Give the kid a break!

Just two months ago, the Daily Mail was praising Harry Potter star Emma Watson for her dress sense, and comparing her to Princess Grace. Now the paper is berating her as dowdy. Goodness, the poor girl is only 18 and she's already having to put up with this nonsense. Leave her alone!

Who wants to be a rocket scientist?

A comment on my item about the Idol winner helped me crystallise ny objections to Idol and other "reality" talent shows. Imagine a TV show that promised to give a job as a brain surgeon, or an engineer, or a lawyer, or a mechanic, or any other profession or skilled occupation, to a person who wins the most votes after a four-month television program. It's ridiculous, and it would never happen. And it's an insult to the people who put in the hard work to become entertainers that there's a short-cut to the top in their industry.

Watch out - Cliff!

Cliff Richard, 68, and The Shadows will reunite for the first time in 20 years for a UK tour. It will begin in London in September next year. It's very brave of them to be planning that far ahead ...

Batman update

It seems I was right*, Bruce Wayne appears to be dead in the latest DC comic and Nightwing (aka Dick Grayson) is in the frame to be the next Batman. More here. And here's a fan's take on it all.
* Although anything can happen in comics.

Further update: This BBC story suggests there are more twists to come in the story, penned by Glasgow's Grant Morrison.

Top of the Xmas pops?

While the music from Idol is tanking in Australia, the as-yet-undecided winner of The X-Factor here in the UK is the favourite to top the charts at Christmas time. Bookmakers William Hill are offering odds of 1/5 on that being the case. [Pundits say the song may be X-Factor favourite Diana Vickers' version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.] The betting continues: Sir Terry Wogan & Aled Jones with Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth (4/1) and Leona Lewis with a cover of Snow Patrol's Run (10/1). Rolf Harris gets a look in at 33/1 with his remake of Two Little Boys featuring the Fron Male Choir, and the troubled Amy Winehouse is the outsider at 100/1. Worth a pound's punt? Maybe not ...

Bruce is back - with Melissa

Channel 9 Brisbane has issued another press release, announcing Melissa Downes will present the 6p-m news with Bruce Paige in 2009. The release follows - note the nice words from Paige and Heather Foord about Downes, and the interesting fact that Andrew Lofthouse is not mentioned (but the need to find a replacement for Downes on the weekends is). Am I a drama queen, or am I right to expect another twist in the tale?

Nine Queensland is pleased to announce the appointment of Melissa Downes to the weeknight News desk.
Melissa has been Channel Nine Queensland’s weekend news presenter for the past two years and has established herself as one of Queensland leading news presenters.
Since joining Channel Nine Queensland in December 2001, Melissa has proven her versatility by reporting and hosting a raft of local programs.
On promoting his Weekend Newsreader, Lee Anderson said “Melissa is a committed journalist and wonderful presenter. Her work on Nine News weekends, EXTRA and on location for the Newsroom has endeared her to viewers and team members alike. It was a pleasure to promote Melissa to the 6pm News alongside veteran presenter Bruce Paige. It will be a new look Nine in 2009.”
Downes said “Being asked to step into Heather’s position is incredibly exciting. Heather has been a wonderful mentor and friend to me, and I am thrilled to have her blessing. It’s a real privilege to be offered this job, and I can’t wait to join Paigey each night as we present News for Nine.
Of his new on-air partner, Bruce Paige said “I have known Melissa for many years and watched her flourish into a great journalist and a professional presenter. Whilst I will lose my long time presenting partner Heather, I look forward to sharing the News desk with Melissa next year.
Heather said of her replacement “Melissa is a sheer delight both personally and professionally. I am so excited that she is taking over – she is not only talented, but most importantly – compassionate. I am leaving the News Desk in safe hands.”
Melissa Downes will join Bruce Paige at the News desk in the New Year. A replacement for Melissa’s weekend position will be announced in the coming weeks.

Idol: The music nobody wants

Here's proof, if it's needed, that Australian Idol is a (waning) TV phenomenon, not a musical one. The Herald Sun reports: "The Idol top 10 album has stiffed on the charts, debuting yesterday at No. 96 with just 565 copies sold nationally. Only 19 copies were snapped up digitally." We await with bated breath the results for winner Wes Carr's debut CD.

Life imitates art

Remember the episode of The Young Ones where they went on University Challenge? Well now there's a contestant on University Challenge, the long-running BBC quiz show, who has a passing resemblance to TYO's Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson, pictured). Nineteen-year-old James Archer - who was representing King's College, Cambridge rather than Scumbag College - has even had a tangle with the law. He was warned not to wear his miltary-style jacket because it's illegal to impersonate an RAF officer (bright red mohawk hairstyle notwithstanding). More here.

Have you seen Frank today?

... in the 1980s, that was a jingle used on the telly to promote Frank Warrick when he jumoed ship between Brisbane's Channels 7 and 9. Now, Nine has confirmed that Warrick has retired (again) of his own volition. However, like Heather Foord, we are told, he will be involved with the network in some way next year. Given the current state of the television biz, and the fortunes of Nine in particular, I wouldn't be holding my breath until we see either of their faces on the small screen again.

Circus of the stars

As reality television has taught us, the definition of "celebrity" can be fairly loose at times. Here's a list of the "names" who will be attending the official op-ening of Cirque du Soleil's Dralion in Brisbane on Thursday night:

Some of the VIPs attending the premiere event include Mick Doohan; Wayne Grady; Craig Lowndes; Australian Kangaroos Captain Darren Lockyer; The Veronicas’ Jess Origlasso; Gold medal diver Matthew Helm; Olympic medalist Sam Riley; The Grates’ Patience Hodgson and John Patterson; Powerfinger’s Ian Haug, John Coghill; Brisbane musical royalty, Katie Noonan and Maggie Noonan; legendary didgeridoo player William Barton; Brisbane Lions players Simon Black, Clarke Keating, Beau McDonald, Jarrod Molloy, Luke Power and outgoing coach Leigh Matthews; Brisbane Broncos’ Corey Parker and former great Shane Webke; Australian rugby greats Tim Horan, Tony Shaw and Chris Handy; iconic fashion designers Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson from Easton Pearson; Project Runway Runner-Up, fashion designer Leigh Buchanan; Lisa and Grant Curry-Kenny; Tania Zaetta; political and business leaders, television and radio stars….. and Warwick Capper

PS: The media release failed to mention that this will be the first Cirque opening in many years without me.

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