Friday, March 31, 2006

IT'S APRIL FOOLS DAY SATURDAY

Bourque Newswatch reports that George W. Bush and Stephen Harper struck a deal at the Cancun summit meeting to swap Alaska for New Brunswick.

What a lame April Fool's joke this year from Bourque, I was expecting better from him.
The best prank Bourque came up with was the year they claimed the Liberals were going to axe the GST. And I actually got worried--- until I realized what day of the week it was. I was hoping Bourque would announce that Scott Brison had rejoined the Conservatives or something like that. Or better yet, that Paul Martin had crossed the floor. Or something.

Now, that would have been an April Fool's prank people would actually fall for! Then again, given the shenanigans of the past year with all the floor-crossing, maybe that joke wouldn't have been all that funny for a lot of people.

WB49 NEWS IS DONE

Tonight the WB 49 News from Buffalo signed off. I tuned in to part of it (I was flipping channels)- they'll rerun the cast later tonight anyways. Here's an article on the closedown. Like I say, it's too bad.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

BYELECTIONS TODAY

I am finished working on yet another by-election campaign and I am happy to report that my win/loss record is improving. Lesse, this is what, three wins now versus, I dunno, I quit counting all the losses.

The food at Christine Elliott's victory bash was very good. Polish food, I was told. The mark of a great campaign is great food. As I say, a sure sign of doom is when the campaign food is all pizza and beer. Same for fried chicken and other low-class food.

All the bigshots were there, John Tory was there, Jim Flaherty was there. Jim Flaherty had to be there, he's Christine Elliott's husband.

All in all the Tories took 2 of 3 byelections and the Liberals were totally shut out. What is Ben Chin to do now? Go back to TV? Wonder if that job at Global is still open.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

DEALBREAKER IS UP

Well, here's big news from the blog world: Dealbreaker, the new much-anticipated Wall Street gossip blog from Elizabeth Spiers (of Mediabistro fame), is now up and running.

Should be must-reading for people fascinated by Wall Street, money, and so on. Should be a big hit with folks like myself: I already watch too many Apprentice episodes and too many financial news shows on TV. So this is right up my alley. There's links on the Dealbreaker web site to Squawk Blog and some of these other popular financial blog sites. I hope they're interesting to read, for a change!

If there's one thing that's needed it's some good blogs from the world of business and finance; this is one area where there is a dearth of quality blogs. Maybe people in finance are too happy with their jobs to want to rant in print about how bad they are; or maybe they simply can't write, period! Actually, there's no excuse for this lack of interesting business blogs. There's a lot of great writing out there about the business world, like the stuff Michael Lewis and Po Bronson churn out. But few blogs about finance. Maybe this will start a new trend.

TV NEWS JUNK

Well, you'll be pleased to know that I added another blog about TV news to Fun TV Links. Random Observations on Life, the Universe and Television, good stuff with a lot of screencaps from local news in New York City. Basically it's a visual record of what you see on local TV news in New York. Check it out. It's useful for someone like me who doesn't get to see the local TV news from New York City. The only channel people get access to up here is the WB11. I guess you could tune into New York 1's audio feed; that's about it.

And in a bit of news about New York broadcast personalities, found out that another Canuck, Chris Gailus, recently left WNYW to return to Canada. Again, I wonder: is this because of immigration rules? Maybe. Maybe they miss watching Hockey Night in Canada, that's why they come back.

And Tina Cervasio has left CBS 2 in New York to go to Boston and work for NESN, covering the Red Sox. Actually, CBS 2 has kind of had a bloodbath recently, with lots of people leaving. Television news is a terrible business, lots of people leave for all kinds of reasons, they're fired or they quit. I noticed Cheryl Fiandaca left, that's yet another lawyer in TV news. Though not right now.

YET MORE NEWS ABOUT EX-LAWYERS IN TV NEWS

Newsblues is free this week, so that's where I found out that Adaora Udoji, formerly of CNN and ABC News, has jumped ship. She is now going to join the bunch of lawyers over at Court TV. (Court TV had a spot to fill as Kimberly Guilfoyle left for Fox News recently.) Some other useless information: Udoji is also married to NBC News reporter Ron Allen.

Does she have her bar card? I don't know. If not, she'll be someone who went to law school who scrapped the whole idea of becoming a lawyer.

KATIE WATCH

I find it amusing that Newsblues has a countdown clock, counting down to the end of Katie's contract with NBC. Presumably we will know soon whether Katie's staying or going to CBS. I heard something about a news blackout until May 1st, some kind of gag order. Meanwhile the speculation continues about who NBC might get to replace Katie on the Today Show. The big rumor is that they're going after Meredith Vieira of The View. That move would make the most sense. Other names in the running are Natalie Morales, Campbell Brown and Ann Curry, though Curry seems a longshot at this point.

Anyway, nothing has happened yet. Maybe Katie is waiting for someone to sweeten their offer. Heck she's already been offered 25 million! She could buy a bunch of houses for that amount of money, fix them all up and resell them, and make a big profit!

BEN CHIN

Tomorrow is the big provincial byelection day in Ontario and I am urging people who live in Toronto-Danforth electoral district to defeat ex-newscaster Ben Chin, and vote for the Conservative candidate instead. Fat chance the Conservative is going to win, though, this race is between the Liberals and the NDP, and the NDP usually takes this one.

If the Liberals win this seat Chin will become yet another broadcaster turned politician. The other recent one who got elected was Conservative Garth Turner, and you can see what a pain in the neck he's turned out to be for Stephen Harper, Canada's press hating Prime Minister. The media are all mad at Harper for muzzling his ministers and generally not dispensing information to people. All I will say is get used to it, these aren't the leaky Liberals you are dealing with. And Garth Turner is a headache to Harper because he just won't shut up. The press loves this guy.

As for me, I won't be in Toronto-Danforth tomorrow, I'll be in another riding. Expect Byelection Coverage from me tomorrow night after I get home.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT IS TOAST

It's official- that rumored fourth season on Showtime isn't going to happen. Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz walked away from the negotiations so the show, already given the boot by Fox due to low ratings, doesn't get rescued by another network.

I read the sites for these dedicated TV fans and they are having a hard time these days. Why is it that the quality shows these fans all go ape over, shows like Arrested, Veronica Mars et. al., get such crummy numbers while utter tripe like Desperate Housewives does so well? Beats me. Housewives is getting grilled by its fans for its lousy storylines this season, but people are still tuning in. People are tuning in to junk like American Idol. That show had a bad night tonight, the singers were getting roasted all night. Randy Jackson was in a particularly foul mood.

Even Supernanny does better. Makes no sense to me, either.

If good shows that the TV fans tune in to keep getting cancelled, there will be no one left to watch TV except the boring people in middle America, and it seems these networks care more about those folks than the dedicated TV fans! Anyway, Arrested Development's done. Buy it on DVD, chumps.

LAST NIGHT'S LETTERMAN

I tuned into David Letterman's show last night and it was another can't miss show for all kinds of reasons, most of them sad ones.

