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It's Not News, It's ABC
March 15

When I was a youngster, after watching whatever ABC had on for their Friday night programming block, I would head back to my room and watch 20/20. I liked the idea of the long form news piece, plus sometimes John Stossel would show up and debunk some bit of long-held conventional wisdom.

Last Monday there was a special edition of 20/20, devoted to "The Bachelor," with background information, behind the scenes gossip, and maybe even a "Where are they now" segment or two.

Admittedly, I have no interest in The Bachelor. My own warped version of finding a partner from a group of suitors would be a Frankenstein of Singled Out and Japan's Ultra Quiz. ("If you answered Twilight as your favorite book series, thank you for your participation, now please leave.") But I'm just one person out of six billion and some odd, and there are probably some who would enjoy such a probing program.

This irks me because 20/20 bills itself as a news-magazine. I watch news to find out what is going on in the world of business, politics, and current events. If I want to know backstage secrets of some TV show, I can go online, or find those tidbits on a dedicated program. If I want to know more about the castaways on the current series of Survivor, or to see how and where the various challenges are created, there's a program on TV Guide Channel that will sate my need. (And if I miss it, that show will probably show up again in an hour or two, so no worries.)

I have no idea why the 20/20 branding was slapped on. Maybe the producers thought that they would catch a few people who wouldn't chuck it from their Tivos. Maybe they thought the regular 20/20 viewers would stick it out, or that it would make the show seem more news-y. I have no idea. The show could have existed without the news-magazine moniker, and loses nothing without it, after all there are already "The Women Tell All" and "After the Final Rose."

I would rather keep my news separate from my entertainment; not that I can't tell the two apart, I would just rather that those in charge acknowledge the difference.

Travis Eberle screams "infotainment". E-mail him at traviseberle@gmail.com.