Archive for Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do disgraced stars hurt reality shows?

September 29, 2009


What do you do if you have a talk show? Get another talk show! Joy Behar of “The View” fame will get her own microphone on “The Joy Behar Show” (8 p.m., Headline News). According to the network, she will bring her energy, wit and no-nonsense approach to the issues of the day with an eye more toward “water-cooler topics” than raw politics.

Speaking of the difference between water-cooler chat and raw politics, Tom DeLay survived his first week on “Dancing with the Stars” (8 p.m., ABC). You can’t blame a guy whose nickname is “The Hammer” for wanting to lighten up his image with his own version of “Wild Thing.” It’s enough to make you forget — or never notice — that DeLay is facing indictment.

And that’s a weird place to be for a “Dancing with the Stars” contestant. I understand that these events can be about comebacks and redemption. But even Lil’ Kim served her time behind bars before doing her cha-cha. DeLay has yet to face justice.

And he’s not alone. Not long after his arrest and resignation, NBC invited disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appear on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.” A judge put the kibosh on that idea, so viewers had to settle for his wife.

Both DeLay (a Republican) and Blagojevich (a Democrat) are innocent until proven guilty. But they are charged with serious crimes and breaches of public trust. For networks to treat these matters like a joke and a cheap means to publicity and notoriety demonstrates a harsh disdain for civic life and civil behavior.

In sharp contrast, part three of “America’s Parks: America’s Best Idea” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) shows how public officials and corporate leaders in the early decades of the 20th century used notions of patriotism and common national purpose to expand and popularize the National Park System.

Ken Burns’ film reminds us that the parks did not have to happen and that their creation and legacy are products of noble attitudes about the nation we inhabit and the life and land we share.

Cheap network stunts showcasing indicted politicians on reality shows will leave no residue behind except increased apathy and cynicism.

• Viewers who can’t get enough natural splendor can turn to “National Geographic Explorer: Climbing Redwood Giants” (9 p.m., National Geographic).

Tonight’s other highlights

• A dealer’s death strikes close to home on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS).

• The competition continues on “So You Think You Can Dance” (8 p.m., Fox).

• Alicia helps a client fight an old-boy network after an alleged rape at a swank bachelor party on “The Good Wife” (9 p.m., CBS).

• A piece of found jewelry rings familiar on “The Forgotten” (9 p.m., ABC).

• A charity event turns into something else on “Sons of Anarchy” (9 p.m., FX).

• “The Hills” (9 p.m., MTV) and “The City” (9:30 p.m.) move to a new night.

Cult choice

A widow (Jeanne Moreau) sets out to avenge her husband’s death in “The Bride Wore Black” (7 p.m., TCM), director Francois Truffaut’s 1968 nod to Alfred Hitchcock. Later, director Brian De Palma borrows from “Vertigo” in his 1975 thriller “Obsession” (11 p.m.). Both films feature scores by Bernard Herrmann (“Psycho”).


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.