From 1994, when I launched Late Show News, until I gave notice at the Kansas City Star in 2012, television was my muse. If you followed my musings during that time then you probably have been on TV Barn before. (Here’s how this page looked in 1999.)
I stepped away because, after a successful battle with leukemia, I was eager to try new things. Joining forces with Diane, we wrote articles and books, published titles through our Quindaro imprint (including four YA books funded by Kickstarter), and gave a lot of talks, including one that aired on C-SPAN. I also did solo work, and as you can see in the picture above, I took up running.
If you’ve been getting my newsletter over the years, you’ve been keeping up on all this — thank you! I appreciate your readership and support. And after the break, I’ll tell you what I’m up to now …
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My return to the TV beat
In late 2018, while at work on our next book, I got a call from an old friend, Jed Rosenzweig. Jed was a very early subscriber to Late Show News; in the early 2000s we did a Yahoo-TV Barn collaboration when he was a top editor there. Later he founded High Def Digest. Like many of us, Jed misses the old blogs and websites that used to keep savvy TV watchers up to date. So he decided to invest in his own site, Primetimer.com, with help from the creators of Television Without Pity, TV Tattle, and other sites.
Jed was calling to see if I was interested in writing about television again. As it happened, I’d been experimenting with a blog and a podcast about history that involved reviewing TV shows and movies. I learned two things from that: 1) I’m a better reviewer of TV shows and movies than I am a history blogger; and 2) I still enjoyed writing about television.
I thought about the truckloads of TV programs that have come and gone just in the years since I’d left the beat. There’s just so much, more than any one person, or critic, can hope to keep up with. (And according to the guy who coined the phrase, Peak TV still hasn’t peaked!)
Tim Goodman, who has thought and written about the implications of Peak TV as much as anyone, recently argued that viewers need TV critics who will act as curators. More than ever, it seems, viewers were in need of knowledgeable guides who point them to “the missed, the lost, and the essential.”
That sounded like a plan to me, so I told Jed I was in.
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