Thursday, August 31, 2006

CAROLYN, YOU'RE FIRED!

Well, when I heard this next story my first thought was this has got to be a joke. This has to be some kind of big hoax. I mean really, this story is too good, it's so funny.

Donald Trump has fired Carolyn Kepcher, who was the right-hand woman in the Trump organization and was one of the judges on The Apprentice. That's right, folks, read it again so that it sinks in. Carolyn from The Apprentice has been fired.

Now you see why I thought this story had to be some sort of hoax. This is sure up there. Carolyn has been replaced in the organization, and on the show, by Trump's own daughter and Stuff cover girl, Ivanka. Talk about nepotism! CNN Money has apparently confirmed this story. The word is that Trump got fed up with Carolyn's self-promoting and going on all these speaking engagements all the time and so on, milking her notoriety from her time on the hit TV show. So she left the company earlier this week.

I know the words "jump the shark" have been used to death, and The Apprentice show has gone off the cliff so many times by now that this show is more than simply a joke--- this is a bad train wreck, a bad plane crash! So much strange stuff has happened by now that Trump's show really has turned into a complete parody of itself-- the feud with Martha Stewart, the bizarre happenings at the season finales with people getting trashed and humilated, the mass firings, and so on and so forth. But what else do you call this? Firing Carolyn is the biggest shark-jumping moment I've seen from this Apprentice show yet. This show has finally gone completely off the rails. In fact, getting rid of Carolyn is so outrageous that you really have to wonder whether Trump's taken leave of his marbles. Really, who's next to go, Bill Rancic?!

You know these chumps who are candidates for The Apprentice show in Los Angeles---- what are they going to say when they hear that Carolyn has been replaced? They are going to be in total shock. From what I heard, the shooting for the show has already taken place down in LA. It'll be so funny to see Trump assemble the candidates and tell them: "You are probably wondering where Carolyn is. Well, Carolyn no longer works for the Trump Organization; she's been fired." Watch all the jaws drop. They're going to think Trump is some trigger-happy megalomaniac, out for himself. I guess all that talk about the Trump organization being "family" and all that was a load of bull. Or maybe it isn't bull after all, because, well, it's the family that's getting the jobs!

I wouldn't see the point of working for this organization where the family totally runs the show. How do you expect to get ahead in a climate where you're likely to be passed over for one of Trump's kids?! I dunno why I keep watching The Apprentice show all the time. This is NUTS.

KYRA PHILLIPS, GAFFE

LIVE FROM THE CNN WASHROOM

Today is the final day for Bob Schieffer anchoring over at CBS News, and Katie Couric is supposed to make a cameo appearance on the broadcast tonight, as well. But I'm not going to talk about that. No, no. Instead I'm going to talk about Kyra Phillips!

Her infamous trip to the CNN washroom, with her microphone live and transmitting her comments about her "control freak" sister-in-law over top of George W. Bush's speech in New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina--- what else is there to say? This is total humiliation for CNN and for Kyra Phillips. I noticed it was the top story on Inside Edition the other day. The folks over at Fox and Friends did a parody of the whole thing. And the clip of the incident is sweeping YouTube. Also, all the stand-up comedians are having a field day and wondering about how thanksgiving dinner is going to go for Kyra Phillips.

You know, this is scary stuff for broadcasters. In fact, when I was at The Score I noticed there were times when broadcasters who wore these portable microphones had to be told to shut them off, because their mikes were live! So their comments were blasting into the control room and risked going live onto the air! But I don't think they ever had an incident like what went down at CNN the other day. The worst thing that probably ever happened to them was that viewers thought some stagehand was muttering something behind the scenes, no one at home cared! That's what happens, though, if you work at The Score or some 24-hour place where most of the programming is live. They're all high-tech, so they get their anchors to wear these portable mikes. And you could leave them on by mistake when you go off to have a bite to eat or something like that, so it's really easy for these broadcasters to say embarrassing things and have these words broadcast to the entire world.

Bottom line is that what happened to Kyra Phillips was no fluke occurence. You would think people would simply shut their mikes off but it sounds to me that maybe the mikes accidentally got switched back on, or something. That what it sounds like to me. I sure hope Phillips isn't fired because of this, firings seem to happen a lot at CNN.

You know, Shepard Smith said the words "blow job" on the air at Fox News one time and was so apologetic afterwards and embarrassed for himself, and he managed to keep his job. That was another really humiliating moment. Everyone makes mistakes, so maybe Kyra's career isn't in the, uh, toilet after all. Look on the bright side, Kyra Phillips only trashed her control freak sister-in-law. At least she didn't make inflammatory comments about ethnic groups over the air--- unlike a certain inebriated Hollywood personality who shall remain nameless (Mel Gibson).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERF***ING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERF***ING PLANE!

I finally saw Snakes on a Plane last night.

Heck, I dunno why the box office numbers are so bad for this movie, it was great entertainment! There was violence and a few laughs, and you got to see a few people get eaten by snakes. Scary stuff.

You can tell that the screenwriters watched a lot of those Airport movies from back in the 1970s, and they summoned up all the cliches from those movies and made sure they all got busted. They had the stewardess-flying-the-plane sequence. They had the is-there-a-doctor-on-the-plane sequence, and there was, but of course he's dead. Of course they made sure the pilots were all bumped off, so they had the is-there-a-pilot-on-board-the-plane sequence. And that was pretty funny because the guy they got to land the plane had something like 2,000 hours of flight-simulator video-game experience! I know, I'm giving away the whole plot. But you know the plot already, it's just snakes on a plane ride from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Besides, you've all seen Airport and Airplane. It's the same thing, except with snakes on board slithering around. Nothing new about that.

And they even had this big requisite happy ending, but I don't see why any of these people should be celebrating! I mean, people died, darnet!!! If the all-news TV channels had covered this thing it would have been a national tragedy. "Snakes Kill People! Terrorism!" Anderson Cooper would have been roasting the authorities for allowing this lapse in security to happen. You get the idea.

The snakes were a riot. I mean, they went after all the right body parts in this movie, let's put it that way. And these snakes all seemed to have ridiculous smiles on their silly faces, too, all the time. Amusing animals, these creatures.

And this movie was full of catch-phrases. Like the famous Samuel L. Jackson "enough is enough" line. When he said that I thought the entire theater would break out in applause and hoots and hollers, it was one of those moments. But they didn't. Also the "do as I say, and you'll live" line was another good one. It was obvious the people in charge of this movie were hoping this movie would be a huge, huge hit, so that these catch-phrases would sweep the country. Maybe even the world. But no. Alas, this movie is going to only have a small, "cult" audience. It's too bad. Maybe this flick will be a huge hit on DVD, because it seems as if it is the Internet crowd and the technology-type people who were really into this movie. I wouldn't be surprised if the DVD sales go through the roof. But I also wouldn't be surprised if they don't, either. This sure ain't a hit at the box office, that's for sure, even though there was a good, rather young crowd at the theater I was at. And I was surprised, because I expected the theater to be totally empty given all the reports of lousy ticket sales for this movie. Probably too many people scared of snakes.

It just goes to show that the movie-watching public is continuing its pattern of spurning real entertainment at the theaters, while rewarding the mainstream Disney movies and the other boring junk they've flocked to see this year. People have continually complained about the movies this year, but look at the movies they've chosen to watch!!! Da Vinci! Pirates 2! The Break-Up! Now these studios are probably going to order up even more mediocre crap, sequels and remakes galore, and original ideas like Snakes will never see the screen again.

Enough is enough! I've had it with these motherf***ing paying customers rewarding motherf***ing lousy movies instead of good ones! Then they turn around and complain that all the movies out there are junk. Not true. Snakes on a Plane really, truly deserves better after all the effort these folks put into it.

Eighth place at the box office in only its second week; now that is sad.

Monday, August 28, 2006

NO DNA MATCH FOR JOHN MARK KARR

So I guess that whole week's worth of coverage by all these cable news channels on the JonBenet Ramsey case was a total waste of time for everyone.

Now John Mark Karr's lawyers are whining about what a raw deal Karr got from the media, but the fact is this nitwit brought this media circus on himself when he "confessed". And last I checked everyone was reporting that his story was unraveling anyway, so you can't say the media was going on a witchhunt on this one.

