Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

A guide to tabloid TV

The skinny behind ”Inside Edition,” ”Hard Copy,” and ”A Current Affair”

Posted on

Tabloid television shows have never been so numerous or so popular. They’re not necessarily the news, but they’re not dull either. Which series offers the down-and-dirtiest dose of shock, schlock, and scandal? Enquiring minds want to know.

Hard Copy (debuted in 1989)
Inside Edition (debuted in 1989)
A Current Affair (debuted in 1987)

HOST(S)
Hard Copy Alan Frio, Terry Murphy
Inside Edition Bill O’Reilly
A Current Affair Maury Povich

WHOM THEY REMIND YOU OF
Hard Copy Today‘s Deborah Norvilee and Dr. Art Ulene
Inside Edition A real newscaster
A Current Affair SCTV‘s Uncle Floyd

OPENING MUSIC
Hard Copy Peppy
Inside Edition Perky
A Current Affair Creepy

MOOD
Hard Copy Eager
Inside Edition Earnest
A Current Affair Eerie

SLOGAN
Hard Copy ”Tomorrow’s edition is on the way”
Inside Edition ”On the inside, it’s a whole different story!”
A Current Affair ”Until next time, America!”

WHO/WHAT GETS ON
Hard Copy Murders, Diseases, Breasts
Inside Edition Malfunctioning garage doors, Malfunctioning cigarette lighters, Malfunctioning people
A Current Affair Girlfriends of killers, Relatives of dictators, Paramours of sex fiends

DRAMATIZATIONS
Hard Copy Yes — with special mood-enhancing slow motion video techniques
Inside Edition Yes — infrequently
A Current Affair Yes — especially when murder’s involved

SLEAZE FACTOR
Hard Copy HIGH — The show recently displayed graphic autopsy pictures of JFK and used gunshot sound effects to reenact his assassination.
Inside Edition LOW — But recent story about the mentally ill did include some needless Twilight Zone-style special effects.
A Current Affair ASTRONOMICAL — A recent segment offered ”a love story with all the trappings of a Gothic novel: nobility, sex, orgies, bondage, and death.

TYPICAL TEASE
Hard Copy ”Welcome to Sex Wars 1990!”
Inside Edition ”She had a hundred different personalitites!”
A Current Affair ”Still ahead: the horrible obscene phone calls kepy coming…and coming…no one would have ever guessed they were coming from…a university president!”

LEAST APPETIZING TEASE
Hard Copy About a Hawaiian town destroyed by lava: ”It’s the hottest neighborhood in the world!”
Inside Edition ”We’ll talk to the original Vanna (White) on how it feels to be…the orginal.”
A Current Affair ”Grandpa’s Little Sex Kitten”

CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS
Hard Copy Rare, but John Hinckley did write to them
Inside Edition Frequent: Oprah Winfrey, Alex Trebek, Hugh Downs, Donald Trump
A Current Affair Not unless a famous person is in deep, deep trouble

SPECIAL FEATURE
Hard Copy Audio mail, in which viewers call in their comments. An example: “I do believe Satan has taken over the youth of the world with all his rock music.”
Inside Edition Celebrity correspondents Jack Anderson, Ralph Nader, and Rudolph Giulani
A Current Affair That spinning 3-D glass-triangle logo and weird electronic soundtrack at the start of the show

MEMORABLE MOMENT
Hard Copy At the end of the JFK show, Murphy and Frio asked home viewers to submit any new evidence that they might have been withholding.
Inside Edition While personally embroiled in a controversy over racism, commentator Jimmy Breslin volunteered his theory on crime and the underclass: “In their rage, they shoot each other.”
A Current Affair About George Hamilton and Imelda Marcos, correspondent Cindy Adams admitted: “I wasn’t there physically during their time of birds and bees.