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CNBC Goes Full Reality Trash TV

In a bad economy financial news networks have less options. With mobile internet, no one is really watching tickers on news networks anyway. That just leaves endless coverage streams which are less interesting to pros and more interesting to amateurs who have less market dabbling money anyway.

the new cnbc

the new cnbc

So what is CNBC doing?

It’s doing the same thing every other cable network that was once dedicated to something specific like history, science, animals or science fiction is doing. It’s putting on the same manufactured reality shows where people pretend to scream at each other for 30-60 minutes.

How original is CNBC’s slate of warmed over Discovery megacrapworks programming?

“American Steel” takes you deep inside the world of competitive car flippers where “motor head” Joe Petralia and “money head” Jay Weinberg find, fix and flip classic and muscle cars. With the economy struggling, each transaction represents one more big risk for the owners who have to fight to keep their once multi-million dollar business afloat.

The housing market plunge has created big opportunities for folks who are willing to strap on a tool belt and take a gamble. “Flipping Wars: Vegas,” set in the city hardest hit by the housing crisis, follows four teams of wheeler dealers who see dollar signs every time they bid on a foreclosed home.

I would rather professionally chase goats than watch a Reality show, and even I know these are warmed over copies of Reality shows that have been done elsewhere with a slight twist to tie them into the financial arena that CNBC is supposed to be covering.

Does adding Reality shows to its slate kill CNBC’s last credibility? Probably, but CNBC clearly doesn’t care because no one is watching anyway.

CNBC’s current slate American Greed, a show that profiles major scam artists. It’s on Season 5 and you probably didn’t even know it existed. That’s representative of its current trashy prime time programming with shows like Crime Inc, How I Made My Millions and Prince$$.

Everybody knows a Princess: that outrageous friend or family member who keeps on living a fabulous life … even as their debt piles up and other people foot the bill.

Well, it’s time to grow up – and get real!

In the second season of Princess, Gail Vaz-Oxlade – host of the hit series Til Debt Do Us Part – tackles the newest generation of spoiled spenders. Over a four-week period, Gail takes away these Princess’ credit cards, puts them on a cash diet and challenges them to start achieving their goals.

I want to unknow the existence of Prince$$, but I can’t. Now you can’t either. But quasi-trash wasn’t good enough so CNBC is going full reality trash instead.

This identity crisis can’t last. CNBC can’t pretend to do serious business coverage during the day while airing this crap after once the sun goes down.

Cable companies are upset about losing subs and sure the bad economy is to blame, but when you’re paying for 40 channels, 30 of which show the same Reality shows, with a slight change, why would you waste the money?

Now that’s financial advice you can’t get on Prince$$.

The J.J. Abrams Cloverfield Mystery

Cloverfield film posterOne thing Lost and Star Trek 11 have certainly demonstrated, J.J. Abrams has almost as good a facility as Steve Jobs for turning a non-event into an event with mysterious websites and teasers and hints and clues all meant to generate discussion about what might be happening which usually turns out to be more interesting than what actually is happening.

Cloverfield is a case in point. It’s certainly worked. The new website EthanHaasWasRight.Com (a decidedly Lost concept) is generating plenty of interest, the messages are being discussed and CNBC has already covered the non-teaser teaser aired before Transformers. But of course is there anything even worth discussing?

That’s the problem with viral hype, it’s completely insubstantial. It’s based on a mystery, much like Lost, which may or may not be entirely hollow. There’s no discussion over the valid material but over wacky speculation over what it might be. Cloverfield may be something interest or not. I have no idea. Neither does anyone discussing it. I know mysteries are fun but mysteries without content are simply a waste of time.

Show me a box. There might be anything in the box. Write Cloverfield on the box. There still might be something interesting in the box. Or not. I have no idea. Neither does anyone but the people who put the something in the box. And that’s what these campaigns come down to.

A Cthulhu movie is an intriguing possibility but at this point meaningless. Without real information, there’s nothing to discuss.

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