Once upon a time, when producer Brian Gadinsky (an American Idol alum) met KYTX-TV president Phil Hurley, Gadinsky said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you brought in some really beautiful, supermodel type with no experience?” (Yeah, almost as funny as giving B-list celebrities guns and asking them to patrol the streets of a Midwestern town.) The answer, it turns out, is a resounding “NO!” Fox’s reality TV show built on that premise, Anchorwoman, was canceled last week after airing a single night. Here’s the star, Lauren Jones, who counts among her former occupations Miss New York, swimsuit model, soap star, Barker beauty (The Price Is Right) and WWE hostess.
The premise of the show, if you missed the pre-air media hype or the two seconds it was actually on the air, is that Jones tries to cut it as an anchorwoman for a station in Tyler, Texas. Or, as others have put it, “a buxom, big-city fish with no journalism experience [is] dropped into small-town media waters.” Here’s a CelebTV story on the show, where Jones explains, among other things, why she just can’t find clothes that cover both her cleavage and her rear end. (And may I just say that it creeps me out to hear the female anchor say “Leggy Lauren”?)
I have this thing about public humiliation: I can’t watch it. I have to leave the room during American Idol auditions, for goodness’ sake, and well-crafted episodes of I Love Lucy can drive me right onto the front lawn. But watch on-camera fumbling on a daily basis? The news is nauseating enough without a regular dose of ineptitude (well, intentional ineptitude). I rather see the show as The Simple Life meets Edward R. Murrow’s Worst. Journalistic. Nightmare. Ever. Or, the as the best review I’ve seen says, “If you hate women, men, Texas, Los Angeles, television news and any of the social progress made by Americans in the 20th century, then Anchorwoman is the show for you.”
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that this show went beyond what one might call the expected sexism and gender stereotypes of bad reality TV to set up two women as catty professional rivals. In one corner, we have blond former model Lauren Jones, who says, “I always wanted to be an anchor ever since I was a little girl. My biggest idols were Katie Couric and Connie Chung. I also like Ryan Seacrest. He’s got that comedic thing going on.” (Please. Couric or Chung, either one, could mop the floor with Seacrest’s scrawny ass.) In the other corner, brunette Annalisa Petralia, the regular 5:00 p.m. anchor, who actually earned a journalism degree (and who, I have to say, knows how to wear her power suits).
The Fox website for the show — I’m not making this up — features an “Are you Lauren or Annalisa” quiz, with questions such as:
Because dignity and sexy are mutually exclusive. I half expect the two women to come out for an episode of the news in fuzzy bikinis, ready for a couple of rounds of mud wrestling. (Upon reflection, this might have improved the show. Or at least its abysmal ratings.) Not that women in news have a hard time with credibility or anything. Just ask Katie Couric.
If you won’t be able to sleep tonight without knowing whether Lauren Jones achieved her dreams, you can still catch all the filmed episodes on Fox OnDemand.