Oh no, did I help get President Fraud elected? (No, but Mark Burnett has a lot to answer for.)

It’s Tuesday, which means we are five weeks away from Election Day, two weeks from early voting in Texas.

Here is a story about hero parrots in a zoo in the U.K. who had to be taken off display because they were cursing so much at the zoo visitors:

He said: “For the last 25 years, we have always taken in parrots that have sometimes had a bit of blue language and we have really got used to that.

“Every now and then you’ll get one that swears and it’s always funny. We always find it very comical when they do swear at you.

“But, just by coincidence, we took in five in the same week and because they were all quarantined together it meant that one room was just full of swearing birds.

“The more they swear the more you usually laugh which then triggers them to swear again.

“But when you get four or five together that have learnt the swearing and naturally learnt the laughing so when one swears, one laughs and before you know it just got to be like an old working men’s’ club scenario where they are all just swearing and laughing.”

The birds were soon put out on display – but it didn’t take long before the swearing resumed.

Mr Nichols, who admits it is rather funny when the birds swear, said: “Literally within 20 minutes of being in the introductory we were told that they had sworn at a customer and for the next group of people, all sorts of obscenities came out.”

Sadly, there is no video of these brave birds, so here’s Pebble the cursing cockatoo instead:

We all agree, Pebble.

Political Crap

A relative who shall for today’s purposes remain nameless once blamed me for the rise of Donald Trump. This was back during the 2016 primary season, and this relative was furious with what Donald Trump was doing to his Republican party: eliminating all the responsible adults in the room and shredding conservative values in his wake. It was my fault that this was happening, according to this relative’s logic, because I wrote about reality shows like The Bachelor and The Real Housewives. Now, nevermind the fact that I did not write about The Apprentice, Celebrity-flavored or Original Recipe, and nevermind the fact that anyone who has read my recaps of these shows knows that I am not exactly a fan. But according to this logic, the mere fact that I promoted the reality genre at all was enough to make me complicit with what this rouged huckster was doing to a once principled political party.

And you know what? Maybe this relative wasn’t entirely wrong. If it weren’t for reality television, we might not be stuck with President Short-Fingered Vulgarian today.

According to more reporting from The New York Times on President YOU’RE FIRED!’s tax returns, in 2002, he was $352.8 million in debt with no prospects for turning around his fortunes when Mark Burnett approached him with a reality show idea. Always game for self-promotion, President Spraytan readily agreed.

Some of Mr. Burnett’s staff members wondered how a wealthy businessman supposedly running a real estate empire could spare the time, but they soon discovered that not everything in Mr. Trump’s world was as it appeared.

“We walked through the offices and saw chipped furniture,” Bill Pruitt, one of the producers, told The New Yorker in 2018. “We saw a crumbling empire at every turn. Our job was to make it seem otherwise.”

Mr. Burnett wasted no time spinning the illusion of a successful and high-minded Mr. Trump, telling The Times in October 2003 that the new show was all about “Donald Trump giving back” by educating the public on how his can-do spirit had provided jobs and economic security.

“What makes the world a safe place right now?” Mr. Burnett said. “I think it’s American dollars, which come from taxes, which come because of Donald Trump.”

Thanks to The Apprentice, audiences bought into the illusion that President Welfare Queen was a successful businessman when in reality, he hadn’t paid taxes in years because he had mounted so many losses. And then suddenly, he was not just making money from the show, he was also spinning the success of The Apprentice into endorsements, licensing deals, and multi-level marketing and Ponzi schemes.

No endorsement was too small. Warner Music paid $100,000 to feature Mr. Trump in a collection of cellphone ringtones, with the Donald uttering phrases like, “You’re getting a phone call, and believe me, it better be important. I have no time for small talk, and neither do you.”

Unilever, which was looking to promote a new version of its All brand laundry detergent, concocted an entire multiplatform marketing campaign around Mr. Trump. In addition to $850,000 the company paid him directly, tax records reveal, he earned $250,000 more from a public-relations firm Unilever hired to help run an ad campaign coined “Softness fit for a Trump.”

