Friday, July 8, 2016

Moron TV: Weekly World News (1996)

Weekly World News, a short-lived video adaptation, and that's putting it loosely, of the long-running satirical tabloid, was one of those rare news satires that failed to catch on with audiences.

The series bowed on USA Network in January 1996, but was cut after 13 weeks, if that. Veteran newsman Edwin Newman, long associated with USA's sister network, NBC, anchored Weekly World News, the last stop on a long, distinguished career in journalism. Bear in mind that 16 years earlier, Newman was asked to be the news reader for David Letterman's ill-fated morning talk show. The difference? Letterman was funny. Weekly World News, in print or on the air, often wasn't.

What killed the print version was going to the well too many times with the same tired tropes, particularly, claims that music legend Elvis Presley was still alive (and some people still believe that, nearly 40 years after Presley's death), or the fictional "Bat Boy", for whom the current owners of the now-online-only publication named their company. Weekly World News ended its print run in 2007, only to be revived online 2 years later. The TV series suffered the backlash of viewer indifference.

Following is a sample episode that aired on Scottish Television.

Rating: C--.

No comments: