Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TV RATINGS FOR FIRST WEEK OF 2009-10 SEASON

Well, the ratings are in for the first-week-and-change of the new TV season and the big winner seems to be a new show on CBS called NCIS: Los Angeles. Oh, and a telenovela on Univision is beating Jay Leno 3 out of 5 nights. Obviously Leno's big problem is he can't speak Spanish -- otherwise he'd do better.
The roadkill, though, is also piling up. Check out the Monday night ratings which show bad numbers for new shows Trauma and Lie to me. And HEROES is going down the tubes fast. That's what you get when you go up against the NFL Monday Night Football on ESPN.

And nobody is watching the CW at all, based on the first week's ratings. Why the heck does the CW even stay in business based on numbers like what they are drawing? They are getting ratings in the 1-to-2 rating range and running dead last in every time slot. Those poor folks over there at the CW might as well just give up.

Personally, I'm much more interested in the cable shows these days -- though my big problem is that I have no access to most of them on my own cable system. They seem to show my kind of stuff -.like Entourage. The season finale is this weekend and it promises to be a big one, with Ari trying to take over his old agency. The bad news is Entourage is ending for another year, but the good news is Animation Domination is back on FOX. Here's the ratings for its first night back, with ratings for The Cleveland Show through the roof.

Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks! (Direct quote from The Drew Carey Show.) And that's all for now.

THE BANKRUPT PHOENIX COYOTES REMAIN THE BANKRUPT PHOENIX COYOTES

Here's a link to the judgment written by the bankruptcy judge. All in all I gotta say, this is still a gong show.

I will say this, though: I'm glad that awful Jim Balsillie didn't get the team. Hamilton hockey fans may deserve an NHL team, but they don't deserve HIM. His tactic of swooping in and trying to buy distressed teams and relocate them to other cities strikes me as the "vulture" way to go, and I don't like it one bit. Among other things, that tactic hoses the devoted hockey fans in the cities of the teams he has targeted (including Pittsburgh and Nashville). And don't give me this nonsense that he'd be a great NHL owner -- he hasn't followed the rules or protocol one bit. No wonder he lost -- and if Hamilton ever wants to be in the NHL they should forget him.

I can't believe how big a story this got to be in Canada -- it was clear weeks ago that Balsillie wasn't going to get the team and that he had an uphill legal climb, yet the media folks in Canada acted like he still had an even shot.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CONAN O'BRIEN KNOCKS HIMSELF OUT

Conan O'Brien returned to the Tonight Show on Monday after almost killing himself Friday in that freak accident he suffered on the set of his show. As it turned out the stunt sequence involved Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher. The accident and Conan's concussion resulted in so much publicity that Conan now plans to make a habit of it. He says now that he'll have Eva Longoria-Parker on the show to push him down an elevator shaft.

Here's the video -- and that is all for now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

POLITICAL SITUATION IS STILL UNSTABLE NORTH OF THE BORDER

I just thought I would update our international viewers on the political situation here in frozen Canada as it stands now.

When we last left off, the NDP were contemplating propping up the Conservative government. Well, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois ended up throwing the government a lifeline voting with the Tories to keep them afloat on a couple of bills. The NDP supported the unemployment insurance measure while the Bloc voted for the home renovation tax credit. So the government stayed afloat in spite of the fact that the Liberals were calling for Stephen Harper's scalp all this time. But the NDP and the Bloc are still not that enamoured with the government, either, and are taking it one vote at a time.

Then Parliament was off for a week last week, but now the MPs are back in Ottawa. And we are bound to have fun this week because Stephen Harper's government is going to give its economic update, and this is a sure fire no-win political dynamite type of situation, because none of the opposition parties like to support any of these things and they like to bash the government's performance on the economy all the time. The Liberals are bound to make some sort of motion of non-confidence, and the only issue is whether the other opposition parties will vote with them.

Now, I know there was sabre-rattling before, but I never really believed that the Conservatives were going to fall over EI reforms or over the home renovation tax credit. But they might fall on an economic update or something like that, because that's what caused that big brouhaha last year -- finance minister Jim Flaherty's claims that the government could avoid a deficit.

I still dunno if the government is going to fall this week -- there are still people in the opposition too chicken to have an election -- but I gotta say, these guys in government are walking a tightrope. You get the feeling that the day is coming when all three parties in the opposition are finally going to get up their courage and vote no-confidence. The question is when.

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

In other political news the Germans had their election today and Angela Merkel ended up victorious.

JAMES BOND COULD LEAVE MGM

Well, this is sad if it happens, but the James Bond franchise could be leaving MGM. Apparently MGM is in such bad shape financially that it could lose a lot of properties and the Bond series could be one of the key ones that goes. Speculation is that it could be Sony that winds up with 007.

