Friday, January 29, 2010

ON THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Just finished watching the NFL Network air the Showtime original miniseries about the old American Football League called Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League.
What a fascinating documentary, and what a fascinating time the Sixties were for all football fans. I have a soft spot for the old AFL, mainly because I like following the teams in the AFC more than I do the NFC. Seeing the league's struggles for respectability and all that all over again, with the Jets and Joe Namath in the Super Bowl, the infamous Heidi Game and the rest of it, was fun stuff.

If you want to know what the Heidi Game was, let's just say that NBC's long and storied history of inept programming decisions predates the Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien mess by several decades.

There was plenty of footage of the old Buffalo Bills and as someone who used to live in Toronto and got the Bills shoved down our throats on TV all the time I found that interesting.

What is most interesting of all is that there were ex-players for the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders, Gino Cappelletti and Cookie Gilchrist, who went on to be big stars in the AFL for the Patriots and Bills, respectively. In fact, I read that the Riders cut Cappelletti. What were they smoking back then?!

The AFL merged with the NFL on pretty much an even footing in 1970 and this year the old charter franchises in that league celebrated 50 years with several commemorative games in their old uniforms. Unfortunately, none of the "original 10" are in the Super Bowl this year, with two old NFL franchises, the Saints and Colts, duking it out. What was so interesting in the documentary was that the Colts were really quick to accept the $3 million by the NFL to make the switch to the new AFC back in 1970.

I thought I would link here to a couple of historical sites about the old league. One is called Remember the AFL and the other site at afl-football.50webs.com is located here.

Also, to show you some good examples of how not to run a rival league, here are links to websites about the spectacularly unsuccessful World Football League and the not-so-successful spring fling known as the United States Football League. Both of those leagues, though, were wild successes compared to what went down in 2001 with the utterly dreadful, laughable XFL led by Vince McMahon.

SAMANTHA HARRIS DANCES TO A NEW GIG

Bye bye, Samantha Harris. The Dancing With the Stars hostess is leaving the show and moving on to host the weekend edition of Entertainment Tonight.

Uh, really, that's all the news I have for the moment -- just my lame excuse for this girl-obsessed blog to put a picture up of Samantha Harris. (I know, I know -- she's standing in front of the E! sign from one of her other gigs.)

Also, I should definitely point out that this blog remains TV obsessed. Stay tuned for more TV rants from me as I will be posting my annual "Worst Shows on TV" list -- coming up sometime this weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ON AVATAR'S RECORD SETTING BOX OFFICE TRIUMPH

I wrote a long screed earlier this week about Avatar setting the world-wide box office record and it finally was posted --- but not at the place you usually might expect to see it something like this.

No, it's not at Film School Rejects but at the News-Optimist Blog. Hey, I have to do something to liven that site up and get it some hits from outside. 

As for my Reject Report article, well, I just sent it in a few moments ago and it's not up to much, really. In it, I predicted Avatar would win for the seventh weekend in a row. This really is starting to get boring, folks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

AVATAR SINKS TITANIC'S BOX OFFICE RECORD

It happened on Monday. And what's remarkable is that this movie is still rolling in money, and should easily be the first movie in history to make $2 billion. That's a remarkable achievement, with or without inflation.

Next big box office record ready to fall: the domestic record of $600 million.

I'll have more to say later on this week about the record falling with a column I penned for the Optimist blog. Plus I'll have something to say over at the Reject Report. For now, I'm enjoying what little downtime I have at the moment.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WHO DAT?

Sorry for not tending to the blog, but I was too preoccupied by my weekend work assignments (and frankly, I am way overworked -- something has to give one of these days), and more importantly by NFL football -- especially that crazy NFC championship game won by the Saints.

Besides, I have little to add to what others have said about Conan O'Brien's graceful exit from NBC on Friday night. I still can't believe he's done at NBC.

Also, my article on Avatar's sixth weekend in a row at the top is up, and I will have more to say with another article this week that I plan to put up at the News-Optimist blog about the movie, in addition to my Reject Report post which I again plan to do.

Avatar should topple Titanic's all-time worldwide box office record sometime in the next 48 hours, but a lot of boo-birds are out there saying this achievement means nothing due to inflation and jacked-up ticket prices. The fact that people were actually willing to pay these inflated jacked-up prices apparently also means nothing to people, either.