In what would be his most lucrative side deal, he teamed up with a multilevel marketing company, ACN, whose clients were told they could make a living from home by selling video phones, satellite television and other services. Investigated in several countries, ACN has left a trail of complaints that people were suckered into spending far more than they earned trying to peddle the company’s products.

ACN sold DVDs of Mr. Trump promoting its products, and devoted part of its website to its “Trump partnership,” featuring photos of him appearing at ACN events and his glowing testimonial: “ACN has a reputation for success. Success that’s really synonymous with the Trump name and other successful names, and you can be part of it.”

By the time Mr. Trump featured ACN’s video phone on “The Apprentice” in 2011, the technology was close to obsolete, and yet he played it up, saying, “I think the ACN video phone is amazing.”

As the ratings of The Apprentice dried up, so did the revenue, which is why, some have speculated, he decided to run for President — not because he wanted to actually be President, but so that he could reinvigorate his brand. But even though the show was no longer a primetime hit, the image he created of himself as a successful mogul who had created (and could take away) jobs at a whim stuck in the American psyche, and ultimately helped him win votes from people who believed in this weird notion that we needed our country to be run like a business. To be fair to them, he’s run it like one of his businesses, alright.

And so, while I have always tried to expose reality series for the fabrications that they are — writing about how what the Real Housewives are actually fighting about is not their “friendships” but rather their brands, or how The Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants are conned into thinking they are in “love” when in reality they are just being manipulated by producers and societal expectations — maybe it doesn’t ultimately matter. By acknowledging reality shows at all, I was legitimizing them, and maybe I was making it easier for Americans to bring these attention-starved monsters into their homes, maybe I was making it easier to imagine them in the White House.

I should make it clear here that I don’t actually believe that I have a large enough or impressionable enough audience to have actually had an impact one way or another. But it’s inarguable that thanks to Mark Burnett, The Apprentice, and the gullibility of some television aduiences we have quite a mess on our hands. President Bankruptcy has a mountain of debt coming due — to who, we don’t know. “Who does he owe the money to?” Harris asked on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show. “We need to know that. The American people have a right to know that when the president of the United States acts, he acts with their priorities in mind, not with his priorities in mind.”

And then there was something former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi pointed out on Nicole Wallaces’s show yesterday, something I had not considered, but put a chill down my spine:



The first debate is tonight. Stock up on your favorite booze and print out these bingo cards and I’ll see you all on the other side.


Anita Hill’s Hollywood Commission has found that a solid 2/3rds of workers in the industry do not believe powerful sexual harassers and offenders will be held accountable. The commission is launching a platform for victims to report harassment and abuse as well as a training program to help teach people how to respond or offer support if they witness harassment.

That asshole Bryan Callen isn’t going anywhere: he’s now suing the husband of the woman who accused him of raping her.

Cincinnati Reds TV broadcaster Thom Brennaman has resigned a month after making an anti-gay slur during a broadcast.

The Jeffrey Epstein flight logs have been ordered to be handed over to the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands. Look out, gross old men!

Oh. Two men have sued Fox News’ Andrew Napolitano for rape and sexual assault. 

ViacomCBS investigated CEO Bob Bakish for touching a woman inappropriately and reported they found nothing.

Eddie Redmayne is both-sidesing the J.K. Rowling controversy, claiming everyone is equally bad. OK.

Going Viral

So, TV and movie productions have invented a new job as part of their COVID safety: a “COVID Compliance Officer.” Except, there are no official rules or regulations for the role, and they’re just hiring anyone. Additionally, productions are working around them when they don’t like what the Compliance Officers are telling them to do. Everything is fine.

Genius: Aretha will resume production this week. It was originally set to debut on Memorial Day.

To inspire his cast and crew to resume production on Fargo, Noah Hawley wrote a letter to them, invoking the fact that Tom Cruise is going to film a movie in outer space so the LEAST they could do is put on a damn face mask and go to work. I mean, not exactly, but kinda.

Disney’s D23 Expo has been pushed back to 2022. Meanwhile, they’re pressuring California politicians to pressure the governor to reopen the parks, so sure.

Dr. Fauci takes issue with Fox News’s bullshit for some reason.

A damning report came out in The New York Times yesterday showing how the White House attempted to pressure the CDC to play down the risk to children returning to school and suggest that the pandemic was weakening.

