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Posts Tagged ‘Sandra Bullock’

How Betty White got screwed by the Winter Olympics

Posted by andreaitis on February 12, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 11:  Actress Betty White atten...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

She’s the hottest octogenarian ever. Golden Girl Betty White may have started her showbiz career in the 1940s but these days you haven’t hit the big time until you’ve gone viral. Now, finally, the 88-year-old actress has arrived: Betty White is a real live meme.

More than 245,000 people have joined a Facebook campaign suggesting Betty White host Saturday Night Live. You hear that and you think, “Huh. Good idea, Internets.” The Facebook page Betty White to Host SNL (please?)! has been gathering momentum with status updates and blog posts and twittering and re-twittering.
Are you listening, Lorne Michaels?

Dear Lorne Michaels...Please let Betty White host SNL.  Love, the Internets.

Dear Lorne Michaels...Please let Betty White host SNL. Love, the Internets

You can’t really call this a comeback since Betty White never went away. She is on quite a streak, though, the kind  that makes Chevy Chase, Mickey Rourke and Jay Leno drool with envy.

The streak started with Betty White’s role in the movie The Proposal, alongside Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Is she funny in the movie? Yes. But she’s even funnier in this behind-the-scenes spoof.

[youtubevid id=”wn1r1jb4–k”]

That sent Betty White and the phrase “ab-crunching jackass” into the digital galaxy. In the past month, though, Betty kicked it up three notches:
1. She accepted the SAG Lifetime Achievement award with this line: “I look out at this audience and I see so many famous faces. But what really boggles my mind is that I actually know many of you. And I’ve worked with quite a few. ::beat:: Maybe had a couple.”

2. She was the surprise star of a Super Bowl ad:
[youtubevid id=”X1Sv_z9jm8A”]

3. She became the subject of the aforementioned grassroots Facebook campaign to get her to host Saturday Night Live, which prompted coverage from NPR and the New York Times.

All good, right?  Wrong.  As Betty White knows, timing is everything.  In this case, the timing could not be more off. You see, there is a new formula for today’s multimedia economy:

Digital Presence + Story Arc = Window of Opportunity

In the past, the Window of Opportunity would stay open weeks at a time.  As information immediacy grew with blogging and Facebook and Twitter, the WoO closed bit by bit.   Television has four Sweeps periods each year; in the digital world every day is Sweeps.  Scratch that, every hour is Sweeps.  Looking at the formula in Betty White’s case, the timeline is pretty clear.   Her digital presence is high, her story arc is peaking, the window of opportunity is now.  She should be on Saturday Night Live tomorrow night.

Enter the Winter Olympics.  More than 2,500 athletes from 80+ countries over 17 days  are collectively ruining the Betty White SNL dream.  All that Olympic-ness is on NBC, home of — you got it — Saturday Night Live.   In fact, SNL isn’t even on the air tomorrow night.  The next show is scheduled for February 27th with Jennifer Lopez as host.   Anything can happen between now and then, 15 days is an eternity in the tweet life.  One thing, though, will most certainly occur:  the Betty White momentum will stall.  Might she still appear on SNL?  Very possibly.  Will we still tune in on a Saturday night two weeks from now with hopeful anticipation?  Very possibly not.  If it happens, we’ll catch it on Hulu the next day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Betty White host SNL.  It’s exactly the kind of surprise that show needs.  But the meme-line demands it happen now to take advantage of the build-up, the Betty White mind-meld.  With the 2010 Winter Olympics starting tonight, we’re already off meme’ing about Vancouver and luge and the fateful turn of events.

Still, the idea of Betty White on SNL is too good to let it fall into the short-attention-span precipice. So Lorne Michaels, here’s what you should do:  Make Betty White a regular. Have her join the cast of Saturday Night Live.  Let Betty White pop in and out of every show in an unexpected and surprising way.   She can sing with Samberg.  Report the news with Seth.  Hijack JLo’s monologue — or better yet, sing and dance backup.

We’ll never know when she’ll show up or how, but we’ll all keep watching and waiting for Betty White.   If you really want to shake things up, don’t even tell the cast members which skits she’ll be in.   Let’s see what happens when you go off-script with improvisation and ad-lib.  A cameo by Abe Vigoda wouldn’t hurt, either.

