Saturday, October 22, 2005

Why "60 Minutes" is not the Naked News, and Other Observations

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(image via smallerclothes via cbsnews)

First off: Congratulations to "60 Minutes" on acquiring a sole sponsor; let's hope, however, that in the process, beloved CBS News (Beloved to The Corsair, at least) didn't have to sell it's "journalistic sweet ass" in the process. Will the 38th season be the season "60 Minutes" finally succumbs to the Shark (Okay, the godawful Clinton-Dole debates come close)? Granted: Sunday is sports day, especially on CBS in the afternoons and into the early evenings; and granted, CBS wants to hold on to that valuable demographic. But CBS Sports and, quite frankly, the entertainment division in general is overstepping its bounds -- mightily, this season -- and is jocularly muscling its way into the personal space of that paragon of investigative broadcast journalism, "60 Minutes."

Note to CBS Sports: Get out of 60 Minutes' "Zone." And while, yes, The Corsair can understand why Les Moonves might want to marry the profitability -- and zesty young demographic -- of the entertainment division with the prestige and gravitas of news department (Isn't that what this blog does anyway, or, at least, tries to do, anyhow?), there is no need, no need, to change the tried-and-true recipe of "60 Minutes" so dramatically. Three weeks and three sweaty sports stories is about as subtle a maneuver as a sledgehammer, guys. "60 Minutes," we cannot fail to note, is not the Naked News.

(A considerable pause) What is up with "60 Minutes" this season? Is it just The Corsair, or is 60 Minutes -- this season, post-Don Hewitt -- putting extra-special emphasis on sports and entertainment, and less and less on war trouble zones, entrenched corruption, emerging trends, and generally the types of pieces that essentially made us fall in love with "60 Minutes" in the first place? We'll even tolerate Morley Safer's pseudo-sophisticated cultural pieces (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) on the "works" of Botero and -- worse -- Renee Fleming (Averted Gaze).

What is going on here? First, we had that story on Nascar -- okay, okay: CBS had a felt-need to reach out and touch the red-states and inquire, not unlike suppliants, as to how they spend their time, fine; whatever. We can accept that. Vaguely. Then, the steroidal abuse of someone called "Romo." A big issue, to be sure (Averted Gaze); but that territory -- that land of "Romo" -- was covered already extensively with the oily Jose Canseco back in February. We like to limit our intake of hydrogenated oils, you see (Eyebrow arched). We don't need to revisit the story with "Romo" (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). Really, we don't.

And now ... Michael Jordan feeling "used" is barely news. Barely. What is happening?

All of this, of course, comes at a time when, as Don Kaplan of the NYPost suggests, "CBS boss Les Moonves is considering is moving MTV entertainment chief Brian Graden to head CBS News."

The Corsair can see the writing on the wall and out of love for "60 Minutes" we ask you to come back to what made you great -- come back!

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