A member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff said she was repeatedly asked by Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, to get the C.D.C. to produce more reports and charts showing a decline in coronavirus cases among young people.

Mr. Short dispatched junior members of the vice president’s staff to circumvent the C.D.C. in search of data he thought may better support the White House’s position, said Olivia Troye, the aide, who has since resigned.

In another instance, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, pushed the C.D.C. to incorporate a document from a mental health agency inside the Department of Health and Human Services that warned school closures would have a long-term effect on the mental health of children and that asymptomatic children were unlikely to spread the virus.

Scientists at the C.D.C. pointed out numerous errors in the document and raised concerns that it appeared to minimize the risk of the coronavirus to school-age children, according to an edited version of the document obtained by The New York Times.


The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings have suspended club activities after three Titans players and five employees tested positive.



Over in Florida, Governor DeSantis has flung the state wide open, 100% no restrictions. So, of course at FSU there was a party with 1,000 people in attendance. What else could possibly be expected?

I can’t imagine why we’re losing our hair and cracking our teeth.


All Other TV News

Disney+ is also offering a social viewing feature, called “Group Watch.”

Back when they left Saturday Night Live to film The Blues Brothers, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd sent their fellow castmates a telegram to congratulate them on the new season. It is very sweet:

“So here we are the veterans gone Hollywood. We are locked in mobile homes staring blankly at fake wood paneling waiting interminably for lighting set ups. Now, on the eve of your grand, brave, new season, we wish you solid premises, big ratings, good spirits and the best of luck,” they wrote. “Both of us genuinely miss the atmosphere of Dirty Rock in the fall, The renewal of friendships with the crew, the creative exchange with the cast and writers. Most of all, we missed the challenge, immediacy and ultimate finality of the worky ou are continuing and the urgent purposes gave our lives. Here in the Midwest we will be watching with the millions. We remain your propagandists, your defenders and above all your biggest fans. It’s lonely at the top, and even if it isn’t the top, it’s still lonely. P.S.”

The Orville IS WORKING ON IT, guys. BACK OFF.

Oh, this is interesting: The BBC is threatening to fire employees or strip them of their social media accounts if they violate their impartiality rules for social media.

Top Chef will be set in Portland, Oregon this season. Can’t wait to see how the chefs are inspired by cooking in an “anarchist jurisdiction!” What will they make with pepper spray?

Congratulations, Meghan McCain and baby Liberty.


In Development

Casting News

Mark Your Calendars

  • The Crown returns on Netflix on November 15.
  • Connecting … will debut on NBC on October 8.
  • Saved by the Bell will debut Peacock on November 25.
  • Vampires vs. the Bronx will debut on Netflix on October 2.
  • Everest’s Greatest Mystery will premiere on Discovery on October 11.
  • Madagascar: A Little Wild will debut on Hulu on October 21.


Kevin Burns, Creator of Ancient Aliens and producer on the Lost in Space reboot


The First Presidential Debate: While I’m looking forward to them, I genuinely wonder who needs the debates — WHO HASN’T DECIDED BETWEEN THESE TWO ALREADY???? 8 p.m., ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, CSPAN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, Vice

Weakest Link: Jane Lynch hosts the reboot of this trivia game show. Series premiere. 7 p.m., NBC

True Colors: The stories of Hispanic trailblazers, including Alex Rodríguez, John Leguizamo, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mario Lopez, Ellen Ochoa, Laurie Hernandez, Lele Pons, and Ángela Aguilar, are explored in this new series. Series premiere. Peacock

Late Night:

  • Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: John Cena, BTS
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers: Sarah Silverman, Lili Reinhart, Phoebe Bridgers, Jessica Burdeaux
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Sen. Cory Booker, Public Enemy
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden: Andrew Rannells, Brittany Howard
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live: Sen. Bernie Sanders, Kal Penn, Haim
  • The Daily Show: The Daily Social Distancing Show
  • Watch What Happens Live: Kathie Lee Gifford, Gloria Estefan


TUES. 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
ABC 20/20
Presidential Debate
CBS Love Island
Presidential Debate
CW Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Tell Me a Story
FOX Cosmos: Possible Worlds
Presidential Debate
NBC Weakest Link
Presidential Debate

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