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Hoser hottie Tim Warmels of The Bachelor Canada reminds me of Apu

- April 17th, 2014

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Wait, don’t all successful entrepreneurs have hot- and cold-running chicks anyway? Like a beverage counter at a Kwik-E-Mart?

OK, maybe I watch too much TV.

Point being, Citytv announced Thursday that Toronto entrepreneur Tim Warmels is the hoser hottie for season two of The Bachelor Canada. The series will air in the fall.

Warmels is a 28-year-old native of Campbellville, Ont., and a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. After moving to Toronto to prove himself as an investment banker, Warmels now has a number of tech ventures and his own boutique contracting business.

In his spare time, he enjoys writing, travelling, modelling and working with his hands building custom furniture and renovating his home.

My God, did you ever see that episode of The Simpsons when Apu gets dragged into participating at a “bachelor auction?” When, in his classic accent, Apu says, “In my spare time I like to build furniture and then to have a discussion about where to put it in a room,” all the women start to droll.

Maybe Tim Warmels’ REAL name is Tim Nahasapeemapetilon. It certainly will bring new meaning to Tim and one of his sexy ladies ducking out for a “Kwik-E.”

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

No new Family Guy episode this weekend, so Brian Griffin stays dead for now

- December 1st, 2013

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Death and TV comedy always has been an uneasy mix. One struggles to know where the line is between realism and a publicity stunt.

It gets even more complicated with an animated series such as Family Guy. Wedging in a serious moment amid all those poop jokes can get squishy. Maybe it’s a hoax. Maybe the hoax is a hoax.

Either way, consider this a SPOILER ALERT if you don’t want to know any details, but as you probably have heard, Seth MacFarlane’s long-running animated series Family Guy, which airs Sundays on Fox and Global, killed off a major character last weekend. Supposedly.

Brian, the family dog who talked and essentially lived the life of a fully functioning adult, was hit by a car and succumbed to his injuries in a very sad scene with the Griffin family gathered around him. My first reaction was that Brian’s death must be “real,” since MacFarlane took the time to make it so moving.

There can be many factors at play when a TV character in a live-action series passes away. But with an animated series, it usually is nothing more or less than an editorial decision. Family Guy didn’t have to kill Brian. For MacFarlane, it’s just one fewer voice to do.

The question of where Family Guy goes from here, for me, is influenced by the fact that the show – which is in its 12th season – really has nothing to lose. Perhaps Brian’s alleged replacement – a dog named Vinnie, voiced by Tony Sirico from The Sopranos – won’t last any longer than Poochie on The Simpsons.

Speaking of The Simpsons, I’ve quoted this conversation previously, but it was back in the summer of 2009 when, at a Fox event during the Television Critics Association tour, MacFarlane told me, “I don’t want (Family Guy) to go 20 years like The Simpsons. Ideally we would go another couple of years and then wrap it up. I would like to be done before they’re done with us.”

Family Guy already has gone longer than MacFarlane envisioned. But if you’re going to stick around, you need viewers to notice you.

There is no new episode of Family Guy tonight (Sunday, Dec. 1). If you’re not among the conspiracy theorists, you can consider it a period of mourning for Brian. But next weekend Family Guy is getting right back to its madcap adventures, as Peter and Quagmire discover their singing voices create beautiful harmony together and they form a singing/songwriting team, a la Simon and Garfunkel.

Brian’s death scene pierced me. Silly, I know. But I still ache for every pet I’ve ever lost, so maybe it just taps into something.

But has this all been a ruse? Bringing Brian back now undoubtedly would create a backlash to the backlash. Or maybe Brian is getting his own heaven-set spinoff.

Whether he stays dead or not, killing Brian was an attention-grabber for Family Guy. The harder part is grabbing and holding.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Rob Lowe brings JFK into the “hair and now” with Killing Kennedy

- November 9th, 2013

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Rob Lowe had to wrap his head around John F. Kennedy’s very specific hairstyle.

“There’s a lot of hair technology going on there, in case you didn’t notice,” says Lowe, who has the title role in Killing Kennedy. “We’re used to seeing him in black and white. But when you see him in colour, he almost has ginger hair.

“So my whole look is very sort of dialed in. I’m keeping it a secret as to how I did it.”

Killing Kennedy, which is based on a book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, is a two-hour docu-drama that debuts Sunday, Nov. 10 on the National Geographic Channel. Besides Lowe, Killing Kennedy also stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Jacqueline Kennedy, Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald and Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina Oswald.

It was 50 years ago this month that John F. Kennedy was gunned down and the string of recent TV documentaries is long and impressive. Killing Kennedy is a dramatic portrayal that simultaneously charts the highs and lows of two men – JFK and Oswald –  and their respective relationships with their spouses during the buildup not only to JFK’s assassination, but to Oswald’s as well.

Hair secrets aside, Lowe says that when it came to JFK’s voice, the hard part was that the comic voice everyone uses when they’re doing JFK – basically Mayor Quimby on The Simpsons – isn’t necessarily the way the president spoke in real life.

