It has been a sad week around here at ‘Loper HQ. One of our totemic icons — or is that iconic totems? — The Weekly World News, is soon going to become an ex-tabloid.
While it is still going to live on as a website, no more will its headlines about regegade apes and aliens for Bush (clearly his final stronghold of support) scream at me from the Supermarket check-out line. This sucks.
While some might sneer that this just shows How Low Things Have Sunk, I think that the worldwide outpouring of grief for the Weekly World News is a good thing. These people are simply recognizing a pioneer in the field of fake news, a clear progenitor to our current most popular practitioners of the made-up news story: The Onion, Jon Stewart and FOX News.
And besides, like Elvis or Andy Kaufman, the Weekly World News doesn’t have to die. It can be saved.
It’s so simple: the publisher of the Weekly World News, American Media Inc, says that it is losing $160 million per year. That’s a pretty fair chunk of change, no doubt, but there is someone there who can save it. Easily.
That person is Oprah Winfrey. According to TV Guide’s list of the highest paid TV stars, Oprah makes $260 million every year.
With that kind of scratch, Oprah could totally rescue the Weekly World News from oblivion and still make twice as much money per year than the second person on the list, Simon Cowell, who is only making a measly, paltry, hardly-even-worth-discussing $45 million per year.
Of course, Oprah didn’t end up with all of the money by doing things for charity. So there would have to be sound business reasons for her to do this. I can think of three:
- It would open her up to a whole new demographic.
- It would totally top that stunt where she gave everybody in her audience a car.
- She could finally get that exclusive interview with Bat Boy — maybe even make him cry. Ratings bonanza!
On top of that, she already has relationship with a natural Managing Editor: James Frey.
It would be a win-win for Winfrey!
As a matter of fact, my sources tell me that, since I started this piece, Oprah has already made overtures to the AMI folks, and a deal should be closed shortly.