a quite simple equation…

In one of the most unexpected developments in television history, the industry was given quite the shock yesterday. What shock, you may ask? One simple math problem…


PLUS

EQUALS…

CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment Form New 5th Broadcast Network – The CW

The above article details it all. CBS Corporation will own 50% of The CW, Warner Bros. Entertainment will own the other 50%.

That’s right. As of September UPN and The WB will be no more. I think that this is a *truly* stellar idea, as both networks were simply fighting for the same viewers and now they’ll be able to successfully compete against the other four TV networks. Limited coverage for both UPN and The WB hindered the success of each network; The CW will be available in 95% of the country, making the new fifth network a much greater threat competition-wise to the other networks.

As for programming, thankfully Veronica Mars and Supernatural have made the cut; nothing’s formal yet but all press releases tout that both shows will be on The CW. And with gilmore girls rumored to be airing before Veronica Mars, I think Veronica Mars will finally get the audience it’s been desperately needing.

I’m really happy and excited about this development and hope to see some really cool shows when The CW unveils its Fall 2006 lineup at the upfronts this May.

Tribune Broadcasting-owned WB stations will become affiliates of The CW; other cities that have CBS Corporation-owned UPN affiliates will become affiliates of The CW.

As for my city, we have via our cable provider Comcast WBVH WB 15 (Channel 15 on cable), a part of The WB 100+ (a cable-only WB station provided for TV markets below #100. It’s through a contract between the local cable company and Time Warner). We also have WGSA/UPN 34 (cable channel 13), a low-power UPN affiliate. It started out as WUBI, an affiliate of The WB until early 1997. Now with the creation of The CW, I have little doubt that WGSA will become an independent station. I just hope that they don’t recant their UPN affiliation before September, as I need my “Veronica Mars” fix. When they do go indie, I hope they’ll play cool movies. So yeah, I think The WB 100+ will just become The CW 100+.

As far as the future, I have DIRECTV and as such, will receive The CW via Tribune’s WBZL out of Miami come September.

seeing this today…

I’ve really been looking forward to seeing this film. Today at 4:00, I will finally get a chance to. It’s playing at Regal’s Savannah 10, usually the only place to actually screen arthouse movies here although Carmike’s Wynnsong 11 *is* playing Brokeback Mountain. That’s a rare occurrence, as Wynnsong hardly ever plays anything remotely resembling an indie/arthouse film.

There are ALOT of good movies out now that I want to see: Tristan & Isolde, Walk The Line, Munich, Underworld: Evolution, and Casanova. I sincerely hope that we get Woody Allen’s new film Match Point very soon and by that I mean I hope it gets alot of Oscar nominations on January 31st. If it doesn’t it won’t expand past its current theater count and that would suck. I also hope New Line Cinema continues to roll out Terrence Malick’s The New World as I’ve been anxious to see that for many months now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – someone really needs to get off their ass and open an arthouse theater in Savannah! It really pisses me off to only get artistic films here in short bursts and if one doesn’t leap like a gazelle to the theater in time, the films are pulled to make room for some lame teen comedy or overblown kiddie film to take up 3,000 screens. Was anyone really clamoring loudly for Big Momma’s House 2?. Carmike 10 on Stephenson Avenue started to back in the early/mid ’90s – they designated one of their screens as “The Screening Room” and always booked arthouse films. I remember seeing their newspaper listing for Trainspotting back in 1996. But after they rebuilt their theaters with stadium seating in late 1998, “The Screening Room” vanished.

But I digress.

Let’s look at The Coligny Theater in neighboring Hilton Head, SC. The last week or two they played Michaelangelo Antonioni’s long-lost film, The Passenger. This purported ’70s gem stars Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider, when she was fresh off of the controversial Bertolucci film Last Tango In Paris. They’re now showing Rodrigo Garcia’s follow-up to his films Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her and Ten Tiny Love Stories, Nine Stories. Nine Stories has garnered considerable critical acclaim, landing a spot on Roger Ebert’s Top Ten Films of 2005 list.

THIS is what we need in Savannah, DAMMIT! I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired! Someone with considerable bank needs to put the wheels in motion and get something going! People need to stop getting scared and/or kowtowing to the stranglehold SCAD (that’s Savannah College of Art and Design, for those not in the know; they own all of downtown practically…old theaters, buildings, etc.) has on anything creative in the Historic District. They’re not going to open one, as that would infringe on their overhyped and far-too-exclusive Film Festival they hold every year.

