thoughts on the cancelation of The Chew

Perhaps you saw the news in late May that ABC made the decision to cancel The Chew and replace it with another hour of Good Morning America. Since I write so much about food and cooking here I would be remiss if I didn’t have something to say about that, especially since the program was, as best as I can tell, the inspiration for one of my favorite cooking programs, The Kitchen.

The Chew logoI am not a big fan of The Chew, so I am not really mourning its loss. And it’s not going away immediately. The farewell episode will broadcast Friday June 15. After that there will be two weeks of pre-taped new shows. For the rest of the summer reruns and repackaged shows will air. Good Morning America will replace the program in September.

In retrospect I suppose it’s not a surprise that The Chew was cancelled. The show’s two biggest stars are gone. Daphne Oz left on her own late last year. Mario Batali was fired after serious allegations of misconduct arose. That left Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Michael Symon, all of whom are extremely capable and talented, but none of whom offered the star power of the two departed hosts.

I have my Food Network and PBS cooking shows so the cancellation won’t leave a hole in my cooking or my television watching universe. The biggest question for me is what the new program will be called. The time slot in question is 1:00 pm Eastern and noon Pacific, so they’re really not going to call it Good Morning America, are they? We’ll see.


Star Trek: Discovery, season 2

Where I left things with season one of Star Trek: Discovery was that I was totally annoyed, frustrated, and ticked off (look what they’ve done to my Star Trek, Ma). I cancelled my CBS All Access account and Terry and I did not watch the final few episodes.

Star Trek DiscoveryThe folks at trekmovie.com recently offered an update on plans for season two. They quote showrunner (I hate that term, but it’s a real thing in Hollywood these days) Aaron Harberts on plans for the plots and themes in season two:

quoteWhat is the role of serendipity versus science? Is there a story about faith to be told? Leaps of faith. We are dealing with space. We are dealing with things that can’t be explained and you have a character like Michael Burnham who believes there is an explanation for everything. And it doesn’t just mean religion. It means patterns in our lives. It means connections you can’t explain.

[Season one] was an interesting season because it was set against the backdrop of war. One of things we are looking forward to in season two is a tone that we can now be in a more exploratory phase and a more diplomatic phase – maybe a bit more of a Trekian chapter.

That’s encouraging. I may just renew my subscription to CBS All Access and give it another try when the show returns in the fall.


guess I did say that

Last baseball season we didn’t have the Dodgers on TV as we had Frontier Communications. I wrote that we didn’t need the Dodgers on television as we had the MLB at Bat app and could listen to the radio broadcast with Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday.

That was then. This is now. And I have to admit to at least a bit of sour grapes. Because now we have Spectrum and we get the Dodgers on television. I like having the Dodgers on television. Joe Davis is not as bad as I made out. He’s a pretty decent game caller. He’s not Vin Scully, but nobody is except for Vin.

Charlie and Rick are an excellent broadcast team in the finest baseball tradition, and there’s a great baseball tradition in radio broadcasts, but yeah, really, it’s nice to be able to see the Dodgers on TV.


it simply is not true

Mister RogersThere is a story going around, a story that has been going around for some time, that Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame was a Navy Seal, and that he wore long sleeves on his television show to hide his tattoos.

The problem with the story is that it simply isn’t true. The story is pervasive enough that the privately-run Navy Seals web site, navyseals.com, devotes a page to debunking the myth. The go-to site for urban legend accuracy checking, snopes.com, offers a long entry debunking various Mr. Rogers myths, including the Navy Seals and tattoo stories. Snopes states:

quoteAlthough he was friendly with the children in his viewing audience and talked to them on their own level, he was most definitely an authority figure on a par with parents and teachers (he was Mister Rogers to them, after all, not “Fred”), and his choice of dress was intended to establish and foster that relationship.

The Wikipedia entry for Fred Rogers describes how he want straight from college to television work. (Not that Wikipedia is to be trusted in every instance, but this entry is well annotated.)

If you need any more proof, check out the movie trailer for the upcoming Fred Rogers documentary. It shows scenes of him in short sleeves playing on the street with youngsters, not to mention a brief moment picturing him underwater in the pool wearing only swim trunks. Not a single tattoo in either case.

This is, perhaps, much ado about nothing, but I am guilty of spreading this urban legend, so I wanted to set the record straight.


making a change

A year ago at this time I wrote that I was happy with Frontier Communications because at the end of my two year term I got a lower rate and more channels. This year that’s not the case.

What turned out to be a two-year term was only one year. When I asked them for some kind of rate accommodation I was told nothing was possible. That was it. It was time for a change.

I had been thinking about changing to Spectrum for a while. They have the Dodgers on TV and they have the Weather Channel. Frontier has neither. This, and Frontier’s inflexibility with respect to our rate, prompted me to make the change.

We did drop to a lower tier of service without the movie channels, but on the streaming side we have Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and movie services via our Roku.

We don’t get Cooking Channel, but we have Food Network. And I have Genius Kitchen on the Roku, which comes from the Food Network folks. I don’t get Decades with its Dick Cavett reruns, but I still have PBS Create.

Our savings is $60 a month. That doesn’t take into account the rate when our Frontier $30 a month loyalty discount was to expire.

And most importantly we get the Dodgers. We get to have the Dodgers on TV. That goes for a lot. We’re going to thoroughly enjoy that.


look what they’ve done to my Star Trek, Ma

That’s it.

I put up with the darker vision in Star Trek: Discovery throughout chapter 1 of season 1. I didn’t like it but there were some redeeming qualities.

After the hiatus and the start of chapter 2, season 1 in January Terry and I have had it. The movie reboot with the younger cast from the original series totally messed up the space-time continuum (the planet Vulcan destroyed, really?) but for the most part stayed true to the ideals and vision of Star Trek.

Discovery in chapter 2 of season 1 has gone beyond the pale. Violence. Brutality. Torture. The crew finds itself in a parallel universe full of all these things, and from what I can surmise, the final six episodes will all take place in this universe.

As Picard once said to Guinan, “Not good enough, dammit! Not good enough!”

CBS All Access: what have you done to my Star Trek? I’ve cancelled my subscription.


more Star Trek than Star Trek

The main character in the comic strip Candorville, Lemont, is an inveterate Star Trek fanatic. He was quoted in the strip as saying that The Orville, a new series on Fox, is more Star Trek than Star Trek: Discovery.

He’s right.

The OrvilleTerry and I began catching up on The Orville via Hulu. It is a sort of Star Trek parody, but at the same time it truly pays tribute to the spirit Star Trek. It was created by Seth McFarlane, apparently a big-time Star Trek fan. The crew of the starship Orville rather closely resembles the crew in Star Trek: Next Generation, while the plots in the two episodes we’ve seen so far have echoes of the original series: distress calls, deception, and a mirror on today’s society.

The twist is that the captain and the first officer are a divorced married couple, which is the source of a lot of entertaining laughs. There is the Union rather than the Federation. Why they have to use shuttles and don’t have transporters I don’t know. The captain has an office rather than a Next Generation ready room.

The Orville is true to the spirit of Star Trek. More true, I believe along with Lemont, than Star Trek: Discovery.