MEDIA - Film/Radio/TV/Web August 2001

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Friday August 31

IRANIAN FILMMAKER ARRESTED: "A chill wind blew through the Iranian film world yesterday, with the news that feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani has been arrested. Milani is a heroine of the New Iranian Cinema, which, despite the restrictive politics of the fundamentalist regime, has produced some of the best recent films on the world scene." National Post (Canada) 08/31/01

THE DIGITAL RADIO GAMBLE: The whole idea of digital radio is a giant gamble. Unlike cellphones, home computers or VCRs (which all started small and quietly snowballed across the country), the digital radio people are starting very, very big. They launched a multimillion-dollar satellite. They’re installing antennas (like those you find for cellphones) across the country. They’ve hired the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones. They got George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic to make their commercials for them. Then they’ll ask consumers to shell out a bunch of money in the hopes that they really do want to hear something different." Will it fly? New York Press 08/30/01

TRADES ON THE LINE: "The 'trades' are two newspapers, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, that between them have the circulation of a small-town daily. But the small town they cover is Hollywood and their influence can be considerable. Now both papers have become mired in controversy, including accusations of conflict of interest. The turmoil shows how the trades' role and readership are changing as the entertainment industry expands." Backstage 08/30/01

VIOLENCE HITS VENICE: This year's installment of the Venice Film Festival seems to be full of films dripping with sex, violence, and brutality, causing no small amount of concern among festivalgoers and observors. The criticism has been so heavy that one local TV star has erected a complaint board in the center of town. "The writer of the best vitriol about a movie will be awarded the Golden Refund on 7 September." BBC 08/31/01

Thursday August 30

MONTREAL ACTORS OFFER "NO STRIKE" DEAL: Film and TV actors in Eastern Canada begin negotiating a new contract in October. To mollify producers worried about a strike in the middle of shooting, the actors' union "has guaranteed that any film that begins shooting before January 16th will not face a work stoppage." Actors in Vancouver work under a different contract, which doesn't expire until next March. CBC 08/29/01

HIJACKING HIS NAME: Canadian artist Freeman Patterson has had his name hijacked for a pornographic website. When visitors click on the artist's name as expressed as a web address, they are directed to a porn site. The site offers to "sell" the address to anyone willing to offer more than $550. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 08/29/01

HARD TO IMITATE, HARD TO REMEMBER: Most of the movie directors who made a splash in the Seventies are now regarded as giants. That's not true, however, of the man who made Blume in Love, An Unmarried Woman, Moscow on the Hudson, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills. How come? "Maybe part of the reason [Paul] Mazursky's work has been ignored is that he's the hardest to imitate." The New York Times 08/30/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Wednesday August 29

WORLDWIDE ROOTLESS: Globalization is seen by many as a homogenizer of movies. But increasingly art-movie makers are enthusiastically embracing globalization as a way to get projects done - but "the stories themselves increasingly display symptoms of what the Soviet authorities used to anathematize as 'rootless cosmopolitanism'." International Herald Tribune 08/29/01

THE 58TH VENICE FILM FESTIVAL: There are 41 films contending for two top prizes at this year's Venice Film Festival, which begins today. More than a hundred others - including most of the US entries - are being shown out of competition, giving them a shot at publicity without the risk of failure. Nando Times 08/28/01

SUMMER MOVIES - WHY THEY WERE SO BAD: Studios get up to eighty percent of the first week take from a movie; after that, their percentage drops. So less effort goes into making a good movie than into creating an atmosphere in which "people have got to see the movie the first weekend they can. After that, the frenzy is over." The Irish Times 08/28/01

  • SUMMER MOVIES - BETTER THINGS ARE COMING: "October is the start of Oscar season, that all too-brief 10-week window when the studios shed their ripped-T-shirted summer wardrobe, put on their holiday tuxedos and opt for class over crass. From Oct. 5 to year's end, not a weekend will go by without at least one Oscar-friendly film hitting the theaters." Los Angeles Times 08/28/01

Tuesday August 28

LONELY FOR SOMETHING BAD: More than half the residents of the UK say they would be "lonely" without their televisions, says a new poll. "In the 597 representative households questioned, more than 40% had the TV on for at least six hours a day. But the survey also showed how, despite this dependence, most people - 67% - believed there is often nothing worth watching." BBC 08/28/01