This proves to me that when it comes to major criminal cases that it doesn't matter whether there are cameras inside the courtroom or not, the fact is the media circus is going to happen regardless. Here, John Mark Karr was never even put on trial, and yet the media circus happened anyway. Everyone was all over this freaking case, and Karr was in court for all of, what, two minutes, waiving his extradition hearing?

I kind of hope this puts an end to the media circus for a while, but really, it doesn't take very much for the media to go nuts on any of these sorts of stories these days.

ERNESTO COVERAGE

Ernesto has been passing over Cuba and now has its sights set on Florida, and it may hit as either a hurricane or as a tropical storm. It looks now as if Miami might be affected by this. Then again, maybe it won't. For streaming TV news coverage, check out www.wsvn.com and www.cbs4.com. Also, www.nbc6.net. They're all going completely nuts.

All this for a lousy TROPICAL STORM. It's a TROPICAL STORM, people. That's what they are now saying this is likely to be.

Also, on Tuesday WWL-TV in New Orleans will be streaming Katrina coverage on the one-year anniversary of the hurricane. Check it out at www.wwltv.com.

GOOD EVENING, GODLESS SODOMITES

Well, the Emmy Awards got hit with a 14% decline in the ratings from last year's show, almost getting beat by Pirates of the Caribbean over on ABC. And NBC has been spending the day apologizing for that montage at the start of the show that featured a plane crash--- this on a day when a plane went down and killed 49 people.

I didn't think it was such a big deal- it was from Lost after all. But I guess it was pretty insensitive. The show is also getting roasted for several off-color remarks by the people who appeared on the show. The FCC may yet throw the book at the show for Dame Helen Mirren's a$$-over-t!t comments--- and the folks at TVgasm claim that a wardrobe malfunction happened live on the air, too, when The Office won its Emmy. That should be even more fines.

You know, I actually thought it was a successful show otherwise, lots of surprise winners and some very funny moments from Conan O'Brien. But instead NBC is in the doghouse. I guess Americans are bent on turning their country into the most boring one on earth.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I LOST TO BARRY MANILOW!!!!

Stephen Colbert's statement sums it up.

It's tough watching your favorite shows lose all night, or not even get nominated; meanwhile Manilow wins an Emmy. Life is not fair.

LOTS OF UPSETS

Several big upsets tonight. Steve Carell lost to Tony Shalhoub that guy from Monk, Mariska Hargitay won for Lead Actress over Kyra Sedgwick, Geena Davis and everyone else, and Blythe Danner beat the entire cast of Grey's Anatomy. And Julia-Louis-Dreyfus just won for Old Christine. Well, at least that show is still on, it hasn't been CANCELLED!

And who cares about the lead actor in a drama series, Hugh Laurie got robbed when he wasn't nominated. Anyway, Kiefer Sutherland won for that.

They brought back the original cast of Charlie's Angels for the Aaron Spelling tribute, and yes, Tori was in the audience.

UPDATE: Another upset: The Office beats the cancelled Arrested Development and wins the trophy in comedy. Greg Daniels who heads up the show was once a roommate of Conan O'Brien.

And 24 just won for Drama. So it wasn't such a big year for Grey's Anatomy after all, everyone said they were going to win every award in sight and was hyping that show right up.

Check out the comments over at the live blog at TVSquad, a few upset people who can't believe some of the people who got robbed --- ie. Gregory Itzin from 24.

EMMY AWARDS ARE ON

So far you might as well call these the "cancelled Emmys" because, well, the cancelled shows are doing pretty well tonight. The West Wing, Will and Grace, Huff--- everyone's cancelled. So much great TV, too bad none of it's going to be back.

Alan Alda won and that was pretty funny because he didn't bother to show up. No repeat for Cpt. Kirk.

Daily Show won again; Dave Letterman should be crabby again tomorrow night.

Already a better show than last year's howler- I like the bit where they are threatening to cut off the oxygen supply to Bob Newhart after three hours.

Highlight of the show is on right now, the tribute to Dick Clark with Simon Cowell introducing.

FOX CREW RELEASED

Here's the story from the fair and balanced folks about the release of their crew Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig. Turns out they were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint by the fools who captured them. Friendly place, this Middle East. I doubt that the tourist trade will improve much when stories get out about this.

Anyway, I'm glad to see this story come to a happy ending.

WEATHER MESSING UP ALL THE SPORTS

Today was a lousy day to be a sports fan.

I tuned in to Global TV hoping to see a ChampCar auto race from Montreal today, and they barely got started before the race officials red-flagged this lousy race. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that these drivers were having to drive in the dangerous, wet conditions they had to endure. Race officials were absolutely right to red-flag the race.
If they had kept going, somebody would definitely have gotten killed.

Unfortunately, the race never did get re-started. I wasted the day watching the announcers waste time trying to kill off a rain delay, and then eventually I switched the channel in disgust and found a movie on another station featuring, get this, big race fan Ashley Judd. Go figure.

The race will go ahead tomorrow at 10AM. And by the way, that wasn't the only event wiped out by the weather. The finals of the Little League World Series were washed out today, too. So it'll be shown tomorrow night, Japan-versus-the-USA, on ESPN2. The weather has really done a job today. I know, who cares about the Little League World Series, but apparently this is a big deal in the 'States for some reason,. all the soccer moms tune in.

Back to racing. The only good thing about the weather washing out the race in Montreal today is the fact that we've been spared the sight of Paul Tracy getting into yet another fight. Really, Tracy is a big embarrassment. He made some dumb comments a couple of weeks ago, claiming that French drivers keep their helmets on when they fight. Today, Tracy ( at least we think it was him) did a lap around the track wearing a wrestling mask and donning a Quebec flag. And they were handing out T-shirts that said "Sugar Ray Tracy" on them. Someone should remind "Sugar Ray" that there is no fighting in auto racing. This isn't hockey, darnet! It's bad enough to go to hockey games and see boxing matches break out. We've seen enough hockey fights, nobody wants to see auto racing fights, too.

ChampCar ought to be embarrassed. This is making the whole sport look really bush league, really pathetic, with Tracy's carnival antics. This isn't the bleeping WWE! Get a grip, man.

-------------------------------------------------------

In other weather news Hurricane Ernesto hit Haiti today. It is expected to regain strength and probably hit Florida later this week. The Florida Keys may get hit; and that should mean all these Miami TV stations are guaranteed to go nuts and do streaming live hurricane coverage again. So that's good news for people who like to tune in to that sort of stuff and watch reporters get blown around etc.

Stay tuned for Emmy Award coverage next.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

DRAMA AT SNL

It's Saturday Night, and I thought I would acknowledge the behind-the-scenes dramatics taking place at Saturday Night Live.

It sounds like there are big changes happening at the show, with head writer Tina Fey gone to 30 Rock, Rachel Dratch leaving, and other assorted changes. There are supposed to be four cast regulars getting the boot and some names have leaked about who they are. Horatio Sanz, Kenan Thompson and Chris Parnell are supposed to be out, but Sanz in this story is denying it. Apparently these guys don't know if they're fired or not. They also say in that story that Maya Rudolph could be gone. They are also planning to have a new anchor at Weekend Update.

You know, this show always goes through these kinds of regenerative periods behind the scenes, and it always seems like the show hits some crisis point every few years. But it always works out for this show in the end. I think this is just another one of those transition periods for the show.

I also think that the main reason Lorne Michaels is making these changes has a lot to do with the overall sorry state of affairs at NBC-Universal. I heard the whole network is slashing budgets across the board, and it's all because this network has taken a bath in the ratings for two years straight. Plus, CNBC and MSNBC have had some terrible ratings numbers. Saturday Night Live is having to deal with all the same problems that have brought down the rest of the company. It just so happens that they have to deal with these problems at a moment in time when their head writer Tina Fey is quitting the show. So they now have their big excuse to go make big changes.

You know, NBC is supposed to have a show coming this fall, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which is sort of loosely based on the behind-the-scenes happenings at Saturday Night Live. Well, I've read all about the backstage stuff that has gone on at that show over the years, as chronicled in books like Live from New York and other accounts. There have been lots of firings at this show (ie. Adam Sandler, Norm Macdonald) and lots of people were brought in to try and rescue the show from the abyss. This show has come close to cancellation at least a couple of times over the years. About the only thing that saved the show was the fact that the NBC execs who happened to run things didn't want to go down in history as the people who killed Saturday Night Live.

Frankly, what's going on with the show right now is nothing compared to all that. There is no question about the show's survival, at least right now. Still, all I will say is that the fictional Studio 60 has a hard act to live up to with the real-life drama and behind-the-scenes happenings that have characterized Saturday Night Live.

