2008 Political Drama Proving To Be Exciting Substitute For Scripted TV

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • David Carr New York Times

I've got some bad news for striking Hollywood writers: Election 2008 is a breakaway hit.

January was supposed to be the month when the writers' strike took its toll, subjecting viewers to a menu of desiccated repeats and cheesy reality shows. Instead, the primary season is serving as the backdrop for one of the most compelling runs of event television in years, creating the kind of chatter network marketers would kill for and spectacular ratings for cable news. When's "Grey's Anatomy" coming back? Who cares?

Much of this election's appeal has nothing to do with the lack of alternatives. History hangs near -- both a former first lady and a competitively viable candidate who happens to be black are in the thick of things -- and the narrative has delivered a surprise around every bend. It's not just the Democrats drawing viewers. The best lines this year haven't come from David Letterman's writers but from whoever (or Whoever) is whispering in Mike Huckabee's ear.

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