How bad is it when your studio has a big money cow in 007, yet you still can't make a go of it? That is when you know that the recession is REALLY bad -- although more people are saying (whooppee!!) that the recession is now over. Uh, right.

MISCHA BARTON GETS CANCELLED

Well, it's about this time of year when I think of doing my "First TV Show Cancelled" predictions, and, well, I obviously left it too late this year because the CW cancelled The Beautiful Life, starring Mischa Barton. It lasted only two freaking episodes!!!! So it wins the title of First Show Cancelled! Man, that stinks. It must really suck to work on that show -- it's two episodes and suddenly it's over?! And it's too early to find a job on A MIDSEASON REPLACEMENT, because it isn't even midseason yet!

In other news Animation Domination debuts tonight over on FOX, and Conan O'Brien hit his head during a taping of The Tonight Show and suffered a concussion. But don't worry, he'll be back Monday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FAME! IS BACK AGAIN

Why the heck is it that 2009 has seen so many revivals of Eighties movies? Whether it's Friday the 13th or Halloween II, or My Bloody Valentine, it's been one revival after another. The latest one is Fame, and it's one of the movies I make box office predictions for this week at the Reject Report.

DAVID MILLER'S MAYORSHIP GOES RIGHT INTO THE TRASH CAN

Enough about Saskatchewan. Back to talking about Toronto.

I still follow municipal politics fairly closely in that city because of all the municipal politicians I met there, not to mention my own volunteer involvement in municipal politics there during the local election campaigns. Well, today was a big day for politics in Toronto. Mayor David Miller today made the best, wisest decision today in his entire two terms as mayor.

His decision? Why, of course -- he decided not to run for re-election!!
(To quote Fozzie Bear: wocka wocka wocka!)

Way to go. Miller did more for the city of Toronto by that one move than he did for the city at any other point in his six years. Oh by the way, thank you very much, Dalton McGuinty -- for nothing, because McGuinty increased municipal terms from three to four years and stuck Toronto with one more lame-duck year of Millertime whether they wanted it or not.

I'm listening to Newstalk 1010 CFRB right now and listening to people talk about this big announcement. Personally I think the garbage strike finished Miller off. He couldn't possibly go on after that. All in all, this is a great day for Toronto. Anyone's better than Miller.

Who's going to replace Miller as mayor? John Tory? George Smitherman? I'll tell you this -- the left has no standard-bearer to speak of in this race right now, unless maybe TTC chair Adam Giambrone runs. The left has an uphill battle finding a replacement.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

I don't usually blow my own horn here at THE CAIRNS BLOG, but I thought just this once I would.

Last week the Optimist newspapers that I write and report for in northwest Saskatchewan cleaned up at the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper Awards. We took home first place in seven categories including Best Recreational Story or Series of Stories -- which was the category that I and four others shared top prize in for our series on the North Battleford skatepark. My own contribution to that series was coverage of the grand opening as well as some of the city council discussions about it that went on. Award-winning photographer Josh Schaefer has the complete rundown of all the awards at his web site.

When we went to the awards banquet we took along a cutout photo of one of our former sports guys holding the Grey Cup. That's basically what it was like -- it was like winning the Grey Cup.
I don't usually mention the stories I do for the Optimist here at the blog because, quite frankly, I don't want this blog to compete with the News-Optimist or Regional Optimist. Basically, if you live in the Northwest region and want to read my local news stuff, I want you to read the paper and support the advertisers.

As for my own online presence -- basically, it has nothing to do with local news whatsoever and it's been that way for a long time. For my rants on movies, http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/ is the place to go for the Reject Report. And then there's this blog, which is totally self-indulgent and aiming for a broader audience anyway. The subject matter here generally has nothing to do with the News-Optimist or the Battlefords, or even Saskatchewan. Look at what I have written about in the past week here - I've written about Jay Leno and Jaclyn Smith, and Megan Fox and the Toronto International Film Festival.

In fact, up there on the masthead I have a picture showing the skyline of Los Angeles. Why do I have a picture of Los Angeles on my blog when I am obviously based in frozen Canada? Because most of my blog posts are about Hollywood and pop culture, and that's where most of that stuff takes place. Besides, the palm trees fit in with all my posts about hurricanes.

So to sum up and make a long story short I say to all of you local folks in the Battlefords and region, keep on reading my stories in the Optimist papers -- and for the rest of you, keep on reading The Cairns Blog and The Reject Report. Speaking of which -- tonight's the night I have to file another Reject column.

