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The Deacon's Bench

Further evidence that the great movie “Network” wasn’t a satire, but a prophecy. NBC News correspondent Natalie Morales has lent her name and credibility (whatever is left of it) to “The Marriage Ref,” Jerry Seinfeld’s attempt at reality TV comedy. As the website MediaBistro noted:

“Marriage Ref” is a new Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show where a panel of celebrity judges weigh in on a married couple’s disagreements. Morales serves under the title “Just the Facts Ma’am,” where she provides oddball factoid information.The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes today, “‘Marriage Ref’ is a cute enough show but is it really necessary to drag the NBC News brand through the mindless entertainment?” Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker writes, “Far from being dismayed that a TV-news person would agree to sit onstage trolling Google for factoids about how using a stripper pole ‘burns 250 calories an hour,’ I applaud Morales for showing both a sense of humor and the simple truth about TV-news readers — i.e., these people aren’t exactly investigative journalists.”

NBC tells us Morales will be a regular on the comedy show and that her participation “was vetted and approved by NBC News, and it has no effect on her role as an anchor and correspondent for NBC News.”

You can see the tacky and tasteless results for yourself below, in a brief excerpt.


Meantime, below is a classic moment from “Network” that shows the brilliance of screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky — and, not insignificantly, the genius of Peter Finch, too, who won a posthumous Oscar for this performance. Over 30 years later, it still stings.  (Anyone who has seen even snippets of Beck or Olbermann can feel here the queasy sense of deja vu.)  Warning: profanity ahead…

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