Sunday, May 31, 2009


I really ought to do a "US TV is a Mess" post in addition to my Canadian rant, because it sure seems as if American TV is taking a real turn for the worse with some of the lousy shows on it -- like I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, which rolls out on NBC tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have to search the Internet to find any of my favorite shows -- you know, the ones that I used to see regularly on television when these stations used to show them. The only reason I am watching so much TV on the Internet is because these shows can only be found online and not on TV where they belong -- not even during graveyard shift reruns. I gotta say, most people would rather watch their TV on TV. People keep on ranting how everyone will soon be watching all their TV shows on a computer, and that's a load of bull. There was a survey of young people and they revealed that they still prefer to watch their TV shows on -- surprise, surprise -- television. So it would be nice if television would show us some television that we can actually watch! On television!

Me, I went back online to dig out some old episodes of The Flintstones, a show that used to run on my local CTV station faithfully every day at 12 noon for something like 25 years. It wasn't beamed in from the network, either -- it was one of these things the local station bought on their own and showed, in between the local morning talk show and the 12:30 news/farm report. If this was the kind of stuff CTV was talking about with their "save local TV" campaign -- saving local reruns of The Flintstones -- I'd probably be more sympathetic.

Unfortunately, The Flintstones are long gone from the schedule at what is now "CTV Saskatoon". My only regret is that I never bothered to tape a single episode of The Flintstones from my local TV station the whole time they ran the show, so I don't have any historical video record of what it was like with all the commercials and so on. They used to run lots of ads for McDonald's and things like that -- movie ads for Star Wars, if I recall. I guess I assumed they would show The Flintstones forever.

Fortunately, we do have a historical record of what it was like to watch The Flintstones when they ran in prime time on ABC! Here's a clip I found of what it would have been like to watch The Flintstones on ABC back in the Sixties. Now, that was TV.

Heck, I'm just in a Sixties mood tonight.


I've been renovating the side of the blogroll again to add a few things.

First of all, I have added Richard Roeper's site because, well, I found out the other day he has a website now, so you can continue to follow him there while waiting for him to get a TV critic show back on TV. Really, the current lineup of critic shows - the two Bens, Jeffrey and Alison, and that Rotten Tomatoes effort on Current TV-- really aren't up to very much.

Also, I have added a section devoted to spy movies, since I like that genre and like to follow these websites. These sites seem to have a lot of cool stuff about the spy genre in movies and on TV -- with excessive amounts of Man from U.N.C.L.E. stuff, lots of tributes to Peter Wyngarde (of Jason King fame) and other cool features. I also added some blogs like Cinebeats and also some girl-obsessed ones like Sugar and Spice, which has a lot of retro pictures of dashing Sixties women on them.

I gotta say, the one thing I like about these websites is that they're run by people who are definitely familiar with the names "Marisa Mell," "Edwige Fenech" and "Sylva Koscina". Now, I gotta say -- those were women. If you're a movie fan and you still need me to explain to you who Sylva Koscina was, well, you definitely need to bone up on some coolness lessons.

Big hint -- she's deadlier than the male.
(I'll bet you never thought you'd see Sylva Koscina mentioned on this blog. Come to think of it, I must be the only person in the whole vicinity of where I live who knows who she is. I'm definitely a freak.)


Guess who finished on top of the box office this weekend.

That's right --- PIXAR again. Why am I not surprised?

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I actually tuned in to the feed of Britain's Got Talent on the Internet and I was actually quite surprised that Susan Boyle lost in the end, because I thought she had it in the bag just because of the sheer publicity. But the Diversity dance group that won the whole thing was really impressive in the final competition.

So much for showbiz. Back to life in Scotland for her, I guess.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Well, seventeen years of utter mediocrity in late night television is all coming to an end tonight as the latest Late Shift happens. Jay Leno is leaving the Tonight Show and tonight is his farewell show before he moves to a five-nights-a-week prime time show.

