Saturday, May 31, 2008

SOCCER DAY IN CANADA (MY FOOT)

Irony of ironies, today is Soccer Day in Canada. This is CBC's annual grassroots celebration of soccer, patterned after (what else) their successful Hockey Day in Canada.

They showed an MLS game, Toronto FC versus the LA Galaxy (minus the frequently-absent David Beckham), played at BMO Field in Toronto. FC won 2-0.

And yet even though soccer has become a very popular sport in this country -- especially in Toronto -- the fact is far more people in Canada are interested in that NHL game going tonight.

EVEN THOUGH NEITHER TEAM IS BASED IN CANADA.

But it doesn't matter where the game is, so long as Ron and Don are there, right?



My next "Life in Canada" post will be a hockey one, I promise.

BIG DNC MEETING HAPPENING RIGHT NOW

The Democratic National Committee is having an important meeting right now to determine what the heck to do with the Michigan and Florida delegations and how to seat them at the convention. This all has to do with those unsanctioned primaries that these two states held early. Hillary Clinton wanted them both seated at full strength because, well, she won those early primaries that broke the party rules. Problem is that it's really easy to win a primary when all the other candidates respect the rules and boycott campaigning there.

Hence, this mess. Anyway, here's a liveblog of the meeting. Apparently, deals are being struck among the various camps to figure out what to do with these two states. There's also live streams out there of the meeting including one here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

PREDICTION TIME

I finally made my prediction on what will happen at the box office for those four stylish women from New York.

May I add that I was remiss in my remarks about Kim Cattrall being the only one of the bunch who is sexy: Kristin Davis is cute, too. (The other two, though...)

That's all I'm going to say for now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SEX AND THE CITY COMING

I am struggling to come up with a box-office prediction for my Reject Report column for the latest upcoming weekend chick flick Sex and the City: The Movie.

I keep reading a lot of prognostications from the so-called experts who think it will do something in the $30 million range. Then I read predictions of almost $40 million and I notice Box Office Report is predicting $53 million. And first place. That isn't a guarantee, either, with Indiana Jones 4 still out there.

But the question everyone has, and I know the Huffington Post asked this question earlier, is this: can a pure chick flick like Sex and the City really score at the box office? I mean, let's face it, these other successful movies have a lot of crossover appeal with guys. But Sex and the City has NO appeal among guys. None at all. Liking these four fashionable New Yorkers would be akin to guys admitting they like Oprah, or something. (They aren't sexy either, save for Kim Cattrall. Who would want neurotic loser Carrie Bradshaw as a girlfriend? Mr. Big can have her, as far as most guys are concerned.)

About the only way this movie will manage to get guys to go and see it is if their girlfriends drag them kicking and screaming into the theater. Or maybe guys will take their girlfriends to this flick, in the hope that maybe that will impress the lady friend and he'll score with her by the end of the night. Thin chance? Fat chance? Either way, same thing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

MARISA MILLER IS HOT AS HELL

Just thought I would post an update on the continuing men's magazine wars in North America.

As far as I can tell, here in North America it's just between MAXIM and PLAYBOY -- since FHM and Stuff are out of business and Penthouse and Hustler are absolute downmarket trash. I guess there is also that Aussie import Ralph, but who cares about that.

The folks at MAXIM recently announced its Hot 100 list and sexy supermodel Marisa Miller is Number One! I dunno about the rest of the list, but at least they got the top spot absolutely right.

You can tell which magazines have staffs full of straight males, just based on who they pick as the sexiest female! The guys at MAXIM sure know what to look for in a woman, while these other rags are clearly just guessing (Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johansson, Katherine Heigl, zzzzz ).

In other news, tennis player Ashley Harkleroad is going to be the first pro tennis player ever to pose nude for Playboy. Before you criticize her and ask why the heck Playboy isn't getting someone better like Anna Kournikova, keep this in mind: Kournikova never won a darn thing either.

Here's a question I have for Hef: when is Marisa Miller going to be in Playboy?! She'd really class things up over there. (Can you tell that I like Marisa Miller?) That's the men's magazine wars for now.

YET ANOTHER SILLY NEWS FROM NOWHERE POST

Here we go with more News from Nowhere:

The Cannes Film Festival is over and guess who won.

Also, Norm Wilner was there and so was Variety. Notice that AMC had a blurb about the Jennifer Lynch-directed movie Surveillance that was shot in Saskatchewan. Take that Toronto and Vancouver.

This was the weekend of Indiana Jones at the box office and you can read my box-office rants about it here and here.

