Finding great things to watch on TV during the day can be a challenge

Newton Minow, a Kennedy-era chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, once described television as “a vast wasteland.”
He had to watch TV during the day.

Being able to watch him is a talent in itself. My odd schedule gives me the chance to watch TV all day long.

The day is the most difficult, especially if you are trying to watch something important on a free station such as channels 3, 6, 10, 17 and 29.

Five people save the morning and afternoon from utter contempt. They are Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager and Rachael Ray. In a pinch, I could add a few more to the list – Judge Judy Sheindlin, who has a new show about to debut, Drew Carey, and the various local reporters who provide a respite from the endless gossip, gossip and palaver. which form the basis of most day rates.

Problem is, it’s just plain tasteless. It transmits a fake chirp that gets downright disgusting when you now see / hear empty, stereotypical and inept most conversations on the morning shows.

I can get through Kelly Clarkson and others who want to keep things nice and jovial and steer clear of the deeper topic, but in general daytime television takes me to the library, to housework, to the real sloppy job that has deadlines that keep getting closer, or to my car to be taken somewhere the TV can’t find me.

But don’t you know he can. Dinners and breakfasts, and just about every restaurant these days have televisions. Just when I was so happy to run away from Tamron Hall or Joy Behar, they’re there on the wall where I was hoping to read while eating my spinach-feta omelet with rye bread and lettuce and tomato instead of potatoes (although I love potatoes).

Here is the problem I have. People are just not spiritual anymore. They gossip without saying anything really funny, substantive, or revealing of who they are under their characters.

If only idle chatter triggered minimal interest at any level.

That’s why I love Ripa and Seacrest, and I turn to NBC’s “Today” at 10 am to see Kotb and Hager.

Either of these combinations can have guests throwing the same anecdotes you can hear in multiple places in the morning or afternoon. It’s when the mike colleagues are talking to each other that I feel a spark and feel amused.

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest both have active lives that include a lot of people and a lot of experiences. My favorite part of their show is listening to them talk about what each of them did the night before, even though they just stayed home. They convey the idea of ​​a busy life filled with exciting opportunities. They are the perfect pair for obtaining vicarious pleasure.

In addition to their side play, which includes shrewd observation, sarcastic comments, and a sense of worldliness, Kelly is brilliant at saying something that feels benign and innocent, but has the right touch of venom to make it more fun and demonstrate. that she is not fooled.

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager have a different type of conversation, but they’re worth listening to when they talk to each other like friends about what they’re going through at home, at work, in the world, whatever.

Kotb and Hager have perfect contact. They look like neighbors meeting for coffee and a light breakfast after the kids leave for school.

The bonus is that both women are smart. There is a bit of insight in what they say.

Also, Jenna Hager loves books and authors, and you can see how real her knowledge and enthusiasm is, which is rare in a cookie-cutter world of daytime TV personalities.

Rachael Ray doesn’t have a sidekick, but she’s so good at speaking directly in front of the camera and making it seem like she’s talking to you one-on-one, her script is delivered as if it were ‘a conversation.

Ray comes across as being down to earth, unimpressed with her fame and followers, and totally happy doing things she can share from the kitchen.

No one on daytime TV looks real anymore, more what you see is who I am than Ray. She has a bouncy way of entertaining herself while talking about ordinary things in an ordinary way. She is also unique among cooking show hosts for truly showing, demonstrating and explaining the steps that go into the simple dishes that she teaches people to cook on their own. I feel like I’m learning something that I can practice by watching Ray. Most other foodies are like math teachers. They churn out their recipes, rush through the steps, and never take the time Ray makes to show how she folds one food into another or stirs something, or wraps something to cook.

About the only other place where I see such fast-paced and entertaining exchanges as those between Ripa and Seacrest, Kotb and Hager, and Ray to his audience, is the 9am segment of Channel 29 “Good Day Philadelphia when Karen Hepp, Alex Holley, Sue Serio, Mike Jerrick and others, sometimes including Thomas Drayton, discuss a news item or a popular phenomenon that they deem worthy of comment.

I find the “Good Day” team intelligent and thoughtful while also being entertaining. I also enjoy a midday show featuring Holley and Drayton riffing on videos and other stuff, some crazy enough to deserve the Darwin Awards. This show resumes at 11:30 p.m.

Every once in a while I go see Judge Judy and I’m usually rewarded by hearing her give hilarious scoldings or watching her use and explain her logical and sane approach to her main job as a judge.