It'll have to be later, though, because tonight I plan to once again be busy -- covering the news.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

JAY'S NEW SHOW BLOWS

I have seen enough of the new Jay Leno Show on NBC to render an opinion on it and all I gotta say is I'm unimpressed. The weird thing about the show -- and I think I might be repeating a similar opinion I must have read somewhere else -- is that Jay seemed too much like a guest on his own show last week. It seemed like everyone else was the star of the show -- whether it's Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah, or whatever guest he has on that night. And I think that's the big issue with the show right now. It lives and dies based on the quality of the guests.

Anyway, it's turned into exactly the kind of televised mediocrity I expected: five hours of NBC prime time real estate wasted each week on a cheap-junk TV show. It's a shame. But really, what do you expect from the Peacock Network these days? The ratings are starting to go downhill, too -- check out what happened in the ratings Monday night. Tuesday was a little better, but I think the novelty factor is wearing thin quickly and it's bound to get worse over time.

I know, already -- this post is as lame as Leno's show. Well, that's what you get when I'm worked to the hilt and my brain is fried from all the stuff I have been covering.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

JACLYN SMITH MAKES IT OUT OF THE SUMMER OF DEATH ALIVE

Good news! It's Fall 2009 in the Northern Hemisphere! And if you are reading this blog post that can only mean one thing: you survived the 2009 Summer of Death!! Congratulations. You made it!

Unfortunately, these people did not:
Douglas Fisher, Canadian political columnist. Dead.
Irving Kristol, father of neoconservatism. Dead.
Jaclyn Smith, iconic former Charlie's Angel. Dead...

Uh, wait a minute. Perez Hilton got it wrong. She's alive! I guess he got her confused with Farrah.

I say this is one year in particular where everyone can say they are glad summer is over.

Monday, September 21, 2009

THE EMMYS, MEGAN FOX'S BOX OFFICE, AND OTHER INTERESTING ENTERTAINMENT STUFF I MISSED OVER THE WEEKEND

First of all, let me post my Reject Report column that talked about the weekend box office and the surprisingly bad numbers posted by Jennifer's Body -- aka Jennifer's Dead Body, because the movie died at the box office.

I don't think the numbers would have been so bad if the movie had only lived up to all its oversexed hype and Megan Fox had done a nude scene, because then all the fanboy guys would have been lining up to see the movie. But they just couldn't care less about this s#!t. (By the way, it's amazing I even got around to posting a column this weekend, given how busy I was attending awards ceremonies and dealing with family matters and so on -- but that shows you how committed I am to you, the readers, who care about this box office stuff week in and week out.)

Next, I am sorry to say that I was more interested in what happened in last night's episode of Entourage than I was in the Emmy Awards, but it seems I didn't miss much, because all the usual people won. For those of you who missed it here's a liveblog of the show, which saw the usual wins by Mad Men, 30 Rock, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jon Stewart, and all these other folks.

I'll be busy the next couple of days so don't expect much here until, say, Wednesday. (Remind me to blog about the new TV season, which starts tonight.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

MEGAN FOX! MEGAN FOX! MEGAN FOX!

Just thought I would link you up with this week's Reject Report column (again, written by yours truly), in which I trash Megan Fox for opening her big mouth all the time. Aren't you sick and tired of her, yet? If she only cared about her acting the way she cares about getting quoted in the press, maybe she'd get somewhere.

Jennifer's Body is one of four new movies rolling out in wide release this weekend, with movies starring Matt Damon (The Informant!), Jennifer Aniston (Love Happens) and other big names also due out.

I have a very busy next few days ahead so don't expect to see many posts here until next week -- but I'll try and link you to the box office weekend results, once I finally put them up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

RUSS MEYER MOVIES ON TCM

I must admit I kind of like Russ Meyer movies -- though I'm only really familiar with his tamer ones from the Sixties and early Seventies like Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. He also did some later movies which I haven't seen -- some really wild and crazy stuff that is probably too weird even for me. And quite frankly, I'm not so sure I'm interested in seeing it.

I guess I'm more of a fan of his earlier, tamer stuff. That Beyond the Valley of the Dolls flick had a really cool soundtrack and some great lines ("it's my happening and it freaks me out!"), and the cast featured some really good-looking Sixties Playmates. I especially liked that cool British bird Dolly Read, Miss May 1966.

And this is yet another instance where you probably never would have guessed I would ever mention Russ Meyer or Dolly Read in this blog -- same as that time when I did that blog post on Sylva Koscina. I must be the only person where I live who knows who any of these people are. The folks here probably don't know who Edy Williams is either, dammit. Seriously, all people care about here is country music. They know who Taylor Swift is, you can bet on that.

