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CBS "Early Show" Presents "Colon Cam," Billed as "First TV Anchor to Undergo Live TV Colonoscopy"
March 10, 2010  | By David Bianculli

early-show-colon-cam-proced.jpgIt happened Wednesday morning on the CBS Early Show. Co-anchor Harry Smith, promoting prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer, underwent what CBS billed as "First TV Anchor to Undergo Live TV Colonoscopy."

Mabel, pass the doughnuts...


"Harry's colon is clean as a whistle," reported Katie Couric, who herself had undergone a colonoscopy on TV a decade before to promote the same cause.

Remind me never to blow on one of Katie's whistles.

This latest network medical showcase was performed at the medical center named for Katie's late husband, Jay Monahan, who died of colon cancer in 1998 at age 42. With Katie Couric at his side, and a high-resolution microscopic camera snaking through his intestines, Harry Smith peered at the TV monitor showing him, and us, images from what might be described as nature's most intimate luge run.


It was all for a good cause, and a serious one, yet not even Couric and Smith could avoid some obvious jokes. Couric even went out of her way to make one sphincter zinger, joking with CBS weather guy Dave Price, during a two-way exchange, that when he got his next colonoscopy, they might find his head.

The whole point of this live "Colon Cam" TV stunt (that's actually what CBS called it), and it's a good point, is to remind men of a certain age that they're due, or overdue, for this procedure.

I need to make another appointment myself -- but I definitely remember my last colonoscopy, in which the doctor asked me if I wanted to turn my head and watch the TV monitor as he snaked his camera the wrong way through my one-way inner street.

"No, thanks," the nurse later told me I replied. "I watch enough assholes on TV in my regular line of work."




hoppy said:

Let's see:

Mabel's donuts
Katie's whistles

Maybe it's time for you to get a humoroscopy.

[But if I had half my wit removed, what would that make me? -- David B.]

Comment posted on March 10, 2010 11:33 AM

Chris Collins said:


I just wanted to say, I loved the line: "nature's most intimate luge run".

Thanks so much!

[Ha! That's one vote AGAINST the humoroscopy! -- David B.]

Comment posted on March 10, 2010 3:48 PM

Patrick said:

When I was wheeled down to the OR to get bladder surgery in July 2009, I could only think of two jokes to tell the nurses on the way down - one relating to the movie "Coma" ("I hope it's not 'OR 8' we're headed to") and one related to the "Twilight Zone" episode "Twenty-Two". ("I hope a nurse doesn't pop out and say 'Room for one more, honey' to me.)
And, I'm doubtless overdue for a colonoscopy (I'm 55 and have never had one.) Gotta do it soon.

Comment posted on March 10, 2010 4:08 PM

Curtis said:

Just wanted to say that I've had two (one just recently) and if it's time for you, faithful reader, don't be afraid of it. We had a great time in the procedure room. The worst thing was drinking the koolaid.

Jimmy Kimmel's take last night in his monologue was a riot. "James Cameron's Harry's Colonoscopy (in 3D) with Katie Couric"

And his rip on American Idol was great, too.

Comment posted on March 11, 2010 11:50 AM

Patrick said:

Oh, one more thing - Jay Monahan died in 1998, not 1988. He and Katie Couric didn't marry until 1989.

[Whoops. My fault -- a typo. I'll correct from this point on. Thanks! -- David B.]

Comment posted on March 11, 2010 1:16 PM

3d tv said:

ooooooh that's horrible. Hope they don't start showing things like this on a 3d tv.

Comment posted on November 13, 2010 5:14 AM
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Good news, TVWW readers: The release of David’s upcoming book from Doubleday is just around the corner! The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available on Amazon for pre-order for its November 15th release. You can read some of the dustcover summary here, including: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way. In tracing the evolutionary history of our progress toward a Platinum Age of Television,…he focuses on the development of the classic TV genres, among them the sitcom, the crime show, the miniseries, the soap opera, the Western, the animated series and the variety show. David Bianculli's book is the first to date to examine, in depth and in detail and with a keen critical and historical sense, including exclusive and in-depth interviews with many of the most famed auteurs in television history.” —TVWW


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