WASHINGTON, D.C. - The ABC Network has announced that when Peter Jennings can no longer do the network news program, it will take a radical turn of strategy and hire Martin Short as Jiminy Glick to do the daily program.
A popular fictional character on television and in the movies these days, Short's "oversexed, two-bit celebrity reporter, who fancies himself as a hard-hitting journalist," according to reviewers, marks ABC's departure from keeping the network news a serious program.
"With Rather gone from CBS and Brokaw gone from NBC and all the cable news and Internet competition, we feel that using Glick is the right move," said an ABC News official who refused to be identified and spoke in an obviously fake voice when interviewed. "We will harbor the youth audience this way," he continued, "because they are all over at Comedy Central anyway."
Some traditional television news people were showing concern for the Glick decision.
"It shows little respect for current events," said former CBS anchor Walter Chronkite, who could barely remember where he was when making the comment. "All in all, it sounds a lot like if when I was on I did the news dressed like Captain Kangaroo."
But, in a book released since the death of Bob Keeshan, who portrayed Captain Kangaroo, a former CBS executive claims that Chronkite did secretly substitute for Keeshan a number of mornings on the program and was jockeying to get the role. This author also claims that Chronkite once asked CBS News officials if he could do the role on the network news. So, many news insiders are saying that Chronkite is just jealous that the Glick decision comes now.
Tom Brokaw, who recently left NBC's network news, said, "Martin Short is funny," and the rest of his comment was mumbled so badly that there was no way to publish it with any accuracy.
No salary was reported, but sources say that Short was negotiating to make a great deal with a contract that guarantees he will do the program for ten years, with specific conditions.
"One reported condition," said a friend close to Short who shall remain nameless but has the initials J.V., is that when Martin cannot do the show because of a previous commitment, his substitute must be Joe Piscopo doing his Frank Sinatra imitation.
Piscopo, a former Saturday Night Live star whose movie career tanked and who has successfully battled cancer and now makes a living somehow, was unavailable for comment. But he was recently seen having dinner in public with Walter Chronkite.
Details of the deal might never be revealed but a spokesman for Short said, "Whatever happens, this will change the nature of broadcast news forever and may very well become a trend in other occupations, like politics."