As you know Letterman is a huge racing fan and very involved in the sport with the Rahal-Letterman team in the IRL. Well, the IRL started on the weekend. What ought to have been a happy time of IRL fans quickly turned into a day of death as Letterman team driver Paul Dana slammed into a race car that had hit the wall during practice. The guy who had hit the wall managed to survive, but Dana's car flipped over and he was killed.

So Letterman was on the show last night paying tribute to Paul Dana for a very brief segment, and they showed a picture of Dana, and Dave sure seemed subdued for most of the broadcast last night. I don't know how Dave Letterman could have carried on with the show after what happened. Anyway, he went ahead and did the show. What a trooper.

SHARON STONE: NAKED AGAIN

The guest on last night's Letterman show was the famed naked movie actress Sharon Stone, whose movie Basic Instinct 2 comes out later this week. Stone has been bragging to the press about how raunchy this movie is, and about the acrobatic sex scenes and so on. I'm sure the DVD for this film is going to be filled with stuff that didn't make it into the theatres, it'll be absolutely loaded with sex. Anyway, Sharon seemed in a good mood on the Letterman show, looking actually quite loopy, frankly. She was laughing and giggling.

I gotta say though, I'm a little worried about this movie. I saw the clip of the film that ran on Letterman and I gotta say, if this was the best they could find from this movie then this effort might be a big train wreck. Of course, it took forever for this sequel to get made in the first place. So there could have been production issues, the script could have been assembled by committee, you name it.

Buzz is not good, folks. I went to Rotten Tomatoes and a couple of people who went to the advance screening absolutely trashed the movie, called it one of the worst sequels of all time. My worry is this flick sounds like one of these ripoff Zalman King-style flicks- all sex and no plot, the kind of thing that could run on Citytv on Fridays late at night. I think this film could turn out to be a piece of cinematic garbage, another Showgirls, which would be too bad.

Of course, the original Basic Instinct got panned by a lot of people, too. Personally, I want Basic Instinct 2 to be as good as the first one, because I liked the original and absolutely love Sharon Stone as an actress. She is hot, and this is her most famous role.

I'll let you know if this film is any good.

ISRAEL ELECTION RESULTS

Tuned in to Ehud Olmert's victory speech on the BBC newscast today; his party didn't exactly sweep to victory but they did beat out Labor, who may wind up being a coalition partner in the next government.

I tuned into Israeli TV coverage on the Internet and saw Benjamin Netanyahu's concession speech at Likud HQ. Likud was the government, but thanks to Ariel Sharon's defection and a few other things, they were absolutely reduced to rubble. I watched Netanyahu speak and had no idea what the heck he was saying. I was wondering whether or not he was resigning as leader, but it turned out he was giving one of these Tommy Douglas-type defiant speeches. As in "I'll lay me down and bleed awhile, and then I'll rise to fight again." Okay, fine, but this was just a terrible defeat for that party.

Now we'll see whether the new peace-minded Kadima government will be able to get a peace deal with the Palestinians, now led by (ugh) Hamas. Unfortunately, the prospects of peace seem aptly summed up by the famous last words fat chance.

ISRAEL ELECTION IS TODAY

Well, I'm in a political mood this week, so that means ELECTION COVERAGE ON THE CAIRNS BLOG, starting with today's Israeli Election.

And for a quick link to election results, here's the link to the Jerusalem Post, which has plenty of election coverage. Actually, the only reason I linked to it is because it's in English.

Will it be Ehud Olmert in again, or will it be Amir Peretz? Or Benjamin Netanyahu? I like Israeli politics, the politicians really get into it over there.

Monday, March 27, 2006

BYE BYE, CLEVELAND

There are lots of Canadians working in TV news in the USA and I have news on one of them.

Tiffany Burns was the weekend anchor at WOIO 19 and sister station WUAB 43 in Cleveland. (WUAB can be seen pretty easily in London, Ontario on cable and I've been able to get their signal from Toronto by rabbit ears from time to time.) Cleveland's a pretty good local TV market, people like Gretchen Carlson have worked there and gone on to the network.

Vancouver native Burns got her start in TV in Toronto, anchoring on CP24 for a while before moving to Cleveland. Anyway, she's quit. She's gone home to Vancouver to work on a "personal project".

I wonder if maybe immigration has something to do with this. I know that certain visas for Canadian broadcasters working in the USA are temporary ones which expire after a period of time; then you have to go home. Who knows.

And I have no idea whether Katie Couric is quitting the Today Show or not to go to CBS, the speculating continues. I'll keep you posted.

CANADA'S LOUSY TV

Since I'm in the mood to rant about TV, tonight, Tara Ariano (Television Without Pity) ranted in the National Post about how the CRTC keeps out all these American channels like American Bravo.

The main complaint is that channels like American Bravo run good shows like Project Runway, but the Canadian cable channels don't bother running these shows until weeks later so Canadian viewers miss out on all the fun. There is nothing new about these complaints, these complaints have been around for a long time about how the CRTC keeps all these American stations out, just so the Canadian channels are protected. Well, what good is protecting these Canadian channels if they won't run these American shows on time, or are too lazy to run good American shows?!

There are so many American channels that aren't allowed in the country that it's INSANE. For instance, in addition to American Bravo, we don't get access to HBO, Showtime, ESPN, USA Network, TNT, the History Channel, Nickelodeon, any number of them. We get the Comedy Network instead of Comedy Central, and we don't even get to see all of Comedy Central's shows. Same for Teletoon instead of the Cartoon Network, and Star! TV instead of E!.

My main complaint about these American channels being shut out of the country is the fact that we don't get to see OLN NHL games in this country, or we only see TNT's NBA games, every---- so often. We don't even get the Fox Sports Net shows like The Best Damn Sports Show, Period! American cable TV is so much better than Canadian cable TV that it's a joke.

SUN TV STILL A FLOP

Read on Antonia's blog that Channel 52 has had yet another bloodbath. Thirteen people, including techies, reporters and producers, all taking the down elevator to the cab.

Channel 52 is of course SUN TV, owned by Quebecor (Toronto Sun), which used to be called Toronto 1. Toronto 1 was of course a miserable flop, so much so that it sunk the company that owned it. Craig sold its entire empire to CHUM because of the debacle that was Toronto 1, and the station has been known as SUN TV since the fall.

Anyway, the tone of that blog post I linked to is that a bunch of union people seem unhappy that they lost their jobs, plus the folks at SUN TV supposedly promised a lot of local programming that they failed to deliver on. They had put on Inside Jam! but that show has been drastically cut back, and will now only air on the weekends. The whole tone is that the people who run SUN TV are a bunch of liars who have broken all their promises, which I think isn't fair to the new owners.

First of all, these union people should have been happy to have jobs to begin with after what happened to Toronto 1 in the first place. They could have closed the whole station down after what happened, but Quebecor kept it open and tried to make a go of it. They ought to be commended for making the best out of a bad situation. If Quebecor hadn't bought it, everyone at that crummy station would have been on the street, guaranteed.

