Weekly Wire
Salt Lake City Weekly Thinning the Herd

By Bill Frost

JANUARY 25, 1999:  No, I still haven't had a chance to see the new Daily Show With Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. However, Kerry Jackson of X96's Radio From Hell, a former TCI customer and current satellite-dish owner, has graciously invited me over to his compound to watch Comedy Central. Kerry is a saint.

Meanwhile, TCI Cablevision of Utah still claims that there's just no room to fit Comedy Central and other regularly requested channels into the Basic or Expanded Basic tiers. If TCI is going to be a monopoly, they should be a full-service monopoly, by god, so I've made a list of all the null-and-void channels that could easily be weeded out. Enjoy, I'll be at Kerry's place if you need me:

Fox News Channel: Supposedly a "conservative" answer to the other liberal media news networks out there, the Fox News Channel's only notable "stars" are Internet gossip-sleuth Matt Drudge and former publishing exec Judith Regan, and neither of them has any previous TV hosting experience--isn't this what cable-access is for? The FNC motto is "We report, you decide," and the collective viewer decision seems to be "You suck, we're watching CNN." Knock one off Basic.

Government Access: Classified ads on TV, set to Muzak--still better than Promised Land, but otherwise useless. Knock two off Basic.

Prevue: Got a TV Guide and a watch? Then you don't need this space-waster. Montages for Hope Floats and Armageddon run by every two minutes, but you're never given the really important info, like "Warning: Sandra Bullock remains fully clothed in this feature. Men are advised to watch Raw & Naked Pajama Party on channel 63--order now," or "Armageddon may cause cramping. Women are advised to watch Deep Impact on channel 65--order now." Knock three off Basic.

Home Shopping Network: All of the pinheads who buy cheap jewelry and Ab-Rollers from their TVs need to be rounded up and put in a camp, where they can have these channels pumped in 24 hours a day. Knock four off Basic.

Odyssey: You know, if Jesus really did have his own cable channel, he could probably do better than this. Knock five off Basic.

Lifetime: Where all network movies-of-the-week go to die--the ones about kidnapped babies and "mommy has a terminal disease/abusive boyfriend/lecherous boss/drinking problem/strange attraction to female golf-pros," invariably starring Judith Light or Merideth Baxter-Birney. Knock one off Expanded Basic.

Fox Sports: Imagine the Fox News Channel, except with in-depth coverage of college basketball, women's golf and--ugh--soccer. Just because there's a ball involved, it doesn't automatically qualify as a "sport." Knock two off Expanded Basic.

MTV: Jesse Camp. Knock three off Expanded Basic.

QVC: Refer back to the Home Shopping Network. Knock four off Expanded Basic.

CNBC: A highly useful network if you ever have the sudden need to see how the NASDAQ is performing while you're flipping channels during the dull parts of Spice World on HBO. They also had the good sense to fire Charles Grodin, but that's just not enough. Knock five off Expanded Basic.

CNN Headline News: Like watching TV at the airport, except you're not going anywhere! Knock six off Expanded Basic.

C-Span: I just watched a speech given by Al Gore, "Global Government Reform and the Next Century." I have no feeling in the right side of my body. Now, the prime minister of New Zealand is speaking--why can't they hire Jesse Camp to host on this channel? Knock seven off Expanded Basic.

C-Span 2: For those who find C-Span too exciting. Watch for C-Span 3, featuring an around-the-clock video feed from the fourth stall of the White House men's room. Knock eight off Expanded Basic.

America's Jewelry Store: Refer back to QVC. Knock nine off Expanded Basic.

MSNBC: How lame is this pseudo news network from NBC and Microsoft? They hired Charles Grodin after CNBC fired him. Even worse, Grodin is the only "personality" on the channel. MSNBC has approximately 67 total viewers--they're all CNBC employees, laughing their asses off. Knock 10 off Expanded Basic.

See? There's plenty of room for Comedy Central now. Tear this page out and mail it in with your next TCI cable bill.

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