|“The Apprentice” has “You’re fired!” and Donald Trump. “American Idol” has “That was simply awful” and Simon Cowell. And we’re sure Jann Wenner can easily play the meanie on cue when needed.
We’re sure it’s still likely to be tons 'o fun, what with Jann telling contestants to straighten their desks and tossing the evil eye at newbies who can’t punctuate Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am’s name or for suggesting a cover story on a band that hasn’t yet shown up on Jann’s radar. We can imagine episodes centering around Jann laying into one of his editors about managing a creative staff, one week Janice Min, the next Will Dana. Either way, it’s probably safe to assume Jann will be key in making the show a hit or miss.
“Jann will be on camera assessing every contestant and will work with them much the way he would with any employee of Rolling Stone,” Gary Armstrong, chief marketing officer, Wenner, told Watercooler.
Unfortunately, this will be no elimination show. Every candidate makes it all the way through. At the end, one of the six to eight contestants gets a one-year job at Rolling Stone.
But think of what might have been. “The Apprentice” has “You’re fired!” and Donald Trump. “American Idol” has “That was simply awful” and Simon Cowell. And we’re sure Jann Wenner can easily play the meanie on cue when needed. If the still-untitled Rolling Stone show had gotten off the ground last year (instead of Hearst Magazines’ “Miss Seventeen,” also on MTV), it could have benefited from the outspoken longtime No. 2 at Wenner Media, the man our Media Guy Simon Dumenco affectionately calls “Dr. Evil,” an executive who has eased many Wenner employees out the front door for good, and the man who left Wenner himself in January: Kent Brownridge.
Kent is, after all, also the man who had to apologize after calling Mr. Pitt’s split with Jennifer Anniston the celebrity weeklies’ own “tsunami” -- in January 2005, about two weeks after the world witnessed a real tsunami. He ruled Wenner offices with an iron fist, no velvet glove needed. He’s also one of the few executives to sustain a long career in a business notorious for its insularity by not being shy about saying exactly what he thought was wrong with the industry. He would not, we imagine, be shy about telling contestants exactly how they don’t measure up.
Now that would have been great TV.