Also, those following the Sundance Film Festival can check out news of it here. You might even want to check out what Jeffrey Wells has to say at Hollywood-Elsewhere. I, however, have nothing to say about what's happening in Park City, Utah, as I am not there.

Incidentally, CNN's Showbiz Tonight had as its top story last week ... no, not Conan's departure, and not Sundance. What was their top showbiz story? Uh, ahem -- John Edwards admitting he had a love child!!!

Uh, guys, John Edwards is not in show business. He's a politician. Or a former one, anyway.

I don't have much to say on Haiti and the continued misery down there, but I covered a story  recently about some of the relief efforts going on locally about it. All in all, it's a sad situation.

I wish I could say that you'll see plenty of posts at the blog for the next few days, but I can't. Tomorrow I am covering City Hall and then I cover a big dinner on Tuesday, and then I cover a big meeting on Wednesday. Somewhere along the line I will write my News-Optimist blog post and another Reject Report post, and then for the following week I will have a newspaper column I have to write. Something will be falling by the wayside this week and it will have to be posts at this blog.

To be completely honest, though -- the last couple of weeks have been a real treadmill where I am. I'm even finding the Reject Report to be a real chore to do these days with all the other time constraints I am under. To say I am not enjoying myself one bit would be too accurate.

Friday, January 22, 2010

GOODBYE, CONAN

Well, this is it. The final night of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

Somehow, I had imagined this final show happening a few years down the road -- not now.

And it sounds like it was kind of a sombre scene at the last show. Here's a sneak preview of what Conan said to wrap up his tenure on NBC.

Also, here is Gawker TV's clips from the late shows on Friday night.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DEAL IS DONE: CONAN LEAVES NBC TOMORROW

Well, here's the scoop from The Wrap about the departure deal between Conan O'Brien and NBC. O'Brien's long, distinguished tenure as host of the Tonight Show (ha!) ends tomorrow. 

So soon?! It seems like not so long ago that we saw him roll out on stage at the Universal lot to START this new gig. And now it's over, and Jay Leno is going to go back to the time slot.

All I have to say is this sucks. But at least we got a decent couple of weeks of good late night TV out of this outright debacle. I know the stories are out now suggesting Conan might do something other than host another network show. Don't worry -- he'll be back on the air by the fall. Not on NBC, but somewhere.

Conan's latest comedy bits include trotting out the Masturbating Bear one more time and other funny stuff, such as spending as much of NBC's money as possible on new characters such as the Bugatti Veyron Mouse.

As for tonight's activities on late-night television, check out the clips here at Gawker TV.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

THE LATE NIGHT VITRIOL CONTINUES

Welcome back to our live continuing coverage of the Late Shaft mess at NBC. Still no word on whether Conan O'Brien's departure deal is done with the network yet. In the meantime, here's what happened on Tuesday night on the late night shows. Conan had old pal Norm Macdonald on the show, and it was pretty funny stuff. It's getting even more vicious and personal tonight on the Dave Letterman and Jay Leno shows.

Well, soon it will all blow over -- just like what happened with Tiger Woods. (!) (?) More later.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BIG FREAKING POLITICAL NEWS OUT OF MASSACHUSETTS

Scott Brown, the Republican, has beaten Martha Coakley, the Democrat, in the Special Election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts!!! 52 to 47 percent.

This is for the seat left by Ted Kennedy. This is a massive upset. And you know what this means, folks -- these Republicans will have 41 votes and be able to do some filibustering in the Senate.

CITYTV BLOODBATH!!! ANNE MROCZKOWSKI AMONG THOSE LET GO!!!

Aaaaargh!!!!!

What else is there to say about the latest bloodbath at Citytv? This time, though, some prominent veterans have gotten the knife all over the country including star anchorwoman Anne Mroczkowski (left) and Laura DiBattista in Toronto and Aisling Slattery in Calgary. The noon news is gone in Toronto; so is the 5pm news. The entire weekend news is also gone in Toronto (I guess they figure real news doesn't happen on the weekend in TO), and CityNews International is also history.

What's sad is that people I know have gotten the boot. Farah Nasser, who seemed to survive one bloodbath after another at a variety of TV stations in the Toronto area, had the rug pulled out from under her today at Citytv. She was my co-anchor at Rogers Mississauga back when I was doing the sports for the evening newscast First Local!! Merella Fernandez also got the boot, and I had met her way back when she was just starting out as a lowly assistant at CTV!!

