Access Nurses is a job placement company that sends traveling nurses around the country to work at hospitals and medical centers that are in need of an extra pair of hands. In fall 2005, the company decided to highlight this noble profession with the broadband reality show NurseTV: 13 Weeks. The show follows six travel nurses as they move to Southern California to live in a mansion together, while they work at four area hospitals and experience a variety of adventures. Their mission is to inform internet viewers about the joys of travel nursing and to recruit new nurses to address shortages. The six stars (4 women and 2 men) were chosen online from hundreds of applicants by 26,000 online voters. The show started Thanksgiving weekend in 2005, with the final episode of the season posted on March 22, 2006.
Steve acts as anchorman and introduces new stories, delivering his caustic commentary in three-to-four minute episodes. On Wednesdays, he breaks the mold by bringing in special guests, often other comedians and musicians; on Fridays, he gives viewers a summary of the week’s headlines and the Ointment News quiz (oddly, answers are not provided on the site). There are even occasional special reports on weekend shows. The content of the stories follows politics, celebrity news, and anything bizarre enough to warrant a snicker or two. For instance, when Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace for over $500 million, it was time for an Ointment MySpace Special Report, taking the show to the streets of Bakersfield, CA for a fake interview with a typical MySpace user (“Oh my goodness, Orlando Bloom just said he’d be my friend”). The guest stars range from comedians who already have a following, like the hilarious Cathy Ladman, to amateur singer/comedian Robin Roberts.
The most compelling episode is the finale, a real nail-biter that ends with a major cliffhanger. While taking one of their day-off excursions, the six Access Nurses are sent skydiving. Naturally, anybody aware of how high in the air she is might be a little nervous before she jumps out of a moving plane, but no one who’s already up there ever really expects the worst. However, the closing seconds of the finale are clips from Angel’s headgear-camera as her parachute struggles to open, then the footage cuts to a shot of paramedics opening a stretcher back on the ground.