The 1/2 Hour News Hour
Empty10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18
Conservatives are positively apoplectic about "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." Although Stewart skewers liberals from time to time, mostly it's the right wing and, especially the Bush administration, that has felt the sting of the program's sharp wit.
Joel Surnow (best known for "24"), Manny Coto and Ned Rice feel their pain. The trio developed "The 1⁄2 Hour News Hour," a political satire show so desperately one-sided that it could be at home on only one channel, Fox News. A look at the first episode suggests that, just as A.M. radio is the unassailable province of the right, TV might better be left to the left.
The show is a mock newscast presented with modest discomfort by anchors Kurt McNally (Kurt Long) and Jennifer Lange (Jenn Robertson). Mostly, they go for the traditional conservative boogie men: Hillary Clinton surrounds herself with angry lesbians. Children's books promote a liberal agenda. The Hollywood crowd is made up of know-nothing do-gooders. And so on. One fake public service announcement hammers the ACLU for backing First Amendment rights for Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill., an issue that may have lost some of its heat since it transpired 30 years ago. What next? A swipe at Eleanor Roosevelt?
Then there's the interview with the phony climatologist and game show host who shows how every problem can be connected to global warming -- in no more than six degrees. Perhaps a second episode, ordered by Fox News but not yet available for review, will get a laugh out of the theory of evolution.