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Sun TV News

March 9, 2011 @ 07:57

It's a done deal. Sun TV News will go to air on April 18th and I can't wait.

It's not the actual channel I'm anxious for, I'm more looking forward to the reaction from you know who. Since plans for the channel were announced back in June it' been quite entertaining to watch and listen to the opponents.

There have been thousands of interventions against the channel and one group actually went to the CRTC demanding that "Fox News North" be stopped.

Imagine that, people thinking that they should have a say in what you and I watch. They don't have right leaning beliefs, so nobody else should. It really is amusing.

It boils down to this; they don't think you and I should have a choice. We shouldn't be able to watch a channel that they don't like, even though they haven't even seen what they don't like.

Listen, Sun TV News might be the biggest pile of garbage that was ever inflicted upon the public, but we should still have the opportunity to make that decision. To think that there are some that would prevent this basic right is frightening.

It doesn't mean much to a lot of you, but there's a message board that's quite popular amongst the radio crowd and there are some big opponents of Sun TV News, problem is, none of the opponents really offer any solid arguments against why Canadians shouldn't have this choice.

There just seems to be a lot of sniping against Stephen Harper, Conservatives and right wing people being stupid and not being capable of making proper judgments based on what they see.

Anyway, I'm going to extend an invitation to a couple of the people who frequent the message board. I'm going to ask them to explain why Sun TV News is such a threat and why having a right leaning TV channel is something we should be saved from.

I hope they respond in a positive manner. So you can compare their beliefs to mine, and then make a choice.

Category: Television

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I'm A Big Sucker

October 29, 2010 @ 07:10

I did it again last night. For about the sixth time in the past three years I ordered Leafs TV.

It's actually cheap therapy for me. It's one way that I can strike back at the Leafs when they piss me off, and that's happened a few times over the past couple of years.

The season starts and I order Leafs TV. The Leafs start to blow, so I cancel Leafs TV. They usually have a mid-season resurgence, so I re-order Leafs TV. However by the end of the season I'm usually pissed off again so I go into a tirade about the entire organization and cancel Leafs TV as a protest.

Several people have said to me, what's the big deal? It's only five bucks a month, why cancel it?

It's the principle people. It's one way I can control cash flow to the MLSE. Granted, it's an insignificant amount of money, but I love the power of picking up the phone and dialing Shaw Direct and cutting off the five bucks that some way might contribute to this mess.

It's interesting; when Leafs TV first started in 2001 I think it was 99 cents a month. Nine years later it's 4.99 a month, and this represents something else that bugs me. A 500 percent increase in nine years.

Leave it to MLSE to come up with that.

Last night was the usual scenario. It's early in the season, the Leafs are doing OK, they just came off a victory over Florida, it was a Thursday night with nothing else to do, I was in my apartment and the Leafs were in Boston. I flipped on the tube only to find the game was on Leafs TV.

I picked up the phone and made the call.

Crazy shit. By the end of the second period, although the Leafs were actually playing pretty well, I started to get buyers remorse.

It's becoming abundantly clear that this team has a pop-gun offence that is going to be a significant issue this year. They're going to have a big problem scoring goals and excuse me if I say so, but watching the home team score goals is one of the things that attracts me to the game.

It's going to be a wild and crazy month. Once you commit to Leafs TV you're on the hook for at least 30 days or until the next billing period. So we'll see what happens.

I happen to think that on top of their various other problems, the Leafs have a serious coaching problem. If this continues I'll pick up the phone at the end of November, I'll call Shaw Direct, I'll unload on the poor person who answers the phone, and once again I'll end my association with Leafs TV.

And that will be five less bucks the Leafs can pay Ron Wilson.

Category: Sports | Television

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James Duthie

March 4, 2010 @ 17:00

In a posting from yesterday I mentioned the Torch Catastrophe orchestrated by CTV Globemedia.

They arranged for several of their personalities to jump the line and carry the Olympic torch ahead of deserving athletes and citizens who entered a contest in good faith.

I think it was downright shameful and if I'd been given the same advantage I wouldn't have taken it.

Unfortunately, among those CTVers who carried the torch was TSN's James Duthie who I have the utmost respect for. I still do, even though he made the tragic error of carrying that bloody torch.

To me, James Duthie represents the new breed of broadcaster who provides a great balance of knowledge, ability and humour. Yea, humour, it's important. The days of the tired old talking head is over and that was proved somewhat during Sunday's closing ceremonies.

Rather than have Brian Williams host the closing ceremonies, CTV opted for Duthie and it was a refreshing change.

Listen, I like Brian Williams. I've met him, he's a gracious gentleman and I have immense respect for his broadcasting history and what he's accomplished. He makes me look like a third year Humber student.

However by 2010 standards it's time for CTV to switch to somebody like Duthie.

Several times during the Vancouver games I found myself comparing Williams and Duthie and really, there was no comparison. Duthie brings way more to table than Williams.

