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Unholy Alliance

June 22, 1986|Morgan Gendel

In an article in the July Esquire, Washington Post TV Critic Tom Shales blasts print critics who aspire to TV stardom--but it seems a bit hypocritical: Shales himself has auditioned for a pending syndicated TV-criticism show, tentatively titled, "The Critics Show: A User's Guide to Television."

Shales contends in the piece that most newspaper film reviewers "want to be TV stars . . . up there with the blithering idiots like Gary Franklin, Joel Siegel and Gene Shalit," all of whom "are paid handsomely for their blither."

Shales confirmed by phone that he did screen-test to be half of a new duo commenting about TV on TV. But it did make him "excruciatingly uncomfortable. Even that experience reinforced my feeling that television is a sloppy medium for the communication of subtle ideas, matters of substance.

"Anybody who goes into television makes a Faustian bargain," he added.

So will he take the TV job if offered?

"If the money's right," he said. "I'm only a human being. I don't set myself up as holier-than-thou. I do set myself up as holier-than-Gary Franklin."

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