And with the exception of Hugh Grant's interview and that Angie Harmon marriage proposal, and Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing his run for governor, there really isn't much to say about the show. In fact, you could argue that Jay has been coasting on his guests for the past 17 years. Them, and the Dancing Itos.

Also, I remember when Johnny Carson left the Tonight Show, and Jay's departure has been nothing like that. Carson's departure was like national mourning. But Jay's whole final week has been sort of dull, and the fact that he's moving on to prime time may have something to do with that.

Meanwhile, next week Conan O'Brien takes over the Tonight Show and based on what the folks at Ain't It Cool News have to say, we can expect the exact same idiocy we got from Conan when he was on at 12:35. I say that is very good news, indeed.

Besides, anything's better than Jay -- except maybe for Jimmy Fallon and Carson Daly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I have nothing to say about the recent box office showdown which Terminator Salvation lost to Night at the Museum 2. Instead, I want to talk about the sorry state of TV in Canada.

Suffice it to say that TV delivery in Canada is all about politics and bureaucracy. It's interest groups run amuck. You have heavy-handed regulators picking which channels go on the air and which American signals get blocked out, and you have all these various "friends of Canadian TV" screaming that there should be more funds for Canadian productions and for the CBC, and they scream for more regulations to force the networks to show more made-in-Canada TV shows. You get the idea.

Well, as you know the CTV network has gotten into the act lately with their "save local TV" campaign. This is the usual politicking we have come to expect from the TV networks in this country. CTV is lobbying the CRTC to force cable companies to pay 50 cents on the dollar for carrying CTV's local signals. If CTV doesn't get this cash, they say, local TV will be threatened and all your favorite local stations and local newscasts will get the boot.

They are cloaking this campaign with this feel-good message about how we don't want to lose local TV, so they are rolling out all these politicians like Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, who are all willing to go on record to say how terrible it would be to lose local stations and all the good things they do for the community and so on. And they had this big national open house at all the CTV stations, pushing this party line of how terrible it would be to lose local TV forever.

But who, exactly, is it that is threatening the future of local TV? The government? The Americans? No, in fact the ones threatening local TV's future are CTV themselves. They are basically threatening to kill local programming and even entire stations right across Canada if they don't extract the cash they want from the cable companies for their free-to-air signals. It's CTV who have been threatening to close the A-Channels in Windsor and Wingham -- the ones that were saved at the last minute when Shaw bought them out for a measly one dollar.

This "feel-good" campaign to save local TV is basically a campaign to save your local TV station from chop-happy CTV accountants. That's what this is really about, in my opinion.

The folks at the cable companies are calling BS to this whole "save local TV" campaign, saying that what CTV is proposing is basically a tax. They're right!

Bloggers like this guy at the Legion of Decency are also calling BS to the whole thing. Then you have folks like Denis McGrath who say it's too late -- the patient is dead already, all because these networks insisted on wasting money buying up stations and consolidating.

Personally, I'm not at all happy with what CTV is doing. They're basically saying they want to abandon investment in any sort of local TV commitment unless they get their beloved loot! Threatening to wipe out local TV across the country if you don't get 50 cents on the dollar for carriage fees for over the air signals that have been free for the masses since the beginning of time just reeks of an abandonment of any sort of commitment to public service or the public good.

If CTV gets their way, fine -- but everyone will have to cancel cable TV. And since CTV owns what seems like half the cable channels in this country, I'm sure that's not something they'll like too much, either. These TV companies think the cable customers are a bottomless pit of money. We aren't!

CTV is far better off investing in their own product, for a CHANGE, instead of these crappy American shows. They're better of trying to come up with the next Corner Gas or something else that they can sell into global syndication, because that's what will ultimately make CTV money. If they do that, they'll get rich and can show all the local TV they want.

I know, too hard to do. Here's another idea -- why not simply fire eTalk's Ben Mulroney and distribute the money from his fat salary to local TV? Really, no one in Canada would miss him.

Hardy har har. Big joke from me.