Here's a good question: can women and women alone make a hit out of Sex and the City: The Movie?

And Sydney Pollack is dead.

In sports news, Scott Dixon won the Indianapolis 500.

It's not often that North Battleford, Saskatchewan makes the news but some French guy was getting ready to set some sort of record falling out of the sky, and well, he didn't do it.

All Canada is in an uproar because of this Maxime Bernier resignation nonsense.

And somebody named David won American Idol some time ago. And he's celebrating by going out on a date.

That's it for now.

LIFE IN CANADA: MORE BEER ADS

Well, I gave you some Molson ads; now it's time to take down memory lane with the ads for Labatt's. Somehow, I don't think these are as good. Just my two cents. Anyway, that will be it for beer ads; next time I'll try and find some Canadian TV shows to put up as part of my "Life in Canada" posts. Enjoy.







CBC UPFRONT FOR 2008

Well, as you know the Americans have had their network TV upfronts, and now it's Canada's turn. The CBC unveiled its fall schedule and most of it consists of holdovers from the season before, including its successful new shows like The Border and Sophie.

The CBC is crowing about how they had such a great season last year and actually beat Global in the ratings. Well, yeah, but that total includes a lot of senior citizens who still watch the CBC out of habit. Among the 18-49 crowd, Global is still ahead. Still, there's no doubt that last season was a good one for the CBC and a terrible one for Global. Of course CTV creamed everyone, but never mind that.

The reason it was a good season for CBC was because their comedy shows like Rick Mercer and Little Mosque on the Prairie were big hits, their new shows like The Border and Sophie stood out as fresh entertainment compared to the reruns on the other channels-- and of course, there was Hockey Night in Canada. They made an increased commitment to regional programming and went populist in a big way with their prime time stuff. And they're letting shows stick around and develop audiences, they aren't trigger-happy over there. I have to say I'm impressed with what they are doing. They are doing exactly what I said they ought to do a couple of years back, when things were in really dire shape over there.

As for Global, well, the writers strike really decimated that channel, more so than for CTV, which at least had American Idol and Canadian Idol to fall back on. Global relied heavily on NBC's "Must See TV" lineup which went belly-up rather quickly during the strike -- The Office was one of the first shows off the air, and the comedies all disappeared pretty quickly. Global took a big hit when House shut down, but the real killer was the loss of 24, which cancelled its whole freaking season because of the strike. That's basically their two biggest hit shows out the window right there. All the animated shows on Sunday night ( Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.) got the boot, too. Global was basically left with a lineup of reruns, game shows and reality shows like Deal or No Deal, Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, Big Brother and so on. Real junk. No wonder ratings went into the toilet.

They didn't even have any sports to fall back on. 2007-08 was the first season for Global without the NFL, and so all those weekend games that would normally bring in the big ratings were over on CTV. CTV was raking in the ratings for the great Giants-Patriots Super Bowl game, a game that in any other year would have been seen on Global. That's millions of viewers gone right there.

I think that what happened in the ratings was a bit of a fluke and Global should be back up to speed next season with its hit shows back on. Some of CBC's new shows were losing viewers by late in the season, so they may not do so well next year with the lineup they have.

Of course, so many freaking Canadians are complaining about the CBC's whole emphasis on ratings in the first place. People here seem to think the CBC shouldn't be in the business of getting ratings, and that they should just get rid of all the popular programs (including even the hockey games) and just run highbrow stuff that no one will watch. But then people will complain about why they should waste taxpayers' money by funding a service that no one will watch. The CBC just cannot win either way with these people.

I find it interesting that the CBC has to defend itself about scheduling Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune for its early evening lineup. I see no problem with that. They schedule a lot of American shows on the fringes of prime time anyway -- The Simpsons, Arrested Development, Frasier -- which do quite well. Besides, it'll make money for the CBC and save taxpayers from having to shell out more money to bail them out, and people will actually tune in these shows! If you're going to run a TV network, even a public-funded one, it kind of helps if people are actually watching! That's it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

SPOKANE CHIEFS WIN, THEN WRECK, THE MEMORIAL CUP

The presentation of the 2008 Memorial Cup yesterday was a YouTube moment if there ever was one.



Note to Pittsburgh and Detroit: whatever you do, when you win the final series make sure you DON'T DROP THE CUP!!!!

(Apparently the cup they presented yesterday was a replica, not the real thing. To which I am left scratching my head: why didn't they present the real thing???!! I guess they were worried the captain might drop it and wreck it, and for good reason as it turned out.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

GREAT WEEKEND FOR RACE FANS

Just wanted to remind you of the Indianapolis 500 tomorrow. WFNI 1070 Indianapolis has the call, plus they have going repeats of great races of the past which is going on all night tonight. Fun stuff.

Also tomorrow is the Grand Prix of Monaco in -- where else -- Monaco, and also the Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Enjoy Memorial Day, you Americans out there, and enjoy Jim Nabors' singing at the 500. And here is a real blast from the past for you: a Jim Nabors album ad from TV!



Also, don't expect posts here for a couple of days, because I have a busy Monday and will be filing a Film School Rejects column sometime Sunday. I plan to spend the rest of Sunday watching non-stop auto racing on TV as I do every year at this time. ENJOY THE RACES, FOLKS.

LIVE TORNADO COVERAGE

Oklahoma is getting hit by tornadoes right now!! Where's Anderson Cooper?!?!

http://www.kwtv.com/
News 9's stream
KOCO's stream

Friday, May 23, 2008

LIFE IN CANADA 2: BEER ADS: PART ONE

In this edition of Life in Canada we present Beer Ads.

One of the great things about this time of year is that there are a lot of sports on TV, and that means a LOT of ads for Canadian beer. They basically litter the airwaves and are a regular part of life in Canada. But more importantly the ads are really well-done. They're witty and memorable, and make watching commercials between periods something entertaining instead of something you fast-forward through on your digital recorder.

So without any further ado, here's a look at some of the memorable beer ads that have graced the airwaves in Canada over the past few years. First, some Molson ads. Coming soon, Labatt's. Enjoy.













GIVE UP ALREADY, HILLARY

I have not been a fan of the Hillary Clinton campaign for all kinds of reasons -- her full-of-himself husband being a big one.

But the main thing that turns me off is that those folks over there insist on playing politics the old-fashioned way: the scorched-earth way, without any grace whatsoever. At least Barack Obama makes some effort to try and give lip service to his own line of bull about wanting to change the way politics is conducted. Not Hillary.

She won't even bow out gracefully. Instead she's in major spin mode, and if there is one thing I cannot stand in politics, it's politicians who are all about spin and trumpeting lines of bull. Clinton is too busy parroting her "arguments" to sway these insider party hacks, aka the "superdelegates", to ignore the will of the voters who have now sent a majority of elected delegates to the convention pledged to Barack Obama. She's been trumpeting lines of baloney such as how she's the only one able to connect with these rust-belt voters, so she should be the nominee for that reason. Never mind that most everyone else in the rest of the country voted for Obama instead -- these white blue-collar voters are more important!

What nonsense. I think you ought to give the nomination to the person who won the most delegates, pure and simple. Anyway, people are going on and on wondering why the heck Hillary is continuing to go on when it's clear she's finished.

The Huffington Post has been trashing her in the press, calling her to the carpet for her latest supposed justification for staying in the race. In an interview she apparently alluded to Bobby Kennedy's assassination as a rationale for staying in. In effect it sounds like she's staying in, just in case Barack Obama gets bumped off!!

You know, up until now I thought Clinton ran a classless campaign, but this takes the cake. She really doesn't know when to quit, and she isn't helping the Democrats, or indeed herself, by refusing to go out gracefully. She now wants to make a federal case out of seating the Michigan and Florida delegations based on early primaries that broke party rules, primaries that all the other candidates boycotted. But she wants all these delegates seated anyway. You know, if Hillary wants to stay in the race to the end, fine, but don't go saying that the Michigan and Florida results should stand as is when those states broke party rules in moving their delegate selections up in the first place. And she doesn't look the least bit democratic or populistic by calling on party bigshots to hand the nomination to her based on her supposed arguments about who might be a better candidate in the fall.

She doesn't look like someone putting the party first in this whole thing -- she looks like she is out for herself, and maybe for Bubba and Chelsea, too.

Give up, already, Hillary, and take your defeat like a grown-up.

THIS YEAR'S CANNES ALMOST IN THE CANNE

I hope you've enjoyed my coverage of the Cannes Film Festival more than I have, since I am doing this while stuck here at home thousands of miles away. So I haven't had a chance to go live it up over there like the other reporters.

Some more blogs. Jay Stone has a blog for the Ottawa Citizen, and the Calgary Herald has a blog, and that's about it. Also, a movie made in Saskatchewan was screened at Cannes and that always raises eyebrows because "Saskatchewan" and "Cannes" do not go together, do they?!

Also, the movie Che has gotten clobbered over there.

Finally, the sales situation over there.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

THE NEWS FROM NOWHERE IS PRETTY DOWNBEAT

Welcome to another edition of News from Nowhere, where we once again regurgitate all the latest happenings in the world of news for you people who care about that sort of thing.

