Cousin Brucie Morrow, one of New York's grooviest Top 40 disc jockeys at WINS and WABC and later the foremost voice of oldies radio at WCBS (and, very briefly in 1960, a South Florida deejay, too), is visiting South Florida Friday to promote his new book Doo Wop: The Times, The Music, The Era. He'll appear on local oldies station WMXJ from 6 to 6:30 a.m. (you can just listen, or actually see him -- the broadcast is being done from the McDonald's at 111 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale) and later do a book signing at the Barnes and Noble down the street at 2051 N. Federal Highway. Cousin Bruce has been off the broadcast air since WCBS dumped its oldies format a couple of years ago, but you can still hear on Sirius Satellite Radio's 1960s channel
Maury (which airs in South Florida at 10 a.m. on WSFL-CW 39) celebrates its 10th anniversary on the air Wednesday. Host Maury Povich welcomes back some of his most memorable guests -- not only celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and Larry King, but a Denver woman with an eating disorder who was down to 58 pounds before the show paid her way to rehab, a dwarf who's now a cheerleader and actress, and a blind girl who wanted the show to give her dad a makeover before she lost the last bit of her eyesight.
The last show of the new season, ABC's Sex And The City imitation Cashmere Mafia, won't be debuting this fall after all. ABC has postponed the scheduled Nov. 27 premiere "indefinitely."
Don't expect the Writers Guild strike that began Monday to have much impact on Spanish-language television. "We are not currently being affected by the strike," said a spokeswoman for the Miami-based Telemundo network. "Telemundo is not a signatory to the Writers Guild basic-minimum agreement."
Miami media consultant Julio Rumbaut, who works closely with Spanish-language TV, said almost none of the telenovelas that dominate its programming are written in the United States. "The writers for Televisa, which supplies Univision, are mostly in Mexico, and the writers for Telemundo mostly in Mexico," Rumbaut said. "So there really isn't going to be much effect on them from the strike."
It sure sounds like Hollywood screenwriters will go on strike Monday. Thursday night's closed-door meeting of the Writer's Guild was reportedly full of strike rhetoric, with writers booing and hissing when their officers mentioned concessions they'd offered to the studios to get negotiations on a new contract moving. "Take it all back!" one writer yelled. The writers are demanding a bigger cut of the revenue from DVDs, downloads and other digital byproducts of movies and TV shows.
The last strike, in 1988, lasted 22 weeks. (Remember how the networks plugged holes in their schedules with stuff like a remake of the Mission Impossible series, using old scripts?) Most observers think this one will be longer and more bitter: The writers think they settled for too little in 1988, and the studios are now mostly owned by conglomerates with plenty of cash reserves to keep them above water during a strike.
If there's a strike, the late-night shows of Jay Leno, David Letterman and other hosts will disappear almost immediately -- they're written on a day-by-day basis. (Same goes for Saturday Night Live.) Dramas and comedies will probably continue normally until sometime around February -- the producers already have several episodes in the can, and several more completed scripts that they can continue shooting.
Like cockroaches scuttling around in the ruins of a nuclear war, reality and game shows will not only survive but thrive. They're edited together rather than written, so the strike won't affect their production. That's why Fox will be in the best shape of any network during a strike: Can you say American Idol? Not to mention Cops and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader? Even a ratings dog like The Next Great American Band is likely to seem appealing in a landscape full of reruns. Hey, I wonder if this blog could be made into a reality show? Are You Smarter Than A TV Critic? has a nice ring to it.
Looking for a Christmas gift for that certain TV critic in your life? You can get an up-close look at the perfect present this weekend when Panasonic bring its High Definition Truck Tour to South Florida. No, idiot, the truck isn't high-def. (I thought this blog had smarter readers.) It's what's inside that's high-def -- a 103-inch plasma HD television set, the biggest in the world. That's the size of a queen mattress, for heaven's sake, and it costs a mere $70,000.
The truck is rigged with fancy sound and various HD accessories like camcorder so you can play around inside what Panasonic calls the ultimate HD environment. You might even take home some of the goodies for free: Panasonic is handing out $20,000 in HD gear as prizes to folks who stop by. The truck will be parked in the Brandsmart parking lot at 4320 NW 167th Street in Miami, from 10 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. My favorite color is blue, by the way, but I'm not picky.
Radio's supposed new hostility to shock jocks ended Thursday -- if it ever really began -- when New York's WABC signed Don Imus to do a morning show that will be nationally syndicated. It was just six months ago that Imus was fired from a CBS morning show (and MSNBC, which did a TV simulcast) after a reference to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" didn't sit well with -- well, with anybody. His salary at the new gig is being reported at $5 million to $8 million annually. Crime may not pay, but racism and porcine crudity sure does.
A career path that began 50 years ago when lightning struck his treehouse drew near to the end Thursday night when WPLG-ABC 10 weatherman Don Noe announced his retirement during the station's 11 p.m. newscast.
''I'm always going to get up in the morning and check the forecast,'' Noe -- who's been a TV meteorologist for 34 years, 27 of them at WPLG -- told The Miami Herald. ``But I want to do other things in my life. . . . I'm weathered out. I'm old and weathered. I don't want to work for somebody anymore. I don't want a boss.''
Noe will deliver his last forecast Nov. 28, then give way to Trent Aric, his understudy at WPLG the past 3 ½ years. His bosses say they'll miss him, and that viewers will, too.
''South Florida was lucky to know Don Noe for 27 years,'' said Bill Pohovey, WPLG's news director. ``He was always the calm, reassuring voice when hurricanes were threatening our community. He worked around the clock, catching the occasional nap on the floor, because he knew he had such a tremendous responsibility.''
Not that it's all been grim hurricane duty for Noe, 56. Stunts like doing a broadcast standing on his head -- we'll get to that in a minute -- won Noe a national reputation for unconventionality. He appeared in a People magazine spread on ''wacky weathermen,'' even did a guest shot on Hollywood Squares. Read the rest of the story from Friday's Miami Herald.