Plea bargain adjourns Court TV

Cable: With murder charges against Ray Lewis being dropped, we'll have to find other ways to feed our guilty pleasures.

June 06, 2000|By Sarah Pekkanen | Sarah Pekkanen,SUN STAFF

We'll miss you, Court TV. Now that Ray Lewis has pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice, the Ravens player's trial is over. No longer will we have a local stake in witnessing the murder and mayhem, the intrigue and sex, the spotlight on a tortured celebrity.

Wait a minute - you didn't think we meant the murder trial itself, did you?

If you've been catching the trial on Court TV but channel-surfing during commercials and other breaks, you've missed some of the guiltiest pleasures available on cable TV.

This crime-obsessed channel constantly hypes its hyped-up shows ("She was America's angel but her off-screen life was a living hell" - Farrah Fawcett on "Hollywood & Crime"), reports on bizarre offenders (like the "cookie-crusher" who "violently squeezed baked goods"), and sandwiches in smarmy commercials.

Even if Court TV continues airing the trial of his two co-defendants (albeit without the sinister-looking "Ray Lewis Murder Trial" logo), we won't have an excuse for watching it after Lewis testifies, which is expected to happen today.

At least there are these highlights:* The porno tape.

We were repeatedly promised that once the trial recessed Friday, we'd see a tantalizing interview with the filmmaker of an "XXX"-rated tape featuring Lewis. Well, we saw the tape - about two seconds of it - and it featured a shirtless Lewis - gasp! - dancing between two women. Turns out that's about all Lewis did on tape.* The nibbler.

Police have apprehended a robbery suspect, possibly named Hannibal, who decided to outsmart them by chewing off his own fingerprints. "Thankfully, authorities thwarted his attempt to mangle his apparently appetizing appendages before too much damage was done," a Court TV reporter informed us.* The polls.

Watchers were encouraged to vote via Web site on a variety of issues: "Even if Lewis is acquitted, will the charges hurt his career?" "Should a 6-year-old be able to request asylum?" Sixty percent said Lewis' career would be damaged; little Elian Gonzales fared worse, with 78 percent voting "No."* The stars.

About every five minutes, ads touted programs like "Mug Shots," which promises "real criminals, insanity, fascination, intrigue, obsession, murder, greed, [and] sex." And "Hollywood & Crime" was eager to recap actor Hugh Grant's arrest for soliciting a prostitute and sitcom star Kelsey Grammer's drug problems.

Should Ray Lewis have been offered a plea bargain?

Even if we'd wanted the trial to continue just so we could keep watching Court TV, we were outnumbered. Seventy-one percent of viewers voted "Yes."

Sigh. Click.

Hey! Maury Povich is paying audience members $100 to guess whether his cross-dressing guests are "Glamour Girls or Sexy Studs"!

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