Tehee: 2014 forecast: Media trashes Fresno (again), plus shrimp, reality TV

FresnoDecember 31, 2013 

Here are some predictions for 2014. I wouldn't take these to Las Vegas, but you may want to check back in June to see how I'm doing.

-- Red Lobster will hold its last all-your-can-eat shrimptastica (it's actually called the Endless Shrimp deal).

Red Lobster is in bad shape. In December, its parent company Darden Restaurants announced it wanted to dump the seafood chain because of its financial troubles.

A shortage in the Asian shrimp supply isn't helping.

This could be a sign of a bigger trend, as corporate chains struggle to keep up with the very business models they designed. They are too big to not fail, ironically. See also: Borders, Blockbuster and (it's looking more-and-more likely) Guitar Center.

-- Side prediction: 2014 will be the year of the mom-and-pop shop.

-- The FCC will instigate new rules on the labeling of reality television, forcing channels to admit that "reality" TV is totally scripted and fake.

We know it's happening, but it'll be nice to have them own up to it. Looking at you "Duck Dynasty," "American Pickers," "Pawn Stars," "Gator Boys," "America's Next Top Model" and "Top Chef."

But not "Iron Chef America." That show is perfect.

-- Side prediction: I'll pitch my own reality show, "American Bowlers," where a team of retired collegiate bowlers travel the country challenging locals to pot games while hearing stories from the old-timers about the glory days of the sport. It will be a hit.

-- The online TV subscription service Hulu will get new commercials.

OK, this isn't a prediction. It's a request. As in, please, get some new commercials! At first, the Cricket Wireless guy was sort of charming. Now, his voice is just burned in my head. It's not making me want to switch services, but it's just making me crazy.

-- Someone famous will die.

Not to be glib, but it's a sad fact of life.

Given the reaction to Paul Walker's death, some people are utterly (perhaps overly) affected.

I won't make a prediction as to who will die in 2014 or how. That would make me feel icky.

-- Fresno will be mentioned in the national press and it won't look good.

Now, this is the one to bet on.

There hasn't been a year in recent memory where Fresno hasn't taken a beating in the national press for something. In 2012, it was late night host Conan O'Brien offering to help keep the city out of bankruptcy by sending us a giant Conan bobblehead — to use as a tourist attraction.

The 2013 count includes a hatchet-wielding hitchhiker named Caleb McGillvary (aka Kai), who became a city celebrity for saving a life but three months later was arrested for murder.

Even as Fresno State's football team caught the national spotlight with its almost undefeated season and possible run at a big-time BCS game, (that didn't turn out too well), the New York Times took it as opportunity to point out our city has a gang problem.

Well, we also have bad air, a homeless population, blight, sprawl, continuing financial trouble (no thanks to O'Brien) and a massive problem with litter.

But the year has just begun. Here's to a happy 2014!


This columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6479, jtehee@fresnobee.com or @joshuatehee on Instagram and Twitter. Read his blog at Fresnobeehive.com.

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