Katie Couric's new talk show debuts next week. Being that Katie is an intelligent, worldly and seemingly positive role model for so many, I must admit that I was hoping for a little something different for her 2012 show. While I do not actually intend to watch it either way as I am not a daytime television gal, there was a possibility it could have fallen into the DVR category in our home if it appeared to offer something more meaty than what is already on the airwaves in this and in so many other media categories.
According to a blurb in the Chicago Tribune last week, the line-up looks to be more of the same—Celebrity, Celebrity, Celebrity! The premiere includes interviews with Jessica Simpson and Sheryl Crow, and then on to Jennifer Lopez and Heidi Klum in the beginning weeks. In fairness to Katie, I am sure that her show will be a mix of celebrity and meatier issues, but admittedly, when I read the list of first guests highlighted in the article, I felt mildly disappointed along with a strong sense of WE can do better.
I say we because I am referring to audiences demanding through our choices, a culture that looks beyond celebrity as the be all and end all of what is covered in our media. I often wonder what our current culture will reflect to citizens ten, fifty, one hundred years from now when examined closely. Our cultural focus on celebrity first, and all else second, greatly affects us all in many known, and as yet, probably unknown ways. While celebrity sells in these times, it doesn't have to remain that way.
Sure, once in a while it is indeed fun to leaf through a People Magazine at the hair salon or to watch Entertainment Tonight after the news. But as for a steady diet of celebrity culture through our media outlets, let's save it for actually watching a movie starring our favorite actor or enjoying a much loved television show or witnessing physical prowess at a sporting event or swaying in the car to the rhythm of a song that moves us. The daily inundation and downright saturation must stop to allow space for something brighter and more life enhancing to shine through our lives.
Instead, imagine a world where a show with the profile of Couric's actually offered new ideas, helpful life insights and inspiration from ordinary people leading rather ordinary lives. What about a show featuring leading edge educational models for our youth? What about a show sharing different types of community service that are working around the globe? What about a show on the new physics in laymen's terms that changes the way we view reality? What about many shows highlighting everyday people and how they navigate life's challenges in different ways? What about more shows on healthy living, meditation, and creating our own personal versions of heaven on earth? What about a show on our emotions? The list of meaningful and purposeful show ideas is an ever-growing and long one. As a society, once weaned off of the heavy doses of celebrity culture, I truly feel that we would elevate our idea of what it means to be entertained to what it means to be "edutained."
So c'mon, Katie, give us some new juice—a delicious, nutritious juice (that we will grow to love) filled with stories that widen our perspectives, deepen our hearts, stir our souls and inspire us to offer more of ourselves in an uplifting way to our communities and the world at large. Each of our contributions to our culture shapes the whole, in this case, be it through the hosting or the viewership. As author Neale Donald Walsch states, "A leader is not someone who says follow me, but rather someone who says I'll go first." Choose to be one of the first, Katie!