Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My film column looking back at the 2008 box office is up, and suffice it to say that the year belongs to one movie. The Dark Knight.

Check out my article here.


Today, I join everyone else in dumping on so-called film critic Ben Lyons, who is being roasted yet again by entertainment writers because of his lack of taste in movies -- as evidenced by his insipid performance on his TV show At The Movies every week.

This is the same guy who declared last year's I Am Legend to be one of the best movies ever made. Heck, even I'm not so stupid to make such a dumb declaration.

There's a lot of resentment over Lyons, partly because he is seen as absolutely a big populist when it comes to the types of movies he recommends or disses. He's also seen as a big suck-up to Hollywood. I'm sure the elite film people who like the independent-type movies all the time are no fans of Lyons at all. But I think it goes deeper than that -- a lot of people think the guy just isn't a film geek and not worthy of having a job reviewing movies.

There's deep-seeded hatred of the guy because he took over one of the main hosting duties on the Ebert and Roeper show that was held in such high regard by film critics and film people. And the show sucks with him on it now, and the ratings are falling. Yet he has a film critic job while other, more intelligent critics are being forced to jump off of cliffs. You know, this has been the worst year ever for film critics -- so many of them were booted from their jobs this year. Guys like David Ansen were taking buyouts at print publications, on-air critics like Joyce Kulhawik were being fired by TV stations, and even Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper lost their own show this year. And who did they lose their show to? That's right -- Ben Lyons. It's just not fair.

So the son of Jeffrey Lyons is getting his fair share of flack from folks like Erik Childress over at eFilmCritic, which looks at the biggest quote whores of 2008. And this piece by Chris Lee in the LA Times also trashes Ben. The guy just cannot get a break.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Today is known as Black Monday in the National Football League because, well, the season has just ended and the losing teams are all busy firing their coaches.

Here's the fallout in New York, where Eric Mangini has been fired as coach of the New York Jets. Maybe they should also fire the GM for bringing in Brett Favre and shipping Chad Pennington to Miami, who beat the Jets to win the division title. So much for that Brett Favre off-season soap opera of last year. He ought to retire for real now.

Also, Romeo Crennel was also fired today, by Cleveland. As for Detroit, they fired Rod Marinelli today (right) after their 0-16 complete disaster of a season.

For more about the disgraceful Lions, a squad that would have trouble winning games in the CFL let alone the NFL, here's an article from the Detroit News here. And this is what Mitch Albom had to say in the Detroit Free Press.

So, Lions fans --- how about those Red Wings?! (At least the hockey team is good in Detroit.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Marley and Me won the box office race this weekend and set the opening day record for Christmas Day. My box office column is up.

Also, I plan to do a box office year-in-review column very soon so look out for that. Now, back to watching NFL football on TV. (Can you believe the freaking Detroit Lions finished 0-16?)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Read them here. (Pictured: Adam Sandler in Bedtime Stories.)


In the USA the Senate actually has some power and Senators are among the most respected politicians. Here in frozen Canada, the Senate has little power and is filled by appointments by the Prime Minister, leading to the impression that the place is a dumping ground for political patronage appointments.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he still wants to have an elected Senate, but fat chance that will ever happen given the lack of co-operation he has received from the other political parties and the provinces. So he went ahead with 18 appointments on Monday, including some interesting ones. Notably, former respected TV journalists Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy (right) were appointed to the Senate.

Well, at least they aren't total political hacks and at least they know Ottawa, so I'm happy they got in. For her part, Wallin said she'll step down once Saskatchewan holds planned Senate elections. Duffy, though, is representing PEI, which has no intention of holding any elections. So Duffy will be in there virtually forever, especially if the "coalition" kicks Harper out of office in January.

I notice a lot of people in PEI are criticizing Duffy's appointment and saying he doesn't live there anymore and so on, but I think that's a ridiculous assertion. He's a proud Maritimer, everyone knows that, and he plans to go back to live there. Besides, he's familiar with Ottawa, so he's qualified for the job. So these grumpy folks on the Island should shut up about it. It's better to have Mike Duffy there than some political hack.

Still, I'm sad to see Duffy's political TV show on CTV Newsnet go -- Mike Duffy Live. It was watchable with him on it holding everyone to the fire, but with Duffy gone you can bet the show will sink fast. Duffy was affable and at least knew politics. These other people at CTV News seem to be pit bulls who like to repeat the Liberal talking points. Jane Taber and Craig Oliver just seem to want to rant and rave all the time. That's my impression.

I imagine CTV is secretly delighted to see Duffy leave -- that's one more big salary the network won't have to pay. It's interesting to see so many prominent journalists give up TV and go to Ottawa jobs. As you know, former Global anchorman Peter Kent is also in Ottawa these days as an MP and cabinet minister. Of course, Governor-General Michaelle Jean is a former CBC reporter. I'll bet the day will come when we see "Count Floyd" Robertson as Governor-General yet.

Maybe all these laid-off journalists from all across the country should think of getting into politics, especially the Senate. Apparently the pay is good and the job security there is excellent right now.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Yes Man won the weekend box office, but the weather was a much greater story, wrecking box office hopes from coast to coast. Who wants to go to a movie if you have to brave the winter elements? Where I am, the big problem is the terrible cold temperatures. I have plenty of time to see movies these days-- but my car doesn't have plenty of time for freezing cold weather.

Also, I ranted again about these so-called Oscar contenders that are showing up in only a few theaters, and I basically express my frustration with the fact that they still aren't playing to a wider audience. There are plenty of movies people want to see -- so why aren't we getting to see them? Drives us up the wall. Not everyone lives in New York or San Francisco. My box office column from Sunday can be found here.

In other news, my Christmas vacation has begun. Life is good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Well, great. In addition to the auto industry taking a bath, so is the professional sports industry. Seems that Arena Football cancelled their 2009 season and are trying to restructure the league so that it can survive in this brutal economy. well, that's no good. What the heck are we supposed to watch when the NFL season is over? Football fans are going to be in for an EXTREMELY brutal off-season this year. And this is another blow for non-NFL players looking for jobs. First the NFL Europe league went under, and now this.

