Why won’t Entertainment Tonight improve?

Having Entertainment Tonight on while you’re in the room is a grand study in avoidance of every kind of individual merit. With the occasional exception of physical attractiveness, hardly one form of the gigantic talent, drive and work that go into entertainment is allowed to filter into “the most watched entertainment news program in the world.”

I am amusing myself here by coming up with a quick list of some of the tremendous skills, labors and assets that actually go into making our movies, television shows, stage productions, music recordings and performances. The makers of entertainment have to engage in these and do so often with love, verve and excellence, but seldom do they rate air time on ET:

1. dialect coaching; voice coaching; memorizing and what used to be called elocution; 2. singing lessons; song rehearsal and vocal practice; opera; 3. lessons and practice on musical instruments; making musical instruments; repairing same; rehearsing; 4. composing; conducting bands, groups and orchestras; 5. lighting, both stage and film; 6. makeup, hair; 7. costumes, designing, making and finding; 8. historical research; 9. horseback riding; animal breeding and training; 10. stunts; stunt directing; 11. fencing; baseball; athletics; 12. exercise physiology; fitness training; 13. copyright; contracts; entertainment law; 14. entertainment finance.

Et cetera.

Instead, Entertainment Tonight plays almost entirely to the guilty-pleasure audience. The show covers nothing in so much depth or with so much exactitude as the topics of eating disorders, sexual escapades and the romantic vicissitudes of celebrities, the occasional minor or major crime, drug addiction and substance abuse, and — by far the most nearly substantive — fashion.

Why? Are they bent on implying that show biz is all luck and no skill? Why are they pushing a line suggesting that every one of today’s celebrities is subject to drug addiction, chemical dependency, or an eating disorder, former or future? Are they implying that fame and fortune bring so much personal punishment that we don’t need to concern ourselves with — for example — a less regressive tax structure?

Come to think of it, with all that focus on personal disorders among celebrities, why don’t they at least tackle the tobacco use so widespread in the entertainment world?

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