Some observations at the end of what seemed like a long weekend from one bleary-eyed TV critic:

  • Was there a more important takeaway in Canadian programming this season than CTV snatching NFL football from CanWest Global? In a season gutted by the writers strike, football has been the one constant ratings winner. NFL playoff coverage took the Top 3 spots in the U.S. network rankings the week of Dec. 31. Exciting playoff games (like Saturday’s Snow Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, above) have goosed CTV’s Saturday and Sunday night and afternoon schedules at a time when big draw award shows have been canceled and new episodes of old favorites have dried up. CTV was probably just looking to shore up their TSN brand at the time they made this deal last spring but the NFL has turned out to be a tremendous touchdown for the mother network. As for CanWest Global–thrown for a loss.
  • The Golden Globes have always been a joke, a self-serving industry wank thrown by one of the least credible organizations in a town full of phonies. Still, celebs falling out of dresses plus plenty of parties and booze was always good for ratings and a laugh. Take all that away and what have you got? I never thought I’d say this, but something WORSE than the Gemini Awards. Just entertainment mannequins standing at podiums in an empty room reading lists of names and throwing to clips of (for the most part) less than blockbuster films. Atonement, for example, was the big winner in the Best Drama category, with Sweeney Todd winning for Best Musical. Woo-hoo.
  • Imagine if there was an NFL strike before the Super Bowl, the players didn’t show up, but the commentators still counted down the minutes. Shift the field to entertainment and that was the Golden Globes last night. Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush and Nancy O’Dell tried to pretend they were actually covering something but they just looked more and more ridiculous as the pseudo-non-event dragged on.
  • Although not as ridiculous as the breathless woman who was live on the scene for CNN when she gushed to Larry King about how she felt this year’s Golden Globes was the best evva. Another in a long line lately of Not-Great-Nights for television.
  • On the other hand, AMC’s brilliant Mad Men beat out network hits like House and Grey’s Anatomy to win the Best Drama prize, so maybe the Globes are legit after all. Almost all the big TV awards went to U.S. cable shows, which is exactly right. The best TV by far for the past 12 months was on U.S. cable. Glenn Close won the Best Actress in a Drama prize for Damages, an edgy little legal caper coming to Showcase next month. Mad Men (another savvy CTV pickup) also won the Best Actor prize, with uncanny Jon Hamm (above) beating out Michael C. Hall, scary good as Dexter, as well as Hugh Laurie from House and Jonathan Rhys Meyers from The Tudors.
  • I know I’m just restating the obvious here, but American Gladiators is jaw-droppingly stupid! NBC missed a great opportunity last night to combine Gladiators with the Golden Globes. Have the five Best Actor and Actress contenders line up and try to charge their way past Nitro or Gizmo or the Human Growth Hormono or whatever in a mad dash to win their awards. It would be just as legit as the usual Globe Awards and more fun for viewers.
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  • There were exactly 147 Christmas tree ornaments on our tree this year. I know this because, for the first time in a decade–thanks to the cancellation of the January Television Critics Association press tour, usually held in Los Angeles–I was around to take them all off. Getting the tree ready for the composter was still more riveting than the Golden Globes.


  1. Hey Bill!
    Loved the American Gladiators/Golden Globes review.
    Speaking of award shows let me share my favourite West Wing quote:

    CJ: They sent me two turkeys. The more photo-friendly of the two gets a presidential pardon and a full life at a children’s zoo, and the runner-up gets eaten.
    Bartlet: If the Oscars were like that, I’d watch. ~The West Wing


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