Last night's primary results had Barack Obama winning in Oregon, while those blue-collar white folks in Kentucky voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. Obama now has won the majority of pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses and now needs to get the superdelegates on side; he seems to be winning that race, too.

Time to think of throwing in the towel, Hillary. To be honest though, this couldn't have happened to a more deserving, er, husband (Bill Clinton). I know there are people screaming sexism about Hillary's impending defeat, but I'll bet there were some people also voting against Bubba and worried about the polarizing effect he and his wife have on a lot of people.

Some more about that Ted Kennedy brain tumour situation -- he's gone home from hospital.

And some more grim news: Jimmy Carter aide Hamilton Jordan has lost his long battle with cancer.

Some news from the world of entertainment. American Idol ends tonight with the announcement of the results from last night's nationwide vote.

And FOX has won the Nielsen ratings race for this strike-ravaged worst TV season in history.

And a reminder that Indiana Jones 4 rolls out tomorrow, and the Indianapolis 500 is on Sunday, and the Coca-Cola 600 is also on Sunday, and life promises to be good for auto racing fans.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

GWYNETH PALTROW ROCKS CANNES

The latest news out of Cannes is that famed movie actress Gwyneth Paltrow was in the movie Two Lovers. Naked.

Actually, in the movie that debuted yesterday Gwyneth showed one of her, uh, ahem, breasts. Quoting Roger Friedman: This is no wardrobe malfunction. It’s on purpose. (To paraphrase a great "Seinfeld" quote: "They're real … and they’re spectacular!")

Way to go Gwyneth Paltrow, you sexy thing.

(Hey, I needed to lighten up the blog after all that other grim news today.)

GRIM NEWS

Just wanted to acknowledge all the bad news going on in the world.

Ted Kennedy has brain cancer.

Myanmar is still a mess after the typhoon, with even more storm warnings issued.

The China earthquake death tolls are still going up.

That's all for now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

MORE CANNES RANTS

Well, this blog continues to do its Cannes Film Festival coverage from a distance because, well, I am not there. One of these days, though, I've got to find a way to cover one of these film festivals-- like, say, that one they hold in Toronto.

I gotta say it's good to see the folks at ET actually interrupt their live, continuing coverage of Dancing With the Stars to cover a film festival, for a change! Here's some of their coverage.

The big news coming from these TV outlets from the festival is that Angelina Jolie has confirmed she is having twins. Well, woo hoo!!! People at the festival are going gaga trying to figure out which film is going to win the Palme d'Or, yet the only thing these television reporters care about is gossip. Oh, they also confirmed from Dustin Hoffman that the due date is August 19.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Jolie was actually at Cannes to promote an actual movie, Kung Fu Panda, the new CGI flick she stars in. Oh, and it was Jack Black who blabbed about how Jolie was pregnant with twins during a live interview promoting the flick on TV, on the Today Show.


As well, they have screened the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at the festival and it actually got a standing O, unlike that terrible Da Vinci Code movie that was booed by the assembled at the theater when it screened there a couple years back. But that doesn't mean these uptight critics all enjoyed it. In fact, a lot of these folks were totally unimpressed. (Roger Ebert, though, liked it. I don't think he's there at Cannes, though.)

The other big news is that Woody Allen was at Cannes rolling out Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It stars Penelope Cruz, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem -- and Scarlett Johansson who, incidentally, didn't show up for the premiere. Apparently she did the diva thing and made a laundry list of demands to the people in charge to fly her out there and pay for her makeup etcetera, so she ended up staying home. Well, fine. One thing I want to see are fewer divas from Hollywood getting their way. Some of these actors and actresses seem arrogant as all heck, although I have a feeling this could be a case of an agent or a flack gone wild.

Also, Joe Queenan says Woody Allen is a bum and that Europe should quit supporting his lousy movies. Read it here.

Finally, get well soon Lainey (she broke her arm, apparently, at the film festival.)

That's all for now -- hopefully this proved to be more informative than most of the junk you get from these TV shows covering the baby beat over at Cannes. Fat chance.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

LIFE IN CANADA

Well, it is a boring long weekend here in frozen Canada and I thought I would update the international audience on life in our country. With the exception of a very popular and photogenic brunette from Port Perry who spent last week fighting off autograph hounds, life is very dull up here.

I guess the SCTV gang had a reunion, too, but who cares about that. All anyone cares about here is the NHL. But the NHL isn't exactly caring too much about Canada right now with these playoff results.