KEEP AN EYE ON ERNESTO

CNN and all the usual hurricane hunters are going ape over the prospect of Tropical Storm Ernesto becoming a hurricane. In about five days this storm is going to be over the Gulf of Mexico and could be a major hurricane by then. Or maybe it will just fizzle out. But the National Hurricane Center is predicting a hurricane could be coming and that it could be a strong one, Category 3 possibly.

This is really going to mess up the "Katrina- One Year Later" coverage that these networks have all planned- especially if another hurricane hits New Orleans. Good grief, that's the last thing that Gulf region needs, more hurricanes! They're STILL trying to clean up from all the hurricanes that smashed the entire Gulf Coast last year. Everyone forgets that it wasn't just New Orleans that got hit by Katrina, it was also Mississippi. Biloxi is apparently still a mess after all the damage that was done there. And it was Rita that blasted the part of Louisiana that Katrina didn't hit, and Miami was of course hit by something like eight hurricanes in fifteen months. The entire hurricane zone is a mess.

Anyway, nothing's happened yet, so in the meantime keep an eye on the developments and check out these informative hurricane websites:

www.hurricanenow.com
www.hurricanetrack.com
www.hurricanecity.com
www.tropicalupdate.com

And of course you might as well check out www.wwltv.com and www.wdsu.com because you know that everyone in New Orleans will freak right out when they hear about this.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

CANCEL THIS SHOW!

Recently, a bunch of fools over at the online publication Salon got their heads together and served up six shows that they thought ought to be cancelled immediately. And these dimbulbs over there decided to come up with some really lame picks for shows deserving of the hook: they want Larry King and Nancy Grace yanked, plus they want to get rid of The O.C., The L Word, and surprisingly 24 and The Closer. (!) (?) (!).

You know, I'm convinced people have it in for Larry King. There are people who hate his show and want him off the air, and I'm sick and tired of hearing about the complaints. I'm convinced there is a campaign going to get his show cancelled. Lay off of him, he is what he is, even if he does mail it in all the time. But if they want to get rid of that lousy Nancy Grace, well, fine.

Couldn't the folks at Salon have made more of an effort to come up with some shows in dire need of the hook? It's almost as if this list was made by a bunch of people who don't even bother to watch TV. Really, there are a lot worse shows on the air than these six, believe me. A lot of people agree that The O.C. has to go, a lot of people hate that show and think it's a piece of crap. But a lot of people like the other five shows! And I don't see any reason to get rid of Larry King and Nancy Grace, especially since people tune in to these shows. If they are going to get rid of anyone at CNN, it might as well be Paula Zahn. No one would miss her. Who cares about her lousy show.

As for my own list of the six shows most deserving of cancellation: if you go through the list of lousy shows that air in daytime, plus all the reality and talent show crap from nighttime, you would have a pretty decent list of shows deserving of the boot. Of course, being in Canada I would have a VERY easy time coming up with six shows to get rid of, starting with all the ones Mike Holmes, Debbie Travis and Dr. Marla Shapiro are involved with. And Michael Landsberg over on TSN with Off the Record?! Get rid of him, too! Come to think of it, I'd get rid of just about all the Canadian shows, they are that bad. But then we'd have no TV industry left. Really.

So I'll confine my list to shows seen in the USA because, frankly, I need the challenge. Besides, there's lots of dreck to choose from.

I would get rid of the following six shows, in no particular order:

1.The Maury Povich Show
2. The Tyra Banks Show
3. 7th Heaven (rescued from the dead by the CW)
4. America's Got Talent
5. America's Funniest Videos
6. Big Brother

In fact, why stop at Big Brother. Why not get rid of all the reality shows?! I hate that genre so much. In my judgement Big Brother is the worst and the stupidest of the whole lot of them, but they can trash them all as far as I'm concerned. And all these talent shows and American Idol ripoffs all deserve the boot, too. I can't believe the dumbbells at Salon would get rid of a good show like 24 and keep around lousy shows like these ones.

SURVIVOR: NEW LOW

And why didn't anyone call for Survivor to get the boot? Did you hear what they are going to do to Survivor: Cook Islands?! Talk about desperate. They have divided the tribes into four different racial groups: whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics! Jeff Probst is calling this a "social experiment"; I call this downright insulting. I watched the news on Global TV and they did these man-on-the-street interviews, and all the locals here in Toronto proclaim to be outraged by this show and what it is doing, and of course they pride themselves on living in a multiracial, multicultural community etcetera etcetera.

But you know, this is Survivor being Survivor. This is a show that prides itself on pushing the envelope. Heck, in their very first season, they had plenty of rat-eating and bug-eating, plus they had that gay guy who walked around the beach naked. And he WON. So they are just trying to be outrageous again. But this has gone too far--- segregating all these tribes by race. This is apartheid, what they're doing! It's going to encourage the worst in these people.

People are going to have a cow over this show! If controversy is what Mark Burnett wanted, he sure got it. Frankly, though, when I heard about what they were doing I thought this had to be a new low. This is really sad.

Oh by the way, if you are wondering why Fear Factor is not on this list, the good news is it's been cancelled! NBC is burning off the final episodes as we speak. As for Jerry Springer, I thought it over and I simply can't bear to see that show get the boot. It's truly one of these shows that you tune into to see how bad it can get, how low it will go. It's too entertaining.

But get rid of Maury Povich, already, and his lousy paternity tests. Same with Tyra, and Montel Williams and at least half the courtroom shows. You can keep Ellen and Judge Judy on, at least those shows are entertaining. To be honest, I avoid daytime TV like the plague, so much of it is garbage. Same for all these lousy infomercials. Now THOSE are the things I really want to see cancelled! Get rid of Kevin Trudeau already.

More later.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

YOU'RE FIRED, TOM CRUISE!

The big story out of Hollywood today is that Paramount Pictures has cashiered Tom Cruise and his production company that he runs with Paula Wagner. Chairman Sumner Redstone directly cited Cruise' s erratic behavior as a reason for the split.

For his part Cruise says it was his decision to walk away. Nice spin, PR people. I gather, watching Access Hollywood tonight, that it ultimately came down to a dispute over money. Paramount wanted a big pay cut, from what I hear. But ain't they all these days. Pay cuts are supposed to be a big thing all over Hollywood these days, the business is taking a bath. I also heard somewhere that another reason why Paramount ditched Cruise was because they wanted to do business with Brad Pitt instead.

I'm sure that the bath that Paramount took on M:i:III was another big reason for this split. They figured that Tom's talk-show craziness of the past year was the main reason why customers didn't bother to show up. Personally, I think Cruise definitely needs to get away from all the Scientology nonsense, and return to following a creed from one of his former hit movies:

SHOW ME THE MONEY!
SHOW ME THE MOOOONNEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Then maybe he'll make some money. If he cares. (Wonder what Mel Gibson thinks of these happenings, his career is in even more trouble than Tom Cruise's at the moment, thanks to his own big fat drunken racist mouth.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

JOHN MARK KARR BACK IN THE U.S.

Boy, the more I hear about this John Mark Karr character the less I like about him. It sure looks like this guy is definitely going to jail, for something. Whether it's for murder remains to be seen, though, his story is full of holes.

Anyway, the big controversy surrounds his great flight out of Thailand to the USA. Apparently it cost something like $2400 for his seats and he was on the plane in first class, drinking champagne and living it up. Our local paper the Toronto Sun had a big cow over this, calling him a "Snake on a Plane". I'm sure the folks at New Line are impressed by the headline, that movie needs all the help it can get.

Now Karr's locked up in LA in a jail that, according to a CNN report, once housed other famous celebrity jailbirds like O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake. Fitting.

As well, some more details have emerged about why Karr was in Thailand. It sure looks like this guy was preparing to have a sex change operation done. He was going to get all his facial hair removed! And one of these TV shows (I think it was E.T.) ran a video of him from several years ago, showing him wearing a ridiculous-looking mullet haircut! Wow. All I can say is this guy is definitely not someone I'm impressed with.

He's supposed to be shipped out to Colorado at some point soon from what I gather, and then maybe they can figure out whether there is a DNA match and so on and so forth. All I gotta say is that I am definitely creeped out by this character. What a bizarre life. And this is probably the last time I'm going to post about the JonBenet Ramsey case here because, really, this blog tries to be a family show and I am definitely repulsed by John Mark Karr and the details coming out about this case. This is getting to be too much. Yecch.

