Easing the Sleaze

Their style is cheesy, but the hustling tabloid shows have changed TV news. Now they want respect.

By the time Joey Buttafuoco was sentenced to six months in prison for having sex with the teenage girl who later shot his wife, most Americans were probably sick to death of the Amy Fisher story. But for the syndicated magazine show A Current Affair, the courtroom denouement launched the tabloid- TV equivalent of Super Bowl week. When the sentence was announced, the show had cameras at the Buttafuoco home to monitor wife Mary Jo's reaction. When Joey was hauled off to jail, correspondent Steve Dunleavy was there to debrief him. Husband and wife were interviewed separately throughout the week, then...

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