First, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I ate a ton as usual but this year was particularly special because it was the first year that my nieces and nephews contributed dishes to the big dinner. They made two different kinds of mashed potatoes as well as some addictive little cookies! Pretty neat, eh? I also attended a pot luck Friendsgiving at Kat and Ricky’s place two days later with more fantastic food, the highlight for me being Ricky’s kimchee fried rice. Mildly spicy with a hint of sweetness, it was exactly my kind of flavor profile. Good stuff.
Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about is TV. This week brought a couple of unexpected changes to my cable system’s channel lineup. Apparently the MojoHD Channel is no longer. Supposedly the channel was conceived in order to provide all-HD programming during a time when there wasn’t much available. The company line is that nowadays there is enough HD content from so many other sources that there is no longer a need for their channel. We all know that the economy is more likely the real culprit here, but whatever. The bottom line is that we have lost the channel that brought us great shows like After Hours with Daniel Boulud and the pub crawling series Three Sheets, as well as low brow but sometimes amusing drivel like Getting Abroad (the host goes to foreign countries to try and hook up with local women) and I Bet You (Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak wander aimlessly inventing ways to wager against each other). Too bad. But on the positive side, there have been quite a few great additions to the channel lineup recently…
The art channel GalleryHD has a couple of shows I particularly enjoy. One is Art of The Heist which relates in great detail various art thefts throughout history. Another is Concrete Canvas which follows sidewalk chalk artist Julian Beever around the globe to let us see how he creates his mind blowing anamorphic 3D drawings. Really fascinating to watch as his sidewalk art comes to life right before our eyes.
But considering my regular viewing habits, the most important HD channel additions came just today- Bravo HD and CNBC HD+. Finally I get to watch Top Chef in HD! Woo hoo! And now that I basically work from home I tend to watch CNBC all day long, so having it in HD is simply awesome. And the “+” in CNBC HD+ is an additional side column of additional charts, data and sometimes an additional video so that you can keep one eye on things like which automaker CEO is currently getting grilled at the Senate banking committee hearings. It’s like picture in picture for financial news junkies!
Watching this new CNBC HD+ makes me think just how far business coverage on television has come in my lifetime. Back when I first really became Money it was because of my precocious obsession with the stock market. It was the early 80’s and the only thing on TV to satisfy my hunger for market info was the half hour Nightly Business Report on PBS. If I missed that, I would actually have to wait until the following day’s newspaper to see how my stock and mutual fund picks were doing! And then once a week, there would be Louis Rukeyser on Wall St. Week. But that was it. Looking back, man, it was like the dark ages; I don’t know how we lived like that. But as the years have rolled by, it brought us CNBC and the internet and now we are awash in more information than we can consume. Hallelujah! One really cool footnote- when I was a kid and first started watching the NBR, it was hosted by Paul Kangas and Dean Shepherd. Astonishingly, Paul Kangas still hosts it! That dude has seen so much and he’s still going strong. How cool is that?
But even CNBC is way different than when it first started and in my opinion, it’s all good. When I started watching CNBC again recently my first reaction was one of surprise. Not at the quality or timeliness of the info, not at the production values and cool graphics, no, even though all those things are in fact there, I was more struck by how they’ve stacked the entire programming day with attractive women! Every business day gets filled with Becky Quick, Maggie Brennan, Melissa Francis, Michelle Caruso Cabrera, Melissa Lee, Maria Bartiromo and of course everybody’s favorite, the workaholic Erin Burnett. Every one of these women knows their stuff and have high financial bullshit detectors. It’s awesome watching them do their thing and not just because they’re attractive. Erin in particular is distractingly good looking, but she’s smart as a whip and likes to have fun with her cohorts on air which makes her seem the most effortlessly hot. Though I will say she looks better in the morning and in my opinion, the makeup person that gets to her after lunch goes a bit overboard. But what do I know, I hate makeup as a rule. I’ll probably write a separate entry on CNBC at some point because they’ve got a lot of personalities and shows that I wanna talk about and it would be a long post in itself. For now, all I’ll say is that this crazy economy has made CNBC every bit as compelling to watch as anything else on TV. And even though I may have lost my Mojo, I look forward to waking up with Erin Burnett every morning!