But there is some good news. Another guy I know from Rogers days, Francis D'Souza, kept his job. I guess one out of three ain't bad.

This is just terrible, just awful. These losses strike way too close to home. But I shouldn't be surprised, because Citytv has been a train wreck ever since Moses Znaimer left. Maybe the laid-off can go join that AM station Moses runs, AM 740. 

Actually, a lot of people had been bailing out of Citytv before this latest bloodletting. Political specialist Richard Madan quit for CTV Ottawa in December and resident sports guy Jim McKenny had also quit. And Rogers has been getting rid of people from Citytv ever since taking the place over, gutting the entertainment news staff and booting some other big names out, including Peter Silverman. In fact, people were being booted out even before they took over.

It has been a miserable last few years for folks at Citytv, and the people left in the building really have to wonder: when is the other shoe going to drop for them, too? These bloodbaths really are getting to be too ridiculous over there.

UPDAYE: Oh, and by the way, you can blame NBC for this carnage, too. The Jay Leno Show was actually a hit for Citytv. But NBC is removing him from the air, so Citytv's prime-time lineup has now gone up in smoke. So some people are blaming the recent Jay Leno mess for the mess at Citytv. They aren't entirely off the mark.

Monday, January 18, 2010

JAY LENO MAKES A STATEMENT ON THE LATE NIGHT MESS

Well, we are back to our nightly continuing coverage of the NBC prime time mess, a.k.a. The Late Shaft. And once again I am going to link you to Gawker.tv with its daily dosage of late-night highlights. What a day it has been again, folks, in rainy Southern California. In fact, what has been going on almost reeks of politics. We are getting OFFICIAL STATEMENTS from hosts, and RIOTS AND PROTESTS in the streets from supporters of the rival host! It's like there's a revolution going on, or some third-rate coup attempt! And that's what this is: a coup attempt on the host of the Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien. 

Anyway, Gawker TV has clips from tonight's Jay Leno Show up already, and among the clips is a statement made by Leno addressing the late-night situation.. Basically, according to Jay, neither his nor Conan O'Brien's show was doing well, and that's why this is going down. Check that out, along with some of the other activity from the other hosts.

And as they say on TV: we'll be right back.

ON AVATAR'S GOLDEN GLOBES VICTORY

Well, by and large I was very happy to see populist movies do well at the Golden Globes last night. Not only did Best Dramatic Picture Avatar and Best Director James Cameron both win Globes, but so did The Hangover in the comedy category.


Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is taking to heart all those complaints about how the awards-season always ends up so out-of-synch with what the popular taste is. I know lots of people were pushing for Up in the Air and The Hurt Locker, but the fact is that few people wanted to see those usual awards-season movies made for the usual awards-season voters. More people wanted to see Avatar, and the reason is simple: this movie is attempting to raise the medium to another level with its 3D effects. And based on the reaction out there from critics and audiences alike, it has succeeded.

Make no mistake about it: the reason this movie is winning at the box office week in and week out -- and on the brink of toppling Titanic's domestic and worldwide box office records -- is entirely due to the quality of the movie. If this flick had been as bad as some movies have been, it would have been toppled from the top of the box office a long time ago. It would have made a killing the first weekend and then sunk like a stone. But it isn't doing that. It's doing consistent business.

Methinks the Golden Globe victory is going to be the final push to get Avatar over the top of Titantic's $600 million domestic record and $1.8 million worldwide record. In fact, this movie may well be the frontrunner for the Oscar if this momentum keeps up. If Avatar does win the Oscar, all these box office records are going to be shattered for sure, because an Oscar usually means yet another bounce for the winning movie at the theaters.

Also, it is nice to see James Cameron show some humility in giving an acceptance speech. But really, man, next time you go to an awards show make sure you go to the bathroom before it starts, because we really did not need to hear about how you needed to go to the can.  That is all for now.

THE TEAM CONAN PROTESTS ARE HAPPENING

It's either funny or sad that we are seeing protests all over the USA over the demise of a standup comedian.

Anyway, here's TMZ's video of the anti-NBC protests going on in LA over the impending departure from the network of Conan O'Brien and all his intellectual property.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A BITTER PILL FOR TEAM CONAN TO SWALLOW

Well, it looks like the deal is apparently almost done over at NBC. Conan O'Brien is getting booted out this week from the network with a multimillion dollar buyout. All signs point to his final Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien happening on Friday night.

