Tune in to Fox News for comedy done right


You would have to be one of those lily-livered liberals not to see the brilliance currently on display at Fox News Channel. In recent weeks, the channel has been experimenting on air with a new comedy program, "The 1/2 Hour News Hour." If you don't laugh whenever the "Fair and Balanced" promo plays, well, you will now.

But if he's smart, FNC chairman and CEO Roger Ailes won't stop at just one comedy. The time is nigh to convert all of FNC into an entertainment channel. And how can Ailes resist when so many of TV's current programs are just begging for FNC-style adaptations? To wit:

"The Bachelor": Who needs some pinup prince when you have the greatest studmuffin of all right there at FNC: Bill O'Reilly. If his 2004 sexual harassment lawsuit tells us anything, this man has a way with the ladies. Let's just hope he stops shouting long enough to hear the winning woman say, "I do."

"The Amazing Race":
When you think about it, what are weapons-inspection teams really but just globetrotting thrill-seekers on madcap adventures from one exotic locale to the next, like Iran and North Korea. Oodles of fun, with just the teensiest risk of radiation poisoning.

Who needs Hugh Laurie when you have a lovable curmudgeon like Vice President Dick Cheney? Instead of doctors in a hospital, think Cheney's staff at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. See Dick expose undercover CIA agents. See Dick get an aide indicted. Ask Dick about his lesbian daughter. Oh, what will that cranky but huggable misanthrope do next! (Note: Save the quail-hunting episode for sweeps.)

"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy":
Newly straight Rev. Ted Haggard helps Log Cabin Republicans hide their sexual orientation with handy tips on fashion, interior decorating and hygiene. With the right blazer and aftershave, who knows? You just might feel heterosexual after all. The Rev. Ted did it in three weeks; now he wants to show you how to do it in 30 minutes. It's that easy! (Also known as "Pimp My Republican.")

"1 vs. 100": The new NBC game show moves to the floor of the Senate, and President Bush is the contestant in every episode. Watch the sparks fly as a lame-duck Republican tries to pass anything by a Democrat-controlled Senate.

"Lost": A real version is playing itself out right now in Iraq: Nobody knows why they're there, and somebody gets killed off just about every episode.

"24": OK, this one's tricky. "24" is like the perfect conservative fantasy, so rather than improve on the original, let's just syndicate the episodes. One problem: A recent New Yorker article noted that military officials blamed the show's frequent torture scenes for influencing real-life interrogators to be a bit, shall we say, overzealous.

But as A&E showed us with "The Sopranos," there's no show so graphic that it can't be cleaned up with a little editing. We can replace all those nasty torture sequences with more Geneva Conventions-friendly methods of information extraction. Delete that naughty scene hooking up a car battery to a terrorist's nipples. Replace with new footage of gentle coaxing techniques, like a friendly backrub. No human pyramids (unless fully clothed).

Expect a smooth transition from news to entertainment at FNC. Viewers love it when cable channels abandon their core programming format, like that time MTV dropped all those pesky music videos. Not one complaint.

Comedy on a news channel -- it's about time. How much longer were we expected to endure a news channel consisting strictly of news, anyway? It's not like there's much to cover out there, except for the Iraq War, the 2008 presidential campaign, yada yada. It's the perfect evolution for a channel that has always put entertainment values ahead of anything else.