« Olympics; Shawn Ryan; 'Hole in the Wall' | Main | A&E shot pilot with controversial Christian biker gang »

August 07, 2008

Assessing Obama and McCain's TV picks

The self-proclaimed favorite TV shows of Barack Obama and John McCain don't tell you who the candidates are. They tell you who they believe they need to be.

Take Barack Obama. His conservative critics say he’s too inexperienced and not patriotic enough. Now Obama tells EW he and his family like "M*A*S*H" and the "Dick Van Dyke Show” -- older-skewing classic American TV chestnuts. Heck, "Van Dyke" was canceled when Obama was 5 years old.

This is a different impression than voters had of Obama's TV preferences earlier this year. Media reports said Obama's favorite show was “The Wire." But viewers of that critically acclaimed if modestly rated urban drama are not exactly what Obama needs to win hearts and minds of middle America (and, for the record, Obama wasn't quoted as saying it; an actor on the show said Obama said it, which isn't quite the same thing).

The slam on John McCain is, of course, the opposite. That he’s old, out of touch. So McCain says his favorite shows are "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Dexter" and "The Wire" -- edgy contemporary cable fare -– along with the always safe choice of “Seinfeld” reruns.

Among media portrayals of U.S. presidents, McCain adds he admired President Palmer from Fox’s “24.” Not only is “24” considered an appropriately cool show, but Palmer was a winning portrayal of a tough, conservative African American president. It's a crafty choice on McCain's part, like putting the race card through a paper shredder. (For bonus points, McCain should  try chastising CBS for canceling "Moonlight"; he could instantly shore up his weaker demos among women by a few million votes).

The candidates did slightly similar dance steps when asked their favorite music performers. Obama says he likes Frank Sinatra; McCain says he likes Usher.

So are our assumptions about the candidates wildly off base? Or are even their alleged TiVo picks as programmed as the channels they air on? With McCain and Obama having shot humorous campaign commercials to run during NBC's "Last Comic Standing," the message and the medium seem pretty much the same.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Assessing Obama and McCain's TV picks:

Sign up for The Live Feed daily email newsletter:

If you wish to only receive the morning ratings, get the Hollywood Reporter's ratings alert.
Follow us on Twitter;
Subscribe using RSS.
New: The Live Feed mobile-friendly version.
Get headlines delivered to your Google or Yahoo homepage:
 Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Ain't It Cool News - Coaxial
Deadline Hollywood Daily
Drudge Report
Fark: Showbiz
Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Wiretap
Huffington Post
Just Jared
Lisa de Moraes
Michael Ausiello
NY Post: Vulture
Perez Hilton
Pop Candy
Reality Blurred
Television Without Pity
The Futon Critic
The Wrap
THR BLOGS: Heat Vision Blog
THR BLOGS: Hollywood Reporter Pilot Log
THR BLOGS: Risky Business
Tim Goodman: The Bastard Machine
Time's Tuned In
TV Barn
TV by the Numbers
TV Decoder
TV Squad
TV Tattle
TV Tracker
Warming Glow

The Hollywood Reporter is Your Complete Film Resource

The columnists and bloggers who write for The Hollywood Reporter have their collective finger on the pulse of the boxoffice. From Martin Grove and the rest, THR columnists deliver their thoughts on the film industry in an uncompromised style. Subscribe to THR today and get the latest views from these film experts and get the latest movie reviews as well.