Friday, September 30, 2005


The Apprentice: Martha Stewart ratings have been nothing short of abominable, it finished fourth in its time slot on Wednesday: behind a Lost rerun, two sitcoms on CBS, and So You Think You Can Dance on FOX. It barely beat UPN's America's Next Top Model. It did so badly that not even I watched the show! Not a good thing. I was at the post office instead, mailing something. Sounds like I didn't miss much, though, as the Jerry Springer elements are taking the show over.

In a clear sign that NBC's confidence in the show is fading, they have shaken up their Wednesday lineup. They moved Martha to 9PM and moved E-Ring to 8PM, in what looks to me like a total death blow to both these shows. Personally I think E-Ring is in more trouble than Martha's show, because E-Ring is a lavish drama series and therefore prohibitively expensive, and more likely to get taken off the air within weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if they ultimately junk E-Ring at 8PM it underperforms its new time slot and put on Fear Factor reruns.

As for Martha, not only have they been moved to the "death" time slot against LOST, but they're likely to be up against the Yankees and/or the Red Sox for the next few weeks, too! FOX baseball playoffs are going to be on. Martha's going to do no better than third place against this competition and will be lucky to beat out whatever CBS throws at them, too.

I think NBC's given up on Martha's show. I think they're simply looking for a place to burn off the remaining episodes as a face-saving move, so they don't have to say to the press that they cancelled their supposed great hope Martha Stewart after two weeks. Nothing's going to win against LOST and they know it. This show is DONE after this season. Goodbye!

Speaking of baseball, the Red Sox just beat the Yankees 5-3 and they are now tied atop the AL East.


That's my headline of the hour because, well, Hockey Night in Canada is due back next week and there will be riots across Canada if it gets scrubbed. Already there are rumors flying on the Web that the second game of the double-header will be totally scrapped if this lockout continues and already a lot of people out West are upset about this and inundating the CBC with letters. There you have it, the only thing important to our country is hockey.

While I am a bit surprised the dispute has not been settled yet, I must say that I don't see this labour dispute lasting much longer. A lot of people assumed from the start that this dispute would end about now anyway, and many people on the picket lines are upset and frustrated and want to go back to work. But they don't want to give away the fort either, that's the dilemma. I've been reading a lot of the comments of people on these CBC lockout websites and even though most of the workers are united, I detect many of them starting to buckle and drop their "solidarity forever" routine, largely because they're fed up and need to eat. These aren't NHL players, after all, these are starving journalists. They could go broke if they're out an entire year!

And no, they can't quit, most of them, because no one else is Canada is hiring. They'd have to go work in Qatar for Al-Jazeera! I read that they're starting an English channel and are hiring like mad, but you'd have to be nuts to want to work there with their terrible reputation in the West.

As for management, there are reports of MPs being flooded with complaints from irate viewers demanding action, and also there are reports that the federal government is thinking of back-to-work legislation! People are talking about cutting CBC funding and all that, and that has got to have the management types there worried. That's exactly what's needed in this dispute: a little accountability by the CBC managers to the public that pays their salaries. I personally don't think there will be back-to-work legislation. I think it's just a threat by the feds to get people serious about getting talks moving, and it seems to have worked. They've been bargaining and negotiating hard as of late. Read Tod Maffin's great lockout blog to see what is happening.

Anyway things seem to be happening. Maybe they'll actually strike a deal before the hockey season starts after all. They'll have to. Canada will be in a total uproar if they don't get a deal done by next Saturday night.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


My life continues to be a big TV show. Or a bad TV show, take your pick.

I'm tuning into Global TV news with Leslie Roberts and obviously nothing is going on in Toronto today. They're running low on the number of crime stories they have to cover and frankly that's good news. I am famous for hating crime news on TV, stories of people getting shot, robbed and ripped off. The reason I still tune in to Global is because I happen to know some of the people on the air there. I met some of them back in Rogers TV days. You're bound to see some refugee from that operation (like Pooja Handa) wash up on Global.

For instance: today I saw Doug Glazebrook of all people on the TV news. He was a big star news anchor at Rogers TV Mississauga and then went off to do business reporting in Toronto with Garth Turner's bunch. Anyway, he made it onto the Global News tonight. That's the good news. The bad news is that he was actually in one of the stories.

Fortunately, he hadn't been charged with any crimes, and he wasn't a crime victim, either. Instead he made it into a story on DATING! It's Dating 101, a Terese Sears story on the ever-changing dating "rules". They had someone named Laura Bilotta on who had some "Single in the City" column, or site, or whatever it was she was promoting, talking about these goofy rules. Doug was shown on a date with someone named Maria and apparently it went great, he picked up the tab! I was surprised to see him on TV but I guess Global has his number or something and called him up to be in this fluff story because they needed to fill time today, crime in Toronto must be down this week.

Interesting to see that the love life of a former colleague has picked up and that it was worthy of being on Global News. Me, my love life lacks news value so that's why I'm not on Global TV tonight. I definitely need to go on these speed-dating things in town.


As you know I still claim to run a right-leaning political blog here, but I haven't posted very much about the subject lately.

Part of it is because I'm trying to clear the decks for my full return to TV and for that to happen I'll need to rip up my political memberships and all association with politics. I can't rip up my political views, though, I can't simply abandon those. But I have nothing in common with a lot of these political people, even though I love politics and the game of it. More to the point, I'm especially fed up with what's happening in the federal scene. None of those people represent me. Not a single one of these jokers in Ottawa.

It's sad. The Conservatives are going nowhere and getting trashed in print by the media. The press doesn't seem to care about scandals, instead all they care about is the lousy Tory poll numbers and how incompetent the party looks as a result.

The National Post is running a series this week, "Is Conservatism Dead?" To which I say do we really need to buy the National Post to figure out the answer to that question? Of course it is! The Tories are never going to win again when you have the whole media reporting on all the backstabbing types in the Tory party. Even with the CBC on a picket line, the media is making the party look bad in the eyes of the public.

I hoped with the merger that things would change in the federal scene, but it seems to me that nothing's changed. The federal Conservatives have inherited all the problems of its predecessors. They've inherited the single-issue wingnuts and political incompetents from the Canadian Alliance, and they've inherited the stab-the-leader-in-the-back types from the old federal PC party. I gotta say this about the old PC party (which I was once a part of, might I add): that party was the greatest collection of losers ever assembled. Instead of fighting the Liberals they constantly fought with each other. It was the "progressives" versus the "conservatives" all the time and the "progressives" were never happy unless they totally ran the show. And the "conservatives" thought the solution was to quit and start their own party. Total fools.

And all the problems have continued into the new party. The Harper gang are still doing these burger-flipping media events and trying to shore up their image. Meanwhile, troublemakers like Carol Jamieson are busy dragging down the party's image, ranting against the leader. This kind of destructive behavior is doing nothing for the party's image. Why don't they simply kick her out of the party? Simple: because it will be more bad press if they do that. Why the media gives this woman credibility, I have no clue. I read this post on Stephen Taylor's blog and you can read it for yourself: it makes this woman look really bad. If it's true what Taylor's blog is saying, that this woman worked on Enza "Supermodel" Anderson's campaign for leader of the Canadian Alliance of all people, then she truly ought to be embarrassed.

The problem is that Bourque and the mainstream media seem to give this woman credibility so they can show that the Conservative party is in chaos. I'd say this is terrible journalism on the part of the mainstream media and another example of the media acting like Liberal lapdogs, giving phony credibility to these Tory outsiders and wingnuts. These malcontents don't represent majority opinion or even credible minority opinion within the Conservative big tent. If there's a bunch of Tory MPs plotting against Harper, well, that's one thing, but if it's only a bunch of disgruntled/Orchardite-type people, well, why don't they tell the whole story and say it's a fringe element behind this? Tell the people the truth, be fair and balanced! But that's not the way the media works in this country.

That's part of the reason I'm sick of politics and especially sick of Toronto politics. Maybe I should be sick of the media too, but that's another story. When you have destructive fringe elements and professional backstabbers rummaging around the political scene- and a bloodthirsty media looking for knife-the-leader stories all the time- it simply contributes to the poisoned atmosphere we've come to expect from politics in this country. Add to that the trough-feeders and the Belindas of the world, and it's no wonderordinary people are turned off if this is what they see: a distorted view of politics. The few good guys in politics, guys like John Tory and Tony Clement, well, they get the shaft because they're associated by default with all these other losers in the eyes of the public. The public thinks "they're all the same", and they use that as their excuse to put back in the same idiots that they've complained about for years. It's pathetic.

There are a lot of good people in politics but when you give these backstabbing types credibility and ammunition, well, that just encourages the Tammany Hall machine-politics that we are seeing today in Canada. Canadian politics becomes a soap opera, with backstabbing and bickering all the time. And all I've got to say is I'm totally fed up.

Isn't it time for a change from all this!?! Yecch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I have a lot of TV news to talk about so I'll do it all in one post.