Second, the reason SUN TV failed to deliver on all their promises of local programming has a lot to do with what the new owners inherited. Quebecor inherited the worst TV station in the country in Toronto 1. The local programming they inherited- news program Toronto Tonight, The A-List etc.- were expensive ratings losers, and the entertainment offerings were blasted by the local TV critics. The problem Toronto 1 had, which SUN TV hasn't been able to get around, has been the fact that all the other stations in town have locked up the most attractive first-run series, movies, and sports offerings. SUN TV is basically left with the table scraps, which means no one will tune in, which means ad revenues are down. Plus, this is an over-the-air station, not a cable station, so they can't capitalize by charging cable fees or any of that. So they are stuck with their crummy ad money coming in, and there's simply not enough of it to be able to do the kinds of things they would want to do with it, like spend it on local productions.
SUN TV is making hay these days by showing cheap junk like Jerry Springer, old movies that used to run at the local drive-in, plus old TV series like Baretta and King of Kensington. They're running old Ed Sullivan shows at 6PM and I actually think this is an improvement! I happen to like tuning in to this "retro" stuff. I'd take good retro television over crummy new programs any day. It's pretty obvious SUN TV are doing this in order to keep expenses down, because advertisers flew the coop. Maybe one day they can put on some more local programming, but I think they know that it is going to take longer than expected to turn this station around. I think they had banked on Inside Jam! being their big flagship show and something they could build a lineup around, but then Global countered with Entertainment Tonight Canada and that just killed them. So the whole strategy went up in smoke and they are reeling from that. And I'm sorry, but their sports show The Grill Room is just plain awful. A lame ripoff of Michael Landsberg's TSN show. The only reason that show is on is so they can say to the CRTC what good guys they are, putting on a locally-produced show, when they ought to just forget it.

The station is simply in survival mode right now. The Star can criticize this station and its programming all they want, but SUN TV is simply not making much money and their hands are tied when it comes to improving the station in a hurry, unfortunately.

Of course, I think they're still bitter at the Star because they didn't win the license for Toronto 1 in the first place. But let's face it, if they had run the station they would have had the same problems acquiring programming. It's easy to say you'll put on better locally-produced shows, but those shows might get some pretty bad ratings and can be expensive to produce. The Toronto TV market is completely saturated and advertising money would have been tight, regardless. Plus there's all those stations from Buffalo beamed into town. Toronto is simply overrun with TV stations. Anyway, that's my SUN TV rant.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

FINAL FOUR IS SET

What's the bigger surprise--- that all the number one seeds are out, or that George Mason is in?!

Plus two teams from the SEC. I wonder what Billy Packer thinks of this turn of events. Pretty much all the big name teams are out.

CBS ratings are going to go into the tank.

I CAN'T EXTRICATE MYSELF FROM POLITICS

Well here's yet another rare political post from me here at the CAIRNS BLOG.

I have recently been roped into doing more political stuff but I have mixed feelings about it. It's so hard to turn these people down, though. They're friends of mine, these folks, and I don't mind giving these folks my time. It's just that I'm kind of sick of politics. I am fed up for all kinds of reasons that go beyond winning or losing.

If winning or losing was the sole consideration I'd stay in for sure because heck, my side's winning these days. The Liberals are in chaos and look like total fools. Their current leadership race is a joke, all the potential candidates are utter mediocrities. I ought to be happy as can be. But I simply feel my involvement in politics is increasingly futile.

I guess this David Emerson business has been the catalyst to turn me right off. How do I go around defending that stuff to my neighbors?! I can't! That's why I'm fed up. And these political people are in dire need of lives, many of them.

Speaking of the byelections, a few local political people have rounded me up off the street to help out in Whitby-Ajax to help elect Christine Elliott to the provincial legislature. She is the wife of federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Basically it's the whole former Eugene McDermott team going out to canvass for Christine Elliott. We went out there for the day and I'm planning to go out there later this week. Elliott is in a tough battle with Liberal Judi Longfield, who was recently tossed out of the parliament of Canada in the last federal election. But Christine Elliott seems to me to be the kind of individual who's in politics for the right reasons. As far as I'm concerned, that's good enough reason to help her out. And she needs all the help she can get.

In other news, Ontario came out with its provincial budget which promised wild spending to the GTA, and John Tory was busy blasting all this wild spending, and so on and so forth. But no one can do much about this wild spending except rant and complain about it to the media. That's what happens when you get a majority government, they get to spend money as if there is no tomorrow.

Friday, March 24, 2006

BONES

Thought I'd pass along this Lee Goldberg blurb that mentioned FOX had picked Bones up again, but that the future looks grim for Heist, The Evidence, and Conviction. That's too bad, I was beginning to like that last show. I also liked the promos for Heist, but I didn't watch the show. They're rerunning it tonight, but then there's NCAA basketball on the other channel, so nobody is going to watch. Shows you how tough it is to get a hit show on TV.

By the way, I read that on the strength of their NCAA hoops ratings CBS won the week last week for the first time in, well, weeks. They also have a new hit in old Christine, who is beating Donald Trump on Monday nights over on NBC. NBC has got to do something about that Apprentice show, get it the heck out of that time slot. It crashed into fourth place on Monday, doing worse than even the cheap junk over on ABC! That show cannot expect to survive with crummy numbers like that for very long, regardless of how much money they get from these product placements. Maybe NBC will move it back to Thursdays as soon as the network gets up the courage to cancel that lame Joey show. They have to do something fast. The Apprentice is getting killed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

MORE ON LARRY KING

I meant to post this link to a Rebecca Dana story in the New York Observer about this whole Larry King nonsense.

Seems that people at the King show were freaking out about losing their jobs and that the producer Wendy Walker Whitworth had to hold a meeting to tell people nothing was going to happen to them. From what I gather people were worried that what happened to Aaron Brown was happening to Larry King.

These are definitely strange times for CNN, what with Fox News going on the air to defend Larry King, and with the Headline News set catching fire on the air over there, and so on. It is fair to say the staff over there feel battered and bruised right now. They're getting killed by Fox News, MSNBC is chomping at their heels, and they're still reeling from the layoffs and firings of the last several years. They closed down CNNfn and CNNSI over there, too. And they've gone after a lot of the non-hard news programming in recent years and thrown a lot of people onto the street. No wonder, then, that people there are so miserable and ready to believe the worst.

The other thing I find bizarre are all these stories about how Nancy Grace could be brought over to replace Larry King. Yet there are lots of these people out there who were calling for King to be fired because he was a tabloid artist. But Nancy Grace is, if anything, an even bigger tabloid artist than Larry King! She talks about this Natalee Holloway case all the time. And her show is all about law and justice. It's not about entertainment or any other subjects. Mind you, Larry King has lots of stuff about law and major trials on his show, so Nancy Grace wouldn't be too much different. But her style is different. Boy, does she ever go after people.

