Early Morning Media: Sunday Talk Shows & Co.

More frequently than not now-a-days, I get up “early” on Sunday an watch the Sunday morning TV. No, not the church shows, the news shows.

Sunday Morning

Usually I don’t get up early enough to watch Sunday Morning — and I have no TiVo to pull a Matt. My mother and I used to watch Sunday Morning all the time, back in the 80’s and early 90’s. With Charles Kuralt!

It’s probably because of that childhood watching that I always get warm and fuzzy watching Sunday Morning. It’s kind of like folk-news: not in the sense of “news of the folks,” but more in the sense of “enjoying a cup of coffee in and hearing about funny middle-class stories.” And then there’s always those birds at the end right before the credits.

Now-a-days when I catch it, I always like Bill Geist: he’s like the bizarro world version of John Sotssel. Maybe it’s the other way around.

News Analysis

If you skip the pulpit-talkers and $19.95 deals, the other thing on (oh, aside from sports) are new analysis shows. As with most people, I’m sure I have a love-hate relationship about these shows. It’s not like the two sides (and there’s always two and only two) ever “figure it out.” On the other hand, it’s nice to hear from the horses mouth.

This Week

For example,
George Stephanopoulos is now interviewing George W. Bush, drilling him with the usual “make him look dumb to the tweedy” question about books he’s currently reading. He hasn’t read any books about him or his administration. No, he doesn’t think it would be helpful.

Now of course, how much more surreal is it that (a.) George is interviewing George, and, (b.) George S. was a Clinton campaign and White House staffer? I’m far from having my panties in a bunch over that: the point is it’s pleasingly weird.

And by the way, how to did Stephanopoulos take over the anchor position from Cokie Roberts or Sam Donaldson?

Was it one of those “get the youth in there!” type of things? Not that Stephanopoulos is bad, unqualified, etc.: but more that it’s curious to see seniority skipped over.

Then again, wikipedia says:

There has been much speculation that the present host’s contract will not be renewed, since the job was offered to Ted Koppel, former anchor of Nightline.

Though, tragically, no references to such “speculation” are link’ed up.

Meet the Press

Meet the Press wins the award for Most Nic-nacs on Stage with that shelf behind Tim Russert. It’s be great to see a guest or a “table-ist” grab one of those things and start using it as a prop one morning:

Well, Tim, its kind of like this fancy desk clock you’ve got back here [gets up, grabs desk-clock on shelf behind Tim; Tim arches around to look, dragging his lapel mic along his jacket making that dull sound]: it’s kept mighty clean and pretty, but it simply doesn’t work.

It’s too bad Hunter Thompson never got on these shows (or did he?). That’d be endless YouTube fun. Interesting side-note there: have the TV studios realized that the ephemeral nature of TV-content has been “fixed” by things like YouTube? Now they can monetize more than just that original broadcast. Maybe there’s a book on that.


To be honest, half of the reason I like watching sunday morning TV is the type of commercials you see. Aside from “sponsorships” on PBS news shows, it’s one of the few times you can see big business ads targeted at investors and business-types rather than buyers.

Now, it’s not that I’m in or out of those buckets, it’s more than the nature of the commercials change. There’s lots of brand and good citizen commercials: not so many focused on products. Copy machines (WTF?!). IBM and sliced bread (no YouTube video yet?). And, there’s an endless march of financial commercials: even borrowing from the gravitas of Law and Order.

Oh yeah, and there’s golf. Lots and lots of golf.


After the network shows, the quality of TV falls off a cliff: $19.95 ads or (for me not interesting) sports. I’ve always found day-time TV enticing because of it’s oddity, and weekend TV is equally so.

PBS (or, at least, my local station) picks up the slack once the networks drops off coming in with To The Contrary (proving that women can disagree with each other and make nutty statements just a much and as well as men) and then the classic, incoherent yell-fest, The McLaughlin Group.

McLaughlin’s show is like a big ass bread-pudding after a huge steak-meal: painful but incontestably awesome. Maybe one day we’ll have such a format for tech-analysis. I’ll volunteer to chair. I’m practicing nick-names and yelling “WRONG!” right now.

And, though I just about To The Contrary, it actually is extremely refreshing and fun to have a show driven by women. In addition to the usual headline grist, they always cover new stories and — shockingly! — opposite sides seem to agree time-to-time.

Speaking of gender, I’ve been catching Washington Week with Gwenn Ifill of late. That’s new (to me) in the line-up. That show is much more calm and they have an interesting format where they focus on each table-ist, pumping them for information.


As I was saying, early in the morning, there’s also a lot of church on. Here in Texas, there’s plenty of stadium church broadcasts. Now, I’m not intending to throw any fire-bombs here, but isn’t it weird that all this news is broadcast when most Christian people are unable to watch it, attending Church and/or hanging out afterwards?

I speculate that the sunday morning talk shows had their genesis when TV execs realized they needed some cheap(er) content to fill Sunday morning with, so they shoved some news in there. That is, I don’t think there’s some black-hooded, Illumanti conspiracy afoot. Also of course, being far from religious, I have no idea if the church and talk-show schedules collide. And hey, there’s TiVo.

Still, for as politically involved the American Christian population is in politics, it seems weird that the most political part of the week is a potential schedule conflict with church-time.

Tags: , , , , , .

I Miss My PowerBook


Originally uploaded by Wyscan.

I’ve been using Kim’s ThinkPad this week while the PowerBook is in the shop.

I actually like the hardware quite a bit: the only problem I have is that the keyboard is a bit loud and the mouse buttons are kind of “loose” feeling. It took me ahwile to get used to having two buttons too (I know! Weird!).

The problem I have with it is the software. It just blows goat-ass compared to OS X, but, more importantly, all the OS X “native” applications I have.

I’ll be checking my repair status hourly.