Monday August 27

THE SOUND OF MOVIES: "In an age in which the film company often is the record company, the soundtrack album is a model of cross-pollination: it moves CD units, it sells movie tickets, and it can launch an artist's career into the stratosphere. But have audiences lost something? The fact is, even the best collection of pop songs is no substitute for an original score - which is now relegated to the filler material between the pop extravaganzas in a film, its chief mandate to be unobtrusive, bland." Saturday Night 08/25/01

Sunday August 26

ALL ABOUT THE MONEY: Movie rental companies, particularly Blockbuster, are feuding with major studios about profits and revenue sharing. So movie studios are playing with the idea of quitting the rental business and selling movies directly to consumers. Don't think it could happen? Last year The Perfect Storm earned $182 million in direct-to-consumer sales. Boston Herald (Variety) 08/26/01

OPEN BIG AND DIE: "Today's movies, if this summer is an indication, have achieved an ultimate Hollywood dream: They've been genetically engineered to make their content irrelevant, to earn a ton of money even if everyone who takes a bite—not just critics, but everyone—finds them as tasteless as those bogus tomatoes." Los Angeles Times 08/26/01

Friday August 24

MORE MULTICULTURAL TV: Five years ago only one program appeared on the most popular 20 TV show lists of both black and white American viewers. Now there are nine, and some credit the change to programming of more multi-racial casts. Philadelphia Inquirer (AP) 08/24/01

CENSORING MOVIES: Australia is trying out some new movie censorship proposals. "The guidelines suggest new restrictions on nudity, violence, drugs and 'the inappropriate use of substances that damage health or are legally restricted to adults.' Films would be banned if 'reasonable adults' might be offended by the sight of an actor who 'looks like a person under 18' being nude, violent or taking drugs. The draft guidelines spell out a concept of 'imitability' that could provoke consumer warnings or censorship cuts: Dangerous or illegal actions within films or computer games which are authentic or close to real life that can be imitated by children." Sydney Morning Herald 08/24/01

UNSEASONED: This summer's movie season was an unqualified dud. "The immense promise of A.I. was only partly met, the Planet of the Apes remake was a dud, most of the others were instantly forgettable, and altogether too many had a 2 or III after their titles, sending a message of creative abdication." Boston Globe 08/24/01

SHORT-TIMERS: Why do movies stick around for such a short time at local theatres? It's a stratgy "that floods a film onto more than 3,000 screens the first weekend, so that a studio can make lots of money before poor word of mouth and bad reviews scare moviegoers away. The result is that theater marquees are changing faster than airport-departure monitors. More important, it's set up an unusual cultural dichotomy: More people say there's nothing they want to see, but Hollywood is making more money than ever. In fact, this weekend it expects to break the summer box-office record of $3 billion." Christian Science Monitor 08/24/01

Thursday August 23

MAYBE WE CAN HEAD THEM OFF AT THE DVD: Competing movie studios have at least one goal in common: stave off the Web pirates. But the way they're going about it is drawing heavy criticism, because "the movie industry has to learn a lesson that the music industry failed to learn, which is that you have to put a service out there that is high in quality and beats anything else that's out there. You can't lock it up. If you treat your customers like criminals, it just doesn't do any good." Chicago Tribune 08/22/01

THE BUDGET FILM FESTIVAL: Most film festivals are trendy, glitzy, edgy. Places for stars and wannabes to be seen. Then there's the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival, where you can see "Spaghetti Westerns," "Bunch of Guys on a Mission War Movies," and "Martial Arts Epic Adventure Night." It's B movies at their best. The New York Times 08/23/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Wednesday August 22

PENALTIES FOR TRAVELING ABROAD: "The Screen Actors Guild has backed proposed legislation under which American studios and networks benefiting from foreign production subsidies would have to pay a tariff of the same amount to distribute their films in the US. This steps up the campaign by Hollywood to stop runaway production, which has seen an estimated $10 billion lost annually from the US." Sydney Morning Herald 08/22/01

A RULE'S A RULE: MTV has a strict policy - it doesn't show people doing drugs. Not even a song that chronicles the downside of drug-taking? Nope. The song Because I Got High tells how a singer's life was ruined by smoking marijuana and shows people smoking. The tune has been getting heavy airplay around the US, and MTV wanted to air it - so the network asked the video's director to take out the smoking scenes and he complied. "They told us what their concerns were, and, in our desire to achieve maximum exposure, we made those accommodations." New York Post 08/22/01