At least there's NASCAR to watch in the off-season, but with the automobile industry in such rough shape it's going to be an achievement just to have any cars on the track!!

Actually, this shutdown of Arena Football is kind of good news -- it'll mean more players for the 'Riders! (Just joking.)


Well, last night was the final game at old Texas Stadium, where the Cowboys lost to Baltimore. And they brought out the old Cowboys players for the last time. I dunno why they need a new stadium down there -- the old one seemed good enough to me.

Oh, darnet, the real reason for this post is so I have another excuse to put up pictures of cheerleaders on my blog. Enjoy, guys.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Noticed that Quint at Ain't It Cool News finally caught up with more Peter Sellers movies The Party and Casino Royale, and noticed he shares my opinion of Casino Royale. Yes it was a mess.

Meanwhile I was over at YouTube and noticed a TV ad promoting What's New Pussycat?. Thought I would put that link up since there's nothing else I'm doing tonight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The question is, will he take DOWN Will Smith this weekend at the box office? My predictions are up.


Been reading the blogs and the consensus seems to be that CTV is being disingenuous in blaming the cancellation of Canadian Idol's 2009 season on the economy.

It's because the show is slumping, that's why it's getting the boot! Bill Brioux over at TV Feeds My Family said as much in his blog. In the Toronto Star, Joel Rubinoff point-blank blasts the show for being lousy and says that's the reason it got the boot. "Economic downturn, my butt," he said.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Well, the big shocking news from CTV is that they have cancelled Canadian Idol in 2009. It may be back the next year.

For now though, it's good riddance Ben Mulroney. Maybe that law degree of his will come in handy, yet.

A lot of people are in shock that CTV has shelved the show at supposedly the "height of its popularity". Fact is it wasn't at the height of its popularity -- in fact, last year the ratings had fallen. Clearly, this is a show on its way down instead of up, and there's no shortage of shows CTV can turn to for better ratings. (If Canadian Idol were airing on CBC, I think it would have been a different story -- there's no way the CBC would have shelved the show for a year, because there just aren't enough hit shows over there to begin with.)

I also suppose it costs a ton of money to go across the country looking for talent. Denis McGrath has a pretty accurate take on the whole situation, though, at his blog Dead Things on Sticks, where he notes that people in the urban centres lost interest in the show ages ago. That's exactly why the show was fading.

Still, I do think the tanking economy had something to do with the exit of the show from the schedule -- it gave CTV their justification to throw this show into the trashcan and saved them from paying a lot of high salaries.

I'm actually amused by the reaction. Some of the die-hard fans are ready for suicide. But there's also a lot of people out there who trashed the show and thought it blew, and they are glad to see reality/talent/gameshow/cheapjunk television get a well-deserved shoe thrown at it, finally.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Well, the depression keeps right on going. Last week the big auto rescue failed to clear Congress. This week, we're getting more Grinch-ly happenings in the world of media layoffs.

CNN continues its big bloodbath. This time they are going after the poor folks over at Headline News. Among the people getting the knife are Linda Stouffer and Rusty Dornin. Good grief, man, what the heck is going on over there? Just because they've been on the air a long time doesn't mean they should leave. Isn't continuity a good thing to have -- kind of helps with the ratings?? I guess they don't care about ratings there.

Some news people on TV in Buffalo are out the door, including Mike Igoe, Lisa Scott and Ellen Maxwell. And just across the border in Hamilton, Ontario, the bloodbath continues at CHCH which just got rid of yet another anchor, Dan McLean.

And in the world of newspapers here in Canada, Sun Media proved that they are also a completely heartless and classless bunch by having a big 600-person bloodbath just in time for Christmas. Read about the ashcannings over at the Toronto Sun Family blog, which covers the happenings there.

How big a bloodbath is it at the Sun chain? Well, they canned Linda Leatherdale. That says it all right there.

Has the Grinch stolen your Christmas yet? That guy needs to be arrested and sent to rot alongside O.J. Simpson. Ho ho ho.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


The weather outside is frightful -- no, it's not delightful.

Let's face it, Christmas sucks. You have to stand in long lines at the department stores, and the weather outside is freezing cold. We're talking North Pole cold here. I'm worried that my car will conk right out from the cold weather this week.

Here's a story on the deep freeze gripping my part of the world. Canada is too cold for me. Oh, and I understand Louisiana and Texas got snow not long ago. Wonderful, eh?


Read a story in Variety about these aspiring film critics and how they are coping in this crummy economy where writers are doing all they can to make it. A lot of them are working for free!!! Who needs it. It would be fun to pursue film or entertainment writing, but this whole business of working for nothing is pretty bad, to say the least. But it's hard to get into entertainment writing when so many of these publications and TV channels are enduring bloodbaths.

Oh, and my Film School Rejects box office column is up. Too bad this column doesn't pay the bills -- instead, I rely on my mainstream media job. Which, by the way, has been a big help as far as meeting girls is concerned.

"Hi! I report on city council meetings!" Yeah, that really works.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Been reading Quint's A Movie A Day columns the last couple of days over at Ain't it Cool News. Right now, he's in the middle of a Peter Sellers marathon in his ongoing quest to fill in his gaps of cinematic knowledge. Today he reviewed Being There, Sellers' masterpiece from 1979, and the day before he reviewed What's New Pussycat, where Sellers starred alongside Peter O'Toole.

Of course I was acquainted with Sellers' work early on due to the Pink Panther movies, among the first movies I remember seeing at a movie theater as a young kid. And I was actually disappointed because I had gone in expecting or hoping for a Pink Panther cartoon, and instead I got Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. Anyway, Quint is focusing on Sellers' often-overlooked non-Clouseau work. I really like What's New Pussycat. It features Sellers wearing a goofy wig, has a great screenplay from Woody Allen (which got carved up from on high, apparently) and stars some of my favorite swinging chicks of the Sixties including hottie Paula Prentiss and the absolutely smoking-hot Ursula Andress. As Quint said in his review: "director Clive Donner was smart enough to force Ursula Andress to spend the entire final reel running around in her underwear. Bonus points."

