Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MEN ARE REALLY BEHAVING BADLY THESE DAYS

News update: men are still pigs. (Pictured: a pig.)

Worse yet, it's getting violent.
Steven Seagal accused of all kinds of terrible things in a sex lawsuit a few weeks back.
Tito Ortiz accused of treating Jenna Jameson like one of his UFC opponents. Not fair to treat the ladies like that.
Also, a Survivor star I never heard of is accused of beating a woman up.
And Jesse James' wife has had it and finally filed for divorce. Hey, Sandra, what took you so long?

Really, have these guys lost their minds? They are giving all guys a bad name. And comparing men to pigs is starting to be an insult to pigs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

IT'S BEEN BUSY

Well, it has been slow going here at the blog lately, mainly because I have been working hard the last several days. I was at meetings three straight days last week, then I was doing my taxes (still not done), and tonight I was at a big political meeting. It was the nomination meeting for the Sask. Party in the Battlefords. I must be getting soft in my old age, but it just didn't live up to all my own hype about it. It's like the movie you really, really look forward to going to see, and then you go there and it turns out to be less than what you thought it'd be.

Maybe my main problem is I've been around too many big-time political events for my own good, and that has spoiled me for all time. Anyway, the vote tonight was definitely one-sided.

I was also down in Regina a couple of weekends ago for a big newspaper convention. That trip was livened up by a visit to Casino Regina, probably the finest casino in the province of Saskatchewan, where I provided a generous donation to the betterment of our local First Nations peoples. It would have been larger, except the darned slot machine just didn't want to take all my money.

Anyhow, that was another weekend where I didn't show up here to do any posting. The bottom line is I have been too busy for my own good the last several days, and not busy enough showing my face here. I promise, that will change. Eventually.

Friday, April 23, 2010

END OF AN ERA

I have signed off as the columnist for the Reject Report.

I hate to give it up, but the last few months at work have forced my hand on this one. The commitments at my news job were just getting to be too much, and it was getting to the point where I was always feeling wiped out by the time Thursday rolled around. Something had to go, so this was it.

I want to thank Neil, Cole, and the rest of the folks over there for allowing me to rant and rave about the movie box office over there for the past three years. For those of you who regularly followed my rants over there, well, you can still follow me right here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NFL DRAFT NIGHT APPARENTLY NOT A BIG DEAL IN FROZEN CANADA

So, I was hoping to tune in to ESPN's coverage of the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall, which of course is supposed to be shown  by TSN. As you know, Canada is also a big football nation, especially around where I live, so you would think we would get complete uninterrupted ESPN coverage on at least one main channel.

Well, here's what happened. I tune in to TSN and instead of getting the draft coverage, I get the NHL playoff game between Philadelphia and New Jersey, which no one outside Philadelphia or New Jersey cares about. Then I tune in to TSN2 which fortunately has the draft. BUT... then they break away as soon as the Chicago-Nashville playoff game starts in Nashville. So the result is we folks in frozen Canada get NO ESPN draft coverage at all -- at least, until the Philly-New Jersey game ended, and they moved the Chicago-Nashville game to TSN1. Which still meant the ESPN draft coverage was stuck on TSN2..

So the bottom line is we got stuck with no NFL Draft coverage from ESPN at all during the time when these two NHL Playoff games were running. So instead of ESPN analysis I have to rely on the NFL Network for draft coverage on one of the biggest nights for the NFL. In short, football fans in Canada got total second-class treatment from TSN tonight. It was all hockey all the time over there. 

I just wanted to say my own piece about what happened on TV tonight because, believe me, when my favorite sport gets shafted like this I get angry. I know the NHL is important to people in this country, but think of it. There were probably more sports fans in New Jersey who were interested in what the Giants and Jets would do in the NFL Draft across the river than in what the Devils did on the ice. More people in Chicago and Nashville probably cared about the draft, too.  Yet we here in Canada get stuck with two hockey games -- both of them totally lame-o -- instead of the NFL Draft, which only happens once a year.

