MSNBC Pulls Head Out of Aspray; Creates Viral Sensation

Picture 6When MSNBC finally got around to watching the ad they had been running for Doc Bottom’s Aspray — the “1st ever all over deodorant” which boasts eliminating “beastly butt odor” among other stenches — they were horrified and reportedly pulled the spot immediately. But regardless of its airtime, the cheesy commercial for spray-on odor killer has served its purpose, not only creating buzz for the new product (people are “absolutely buying”), but also scoring a profile in the Washington Post. The controversial TV spot, which stars Aspray inventor and pitchman Adam Jay Geisinger as the pushy peddler, has taken off on YouTube, totaling over 300,000 hits in its first month.

The Post story places Aspray in the informercial canon alongside legendarily bad commercials like the perverted Tiddy Bear, HeadOn’s tone-deaf repetition (“Apply directly to the forehead!”) and the oeuvre of the late Billy Mays. But it also delves into the psychology of these ads with expert commentary from Sam Catanese, president of the Infomercial Monitoring Service Corp., who says, “Campy stuff works, goofy stuff works. . . . If it’s like, ‘Uh-oh, oh no they didn’t!’ and it stops you in your tracks, then they’ve gotten your attention.”

Catanese calls these nuggets of TV gold “bottom-feeder” ads, but he got us thinking about a few of our favorite low-budget, barely functional product plugs.

Doc Bottom’s Aspray
The inspiration for this list must be seen in its entirety. Pay special attention to the lo-fi neon green gas that represents stink all over.

Slap Chop
Never mind slimy pitchman Vince Shlomi’s legal problems (he’s charged with beating up a prostitute in Miami), but respect his enthusiasm for this dicer and “stop having a boring life.” Please don’t forget the remix.

Loud ‘n Clear
This budget-level hearing aid disguised as a cell phone headset enhances bingo, card games and church, but doubles as a spy device. Watch as an innocent looking woman eavesdrops on her neighbors! If only this bulky ear contraption was a bit more inconspicuous…

Cheers To You!
Feeling down on yourself? Pop in this eight track CD and revel in the cheering crowd and vacuous inspirational talk.

Sure, it’s the second Vince Shlomi entry in this list, but the man’s power of persuasion is irrefutable. We could almost see placing an order for this oddly practical super-absorbent rag.

Ah, what else can we say about the storied blanket with sleeves? We know it doubles a warm garment and cult uniform, and we’ve been over its epitomization of American laziness, but the commercial just never gets old!

FNC Edges MSNBC During Demo Prime Time on Sunday

Cable news ratings, August 23, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Fox News was the top-rated cable news network on Sunday, in the A25-54 demographic and total viewers, in total day and in prime time. It was close in the demo during prime time, with FNC edging MSNBC by just 17,000. CNN was #2 in total viewers.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

  Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm   








6 pm   








7 pm   








8 pm   








9 pm   








10 pm   








11 pm   








TOTAL DAY 261 119 169 95
PRIME TIME 320 139 303 102
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
  Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm   








6 pm   









7 pm   








8 pm   








9 pm   








10 pm   








11 pm   








TOTAL DAY 969 436 341 221
PRIME TIME 1263 518 621 230
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

Fox News Top Cable News Network On Saturday

Cable news ratings, August 22, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Here are the cable news ratings from Saturday – Fox News was the top rated cable news network last Saturday, in total viewers and the A25-54 demographic, in total day and during prime time. CNN was #2 in every category except today day in the demo.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm 207 128 101 82
6 pm 286 233 172 68
7 pm 323 228 153 50
8 pm 273 151 202 68
9 pm 302 156 150 42
10 pm 371 211 205 118
11 pm 278 158 283 99
TOTAL DAY 227 135 149 88
PRIME TIME 197 166 165 83
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm 1046 595 286 186
6 pm 1161 932 371 165
7 pm 1213 859 295 149
8 pm 1522 508 357 240
9 pm 1406 562 320 196
10 pm 1442 554 436 264
11 pm 932 396 488 226
TOTAL DAY 1062 570 315 219
PRIME TIME 1456 541 371 233
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

Donald Trump Roasts Joan Rivers, and Her Vagina

trump riversA few weeks ago, Comedy Central televised a roast of Joan Rivers, hosted by Kathy Griffin and featuring a whole host of foul-mouthed comics cracking jokes about Joan’s various facelifts, how old she is, and how old her vagina is. One of those foul-mouthed comics was Donald Trump, a.k.a. her new boss after Rivers was victorious on last season’s Celebrity Apprentice (with a newly-relevant invocation of Godwin’s law, no less). I double-taked when The Donald came onscreen and started talking about his “greatest and most ambitious construction project yet: The Joan Rivers Facial & Body Restoration.” I double-taked further when I heard what was coming out of his mouth. The Donald was saying that on TV? This video was going to blow up tomorrow! Alas, when I checked the Comedy Central website, The Donald — by far the biggest star on the bill, sorry, Brad Garrett — was nowhere to be seen. Comedy Central PR confirmed that the Trump vid would not be posted. We would just have to be satisfied with Greg Giraldo.

Or would we? Turns out Mediaite has obtained the video, and three weeks later it’s still pretty damn funny, and shocking. Said Donald: “My trained eye tells me that since 1982 you’ve been condemned from the waist down – and like most dilapidated structures, you haven’t been entered in decades!” And it only got worse from there. Viewer discretion advised!

>>>NEXT PAGE: Clips of Griffin, Rivers, Whitney Cumming, Carl Reiner, Jeffrey Ross, Nick Kroll and more!