In honor of that movie here's a YouTube clip featuring the swinging theme song from Tom Jones. Enjoy.

Poor Quint is apparently planning to endure Sellers' appearance as James Bond (one of them, anyway) in the Sixties version of Casino Royale. What a mess that movie was.


As you may know, the folks at CNN are in the middle of yet another one of their senseless bloodbaths. More on-air people including Jamie McIntyre, Kelli Arena and Carrie Lee are getting the boot.

And a ticked Greta Van Susteren was steaming about it over at her Fox News blog, sticking in the knife to CNN for carrying out there ash-cannings so close to Christmas. So much for loyalty, eh? Work hard and be fired!!

Merry Christmas, ho ho ho. Right!

Friday, December 12, 2008


My box office preview is now up.


I just thought I would post this New York Times story about how people are getting rich making videos for YouTube. Apparently a guy named Michael Buckley is able to do this and has his own channel. He is able to get rich and quit his day job.

I guess the reason I am posting this is because I think this is a good idea, and wouldn't mind trying it myself. I didn't think it was even possible to make money from YouTube. Honestly, I thought it was a place for amateurs to put their own idiotic videos, but it seems as if some people are actually able to make some cash. Anyway, that's that about that.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


.... naked!!!!

That woman doesn't seem to ever need a wardrobe budget when she appears on magazine covers now, eh? (When she posed for the cover of Rolling Stone, she even showed her butt.)

I dunno why these actresses have this exhibitionist streak going. First Kate Winslet gets naked for Vanity Fair -- now this.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I must say, there are not a heck of a lot of TV pundits impressed with the coming move of Jay Leno to 10 pm from his current 11:35 pm gig. Of course, there was no other option -- NBC gave 11:35 away to Conan O'Brien years ago. So the only way to keep Leno around and keep him from defecting to ABC was to do this.

But lots of people are not impressed and feel this is a serious blow to scripted series on network television. This post at MTV calls the move a death blow for prime time drama on TV. That article speculates we'll probably see ABC and CBS follow suit. David Poland figures the big losers in this whole deal are SAG members, the actors, because NBC is going to get rid of five hours a week of prime time real estate that usually would go to scripted dramas or something like that. He says that with NBC already committed to cheap junk on Saturdays and the NFL on Sundays, and two hours of Thursday comedy and two hours of Law and Order series, that leaves only about six hours of time that NBC needs to fill. So it saves NBC a lot of money.

TV Squad's Allison Waldman points the finger at Jeff Zucker for this latest development and asks if there's any way he can be impeached. She says she is fed up with the way the network is being run into the ground by the current administration.

What bugs me is that NBC is going to spin this move as yet another one of their brilliant groundbreaking ideas, when the fact of the matter is this is a major step backward for the network. This reminds me of their other moves -- like giving up on pilot season, or the big idea they floated around to give up the first hour of prime time every night so that they could run reality shows and other crap. Just a day ago they were telling the press how stupid it was to program three hours of prime time every night. Now, they're doing pretty much what they threatened to do the other day: they have torched the 10 pm hour and have thrown it away as part of "prime time." Instead, NBC is essentially turning it into their first hour of "late-night". What a waste.

Instead of competing with CBS, ABC and Fox, NBC is moving head-first in the direction of nonentity networks such as the CW and MyNetworkTV. The attitude among NBC management seems to be: "these other networks program utter crap and sign off the air at 10pm every night. So should we!!"

This looks like a desperate move by a network that is clearly out of fresh ideas and clearly giving up. The folks over there seem to believe the answers to all their prime-time problems can be found in late night from shows like the Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live. That's why you see so many SNL alumni getting shows on NBC as of late (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon). And that's why you see Leno being moved to 10 pm -- because they figure he's a big star, plus he's also cheap. But you're not seeing a lot of original thinking with these types of moves. What NBC really needs to do is forget about Saturday Night Live and try and do something new and groundbreaking. But I don't think they have it in them to do that at the moment. They are just playing it safe.

I don't see how this move is going to help NBC. It basically means that instead of two late-night shows, NBC is essentially going to program three. Conan O'Brien is going to continue to live in the shadow of Jay, even though he gets the Tonight Show seat. And this move kind of cheapens the Tonight Show and takes it down a notch.

It also looks like a dumb move. I don't see how The Jay Leno Show (or whatever they plan to call it) is going to do well up against the CSIs and these other shows on the other networks. Leno already skews old as it is -- as a matter of fact, he IS old. In fact, he was supposed to retire. The only thing going for this show is the fact that it's cheap, and this move will prevent Jay from going to a competitor to mash Conan O'Brien!!

I also don't know how the NBC affiliates are going to react. Most of these affiliates have their news at 11 pm, and if their lead-in is some transplanted late-night talk show you can bet the ratings are all going to take a bath. What a debacle this is going to be for NBC. Really, when you see moves like this from venerable networks like NBC, it's no wonder that people are giving up on watching network television in droves and flocking to cable and the rental counter instead.


It looks like Michael Ignatieff is going to be Liberal leader by the end of the week. Bob Rae has thrown in the towel and is not going to oppose him.

So much for the big convention in Vancouver, then. It won't be very exciting after all.

I guess the last couple of years of Liberal internectine backstabbing turned out to be all for nothing. Let's face it, the Liberals are a mess.

Monday, December 08, 2008


So THIS is what Jeff Zucker had in mind when he was ranting today about reducing his prime time lineup. Turns out he's re-signed Jay Leno and is moving him to 10 pm/9 Central every night!!! And presumably scrapping a whole bunch of scripted series to make room for him!!

Prime time, every night for Jay Leno. What is NBC smoking?? Talk about cheap.

