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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Lowry’

Variety Follows Renner with McRaney

Three weeks into PMC’s relaunch of Variety, two articles of note have involved actors from opposite ends of the film-TV spectrum.

For Issue No. 1 (April 2), Steve Challogan visited a massive $25 million residential property in Holmby Hills flip-renovated by Jeremy Renner and business partner Kristoffer Winters. Actually, make that just Winters. It’s only at the very end of the piece that readers are clearly told that “Renner, it should be noted, doesn’t have a financial stake in this property, but was present during the remodeling when he wasn’t busy shooting the latest Bourne movie.” Nevertheless, the piece is a great glimpse past the usually forbidding hedges of westside mega-manses.

In this week’s April 16 issue, TV critic Brian Lowry takes stock of the resurgent guest star careers of familiar faces like former Simon & Simon star Gerald McRaney:

McRaney describes himself as “sort of a gypsy at heart” who is having the time of his life flitting from playing a Warren Buffett-like billionaire to a drunken ex-cop to a seedy criminal. When asked about down time between roles, he says, “I consider anything after two weeks not to be a vacation, but unemployment.”

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Former LAT Staffer Reverses His Stance on Concentrated Media Ownership

Once an LA Times reporter, Variety TV critic Brian Lowry shares an Op Ed today about the sad synergy lessons imparted by the 2000 union of Tribune Co. and Times Mirror.

Although Lowry admits that Sam Zell and corporate mismanagement have had a lot to do with the disappointing results, he also suggests that there has always been a fundamental difference in the “selection, tone and style” of stories pursued by major daily newspapers and local TV stations. He also argues that local TV has gone in an even fluffier direction since the Tribune deal was done, helping lead him to a surprising shift:

Perhaps that’s why even some of us who railed against concentrated media ownership in the past derive little terror or righteous indignation from the prospect of easing the aforementioned [FCC] guidelines. In fact, given the financial strains local print and broadcasting face, it seems like a reasonable attempt to ensure their viability–and frankly might come as too little, too late.

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Variety Critic Pummels LA Times Calendar Piece

It didn’t take long for a Twittering journalist to react to Variety critic Brian Lowry‘s harsh takedown of Rebecca Keegan‘s LA Times Sunday Calendar cover story “Muscle Summer – The Men of Captain America, Thor and Conan.” Lowry holds up the feature as an example of questionable entertainment journalism, suggesting it is “filled with ridiculous statements” and “tricks of the trade,” which he breaks down paragraph by paragraph.

Entertainment Weekly film writer Anthony Breznican quickly jumped to Keegan’s defense, rebutting the Lowry item as “a crock” and offering some Variety blog item critiques of his own in the A), B), and C) format used by Lowry:

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Variety TV Critic Checks In with Pulitzer Prize Winning Elders

Are today’s web-powered TV critics nastier than their print predecessors? That’s the question Variety TV critic Brian Lowry posed to a pair of retired masters of the TV criticism game, Howard Rosenberg (LA Times) and Tom Shales (Washington Post).

Rosenberg (pictured), who now teaches at USC, says that while he always tried to avoid being “nasty,” he doesn’t feel today’s critics are any worse than some of his former colleagues. It’s just a matter of the whole discussion being amplified. Shales however is firmly of the belief that things have gone down the broadband hill, fast.

“If reviews are bitchier now, it’s because of the Internet and all the amateurs who are reviewing movies and TV,” Shales said via email. “They don’t have training, they don’t have standards. … Old-fashioned virtues like ‘literate,’ ‘thoughtful,’ ‘witty,’ ‘clever,’ those kinds of things are no longer reached for.” With some online opinions, he added, “It’s just conversation; it’s not writing, and it’s not criticism.”

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Show Biz Reporters Exchange Barbs in NY Observer Piece

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You can read the whole story for yourself – but we’ll sum it up:

Sharon Waxman, Nikki Finke, Anita Busch, Patrick Goldstein and Brian Lowry all hate each other and claim that they are the ones that are the most journalistic. Basically, they’re scratching each others’ eyes out in a New York paper. Which is only notable because they usually only do this on their respective blogs. Dog bites man. Show biz scribes catfight.

Blah blah.

The problem with entertainment writers is they write for people that don’t read, so they have to result to theatrics in order to get attention.

Trade Round-Up: August 22, 2007

star jones2.jpegVariety‘s TV insider Brian Lowry breaks down Star Jones‘ return to television, reviewing her new Court TV talk show. Lowry gives Jones a lashing, writing that her new star vehicle is “utterly off-putting” and reminds viewers why Oprah Winfrey‘s skills aren’t easily cloned, saying she delivers “incomprehensible” questions and is poorly cast. However, the Var reviewer does offer a bit of optimism by concluding that Jones and her team “may gradually revise the formula to better suit her limitations.” Find out what those are by reading his entire review here.

Another Var television expert, recent THR defectee Cynthia Littleton, does her own dissection of something on the small-screen, centering her latest blog posting on what else, Disney’s ubiquitous “High School Musical 2.” Littleton’s report centers on the aftermath of the telefilm’s debut: exactly who helped the sequel break so many records and why they watched. What’s interesting in her “On the Air” blog is that one-third of the viewership was adults 18 and over and that so many boys flipped on the tube to see a whole lot of singing and dancing. Read why Dis execs had so many reasons to brag about their “High School” baby here.

Look out iTunes, MTV Networks, RealNetworks and Verizon Wireless have pacted to push their own version of an integrated digital music service that is designed to give iTunes a run for its money. THR reports on the new service, which replaces the offering each company currently has in place.

If you’re reading this, then you are the type of person talked about in a new survey by IBM that says consumers are spending enough time on the Internet to rival the time they spend in front of the television. THR’s business guru Georg Szalai ingests the study’s findings in today’s story, which also points out that the findings suggest “studios, advertisers, ad agencies, content distributors and other industry players must continue to adjust their business strategies amid changes in media usage and consumers’ increased expectations for control and community.” We can only hope that leads to more money in ad revenue for FBLA!
- CHRIS GARDNER

In The Trades: Dolls, Idols,

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HBO and American Girl have made a deal to develop films, series, specials and documentaries, based on the American Girl dolls. Better idea would be dolls based on HBO products: G-String Divas, The Sopranos or Sex and the City.


Nigel Lythgoe
and Ken Warwick, eps of American Idol, will produce the Emmys. Look for a special call-in segment where America choses someone to do something.

Max Mutchnick, creator of Will and Grace, revisits his own life for a CBS pilot about a straight guy and his gay writing partner. Will and Grace was totally different as it was based on his sister’s life. Maybe he’ll try something Animal Planet next.

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Marc Cherry plans to spend his twilight years ABC windfall writing musicals. He signed with the network for 4 more years at a deal rumored to exceed $15 million. No Housewives: The Musical is planned, but wait til the cash runs out.

Brian Lowry exposes the secret behind Oprah’s success–daytime talk is for stupid people–as he analyzes her show featuring psychics.

TV Guide Channel ordered a new reality series from Magical Elves–America’s Next Producer. Prizes include $100k in cash, an office in Hollywood, and a first-look deal with the network–where half the progamming is a crawl. YouTube gets better numbers.