As you know there's lots to talk about, what with the TV season just starting and the rest of it. That's why I'm talking about it so much on this blog, and honestly I couldn't care less about the supposed mutiny against Stephen Harper, or the opening of Parliament, or the Governor-General, or any of that. Leave that to Bourque and NealeNews. Who cares about that boring nonsense that no one cares about. Really, no one cares about politics in Canada. I have my ear to the ground and my neighbours care not one whit about Ottawa, except to complain about the gas prices.

All that anyone really cares about is Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, and their big surprise marriage on the weekend. And the Rolling Stones played Toronto last night. Topping it all off, this is the last week of the baseball season, regular season that is. So who cares about the happenings in Ottawa. We the people have our priorities straight.

The ratings are out. And ABC and CBS are battling it out early for the lead. CBS is winning thanks to Survivor, CSI and the new hit Jennifer Love Hewitt show Ghost Whisperer. ABC is winning thanks to Lost and Desperate Housewives.

FOX is losing because American Idol and 24 don't start until January, and the baseball playoffs begin in October. When they get their hits shows back on the air they'll be a hit again, but already they had to bring out the hook for Head Cases.

As for NBC, well, they are REALLY losing. They have a bunch of old shows on the air that are getting stale in a big hurry. Their new shows are largely being greeted with yawns; they have a new hit in My Name is Earl, but their Martha Stewart Apprentice show is already treading water on Wednesdays and the Thursday night "Must See TV" lineup is becoming a big train wreck. To blame is that lame Joey show which is starting the whole night off on a bad note, so the whole night ends up being a wash. I wouldn't be surprised if they moved My Name is Earl to Thursdays to try and win some ratings if this keeps up.

Tonight is the Amazing Race 8 premiere on CBS, and also the first Commander in Chief on ABC, and all I gotta say is: why are all the Hollywood shows on TV about politicians filled with liberals?! Why aren't there any conservatives on TV shows or in the movies?! Geena Davis plays yet another big liberal who becomes Prez after her conservative running mate the President is felled by a stroke. The question I have is why would her conservative running mate pick a liberal for VP in the first place?! Especially knowing the VP is a heartbeat away from the Presidency?! Sounds like the idiot plot is at work here.

And there is infighting in the cabinet on whether she should be President and whether she should resign. You know, this sounds pretty realistic... to anyone familiar with Canadian politics where you stab leaders in the back all the time.


I have been watching ET Canada lately and while it is a decent show and all that, it seems to want to go out of its way to show how truly Canadian the show is, to prove to the world it's not another knockoff American show like Canadian Idol (which in Idol's case is a knockoff of a knockoff of a British show). For instance, ET Canada always get these big stars like Mike Myers to tell Cheryl Hickey et al. what big hockey fans they are and how much they love hockey and love the NHL. And it isn't even hockey season, yet!

All I gotta say is stop with the hockey references already! It seems as if they have to bring in the hockey references as if that's what defines Canadians as Canadians in the world. It's driving me crazy. It's just promoting the national myth that in order to be a true Canadian you need to be a hockey fan.

Why not ask these actors if they like the CFL, or the Blue Jays?! I want to know what Kiefer Sutherland thinks about the Saskatchewan Roughriders, since, well, his grandfather ran the province. There are other sports, and being a fan of another sport doesn't make you any less of a Canadian. C'mon, ET, get some hard-hitting answers from these stars about how much they like football and all these other sports!! Enough already, man.

86 WAS 82

Finally, farewell to Don Adams, a.k.a. TV's Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 on the 60s spy spoof TV series Get Smart. Get Smart was a favorite of mine and a lot of my classmates from school, who used to watch reruns on this show in the afternoons on local TV. Adams died of a lung infection.

His other big roles included voicing the memorable cartoon series Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget. He was very prominent in Canadian productions; he starred on Check It Out on CTV and appeared in numerous TV commercials, including some memorable PSAs promoting Saskatchewan tourism. A lot of people thought that getting a non-resident like Don Adams to promote Saskatchewan was a waste of money, but as a Saskatchewan resident I thought it was a really cool thing for this big Hollywood actor to do.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Wow, when people start to turn against The Amazing Race, that's a sure sign that the whole reality genre is in trouble, because Race is one of the better reality shows. It keeps winning Emmys.

But you know, I agree with this guy. This show is starting to go downhill, even before I see the episodes for this season. In its first incarnations it was a really good show, a thrilling race around the world. What was great about it was the fact that you got to see the world and see how people reacted under pressure to the different languages and the problems they encountered travelling everywhere. You didn't have backstabbings, you didn't have phony "taglines" ("You're fired!"), you just had a race around the world. And what an adventure it has been to watch. No wonder this show eventually became a hit for CBS.

But in the last few incarnations the usual heavy-handed reality-show elements have taken over and I think that's the beef regarding this show. They'd bring in idiots who'd appear on other reality shows, plus they brought on quarreling couple like Jonathan and Victoria (remember them?) "Victoria" is actually Victoria Fuller, former Playboy Playmate of the Month. ( I guess she was cast because the show wanted to keep up with Survivor and all these other reality shows that had people pose in Playboy all the time). Guys were universally confused that she was hooked up with that awful guy she was with. Then you had Rob and Amber and their dirty competition, which further frustrated the fans of the show who were truly fed up with the Jerry Springer elements of reality television.

Now ten families of four are going to compete in the latest Race, and the diehards are going to be FURIOUS because this is bound to be a recipe for a lot of fighting. This is a show that looks desperate. And it shouldn't be desperate because the show has become a hit, finally, after being the best-kept secret of reality TV. People finally caught on to how great the show was and instead the show has been going in the tank.

This show clearly is trying too many gimmicks and needs to get back to basics. I think that's what Donald Trump is trying to do with his show this season. He has to, because his show is in trouble after his show got away from the basics to champion the Jerry Springer elements, too. There is only one show on television that can get away with Jerry Springer elements, and that is the Jerry Springer Show. Since TV Guide has declared Jerry Springer to be the worst show in the history of television, I suggest that reality TV should forget about looking to that show for ideas on how to improve their own series.

Reality TV needs to get rid of the "reality elements" and the backstabbings, and the "taglines" and other contrived gimmicks, and get real again. Because when people start to trash Amazing Race for those very reasons, well, that says a lot.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


They're doing a special on CTV tonight, Beyond Corner Gas, all about Corner Gas, the hit sitcom about life in the small Saskatchewan town of Dog River. The special kind of chronicles all the fans of the show, who are obsessed with the series and Saskatchewan.

It's bringing back a lot of memories. You know, there are hundreds of small towns in Saskatchewan that are just like Dog River. They all have the gas station with the restaurant, they have your insurance agencies that double as a liquor store, and the big grain elevator and so on. I find the show amusing because I grew up in Saskatchewan and know all about these small towns, though I must say I was certainly an urban individual and could never live in one of these places. There was a town outside of Saskatoon, Dundurn, that has a lot of the same qualities as Dog River; had a gas station on the side of the highway, etc. There was another one to the east, Elstow, that was quite similar. I also remember the town of Chamberlain, right on the highway between Regina and Saskatoon and a perfect place to rest and go to have a bite to eat to and from the 'Rider game. There are hundreds of Dog River-type places all across Saskatchewan and life has got to be the same as what's depicted on the show.

They film the Corner Gas show in Rouleau and that small place is now booming with tourists, all wanting to see "Dog River" for real. They actually do "Corner Gas" tours where they bus people from Regina to Rouleau to see the Corner Gas set, with the actual gas station and so on.
I don't know why Corner Gas is so popular. Maybe there's a demand out there from the public for down-home types of shows. This show reminds me of The Andy Griffith Show which was about life in Mayberry, North Carolina. That was a simple show with a down-home type of feel to it and it ran on TV in reruns forever. It was hugely popular in rural America. Corner Gas has a similar quality and that's one reason why the fans of this show are such die-hards about watching it. I think the show is helped by being set in Saskatchewan; it's not yet another set-in-Toronto show. They show rural Saskatchewan with all its quirks, and how life is so different there from Toronto and these cities they see on Canadian TV all the time.

Anyway, this is all good. It's one more good thing to make life interesting in Saskatchewan, this show. If not for the 'Riders and Corner Gas, life in Saskatchewan would be pretty dull.


Well the damage from Rita is less than from Katrina it appears, and Houston and Galveston got spared. Concern now is flooding from the rain the tropical storm is planning to dump now on Texas and Louisiana.

Houston local TV was on this story, all 3 of the network stations were streaming their coverage live and are still on right now, covering the damage. Houston is among the most competitive local markets for TV news in the United States and, like Miami, a place that produces a lot of network people- Linda Ellerbee worked there once, as did Jessica Savitch (now there's a name from the past). No doubt it's a good market because they get hit by hurricanes all the time and that allows local reporters and weather guys to go absolutely ape. It was like they were doing election night and making "projections" and stuff... projections of where the storm would hit.

The Houston TV stations were wall-to-wall, streaming this thing. They reported there was a big fire in Galveston that torched a few buildings. And Beaumont got hard hit, as did western Louisiana where they lost a lot of power. Like I say, they went ape.