UNKNOWN DIRECTORS' WELL-KNOWN MOVIES: Those movies that at the beginning of summer looked like sure-fire blockbusters...well, we don't want to embarrass anyone by naming names, but the fact is, the big money this year goes to relatively unheralded movies made by previously unknown directors: Shrek, The Fast and the Furious, Cats & Dogs, and Legally Blonde. Los Angeles Times 08/22/01

Tuesday August 21

NPR DUMPS WILLIAMS: National Public Radio has dumped Juan Williams as host of Talk of the Nation. He's had the job only 18 months, and the show's audience grew during that time. But it was dropped in New York, and critics complained Williams often sounded "distracted on the show. His last show will be August 30. Washington Post (second item) 08/21/01

PUTTING A NEW FACE ON PACIFICA: America's Pacifica network has been under seige in the past two years as management of the lefty network has tried to professionalize operations. Longtime Pacifica employees and fans charge the network has been moving away from its roots. Now "management has hired a high-profile public relations firm and some big-gun lawyers, and is recruiting some well-known lefties to be on the Pacifica board - former D.C. mayor Marion Barry among them - to replace the previous ones." Washington Post 08/21/01

CONDEMNING HOLLYWOOD'S IMPERIAL FANTASIES: European authors at the Edinburgh book fair decry the "cultural imperialism" of American films. "This domination of the popular imagination has been allowed to go to ridiculous lengths. What worries me most is that it has become an almost instinctive reaction now, so you have British and European films incorporating these pointless American elements now too. That is very worrying and quite dangerous." The Guardian (UK) 08/20/01

Monday August 20

500 CHANNELS THAT MATTER? In one big bang, about 90 new specialty channels are about to launch in Canada. There's a catch though - you can only get them if you've got digital cable. And, after a 90-day free period, each channel will be able to charge what it wants for its service. "We're talking about an unregulated tier of channels; in principle, the distributors can charge what the market will bear.'' Toronto Star 08/19/01

A FOR-PROFIT BBC? "The idea that the BBC might go commercial alarms many people, both inside and outside the organisation. Yet the arguments for having a huge state-financed corporation dominate the broadcasting business were formulated in a different broadcasting era. Few hold today." The Economist 08/16/01

Sunday August 19

FRENCH DUB: "Because of the overwhelming visibility and clout of the American film industry, Quebec's Francophone government requires that all U.S. films released here be dubbed in French. But a loophole in an agreement between Quebec and the Motion Picture Assn. of America means that more and more Hollywood studios are doing their dubbing in France, depriving actors in Quebec of a once lucrative sideline." Now Quebec is trying to get the Quebec accent back into dubbing. Los Angeles Times 08/19/01

Friday August 17

MOVIE DOWNLOADS: In an effort to thwart pirates, five Hollywood movie studios - MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Vivendi Universal and Warner Bros - are forming a company to distribute their movies over the internet. Computer users with broadband connections will be able to download movies directly into their computers. BBC 08/17/01

DOROTHY RETURNS: Warner Brothers is said to be developing a new TV series based on The Wizard of Oz. "According to trade reports, the series would center on a 20-something woman who lands in Oz - to lead a revolt against Emerald City." New York Post 08/17/01

Thursday August 16

DISPUTED REPRESENTATION: The American NAACP is contesting a Screen Actors Guild report that minority representation in the television industry was up last year. "The civil rights group says there were small gains in hiring minority actors for prime-time series. But it says there was little progress in minority representation at the executive and board levels." CBC 08/15/01

  • Previously: MORE MINORITIES: Minority groups have been complaining for years about the underrepresentation of minorities in Hollywood projects. Now a new survey says that last year a record number of minority actors won roles. "Of the 53,134 movie or TV roles, 11,930 went to people of color White actors still dominate the industry, however, playing 76.1 percent of all roles. About 14.8 percent of all roles went to blacks, the highest percentage since the guild began compiling statistics in 1992." Dallas Morning News 08/14/01

BOOK TALK: A Germany literary institution is coming to an end. For 13 years, the show Literary Quartet presented a series of discussions about books. "No other literary discussion program on German television lasted as long or accomplished as much. Books were made, and careers were endangered, if not ended. No other broadcast influenced as many people with nothing but words, something that borders on blasphemy in German television." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 08/15/01