The new meme starts now:  Put Betty White on SNL, and put the Live back into Saturday Night.

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From fawn to yawn: How social media is killing the awards show

Posted by andreaitis on February 2, 2010

Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and they were as boring as Anne Hathaway’s beige pantsuit.

Announcing 2010 Oscar Nominations.  Y-a-a-a-w-n.

Announcing 2010 Oscar Nominations. Y-a-a-a-w-n.

Sure, the people  who win awards care about them. And the people who are nominated care about them until they don’t win and then they rationalize the superciliousness of awarding one another trinkets for perceived validation.

Aside from the winners and the wanna-be-winners, does anyone one else care anymore?  After nodding off during the Golden Globes and then the Grammys, I’m thinking not so much.  To be fair, most of the Grammy performances were worth watching.  It was the awards part that felt like filler.  T/S’er Leor Galil noticed as well in  Another ‘Grammys are irrelevant’ post.

So, what gives?

Two words:  Social. Media.

That’s right, social media is killing the awards show.    We used to watch awards shows because they were the only chance we had to live vicariously, to see celebrities as themselves or dolled-up versions of themselves.  We could relate — Sandra Bullock winning a Golden Globe is kind of like when I came in third place during that district spelling bee in 5th grade.   Dressed up?  Check.  Trophy presented?  Check.  Accomplishment recognized?  Double check.

But now, I no longer need to wait for an awards show to get an intimate glimpse of a celebrity, and I no longer need to rely on the “expertise” of those selecting the winners.   Social media gives me access to celebrities and experts on my terms, allowing me to call the shots.   Rather than a network programming my awards season for me,  I can do it myself through blogs, twitter feeds, podcasts and videos.    Social media is, to a large extent, the great equalizer.

I watched the Golden Globes specifically because Ricky Gervais was hosting, and I was disappointed.   Mel Gibson joke aside, it was a multimedia dose of ambien.  Lesson learned.  I’m much better off going to Ricky’s blog, where I learn he just did a photo shoot, his mate’s missing dog was found and  his day consisted of “More junkets.  Went for a run.  Drank wine.  Watched telly.”

I can follow celebs on twitter, including my fave awards show host and current crush Neil Patrick Harris (@actuallynph on twitter and yes I know he’s gay but I’m still crushing).  I can even interact directly with celebs, responding to their twitter messages or commenting on their blogs.   Sometimes, a-hem,  Jon Favreau might even retwitter you.

jon favreau twitter 2-2-2010 9-53-47 AM

But mostly, it’s about the ever-growing voice of public opinion.   It’s about what movie or music my Facebook friends favor, rather than the Foreign Press Association.   It’s about what’s trending on my Twitter feed, with my carefully-curated list of people I follow.  It’s about technology giving us an all-access pass, letting us in behind the velvet rope.  I imagine many actors watched the Academy Award nominations much as I did this morning, viewing the live stream on my laptop.  They will follow the media flow in the same way as well, googling and twittering and clicking on multiple devices.

We’re no longer handcuffed to the entertainment experts presented to us through traditional media venues.  Celebrities can listen not just to the professional critic,  but also to the amateur and fan.   I listen to the opinions that matter to me;  I can find, choose and follow those voices.  Through social media we are achieving what art is all about — freedom of expression — and in doing so we are de-valuing the monopolistic voices that drove public opinion for so long.

I’ll still watch the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7th, to see how Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin fare as  co-hosts and to see the dresses and drama.   It will no longer be a Big Event for me, though.  I’ll likely be multi-tasking with the TV on and TweetDeck open.   Like the Golden Globes and the Grammys, the Oscars have lost their luster.   To shine again they need a significant overhaul that takes into account how we consume media today.  That means more than a go-to-the-website -to-vote-for-a-Bon-Jovi-song gimmick.   Seriously, that’s the best you can do?  For an industry that is grounded in story-telling,  imagination, creativity and magic, remaking the awards show should be a worthy opportunity and challenge.

My six-year-old put it all in perspective when I told her about the Oscars.  She said, simply,  “Oh, they just want you to go to the movies so they can make more money.”

Members of the Academy, the future generation of awards-show-watchers are waiting in the wings.   Go ahead.  Make their day.

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