
    #664727 - 06/05/02 07:34 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Jammer, perhaps you are right.

You should have seen Letterman rip the FBI/CIA a new asshole tongiht.

He said everything but "you guys fucked up".


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InvisibleSenor_Doobie
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: Jammer]
    #664745 - 06/05/02 07:43 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

It's the best show on network television and this is a shame. I just turned it off, actually and surprisingly tonight they were talking about exactly who knew what in regards to 9/11.

Unfortunately none of them visit the Shroomery and missed Rono's timeline.

That sealed envelope in Canada would have made good news.

I wonder if we could get Bill's e-mail...


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InvisiblePGF
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: Senor_Doobie]
    #664763 - 06/05/02 07:53 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

famly guy was better....but that's another forum....


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InvisibleSenor_Doobie
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: PGF]
    #665292 - 06/06/02 06:04 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Family Guy was annoying.
Too meansirited.


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InvisiblePGF
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: Senor_Doobie]
    #665337 - 06/06/02 06:28 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

mean spirirted!!!!!
What?

come on doob.....that show was nothing but laugh after laugh after laugh........I [heart] that show


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OfflineJammer
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: PGF]
    #666498 - 06/06/02 08:14 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I dont meant to be rude here...


but who the hell is "Family Guy"?


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>>Jammer>>


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OfflineJust a Punk
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Registered: 12/26/00
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: PGF]
    #666519 - 06/06/02 08:26 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Isn't Jimmy Kimmel the guy who reads the questions on win ben steins money?


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Anonymous

Post deleted by Anno [Re: PGF]
    #666888 - 06/07/02 06:10 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)



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InvisibleSenor_Doobie
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: ]
    #667000 - 06/07/02 08:06 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

People willing to crash air planes into buildings are not cowards.

People who throw cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away are cowards.

He was right.


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OfflineJammer
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Re: Modern Day Black Listing [Re: Senor_Doobie]
    #667964 - 06/07/02 08:45 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

RE: "People willing to crash air planes into buildings are not cowards...
People who throw cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away are cowards."



I see his point too. It was just a very bad time for him to get on tv an say it.. thats all. I still think that if he waited till now to say such a thing that he would still have a shot at a new contract. But he said it when thousands of familys were still greving.... I'm sure that he remarks must of hit them very hard.


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>>Jammer>>


Edited by Jammer (06/07/02 08:47 PM)


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