Mary Hart and an adorable friend.
A magazine-format journalistic television series, created in 1981 by Alfred Masini and originally produced and distributed by Paramount
, featuring Mary Hart and a score of other hosts and reporters discussing the recent news in Hollywood. A major enabler of the Hollywood Hype Machine
, as well as a tabloid journal, it's a mixture of hype, interviews, and sensationalism about the latest rumors and dating habits of the rich and famous. Airs daily in half-hour segments, and has done so for years. Country-specific spin-offs have popped up in the UK, Canada, Brazil, and others. The show is now produced and distributed by CBS
, which replaced Paramount successor CBS Paramount Television after the CBS-Viacom
breakup in 2005.
This series contains examples of:
- Fanfare: Composed by Michael Mark. It became an unlistenable cacophony of guitars and swooshes over the last few years (and now a terrible rap mix by will.i.am from The Black Eyed Peas promoted by the show as the best television theme ever).
- Fanservice: Movies featuring strippers or bikinis will get a lot more hype than you'd normally expect. When Striptease was coming out, ET literally did weeks of hype, chatting up every single star of the movie, showing as many clips of Demi Moore's fit body doing strip-teases in bikinis, and nearly taking everything off. When the movie bombed, they simply dropped it and moved on to something else.
- Hollywood Hype Machine: Pretty much its sole purpose is to "hype" the latest movies, music, and television, doing interviews with the stars, and general promotion. It worked hand-in-hand with the Hollywood studios to create new stars (it was a major proponent of Matthew Maconaghey when he was supposed to be the "Next Big Thing", and constantly touted him as such) and make big hits. It was mutually-beneficial, because after all, without hype, the movies might fail, and if the movies fail, ET wouldn't have as much to talk about.
- It wasn't always just hype, however, especially during the first two years, when Jim Bellows served as managing editor. Under Bellows' watch, in addition to general entertainment promotion, the show would frequently feature investigative reports about the entertainment industry's drug use and hiring practices. Not really surprising since Bellows previously had a long and storied career in legitimate journalism, which in addition to working on ET, also included serving as editor of the New York Herald Tribune (1961-1967), associate editor of the Los Angeles Times (1967-1974), and editor of the Washington Star (1975-1978). In fact, Bellows' investigative stories were so recognized in the industry, that after ET's second season ended in 1983, ABC News president Roone Arledge asked Bellows to serve as executive editor for the network's nightly newscast, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Bellows accepted and served in that role until 1986.
- Long Runner: Continuously in production since 1981.
- Magazine Show: One of the Trope Codifiers.
- Paparazzi: A lot of footage of celebrities comes from them.
- She's Got Legs: Mary Hart is famous for this.
- Spin-Off: Multiple versions in various markets, and The Insider, another show of the same ilk.
- Tabloid Melodrama: Since 1999 when the staffers at sister show Hard Copy lost their jobs and needed a place to work elsewhere on the Paramount lot, the show has had alot of this.
- Trope Co. Trope of the Week: The birthday segment, sponsored for a long time by American Greetings.
- Viewers Are Morons: Even if justified as giving an Audio Description to blind viewers, the zeal of their voiceovers describe magazine and video imagery of celebrities, down to fashion labels worn by them comes off as kind of insultingly primary as if we don't know what Calvin Klein is.
- Wolverine Publicity: The show seems to think that The Big Chill, a 1983 film about Baby Boomers is the greatest film of all time and has days of footage about it. Every time a year ending in "3" or "8" or a new home media release comes around, expect to be reminded of how this movie only thought of by most as filler on HBO or USA Network is the best two hours ever put to celluloid by this program.