Television: Happy News

A whole new breed of TV comedy-variety show has evolved. It is the local newscast. Or at least the subspecies of newscast that has adopted what the trade calls the "happy-talk" format. On such programs the anchor man, the weatherman and the sportsman have been supplanted by a happy-go-lucky bunch of banana men. They are not the old authority figures, but just-folks team players. Cronkite is out; Gemütlichkeit is in. What counts is not how the banana men relate the news, but how they relate to each other.

The idea is that these blazer-clad...

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