Blogs > In The Mix

Reporter Shaun Byron and Video Editor Andrew DuPont sound-off on whatever is on their minds, from politics to pop-culture, from movies to the main stream media. Local, national, world-wide? If it's in the media mix, these two are sure to have an opinion on it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Best and Worst Career Moves of 2009

Yikes, I have not posted a new blog in a while, so I guess I should make this one an extra large entry to make up for lost time.

2009 is almost over. This year saw some major changes for celebrities and politicans alike, especially in the areas where the line between the two are heavily blurred. It's amazing how quickly things can change for some people, either by accident or as the result of years of planning. Even though there is a still a month to go, I am pretty confident that these four people have made the biggest changes in their careers this year, for better or for worse.

The Best Moves

WHO: Sarah Palin
BEFORE: Governor, VP candidate,
AFTER: Pundit, "Author," Celebrity
WHAT HAPPENED: First off, I'm certain anyone who has read this blog before is shocked to see me list Palin on a positive note in any way, but hear me out. While I generally don’t think highly of Palin, but she made one move that for her (and likely everyone else), was the best thing she could have done: she quit politics.

Her meteoric rise in fame in the national political scene was only marginally hindered by her and John McCain's massive loss to Obama in the 2009 election. Palin quickly polarized people's opinions of her, with adoration turning into idolization from her fans and general dislike turning into outright hatred from her detractors.  Palin's fame came with a major drawback, however. The more attention she got, the more people lost confidence in her ability to be a political leader.  Not to mention, ever aspect of her personal life was scrutinized in the public forum, every dime she spent was analyzed and her lack of knowledge on certain subject matters were considered major problems.

In the world of politics, 59 million people can vote for you and you can still go home with nothing at the end of the night, but in the world of entertainment, only one million can buy your book and you're considered a rock star.

Palin made the right move for her career. She had the name recognition and media attention she claims to hate and could obviously read the writing on the wall as far as her future in politics was concerned. Though she continues to say she hasn't ruled out future political office ventures, it seems like an obvious attempt at superficially connecting her new career to her old one for life support. A recent pole show more than 70% of Americans now think Palin is unqualified to be President. Though that number seems to grow the more time goes by, it now means nothing to Palin's future plans. The 30% who do think she is qualified are more than enough to keep her career outside of politics going.

 If Palin admitted she would never run for office again, it's likely her fame would fade quickly as speculation about her 2012 plans and beyond would stop being fodder for the 24 news networks.  Her supporters continue to champion her as a role model and someone they would like to see as President, so it's very unlikely she'll outright dash those hopes when they are what keep her supporters (and critics) interested.

WHO: Conan O'Brien
BEFORE: Host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien
AFTER: Host of The Tonight Show
WHAT HAPPENED: This was years in the making.  Jay Leno's contract with NBC expired, and the network decided it was time to move on to a new host (though they did not let go of Leno). O'Brien has enjoyed immense popularity in the late night slot for years and his ability to draw younger viewers made him the most likely choice to succeed Leno. Though the Tonight Show is no longer the rating juggernaut it once was and David Letterman is now leading in the ratings, it's not really a problem for NBC or O'Brien. NBC has much bigger issues to be concerned about right now, like the horrible ratings and reviews for Leno's new show, and even though O'Brien now attracts fewer viewers than Letterman, he dominates in the younger demographics NBC was hoping he would.

The switch from Leno to O'Brien signifies a massive shift in the Tonight show dynamic. Leno was as traditional of a comic as they come, where as O'Brien's approach is decidedly a more post-modern approach, where the scripted jokes themselves are often not the primary source of humor. Rather, O'Brien calls attention to the formulation of the jokes and the show itself for humor, often mocking himself, the (purposefully, I suspect) poor production value of some of the show's skits or mistakes that others shows might edit out before airing.

Not surprising, some of Leno's older viewers likely jumped shipped to Letterman, who has gotten a ratings boost in recent months, in part, due to two controversies (a poorly worded Sarah Palin joke and an alleged blackmail scheme). Nevertheless, Conan's younger viewers seem to like him, and he is following the footsteps of Johnny Carson, which, even when ratings are down, is not a bad job to have.

The Worst Moves

WHO: Rod Blagojevich
BEFORE: Governor of Illinois
AFTER: Reality TV "star"
WHAT HAPPENED: It's incredible how far and fast Blagojevich fell from grace. After Obama won the presidential election, his seat in the Illinois Senate was scheduled to be vacated and Blagojevich could fill the opening. Though he did fill the seat, it wasn't without a massive amount of controversy. Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges stemming from accusations that he was seeking personal or financial gain in exchange for filling the open seat.  In short, he's accused of trying to sell a seat in the state senate. Well, he was removed from office in Jan. 2009 and is awaiting his 2010 trial, but in the meantime, Blagojevich is not shying from the spotlight. Most disgraced politicians seem to avoid drawing further attention to themselves, but Blagojevich is different. Over the summer he tried to be a contestant on "I'm a Celebrity... Get me outta here!" but was reminded by the courts that the show was filmed outside the country and leaving the US is a big no-no for people facing political corruption charges.  So.... his wife Patricia went instead, because apparently she's a celebrity.  Apparently the Blagojevich family is hard up for money after being booted out of the governor's mansion, so these ventures into reality TV are their only way of making money. Though he was spotted making appearances at office parties for money singing Elvis tunes with a Fabio impersonator. You can't make this stuff up, it's just too sad.

 Now Blagojevich is set to be a contestant on the new season of Celebrity Apprentice as his career, and apparently his self-respect, have all but vanished. And just think, at this time last year he outranked Obama.

WHO: Kanye West
BEFORE: Hip-hop star with a knack for AutoTune and an ego the size of the moon
AFTER: "Jackass"
WHAT HAPPENED: Like you don't already know. Country singer Taylor Swift won her first MTV Video Music Award in a category where she was competing against Beyonce. During her acceptance speech, West, as he has done in the past, decided to steal the spotlight. He jumped on stage, grabbed the mic out of her hand and said " Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'mma let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!" To which everyone in the audience, including Beyonce, responded to with shock and horror. Booing ensued, and a seemingly defiant West shrugged, flipped off the crowd, and walked off stage.

Within a mere minutes the incident set the blogosphere on fire. Wests antics have annoyed some in the past but most people brushed it off. This time, however, it looked like he amused nobody. It didn't help his image when Beyonce, who later won a different award, and in classy move gave up her mic time and called Swift back out on stage so she could finish her original speech.  West apologized the next day via his website, but it didn't stem the backlash against him. He would later go on The Jay Leno Show and apologize again. For the first time in his career, West actually appeared humble for a moment. But it didn't matter.  The media, like always, fueled the flames by asking everyone they could what they thought, from rock stars like P!nk to President Obama himself, who was recorded calling West a jackass in what was clearly meant to be an off-the-record moment.

West has since canceled most of his plans and is said to be taking some time off to reflect. No doubt he is hoping the storm he created blows over, but it doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon. Not surprisingly, "Kayne interrupts.../ I'mma let you finish" has become one of the fastest growing and most widespread Internet memes of all time.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home