Prime Time

" ... so as White House chief of staff, I want to congratulate you all again on a very successful week. The country's united behind us, we're hitting our military objectives, and even that old smallpox vaccine might still be good. I'd say we're on a roll."

"What about the nuclear-weapons thing?"

"Taken care of. The Russians have assured us that anybody trying to buy plutonium has to show three forms of ID, including one with a recent photo."

"Andy, I'm concerned about the president's ratings."

"Ratings? He has better approval numbers than George Washington."

"Not approval ratings, TV ratings. Two of the big three networks didn't even carry the speech this week."

"What can you do against Friends? It's 'Must See TV.'"

"And don't forget CBS with that Survivor show. At least ABC was with us."

"Big deal. They pre-empted Whose Line Is It Anyway? "

"But it's sweeps month - that's why we kept it optional. We wanted to save our juice for the big stuff."

"Big stuff? We're at war, for God's sake. Can't the networks even sit still for half an hour?"

"He's right, Andy. We need to take a stand on this, or the next thing you know, we'll be coming on between the late news and Ron Popeil demonstrating that revolving chicken."

"What do you suggest?"

"I think we need some insight into how prime time really works if we're going to compete. As a matter of fact, I've asked a former broadcasting executive to come over and talk with us today. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to say hello to Mr. Skip Kovacs."

"Hi ho, everybody. Say, is this where they film The West Wing? Ha ha, just kidding."

"Skip, I know you've had some ideas about making this whole 'national emergency' thing more, you know, accessible."

"Right. Well, the problem is, people used to hear a lot of exciting dirt and scandal when other presidents went on TV. Nixon resigning, Reagan copping to Iran-Contra, Clinton explaining that business with the cigars. But this president is telling people to act right, hang in there, and be good citizens."

"And who wants to hear that?"

"Exactly. So we need to think out of the box a little. Take Friends, for example. Instead of competing with it, how about this idea: The kids are all sitting around the apartment playing Scrabble or something, and - knock, knock - who's at the door? It turns out to be the president."

"Our President? Of the United States?"

"Sure. Remember when Betty Ford showed up on Mary Tyler Moore? Everybody loved it. Anyway, he asks to use the phone, but instead he winds up playing foosball with Joey and Chandler. Then, Rachel shows up wearing a biochemical suit she designed herself, and suddenly Phoebe asks him some goofy question about Tajikistan, and - "

"Skip, thanks so much for coming today. We'll definitely give you a call."

"Now, here's what you do with CBS: Survivor IV: The White House Press Room. Talk about pressure! You've got a bunch of amateur reporters, see? And they all try to pry classified information out of Ari Fleischer, but one by one, they're all elimin - "

"Hey, is that our red phone ringing? Sorry, Skip, but you'll really have to excuse - "

"Did I mention my idea for Radio Free Afghanistan? You play nothing but Britney Spears. You know, 'All Britney, All the Time.' But - get this - she's singing in Afghanistanian. Or whatever language that is, and - "

"Skip, one of these folks in the trench coats will show you out."

"And between records, we'd do these contests ... ."

Copyright 2001 Newrite, Inc. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN Radio AM 720 and ( Coming soon: (

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