The cable networks also had a field day, as famed hurricane reporter Anderson Cooper was shown being blown around on CNN again, and famed hurricane reporter Shep Smith did the same thing over on FOX. NBC's Brian Williams was in Baton Rouge and said even that city got hit, they lost a ton of power. I'm sure this will be it for a lot of the New Orleans evacuees, I imagine a place like Buffalo looks mighty good to them today. Buffalo may get lots of snowstorms, but snowstorms are better than hurricanes.

I'm glad I don't live in a hurricane zone, but I keep forgetting that I currently live in a place where the snowstorms are big enough that the mayor has to call in the Army, so I shouldn't feel smug.

Friday, September 23, 2005


I'm still waiting for the hurricane to hit on TV. It's now down to Category 3 but people are still freaked out. For a list of links to coverage of the hurricane and all the local stations from Houston covering the storm, see the posts below.

Meanwhile here's the Thursday night ratings news from Zap2It. CBS won the night while the big upset came at 8PM, when the premiere for Everybody Hates Chris on UPN beat Joey on NBC! Donald Trump meanwhile got his lowest premiere ratings to date with only 9.9 million tuning in, far less viewers than CSI and even less than what ABC got for the Dancing with the Stars danceoff results show (won by John O'Hurley). But in the 18-49 demo Trump did beat Dancing handily. Dancing obviously plays to an audience of really old people (who disregard all ads on TV, they say). Thank the Lord, people in the USA are finally telling Nielsen they are sick of reality shows, all of them.

They were also sick of Head Cases. Note I said "were", as FOX just pulled the show about two crazy lawyers off the screens today after two disasterous episodes. Boy, that was really fast, the first official train wreck of the 2005 TV season. Two episodes man, what a huge flop. And I was starting to get into the show, too, it seemed to improve. Can't say I'm surprised, though I did think this series would stay on at least a couple more episodes longer. They had even run the promo for next week already. The Chris O'Donnell character was supposed to get sued for malpractise. I guess we won't find out what happened because nobody was "crazy" about the show. Get it?

In other news Don Imus (who works for NBC) today trashed Martha's NBC Apprentice show and repeated my own comments about Martha not "fitting in" (he obviously reads this blog.)


One of the levees broke down thanks to Rita's storm surges and rain. Story here.

And there's a massive traffic jam 100 miles long outside the city of Houston, because all the evacuees are so freaked out and anxious to leave town.

It hasn't even made landfall yet (won't until Saturday morning) but already Rita has created a mess.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


For a handy list of links to Hurricane Rita evacuation and storm coverage, here's a few: Houston's NBC Channel 2 Houston's CBS Channel 11 -Corpus Christi - Lafayette, LA -more coverage links -Jeff Flock and crew's streaming coverage had live stuff from WWL during Katrina

I'm sure there are more out there. KATC will be back to live coverage at 11PM EST/8PM Pacific after they are done showing their network shows. Noticed KHOU has finally kicked off its CBS programming and are showing nonstop evacuation coverage. Big traffic problems as there are lots of traffic jams and people unable to leave Houston, and Galveston is already a ghost town. Katrina no doubt responsible for freaking people out about hurricanes.


Well welcome to the Apprentice Blog for tonight and then after I'm done with tonight's show I'll quit blogging about this show forever, I think. As you know, this Apprentice live blog usually doesn't end up live-blogging the show; instead I end up talking about the whole reality TV genre in general and what's happening.

I read some of my old posts from last year and noted even then that "people are tired of reality TV." Well, it is a year later, and I can say definitively the reaction has changed somewhat. People have not just grown tired of reality TV; there is now total hatred for the genre. Reality TV is synonymous with Bad TV in the eyes of the public, thanks to the Hiltons, Rob and Amber, and everyone else.

People (or at least, people with brains) don't want these networks littering the screen with junk reality shows, they want more options. They want comedy, they want drama! LOST is a good example of the type of show people want on their TV screens. And I think the general quality of the dramas on TV is better than it's ever been in terms of production values, with shows like CSI, 24, you name it. Good, well-produced drama series will bring in the ratings. And I think comedy will make a comeback. CBS is banking on a block of sitcoms on Monday nights and I think it's a great move. I think they're getting ready for next year when ABC has to find a replacement for Monday Night Football, which is moving to ESPN. Then CBS can turn Mondays into their version of Must See TV and kill ABC.

I dunno why these folks at Disney decided to do this, move MNF to ESPN. What a bleeping stupid decision, ABC are going to be KILLED on Monday nights now. Maybe football cost too much, that's probably the excuse they are leaning on.


As you know earlier this year I tuned into The Law Firm on NBC, which aired in Trump's time slot. Unfortunately, few people watched the show. NBC aired only two episodes before declaring the reality series "guilty" of low ratings, so they threw the book at David E. Kelley and Roy Black and the show was cancelled. Fans of the show, the few that were out there, were peeved that the show was not kept around to its final conclusion, because they actually liked some of the contestants and wanted to find out who won.

Well, Bravo picked up the series and here is a link to their web page for The Law Firm. They are airing the remaining six episodes of the series Tuesday nights at 8PM in the United States to a devoted die-hard audience of friends and relatives. Unfortunately, this series is not airing anywhere in Canada, so Canadian viewers have to read old recaps and episode summaries to keep up with the remaining episodes. Sounds like the cases got dumber and dumber; on one of the Television Without Pity forums one dude complained that ordinary lawyers would have settled these idiotic cases out of court. I was curious how the contestants on this show did in the end.

I guess we all know what happened to them; they all went back to their day jobs, because NONE of these people got famous from this show.


I think I now know what the problem is with The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.

It seems to me that it's Martha who "just doesn't fit in" to her own show! I can't believe a jury sent this woman to prison. She seems to run a company that tries to nurture their employees, and it's so obvious she hates firing people. Yet, look at this show! Her "Apprentices" are already displaying all the evil Type-A catfight personalities that we are all used to seeing from the Trump organization. You'd think this show would attract contestants who had, well, the calm Martha personality. But no, they all watched the Trump show and are typical-obnoxious. And Martha is no Trump in the boardroom, she just isn't fearsome. Martha's having all kinds of problems adjusting to this show's setup of pitting people against one another and firing and terrorizing people. It seems out of character and out of style for the type of image Martha wants to put out there. Instead of a Martha Show, it's the Donald Trump Show Starring Martha Stewart. Phony!

We've seen it all before. We've seen the same luxury rewards, we've seen the same idiot contestants fighting. It's old already and we, the audience, don't care. Like I say, the outrageousness factor is missing, other than the fact that Martha went to jail. Martha Stewart in jail, now that's outrageous.


Here's what's going down. It's MEN versus WOMEN, AGAIN. One of the female candidates used to be a stripper. (Big scandal). One of the male candidates is openly gay (and therefore on the wrong show, should be on SURVIVOR.) The winning project manager does not get exempt next week unless they vote to make him or her exempt, another change. It looks to me like they're going to get back to what the show was about the first season.

Trump's message of the day is that the ability to get along in business is very important. Sounds like the tone of the show is different, now, too; they're getting rid of the Jerry Springer elements. I think this is good.

I'll be back when the boardroom begins.

Okay, I'm bored already. And I lied about the Jerry Springer elements being thrown out. People are already yelling at each other. The project managers and people with their necks on the line are already in trouble. Now one of the contestants has a death in the family. And now some of the female contestants want to sex it up. Typical Apprentice. Same as normal.

The old show is back. I guess.

And speaking of typical Apprentice, once again these people who are working hard and putting their necks on the lines are the ones getting themselves in the most trouble with Trump, Best way to get ahead in the Trump organization is to sit back and do nothing.

The MEN won the task and rewarded their winning project manager Markus by not granting him an exemption next week, so he gets stabbed in the back. Nobody is impressed by Markus.

Kristi and Melissa are in trouble and people are trashing Melissa for causing a lot of negativity and being disruptive. But the marketing plan SUCKED, it consisted of a brochure that said XXX on it! I think the WHOLE TEAM is out to lunch for doing that!

Kristi asked Trump if she could just bring in Melissa. You know what, they both stink. I think it would serve them all right if Trump got this show started with a bang, and fired them BOTH. Wow, Melissa is dying in the boardroom, she's now claiming she can't work with women! Train wreck city for saying that, puts her foot in it. Melissa YOOOOOOU'RE FIRED.

There you have it, the return of the Trump blog, and I think that's it for me blogging about the Apprentice. It's back to normal for the show, hee hee hee.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Hurricane Rita is now Category 5 and is now the third strongest hurricane ever recorded. Worse than Katrina?! I didn't think it could be possible.

Some more stations in Houston are streaming live including the CBS station

In Corpus Christi, is planning to stream its news broadcasts as soon as they start wall-to-wall hurricane coverage. KHOU in Houston is not quite wall-to-wall yet but they do have expanded newscasts and are breaking into regular programming to let people know what's happening. They have an expanded newscast going on as I speak and I expect them to be wall-to-wall by tomorrow night.

