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Local TV's 'Ugly' Side

Station television once again gets a starring role in modern pop culture, as the new romantic comedy “The Ugly Truth” stars Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl as a morning news anchor in Sacramento.

Here’s a bit from today’s NY Times; keep in mind the Times movie reviewers rarely go for frothy romantic comedies.

Heigl plays Abby, a producer for a ratings-challenged Sacramento morning television show, the kind that specializes in empty smiles, cooking tips and weather updates. She’s single and therefore, in the moral economy of modern Hollywood, unhappy. Her life goes into a tailspin when her boss hires a professional ape, Mike (Gerard Butler), who delivers loutish maxims on camera about the sexes that basically all boil down to this: Men have penises, and women should accommodate them any which way they can, preferably in push-up bras and remote-controlled vibrating panties.

Of course, it’s not the first time Heigl has played a TV person in a movie. She played a producer for a celeb-related show who’s recently promoted to on-air talent in Knocked Up.

Sadly, the Sacramento Bee did not feel the need to butter up a movie set in its DMA. Their reviewer writes:

Its crass sex jokes feel like chum for mentally stunted males, while its dimwitted storyline seems aimed at females who find paperback romances overly nuanced. It’s doubtful these demographics even exist outside the filmmakers’ cynical imaginations.

Hopefully “Ugly Truth” does a quarter as well as “Anchorman.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.