Fox to air fake news show (really)

Imagine a version of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show that leans rightward.

That’s the latest idea from the fertile minds at FNC. Fox News plans on airing 2 episodes of a right-leaning fake news show in January as a test run.

Of course, this  begs the question "How will anyone be able to tell the difference between a fake Fox news shows and the rest of Fox News?"

The idea of this show comes at a time when Fox TV ratings have been sagging — down about 9 percent from depressed levels of 2005. Bill Carter points out this morning that the network’s new programs "have gone almost completely unnoticed by viewers — not one new Fox series ranks among the top 55 shows in television." At the same time, numerous Fox affiliates are pushing back against the controversial O.J. confessional show, leading to Rupert Murdoch stepping in, apologizing, and cancelling it.

On the news side, a ratings slide is blamed on the political cycle, the decline in President Bush’s popularity, and a plain old political burnout. In Q2, the No. 1 cable news channel’s primetime schedule has dropped 22% in its core 25-54 demo and 8% in total viewers. The first quarter was even worse. FNC remains the ratings leader of CNN, whose ratings have also slid, but somewhat less than Fox.

Here’s the commentary from TV Newser:

Last June, TVNewser asked: "Is Fox creating a show styled after Stewart’s Daily Show for FNC and/or Fox Broadcast?"

Now The Hollywood Reporter says yes. The show was first pitched to Fox Broadcasting, but when that network passed, it attracted the attention of FNC chief Roger Ailes, Paul Gough reports.

"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, EP Joel Surnow (of "24" fame) says. He says it’s a "satirical news format" that would "tip more right as ‘The Daily Show’ tips left."

Gough says FNC may air two episodes of the show on "Saturday nights in late January, with the possibility that it could become a weekly show for the channel…"

This misses the entire concept of what makes the Daily
Show so successful:  Its not that its a fake news show, but rather, that it mercilessly
mocks the absurdities of real news — for its superficiality, its celebrity obsessesion, and most strongly, for its
failure to meet its responsibilities as a key part of an open and free democratic
state.

Its not funny because its fake, its funny because of how bad the real news is.

Let me give the folks that came up
with this a heads up: Half of the humor comes from mocking the powerful and
mighty, and even taking them down a peg. Look at any of the Preston Sturges’ films, or movies like Monty Python’s Holy Grail, or Caddyshack (some of the funniest films in history). They each derive some of their humor by making fun of the powerful, the arrogant, the self-important.
Deflating the pomposity of those in power is a strong aspect of
comedy.

When Senator John McCain comes on TDS, he often mocks himself and the President. That’s the source of the humor — humility from a U.S. Senator. It is funny. Dennis Miller was funny when he was mocking President Bill Clinton, but — suddenly — became less so when he was shilling for the White House.

Its not a Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative thing, but a powerful/disenfranchised issue. The lesson from Dennis Miller’s disastrous foray into right wing humor was Is it doesn’t work when the Right dominates all 3 branches of government. Yet when a Dem was in the White House, Miller was very sharply funny.  Its no coincidence that Bill Maher — who is too left leaning for me — suddenly seems much cleverer when he has a poweful political target on the opposite side.

Perhaps the thought process was that with the Democrats taking Congress, they will become (at least in part) the powers that be, and are potential targets for satire. My 2.75 cents (up due to inflation) is that’s where the humor may find the most fertile soil . . .

>

Via  TV Newser

>

Sources:
Fox News Channel preps right-leaning satire
Paul J. Gough
The Hollywood Reporter, Nov 20, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/y7lcxv

For Fox TV, an Unusually Grim Autumn
BILL CARTER
NYT, November 20, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/20/business/media/20fox.html

Chernin Reveals Strategy for News Corp.
John M. Higgins
Broadcasting & Cable, 10/23/2006
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6383673.html

Ailes Cracks Whip as Fox News Slips
By Staff
Broadcasting & Cable, 6/26/2006 8:59:00 AM
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6346894.html

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. apw commented on Nov 22

    Why bother talking about this, BR? Fox News is an embarrassment to any civic-minded person. Discussing their new show is a waste of time; let them fade away and die without polluting constructive media outlets (your blog).

  2. jw commented on Nov 22

    It’s actually still 2 cents, if you take out food and energy!

  3. Lee commented on Nov 22

    Maybe it’s time to mock Stewart and Olberman.

  4. Chief Tomahawk commented on Nov 22

    Well this is a bit out-of-place, but I figured I’d pass along the info if anyone can make use out of it…

    Best Buy has a doorbuster Friday of a 50″ Toshiba hdtv plasma for $1,699. It’s posted to their web site under “7 Hour Specials” ad on side.

    Not wanting to be trampled or have to get up at 4:30 am for the right to risk enduring such, I went to a Best Buy yesterday to check out the set. Looks good. It debuted in 4/06 and is due to be replaced with a new model 4/07. Salesman said it has a lifetime of 20,000 hours. Perhaps the biggest negative is the power draw: at 580 watts it’s roughly 5 times what my Sharp crt requires. And no picture-in-picture capability.

    That said, here’s my special info: the deparment manager said one can buy ahead of the sale (ie meaning today) at the regular price $2,399 and provided they schedule for a delivery, bring in the sales receipt during the sale hours Friday morning and get a credit back for the $700 difference. Apparently Best Buy has to guarantee 5 Toshibas at the special price for the sale… buying on delivery locks in one’s purchase and gives time for Best Buy to get the tv. The Best Buy I went to had 6 in stock as of yesterday, with the 6th one being the display.

    If you’re in the market for a 50″ hdtv, it may be worth your time to stroll by Best Buy today. Or, print out the listing off the Best Buy web site and take it to a competitor to price match.

  5. ilsm commented on Nov 22

    I thought they were already doing Faix news.

  6. Ken S commented on Nov 22

    Re the Daily Show and the comments re Fox News: Sheesh. It remains true, even in the otherwise excellent Big Picture, that liberals can’t see bias in the media, unless they perceive a point of view different from their own – and thus THAT point of view must be biased. I admit that being a conservative in California renders my opinions suspect. However, I know that a knock-off of the DAILY SHOW might be watchable, whereas the Daily Show itself is not on my Tivo list. (BTW, I find Foxs News frustrating because they are missing the opportunity to truly be a conservative voice among the clamor.)

  7. fritz commented on Nov 22

    Fox news is already fake news.

  8. RMX commented on Nov 22

    There’s a fundamental problem with this idea. Right wingers just aren’t funny. Never have been. Never will be. And when they try, it’s just embarassing.

  9. Bob A commented on Nov 22

    Oh boy. “The John Birch Society Report”. Crazy people trying to be funny. Should be hilarious. I’m sure all the college kids will be watching.

  10. brion commented on Nov 22

    as Colbert once said “Reality has a well-known Liberal bias” ;)

  11. brion commented on Nov 22

    Oh, and to ken S., who cares if Fox is “missing the opportunity to truly be a conservative voice among the clamor” when we’re making such great progress in Iraq!

Read this next.

Posted Under