Thursday, September 30, 2010

YABBA DABBA DOO!

Today is an important anniversary in TV. Yes, it was 50 years ago today that THE FLINTSTONES hit the air on ABC! It went on to six successful seasons on prime time television before Fred, Barney and the rest of the characters migrated to Saturday mornings and to endless reruns. In honor of the anniversary Google has done a Google Doodle featuring the Flintstones.

Here's a story on the Flintstones anniversary. Here's some Flintstones facts. Cartoon geek Mark Evanier also has his thoughts here. 

As an aside -- here's what Cartoon Brew had to say about a guy who died on this historic anniversary who happened to be a big part of The Flintstones as a guest character: Hollywood legend Tony Curtis (Stony Curtis).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LONE STAR BITES THE BULLET

The first TV cancellation of the new 2010-11 season is Lone Star. Fox, known to be a trigger-happy network, yanked the series after two episodes. The show about a con man was at death's door after a disasterous opening-night ratings performance last Monday at 9pm, getting creamed by Dancing With the Stars. That kind of says it all right there. Of course, any guys who might have tuned in were all watching football on the other channel, but never mind.

According to Entertainment Weekly, series creator Kyle Killen penned an open letter to people who liked the show, urging them to make sure they tuned in to the second show. No dice -- the show is now history. A lot of people who tuned in and liked the show are now upset and worried about the state of network television, and threatening repercussions for Fox for yanking the show.  

From the sounds of it, this show probably did deserve a better fate, but there was no way FOX could keep it around -- the numbers were so bad. Honestly, it just seems to me that network TV can't seem to find a way to do anything cutting-edge anymore and succeed with it. Cable networks not only are able to give such shows a chance to survive, but they are able to give these shows the creative freedom they need to be a hit, with censorship going by the wayside and so on. I think a show like this would have fared far better on a cable channel -- not only would it have been given time to survive, it might have turned into an even better show than it turned out to be and could have become a cult classic. Anyway, that's television, and that's life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER CALLS IT A DAY AS A DAILY, GOES WEEKLY ONLY

Found out not too long ago that the Hollywood Reporter is finally giving up being a daily trade newspaper for Hollywood. I don't think anyone is surprised that they are going to go the "glossy once-a-week magazine" route. I suppose there are people surprised that these folks are even bothering to stay in business at all --nobody seems to be reading any of the glossy weeklies, either, these days.

I wouldn't be surprised if Variety did the same thing pretty soon. The daily trades are just thin from the lack of advertising in any of them. Nobody's reading them, they're all reading Deadline Hollywood or The Wrap or Movieline or something else. I really think daily Hollywood newspapers are definitely on their last legs -- they're pretty much all going to end up going weekly and put the rest of their breaking news content on the Internet. I hope these guys at the Hollywood Reporter are able to survive in the new format, but times are definitely tough in this side of the business.

MONEY NEVER SLEEPS

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps made a lot of money at the box office this past weekend. First place, $19 million bucks. Not a bad showing at this time of year. Read more about it here.

ELMO IS GETTING INTO TOO MUCH TROUBLE

What the heck, Elmo? The lovable Sesame Street character is getting into way too much trouble. First there was this Katy Perry nonsense, and now apparently someone dressed up as Elmo has gotten into a fight.

Time to cool off, Elmo -- the Mike Tyson route is no way to go.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

TALKING ABOUT SPORTS

This is a time of year where I have a spring in my step. Why, you ask? Because it's football season, and I like following my favorite sport on the TV and radio.

Speaking of radio --- read a blurb some time ago that 1290 CFRW in Winnipeg will be switching format from oldies to all-sports. According to this blog post the big switch is going to happen tomorrow morning. I used to hear this station when I lived in Manitoba and am still able to hear their booming signal far away in frozen Saskatchewan.

This is the second time this station has gone all-sports; the first time was when they were part of the train-wreck TEAM sports radio network that collapsed not long after it began. I have to say, it's about time Winnipeg had an all-sports station, and it makes sense for CFRW to go all-sports because they already carry all the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball games during the baseball season. Some people are speculating that they want to be ready to grab the hockey rights when the Jets surely return to Winnipeg. Dream on, guys.

I hope in the long run this all-sports effort will have a lot of local programming, but I read that it's mainly going to be a bunch of syndicated ESPN stuff. Unfortunately, that won't be any different from what the market already gets. When I lived in Manitoba you got your sports-radio fix by tuning in to ESPN 710 from North Dakota, and they had all the ESPN programming. All this will do is put ESPN programming on a Winnipeg station with Winnipeg advertising. A big freaking improvement that will be for listeners there, folks, but at least Manitoba will get an all-sports station.   

