Picks and Pans Review: Viewer's Choice
DURING NOW'S FIRST PROGRAM, AN al fresco Katie Couric turned to co-host Tom Brokaw and self-deprecatingly observed, "Just what America needs: another newsmagazine." Forget newsmagazines. I reserve my enmity for the obscene proliferation of awards shows, those insufferable combinations of hubris and tedium. Some, obviously, are better than others. For audacity, vitality and unpredictability, none can touch the MTV Video Music Awards (Thurs., Sept. 2, 8 P.M. ET), now in its tenth year. The host this year is actor Christian Slater, who impressed the MTV brass with his rakish altitude at the most recent MTV Movie Awards. (Wasn't Dana Carvey a disappointment as last year's VMA host? After running through the seven characters he does—Garth, George Bush, Church Lady, etc.—in the first 10 minutes of the broadcast, old Dana was really floundering out there. And he's 10 times as funny as Chevy Chase, let alone Christian Slater.) Performers include Janet Jackson, Sling, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Spin Doctors, Madonna and U2, though probably not live. Joining Slater as presenters will be rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dog, Sharon Stone, Peter Gabriel, Tony Bennett with Anthony Kiedis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (we're not in Kansas anymore) and, from the world of animation, Beavis and Butt-Head, the carrion birds of modern civilization.