Archives of Commentary / Opinion

Ah Feel Your Pain!

May 5, 2002

Move over, Oprah. Take a back seat, Maury. There's a new kid in town, and it's none other than former president and Harlem's coolest home-boy, Bill Clinton. It appears that Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake and the rest of the teary-eyed, revelation sharing, fist-fight-instigating talk show exploiters might have some competition in the ranks. Look out; here comes Jerry Springer II in the persona of the man who claims to have headed "the most ethical administration in history."

Oh, I can hear it now - the music begins, the narrator shouts "Welcome to 'I Feel Your Pain,' with your host, Billlllllll Clinton!!!" Guests will be breaking down the doors to appear, and the audience will scream as if it were the second coming of the Beatles. Dozens of scantily-clad interns, or uh, production assistants will be swarming the ex-prez bringing soda pops, McDonald's fries and cigars.

Guests should include the old Clinton Gang of yore. Imagine James Carville's appearance. Or Web Hubbell's. Better yet, how about David Brock? Talk about a scoop! Only every other news organization on the airways, (with the exception and good graces of Fox News Channel prime time, thank God), has had Mr. Brock appear to discuss his newest book, Blinded by the Right.

I'd imagine the segment would go something like this:

Clinton: "So, David, tell me. Just how vast do you think this Right Wing Conspiracy is? (laughs) I used to tell Hillary she was crazy, well, she is, but..."

Brock: "Mr. President..."

Clinton: "Well, for this show, please call me Bill."

Brock: "Okay, Bill. (Grins like the cat who caught the canary) I ought to know, I was a charter member of the VRWC. (Begins to yell) I started it! It's mine! And they want to take it away from me! But I showed them! I..."

Clinton: "Yes, yes, well, David, can you explain to the good folks here in our audience, (Turns and waves to the audience members, who erupt in applause) just why you threw in with the GOP and it's ilk?"

Brock: "Bill, I have to say, I honestly don't know. I mean, I lied, and lied while in the GOP, but I promise, in my newest book, Blinded by the Right, on sale now, that I am not lying! The Right Wingers say I am, they... targeted me! (Becomes very agitated) They accuse me of lying now! I'm not! I swear! I... " (Begins to cry)

Clinton: (Embraces Brock, and let's him cry on his shoulder) "David, David, all I can say is... (And the audience joins in) 'Ah Feel Your Pain!'"

Oh, the horrors.

Of course this is a total parody of a news item I saw courtesy of the Media Research Center's Cyber Alert. The item, titled "CBS News can't afford Bill Clinton," a Los Angeles Times article from Thursday has the former president meeting with executives of NBC discussing the possibility of a day time talk show hosted by Clinton. Rumors had been circulating of Clinton as a possible replacement for Bryant Gumbel, who is leaving CBS' low rated The Early Show this month. Asking price for Clinton? $50 million dollars per year. Ouch.

Think about that for a minute. Fifty million dollars per year to do what? Gab on a talk show 40 weeks a year? Do interviews on morning "news shows" of authors, actors, athletes, chefs, lawyers, lions, tigers and bears? Please. Most of us work for a living. Real work, not this drivel. So who is actually watching these shows which air from 7:00 am to 9:00 am in the East? Hey, something the advertisers might want to keep in mind...

I hope it's safe to say that with a price tag of $50 mil, Clinton won't be anchoring any news programs, or hosting any talk-fests for awhile. But, consider this: television producers and major FOB's, Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason have been actively pitching Clinton for some type of career in television. Major players in Hollywood, the Thomason's are long time supporters of the Clinton's.

Consider this from a Washington Post article, written by staff writer Lisa de Moraes:

"Yesterday's informal meeting was one of many meetings President Clinton has had with many people over the past year," Julia Payne, spokesperson at the Office of Former President William J. Clinton, said today in a statement.

"President Clinton did not demand a talk show. He went to listen. The President is gratified by the range of opportunities that have been presented to him."

The meeting took place yesterday in the Studio City offices of Mozark Productions, the production company of television producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.

The article also indicates that NBC has been after Clinton since November of 2000 to do something resembling a Meet The Press-style show. Yes, I can see that happening. Really. We know there's not enough liberally-based political discussion shows on television, we actually need more. And who better than Billy Clinton to head it up?

Spokespeople have been quoted as saying that the former president is satisfied with working on the development of his presidential library, speaking engagements (which garner anywhere from $10 to $15 million per year), and living peacefully as Citizen Clinton.

Apparently, Clinton has reconsidered his "retirement." Being an average Joe, well, as average as a former impeached president can be, just isn't enough. Who knows why for sure, but I suspect it's the longing for the spotlight, and the attention he's missed since leaving the White House. From the most powerful office in the world, to an office in Harlem isn't going to suffice.

So, prepare yourself. One day, in the not so distant future, you might see an advertisement promo pop up in the commercial breaks touting, "Premiering this week! A new talk show from the creators of..."

Until then, rest easy Oprah. Don't sweat it, Jerry Springer. Your sleaze is safe.

For now.


© 2002 Lori Cutshall

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