Monday, January 07, 2008

Softballs Instead Of Fastballs

Remember when Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" would show up at some corporation and the executives would soil themselves?

Anyone hoping for the same effect on baseball's Roger Clemens last night was surely disappointed. (I know I was).

The Clemens interview, in which he discusses the claims of the Mitchell Report that he used performance-enhancing drugs, has been hyped for the past week.

But what it essentially turned out to be was a 15-minute puff piece in which Wallace lobbed a few softballs toward Clemens (the two are good friends off-camera) and Clemens, in this rather controlled environment, was able to answer the various charges leveled at him.

If Wallace was truly committed to find out about Clemens, he should have turned the assignment over to another journalist. As Clemens himself can tell you, it doesn't matter how good your fastball is, the hitter is going to catch up with it if he knows it's coming. With the "tough" questions Wallace asked, Clemens already had his stock answers ready.

The only time the interview really had something to say was when Wallace asked Clemens if he would take a polygraph, and Clemens fumbled around an answer that implied that he wouldn't.

Clemens has been on his heels since the Mitchell Report broke, and what amounted to a press conference Sunday night didn't do anything to help his reputation. Or Wallace's, for that matter.

WGA UPDATE: United Artists, one of the mini-studios in Hollywood a' la Miramax or New Line, has brokered a temporary deal with the Writers' Guild that allows the studio to get back to work. It's the second such deal in a week as UA joins David Letterman's Worldwide Pants Production Company in striking an agreement with the WGA.

Though this will have little impact on the state of TV, since UA doesn't produce any television shows, it could lead to a flood of production companies reaching their own agreements and getting back to work, which would undermine the AMTMP and force the studios finally to return to the bargaining table.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: The so-called national championship, which pits computer favorites Ohio State and LSU against each other tonight in New Orleans (Fox, 8 p.m.)

I've made my feelings known already about the validity of this game and why college football needs a playoff system, so I won't rehash that here.

If you can care less about this game, ABC is giving you "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann" (ABC, 8 p.m.) in which the two dance instructors put together their own teams of dancers. It's followed by a new "October Road" at 10 p.m.

"Medium," (NBC, 10 p.m.) featuring Emmy fave Patricia Arquette, is back with all-new episodes, following "American Gladiators" and "Deal Or No Deal." Not to discourage viewership or anything, but I'll be a little disappointed if this lineup does better ratings-wise than "Chuck," "Heroes" and "Journeyman" did.

Finally, "Great Performances" (PBS, 9 p.m.) does a salute to Irving Berlin.


zodin2008 said...

I am with you 150% on the BcS Title game tonight. Everyone in America is in agreement at this point that the two best teams in the country both played last Tuesday: Georgia & USC.

I don't think one pundit doesn't NOW admit that Georgia and USC wouldn't be able to dispatch the two teams tonight. The SAME pundits, by the way, who all in unison said Georgia didn't deserve to be in tonight's game. Huh.

(by the way, even the annoying Georgia-hater Lou Holtz, who'd pick Al Queda to beat Georgia he hates us so much, wrote a personal letter of apology to Mark Richt admitting his bias against the Dawgs; now it's time for Corso, Mark May, Herbstreit and everyone else in the world of college football punditry to do the SAME).

I actually MEANT to watch "American Gladiators" last night but had blocked it out of my mind. Instead I got caught up watching the ABC Saturday night Presidential debates and even the Fox News republican debate.

Frankly, the Presidential Primary season has been an absolute savior. I find the whole world of political punditry on CNN, MSNBC and Fox rather fascinating and with so few new shows, watching people from Chris Matthews to Chris Wallace to Wolf Blitzer talk to pundits and debate candidates and their positions, has been good theater.

Phillip Ramati said...

American Gladiators is decent, but gets way too bogged down with interviewing the contestants. More sweat, less talk.