As much as I’d love to see something like this on the Southside of Savannah, it’d never fly. There’s a Media Play store that’s operated in that area since 1995 and is soon closing (as are all Media Play stores). It’d be very cool to see a several screen arthouse theater open, complete with a cafe and/or small restaurant. But the sad reality is quite sobering: the cretins and slack-jawed imbeciles that comprise the surrounding area would never frequent said establishment, as their tastes are far too low on the Darwinian scale to ever want to sit through Francois Ozon’s latest film, never enjoy a retrospective of the brilliant and before its time 1968 Malcolm McDowell thriller …if. These people would much rather let the numbing opiate of a Rob Schneider film deaden their minds and it’s a sad statement, a rather alarming reminder of how far we’ve fallen. When more people vote in the glorified karaoke contest that is American Idol than those that vote in a presidential election, you know the minutiae of vapid conformity has finally won over intelligent articulation and thought-provoking art.

Only if this theatre was placed downtown would it cull favor with its intended audience, that is if SCAD didn’t try to close it. Some can laugh and wonder why a college would want to do that. I’ve already made my case as to why. It’s depressing beyond the telling of it. There’s a very palpable hunger for something of this nature and if someone would step up to the plate and feed it, they’d get accolades from the entire community. I see a demand to be met here and NO ONE HAS ANY GODDAMN SENSE to do anything about it. I don’t give a flying fuck if it’s a little two-screen affair in a closet with little to no ambience – as long as it can bring this city the independent films it so richly deserves on a regular basis and keep me and the rest of its audience sated, I’ll be fine. And yes, Virginia, I guarantee this enterprise would make money.

It appears until someone wakes the hell up and realizes the potential gold mine they’re sitting on, we’ll be stuck with one-offs at our local multiplex. I’m glad Regal is trying but it seems that we never get a consistent batch of arthouse titles unless it’s Oscar season. I sincerely hope that changes soon.

almost forgot…The Doctor Is In…America!

Yes. SCI FI actually pulled their heads out of their asses and will begin airing the new series of Doctor Who this March. The show is set to return with a new actor as The Doctor on BBC One in the next few months. Hopefully SCI FI will pick up the rights for that season as well. I’ve never seen any of the series and have heard that this new incarnation is the best. I can’t wait to see it! Here’s the press release, straight from SCI FI’s own Sci-Fi Wire at SCIFI.COM:

SCI FI To Air New “Doctor Who”

Perhaps now SCI FI will start airing this and the spin-off, Torchwood, and maybe, just maybe, they can bring some actual sci-fi back to their airwaves. Aside from Battlestar Galactica, I hardly ever watch the channel and if they keep in the direction they’re going with this Doctor Who pickup, I’ll be happy and watching alot more.

the day begins anew…

I’m about to head to bed. But first, a subtle reminder…tonight the clock starts ticking all over again…

JACK IS BACK.

That’s right, the most suspenseful show on television, the one that redefines the term “appointment television” returns with two nights of nail-biting tension. The series will then resume its normal timeslot, Mondays at 9PM Eastern all the way through the season finale. I have to make sure I make my hours at work (since I’m full-time I have to maintain a set number of hours) so I’m going in this afternoon of my own volition from 4-7 to run tapes. I will be home in time to watch 24! I’ll also have to TiVo the Golden Globes tomorrow, as 24 is paramount over that awards ceremony. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Golden Globes. It’s just that 24 is, well, 24.

I purchased Morningwood’s debut album at Best Buy yesterday for the awesome price of $6.99. It’s stellar, a really great album full of energetic punk-edged pop and rock tunes. I’ll post a proper review in the very near future.

dammit!

Sony to singer: Whoa, Nellie!

The above article is from The Boston Herald. I was very ecstatic for Nellie McKay’s (pronounced Mick-i) sophomore release, Pretty Little Head. Her debut album, Get Away From Me, was amazing. On its release I said that Nellie McKay “is an amazing virtuoso who blends ’40s piano with a edgy, slightly profane sense of female empowerment and it makes for a heady buzz of musical heaven.”

The new album features duets from McKay and great singers like k.d. lang and Cyndi Lauper, was due for release on the 3rd of this month, and had already been sent to and reviewed by music magazines like SPIN and Blender. They raved about the album. Guess what? Sony wanted a truncated album with less songs. Nellie said no. Now this amazing angel of the lyrical word is labeless. This is so lame. I really hope that this album gets released ASAP. I hate this very much.

to the nth degree…

The debut self-titled album from Morningwood was released yesterday (since it’s now Wednesday). You simply must go buy this! They’re the best band out now, with a dynamic lead singer in Chantal Claret. Visit their website at MorningwoodRocks.com.

