The hottest ticket on Broadway continues to be "The Book of Mormon," a musical that pokes fun at the Mormon faith in particular and Christianity in general. It is also full of profanity and blasphemy. If there was a show called "The Book of Muhammad," the Eugene O'Neill Theatre probably would have been burned down by now. New Yorkers are selective when picking their targets.
Now there's a new musical called "Scandalous," about a colorful, some would say corrupt, evangelist named Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church. In the early part of the 20th century, Aimee was more famous than any TV evangelist today. She combined a considerable amount of show business with an equal amount of religiosity and packed them in at her Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, which remains in operation today, long after her death.
NBC's Today on Monday featured an interview in its fourth hour with Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui, a star in the film "For Greater Glory" which chronicles Mexico's persecution of Catholics in the 1920s. Brent Bozell has urged people to see it when it debuts this weekend.
Verastegui, who also starred in the pro-life film "Bella," explained “This film is an action epic film about the men and women who were not afraid to defend something bigger than themselves, something, you know, their faith.” Kathie Lee Gifford called the film “very moving.” (Video and transcript below)
In the 10AM ET hour on NBC's Today on Monday, co-host Kathie Lee Gifford applauded the new HBO movie on the 2008 financial crisis, 'Too Big to Fail,' as "not a partisan film at all." However, after asserting that "It didn't take one side or the other," she touted the liberal moral of the story: "that greed is what got us there and lack of regulation."
Left-wing actor Ed Asner, who plays the role of billionaire Warren Buffet, came on to promote the film: "...this movie is practically a study course. You go back and learn each time that you watch it....you become involved and very informed..." He added that the "tragedy" of the crisis "has not been repaired yet." Gifford agreed: "No, it certainly hasn't. Everything's still in place for it to happen again."
In the fourth hour of Thursday's Today show NBC's Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb took a strong stance against the right to smoke, pretty much everywhere, as both endorsed Mayor Mike Bloomberg's proposed ban that goes several steps further than just restaurants. During the opening chat session of the hour, Kotbe announced: "So some good news in New York City...Mayor Bloomberg is considering banning smoking in all places like parks, beaches and Times Square." Gifford also praised the move declaring that "Second-hand smoke is a bigger killer than asbestos or a lot of other things" but later seemed to contradict herself as she proclaimed: "I'm all for personal rights. I'm becoming more and more of a libertarian the older I get."
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the September 16 Today show:
As of this Friday, NBC's Today show has yet to mention the Joe Sestak scandal, (as noted by the MRC's Tim Graham in this Media Reality Check) however they did find time to poke fun at Republican California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina making fun of Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's hair in an open mic moment. On Thursday's Today, they ran the clip of Fiorina's gaffe three times, even leading the show with it in the opening teaser with co-anchor Meredith Vieira exclaiming: "Ay Carly! California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina caught on an open mic making a joke about her opponent's hair."
Interesting to note that the reporters and producers at the Today show care more about a GOP Senate candidate mocking a Democrat's hairstyle than the White House attempting to manipulate a Senate race in Pennsylvania with a job offer.
The following takes on the Fiorina vs. Boxer open mic incident were aired on the June 10 Today show:
Late night talk show host and author Chelsea Handler was invited on Tuesday's Today show to plug her new book Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang and couldn't leave the show without taking a dig at earlier guest Karl Rove, as well as Sarah Palin who she called "Really stupid." When asked by 10:00am hour Today host Hoda Kotb how she felt about having her book released at the same time as the former White House advisor's the E! talk show host quipped she was worried about competing for the "stupid" audience with him and Palin, as seen in the following exchange that was aired on the March 9 Today show: [audio available here]
KATHIE LEE GIFFORD: It is, it is, It's laugh out loud though, it really is.
HODA KOTB: Yeah it really is fun.
GIFFORD: I've been reading it since we got it, for a couple weeks. I'm not a slow reader. It's just that I just read it in the morning.
CHELSEA HANDLER: Well it's an easy. It's like a third grade reading level.
GIFFORD: It's an easy read! Yes.
HANDLER: I like to write for my audience and I know that my audience are going, mostly going through some tough times.
KOTB: What do you think about your book coming out at the same time as Karl Rove's?
Joy Behar of ABC's The View has had a talk show on CNN Headline News for less than a year, and she’s already receiving an "Excellence in Media Award" from the hard-left Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, presented to "presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community."
In a press release announcing the award will be handed out in New York on March 13, GLAAD touted how "A number of episodes have featured discussion of LGBT issues and LGBT guests, including a segment featuring Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black speaking about his Mormon upbringing as a gay man. The episode is nominated for a GLAAD Media Award this year for Outstanding Talk Show Episode." Past recipients of the Excellence in Media Award include ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
In a similar vein, the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association are holding their annual "Headlines and Headliners" fundraiser in New York on March 25, co-hosted by NBC's Today fourth-hour co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. NBC Universal is a "diamond sponsor" of the event and will have a heavy NBC contingent attending, including other female Today co-hosts and news anchors:
On Wednesday's Today show, the co-hosts of the 10am hour, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, invited on David Mizejewski of the Wildlife Federation to participate in that talk-show time honored tradition of the animal segment but viewers couldn't enjoy the cuddly creatures without getting a dose of global warming alarmism. As the camera closed-in on the eyes of the Arctic fox that he was trying to control, Mizejewski preached to the Today audience: "If anybody needs a reason to care about global warming it's animals like this, they are threatened by the Arctic warming up."
