Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dropping the Ball

New Year's Eve is the Black Hole of Calcutta for television. People with disposable income and active lifestyles are out at a party, not sitting in front of the TV. The event itself is a build up to about a minute of reveille, and then back to real life. Actual residents of New York City stay away from Times Square in droves while the tourists and the hapless cram the square to be seen on TV, wear silly product placement hats, and cheer for musical acts that are coasting through the last seconds of their 15 minutes. (With the exception of Taylor Swift, who must've lost a poker game and had to show up on ABC to pay off a bet.) The show's target demo is Meg Griffin. The only advertisers interested are Weight Watchers, tax preparation services, fake live remotes at Disney Parks (a interdepartmental trade positioned by the Mouse overlords), and oddly enough Google who ran minute-and-a-half spots on all the New Year's network shows to convince you Chrome doesn't suck. The technical crew on these shows is either the A-list being paid holiday overtime - yeah, that's going to happen - or the low men on the totem pole who aren't in the truck at a bowl game or back in the safe, cozy confines of master control watching this mess thinking, "God, I'm glad I'm not out there."

There are good reasons why Dick Clark and only Dick Clark could host New Year's Eve. I'll take a post-stroke Dick Clark over Jenny McCarthy or Fergie any day. Everybody else should just stick to regular programming, or perhaps sign off and let the guy in master control have a good time. But, the sales department wants a live event in order to avoid a night otherwise filled with PSA's and per inquiry ads for the Sham-Wow. So a New Year's Eve show is slapped together, whether the network, or in some cases a local station, is really prepared to pull one off.

And that leads us to this fine little spectacle that aired on KDOC, Orange County, California. NOT SAFE FOR WORK, unless your workplace is a locker room.



First, I feel sorry for Macy Gray's band. Second, always place ringers in the crowd directly behind the talent. Third, the price of a protection delay system is far cheaper than fines from the FCC. But for me, the best part was the audacity of actually rolling credits on this thing. Thanks. Now we all know exactly who not to hire to do our live events. Expect to see many of those names on the name badges at the Orange County Steak 'n Shake.