Unsolicited thoughts on Chris Brown and Robin Roberts

If you watch Robin Roberts’ interview with Chris Brown on ABC’s “Good Morning America” from the morning of Tuesday, March 22, 2011, it is really not that big of a deal. I fully realize that Brown was pissed and apparently stormed off set after his appearance, out into the street with his shirt off, etc., etc.  But as for the actual interview, it was uneventful.

Should Robin have cued in on the obvious subject-shift and body language from Brown? No question about it. But you can argue she was just doing her job as a journalist, if that is what a “Good Morning America” host is (I am not saying Robin Roberts is not a journalist, I am referencing the fact that most national network morning shows are fluffity-fluff). Robin and her producers were desperately trying to get their guest, their source, to entertain a very unnecessary conversation that they knew would make for good gossip, good TV, good ratings. One thing they did score, post-buzz, was ultimately not really a result of the actual interview, but Brown’s post-appearance reaction.

Should Chris have been nicer to Rihanna? There is no question about that, but we all do stupid things and (sometimes) deal with consequences. Brown has attempted to put his actions of 2009 behind him. Let the man be.

Should Rihanna purposefully spend much time around Brown following what happened, regardless of how long ago it was? No.

I used to be a publicist. I know how publicists attempt to control questions and steer conversations, but Chris Brown came on to Robin’s show. Robin should be able to take the conversation where she wants. It’s her show. And she has repeatedly said all questions were cleared ahead of time, which is also something in media that drives me nuts, but everyone deserves to be prepped.

Chris and his team sought the exposure and promotion that an appearance on GMA would provide to increase his brand’s value, with his new album release serving as the catalyst for the appearance.

Chris and co. are using GMA for their gain.

Robin, GMA and ABC are using Chris for their gain.

Let’s call this what it is.

There is some sort of social contract entered into by all parties when an appearance like this is booked and executed. All involved need to keep in mind that non-monetary payments are often going to be requested, sometimes demanded, and it may not become apparent until the cameras are rolling. I am not trying to over-dramatize this, but it is the risk that all run. Live media is a fun, nerve-wracking and exciting platform. Does anyone remember Justin and Janet’s little situation during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII? There is an associated risk. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it does not.

The topic at hand is seemingly good for someone, because I am using my Saturday afternoon to express my opinion on the matter, but I can tell you it has not increased my long-term respect or interest in either party.

When you put yourself “out there” in hopes of gain: fame, money, whatever – you better expect difficult questions, nagging interviewers, crazy fans and jaded critics.

Robin should have shut up and moved on, and Chris could have peacefully left the GMA studios and simply vowed to never return again.


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