The folks at Team Conan are taking the news hard and threatening boycotts of NBC, which is going to be pretty tough for some of these Chuck fans to do. This Huffington Post article talks about what a PR debacle this has been for the network.

Meanwhile the anti-NBC vitriol has spilled over to Saturday Night Live, where ironically Conan was once on staff years ago.

Another writer turned on Team Conan and blamed them for not watching his show. Man, this article made my blood boil. It's not Team Conan's fault-- they DID tune in, you fool! It's all these other idiots who didn't tune in who are the reason he's off the Tonight Show -- not to mention the crummy lead-ins for the past four months..

Also, with the O'Brien departure from NBC you can say goodbye to a ton of intellectual property that now belongs to NBC and presumably will never be seen again, such as Conando. And The Masturbating Bear. And "The Year 3000".  The future of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is up in the air -- apparently that may not be tied to Conan's show. If this material all goes up in smoke, then boy, what a loss to the world of comedy this forced exit is going to turn out to be for the fans. In the end it's the fans who are really the ones getting The Late Shaft.

HAITI

The nonsense in late-night TV has taken up a lot of my time, but also dominating the news has been the horrible earthquake news out of Haiti. That story has, of course, dominated CNN.

If there's one good thing about this late-night nonsense, it at least has brought the attention of people to Ben Stiller's charity which is redirecting funds to earthquake relief. It was mentioned on Conan O'Brien's show and I thought I would post this link for those of you who want to contribute to it. 

Sad times.

FIVE WEEKENDS IN A ROW ON TOP FOR AVATAR

James Cameron's flick is up to $1.6 billion worldwide and should be at $500 million by the end of Monday. Holy freaking cow, these are incredible numbers. Avatar currently stands at number 3 domestically behind Titanic and The Dark Knight, and number two all-time worldwide against Titanic, which holds the record of $1.8 billion. It sure looks like it is going to end up setting the box office all-time record soon.

For now, it's five weekends on top. Read it at the Reject Report.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

DIVORCE SETTLEMENT ALMOST DONE BETWEEN CONAN, NBC

The negotiations are still going on as we speak between NBC and Conan O'Brien, and Nikki Finke is right on top of all that. Seems that Universal Studios president and COO Ron Meyer was called in to smooth over some of the ill feelings. Earlier you had NBC Universal head Jeff Zucker threatening to ice Conan and prevent him from working anywhere else for the remainder of his NBC deal to 2012, and then you had Dick Edersol, Universal sports chairman, trashing Conan and saying "he let me down" as host of the Tonight Show. Anyway, cooler heads have apparently prevailed and it looks as if Conan is going to leave with a lot of money and the freedom to do whatever he wants. The reason for the delay in announcing a done deal apparently has to do with negotiations for all the staff Conan moved to LA to work on the show.  

Speaking of Zucker -- shouldn't it maybe be Zucker who should be leaving, and Conan who should be staying? There have been so many train wrecks at NBC over the past while, and this is only one more on top of all the rest of them. It's true, all these stories we hear about how Zucker got Conan arrested for some Harvard Lampoon college prank years ago. Wow, things haven't changed from college days.

Anyway, the big story of the last two days is about how Jimmy Kimmel was invited onto Jay Leno's show to explain his behavior in lampooning Jay the other night, and Kimmel ripped Jay to shreds, on the air, on Jay's show!. Holy man.


And on Friday night, everyone was at it again ripping NBC to shreds on their late night shows. Conan had yet another "classic Tonight Show moment" from his long (?) tenure at the helm, Deon Cole came on to say that Conan was "pimping out", and they showed a montage of Conan and Andy Richter dodging bullets as they headed in to work. Funny stuff.

I haven't posted too many videos here as of yet but I've headed over to YouTube and found some clips recapping the nonsense that has gone on all this week. Check it out.





And that is all for now.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

THE LATEST NEWS ON THE NBC "LATE SHAFT"

Well, there is still plenty left to say about the chaos at NBC in late night television. Here's what I had to say at the News-Optimist blog about it earlier today.

Meanwhile, the late-night comedians all continue to skewer NBC's "late shaft" of Conan O'Brien. Here's the latest clips from last night's shows, all posted on Gawker TV.

