"I really just want to be a news anchor." So said Lauren Jones last week in a conference call about her new show that premieres tonight on FOX, Anchorwoman.
Jones is a former WWE diva and used to be one of "Barker's Beauties" on The Price is Right. Today, she works as a model, but it seems that all her life she has wanted to report the news. Luckily for her, there's a city in Texas, Tyler, where the owner of a station needed to do something to boost his ratings, and the FOX network wanted a new reality show. Thus, Lauren got her chance and KYTX in Tyler got a huge publicity stunt.
Anchorwoman follows Lauren's travails as she learns how to be a reporter and all of her co-workers as they watch the proceedings. Jones tells us that the show is "about the underdog," which is both a good and bad thing. People love rooting for the underdog — wanting to see the little guy triumph over the big guy is ingrained in our nature. So, if Jones is telling us that the show is about the underdog, there is a very strong chance that Jones succeeds as an anchorwoman, or at least everything is made to look as though she succeeds, thus eliminating the overarching question of the show (but no one would really watch for that reason anyway). The real draw is, of course, the fights and struggle to learn that take place behind the scenes.
The news has, or ought to have, a certain basic honesty and openness to it, and that which surrounds the news, like this show, ought to have the same. However, watching the pilot, that honesty is called into question. The news director at KYTX, Dan Delgado, is clearly unhappy about being forced to use Lauren as is Dan's team. However, Dan never really expresses how upset he is at the situation. How can he? He is clearly afraid, and not without reason, of speaking openly in front of the cameras. Some of his staff do not seem to have that problem, but those moments are few and far between, and even those seem less than candid at times.
In the first episode there are moments that clearly ring false as well. In practicing to be an anchor, Jones seems to have no idea what the teleprompter is. This is a woman who has spent a lot of time in front of the camera; whether or not she has ever read off a teleprompter I cannot say, but her not knowing what one is seems impossible.
Beyond that, one has to wonder why Lauren, if she has always wanted to be a news anchor as she says, never actually went out and tried to become one. Why did she not try and work her way up in this career path if it is what she truly wanted? As an attractive woman with on-camera experience, surely she could have found someone somewhere willing to take the chance and teach her properly, and not (as on the show) in an incredibly abbreviated manner.
As a WWE personality, Jones has to have some sort of acting skills, so there is really no reason why she should not at least be passable, after enough practice, at being an anchor. In the first episode, as she prepares to anchor, she does not even have to write any of her own news stories, so it truly is just reading lines.
If Jones wishes to go out and be an anchorwoman, I applaud her. I may wish that she went about it in the right way, but who knows, if I was given the opportunity to leapfrog a couple of spots I might as well. What I do know is that watching her leapfrog does not make me root for her, whether or not she is the underdog, an idea that itself must be called into question in a series that is so clearly set up for her to succeed.
I do not wish ill for Lauren, in fact, I hope for nothing but success for Lauren in her goal of becoming an anchorwoman. That being said, I hope she understands if I decide not to watch.