The other question I have is: when the heck is Saskatchewan ever going to get an all-sports radio station? We folks here in Saskatchewan ALSO have to rely on ESPN 710 from North Dakota for all-sports -- because the AM stations here would all rather spin oldies or country and western music. It's either ESPN 710, or trying our luck picking up a nighttime signal from one of these bigger cities out of province, like Calgary or Edmonton.You would think all-sports would work here, in football country. These radio folks here need to get moving.

BLOODBATH OF TV EXECUTIVES

We saw a big bloodbath this week in TV land, and not from the usual cancellations and axings of TV series. No, instead we saw Jeff Zucker's much-deserved departure from NBC (under new Comcast ownership) as well as Jon Klein's departure from CNN.  

FINALLY, NBC's long national nightmare is over! Zucker's boot is much-deserved, of course, because of the ratings woes of the main network NBC, especially the boneheaded decision/debacle that was the Jay Leno 10pm prime time experiment that ended up sending Conan O'Brien packing from the network. Ratings have been in the sink over there for a long time. I know that a lot of people are saying the cable properties have done well under his watch: MSNBC in particular has really turned it around thanks to its big-mouthed political talk (Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann etc etc.). But his management of NBC has been nothing short of disasterous, and that's why he had to go. As a viewer, I'm glad, because I want to see NBC turn it around and return to its glory days when they used to put on the must-see shows.  

As for CNN, Jon Klein is gone because of terrible ratings, there's no doubt about it. Last place to Fox News and MSNBC is a sure fire way to be fired. A lot of people are surprised that he was booted before we saw the outcome of some of his new programming decisions that have been made -- replacing Campbell Brown with a talk show featuring Eliot Spitzer, replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan. Maybe there wasn't much confidence from on high that these moves would turn things around. His big mistake was in building up Anderson Cooper and thinking that hard-news could carry the day -- and of course, listening to comedian Jon Stewart's idiotic programming advice by booting Crossfire from the air.

I think CNN would have been far better off if they had gone with a mix of news and other programs, like they had back in their glory days. They didn't need to turn it all over to the opinionated talk-show hosts, but even I knew that you couldn't rely on non-stop hard news coverage of disasters and wars. Nothing but hard news is bound to depress the heck out of people, and it's a good way to send the information-minded viewers packing to the lively-debate shows on the other channels or to the business shows on CNBC. 

BIG NEWS: LINDSAY LOHAN IS STILL A FOOL (AND SO IS PARIS HILTON)

As you no doubt know by now Lindsay Lohan flunked her drug test and was sent back to jail. Last night, though, she was released on bail, so she remains in limbo until they determine what to do with her. Now the latest news is she is going into rehab. All in all, this continues to be a sad situation. Lohan really does need to turn her life around and get away from all these so-called "friends" of hers who are leading her to ruin. At the rate she is going, she'll end up dead sooner rather than later.

And Paris Hilton was busted for cocaine and is now persona non grata in Japan as a result. She's also had numerous incidents involving drug possession as well, including a stay in jail. All in all, I have to say I don't know what has gotten into these Hollywood people. They seem intent on getting involved in doing drugs and spending some quality time in the clink. I don't get it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

KATY PERRY NOT WELCOME ON SESAME STREET

I dunno about you, but I wonder about the United States sometimes. They are really uptight about a lot of things down there, particularly things they think might ruin the minds of the kids of America, so they end up banning a lot of things from TV. The problem is that the minds of the kids of America are ruined enough as it is without any of these uptight adults interfering. And the things these parents get excited about are trivial, to say the least. The latest brouhaha du jour is that Katy Perry has been banned from Sesame Street. Why? Because she is apparently too racy for the show.

The entire rest of the world is laughing at the USA over this one. I've seen the offending video for myself and to be totally honest with you I don't see how the sight of Katy Perry singing with Elmo would freak out a 5-year old. Katy is just being her usual self in the video, there's nothing wrong with it. If I were 5 years old and looking at this video, I'd think this was yet another musical celebrity on Sesame Street.

See the banned video for yourself below. Coming soon -- my Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton comments.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NEW JUDGES ANNOUNCED FOR AMERICAN IDOL

The big TV news this week -- apart from how all the new shows are doing -- is the announcement of the two new judges on American Idol: Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. From what we gather they aren't going to be as mean as the previous judges were before.

As if that is going to be any improvement! Personally, I think this is one more foot in the grave for this show in the wake of the mass departure of judges from last year, led by Simon Cowell (right). Ratings went down last season, and the infamous American Idol concert tour ended up cancelled because nobody would go see these lame-o acts that the show likes to promote anymore. I get the sense that a lot of folks out there are over Idol and ready to move on to the next big thing. I suspect that when X Factor comes to America that that show will be the hot show on TV, and Idol will be finished. In fact, I think that by leaving Idol behind, Simon Cowell is just going to up the anticipation for his return to TV on X Factor.

