It’s become obvious that every glamorous media-related gig — fashion, advertising, publishing — will become reality-TV fodder if channels like Bravo and E! have their way. Yet publicity would seem to be uniquely fraught with peril for the participants, inasmuch as an inability to manage one’s own image doesn’t bode well for clients. Consider that while watching “The Spin Crowd,” a no-brainer for E! — Kim Kardashian, the net’s franchise diva, is among the producers — but a show of dubious benefit to self-proclaimed “PR powerhouse” Jonathan Cheban, who comes across as a complete knucklehead and an HR nightmare.
Already featured in a special with the equally groan-inducing pun “The Spindustry,” this half-hour series is billed as a “real-life office comedy,” which serves notice to take everything with a grain of salt. Still, Cheban’s odd-couple shtick with his Command PR lieutenant, Simon Huck, often hinges on all the ridiculous things Cheban says and does to his employees.
These include pressuring one to get collagen injections to puff up her lips, going so far as to make an appointment for her; and being overwhelmed by the suggestion that linking Mario Lopez to a product might inspire “Extra,” which Lopez hosts, to cover the event.
Does anybody need to pay several grand a month for that advice?
Huck confesses during the interviews that Cheban has “no level of self-awareness,” but if that’s meant to be endearing, in the context of a boss haranguing his employees, it falls utterly flat. Presumably, his bad behavior will make a younger audience identify with the women who work for him, but only if they can suspend disbelief regarding how rigged the entire exercise appears.
Scheduled to follow the season premiere of Kardashian’s show (hey, the E! folks’ lineup might be a trifle oily, but they aren’t stupid), the new program also features the by-now-familiar trick of opening with what looks like a preview of the entire season — providing glimpses of every meltdown, hissy fit and stressed-out moment to come.
“If you can survive the hell, the payoff is huge,” Huck says, by way of describing life with Cheban.
Maybe so, but after one turn of “The Spin Crowd,” I’m already feeling a tad nauseous.