FOX’s Anchorwoman debuts tonight, examines local news through a model

FOX’s new reality series Anchorwoman debuts tonight at 8 p.m. ET with two back-to-back episodes; single half-hour episodes will air starting next week.

The show follows the WWE diva and Price is Right model Lauren Jones as she becomes an anchor at KYTX in Tyler, Texas, despite having no experience. FOX calls the show “a comedy/reality hybrid,” which has Simple Life-fake written all over it. But while the premise is certainly contrived, the show’s first episode feels completely genuine, and it’s a fascinating examination not of a small town or a fish-out-of-water, but of local news.

Most intriguingly, the news people take themselves incredibly seriously, despite the fact that they’re, you know, local news people, chasing dumb stories and driving across town to stand in front of something to impart less information than one could get by Googling instead of waiting through endless teases that are longer than the stories themselves. I admit I’ve never watched the local news in Tyler, Texas, but assuming it’s like every other local news broadcast I’ve ever seen, it’s not exactly producing award-winning journalism on a daily basis.

Thus, hearing anchor/report Annalisa Petralia talk about “journalistic integrity” and “credibility” is funnier than anything Lauren could do, and the editors know it, cutting that anchor’s interview against footage of that very anchor talking about “cooties” during a story about washing your hands after going to the bathroom.

It’s clear that Annalisa is the star here, not Lauren and her dumb blonde cliches. At one point, Annalisa asks, “Is that what we’re telling our viewers? That I’m a swimsuit model, too?” Her boss just stares at her.

Anchorwoman [FOX]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.