In related news, Canada's TV networks were once again shopping for new fall programming in, you guessed it, the States.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Well, I haven't posted much about the Cannes Film Festival here so far. I guess I should, at least before the whole thing wraps up.

I guess the new Quentin Tarantino flick Inglourious Basterds rolled out the other day, and the reaction at Cannes was really divided, with some calling it brilliant while others called it a total piece of junk.

Anyway I don't have too much news on the festival. You can follow some of the happenings at the AMC News blog. You might as well -- James Rocchi is writing for it. I guess Variety and the Hollywood Reporter are there, too, along with all the usual people.

I'd write some more, but I'm too tired tonight. You can read my thoughts on how Terminator Salvation will do in my box office column -- assuming you care.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Well, I can't let the big story of this upfronts week slip by. "Kimmel trashes his own network."

Actually, I don't see what the fuss is about. Everyone knows the ABC lineup is crap; everyone knows that 90 percent of these fall shows usually are cancelled. Who's kidding who, here? Jimmy Kimmel is only speaking the truth.

Actually, I'm glad Kimmel, a "man's man", is speaking up. ABC is notorious for serving up the most female-skewed lineup of shows ever, with nothing for guys to watch. There isn't even a whole lot for girls to watch, either, beyond the medical shows. For guys, once LOST finally kicks the bucket there will literally be nothing left. If any network deserves a dig from anyone, it's ABC.

So no wonder Kimmel went nuts and said what he said. Instead of people threatening to fire him over his funny remarks, he should be commended! Heck, whenever Jon Stewart says something bad about TV, he gets commended for it and the shows he criticizes get yanked off the air (Crossfire)!

Kimmel deserves at least the same respect. But then again, Stewart went after shows on other networks -- not his own one. Smart man.


Oh, and Kris won Idol tonight, but I didn't watch the show all season, and the ratings for the final performances apparently were a record low. I get the feeling people are really starting to get tired of American Idol. You wonder if one of these days we'll wake up on this side of the world to an American version of The X Factor on TV instead?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I have totally given up on the Bachelor and Bachelorette shows for producing any sort of romance or any redeeming social values, either. This humiliating show has just lurched from one new low to another, with people getting dumped and two-timed to no end.

The only thing this show is successful at is producing reality TV stars. The two-timed Melissa has gone on to a good reality TV career on Dancing With the Stars. Now the famous Jillian Harris, dumped by the very same clod who dumped Melissa on The Bachelor, is now the Bachelorette and her first show was last night.

As that link notes, they did quite a successful job "babing" Jillian up and making her look like the most exciting woman ever to guys on the first show -- showing her in bikinis and so on, and driving around in cars with her hair getting blown around. Uh, yeah, I'd date a woman like that.

Unfortunately, I'm not dating a woman like that. Instead of dating me, Jillian was running around with 25 idiots on last night's show.

Wait -- check that; make it 30 idiots, because the producers threw five additional dudes in at the last minute to shake things up and get the others jealous and angry. It never fails.

Of course Jillian is going in thinking she'll find the man of her dreams. "I am going to have my fairy tale ending!" she said.

I kind of quit watching this first show, though, after the first thirty minutes. My problem with the Bachelorette show is still the usual one that has applied throughout this wretched series: These boring guys in their spiffy suits are all...all...

Well, what the heck else am I supposed to call them? Real guys?! In those GQ-style monkey suits?! Like freaking hell!!! If there are any real guys in that group I'm willing to bet Jillian sends them packing empty-handed. It never fails with this series.

If you're a real guy who is into "real guy" types of things, one look at a show like this one will depress the hell out of you. How are you supposed to measure up to this group of guys on the show? If these are the kind of suitors women really want, some of us guys might as well totally forget about ever getting married.

Call me cynical, but as much as I want to believe in finding true love and all that, this Bachelorette TV show version of it just ain't working for me.


Welcome to day two of THE CAIRNS BLOG's coverage of the TV upfronts. Or, should I more accurately put it, day two of Michael Ausiello's coverage, because that's essentially what it is.