O’Reilly, Stewart and Kurtz Team Up to Break Navel-Gazing Record

How do you deal with a Picture 3 news slump? Engage in an ongoing debate about semantics with another TV Anchor in hopes that a respected media critic will cover it, then report on said critic taking the bait. If this sounds confusing, we’ll explain: Jon Stewart, Howard Kurtz and Bill O’Reilly all teamed up to set, what we feel to be, an all-time record for media navel-gazing. Hopefully by covering this, we too will be included in the record books. 

So this is how it went down:

  1. In covering an alleged media bias in the Health Care debate, Bill O’Reilly made the following point: “When we cover the Town Hall meetings, we don’t describe the protesters as loons”
  2. In a piece that called Fox News “Liberals”, Jon Stewart took exception with that comment, and ran a clip of this comment, followed by a clip from the 2004 RNC where O’Reilly called the protesters “loons”
  3. O’Reilly called out Stewart for not including the entire context of what he said – claiming that he was making a larger point about the protesters that had been arrested.
  4. During his CNN show Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz mentioned this back and forth and asked his panel if O’Reilly has a point that, even if used in a satirical way, selective editing is indefensible?
  5. Last night O’Reilly aired this clip, apparently using it as proof that he was right all along.

Hopefully now you can understand this Escher-style navel gazing, which appears to break the previous record co-owned by Tucker Carlson and Jon Stewart. But it’s not clear if the record will hold up, as O’Reilly’s claim that Stewart out quoted him out of context isn’t entirely correct.  What is the full quote of O’Reilly’s “loon” quote?

O’Reilly: There are the anti-Bush protesters in New York City. While most of these people have been peaceful, more than a thousand have been arrested and surveys show, many protesters are simply loons, calling for the destruction of the American system, calling for retreat in the face of terrorism. Here’s a bulletin for you Bush-haters: These protesters are not helping John Kerry.

O’Reilly somehow thinks this demonstrates his innocence:

O’Reilly: We were talking about the arrested protesters.

Actually, no he wasn’t. If one carefully examines the transcript, he was talking about the protesters who were surveyed — and that included all the protesters, not just those who were arrested.

Nonetheless we are pleased help you reader understand the back and forth, and are hoping in some way to keep the dialog going. That’s right, Mediaite is pleased to trump this exchange, by looking deeper into the media navel then ever before. You’re welcome.

PS – It would be great if some other Media Watchdog website blogged about this article, which we’d promise to re-blog about in return. Let’s keep it going!

Jesse Watters Ambushes Naked People; Bill O’Reilly Pees With Spike Lee

watters_8-25Fox News’ most famous ambusher, O’Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters, is out on Martha’s Vineyard this week to bug the locals and see who shows up to hang out around The Obamas.

What did Watters find? Naked people and Spike Lee (who Bill O’Reilly knows a bit).

O’Reilly introduced Watters, saying he had been “roaming around, causing trouble, as he’s known to do.”

What was the “nuttiest” thing he saw? A nude beach on Gay Head Bluffs. Oh how silly that sounds, right Jesse? “I know the spot you’re talking about,” said O’Reilly.

His plans for the evening were to “ambush a big large bowl of clam chowder, and maybe a lobster dinner.” Oh, and tonight – he’s going to try to ambush Cindy Sheehan.

Then, right at the end of the segment, he brought up Spike Lee, and O’Reilly decided to relay a story between he and the director in a Madison Square Garden bathroom. We’re not really sure why the Fox News host felt compelled to do this, but we’d love to hear how Lee remembers it.

The segment is below, and we’ll have more on The Factor later today (including a Mediaite shout-out):

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Anna Wintour on Letterman: Turning the Publicity Tide? (Updated)

Picture 7Earlier this year it was 60 MinutesMorley Safer, but last night it was David Letterman who got to ask questions to Vogue editrix Anna Wintour.

Before we get to the interview, our most pressing question has to be: Why would Wintour, who seldom appears on television, agree to sit down with Letterman??

The September Issue — R. J. Cutler’s forthcoming documentary about the production of the September 2008 book — would be one plausible explanation. But Vogue has no financial stake in the film (Cutler has told the Times), so Wintour has no reason to care if anybody goes to see it.

Then again, buzz is buzz, and Vogue could certainly use some at the newsstand this month while Wintour’s business goes under McKinsey’s microscope. Then again, Late Show viewers never saw the September cover, and there was no mention of the latest issue. Not much of a sales pitch.

Maybe Wintour was on the show to promote Fashion’s Night Out — a retail stimulus event that she has helped organize to boost sales this September. But even that didn’t receive much mention beyond a brief plug.

Motivation aside, Wintour was a perfectly charming, engaged Late Show guest. After she removed her sunglasses and settled into the chair (legs crossed, hands resting quietly in her lap), she fielded questions with aplomb and gave as good as she got when it came to Letterman’s jokes: He asked “Have you ever put anybody in a head lock?,” and she replied ”Maybe you.” The pair also swapped anecdotes that they’d read in print about Wintour’s relationship with Vogue creative director Grace Coddington — a very polite way to talk about one’s friends and co-workers on late night television.

There were also thoughtful moments in the interview, for example when Letterman said, “You are bigger than what you do for a living … Is that a fair assessment?”

Wintour: “I read in the New York Times this week that I’m an ice queen, I’m a sun king, I’m an alien fleeing from District 9, and I’m a dominatrix. So I reckon that makes me a lukewarm royalty with a whip from outer space — what do you think?”

Wintour was referring to comments written by Maureen Dowd, “among others.”

Cutler’s documentary has given anybody and everybody a chance to write about Wintour. And If nothing else, Wintour’s appearance on Letterman was a chance for her to speak for herself. That must have been nice.

Anna Wintour with David Letterman last night (updated with full clip):

September Issue director R. J. Cutler and Vogue editor at large André Leon Talley on CBS Early Show last Thursday:

Morley Safer and Anna Wintour on 60 Minutes in May: