Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Raising Kane: Bio takes a look at Hearst
Other highlights Critic's choice Series notes Late night BY KEVIN McDONOUGH
"I think it would be fun to run a newspaper" -- Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) in "Citizen Kane"
As media experiences go, there's nothing more peculiar -- and interesting -- than spin control seven decades after the fact.
Released in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the Hearst Corp., the documentary "Citizen Hearst" (8 p.m., Bio) has the unenviable task of retelling its subject's story, a tale many people will associate with the 1941 drama "Citizen Kane," whose title character was loosely based on William Randolph Hearst. And that's only a film generally considered to be the greatest movie ever made.
William H. Macy narrates this serviceable biography of the media behemoth and of its founder. The film is up-front about the ways Hearst's life corresponded to that of Welles' creation. Like Kane, he is the son of a very rich man. In fact Hearst's father became a senator from California. And like Kane, he eschewed his father's life as a big-business tycoon for the nitty-gritty of newspaperdom. To get an idea of how low Hearst was stepping, he devoted himself to saving a small paper (the San Francisco Examiner) that his dad had won in a card game.
"Citizen" recalls the media battles between Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World. They were famous for waging war on the front pages and also on the funny pages, and Hearst is given credit for popularizing newspaper comics, most notably the early strip "The Yellow Kid," whose name was forever associated with downmarket tabloid newspapers, or "Yellow Journalism."
"Citizen" also discusses how the visionary Hearst embarked on newspaper syndication, early forms of movie animation and his pioneering work in magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar. While the film refutes some of the dramatic license of "Citizen Kane," it hardly denies Hearst's attempts to sway public opinion toward and against candidates, wars and policies, both as a publisher and politician. Feelings about Hearst run roughly parallel to contemporary opinions about Rupert Murdoch. Some chafed at his tactics or despised his politics. But they could not help admiring his passion for print and brash efforts to expand a media empire.
"Citizen" brings the story of the Hearst Corp. right up to the 21st century, but it's clear that the life of the founder and creator (1863-1951) remains the juiciest story. Just ask Orson Welles.
n Speaking of mature media brands, the G4 Network has been renamed The Esquire Network. Apparently it's moving away from a "tech guy" vibe to a more upscale male demographic. It was supposed to debut today, but that has been pushed back until sometime this summer. Good news: among its offerings will be repeats of "Party Down," which ran for two seasons on Starz. The loosely scripted ensemble comedy about Hollywood caterers was among the better comedies of recent years. Don't miss it when, or whenever, Esquire appears.
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Luke Perry guest-stars on "Body of Proof" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
"Frontline" (10 p.m., PBS) examines "The Retirement Gamble."
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An Israeli spy is murdered on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... "The Voice" (8 p.m., NBC) ... "Splash" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Zoe tricks the truth out of Jonah on "Hart of Dixie" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
The death of a drug lord on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... "Ready for Love" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... A visit to a convention on "New Girl" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14 ... "Dancing With the Stars" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... "America's Next Top Model" (9 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).
Salman Rushdie is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central) ... Jennifer Lawrence, Nick Kroll and Randy Houser appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., r, TBS) ... Nicole Richie is booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!) ... Eric Schmidt sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
Steve Martin, Jenna Fischer and Edie Brickell appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Carol Burnett, Stephen Amell and Plain White T's on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Reese Witherspoon, Eli Manning, Phosphorescent and K-OS visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC) ... Craig Ferguson hosts Kevin Bacon and Rebecca Hall on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).