Right now the coverage consists mainly of weather guys tracking the Doppler radar and showing shots of the hurricane from outer space, making dire predictions about the storm track. They're showing lots of live camera shots of heavy traffic on the highways with people evacuating. Lots of stories being done about people boarding up and leaving, plus the usual long lines at the gas pumps. This is the exact same thing we saw with the New Orleans newscasts before Katrina destroyed the city: lots of lineups-at-gas-pumps stories. And it's a lot different from the Miami coverage of Rita. In Miami, hurricane coverage features a lot of live press conferences at the National Hurricane Center, and live shots of reporters braving the elements while looking at the waves crash on the beach. But in the Houston coverage we are witnessing fear and a mad scramble to get out.

It's fun to cover hurricanes when they're Category 1. But when they're Cat 5 it's a scary proposition.


As promised I am blogging the Martha Stewart Apprentice spinoff and I gotta say, it's a strange experience. Imagine if you are a loyal Trump Apprentice viewer and suddenly you are in this different environment and different company.

That's what I find intriguing about this show. Already you see a much different style. Trump's style is brash, confrontational, accusatory, and very competitive. You not only have to worry about being fired, you have to worry about being embarrassed on national television while you are fired. And be ready to get grilled if you're the losing project manager. Life is bad.

With Martha, though, it's a much different environment. It's very feminine, very home decor-ish. Already you see a kinder, gentler style from Martha. She talks of having to "ask people to leave", she doesn't talk about "firing" people. The temperature is much lower and consequently I think it would seem like a better environment to work in a lot of ways.

Having said that, I'd rather work for Trump than for Martha. Too much estrogen in the Martha organization for me. I'm more a fan of what Trump's organization does for business, big deals, big money, etc. So Trump's organization is one you really want to work for, and yet Trump himself is FEARSOME.

Here, Martha's organization is just another corporation as far as I'm concerned, yet Martha seems like a wonderful person. You'd walk on coals for this woman (even though she just went to jail!). So I can understand why these people would want to work for her. But her business... I really I dunno if I want to watch a show about THIS, as a MAN.

Okay, I know who to fire: that grey-haired project manager Jeff. The guy needs to be ASHCANNED fast. He's too obnoxious for his organization and I don't care whether he's canned this week or next, he's TERRIBLE.

More later.


What's really odd is that even though Martha's business seems kinder and gentler and not as rough, the APPRENTICES chosen for this are acting exactly the same as the Trump apprentices. They are clawing their eyes out. They are telling people to shut up. The backstabbing is on and I'm looking at this and going, man, this is typical Apprentice.

They divided the teams into creative vs. corporate types and the corporate team, predictably, WON. So the creative team is going to walk the plank and we'll see Martha's evil side.

Right now it's between Jeff and Dawn for the gate I think. Jeff basically took on most of the task and the task was a complete flop. Dawn was a sourpuss the entire task, backbiting and backstabbing. Here we go with the boardroom.


Jeff and Dawn are being KILLED here. Jeff is picking Dawn and Jim to go into the final boardroom with him. If this was a Trump boardroom Jeff would be grilled for picking Jim. COMMERCIAL BREAK!

Okay, here it is, the tagline we've all been waiting for.
Just kidding.

Martha: " You just don't fit in."
Jeffrey, goodbye, you type-A you! Martha claims the task was about connecting with the audience and said Jeff just didn't do it. OOOOOOO---- she even writes him a note after she cans him, saying how sorry she is! What a nice person.

That's the live blog of The Apprentice for tonight!


If you love hurricanes this has been quite the season. Then again, if you really love hurricanes you've got to be kind of sick.

Rita is Category 4, probably will become Category 5 and is headed right into the coast of Texas. It's expected to possibly flatten Corpus Christi and Galveston by Friday and even hit Houston and make a mess of the place. All those poor folks from New Orleans who are now living in Houston, thinking they were going to get their lives back together, are going to have to think of evacuating again. They just cleared out the Astrodome of evacuees and now they're going to probably have to reopen that old ballpark, again, to take on more people. THIS IS SAD.

Where are these displaced Katrina victims to go now? Oklahoma!? They can't go there, that place always gets smashed by tornadoes. And they can't go to California because of earthquakes, and they can't go to New York because of terrorist attacks. There is nowhere to go. Life is sad in the United States, land of football and country music, and Britney Spears, and Jessica Simpson, and plenty of bad weather. No wonder people in the USA are so religious, given all the disasters they have to put up with. They're in church all the time praying for miracles down there. What a miserable decade it has been for people living in the United States of America.

Anyway here's the coverage from Houston and I expect the people there to truly freak out and hit the roads in no time, after seeing what went down with Katrina when people didn't leave town. Everyone needs to get out of town, fast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The CBC lockout is still on and for the latest you can go to those two CBC Lockout Blogs that I have links to on the side. Because they tell you all you need to know.

All I will say now is that management is really feeling the heat more than ever in this dispute. It's been nothing but bad news. Don Cherry says to the media he will not cross picket lines to do Coach's Corner. Michael Moore complains about the CBC's plans to run his docs during the lockout. Saturday night's CFL game broadcast from BC Place had to be scrubbed because BC doesn't allow replacement workers. And the installation of the new GG is going to be scrubbed, too, unless they can get a feed from somewhere else.

Ratings are going rapidly down the toilet as viewers switch off the CBC's pathetic lockout programming in droves to watch the Global and CTV News, and in Toronto they're switching off Newsworld to watch CP24. The backlash has started, folks, as people are finally fed up with the CBC and this lockout. The press has become universally hostile. Several papers are blasting management's handling of the lockout, and the usual CBC-haters are still at it. People are starting to call for the CBC to refund their cable fees for what's happened to Newsworld. Nobody seems to be going after the union members, they're getting off scott-free. But I've seen calls for management resignations and other stuff out there from people.

As for the rebel broadcasts, they are losing steam quite rapidly. The big news is that Andy Barrie's rebel show is going off the air this week. They've had enough of working for free, I think.

Meanwhile listeners are all fed up with lockout radio. Lockout radio is lousy. The complaint is they consist largely of union rants, many of them, anyway. They seem to consist of people singing "Solidarity Forever" on their podcasts. Just kidding. But you get the point I'm making. People hate rebel radio and the podcasts and want the CBC situation resolved, and therefore are putting pressure on management to solve the crisis. But the negotiations continue to go at a SNAIL'S PACE.

The next big deadline, if you could call it that, is the date of the first Hockey Night in Canada broadcast in October, and nobody knows whether it is a real deadline or not. It certainly is a significant date. Supposedly, advertisers are threatening to bail out which would cost the CBC millions in revenue, but the CBC supposedly has some plan in place to cover these games and keep the ad money flowing in. What their plan is, we do not know. I still think they're going to pick up US feeds, but they might well pull off that CFL stunt of announcerless hockey games, which would be an even more complete disaster than what they are doing now with football.

I think the CBC will definitely find out the hard way how important hockey is to this country if this lockout starts messing up Hockey Night in Canada. Even if they import some Fox Sports or Comcast feed from the 'States for their games, which would be half-decent to watch, that won't stop Canadians from getting mad. Because they'll still have no Coach's Corner to watch in the first intermission! I happen to know for a fact that Coach's Corner is the most important part of the show. I've seen people in sports bars across the country stop what they're doing to see and hear Ron and Don rant and rave in the first intermission. When I was at Headline Sports, people would stop what they were doing so they could hear Don Cherry. That segment of the show is HUGELY influential in the sports world. Look what happened when they tried to get rid of Ron MacLean when his contract expired: people all over the country went nuts because Coach's Corner was going to get ruined. So he got to keep his job. There you go.

If Hockey Night in Canada and Coach's Corner get disrupted in any way, shape or form, there will be hell to pay in this country. There will be violence in the streets. Seriously. I am not making this up. People will be furious that the first Hockey Night in Canada in a year-and-a-half of NHL lockout will be some half-baked effort by CBC management. It will be a national crisis and a total fiasco and that's why this may be the thing that gets this CBC mess settled in the end. Whether they want to admit it or not, the most important show on the whole CBC is Hockey Night in Canada.

If they ever get rid of that show they might as well shut CBC down forever, because there won't be a reason to watch. It's the most relevant show they've got.


I'm watching the Miami TV news again. The reporters are all going ape over Hurricane Rita, now a Category 2. I was watching CBS4 and seeing reporters doing their kamikaze hurricane reporting routine, getting soaked.

It's already making a mess out of the Keys. For a list of links scroll down and also go to for Channel 7's coverage.

You'll notice that two of the links Lost Remote links to are from New Orleans, WWL and WDSU. I notice those stations are already following Rita very closely with their weather forecasts and the reporters look very unhappy and depressed about the prospect of having to cover yet another hurricane. Katrina was responsible for truly freaking everyone out.

And the scary thing is this Rita was only a bleeping tropical storm last night before I went to bed. Now it's up to Cat. 2. And it's heading to the Gulf of Mexico where it will probably get stronger still before it hits Houston, or possibly---- Louisiana. Don't tell me this thing is going to hit New Orleans! THAT'S THE LAST THING THAT PLACE NEEDS: ANOTHER HURRICANE!

