Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion steals the show as The Rick Mercer Report returns tonight with the first new episode in three weeks. Her honor is 88 and can still kick Rick's ass on- or off-the ice, in the gym or even in the (bowling) alley as she demonstrates in the fun episode.
No wonder she's ruled the west Toronto suburb for 30 years. Keeping a lid on property taxes for much of that time--take note, Brampton--didn't hurt, either. Read more about the Mercer/McCallion encounter here in the Mississauga News.
Mercer has a shot at a season high rating mark tonight with U.S. channels covering Barack Obama's State of the Union-style address before a joint session of Congress. The U.S. network schedule clearer doesn't actually begin until 9 p.m., but the all news networks will be spinning it for hours beforehand. Andy Ryan had the lowdown--including the kooky CNN countdown clock--in today's Globe and Mail.
In keeping with Obama's "Yes We Can" new media policy, the address will also be streamed live at Hulu.com, which is posting the Fox feed. Canadians, normally gro-blocked to Hulu content, will be able to access the presidential address, which can also be called up on demand later tonight.
Final numbers are in Stateside for Sunday's Oscarfest and the big shew did even better than initially reported. Marc Berman writes in today's Mediaweek "Programming Insider" column that the fast nationals show ABC averaged 36.3 million viewers, making it the most watched entertainment show Stateside since the 2007 Academy Awards. It was also up 22% among men 18-34, so look for Seth Rogan and James Franco to be invited back next year. Also up Stateside was E!'s red carpet coverage as well as ABC's red carpet coverage.
Finally, City-TV--home to the new Jay Leno show and getting more aggressive under Rogers ownership--just announced that they have snapped up several high profile mid-season replacements. Among them are Parks and Recreation, the new title for the Amy Poehler/Greg Daniels NBC project. The pseudo-documentary-style comedy begins April 9 at 8:30 p.m. Critics were each given a copy of the pilot script at press tour in January, and it is funny as hell.
City-TV also picked up the ABC series In The Motherhood, which boasts an impressive cast, including Meagan Mullally, Cheryl Hines and Horatio Sanz. That show starts March 26 at 8 p.m. (E.T.). Bob Saget and Cynthia Stevenson headline Surviving Suburbia, another ABC sitcom premiering April 6 at 9:30. The funny new Winnipeg comedy Less Than Kind returns to City March 9 at 9, and Melissa DiMarco's trippy late night dramedy Out There debuts on City March 6 at 10 p.m.
A year ago, you would have expected CTV to have snapped up half of these shows (especially the ABC/Disney ones) and stuck them on the shelf in that damn-the-expenses game of keep away they played so well. Global might have bought one or two but they're selling everything not nailed down these days.
With the Canadian networks crying poor and back begging the CRTC for carriage fee coin, throwing money on every shiny thing for sale south of the border may no longer be cool. Talk of a U.S. content cap is also heating up in CRTC circles. The winner in the short term in Rogers, who need to break City out of its OMNI3 funk. Stay tuned.