[The following is the transcript of a recent appearance on Good Morning, This Morning.]
Welcome back. This morning I’m joined by Dr. Agnise Garters author of A Sky Without Stars: Predicting and Preventing the Coming Age of TV Celebrity Deficit. Thanks for coming.
Thanks for having me.
So, I understand that you’ve just written a book and the central theme seems to be that you’re worried we’re running out of TV celebrities?
Well, yes, in a sense, but that’s something of an over-simplification. My concern is really about the rate at which we are losing TV celebrities vis-à-vis our current production levels.
And you’re pointing to recent loses such as Gary Coleman, Dixie Carter of Designing Women, Andrew Koenig – who our viewers no doubt remember played Boner on Growing Pains.
Certainly, but it’s really much bigger than that. I’m looking at Bea Arthur, Art Linkletter, Steve Erwin, even Brittany Murphy for her work on the MTV Music Awards - and I would argue, to some extent, her late husband. I mean, we’re down to one out of three Drummond kids at this point, and I think it’s fair to say Todd Bridges is living on borrowed time. Then there’s Corey Haim, which frankly leaves us with the inferior Corey and…
Excuse me, I’m sorry, are you saying you wish Corey Feldman had died instead?
Oh, by no means. No, not at all. Obviously, I would have preferred that they continued their decline into drug use and theatrical irrelevance as documented on A&E’s The Two Coreys. I thought we’d get two maybe four more seasons out of them. And if we had to lose one, it probably would’ve made more sense to lose both in, I’m speculating here, a murder-suicide pact. But it’s important to note that I’m talking less about the individuals, and more about the larger trend.
Now, your critics have said we don’t need to worry about the Coreys, we have Dylan and Cole Sprouse of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
I’ve heard that argument. But then take the Olsen twins. How much longer do you think they have? And who’s going to replace them? Do we expect the no-name-Sprouse-twins to cover the Olsens and the Coreys? That’s absurd.
And you think at this rate, we’ll run out?
Listen, I think it's a real concern. And one of the biggest problems right now is that we don’t even have the data to be able to say how well we’re generating tomorrow’s Leonard Nimoy, Jane Curtin, or the Canadian Alan Thicke?
And all those stars are dead. Tragic.
Well, no, they’re not actually... I mean, not yet...
Really? That’s fascinating.
As I was saying, we just don’t even have a way to measure the loss versus the new production. Did you know there’s not one study being conducted on this problem? Not by the government, the NIH, the FCC, the Broadcasters Union. Not one single study.
We’re almost out of time, but in the last twenty seconds, can you tell us what’s your greatest fear?
Y’know, I’m really not that worried about next year or even the next decade. I’m worried about where we’ll be 20 or 30 years from now. What I think about is what I’ll say to my children when they ask me about their TV celebrity deficit. Why didn’t we see it coming? Why didn’t we act when there was still time?
Chilling insight. Well, thank you so much for coming this morning. Certainly is food for thought. And speaking of food, Jim, I see you’re cooking up some summertime treats on the patio. We’ll be back with Jim after these messages.
POST SCRIPT: The night after I wrote this, we lost our third Golden Girl. See you in heaven, Rue.