Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Wed, Apr 21 2004

Yum: Hot Cereal Lumps

While making breakfast the other morning, I was reading the back of the Cream of Wheat box, and noticed something funny on the lower portion. For those who don't want their cereal nice and creamy, the box gave clear instructions for how to get lumpy Cream of Wheat. I guess marketing decided to make a bug into a feature. But maybe some folks really do like chewing lumps of the stuff. It could be a little like Cream of Wheat gnocchi, served with freshly grated Romano cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Oh well. I guess breakfast is anything you can get away with as long as somebody will still eat it.

posted at: 16:34 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Only The Names Have Been Changed

Does the shake-up at ABC mean we'll be seeing better things to come? Who knows? Someone wrote about similar shake-ups just ten years ago.

I've never been fully able to grasp the concept of co-chairing anything. In the end, the buck has to stop somewhere, at one desk, with one person. But then again, I don't own or run any of these entertainment companies. I'm sure the media moguls know much more about such things than I do. Maybe.

It does seem that the "Big Three" networks have never really had the same edge since satellite and cable broadcasts became available. The networks have been restricted in many ways, with the airwave regulations never seeming able to keep up with the new ground and new players.

It's tough to separate entertainment from politics, and I always end up wondering how much of this executive dumping has to do with vision, how much has to do with creative differences, and how much has to do with the bottom line. ABC has brought us everything from Happy Days to Roots to NFL Monday Night Football. While some of its programming choices seemed adventurous at the time, many shows have come and gone with no real sense of what the network is aiming for in the way of entertainment philosophy or a trend in content. When something works, they do the same sort of spin-offs, guest-host crossover and pilot rehashing everyone else seems to do. The viewing public rarely bites on a replay of success, and when it does no one seems to know whether it was a mass hysteria of nostalgia or a sign of a shift in viewer interest. The rules for those being entertained are that there are no rules. Loyalties are won and lost on a single character's good lucks or a theme song that makes us remember our first childhood crush. We claim to be open to enlightened programs, but we seem to choose programs that make us feel a certain way, and no executive can predict what will make enough individual viewers feel good enough to create a hit.

If there are only so many basic plots, both in stories and in corporate overhauls, then we can figure on more executive shuffling in the next few years. Each time we hope for something better. But the American public will get the programming it tunes in to and the programming that sponsors buy into. While corporate entertainment executives would seem to be key players in all this, I have a feeling that, on some level, they become merely bit players who are interchangeable in the world we loosely call "show business".

posted at: 11:04 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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