Daily Archives: December 5, 2011

Like many people, I always looked forward to Kathie Lee Gifford’s Christmas specials only so I could see how they were negatively reviewed by Tom Shales.kathie Here are the former Washington Post TV critic’s assessments of Gifford’s holiday shows and other performances over the years:

February 29, 1988
ABC exec accidentally insults Kathie Lee

….Then there’s the charisma quotient of Frank and Kathie Lee: zilch, zero, zip, nada, pas de tout. If they cohosted a morning program it would have to be called, “Go Back to Bed, America.

On Friday, Frank Gifford announced at the start of the broadcast that his wife would not appear that night because of a “long-standing prior commitment.” One suspected that was a euphemism for “ABC News and Sports President Roone Arledge has come to his senses.” Gifford said he would press on alone but lamented that the program would suffer “cosmetically” without Kathie Lee’s presence, thus insulting her even as he attempted to praise her.

February 27, 1992
Oh, Reege! Oh, Kathie Lee!; The Key to Television’s Popular Brew: They Percolate in the Morning

Kathie Lee is basically as wholesome as a corn muffin.

December 21, 1994
Kathie Lee’s Blight Before Christmas

…Ghastly, hideous and downright nightmarish in its desperate cheerfulness, the special gets off to an immediate bad start when the announcer informs us that the guest cast will include “a special appearance by Cody Gifford,” blond tot son of Kathie Lee and husband Frank, the personality-less sportscaster. Cody looks about as happy to be on the special as you will be if you watch it.

Naturally she sings, sings, sings — or rather, not so naturally, just in that excruciatingly bland and vapid way of hers.

At the outset, Kathie Lee announces that Christmas “brings out the best in people.” She should have added, “Present company excepted.”

December 20, 1995
Kathie Lee: The Grin That Stole Christmas

Give her enough tinsel and she’ll hang herself. And she does.

“Kathie Lee: Home for Christmas,” Kathie Lee Gifford’s second annual CBS Christmas special, is perhaps even worse than her first — a sickeningly saccharine vanity production that should really have been titled “O Come, Let Us Adore Me.” That ghastly Gifford grin, ear to ear and back again, seems steeped in self-esteem and almost blinding in its show biz phoniness.

This special is not a treat for the whole family, unless you’re talking only about Gifford’s family. For them, a treat; for others, the equivalent of what commies might have used to torture political prisoners. You can almost hear the poor souls crying out, “No, no — anything but that!”

December 12, 1996
Kathie Lee’s Christmas: Mistletoe by a Mile

At Thanksgiving we get to be grateful that Kathie Lee doesn’t do a Thanksgiving special. … It was often said that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Bing Crosby. But oh brother, would Christmas ever be Christmas without Kathie Lee Gifford.

Read More

AP’s Stylebook and Lifestyle teams have compiled words, phrases and definitions “to help its members and subscribers with spelling and usage of traditional termsfor religious and cultural holidays in December and January.” Sample: Kriss Kringle. Not Kris. Derived from the German word, Christkindl, or baby Jesus. The full list is after the jump.

Read More

Starting in January, students at the Summit Christian Academy in Summit, Mo. will have to rewrite their papers if they have more than five errors — and they can’t score any higher than 75% on the second try.

“Students and parents were somewhat shocked to hear these changes,” a student reporter wrote. “The immediate reaction from the student body was that the changes were too harsh.” One kid told the teen journalist: “I understand that it is a college prep thing, but we haven’t been taught well enough for it.”

I called Kim Gill, the school’s curriculum/principal, to see what she’s hearing about her five-errors policy. Some parents are protesting, she says. “We have some who are thrilled and others who are highly concerned because it’s tied to scholarship dollars,” which are tied to GPAs.

“One concession we’ve made is if it’s the same error that’s repeated in the paper, the teacher has the discretion to say, for example, I’m going to take these five run-on sentences and count them as one error.”

The principal says students have come to accept the policy. “As they discussed it, they realized it was in their own best interest.”

A former Baltimore Sun staffer sent a story about the Tribune-owned newspaper’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display donation, along with this comment:

It’s offensive The Sun would buy a bunch of fireworks for the city when it is paying reporters and editors increasingly tiny sums and bleeding parts of the staff through attrition. And it’s really offensive that a MEDIA COMPANY “declined to say how much the media company donated.” How can you ask the people you’re interviewing to be transparent when you yourself are not transparent? Very irritating.

I’ve invited Baltimore Sun Media Group Senior Vice President/Marketing Judy Berman to respond and will post her email when/if it comes in.

Your thoughts on the donation?