Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Baby, Bathwater and now the tub...TWIT changes continue

Watching today's TNT episode with new lead, Mike Elgan, at the helm it became obvious that changes at TWIT aren't quite done yet.

With Iyaz Akhtar's sudden departure for CNET last week, only Sarah Lane and Jason Howell of the Merritt era crew remain.

Leo Laporte attempted to soften the blow by heading up the New Years Eve episode of TNT alongside new TNT boss Mike Elgan.  Watching the episode one  thing became clear.  Where Tom Merritt was about collaboration,  Mike Elgan is all about a certain way of doing things...that being,.his way.

Politlely deflecting commentary to the contrary it was obvious that the edict has gone out.  My way or the highway will likely be the order of the day.

The strange thing was, that his delivery was about as interesting as a wet dish rag .  A more passive and submissive tone seems to surface around Laporte's bravado.  His stage presence lacked charisma and at times it seems he'd be more suited to stamping driver's licenses at a DMV window. In short a newsman but not an anchor.

What we do know is that Elgan is a willing tool of Laporte to push his grand plans of recreating TNT as the CNN of tech with a focus on "breaking news"   As such there wasn't anything new there.  It's a mantra that Laporte has droned so many times in the month since the announcement of Tom Merritt's departure.

With a playful yet overt dig at Sarah Lane for breaking into tears during Tom Merritt's last address to TNT fans yesterday (Dec. 30), it was obvious that Laporte was desperately trying to move away from the topic of Merritt's departure.

Soon after came Laporte and Elgan's gentle but obvious chorus of what they thought TNT wasn't doing well enough.

After which the first hints at tension began showing through the cracks when Lane rose to the defense of TNT's previous work.  After Elgan commented that he wanted TNT to be more "global" and didn't want to just be "reporting American tech news for Americans." Lane instantly responded with, " I don't think TNT was ever doing that!".  Elgan's response, "Right"

Apparently, award winning or not, TNT wasn't living up to Leo's expectations under Merritt's rule.
It's obvious that the remaining hosts (Sarah and Jason Howell) will not have as prominent a role as they did under Merritt and it's likely a reason Iyaz Akhtar chose to make such a curiously timed exit from the show.

It makes sense, TWIT has literally thrown the baby out with the bathwater and will have to move fast to fill the vacuum.  That means nothing of the Merritt era at TWIT can remain if they don't want to be constantly hampered by his ghost.  The painful part is to see the significant contributions of TNT crew past and present be devalued for the sake of a whim AKA: breaking tech news.

In the end don't be surprised to see Mike Elgan sitting with a completely different TNT cast by this time next year. Whether that's a good or bad thing is dependent on whether or not you can accept the changes Elgan brings to TNT.

I know what I think but make up your own mind.  The episode in question is provided below... Advance to 36:21 for Elgan's commmentary on the old TNT.