All I have to say is I'm revolted. It's days like this where I want to just chuck cable TV, because cable TV in this country drives me up the wall.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

DON'T YOU WISH THAT YOU TOOK THE CAR?

It's amazing all the chaos caused by one volcano in Iceland.

Air travel cancellations continue to mount, although it appears there may be a letup in a day or so. But you never know. Needless to say, this has been a big help to the world economy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

IT AIN'T SO EASY TO MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK, HUH, LARRY?

Oh, boy. Life is bad for the lovebirds among us.

First, the depressing news that Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey have split, followed by the downright comical news of yet another divorce filing involving Larry King. He and his wife Shawn Southwick have filed for divorce.

This would be Larry's eighth divorce. Some guys just ain't cut out for married life.
There are some wild and crazy rumors about what might have caused the breakup, and given the craziness we are seeing from the likes of Tiger Woods, Jesse James, Charlie Sheen and other guys these days, people are probably inclined to believe the worst, but the truth is this latest King marriage has been on the rocks for a long, long time. I think the real story might actually be less sensational than all these stories we're seeing. Half the stuff we're hearing about these guys-gone-wild are true and the other half seems to be conjecture and totally-made-up.   

Speaking of Tiger Woods -- when the heck is his divorce happening? People have been doing the "Elin is filing for divorce and going back to Sweden" story again for the umpteenth month in a row, in the wake of his sucky, sore-loser defeat at the Masters last weekend.

Monday, April 12, 2010

CONAN O'BRIEN SIGNS WITH TBS!

TO HELL WITH FOX'S F***ING AFFILIATES

Well, the Late Shift has happened. To cable.

Conan O'Brien today signed the deal to put him on at the 11pm timeslot on TBS, bumping George Lopez to the next hour. Apparently it was George's own stamp of approval with the whole arrangement that was key to getting the deal done -- George phoned Conan personally to give it his blessing.

So Conan goes to TBS, which shocks a lot of people who thought a deal with FOX was all but wrapped up.

But we should have known from that report a couple of weeks back where O'Brien's manager Gavin Polone was telling the press that he didn't know where the stories were coming from about a deal with FOX being done -- that things were far from settled. Anyway, here's what Nikki Finke had to say about the negotiations. She seemed to imply this was the game plan all along, to go to cable. I don't know how much truth there is to that; I think he would have jumped to a network if he could have.

My sense is that Conan probably would have gone to FOX, but FOX dropped the ball in their dealings with him. Who's to blame for this? Why, the usual suspects: these FOX affiliates who were waffling on carrying his show!

These bloody affiliates were still wanting to call the shots and schedule lucrative sitcom reruns in time slots that would have been perfect for Conan's show. Of course, it was the affiliates who caused Conan to be canned by NBC to begin with, because they were the ones demanding Jay Leno's removal from prime time!

I think what had to have been lurking at the back of the minds of Team Conan was the possibility that Conan might get network clearance initially, but that the affiliates would turn on Conan and put the sitcoms back on in his place if the ratings weren't what they hoped for initially. I don't think Conan's people trusted the affiliated stations anymore or had any confidence these local stations would be in their corner if times got rough again. Look what happened when the going got rough at NBC: these affiliates were absolutely the ones who helped throw Conan overboard! The NBC affiliates were responsible for getting him knifed; the FOX affiliates could easily do the same thing in the future.

I would not be surprised one bit if Conan's people were fed up with these f***ing local stations and had the attitude of "f*** the affiliates! We'll go to cable and do our own thing."

Another thing about this TBS deal is that Conan will own his show, much the same way Johnny Carson owned his. But I think the key in this deal is that by going to cable, which is known for looser censorship and more creative freedom than at the networks, Conan will be free to be himself once again. No more trying to be the King of Late Night -- he tried that routine for seven lousy months at NBC. Now Conan can stop tailoring his humor to these morons in middle America who have no taste in comedy, and he can go back to being a wild and crazy cult comedian playing to the only audience that counts: his fanatics.