All the Canadian teams were knocked out of the Stanley Cup ages ago, once Montreal was kicked out. Now we are at the point in the season when teams are getting eliminated and the CBC is having to find old movies to run on weeknights to fill the airtime. Last night, the CBC went into the vault and reran the Canada-Russia '72 movie they had made some time ago.

They showed that flick during the Saturday time slot usually reserved for Hockey Night in Canada, but due to NBC's demands, the hockey game was shown in the afternoon instead. This is the type of thing that peeves hockey fans in Canada to no end. They want to see hockey games on Saturdays, not movies about hockey games. For the die-hards, it's like moving Sunday morning religious services to Monday nights or something like that.

Anyway, the real reason afternoon hockey games are no good is because hockey games at least pose a viable evening alternative for TV viewers in this country who don't want to watch the usual junk on TV in prime time. Otherwise people are left with no choice but to tune in CNN to learn more about Ted Kennedy's health. Besides, there's plenty of other sports on TV to watch during the day, anyway, like baseball and basketball. Better to leave the NHL games for the evenings. Then at least there will be sports to watch on TV all day and night!

Now, in further bad news, all the hockey fans are peeved because of what happened in the world championships held in Quebec City. Canada lost 5-4 on home ice to Russia, in overtime, in the final. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the winner, stunning the fans. So much for our great hockey nation. We couldn't win the Stanley Cup, and now we don't even have the World Championship to fall back on.

(But Canada did win the title of Playmate of the Year. I guess 1 out of 3 ain't bad.)

A team from Canada had better win the junior Memorial Cup, then, or all will be lost for all hockey fans up here. Unfortunately, one of the teams involved is the Spokane Chiefs from the USA. So if they win, the Cup will be dangling down in the States.

Topping it all off, the Raptors lost in the NBA playoffs. As a final bit of icing to top that cake, fans saw top play-by-play guy Chuck Swirsky depart for Chicago after the season was over.

So long story short, absolutely nothing is going on up here. You know, I quite like the fact that there are fewer hockey games on and no Raptors to tune into; it gives me a chance to catch up on watching my movies. But it sure isn't the same -- movies just aren't as exciting to watch. It's a welcome change, though: too much hockey can be bad for the blood pressure. It can get pretty tense to watch this stuff.

The Stanley Cup Finals are coming soon and it will be Pittsburgh versus somebody else from the States. Worth watching, just to see what Don Cherry will wear on the air. The bad news is it won't be on every night, so we'll have to find other things to watch the rest of the time.

I plan another Life in Canada post pretty soon where I'll show off some old beer ads that I found lurking on the YouTube vaults. The one thing that is key to know about life in Canada is that we are bombarded with beer ads on TV -- that, and ads for Tim Hortons. By the way, Tim Horton used to be a hockey player. Goes to show that all anyone in Canada cares about is hockey.

TCM RAVES

Wanted to link to an article entitled Five Reasons to love Turner Classic Movies over at the TV Squad site. I thought it was a pretty interesting article which sums up the reaction a lot of people have to TCM. Uncut movies! No commercials! All the classics from the vault! Robert Osborne doing the movie intros!

Plus, they have these special series of movies they run, such as the Oscar-winning ones they show during the month that the Academy Awards are handed out. This month, they are running a bunch of Frank Sinatra movies on Wednesdays and Sundays. Anyway, read the article for yourself, it has a lot of good points about TCM and why so many people like the channel.

I watch the channel pretty constantly and to me it has the same appeal today that A&E used to have back in the Eighties and Nineties. Back then, A&E used to show Biography and lots of documentaries and high-brow stuff, plus all the best cop show reruns including Law & Order. And of course a lot of stuff featuring Bill Kurtis. But then that channel went downmarket in a big way and got rid of all that programming in favor of reality shows and CSI Miami reruns, creating a lot of refugee TV viewers who needed some other place to go. I'll bet a lot of them went over to TCM -- they try to class it up over there. AMC is good, too, but they don't show movies uncut or commercial-free over there, which ticks off plenty of people.

What I find interesting from that article is that it mentioned that for a lot of people TCM is the "deal-breaker" in decisions whether or not to get cable in these big metropolitan areas. No TCM, no cable! Makes sense to me. After I moved recently, I considered whether or not to subscribe to cable again. In the end, the reasons why I finally caved and took cable were because the cable company offered (a) TCM and (b) CNBC. But more importantly they had a deal going on a bundle of channels, so I pretty much had to take it.

