- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Obama on Letterman

President Obama will be the sole guest on Monday’s broadcast of “Late Show With David Letterman,” according to a news release from CBS. Mr. Obama’s appearance on Mr. Letterman’s show is the first by a sitting president and marks Mr. Obama’s sixth visit to the program, CBS says.

The “Late Show” visit will cap a weekend media blitz by the president to talk about health care reform. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Obama will visit ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union.” He’ll also be interviewed on Univision.

Webisodes premiere

More and more people are watching television on their computers, but networks haven’t figured out how to take advantage of the new landscape.

NBC has been at the forefront of attempts so far, with Webisodes of NBC series such as “The Office” and “30 Rock” and USA series “Monk” and “Psych.” Its latest venture certainly shows the genre has promise - but it’s not fulfilled in this series.

“In Gayle We Trust,” which premiered Tuesday at NBC.com, is a new original series of shorts around four minutes in length centering around Gayle Evans (Elisa Donovan from “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”), a fictional insurance agent with the real American Family Insurance, which is sponsoring the series. The episodes are a cross between comedic sketches and short stories, with Miss Evans interacting with her family and prospective clients. The hybrid genre is appealing - many of us love to read short stories when strapped for time, after all, and these little Webisodes are shorter even than a half-hour sitcom.

The problem is the scripts by Brent Forrester (“The Office”) are so uneven. Perhaps it’s tempting to rush things when writing for new media. But you need to have high quality if you want to get attention amid all the other entertainment options available online. The acting is fine, though Miss Evans’ winsome Midwest agent might not go over so well with the Web’s younger viewers.

Harry Smith sick

CBS’ “Early Show” host Harry Smith took a sick day from work Monday, and told viewers he thinks he has swine flu, Associated Press reports.

In a live interview from his New York City apartment, Mr. Smith told CBS viewers he started feeling achy and feverish over the weekend after a 25-mile bike ride in the rain and dancing all night at a birthday party.

“Early Show” medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said Mr. Smith could be right because his symptoms are associated with swine flu. She praised him for staying home and out of circulation.

Dr. Ashton said most swine flu cases are mild. She predicted Mr. Smith will be back on the “Early Show” couch in a couple of days.

Symptoms of swine flu can include fever, cough, congestion, aches, chills, diarrhea and vomiting.

• Compiled from staff, wire and Web reports by Richard Slusser and Kelly Jane Torrance.

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