Channel Surfing with C.T.

I sincerely hope some media watchdog group out there analyzes Tuesday night’s extensive coverage of the primary results and offers up a report on how often networks (including MSNBC and Fox News) prematurely called elections which wound up going to someone other than the candidate they predicted. Personally, I believe there should be a moratorium on all election result coverage until after every polling place has closed. While I realize this would mean that, God forbid, people actually have to wait for accurate, full results, I can’t help wondering how many people who have not yet gone to their polling center see that a candidate has already won (“… with five percent of the vote counted”) and opt not to vote.

Okay, on to less important topics. Like ONE TREE HILL. Holy crap, this show gets better by the week. And remember, this is coming from someone who tried and tried to even tolerate it before the four-year fast-forward. The scenes between Skills and Jamie alone were worth the price of admission. Throw in the Peyton/Bitchtoria battle, the wonderfully awkward dinner, Peyton literally throwing the book at Lucas and that adorable girl who serves as Brooke’s assistant and this was soapy fun at its finest. My own quibbles (and come on, it wouldn’t be me if there weren’t at least a few) are that I’d like to see Mouth’s story intertwine more with those of everyone else (which will no doubt happen when he and Brooke’s assistant hook up), and the fact that Victoria’s response (“Whatever.”) to Brooke’s heartfelt “I love you” felt completely fake. I mean, there’s being a bitch and then there’s… well, that. Otherwise, however, this show is on a role. If it’s not careful, it might just go from “guilty pleasure” to just plain pleasure. Bonus kudos to the promo department for luring us in with that kiss between Nathan and the nanny… only to have the buss turn out to be one in a brilliantly-executed series of dream sequences.

Some of you may remember that I was excited about the return of PARADISE HOTEL. Okay, excited might be something of a mild understatement. And after some slow going, Monday night’s PH2 eventually morphed into the kind of hot mess that made the first season such gloriously trashy viewing. So far, none of the models… er, contestants have morphed into characters as memorable as 2003’s psycho Zach, explosive Toni or Charla, the eventual winner who will always be remembered for the truly hard to watch scene in which she admitted that the touch of roomie Dave made her “skin crawl.” But Raheim is an egomaniacal time bomb who is only a few ticks away from exploding, pretty-boy James seems like the type who will do some serious damage and Tidisha has some serious self-esteem issues waiting to turn her into a sloppy mess. And did I mention the virgin cheerleader? It is tough, however, to sink into this debauchery knowing that one of the guests, Nathan Clutter, passed away this past October. Fox Reality is doing its best to sell us the sleeze, and yet their web page notes that Nathan “touched everyone he encountered with his thoughtfulness and decency.” True as those words may be, it’s tough to sell decadence and decency on the same web page. And make no mistake, they’re selling sex. The “backstage secrets” webisode features a perky hostess saying, “The first episode started off with a bang. Well, there wasn’t any banging, but…”

Has any character in the history of daytime television ever had a more complicated history than that of DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ John Black? In the past, he was mistakenly believed to be a surgically-altered Stefano or Marlena’s presumed-dead hubby, Roman. Later, he turned out to be Forest Alamain, although for simplicity’s sake he opted to stick with the moniker “John Black.” He was a trained assassin, a priest (at least long enough to exorcise a demon from his beloved Marlena), a former spy, a corporate titan, a mercenary, an art smuggler and an investigator with the local police department. This week, it was revealed that he is the half-brother of long-time rival, Stefano, and the son of not-so-dead-after-all Colleen Brady. Of course, this complete disregards the fact that several years ago, genetic and DNA testing proved him to be the son of Daphne DiMera, but it’s not as if it’s the first time John’s history hasn’t made any sense. Expect things to get a whole lot messier over at DAYS if it’s true, as reported, that last week, in a first for daytime, the entire staff of the soap was fired. Supposedly, Dena Higley — aka the woman who turned ONE LIFE TO LIVE into an unwatchable mess (before it became better-than-ever under the current writer) — will take over the reigns. Rumors that DAYS’ days are numbered have been circling for ages. This time, I might actually believe it.

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  • Linda B.

    When will soap operas start being affected by the writer’s strike? Do they all just have months and months of scripts in the can and that’s why they’re all still on?

  • Josh Emerson

    The networks don’t give election results before voting has ended. I don’t know what exactly you were watching, but MSNBC specifically displays a counter on the screen to show when the polls close in each area, and they do not give any results or exit poll information before that time. I have yet to see any network that has called a result before polling has ended. So no, no one sees that a candidate has won before going to their polling place because that’s not possible.

  • shanna

    ITA about One Tree Hill. For me Skillz and Jamie make the show and the four year jump has made everything more enjoyable.

  • CT


    All of the writers have an option of going what is called “financial core”. It means they can continue writing but, as I understand it, aren’t protected by the union (although they will continue to be members and have to pay dues). Any writer can go fi-core and write, although it’s frowned upon. Several soaps have people who have done that. Rumor has it that many other shows simply are working with hush-hush scabs who go to great lengths to get the scripts to the shows without being identified as the writer. You’ll notice that several soaps currently do not list who they are being written by. That’s to protect the identity of the scabs.

  • CT


    You’re completely right about MSNBC. I’m afraid when writing this, I did a pretty poor job of making it clear I was talking about two completely different issues: One is the premature announcement of “winners” in primary races when the votes have not yet been counter; the other was networks racing to give election coverage. At least one of my local affiliates was providing projected winners two hours before the polling places closed. AAs for premature calling, several networks and other media outlets (including the AP) prematurely called Missouri as going to Hillary when, in fact, it had gone to Obama. It’s sloppy and, frankly, there’s no reason for it except that they are desperate to be the first to get the information out there rather than wait until everything is finalized. They know they can’t compete with the web. When I worked at a newspaper, we had the same problem: With deadlines looming, at what point to you make the call?

  • Linda B.

    CT, you’re completely right. I live in Missouri and went to bed disappointed that Hillary won our state. Then when i woke up the next morning found out she did not!

  • I agree about the election results. How is it the news declares a winner when only 5% are reporting? Report the News after the Facts. As for DAYS, I was just glad to see the character return. I’m not feeling all of the storylines and if that Dena Higley is coming on board, well, I can only hope she doesn’t put the final nail in “Days” coffin. I mean, it’s the only soap NBC has. Lets see how many bad plots from “One Life to Live” she reuses to bad effect. I hope she doesn’t “kill” Days. As for firing the whole staff, it’s cheaper to start over with a staff that isn’t “making the $” the old staff did. It’s all about $. lol

  • Jamie P

    Loved OTH this week. CT- I cracked up at your Bitchtoria reference. Cant wait to see how the whole nanny thing pans out, I kinda got chills when I saw Nathan watching her in the pool.
    Am I the only one that doesnt really like Lukes girlfriend?? My friends and I disagree about it, some of them like her, and I dont.

    And I was so pumped that Paradise Hotel started that I almost ( almost being the operative word) watched it right when it aired instead of waiting for tivo to record it! I just dont see how these new people can possibly compare to the crazies on PH 1. I hope they do though. Its kinda like Big Brother, every year I swear I will hate the new houseguests compared to the previous season but usually end up liking them more.