The Joy Behar Show Premiere Episode - September 29, 2009

Is This The View Part II For Primetime?

In my article discussing Joy Behar's new show, I surmised that the show would not be successful. After watching the premiere episode of the show tonight, I can't say that I've changed my opinion. However, there were both positives and negatives for the first episode of Joy's new show.

Behar's attempts at injecting sporadic humor into the program reminded me of the same lame schtick that she tries on The View. I finally figured out what it is - Behar simply doesn't have the delivery of a good comedian. No comedian is successful at saying something funny every time, but good comedians actually have the humorous delivery to at least get a little chuckle from displaying funny faces, intonation, and the like.

In one of the lamest segments, Joy tried to create a humorous segment about Ahmedinejad, the Iranian president. She said something in a foreign language (I guess it was Italian) and then translated it as "don't trust a small man with a long-range missile." Does that sound like a good punchline for what seemed like a 90-second segment? If you think Leno's jokes are bad, you are out of the loop. Behar has him beat by a landslide.

As I suggested before, Behar does have the ability to keep an interview going. This is obviously a positive for a talk show host, which is basically what The Joy Behar Show is. But she has the same kind of chatty style and random remarks that you can see on The View every weekday. This would be fine if she were actually funny, but see my comments above about that.

But this style, while successful for The View, is not likely to go over on a primetime talk show. Remember that The View is a morning show targeted to women who stay at home. That kind of sewing-circle kind of random chatting is not what any of the successful primetime talk show hosts utilize in their shows. One would have thought that this would be the first thing discussed before hiring Joy Behar to do her own stand-alone primetime talk show.

The first thing I would recommend is to get someone to write some decent material for Joy if she is going to try to tell jokes. Nothing is lamer than someone who tries and fails to be funny. If she can't do it herself, bring on a writer to help her. I've heard funnier people in a nightclub bathroom.

Other than that, she seems to be copying the style of the daytime hosts on CNN. There is a mix of entertainment, politics, and news, all wrapped up in the same show. Hmm. I don't know if I get this. It's so random and does not seem to be what works on primetime television. The reason why this mixed, fairly fast-moving format works for daytime shows is because people are tuning in to get news, not so much to be entertained. The purpose of primetime television is to entertain, not so much to educate or give mere soundbite news.

On the other hand, Bill O'Reilly, who is very successful over at Fox News, has all sorts of segments in his show. But the difference between Bill and Joy Behar is that there is an overriding theme in every segment - Bill's incessant need to have an opinion on everything. It's his obnoxious behavior that ties it all together. Of course, some people like that obnoxious, know-it-all behavior, and I even find it entertaining from time to time.

The main point is that Joy Behar has a show that was not tied together well for this first episode. She needs more clearly identifiable segments, and I am surprised at the complete disorganization of the whole program.

Perhaps this was just an intentional feeling-out period that we witnessed during the first episode, so it is only fair to give her and producers time to get their feet on the ground. I did enjoy the segment on Roman Polanski's possible extradition from Switzerland, and I enjoyed the Better Midler segment.

In short, for The Joy Behar Show to be successful, the producers mainly need improvement in writing to tie all the segments together and allow Joy to carry the show with her personality. This chatty kind of style is likely never going to work for a primetime show because the show needs both male and female watchers. In general, this doesn't seem like the kind of style that males would prefer. And by continuing to find good guests like Better Midler, the show can use its guest appearances to increase the excitement factor for each episode.

I was surprised not to hear an announcement at the end of the show about a special guest for tomorrow night. These little things make me wonder why producers and directors have their jobs. Any college freshman in journalism or broadcasting knows or should know that you are supposed to pique interest for the next episode. Only time will tell if The Joy Behar Show gets its act together.



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