seth wenig/associated press
CLASH OF CULTURES: It’s not on Bravo Canada’s schedule yet, but it’s worth keeping your eye out for an episode of Inside The Actor’s Studio, airing on U.S. Bravo tonight, featuring Chris Rock. Rock, whose inability to hide his discomfort has always been part of his comic gift, looks hilariously ill at ease on the show, judging by the brief clip on the bravotv.com web site, but the best part of it is probably watching host James Lipton try to sound street when he talks about Rock films like I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka.
It’s been hard to look at Lipton without giggling since Will Farrell parodied him into submission on Saturday Night Live years ago, and Lipton seems to have absorbed Farrell’s satire like some Japanese anime monster, incorporating it amoeba-like into his persona. Rock tries manfully not to stare, but every now and then you see his eyes flash with amusement as he tries to suppress the trace of a smirk, then address the answer to the audience in the hope of retaining his composure.
Like I said, you won’t see it here for months, perhaps, unless you have access to U.S. Bravo, but it looks like the show will be irresistible viewing for those who like to see TV that teeters on self-destruct even while going about something as simple as a soft-soap live chat.
SHOPPING FOR SHOWS: NBC is launching its own online store, where episodes of shows like Saturday Night Live and whole seasons of The Office will be available for download, according to a story on MediaPost’s Marketing Daily web site.
The new online store is acknowledged as an alternative – a hopeful way of saying competition – for iTunes, where you can already buy episodes of NBC shows, including Heroes, Studio 60, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, Scrubs, selected sketches and “best of” compilations from SNL and season three of The Office – but only on the U.S. version of iTunes, you poor provincials.
Shelli Hill, vice president of video, music and product development for NBC Universal Television Distribution, said that prices would stick to the $1.99 standard set by iTunes, but that “(t)he current pricing structure [for downloads] is not equitable, when a five-minute video and a 74-minute episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’ each sell for $1.99.”
There are other questions that need to be answered, of course, like whether the NBC downloads will have the resolution that would make them look decent on a flat-panel TV, an issue still not addressed even as Apple prepares to launch the AppleTV, which would stream files wirelessly from your computer to your TV – a mostly pointless exercise if it can’t handle DVD quality files, never mind HD, and a moot point in Canada while little more than music videos are available on domestic iTunes. Stay tuned.