Al Gore's Kiss of Death


This will be of admittedly limited interest, but a little birdie has informed me that wannabe media mogul Al Gore has just hired David Neuman to run the nascent INdTV in San Francisco. This probably seals INdTV's doom.

Neuman is the 21st century version of Pat Caddell, minus the sputtering smarts and wild sense of humor. Caddell, in the fitting words of LA Weekly columnist John Powers, "lost 49 states for Walter Mondale, just as many for George McGovern, and all 50 for the New Coke." He was a wunderkind-turned Doonesbury joke, though entertaining to be around.

Neuman, a television wunderkind during his twenties, is the guy probably most responsible for transforming boring & reliable old CNN Headline News into an unwatchable riot of hot-looking anchor-dopes babbling about entertainment while a thousand information-tickers scroll across the screen. As the press release brags, "he spearheaded the hiring of Anderson Cooper, Soledad O'Brien and Paula Zahn, as well as new program development, including 'American Morning.'" Thanks for nothing. Before that, he was a senior executive for one of the dot-com era's most notorious flame-outs, the Digital Entertainment Network, which burned through more than $60 million in less than two years of producing bupkus, and collapsed in fantastical scandal. It was at DEN that I met and even worked for the Stephanopolous look-alike, an experience so scarring that I spat out this screed a year later. He wasn't very pleased about it, but his career certainly hasn't seemed to suffer. Al Gore's TV network, though, may not be so lucky.