And as if that’s not enough…

Rilo Kiley lead singer Jenny Lewis’s debut CD will be released on the 24th. I can’t wait! Finally some music I can really enjoy. I barely own any CDs and need to start getting more. With these two releases, I can confidently begin amassing new titles. I still need to get Rilo Kiley’s two other CDs, Take-Offs and Landings and The Execution Of All Things. Indie rock is alive and well and we should all do our part in supporting great music when we hear it. THIS is the future of rock, not worn-out claptrap like Nickelback or Shinedown or 3 Doors Down, lame corporate rock that all sounds the same.

I think I’ll see Walk The Line this weekend.

a correction…

No Democrats took *any* money from Jack Abramoff. The claim that the Jack Abramoff bribing scandal is a non-partisan issue is a lie. Click the link below.

Rich Lowry Explains

I apologize for falling for the trap the media’s been laying down for and setting up.Wow, those ScAlito hearings are something, huh? Watching this man outright lie and try to obfuscate critical details of his past doings is quite interesting. Trying to distance yourself from a group you were a part of at Princeton that selectively excluded women and minorities and your wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade, among other things, is crazy stuff. Head on over to the best damn blog on the Internet, Daily Kos, at DailyKos.com for more info and commentary on the whole ScAlito affair. This bastard cannot get confirmed; otherwise it’s back-alley abortions and racial discrimination, plus civil liberties will be rolled back (yes, I know they’re already listening to our phone calls) even further than you can imagine.

I’d heard alot about this 1988 horror film. Way back in the early ’90s, I used to devour movie guides (VideoHound, Ebert, Maltin). You name it, I’d buy it. Remember folks, this was *before* IMDb and the Internet was available to everyone. I can recall reading reviews of this and wanting badly to see it. Unfortunately, it’s been out-of-print forever and ever and was only released for a very short time on VHS back in the late ’80s. So imagine my delight when I was perousing my TiVo for horror movies and this movie popped up! I’d planned to TiVo its airing at 4:35AM on The Movie Channel’s West Coast feed, but instead watched the 1:35AM airing on The Movie Channel. I’ll still TiVo this and then transfer that to tape later.

After more than a decade, I can safely say that William Wesley’s Scarecrows is a creepy horror film that is immensely enjoyable. Military deserters steal $3.5 million from the Federal Reserve and hijack a plane. One of their crew splits…well parachutes….away with the money. The rest of them decide to follow. They discover an abandoned, condemned house with nothing around for miles except a very large cornfield and…dozens of scarecrows.

The film is very well-written, evenly paced, and features some of the scariest-looking scarecrows I’ve ever seen, plus great cinematography from Peter Deming (who’s gone on to lens such films as David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive, i heart huckabees, The Jacket, Scream 2, Scream 3, From Hell and the recently released Rumor Has It…)The budget for this film was not that large; however, the makeup and costumes for the straw-filled villains are quite disturbing. Seek this puppy out if ever you get the chance. It’s worth the effort.

Interestingly enough, fresh episodes of The WB’s horror series Supernatural returned tonight. The series follows two brothers who are in search of their father. He seeks out occult and supernatural occurrences and his sons are following in his footsteps while remaining on his path. Tonight’s episode featured the boys contacting their dad, who tells them to stop looking for him and head to a town where people are being sacrificed in a pagan ritual. The episode is titled “Scarecrow” and features possessed scarecrows. That’s currently housed on TiVo.

I saw Hostel on Friday. It was quite good. Eli Roth has certainly grown up since his debut feature Cabin Fever. I look forward to the sequel as Lionsgate (all one word now) has given a green light for one after Hostel took in $20.1 million this past weekend.

I also saw Brokeback Mountain. WOW! I’m fairly certain this movie’s going to sweep the Oscars. Heath Ledger will get nominated as Ennis, no doubt about it.

Ang Lee has always been an amazing director and he really managed to outdo himself with Brokeback Mountain.

It was a quiet, elegant film with a sad undercurrent. The two wanted so bad to be together yet kept subscribing to the lives they’d been taught to live, hurting others in the process. The scene where Ennis finds Jack’s shirt is just *so* full of pain and sorrow.

Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway (a long way from The Princess Diaries) also did stellar work.

