Friday, 27 June 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1157: CBC Does Canada, Lohan Does Mamet!


The venerable and long tumefied Canadian Broadcasting Company, Canada's taxpayer & commercially supported national broadcaster announced that they will trim their staff by 20% by 2020.

Now this will be played in one of two ways.

The most sensible way to handle these reductions through simple demographic attrition. That means that a lot of in-front-of and behind-the-scenes people that have been working in senior high-paying jobs in CBC's Toronto HQ since the government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson would retire and collect their pensions.

However, that sensible way is also the most unlikely way.

The CBC and its employees have a rather unique status. It's considered not only a bureaucratic position, promising lifetime employment & benefits, but also the centre of Toronto's elite society as well as what passes for celebrity in Canada.

That means that some people get branded as "institutions" and stay around long past their sell-by date. Every show, whether drama, news, or general entertainment have to involve the same mostly Toronto-based troupe of actors, journalists, and performers. A classic story was when CBC inked a deal for a Canadian franchise of Antiques Roadshow. They announced that they were looking for a young, hip, and previously unknown host for it. They ended up hiring a fifty-something host who has worked for the CBC off-and-on for the previous 25 years.

So here is what's going to happen.

The CBC will not use retirements and sensible fat-trimming in the executive suite to make these cuts. Instead they will lay off the younger, popular on-air personalities, arbitrarily cancel shows that people actually watch, and find other ways to punish the audience. All the while saying through their allies: "Don't blame us, blame the evil Tory government that we actively campaign against who won't give us unlimited money."

This is explained by something called "Public Choice Theory," or as I like to call it, PCT.

PCT explains that people in government, politicians and bureaucrats, are still human beings despite their claims of working for "the public good."

That means they spend most of their time catering to the special interests that will protect, promote and extend their own personal fiefdoms, whether that does anything for the public they're supposed to serve or not.


Actress and professional club-hopping train-wreck Lindsay Lohan has been cast in a West-End production of David Mamet's 1988 play Speed The Plow.

Now it seems an odd choice since, unlike movies, TV shows, or fashion shoots, a live play can't really tolerate someone who is prone to show up 11 hours late if she shows up at all. In fact, movies and TV can't tolerate that behaviour for very long, since, as Einstein discovered: time is money, which is why she's considered unemployable.

However there are up-sides to this casting:

1. PUBLICITY: People on both sides of the Atlantic are talking about a non-musical production in London. Which is probably why the producers cast her. Schadenfreude is a great ticket mover.

2. OPPORTUNITY: Lohan's understudy will most likely get lots of stage time and media exposure.

So, barring Lohan burning down the theatre and all inside it, this stunt is not much of a gamble for the producers, more of a scam, but not a gamble.


Speaking of literacy: My e-novella MINDER is available from Amazon for 99 cents.

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