The notion that Parker Spitzer, the new primetime news show starring
syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker and less-than-squeaky-clean former
New York governor Eliot Spitzer
, would save CNN always struck us as
(Time Warner executives apparently felt the same way, firing
network president Jonathan Klein last month before the show even began
taping.) Based on the responses to last night's premiere episode, the
show's problems extend beyond a mere uninspired conceit. Simply put, the
thing's a disaster:
- Bad Touch Time's James
Poniewozik couldn't get past the postage-stamp sized table Parker,
Spitzer and their guests had to sit at for the duration of the program.
"Ugh, it was just too close," says Poniewozik of the table, the surface
area of which was roughly "the size of a medium pizza." Poniewozik's
only half-kidding when he writes, "I think I may have felt someone's
knee touch mine."
- On Borrowed Time Klein's dismissal effectively
removed the show's biggest booster, writes The Guardian's Dan
Kennedy. Without Klein on-hand to fight for his labor of love,
Parker Spitzer made its "debut with more than a whiff of carnage in the
air." The show's inept formatting make it impossible to take seriously
as news, observes Kennedy, forcing critics to fall back on aesthetic
critiques. Kennedy, for his part, is more than happy to oblige, noting
that "having Spitzer and Parker sit so close together and trade sly
banter is just plain creepy."
- Spitzer Strikes Out The New York
Peyser doubts the show will do much to rehabilitate Spitzer's
bruised public image. Peyser notes Spitzer appeared visibly
uncomfortable for much of the night, "squirming like a flounder and
blushing a terrible shade of crimson" as he "rested his knees clumsily
against those of Parker" behind that infamous table. On the whole,
concludes Peyser, it was a "merciless program" with a distinct
"freakshow quality" that colored the proceedings.
- So Dated If
young viewers are what CNN's after, last night's show was a colossal
flop, writes The New Republic's Jesse
Singal. Everything about Parker Spitzer seemed musty and out-dated,
especially the "up-tempo jazz introduction which marks this as a show
for middle-aged folks ready to pour themselves a glass of Shiraz and get
just a tiny little bit randy."
- Bad Match Parker and Spitzer just
aren't pleasant to watch together, says Alessandra
Stanley of The New York Times. There's an "ickiness factor" to all
their interactions. "Last week," Stanley recalls, "Larry King told the
duo that they had 'chemistry' — if so, it carries a queasy whiff of
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