New Jersey's 2nd favorite son Bon Jovi has signed on to become the first "artist-in-residence" at NBC. In a feature in this week's Observer, Felix Gillette traces the strange pairing, profiling both the pragmatism of self-described CEO Bon Jovi, as well as NBC's love of synergy and refusal to acknowledge criticism.
For the next two months, Bon Jovi will become the pseudo-mascot of NBC, "appearing (exclusively!) on a wide range of NBC broadcast and cable channels" to promote his band's new album, and "along the way, he [will] be hosting Saturday Night Live, doing sports, doing news, basking in James Lipton’s marveling gaze on Inside the Actors Studio and playing a concert for Today at Rockefeller Plaza." That means lots of early morning face time with former best Today show costume winner Ann Curry.
This news comes amidst the controversy surrounding Jay Leno's new show and dismal ratings that have left NBC in 4th place among networks, and it seems likely the company will be sold, according to Variety.
In addition, the story notes that Brian Williams will interview Bon Jovi for a piece on the Nightly News, highlighting the band’s charitable efforts, which prompted this quote from former president of NBC News, Lawrence Grossman: “It sounds like the human extension of product placement...I am dismayed that they are infesting the news division with that kind of requirement. But it does comport with the current trend to cheapen the formerly more-or-less pristine network news operations, which are now filled with softball features.”