Tuesday, September 21, 2010

City of Bell Scandal Rings for Local TV News

So this is what it takes for local TV to cover politics: A massive city corruption scandal, followed by extensive arrests.

Tuesday's arrest of most of Bell's city officials -- including former city manager Robert Rizzo -- led the local newscasts at 10 p.m., even warranting "team coverage" from reporters on KTLA 5 and KTTV 11.

As seen above, KTLA even ran a scroll at the bottom of the screen of texts from viewers commenting on the Bell scandal. Kind of pointless, yes, but at least they're engaging their viewers in something a bit more hefty than Lindsay Lohan's or Paris Hilton's problems.

OK, those stories were still addressed as well. But at least the Bell story led the newscasts; that's a rare instance of the TV news departments and the L.A. Times actually leading with the same story.

This Bell story has been the gift that keeps on giving for the L.A. Times. And it's wonderfully juicy: Bell currently has just one elected official not behind bars at this moment.

Maybe the producers behind Fox's "Lone Star," which had a terrible start and now faces cancellation, should quickly revamp the show and make their lead character (James Wolk) into a corrupt city manager instead of an oil biz con man.

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