The days of the authoritative fatherly type walking us through the games are gone. Television is supposed to be fun and entertaining and Duthie's wit, irreverence and easy style trump Williams old fashioned over annunciation every step of the way.

Apparently, part of the reason Williams jumped from CBC to CTV is because the latter won the rights to the 2010 and 2012 games. He wanted to host them.

Oh oh.

If the big brains at CTV are on top of their game they will make the switch sooner than later. Let Duthie host the prime time stuff and give a lesser shift to Williams.

It would seem obvious, but then again, these are the same people that insist on ramming the infuriating Ben Mulroney down our throats.

Category: Sports | Television

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More Of The Same

September 25, 2009 @ 12:56

It's a funny little country in which we live, and that's been highlighted by the decision by CBC Television to replace the unfunny Royal Canadian Air Farce with the unfunny Ron James.

Yes, comedy is subjective and one man's giggle is another man's wriggle but I just don't understand this move. There's got to be tons of young, intelligent and relevant comics in this country who would be better suited a prime Friday night slot on CBC, but it goes to Ron James.

Let me get back to the one man's giggle is another wriggle. Have you ever sat there and watched a comedian and he or she was so unfunny that it made you uncomfortable in your seat and you start to shift or wriggle? Meanwhile the person beside you is shitting their pants? That's what I mean.

I know Ron James. I've met him several times over the years and he's a wonderful person. Warm, compassionate and genuine, but I'm sorry when the man steps onto a stage he loses me.

I've tried. Oh yes I've tried. Leading into his show that premieres tonight at eight o'clock, the CBC has run five of his previous "specials" and I've attempted to watch at least three of them. Yikes.

When I can actually understand his signature "east coast banter" I don't find it the least bit funny. He prances back and forth across the stage making sounds and gestures that have his live audience in side splitting funny pain. But I receive it like a boot to the balls.

Listen, I don't have any names or examples, but as a guy who likes to laugh, someone who's actually been paid to make people laugh, and someone who prides himself in having a pretty good idea of what's funny, I've got to believe there are a lot of other people in this country more worthy of a CBC show than Ron James.

But that's the corp for ya. That's Canada for ya. The Air Farce lasted for a couple of decades without being funny, why not Ron James?

Category: Television

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Humble And Dan

June 12, 2009 @ 08:25

This weekend in the west -end of Toronto my son Danny will be working with Humble Howard on Man-Up, a TV series that Humble helped develop and hosts.

My boy is a technical whiz, who like so many others right now, was caught in the crunch of graduating from college just when the recession and cut-backs hit.

But there's work with Redfish Entertainment right now and Howard made the connection, so it's the passing of the baton.

Humble and Fred becomes Humble and Dan.

Category: Family | Television

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The Sports Zone 1988

June 8, 2009 @ 21:03

Hey Freddie, I was checkin' out your site and came across your posting about the Sports Zone. I remember that show, and I loved it.

You did some whacky shit on that show but I'll always remember the night you did a neat bit with your son Danny about playing hockey. I had met him with you at a baseball game the summer before.

Ever thought of doing another show like that?

Larry P.

Hi Larry.

I've thought about doing several things, the problem is getting them off the ground. But here's that bit you mentioned. It was the fall of 1988.

Category: Family | Television

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Most Excellent Blooper

April 17, 2009 @ 15:54

Once on the Humble and Fred Show I said "shit" by mistake... that's nothing compared to what happened on Sportsnet last night.

Category: Television

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Goodbye With No Hello

April 12, 2009 @ 09:51

Perusing the papers this morning it was brought to my attention that tomorrow night marks the final episode of Corner Gas.

Corner Gas is the gem of a sit-com created for CTV by comedian Brent Butt. By Canadian standards it was a smash hit for the six seasons it ran and the world wide syndication possibilities will definitely make Butt a rich man.

The show wasn't cancelled, it was Butt's decision to end it.

Good on him. He created a monster that obviously struck a cord with millions of people across North America and it has set a new standard for Canadian television, but I've got to be honest, it didn't include me.

I tried. I tried on several occasions to watch Corner Gas but I could never get through an entire episode.

It had its moments, and I could appreciate how pockets of this country could embrace this show, much like Peterborough inexplicably sells out for three consecutive nights of Ron James, but Corner Gas never did it for me.

It was the pacing. Very slow. I guess I'm too impatient or fidgety or whatever you want to call it, but I've given it five or ten minutes several times and then find myself thinking about something else while I was watching it.

It never grabbed me.

And I'm not necessarily blaming the show. I wish I was one of those people that could make myself sit and learn to like something that is extremely popular with the masses, but I can't, especially TV shows because I don't feel I owe them anything.

So that's it, tomorrow CTV will make a huge deal of the final episode of Corner Gas.

The cast will appear on Canada AM, then endure a few moments with Ben Mulroney on e-Talk and then the finale will air on the Comedy Network, CTV and what's left of the "A" channels.

Good job people.