Ausiello reports that Without A Trace has been cancelled. So has Privileged. Also, CBS kills The Unit, and NBC has given the final boot to My Name is Earl. (Noooooooo!!!!)

Other shows getting the boot include According to Jim (finally, thank God), Reaper, The Game, Everybody Hates Chris and Eleventh Hour. ABC is in hot water for moving Ugly Betty to that television Siberia that is Friday nights. Medium is also switching networks from NBC to CBS.

That's all for now. More soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Well, this is the big week of the TV network "upfronts" in the United States, where we learn about what shows get picked up and which ones get the boot.

Seems all the hoping and praying paid off for Chuck fans, because that show got picked up for 13 more this fall on NBC. Also, the folks at FOX have set their schedule, and brought back Dollhouse in spite of really bad ratings, and terminated Sarah Connor Chronicles. As well, CBS has brought back another bubble show, Cold Case (which probably spells the end for Without a Trace). Meanwhile, in a surprising move Samantha Who? got booted over at ABC.

Apparently ABC has plans to announce its new lineup tomorrow and they include another show with that old fossil Kelsey Grammer, and another one with that old fossil Patricia Heaton. And people actually wonder why young people aren't bothering with television anymore?! This is why!

By the way, thank you very much Entertainment Tonight for not giving us any news about the big renewals on your show. The only upfronts news they bothered to report was about that Samantha Who? cancellation. No news about Chuck, nothing. Instead, they concentrated on that NBC Farrah Fawcett cancer freak show/documentary from Friday night that brought in 9 million viewers, and tonight's latest Dancing With the Stars show on ABC.

Believe you me, if it were not for the CAIRNS BLOG you wouldn't know what was happening to your favorite shows. Certainly ET won't tell you! They're too busy covering junk! Who needs them. I suppose what I am really saying is that I gave up on ET a long time ago.

If you really want to find out what's going on in TV land, you're better off looking at Michael Ausiello's Twitter posts than watching "entertainment news" shows on TV.

I promise to find time to rant and rave some more about TV this week, and maybe I'll post my thoughts on the other season finales airing this week (24, Survivor, etcetera). I should also provide some more coverage about the Cannes Film Festival, but not tonight. I still need to rest up my feet so I can be raring to go again tomorrow. Besides, the season finale of How I Met Your Mother is on, so I'm tuning in to that.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It's a long holiday weekend here in Canada. I'm taking a well-deserved break from writing, reporting and any activity whatsoever right now. Basically my joints are hurting from all the typing and other activity I've been doing over the past few weeks, so I really do need to have a rest.

So, enjoy this look at the box office for Angels and Demons and hopefully I'll talk to you tomorrow. It's the start of upfronts week and I have a few choice words to say about the state of the TV industry right now.

Friday, May 15, 2009


You know the sure sign you are a geek about politics?

When you are tuning in to Indian election coverage as they count the votes and figure out who will form the next government. Hey, this beats watching that Farrah Fawcett cancer doc on TV.

NDTV has a live stream going on. Also, you can read The Times of India for their coverage and also at CNN-IBN. And that's it for right now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Well, the hockey game is over and now I can concentrate full time on ranting about the movies.

Saw a post in the Huffington Post by Dennis Palumbo bemoaning the summer movie season, which is usually littered with popcorn movies aimed at urban teens and other sub-literate juveniles -- stuff like Wolverine and Transformers 2 (see right). At least, that is his opinion. He says that literate adults aren't showing up for movies and that they should start showing up, otherwise we may not see movies made that are aimed at the literate half of society.

He's right! Seems to me that movies in the Sixties and Seventies seemed aimed at a more adult sensibility. A lot of these movies rolling out in the summer just seem aimed at people who can't get a grip over the fact that their adolescence is over. There's just not enough spy movies or flicks with women in bikinis in them for my taste.

We'll see what happens later this week with Angels and Demons, that Ron Howard flick starring Tom Hanks that is the big sequel to the big monster hit Da Vinci Code. It's going to have a more adult audience than most of these flicks that are being churned out this summer, but whether it will have a big audience remains to be seen. I heard that the online sales this week are still lower than Star Trek! Now, that is sad.