NEW NEWS ANCHOR AT GMA

Well, ABC's Good Morning America has added a new news anchor to provide a male presence on that morning show. He's Chris Cuomo and he used to cover the justice/legal beat for the network. Actually, he still does, but this new gig starts in September.

Word is that GMA had a lot of trouble finding a male presence for this show. I think this is largely because guys hate doing TV news and there is a significant male anchor shortage in the news business at the lower levels, plus who wants to work on GMA?! Have any of you watched that show? The topics are so female-oriented that it is a joke, it's cooking and parenting and all that other around-the-house stuff. Yecch. Guys automatically press the "click" button and tune to Imus, or to Squawk Box over on CNBC, or if they really want the news they tune in to that funny news chick E.D. Hill and the rest of her friends over on FOX News. No wonder Charlie Gibson wanted out; GMA is no place for guys! Anyway, it's still a good gig, reading the news on GMA, if you can stand the hours. Maybe it'll lead to something better.

Here's a profile of the new anchor from a while back. Of course Cuomo comes from a famous political family, which has invited comparisons to John F. Kennedy, Jr. as a result. In fact, he has a law degree (just like JFK Jr.), worked briefly for a Wall Street law firm, and then dropped law for journalism. He got his start in TV working for, get this, Geraldo.

This is a definitely a victory for lawyers in TV news and a clear victory for the "tabloid news values" which I support and endorse. A guy who worked for Geraldo is on Good Morning America! There's hope for TV news yet.

(I'm kidding again, folks.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

ABOVE THE LAW

A note now about the world of blog media.

David Lat's new blog from Dead Horse Media now has a name. It's called www.abovethelaw.com and you can access the site from the link I provided. It promises to go live in September. The site is slated to provide some irreverent coverage of the legal scene in true Wonkette style. Lat briefly wrote for Wonkette, but really made his mark with his own blog Underneath Their Robes, which concentrated on covering the US Supreme Court. No doubt this blog will have plenty of Supreme Court coverage as well.

It's interesting how these big-time lawyer "blawgers" have been spending their time in the blogging big leagues. I notice Jeremy Blachman's blog has taken a literary bent, and Rachel Sklar concentrates on the media over at the liberal Huffington Post's Eat the Press, while Melissa Lafsky seems to constantly rant about the nonsensical, idiotic behavior she continually runs into. More fun than what she did before, which was anonymously rant about her miserable life as an associate lawyer in New York.

Interesting that these folks don't seem to want to write about law very much. Probably fed up with law and with lawyers, most of them.

SNAKES ON A PLANE: NOT SO HUGE

Well, that out-and-out B movie Snakes on a Plane starring Samuel L. Jackson is going to be Number One at the box office, but won't be the huge "monster' hit that was expected. Thirty million my foot, it's going to be a lot less than that. (UPDATE): In fact, I checked www.boxofficemojo.com again, and now it looks like it may not even make it to Number One after all. It may just finish second, behind Talladega Nights.

That's strange, because this movie was hyped up like no tomorrow in the press and everywhere else. I remember when I was down at the Grand Prix in Toronto, and they were hyping this movie even then! There was some booth set up where people could get photos taken of themselves, sitting inside a plane with the snakes. And they had hyped Wedding Crashers at the same event the year before, and that turned into this big sensation that people flocked to see, so you would have thought the same thing would happen with Snakes on a Plane. And the reviews aren't so bad for this flick, either. In fact, they're pretty good. I'm surprised it's not doing roaring business with all this going for it.

Maybe it's my theory again about how people feel they've gotten burned and ripped off this year by some of these clunkers at the movie theaters, so now they are inclined to think all these summer movies are a total waste of money and won't give these latest flicks a chance--- though word of mouth seems to be helping World Trade Center a lot. But that's really the only one getting great word of mouth. Perhaps this is too much of a "cult" movie for the general public's tastes. I read that the audience tracking for Snakes on a Plane was kind of sub-par, so we really shouldn't be surprised. And come to think of it ET and Access Hollywood didn't do too many features about this movie, either, they are too busy covering JonBenet Ramsey and Paris Hilton's new CD. Maybe, just maybe, people are simply too freaked out about air travel at the moment.

Speaking of B movies, it sure seems like the B flicks are being rolled out in droves right now. They just rolled out Accepted about a bunch of rejects who decided to start up a college of their own, and soon they're going to serve up Beerfest.

I suppose they want to go after the college crowd one last time before they have to hit the books. Or maybe they're just trying to get rid of all their junk releases now, while they can. Hey, summer is still on. Why not, eh?!

JONBENET RAMSEY CASE

Well, this week the media went berzerk over the break in the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, when creepy teacher John Mark Karr was arrested in Thailand for the murder and confessed to the crime, saying it was an "accident".

And the whole national media in the United States went nuts. It wasn't just the cable nets that were going ape, it was also the evening newscasts. Every one of them had this arrest as their top story. But frankly, you can tell this wasn't the favorite story of a lot of people on the newscasts. Campbell Brown was subbing for Brian Williams on NBC and she looked decidedly like a woman who was wishing that the Israel-Hezbollah war was still on. She looked MISERABLE, covering this story.

All the usual people- Marcia Clark, Dr. Henry Lee, all of them- got trotted out. I noticed Dan Abrams, who runs MSNBC these days, got hauled out of the management office to be a legal commentator again. He was pretty good, he was saying that there a lot of questions that needed answered and that DNA testing needed to be completed. A lot of other commentators were totally jumping the gun, though, and saying this guy's story was totally unraveling. I mean really, network news has gone into the deep end this week. They went straight from serious international coverage of war and chaos to coverage of... tabloid news. What else can you call this story? It's just sad, and gruesome.

Anyway, people don't know whether they got the real killer or not. Certainly he's made some strange statements that don't seem to match up with what's happened. You have his ex-wife who said he was at home at the time of the murders. In fact, there's no evidence he's ever been to Colorado. And he's claiming he committed a sexual assault on this poor girl, when the investigators say that there was no evidence of any sexual assault. On the other hand, there was some pretty incriminating stuff on the ransom note that actually seemed to point the finger at Karr. And he might well have been in Colorado at the time of the murder, the wife's memory doesn't seem to be good on this one. And he knows a lot about this case and what happened, so he's either complicit in what happened or one of these obsessive types who is obsessive about the case--- one of these guys who watches too much Court TV.

So I don't know what to make of this guy's statements. Certainly he seems like a complete nut. But I want to see the DNA evidence before I make a judgement about whether he did it. What bothers me is that this weirdo knows too much about this case. That disturbs me a lot.

What also bothers me is that the media and all these commentators seem intent on jumping the gun and making snap judgements based on his initial bizarre statements. It repeats a sad pattern. These so-called experts were all accusing John and Patsy Ramsey of committing the murder, and these folks also went after Representative Gary Condit and basically accused him of murdering this D.C. intern when he didn't, and they went after Richard Jewell in Atlanta and accused him of planting that bomb at the Olympics when he didn't. I think maybe it would be a good idea if everyone calmed down for a few days and allowed the justice system to run its course. But these people at the 24-hour news networks seem desperate for ratings and desperate to find a way to milk this story. Especially now that all the apocalyptic World War III happenings are over with in the Middle East for the time being. They still don't have any hurricanes to cover yet, even though it's the hurricane season. And Castro hasn't died, either. They need to fill time with some big stories, the death of actor Bruno Kirby won't quite cut it. So they cover this JonBenet Ramsey business instead, because it's such a bizarre story.

Anyway, check out Court TV which has a wrapup of what's gone on. I think we'll know more when the DNA samples get tested and come back. My interest in this case comes from a purely CSI-type interest in the evidence and collecting the DNA samples and all that. I was interested in the OJ case for much the same reason. If the DNA testing evidence points the finger at Karr, well, that's going to be huge.

And when that comes down you can bet that Larry King will be all over it, and so will Greta's show, and same for Nancy Grace and Catherine Crier and all these other law shows on TV.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

CHANGES IN NFL TV

NBC'S SUNDAY NIGHT SERIES LOOKS JUST LIKE ABC

We've had a chance now to sample some of the new NFL TV efforts by the networks; they've all had a chance to show some of their pre-season telecasts by now.