Unfortunately I may just ditch cable after that deal expires. I found out one of the rival systems here offers Teletoon Retro, which shows endless Hanna-Barbera and Bugs Bunny classics over and over again. That's what TCM ought to do -- show more cartoons.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CANNES COVERAGE

Some links to some blogs for the 2008 film fest:

Thompson on Hollywood
Cinematical
Hollywood-Elsewhere
Rotten Tomatoes

And of course here is the official site at http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en.html .

More later.

A SURE SIGN YOUR COMMUNITY IS BORING

... is when the only excitement is all about the Playmate of the Year being from your town and coming back home to sign autographs for the fans.

It's the most excitement Port Perry has had in years. You know, when I lived in Toronto presidents and prime ministers and movie stars would show up to sign things, and quite often. So often, in fact, that people got blase about it. As for these centerfolds, they could walk the streets of Toronto if they wanted to and not get mobbed.

Yawn! Anyway, here's a Toronto Star article as this blog continues its live continuing coverage of adorable hottie Jayde Nicole. Hooray for Port Perry.

WIPEOUT! SPEED RACER FLOPS

The first train wreck of the summer movie season-- or should I say car wreck -- is Speed Racer, and you can read about how poorly it did in my article here. In fact, it did even worse than first announced -- the revised estimate put the domestic take at $18.6 million for only a third place finish!!

Ouch.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

HANNAH STORM TO ESPN

So Hannah Storm has finally thrown in the towel on news (after being carried out of CBS on a stretcher from the last-place Early Show) and has returned to sports, going to ESPN. I wonder if any more people who made the bolt to TV news wish they were back doing sports. I'll bet it's a lot of people. I know Bryant Gumbel went back eventually, so it's been done before. And Keith Olbermann still does sports part-time in between his lunatic MSNBC rants.

I sort of ask this question myself because I am kicking myself watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the NBA coverage on ESPN and TNT, and jealous as heck that I am not covering sports for a living on TV or radio. I guess a return to sports is not out of the question for me, either.

Of course, the Cannes Film Festival is starting up, so I'll be mad about not covering that, either. I guess you can catch some of my rants about it here at THE CAIRNS BLOG, in between hockey games. But I'm really feeling a little frustrated because I really liked covering sports, yet there are just no jobs covering sports. There are no jobs for film buffs, either. Basically, life is bad.

NEWS FROM THE TV TRASHPILE: SHARK GETS BOOT, CW GETS SKED, AND FALLON GETS JOB

I have been following the upfronts with total disinterest this year. I don't know why I'm not so interested. Maybe it's got to do with the fact that I watch less TV these days, for a number of reasons -- most of them having to do with that awful writers strike. Maybe it's because the shows on these networks have been less than compelling, especially these new shows. Plus, lots of established shows have gotten renewed this year.

Not so much at CBS, though. Nikki Finke surprised me with news that the James Woods legal drama Shark has been cancelled. I guess ratings have gone head-first into the toilet for that show. CBS also axed Moonlight and apparently the fans are mad. Me, I didn't even watch that show.

Today Finke has posted the schedule for The CW on her website with word that the spinoff series from Beverly Hills 90210, entitled simply 90210, is on the schedule. But of course the WWE is OFF the schedule. And people are still mad that there's even a CW to begin with because of what went down with the departure of UPN and the WB. Plus, the CW cancelled a lot of beloved veteran shows the past couple of years (Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars), so people are mad about that. I gotta say, the CW seems to be relying on reality show junk to get by these days. Whether it's Top Model or the Pussycat Dolls, or Beauty and the Geek, this channel really has too much reality junk. If it wasn't for Gossip Girl no one would care about this network.

And the only big news I have out of NBC is that Jimmy Fallon will take over Conan O'Brien's Late Night host spot after Conan takes over for Jay on The Tonight Show. Rumor is Jay will probably bolt NBC completely. I dunno if Fallon will be a hit. Former Saturday Night Live stars have never done well hosting talk shows in late night, for some reason. Dennis Miller's syndicated show was OK but it was still cancelled, and Chevy Chase's FOX show was one of the worst shows ever made and was pulled after a few weeks. Fallon faces a tough crowd.

By the way, read an article chronicling the ratings woes for Survivor and American Idol. Apparently Survivor's season finale, usually considered the Super Bowl of reality shows, wasn't even in the Top Ten for the week. And the ratings for American Idol continue to dip week after week. That on-air gaffe a few weeks back with Paula blowing it on TV and critiquing two songs in mid-show, before both songs were even finished, was a real head-scratching moment.

