Let’s be upfront: this fall looks pretty familiar

Upfronts have become look back week, and that’s bad news for broadcast television. This used to be draft day, a chance to look forward, to see where the smart minds of broadcasting were taking the medium. Now the big news is the return of shows that failed 20, ten or two years ago. Is there… Read on



Ain’t no cure for upfront fever

NEW YORK — One of the sure signs of spring is the annual promotion of the next fall TV season. There are signs all over Manhattan, including illuminated ads on top of Yellow Cabs promoting the return of Will & Grace. That’s a straight-to-series reboot NBC will flaunt next week when all the US networks unveil their… Read on


Don Rickles 1926 – 2017

Please observe a minute of insults. Mr. Warmth is no more. Don Rickles passed away Thursday at 90. He was the ultimate stand-up funnyman, heckling his audience for more than 60 years. His shtick was so abrasive he never had his own hit series. No matter; he livened up plenty of other hits, with memorable appearances on… Read on


Toronto’s Stephan James one to watch in Shots Fired

You meet some fine young Canadians working the TV beat. One of them is Stephan James. The 23-year-old was born and raised in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, Ont. In five years, he’s gone from grabbing fast food at Johnny’s Hamburgers to winning roles in everything from Degrassi to The Book of Negroes to playing Jesse Owens in… Read on



Tide turns in favour of Canadian access to Super Bowl ads

A Canadian industry executive emailed me during the big game last Sunday suggesting the CRTC made the right call — watching the Super Bowl with the US ads is definitely a big part of the overall programming experience. Canadians have been missing half the story for decades. Outlets such as The New York Times offer play-by-play… Read on


Catching a CRTC Super Bowl bounce in Canada

It’s really happening: a legal, American feed of a Super Bowl game on Canadian TV screens. The CRTC mandated an exception to the simultaneous substitution rule and not even lawyers or lobbyists could stop it — this time. The hiccup will cost CTV millions and, really, that’s not fair. Nonetheless, go ad crazy, Canada. Things… Read on


Sunday: The Simpsons air first hour-long episode

PASADENA, Calif. — After 600 episodes, it’s hard for The Simpsons to get much attention at TCA. The series will try again Sunday with their first hour-long episode. Titled, “The Great Phatsby,” the episode finds Mr. Burns (voiced by Harry Shearer) getting conned by a music mogul. Don’t worry; Burnzie gets revenge. Taraji P. Henson, Keegan-Michael… Read on


Boreanaz: I’ve got a script for Rocketship 7

PASADENA, Calif. — Will Rocketshop 7 someday blast off as a feature film? The cherished children’s TV series, broadcast out of Buffalo’s WKBW in the ’60s and ’70s, is a touchstone for many boomers who grew up in the Toronto/Buffalo/Niagara area. The possibility that there might be a project about the series was raised almost as an afterthought… Read on