There’s A Hole in My TV

“Why is everybody dying” is the question that keeps showing up on twitter. Of course, they don’t mean “everybody”, as in literally everybody. At least I don’t think so.

But we’ve heard of Ed McMahon. We’ve looked at Farrah Fawcett’s smile. We’ve tried to moonwalk to Michael Jackson’s music. And we’ve all been tempted to purchase something Billy Mays has hawked.

Suddenly, there are an awful lot of people we are familiar with, no longer in our lives.

Over the weekend, my kids and I watched nearly every Michael Jackson video he ever produced. VH1 and MTV showed them over and over again.  Sunday afternoon we watched an episode of “Charlies Angels” on WGN. I figure these tributes to Fawcett and Jackson will continue for awhile. But how can a network pay tribute to Billy Mays, assuming his death deserves some type of television tribute?

He was part of “Pitchmen”, the reality/documentary on advertising frontmen. But other than that? No one can pay tribute by showing his work. Even the shopping channels wouldn’t go so far as to run all of his best work back to back. I can’t see them airing “Oxy-Clean” followed by “Mighty Putty” and then “Zorbeez”.

Of course, Mays has been appearing regularly on ESPN-360. I remember last fall/winter when he showed up as a sideline reporter at the Champs Bowl to pitch ABC’s bowl-lineup. The players on the sideline were asking for his autograph during the game.

But what now? What do all of those channels do that have Billy Mays infomercials and ads scheduled to run? Do you still run them? Does that make for any sort of tribute? Seems like more people would stop to watch those commercials knowing that they were seeing some his best and last work. That’s tacky isn’t it?   Isn’t it?

But is it any different that what WGN, VH1 and MTV is doing by showing Jackson’s music videos and Fawcett’s tv shows? Do you think those tributes would be on the air if they didn’t draw a bigger audience than what was already scheduled?

Just saying….



Filed under Media

2 responses to “There’s A Hole in My TV

  1. There’s a number of reasons why the memorable, seemingly highly likable, Billy Mays is not getting the wall to wall coverage the other three are getting. For one thing, in his short career he didn’t have near the impact on pop culture as the other three, nor did he make near as much news…sadly the other three got their share of tabloid press, more than their fair share in the cases of Ed and Farrah.

    It’s just kind of difficult to run a “commercial” marathon when someone known for that leaves us…remember we didn’t have such tributes for Jesse White, the Maytag Repairman, or Dick Wilson, a.k.a. “Mr. Whipple,” even though they were icons with careers running back decades. Ironically, the closest we had to “commercial marathons” was the specials in the 1980s hosted…by Ed McMahon.

    On the plus side, Youtube would be a big help in this day and age for this kind of thing.

    But if you watch CNN you’ll note the Billy Mays story is still part of their heavy rotation.

  2. jameyt

    didn’t mean to imply Mays deserves the same tributes as MJ or Farrah. My question is why channels that have Mays’ commercials scheduled to run would cancel them on the basis of being in “bad taste”?
    For example: if a local affiliate ran a scheduled Mays ad for Oxi-Clean this week, would people be offended? I think most people will say yes, running a Billy Mays commercial after he died would be viewed as a tacky attempt at using the death of a man to gain viewers.
    But we believe WGN showing Farrah’s work or VH1 and MTV showing MJ’s work is a “tribute” rather than an attempt to gain viewers.
    Why is that?

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