It looks like Simon Cowell has seen the Light.
As my readers have known for years, I have long held responsible Simon, his American Idol reality music competition show, and his rude and condescending behavior for the downfall of American television. Actually, both Simon and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have contributed to that end.
But one thing at a time.
Let's just stick to Simon for the moment (and I'll address Jerry in a later post).
First, I saw him on Oprah Winfrey a few weeks ago, when he reached into his deep pockets and paid off the mortgage of a family with a sick child. Then, last week, I caught him (along with his Idol co-stars, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Ryan Secrest) talking like a human being on CNN's Larry King Live!
Then, there was last night's Idol segment.
Again, something was different. Simon was different. He had changed. Warmer. Kind. Fair. It appears, somehow, that the Tin Man who can spot a tin ear at the drop of a tin can has found his heart.
The dude was actually charming and displayed humane behavior.
I commend Simon - and never really condemmed him. Before, I just felt sorry for him - and others like him. Privledged people who have known only success and economic stability their entire lives. Or worse, people who have grown up with nothing, and then trip upon success, then falsely leading themselves to believe that their new success now somehow makes them superior to others.
But, of course, what bothered me the most about Simon was his point-blank, mean-spirited attitude and arrogance- and how most of American bought into and encouraged it to make his Idol a massive success and template for contemporary television.
But again, last night's Idol was different. Simon actually offered constructive criticism to the contenders. He used his brilliant mind and keen observational, creative and music executive skills to relay the same advice and counsel that he has given in the past. But this time, he employed discretion and an even temper.
I'm still very much concerned about Ms. Abdul, and not so much Mr. Jackson. And as long as Mr. Cowell and his American Idol phenom-show continues to show his and its softer side (as with tonight's Big Give show), American television just may have a chance after all