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Local TV Notes: Kevin Trudeau Could've Been President

"Best-selling American author Kevin Trudeau, whose name became synonymous with late-night TV pitches, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for swindling consumers through infomercials for his book about weight loss," AP reports.

"As he imposed the sentence prosecutors had requested, district judge Ronald Guzman portrayed 50-year-old Trudeau as a habitual fraudster from early adulthood. So brazen was Trudeau, the judge said, he once even used his own mother's social security number during a scam."

If he'd gone into politics, he'd be president!

Seriously. He's an amazingly persuasive performer. And he's got all the character traits of our best pols.

"Since his 20s, he has steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own gain," Guzman said, adding that Trudeau was "deceitful to the very core".

"Trudeau showed little emotion as the sentence was handed down at a hearing in Chicago.

"Addressing the judge in a 10-minute statement, Trudeau apologized and said he had become a changed man. He had meditated, prayed and read self-help books, he said, while locked up at Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center.

"I have truly had a significant reawakening," said Trudeau, who was dressed in orange jail clothes. "If I ever do an infomercial again . . . I promise: no embellishments, no puffery, no lies."

First, the fact that he's even contemplating a return to the airwaves is both unsurprising and stupid thing to say at sentencing. Second, he pretty much just finally admitted he's a fraud.

Still, it sounds awfully familiar.

"[Murray] Coffey reported [for New City] that in 1990 Trudeau pleaded guilty to larceny charges and in 1991 to credit-card fraud," Michael Miner noted in 1996, "and that he recently told a Houston newspaper, 'My two felonies were the best thing that ever happened to me . . . I've learned from my mistakes. We shouldn't be penalized for the rest of our lives for mistakes we made years and years ago.'"

I couldn't find Coffey's story online, which is a shame because I remember it and it was fantastic. Here's another taste, again from Miner.

The Problem With Chicago PD
"Within a minute-and-a-half of the first episode, the show has summed up its central message: Police violence works," Aaron Cantu writes for Truthout.

"This is relayed again and again throughout the series: When a cop with a chain-wrapped fist savagely beats a Spanish-speaking suspect demanding an attorney until he relinquishes a tip; when officers debase the idea of policing without intent to arrest; when cops round up black non-criminals and deliver them to precinct torture chambers. In every episode, these methods achieve the desired ends."

That makes Chicago PD a throwback to the days when police dramas were simple matters of black and white. It's like the evolution of a more realistic complexity - from Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue to The Shield and The Wire - never occurred. Paging Chicago Code!


"Crime dramas that embellish the lives of police officers are not new. Criminologist Yvonne Jewkes says crime drama is 'the most enduring of all cinematic genres,' and television holds to the same rule.1 What sets Chicago PD apart from others in the genre is that police violence isn't just presented as an exciting feature of the job; rather, its producers have made it the primary point of appeal to its growing audience of 8 million."

I mean, if Americans want to see an embellished crime drama, they can just watch Chicagoland.

Another Infomercial Icon
From the inbox:

"What's it like to be a modern day infomercial icon? Just ask Marc Gill, the pop culture infomercial star known for booming voice, beard, and stature. We see him on TV all the time pitching kitchen gadgets that make life easier.

"Marc has certainly mastered the art of the pitch and has excelled and won awards for pitching products from some of the world's largest and most successful kitchen appliance companies. He'd love to offer his valuable tips on how to sell a product to your viewers who are struggling to sell their own products.

"Marc is the new face of the Chicago born Ronco Company. He will be in Chicago March 15-18 and will be available for interviews.

"To learn more about Marc Gill, go to: http://www.butimnotstoppingthere.com."

Harpo Marks
"Oprah Winfrey is selling Harpo Studios in Chicago to a developer, but the studio will remain on the property for another two years," Variety reports.

"We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios campus in Chicago's West Loop," Harpo told Crain's Chicago Business in a statement. "We expect the transaction to be closed in 30 days. The property will be leased back to Harpo for two years and the studio will continue to produce programming for OWN."

After which the complex will be turned into a giant Blackhawks bar.

Window To A World
"The Chicago-based PBS station Window to the World has agreed to hold off on its attempt to shut down streaming television service FilmOn X until after the Supreme Court decides whether Aereo is legal, according to court papers filed by FilmOn X," MediaPost reports.

"FilmOn X also says in court documents that it has agreed not to make Window to the World's programs available to users outside the Chicago market, until the Supreme Court issues its ruling."

Is that a promise or a threat?


Comments welcome.


Posted on March 18, 2014

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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