All I will say about NBC's Sunday Night Football is--- isn't this supposed to be called Monday Night Football?! I mean, it looks like Monday Night Football, sounds like Monday Night Football--- but it isn't.

And there's good reason for the similarity; not only are Al Michaels and John Madden still calling the games, like they did on ABC, but they have the same ABC producers and crew. In fact, that's the main reason Al jumped over to NBC, because he knew that NBC lured pretty much the entire Monday Night Football crew over to their network. So it looks EXACTLY like an old ABC Monday Night Football telecast, right down to the camera angles.

I tuned in to the Cincinnati/Washington game on Sunday night on my tiny sports TV and I could have sworn I was watching a game on ABC--- except they kept on showing this strange-looking peacock logo. The commercials, though, were pretty much the same-- but fortunately, no more promos for Desperate Housewives. Plus, NBC has a pregame show featuring Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth and Jerome Bettis so that's somewhat different, now, too. But really, it's a case of same broadcast, new night and network, for NBC's Sunday Night Football.

CHANGES AT ESPN

As for ESPN and their Monday Night Football, the buzz is about one man: Tony Kornheiser. He's the brand new face on the football scene and ESPN is hoping he becomes the next Cosell. Other than that, mixed reviews. Mike Tirico will take some getting used to. And nobody has gotten used to Joe Theismann.

What ESPN has got to do is make their broadcast a little bit irreverent and outrageous. That's what made Monday Night Football such a hit on ABC, and it's ESPN's only hope. The word is out that people consider Monday to be a "throwaway" night now for the NFL, not a showcase like the old days. And they have steep cable competition with WWE wrestling on USA. (There's also hockey on TV somewhere, too, on OLN, but nobody cares about that.) ESPN has got to find a way to make these broadcasts interesting, otherwise it will be just like the old ESPN Sunday Night telecasts that were a big joke-- it'll become a series no one cares about.

Of course, the real reason that series was such a clunker had nothing to do with the production values or any of that. It was because they showed so many lousy games involving nothing teams, and the fear is this year Mondays will be the same thing. The fear is ESPN will end up stuck with late-season games involving teams who have nothing to play for. These announcers will have their work cut out for them.

CHANGES AT FOX SPORTS

The big news at FOX is that they have finally found a replacement for James Brown, who has departed to CBS to host their pregame show. The new host of the pregame show is none other than... Joe Buck!

But Joe already calls games, doesn't he? He can't host and call games at the same time! I dunno what the deal is with that.I thought maybe they were going to take the pregame show on the road to whereever Joe is, that's the only way this arrangement could possibly work. And in fact that's exactly what they are going to do: they are going to take the pregame show out of the studio and on the road to wherever Joe Buck is calling a big game---- Dallas, Washington, St. Louis, whereever---and do the Hollywood Hotel thing that they do with their well-produced NASCAR pre-and-post race shows.

If they were going to do this cross-country routine all along, though, why the heck didn't they offer this same arrangement to James Brown?! Brown's excuse for leaving FOX to go to CBS was that he didn't want to have to fly all the way to Los Angeles from D.C. all the time to do the pregame show! But now these fools are leaving LA anyway. What nonsense. Joe Buck is great, but these folks at FOX blew it by handing over James Brown to the competition.

And just today comes word that FOX has dumped Jillian Barberie as the weather woman of the show. Thank God.

It's obvious to me that people are completely fed up watching her; she is not funny and definitely isn't sexy. So many of the shows she's worked on have been cancelled! I read these TV boards and it's obvious a lot of people think she's a fool, and that Frank Caliendo is an even bigger idiot. Basically, they think the entire FOX pre-game show is full of jokers and that the show will completely go into the tank without James Brown. Jillian basically adds nothing to the show.

The word is out that the fans don't want to see any more "hot babes" who know nothing about football on these pre-game shows or on the sidelines. That's why so many of these "lookers" have gotten taken off these NFL broadcasts lately. The fans don't want to see Jillian, or Lisa Guerrero or any of these women who deserve to be stuck on XFL games (R.I.P. XFL)! They want people who know something about the game, whether it's Suzy Kolber or Pam Oliver or whomever. They're serious about football, these fans; that's what they want to see! That's the reason I can think of why Andrea Kremer is doing the sidelines on NBC; she may not be a glamorous personality but she sure knows something about football.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

GOTTA DANCE

The summer is almost over, finally, and so are all these junk summer reality shows on TV. Hell's Kitchen wrapped it up, Treasure Hunters and So You Think You Can Dance are ending, and we'll soon know the winners of Big Brother All-Stars and Rock Star: Supernova. And a big fat good riddance to America's Got Talent, at least for a while, too. So the good news is all these lousy reality shows are going to be done pretty soon.

Unfortunately, the other junk reality shows out there are, ahem, coming back.

Dancing With the Stars is returning to ABC and you won't believe who they lured over to be on the latest version of their show. This is too good. Tucker Carlson of MSNBC pundit fame is going to be on the show, dancing away. As well, Jerry Springer is going to be on. You know, Jerry is already on the Worst Show on TV, might as well try and make another show go down the tubes, too, while he is at it.

I actually heard that this show was trying to lure over Bill O'Reilly to dance on the show- in his bio O'Reilly said he was a "dancing machine" in the discos in his younger days. And apparently Maria Bartiromo spent some time in the discos, too, in New York from what I read. These might be good people to get for future shows. Would liven things up quite a bit.

But getting Tucker Carlson, man, that's pretty funny stuff. Great casting by Dancing with the Stars. I'm going to have to tune in now, just to see him make a fool of himself.

Monday, August 14, 2006

FOX NEWS CREW KIDNAPPED

Well, another reason for me to ditch the idea of switching over to TV news. There was a kidnapping today in the Middle East. Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and his cameraman Olaf Wiig were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip by Palestinians protesting American backing of Israel (!) (?) in the Mideast conflict. Authorities are trying to negotiate a release.

This is yet another sad reminder of the dangers prominent journalists face out there in the Middle East. It's a long list of people who have had bad things happen to them over there- a list that includes names like Kimberly Dozier, Bob Woodruff, and David Bloom, who died of a blood clot. And of course, even though Dozier survived, the rest of her CBS crew was killed.

That's not even counting the people who've had close calls but escaped completely unharmed. ( IE: Lara Logan who almost got blown up by a roadside bomb). And it's not even counting the many print reporters in places like Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. who have been taken hostage or even killed.

Scary situation for these reporters.

As I say, it's one thing to admire the bravery and fearlessness of these news reporters in covering these big stories. It's another thing to actually want to do what they do for a living. Which is why so many friends of mine scoff at the whole notion of going over to a place like Israel to report the news; who wants to get killed.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

SNIDE REMARKS FROM A JUNKET WHORE

Well, both sides have accepted the UN ceasefire in the Middle East, Fidel Castro is apparently out of bed, and the terrorists have been caught. Nice to know the world is calming down a little bit. Now, time to go to a movie and take my mind off of all the troubles of the past few weeks.

Hmmm, check the listings here. World Trade Center.

Never mind, I'll stay home.

Anyway, there's a big brouhaha going on about this movie because a freelance film critic from Portland, Eric D. Snider, went to a lavish press junket for this movie in Seattle. And he lived the good life off of Paramount's wallet.

Then he decided to turn around and be a troublemaker, and wrote about the whole thing. Read it here, at his own site. And Mediabistro has had a field day with this, too; so has everyone.

Now Paramount is all steamed at him for making them look as if they tried to buy the press off, or something. And they've banned him from press screenings, and Snider is claiming other studios are trying to blacklist him. Anyway, that's what you get when you try and turn "investigative reporter" on the movie industry; the industry will hit back.

You know, I'm thinking that if Snider was so opposed to these press junkets, he should have refused to take part in them and stayed home! He could have written an indignant column trashing these junkets, he didn't have to go on one of them to make his point! Instead he kind of looks like someone who bit off the hands that fed him. He was also trashing the reporters at the junkets, claiming they were gushing about the big stars as opposed to the quality of the movies. Well, of course, they're entertainment reporters, what do you expect. They're a different breed of cat from film critics.

Personally, I think film critics should stay clear of these sorts of junkets to begin with; but if entertainment reporters want to do these sorts of things, well, that's their business. It depends. Access to the big stars can be hard to come by. If you can't get access to any of the "big names" any other way, you pretty much have to go to these things. And if you're a freelancer and no paper will pick up your travel expenses, what else can you do? I guess the easy answer is to "stay home", but the point is that it's not so easy if this is what you do for a living, cover entertainment as a freelancer. If no one else will pick up the tab, what can you do? You can't expect to fly there and back and pay for your plane tickets and your own hotel rooms all the time, you'd lose money covering the story.