NOT AGAIN !!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2005


I'm watching the show "Just Legal" on the WB tonight before I switch back to football on the other channel. Interesting, a lot better than that Head Cases crappy show I saw on FOX last week. The concept is that there's this 18-year old new lawyer (played by Jay Baruchel) as a genius legal Doogie Howser-type David "Skip" Ross who couldn't get hired by any of the white-shoe firms because he's just 18. He's "just legal", get it? So he instead teams up with loser lawyer Grant Cooper, played by Don Johnson.

Oh, good grief, Johnson's doing his bleeping final address to the jury on TV. Man, this is BRUTAL. PATHETIC. And also, they'd never allow an 18-year old kid to do a MURDER TRIAL as his first case! HE WAS BRUTAL!!! And they WON?!!

Still there's a lot of charm to seeing these two losers operate. You have Don Johnson's character and he's a cynical burned-out lawyer who settles out of court all the time, and then there's Doogie the lawyer, and while he is brilliant at the law and a big workaholic geek, he clearly has no clue how to react in a courtroom. There was a scene where he tried to use the "if it doesn't fit you must acquit" line in court, and the judge cut him off. There were some interesting courtroom interactions.

You know, I think there's potential here for this series, I like the characters a lot, even though the situations seemed, well, unethical. I hope it stays on schedule for a while and gets a chance from the WB. But they need to put more girls on the show and turn this thing into your typical WB show that we've come to expect. The typical WB show always is some sappy, syrupy thing with lots of girls embroiled in romantic situations (ie. Gilmore Girls), and typically a lot of California sunshine. At least they got the sunshine part right. But Skip Ross definitely needs a love interest, for no other reason than to keep up with these other shows.

The guy who is the executive producer of the show is Jonathan Shapiro, who is a former federal prosecutor who also once worked for Janet Reno. See this good article about him and the show. He came up with the idea because apparently there was a family member who actually was one of these Doogie Howser-legal-types himself. So it's sort of based on a true story, it really did happen.

This show is a lot better than Head Cases, on FOX, which I just found idiotic. That show is produced by Jeff Rake's production company and another former criminal lawyer, Bill Chais, is producing it. I think they wrote some stuff for David E. Kelley, and Chais worked on Family Law before. So they've done good stuff for good people. I think they also did The Street, which was a decent show about Wall Street that crashed and burned on FOX. It's just the inaugural show for Head Cases, but it was really not that good, one of the worst debut shows of the week in fact.

It's supposed to be about these two crazy lawyers who had mental problems and who team up, but the problem is the Adam Goldberg character is really annoying and the Chris O'Donnell character has no chemistry with the Adam Goldberg character. You're just really surprised to see the two of them getting together to start a law firm, it's kind of unbelievable. It was a sad start to that series and I expect the axe to drop on that show quickly.

But you know, I like watching these legal-oriented shows on TV. Quite a few of these legal-oriented shows are written by former lawyers who gave up doing law so they can strike it rich in Hollywood. Many of these guys worked with David E. Kelley who is most famous for The Practice and Ally McBeal, but still has some quality law shows on the air. His latest, Boston Legal, did very well last night at the Emmy awards with wins last night for best actor James Spader and supporting actor William Shatner. You know, I should try and get into this line of work, writing for legal TV shows. It pays great and you can end up marrying actresses like Michelle Pfeiffer.


We've seen a number of telethons on TV to help the Hurricane Katrina victims. Tonight is the big NFL Hurricane Relief double-header on ABC with the New Orleans Saints taking on the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. It's right now 14-7 Giants in the second quarter. I think it's a great thing to move this game to Monday night so they can draw attention to the situation in the Gulf Coast region and try and help those people.

They have NFL stars manning the phones taking phone calls for hurricane relief and for more information about that go to


Anyway here's a story on what went down in Germany yesterday. Basically it was so close that there was no winner. Angela Merkel and her CDU won the popular vote but don't have enough votes to carry Parliament. Gerhard Schroeder and the Social Democrats don't have enough votes to carry the day, either, but so far Schroeder has refused to resign as Chancellor and they're trying to figure out what to do about this situation. He could well try and hold on to power until they hold a confidence vote with the current alliances, and then see what happens. But he doesn't have enough votes to carry on either, that's obvious. It's a mess.

The whole problem is the strong showing by the FDP and the Greens and especially by the Left party, a party filled with what I understand are Communistic types and radical SDP defectors, and other people you don't want in a government. They passed the 5% threshold for the first time and got a huge chunk of seats just by doing that. And that has created a big problem in the lower House.

My understanding is that the Greens won't work with the Left Party, period, and will refuse to join the government if the Left Party is part of it, which makes it impossible for the SDP to get a majority. But I don't think the Greens have to worry because the Left Party are persona non grata to the SDP anyway. The Free Democrats would have joined a coalition government with the CDU, but that coalition can't carry the day with the current numbers. The CDU will need to work with these other parties that the Free Democrats can't stand, just to form any sort of government, and the Free Democrats will have none of that. So the only thing we know for sure is that the Free Democrats are going to be in the opposition. Everyone hates everyone.

Now it looks like the CDU and SDP are going to have to work together and form a grand coalition. A lot of good that's going to do for Germany. Already the markets are down on this news, because investors were hoping an outright CDU victory would produce economic reforms that could lead to more jobs. But the CDU ran a gaffe-ridden, lousy campaign. On the other hand, Schroeder ran a lousy government. Thus the result. A total Hung Parliament.

People in Canada may look at Germany and do their smug "can't happen in Canada" routine. Oh, yes it can, folks. In fact we almost got it with the last election. We do not have a total Hung Parliament but it is a still a Minority parliament that is increasingly acting like the US Congress in the type of deals being cut between legislators and parties on a bill-by-bill basis. The Liberals are staying afloat by working with the NDP and with any independents who will listen to them, but they do not have any formal coalitions with them. A large number of seats are in the hands of the Bloc Quebecois, who nobody wants to work with because, well, they want to break up the country. If we get a close election where the Liberals and Conservatives fall short of the numbers they need to get working control, we'll get a deadlock situation because no one will work with the Bloc, and the Bloc won't do deals with any of these people.

Bottom line is yes, the German situation can happen here, possibly the next election, maybe the one after that. We have a Conservative party that has no idea how to run a campaign, and a Martin Liberal government that is the worst government in the history of Canada. And we have a smaller party in Parliament that no one wants to deal with. Same exact conditions as in Germany.

So I think it could happen as early as the next election, right here in Canada. And I don't care about these polls showing a big Liberal lead here. The CDU had a big lead in Germany and blew it during the campaign. So polls mean nothing. Conditions are right for a German-type deadlock situation where the Conservatives and Liberals would have to come up with a "grand coalition" of their own to make Parliament work.

I know that in Israel that they had to come up with one of those types of deals. Likud and Labor had to form a so-called "Government of National Unity" because the election ended up deadlocked. They made it last for a full term as I recall, during the 1980s, which was remarkable because Likud and Labor hated each other. I could easily see a similar scenario where Canada could end up with a Hung Parliament after an election, followed by some sort of "government of National Unity." Which could make sense, particularly if Canada has to deal with another unity crisis. If there's one thing Conservatives and Liberals agree on, it's that they hate the Bloc more than they hate each other.

But I have to say, the thought of teaming up with the Liberals turns the stomach of many Conservatives. I could see lots of people quitting the Conservative Party if this ever happens. Personally, I don't want to see this scenario happen, it would just be a mess for Canada. But it could happen.

Still, even though the German election created a mess, look on the bright side. It's better for Germany to have an election that ends up being a mess, than to have the situation that they had in the 1930s and 1940s when, ahem, they had no elections and were busy invading other countries. Democracy and human rights are very important.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Desperate Housewives may be all the rage but they still lost to Everybody Loves Raymond for Outstanding Comedy. Felicity Huffman won the Best Actress category and that was really the only major award they won. It's also bad news for Arrested Development, because they can't rely on Emmy to bail them out. If they bomb on Mondays they may not get another shot.

Lost won in the Drama category and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart in the outstanding variety category.

The show got better the longer it went. I thought they did a great job paying tribute to the late Johnny Carson (David Letterman got to say a few words about him) and they also paid tribute to all 3 of the "Big 3" news anchors- the two retired anchors Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather got a big standing ovation and they also paid tribute to the late Peter Jennings.

Those were the high points of a show weighed down by the devastation from Katrina, so the show was kind of subdued. Emmy Idol was a laugh- they had William Shatner do the Star Trek theme.


Well, so far the anticipated Housewives sweep hasn't yet happened, though I would suppose it could still happen. So far the hype is all Housewives, they've been all over this freaking show.

Blythe Danner won something and called for the troops to be pulled out of Iraq.

William Shatner won for Boston Legal, Amazing Race won Outstanding Reality Series, but frankly the show itself has been kind of lame. Ellen has been really off her game tonight, her jokes are really flopping tonight.

And they are showing Emmy Idol which was supposed to be one of the better parts of the show but which instead has been nothing short of EMBARRASSING. Donald Trump sang the Green Acres theme and was nothing short of HIDEOUS, and now Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) is butchering the theme from Fame.

