"Car Talk" with political burnouts.
"The Lawrence Welk Show" with a troupe of dancing mailmen.
"Morning Joe" with two old white guys and slightly less sexual tension.
Those must've been the pitches for a bipartisan variety show hosted by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Several media companies are reportedly considering the gubernatorial duo for a podcast or a cable show. Those media executives must be so preoccupied with whether they could make it work that they didn't stop to think if they should. This is a disastrously ill-advised idea.
First off, Kasich doesn't want to take on the kings of cable, and Hickenlooper doesn't want to rule the airwaves. Axios reports that the duo dubbed "the Johns" wants to win the White House on a "unity ticket" in 2020. They've already launched a public relations tour that includes talk of automation, healthcare, and jobs. And to stay in the spotlight, the governors want to produce a "podcast or cable show to continue cementing their brand."
The appeal is easy enough to understand. Kasich and Hickenlooper have made careers of stringing together 30-second-soundbytes. Plenty of talking heads blabber on and on during prime time. Why couldn't those politicos make the leap to punditry? Maybe they could pull it off. They just couldn't come back to politics. Just go ask Gov. Mike Huckabee.
That Arkansan tried doing television and politics, he gave hot takes on Fox, stirred up occasional viral outrage, and even launched a talk-radio show. When Huckabee tried pivoting back to politics, voters thought of him as a B-list political commentator not a successful former governor. He barely made it through the Iowa primary in 2016.
It's not clear whether Kasich or Hickenlooper could make it through a 20-minute podcast or hour long broadcast. Four-eyed analysts might tune in to listen to the two talk shop about policy but not pop culture. Hickenlooper talking football highlights sounds agonizing. Kasich breaking down the Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud sounds dreadful.
At this point, it's too early to judge whether or not a Kasich-Hickenlooper unity ticket could have legs. But in the current messiness of 2017, there's no need for the gubernatorial duo to jump into an already-messy media landscape.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.