Also, here is the latest rundown at Gawker of the latest hardball and other tactics. There is a hot report that perhaps Jay Leno himself is upset and may bolt NBC. But that may not be entirely accurate -- we're also getting reports from TMZ that Jay may have signed the deal already to go back to his old timeslot for the full hour.

Wow. What nonsense this is, folks.

UPDATE: Those of you looking for the now-famous Team Conan website in support of O'Brien can check it out here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

COMICS TAKE TO THE AIR TO SKEWER NBC

Welcome back to live continuing coverage of The Late Shaft going on at NBC. Actually, not much has changed since Conan O'Brien's angry letter was released to the press the other day.

In the meantime, late-night has become must-see-TV with all the hosts taking to the air to trash NBC -- not the least of all Conan himself. The clips are over at Gawker. Pretty funny stuff -- Conan skewering NBC and saying he would be available to work children's parties, Deon Cole going out on stage and likening NBC to pimps and calling the late night hosts "hos", Jimmy Kimmel dressing up as Leno and impersonating him on the air, Craig Ferguson calling NBC management "lying rat bastards" -- it's great. This is amazing freaking TV. 

And you have to admit -- this mess over at NBC has kept Tiger Woods out of the news, hasn't it? Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CONAN TURNS DOWN 12:05AM TIMESLOT, READY TO LEAVE NBC


Well, I cannot say I am surprised by this latest development. Conan O'Brien has flatly refused to go along with NBC's goofy plan to shift The Tonight Show to 12:05 am following Jay Leno's show.

You can read his letter on the subject here at TMZ, but there's no question about it: Conan sure sounds like a guy who feels like he is getting The Late Shaft.

For the record, Conan says he has no offers yet, which seems to back up what we hear about the folks from Fox describing their conversations with Conan as more of "commiseration" more than offer-making.

Also, for the record, Conan never actually says he is leaving The Tonight Show. I think what he actually wants is to somehow stay at The Tonight Show in its current timeslot if NBC will let him do that. All he says is he won't go along with a move to 12:05 am. He does say a move to 12:05 am will destroy The Tonight Show and I agree. This show has immediately  followed the late local news for as long as anyone can remember.

Based on what we are hearing, NBC seems hell bent on pushing Conan out of the 11:35 pm spot no matter what. Jay Leno seems likely to get The Tonight Show back at 11:35 for a full hour, and they will forget all about the last seven train-wreck months at NBC in late night.

Anyway I am very happy to see Conan refuse to cave in and refuse to accept this humiliation by this network. Way to go, Conan!  

The other news is that it sure looks like Carson Daly, who helms the worst show in late night at 1:35 am, will probably not be cancelled now. Wooeee!!!

UPDATE: Here is Nikki Finke with the latest on this mess. Her read of the "Conan letter" is exactly right. This is not Conan leaving NBC, it's Conan declaring war on NBC. Big difference.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here is what the late-night comedians are saying about this mess on TV.

Monday, January 11, 2010

FOR SIMON COWELL, "X" MARKS THE SPOT

So far, all the talk about the big Simon Cowell announcement today that he is departing American Idol so he can bring The X Factor to America has focused on the impact his exit will have on the show he is leaving. People are writing panicked screeds saying "this is the end of American Idol" and so on.

I look at it differently. This is not so much the end of one phenomenon as it is the beginning of another. This is an evolution. The X Factor is pretty much the same show under another name, only bigger and better. Mark my words -- within a couple of years the American version of The X Factor will be so huge that people will look at American Idol as a relic of a lost era.

That's exactly what's happened in Britain. No one cares about Pop Idol any more. They've all moved on to The X Factor. And so it will be in America. The only question in my mind is why it took the Americans this long to follow the Brits' lead in bringing The X Factor stateside. It should have happened long before now.

American Idol is finished anyway now that Paula Abdul has left the show. If Ryan Seacrest is smart, he'd bail out for The X Factor as well.

The Idol is dead. Long live X Factor.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

THE 2009 BOX OFFICE CHAMPION IS AVATAR

James Cameron's movie Avatar is also up to $1.3 billion worldwide, just $500 million short of the all-time record held by his other massive hit, Titanic. The story of its fourth consecutive weekend domestic box-office victory is right here at The Reject Report.