Anyway, I notice TCM -- Turner Classic Movies -- is going to have its Underground series thing going with Russ Meyer movies in the wee hours of Saturday morning this weekend, starting with Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and ending with Mudhoney, starring Lorna Maitland. For those not familiar with this material, here's a trailer from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. That should give you an idea of what to expect. I imagine guys like Quentin Tarantino ate this right up back in the day. Good stuff.

MORE 2009 TIFF STUFF

I thought I would add some more Toronto International Film Festival links. I'm going to add this link to CP24 in Toronto, which is covering the film festival and doing red carpet stuff. It's nice to know Liz West has been rescued off the street after being kicked to the curb by Citytv last year.

Also, here's the Canoe page on the film fest.

Now that we've made it to Thursday I can tell you, knowing what I know about the festival, that things ought to start winding down soon. Still, lots of stuff being reported with plenty of people there this year-- Jay Baruchel, Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, all the cool people. More later.

THEY'RE DROPPING LIKE FLIES

Henry Gibson of Laugh-In fame (pictured). Dead.
Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary. Dead.

Still five days left in the Summer of Death.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ALL THESE SPORTS ARE A MESS

You know, I think all sports are going to heck. All of them. It doesn't matter whether it's baseball (steroids, labour problems), hockey (worse labour problems, Jim Balsillie), football (Spygate, Terrell Owens) -- it all sucks everywhere, and I wonder why I stay a sports fan. At least the movie fans don't have to put up with any of this nonsense.

Anyway, just to show you auto racing is not immune, read that the head of Renault racing Flavio Briatore has resigned in disgrace over the big race-fixing scheme at the Singapore Grand Prix, where Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed to allow teammate Fernando Alonso to take advantage of the yellow car, win the race and pick up points.

What a gong show. A big gong show. And as usual, we fans look like fools for following the sport.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WOMEN I LOVE: CHARLIZE THERON

Welcome back to another Women I Love post, and I'll bet you never thought I'd write up a piece declaring my love for Charlize Theron, but this is it.

Actually, this blog owes her a big apology for not being so madly in love with her before and for saying bad things about her sex appeal, and so on. But she really is a classy babe, and class seems to be something seriously lacking in the entertainment world these days. I mean, look at Kanye West on the weekend -- what a fool. So I figure I might as well salute a fine actress who just oozes class, and that's her.

To make a long story short -- I happened to record not just the first Jay Leno Show last night (what a boring first show... zzzz) but also the entire NBC late night lineup for that historic evening. I noticed Conan O'Brien had Charlize as a guest. She was promoting her new movie The Burning Plain.

And you know, I had kind of raked Esquire magazine over the coals for naming Charlize the Sexiest Woman Alive a while ago -- but I saw Charlize on the Conan show, and boy she looked hot. Whoever did her hair and wardrobe really rocked it, because Charlize really looked like a million bucks. She looked like a total guy magnet on the show in that slinky dress she was wearing.

What a hot, f*cking babe she is, folks!! I totally eat my hat about my Esquire rant -- although I must confess I still like Marisa Miller and still think she's sexy as hell. But watching the Conan show, I guess I kind of got reminded why I like Charlize Theron, too. She seems like a really nice, down to earth person -- not some total diva. It also reminds me of the time I first fell in love with her on the big screen.

I remember the first Charlize Theron movie I ever saw. It was 2 Days in the Valley and it featured Charlize in her first really prominent role. I saw the promos and I figured I just had to see this movie, just because the slinky blonde chick in the trailer was soooooooo hot.


Charlize made quite an impression on me. Based on that flick I thought this woman would definitely go far in the movie business. And she did.

I guess maybe over the years she kind of got overexposed appearing in one movie after another, and I kinda started taking her for granted. I guess what I am really saying is that I've been in and out of love with this blonde South African movie goddess for years, and now I'm back to being in love again.

The Charlize Theron rollercoaster ride continues. Whatever it is I think of her, I know this: she is definitely the classiest sexy woman alive.

(I definitely need to get my mind off of women, and soon.)

KANYE WEST DOES THE "IDIOT" THING ON TV

Am I the only person in North America who doesn't care about this Kanye West-Taylor Swift MTV Video Music Awards nonsense, where Kanye interrupts Taylor Swift and steals her awards moment on TV?

I'm not surprised, I think Kanye is pretty much all about himself. And then he was on Jay Leno's new show and it was all contrition and so on -- but really, who cares anymore about him.

I just posted a link to that article about what went down at the VMAs because, well, I want my blog to look like it's hip to what's happening even when I honestly couldn't care any less.