Is this the best that TV can do?!? Good grief.


Speaking of TV... don't ya hate when shows you like are cancelled? I found out they got rid of syndicated tabloid-entertainment legal news daily Celebrity Justice.

I guess that the show got the boot because the big trials are OVER. Jacko and Baretta got ACQUITTED, so needless to say, show's OVER. Plus the legal fans are all watching Nancy Grace and Greta Van Susteren. Who cares about Holly Herbert.

Mind you I think Celebrity Justice would also have helped itself a lot more if more of its reporters had been lawyers or had law degrees, like the gang at Court TV. The people they had on the show were just the usual tabloid-TV hacks. Anyway it's too bad the show's cancelled. I'll have to watch A Current Affair or some other syndicated show that they usually show during the non-network hours. (We can actually get A Current Affair now in Toronto, it's on SUN-TV. People tuning in must be going "what, it's still on?!?", forgetting that the show just recently came back.)


I am HOME today and very tired, watching the German election coverage on the Internet. I could've gone to an actual political event today that I could've eaten a free hamburger at, but I decided it was too out of the way and I was really tired, and besides that I need a rest from politics.

Tonight is the Emmy Awards and I plan to blog about that tonight, so stay tuned for live EMMY AWARD blogging on the CAIRNS BLOG, assuming I decide to get out of my chair tonight. In fact, this week is going to be a big week at the CAIRNS BLOG for you APPRENTICE fans. THE APPRENTICE BLOG IS RETURNING THIS WEEK when I blog about Martha Stewart's new show and the Donald's latest effort. I had stopped blogging about the show but I figure for old times' sake, why not live blog it again this week and give my running color commentary.

Then after it's over I'll probably quit blogging about it forever. Reality TV is going downhill fast and if you tuned into the latest Survivor, you'll see why.


It's only one episode and already this season sucks. It was a really stale opening show, and I didn't give a care about the contestants. Usually when there's a new Survivor season you have people jumping out of airplanes or out of boats with the clothes on their back, and it's a dramatic, exciting start to the show. But these people just were given their bandanas and were introduced to these two returnee contestants who nobody cares about, and then they all started getting sick and dropping like flies. You had these unfit wannabe actors marooned in Guatemala, puking their guts out and unable to hack the heat and the terrible conditions.

People at looking at these wimps and are saying Mark Burnett should have marooned these people in New Orleans so they could experience real suffering. The critics are saying that Hurricane Katrina has spoiled everyone, but I think Katrina has little to do with it. The problem is that the show has gone stale, and the only thing left for this show to accomplish is for one of these "survivors" to drop dead during the competition. Really, people have seen it all before on this show and they know all the strategies already. And the show's ability to shock is gone.

The show became big because it initially was an outrageous show, with people rat-eating and stuff. In fact, that's why a lot of these recent shows became hits, because they were outrageous. Desperate Housewives became huge because the silly sex-crazed women on that show were outrageous. Tom Green became huge because he was outrageous. American Idol is huge because Simon Cowell and many of these wannabe singers are outrageous. The Apprentice is big because Donald Trump's boardroom firing sessions (and even some of the contestants) were outrageous. I could go on and on.

Now when they see people eating bugs on Survivor people go "who cares?" The outrageousness factor has expired for Survivor. People are looking for the next outrageous show. This series is DONE. OVER. Time for you to go.


The Film Festival is over, by the way. I was downtown and happened to see a bunch of stars at the festival yesterday. LL Cool J, Morgan Freeman and Justin Timberlake. The crowd went nuts when Timberlake arrived. Absolutely went ape mad nuts. I found it kind of funny and amusing, the crowd reaction.

Back when they had that big Rolling Stones concert in 2003 that 500,000 people showed up for, Timberlake got a very different, rather hostile reaction; somebody threw a bottle or something at him on stage. ET and all these entertainment reporters went nuts over this in the States and ran that shot of Timberlake ducking a bottle over and over again. That was all that anyone in the USA saw of the concert, Justin Timberlake getting abuse. The media there didn't care at all about the Rolling Stones. Anyway, this was a different crowd yesterday: gawkers and plenty of screaming girls. I had hoped there would be more starlets around but I guess I showed up on the wrong day for that.

Friday, September 16, 2005


I have big cartoon news to announce later in this post, as this is a big cartoon night.

I've always been a fan of cartoons, but I gravitated more to quality animation that adults might watch as well. When I was a kid I tuned into The Flintstones and plenty of Warner Brothers cartoons; I also liked Bullwinkle and Rocky and The Pink Panther. These were cartoons that a lot of adults liked as well. The Bugs Bunny and Pink Panther cartoons originally played in movie theatres to mass audiences, and the Flintstones started as a primetime show aimed primarily at adults. They were even sponsored by Winston's Cigarettes and had ads with Fred and Barney lighting up! I kid you not, I saw these ads for myself on the Internet and nearly died laughing.

I was a huge Flintstones fan growing up. CFQC-TV used to run The Flintstones reruns at noon hour, followed at 12:30 by Jim Mattern and the noon-hour news. And they ran the Flintstones at noon for something like twenty-five years. I believe CKCK in Regina did the same thing. In fact I heard there were big protests in Regina when they cancelled The Flintstones after running them at noon for so long. It was a Saskatchewan tradition. CFQC and CKCK also carried Spider-Man on weekends forever, though nobody really cared about that show like they cared about the Flintstones.

I still watch some cartoons but usually these days it's King of the Hill, The Simpsons and Family Guy on Sunday nights for me. Basically, that's where the good animation is on TV, on FOX. It certainly isn't on Saturday mornings. I can't bear to watch these witless made-in-Japan efforts. In fact most of the Saturday morning cartoons were witless when I was a kid, too. I've never been a fan of Disney cartoons, either: not enough violence. I preferred the old WB theatrical cartoons that they used to run on Saturdays; it had real effort put into it and the directors were absolute legends in the world of animation. But these PTA groups who ran TV back then ruined it all by ordering all kinds of cuts to the Road Runner and the other good cartoons.

It's 2005 now, and even though we've all grown up we still want to watch cartoons, but we don't want to tune into the juvenile crap that litters Saturday mornings. Well, fans who can't get enough of good cartoons can rejoice. The Cartoon Network shows a block of adult-oriented cartoons entitled Adult Swim, and now they plan to stream them live every Friday night, from 11PM to 5AM EST. Check it out. And the best part about this is that the CRTC can't stop this stuff from coming into Canada. That's the big cartoon news for tonight.

I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, which features the classic Hanna-Barbera characters of old.

UPDATE: BLEEPING HECK!?! I log in and they tell me you can only access these cartoons if you live in the USA. Well, then, I'm SCREWED. I'm back on my "I want to move to the United States" rant again.

THAT's CANADA for YOU EH?!! You can't even watch online CARTOONS without it getting RUINED. Whether it's Cartoon Network, ESPN, HBO or MTV, we don't get access to anything good. But we do get... Cheryl Hickey!

(And you thought I was going to insult Ben Mulroney again. Give the guy a break eh? His family has had a hard week.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Well, the new season is upon us and tonight CBS will have the premiere of Survivor: Guatemala, where the castaways will be joined by two- count them, two- of the more popular contestants of the recent past.

See, this is why people are fed up with reality TV. They see these familiar faces and they automatically think these people are wannabe actors, and that this is all fakery and phony and that you'll have producers whispering in the ears of contestants, telling them who to get rid of, just so these "stars" stay on the show another week. What phoniness. People want to see real stars, they don't want to see any of these people rounded up off the street for these crummy TV shows.

For evidence, check out my excited reaction below to seeing actress and Stuff cover girl Maria Menounos at the Toronto International Film Festival, where I gushed about her and declared her to be a "babe". People want to see HER. By contrast, Bill Rancic the Apprentice was actually in town in Toronto not too long ago at some big home-business expo they had on. I didn't go out of my way to see him. Just another corporate bigshot. Who cares.

People never tuned into reality shows to see personalities. They used to tune in because they wanted to find out how real people react in real-life office-politics-type situations, so they can learn a few tricks and be successful in their own boring lives. But the novelty has worn off. We now know from watching reality TV that it doesn't matter what you'll do, you'll be fired anyway. People can't relate to these no-name divas and supposed villains, making fools of themselves every week sabotaging each other on reality TV. Some new poll came out where 8 out of 10 disgusted Americans claimed there were too many reality TV shows. People hate reality TV and hate watching this garbage, so why are we still getting this crap on TV? Because there's nothing else these network people will put on. It's either this or Hurricane Katrina coverage on CNN. We're gluttons for punishment.

Already ABC is wheeling out its promos for its infamous Dancing With the Stars rematch, which I'm sure many viewers think is already rigged. And the hype machine is on for The Apprentice shows, with the Donald and Martha Stewart appearing together on the TV ads on NBC.