I love game shows and I would probably be a natural viewer of “The Price is Right” if I weren’t so put off by what competitors wear to be on TV. (I realize they don’t know for sure if they’ll be on TV, but I have an aversion to carelessness in American clothing. Steve Wilkos and Maury Povich have guests who dress better than they do. the folks at “Price is Right.” Drew Carey does a good job as the host of “Price,” but I can’t care for or encourage people who look like they’ve been dragged by cats up to the studio.

There is a quiz that makes me pause and watch an entire episode when my remote lands on it. It’s “25 Words or Less,” an old-fashioned show in tone and production that features Meredith Vieira as the host, four celebrities and two contestants battling it out over who can make five words guess. his teammates while using as few clues as possible.

Wayne Brady keeps “making a deal”, but the game itself doesn’t grab my attention. I’d rather look for Alex Trebek on “Classic Concentration” or Gene Rayburn on “The Match Game”.

The shows I avoid the most are those where panels, usually all women’s panels, talk about the topics and issues of the day.

Whoopi Goldberg may make sense on “The View,” and Joy Behar may be funny, but I don’t find it worth waiting for the sporadic moments where Goldberg and Behar are glowing to sit down for an entire show,

The reason is that I hear babbling without authority.

This is what the panelists on “The View”, “The Talk”, “The Real” and similar programs remind me of, the parrots, because I rarely hear an original or interesting opinion piece, just one. recall of the latest garden fence feud on CNN or Fox News Channel.

The shows I mentioned are editorial by definition. Panelists are hired to speak. They do that, but I rarely hear something that hasn’t been shaken elsewhere.

I find “The View”, “The Talk”, etc. laden with inanities, pleaded issues, partisan diatribes and opinions offered as if it were fact.
On some occasions when I was forced to look – the waiting rooms of these doctors, these restaurants – I was struck more by the panelists’ ignorance and their instinctive words than I was in awe of everything. they were pronouncing.

Tamron Hall does better research than its “View” or “Talk” colleagues, but his show illustrates two things that I hate about any program. One is the tone of intensity that Hall uses to introduce each segment. She comes across as a Latter-day Donahue who was not told that the format was inaugurated 25 years ago.

The other is bias. You know exactly which guests Hall is siding with and can tell which ones she will reject or ignore altogether.

Haughty favoritism might work if Hall came across as an authority on everything she covers. It is not. It’s just another ideologue.
At 11 a.m., I turn to Channel 10 most often for their local news.

In the afternoon, I can enjoy Kelly Clarkson in a way that I don’t appreciate morning Drew Barrymore or Ellen DeGeneres on the show that follows Clarkson.

Clarkson doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a curious person who enjoys talking to people who happen to be his guests. Her show doesn’t have the advantage of Ripa and Seacrest, but she’s amiable. DeGeneres is just a sadist. I have always hated his games and competitions. They are meant to be degrading, which is why I say that Ellen is a sadist.

People early in the morning can catch reruns of “Perry Mason”, “Matlock” and other vintage shows on MeTV. They often become a refuge.
Especially when the alternative is Pat Robertson!

Bialik is right for “Jeopardy! “

Mayim Bialik does a great job as host of “Jeopardy!”

She is gentle, efficient and pleasant, and her wardrobe, while not yet top-notch, has improved markedly.

Of course, Bialik arrives at the show at an opportune time. Viewers watch the host less than Matt Amodio, the New Haven graduate student (read Yale) who has an incredible array of knowledge and turns daily doubles into dollar amounts his opponents can’t hope to match.

In about 35 shows, Amodio has amassed around $ 1.5 million in earnings. He enjoys the second longest race as a “Jeopardy!” champion, overtaking James Holzhauer and closing in on Ken Jennings.

Amodio’s shyness and obvious pleasure in his performances also work in favor of “Jeopardy”.

Polec wins the Lotte Lenya competition

Andrew Polec, who performed in “Bat Out Of Hell” in London and gave an incredible concert at the Bucks County Playhouse this summer, won this year’s Lotte Lenya competition for singing the works of Miss Lenye’s husband, the composer. Kurt Weill. The victory includes a prize of $ 20,000.
Polec, who lives in Buckingham, is the son of Don Polec, who for several years contributed delightful and creative stories about unusual people at events for Channel 6.

Neal Zoren’s television column appears every Monday.


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Karl M. Bailey

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