BESIDES, THEY'LL ALWAYS NEED WAITERS IN HOLLYWOOD: The fully-computerized actor, like the paper-free office, may be one of those concepts which will never be realized. In fact, the digital graphics people themselves sometimes say, "Use real actors." An example: For the upcoming Harry Potter movie, "It ended up that the most natural way to get (some scenes) was to create it on the computer and then go back in and insert real people, rather than the other way around." Wired 08/16/01

ADVERTAINMENT? A series of new short films featuring BMW's and directed by A-list directors blurs the line between art and advertising. "Each is under ten minutes long, each stars a character known as the Driver and a late-model BMW, and each features fancy wheelwork that showcases the cars' many qualities. Is this as hideous as it sounds?" The New Republic 08/15/01

IT GOES BACK AT LEAST TO THE ILIAD: "[W]ar has been a favorite subject of filmmakers since cinema began. But just because a genre is old doesn't mean audiences will keep lining up for it. Westerns have bitten the dust, and traditional musicals have danced into near oblivion. Why do war movies keep parading across movie screens despite shifts in social attitudes and Hollywood fashions?" Christian Science Monitor 08/10/01

Wednesday August 15

LISTENING TRUMPS VIEWING: In the UK more people now listen to radio than watch TV. "Last week we learned that audience figures for radio broadcasts had overtaken those for television. It follows hard on the heels of the news that Radio 2, once considered a tragically unhip station for cardigan-wearing codgers, had overtaken 'wunnerful' Radio 1 to become Britain's top station." The Telegraph (UK) 08/15/01

WATCH ON YOUR OWN: In New Zealand, early release of DVD's is having an effect on movie theater ticket sales. "While there were other factors, including the lowering of the drinking age, box office revenue in country areas fell by an average 21 per cent last year. In one area, it was down 33 per cent." Sydney Morning Herald 08/15/01

NOT THAT YOU WERE GOING TO BUY ONE, BUT....the current asking price for a 30-second ad during next year's Super Bowl is about two and a half million dollars. That also was the starting price for the last game; the actual game-time price was about two million. For Super Bowl I, in 1967, a 30-second spot cost $42 thousand. New York Post 08/14/01

MAYBE IT WAS THOSE TEPID REVIEWS FOR A.I.: Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers is a World War II drama series. With a $115 million budget, it's the most expensive made-for-TV film ever made. However, the BBC has decided that it is "too niche" for most British viewers, and will show it on BBC2 instead of the mainstream BBC1. The Guardian (UK) 08/15/01

Tuesday August 14

MORE MINORITIES: Minority groups have been complaining for years about the underrepresentation of minorities in Hollywood projects. Now a new survey says that last year a record number of minority actors won roles. "Of the 53,134 movie or TV roles, 11,930 went to people of color White actors still dominate the industry, however, playing 76.1 percent of all roles. About 14.8 percent of all roles went to blacks, the highest percentage since the guild began compiling statistics in 1992." Dallas Morning News 08/14/01

DEAL ON FAKES: After Sony was caught promoting movies with a fake critic, several US states launched investigations into the practice. Now Oregon is the first to sign a deal with Sony curbing the use of fakes. "In the pact signed Monday, Sony said it would either use quotes from actual reviews by professional film critics or admit that the people touting the film were studio employees." Ottawa Citizen (CP) 08/14/01

SAVING AUSTRALIAN FILM: Australia's film industry is warning that the $3.5 billion business is in trouble unless confusing tax laws are changed. The Age (Melbourne) 08/14/01

THE OLD NEW THING: Was Richard Wagner the father of multimedia? "The revelation that multimedia is nothing new shouldn't be a buzz kill—it places today's multimedia within a more profound context than just the hot new thing." Rhizome 08/05/01

Monday August 13

BIG BANG THEORY: "Something profound is happening at the megaplexes, and it has little to do with what appears on the screen. Rather, it is about how those movies are being seen. The summer hits of 2001 are making about as much money as hits from previous summers, but they are making it quicker, making more of it than ever on opening weekend." The New York Times 08/13/01 (one-time resistration required for access)

