Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me

Deep-Sixed from Deep Cable: Farewell, TV Guide Network

General StuffTeresa Strasser28 Comments


Buh Bye.

I just lost my job.

You can even read all about it in the papers, which gives it an extra sprinkling of shame.

On the other hand, if you work in TV – unless you work for “America’s Most Wanted” or “60 Minutes,” your show will eventually get cancelled, as did my deep cable pop culture round up show “TV Watercooler,” which I co-hosted for the last two and a half years with comedian John Fugelsang. It wasn’t the most prestigious job (our show was featured on the top half of the screen while the bottom half scrolled through other, better shows you could be watching elsewhere) but it was a job. And though the show was only on half the screen, they paid us a whole check.

So look, I’m grateful to have had that TV Guide Network job as long as I did, and they were especially nice to me through my first six months of pregnancy. The wardrobe girls dolled me up to work the red carpet for the Oscar’s at two months pregnant, and though I was up 12 pounds, you could barely tell. Our studio crew always laughed when I made stupid mistakes due to pregnancy brain instead of getting annoyed, and the makeup team can shade the hell out of a puffy face and widening nose.

While this notion is totally at odds with all of my core personality traits, I’m kind of at peace with being cancelled, and I know it’s nothing personal, the network changed hands, it was time for a new direction, bla, bla, bla.

Still, while being unemployed is nothing new for me, being six months pregnant and unemployed is a bit of an ass kicker.

I mean, I know America has a fetish for fertility, but right now, I truly look like I eat my prey whole, like I just enjoyed a lunch of live jackrabbit and it hasn’t begun digesting.

In the last few months, I have had a few promising nibbles on hosting jobs, but c’mon, like the creators of “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” want to drop a pregnant girl in the jungles of Costa Rica? It’s not only incongruent with the tone of the show; it’s also an insurance nightmare. Same with a basic cable show about bad drivers that would crisscross the country, traveling constantly. I also went in for a clip show similar to “The Soup,” which would require a certain kind of snark that might not sound right coming from someone all “with child” and shit. Or maybe they just wanted a blonde. Who knows? I’ve been lucky so far, making a living in this business most of the last ten years, so I’m trying not to freak out.

I’ve supported myself since I was a teenager, but I’m not sure there’s enough hustle to overcome the fact that I’m hugely pregnant, and no tunic or monochromatic outfit is going to hide it anymore. America has been pretty amazing about embracing pregnant TV personalities, (Samantha Harris from “Dancing With the Stars” and that lady from “The Biggest Loser”) but they got knocked up after the audience was already used to them.

My dad once didn’t take a vacation for 17 years when he was an auto mechanic, and he worked six days a week, scrubbing his hands with that sandy white paste mechanics use to melt the motor oil from the cracks in their palms and knuckles. So, my model for how to be a worker is a solid one. However, my options might be limited for the next five or six months. Maybe the universe just conspired to give me some forced maternity leave, and I should trust that when this boy arrives, we’ll be able to provide for him. And mommy isn’t really all washed up.

Every single time a show ends, I always think that gig will be my last, and so far, that has never been true.

My husband is encouraging me to look on the bright side, as not everyone makes the "news" when they lose their job, so there’s that. Our final show airs next Monday.

Farewell, deep cable. Thanks for the memories. And the maternity clothes you’re going to sell me at half price. It really was a good – though deeply obscure – ride.