TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Not Ready for Their Close-Up

Not Ready for Their Close-Up

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 12 Jun 2005 08:00:14 -0400


Cap Lesesne, a New York plastic surgeon, hears from a lot of women
worried about aging. Late last year, he says, he had one visitor, a
female newscaster, whose inquiries puzzled him. She was only in her
30's, he says, and still looked terrific. (Lesesne, citing
doctor-patient confidentiality, wouldn't identify the woman.) When he
asked her why she wanted surgery, she explained that her show was
about to begin broadcasting in 'high-definition,' the hot new
digital technology that makes TV images look as crisp and sharp as
IMAX films. On normal TV, she said, you can't see her few tiny
wrinkles; in high-def, they stand out like folds of origami. "When
she walked in here," Lesesne says, " 'high-def' was the first thing
that came out of her mouth."

Celebrities are considered attractive at least in part because they're
suited to the technology of the age. The transition from silent movies
to talkies destroyed many actors' careers, as did the shift from
black-and-white to color. While almost all prime-time TV on the major
broadcast networks is shot in high-def, there are only 18 million of
the pricey, wide-screen sets in use. But that number is expected to
more than triple by next year, and the new scrutiny that comes with
high-def is already making some on-camera talent nervous. "There are
a lot of people who are going to be affected by this," says Deborah
Paulmann, a makeup artist for "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

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