Suffice it to say that network TV is dead -- or more specifically, NBC is dead. More soon.


Well, I have been reading more of the big bloodbath going on at NBC. You know, as bad as the news division is getting it, that's nothing compared to the absolute bloodbath going on in the entertainment division. It seems like everyone is getting fired except Ben Silverman. Read what Variety reported in the link.

Meanwhile, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker was saying today how he was thinking of cutting prime time programming. This is what Variety reported:

"Can we continue to program 22 hours of primetime? Three of our competitors don't," Zucker said on the first day of a media conference in Gotham sponsored by investment bank UBS. "Can we continue to program seven nights a week? One of our competitors doesn't. All of these questions have to be on the table."

One should quietly remind Zucker that these three networks in question are FOX, the CW and MyNetworkTV -- and in the case of the latter two, no network in its right mind should try and emulate them. Those networks have lousy shows and bad ratings! And most of the lineup on FOX is just a joke these days. Even American Idol is a disgrace.

If what NBC wants to do is get rid of an hour of programming and try and ape these smaller networks they are in more trouble than anyone ever imagined.


Well, I am watching the TV coverage right now of the Quebec election night, with Jean Charest's Quebec Liberals having won and the PQ forming the official opposition, yet all anyone cares about, really, is the continued nonsense in Ottawa. And in particular, the chaos surrounding the Liberals.

Today, outgoing Liberal leader Stephane Dion, fresh off the debacle of last week's "Three Stooges" deal with the socialists and separatists and the infamous botched-YouTube-shakycam amateur video of his from last Thursday night, announced he was speeding up his departure and will leave as soon as the Liberal Party can get rid of him. Now it seems we are getting all kinds of machinations going on behind the scenes to try and install Michael Ignatieff as leader without even a convention or a vote by the grassroots! Rumor is Ignatieff might get installed Wednesday by a vote of the MPs as interim leader, setting up a coronation whenever the actual leadership vote among the members takes place. As well, Dominic LeBlanc has thrown in the towel on his own leadership bid today and declared there is a consensus in the party for Ignatieff, so he's backing him to be leader.

Bob Rae, damaged by this whole coalition deal mess, is nevertheless saying not so fast, let the grassroots decide. Just last week Rae was saying the opposition should seize power without an election or a mandate; now he's trying to be the champion of democracy!!! Make up your mind, man.

Anyway, I think Rae has a point -- it would have been nice, though, if he had been more consistent about it. And that point is simply this: why the heck should the Liberal leadership be decided by backroom deals behind closed doors, without the membership deciding?? If I were a grassroots Liberal I'd be mad as heck right now about having the leadership decided this way with the membership not being consulted. And if I was a grassroots politico of any stripe, I'd be wondering why I'd still be involved in politics given the nonsense that happened last week. A lot of what went on last week was EXTREMELY undemocratic, with Prime Minister Harper having to prorogue Parliament to duck a vote designed to overthrow his government without an election.

And this whole mess wouldn't have even happened if the PM had listened to all his political advisers and staffers who thought that cutting off the oppositions' election funding was politically a stupid, fraking idea.

What a gong show!!! It's clear to me that too much of our political process has been hijacked by backroom deals with constituents and people on the ground being ignored and disregarded.

That ain't the way politics ought to be run. Politics ought to be about the people. When the heck are the people's voices going to count for something?

That's my rant for tonight. Good day!!!!


You know, I'm steaming mad that I live in a country that seems hell-bent on turning into China, or worse yet, Zimbabwe with its policies. The latest outrage is that the CRTC, not satisfied with having its hands on TV regulation in this country, is thinking about regulating the Internet. The good folks at Google were making their case today, telling the CRTC to keep its hands off the Net.

So what's going to happen? Is the CRTC going to force me to get a license in order to have a blog, now? Or maybe I'll need to up my "Canadian content" around here.

Oh, okay, fine. Here's some Canadian content for all of you to gawk at:

Hey, Jayde Nicole is a Canadian. It counts!!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


You know what? I have nothing to say about today's Bills-Dolphins game in Toronto. As it turned out, Citytv had the rights to the game in Canada, but Citytv doesn't have a station where I live these days, so I couldn't watch the game!!!

Someone in charge was not on the ball, folks. I couldn't even find a freaking Internet feed, either.

Here's a link to the live-blog that was going on of the game by the Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ. And a CBC story on the game.


Today on Meet the Press, new moderator David Gregory met Tom Brokaw.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Just a reminder that the big Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins game in Toronto is set to go tomorrow. (Or today, depending on which time zone you're in.) Quite ironic that they are playing this game the same week that the greatest player in Buffalo Bills history was sent to prison (O.J.).

Here's a story on the big game at Rogers Centre . Too bad Ted Rogers didn't live to see it. Oh, and here's the CFL's ticked off reaction.

And I will have more on the game tomorrow.


I tuned into the coverage of the O.J. Simpson sentencing and it took me back to the times earlier this year when I was in court reporting on major happenings.

In fact, I'm in court more often now as a working journalist than I was when I actually worked in the legal profession, stuck in a freaking office doing boring paperwork all the time. No wonder I quit that business.

Honestly, though, I wish I had had a crack at covering this latest trial in Las Vegas. It would have been sweet watching O.J. get the book thrown at him. Plus, I could have gone to the casinos during my off hours.

The judge handed down a ton of sentences and I couldn't tell how much these sentences amounted to, to be honest with you. So many of these sentences were running concurrent to each other. All I know for sure is he will be serving at least a 15-year sentence and is eligible to get out after nine.

I'm sure there will be people hoping O.J. will be dead by then. He's 61 years old and will be a senior citizen by the time he gets out, assuming he ever gets out. That prison food alone could be enough to send him to the grave.

Anyway, that closes a sorry chapter for the Juice, whose life has gone straight downhill ever since the Nicole Brown Simpson-Ron Goldman murders happened. I've been a big follower of the whole O.J. courtroom saga, which of course ended up with wall-to-wall coverage on television during the Nineties. It spawned Court TV, gave Greta Van Susteren a TV career, and spawned countless books about the Simpson case by all these legal pundits and bigshot lawyers.

The case in Vegas wasn't quite the media circus the first case was, though. I think people were just fed up with O.J. by now and fed up with all his trials.

It's too bad the folks in Los Angeles didn't see fit to throw the book at O.J. when they had the chance. By turning the Juice loose, Simpson ended up doing yet more damage to society and wound up back in court, facing the music again. The only people who wound up ahead in the whole deal were the defence lawyers, who made their share of money off Simpson.

Those jurors in L.A. should have convicted Simpson and thrown the keys away the first time, but that's Hollywood justice for you. Vegas, though, is a little different.

It's very sweet to see justice finally catch up to O.J. Simpson. He could run but he couldn't hide.


Welcome to yet another one of my periodic posts about television news and the big question today is, if I am so interested in television news then why the heck am I still in print journalism instead of working in television news where I belong!?

Answer is because it seems the only jobs in television news these days are at places like Al-Jazeera. Really, who wants to work there?!

Bottom line is that television news is in the middle of yet another one of its big bloodbaths to coincide with the recession. Life is bad in TV land.

CNN has been making some changes and getting rid of Miles O'Brien, gutting the science unit. They think their environmental unit will do the job. Well, okay, but I'll probably watch someone else the next time the Space Shuttle goes up for some important mission. Too bad, he was a good reporter.

Over at NBC it's been a massacre. Folks getting the boot include Don Teague, Mark Mullen, John Larson, Jeannie Ohm, Bob Faw and Kevin Corke.

Those aren't the only people getting booted. Apparently the entertainment division took some big hits and some senior executives took the fall for NBC's disasterous prime-time lineup. In fact, they just cancelled Knight Rider the other day, too. So the human-resources people have been busy this week shoving people out the door everywhere at NBC.

NOT getting the boot is David Gregory who is expected to be named the new host of Meet the Press in an announcement on tomorrow's show.

Other stuff: a look at some of the young up and coming people in TV news . People on the list include folks like Chuck Todd and Megyn Kelly.

Now on to the happenings of the business anchors at these cable networks. Here's a report on Brian Sullivan who now works for Fox Business. He was back in his hometown recently to see how it was holding up in the current recession.

Here's an article on Maria Bartiromo that ran in in the UAE, of all places.

A profile on Liz Claman.

Also, here's one on former Apprentice contestant turned CNBC newsbabe Rebecca Jarvis.

And finally, Cody Willard was on Leno this week. That is all for now.

UPDATE: Here's a profile from Asiance Magazine of CNBC's Melissa Lee. Good news for guys: she's single and has no boyfriend!!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


What a gong show it has been the last several days in Ottawa, folks. Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to Rideau Hall to meet the Governor-General and his request to prorogue Parliament until January was granted.

Thank God. We have been spared from the sight of Prime Minister Stephane Dion (left).

To run down what has gone on the last day or so: on Wednesday I was hard at work at my mainstream media job, doing my story on the situation in Ottawa and watching events unfold on CPAC, CTV Newsnet and elsewhere.

The highlight of last night was the Prime Minister's address to the nation at 7pm EST. A lot of the chattering class types of people were not too thrilled with it. The prime minister was doing his best "uncle Stephen" routine, trying to look sincere and friendly while basically slamming the opposition's plan for a deal with the separatists. People thought he should have been more conciliatory and reached out to the opposition. I think, though, he was saving up the conciliation talk for later and was simply trying to explain why he was about to do what he was about to do: defend the country from this undemocratic government takeover attempt by the opposition.

So that was Harper's speech, and the network people were surprised because there had been this big buildup to this big speech and it was just a five minute political spiel by Harper.

Anyway, what happened next was just plain comical: we waited forever for Dion's response. Man, that was bad. First of all, these nitwits couldn't even deliver the video tape in time. It took forever to to show up, and as a result the CTV network ended up signing off without even showing it.

So FINALLY the thing airs, and the video looked -- bad. The camera was out of focus, there was no decent lighting to speak of, and a book was seen in a bookcase behind Dion's head that was entitled "Hot Air". People were comparing this to al-Qaida videos or something similar-- that's how big an amateur hour the production values were. Whoever produced that tape should be fired -- for that matter, whoever did the hiring should also be fired.

Dion came out of last night looking really bad. And we were hearing all these stories about people possibly defecting or getting cold feet about the opposition's Coalition plan. Apparently some backbench Liberal MP was in tears talking to CTV's Mike Duffy off-camera, telling him he was hoping for some sort of resolution to this mess because his constituents were wanting to lynch him. No wonder: these die-hard Libs hate the separatists. Pierre Elliott Trudeau has to be spinning in his grave over all this.

So now Parliament is prorogued, the no-confidence votes have all been pushed back to late January, and our democracy has been saved. Harper tried to look conciliatory and offered some sort of olive branch to opposition parties to be part of the consultation process for the budget.

And now it appears the "coalition" is falling apart -- apparently, more backbenchers are working behind the scenes to try and get this whole coalition idea scrapped. Thank God.

I just hope this might be the beginning of the end of this crisis. Proroguing was absolutely the right thing to do. Parliament had turned into a bad reality show this week. Better to shut all that nonsense right down than have the inmates take over the whole asylum and run Canada right into the ground.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Latest report is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will go to the Governor-General and ask to prorogue Parliament (shut it down) until January, when a budget will be presented.

And if the GG says no, expect all heck to break loose in this country. What a pathetic display over there. We'll see what happens.


Well, the madness continues in Ottawa where Question Period was once again a big gong show today, with the opposition members all yelling at Stephen Harper in the Commons. And Harper stood up every chance he got to slam the deal with the separatists and demand that such a coalitionl be put to an election.

