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Suddenly, his decision to leave E.T. seems so much clearer. It's
not that he wants to rescind the mediasphere ubiquity he's achieved
via E.T.; he simply recognizes that television is a dying medium.
The Web represents the future, and thus Tesh will now focus the
majority of his promotional energy here. His site isn't exactly
groundbreaking, but then again, how many celebrities actually have
their own URL? And even though the content is somewhat skimpy now,
it does boast a few nice touches. You can, for example, listen to a
RealAudio clip of Tesh's music or download a Red Rocks video
clip. And of course you can purchase all his CDs, as well as Tesh
t-shirts, mouse pads, and even a Tesh screensaver. Personally,
I think screensavers are the true growth area for Tesh memorabilia,
and predict that www.tesh.com will soon start offering a whole slew
of them. Indeed, I can even imagine www.tesh.com establishing a
new, subscription-based service: soothing TeshMusic and imagery
constantly piped into one's computer. They could call it TeshCast.
With such compelling opportunities lying ahead of him, it's no
wonder Tesh decided to leave E.T. at this time.
Given that Tesh wears size 14 1/2 shoes, E.T.'s producers will undoubtedly have a hard time filling them. Like Jerry Garcia, Tesh seems fairly irreplaceable; it would be a fitting tribute to his impact on the infotainment world if his former bosses simply chose to leave his chair behind the E.T. anchordesk empty forever after. But apparently he'll receive no such respect. Already the rumour is that Bob Goen, E.T. weekend anchor, will take over Tesh's duties full-time.
While Goen has a somewhat Teshian pedigree--on the road to E.T., he's put in time as a DJ, reporter, and game show host--he's ultimately uncompelling. The fact that he once landed a modeling job for Bride magazine suggests the problem: he is little more than a lifesize version of the plastic groom that sits atop a wedding cake.
Before E.T. makes its final decision on the matter, I hope they'll at least consider some other candidates. If Tesh had quit a couple years ago, the obvious choice would have been Greg Kinnear, whose various TV hosting duties during the late 80s and early 90s had fixed him in the minds of the cathode cognoscenti as the thinking man's Tesh. But now Kinnear has his own network show and a burgeoning movie career, and is thus unavailable.
Another oft-considered candidate is Steve Kmetko. For years now, he's been vying for a spot in the E.T. universe, but the best he's managed to do is land a gig at E.T. facsimile, E! News Daily. Despite a kind of Marlboro Man by way of Newport Beach countenance, Kmetko has slightly less presence than those transparent cable channel logos that hover in the low corners of the TV screen, and questionable dimensionality. In researching this article, I could find no biographical information on him at all; it's possible he exists solely in the realm of TV. While a lack of depth is a detriment in the case of Goen, it is so pronounced in Kmetko that it becomes an asset. If Kmetko is indeed as devoid of resonance as he appears, he could be an intriguing replacement for Tesh.
I think that the best choice to replace Tesh, however, is Arsenio Hall. If he's still alive, that is. I haven't heard much about him in recent years, so I suppose it's possible he's left this vale of tears. But if he's still woofing, the E.T. producers should consider him. In appearance, he has the same cathode-friendly blandsomeness that Tesh has, and in manner, that same Pennzoil smoothness. Perhaps most importantly, he never seems hesitant or embarrassed to ask a fellow celebrity a really, really fawning question. To succeed in the infotainment business, you can't take yourself too seriously, and Hall seems to understand this. If Tesh were choosing a successor, I'm sure he’d give him the nod.