“Hello, dear. I’m the human resources director here at the network.”
“How do you do. I’m here for the reporter’s job. I have a demo tape I made for the chairman to see.”
“That’s nice, but we can get to that later — probably much later.”
“Won’t the chairman want to see my work?”
“He may ask one of the producers to look at it, or he may not. The chairman relies on his instincts and what he sees in his reporters.
“I see you’ve dressed for success: a short skirt and a gravity-challenged blouse neckline. These are important in television journalism; important to your reporting and the ratings.
“Good reporting and ratings are the same thing here. You know, gets you through the door. Gets you the job.
“The chairman is a great journalist and he can pick talent. That’s why he goes for former beauty queens. He has found they are uniquely qualified; besides with Teleprompters and eager young producers, well, they can concentrate on their unique gifts.
“The chairman will assign you a hairdresser, a makeup artist and a fashion consultant. He may recommend you get those legs insured. Know what I mean?”
“You mean beauty before brains?”
“The chairman has enough brains for everyone on air. He believes in talking heads with legs. The ratings prove he’s right. Look at PBS. No legs, no ratings.”
“I was voted Miss Nuclear Waste in Las Vegas.”
“I wouldn’t mention the nuclear part. Just emphasize Las Vegas, dear.
“If you want some advice, watch those roots. Whatever you spend on your appearance, keep the blonde look. We don’t want the viewers to think you’re a brunette. The chairman wants graduates from Peroxide University.
“But I’m a brunette. People say I have beautiful brown hair.”
“There’s only beautiful blonde hair on this network. That’s in our stylebook, before the part about how we describe terrorists.”
“I have a BA in journalism.”
“I wouldn’t mention that around here. No, dear, no. The chairman likes to say, ‘Journalism schools are for losers.’
“If you want to work here, tell him something interesting like who you’re dating and what turns you on — you know, on dates. Lobster dinner, that kind of thing. Get my meaning?”
“You mean sex?”
“Don’t mention it. Let the chairman imagine your college years for himself.
“He’s nearly ready for you now.
“A few tips: Lean across his desk. Sometimes he doesn’t catch what you’re saying. Don’t sit before he does and, if you can, turn around a few times. He likes to assess how well you’ll do if you’re interviewing someone on a doorstep who doesn’t want to be interviewed on this network. That’s most people who aren’t on the same political wavelength: intellectuals, communists, and people from The New York Times.”
“I read all the newspapers every day: The National Enquirer, The New York Post and The Daily News.”
“The ability to read is important. Some of our biggest names use cue cards as well as the Teleprompter. Also on talk shows, insults are important, like brain dead, pinhead, commie and, especially, loser.
“Just remember, television is a visual medium — and the chairman is very visual. But don’t worry, he’s not tactile.”
“What does that mean?”
“Don’t worry, dear, you’ll be reading the evening news in no time, if you don’t put on weight or have tattoos where they show.
“Trust me, I know how the chairman thinks. He’s my husband.”