I have to say, I've seen this all go down before when Paul Martin was going down for the count. That was an ugly scene when that all happened, with the House of Commons looking like a complete Kangaroo court with people yelling at each other. It got ugly, and the low point was when we saw Belinda cross the floor. Because that meant that the ugliness in the House would continue for months on end before Martin finally, mercifully, was booted out.

It's as bad a scene now as it was then, and we still have no idea how it all will end up.

Outrage continues over at the Blogging Tories, and people are ridiculing the proposed Stephane Dion-led coalition as "the Three Stooges" and the coalition deal as "Coupscam". Others are calling it the "Three-Headed Monster" or the "Unholy Alliance" I'd like to borrow a line former Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish once used. "Coalition of the Idiots."

In other news, the Governor-General is flying home to deal with the crisis.

Who knows what will happen on Monday with the confidence vote. Harper could end up asking for dissolution and an election. He could ask to prorogue Parliament. I doubt he will ask to hand the government over, but it may well be that Governor-General Michaelle Jean might ask the opposition to take power.

Over at Bourque Newswatch, rumors of potential cracks in the coalition. Bourque is claiming that Liberal Michael Ignatieff may be getting cold feet about the coalition deal, as his constituents and supporters are apparently screaming mad. As well, he is claiming that as many as 15 assorted Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc members may reject the coalition and sit as independents.

Other news: the hated separatist Jacques Parizeau supports the coalition. That ought to be the kiss of death right there.

Coming out swinging against the coalition is Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall and BC premier Gordon Campbell. And apparently protests are planned across the country, both for and against this deal.

Anyway, that's the political situation. Now on to other News from Nowhere.

My weekend box office report of the win by Four Christmases.
The Georgia Senate race runoff goes to the Republicans, preventing the Democrats from gaining a filibuster-proof Senate.
The new host of Meet the Press looks to possibly be David Gregory.
Canadian cable-TV mogul Ted Rogers has died.

And that is all for now.

Monday, December 01, 2008


It's official, the Opposition has launched its Coup attempt on the weeks-old re-elected Stephen Harper government.

Canada's next prime minister: defeated/outgoing Liberal leader Stephane Dion. And apparently he still plans to step down, even though he's about to become Prime Minister. The leadership race is apparently still going on!!

The story on the coalition deal here. The reaction from some of the outraged Blogging Tories here, here and here. And Macleans' bloggers weigh in here.

If you want to see for yourself what an embarrassing spectacle Parliament has become, check out the live coverage on CPAC.

Me, I'm embarrassed to be a Canadian. We now are seeing a government installed by powerbrokers behind the scenes including socialists and Separatists -- just weeks after these jokers LOST SEATS in the ELECTION. The people of Canada didn't vote for these people to take power. Instead, they want these fools to stay in opposition and perform checks and balances on Harper -- not to run the whole government!! That was the message from the election results, but the opposition is ignoring it and using the economic crisis as an opportunity to seize power for themselves.

The election results are in the toilet. Canada looks like a freaking banana republic!

I'm beyond outraged at this turn of events in Ottawa, to say the least. Democracy, my foot.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We may all live to see the day when Gilles Duceppe becomes Prime Minister of Canada. And you think I'm joking?

(Yes, I did say Gilles Duceppe, not Stephane Dion.)

Read about the latest on the opposition's plans to defeat the government's economic statement and install themselves as the government here.

Friday, November 28, 2008


The terrorist situation is still on in India and I am watching the live coverage right now as the operation is on for the last gunman, apparently, who is holed up in one of the hotels. Check out this story on the developments and keep it here at the CAIRNS BLOG for updates.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Here's what Roger Ebert has to say about the culture of celebrity that is pervading entertainment journalism at the moment in America's newsrooms. He says the "lengthening toll of former film critics acts as a poster child for the self-destruction of American newspapers," and roasts the drivel you are increasing getting in its place about Brad, Angelina, Jen, Britney, Heidi and Spencer, and all these other folks.

And I'm sure these stars are sick of being stalked by the press, too. Really, these folks would rather talk about their movies, and a lot of people out there would probably rather hear what these folks have to say about their movies. But instead, the suits in charge at the news organizations are giving marching orders to the rank and file to increase the celebrity coverage in an all-out bid to ape TMZ.

So we're getting live continuing coverage of the state of various relationships and whether certain female actresses are pregnant or not, because supposedly that's what sells with the great unwashed.

I have to say, I don't care who's anorexic or who's having a baby, or whether Karolina Kurkova has a belly button, or any of that stuff, either. And I agree with Ebert: someone has to tell the people at every entertainment publication and media outlet in North America that Barack Obama has nothing to do with entertainment. He is not an entertainer! End of story.


Rosie O'Donnell's new variety show Rosie Live was a big freaking flop on NBC. A real turkey.

And so yet another attempt to try and revive the variety genre fails, but let's face it: if NBC really wanted a successful variety show they should have tried harder to get a better host. Someone who you could actually see as a host of a variety show. Someone like... Regis Philbin?!

So the variety show is still dead, while reality shows continue to litter our television sets. This all stinks but fear not, folks. According to writer Ken Levine, the sitcom is coming back.


Well no, not really, but there was still a big bloodbath today over there at CTV with 105 people being let go. From what I gather, the biggest massacre was over in that building that CTV took over from ChumCity on Queen Street, where the music channels and Star!TV took a big hit. As well, on air people up at the Agincourt studios (CFTO) were among those tossed; Tim Weber, Jacintha Wesselingh and Kate Wheeler, apparently.

This comes on the heels of the big bloodbath over at Global. I gotta say, a guy like Ebenezer Scrooge would fit right in with the media industry.

UPDATE (Nov.28): Speaking of the recent Canwest Global bloodletting, I noticed that today was the last day for Connie Smith over at CHCH Hamilton.

ANOTHER UPDATE: For more on the CTV bloodbath, which gutted the entire production staffs at Star!TV and MuchMoreMusic, here's what Bill Brioux had to say.


It's American thanksgiving, and you know what that means. The NFL.

