By Lynda Hirsch

March 2, 2019 3 min read

Everyone is still buzzing about the Jussie Smollett "he was attacked, no he wasn't attacked" saga. That will play out in court. Sadly, Robin Roberts is now in the court of public opinion. She was the first national TV reporter to sit down with Smollett. When the story took a twist, Roberts was deemed a pawn and a poor journalist; she is neither.

Here comes a remedial course in TV: The journalist does not get to pick the guests. If they did, everyone's parent, out-of-work boyfriend and spouse would get on the show. It is the producer who decides who gets to be on the show. Every news talk show was vying for Smollett after the alleged attack. It was a big get, and ABC got it. The producer tells the talent. Even during an interview, the producer has control. That thing stuck in the on-air person's ear is not a hearing aid. Directions are being sent into their dear little ear.

Of course, the on-air person also asks questions they may have, which hopefully match questions the viewers have. My favorite "they were not listening to the producer" moment happened when I was on Regis Philbin when he was coupled with Sandy Hill. Ed Asner (who played Lou Grant) was a guest. A guilt expert was also on. On-air, Asner told Hill it was interesting that there was a guilt counselor on the show. He explained he spent much of his life feeling guilty. He opened the door. So the next question should have been, "What do you feel guilty about?" Our intrepid reporter followed up with, "How much are you like Lou Grant?" Questions like this may be one reason Hill was pink-slipped.

It's finger-crossing time for fans of "All My Children" and "One Life to Live." Karey Burke, the president of ABC Entertainment, hinted there may be more children and more than one life to live. She says the network is very pleased with the ratings for "General Hospital." Asked if the two beloved soaps might return, she said it is possible. Except for "The Chew," none of the shows that replaced the sudsers has done anything in the ratings. This all-day, every day expansion of "Good Morning America" has not been a winner. Its highest-rated episode was the "All My Children" reunion. People still love and miss the two departed ABC soaps.

When the alphabet network canceled the shows, Prospect Park Productions bought them to show online — a total bust. Streaming then was not the thing it is now. Prospect Park cut the shows. They retained the rights to the characters. Last year, a judge gave the rights back to ABC. That allows the shows to be rebooted. Hopefully, we will get to tune in soon.

To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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