March 2, 2010

News: Standup comic Wayne Flemming convicted of sexual assault

Wayne Flemming, a longtime standup comic and actor, has been convicted of sexual assault involving a teenage girl.  He will be sentenced to six months’ house arrest and 100 hours of community service, according to the Belleville Intelligencer.

Flemming was arrested last year on counts of sexual assault, sexual interference, trafficking a controlled substance and invitation to sexual touching.  As part of Flemming’s plea agreement, the Ontario Court of Justice has dropped the three lesser charges.

Flemming has appeared on Ken Finkleman’s CBC miniseries Married Life (1995.)  Film credits include Rebel High (1987), Fun with Dick and Jane (2005), Cinderella Man (2005), Fever Pitch (2005) and Heartstopper (2006.)

In February 2000, Flemming suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage.  The hemorrhage left him clinically dead at one point.  Jim Carrey is a longtime friend of Flemming’s, temporarily halting production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) to visit Flemming at a Kingston hospital.

I respect Flemming’s longevity and tenacity, but this is a shame.  Flemming’s in his early sixties.  It’ll be interesting to see how the conviction will affect his career.  It’s not like Flemming’s career is at a high point right now.

As an aside, the Belleville Intelligencer has misidentified the date of Flemming’s brain hemorrhage as 1995.  It’s a mistake that has wafted into the pages of the Toronto Sun, London Free Press and other Quebecor Media outlets.  I just love concentrated media ownership!

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June 16, 2009

Picking Apart the Fall Schedules 2009-10: Canadian Network Prime-Time

The 2009-10 season, for most specialty stations and the broadcast networks, is weak in the homegrown TV show department.  Although I’ve only seriously talked about Canadian television since the 2008-09 fall season, very few Canadian shows set to debut in 2009-10 draw my interest.

I don’t know if this is due to the sluggish economy, a sea change in broadcasting vs. the Internet, or Canadian television needing to be there regardless of quality.  It has to be the conventional television business model.  It’s broken, you know!  Canwest can only afford to fill one network with American shows instead of two this year!  Also, buy a new GM car or truck!  It’s not going out of business, it’s getting down to business…by wasting money on unconvincing ads!

I don’t think there’s one new piece of CanCon on the Canadian network prime-time schedules that I can get excited about.  There are a few returning programs I can get behind, Less Than Kind leading that pack.  Cable is where the big boys play at this point, so I’ll try to whip up a few articles making fun of SPACE’s and TVtropolis’ schedules in the coming days.  I have to make up for recommending Hotbox somehow.

CityTV | The only worthwhile Canadian shows on CityTV this fall are Less Than Kind and Murdoch Mysteries, both returning shows.  What the hell, CityTV?  My RONA Home?  Ford Models Supermodel of the World Canada?  This is the best the network can do?

I’ll admit Conviction Kitchen has potential.  The show’s high concept is Hell’s Kitchen with criminals.  I’m just not sure the show will be any good.  I’m also not holding out for a third season of Less Than Kind once the second-season episodes have been burnt off.  Jesse Camacho will survive, but I doubt his show will.

There’s been talk about the lack of Canadian film representation on CityTV, but that’s just one of CityTV’s problems.  CityTV’s attempts at Canadian television are depressing enough.  CityTV should at least be able to compete with Canwest and give the greenlight to more than branded reality shows.  I’m not saying CityTV turned shit once Rogers took over, but I sometimes wonder if CityTV knows what it’s doing.  Wait, of course it does.  I mean, Jay Leno!

CTV/‘A’ | If Dan For Mayor is successful, Fred Ewanuick will become more well-known than he is now.  As it is, he’s “that guy from Corner Gas and/or Robson Arms” if he’s known at all.  His face is more recognizable than his name.  Ewanuick’s celebrity could meet Brent Butt’s the way his career trajectory is going.

I know how pithy the last sentence reads.  It’s Canadian television.  Just run with it.

I’m sure one of the two shows following in the wake of Corner Gas will be successful.  If both DFM and Brent Butt’s Hiccups do well, I won’t be surprised.  Corner Gas brought in the ratings, so there will be much interest in the follow-up projects.  That’s a rare quality in Canadian television.  Hey, one of the two shows might be genuinely funny.  Who knows?

As for returning shows, Degrassi: The Next Generation is back for some reason.  There’s a spinoff film attached to the show’s ninth (!!) season, which is weird as the show is dragging its ratings ass.  Flashpoint‘s back, like no one saw that coming.

Basically, CTV and ‘A’ are staying the usual CTVglobemedia television course – tons of hit American programs, with some CanCon to fill the cultural quota.  CTV’s central strategy hasn’t changed for years.  It’s the most-watched Canadian network, a fact CTVglobemedia endlessly trumpets.  I wish a network in this country could air something more exciting than So You Think You Can Dance Canada, but Canada, you know?

Global | Global’s literally coasting this year as Canwest prepares for bankruptcy and/or reorganization.  As such, its new fall shows are all American.  Shows on the immediate fall lineup include what’s left of The Guard, renegadepress.com and reruns of The Jane Show.

Seriously, three-year-old reruns of The Jane Show are worthy for a spot on the 2009-10 fall lineup?  Since Saturday night is the graveyard of network television, throw out uncensored episodes of Billable Hours or move 16X9 from Sundays.  No one’s going to notice what Global flings out on Saturday night.  Air The Line, something, anything.  The Jane Show, honest to God…

CBC | Momco should be able to do better with its new programming than Canada’s Super Speller and Battle of the Blades.  CBC is horrible at reality programming – The Week the Women Went, Triple Sensation, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, it’s one big ball of there.  CBC does have Dragon’s Den, but it can hardly take the credit for porting that show over from Japan.

As for new shows, I have to admit a mild interest in The Ron James Show, Republic of Doyle and 18 to Life.  I say mild interest as the show I really want to see, Death Comes to Town, won’t air until after the 2009-10 season.  If any new CBC show can break through the culture of bland until Death Comes to Town, I’ll be happy.  I’m not holding my breath.

Returning shows on CBC are familiar enough – Little Mosque on the Prairie, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Rick Mercer Report, The Border, The Hour etc.  The lineup could be worse, but it could be better.

SUN TV | Argos Access.  That’s it as far as new programs go for SUN TV.  The station technically isn’t network, but what the hell.  Independent television stations in Canada aren’t easy to come by these days.

Here’s an idea, CBC: why not pick up the tab for King Kaboom‘s second season?  Those Toronto-centric criticisms will continue in stead, but that’s going to happen any time an intern drops a pencil at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre.  It’s not like SUN TV knows what to do with King Kaboom.  I pick on SUN TV, but it really should try harder.

E! | Ahhahahaha…

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