Deflated 'Glee' cast pulled from Macy's Thanksgiving parade by NBC

The cast of Fox's new sitcom Glee has gotten yanked from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade by a rival network. And if If nothing else good comes from that news, there's this: how else could the word "dweeby" have hit the lead paragraph in dozens of major papers this week? ("The gang behind Glee, the new Fox series about a dweeby high school glee club, is very sad," Lisa de Moraes wrote in the Washington Post.)

The culprit: NBC, which broadcasts the annual parade at significant cost to the network. "NBC told [Macy's] it did not want the Fox series... getting a big fat plug on NBC's parade broadcast," De Moraes writes. Winners from Fox's smash American Idol have been featured in past parades, although never the star of the current season's programming.
An internal memo at 20th Century Fox TV revealed that Glee's stars were set to perform "Don't Stop Believin'" on a float, and producers "were already discussing wardrobe and choreography when we heard late last week that NBC was forcing the parade producers to withdraw the invitation." The show's creator fired back in true sarcastic form: "I completely understand NBC's position, and look forward to seeing a Jay Leno float," Ryan Murphy told EW.com.

The show's cast, all a-Twitter with abandon, hooted and hollered. "That's our boy!" said Amber Riley of Murphy's tongue-in-cheek statement. "You know you're on a hit show when another network bans you," said Chris Colfer. Most cast members pointed to The Los Angeles Times's Show Tracker blog, where Scott Collins wrote that NBC -- while perhaps justified in declining to spend its own airtime and money promoting another network's show -- had nonetheless received a drubbing in the media: "The Fox show comes out on top."

"But the real point here is an object lesson in how Glee -- probably the most ingeniously and tirelessly flogged new show this season -- turned what could have been a minor reversal into a major PR windfall," Collins wrote. Fans, who follow their newest middle-American idols on Twitter and Facebook, insist they won't watch the parade after NBC's disinvitation.

De Moraes generously points out that the storylines in Glee are not always "family viewing," what with the show's themes of teen pregnancy, sexual awareness, and "recreational bulimia." (For the record: Rachel's attempt at bulimia was a total bust! And the school counselor gave her all this advice about how to prevent eating disorders! LOL!)

I hardly think this dust-up is about whether dramas can discuss teens' sexual urges and then appear in a parade. This is about competition, and about sleeper hit programs that could steal NBC's viewership in a season when it's already struggling with its superstar Jay Leno. It's too bad, because I'd love to see the cast performing everyone's favorite early-80s pop ballad -- were I to have time on Thanksgiving morning to watch a parade.

I won't. Instead, I'll download the song on iTunes, like millions of others who have helped make the show not just a hit on TV, but also on iPods everywhere. Sorry, NBC: I'm just not that into you.

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