I certainly wouldn't advocate going on junket after junket all the time either, that would definitely be freeloading. And if I were a film critic I'd definitely stay home and avoid any potential charges of conflict-of-interest. There's no need for film critics to attend publicity junkets to interview people when their job is to tell you whether a movie is any good.

Anyway, check out that link I gave you, pretty good stuff. It makes all people who go on these junkets all the time look really bad, and it sort of raises some important points about journalism ethics and all that sort of thing.

Looks like World Trade Center is going to end up #3 at the box office this weekend, even though it looks like a solid effort from Oliver Stone (for a change), not one of his usual nonsensical "conspiracy theory"-type movies.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

CTV WANTS TO WASTE ITS MONEY ON THE NHL

CTV BENT ON WORLD DOMINATION

Well, here's a link to an article by William Houston in the Globe and Mail about preliminary discussions in the works over the NHL broadcasting rights in Canada.

Apparently CTV wants to offer 140 million a year over ten years, beginning in 2008. And this is for the whole shebang: English and French broadcast rights for over-the-air and cable. Plus they want to stream games over the Internet, too. About time.

If I were CBC I'd be pretty worried if this is what CTV is up to. CBC pays only $65 million for the rights to Hockey Night in Canada and the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now, granted, this is only for the over-the-air rights. TSN holds the cable rights dirt-cheap for something like $15 mil a year, and RDS has the French rights, so if you include all those it comes to a grand total of 92 million dollars. So if CTV bids for the whole thing, at $140 mil a year, that's a ridiculous amount of money. Gary Bettman will be laughing.

William Houston makes it sound as if the CBC needs to come up with $140 million a year, but the truth is that the situation isn't quite so dire. The fact is the CBC doesn't need to pony up all $140 mil. They will need to pony up more money than what they paid before - something like 85 or 90 mil for their portion of the over-the-air rights, and then hope that someone else bids for the cable package and the French rights to get past that $140 million figure that CTV is offering. The CBC would probably need to partner up with Global or Rogers Sportsnet, or somebody, just to be competitive with CTV. But who wants to pay this outrageous sum of money?! Like heck will Rogers Sportsnet be interested in paying $50 million for the national cable rights to the NHL, when they can show the Raptors and the Blue Jays dirt-cheap instead! And CTV isn't interested in splitting the rights with the CBC anymore, they want the whole thing! I think the CBC is screwed. They can kiss all their hockey profits goodbye.

You know what, I think the CTV network is bent on world domination. It's not enough for these fools to do what they've already done to the competition in this country; it's not enough to be Number One. No, they want to go one step further and destroy everyone. They've already robbed Global TV of all of its ratings already, and then they bought out CHUM and that took care of Citytv. Now they're after the one thing left, the one final prize of them all: the Stanley Cup.

The only night of the week that CTV doesn't win is Saturday nights during the hockey season. CBC gets its best ratings when it shows hockey. In fact, the Cup final game between Edmonton and Carolina got something like five million or so viewers in this country. Pretty huge numbers.

So of course CTV is jealous. They aren't content to keep on clobbering the competition with all the usual shows they have every other night of the week. They want to steal Hockey Night in Canada and win Saturday nights, too, and you know what this means folks: the CBC will be destroyed. Who's going to watch the CBC if they don't have hockey anymore? All their viewers will leave!

As an aside, grabbing hockey would also help CTV destroy Global again; Saturday's late games would certainly clobber Saturday Night Live. But CBC would be hurt the most.

You know, the CBC is in bad enough shape right now with its programming. Their best entertainment shows like SCTV and Kids in the Hall left the air long ago, and even their kids shows are a joke nowadays. They even cancelled Mr. Dressup. Now they're losing their hold on all the sports. They've already lost the Olympic Games to CTV/TSN and even lost curling to these guys! I wouldn't be surprised if the entire CFL deal goes to CTV, too, one of these days. If CBC loses Hockey Night in Canada, what's left to watch? George Stroumboulopoulos?! Disney movies? The CBC lineup will look much like the one that was served up when the hockey lockout was on: a bad joke. I shudder to think of what will happen if they lose hockey. They might as well shut the CBC down, no one would miss these guys.

HOCKEY RIGHTS: TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY

The thing I am personally curious about is why is CTV doing this? Why are they so hell-bent on wasting money pursuing the NHL?! It sure sounds like this is going to break the bank. True, the CBC was making a lot of money on NHL games, but they only paid $65 mil a year. $140 million is a ridiculous sum of money. And it is not as if CTV doesn't have hockey rights already; they have the cable rights for TSN, for only $15 mil a year! And that even includes the Cup playoffs! If CTV were just going after the cable rights again, they would only have to pay, oh, maybe $30 or $40 million. But this is a hundred million extra freaking dollars they want to pay, on top of the fortune they spent to grab the Olympics.

This really makes no sense. I know hockey is popular in this country and gets good numbers, but this looks like a total waste of money. A hundred million dollars a year down the tubes, for a sport you already show on TSN for $15 million a year. This is STUPID, what CTV is doing.

They don't need hockey on CTV, in fact they're killing everyone without hockey! In fact they've been the number one network in this country without hockey for thirty freaking years or however long it has been... it seems like forever. They actually had national rights for NHL games for a couple of years in the mid-1980s, announced by Dan Kelly, and even carried the Stanley Cup Finals, but the ratings were so bad that they cancelled it! CTV has done just fine without the NHL. The only serious challenge they received was from Global back in the Seinfeld/Friends days, and that was another network that didn't have any national NHL games on it. Maybe they think they can use Hockey Night in Canada as a platform to promote the other shows on the CTV lineup, like Desperate Housewives, Lost, C.S.I. and all the rest of them. But they don't need to do that, those shows are already huge hits! I don't know what they're thinking, offering all this money for the NHL.

And on top of this, too, they're going to have to shell out money for the announcers, although these broadcasters' salaries are going to be chump change compared to the ridiculous amount of rights fees CTV plans to pay. Ron MacLean, Don Cherry and the rest of them are going to be very rich after they get hired by CTV for their new hockey package, and don't worry, CTV will have to hire them. If they don't , there will be a revolution in this country.

You know, sports is not exactly a property that makes anyone any money these days. You look at all these American networks and all the money they waste on the rights to all of these sporting events. These networks all complain all the time about how much money they lose on the Olympics, or the NFL! Yet they keep on wasting their money, buying rights to sporting events.

About the only reason a network has to buy sporting events like the NFL is so they can grab a captive audience of sports-crazy viewers; then they can show promos for all the rest of the shows and build an audience. And that's actually a pretty good reason for buying sports. That's what FOX did, they bought the NFL rights because they wanted to build up their network and become a major player. And it worked; a bunch of affiliates switched to FOX from CBS back in 1994, all because FOX had grabbed the NFL games.

That's why NBC was so eager to get NFL games back; they're in fourth place! Buying the rights to a popular sport like the NFL is a good move for NBC to make, because you can use these games as a platform to run lots of promos for all your shows, and build your network back up. But the rights cost a fortune, so unless you're making money off your sports TV deal (like CBC was) or unless you're trying to build up or rebuild a network, sports rights are a total waste of money.

That's what I don't understand about what CTV is doing. They are spending money like no tomorrow on sports, and I'm convinced these are going to be money losers! They already grabbed the Olympics and spent a fortune to get them! Now they want to pay 1.4 billion over 10 years for the NHL?! That is absolutely ridiculous. CTV doesn't need Hockey Night in Canada. If anyone else needs the NHL besides the CBC, frankly, you would think it would be Global TV! You'd think it would be them mounting some sort of bid! Their ratings are in the tank and they could certainly use NHL games to build an audience, and run promos for House and Survivor and all these other shows during the Stanley Cup. Then they can build their network up again. But Global doesn't need the NHL, they know the rights cost an arm and a leg. They already have the NFL.

I just don't see why CTV needs the NHL; they're loaded with hits and don't need to waste their money on sports. Maybe they're still bent on destroying Global, maybe they want to head them off at the pass. Who knows.