When you think of it, there's really no way to replace Larry King. Think about it. Who out there is doing a Larry King-style show, where the interviewer sits there in the studio, no audience, and just interviews famous guests? I guess Charlie Rose does something similar these days, and Bob Costas did Later for many years, Tom Snyder did his thing late at night, and I think Pat Sajak does something similar over on Fox News---but that's about it. No one in radio does the Larry King thing these days; talk radio has been completely turned over to these political people like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. And late-night radio, which was where Larry King ruled for years, has been turned over to people who rant about conspiracy theories and UFOs. What's CNN going to do, bring in Art Bell or someone like that?

If Larry ever goes, Larry's style of show may well go with it. It would be too bad.

THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS FLAT-OUT STINK

What more can be said?

5-1 to the Habs. Leaf Nation is really in a sour mood tonight on these call-in shows.

I could say more but I'm too busy watching sports on TV. More later.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

BRENT FIRED, THANK GOD

Finally, Donald Trump puts the audience of The Apprentice out of its misery and gets rid of this lunatic Canadian.

Good riddance, Brent.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

HOOPS ON CBS: 25 YEARS

The period between the end of the football season and the beginning of baseball season has traditionally been a black hole of sorts for these TV networks, looking for something to fill the airspace for the sports fans out there.

Fall is usually the prime season for sports on TV. FOX has baseball and the NFL. CBS has college and pro football. ABC basically owns college football on Saturdays and has plenty of auto racing on Sundays. NBC has Notre Dame football and the NASCAR "Chase" (soon moving to ABC) and will soon have the NFL on Sunday nights.

Then football season ends and the scrambling begins. NBC, which used to run NBA games on the weekends until it lost those rights to ABC, now has a pathetic weekend lineup consisting of Arena Football and plenty of golf. ABC makes do with the NBA and college basketball. FOX has been very successful with its popular and growing NASCAR franchise in recent years, but the people who've done best of all have been the folks at CBS, with March Madness. Their NCAA tournament coverage creams everyone on weekends and has the added advantage of being sudden-death thrilling matchups, played in noisy arenas filled with crazed, boisterous fans.

Just today, CBS Sports absolutely killed Fox Sports. The NASCAR race in Atlanta was rained out. So all the race fans who loved to see Darrell Waltrip say "boogity boogity boogity" on TV had no choice but to switch the dial to CBS to see George Mason beat North Carolina, and see UConn and Villanova hang on against tough opposition, and watch these other no-name schools from unknown conferences keep it close or beat these other big name teams. ABC did their best; they served up an NBA game from Cleveland featuring LeBron James, who of course didn't bother with college at all and probably is still old enough to play in the NCAA. In fact, his game versus the Lakers was probably the best game of the day and the players there all had more talent; it went down to the final shot, but nobody out there cares who won because it's the boring NBA regular season. They're all watching the NCAAs.

Hard to believe that CBS Sports has covered the NCAA tournament for 25 years now. I gotta say, their NCAA basketball coverage has been a cornerstone of the network. It lifted CBS Sports from the doldrums in the 1980s and made the sports division a player. It was also literally the only decent property left on the network during a period in the mid-90s when CBS Sports lost the baseball, NFL and NBA contracts to rival networks. The NCAA rights have been the rock of the Black Rock sports lineup.

When CBS first got the rights to the NCAA tournament back in 1982, it was major news. They took the rights away from NBC Sports which had the legendary team of Dick Enberg, Billy Packer and Al McGuire doing the games. In those days NBC had the rights to virtually all the sports- they had baseball and football, and most of the big college bowl games, so this was major news. ABC Sports had some good weekend properties as well, such as college football. But their lineup had a lot of dreck, too, like the videotaped SuperStars series plus the mainstay Wide World of Sports which was boring as all heck most of the time.

In his book The Game Behind the Game, Terry O'Neil recounted how Van Gordon Sauter, then head of CBS Sports, reacted when he saw how CBS' pathetic NBA games did against the just-as-bad ABC lineup. O'Neil was a big proponent of grabbing the NCAA hoops rights in order to liven up the dull CBS lineup. In those days the NBA was in deep doldrums, playing to bored crowds in half-empty arenas. Nobody cared about these bums.

The ABC lineup was getting twice the ratings of the CBS efforts. "Twice and then some," Van Sauter told O'Neil. "9.1 for the videotaped f--king SuperStars, 12.3 for the Wide World of f--king Sports! That settles it! I want those f--king college kids, those f--king cheerleaders! I want some f--king lung power!!!"

Sauter gave O'Neil the green light to go after the NCAA tourney rights and to spend the huge amount of money they needed in order to steal the rights away from NBC. The rest is history.

Ultimately, the interest in the NCAA helped revive the fortunes of the NBA; people would tune in to the NBA games on CBS to see the NCAA heroes who had joined the league, people like Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing. So CBS Sports did very well with its heavy coverage of basketball in those days. Once March Madness was over, they moved quickly into high gear with their NBA playoff coverage. The NBA became a hot property again and were stolen away by NBC, and later swiped by ABC. They had the NCAAs to thank for that.

The best thing about the CBS coverage of the NCAA hoops tournament has been that it has forced these networks to improve the quality of their sports programming on weekends between the football and baseball seasons. They actually put an effort into it these days. You see a big effort by Fox Sports with their NASCAR coverage and a big effort from ABC for the NBA. So the quality has improved across the board, especially in recent years.

Now you can tune into sports on weekends and actually see productions that you care about. You no longer feel so down in the dumps because football season is over, there's actually something decent to watch in February and March. It's a lot better than it used to be.

LIBERALS PICKING A NEW LEADER THIS DECEMBER

The Liberal leadership convention has been officially called for December 2-3, to be held in Montreal, Quebec. I could be wrong on this one but I think this could be the first time one of the national parties has held its national leadership convention in Montreal. Certainly the first time in a very long time. I think maybe the Bloc chose their leader there. Or was it Quebec City? Anyway, they don't count anyway as a national party.

I'm sure they chose Montreal for political reasons: so they could win back Quebec after ripping Quebecers off with the sponsorship scandal. Fat chance.

I'm not terribly surprised they chose Montreal. I would have thought Toronto would have stood a shot since so many of the potential leadership candidates are from the city. Toronto would have been nice and convenient for most of them. Maybe they figure Toronto has had enough of leadership conventions, federal and provincial. This decade alone, Toronto has hosted something like a half-dozen. That's enough.

The Liberals select delegates in late September and they have a July 1st cutoff for membership sales. They have a spending limit of 3.4 million dollars to contend with. Interesting stuff. Expect to see the major candidates declare their intentions pretty soon given this timetable.

And oh yeah, you can finally put a fork in Paul Martin as Leader of the Liberals, he's resigned today. The title now fully belongs to the interim leader, Bill Graham.

Friday, March 17, 2006

LARRY KING GETTING TRASHED IN PRINT

It sucks to be Larry King these days. For some strange reason he's been getting trashed in print all week for his CNN show. The jist of it is that people are basically accusing King of being too old and senile. People say his audience is even older and even more senile than he is, that the average age of the typical Larry King audience member is 70 years old! Well, that's what you get when you put on Billy Graham and Tammy Faye Bakker and Don Rickles and all these types as guests.