I gotta remind myself to write a box office column tomorrow and try and come up with some sort of prediction for how Angels and Demons might do. I thought initially it would do well, but now I dunno. It seems to me most adults want nothing to do with the movies, especially since this isn't Oscar season.

Generally, it may well be that we have entered a new Dark Ages as far as cinema for adults is concerned. And yeah, I agree with Palumbo that it wouldn't kill us if some more adults put their money where their mouth is and went to see quality movies like Michael Clayton or Zodiac or something like that. Otherwise, don't count on seeing any movies getting made for adult audiences.

In other news, the Cannes Film Festival finally opened this week and the normally money-filled event is really stripped-down of all glamour this year, which is probably a good thing when you think about it. The Vanity Fair party was cancelled and yacht rentals are down, so are advance bookings, and so on. Life is generally bad -- but not all bad.

Seems the big deal at the festival so far is 3-D, as the Pixar flick Up! opened the festival. Also comes word the famous sexy Seventies classic Emmanuelle could get a reboot, in 3-D to boot!

Anyway, we'll see whether or not there are any big deals going down at this festival, which is more about buying and selling than anything else. Plus they give out a Palme d'Or, which is nice, I guess, but really, it's mainly about the deals. And of course the big question is whether there will be any deals this year at all, in this terrible market. Here's a link to the Cannes Film Festival website. That is it for right now.


Welcome to another edition of 'Why is This Man Smiling?' Today, we dissect Donald Trump's decision to throw his backing behind the embattled Carrie Prejean, the Anti-Gay-Marriage Miss California, in spite of the fact that she has been a train wreck lately -- still opening not only her big fat mouth, but her blouse, too.

Among other things, Miss California has been accused of apparently violating her Miss California pageant contract by going around spouting off on gay marriage for public service advertisements. As well, she has gotten into hot water for some topless poses from her pre-pageant days that have made their way onto the Internet. The problem isn't so much that she was photographed topless. No, the problem is she didn't tell the pageant about it beforehand. So Miss California wound up in a heap of trouble...

That is, until the other day, when the Donald politely bailed her out and said she can keep her title. And now the s#!t has hit the fan as a fed-up Shanna Moakler, former Miss USA, who is pro-gay marriage and sick of Carrie Prejean's antics, has quit as director of the Miss California Pageant in disgust.

I suspect Moakler was really more disgusted with Prejean's contractual violations than with these stupid topless photos. After all, Moakler has been photographed topless herself.

Anyway, this is all pretty freaking stupid. Shouldn't it be Moakler who is staying -- and shouldn't it be Prejean who is the one leaving?

Anyway, Carrie Prejean remains Miss California in spite of herself, and you know what this all means, of course: if the reigning Miss USA from North Carolina wins the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, Prejean takes over as Miss USA. I'll tell you this, this is one year in particular when I will be cheering for Miss USA to win the Miss Universe pageant. If that Carolina girl wins it, and Carrie takes over as Miss USA, boy, you can bet all heck will break loose and that is a sight I definitely want to see.

Monday, May 11, 2009


All together now -- "what the heck?????"

Why is this man smiling? If I were the employer of a maniac like Joan Rivers that smile would be wiped off my face in a minute. (Although her comparison of rival Annie Duke to Adolf Hitler was kind of funny.)


Just tuning in to the NHL playoffs tonight (before I go to cover city council), watching the Pens and Caps go at it. But no one up here in frozen Canada really cares about what is going on with the American teams, really (though a few are certainly interested in the Pens - Caps series which, I should point out, will be over soon).

I'm just hoping the Chicago Blackhawks do us all a public service later tonight and put the Vancouver Canucks out of their misery, so that we can all concentrate full time on the NBA instead of be distracted by these hockey players.

