Monday, November 12, 2007

Sorry, Shepard...

For over 2 years now, I've loyally watched and loved Shepard Smith of FoxNews. Laugh if you must, but the guy is good. Witty and funny when he can be, serious and tenacious when he has to be.

However recent, changes to both of his shows have rendered them, to me, sadly, nearly unwatchable.

Don't get me wrong, aside from what I view as a loud, obnoxious set, FoxReport, the 7pm newscast Shepard anchors, is still good. Quick and concise stories packaged up neatly...just delivered with a little too much flash for me.

My problem lies with StudioB, Shepard's 3pm show. I used to enjoy StudioB much more than FoxReport. It was a looser version of FoxReport, highlighted by a segment, usually at the bottom of the hour, called "Skinnerville". It was here that Jane Skinner would read the half-hour headlines, and then interact with Shepard about anything under the sun. There were many laughs to be had during Skinnerville, and it was always, to me, and others I know, the most enjoyable segment of either of Shepard's shows.

Sadly, all of that changed about a year ago, after Jane got her own show the hour before StudioB. Sure, at first, it continued, with Shepard reading the bottom of the hour headlines for Jane, then carrying on a "Shepardville" during her hour and then the traditional Skinnerville during Shepards hour. It was short lived and soon we lost both Shepardville and the beloved Skinnerville.

For a while, I honestly didn't really enjoy StudioB, but I didn't find it unwatchable.

Enter Courtney Friel.

Now, usually I don't really care who's delivering the story, providing I can get the facts in a clear, concise manner.

Ms. Friel is neither clear nor concise. FoxNews has seen fit to shove her down our collective gullets at all turns. Weekdays, weekends, late nights, you name a program and there's always a good chance she's going to pop up on it.

At first, it wasn't so bad. She's new, I thought. Maybe she needs time to adjust.

Well, the honeymoon, as they say, is over.

I'm going to try to say this in the nicest terms I possibly can. Below is a list. At one time or another, while on air, Courtney Friel has been guilty of at least one:

Forgetting what she was saying
Watching herself in the monitor
Complaining her arms looked fat
Saying something completely inappropriate

About the only thing she hasn't done on air is wave while mouthing "I'm on TV!" excitedly. At times, I've wondered if I've wandered into some parallel universe where the Brady Bunch is still on and Marsha got a job on TV. FoxNews has a lot of very pretty women on it's staff, but they are all highly professional and I have never seen any of them giggle and tell Shepard Smith that their arms look fat on TV.

I'm not saying Courtney Friel is a bad person. Far from it. I'm sure she's a very nice person. What I am saying is that she is not what I want to see when I turn on a news report anchored by someone who I respect as a news journalist. I just don't feel she fits in with the news. She belongs more on an entertainment show instead. But as long as she is on StudioB, I will no longer be watching.

Sad end of an era that started for me over 2 years ago with Shepard Smith's outrage on a dark and hot bridge leading from New Orleans into New Gretna, Louisiana...


Ronda said...

I have to agree. Doubt I'll quit watching yet, but the shows aren't what they used to be at all.
I only disagree about the FR set. I think it's awesome.

Nancy said...

Studio B. has died a slow death for me also. Like you, I first took notice of Shep when he stood on the bridge in New Orleans with compassion and integrity, an amazing reporter at his best. Later, as he reported from the Israeli Lebanon border, explaining the politics of the war to us with Katusha rockets flying over his head, I developed serious respect and admiration. More recently, I have watched that same man as sits in the studio across from Courtney Friel, gazing at her with rapt attention while she spews her ridiculous tabloid nonsense. Although she cannot complete a sentence, she gives "medical" opinions such as overweight women are stupider than slender women, and something about people with nice features make cute babies together or "mini mugs" as she calls them. She even demonstrated this while having her photograph and Shep's kiss each other. Shep eyes her with apparent longing like a pubescent adolescent. I e-mailed Shep once with my concerns, telling him that Courtney is an embarrasment to the professional women of Fox such as Catherine Herrage and Jennifer Griffin. We don't see much of them these days, but then they don't sit there wearing a push a bra with a skin-tight plunge neck sweater on. How can reporting on the war compete with Courtney's cleavage? If Courtney is reading this, and I'm sure she is because she must Google her name everyday, Courtney you probably think other women are jealous of you. As a 22-year-old who makes my living as a very successful model, I am not jealous of you. I think you are probably a nice girl and a fun person. This isn't even your fault... you are merely taking advantage of a good situation. A several million-dollar annual salary with a job description of batting one's eyelashes at Shepard Smith. I do however, question the judgment of Fox and of Shepard Smith. Jane Skinner, Martha McCallum, Laurie Dhue, Jamie Colby to name just a few, are gorgeous women who project dignity and intelligence. It is no longer fun or interesting to watch Studio B, the professional news journalist I used to admire has dissapeared and I cannot find him. Nancy