I also saw an article in the Wall Street Journal which basically called for the cancellation of King's show on the grounds that King lobs softball questions at guests and interviews celebrities a lot, and how this style doesn't fit in with the hard-hitting shows featuring Paula Zahn and Anderson Cooper. But I hit the roof when I read that article, because King's always lobbed softball questions and interviewed celebrities, nothing's changed about that! The WSJ is calling for King to be fired, not because of a dropoff in the show or any of that, but simply because that writer clearly doesn't like Larry King to begin with.

Anyway, because all these anti-Larry King articles are out there people are now speculating these are all leaks from management, that management is out to get Larry. But now the New York Post has the honcho of CNN, Jon Klein, quoted as saying King isn't going anywhere. But then Aaron Brown wasn't going anywhere either, right? Maybe they're out to axe the EP of the show, instead. Who knows. This New York Post article summarizes the beating King has taken this week in the media and elsewhere, by the Wall Street Journal, by Nikki Finke, by Jerry Seinfeld, and others. They're even speculating now on who could be a permanent replacement! Ryan Seacrest!!!! Good grief.

I don't want Ryan Seacrest hosting permanently in Larry King's spot. That's a really fine way to make Fox Fans out of the remaining members of the audience. (I'm talking Fox News, not the American Idol Network which Seacrest is a part of these days.)

I will say this: this show has gone downhill in recent years. Larry King is Larry King, he is who he is whether you like that or not, so that's not the reason why you should fire him. He always lobs softball questions because he's a broadcaster, he's not a hard-hitting journalist! That's his style, it allows his celebrity guests to open up and talk- and you know how clammed-up those guests can get! This was his same style on radio. Frankly I think his radio show was a lot better than his television show, his television show is a shadow of his former self. He used to interview these celebrities and these book authors all the time, that's what I liked about his radio show! But good luck getting book authors to appear on the TV show these days. The TV show has gone the tabloid route in recent years and moreover, the guests are just too old. They're still booking guests from the 1980s for a 21st-century show! They had Paul McCartney on not too long ago and how often has he been on the Larry King Show? So often that I've lost count! Same for that other King regular, Bob Dole!

Meanwhile, Howard Stern went over to Hannity and Colmes over on Fox News, just so he could trash Les Moonves for suing him over supposedly using the CBS radio airwaves to promote Sirius satellite radio. Why didn't Howard go on Larry King?! Good question, because Larry's show would have cleaned up with Stern on, ranting and raving. Stern appeals to a younger audience! No wonder Hannity and Colmes wins the timeslot all the time, if this is what their guest lineup consists of.

THE KING SHOW HAS GONE STALE. I think what this show really needs is another OJ trial. Or something. They definitely need better guests who might make some news. And it would help if Larry actually did some legwork on the guests on the show, FOR A CHANGE. It might help him ask some intelligent questions and not look like an idiot on TV so often.

I don't want to see Larry King cancelled, but boy, his show needs help right now.

UPDATE:
Seems that the great CNN response came just after Fox News trashed CNN management on the air.

Hannity and Colmes had a segment on their show where they bashed CNN management for not standing up for Larry King, and Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes said that they respected Larry King, and Greta Van Susteren came on to say how great Larry was to her when she was at CNN during her miserable stint there.

And I tuned in Larry's CNN show on Friday on the radio and he had Simon Cowell on. King seemed alright. I don't know why people say he's lost it.

I just think that the bashing he took this week was from the usual crowd of people, the anti-tabloid-TV people, who want to go after Larry King and all these people who cover celebrities and major trials for a living. These are the same people who ran Greta Van Susteren off the air at CNN for no reason whatsoever, and now she's over at Fox News and just killing CNN. Well, as someone who decided to get into journalism, in part, to cover celebrities and major trials, I might as well say here that I respect Larry, too, and despite this show's obvious problems it's still better than the rest of the prime-time programming on CNN. Larry King is an institution!

The King show simply needs a few tweaks, they've got to quit booking 80-year-old guests and start making news again! But then that's the producers' responsibility, not Larry King! All I gotta say is they should book better guests! That's the end of that rant.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

HARPER IN AFGHANISTAN

There's really not much more for me to add about Stephen Harper's visit to Afghanistan that hasn't already been written. Needless to say I'm proud of the Prime Minister for going to see our troops. But more than that, I'm proud to be a Canadian.

To have our Prime Minister go over there to Afghanistan to give his support to our troops over there is a boost for their morale. It's the pat on the back that these people need from our country. It's great to see people giving the troops the encouragement and support that they deserve, and to let them know we support them.

Moreover, I think this visit casts the Canadian Armed Forces in a whole new light. For too long, the armed forces has been the butt of derision from people across this country. It's been all bad news about our armed forces lately- about the sorry state of the military's resources, about whether or not we should even be there fighting an "American" war, and so on. The military was blasted repeatedly in campaign ads across the country, as if having a military was something we ought to be ashamed of. They aren't.

What this visit has shown is that the Afghan people appreciate and support the Canadian efforts to rebuild their country after years of Taliban dictatorship. And the Canadian forces are clearly glad to be there- even though they face danger from the Taliban, terrorist elements, and so on. These were people you wanted to cheer for, these troops over there. Our boys--- and girls.

Seeing Harper there with the troops on TV- I'll tell you, it felt like we were taking charge of our own sovereignty, taking up our responsibilities in the world and not leaving it up to these other countries. This is a good thing. You know, it's been a mixed bag for this new Prime Minister. On some issues he's been as ruthless and ham-fisted as his predecessors, but on other issues, like this one, his approach has been a breath of fresh air. Harper looked like a real world leader there, ready to honor Canada's commitments to freedom and human rights around the world. It's no longer going to be just talk about human rights from our country. We'll actually be doing something about making the world a better place.

No longer is Canada prepared to shirk its responsibilities to the rest of the world. No longer is Canada going to sit on the sidelines. What a welcome change.

I gotta say, it feels great to be a Canadian again.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

ENRON TRIAL, AND OTHER LEGAL RANTS

I have been rummaging around on the Web looking for assorted legal information and other stuff, and I came across this interesting blog about the Enron trial going on down in Houston.

Anyway, check it out. I love reading these blogs about trials and frankly I think it's great stuff for the fans. This is the way trial coverage ought to be done- by the blog. Heck, the cameras aren't even allowed in most of these courtrooms! You might as well blog about it!

This is something I should definitely consider doing, blogging about trials. I'm still looking around for ideas about how to get rich off of blogging and this could be my ticket to fame and riches. Could vault me past Greta and, um, Diane Dimond.

Some people even think I'm running a "blawg" right now, with my previous coverage of the Jacko and Robert Blake trials. Anyway, I haven't bothered with the Enron trial, and as for Saddam Hussein, I've pretty much ignored that trial, too. They keep on changing lawyers and judges. I haven't been paying much attention.

