Friday, June 29, 2007

The Mike Bloomberg Show. Would You Watch?
Our Town downtown
July 2, 2007

When the Clintons were running for their second term in the White House, somebody commented that they’d win for sure because we had become an all-consuming, TV-watching nation and the Clintons offered us a sitcom-worthy dysfunctional-family show that we were in no way going to cancel just yet. They were just too much fun to watch, what with no 9/11 upon us and the Silicon Valley tiger still roaring along and balancing the budget. They were a fascinating show to watch in that easy time.

That very TV obsession of ours could be why Hillary and Rudy are in the lead. They’re two people we like to watch for whatever odd and not-odd reasons. They’re just weird enough to be ever-interesting to us in a TV way. You’d watch 10 minutes of John McCain and start flipping through the channels. Five or ten minutes of John Edwards. Surprisingly, I don’t think we really want to watch Obama for a whole season. He’s turned out to be kind of boring. You wouldn’t think he’d be, but he is. I think we thought he’d be like Tiger Woods or Derek Jeter because he made you think of them in his bi-racial gracefulness and his likeability and intelligence. But those guys, who were just picked as the country’s favorite two athletes, do something. They win majors and World Series rings. Obama just talks calculatingly and always looks good. Who wants to watch that? He’s too mild for a hit TV show. Other than the fact that he supposedly smokes and that his brother-in-law coaches hoops at Brown, he’s not tube-interesting in any special way.

Fred Thompson is the worst-looking human who’s ever even considered running for president. He looks like a criminal. Or a warden. Who’d watch that show without squirming? Mitt Romney is too-nice-looking. Something seems odd about him for that reason. Interestingly odd, because we don’t know anybody quite like him in our own lives, but not enough people want to watch that show. The Mormon show is already being done on HBO.

So, what about The Mike Bloomberg Show? Would you watch it? Would people outside New York watch it enough to make it a hit? Remember, hits are what people want. Hillary or Rudy would be a hit, no doubt; she probably the bigger hit with Bill’s potential infidelities a part of the plot. Of course, though, Rudy’s got quite a supporting cast of characters himself. It’ll be a tough call to see who of the two will go up strong against Monday Night Football.

But what about Mike? What’s he got that’s good TV material? For one, he’s a billionaire. That’s TV-interesting. He has a bunch of homes, luxury homes like you see in those heavy Sotheby’s real estate ‘books’ they put in the Times now and then. Maybe like the Clintons sold over-night stays in the White House, Mike could put up people in his Bermuda home, or one of the others, if the Lincoln bedroom is booked. Maybe President Bloomberg would refuse to go to Camp David or even live in the White House like he eschewed Gracie Mansion in favor of his nicer digs on 79th Street. That is good TV material. So, is his size vis-a-vis his good-looking, model-tall girlfriend. So is just the fact that he’s a president with a girlfriend. A bachelor in the Oval Office. Boffo TV. A Jewish bachelor in the Oval Office, to boot. Better yet. With a Jewish mother still alive. Come on. It’s getting good.

Plus, he’s got that voice. If Tom Brokaw and Barbara Walters –and Newman--can make it big on the tube with their voices, why can’t Mike with his? That voice of his is an odd instrument. It may go over big, like Urkel. It’s a clean voice, a little bit of a sissy voice maybe, but clean in a good way. And it’s precise and confident, like that of a successful guy who’s used to being at the head of the conference table. That might work on the tube. And he’s certainly got the clothes for the role. He dresses perfectly. His haircut is good too.

I think the show would fly. I think he thinks so too. Stay tuned.

Bill Gunlocke

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