Brokeback Mountain is the one of the very best films of 2005. I will confidently state that I believe it will be nominated for and win the Oscar for Best Picture and deservedly so. Hopefully, capote and some of the other Oscar hopefuls will get some play here soon. Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale will screen at The Lucas Theatre this Sunday; I may just go. It’s part of the Reel Savannah Film Group’s film series.

I also hope to see director Kevin Reynold’s (Waterworld) latest film Tristan and Isolde. Starring James Franco and Sophia Myles, the movie takes place after the fall of the Roman Empire. English orphan Tristan meets and falls in love with Irish princess Isolde. However, she is set to marry Lord Marke, who raised Tristan. While unaware of her identity, he has won her hand in marriage for his lord and future king of the two countries. But now the passion of the two young people causes a rift leading to a devastating battle. I’ve heard good things and director Ridley Scott and his director brother Tony produced it.

another year

Well I hope that 2006 is treating you fairly well so far. I hope the new year bodes great things for all of you and for all of my friends, family, and acquaintances. I also hope that Democrats will sweep the mid-term election this fall. And with things like Jack Abramoff agreeing to spill all on all of the prominent politicians he bribed, I think they can. By the way, I’m not so daft and nieve not to realize that some Democratic politicians names are being mentioned. Easy fix: the Democrats should disassociate with those people, if the allegations prove to be true. If those Democrats were bribed, then they should be punished. I don’t tow party lines just because a crime is committed. If you’re guilty, you’re guilty and should have to face the music.

WTYB-FM here in Savannah is stunting because they’re flipping formats – again. The Cumulus Broadcasting-owned station was first Urban Adult Contemporary as Kiss 104 from 1997-2003. Then Clear Channel made noise because of the station’s name (Kiss is the registered trademark for their Top 40 stations). So Cumulus rebranded the station as V103.9. It still didn’t matter, as Clear Channel’s *own* Urban AC, WLVH Love 101.1 was the dominant station in that format and still ranks in the top three in the city’s Arbitron ratings. So after stunting with barnyard animals and the like, WSIS-FM became WTYB-FM and was now Cool 103.9 – Big Hits! Big Fun!

Several months later, Triad Broadcasting flipped their heritage Oldies station (which had retained the format for more than 15 years) to Adult Hits as 98.3 JACK FM. With no Oldies station in the market and an opportunity to garner all of Oldies 98.3’s displaced audience, does Cumulus realize this? Hell, no! Of course not! They fired all of the station’s airstaff in mid-December, then started playing Christmas music. Rumor has it they’re going to try Urban AC yet *again*! Does that make any sense? Of course not. But now they’re playing nothing but Johnny Cash songs. A misdirection or just plain diversion? I certainly hope Cumulus brings an interesting station to this market. Besides Air America Radio, I’d *love* to see them take on Triad’s boring-as-hell Rock 106.1 with a more alternative-based alt-rock station. It’d be great. But I highly doubt that as the company never makes a sound business decision. Cumulus’s Top 40 station Z102 is so schizophrenic, it’s sad and also quite transparent in the ratings. I’ll keep you posted.

Last night, I missed television history. For the great splotchy one, Bill O’Reilly, was on the Late Show with David Letterman. And from what I hear, it was amazing. Letterman read him the riot act and basically tore him apart. I’m still waiting for the entire video of the altercation to be uploaded at http://www.crooksandliars.com

Casanova and Munich starts playing at Savannah 10 this weekend. I might check them out but I’m looking forward to Eli Roth’s Hostel, playing at Wynnsong this Friday. I’m a horror movie fanatic as we all know. Holy shit! I just checked Fandango….Brokeback Mountain starts playing at Eisenhower Square 6 this weekend! What are the odds?! The film’s website states that it’ll also be playing at Wynnsong yet Carmike’s website doesn’t say anything about that – yet. Everyone says Brokeback Mountain is the movie of the year, the lock for Best Picture at the Oscars and a tender love story. I can’t wait to see it!

I saw Me and You and Everyone We Know the other night. Miranda July’s debut feature was beautiful, haunting, lyrical, and a shining testament to how creativity and uniqueness can make a someone a truly wonderful individual yet an utterly undefinable person to others, until that one person that speaks our language comes along. It’s one of the best films of 2005.

Arrested Development made me laugh harder than anything I’ve laughed at in years. It was a total in-joke about how the show’s getting cancelled and how alot of people aren’t watching their show. It was a masterpiece.