Media

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Casting stones in TV land

I'm not the only one who senses humbug over the reaction to the Andrew O'Keefe video. Here's what Tracey Spicer has to say. The fact is, you'd be hard-pressed to find a soul in the media world (or any other walk of life) who hasn't had a few too many and been a bit worse for wear, especially at Christmas time. O'Keefe's only crimes, it seems, were being famous and being caught on camera.

Define 'blockbuster'

Another film based on the comic-book hero The Phantom is to be made in Australia. According to this story, the 1996 film starring Bily Zane was a "blockbuster hit". According to boxofficemojo.com, which charts these things, it made a total lifetime gross of US$17,323,326. In that same year, Independence Day was the No. 1 hit with a gross of $306,169,268. Even Striptease, which often appears on the all-time flop lists, made $33,109,743. Now The Phantom did move some VHS and DVD copies, but "blockbuster" is a tad off the mark. Even the new film's writer Tim Doyle says: "I think we did it OK before, but I really, honestly, feel we can do it better. A lot better."

Taken as read

Here's a chilling line from a story about film critic Charlie Finch's assertion that nudity from star Kate Winslet in the new Stephen Daldry film, The Reader, trivialises the Holocaust ...

Within hours, Finch's attack was repeated by other critics, most of whom had not seen the film.

Now I haven't seen the film, and I don't know if Finch's opinions are justified or not, but what "critic" worth their salt would endorse the opinion of somebody else as fact before they had the chance to assess it for themselves?

Some kind of gag

The Daily Record has hired edgy Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle as a columnist, but it already seems he's a bit controversial for the family paper. In his first column, The Record has rendered the word "bastard" as "b*****d", shit as s*** and piss (I think) as p***. None of these words would be censored from most Australian papers these days, as long as the editor felt they were contextual - which they are here given Boyle's oeuvre. Stranger still is the fact that I have heard the F-word (which most Australian and British papers would not print in full) more on television - and, significantly, in the street - here in Scotland than I ever have in Australia.
PS: Boyle's column is subtitled, "He's the comic who can't be gagged".

Pam's prescription

Remember Pamela Stephenson? She came to the UK from New Zealand via Australia, starred in the hit TV sketch show Not The Nine O'Clock News and later married Billy Connolly. More recently, she's been a celebrity psychologist and sex therapist, and she apparently reckons some women cut their hair short to deliberately make themselves unattractive. This is according to the Daily Mail, which notes that Victoria "Posh" Beckham has short hair - and Stephenson herself does not.

Unfortunate error

That's the only way you could describe this photo and caption from the Daily Mail website.

Alive and kicking

Patrick Swayze is rightly annoyed about media reports concerning his health. Here's what he says:

"They're reporting that I'm on my last legs and saying goodbye to my tearful family! ... It's upsetting that the shoddy and reckless reporting from these publications cast a negative shadow on the positive and good fight I'm fighting."

The big question is: Even if the reporters and editors involved believed it to be true that he was dying imminently, should they have published it?

Media movements

Karl Stefanovic and Leila McKinnon have reportedly recorded a pilot for a new 5.30pm show for the Nine network. If it goes ahead, will it be screened at 5pm in Brisbane, or is Extra finally in for the chop? Meanwhile, Emily Jade O'Keeffe is said (by her colleagues at couriermail.com.au, where O'Keeffe has a blog) to be one of 10 women in the running for Sami Lukis's job at Brisbane's Triple M. As I've said before, Triple M will want to choose carefully because breakfast radio will be a whole new ballgame next year. It would be a shame for the station to squander the ratings gains it has made in recent surveys by choosing the wrong person.
Update: The Sunday reports that Heather Foord may host Extra next year. Interestingly, Nine news boss Lee Anderson doesn't commit to anything in the story. In fact, he doesn't even say that Extra will be returning next year.

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!

Free TV: Is the end nigh?

This article - revealing that most television revenue in the UK now comes from subscriptions rather than advertising - should send a shiver down the spine of commercial free-to-air TV executives. It presages a future where people will pay directly for the content they want and advertising revenue will just be the cream for broadcasters. Conversely, a lot of people are saying the opposite will eventually true of newspapers - that the paid-for papers will disappear in favour of the freesheets. I disagree; I think that people will pay for what they really want, be it a movie, a newspaper, a magazine, a TV series or even a radio broadcast. The challenge for the commercial media is, as always, to produce things people really want.

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