As you may have heard, the TV world is all aflutter with the news that former President Bill Clinton is tired of trying to beat us and wants to join us.
Clinton had a meeting with Andy Lack and Jeff Zucker of NBC about doing an afternoon talk show. The former president reportedly wants $50 million a year: Thirty-nine weeks, five shows a week... get out your abacus and do the math.…
That's some $250,000 per show. Bill O'Reilly is just about the biggest thing on cable, and not even he gets that kind of money.
But Clinton is a charmer. He can talk. He has an endless rolodex, and — for a while there — he had his finger on the pulse of America.
He'd make a big splash on TV at first, but viewers get tired of everybody eventually. Even Jackie Gleason ran outta gas. A considerable number of people already don't like Clinton, so he'd have to work extra hard to get an audience to stay tuned.
Another question is: what's he gonna talk about? The Middle East? Even people who care about the Middle East grow weary of the endless talk and the endless broken promises.
So if not war and peace, is he going to go down market? Sisters having their sister's husband's babies? That's where afternoon talk has been going for years. If Geraldo had the good sense to bail out of that genre, what's Clinton doing jumping in?
In fact, there's the answer: There will be no Bill Clinton afternoon talk show. It was a nice story for a day or two. He got his name back in the papers, and NBC got a splash of ink as well.
There are many problems inherent in a Clinton show, notwithstanding the ones mentioned already.
On the TV side, who wants to tell the former president his show is cancelled? Or that he's got to get some face work to keep it going? Or that he can't keep talking through the commercial breaks? Or break the news to him that world leader X orY doesn't want to come on his show?
On the Clinton side... living by the polls is one thing, but living by the ratings might be a little too close to actual work.
Personally, I'm a little flattered that my job is a step up from the presidency, but I'm not kidding myself either. Bill Clinton won't do TV. He'll go on giving $200,000 speeches. It's way, way easier.
That's My Word.
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