Channel Surfer Wipes Out on a Wave of TV

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The Tabloid Gossip Column. . . .

Boob Job!!!Who were the boobs who made the opportunistic decision to rerun “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy” last week, as if Jaclyn Smith’s portrayal of the real Jackie Kennedy in this inept 1981 television production captured the essence of the charismatic woman whose death launched a thousand eulogies and retrospectives?

Who? The boobs at KTLA-TV Channel 5.

And speaking of blatant opportunism--to say nothing of unlabeled commercialism--coming next Wednesday night on CBS is “A Busch Gardens/Sea World Celebration,” an hourlong summer vacation tip being produced for the Anheuser Busch Theme Parks. It has the same taint as “Treasure Island,” an alleged children’s special set in the new Treasure Island park at the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel’s parent firm, Mirage Resorts, was the sponsor of this NBC hour last January.

Continuing on this grimy path, ABC’s June 15 special, “The Lion King: The Musical Special With Elton John,” is produced by the Wrightwood Group in association with Disney Television. John wrote the music and Tim Rice the lyrics for “The Lion King,” an animated movie from Disney that opens in New York and Los Angeles June 15, the same day as the TV special and three days after the June 12 premiere of “The Making of ‘The Lion King’ ” on the Disney Channel. This “documentary” has three additional airdates this month.


And oh yes, tonight finds CBS airing “Movie News Hot Summer Sneak Preview,” a program that profiles/promotes four coming Disney films. And what a coincidence! It was produced by Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures in association with the Wrightwood Group.

Exclusive to Me!!!Where are some of L.A.’s most prominent journalists now?

“Another job well done by professional firefighters. . . .” A familiar face and voice? Yes, standing in front of some sort of emergency vehicle, it’s none other than Alex Paen, former foreign affairs specialist for KABC-TV Channel 7’s “Eyewitness News,” now displaying just as much authority and credibility as host of the syndicated “reality” series “Emergency Call.”

And he’s still a traveling man. Paen: “This next emergency takes us to Baltimore. . . .”

Meanwhile, who was that familiar figure checking in from Burbank for the notorious tabloid series “Hard Copy”?

“Thank you, Jodi,” said anchor Terry Murphy to the reporter who had just finished a stand-up, former KCBS-TV Channel 2 “Action News” reporter Jodi Baskerville.

Shocking Truth!!!Which local news reporter was horrified recently to learn the truth about her own business? Are you ready? None other than Pat Lalama, subbing this week for Linda Alvarez on the KCBS morning news.

When entertainment reporter David Sheehan made his video pick of the week “Broadcast News”--the James L. Brooks movie that satirizes the sham aspects of TV news--Lalama replied that she’d just seen the 1987 movie herself.


Poor woman. You could read the disillusionment on her face when she said to co-anchor Brad Goode: “It’s a sad state of affairs if that’s really what our business is like.”

Now that Lalama may know the awful truth, will she have the heart to continue in the business or will she resign out of principle? Read the Tabloid Gossip Column to find out.

Body Parts!!!What sexy Hollywood Goddess of the ‘50s and ‘60s was ogled and graphically displayed from head to toe on TV recently? Read on.

“Those stunning eyes . . . that beauty mark . . . that platinum hair. . . .” Yes, added the pitchwoman on cable’s QVC channel, “no one would dazzle quite like Marilyn Monroe.” She added: “Whenever you see a book on Marilyn or a photograph, you stop and gaze. There is just something about her. . . .”

To prove it, the QVC camera moved slowly down Marilyn’s curvaceous body.

No, not the real Marilyn, stupid, Marilyn the 11.5-inch-tall vinyl doll, the one that your friends “will admire,” the pitchwoman promised, “when they come over to your house.” Yes, what an exciting prospect: Featured in your living room or greeting guests in your entry, your very own “fully poseable” Marilyn Monroe doll.

“She” is a limited edition with a certificate of authenticity. “This is a certificate you definitely want to hang on to,” said the pitchwoman. Just in case your admiring friends doubt you.


And who are the buy-by-television zealots who would call QVC to order Marilyn? Probably the same ones who swooned over the next doll featured on QVC, Sleeping Beauty. “She has this incredible wig that’s so long and so shiny,” the pitchwoman said. “You could feel comfortable taking a doll brush and brushing it out.”

Ooooooh. But not in front of Marilyn. She might get jealous.

Pretty Faces!!!Who is looking just marvelous in Tunis tonight? Deborah Norville, that’s who--in the debut of the CBS News magazine show “America Tonight,” which she co-hosts with Dana King. On Tuesday, Norville showed up on the syndicated “Regis & Kathie Lee” series to promote her opening story about the adventures of a mother who recovered her kidnaped daughter in Tunisia.

After watching a clip of Norville doing a stand-up, Regis Philbin was mightily impressed.

Proving he’s more than just a pretty face himself, Regis weighed in on the proliferation of newsmagazine shows, telling Norville: “That’s the beauty of what you’re doing. You can go over there and do these stories at a fraction of the cost and more realistic than Hollywood.”

At last, a textbook justification for news: Not only cheaper than Hollywood, but also more realistic.