Thursday, June 6, 2019

CTV Looking To The Future

That was quite a performance CTV put Thursday afternoon to an over flood crowd of potential buyers as Canada's largest private network strutted itself.
It was the Annual Fall TV Preview and was as star studded as any I have covered.
The venue was Sony Centre an d there were dozens of stars running around and great gimmicks throughout.
We learned that friendly Mike Holmes and his son and daughter are defecting to CTV.
On a sadder note CTV's fine homegrown drama series Cardinal comes to an end after 14 more episodes.
The biggest challenge for Bell Media which runs CTV and a gaggle of other cable networks is how to balance the requirements of Canadian content requirements with the pricey but very popular U.S. imports.
I remember asking CTV former president Murray Chercover at my first CTV launch in 1970 why it was held at the CTV board room and with only 10 TV critics present.
"My big Canadian shows are Littlest Hobo and Stars on Ice," he said. "You want me to promote those?"
These days CTV can tub thump its ratings achievements and then some.
But 19 cities? Forget that. Most newspapers have dumped their TV coverage altogether and gone for wire copy.
I still say CTV's nightly news at 11 with Lisa LaFlamme is vastly superior to CBC's meandering newscast which often has no focus.
I'm not a fan, however, of the silly morning show. which replaced Canada AM.
Cancelling Canada AM was a huge mistake --here was one of the best known CTV shows around and it was dumped unceremoniously.
It was Canadian TV's first national morning show and one of the identifying markers for CTV. And I know a lot of viewers were unhappy --at 7 a..m. they wanted news and information --not Ben Mulroney chirping around.
But back in 1970 CTV had one channel on the air and that was that.
As TV Critic for The Hamilton Spectator I had 10 channels to cover.
These days the count is well over 100.
CTV is in the middle of rebranding many of its cable companies.
SPACE is becoming CTV SciFi.
The Comedy network becomes CTVComedy Channel.
Gusto becomes CTV Life Channel--guess CTV has forgotten Global once had a Life channel before it was rebranded.
What I really miss from CTV are the superb TV movies it used to make --but TV movies are missing from most networks these days. I'm told they can't be rerun because viewers tape everything these days.
However, CTV has signed a deal with Harlequin to manufacture20 TV movies and that sounds promising.
Up on the Sony Center stage dazzling array of imported stars and Canadian names strutted their stuff. The presentation was magnificent and and showed how positive Bell Media is about its future.
CTV after all gets first crack at the U.S. shows it needs to import and simulcast with the U.S. networks for huge ratings. The shows it turns down turn up on Global or Citytv.
I listened in to the chatter of the ad buyers as they muted on booze and dainties in the lobby and they were impressed. As was I.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Me And Doris Day

I'm  Remembering  Doris Day
I was lucky to share an interview with the legendary Doris Day .
The location was her swank dressing room at Warners' Burbank Studios in 1969
Also present was the ageless TV critic for The New York Daily News, Kay Gardella.
Why would the legendary lady give me the time of the day?
Well, she was having quite a time selling the rights to a Canadian network and figured a little publicity might help.
Here are highlights of our conversation:
BAWDEN: Doris, why have you jumped to a TV series after decades of movie stardom?
DD: Why not? They just aren't making the kind of movies I'd want to star in these days.
JB: I've heard that you turned down the choice role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1968)?
DD: I've heard that story also but nobody ever approached me. I'm not sure I'd do it because Annie Bancroft was so tremendous. They might have asked my late husband Marty Melcher but he never told me.
JB: How does it feel to be on theWarners lot again?
Dd:Painful. All my old co-stars have departed. Ronnie Reagan is in politics these days. Others are in heaven.
Describe your first day on the lot in 1948.
DD: I'd been signed for one movie originally written for Mary Martin --Romance On The High Seas. I only got through it because my co-star Jack Carson helped me overstep of the way. I was so scared I'd never even go to the commissary without Jack. I remember I was in wardrobe one day and Joan Crawford looked me up and down as if to say Who Do You Think You Are.
JB: But you made it.
DD: Barely a few years later and Jack Warner was no longer signing long term deals. I barely made it and I think Virginia Mayo was the last unsigned --she lasted here until 1960.
JB: Is it true you have ordered all the freckles on your TV photographs be erased?
DD: Why not. I hate these freckles.
JB: Doris I see over there a wet bar in your five-room dressing room. What gives?
DD: I have a little nip from time to time. It was my late husband (Marty Melcher) who was the milk drinker.
JB: Criticise today's movies.
DD: It's girls showing their boobs and people screaming dirty words at each other. Is that entertainment. I think suggestion is sexier. When Rock Hudson and I made Pillow Talk (1960) that's all there was --suggestion. And moviegoers ate it up.
JB: You have yet to win an Oscar.
DD I'm in good company.  After Love Me Or Leave Me (1955) premiered Louella Parson wrote a whole column about how I deserved an Oscar as Ruth Eating. But I was too Anna Magmnani beat me to the fifth nomination by a few votes. I did get nominated by Pillow Talk but comedies never win anyway.The actresses I most revere went Oscarless: Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy,. Jean Arthur, Carole Lombard. I'm  in good company. .
JB: But I did see you at the AFI Salute to Jimmy Cagney.
DD: I'd go anything for that man. But I don't usually go to those things. They'll never give it to a singer anyhow. I didn't;t go for Jimmy Stewart or Alfred Hitchcock. I'd rather stay home and read a good book.
JB: Will you ever sing live again --such as at a high class nitery?
DD: Nope. I did that for years as a big band singer. I don't want to repeat myself although there have been some very big offers.
JB: What's next after TV?
DD: Nothing! I want to retire and look after my animals. I bought a small hotel in Pebble Peach where people can take their dogs and cats along with them. Cruelty tp amid,asls is rampant/ It's a disease.
JB: How often do you sing these days?
DD: In the shower every morning. The voice is still there I'm proud to report.
JB: What's your latest movie offer?
DD: It was for one of those horror things. But my aim is bad. If I ran around with a hatchet I might actually hurt somebody. I'm a singer so I can scream with the best of them. But why bother? I stopped doing murder mysteries after Midnight Lace --it made a bundle but I'd lie awake shuddering all night.
 JB: Will you ever sing again  public?
DD: I hope not. I sang for years with those big bands. We'd go by bus all night between stops. I'm glad I don't have to do that anymore.
JB: Clint Eastwood says he sees you in the supermarket at Pebble Beach.
DD: Now if he offered me a western I might think about it. I've never dopamine a western.
JB: What co-stars do you keep in touch with?
DD: I was talking to Lauren Bacall and Kirk Douglas last year. We're the three stars of Young Man With A Horn (1950) and we're all alive and still kicking. That is an accomplishment.
JB" Favourite movie of yours?
DD: On Moonlight Bay (1951) because I was a tomboy in it and I got to sing with the  glorious Gordon McRae. And it was about a large family who struck by each other and I never had that in real life.
JB: Why was the format of your TV series changed after the first year?
DD: Because it wasn't working. I was a mom with two kids in the first year and my fans hated me in jeans. That's all gone, I'm m back in high society with lots of boyfriends my age.