Needless to say, I am very happy to see Avatar topple the utterly unworthy, witless Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Rotten Tomatoes rating: 20 percent) from the Number One perch for 2009. At least some measure of skill went into Avatar. Its next box office targets: The Dark Knight and Titanic.

Roger Ebert said it best: the King of the World just got himself re-elected. So true.

"THE BACHELOR" SCANDAL

Monday night is a big night on The Bachelor as one of the psychos, uh, I mean women on the show is booted out for supposedly having an affair behind everyone's back with a producer on the show.

At least, that's the line of bull we are supposed to believe about Rozlyn Papa (right), the woman who was tossed from the show in the now-infamous Bachelor Scandal. But we are hearing that may not be the case. Here's an article about it here plus some video from Access Hollywood, suggesting there were some other issues going on involving some other relationship she had going on.

Anyway, whatever the real story is, Rozlyn is disqualified. It's too bad, too -- she's a real hottie. Anyway, this mess all goes down on Monday night's episode.I wish I could say I was surprised to see yet another train-wreck moment happen on The Bachelor, but here it is again. Gee, this show never stops sinking to the bottom of the ocean depths, does it? The problem, though, is that these train-wreck moments are starting to pale in comparison to the real-life wrecks out there (Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen, et al).

It's just unfortunate that I will have to miss this nonsense on TV to be at city council, covering City Hall as I usually do, but that's life.

SIMPSONS CELEBRATE 20 YEARS TONIGHT


D'oh! Now onto happier news than the ongoing Jay Leno story: The Simpsons is going to celebrate its 450th episode tonight, and they will also be showing a documentary in honor of 20 years on the air.

It's all tonight, assuming this 38-38 Cardinals-Packers playoff game ends on time. Right now it is way too exciting for Bart and Homer's liking. Gotta love the NFL!

IT'S OFFICIAL: NBC BOOTS JAY LENO OUT OF PRIME TIME

LIKELY GOING BACK TO LATE NIGHTS

Well, NBC obviously hoped to bury this embarrassing news by leaking it during a weekend. In any event, the news is confirmed that they have sent Jay Leno packing from prime time. We do not know yet whether Jay will emerge with a half-hour show or an hour show at 11:30pm. All we know is his final prime time show is Feb. 11. NBC is going to order a bunch of dramas, reality shows and some new Dateline NBC shows to fill the prime time space.

People are speculating that the big loser is going to be Carson Daly in this whole scenario, and maybe it is, but that's assuming a royally-ticked-off Conan O'Brien stays at NBC. All in all, NBC comes out of this mess with their faces looking beet-red. This is more embarrassing for them than for any of the late-night players, that is for sure.

RORY MARKAS DIES, WAS VOICE OF THE ANGELS

Being a major league baseball announcer has to rank as one of the all-time great jobs -- so great, in fact, that so many of the great announcers never retire from it. They keep on calling games until their dying last breath.

Sadly, we have seen way too many recent deaths of incumbent major league announcers (Harry Kalas, Skip Caray, Bill King, Tom Cheek etc.), but this latest one has to rank as probably the most shocking. Angels play by play voice Rory Markas, who actually called the play-by-play for Pacific Coast League games with the Vancouver Canadians back in the Eighties, was still so young at age 54.

Markas died a few days ago. Here is what Ken Levine, himself a major-league broadcaster, had to say about it on his blog. As well, former LA sportscaster Keith Olbermann had this emotional tribute to Markas on MSNBC.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

CONAN O'BRIEN IS GETTING THE LATE SHAFT

Well, this is all going to be big-time fodder for Bill Carter's next book on late-night TV -- the one he hasn't published yet, but don't worry, he'll get around to it. There's just too much crazy stuff going on with this Jay Leno-back-to-11:30 pm story.

I imagine Conan O'Brien is completed ticked off at these developments. First, he gets the Tonight Show. Great. But then, he finds out Jay Leno is getting an even bigger show in prime time that is competing for bookings with his own show. Now, in the wake of disasterous ratings they want to move Jay back to 11:30pm and move Conan back a half-hour. Some are predicting Conan will actually agree to go along with this crazy setup. I dunno. To me, this seems like a major slap in the face to him and a major setback. Word is NBC is giving him the option of leaving the network if he wants. I guess NBC figures it doesn't matter where Conan goes; Jay will clobber him anyway.

