Picks and Pans Main: Tube
updated 12/23/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/23/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
The long delays, conferences and minutiae about varieties of grass and meteorological conditions made for laborious viewing. CNN's daytime viewership peaked at more than 3 million during the plaintiffs testimony, though it was enough just to watch the channel's nightly recap with Bernard Shaw. Even CNN seemed to lose interest in all but the star witnesses. As a botanist droned away on the stand, trial anchor Charles Jaco quipped, "Testimony like this is why they have more than one attorney at each table: so they can keep each other awake."
CNN made a disconcerting habit of breaking away for commercials without regard to what was happening in the court—often in the middle of a line of questioning. And Jaco kept prodding the channel's two capable legal analysts, Abbe Lowell and Greta Van Susteren, to declare which side had won each encounter.
With the line between news and entertainment on TV growing increasingly nebulous, it was almost inevitable that the events in the courtroom would be judged on their theatrical value.