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TV, Need Better Ratings? Allow Dog-Cussing
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Just in time for ratings season, I believe Nielsen has the secret for TV to get better market share points: Allow cussing like a sailor on air. Forget the FCC. Why? Look what it has done for beleaguered rookie A. J. Clemente.

One day, he utters "F@*$ing S*$t" on his weekend gig at Bismarck, N.D. KFYR-TV (NBC). A couple of days later, he's doing a New York City media tour with the big boys?! The video, which has since gone viral, has provided this wet-behind-the-IFB anchor his 15 minutes of fame. First, what started as a modest Twitter handle of 200+ followers has taken Lance Armstrong-esque steroids to swell to near 15,000. So, he gets fired from his first job in the news biz, and suddenly he's the poster child of "What not to do in television."

First, he stops by the 'Today' show and raps with Matt Lauer about salty language and a hot mic. Then, he accepts the offer to host the "Top Ten" on David Letterman's show, where Dave tried to get him to skirt his aspirations of ESPN and just get his gig back in Bismarck. Finally, the icing on his censored cake is with 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael.' A.J. gets to walk the Red Carpet and rub elbows with pomp and circumstance, according to USA Today:

Strahan then said to Clemente, "One thing about New Yorkers, we believe in giving second chances, man. Yesterday, we called for you. You came here today. (Applause) So, we have a challenge for you if you're willing to accept it. We're going to send you to cover the star-studded red-carpet premiere of Pierce Brosnan's new movie, Love Is All You Need."

That's nice. Just about everyone can say that, Strahan, but good try. So now Clemente gets a second chance to dog cuss someone — and this time, it's with some Hollywood bigwig. Of course, Clemente is now extolling fate into the scenario, as he told Us magazine (Yes, friggin' Us magazine!) 

"I looked like a moron on TV," he admitted to Us at the Cinema Society and Disaronno screening of Love Is All You Need in NYC on Wednesday, Apr. 24. "I didn't want to start my career like this, but to be right here right now, it's like, 'Wow. Maybe this is what's supposed to happen.'"

What's this say about what used to be a reputable business? What should have been a PR disaster for someone's on-camera career becomes a stepping-stone into greatness. Why? Maybe it's reality TV. No one cares about playin' it straight. We want drama on the set. The more a news team can personify a 'Jerry Springer' show, the more we will watch the train wreck, right? In today's microwavable society and drive-thru attention spans, news watchers seem to be clamoring for drama, chaos, and all-out antics. Is that what it takes to garner people's attention? Do people need to stage a crisis in order to get noticed? If you look at today's celebrity stew from a Hilton to a Kardashian to those dolts on the Jersey Shore, the answer may not surprise you after all. 

So, here's to ya' A. J. May your first sniff at the limelight not be your last. However, I would recommend carrying a bar of soap with you just in case the urge to wash your mouth out shows up on that red carpet.

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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