Would you watch a former swimsuit model read the evening news?
Fox is betting you will. The network's new reality show "Anchorwoman," a takeoff on Will Ferrell's 2004 movie "Anchorman," stars former model Lauren Jones, who is trying to make it as an anchor at KYTX-TV, the local CBS news station in Tyler, Texas.
Jones' fellow cast members are real reporters, and the station has already put her on the air. While few people deny the buxom blonde is pleasing to look at, many are outraged that someone with no reporting experience has been put in the anchor seat for the sake of entertainment.
"What they're doing is making a mockery of every legitimate local news station in the country, the people that work there and the viewers whose trust they and we, as an industry, try to earn every day," said Brad Streit, general manager of station KLTV-TV.
Jones isn't just a former model. She's also a former soap star and World Wrestling host. Despite her stage experience, she's not exactly comfortable at the news desk. Though Jones has only been working in Tyler for about a week, KYTX-TV viewers have observed her trip over her lines more than once.
The station said Jones had undergone training on how to report stories and read the teleprompter. It defends the decision to put Jones on the air.
"Not only is she beautiful but she is as brilliant as she is beautiful," said KYTX-TV personnel director Carol Daniels. "She is putting forth the effort to come through on this and do a good job. She really is."
With "Anchorwoman" set to hit screens across the country at the end of August, it's likely Jones' performance will be scrutinized and debated in the coming weeks.
"This is like a bad joke," said Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz. "A former swimsuit model with zero journalism experience pretending to be a television anchor at KYTX. What on Earth is the station thinking?"