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5 December 2007
Dear Lorne,

A few years ago, I was able to see the NBC 75th Anniversary special.  Although my appearance as the Anyone Can Host contest runner up was not included, at the very end, who should appear but Andy Williams singing Moon River, still hitting the high note. What a highlight to a show of highlights. I can't help but wonder what your role was in that, if there isn't any kind of story behind it all, like the Hollywood exec that wanted to edit out Dorothy singing Over the Rainbow. 

You know more about television than I ever will. I don't have one at my apartment in France. There are very few shows, if any, I allow myself to get hooked on. There are many wonderful things worth watching, but it's so easy to become a zombie. The same news story can widely differ from one country to another. Such a vital tool for shaping how so many see the world and live accordingly. So who are the people who decide what we watch? What factors into their decisions? While ratings seem to be the driving factor in the States, this is not the case everywhere. Once I referred to Americans but was corrected by a Chilean who pointed out I should say North Americans, yet that would be overlooking the Canadians, eh? So most US citizens have little idea that there's such a lot of world is to see, after my own rainbow's end, waiting 'round the bend...

A French journalist did a story on refugees, mainly from Ethiopia, who at great expense and peril took a four night three day boat ride from Somalia to Yemen where they might be able to find a job washing cars. They were crammed together so close they could barely move,  most got seasick on each other. The crew systematically beat everyone to keep order. Those who complained or died from suffocation or beating were simply thrown overboard. To avoid detection by the authorities, everyone was put out a certain distance from land. Some were able to swim to shore, the rest either eventually washed up or were eaten by sharks.

Not your typical cruise line. Yet the average viewer needs to know who will be voted off next. The misnomer of reality TV is anything but real, yet a prime example of the garbage fabricated to placate the masses. Is it possible to do a show with some socially redeeming value that shows what is really happening in the world, somehow packaged in a way to get competitive ratings?

Anchors aweigh,