The Folly of E! News

The few friends I have are well aware of the fact that I despise E! News. Those pithy, incompetent “reporters” stand there and look pretty while discussing last night’s “Dancing With the Stars,” the latest celebrity gossip, how to get the “fab” styles on the red carpet on a recession friendly budget, and the obligatory six-minutes of gushing over Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

I personally don’t “watch” it. What I actually do is listen to it, but the vapid personalities of Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic tend to give me a headache. This is unfortunate for when dinner is served at six instead of at an earlier time. E! News tends to exile me to my bedroom for peace, quiet, and the saving of a few brain cells.

Ever since the Oscars, it has been my fondest desire to someday write a screenplay and get nominated for the appropriate award in order to mock the aforementioned individuals, who would probably be unaware as to who I am because I would be a writer and not Tina Fey (who I greatly admire).

But today I was sitting at my computer, working steadily while reading Gawker when my sister turned the TV to E! News. The top story? Natasha Richardson. They talked a bit about it, mainly the obvious, talked to some Hollywood personalities–she was married to Liam Neeson, after all–and then promoted Entertainment Weekly and People.

I would have to guess that, at most, the story was talked about for three minutes. And I’m fairly certain that’s an over-estimation.

It always seems as though E! News spends more time talking about whatever-the-hell Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are up to everyday. To be honest, they spend so much time talking about that subject, it seems as though it’s contractually obligated.

By the time that E! News talked about this, I had found out about her removal from life support from Vulture and Gawker. I read the New York Times article and I’ve also read about it on Gothamist, Playbill.com, Perez Hilton, TONY’sUpstaged, and Michael Musto’s blog La Daily Musto. All of those sources had better reports and tributes to her than E! News did, which is very sad since the word “news” is in their name.

E!’s telling of it was nothing more than schlocky “reporting.” Richardson won a Tony Award in 1998 for playing Sally Bowles in the revival of “Cabaret.” The New York Times has her death underneath “Theater,” although Variety has it under “Film” instead of “Legit.” Upstaged is reporting on it. Did E! talk to those of the theatrical community? No, to the horrendously lowbrow employees of that channel, theater is probably an art form that only exists for the occasional red carpet. Let’s talk to Hollywood personalities. And advertise People and Entertainment Weekly because we love to be more of a source for advertising than “news.”

Yes, E! News, you have sunk below Perez Hilton.

This isn’t the first time that E! News has done a terrible job at doing their…well, job. When Milk came out on DVD they only discussed the fact that Sean Penn won an Oscar for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, not the fact that it’s about Harvey Milk. And then when Jeremy Piven dropped out of Speed-the-Plow, they stated the bare facts. They didn’t even mention David Mamet’s great thermometer quote.

If E! News didn’t exist, or at least dropped the gawdy exclamation point from their name, the world could potentially be a better place. By the time E! News airs, I have found out their “news” from a number of blogs. And I think I speak for many people when I say that we’d rather read Richard Lawson on Gawker than listen to Ryan Seacrest. (Speaking of Richard Lawson, he has a lovely tribute here.)

All the program that we are talking about does is potentially entertain the eyes while killing off brain cells for the people who don’t care for blogs.

Tut tut. Those “reporters” give those of us who give a damn about the news (I’m including many bloggers in this, including the people on Gawker) a terrible name. Here’s hoping we’re the death of E! News.

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