Monday, September 14, 2009

THE SUMMER OF DEATH TAKES DOWN PATRICK SWAYZE

Another one bites the dust. Still, it's amazing Swayze was able to fight off his cancer for this long.

Also gone: Larry Gelbart, of M*A*S*H fame.

Remember, summer isn't officially over until Sept. 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. Still eight grizzly days left.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

THE MUCH-HATED NEW JAY LENO SHOW DEBUTS MONDAY

This is basically a reminder to myself to put my DVD into the machine to record the debut prime-time opener of The Jay Leno Show on NBC, because if I don't remind myself to do it I will totally forget. That's how much I care about this lousy show.

May I also say that I predict Monday Night Football on ESPN will beat it to a pulp in the ratings. Or should I say -- I hope so. I am just mad at NBC for throwing in the towel on the 10/9 central time slot and offering up a cheap-junk replacement instead of something that actually takes an effort, like a drama series. People have been calling this NBC's big gamble. More like NBC's big surrender.

I'll have more to say later. Programming note: I'll be exceptionally busy this week and that usually means less posts from me, so be ready for that. Heck, I need to relax, too, you know.

LATEST ON THE POLITICAL SITUATION

As far as I am concerned, this sabre-rattling going on in Ottawa about the potential fall of the Stephen Harper government is one big psych-out by the opposition until something concrete happens.

In the meantime, Jack Layton and his NDP gang are huddling and thinking long and hard about what to do. It seems like no matter what they do it's a complete no-win. If they prop up the government, their supporters will hate them and vote for the Greens. But if they pull the plug, they'll lose a lot of seats anyway because they're in no shape to fight an election.

We'll see. There's supposed to be a ways and means vote later this week, but as far as I'm concerned I'm not going to get excited until the government actually falls.

Even though we've had instability over the past few years, the government never actually fell until all the opposition parties were totally, f*cking fed up with them. I'm not so sure we've reached that point yet. Too many people have been talking about too many peace offerings.

FILM FESTIVAL ROLLS ON

Well, the Toronto International Film Festival keeps on going, and it has been good fun watching the Toronto stations on my cable system with their newscasts the last few days. They've been sending their female reporters to the red carpet to get interviews with all the big stars -- folks like CTV's Andria Case were seen interviewing people.

Meanwhile, all the screaming girls have been hanging out at all the swanky hotels where all the stars stay, hoping to get a glimpse or even an autograph from their favorite male stars. George Clooney was in town this weekend for some movie he was doing, and he had to fight off mobs of adoring women. It's not only Sutton Place Hotel that has been mobbed: it looks like the Park Hyatt is also getting mobbed -- again, mainly by the females of the species.

It's weekends like this that separate the boys from the girls. If you're a female in Canada, this has been the weekend to follow your favorite stars. But if you're a male, all you care about is the NATIONAL ... wait for it... Football League, which kicked off a full slate of games on the weekend. And the gearheads also were watching out for that big NASCAR race in Richmond to determine who would be in the Chase.

That's what I was mainly following this weekend -- not this film festival nonsense. In fact, I forgot to even tune in to the live news conferences on the Web because I wanted to watch football instead. Really, there is a reason why these Toronto TV stations were sending the female reporters to cover the stars and these parties-- because guys hate film festivals, hate parties and hate dressing up. If I wasn't such a big movie nut I probably wouldn't follow the film festival either -- because let's face it, I'm a guy and I like my NFL on TV.


Still, there's been some stuff at the festival that may interest the guys out there. I notice there is a big documentary about Hugh Hefner that rolled out, and he was there with his three new girlfriends. Also, guy magnet Megan Fox (pictured) was at her midnight madness movie, Jennifer's Body.

Other than that, I doubt guys will care much at all --- even though they should, because the women there are hot. (That Penelope Cruz--- meeeeeeeeoww!)

There is also controversy at the festival as they have chosen Tel Aviv for its City to City Spotlight, and that has brought out all the protesters who hate Israel, but it has also brought out those defenders who want politics out of the festival. I'm pro-Israel anyway, but this is one of those things where I really don't want to see politics taking over the film festival or the movies in general. In fact, politics is taking over way, way too much of society in general and I'm really sick of it all.

For those following the sales situation, here's a look at what movies are for sale. I think a few might be sold already.

I end with one more link -- to bigshot society reporter Shinan Govani of the National Post, with what he had to say about the activities.

Stay tuned for more from me about the Film Festival this week -- even though I'm not there. I'm not going to let the fact that I'm nowhere near Toronto interrupt my coverage!

