Tags: Rev. | Sharpton | Seeks | Sitcom | Stardom

Rev. Al Sharpton Seeks Sitcom Stardom

Tuesday, 06 December 2005 12:00 AM

A Political Look at Hollywood

Los Angeles Times movie critic Patrick Goldstein recently wrote that "the era of movie-going as a mass audience ritual is slowly but inexorably drawing to a close."

Goldstein was referring to the explosion of new technology for the delivery of entertainment including the Internet, DVDs, video games, cell phones and, of course, iPods.

Disney is apparently paying attention to the high-tech advances. It is the first film studio to publish film content to video-enabled iPods.

The studio has announced the availability of full-screen, theatrical-quality video content for its latest distribution project, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Trailers, clips, behind-the-scenes segments, interviews, and similar film content can now be downloaded from the movie's Web site directly to PCs and video-enabled iPods.

I recently had an opportunity to preview the movie. It is a visually stunning and authentic rendering of C.S. Lewis' classic tale.

Tilda Swinton, who plays the diabolical White Witch, and Georgie Henley, who plays the youngest sibling, Lucy Pevensie, steal every scene in which they appear.

The Left Coast Report notes that rather than being mere entertainment, "Narnia" brings back the kind of family fare that is sure to promote meaningful and enlightening discussions between parents and children.

There's nothing like a convicted cold-blooded killer to arouse compassion in the hearts of Tinseltown liberals.

Hollywood celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Elliott Gould, Danny Glover, Laurence Fishburne, Ted Danson, William Baldwin, Mike Farrell, Harry Belafonte, Edward Asner, Jackson Browne, Russell Crowe, Richard Dreyfuss, Gabriel Byrne and Snoop Dogg are continuing their campaign to seek clemency for convicted killer and Crips gang co-founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams.

The only thing that could put the brakes on their "Save Tookie" campaign is news that Williams voted for George Bush or supported the Iraq war.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has scheduled a private clemency hearing this Thursday. Tookie's lawyers are likely to argue that Williams has abandoned his past, has written children's books and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The prosecutors will contend that Tookie never has acknowledged that he committed the four murders, and therefore has never sought forgiveness. They also may bring up how Williams planned, while in prison, to kill a key witness against him and escape incarceration by murdering two sheriff's deputies.

If the governor halts the execution, it will be the first time a California condemned murderer has been granted clemency since 1967

So some of Tookie's supporters held a candlelight vigil in front of a restaurant formally owned by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Rallies also were held in a park in Los Angeles and outside San Quentin prison, where Williams is waiting on death row to hear the news.

The Left Coast Report suspects that Tookie has been having some bad dreams, where he receives a phone call from the governor that ends with the words "Hasta la vista, baby."

Guess it was inevitable.

When the Rev. Al Sharpton hosted "Saturday Night Live" and did his best James Brown imitation, it was pretty clear he'd been bitten by the Hollywood bug.

Sharpton tends to gravitate toward any camera or microphone that's in his immediate vicinity.

Now the former candidate for prez has confirmed to the New York Daily News that he's preparing a pilot for CBS.

"It's about conflicting social and political views," Sharpton says. "There'll also be a social message."

A possible episode may have one of Al's sitcom kids coming out as a Republican.

"I don't know if I am a good actor or not, but I will be playing myself and I have been practicing that for 51 years," he says.

The Left Coast Report hears that John Kerry, John Edwards and Al Gore are working on a sitcom of their own called "Desperate Candidates."

A group of media executives, government regulators, consumer activists and televangelists recently gathered in a Washington, D.C., hearing room to participate in what was billed as an "Open Forum on Decency."

The future of cable TV was the subject of the day, with conservatives seeking a way to deal with some of the questionable content that is being shown on many of the cable channels.

Public airwaves are not the vehicle of transmission for cable programming, so operators are exempt from regulations and FCC indecency fines. Consequently, there are several bills pending in Congress that seek to address public concern over the cable indecency issue.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens let it be known that if the cable industry does not take action to help concerned parents, Congress will.

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Kevin Martin suggested an a la carte purchasing option as a means of giving parents more control over cable and satellite programming. With such an option in place, cable subscribers would no longer be compelled to purchase channels in bundles but would instead be able to buy whatever they desired on a personal preference basis.

Interestingly, the proposal has been well received by conservatives and consumers but not by the cable industry.  Kyle McSlarrow, president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, called the a la carte pricing concept "a very dangerous idea."

Critics of channel choice suggest that because channels might charge more to cable systems for their inclusion, price increases for consumers may result.

But Martin claimed that offering programs a la carte instead of in bundled packages would actually have the effect of lowering cable bills by about 2 percent.

Some faith-based conservatives are dissatisfied with the proposed plan. Religious broadcasters have found themselves at odds with anti-indecency groups. Televangelists like the Reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell naturally seek to protect their market shares and are concerned that without bundling many folks may say adieu to their shows.

An FCC study showed that on average people watch only 17 of the more than 100 cable channels they typically receive. Selling channels individually instead of in packages may end up driving out of business some channels that are unable to attract sufficient advertising.

Should channels that people do not watch in enough numbers be kept on the air by an industry-wide bundling practice? Should programming that is incapable of standing on its own in effect be subsidized by a packaging arrangement?

The Left Coast Report thinks that rather than being "a very dangerous idea," the a la carte approach is essentially a very free-market thing to do.


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THE LEFT COAST REPORT A Political Look at Hollywood Los Angeles Times movie critic Patrick Goldstein recently wrote that "the era of movie-going as a mass audience ritual is slowly but inexorably drawing to a close." Goldstein was referring to the explosion of new...
Tuesday, 06 December 2005 12:00 AM
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