Monday, June 29, 2009

How much credit should Ryan Seacrest give Ed McMahon?

Q: Could I turn this blog into an obituary column?
A: I may just have to if July is as filled with as many dead as June.

Fred Travalena is dead.
Another one bites the dust.
He was, star worthy, I assume:

If you want to see Freddy T in action, go to this YouTube clip.

But speaking of stars.
And dead celebrities.
Let’s take a moment to talk about Ed McMahon.
He, in my opinion, played a large role in a massive American Cultural Sensation.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m not referring to his Tonight Show sidekicking.
Which, in its own right, is historic… However, since his era next to Johnny Carson ended, more talk show hosts have gone the solo route (and I don’t think it’s because of a “nobody could be as good as Ed, so let’s not try” motive).

I’m talking about Star Search.
That’s where his true legacy lies.
(Unless, if he ever came to your door with a huge novelty check – then you can think different)

If Star Search wasn’t successful, shows like Pop Idol (the British precursor to the American version) would not have been green lit – not to mention the avalanche of like programming today.

Britney Spears, among many others, got a break on Star Search.

There is something very pure about Star Search, if my memory serves me correctly:
The judges were nearly anonymous.
Yes, I think there was a brief portion of every show in which Ed McMahon would introduce the judges, but once a “star’s” performance was over there would be a slight pause, before an overall score would appear.

Can you even imagine this reverse judging practice in today’s talent shows?
No celebrity guest judges
No theatrics (more of a Dancing with the Stars sin)
No extravagant proclamations
No insulting and condescending language.

That last one is especially key to me, as I think back to the Star Search engine… Everyone on Star Search was good. Star Search didn’t waste our time, or pander to our more predatory inclinations, with sub-par talent.

We can never go back to Star Search.
We can never have a talent show without a William Hung

…and frankly: There can’t be a show with a classy gentleman in a tuxedo at the helm.

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