Also noticed that Court TV's Extra streaming trial service has taken to providing live coverage of arraignment hearings in Las Vegas. Talk about riveting television. Makes you wonder why I bother paying for this usually excellent service. If there's one thing more boring than watching trials on TV, it's watching arraignments from Vegas! I suppose they're covering these sorts of things because of all the interest in Las Vegas, poker and gambling, and in the show CSI, which is set in Vegas. But it doesn't matter where these things take place. They could show arraignments from Miami for all I care, and it would be just as pathetic. (They can't show them from New York, anyway, because they kicked all the cameras out of the courtrooms there.)

Speaking of Vegas, there was a NASCAR race today down there. And the F1 season is back, too. So I'm doubly happy. But who cares about arraignments. It's a sure sign they're running out of good trials to cover if this is what they have to resort to at Court TV. This reeks of desperation. Yecch.

Finally, for laughs I direct you to TVHeads and their headshots of these TV legal analysts that appear on the legal TV shows hosted by the likes of Dan Abrams and Nancy Grace. If you scroll down you'll see the name Stacy Schneider, who is a public defender in New York City. What's interesting about her is that she is the very same Stacy who was fired last week by Donald Trump on his show! Stacy is clearly trying to strike it rich in TV land.

(I notice that Raj from season two of The Apprentice is running for Congress now. No joke.)

Noticed also that criminal defense attorney Michelle Suskauer's law firm site brags about all her TV appearances and also hosts video of her appearances. Check it out. Why is it that these American lawyers all look so rich and telegenic, while Canadian lawyers are these haggard-looking types who look like wrecks? Maybe it's the weather, or the money. Probably both.

That's it for now.

That's all for now.

THE SOPRANOS ARE BACK

One of the most highly-anticipated series returns in TV history happens tonight as The Sopranos returns for its final season- 20 episodes in all, with 12 episodes in a row to begin airing on HBO starting tonight. The final shows will air in 2007.

Meanwhile, in a genius programming move, the CBC serves up Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story. And they wonder why their ratings are so bad.

I plan to tune in to part of this one, anyway, just to see my former home province Mouseland on TV. You know, the one that all the young people have left because of the policies of supporters of Tommy Douglas. But no one at the CBC bothers to mention that.

Thanks to the policies of the "mice" who ran his "Mouseland", the kittens left Saskatchewan for the more prosperous provinces run by the cats. These days we have a federal minority "cat" government, and none of the MPs from Saskatchewan are mice. But I digress.

I don't know how much of this socialist love-in I will be able to take, but it does run two nights. Wonder if these geniuses at the CBC will ever do a bio-pic of William Aberhart, or Ernest Manning! Provide equal time to the "cat" premiers. I doubt it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

IT'S OFFICIAL: ROMANCE IS DEAD

News of the week is that Travis and Sarah have split up.

Why are the fans not surprised?! More proof that The Bachelor series has no idea how to hook people up. You should have picked Moana, you bonehead!!!

And now the real bad news: the ratings for these guys are up from last year. So this show is bound to come back, and that means these poor TV writers writing their spec scripts in Hollywood are still going to be out of a job. Life is not fair in Hollywood.

"CONVICTION" VERDICT IS IN

Hung jury according to most of them, including Tom Shales.

I'm having a tough time watching this show. I'm finding it hard to follow for some reason. They waste their time on the back-stories, as Shales mentions, but even the front-stories are not very good. The cases these prosecutors are stuck with are real downers, and the rookie mistakes these prosecutors make are nothing short of embarrassing. You have to wonder where the D.A.'s office got these people. Off the street?!

Moreover, it's pretty obvious these prosecutors have nothing in the way of love lives. Their love lives are going as badly as their professional lives at the moment. It's dismal! The headline at the Wall Street Journal blog is Add a Few More Lonely Lawyers to Your Week. I predict this series is going to set back recruitment for D.A.'s offices all over the United States.

This show has a shot at being good, but the kinks need to be worked out. That's my own, uh, verdict. Incidentally, this show goes up against Law and Order here in Canada on CTV. Law and Order got moved to Fridays to make room for American Idol, Lost and CSI:NY on Wednesdays over on CTV. You think Dick Wolf is pleased?!

BECKY QUICK

In my continuing futile attempt to find web sites of TV anchors and reporters, here's a fan site for CNBC financial goddess Becky Quick.

In other news, I notice the CNBC fans on these boards out there are moaning about all the people leaving CNBC in recent months, like Ted David (to CNBC radio) and now Ron Insana. I don't know about you, but this is terrible! The CNBC fans want the CNBC veterans to stick around, but they aren't. They should have opened up their wallets to find a way to keep Ron Insana full-time at CNBC, but Insana wants to start his own financial newsletter business and get rich. Well, the USA is a free-market economy, he might as well get rich! But the fans don't like it; they think CNBC is going the way of the, uh, Toronto Maple Leafs.

I also read somewhere that big CNN protectionist Lou Dobbs is claiming victory for getting the UAE ports deal scuttled. It sure does look bad for optics when you try to hand your US ports over to the Arabs, especially with all this hostility and this War on Terror going on. Sort of defeats the whole purpose of it all, doesn't it? (I know I know, the UAE is an ally etc. etc.)

Financial reporters have all the fun these days.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

DIANE SAWYER TO WORLD NEWS TONIGHT?

Well, the rascals over at Fox News have jumped on the bandwagon with their own story that Diane Sawyer is about to be named the new anchor of World News Tonight. Well, they're claiming it's a done deal, and that Sawyer's active campaigning for the job is finally going to pay off.

Now this could all be speculation but a lot of stories have been circulating in the press lately that Sawyer was going to take over there. The newscast, sadly, is in chaos again, with Bob Woodruff still in the hospital recovering from his injuries and with Elizabeth Vargas announcing she's pregnant. Fox News is saying in its story that it's unlikely Woodruff is going to ever be back, which is sad. This is in spite of the reports coming out this week that Woodruff is able to walk and talk again in the hospital.

Moreover, I get the impression that the brass at ABC News are singularly unimpressed with Vargas as anchor. I think they had this big dream of making this newscast the showcase of the next generation of ABC News stars, globetrotting around the world, but that plan is all up in smoke with Woodruff's injuries. And it is so obvious Vargas can't carry this newscast all by herself, so they shipped in Diane and Charles Gibson to be co-anchors.

Lately, the ratings have been terrible. It's starting to dawn on these jokers in charge over there that the CBS Evening News is on the rise, and that they better be ready to deal with Katie Couric as competition at 6:30. Even if they don't sign Couric, CBS News is in good shape. Bob Schieffer has done a creditable, capable job as the anchor, and has given that newscast credibility and stability. He's now celebrating a full year as the permanent-substitute replacement anchor of the CBS Evening News. Moreover, that broadcast has become a showcase for the correspondents- they're the real stars of that show. So they can take their time at CBS News looking for the right star anchor to replace Schieffer long-term. That's a much better position to be in than the on-air chaos at ABC News.