MANDATED INTEGRATION: As ordered by Canada's broadcast regulatory commision (CRTC) Canadian TV networks "must submit plans within three months on how they will increase the number of visible minorities employed on staff and used as sources for stories. They must ensure that coverage of minorities goes beyond crime and cultural festivals, and that minority reporters aren't confined to doing stories about their communities. They'll also have to report progress once a year, and come up with ways to get feedback from the minority communities." Toronto Star 08/12/01

SUBSIDIES FOR HOLLYWOOD? Hollywood is concerned about the number of productions now being filmed outside the US. So it has put its weight behind a bill in Congress "designed to curb the flow of film and TV production fleeing U.S. soil by providing financial incentives to producers who shoot within U.S. borders." Backstage 08/10/01

PRICES DRIVE MOVIE GOERS AWAY: A movie industry consultant is predicting that movie ticket sales will go down this year and next. "A major factor in this slowdown is increasing admission prices, which are turning moviegoers away." National Post (Reuters) (Canada) 08/13/01

Friday August 10

DIGITAL PROTECTION: Suddenly Hollywood movie studios are discovering they're being seriously hacked, and their movies copied. So they're trying to create protection measures. BBC 08/10/01

Thursday August 9

STEALING MOVIES: Hackers are infiltrating the computers that are increasingly used to edit movies, and stealing copies. And, "as digital technology makes its mark on every aspect of the film industry, it becomes easier for ordinary computer users to reach into cyberspace and grab whatever goodies take their fancy." New Zealand Herald 08/09/01

  • ANYTHING YOU WANT: Top movies are now available in pirated versions over the internet within days of their theatre release. It's obvious that "the Napster file-trading phenomenon that has rocked the music industry over the past year has caught up to Hollywood with a vengeance." Toronto Star 08/08/01

IT'S NOT ART IN VIDEO GAMES, IT'S VIDEO GAMES IN ART: Serious artists get interested in video games, and not just for fun. For many of them, the attraction is having discovered "that they can bring their own agendas to games to subvert traditional game rules... they like the sense of space conveyed by video games and the way the games draw the participant into the field of action." The New York Times 08/09/01 (one-time registration required for access)

NOW MAY BE THE TIME FOR HEAVENLY INTERVENTION: Despite the suggestions to the contrary posed by contemporary programming, there is a patron saint of television. She's an Italian noblewoman from the 12th century, named St. Clare. New York Post 09/09/01

Wednesday August 8

WHAT HAPPENED TO GOOD MOVIES? "Today mainstream cinema looks stupider than it has for a long time. This is real middlebrow moronism of the kind we haven't seen since Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep got their parcels mixed up in Falling In Love in 1984. We have become used to expecting more of cinema. We're going to suffer now." Where to turn for good art films? The Guardian (UK) 08/08/01

ELIZABETHAN RAUNCH: They usually try to obscure it in high school, but by the time you get to college, English instructors are pretty honest about it. Yes, there is sex in Shakespeare. But what happened onstage at the Globe was nothing like what's happening now, on cable and in XXX videos. It's a whole new genre: Shakespearean Porn. Lingua Franca 09/01

HUNK FACTOR: Are movie actors better looking than TV actors? Just compare awards - Emmys versus Oscars. Skeptical? Think Dennis Franz. Think James Gandolfini. Los Angeles Times 08/08/01

Tuesday August 7

THE GENERIC SOUND OF PUBLIC RADIO: "One of the biggest listener complaints with commercial radio is that the rock stations here in Washington sound just like the rock stations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. But the same thing is happening in public radio. Further, public radio stations in the same city are increasingly starting to sound alike. And, unlike in commercial radio, your tax dollars help pay for this duplication. At least two members of Congress aren't happy about it." Washington Post 08/07/01

Monday August 6

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UNDERRATED: An American publishing house has released a new survey of the best, most overrated, and most underrated film scripts in history, as judged by screenwriters themselves. Citizen Kane and Casablanca made both the best and most overrated lists, with Groundhog Day taking the prize for most underrated. BBC 08/05/01

Sunday August 5

WAITING FOR DIGITAL RADIO: With all the hoopla surrounding the coming of digital television, radio's digital potential has been largely ignored by press and public alike. But radio is mostly about music these days, and the benefits of a full digital conversion would likely be far greater than any television will realize. Still, there may not be enough interest to get the change done in the near term. Washington Post 08/05/01