YET ANOTHER EXCUSE TO PUT UP PICTURES OF GIRLS


Today, this is all I care about.
Oh, and also this, but the Rider game was, thankfully, a big blowout for our side.

(Pictured: the gorgeous New England Patriots cheerleaders. The Pats and Bills go at it Monday night.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

MORE TIFF LINKS

Before the weekend is out I will add my thoughts -- from a distance -- of the Toronto International Film Festival. For now, you'll be able to get by with links to the coverage of this year's festival.

CTV is all over the festival with eTalk covering the thing. Here's their site here.
Meanwhile the archrivals over at Entertainment Tonight Canada have their site here.
Not to be outdone: Toronto Life.
Toronto Star.

Toronto Sun.
Citytv.

CBC.

Jeffrey Wells and Cinematical are also there, as is Movie City News.
And, uh, Variety and Hollywood Reporter.
I'd link to more, but I think that's it for right now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

TIFF IS ON AGAIN

I'm quite beat right now, so this post will be short. Those of you folks interested in following the press conferences at the Toronto International Film Festival can watch on the web, live! The full list of the press conferences and when they happen is here and you can watch them live at this page. Among the press conferences already held are the ones for Jennifer's Body (Megan Fox!!!!) and The Informant (Matt Damon!!!).

I'll add more festival stuff later when I'm feeling a little less tired and zonked out. That's it, I'm going back to watching movies on IFC.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

JUDGE ELLEN

Well, the big freaking news in the world of entertainment is that Ellen DeGeneres is Paula Abdul's replacement as a judge on American Idol.

Personally, I don't get it!! I could see why Ellen would be picked as a judge for one of these dancing shows, or a show like "America's Next Top Comedian" or "America's Next Top Talk Show Host." I could even see her on America's Got Talent or something like that.

But this is a music talent show! These judges are supposed to know about the music industry! Ellen has no street cred in the music business that I know of, unlike all the other judges. Has she produced any hit songs? Can she even sing a note? No!!

In fact, she'd probably be a worse singer than most of these people she'd be judging. Not that Randy Jackson would be better, either, but still -- she's got no more music industry credibility than all of us boring folks at home. Who is she to really say whether these singers are good or not? She's a comedian.

This is like what happened when funnyman Dennis Miller was made an analyst on Monday Night Football. He had no football credibility at all, and they still put him in the booth and made him pretend to know what he was talking about. So what makes this move any different? In fact, Ellen has more power to sway people as a judge than Miller had on Monday Night Football, because all Miller did was vent in the broadcast booth. He didn't have the power to get football players voted off the field.

It seems obvious to me that Ellen's appointment is a last-ditch grab at ratings by FOX, nothing more. I even question whether they will succeed on that score, either. Ellen doesn't strike me as appealing to that younger demo they say they are seeking. She seems to appeal to these housewives who watch daytime TV! They might as well have gotten Judge Judy for this gig.

For her part, I understand Paula "tweeted" her good wishes to Ellen for being her replacement, which I think is a classy move on her part. "I think Ellen will b a gr8 judge on Idol. She is wildly funny, talented and I wish her the best of luck!" she said.

I wish Ellen the best, too -- at least she's a professional who won't be a total train wreck on air. She'd probably be a decent talent show judge -- but on THIS show?? It makes no sense to me.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

GUESS WHO'S ON TV TONIGHT, AGAIN

Yoooooooooooooou guessed it.

President Barack Obama addresses Congress. This guy just can't get himself off TV, can he? Enjoy having your favorite shows preempted. Again.

UPDATE: Well, guess who upstaged the President. Cong. Joe Wilson, who decided he wanted to finally get his 15 minutes of fame and shouted "you lie" at Obama during his speech on health care reform!

Stuff like this illustrates why some politicians rise the ranks and become President, while others do NOT. Nice move, Joe Wilson, you fool. Now you're known forever as the guy who heckled Obama. Actually, come to think of it, Joe would fit right in in Canada -- they heckle people all the time in the House of Commons and nobody bats an eyelid.

ARMY ARCHERD DIES

I should point out that even though it's September and beginning to look and feel like fall, and people are back in school and so on, the fact is we are still officially in the Summer until Sept. 22, 2009 here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Which of course means one thing: the Summer of Death is still on.

With that, I pass on this note:
Army Archerd, famous gossip columnist. Dead.

Be very afraid.

Monday, September 07, 2009

LOOKING AHEAD AT TIFF

Since tonight's CFL football game has turned out to be such a bust (the Calgary Stampeders lead Edmonton 29 to 8 as I write this), I thought I would rant about the Toronto International Film Festival and crow yet again about how great it is out West and how Toronto continues to go down the tubes without me there.

