Networks Forced to Chase Their Tails … and end up Eating Them

The Show: Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Jan. 2, 2017 (ABC)

The Moment: The Ouroboros

The actor Joel McHale, who mocked TV professionally when he hosted The Soup, is Kimmel’s first guest. Kimmel asks him to comment on The Bachelor, which had its season premiere earlier that night (on ABC), with Bachelor Nick Viall.

McHale is scathing. He calls the show “a parade of unstable sluts trying to get a date.” He says former Bachelor Jake Pavelka “looked like he should have starred in American Psycho.” He demonstrates how both Jake and Nick talk while smiling. (It’s creepy and hilarious.) Asked his favourite Bachelorette, he answers, “Kaitlyn, because there were like, five Kaitlyns.”

“You mean the Kaitlyn [Bristowe] who’s here tonight?” Kimmel asks. “I don’t care,” McHale scoffs.

Kimmel’s next guests are Bristowe and Viall. She rejected him in a prior season, so everyone anticipates awkwardness. But Bristowe wants only to dis McHale. She calls him a dick. “I saw you backstage,” she says, “and guess what, I don’t like you.”

“Who knew when we invited you on,” Kimmel asks, chuckling, “that all your anger would be directed at Joel McHale?”

Cable and streaming services are shredding network TV, and this is the networks’ solution: to double down on themselves. On his ABC show, Kimmel hosts ABC stars who talk about other ABC shows; he’ll also host the Oscars – on ABC. On Sunday night, NBC host Jimmy Fallon is hosting the Golden Globes on NBC.

They’re all busily pretending TV is still a closed shop, and they still run it. They’re the Ouroboros – the creature that eats its own tail.

Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments. She appears Monday through Thursday.

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