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Can't... Escape... Food... Network... Star
Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | posted by Mike

I was going to go for the Pacino line in Godfather III about getting pulled back in, but I figured it was a bit cliché.

Hey...I didn't see this (perhaps I was asleep at the switch), but did Amy spill the beans about winning the whole shooting match while appearing on local television? An anonymous commenter below pointed us to this video of a local news appearance, which features her saying "on my show...if I win" the week before the final episode. She also mentions the fact that the show had already been taped.

The spot aired on the 19th. It's one thing to say "if I win" or "if I'm lucky enough to get the job" or whatever when you actually don't know, but let's just say she was treading dangerously close to the line on this one.

On another note, Jen (a.k.a. Spooneroonie), a regular at the Television Without Pity forums and a reader here, pointed me towards a blog entry found by fellow TWoPer Ravenna McBride. The entry, which appears on the site run by the food editor of The Record of Bergen County, NJ (and the hometown newspaper of Mrs. TVFF) points out the extreme lengths to which Rory backers went to get her elected. I'm all for campaigning, but the advertisements seem a bit much.

I always think about how politicians feel after losing an election and spending all that money. Especially the ones who self-finance their campaigns. Isn't rule number one of movie-making that you never use your own money? I think they're on to something.

Finally, there's been quite a bit of chatter about how JAG was shown the door, and the question of whether he resigned/was tossed off/got off easy/whatever. The sentiment I've been seeing is that FN should have come down harder on him. While I understand the urge for a pound of flesh, there are some things that you have to keep in mind when scrutinizing the handling of this sort of thing by a high profile organization. And, oddly enough, two recent scandals in sports are helpful in illustrating the point.

When an organization like the Food Network has to publicly deal with a situation such as JAG, they have to do it in a way that allows the departed to save face. They have to ignore the urge, either internal or external, to heap on a helping of embarrassment in addition to the walking papers. Why? Because, regardless of how good it might feel, you have to preserve your ability to deal with other individuals in the future.

If you become known as a loose cannon organization that will toss any "problem" overboard at the drop of the hat, it's going to be very difficult to get other people (even fine, upstanding people) to do business with you if they feel that they have to be constantly worried about being dumped and made into a scapegoat. Often, the organization has to go over and above in offering the face-saving exit, and it is frustrating to the public who wants a high-profile repudiation. But that's just how these things work.

Which brings us to the Atlanta Falcons and Michael Vick. They are honoring the NFL's request that Vick not take part in team practices, but have still retained the "innocent until proven legally guilty" path with Vick. At the same time having the owner publicly state that the charges themselves are revolting.

But if the Falcons were to jettison Vick at the first word of the scandal and send him off with a "don't let the door hit you on the way out," how would that look to future free agent players who are considering signing with the Falcons? Good organizations will eventually do the right thing, but how it's handled is looked at by potential future employees. Why not sign with a team that doesn't embarrass you? With other television networks out there as options for possible talent, Food Network has to keep this dynamic in mind.

The exception to the rule is now being played out with the NBA Tim Donaghy referee scandal. This is a perfect example of the situation where it it perfectly permissible -- even necessary -- to send the offending individual out the door with a swift kick in the rear. The reason is that what he did (allegedly fixing games for gamblers) calls into question the very credibility of the game. If the problem cuts to the core of the organization and if it has the ability to shake the public's faith in the organization to the point that its continued success (or even existence) could be put in jeopardy, you have to vocally and vociferously condemn it. It's like a cancer that requires you cut off the arm lest it spread throughout the rest of your body.

The Food Network wasn't in that sort of situation. JAG's transgression didn't even go far enough to call into question the validity of the competition on the show. His offense against his organization pales in comparison to Vick's, and it's not even in the same universe as Tim Donaghy's.



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