Bottom line is they need a star anchor over at ABC News to take on CBS and NBC, and Diane Sawyer fits the bill. Anyway we'll see if this happens or not.

WB49 NEWS AT 10 CANCELLED

In other TV news news, the WB 49 in Buffalo has shut down its local newscast at 10PM, effective the end of the month. The station is run by the Sinclair group and carries the News Central national feed from Baltimore as part of its broadcast. But there have been recent troubles for the entire News Central operation; Sinclair has been shutting down local newscasts in droves all over the United States recently due to poor ratings, and Buffalo is the latest closure. Not good news for the local news business. It's too bad. I'll miss seeing Kelly Kraft and crew doing the news over at the WB49, but this news is no surprise at all, unfortunately.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

NHL TRADE DEADLINE IS THURSDAY, 3PM EST/12 PST

Of course all the freaking sports broadcasting outlets in this country are on the job right now, looking for the latest scoops so they can break all the important trade news to all these hockey fans in this country. The deadline is 3PM EST Thursday and there will be blanket coverage on all the cable sports channels in Canada. I remember the last time there was a trade deadline, watching the coverage in the newsroom over at Rogers TV. That was a couple of years ago.

I don't know why they bother going nuts over these hockey trades, these sports reporters. There are other sports out there. The NFL has just approved a collective bargaining agreement. And Canada won in baseball today, at the World Baseball Classic! They beat the USA!!!! But no one cares in Canada about any of those silly sports that the rest of the world cares about.

Still, it is fun to watch these sportscasters go nuts over hockey. You sure don't see this sort of coverage down in the States, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. I guess in other parts of the world they call it a "transfer", not a trade. Anyways, the deadline is tomorrow.

Here's a link to the coverage offered by TSN. You might as well check it out, there have been a few deals already.

WHAT IS TRUMP SMOKING

Donald Trump should thank me. I'm one of the very few regular viewers of The Apprentice he has left.

Check out the ratings for Monday's show and you'll see why. The Apprentice 5 got a rating of 4.1 and got killed by 24 and by both comedy shows over on CBS. The ratings are terrible, and in fact even the Donald is now complaining about the NBC move to Mondays, crying about it in print. At least on Thursdays they were still in second place, even though they were losing to CSI every week.

I don't see any improvement, or any return to Thursdays in sight. Did you watch The Office last week? WHOOOOEEE, what a show.

They had that guy giving a speech and banging his fists on the podium, and giving a speech worthy of Mussolini and these dictators, in front of a convention full of salesmen. I was just doubling over in laughter watching this stuff; I thought it was brilliant television. Oh My God, is that show ever funny.

Steve Carell is a riot. I can't wait to see him in the Get Smart movie they're planning on doing; that ought to be a riot, too. He was also a riot at the Oscars, him and Will Ferrell.

What it comes down to is this: who would you rather watch? Steve Carell, or Brent?! I know some people seem to believe that the show producers are whispering in Trump's ears to keep Brent around as this season's train wreck dead-on-his-feet candidate, this year's Omarosa or Markus. But I don't know why they'd want to do that. He's an insult to our home and native land. Brent is not just an embarrassment to Canada, he's bad television.

That guy would be fired if this was a normal business. But this isn't a normal business, this is a made-up one for TV. Trump chose to spare him the knife, and gave Stacy and Pepi the boot instead. I give Trump credit for this: at least when he fired Stacy he had a really good reason, for a change. She picked the location, and got blasted for picking a terrible location, and location is absolutely critical in real estate. There's no way Stacy could defend herself against accusations like that, if that's what they're thinking. Bill was in the boardroom and he was instrumental in this dismissal, loudly calling for her to be axed. At least they had a logical reason to boot someone out onto the street, for a change.

But you know, I would have given Stacy another chance, because frankly a lot of sales were lost because their team slept in! Pepi should have had them up earlier! He was a terrible leader and the buck ultimately stopped with him, so he should definitely have been booted onto the street. The fact that the team slept in was a big factor in their defeat, more than the location. And I'm not so convinced it was such a bad location, anyway. I think many other factors sabotaged the task.

I don't think location was the reason they lost; the team was sidetracked by Brent. His confrontation with Stacy and finger-pointing was unprofessional to say the least. He took the focus off of what really needed to be accomplished and people were too busy dealing with Brent than with the task. He was a big human-resources problem. Brent's antics were the reason bad decisions got made. People were too busy keeping a lid on Brent as opposed to making smart decisions, and he was dragging down the morale of the team. That's the real reason why they lost, not this "location" bulls#!t.

So instead of removing the cancer of the team in Brent, the goofball Canadian gets to stick around and haunt our TV screens for another week. Now that entire team is screwed. Way to go, Mr. Trump. I was ready to throw a shoe at the TV because of this idiot decision. I think I should boycott this show until Brent is gone, he's absolutely embarrassing to watch.

I gotta say, I'm learning NOTHING about business by watching Trump's show. Absolutely, freaking nothing about business. You're seeing absolute freaks blow up teams every week on the show, you're seeing people screw up. You aren't seeing any real accomplishments. People don't win on this show, they escape losing. And that's why people at home are fed up. You're better off watching CNBC than watching the Trump show, at least you'll learn something about how business leaders operate. Oh, wait a minute: Trump's show also airs on CNBC. Never mind.

Speaking of CNBC, they announced they hired Rebecca of The Apprentice fame to work there. Her title is "associate reporter" and it sounds like she'll be doing a lot of off-air stuff, but she will probably have a chance to get her stories on the air.

This is more proof that losing on Trump's show is better than winning. Rebecca can now become rich and famous in TV land.

Hope they don't offer Brent a job, too, at CNBC. Yecch, what a performance.

Monday, March 06, 2006

SPEAKING OF THE OSCARS

Incidentally, it was a big Oscar night for Canada. CRASH won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for Paul Haggis. Not bad for the pride of London, Ontario. And Lions Gate made the film, or was one of a long list of people who made the film, anyway. A lot of people are arguing about who deserves credit for what for this movie. I enjoyed watching the streaming video from the Oscar website of the backstage press conferences and Haggis seemed surprised that he won.

I also found it interesting how many of these movies had a Canadian connection of some sort: Brokeback Mountain was shot in Alberta, and so many of these movies including Walk the Line, Mrs. Henderson Presents, A History of Violence etc. were screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. These big stars were right here, too, in frozen Canada, Charlize Theron and everyone else. No wonder they refer to us as Hollywood North these days.

See, this is the inevitable result when the NHL is out for a whole year; hockey fans like me turn into motion picture freaks who rant and rave about these movie awards as if they were the Stanley Cup. Especially these days, with the stinking Toronto Maple Leafs now eight points back of a playoff spot, and with Eric Lindros now out for the rest of the season due to injury. This season is OVER. You might as well save your money and go for a cheap movie ticket instead of an expensive seat at a Leafs game.

I guess this victory at the Oscars makes up for Canadians not winning gold in men's hockey at the Olympics. Eh?!

