|Zoomers Denise Donlon and Conrad Black|
I wasn’t feeling the zoom heading into Monday’s premiere of The Zoomer, the new talk show on the former V channel featuring one-time Press Baron/convicted felon Conrad Black.
Executive produced by former City-TV guru Moses Znaimer, The Zoomer is billed as “a talk show spotlighting the baby boomers point of view on world events.” That pretty much sounded like every panel show on CNN, CBC News Network and every other news outlet. More codgers sitting around wining about Miley Cyrus’ ass. Pass the remote.
Black is out to restore his image after some time in the slammer. Big mistake, I say. He should play this up, it would make him look badass. Call the show Convictions, because Black has ’em.
His old image is not so hug-able. Many Canadians see him as that guy who took a British peerage over his Canadian passport. I’m told he can be charming and impressive in person, but on TV he sometimes comes off as a pompous, self-serving gasbag. This guy makes Donald Trump look like a humble landlord.
Nonetheless, I was surprised by how much I warmed to the first episode. I appreciated the simple, well-lit set (although the sound was tinny and uneven). The theme music, which sounded like those old Christopher Reeves Superman movies, was cool. Little touches like using those fabulous old Philco Predictas as station break info screens was a nice touch. The producers didn’t try to show off or gimmick things up, sticking rather to a format that dates back to This Hour Has Seven Days.
A big plus was Denise Donlon as defacto host. Still live-TV smooth after years as a corporate player, the former MuchMusic veteran neatly steered His Lordship and others back to the topic at hand and kept everybody at ease and in focus.
Still, parts of the show seemed a little meta in this age of The Colbert Report. There was an expert on human aging on the panel, for example, whose name is Fossell. You have to admit that’s funny.
Panelists were asked if they’d like to live to be 120 (some experts are predicting that could soon be possible). Two very elderly ladies were asked about this and said hell no, kill me now. That was a nice sharp slap of reality.
I watched and thought this is a show my mother, who is well into her eighties, would get a kick out of–except she could never find the Zoomer channel with her remote, not even if Znaimer held it for her and spotted her the first hundred channels.
|Black welcomed his old friend Brian Mulroney onto the show|
Black seemed more like a guest than a regular on the panel. “Most people are afraid of dying,” he huffed, bringing the mood sharply down at one point. He kind of hung around like Marley’s ghost. Quoting from Jonathan Swift didn’t change that impression.
|Black concluded the first episode with an editorial|