Friday, August 11, 2006

TALLADEGA NIGHTS

Here's a piece of advice for you. If you see a trailer for any movie that says it's from the same people who brought you Anchorman and The 40 Year Old Virgin, see the movie. You'll laugh your guts out.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is more evidence that NASCAR is taking over the world. I really think that the reason NASCAR has gotten so big has a lot to do with FOX and the way it covers racing, I really do. Their Sunday telecasts of NASCAR have given all the football fans something to watch in the off-season, that's why NASCAR has become so popular! FOX treats NASCAR the way they treat the NFL: with respect. So that's why that sport has grown in recent years.

Plus, the racing is excellent. You never know who will win each week. NASCAR is basically the NFL of auto racing. Now you see big-time movies about the sport starring the likes of Will Ferrell.

The funniest scenes in this movie involved that gay Formula 1 racer Girard who ran in that Perrier-sponsored car of his. Brilliant. That character represented all of the things that NASCAR is not. NASCAR has this big reputation as the place for God-fearing, red-blooded-American good old boys who eat at Applebee's all the time. Yet here's this gay Euro from France of all places, a country in deep doo-dah with Americans at the moment (what with "freedom fries" and all that), coming in and messing this atmosphere right up.

You know what's really hilarious? These F1 drivers really are coming to a NASCAR track near you next year! This is no joke. Juan Pablo Montoya has already quit F1 and will be joining NASCAR next year. And just this week our own local Frenchman, Jacques Villeneuve, was given the boot by his losing and fed-up BMW-Sauber racing team. This, after Jenson Button topped the podium in Hungary on behalf of Villeneuve's former BAR team! So that's double-humiliation in my book. Villeneuve's F1 career has gone completely head-first into the toilet. He's FINISHED!

So Villeneuve is going to NASCAR as well. Next year we're likely going to see two former F1 stars- two guys who had their fair share of success over there, might I add- racing at places like Daytona, Charlotte, Talladega- you name it. It's going to be odd to see these jet-setting international playboys going boogity-boogity with these flag-waving Americans, but it's more proof that NASCAR is an attractive destination for a lot of drivers these days. It's more proof that it is the hot racing circuit right now.

At least Villeneuve isn't gay; you see all these photos of him at the beach with hot bikini-clad women all the time, so the folks at NASCAR won't completely have a cow over this latest development. He may have to start reading the Bible, though. Or start listening to country and western music. NASCAR will take some getting used to.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

GIRLS OF FOX NEWS

Well, while on the subject of all these women in TV news and all that, thought that I'd mention that I stumbled over a fun TV news web site today.

Some guy who obviously had time on his hands decided to start up a web site devoted to the newswomen over at the evil Fox News Channel. It's called www.girlsoffoxnews.com. Check it out. It's a website that devotes its resources to fawning over E.D. Hill, Kiran Chetry, Jamie Colby, Juliet Huddy, Laurie Dhue and the rest of the women who populate that channel. There are plenty of photos featuring these reporters wearing their short skirts on the air.

I gotta say, these women have lots of fans. The guys love their look and love their style. Holy man, these women rock.

Just a warning to Daryn Kagan that if you ever get that phone call from Roger Ailes, this is the kind of stuff you can expect if you go to Fox News: being featured on silly web sites like this one. You'll also probably have to grow your hair longer and wear more makeup, too, and of course show your legs on the air. Company policy. Sorry to have to break that "bad news" to you.

I know, I know, this is a silly website but it's good for a few laughs--- and after tuning in to these serious news channels today, well, we sure need those.

THE HECK'S WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!

Yet another freaking terror plot foiled by the Brits; a bunch of Islamists were going to bomb nine transatlantic flights!

The is freaking ridiculous. We're never going to get rid of this terror nonsense from these folks, are we?! No regard for human life whatsoever.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, UGLY NEWS

I keep on harping about how TV news sucks and how much that guys hate the business and so on, and I know all of you are sick and tired of reading about it. Especially you folks in the news business; you must think I must be an idiot.

Honestly, I happen to like TV news, most of the time. As someone who's had a chance to do news stories for TV I can say that I'd probably want to do TV news forever, so long as I got a chance to cover the right stories. The only problem is with all the crazy nonsense that goes on with the rest of this business. Turns people like me right off.

I'm really fed up with all the senseless firings and boneheaded programming decisions at these news channels. Here in Canada we had so many TV newsroom closings and layoffs in the past 12 months that it has been a bad joke. Morale is in the sink. Now people are walking the plank south of the border, too. No one is safe these days, not even for the big names.

For instance, Mika Brzezinski of CBS News was considered a rising star at the network, a contender for Dan's chair, bla bla bla. And now Katie has arrived, and the chickens have come home to roost. Mika can't get her stories on the air because the new people in charge all apparently hate her guts. So she has quit in complete frustration. Life sucks for Mika Brzezinski.

And Daryn Kagan who anchored the morning newscasts over at CNN is being fired. The network is dumping her on the street at the end of her contract, and she was there twelve years. That's yet another CNN veteran getting the can; the can is pretty full already.

Kagan says she is launching her new website www.DarynKagan.com and that she is going to do something revolutionary: cover "good news", and quit harping on all that bad news that is going on in the world.

When you look at it, I think this could be a final parting shot by Kagan at CNN. CNN is increasingly becoming the "bad news network". Whenever some war breaks out in the Middle East or some terrible disaster happens, CNN is there to cover it and give it full saturation coverage. And so is the Master of Disaster, Anderson Cooper. Have any of you read that book of his? Boy, what a miserable life he's had, with all the deaths in his family. Apparently he's going to go back to New Orleans to rehash Katrina and depress the audience again. Should be nice "rest and relaxation" from getting shot at in the Middle East. No wonder his hair is white.

And no wonder Daryn Kagan is leaving: they don't want anyone interested in covering fun stories at CNN these days at all! She can't fit in with the news agenda over there, it's all bad news! You know what's next, folks, Kagan's going to end up at Fox News with Bill Hemmer, and Rudi Bakhtiar, and Greta Van Susteren, and "Hurricane" Steve Harrigan, and Major Garrett and all the rest of the fun crowd over there. All these CNN refugees. Mark my words, it'll happen.

On a side note Fox News newsbabe Jane Skinner is married to the new NFL commissioner. Just something worth knowing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BEATEN LIEBERMAN'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

VOWS TO CARRY ON

The Internet is a wonderful thing. I was able to tune in to the election night coverage from Hartford from the local stations there, pretty good stuff from seasoned TV professionals in a market that has sent name reporters to the networks in recent years (ie. Natalie Morales). Anyhow, I watched Senator Joe Lieberman go on stage in Hartford to concede--- sort of.

What Lieberman actually said was that he was going to carry on anyway, even though he lost the primary, and he will file his papers to register as an independent Democrat and run against Ned Lamont in the November election. Interesting stuff. Lieberman is hoping plenty of Republicans will join his Democratic supporters in his independent bid to stop the anti-war, left-wing Lamont.

He might get his wish. Lamont looks to a lot of Republicans like, like...another Howard Dean. So a lot of Republicans will vote for Lieberman to stop Lamont. And a lot of Democrats are hoping the Republicans and whatever is left of the Lieberman supporters split their votes so that Lamont comes up the middle and wins. I dunno, Lieberman only lost the primary by 4%. He could well win a fall runoff with Republican backing. This looks to me like a situation where Lamont wins the battle but may lose the war.

Pardon the puns tonight, folks.

ELECTION RESULTS

EARLY CONNECTICUT RETURNS:
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY
LAMONT 53%
LIEBERMAN 46%

ROUGHLY 1/3 OF THE VOTES COUNTED SO FAR. WINNER NOT OFFICIALLY DECLARED AS OF YET.

Rep. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY lost her primary race in Georgia.

STAY TUNED FOR ELECTION COVERAGE ON THE CAIRNS BLOG. I love election nights!

PRIMARY NIGHT IN CONNECTICUT

Every so often a big state primary or state election comes along that attracts the attention of the nation. I remember this was the case with Ahhhnold winning California. Tonight all attention is on the Democrats in Connecticut, in the fight between incumbent Joe Lieberman and challenger Ned Lamont.

Lamont is running as the anti-Iraq War candidate as far as I can tell and has picked up a lot of support. I find it incredible that voters in Connecticut may be ready to throw out Lieberman. A lot has been made about him being pro-war and too close to President Bush. But I don't know why people would think that he's a big Bush supporter. Heck, he ran against him in 2000, for VP! But anyway, Lieberman is in trouble and you might as well check out that race and find out what is going on.

