Series: Entertainment Tonight
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:
- Adored by the Network: Not only did John Goldhammer, who was Paramount Television's vice president for programming and production, green light ET, he also stepped in as the show's producer when the original producer, Andy Friendly, resigned.
- Executive Meddling: A rare positive example done in support of the creator's original vision. Originally, executives at Taft Broadcasting and Cox Enterprises, two television station groups whom, along with TeleRep, an advertising firm founded by Alfred Masini, originally co-produced ET alongside Paramount Television, had forced Masini into making the show more sensationalistic, as sort of a televised version of various tabloids. Thankfully, however, the Paramount executives countermeddled, and Masini's original vision of ET being a hip, fun, but serious news show ended up being used instead. Ironically, both media companies were both founded by politicians who presumably preferred legitimate journalism to sensationalistic journalism. Cox's founder, James M. Cox, had previously served as representative for Ohio's 3rd district in the House of Representatives from 1909 to 1913 and governor of Ohio from 1913-1915 and from 1917-1921; and also served as the Democratic presidential nominee in 1920, and while Taft's founder Charles Phelps Taft, only served in Congress relatively briefly, his half-brother, William Howard Taft, previously had held two of the highest job positions in the nation: president of the United States from 1909-1913 and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1921-1930, as well as previously holding lesser government positions such as U.S. solicitor general from 1890-1892, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1892-1900, governor-general of the Philippines from 1901-1903, and U.S. secretary of war from 1904-1908.
- Fanfare: Composed by John Williams, so of course it would be one, though 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.
- Missing Episode: Going by the amount of "lost footage" ET has found over the years to hype in episodes, their archivist has no sense of how to organize the show's deep film library.
- 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.
- 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.