Category: Television

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She's A Darlin'

February 26, 2009 @ 08:19

If you've been a follower of this blog for any length of time you know that before wrestling control of the Corus Radio Empire in Peterborough, I was a frequent guest on "CH Live @ 5:30" with Donna Skelly and Mark Hebscher.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing the show because it was wide open. I was never given any boundaries and it was fun to bang heads with Donna, Mark and whoever "the other" guest was.

There was something about doing "Live @ 5:30" that put me in a comfort zone that always left me wanting more, in fact in the back of my mind I was constantly thinking of ways I could unseat Hebscher and thus become the permanent co-host of "Live @ 5:30" with the delectable Donna.

Unfortunately for me, head transplants are not yet possible, so Hebshcer was safe.

Meanwhile, it appears that if something doesn't happen quickly, nobody will be hosting "Live @ 5:30" because CHCH won't exist.

During my frequent visits to the station over a two year period I got a weird vibe in the halls. Canwest was pulling all kinds of weird moves and it was making the staff feel uneasy.

The company is in dire financial straights and part of their recent repositioning strategy was to put CHCH up for sale, a wonderful TV station with a fabulous history of community service and local programming.

Something Canwest never seemed to respect.

Since buying the station a few years ago they've ripped it to shreds, and word is, if they can't find a buyer soon the station could shut down within weeks robbing Hamilton of what is rightfully theirs.

However, Donna Skelly has come up with an idea to save CHCH while keeping it out of corporate hands.

It's ambitious and there will be a few mountains to climb, but you've got to give the woman credit for taking action.

Yup, she's a darlin'

The Hamilton Spectator
(Feb 26, 2009)
CHCH staff members are proposing a new plan for their troubled station that would allow it to be owned and controlled by community members.

Donna Skelly, the station's former union chair and co-host of Live at 5:30, is spearheading a group of 100 CHCH staff members who are approaching the CRTC with their community-based business model.

If successful, the TV station would use a governing structure similar to a hospital. Rather than being operated by a large media company, CHCH would be governed by a board of directors made up of community leaders.

Canwest, CHCH's current parent company, has put the station on the market in light of Canwest's dire financial situation. If a buyer does not step forward, the station could be shut down within weeks.

"We can't wait for this. We have to intervene," Skelly said of the group's decision to take action.

Skelly says the station is a perfect candidate for a new annual CRTC funding program designated for local news that would allow the group to go ahead with its plan.

The funding, which amounts to $40 million for English programming, is generated by a 50-cent per subscriber fee from cable providers.

The recipients of the CRTC funding will be determined in April, Skelly said.

"We believe that we are the primary candidates for this fund. We are the only station in this market. We need this funding to survive."

Along with the CRTC funding, the station would also need to raise $500,000 from the community to go ahead with the plan.

The new model would also allow for local businesses to purchase advertising at a greatly reduced rate. Currently, CH's ads are priced out of the market for most local organizations, Skelly said.

The station would provide mostly local news, Skelly said, and no American programming.

Category: Television

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You're Damn Right It's A Farce

December 30, 2008 @ 08:50

Let me preface this entry by saying that I realize taste is subjective and one man's love is another man's misery.

And to take it one step further, for many years I was part of a comedy based morning show but that doesn't mean everyone found it funny. I'm sure there were many people who found the Humble and Fred Show to be downright stupid.

Now that that's out of the way I feel a little more comfortable giving my opinion on the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

It will come to an end tomorrow night on the CBC with New Years Special. Counting the years it was on radio, it marks the end of a 38 year run that began on television in the early 90's with a two hundred thousand dollar government grant.

Listen, you can't argue with success and apparently over its 16 year TV run it averaged over a million viewers a week, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. On the contrary, I can't stand it.

Sometimes when I'm flipping around the channels I'll land upon a re-run of the Air Farce and take it all in. I get this aggravating feeling in the pit of my stomach and they wonder who anyone could watch it and how it could garner enough ratings to survive as long as it did.

Maybe that was the key. It was like a train wreck and Canadians from coast to coast did what I did. They watched it while basking in the disbelief of how utterly horrible it was.

Sorry folks, you may have noticed I'm a political junkie and I love satire just as much as the next guy, but this show was badly written and the so-called comedic acting was even worse.

Roger Abbott and Don Ferguson aren't very good at the best of times, but the forced and amateurish offerings of Luba Goy is what always bothered me most about my tax dollars going to support this waste of time.

It's one of those inexplicable things. You sit there and watch it and you wonder how the hell it ever got to this point.

Who ever told these people they were funny?

Who thought it would be a good idea to give them a radio show?

Whose bright idea was it to put them on television?

But most of all, who are the people watching this crap in numbers large enough to let it continue?

To tell you the truth, if I get the chance I may actually carve out some time tomorrow night to watch the last show along with a million other people, but only for the same reason that people slow to down to check out a head on collision.

There's something weird within us all that attracts us to disasters.

It's the only explanation I can come up with.

Category: Television

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