That's Entertainment?

Apparently ABC's recent lackluster programming has so diminished its brand identity that the copywriters charged with creating a new slogan for the languishing network ended up taking the will-smirk-for-food way out: a list of 15 rejected slogans - e.g. "Hey, hey, hey BC!", "You ought to ABC us now" - and the following declaration:

"After 40 years in the broadcasting business, it dawned on us that promoting our shows and our network should be less like getting you to buy a laundry detergent and more like getting you to sit down and enjoy some television. So this year we're going to dispense with the jingle. We're going to dispose of the giant logo. And we're going to do what comes most naturally to an organization that has been entertaining people for more than four decades, we're going to entertain."

Which seems to miss the mark for at least two reasons...

One, the ultimate purpose of ABC's existence is in fact to get me "to buy a laundry detergent."

And two, how can the network expect to sound convincing about that "we're going to entertain" part, when they can't even write an ad with a decent punchline?

On the other hand, one of ABC's new shows for the upcoming fall season does sound pretty promising: ``Nothing Sacred" is about a renegade priest who refuses to go by the Good Book while "sacrificing his own personal goals and desires" and serving a parish full of deviant Catholic sinners.

Ever since Robert Blake's "Helltown" got canned, the preaching-to-the-perverted genre has been severely underrepresented in prime time; while it seems that it would take a miracle for any show to succeed against "Friends," which "Nothing Sacred" will be up against, my prayers go out to it.

-- G. Beato

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