I think people are truly fed up not only of the garbage they are getting from these reality shows on TV -- they are also tired of what they are getting from popular culture these days, period. They are sick of Simon and Paula and Randy, and sick of Lindsay and Britney and all the Jessicas, and Heidi and Lauren, and all these other fools on TV. I think people are sick of Miley, too.

Whatever happened to classy TV like what we got in the Seventies or Eighties? There ain't much of it these days. No wonder no one is tuning in, then, with all these fools on TV these days.

Friday, May 09, 2008

UPFRONTS NEWS COMING

Just wanted to let you know that there is plenty of upfront coverage coming to the CAIRNS BLOG next week, although in my case I will be busy doing other journalism work on Monday so I am unlikely to post about the great NBC joke of an upfront.

It's kind of a down year for the upfronts, and for television. The pilot season has been totally scaled back, and the writers strike threw the whole industry into chaos, so much so that show after show is being renewed and given a second chance to make it.

There's also less interest in whether or not your favorite shows are going to be cancelled this year, because, well, so many of them are getting renewed. It just doesn't seem as if any longtime favorites are on the brink this year the way they were last year. Last season saw a few prominent shows get the boot: Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars etcetera. We all had to wait to the very last minute for the jokers at NBC to renew Law & Order, but that show is coming back. All I've heard about bubble-show cancellations so far is that Back to You, that Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton sitcom, is getting the boot.

Plus, a lot of people are simply not into TV this year. There seems to be much more excitement out there about summer movie season, and about seeing your favorite TV show stars on the big screen. Like those gals from Sex and the City. Or Office star Steve Carell in Get Smart.

Anyway, for now you can get the latest breaking upfront scheduling information from Nikki Finke, who as always has the best breaking industry news and has the people at Variety and the Hollywood Reporter all beat.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

OUR BABES ARE STILL BETTER THAN YOUR BABES

Canada's very own Jayde Nicole has been selected 2008 Playmate of the Year!!!!

About time a Canadian won the title. Whatever became of the last Canadian to win Playmate of the Year? Last I heard she's now doing reality shows with her rock-star significant other for A&E. Anyway, whether it's Shannon Tweed, Pam Anderson or whomever it is, it just seems like the coolest Playmates are all from Canada.

Here's a story about Jayde Nicole, from Entertainment Tonight. And one from the Toronto Star.

This ranks right up there with our country's big win in the Miss Universe pageant a couple years back -- our home and native land is definitely home of the BABES. Way to go, Canada!!!... but more important, way to go, Jayde!

THE USUAL INTERESTING STUFF


Some links.

Here is a link to a Mediabistro article on Greg Gutfeld, that host of Red Eye who actually has quite a background in magazines.

Also, here's a USA Today preview of the upfronts.

And here's an article about the pictures that horrified America: comic books! There's a new book out about the 1950s comic-book witchhunts that went on, which comics being banned and people like William M. Gaines being hauled in front of Congress to defend themselves. Boy, America hasn't changed much -there are lots of no-lives-type people there. In the old days, everyone went nuts over comic books; now they go nuts over pictures of Miley Cyrus' back.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Now these ACTORS may go on strike.

Time to go back to reading Nikki Finke, again, folks.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Chuck Swirsky is leaving as voice of the Toronto Raptors. He's going back to Chicago to call Bulls games on radio, instead.

Too bad; he was good.

PEOPLE HAVE GIVEN UP ON TV

Just thought I would add this link to an article that Andy Dehnart wrote for MSNBC about the dismal, dropping television ratings.

It's his contention that the ratings are dropping for reasons above and beyond the one tossed out most frequently: that "the writers strike sent most viewers packing and they never came back". Instead, the blame is being levelled at fewer quality new shows and the rise of other options (ie. the Internet).

You know, he's right! The new shows on TV this fall have generally been garbage. What's been on this year, the Bionic Woman? I think that got cancelled. There was also The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I don't watch that either. I can't remember a fall when there hasn't been a single, memorable new show in my lifetime, ever. But then again, a lot of these shows never had a chance to prove themselves because, well, the writers walked and these shows went off the air.

As well, the amount of reality junk/ game shows/ amateur talent shows on network television these days is through the roof. Everyone is talking about how bad the ratings are for American Idol these days and there is good reason for it, ladies and gentlemen: the public is bored and fed up! People are tired of Paula's loopiness, people are sick of these good singers getting the boot and these bad singers getting to stick around, and on and on.

It's not just that, it's these other shows too like American Gladiators and this other reality crap we've gotten in droves, stuff like Big Brother and The Moment of Truth, and Don't Forget the Lyrics and the rest of it. Everyone is tired of watching crap on television and it's getting to the point where people are simply giving up on television altogether and moving on to other options.

I notice that a lot of folks, young people especially, have moved away from watching conventional television and are turning to DVDs in droves. Let's face it, there's more stuff for younger audiences in the DVD market than on television these days, what with all the superhero and sci-fi movie stuff being released. As for their favorite shows, people would rather just buy DVDs of various series and watch them one after another, commercial free. Beats waiting for your favorite show to come on.

(Of course, fans of the show The Simpsons don't have that problem because that show can be found seemingly at all hours of the day. But I digress.)

Then there's downloaded TV off the Internet, which poses an additional problem for conventional television because so many old favorites can only be found these days online, not on television.

For example, can anyone watch reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show on conventional television anymore?! Of course not. But fortunately, reruns of Rob, Laura and the rest live on forever on YouTube, as you can see here.

People will say this is a great thing, but personally, I think this sucks that we have to resort to the Internet to watch these classic shows again! People ought to be able to have an outlet to view these old classic TV shows on TV, not online!! There ought to be some channel devoted to TV shows similar to what Turner Classic Movies does for film, but there isn't -- not even TV Land.

Anyway, I think there are a lot of reasons why fewer people watch TV and this is all because the experience of watching conventional television BLOWS for a lot of people. And, yes, it's not just the writers strike that is the reason for the decline. It's because we simply aren't being offered a lot of good TV right now from these networks. It's too bad.

HILLARY ON THE ROPES

Well, the results are in from the Indiana and North Carolina primaries and while technically it is a split between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the truth is that it was a big night for Obama and a terrible one for Hillary. In North Carolina, Obama crushed Clinton by 14 points, and in Indiana, Clinton's win was so narrow that it did nothing for her hopes of coming back in the delegate count. In fact Clinton lost ground on the night.

Now even Tim Russert is saying the math doesn't add up and that it's over.



People are now calling on Hillary to get out of the race and spare the party a convention fight. Quite frankly, Hillary's scorched-earth approach of the last few weeks has done nothing for the party and is making the Dems look like duck soup in the fall against McCain. She's been coming up with some inventive reasons to give her the nomination, such as the fact that she's been able to win certain big states that Obama didn't win. She forgets to mention all the other states she lost in, all of which count, too.

And what about all the criticisms of Obama's inability to supposedly close out the race? Instead of asking Obama why the race isn't over yet, people ought to be asking Hillary why the race is still going on.

Especially after last night.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

TV GUIDE'S WOES

While I watch the Habs try and come back on TV, I thought I'd say these are sad times for one of the all-time iconic publications TV Guide.

Read over at Nikki Finke's website that there were big layoffs over there and that the publication may not be around much longer. Of course, the Canadian edition went out of business some time ago and you can only read TV Guide on the Internet.

This is clearly a case of a publication unable to keep up with the times, in my humble estimation. TV Guide was useful back in the days when you could get all your television by antenna, but once cable came in, TV Guide became really hard to navigate. They had to start doing "program grids" to keep up with the times and make their program listings easier to follow. But the whole 500-channel universe shot the program listings to all heck. That's why that publication got in trouble.

Now, all publications have abandoned "listings" and have gone to providing program grids. And if you want to see a program grid, well, why bother with TV Guide? You're just better off reading a grid off the Internet or on one of those TV listings channels on your cable TV or off your digital or satellite system.

It's sad. TV Guide is such an iconic publication and it's really sad to see it in the state it's in, but what can you do. I think once TV Guide dies it will be the end of an era. It would be like the death of television as a medium.

Speaking of the death of television -- have you seen all these ads on these American television channels lately, urging people to get new digital converters because all the analog sets are going to be no good come February of 2009? Now, that truly is going to be the end of television as we all knew it.

A LAZY HAZY SATURDAY NIGHT

Just enjoying a lazy night watching Hockey Night in Canada. It sure looks like Canada might not be around in the Stanley Cup playoffs much longer-- that is, unless the Habs come back.

I have a question. If Montreal comes back to win tonight's playoff game with the Flyers (they currently trail 4-3), will fans in Montreal have another riot? The way they did in round one when they beat the Bruins? What a waste of time. People, it's only the first round! A first-round win is great, but it isn't worth rioting over. If you're going to have a riot, have it when your team wins a title! Then at least you have a reason! But rioting over early-round playoff games is just plain stupid.

That's it!!!

IRON MAN

A couple of articles of mine to link to: first, the weekend of Iron Man.

And also the Reject Report Summer Blockbuster preview. Enjoy.