Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu Rolls Out a Highlights Show–“The Morning After"

Here’s Hulu’s version of a highlights show: “The Morning After,” a five-minute survey of last night’s TV.

It’s the show I told you about last month, and I believe it’s the first one the Web video site–owned by GE’s NBC, Disney’s ABC and News Corp.’s Fox–has commissioned for itself. (News Corp. also owns this Web site.)

Just like Hulu said it would be, it’s a Web show about stuff that aired on TV. Nothing wrong with that–showing people clips of last night’s TV on the Web is a useful thing. I like to do it, a lot.

But this one–or, at least, this episode–is a snoozer. I wouldn’t have made it through all five minutes if my job didn’t require it.

Hulu says this is a preview of the show, and that the joint video venture would like to “develop and evolve the show with your input.”

So okay, Hulu. Here’s my input: You say your inspiration for this show was the Keith Olbermann/Dan Patrick-era “SportsCenter” on ESPN, from way back in the early ’90s.

But go back and watch those shows. See how the anchors are both praising sports and, with a wink, making fun of it? The way they’re telling you that yes, we know you’d watch this stuff all day if you could–so would we!–and yes, we think it’s silly too?

Your show scans a whole lot more like the modern-day “SportsCenter,” which also has clips, and jokes, but without any real self-awareness or bite. So I’d like some more of that, please.

Or put it another way: You know how your first set of TV ads were sharp and funny? Make your show like that!

For whatever reason, I can’t find classic “SportsCenter” clips on Google’s YouTube or anywhere else on the Web. But here’s something very similar: Olbermann doing sports for L.A.’s KCBS in 1989, courtesy Twitter’s Matt Graves:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work