As many NBA fans know, former legendary Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly died on the weekend. It's a big deal for me because we used to get our American signals via satellite from the Detroit stations, which meant we saw a lot of coverage of the Pistons on TV during their heyday in the late Eighties, with the "Bad Boys" like Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman and so on. Here's a piece that ran about him in the Washington Post, which saluted Daly for helming the famous 1992 Dream Team. Talk about a dream assignment.

And that's all for now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009


You are probably wondering what I think of the box office of the new Star Trek movie.

Come to think of it, you are probably more interested in what I think of some hot political issue or something else. Anyway, what the heck,
here was my prediction, and we'll find out the final numbers tomorrow.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


I have very little to say right now about the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes, but suffice it to say I think the problems began when they named the franchise after this born loser (right) instead of that bird he chases all the time:

And as an aside -- why do folks in southern Ontario even want this team to relocate there? The Coyotes are the worst-run franchise in the history of sports -- going back to their losing days as the Winnipeg Jets. That franchise hasn't won a single division title in their whole history in the NHL and their best playoff was a trip to the second round!

These guys make the Toronto Maple Leafs look good in comparison. The only thing the Coyotes have got going for them is the fact that Wayne Gretzky is with the club, but that's it.

If southern Ontario sports fans wants to throw their money away to support this group of losers, fine, but don't expect to see good hockey.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Well, the big story today in the world of TV is the fact that NBC announced a bunch of renewals and at least one cancellation (Life) at their so-called "infront" (as opposed to an "upfront"). But the fans are all tied up in knots over Chuck, and there is no word yet on Chuck.

Here's what Ausiello had to say about what happened today.

So much for Nikki Finke's big scoop from the other day that the folks at NBC would announce that Chuck and Law and Order were definitely going to be renewed. She was clearly just guessing. Personally, I really don't have a strong opinion on Chuck, but I will be mad as heck if Law and Order gets cancelled.

My two cents.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Noooo oooooo ooooooo ooooooo!!!!! They fired the eye candy of the show!!!!

I can't help it -- I like pretty girls. Brande was definitely robbed.

(And how could Joan Rivers survive to the finals against Annie Duke after walking out/supposedly quitting last week? Talk about the biggest resurrection in Apprentice show history.)


It's $87 million smackeroos for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, piracy or no piracy. Summer movie season is off to a good start.

(i know, it's not summer, but it is the "summer movie season." Go figure it out for yourselves.)

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Yes, indeed, it's the long-awaited coverage of the 2009 Liberal leadership convention here at the CAIRNS BLOG.

But, uh, ahem, I'm sorry to inform you the big convention in Vancouver is already over.

Michael Ignatieff gave his big speech earlier today, and of course I was nowhere near a computer to liveblog about it or rant and rave. Instead, I spent a very heavy day covering the news including a big local infrastucture announcement on a multipurpose facility. So it was a big news day where I was, but I am sort of tired and zonked out, and of course I missed the whole freaking convention.

In fact, I don't think anyone bothered to watch this convention on TV because this thing was such a big coronation for Ignatieff, who was the only leadership candidate. I wonder if anyone knew it was even on. More people cared about the hockey game, I am sure.

Apparently not much of interest happened, but I gather that the Liberals in Vancouver sort of left room to return to the green shift carbon tax that lost them the last election, and they also decided to get rid of delegated leadership conventions like the exciting one that took place in 2006. That one, of course, elected Stephane Dion in four ballots, and of course we all know how big a success his leadership turned out to be. So no wonder they are getting rid of delegated conventions, because it's obvious the delegates can't be trusted to make a good decision.

Of course, Jean Chretien was busy blaming the Tories for a big deficit in his speech last night, but considering that the Liberals propped the last Conservative budget up and had threatened to topple them from power if they didn't partake in some wild stimulus spending last fall, I think those comments were a wee bit outrageous. These Liberals are every bit as at fault for this deficit as the Conservatives are because of their votes and their antics in Parliament, and since they're part-way responsible for it they should quit grouching about it.

There's nothing more to rant about. To say this was the most boring leadership convention in the history of Canada would be an understatement, to say the least.