The following moment of climate change propaganda was aired on the December 16, Today show:
Tiger Woods' "transgressions" sparked conversations about why men cheat but it took a comedian to pinpoint the basic reason - lack of character.
Comedian Chuck Nice appeared on the "All Guy Panel" during the fourth hour of Thursday morning's "Today" and blasted men who engage in extramarital affairs.
"I've said this before and I will say it again. And no one wants to accept this as an answer, but here is the reason why men cheat. It is a failure of character. That is it," Nice exclaimed.
"End of story. It's a failure of character," he continued. "A man who has the strong, spiritual conviction to say that although I want to do this, I will rely upon a higher power to make sure and strengthen me so that I am able to stand for my vows is the man who will not cheat. Now, that's the end of it."
We're heading into the fourteenth day that the networks have deliberately ignored the Climategate scandal. And it's understandable. After all, air time is valuable and there are so many pressing issues to cover. Like ... um ...
Well, on Dec. 4, NBC's four-hour "Today" show couldn't squeeze in a single reference to Climategate, but it did find the time to discuss a British couple that's financing their wedding by producing their own porn movies.
"They have made some money already off their porn movies," NBC's Hoda Kotb said.
"Yes," said Kotb's co-host Kathie Lee Gifford. "They've made $2,155 making three of their own X-rated movies ... They plan to make four more, and they want to finance their romantic wedding beach ceremony in Cancun, Mexico next June."
Looking for a “great” television show that you can watch with the family? Then NBC’s “The Today Show” has a recommendation for you: “The Secret Life of the American Teenager!” Never mind that it’s about a pregnant fifteen-year-old. During the July 23 “Today Talk” host Kathie Lee Gifford and guest host Steve Schirripa were discussing the ABC family show “The Secret Life of an American Teenager,” which Schirripa stars in.
Schirripa described the show as being, “about a fifteen year old kid that gets pregnant and how it affects everyone’s life, and I mean everyone – everyone at school and the other kids and it really is show that you could watch with your kids.” Gifford touted, “And learn something.” Yep – a great show to learn about sex, promiscuity and contraceptives.
Gifford also praised the show because “it’s got great critical raves because of Brenda Hampton who’s behind it.” Gifford apparently didn’t read CMI’s 2008 article about the show’s reviews. “The Los Angeles Times summed up “Secret Life” by stating, “the tone of the pilot [episode] careens between an after-school special and “American Pie,” with a bit of “Pretty in Pink” grabbed along the way.” The New York Times called it “a parody of an after-school special” and said “‘Secret Life’ doesn’t take the fun out of teenage pregnancy, it takes the fun out of television.” The Hollywood Reporter said ‘it feeds into parental hysteria in ridiculously one-dimensional ways.’”
Ann Coulter made a second appearance during the 10 am Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Today show, and hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb continued the discussion about the apparent “venom” in her books. Kotb asked if Coulter’s style was “kind of like shock jock, shake the cage, freak everyone out, wake everybody up,” and later stated that she felt the tone of the conservative’s writing was “dripping with venom.” The two hosts focused Coulter’s take on single motherhood in her new book, as Matt Lauer had done in her earlier appearance on the NBC program.
Kotb began the interview with her “shock jock, shake the cage” question. Coulter answered that she tries to “write in an entertaining, intriguing way, so that people will read what I have to say.” After the three briefly discussed the writing process for the author, Kotb then brought up the title of Coulter’s chapter on the problem of single motherhood: “Victim of a Crime? Thank a Single Mother.” Coulter explained her central point in the chapter, that single mothers are “victimizing their children by raising their children without fathers,” and how these children are “70% of the prison population, 60% to 70% of future unwed mothers -- of murderers, of rapists, of juvenile delinquents, of teenage runaways.”
Appearing in the timeslot of the fourth hour of Tuesday's "Today" show that Ann Coulter was originally booked to appear on, celebrity blogger/author Perez Hilton addressed the Coulter bumping controversy directly, as he challenged the conservative author: "Ann Coulter, if you’re watching, bite me!"
"Today" co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb then acknowledged that Coulter was, in fact, scheduled to promote her book at that time but may be invited back on Wednesday's show. Gifford expressed disappointment that Coulter and Hilton weren't on together, saying it would have been "good television," which prompted Hilton to respond: "She's not very friendly with the gays...but that's okay I'm friendly with everyone." However Hilton then went on to brag, "I'll talk trash about her, to her face...I'm not a fan of anyone trying to deny me my rights."
The following exchange aired during the fourth hour of the January 6, "Today" show: