Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Replacement Star

I know. You can't stand to read even one more word about Star Jones, late of The View. She turned her "resignation" into a media event and that's saying something - although I'm not sure what. I tired of it too, so this isn't really about Star Jones.

But it is about The View apres Star. The show has already named Meredith Viera's replacement, Rosie O'Donnell. Presumably, she'll bring a different perspective to some of the roundtables that go on during the opening segment of The View. Good for them for trying something sort of surprising and hiring Rosie. I'm pragmatic about this choice mostly because it's immaterial to me - she'll work or she won't and the show will move on with or without Rosie in the months and years ahead.

But now they have to replace Star and that could be another opportunity to do something surprising. Suggestion: hire me. I'll be the voice of the "everywoman" in America watching The View from her family room floor everyday as she chases toddlers, does her crunches, folds laundry or otherwise is not engaged in office life. The one woman on the set - on network television for that matter - who doesn't have the hollywood / television / unreal world perspective that even Elisabeth-with-an-s Hasselbeck (sp?) has by now.

I'm not bringing a lot of television experience to this so I'll make them the deal of the century: they can pay me considerably less than they paid Star and I'll also include in my contract a promise to never charge off a party to ABC. The next logical step here for me is to reach beyond my weekly newspaper column and speak to a larger group. The View works for me.

So, to the intern to the assistant associate producer who has to Google The View everyday and create stacks of web / press clips for the associate producer to show the producer to show the executive producer, I invite you to drop me a note. The last thing The View needs is another mainstream journalist (I use that term loosely give Elisabeth's background as a reality show contestant and Joy Behar's successful career as a comedian) who brings the same old same old to the group. It doesn't need another celebrity. I guarantee you if I were part of that team, I would not only contribute smart, provocative, funny, interesting comments to the topic of the day I promise you that I would also be the one person on the sofa who asks Johnny Depp the really good questions, not the ones provided by the publicists and the movie studio.

I'm sure they already have their short list of replacement Stars - have probably had it in hand for months now. So add me to the list and let's talk. I'll represent the neighbor none of these hosts really have since I live 100 miles from the Upper East Side. I'll be the woman who has real issues raising children because I've never had a nanny in my house. I'll be the person on the couch who can legitimately be starstruck by the appearance of certain guests since I've never once attended a Broadway opening night, a movie premiere or a CD launch party. I can be the voice of the fans watching from the other side of the camera.

It's unlikely. You don't have to tell me that. I have less than zero Q factor. I will bring exactly one new fan to the show - my mother. I can offer The View nothing more than my own personality and perspective - but that's enough if you ask me. I ask you: why not break some rules and ignore the "right" thing to do when filling this space and surprise the entire broadacasting industry by hiring me?

This is definitely worth some consideration and if the assistant associate producer's intern can't see it, I probably have very chance of Barbara Walters seeing it. But it's still worth at least a very good try. So I'm sending this out there - and yes, I can be in midtown at your convenience.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

People hear (read) what they want to hear (read)

After more than five years writing a column that appears in front of more than 150,000 people once a week, I've received a generous number of emails, letters and clippings that made it clear to me that many of those people believe I'm a complete jerk.

Most of those notes come from people who feel compelled to judge every aspect of my being based on about 750 words I composed five days before they appear in print. They have every right to do that I guess, but most of the time, their judgement is flawed. Not because I'm perfect. Because they absolutely missed the point of whatever I tried to communicate in my column. Which means their conclusion is probably inccurate. But it also leads me to doubt my ability to make a point in print.

I've had my favorites over the years. One person writes me (anonymously of course) and points out the number of times I use the word "I" in my Opinion piece. Errr - it is an opinion piece- my opinion at that. How very bold of he / she to leave their assessment unsigned.

Over the years, readers have called me a terrible mother, a cold career women, a blazing feminist, and a throwback to barefoot and pregnant womanhood. I baby my children too much; I'm raising rude brats. I should be ashamed of their behavior. I've been labeled a liberal, a communist, a conservative idiot and an immoral person who should be concerned about the state of her immortal soul.

I'm sappy. I'm harsh. I'm funny. I'm sarcastic. I think I'm being clever but I'm wrong; I'm really just a no talent loser who has somehow found a way onto a newspaper page every Sunday.

It's always eye-opening to discover exactly what people read in my column. Many, many times it's not remotely connected to what I wrote.

And that's been the most interesting part of this whole column-writing experience. While I think I'm being clear and saying one thing, people often read something quite the opposite or irelevant to my topic at hand. That continues to amaze me. I have a love-hate relationship with my email because I'm the worst correspondent in the world. I tend to answer emails about three months after I get them which leaves the people who write to me quite mystified about my response when it finally arrives in their inbox.

Despite everything, including the venom that leaps from the screen from time to time, I love writing the column and I even love the emails, regardless of the content. I often find myself wondering why I'm still writing it, five years in, and if I'll be asking myself that question in another five years. I judge it very harshly every week, when it finally makes its debut to the world. Some days I scan it and wonder why I didn't correct that one overused phrase or fix the comparison I tried to make but did it badly.

All this to say not much more than the blog has been horribly out of date of late and I apologize to anyone who has visited on more than one occasion only to leave empty-handed. Don't give up on it - or on me. I'll try harder to keep it current - filled with the minutia that makes up my life and takes up most of the space in my head.

Talk soon - thanks for visiting -