NBC can justify giving Conan the shaft because of lackluster ratings of his own ever since he took over the Tonight Show. The ratings have been in the toilet just as much for Conan as it is for Leno, so both guys are getting the screws put to them by the network. What's really sad is that Conan hasn't done all that badly as far as the content of the show is concerned at 11:30pm, but it doesn't matter because the only thing that counts to NBC is the number of viewers. And Conan has been getting beat by Dave and by Nightline.

Anyhow, the rumors are flyiog that Fox is interested in Conan, and that Conan is interested and may well bolt NBC. We'll see what transpires. But I gotta say, if I were Conan O'Brien I would be looking to get the heck out of NBC if it is at all possible. They seem bent on ruining their vaunted late night with all their crazy scheduling moves.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

CHAOS SURROUNDING FUTURE OF JAY LENO SHOW

Man, what a total mess over at NBC with all these stories circulating today from FTVLive.com, from TMZ and elsewhere that the network is about to yank The Jay Leno Show off the air.

The rumor today is that the show is going to be sent packing in February, with the Winter Olympics taking over for the next two weeks. Now we are hearing that Jay Leno will reemerge in the 11:30 timeslot he vacated before, possibly with a half-hour show, to be followed by Conan O'Brien.

In any event, no one wins in this scenario. Jay loses prime time and doesn't even get back his full hour in late night in this scenario; Conan O'Brien gets pushed backwards into the night, and who knows what happens with Jimmy Fallon, Carson Daly, or Poker After Dark. Presumably NBC will put in dramas to replace Leno in prime time. Apparently they upped their pilot order to 18 shows, a sure sign they want to fill the 10pm slot with fresh replacements. 

The reasons for the moves are obvious: the NBC schedule from 10pm on has been a total disaster. Because Jay's ratings have been in the toilet in prime time, the affiliates have had a hard time getting ratings for their local news at 11pm/10 Central time, and because the local news ratings have been so bad, Conan O'Brien's show has taken a hit. Conan's new Tonight Show gig has been a flop, overall; he has been beaten by both Letterman and by Nightline.

Word is that the affiliates are the ones most unhappy with the situation. They are the ones who have been pushing for changes, we hear, due to the ratings bath they have suffered with their late local news. Also, it seems the bean counters at NBC are saying the network is losing more money with Leno at 10pm than they were losing before when he was at 11:30pm.

Right now, it's still a lot of conjecture about what will happen. I think giving Jay a half hour show at 11:30pm sounds like an absolutely insulting offer to him and another potential disaster waiting to happen. In fact, I even wonder if Jay and Conan are going to even go along with this plan. This entire situation is a mess, and while the network is putting on a brave face and issuing a lot of denials that this is happening, it's clear something big is up over there. Expect more to come on this situation in the next while.

WATCHING THE BCS TITLE GAME

Well, I spent the halftime of tonight's US college football national championship writing a Reject Report about Avatar's upcoming box office victory, and now I am back to watching Alabama take advantage of Colt McCoy's injury to build a 24 to 6 lead over the Texas Longhorns. I find it difficult to believe that the Crimson Tide are going to lose this thing.

Also, I am planning to comment at some point about this latest NBC Jay Leno cancellation story circling the rounds today, but that will have to wait. I have football priorities to take care of first.

Now Texas has just scored a touchdown, so maybe we'll actually have a ballgame to watch. In fact, they've now recovered an onside kick!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

DETHRONED

Well, Canada lost.
In overtime, no less, 6-5 to the archrivals the Americans. This was almost as bad as that lousy Grey Cup game.

You want to know what I'm blaming? The green jerseys.

I know, Canada didn't wear them tonight in Saskatoon, but they wore them during the early rounds. Just wearing green brought this team non-luck for the entire tournament as far as I'm concerned. Ask the Saskatchewan Roughriders what green jerseys have done for them as far as winning is concerned.

It sucks to be a sports fan in Saskatchewan -- of any sport.

TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT

It's Canada versus USA in the World Junior Hockey final from Saskatoon! Check out the coverage here at TSN. And that is all for now.

Monday, January 04, 2010

I'M WATCHING TOO MUCH POKER ON TV

Since I am still recovering from my Las Vegas trip I thought I would write some more about poker on TV.

I gotta say, I am watching more and more poker on TV these days, especially NBC's Poker After Dark and these other shows on Sunday night on GSN.