Link to results of the day's action here.


Watch the live coverage here from NDTV.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


You can read my box office column here. In it I talk about the prospects for upcoming movies like Four Christmases, which is due out today.

It never fails; every Thanksgiving you get a Christmas movie. And I suppose they release Thanksgiving movies at Halloween, and Halloween movies at Easter. What a joke.

Incidentally, I'm impressed with myself. I went over to the Fox News website and apparently this column was up over at its Entertainment section. They have a feature called "Best Entertainment Blogs" on that web page and I guess that feature links up with Film School Rejects regularly, so my article showed up over there earlier today. I should check out Fox News more often.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It's time for another of my periodic updates on the state of men's magazines in North America.

As you know, it's been a swift decline for the past couple of years with several North American titles going completely belly-up (FHM, Stuff, etcetera). Now MAXIM, the mothership of them all, is in really serious trouble, and it's because their owners Alpha Media are seeing their earnings PLUMMET in the bad economy. Advertisers, which used to flee traditional media to advertise on the Internet, are now putting their ads nowhere at all. Alpha Media also have a mountain of debt that is choking the owners to death.

Now it looks like the company that bought MAXIM and Blender from the former Brit owners may end up in the hands of creditors.

Not even the appearance on the cover this month of an actress with a reputation for being extremely popular with guys, Olga Kurylenko (right), seems to have helped. Dammit!


At last I've found another excuse to put up a picture of actress/ pretty girl Tricia Helfer: she's going to guest-star on the spy TV show Chuck. Read it here. And now I'm heading off to write that box office column.


I've been reading more and more news stories about the potential stupidity known as the SAG strike, which might happen in January. I think this is just plain suicidal for the entire entertainment industry. I know there are people who have a beef with SAG about this whole thing, but SAG may also have some legitimate gripes with the skinflints who are running the whole movie and TV industry and want to lower peoples' wages. Anyway, I don't care what the issues are, all I care about is that these idiots at the top on both sides need to realize that this economy STINKS.

Here's a suggestion for everyone: why not just extend the current deal a couple of years and wait for things to get better? At least then people won't be thrown out of work, and maybe President Obama won't have to provide a bailout for any studios or TV networks like he's been doing for other industries.

Anyway, here's an article in the Hollywood Reporter on the potential decimation facing the TV industry. Actually, it won't be so bad, because so many shows are already in the can and late-night won't be affected, but enough shows will be affected for advertising to go in the sink and for a lot of jobs to permanently go up in smoke. Also, here's an article by David L. Wolper in the Huffington Post, trashing SAG's negotiation tactics.

I have a box office column to write (two days early because of American Thanksgiving), so that's all for now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Welcome back to my live continuing coverage of the economic mess. What else is there for me to do now that the CFL is over, and MLS is over, and Entourage is over for another year? Of course, auto racing has been over for about a week. Needless to say, I'm depressed.

It sure looked as if Citigroup was going to be over, too, but a bailout is afoot thanks to your friendly neighbourhood government. Read it here.

I really do need to get my mind off all this depressing news; I'm going back to watching the Rocky marathon on AMC.


My column on Twilight making $70 million is up. Bolt, meanwhile, got clobbered.

And a reminder to myself to post another column again around Tuesday, in time for the new Thanksgiving movies in the USA.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


So the fatheads in charge of the Screen Actors Guild are seeking strike authorization. Talk about folks who truly have their heads in the sand! At a point in time when the entire economy is going down the tubes, these idiots want to take the entire motion picture and TV industry down for the count, too. This is not the time to go on the picket line, not after the mess the Writers Strike made of the whole industry. This is also no time for the captains of the TV and movie industry to look to break these unions with lowball bargaining tactics and the usual negotiating style we've come to expect from these people.

Now is the time for both sides to do a deal so they can keep the entertainment industry afloat and help the North American economy get back on its feet! It makes no sense for an industry that is getting creamed by lower television advertising revenues and lower DVD sales to shut down production for ANY length of time. That's a good way to get rid of what is left of your audience at movie theaters and on television.

That's it!!!!


Watching As the World Turns, in glorious black and white?

I'm afraid Route 66 will not be shown tonight.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm taking a break from talking about depressing current events: I want to talk about TV.

Been reading about the whole changeover of black and white television to color back in the Sixties. Here's some articles about it here and here.

I guess one of the reasons I'm interested is because we are seeing a big changeover happening now: the switchover from analog to digital and the arrival of HDTV. You see on so many shows and channels now the words "HD." You keep on seeing these ads on these American TV channels promoting the big "digital conversion" on February 17, 2009 all the time now.

Well, the last big revolution of this magnitude happened in the Sixties with the big changeover to "full-color." Of course, in the Fifties there were some shows that broadcast in color (usually on NBC) but most network TV was in black and white and most people didn't even have color TV sets.

That all changed by the mid-Sixties, when more and more color TV shows were being shown on TV. NBC was promoting itself as the "Full Color Network" and shows were promoting themselves as being "In Color". In fact the Walt Disney show of the time even had the word "color" in its title: Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

As far as I can tell, television's "silver age" (black and white, that is) lasted until 1966, when the changeover to color TV in prime time was completed on the three major networks and the "Color age" began. I must say, I just don't know how people were able to survive with just black-and-white TV. I can handle the occasional show in black and white, but all of them?! Man, if you want to take the life out of watching television, show it all in black and white!!

NBC apparently spurred on the move to color; its prime time lineup went pretty much all-color in 1965, and it had plenty of color programming for years before that-- shows like Bonanza and Walt Disney. CBS and ABC had few color TV shows until about 1965, when they started converting shows like Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan's Island, Lassie and My Favorite Martian to color. By 1966 all the shows in prime time were in color on every network.

