I Like TV

The folks at CNN caught the personality piece in the L.A. Times and called to see if I’d go on the air.

Well sure! But there was a hitch….

Clueless Male

A funny story about my CNN appearance: the producer who booked it was in Atlanta, but they weren’t flying me there — I was to show up quite early in the morning at their Los Angeles studio.

“We don’t have any makeup people there that early,” she said, “so can you do your own?” Sure, I said, not knowing a thing about makeup, other than my ex-wife used it. But one of my female co-workers at JPL was a good friend; and after hanging up with CNN I immediately sought her out.

rc cnn morning news - I Like TV
On CNN Morning News, 25 Jan 1996.

“With the lights, the biggest problem is shine,” Glenda said, obviously having a clue. “So you want powder.”

I asked what kind. “Doesn’t really matter what kind,” she said, “but make sure it matches your skin tone.”

How do I do that? “Put some on the back of your hand at the makeup counter before you buy,” she said. Seemed reasonable.

What about the dark circles under my eyes? I asked. Will powder help that? “No, for that you need ‘concealer’,” she said.

So off to the mall I went. I chose a cosmetics counter and told the gal there I needed makeup because I was going to be on TV. “Uh huh,” she said. “No really! The ‘CNN Morning News’ — you can watch me tomorrow!”

As Glenda directed, I told her I needed powder and concealer. “This should match your skin tone,” the counter gal said as she handed me a powder applicator. I brushed it on the back of my hand as Glenda had suggested. “Too chalky,” I said. The gal raised an eyebrow and handed me the next tone up. “Perfect!”

Then she handed me a tube of concealer, and I dabbed some on my hand. “Too pasty,” I said. She got the next one up. “Perfect! Thanks much.”

I paid and, while walking out of the store, started to laugh — not just at the absurdity at the situation, but also for the realization that I got to deduct the cost of the makeup from my taxes.

I think I turned out looking pretty good! Especially at that hour.

CNN wasn’t the only one to call. With the international success of True, I guess it’s no surprise that Toronto CityTV’s MediaTelevision program, which is carried in the U.S. on cable’s Bravo Channel, would run a segment on me and the newsletter too.

After that, a Japanese newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun (The “Nikkei”) did a feature too. They all helped expand circulation.

Why the title (“I Like TV”)? It’s a nod to a bit on the short-lived SNL competitor Fridays. In one sketch, cast member Melanie Chartoff stares blankly into the camera saying, “I Like TV I Like TV I Like TV I Like TV I Like TV ….” Pretty much, that’s what I had to do on CNN: stare straight into the camera, pretending I could see the anchors in Atlanta.

3 Comments on “I Like TV

  1. I was in panic reading this headline. Shades of Newton Minow! TV is STILL a “vast wasteland”. In fact, it is even worse now than in the sixties and seventies. I will admit to watching C-Span2 on weekends when they do all the book “reviews”.

    I can see where you’re coming from, but I really, really, really despise all the commercials. By all, I mean the plethora of constant haranguing and repetition and utter boredom they create in their attempt to enforce a product name on the captive audience. Buying “movie only” channels is way too expensive for me (Comcast and Gouge are synonymous in my mind). Renting or buying films subjects me to still more ads, usually attempting to sell more garbage to me. (Never mind the fact that most movies are at best worthy of only one viewing.) I will further add, with your permission, that the FCC controlling the amount of time ads may be shown during a given time period is about as effective as the EPA doing anything about pollution and the warming climate.

    Newton Minow was the chairman of the FCC in 1961 when he gave his “vast wasteland” speech. (He reflected on it in Time magazine in 1995.) Indeed, it has gotten worse, and the barrage of inane commercials is one of the reasons I watch very little TV. We’re seeing the decline of the networks before our eyes, and rather than doing anything to stop it, they’re hastening their own deaths. There’s a reason HBO gets so many Emmy awards, and they’re not even a “network”! But I pay enough to get TV (since the only way I can get a signal is by satellite), and I don’t use my hard-earned income on pay channels either. -rc

  2. I watch very little TV on TV these days. But as I’m overseas I still keep up with half a dozen shows via BitTorrent. (Another advantage of this method: no commercials.) Half of them are British. Considering the number of shows on TV, it’s still decidedly a wasteland, but now and then there’s a tree.

    I submit for your perusal: “Hustle”, “Spooks”, and (in the US) “House”.

  3. “House”…? My wife likes that show; I can’t see why. Started off well, a doc with an attitude. But as it developed, they make about 12 MISdiagnoses, all to the patient’s detriment, before finally finding a cure. I hope I never end up in such a hospital where they experiment in hopes of helping me. But then, it IS in New Jersey….

    And besides his inability to make a correct diagnosis, the guy is also a whiner using his handicap as a crutch (that was bad) to rationalize his substance abuse (maybe why he’s inept at disgnoses), and also uses/abuses his few friendships, not to mention straining any professional relationships. No other hospital would even consider hiring this guy.

    And this is a role model??? I might consider it realistic if it weren’t for the fact that hospitals won’t do any unnecessary tests without the patient’s ability to pay, and insurance will deny a lot of those.

    Makes about as much sense at that show about a blind cop who carried a gun. Oh wait, after that incident in NYC with some 50 shots to bring down one suspect, maybe that is realistic.


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