Amanda Congdon's crossover dreams fade

ABCNews.com was wrong venue for quirky former host of Web show Rocketboom.

The right combination of smarts, beauty and goofiness drove Amanda Congdon to Web stardom. But perhaps that's not enough to make her a crossover talent.

ABC News announced last week that the online arm of the TV network won't be renewing the one-year contract it extended last November to the former host of Internet humor show, Rocketboom.

Congdon said on her blog that she's the one who decided to call it quits. However the relationship ended, the Internet will not miss Congdon's uninspired video blogs for ABCNews.com, and that's likely not all her fault.

ABC News was wrong for Congdon. The network seemed perplexed over how to use her. Sometimes she was thrust into the role of traditional reporter, taking to the streets to ask the public questions about serious topics (any one of the legion of ABC interns can do that job). Congdon wasn't bad but it wasn't the best way to highlight her humorous side. Moreover, she doesn't see herself as a journalist.

In March she was widely criticized for appearing in infomercials for DuPont and moonlighting for a company she may one day be called upon to report on. She was unapologetic and often repeated--less than convincingly--that the rules for journalism didn't apply to her.

Sadly, the controversy was the most attention Congdon received while at ABC.

Take a look at Congdon's video reports for the network and you'll understand why. She was at her best when delivering news items from behind a desk in the tongue-and-cheek format obviously borrowed from Rocketboom (only the ABC version wasn't as well written).

Rocketboom was loved for the irreverent style of delivering offbeat news. The show was considered cool and underground. Fans of that kind of content aren't going to look for it at ABC News.

In the final tally, Congdon was likely an experiment for ABC so the company loses little. Congdon on the other hand is now without a high profile Web vehicle and perhaps a diminished following.

The best thing she could do is to find a scrappy group of comedy writers and come back with her own Rocketboom competitor.

 

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