2020: The Year Of The Turkey
Given a global pandemic, massive unemployment, riots, police brutality, and political division, it’s safe to say 2020 has been one big turkey.
This year has been the ultimate Wheel Of Misfortune, with numerous Bankrupt and Lose A Turn spaces, and several Whammies thrown in for good measure.
So this year’s turkey awards don’t really say much in the way of anything given how 2020 has gone, but the show must go on. Perhaps the best thing is I don’t have use a video application named after a 1970s PBS kids show to hand them out.
But sensibilities must be balanced here. For one, I’ve opted not to award any turkeys regarding the coverage of civil unrest that took place this year, despite some scathing articles on the matter. But one station (WMAQ-TV) did win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement of News Gathering (Spot News) for their civil unrest coverage, and trust me, that’s much, much better.
So here they are – the 15th annual T Dog Media Turkey Awards:
Big 95.5. The moribund country outlet lasted longer than anyone thought, getting excised in September for a Rock format.
NewsNation. Nexstar’s new prime-time news venture over WGN America landed with a thud barely drawing 100,000 viewers a night and a much-ballyhooed interview with President Trump turned out to be a dud. Hey, that rhymes.
WGN-TV News. The addition of music beds during serious stories makes me feel I’m watching A Current Affair or Dateline NBC rather than a legitimate local news program.
WGN Radio. The return of Bill Cunningham to Chicago’s airwaves Sunday nights tells you Sean Compton – a holdover from the disastrous Zell/Michaels era – is still here.
Peanuts Worldwide. The holding company who owns the rights to Peanuts TV product made a deal with Apple TV for streaming rights of their holiday specials. While I have no problem with this, the way they handled it – by making the holiday specials unavailable to linear TV outlets at a time when exclusivity is a thing of the past when it comes to off-network programming – was a major public relations disaster (they later rescinded and made two of those specials available to PBS.)
Marquee Sports Network. The launch of the Cubs’ new network on February 22 was botched completely with some platforms not being able to get the channel the day of launch.
NBC. On October 15, ABC scheduled a town hall with now-President-Elect Joe Biden. So what did NBC do? Schedule a town hall with President Trump at the same time. The loser? The viewing audience and public interest obligations.
Anti-maskers. It’s a freaking global pandemic, put on a mask! It’s not too hard.
Ajit Pai. The FCC Chairman decided among other things, not to get involved in a case about a Puerto Rico station’s TV show about a puppet making racial and homophobic slurs, not to mention his decision to push for the elimination of Section 230, whose general counsel decided they have authority. Pack your bags, Pai – you’re gone come January.
Dan McNeil. His latest gaffe? Making lewd jokes on Twitter about ESPN’s Maria Taylor, which promptly got him fired. Again.
Ellen DeGeneres. Behind-the scenes troubles on her show – racism, bullying, etc. – not to mention her own rude behavior led to an underwhelming apology from Ms. DeGeneres during her season premiere in September. With ratings in freefall, get ready for the Ellen ’22 farewell tour – unless NBC can weasel its way out of its contract.
John Kass. After a bunch of columns which seemed like they were written by nutball Newsmax and One America News Network journalists and fearing his antics would undermine the credibility of the Chicago Tribune, it was off to the opinion section of the newspaper.
30 Rock’s reunion special. The Emmy-winning NBC sitcom’s “reunion special” turned out to be nothing more than an one-hour infomercial for NBCUniversal properties, including theme parks, cable networks, and new streaming service Peacock, leading to over one hundred NBC affiliates pre-empting it.
Chicago Bears. Even a pandemic couldn’t stop a bad Bears team from taking the field, who’ve won so many Turkey Awards during this blog’s duration, they can open a wing at Halas Hall to showcase them along their lone Super Bowl trophy.
The return of Weakest Link, Supermarket Sweep, etc., Look, I like Press Your Luck’s reboot and those of Card Sharks and Match Game. But Weakest Link? Supermarket Sweep? Just please stop because now you’re reaching the bottom of the game show barrel. What’s next, a reboot of Trump Card?
Chicago White Sox. Speaking of reboots, did broadcast network TV executives suddenly take over running the team? How else you explain 76-year old Tony LaRussa’s return to the managerial position?
CBS’ marketing department. Producing promos branding shows as “A CBS Original” set to awful 1970s rock music isn’t exactly going to get the audience to watch your programming.
Amy Jacobson. A wannabe Megyn Kelly (and Lord, we don’t need any more of her) got herself temporarily banned from Gov. Pritzker’s coronavirus press conferences after appearing at a anti-lockdown rally, raising serious conflict of interest issues – something not new to her.
Donald Trump. You thought I forgot about him, didn’t you? Really, there is no explanation needed on why the soon-to-be former President is in this space every year.
2020. I needed a 20th item to round out this list and this year is just perfect.
Have a happy – and safe – Thanksgiving.