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For millions of Americans, John Tesh is a daily fact of life. Every weeknight
at 7:30 he appears on our TV screens, blow-dried and Armanied, poised to
deliver the latest Hollywood news and gossip. His resonant baritone is like a
gong signaling the end of the work day and the beginning of weeknight leisure, a
long evening on the couch in front of the Trinitron.
In his role as E.T. anchorman, Tesh serves as a kind of human conjunction. The vertiginous swirl of blockbuster movie openings, courtroom soap operas, pop royalty weddings, coffee-table book signings, and model-garnished charity benefits that make up today's mediasphere acquire a sense of continuity when Tesh--golden beacon of mellifluous calm--relates them to us. With the continuity that Tesh provides, there comes a crucial sense of comfort, a feeling that despite the constant implosions, percolations, mutations, and make-overs that fuel our meta-media culture, there is yet order in the world.
Walter Cronkite became a national monument for his ability to make the complex events of his times seem comprehendable. Dan Rather and his competitors Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings each earn millions of dollars, the public's trust, and journalism's highest awards for their ability to do the same.
But what of Tesh?
On the air for over nine years as E.T.'s anchor, he has broadcast approximately 10,000 entertainment news stories to the nation. And yet, his harder-than-it-looks ability to segue smoothly from an account of a has-been child-actor's arrest to a promo for Danielle Steele's latest miniseries to a behind-the-scenes look at Arnold Schwarzeneggar exercising his flinch-inducing charm upon unsuspecting scribes at a Hollywood press junket has rewarded him, mainly, it seems, with scorn...