OLD MOVIES ON TV: I feel a lot better about writing about Turner Classic Movies ever since Rogers – finally – started carrying the cable oldies channel up here a few months back. Of course, finding new ways of packaging Ted Turner’s collection of films night after night is a bit of a challenge, and according to the New York Post, TCM is using the esteemed “celebrity faves” tactic this fall, by giving a night each to 29 celebrities to showcase four of their favourite films all through November.
It’s basically an escalation of the Guest Programmer format, and each celebrity will co-host a night with TCM’s Robert Osborne, starting with Whoopi Goldberg on the first of the month with Jean Cocteau’s Beauty And The Beast, Funny Girl, 1957’s A Face In The Crowd (also picked by Devo singer Mark Mothersbaugh) and a rare wartime melodrama, Enchanted Cottage, starring Robert “Father Knows Best” Young.
The list of stars includes Danny DeVito, Matt Groening, Brian Dennehy, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Access Hollywood host Maria Menounos, Jerry Stiller, Food Network presenter Alton Brown, crime writer James Ellroy, Jack Klugman, Kermit The Frog, film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, Rose McGowan, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, Tracey Ullman, Harvey Fierstein and Alec Baldwin.
Carter’s list sounds like the safest, and virtually indistinguishable from the average night on TCM. (The Awful Truth, The Philadelphia Story, Casablanca and North by Northwest. Don’t get me wrong – I love Casablanca, but why not add The Wizard Of Oz and Gone With The Wind while you’re at it?) Maria Menounos came up with the oddest juxtaposition – the achingly nostalgic Judy Garland musical Meet Me In St. Louis and Todd Browning’s timelessly creepy Freaks. Do I detect a residual teen gothiness in the entertainment show host?
BATTLESTAR DEGRASSI: Another geek dream died hard this week with the news that Kevin Smith would not be directing an episode of Battlestar Galactica next season, due to scheduling problems. Smith, who has already committed to directing an episode of the Heroes spin-off Heroes: Origins this season, was also at the helm of the pilot episode of the CW’s new sci-fi/comedy show Reaper.
The news was broken by Terry Moore, wife of Galactica co-creator Ronald Moore, on the Sci Fi network’s web site, according to a story on Sy Fy Portal. Smith had earlier told AOL that he was excited but scared about the job. “It's cool, but it is scary because it is like, 'What the fuck? I can't bring anything to that show.’”
Moore said that while news “like that only registers on message boards,” there are still going to be hundreds of Smith fans who will be disappointed with the news that Starbuck won’t be calling Gaius Baltar a “d—ksmoker,” and that Colonel Tigh will never drunkenly ramble on about “snoochie boochies.”