Friday August 3

ACTING UP IN CANADA: American movie producers may have settled contracts with the actors union, but the Canadian actors union is just coming up on negotiations. "Among other issues on the table, the union hopes to narrow the gap between the $510 Canadian movie and TV actors earn for a day's work in Canada, and the $950 ($636 U.S.) paid to American actors." Toronto Star 08/02/01

VIDEO ISN'T THE SAME AS FILM. HERE'S WHY: "Footage shot on digital video looks noticeably less crisp than footage shot on film. Where film can produce a remarkable sensation of deep space, video emphasizes the plane of the screen - its images seem flatter... video encourages lo-fi, do-it-yourself effects to achieve a completely natural, sketchlike style... just as you get different kinds of sound from a compact disc and vinyl, it seems clear that the new medium of DV will continue to have qualities distinct from film." The New Republic 07/31/01

NOT SO SPECIAL: Movie special effects have become boring. "Over the past decade, computing power has greatly increased while the cost and complexity involved in using it has greatly decreased. Computer generated images have become commonplace to the point of banality. They now clutter everything from the biggest Hollywood productions to the lowest-budget TV commercial, and their magic and power - the ability to simply wow us - has vanished. If a computer can create a screen image of anything the mind can conjure, what is left to surprise us?" Toronto Star 08/03/01

NOTHING ON: What has happened to British documentaries? Once they aspired to greatness. Now: "From the precious nonsense that was served up as Modern Times, to the vapid, middle-class obsessions of Cutting Edge, it would be easy to argue that the box in the corner of your living room boasts little but a white, English, terribly middle-class belly button." The Times 08/03/01

"TOO AGGRESSIVE ON A TAX BASIS"? Australia, like many countries, gives tax breaks to American production companies who shoot in their country. But the recent denial of tax credits to producers of Moulin Rouge has the Aussie film industry worried. Sydney Morning Herald 08/03/01

PASADENA NORTH: Pasadena is what, a few miles up the road from Hollywood? That's Hollywood as in where they make movies and TV...So how come a new TV series called Pasadena is being shot not in Pasadena? Or even Hollywood. But in Canada. "For Hollywood unions, shooting a TV show about the scandals of Pasadena society in a Canadian city 1,200 miles to the north is the perfect symbol of how bad the problem of runaway production to cheaper locales has gotten. Who would think of shooting a Beverly Hills, 90210 or L.A. Law in a foreign country?" Los Angeles Times 08/03/01

Thursday August 2

WHAT DID YOU WATCH? NEVER MIND, WE ALREADY KNOW: Arbitron is introducing the portable people meter. "The PPM, which is carried by participants, detects codes that broadcasters place in their programming... and records the signals, whether at home or outside it. When the PPM is recharged on its base every night, the base sends the collected codes to Arbitron." Chicago Tribune 08/01/01

WANNA SEE A REALLY GOOD MOVIE? TOO BAD This is not a vintage summer for movies. It's not even a good one. In fact, it's... well, "If it weren't for Shrek, the puckish computer-animated children's fable about an antisocial ogre who learns to love, this summer at the multiplexes would really, really reek." Philadelphia Inquirer 08/02/01

THE ULTIMATE ADVERTISING MACHINE: Internet movies have mostly been flops. One series of shorts, however, has been highly successful. As you might guess, they're commercials, "six-minute shorts that are so unlike regular commercials, you could watch them without recognizing the product being sold. An easy mistake to make, since there's no advertising slogan, no pitchman and no logos." Toronto Star 08/01/01

PUBLIC MERGER: America's largest public broadcasting station - New York's WNET - is merging with the country's fourth largest station - Long Island's WLIW. "The merger, which would leave the management of WNET in charge of the stations, would be the first of its kind among public television stations." The New York Times 08/02/01 (one-time registration required for access)

THE BEST MTV VIDEO OF ALL TIME: Assuming that you think MTV videos are any good in the first place, and that you think 20 years qualifies for "all time" status, and that you agree with the British voters, the best is neither Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" nor Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Hint: it's by the same man who made Being John Malkovich. The Independent (UK) 08/01/01

Wednesday August 1

DOWNWARD CHASE: British television seems to be spiraling downmarket in an attempt to capture larger audiences. "The worst part of it is that the more trivial and mindless the television offerings become, the more eagerly the newspapers promote them in order to play leapfrog." Financial Times (UK) 08/01/01