Granted, I still don't want to see it pre-empt my football games on TV, but I am finding that I want to figure out the flow of these poker games and understand what the heck these guys are doing on TV. Leading up to my big Las Vegas trip I was watching plenty of poker on TV, just revving myself up. In fact, on the plane ride down to Las Vegas they had the satellite TV on the flight and I was able to catch a poker game on the airline TV. I think Phil Ivey (pictured) was playing somebody.

I don't know whether Ivey won or not. In fact, I think he might have been in a bit of trouble. I have no idea who won the TV poker game in the end, though, because they shut the TV off just before the plane landed. Anyway, thanks to the TV poker on the flight, my Vegas vacation got off to a nice early start.

While down in Las Vegas I went into Bally's casino and bought a poker magazine called Poker Pro, and I later bought a deck of cards. To be honest, I didn't do too much shopping down there. Now that I'm home I'm reading the book Cowboys Full, the story of poker, and beefing up my knowledge of the game, which is still not quite up to speed yet.

One thing I found out was that PartyPoker left the USA because the Republicans tacked on some anti-online poker measure to some piece of homeland security legislation. Now, I just found that appalling. What the heck was that all about? That struck me as some kind of dirty trick, tacking on some anti-poker measure. So much for the "land of the free." What kind of "freedom" is there if you have no freedom to play poker?!

Put me squarely in the pro-poker camp. I see the game as more of a "contest" than as gambling. Besides, there are a lot of tournaments going on these days, and people who enter those know going in what they are in for.

Anyway, I thought I would provide links to some of these poker websites and blogs that are out there, mainly because I am too lazy to link to them on the side blogroll.

Those looking for information about poker on TV can go to this blog here, Fifth Street Journal.
Listings for poker on TV can be found here. Also, there are a ton of videos at PokerTube. There are also some videos and links at PokerChannel Europe.com

Next, here's The Muck, the official blog of the World Poker Tour, and here is the WPT's Facebook page.
Here is the page for the World Series of Poker.
The European Poker Tour is here.
The site for Poker After Dark is right here. And High Stakes Poker is here.

For those interested in the hot women of poker, check out the Poker Hotties pages.
Lacey Jones' website is here. Also, here's an interview done with poker hostess Kimberly Lansing.
And I just have to link up with my favorite woman (Jan. 18 Update) -- new poker TV hostess and all-around "hot-fucking-babe," Joanna Krupa.
The PokerNews site can be found here.
PokerNewsDaily is here. 
The Hendon Mob are here.
Bluff Magazine's website can be found here.
The Canadian Poker Tour site can be found here.
The blog of C95 Saskatoon radio personality and poker player Rambling Dave can be found here.
Doyle Brunson's blog is here. Also, you can find Daniel Negreanu's poker journal here.

That's all for now. I want to catch up on my TV poker watching. Besides, there's nothing else on TV these days, it seems.

AVATAR ROLLS INTO 2010

First, my Reject Report on the continuing strength of Avatar: three weekends in a row at the top in North America and now over $1 billion worldwide.

And then, my 2009 Box Office Year in Review. While it's not yet official, I think we have a good clue about which movie is going to end up Number One for the year in a matter of days.

Enjoy, folks.

Friday, January 01, 2010

NHL WINTER CLASSIC IS BECOMING A NEW YEAR'S TRADITION

I have to say; as much as I like football I think the best thing that's happened to the NHL in the last few years is the move to hold the outdoor Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

By bringing the game of hockey to these storied old baseball stadiums and holding games outdoors, the NHL really is celebrating the history and the roots of the game -- a game which started outdoors on frozen ponds and which continues to be played on outdoor frozen ice surfaces by countless young players.

This year was Fenway Park's turn to host the Classic, and Boston took on Philadelphia there today with the Bruins winning 2-1. Wow, finally, the home team actually wins, and in overtime, too.

Rumor is that Washington may get the game next year, as the league continues to showcase its up and coming teams.

The best thing about these games is that these are not meaningless exhibition contests. These games count in the standings -- unlike certain bowl games going on. The Outback Bowl! The Insight Bowl! The Little Caesar's Bowl! The Meineke Car Care Bowl! The Who Cares Bowl!

Honestly, with all these corporations lending their names to these games, you have to conclude that the recession can't be all that bad down there.