Tags: Ted | Koppel | Replacements

Ted Koppel Replacements

Wednesday, 06 April 2005 12:00 AM

THE LEFT COAST REPORT
A Political Look at Hollywood

Matthew Perry, Blogmeister

Former "Friends" star Matthew Perry has acquired a Web site that hosts celebrity blogs.

Describing himself as "just a simple star of a long-running hit NBC sitcom," Perry explains that he's been wanting to buy "an existing TV-centric Web domain."

Evidently he's found what he's been looking for in TeeVeePad, his new blog hosting site.

Perry writes that he had "put the call out to my TV pals to see if they wanted in on the ground floor of this Weblog thing. And boy, did they ever!"

The site is a place where celebrities get to blog away.

Presently, there are three categories (designated by level of fame) into which celebrity bloggers fall.

The "A-List" features "bankable stars of long-running series," "movie stars making the move to TV" and "national news anchors."

The "B-List" is made up of "successful reality show contestants and hosts," "recognizable character actors" and "newscasters."

And the "C-List" is composed of "'Surreal Life' cast members," "former supporting characters on cancelled shows" and "unsuccessful reality show contestants."

In addition to the "Friends" star himself, the site has launched the blogs of Dan Rather, Les Moonves, Kirstie Alley and David Lee Roth.

The Left Coast Report hears that there may be a "D-List" in the works, where you get to blog for 15 Warhol minutes.

Ted Koppel Replacements

Ted Koppel is leaving his ABC evening post, and rumors are flying about who's going to fill his "Nightline" shoes. 

The Tinseltown air is rife with talk of various well-known Hollywood types who may be vying for the ABC late-night spot and the chance to joust for ratings with Letterman and Leno.

ABC has to at least consider a change in format, not only because of the potential ad bucks that a typical late-night show can bring in, but also because of the difficulties there are in sustaining a successful Koppel-less news program at that time of the evening.

It's likely that Jimmy Kimmel's people are lobbying pretty heavily to move his show up to the "Nightline" spot. But frankly, Kimmel's numbers have been less than extraordinary.

A few years ago ABC was unsuccessful at getting Letterman to jump the CBS ship.

And last year it went after Conan O'Brien, which left the comic host smiling as he gained a commitment from NBC execs to ultimately snag the Leno chair.

Dennis Miller is a natural to do a show of his own at the Koppel time and could be free of standing commitments at the end of 2005.

Hollywood experts are also pointing to Ray Romano as a possible Koppel follow-up. Conveniently, the highly rated show "Everybody Loves Raymond" has finished its run, and Romano is free to do other things.

David Duchovny of "X-Files" fame and new blog entrepreneur Matthew Perry have let it be known in the past that they'd each consider taking a late-night host gig.

The Left Coast Report suggests that ABC might think about hiring Triumph the Insult Dog and letting Koppel be the yuk-it-up sidekick.

Nostalgic for Stalin

When he was alive, the notorious dictator Joe Stalin had a jones for Hollywood.

He actually understood celebrity power, so much so that he once tried to have legendary actor John Wayne knocked off because of Wayne's antipathy toward communism.

Stalin would have been elated with the fawning that's been going on over him and his Bolshevik brothers - Fidel Castro and Che Guevara - by some of today's Hollywood stars.

The truth is, though, in the 1930s Stalin used sham trials to force his political enemies to testify against themselves.

A while back, Warner Brothers made a film, and it wasn't about the evils of Stalin. Rather, it was a whitewashed depiction of the despot. The movie was based on a book called "Mission to Moscow," in which the show trials of Stalin's opponents were portrayed as noble acts designed to thwart traitors.

A few years ago Ed Asner had this to say about Stalin: "I think Joe Stalin was a guy that was hugely misunderstood." Asner added, "To this day, I don't think I have ever seen an adequate job done of telling the story of Joe Stalin."

When we fast-forward to today, we see that there is a growing segment of Russians who are developing a Hollywood-style fondness for Joe.

In early 2005, debates were held in Moscow as to whether a statue would be constructed for the dictator.

Russian bookstores typically tout political biographies of him, the majority of which portray the tyrant in a positive light.

There's also a Russian resurgence of interest in Soviet songs, as well as movies from the Soviet era. The Russian national anthem was personally approved by Stalin himself.

And Stalin's grave, situated next to Lenin's tomb, is a place where mounds of fresh flowers turn up on the dictator's birthday and on key anniversaries.

It wasn't that long ago, too, that Hollywood showered another ignoble figure, Che Guevara, with some cinematic attention.

Robert Redford made a flick about Guevara called "The Motorcycle Diaries" and was rewarded for the effort. The movie received gobs of praise and even took home a Best Song Oscar for its hero worship of a young Guevara.

Apparently, Steven Soderbergh actually plans to begin shooting "an epic about Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara," who, according to a statement on the Internet Movie Database, "fought for the people." The movie will purportedly star Benicio del Toro, who also played a character in Soderbergh's drug-running tale "Traffic."
 
The Left Coast Report thinks that perhaps there's a market out there for the Stalin push, Asner pap, Redford bilge and the like, at one of Hollywood's favorite hot spots -- the Kremlin.

Pitting Red Against Blue

ABC has ordered a pilot for a new show that will apparently try to mine some laughs out of the nation's political divide.

The show, called "Red and Blue," features a conservative dad who has a liberal son with kids of his own.

The father and son characters clash over, among other things, the best way to raise the youngsters.

The show springs from the minds of writers Rob Long and Dan Staley, who also wrote and produced on "Cheers."

The dad character is described by a source as "a devout conservative who worships George Bush (either one), Charlton Heston, Rush Limbaugh and God, not necessarily in that order. A man who likes red meat, Cuban cigars, traditional monogamous morality and processed sugar."

The son character works as "a family therapist" and is "intellectual, liberal, vegetarian, and touchy-feely."

The Left Coast Report says contrary to Hollywood's usual fare, I expect the conservative view on "Red and Blue" to be fairly represented. One of the writers whom I've met, Rob Long, is a Hollywood renegade, and by that I mean a right-minded thinker.

BBC's Bob Marley Blunder

The BBC's credibility had already been lowered to a New York Times or Dan Rather level after the Hutton Commission revealed that BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan, apparently motivated by his political opposition to Tony Blair and the war in Iraq, knowingly reported lies about the British government.

Now the BBC says that it is "very embarrassed."

Why? Because it requested an interview with reggae legend Bob Marley.

And what's wrong with that? It's only been, what, 24 years since Marley died.

In an e-mail sent to the Bob Marley Foundation, the BBC indicated that the interview would involve the singer "spending one or two days with us" for a documentary.

The BBC mentioned that the show "would only work with some participation from Bob Marley himself."

Following the request, the U.K. broadcasting giant issued a statement that said, "We are obviously very embarrassed that we didn't realise that the letter to the Marley Foundation did not acknowledge that Mr Marley is no longer with us."

The statement also described the Marley Foundation as "extremely good humoured about this" and noted that the BBC had "apologised for the error."

The Left Coast Report wonders if the BBC has the jitters about asking for an interview with Keith Richards.

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THE LEFT COAST REPORT A Political Look at HollywoodMatthew Perry, BlogmeisterFormer "Friends" star Matthew Perry has acquired a Web site that hosts celebrity blogs.Describing himself as "just a simple star of a long-running hit NBC sitcom," Perry explains that...
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Wednesday, 06 April 2005 12:00 AM
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