I've skipped American Idol lately; It's big hook for me was always, "what will Simon say?" Even then, I only tuned in sporadically because the show is so padded with promos and background stories. And when they dumped emotional Paula, the perfect foil for Simon, it felt like an unnecessary death in the family. Then they brought in all those weird replacement judges; there is something about long stringy hair on an aging androgynous rock musician that gives me the creeps.
Simon returns to the air next week, along with his judging pal Paula, to kick off his new show, The X Factor, and I'm watching.
Better yet, Bill Moyers, who retired from his PBS Friday night slot not so long ago, is coming back, but not exactly on PBS, though his program will be available in syndication for local PBS outlets.
Can you imagine: PBS, a veritable non-stop parade of tired old rock and roll tributes aired over and over again, and all manner of self-help gurus, hasn't an hour a week to spare for one of TV's best-ever journalists? Shame on you, Pledge Break Society!
If the local PBS station that I have sent money to does not pick up Bill's show, not one more cent will they ever get from me. Actually, it's high time that the U.S. Treasury Department, what's left of it, pull all funding for PBS, which was founded to serve as an "educational" network." What an embarrassing joke it has become. Just the other night on CNN, I witnessed a marvelously revealing Tea Party debate moderated masterfully by Wolf Blitzer. I still believe in the free market.
Moyers' sobering reports on the most critical issues facing American life, on politics and culture, international affairs and the American war machine, are virtually unmatched. He makes smarmy Charlie Rose look like Ed Sullivan.
As for Simon and his tart lip, he has a rare gift for saying so much in so few words. Bill, more intellectually expansive, keeps alive the probing spirit of Edward R. Murrow.
Now, if somebody (a computer hacker, maybe?) could only reincarnate Jack Paar and David Susskind, I'd be totally happy in TV Land.