For all of our friends at NBC News…

…that’s how Katie Couric signed off the Dateline NBC 2-hour special about the end of Friends that aired tonight.

Is the end of Friends news?

If it was described as “a 2-hour infomercial about the last episode of Friends,” that would be accurate. But lending the imprimatur of NBC News to the special seems just plain wrong.

It’s not that Dateline NBC is a paragon of solid journalism — this isn’t the first time it’s been used as a veneer for NBC self-promotion — but the program is produced by the news division, and I wish that still meant something.

What’s next: “Tonight on Nightline: a very special look at My Wife and Kids” or “A 60 minutes exclusive: Life with Ray Romano… what’s it really like?”

If you missed tonight’s Dateline special, fear not: there’s another special, this time focusing on the spin-off Joey series airing on Friday, and next week there’s a very special episode on the end of Frasier.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on May 6, 2004 - 04:17 Permalink

Has anyone else noticed that the CTV evening news now includes “stories” about what will be on CTV morning shows. They are promos for CTV shows, but indistinguishable from the rest of the news. It’s very odd.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on May 6, 2004 - 04:42 Permalink

That’s bad for NBC… then again, their journalistic record went out with the bathwater when they jumped on the US DoD’s “inbedding… er embedding” program and started David Bloom’s (R.I.P.) 1 Infantry Div. cheerleading squad.

My favourite show for blatant self-promotion here at home has always been Live at 5. If they aren’t buying cheap/cheezy packaged skits from U.S. magazines such as Parenting or Do-it-yourself types, etc. then they’re wasting fully 30-45 seconds of almost every 5 minute block just before the extended commercial break talking about what will be coming up after the commercial break. There must be at least 6 minutes of this junk during the run of the show, not even counting the 10-20 minutes of commercials they cram into it. And Maritimers continue to watch it…. amazing.

I’ve read Steve Murphy’s book and met him too — he’s a nice guy and a solid journalist — but ever since Baton bought out the local owners of ATV back in the early/mid-90’s, that network went downhill in the news department. All the regulars have bailed, and except for a few CBC types crossing over during the cutbacks a few years ago and a few old stalwarts kicking around like Dan Viau, there’s not a whole pile of talent out in ATV’s field. If I have a hankering to not watch CBC’s touchy-feely sessions which run on every Canada Now local broadcast across the country from about 18h15-18h30, then Global has my vote. At least it seems more professional and not as amateurish as ATV — outside of news though, there’s not much on that station unless you’re a reality/Hollywood-aholic.

Of course CBC does the blatant self-promotion too — Peter likes to promote Mansbridge One-on-One from time to time, and all the flagship news programs on the main network have little snippets of what’s coming up, just not as onerous as CTV/ATV. I even remember Knowlton Nash would give it over to Barbara Frum for little cross-promos of The Journal. And today, The National seems to have become the place to scoop Disclosure.

Jason's picture
Jason on May 6, 2004 - 11:21 Permalink

Is Friends not over with yet?

Will Pate's picture
Will Pate on May 6, 2004 - 15:38 Permalink

The last episode of Frasier will be the only one to ever receive special status, if only because the world will have less of Kelsey Grammer’s one pretentious old fart of a character. I’m sure he’ll try to take it to broadway if he hasn’t already, but I’m sure he’ll fit in fine there.

We must, on the other hand suffer more Matt LeBlanc, at least he can deliver a joke.