Here are the key links for Connecticut primary coverage:

www.wtic.com - Hartford.
www.cnn.com
www.foxnews.com
www.drudgereport.com
www.cspan.org

I'm sure there are others. Back with more news, when it happens.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

EBERT'S REPLACEMENTS

Well, the last few weeks on the Ebert and Roeper show have featured nothing but pre-taped segments and "best of..." shows. Finally, they're back to new episodes, sort of.

This is the week when the "guest replacement critics" start appearing on the Ebert and Roeper show to replace Roger Ebert who is still out of commission due to the complications from his cancer surgery. So this week we get, get this, late-night comedian Jay Leno as a movie critic! Next week, it'll be director Kevin Smith.

You know what this means, folks, Smith will be able to give a thumbs-up to his own movie, Clerks II. Take that Joel Siegel. And he'll be able to say that he got "two thumbs up" for his movie, even though Ebert said earlier on his pre-taped show that he didn't like the flick.

You know, I knew these guest critics were going to be bad, but this is definitely a joke.

FLOYD LANDIS' NAME IS MUD

Well, the Tour de France organization is in an uproar today because of the news that the second drug test on Tour winner Floyd Landis turned up positive again for abnormally high levels of testosterone. Landis is all but certain to get stripped of his title as Tour winner and probably will be kicked out of the sport of cycling for a period of time now.

People are going to say the credibility of the Tour is in tatters. You watch these races and you don't know whether or not any of these racers won their races legitimately now. You don't know if they've been on the juice! Personally, I don't think credibility of the Tour itself is in tatters because of this; after all, they deserve credit for rooting out the cheaters. Rather, it's the credibility of these riders that has taken a death blow, not to mention the teams that allow this drugging nonsense to go on. They're the ones who smeared the whole reputation of the sport of cycling. One of the great comebacks in Tour history by Landis, one of the all-time classic moments in sports history, has been ruined! How can anyone watch this sport after this?!

Landis himself had his big press conference after the news broke from his first drug test. He went and announced that his testosterone levels were high "naturally." But this second test confirms that this was "synthetic" testosterone, meaning it came from drugs. Nice going, Landis, you're a liar and a cheat. That press conference ranks right up there with the Richard Nixon " I am not a crook" routine. The comedians are going to have a field day, making fun of this.

What's next for this guy? I wouldn't be surprised if he started doing these commercials for Cheetah energy drink, like disgraced runner Ben Johnson does.

"Are you a cheat?!" "Yes! I Cheetah every time!" Landis' name is mud.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

LETTERMAN'S AUDIENCE GETTING OLD

Read an interesting article in MediaLife. It noted that ABC's Nightline has younger demos that either David Letterman or Jay Leno in that 11:35PM time slot. Nightline is running around age 50 while Letterman attracts a slightly older audience, with Leno pulling a median of 51.

It's interesting because usually it's these entertainment programs that attract the younger audience while news shows attract the old geezers. But these three shows are basically skewing the exact same age group. I'm sure the Nightline numbers reflect the fact that they have some younger, hipper anchors now, plus younger people tend to get their news later in the day than older folks. And besides, lots of old folks can't hack it and go to bed early, so they don't watch Nightline, period.

But why are Leno and Letterman skewing fiftysomethings, too? The reason is obvious: MediaLife says Leno and Letterman are simply getting old, and so is the audience for both of them. Their lead-ins tend to skew older as well- for Letterman, his problem is that he is on CBS which has a history of skewing older audiences for its entire lineup, period. Meanwhile, there's the flight of the younger viewers to cable, and to the fare on Comedy Central (ie. The Daily Show), HBO, and the Cartoon Network. I've read all these stories about how well the Cartoon Network is doing with their Adult Swim lineup. The MediaLife people now say Letterman's audience for The Late Show is aging rapidly and will be skewing the oldest demos in late night by this time next year.

I'm not surprised. Leno and Letterman are getting to be as old as the hills. Leno always seemed to play to an older crowd, so I'm less surprised with his demos. As for Letterman, he has rapidly shown his age in recent years. It seemed like yesterday that he was this young, hip, cynical comedian. Then all of a sudden he turned into an old grouch, this curmudgeon. That's bound to turn these young people off! How are they able to relate to this?!

A lot of people say they liked the younger, more cynical Letterman a lot more than this latest, blander version. Letterman's act certainly changed because of his own life experiences; he's had the heart surgery and all that, and recently became a father for the first time, so we're getting all the comments about being a parent and that sort of thing. Certainly people say that he's mellowed, and that Letterman is more of an establishment figure. But I notice the old rebel tendencies are coming back. He is getting noticeably more grouchy and short-tempered on the air. It's probably all because his lousy IRL race team has had a lousy losing season and lost star driver Danica Patrick to their arch-rivals, Andretti-Green Racing. Or maybe it's also because he still loses in the ratings to that lame-o Jay Leno, plus he's now losing Emmys to The Daily Show all the time, too. Letterman's obviously completely ticked.

Anyway, no wonder the age medians are what they are if this is what they get from him: the old curmudgeon routine. Who wants to see that? It would be like tuning into Archie Bunker or something. The rest of the cast is also up there in age- Paul Shaffer, Alan Kalter, Biff Henderson- all of them. Even regular guests like Howard Stern are getting old. I don't think any of us ought to be surprised with what is going on with Letterman's show. When you have a show full of cast regulars who are approaching 60, and a comedian whose act is as old as he is, then your audience is going to reflect it.

What I find most interesting is that the average age for guys like Conan O'Brien is getting up there, too--- Conan has a median age of 42 and Carson Daly has the youngest demo of them all, at age 40. You would think that the audience for these guys would be much younger. I always thought late night TV was the domain of the younger viewers, because these are the people who worship these comedians on the college campuses and whose schedules force them to stay up late at night. They're the ones who drink all these energy drinks like JOLT Cola in order to cram for exams, so obviously they are used to watching tons of late-night television.

I remember when I was in university. The only TV entertainment for me during that whole miserable time consisted of late night shows hosted by Johnny Carson and David Letterman. My prime times were wasted doing boring readings or finishing off these lousy freaking essays for these miserable professors. Of course, there were lots of people who probably completely goofed off, but they, too, usually had the energy to stay up late at night to watch these shows.

Maybe these latest demos reflect the fact that network TV has lost plenty of ground with the younger crowd to all the competition- cable, the Internet, DVDs, video games, the works. The young folks are more hip to that stuff, not this Dave Letterman guy grouching and complaining all the time. Anyway, I'm sure the folks at the networks will be thinking long and hard about what is happening to their aging late-night audience. They want the younger audiences, these TV executives, and they ain't getting them these days.

Maybe this will speed up some retirement plans. Who knows.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

LOOK OUT FOR THE HURRICANES

Well, it's August, so in addition to all the trouble in the world we get this interesting news:

HURRICANE WATCH issued for Turks and Caicos Islands, according to CNN.

That's right folks, it's hurricane season. AGAIN. I'm sure everyone at CNN is quite excited about this news, another chance to milk the news cow. (Milk the news cow--- now that's a good line.) When they hit it big with a story they don't let go, do they? Whatever it takes to beat Fox News.

(And I'm writing this while we're being hit by a big thunderstorm. I hate this weather.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

MEL GIBSON

Well, get this. Fidel Castro is going to go under the knife for intestinal surgery and is being forced to temporarily relinquish power in Cuba while he does that. North Korea is sabre-rattling again and firing shots, and the Israelis called off their 48-hour moratorium on air strikes on Hezbollah in Lebanon. All these big stories; the world is basically coming to an end.

And yet, in spite of all this doom and gloom, what's the story everyone is talking about? As usual, it's none of the above, folks. It's Mel Gibson.

His drunken DUI arrest in California and his drunken anti-Semitic comments, and the allegations of preferential treatment by the police and an alleged cover-up- why, this is the type of story that makes the day of any LA-based news reporter. This is why being a reporter in LA is a great job, because you get to go nuts covering a silly story like this. Barbara Walters was on The View the other day saying she wasn't going to go to any Mel Gibson movies any time soon. Gibson's name is mud.

Anyway, the folks at www.tmz.com have owned the story since the start, and you may as well check out what they are doing because they are killing everyone on this story. (TMZ is run by the same people who brought you Celebrity Justice on TV a while back. Too bad that show was cancelled, they would have gone nuts over the Mel Gibson story, that's for sure. )