Earlier this year I had considered scheduling my vacation time around the annual Star!Schmooze -- or rather, the eTalk Festival Party because that was what it was last year. I thought maybe I could do some star-gazing there and maybe catch some of the film festival in Toronto. Well, it's a really good thing that I didn't schedule a trip to Toronto to coincide with the red carpet of the annual Festival party on Friday night -- because there is no Friday night party and no red carpet!!!

Was reading that the folks at CTV are discontinuing the Star!Schmooze -- or rather, what they had renamed it to. I still refer to it as the Schmooze, though. All I have to say is that I saved my money yet again by not going to Toronto this year, as another one of the things that marked my time in Toronto has gone right down the tubes.

It's obvious to me why the Schmooze is gone. It's because of the recession, and CTV obviously has no money. All kinds of parties and big events have been taken down by this big recession and I'm sure this event was an easy target for the bean counters. They might as well have killed the Schmooze, though. The Schmooze was going downhill anyway.

It seemed to me that when CTV took over the Schmooze after the CHUM takeover, they stopped focusing on the film festival and turned it into a big music event, loaded with any celebrities they could find regardless of whether they had a film at the festival or not. Last year, the CTV event had Lindsay Lohan show up to party hard with her girlfriend Samantha Ronson. But I don't even think Lohan even appeared on the show CTV put on about the event. And Lohan didn't have a film at the festival to begin with, I don't think. She was just there to party.

I think it had to have been tough getting the A-listers out to this Schmooze thing. Most of these film people and film stars aren't into these "parties" anyway -- they're into filmmaking! These parties are just a big distraction and a sure way for your smiling mug to appear on TMZ. If I were a filmmaker I'd stay far away from public events like the former Schmooze and go to some private function instead, far away from these animals in the press.

Also -- this is the last year of the Festival as we know it, before the big move into the Bell Lightbox next year. Now, this is all good for the festival, but still -- I wonder what it's going to mean for the Yorkville area where a lot of these films have been shown. They show a lot of the movies at the various theaters in that neighbourhood, and that is sure to mean a change with the move of these movies out to the new venue, which is closer to downtown. Of course, one of the big disadvantages for years was the fact that the festival was spread out over a number of venues and that there was no real central location. Half the stuff was happening in Yorkville, while other events were way downtown at Roy Thomson Hall or at Ryerson. That's going to change and I suppose that's good and it's progress. Still, it's going to make for a much different moviegoing experience for people attending the festival in the future.

I wonder if the organizers might try and pull a stunt like upping the ticket prices for the movies at the new venue. Forgive me for being cynical, but I would not be surprised in the least if that happened. I hope not.

I will have more news on TIFF as the event kicks off later this week -- and that's when I'll add a bunch of links to all the Festival media coverage going on. Suffice it to say you'll have to rely on that, because I won't be there. Again.

DULL WEEKEND WATCHING JERRY LEWIS ON TV

I am spending Labor Day the way I usually do -- at home in front of a television, watching the Jerry Lewis telethon while waiting for the CFL football games to come on. This is the first one since Jerry was awarded an Oscar for all his work he has done to try and stamp out MD. Also, this is kind of an emotional telethon because it is the first one since the passing of Ed McMahon, the telethon's longtime announcer.

You wonder how long Jerry will be around for these telethons, too. With every passing year there is kind of a "freak-show" factor associated with the telethon: Jerry Lewis has had so many health problems of his own that you tune in just because you're worried that this will be the year of the very last "Jerry Lewis Telethon" -- not because MD is about to be cured, but because you're worried Jerry is going to die! So you tune in just in case this happens to be the last Jerry Lewis Telethon ever. And every year, it isn't.

I had thought for sure that Ed McMahon would end up outliving Jerry and end up stuck hosting the telethon without him, but that never did happen.

I read this article over at TV Squad about the telethon, with the writer remarking about how it seemed to be a bigger deal when he was a kid. It sure seems that way to me too -- it seemed a bigger deal for me, too, when I was younger. I looked forward to watching it because it was "event television", what television was all about! They used to promote it weeks in advance with local TV personalities doing promos with Jerry. And they used to get tons of big celebrities to appear on the show. They'd have these big "Rat Pack" stars on the show and these other cool people. But then again, every aspect of television was a bigger deal back then.

It truly was a different era of entertainment that was celebrated on the telethon -- that smoky Vegas scene -- but even then, in the late Seventies, you could sense that the era was ending.

DULL WEEKEND AT THEATERS

Dull because, well, the theaters were pretty empty. Come to think of it, my Reject Report column was pretty empty, too, but there it is.

