You may have already seen this on the web: NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker is doing an on-air promo for "My Name is Earl," designed to help viewers catch up on the comedy's storyline, which was disrupted by the recent writers' strike. During the promo, Mr. Zucker ogles actress Alyssa Milano as well as the pink-haired cartoon heroine from those Esurance commercials, and also plugs NBC.com and -- get this -- a show on A&E, in which NBC Universal has a stake. (Video after the jump)
No doubt, NBC thought this would be hilarious, goofball, even charming. But here's the thing Hollywood writers and New York media suits don't get: The average Joe doesn't give a whit about the media business, and self-referential jokes that promote advertisers and corporate synergy will -- at least I predict they will -- fall flat.
When he hosted "The Wonderful World of Disney," Uncle Walt always seemed conscious of the fact that he was coming into our living rooms, and behaved accordingly. He never wagged other Disney properties at us (to be fair, Disney didn't own ABC or ESPN back then; perhaps he would have). At the end of the "Earl" promo, Mr. Zucker says to viewers, "JZ Out!" I'm hoping this sort of humor won't be in abundance when NBC unveils its programming schedule for the year ahead April 2.