Friday, July 31, 2009

Anything for Ratings, I Guess

Like many, I have my little addictions -- chocolate, coffee, cocaine (kidding on that last one!). Some, I am willing to admit to; some embarrass me just a tad. Falling into that latter category are two that I'm about to share (although I think many who've known me for awhile know this). I have an addiction to celebrity gossip and Lifetime. Now, when I say Lifetime, I don't mean the cheesy made-for-Lifetime movies that inevitably star Tracey Gold or some other Q-level former ingenue. Generally, I steer as far away from those movies as I can -- although I did one day find myself completely sucked into a Lifetime movie where Mary Louise Parker had autistic twin sons, one of whom was a pre-High School Musical Zac Efron. I mean, that's just a golden opportunity you can't pass up! And there was that one about the city girl who "inherited" the Amish kids. That one was good, too. N0, my Lifetime habit steers more towards their showings of Frasier, Will & Grace, Desperate Housewives, and the non-stop hours of Reba. Yes, Reba. I accidentally have found myself watching and liking (a lot) Drop Dead Diva despite the fact that I mercilessly mocked its commercials all summer prior to its debut. I am chomping at the bit for the return of Project Runway. (My need for a little Runway action is even more desperate considering I am one of only three people in America who actually watched The Fashion Show, or as we called it at our house, The Tim Gunn Reject Project.) I've even been known to get unwittingly sucked into Wife Swap. (It never ceases to amaze me just how many punk rock and fundamentalist Christian families there are out there willing to engage in a little swapping -- and they all have houses full of kids. Makes you feel so good about our country, no?)

Last night, as I curled up to watch Frasier with my cat Tela (I swear she loves it -- when 11:00 rolls around, she comes and finds me and meows as if demanding me to go to bed so we can watch it!), I noticed a commercial for yet another made-for-Lifetime movie, one from the Nora Roberts collection. The number of strikes this movie had against it are numerous -- it's a Lifetime movie, it's based on a Nora Roberts book (I swear -- even TOUCHING her books makes my skin burn!), and it's full of the sort of Q-list talent that makes me shudder -- LeAnn Rimes? Eddie Cibrian? Talk about awards bait! What got me about the commercial, though, was that Lifetime is choosing to market this movie as starring "the couple everyone is talking about."

See, here's the story . . . . (and where my addiction to celebrity gossip comes into play) . . . . .

LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian met while filming this Nora Roberts gem -- Northern Lights. (Great title, Nora) Allegedly, they began an affair despite the fact that they were both married. (Yeah, I know it happens.) Allegedly, LeAnn became so infatuated with Eddie that she was accused to STALKING him after the film wrapped and they returned to their respective spouses. Now, both couples have separated and are headed for divorce. So Lifetime is selling this movie as the movie that "started it all" -- but really, it's the movie that ended it all. Two marriages ended as a result of this film and while the marriages may have been doomed had LeAnn and Eddie never met, the fact of the matter remains that this film accelerated the process -- and maybe even potentially damaged at least LeAnn's career since she is now portrayed as a psycho stalking freak. Rather than downplaying the surrounding scandal, Lifetime is choosing to not only play it up but romanticize it as if LeAnn and Eddie were the second coming of Brangelina. To me, that's pretty shady ... and incredibly tacky.


NICKI said...

I agree...but at least it cured your writers bloc!

Peter said...

Northern Lights is the title of The Golden Compass in the UK. I like GC better since the other two books also have major objects of the novels as the title, too.

I often wonder if Lifetime knows it's a parody of itself. :)