1966 was a significant year because the last great all-black-and-white series of television history, The Dick Van Dyke Show, ended its run that season. Had that show come back to TV for one more season that fall, we would have seen Rob Petrie and the gang in COLOR, guaranteed. The other black-and-white shows that stayed on the air past 1966, including I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Wild Wild West, Andy Griffith and so on, all had to convert to color. The folks at Jump the Shark consider the color changeover to be a major "jump the shark" moment for a lot of TV series, though I think the changeover had to be a benefit for some of them.

I've once again dug up some stuff from the YouTube TV vaults about color TV and the whole changeover. Enjoy.

And some rare Color TV from 1958!!!:

Thursday, November 20, 2008


My preview of the weekend box office is up.


Well, just got some especially cheery news from Nikki Finke's site. The friendly folks at Disney are chopping shows again. This time, ABC has yanked Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone (pictured) and Dirty Sexy Money. The first two shows were notable for being among the weirdest shows on the air. As for the third, well, no one has any money these days, so why not give it the boot.

Wow, the bloodbath continues at the networks. This news follows the word about the cancellations of Mad TV, King of the Hill, Lipstick Jungle, My Own Worst Enemy and other shows. As well, the CW just gave the boot to its entire Sunday night lineup that it contracted out to someone else.

One might think that the networks are going to go the el-cheapo route again and replace these with more junk reality shows and game shows. Well, it seems as if the public has had it with those shows, too. The LA Times is noting that the ratings are way down for Survivor, Dancing With the Stars, Deal or No Deal, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader and other shows. Meanwhile, various scripted shows like Gossip Girl and 30 Rock are up. Well, it's about time. Hopefully, the networks will smarten up and realize that a return to scripted TV is the way to go. I just hope there are advertisers left to bring these shows to your beloved set after the big three automakers go belly-up.

(Guys, get on with it and do a bailout already -- preferably one that will keep these three automakers in business so they won't go down the tubes!!).


I don't have much to say yet about the situation at the Canadian TV networks: CTV has just imposed a hiring freeze and there was a big bloodbath in news departments over at Global, particularly at these E! network affiliates. I heard the stations in Kelowna, Victoria and Hamilton were pretty hard hit, and that the morning news show on Global Ontario was cancelled. I imagine the Americans will follow suit with their own bloodbaths after all the money from the 2008 political ads run out.

In American cable news, E.D. Hill is out over at FOX.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Life remains bad on the Street. Still, I am thinking this ought to be bottoming out soon. When, I don't know.

Meanwhile, there is no Depression in the movie business: ticket sale revenuies are up, even though actual attendance has gone down about 3 percent. I have a column on Twilight and Bolt to write tomorrow, so don't expect me to show up again here until maybe Friday.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


In keeping with the James Bond spoof/ripoff theme of the week, I have decided to dredge up some more spy stuff from the YouTube vault for your edification. Actually, it's more for my own edification because I like this stuff.

We begin with opens for Our Man Flint and In Like Flint, which starred James Coburn.

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderer's Row.

From TV, here's a look at The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

And here's Stefanie Powers in The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

Last but not least, the theme from Get Smart.

You know what? 2008 has turned out to be a really big year for spies in the movies. We had Get Smart and James Bond, both in one year -- and they both came off of a big year for the Bourne franchise in 2007.

Not to mention we also had Chuck on TV, but who cares about him. That's all for now.


Well, Carl Edwards won the race today in Miami-Homestead, but it's Jimmie Johnson who gets the points to clinch a third consecutive Sprint Cup.

And now auto racing season is over. Fortunately, we fans only have to wait until February for the cars to get up and running again.

That is, of course, assuming that there are cars available, since the Big Three are all on the verge of going belly-up. Of course, you also have sponsors bailing out because they have no money to spend. Never mind that NASCAR has legions of fans who watch races on TV every week; sponsors seem to feel that advertising their products is pointless these days, since nobody is buying nothing.

In other auto racing news, it seems all attempts to save the Canadian Grand Prix are officially down the drain as Bernie Ecclestone won't budge on his outrageous demands. So forget that race, then. All in all it looks as if we are in for sad times in auto racing in this part of the world next year.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I dunno what it is about the month of November that is causing network executive fools to swing the axe, but now the word is that ABC is about to boot Pushing Daisies, a show with a cult following among the geek community (who are also big fans of NBC's Heroes).

A move like this could be enough for the geeks to completely swear off TV. Incidentally, Heroes is in trouble in the ratings now and might go the way of Pushing Daisies if nothing turns around soon.

There are also rumors flying that Prison Break could be the next show cancelled by FOX. The notorious trigger-finger network may order up two final episodes for the season to wrap up the storyline, then boot the series off the air. You get the feeling that network television is a mess right now, with all these established shows sinking or getting cancelled?


Speaking of messes: there's big fallout happening right now over the collapse of the prime time lineup at NBC, and getting the blame is not programmer Ben Silverman, but Universal Media Studio President Katherine Pope. She oversaw those two new ratings-losing TV shows Lipstick Jungle and My Own Worst Enemy --- both of which got cancelled this week. She also oversaw Bionic Woman, another "bright idea" which got the can last year. She is now getting carved up in the press for those flops and could walk the plank soon.

You know, it wasn't too long ago that people were saying Pope was headed for big things at NBC while the knives were sharpening for Silverman. Folks like Nikki Finke were reporting all the backstage shenanigans over at that sinking ship NBC, saying how Silverman was going to get fired soon. Yet here it is, November, and Silverman still has a job.

I'll say this for Silverman: at least he kept Law and Order on the air. If he had cancelled that show, I would have definitely been screaming for his scalp.


In more pleasant news, it seems the networks are trying to revive the 60s-style network variety show. I think this is a great move. These shows have been gone from network TV for too long and it would be terrific if there could be some good variety on TV again. Would be a nice change from these reality shows starring these wannabe-actors and other freaks.

I wonder if what the networks have planned will cut it, though: Rosie O'Donnell is getting a variety show, and so is John Mayer, apparently.

I don't know if the variety show genre will come back if this is what they have in mind, but at least these folks in charge are TRYING, for a change.