“Look, I’m not Darrell Hammond from Saturday Night Live, right?” Lowe says. “I mean, if you want a guy who can imitate Kennedy, I’m not the guy you come to. But you’ve got to sound like him.

“Just technically, what I learned was he really had two voices. He had the voice that we all know, ‘Come to Berlin.’ He had that voice, which is the voice everybody imitates. And then he had the way he spoke in private, which was very different.

“There’s actually a linguistic term called the ‘Kennedy stutter step,’ not to get too technical. Basically, it’s his stammer, and that’s what you don’t see a lot of. I tried to bring that, I immersed myself in it. But then you forget about it, you do the voice, and you go to the things that are more important, which are honesty, authenticity, connection with the actors, all of the stuff that actors do on a daily basis.”

Actors actually don’t get to play John F. Kennedy on a daily basis. It’s the fortunate few who can pull it off.

“In terms of what we share, I don’t know,” Lowe says. “(JFK) was an optimist. He said, ‘We’ll put a man on the moon in 10 years.’ I can’t think of any president before or after who would dare make that kind of prediction and then live up to it.

“I’m a kid from Ohio who said I wanted to be a working actor, so I believe in optimism.”

Optimism and hair technology, that is.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Which ‘Simpsons’ character will be killed off next?

- October 7th, 2013

Place your bets, ‘Simpsons’ fans.

With word that the long-running animated show will be killing off a main character late this season or next, the bookmakers at Bodog.ca have now released the odds on faves for which one will meet their maker.

sideshow-bob

Here’s the favourites:

Sideshow Bob 4/1
Penelope 6/1
Krusty The Clown 6/1
Abe (Grandpa) 6/1
Moe 8/1
Itchy 8/1
Rabbi Hyman Krustofski 8/1
Barney 9/1
Apu 9/1
Edna Krabappel 10/1
Comic Book Guy 14/1
Carl 15/1
Chief Wiggum 15/1
Ned Flanders 15/1

The last regular character to be killed off was Maude Flanders, the wife of the Simpsons’ neighbour Ned, in a Season 11 episode where she was pummeled by a barrage of torpedoed free t-shirts at a racing event (thanks to Homer ducking out of the way).

Other “Simpsons” characters who have perished include Bleeding Gums Murphy, Homer’s mom Mona J. Simpson, Frank Grimes and Dr. Marvin Monroe.

“The Simpsons,” created by Matt Groening, first aired on Fox in 1989. The show is broadcast in more than 100 countries and 50 languages, and has won 28 Primetime Emmy awards and been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Axe Cop, High School USA! anchor Fox’s Animation Domination High-Def

- July 19th, 2013

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There’s nothing funny about cartoons, at least from a TV business perspective.

Fox has been at the forefront of primetime animation for more than two decades. In fact, it built much of its TV empire on The Simpsons, which eventually was followed by Family Guy and all its offshoots.

But it’s 2013. The Simpsons debuted all the way back in 1989, Family Guy in 1999.

Thus the creation of a new project Fox is calling Animation Domination High-Def. It basically is a safe place where varied shows can develop in various forms.

The first two “series” from the Animation Domination High-Def stable are called Axe Cop and High School USA! They will debut in primetime on Fox on Sunday, July 21, before moving to their regular time slot late Saturday nights, beginning July 27.

Fox has a successful history of animation and having a space to do experimental and more interesting kinds of animation is really important,” said Nick Weidenfeld, the head of Animation Domination High-Def. “It’s how The Simpsons grew from The Tracey Ullman Show into a behemoth on Sunday night.

So I actually think there’s space for this. Really, if we’re competing with anybody, we’re competing with the internet more than another network. It’s just about making really good stuff and trying to attract that audience, that young audience, to watching TV or watching our website or our app.”

Whereas High School USA! – with voices provided by singer/actress Mandy Moore and Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell on Mad Men – is an R-rated take on the old Archie cartoons, Axe Cop is the more outlandish of the two new shows.

Axe Cop began as a webcomic, written by five-year-old Malachai Nicolle and illustrated by his adult brother Ethan Nicolle. The title voice for the TV version is provided by Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation.

There’s not a group of children writing it,” Weidenfeld assured. “But (the source material) was created by a five-year-old and written by a five-year-old and illustrated by his 30-year-old brother. I mean, it’s adults writing in the room. Ethan, the older brother, is in the room. But Malachai, who is now eight, we definitely call him a lot.”

Is the ultimate goal here to move some of these series into Sunday night slots when shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy go to pasture?

I think that’s absolutely a goal – it’s one goal of Fox, it’s a path we could go down – but it’s not the only metric of success,” Weidenfeld said. “The stuff we’re making is not the exact same fare as a Sunday night, really broad show. So if that should come out of it, which potentially is possible, it would be really exciting, but we’ve definitely not been given the directive to do that.

We don’t want to have restrictions on it, because those (Sunday night) shows need to be huge hits, you know? We need to make stuff that, at the beginning, could be just for a niche audience, and that would be okay.

This is a new business, a new frontier. We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to do this kind of thing, what’s going to work.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv