The Topsy-Turvy World of TV Critics: One Longtime Critic Is Fired for Writing About Something She Never Saw; Others Are Shown a Pilot and Sworn to Secrecy and Can’t Write About It

Jun 10, 2011  •  Post A Comment

These are wild and crazy times for TV critics, with two recent incidents underscoring that point.

In the first instance, a TV critic who has held her job for 17 years has been fired over her "Glee Live!’ concert review, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Tower Ticker blog.

Paige Wiser, a critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote a review for the paper’s Sunday edition that mentioned one song that wasn’t performed and another she didn’t see, according to the report.

"I’m at fault," Wiser said. "I do understand what a big deal this was. I am ashamed, and it’s just a matter of making bad decisions when you’re exhausted."

Wiser said she brought her two young children to the Friday show with an editor’s approval, and her son fell off a chair and her daughter vomited. She left three songs later and only saw 13 of the show’s numbers, although her story included comments on the encore.

According to an editor’s note in the Chicago Sun-Times from its editor in chief, "Accuracy and honesty in reporting are essential parts of the promise we make to our readers. We regret the incident and apologize."

Wiser wrote that an encore cover of Rebecca Black’s "Friday" was ""irresistible" and "infused … with joy," and later blamed the decision on the late hour when she was writing as well as feeling pressure from another incident. In that case, she asked out of a deadline writing assignment on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" farewell taping when she was afflicted by vertigo and a colleague had to fill in for her, the piece says.

"I’d like to think it wouldn’t have been part of my thought process if it hadn’t been 1 a.m. and I was just trying to get the story done," Wiser said. "I just wanted it to be a complete review after the Oprah travesty."

In the second instance, Fox has held some private screenings for the press in New York for the highly anticipated new series "Terra Nova," with the caveat that the attendees not  disclose the contents and quality of the project at this time, The New York Times ArtsBeat blog reports.

Fox isn’t sending out DVDs or screeners of the pilot to television critics, and instead held the small press screenings this week at its parent company’s headquarters in New York City, the story says..

The Times article, written by Mike Hale, adds, "A Fox spokesperson said that this was because the pilot episode, which is filled with special effects that go beyond the television norm, was still less finished than those of the network’s other new shows. Of course, restricting access to a show also can help to generate free publicity (guilty!) and effects-heavy, expensively shot TV productions look better in the critic’s memory after being seen in a dark room on a theater screen."

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