“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?