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By Excess Hollywood | January 17, 2007

E!. Part of my duties as an American requires that I watch this channel from time to time. I mainly watch it for its entertainment news coverage, which is more and more focused on “”young Hollywood” and less on anything that is substantial. It’s actually worse than brain candy, too, because candy implies that there are some ingredients in the mix. E! News and most of its shows (I do actually enjoy one or two of them) really bring nothing to the table, but they do point out America’s obsession with stars’ weight and the downfall of one-time media darlings.

Paris Hilton is mentioned at least once a day. Celebrity fashions are talked about with the same seriousness medical journals give to cancer treatments. The tormented lives of child stars are made into entertaining specials so that viewers can feel better about themselves because they weren’t “”doing crack in some run down house.” Honestly, E! makes VH1 look like the Discovery Channel.

E! used to be a guilty pleasure, something I tuned into at the end of a hard day to see the latest trailers. That seems like ages ago, though. Now all I see are stories about people who are as talented as they are important, but E! doesn’t seem to get that. They think Katie Holmes has the same artistic and cultural merit as Meryl Streep. If Holmes is sighted, it’s news. E! has even reported when there is no news to report, such as when there were no pictures of Holmes’ baby weeks after its birth. As if a baby photo would really be news in the first place. To say there was no picture was a news event on the channel. It’s surreal. Here we are, a country at war, a place where civil rights are disappearing as fast as glaciers and polar bears — and the lack of a baby photo is news.

God, no wonder the rest of the world hates us.

When I watch E! now, which is getting to be a rare event these days, I just shake my head in disbelief. I can’t stomach what’s being forced upon the rest of the viewing public. I don’t care what star was spotted at what restaurant, and I surely don’t care if Hilton’s diary is missing. (But picture, if you will, what a passage from it would read like. “”Deer Dieary, To day was a good day. I saw the qutest guy in tight jeans. His hair was greaze though so I didnt want too kiss him.”) Entertainment news should be something that is fairly, well, newsworthy, not coverage of Lindsay Lohan’s shopping spree. E! really has become nothing more than a better respected tabloid magazine, and the only reason it gets that respect is because it is on television. E! reports rumors, it focuses on stars’ weight, and it sometimes runs unflattering photos. Tell me how that’s different than “”The National Enquirer”?

What E! needs to do is fire Ryan Seacrest (Seacrest, out) and the rest of its “”reporters” and get back to the basics of covering upcoming films and television shows. Then it needs to drop “”The Simple Life.” Nobody cares if Hilton and her obnoxious sidekick are fighting. It’s ridiculous, and anyone who does care needs a good medical disaster in his or her life so they start focusing on what’s really important. If the channel needs to fill that time slot, why not do a film review show? That’s entertaining and pertinent. Some of its specials can stay, but they need to be retooled. They need to be less sensationalistic and more meaty. They need to make people like me want to watch them. Take me behind the mind of someone like Michael Mann. Give me an hour-long special on him and some of his work. What about a show on how the sitcom has evolved over the years, from “”I Love Lucy” to “”Arrested Development”?

You get the idea.

E!, like the letter on your gas gauge, stands for empty. Empty programming. Empty “”reporters.” Empty hosts. Empty specials. Empty of all intellectual content, and proud of it. You remember that guy from high school who was always showing off his stupidity? Where’s he today? That’s where E! will be ten years from now if there’s any justice in the world.

Ryan Seacrest. What the hell were they thinking?

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  1. Rory L. Aronsky says:

    “You remember that guy from high school who was always showing off his stupidity? Where’s he today?”

    He’s a reporter for E! 😉

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