Friday, September 04, 2009

MOVIE STUFF

A few things: first, my box office preview of a weekend of movies that includes Gamer and other efforts, is out now.

Second, I notice Ain't It Cool's Capone did an interview with the two new critics of the At the Movies show, A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips. Thank heavens the previous regime of the Two Bens is ending. Those two TV guys were terrible.

Finally, a Hollywood Reporter piece on the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. Hopefully the 2009 effort will be an improvement: the article talks about the Toronto Sun's Bruce Kirkland and his famous hit-piece on the festival last year, and it goes into whether or not the expansion of the Oscar Best Picture category to 10 nominees will turn the 2009 event into even less of a people's festival and just more of the same soul-selling to Hollywood.

Personally, I hope there's an improvement. I volunteered with the festival back in 2006, and even then the event seemed to be turning more and more of its attention to catering to rich people than to real movie fans. We'll see what they have in store this year. Hopefully the folks in charge will have responded with some positive changes. That's all for now.

TORONTO IS STILL GOING TO HELL

It's been a wild week of news out of Toronto.

I've been thinking about the place this week -- mainly because I just happened to catch some southern Ontario AM radio stations on my car radio while I was driving here on the prairie. And I just about broke down and cried, because stations from my beloved southern Ontario could be heard on the RADIO here in stinking hot Saskatchewan!! My radio was picking up Talk 820 and Oldies 1150 from Hamilton, and even 640 Toronto at one point (although that station kind of got drowned out by KFI, Los Angeles). It was clear, alright, with a radio ad coming through with Joel Matlin spouting off about the virtues of Alarm Force. Those ads are all over the Toronto radio dial.

See, I know my radio stations. Anyway, it's good to hear these stations live, on an actual radio, instead of on the Internet like I usually do.

As for life in Toronto, it continues to get worse by the day for those still there. Seems even more links to the past are going. Turns out the Pages independent bookstore, which I used to go to from time to time, is kaput and has closed up. It's a victim of sky-high rent that it can't pay. So Pages goes the way of Sam the Record Man, the CHUM Radio building, and so many other places in Toronto.

Hearing about closures like this one just burns me up. Much as I miss Toronto these days, too much of what I truly miss about the city is already gone and not coming back.

Speaking of the city -- Citytv moves to its new location in Young-Dundas Square, exiting the building it has long called home on Queen West. The folks at Citytv have done a series on the move, which happens September 8, and you can see some of it here. Also, I'll have more to say about the changes going on in TV in Canada, soon. But this is yet another one of these "links to the past" that is gone, now, too, with Citytv exiting the neighbourhood it has called home for so long.

As for actual news from Toronto, the big story this week has been the tragedy involving that bike courier Darcy Allan Sheppard, who got dragged to his death by a car driven by Michael Bryant, the former Attorney-General, on a city street. And now Bryant's future political career hopes are in ruins and he faces charges including criminal negligence causing death!! More revelations keep on coming out about this case with every passing hour. So far, this incident has been the talk of Toronto and has kept the news folks busy.

Heck, the news folks need something to preoccupy themselves and get their minds off other things -- especially the folks at CFRB Radio, which had a big 12-person bloodbath recently. They canned The Motts, and they also got rid of Michael Coren.

But Coren getting fired -- is that really news? Wasn't he also on 640 at one point, and they fired him, too? Coren just can't hold a job anywhere he goes.

And one of the suspects accused of plotting to bomb Toronto as part of the Toronto 18 case has been sentenced to 14 years. Why he didn't get more time from the judge, I have no clue. My main concern is that this guy is going to be back out on the street in fourteen years and will likely go back to what he was doing before: plot to bomb Toronto.

When you hear stuff like this -- plots against Toronto -- you just are glad to be out of the city and away from the craziness there.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

BIG TV NEWS NEWS: CHARLES GIBSON STEPPING DOWN

Here's what TV Newser has to say about the stunning announcement that Charles Gibson is retiring as ABC News anchor. He'll be replaced in January 2010 by Diane Sawyer. I'm actually pretty surprised by this -- I thought maybe Gibson would last a while longer.

LIBERALS WANT TO PULL PLUG

Good God, no. It looks as if the Liberals are going to try and topple the Conservative government, just because they don't want them in. And all I have to say is this really is nonsense -- the usual nonsense we have come to expect from our politicians in Ottawa.

In Saskatchewan we have municipal elections coming up this fall. A federal vote will not only mean two elections at the same time here, but it will also mean twice as much work for me reporting on both of them. Anyway, I sure hope the NDP lives up to their claim to want to try and "make government work" and not go along with an early election, because this really is too ridiculous. Having an election every year is just plain insanity.