They may be paying a lot of money to Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, but those two are wasting their time. In fact, any viewers who still care about this show are wasting their energy, too. American Idol has had it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IGOR MAKES ITS MARK

I have once again been following all the hurricane news out there, particularly the news about the latest big one, Igor. I expected it to do a bit of damage -- but what I didn't expect was for it to hit Canada! Newfoundland is now cleaning up from the big mess left by this hurricane.

First Earl, now Igor. Canada is threatening to turn into Hurricane Alley.

Monday, September 20, 2010

PREMIERE WEEK BEGINS WITH HAWAII FIVE-O

Well, Premiere Week begins tonight on the TV networks in the USA with the launch -- or re-launch -- of Hawaii Five-O on CBS. The series looks like it will be a sure-fire hit, but whether it will be good is a different story.

Based on the pilot it looks like Grace Park will be spending the entire series in a bikini, so I think this series is already ridiculous for that reason alone.

Also, I dunno if I buy into Scott Caan as Danno -- I still can't picture him as a character other than that slimeball manager he played on Entourage.

In fact I find the whole series to be odd. This series looks way too much like what the original Hawaii Five-O would've looked like if it were produced in 2010. I dunno - sometimes the original needs to be left well enough alone. Really, what is CBS going to bring us next? A 2010 version of Bonanza?!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

LINKS TO SPORTS RANTS

It has been a very busy week for me, with meetings to attend every night all week. But I have managed to write some articles and blog posts that have appeared elsewhere, so I'll link to them here.

For my column on the Saskatchewan Roughriders and what they mean to the province, check it out here. Pretty timely column, given the return of all the other football going on right now.

Also, my thoughts on federal funding for stadiums and arenas can be found here -- also a big topic of late here in frozen Canada, where everyone and their dog wants a new stadium or arena.

I guess I could also talk about the new hurricanes, or the predictable end of the season for Entourage, but that will have to wait for another time. One of these days I'll find the time to post at this blog. It's pretty hard right now.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

WEEKENDS BELONG TO THE NFL AGAIN!

Something worth cheering about.

Pictured:  Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Amy Reese. Yes, this is another excuse to put a picture of a cute cheerleader up on this blog.

Friday, September 10, 2010

TIFF 2010 IS HERE

The big news of the hour is that my Cairns on Cinema movie column is now up, where I run down the movie scene here in the month of September. The bad news is it's a slow time at the multiplex. The good news is that the month is loaded with film festivals, including ones in Venice and Toronto!  

Here are a few links to sites with all the Toronto International Film Festival news.

We have CTV, CP24Citytv, Global's ET blog, CBC, and the inMovies site, which runs some press conferences live. We also have the usual suspects like Hollywood Reporter and Jeffrey Wells' site.

The National Post has live coverage of TIFF here. Also, the Post hit the party scene with two adorable Playmates. Seems to me this film festival is getting to be a little downmarket.

Also, the Royal York was on strike and Martin Sheen was there on the picket line with the picketers. I suppose this is the biggest news of the day -- that and the fact that the Bell Lightbox is opening this year. More TIFF news as it happens.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

POST-LABOUR DAY NEWS FROM NOWHERE

I don't have much to say today, really. Watched football and the Jerry Lewis Telethon on Monday, Labour Day, as usual.

I dunno about you, but I got the impression that maybe this year could be it for Jerry hosting the telethon. He was MIA for a good portion of the afternoon and only showed up for the last hour or so. Also, he was really emotional at the end of the show, more than he usually is. I always wonder every year, watching the telethon, whether Jerry will still be alive to see the next one because of all the health problems he seems to have, but this year I was left really wondering. 

I noticed Calgary blew out Edmonton 52-5 in the CFL. That is just atrocious. Richie Hall should just quit as coach, his team is so bad they all might as well pack it in and go home.

In other news, two of Australia's independents announced in the past 24 hours they would vote to keep Labor in power after that razor-thin election they had. And New Zealand is recovering from a big earthquake Friday.

This past weekend, audiences took a machete to Machete, giving the box office win to George Clooney and The American.  

Kara DioGuardi is the latest judge to bail from the sinking ship that is American Idol. Some rumors say she was forced out.

I have written up a movie column wrapping up the summer box office and looking ahead to September. I will post a link to that once it goes up. As well, the Toronto International Film Festival commences later this week and you can read more about what is happening here. The opening movie Thursday will be Score: A Hockey Musical. That is it for now.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

EARL

So anyway I noticed Hurricane Earl went up to New England but didn't scare up as much damage as feared, but then went up to Nova Scotia and actually made a mess of things there. One person was killed, in fact, drowning in the water. I gotta say, Canadians need to take hurricanes seriously -- whenever a hurricane hits the USA, Americans freak out, but here in Canada we figure it won't be so bad when it hits because it will have blown itself out.

Earl ranks as our big exciting hurricane so far in 2010. That has really been the only news I have been following this Labour Day weekend -- or as they spell it in the USA, Labor Day.