I think we'll end up with a better show as a result of it. Really, do you want to see yet another watered-down Conan network TV effort? No! At the Tonight Show, Conan got good only by the very end, when he was free to be the rebel trashing the powers at be at NBC. And by going to cable, Conan can keep on being a rebel and help bring network television to its knees.

All I gotta say is that this is yet another instance of network television dropping the ball yet again, losing another quality piece of programming to cable television. All the best shows on TV already seem to be on cable anyway, and now so is Conan O'Brien. The man too funny to be allowed on television is now, officially, too funny for network television.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

TAILING THE TIGER AT AUGUSTA

Well, all that anyone cared about this week was Tiger Woods and the Masters, it seemed.

There was the big coverage of Tiger's big press conference announcing his return. There was the coverage of his opening tee. There was the coverage of that creepy Nike commercial featuring Tiger's dad. And then all weekend it has been all Tiger all the time on the news. It's almost been as if there are no other golfers these news people felt were worthy of coverage. The hourly updates on TV were all about Tiger. "Tiger lurking in the woods just two back!" "Tiger in the hunt!" And so on. And what's interesting is the tone they would take when reporting that Tiger was trailing -- it was always with a tone that he stood a chance to come back and win. Watch out for Tiger, they were saying.

And eventually they would get around to telling you who was actually leading, which, by the end, turned out to be Phil Mickelson, who won the whole darn thing today. Talk about the ultimate Hollywood ending.

You know, the contrast between Tiger and Phil could not have been more stark. Here was Tiger, coming back after taking time off to save the marriage he just about ruined by running around with a harem of other women. And here's Phil who, people may forget, had to take some time away from golf himself last year. The reason: because he needed to be there to support his wife who was suffering from breast cancer. In fact, his mother is also fighting breast cancer and Phil wore a pink ribbon on his golf hat to honor their struggles.

His wife was there at the Masters today to watch his great victory, so it was all tears of joy and emotion today for the Mickelsons. One big happy family.

A much better ending than if a guy named after a certain feline member of the animal kingdom had won.

You know, maybe it was poetic that this is the way it ended: with Phil winning one for his happy wife and his family, while Tiger is left complaining about his own golf game during the interviews on TV while Elin was nowhere to be seen.

It may have made for good copy if Tiger was able to complete his comeback with a day-four comeback, but seeing him lose out to Mickelson was just deserts, and for the Masters organization it was exactly the kind of ending they would have hoped for. Family values beats out non-family values at the Masters.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

ANOTHER QUAKE! THIS TIME IT'S INDONESIA

What is going on with all these earthquakes?! Now it's Indonesia getting hit, a 7.7. That's not good, folks. This is just days after that Mexico quake.

Something's going on underneath the ground, folks. I worry it's only a matter of time before California becomes the next place getting hit with "The Big One". If I were in the Golden State I'd seriously think of packing up and hitting the road.

Monday, April 05, 2010

YET ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE

So a big quake hit northern Mexico on the weekend and was strong enough to shake up things in southern California. I dunno about you but if I were living in southern California or an earthquake zone I'd be pretty concerned with all these big earthquakes happening all at once around the planet. I worry that there's something going on with all these plates around the world, and that it is putting stress on all these faults like these ones on the West Coast. People in California are worrying again about the Big One and I think they are right to be nervous.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

EASTER NEWS FROM NOWHERE

Well, I am spending Easter night, and the last day of my vacation, watching The Celebrity Apprentice. Man, what a boring, slow-moving show it is, an absolute timewaster. The show's not over, but if Governor Rod Blagojevich doesn't get the boot I would be very surprised.  I don't know why Donald Trump still bothers with this show. You used to tune in to The Apprentice to learn how to get ahead in business, but now all you're doing is watching incompetent people screw up.
Anyway, it's getting boring over there. More interesting, though, are beach photos of Trump's hottie ex-wife Marla Maples wearing a bikini. Now that is what I call a woman.
In other television news: there are rumors flying that Charlie Sheen is definitely going to leave Two and a Half Men. Well, that sucks. That show is definitely over now if he's left. At least, I hope it's over -- I don't want to see any phony replacement actor taking Sheen's part.

