Saturday, April 22, 2006

Short Takes - April 22, 2006

Some interesting tidbits from the world of TV. On a personal note, the Powell River Regals will be playing the Whitby Dunlops tonight for the Allan Cup which is the Canadian Senior AAA hockey championship tonight. One of the associate coaches for the Regals is my cousin Larry Cole, so a big shout out to La (although I'm sure he'll never see this) and best of luck to the Powle River Regals.

Fox to put most of its content online and affiliates like it: While Fox might be the last of the major networks to make their content online, they are going to be putting a higher percentage of it up than the other networks. Fox will have 60% of its content available for downloads this year and expects to have it all up by 2008. Apparently the networks are restricted in what they can put online by agreements with their affiliates. This restricts the amount that ABC (for example) can make available to 25%. The Fox deal gives the affiliates 12.5% of the revenue from downloads as compensation and in the future will allow affiliates to have content available for download from their own websites

Possible surprise renewals: There's a rumour out there that Scrubs will be renewed and that 7th Heaven will be one of the shows that survives the impending WB-UPN merger. This is despite the fact that The WB is promoting the next four episodes as the "last four episodes of 7th Heaven. This comes from TV Guide's Michael Ausiello although other sources - like the Hollywood Reporter's Ray Richmond - are unwilling to confirm the Scrubs announcement. As far as Scrubs goes it could be a good fit back in it's old Thursday time slot where NBC is losing Will & Grace and (I hope to all that is holy) Joey. On the other hand Ausiello is the only one with anything to say about 7th Heaven. I realize that the hip young froodlets (an expression someone I used to know used) hate the show, but the fact is that the show draws the highest ratings of any show on either The WB or UPN and (I say this with considerable trepidation since I know the anger it will bring from a lot of people) it consistently drew better ratings than Arrested Development when that show was on Monday nights. Obviously if The CW can possibly retain the show in its line up they'd be fools not to.

NBC wants Mike Wallace - in other news end of world approaches: I wouldn't mention this since the original report came from the New York Post's infamous Page Six column, and even before the recent revelations about the columnist taking payola for favourable stories I wouldn't wrap fish in the New York Post for fear of contaminating the fish, but the man himself has confirmed that NBC would very much like to have 88 year-old Mike Wallace in their news department doing whatever he wants to do for them. According to TVNewser "Mike Wallace confirms that NBC News execs have "been talking with me off-and-on for some time about coming over there." But "at the moment, I want to stay where I am," the veteran CBS newsman tells the AP. Wallace tells David Bauder that NBC has "suggested to me if I might be interested that they would very much like me to come over. [But] I'm not having serious talks with them." Wallace has been a fixture at CBS most notable spending 37 years as a correspondent on 60 Minutes where he is credited with developing "ambush journalism." His son Chris Wallace started with NBC, where he spend 14 years before going over to ABC for another 14 years before joining Fox News in 2003.

Cartoons going out of Cartoon Network - what else is new: Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew has been making several comments about Cartoon Network's recent efforts to stop actually showing animation at all. The first announced the network's decision to start production on an original live action series and was followed by a post on the network's decision to pick up reruns of Saved By The Bell. Finally there was a post about the feelings of people working for Cartoon Network and possible reasons for the change. I can remember when Ted Turner started Cartoon Network as a place to run all of those Fleischer, MGM, and Warner Brothers cartoons he had in his inventory so that they weren't cluttering up the early mornings on TBS. Now it's just about impossible to see them on TV. They've been pulled out of syndication on local channels and Cartoon Network seems more interested in original productions. Boomerang was supposed to become the new home to classic animation but all I ever see there (on those rare occasions when I get a chance to see the channel) are Hanna-Barbera series from the '60s, '70s and '80s and reruns of stuff that Cartoon Network made for themselves like Dexter's Laboratory or 2 Stupid Dogs. Still I can't see why anyone would be surprised that an American network would change like that. Unless you find Dog The Bounty Hunter entertaining, the Arts & Entertainment Network has long since ceased to be either artistic or entertaining, and we all know how far TLC has come from being The Learning Channel; Tuckerville with the disgusting Tanya Tucker and her brood are objective proof of that (I can remember when she was a sweet teen sensation who was determined to earn a horse from some fan by not smoking or drinking until she turned 18 or 21 or something - what a change). In Canada the CRTC makes if very difficult for a cable network to change it's focus radically without jumping through a lot of licensing hoops - it's one reason why the new MTV Canada doesn't show music videos (still operating under the TalkTV license) and why G4TechTV in Canada actually shows programs about technology and computers instead of reruns of The Man Show and every Star Trek ever made (they're licensed as an informational channel). In the United States, such licensing restrictions - if they exist at all - are extremely lax. So while I doubt we'll ever see the Cartoon Network without cartoons it wouldn't be impossible either and there's very little that anyone can do about it.

NBC pulls Celebrity Cooking Showdown - no one notices: NBC's initially decided to pull the last two episodes of Celebrity Cooking Showdown or whatever it was called and first make it exclusive to the Internet. Then they decided to bury the final two shows on Saturday, thereby eliminating the audience participation portion of the thing entirely. Of course based on the ratings the network was probably worried that there wouldn't be any calls to decide a winner.

CNBC irritates a Canadian - ME!: You all know I'm a big Poker fan but for a variety of reasons I missed the first round of NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Tournament. No worries though, the episode would be repeated on CNBC on Friday night. In fact CNBC was where I first saw the first season last year. Come Friday and no Poker!!! Instead there was a CNBC World show about business in the Middle East. Trump's pal Donnie Deutsch we get, but something that people actually might want to watch can't be shown in Canada. Sigh!

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