The same day ABC dropped Mel, ABCNews.com ran a story titled "Is There Truth in a Drunken Man's Words?" and subtitled "Does Mel Gibson's Alleged Drunken Tirade Give Insight Into His True Feelings?"
Um, does an ABC spokesperson's sober flakery give insight into her true feelings? I mean, surely Hope C. Hartman really wanted to say that Gibson's spectacular implosion freaked out everyone at ABC, and that the network no longer wanted to work on a Holocaust project with someone who had revealed himself to be a raving anti-Semite. Instead, ABC suggested that the only issue at hand was commerce: Gibson hadn't delivered product.
Of course, since ABC parent Disney announced its intentions to go ahead with the release of Gibson's latest big-screen epic, "Apocalypto," ABC had to bite its tongue. In other words, the only real issue at hand really is commerce -- because Gibson has delivered other product whose potential blockbusterhood could directly/indirectly benefit ABC.
A Gibson-produced Holocaust miniseries, of course, was an appalling idea from the get-go, given the way that Gibson positioned and marketed his "Passion of the Christ," and the fact that he's never condemned the views of his father, a notorious Holocaust denier. Last week's turn of events just goes to show how unbelievably difficult it is to kill horrible ideas (and sideline horrible people) in Hollywood -- or in any other media realm, for that matter. After a brief Mea Culpa Tour, watch for Mel's big comeback.
Pay Us or Else ... Everyone Continues to Suffer!
How curious that last week Hearst announced a deal with Philips Electronics for a $2 million sponsorship of no-subscription-card issues of Redbook, O At Home, Weekend and House Beautiful. The tagline of the promotion will be "Simplicity is not having subscription cards fall out of your magazine." The implicit message is, "Meanwhile, our other titles will be just as un-simple and maddening as ever!"
I smell a fantastic new marketing niche: Henceforth, advertisers will increasingly pay various media companies to suck less, if only briefly. Consider some possible upcoming announcements:
~ ~ ~ Got ideas for other such less-is-more campaigns? Send them to email@example.com. You may be quoted in a future column -- and you'll be eligible to win a bag of Media Guy swag.