ABC News is on a bit of a firing spree at the moment as you know, and business reporter Betsy Stark is the latest of several reporters to get the knife.
In other TV business news news, former CNBC correspondent and Apprentice runner-up Rebecca Jarvis (right) has officially joined CBS News.
In entertainment news John Forsythe of Dynasty and Charlie's Angels fame died last week at age 92.
Strange news of the week: the ex of Olivia Newton-John has been found alive.

Clash of the Titans had a $61 million opening weekend --  for the fifth weekend in a row the top domestic box office movie is in 3-D.

And in a surprising NCAA championship final it will be Duke versus Butler Monday night. Butler?! Yes, Butler. I hope they win, it would be a great story, but I worry it will be a blowout.

Finally, the Apprentice show is over and all that is left to say is simply: Rod, you're fired.

I saw that coming a mile away. That's all for now.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A BOX OFFICE CLASH OF THE TITANS THIS WEEKEND

We'll have full estimates tomorrow but here is what I had to say in my weekly box office column about Clash of the Titans and these other movies. Needless to say I wasn't impressed with Clash's tacked-on 3-D.

ON THE RATINGS WOES OF CNN

Well, I found an article on the Web about CNN and about the ratings problems it has been having lately. Seems the ratings have been taking a bath with the current prime-time lineup and the focus on covering all the world's disasters, uh, I mean news.

Personally, I think it's inevitable the ratings are down given the subject matter of the stories lately. The folks at CNN like to concentrate on the big international stories, but in recent months those have consisted mainly of covering earthquakes and other misery. There's so much you can take of the Haiti coverage. In fact, I've actually avoided watching any of the Haiti coverage over the past months because I just find the situation there to be just too depressing and hopeless.

Ratings were a lot better at CNN during 2008 because of the election coverage during the long and contested primary season. This year, though, CNN has mainly concentrated on covering earthquakes, and the political people have all migrated to MSNBC and Fox News because that's where all the politics and lively debate is happening these days.
I'll say this for these talking heads on MSNBC and Fox News Channel: at least they're entertaining. I'd rather watch these hosts get angry, and make myself angry, as opposed to watching CNN and get all depressed over world events. 
So anyway, CNN is in a slide, but there are some solutions. Among the programming suggestions in that article I linked to: BRING BACK CROSSFIRE!

I have to say, that is the first good suggestion I've seen for CNN in a long time. I never understood why they got rid of the show in the first place. As far as I know, they killed it because Jon Stewart declared it to be a terrible show. CNN then cancelled it based on one man's opinion, even though people were still watching it and the show's format still had plenty of life left. Jon Stewart may have hated the show, but political people liked the lively debate and the focus on political issues. 

CNN has gone straight downhill in the ratings ever since Crossfire was cancelled. In fact, that's one of the main problems over there -- they got rid of too many of their long-standing shows, particularly their political ones. (The Capital Gang is another old CNN show I miss.) Their business coverage has also gone downhill --- they lost Lou Dobbs when he quit last year, and their long-running business shows were cancelled a while ago.

But then again, Lou Dobbs was more of a political talking head by the time he left, too. So really, the reason CNN is getting killed is because the people want to tune into talking heads, and they aren't getting that from CNN. Instead, they're just getting news, and the world news these days can be pretty depressing.

As far as I'm concerned, talking heads are the solution to CNN's problems. If I were in programming at CNN the first thing I'd do is bring back their political shows. These political talkers and pundits may make people angry, but it's better for the ratings if the audience is angry and riled up.