“Talent” Shows are Mostly Nonsense
Knowing that there is about as much attention paid to terrestrial “talent” and “quiz” shows by our audience as there is attention paid to the intricacies of mining black coal in Appalachia, the current contretemps between Gabrielle Union — wife of basketball player Dwayne Wade — and the producers at NBC’s America’s Got Talent, might have been missed here.
However, just like with the errant Cats trailer review, occasionally we have to break up the endless Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker rectal exams with something else, because, after all, there are more things in the entertainment universe than Kathleen Kennedy’s latest cinematic abortion.
Let us read from the trades to get a bead on what’s been going on with Gabrielle Union, Simon Cowell, and the NBC producers of America’s Got Talent:
Women’s advocacy group Time’s Up and numerous top stars are sending messages of support to Gabrielle Union, following accounts of a toxic culture on the set of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, from which she was dismissed last week.
The outpour comes on the heels of an exclusive report from Variety that Union would not return to the show after her first year as a judge, and a subsequent report about a string of complaints she made regarding insensitivities to minorities throughout the past season.
And here we go: A minority woman was dismissed from a show where she made multiple complaints about the “toxic” work environment that included the following:
- Simon Cowell being allowed to smoke wherever and whenever he wants and no one can tell him “no,” not even the State of California Fire Inspector.
- Union standing up for an African American contestant who was dismissed from the show after she was told by the producers that he wouldn’t “play” with the audience of America’s Got Talent.
- Celebrity guest judge Jay Leno making a joke about a contestant’s painting that featured Asians and dogs, cracking that it “would look good hanging in a Korean restaurant.”
- Union being told by show producers that her analysis of the “talent” on the show was “too black.”
How did we miss this?
What Did Union Actually Expect?
As you would expect, celebrity, white, female Twitter has gone off about this with the following observations:
Ellen Pompeo, star of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, sent out scathing tweets that alluded to larger cultural issues at NBC.
“It’s unfortunate that @nbc the same network that protected disgusting men like Matt Lauer and punished women for speaking out or not putting up with it…has not changed their practices or culture,” Pompeo said, adding that she supports Union’s “commitment to speaking up to injustice. It takes courage.“
Ahh, yes. Matt Lauer.
That guy is going to be endlessly trotted out as a Boogie Man for years by any activist that wants to get after NBC.
And the following:
Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette called the incidents uncovered in reports “terrible,” saying the host “should not be penalized for trying to have a workplace that honors the rule of law in the workplace.”
Arquette also called on actors union SAG-AFTRA to intervene.
Arquette is a peach.
In case you don’t believe me, go check out her Twitter feed where she apologizes for being an “advantaged” white female on the regular.
By the way, who knew Jay Leno had anything other than banal, boring, “comedy” in him?
Where Is This All Going to Go?
Well, Union has been “rotated out” from the judges’ circle of America’s Got Talent, much to her chagrin.
And, when you combine that fact with the fact that Howie Mandel has been a judge on the show for the last ten years and has never been rotated out, well, you can expect the EEOC complaints to commence dropping from the sky like snowflakes.
Three possibilities in all of this:
- The whole thing slowly unwinds America’s Got Talent and the show, finally, mercifully, goes away. The chances of this happening are about slim to none.
- The whole thing riles up interest in America’s Got Talent and turns out to be a massive ratings grab head-fake on the part of Union, Cowell, the producers and everyone involved. The chances of this being a reality are better than slim to none because Union is an activist more than she is an actress. Or a judge of talent.
- The whole thing creates some back end stir — maybe someone finally goes up to Cowell and reminds him that, in America, you can have relations with the talent, but smoking is considered a health hazard — and then winds up as a nothing burger. This is the most likely scenario, with Cowell having to stop puffing his cancer sticks for a little while AFTRA is up his butt about working conditions on the show where he owns over 50% of the property itself.
But, are we wrong in our analysis? Sound off below.