Live Theater Banned From USA Network “Character Blog”?


The Clyde Fitch Report received a press release earlier today announcing Character Approved, a blog that wishes “to celebrate the people, places and things making cultural waves.”

And it’s an ambitious blog, too, what with “timely and exclusive” content covering 10 different subject areas, including art, architecture, design, fashion, film/TV, food, music, social good/giving, technology and writing.

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The blog is dedicated, according to the press release, “to identifying the trailblazers, innovations and ideas” worthy of the USA Network’s “character seal of approval.” Ordinary Americans — so often starved for quality content related to our culture — “can learn, share and voice their opinions 24/7, 365 days per year about the latest and greatest in cultural trends.”

Sounds terrific so far? Of course!

Here’s a quote from Alexandra Shapiro, USA’s senior vice president for brand strategy and digital:

The Character Approved Blog is the next step in the evolution of the USA Network brand in the digital space. We are providing a dynamic social platform for individuals and communities to discuss and debate those people, ideas, entities and innovations that embody the essence of ‘character’ and have an impact on everything culturally relevant from architecture and design to fashion and food.

Just one question: Where is the coverage of the American theater?

Hundreds upon hundreds of nonprofit theaters employing thousands upon thousands of actors, writers, directors, designers, dramaturges, literary managers, administrative staff, house staff, production staff, not to mention marketing teams and development folks, all work to bring live theater to literally millions upon million of Americans each year — and this means nothing to USA Network? Really?

And notice that I haven’t even sprinkled the commercial theater into the mix. Broadway alone — and the commercial theater in America obviously signifies is far broader reach than Broadway — logged box-office sales of $1.02 billion last year and sold 11.89 million tickets.

And then there are the more than 2,000 presenting organizations in the U.S.

And so I have emailed Farrah Hersh, the press manager at USA Network, with the following query:

Does the USA Network believe the American theater has no place, no effect, no influence, no significance, no importance to American culture?

I should certainly hope that is not the case.

A splendid, incisive, stylistically dazzling blogger, well-versed in the influence of the American theater on American culture, should be a part of the Character Approved team. Plain and simple.

The current team includes Chad Smith (Architecture), the Wooster Collective (Art), Stefan Boublil (Design), Alyse Wax (Fashion), Bags Hooper (Film/TV), Terry Boyd (Food), Matt Jordan (Music), Jerri Chou (Social Good/Giving), Rohit Bhargava (Technology/New Media) and Ann Kingman (Writing).

One more name is needed. Mine would be nice, but if not, then someone. Does the American theater deserve any less?