Jun 17, 2009

Two Cents

WTF? Networks Ditch Logic with New Show Titles


Network TV's attack on grammar-- and common sense-- continues.

Today, the CW officially revealed that it was changing the name of "Parental Discretion Advised," the "Gilmore Girls" meets "Everwood" family drama that's a favorite of many network insiders. The new name wasn't a surprise, but the way the CW is spelling it is.

"Life UneXpected."

The network also slipped in the news that it is now calling Ashton Kutcher's drama "The Beautiful Life" by a slightly different name.

"The Beautiful Life: TBL."

This comes the same week TNT premiered a new medical drama starring Mrs. Will Smith.

It's called "HawthoRNe" (get it? She's a nurse?)

OK, we all know it's harder than ever to stand out in the media landscape. You gotta do what you gotta do (like spell the word "mojo" with an "e" at the end).

But does anyone really think annoying the nation's TV and pop culture writers with slightly freaky spellings is going to add a single viewer to the Nielsen tally?

Things are particularly out of hand at the acronym-happy CW, also known as the OMFG Network.

Unlike the "3" in "Numb3rs," the capital "X" in "Life UneXpected" makes no immediate sense.

It does make it a tiny bit easier to shorten the show's name to "LUX," a play on the main character's name of... Lux.

But to anyone who hasn't seen the show-- i.e., every single potential viewer-- it'll just be a head-scratcher. (Plus, Cramps fans will probably resent the connection to the band's late lead singer, Lux Interior).

Even more inane: the "TBL" that's now part of the title for the CW's "The Beautiful Life." The tag was probably added to avoid any issues with the title clearance police-- but the show now sounds like it's a spinoff of "CSI" or "The Real World."

Actually, TBL is the stock exchange symbol for the Timberland company, so maybe it's a product placement deal.

Some people also use "TBL" as an abbreviation for "The Big Lebowski" (dude!), Tampa Bay Lightning (goal!) and "The Biggest Loser" (wrong network).

See what happens when you try to get cute with spellings? In addition to inviting snarky, not-quite-as-funny-as-they-should-be blog postings, you open up a whole can of confusion.

Let's just hope some TV writer out there doesn't have a bit too much to drink one evening. Given the lack of copy editors in newsrooms these days, "HawthoRNe" could very easily end up "haWtHORnE."

That would just be wrong.



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