JON STEWART CRASHES AT THE OSCARS

Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who thought Jon Stewart was having trouble up there during the Oscar telecast. I guess it's official: Jon Stewart bombed.

In fact, I noticed Stewart skipped his planned appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live post-Oscars show on ABC. He was scheduled to be there, but instead they went with Quentin Tarantino, a sure sign that Stewart wanted to lie low.

Not even being a big liberal helped on this night. I'm convinced, though, that the Oscar host faces the toughest crowd in showbiz. These people in Hollywood are really uptight people and a lot of them are big control freaks. They're in it for their "art", yet they have to deal with these tabloid people trying to find out who they're all shacking up with. Plus, they have to put up with depreciating jokes from total fools like Jon Stewart, Chris Rock and Dave Letterman! I notice when I tune into the David Letterman show that a lot of these Hollywood bigshots act all arrogant and are totally condescending to Letterman and everyone. The guests who seem at ease on Letterman's show are the TV folks, the news anchors, the politicians, the sports athletes, the musical guests, and the stand-up comedians. Everyone but these big Hollywood actors! These movie actors are stiff as all heck. I remember seeing Nicole Kidman on the Letterman show and she seemed totally unhappy to be there, and she's far from the only one.

These folks aren't just out of the mainstream; they think they're above the rabble, period. They need to lighten up, these people. More importantly, they should get rid of their control-freak publicists and get back in touch with the audiences outside of Hollywood again, and reach out to them. Then maybe people will be encouraged to actually go to theaters instead of buying bootleg DVDs to watch at home!

I think this was a case of Jon Stewart being doomed from the start. It's never a good sign when people are criticizing the host and worrying about what he might say or do during a telecast. This was the same thing that happened to Chris Rock. I think part of it stems from the fact that these hosts are not part of the "Hollywood" establishment, they're sort of anti-establishment. They're not big artistes, they're comedians! And in Stewart's case, he's a political comedian and social commentator. He's simply not a part of the Hollywood crowd. This is a clear case of these non-Hollywood hosts getting noses thumbed at them by these uptights in LA, pure and simple.

Stewart did have a good time when Three 6 Mafia won for Best Song, noted they seemed actually excited to win an Academy Award. He was right; they were the highlight of this boring night. Otherwise the crowd, and the show, was dead. Even when Crash won for Best Picture there was a lack of excitement at the Kodak Theater.

Don't blame the host, folks, blame the audience in the room.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

IT's OSCAR NIGHT

And as usual I'm watching to see whether Jon Stewart makes a train wreck out of this one or not, a lot of people are trashing him already because of all his gay jokes he makes. I don't want to see any of these stupid gay jokes, or jokes about President Bush or any comments about the Iraq War on this Oscar telecast! I sort of have the Laura Ingraham attitude to the entertainment industry: shut up and sing.

Stewart looks like he's having a hard time up there. Boy is this crowd a tough one. This audience looks so DEAD. A real lack of humor with this group of people, talk about uptight. Enough with the Jewish jokes already, Stewart.

Anyway check out the live coverage here at www.oscar.com. And there's a live stream of the behind-the-scenes stuff going on, here. I'll try and find a few other links. Rumor has it there might be a lot of stunning upsets tonight; we'll see. All I really care about are the technical awards! THOSE ARE MY KIND OF MOVIES, THESE ACTION MOVIES. I also don't care about these latest fashions. Who cares about these designers.

I was watching the red carpet shows and all I gotta say is I am so glad not to see Star Jones out there. Anyone can do that job, it seems. Yecch.

Big news already is that George Clooney just won for his supporting role in Syriana. And Visual Effects goes to King Kong. My kind of movie.

JENNY MCCARTHY CLEANS UP AT THE RAZZIES

Or maybe we should say she "messed up." Because her hideously bad grossout flick Dirty Love won something like four awards at the Razzies, including Worst Movie, Worst Director (John Asher), Worst Screenplay and Worst Actress (Jenny McCarthy).

Dirty Love can arguably take its bow as one of the worst movies ever made and the embarrassing McCarthy can take her rightful place as one of the worst actors, not just actresses, of all time. I watched Ebert and Roeper rip this film to shreds on their show and it made their Ten Worst of the Year list. Even you folks at home could make a better movie than Jenny McCarthy if you tried. I gotta say, I like McCarthy and her goofball schtick she has going, but she absolutely sucks as an actress.

In other news, Tom Cruise got a Razzie for "Most Tiresome Tabloid Target" for his sofa-jumping antics, beating out Britney Spears and all of the Simpson sisters. But Cruise failed to win "Worst Actor" for his terrible performance in War of the Worlds; that dishonor simply could not be denied Rob Schneider of Deuce Bigelow infamy.

You know, these Razzies are proof that it doesn't matter whether a movie is good or not- all that matters is that it gets made, then you can laugh about the movie for all time. Movies can truly live in infamy.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"AMAZING RACE" IS BACK

The fans of AMAZING RACE are happy today, their favorite show is back to normal with teams of 2 and trips to exotic locations around the world again. Last night they raced off to crowded Sao Paulo, Brazil, and later this season they'll be headed to places like Moscow, Russia. I wonder how these folks are going to be able to handle Cryllic letters of the alphabet! Looks like this show has learned its lessons from last season's lousy run and are giving the fans what they want. Way to go. The Emmy is in the bag.

In other news the viewers are well on their way to firing Donald Trump, as his Apprentice show finished fourth in its time slot. Beating it was Two and a Half Men on CBS, 24 on Fox, and The Bachelor on ABC. Martha Stewart used to finish fourth in her time slot all the time.

And to be quite honest, this series is getting really stale, we all know how the Donald is going to react. It sure looks like these candidates are a bunch of idiots, they went and made the same stupid mistakes on the job and in the boardroom! You ought to know by now that if you go into that boardroom you need to sit in there and shut up and get berated by the Donald, otherwise you'll be fired for sure. Especially if he's busy berating someone else, you have to shut up and let him do it, or you'll become a target. They need to watch TV more often, these people.

BACHELOR CHICKENS OUT, CAN'T EVEN GET UP THE NERVE TO POP THE QUESTION TO SARAH

The Bachelor finale was a sad affair. I read the fan boards and the fans feel let down, again. They don't see what Dr. Travis sees in Sarah. They don't see chemistry, they don't see passion! They wanted a big, fat, passion-filled romance at the end of it all, but you've only seen that happen only a couple of times on this series, and those were the only relationships that lasted any length of time from this show! Most of these hookups ended in breakups! Personally, I think you need these sorts of things in a relationship, things like passion and romance. Otherwise, what point is there to being married?!

He didn't even propose marriage to Sarah, this guy! Travis just gave her some goofy bracelet. Anyway, the audience is ticked off.

Then again, maybe the problem was that everyone in the audience was falling in love with Moana. It hurt seeing Moana cry in the limo, because I think she was really falling in love with this joker. This show took Moana's heart and fed it to the cat.