The PR machine is also spinning. The big news is that Bill Rancic is quitting Trump. That's right, Apprentice Bill has decided to quit being an Apprentice so he can start his own business and milk his new contacts, and get rich. The other big news about The Apprentice is that one of the contestants has an raunchy past as a stripper! Real leadership potential there, a rock-solid replacement for Bill Rancic when he leaves! And you wonder why the audience at home is so cynical about reality TV. The other big news is that Martha Stewart's big tag line on her Apprentice show is "you just don't fit in". Notice that PR people are hyping this, correctly thinking that more people will care about Martha's big tag line than about who will win. Truth is, they know that no one cares anymore about these contestants. The grand prize is that you get to work for an ex-con. What a concept. People are fed up.

Even Amazing Race is getting into the act by tweaking their format to have pairs of 4- families- racing for the top prize. I dunno about this idea, sounds like the demolition of the show to me. Anyway, Survivor: Guatemala and this "return-of-two-contestants" stunt reeks of desperation. I hope the rest of these castaways make sure these are the first two people to go. In fact, I don't even think they'll serve up "popular" contestants- they'll just serve up two of the usual people with high Q-ratings that folks recognize. Maybe they'll bring back Jenna and Heidi, those two girlfriends. Maybe they'll bring back Dr. Sean, or Gervase. If I see Richard Hatch on this show again I'll vomit. But I don't think it will be him. Last I heard he was getting the book thrown at him for something. Who cares.

You want real reality? Tune in to President Bush and his address to the nation tonight at 9PM to explain to the nation what happened with Katrina the Hurricane and why his team botched the job right up. He'll be doing a lot of grovelling tonight. What's happening with Katrina and the rescue efforts are more relevant than all the phoniness you see on reality TV today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Found out today Dina Pugliese got a new job- she is joining Star! News as co-host in December. That was quick.

Meanwhile SUN-TV has the bio up for her replacement over at Inside Jam (formerly the A-List), Daru Dhillon. It says on her bio she was at CH in Victoria for a while, and after moving to Ontario became an entertainment reporter for First Local on Rogers Television in Mississauga of all places. And I'm going really?! I didn't remember seeing her there from when I was on the air there. Turns out she was there after I left. Now she's at SUN-TV. Interesting.


And my reaction is summed up by the famous last words who cares.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Well, I was downtown again today and decided to go down to Roy Thomson Hall around the time the evening news was on, hoping to find a few celebrities and a few entertainment reporters doing live hits.

Turns out I was a little late for most of the celebrities but I did happen to see plenty of entertainment reporters including, I kid you not, Jerry Penacoli from Extra! That says a lot about this Toronto International Film Festival event, the fact that even he was here. He did a standup and the fans were cheering behind him, and he sort of waved and gave a thumbs-up to them. There were other entertainment reporters there, Liz and Jacintha and all the usual people, but I've seen them around town before, so who really cares about them. But Jerry Penacoli doesn't come to Toronto all that often- he'd only show up here if the story was very important. So even EXTRA's here... I'm very impressed.

Also here was the cast of that Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, which made its film fest big gala debut tonight.

Showing up for the premiere tonight was entertainment reporter-turned-big actress Maria Menounos! She even signed a bunch of autographs and in fact came over close to where I was, signing autographs and talking to the fans. The guys there were trying to get her to sign old issues of "Stuff" with her on the cover. She was asking people if we had seen Joaquin Phoenix (from Walk the Line.) And the reaction was who cares about him, this was Maria Menounos, oh my God!

Some were less impressed; one guy asked the others "Maria who?" and he took a ribbing, "you don't know who she is, are you kidding?" I don't think the women were impressed by this former Entertainment Tonight reporter, they were waiting for the hunks to show up.

But we guys were impressed, some of us were ready to faint. Her pictures in Stuff don't do this adorable woman justice- she's so gorgeous and was soooo nice to the fans!



I think all Tories should calm down and cool off over this Peter C. Newman/Mulroney book. By ranting and raving about it in the media now, with Kim Campbell ranting and Mulroney quoted as saying he's devastated, well, all that the Tories are doing is making themselves look like fools and just gives plenty of ammunition to the Liberals to beat the Tories to a pulp in the next election.

I will agree, though, with the rants coming from Mulroney about the press corps being "corrupt." I think they're scoundrels, out to make all Tory politicians look bad. The Ottawa press corps is full of weasels. If Tories are to fight anyone, it's the media, not themselves.

Time for the Tories to lower the temperature, zip their mouths, and stay united and focused on victory.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Honestly. I think these Peter C. Newman tape recordings of Brian Mulroney are old news, frankly. We all knew Mulroney was one of these politicians who had an inflated view of himself. So what. That isn't news and hasn't been news for years.

The Globe and Mail made it sound today like it was some big scandal. If this is a scandal, then Canada is a dull and boring country. They think it's a scandal for Mulroney to suggest that he was a really great prime minister, but the fact is that Mulroney did a lot of daring, groundbreaking things during his time in office, and many of his policies (especially free trade) have stood the test of time, so he's right to be full of himself! And people are excited that he supposedly had "profane" things to say about various other idiot politicians. Oops, did I say "idiot"? Man, I should watch it, I should wash my mouth out with soap.

But I would've had a little more couth in describing Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark and Kim Campbell to my "buddies" in the media. Frankly, I think Mulroney was being Mulroney. He was dead on in his comments. What did you expect him to say about his opponents, especially Trudeau!? What did you expect him to say about Campbell- that she ran a great campaign?! Two seats, man! That's all she got for Mulroney's bleeping party, and you expect Mulroney to say something nice about it and not get too fired up! If I were Mulroney I wouldn't blame him for having a big cow over what happened.

The problem for Mulroney is that he had too many "friends" in the media. Note the quotation marks around the word "friends". With friends like these, heck, who needs enemies?

I was listening to Robert Fife on CTV and he was comparing this stuff to the "Nixon tapes," meanwhile I'm on the floor laughing like a hyena.

People in the press are now saying this is another reminder of why people in Canada hate Mulroney's guts, but you know, Bill Clinton was pretty full of himself, too, and additionally was a big fan of cigars. By all rights everyone in Canada ought to hate President Clinton, filthy scumbag American, yet people in Canada went gaga over him when he came to Canada for his book tour. I don't get it. He was a slippery character who would infuriate his political opponents, a lot of similar traits to Mr. Mulroney. Yet lots of people here in Canada think Clinton's the greatest.

Anyway, enough. Brian Mulroney is old news. What is news is his son, Ben, because the finals for Canadian Idol are this week.


I found a great link to live coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival. As you may know Rogers Television are again providing live TV coverage of the Film Festival. They are streaming their coverage live on the 'Net for all the world to see. Catch their streaming video live, here. Windows Media required.

Among the coverage they are offering is live red-carpet interviews with the big stars and directors, plus behind the scenes coverage of the big parties and happenings around town. Plus, they have extensive coverage of the press conferences for the movies, and there will be plenty of those to cover. Basically, it's amazing coverage, the best in Canada of this event in fact. Places like Star!TV, Global and CTV have plenty of coverage in their own right, but Rogers Television turns their entire local cable channel over to coverage of the Film Festival in southern Ontario. They kick off all their regular shows and go Film Festival 24/7, and put their top movie people on the event, reputable people like Richard Crouse and Geoff Pevere and those folks.

I know some of the other people working on the coverage, so I basically have to say nice things about them or they'll kill me. I know Candice Batista and she's done red carpet stuff at the Film Festival for years, and I've worked with one of their camera guys on TV reporting shoots so yes, I know these people. They need to be paid tons more cash for the great job they are doing.

The two things Rogers TV does better than anyone else is cover the Film Festival and cover the OHL. That's what they're known for, and they should keep covering the Film Festival for years to come. It reels in the movie buffs and the film fans think it's great.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Well, as you know the auto racing season is pretty much in the books in Canada as far as major races are concerned. The ChampCar races are all in the books in Canada and people are looking to next year, when some big changes could be coming to the auto racing scene in Canada next year and beyond.

There were rumors of big problems with this year's Champ Car race in Montreal. Attendance was way down and there are accusations flying back and forth about people not living up to their obligations, no promotion, etcetera, Anyway, the bottom line is Champ Car could be out in Montreal, and the IRL could come in and replace them. The IRL could hold their event in conjunction with a NASCAR Busch Series event at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

This would give the IRL and also NASCAR a toe-hold in Canada for the first time and also be a blow to the ChampCar World Series. Story from TSN. I dunno about you but I think the ChampCar World Series is in a lot of trouble in Canada, despite the great attendances in Toronto and Edmonton and the general comeback that series has enjoyed this year. The problem is they could lose their race in Montreal and they could lose Paul Tracy to NASCAR next year. Tracy has been testing out the NASCAR cars this year as everyone knows, working with Richard Childress and the gang. And if this goes through in Montreal, fans in Toronto will be howling about how bad they have it compared to the people in La Belle Province. Montreal already has the better of it because they have an F1 race, but by adding the IRL and NASCAR the same weekend, they could really rub it in to Toronto.

I also read somewhere that Calgary was supposed to maybe get a NASCAR Craftsman Truck event next year, too. That would be great for the folks in Cowtown.

UPDATE: Dan Wheldon won his IRL race today so he's all but wrapped up that title, too. The IRL season is all but DONE with two races left, and everyone knows Sebastien Bourdais has got ChampCar won. All these auto racing series are TOAST. Another reason why the NFL has returned just in time.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Well, it's the weekend and I'm just gonna rant tonight about some of the usual topics that I care about for our international audience of friends and relatives who tune in all over the world- and I do know for a fact we get people from all over the world looking in on these rants so hello, world.


Well, no one really knows when the CBC lockout is going to end, but there was apparently some more progress made today and they plan to meet tomorrow. So there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, we hope. Meanwhile, the rebel podcasting and broadcasting continues unabated. The other day locked-out TV anchor Diana Swain was on Andy Barrie's lockout show, and Shelagh Rogers was in Saskatoon talking about the lockout for her podcast.

You know, I think these people are partly doing these podcasts and broadcasts just to preserve their own sanity. Heck, the last month has been huge for news. Hurricane KATRINA has turned out to be a monster of a news story, and these people would normally be chomping at the bit to go down to what's left of New Orleans and Mississippi to cover it. By having these podcasts and rebel broadcasts, they have an outlet to vent about the hurricane so it encourages their union members to stay loyal to the union and not give an inch on their demands.

I notice there are a few familiar faces occasionally popping up on the "official" CBC broadcasts on the main network these days- guys like Henry Champ, Ann MacMillan, Nancy Durham etc. I read on the Daily Planet site that most of these are local hires who are not part of the union. And in Ann MacMillan's case she is actually part of management, she's the manager in London. Anyway, that's why you're seeing them on the "official" broadcasts, which seem to be getting better. They're actually able to fill a full half-hour now. Actually, this was a pretty good week for the lockout-ridden CBC. They ran that big two-part documentary about the '95 referendum this week, so they actually looked like they had some good, original programming, even though their workers were still walking with pickets outside.

But tonight was back to normal. Winnipeg versus Saskatchewan, with no announcers. Again.

CBC, get back to work. Enough of this nonsense already.


I think it's great that the NFL is back. And just in time, because the auto racing season is going in the toilet fast.

The NASCAR "Chase" is all set, and NOT making the field are those two bums Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. The two biggest names in NASCAR don't get into the CHASE, so they can't win the Cup. Well, why bother tuning into any of these bleeping races coming up on NBC? Might as well tun into the NFL.

And Fernando Alonso is all set to clinch the F1 title, any race now. Like I say, it's about this point in the season when the auto racing season goes downhill fast. For some reason, auto racing always ends with a whimper, not a bang. NASCAR has the right idea introducing the CHASE, but like I say, what point is there to having a Chase without Earnhardt Jr. or Gordon? Might as well forget it.


I amused myself yesterday by going downtown to check out the film festival happenings and look for celebrities. I went down to the Four Seasons and stood with a bunch of gawkers waiting for celebs to drive off in their limos. The only celeb I was able to see go by was Steve Martin- he waved to everyone. Then I got bored and decided to head downtown to see if there were any happenings down there. Supposedly Yorkville is the place to spot the celebrities: there were some guys claiming they saw Mary Kate and Ashley walking down the street, and saw Tom Cruise at some restaurant. But I'm thinking these folks are only thinking they saw these people.

I walked by the red carpet at Roy Thomson Hall but there was nothing happening there, so I wasted some time and later checked out the Star! Schmooze down at the Citytv building on Queen and John around 10PM. I saw Larysa Harapyn and Terry David Mulligan interviewing big celebs, doing their big show live. That was good fun. I was quite impressed with their production and with their coverage of the film festival, and again I kick myself for not going into entertainment reporting. Covering a film festival has to be the best gig in the world, you get to sit and watch movies all the time. And most of them are good movies. I should actually go to one of these movies this year at the film festival some year, but I never do for some reason. These are all "art" movies and my preferences are definitely downmarket, of the comedy and buddy-action-movie variety.

This is rapidly turning into one of the premiere film festivals in the WORLD, right up there with Cannes and Sundance in my book. The charm of it all is that for a few days Toronto gets to host all these big freaking celebrities and gets to be this big glamorous city. Then they go home and Toronto returns to being a nice boring town again. That's the fun about Toronto. The celebs don't stick around long enough to really spoil the locals. So the locals still have the capacity to be awestruck by these people.

Here I am back to being a tabloid artist again.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Last week was one of the finer hours for the news media generally, more so for the cable nets and the local reporters in New Orleans and Mississippi reporting on the hurricane and then the abominable aftermath, with the starvation and dying, the unsanitary conditions at the Superdome and the absolutely gruesome stories of rape and murder at the Convention Center itself. Here's another article on it.

For the cable nets last week was truly their finest hour. They beat the broadcast networks to a pulp on this story. And it sounds like it was a great week for the Fox News Channel. I really wish I still had access to the Fox News Channel because it sounds as if they really rose to the occasion with their reporting. Steve "Hurricane" Harrigan got a lot of praise covering the hurricane and they sent all their war reporters, who are used to third-world conditions and other horrors, to cover the non-relief efforts. I saw footage of Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera going on Fox News and they seemed rather frantic (especially Geraldo) in describing the terrible, inhumane conditions down there and how awful it was. It was as if they wanted to cut through all the political BS going on out there, and tell people what was really going on about the human misery there. Same with Anderson Cooper ripping these politicians on the air for giving their BS PR spin lines about how much aid they were providing. He was acting like Bill O'Reilly.

Predictably, I'm now hearing about conservatives complaining about Roger Ailes turning on his own party now, after last week's coverage. But what did they expect, for Fox News to be lapdogs? They're a news organization, they aren't supposed to be propagandists! I'm glad to see Fox News stand up for themselves and not shill the party line. All of America was horrified by what happened down there and you wanted to hear the truth, not a bunch of political shills. It's interesting that the usual bigmouths like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity had very little to say last week and were out-shouted by their own reporters. The big conservatives at Fox News had to shut up, for a change, from what I gathered.

You know, you have to admire what there reporters are all doing down there in reporting this terrible story. No matter how awful it's gotten, no matter how poor the conditions were, they were able to get the story out. You can't help but admire what they're doing and the important job they have reporting the news.

About the only person who exposed herself as the big fraud in the journalism business last week was Rita Cosby. I used to like her at Fox News, but now that she's at MSNBC she's turned into an embarrassment. She spent part of last week in Aruba before flying to sunny Houston, but she sure didn't get her hands dirty like these other reporters did, that's for sure. She was really where the action was, not. I saw her on MSNBC last week (when WDSU streamed its coverage) and boy was she out of her element on this story. This story is separating the great journos from the also-rans, and Rita Cosby is definitely looking like the latter right now in the eyes of much of the press.

By the way tomorrow night is another big telethon to be carried this time by all the networks. So give more money! Again:

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


It wasn't all that long ago that Krispy Kreme donuts came to Canada and were all the rage. They opened their first store in Mississauga to huge crowds. I'd go by there and see big lineups and people waiting outside trying to get in to buy donuts. The stores opened way back during the 2002 leadership race in Ontario as I recall; I remembered Bob Dechert (who later ran and lost to bigmouthed anti-American Carolyn Parrish) used to bring a huge carton full of Krispy Kreme donuts to the campaign office for people to eat, after standing in line for hours in Mississauga waiting to buy them. Of course, our office usually brought in truckloads of Tim Hortons products the rest of the week, but Krispy Kremes were something we had to go out of our way to get.

Well, the company that runs the Krispy Kreme franchise in Canada has declared bankruptcy and most of their stores are now kaput. The lineups for Krispy Kreme donuts vanished overnight. A lot of people are blaming the anti-carb trends and the famous Atkins Diet. (As you know, the Atkins Diet did a lot of good for Atkins: he died.)

But that doesn't explain why Tim Hortons and Country Style Donuts are all over Ontario while Krispy Kreme is going belly-up. The Atkins Diet did nothing to dent them. They're still here.

What's really mind-boggling is that Krispy Kreme has a great product. Their glazed donuts are terrific, among the best I ever tasted! This is common consensus, the donuts are great. Maybe the problem was their prices were too high for a donut shop. And this being Canada, no one is going to pay top dollar to eat gourmet donuts or pay extra for anything good. They'd rather pay cheap for a mediocre donut than pay top dollar for quality. That's why Krispy Kreme is going out of business here; they forget, this is Canada.

Besides, Canada is absolutely overrun with donut places. Tim Hortons is EVERYWHERE. In fact, it must be company policy to have a Tim Hortons located within walking distance of every living Canadian, that's what it seems like. There seems to be a Hortons on every streetcorner. So obviously that was why Krispy Kreme was run out of Canada. Nobody was going to get in a car and travel anywhere to find a Krispy Kreme when they could simply walk down the street a couple of blocks to Tim Hortons.

To sum up Canada for outsiders, you have to know it has three distinguishing characteristics: hockey, the Mounties, and donuts. That's basically Canada for you, and if you go to any donut shop in Canada you're bound to see plenty of Mounties and other police officers. And oh yeah, Tim Horton once played for the Leafs. Case closed!