Nepotism has its privileges. Hasn’t it always? In show business, most people will be up front in letting you in on a secret, “It really is all about who you know.” But that doesn’t mean Cody Gifford wasn’t exactly the film critic the Today Show was looking to hire. He’s young, attractive, knows his lingo without overusing it, and with the Today Show smirking down its competitors, why not take a risk? And I’m sure the show took a gander at his resume.
On his first day he did stumble with mom watching him and too many glances at his prepared notes. I like the fact that he cared enough, or was humble enough to prepare for his spot, but still open to suggestion when told to ditch them. Immediately Cody comforted in his seat and started to talk to us, the audience.
By his third day it became apparent that he had a lot to say, but was pressed for time. I wonder if they’ll expand his time as they realize he has valuable insights to share or if his time was limited because he was about to revert to adolescent language, like saying “like” and “uh” a lot.
One aspect of his reviews I did enjoy: he didn’t spoil any of the movies discussed. And this fits with the format and depth of information the Today Show covers. I stopped reading and watching review programs because they vacuumed my desire to see films, which became overanalyzed, too cerebral, or just plain spoilers. Film lovers appreciate a good game of questions when it comes to understanding a film’s theme or director’s intent, but others aren’t made to be appreciated on a PhD level. Hopefully Gifford will fuse his age and experience with his education to inform viewers if the movie is worth $10 plus parking and snacks. Isn’t that really what your average movie-goer wants to know?
If the nightly news is thick red lipstick, the Today show is shiny clear gloss. According to both the Project for Excellence in Journalism (report may be found at (http://www.stateofthemedia.org) and Thomas Tennant (an About.Com Guide (at http://wwwtalkshows.about.com) , all of the morning shows are losing viewer ship. While NBC’s Today Show still ranks first across all demographics, including the 25-54 age group, why not make an attempt to grab those college kids now. Gifford is a perfect start if that is one of NBC’s goals.
Would a professional critic fit the Today Show? Well… that really depends on whether he/she could work with the limited amount of time. Would a pro overuse obscure film lingo? Would a pro reach the audience, and more importantly, keep the audience? And NBC would have to pay a bit more than Gifford and his internship.
At the end of the day, relating to your audience and building your audience are the two goals networks care to discuss. If these two goals are accomplished, money is made. And let’s face it, the average person’s intellect and attention span aren’t – Oh look! Here comes the mailman. What was I saying? That’s right, intellect and attention span are always bombarded with flashy, colorful, and quick segments to keep audiences’ focus.
Good luck to Cody. I’m sure he’s getting a lot of heat for his circumstance. Maybe we should all relax a little and give him a chance to truly demonstrate his skill or see whether pressures from a loving mother landed him the gig. And for all those frustrated, angry critics screaming “It’s not fair!” I would try looking into if Kathy Lee is adopting.