Allan: George, Lies and Videotape

Sent to me by our friend Allan.

Regrettably, The Hour hasn’t gone away, but rather into re-runs for the summer.
After all, why risk putting something else on that people might like even more, say, Douglas Coupland making moosehead soup.
Especially when The Hour has become so “successful”, and anything else would be a needless expense.

From the ballsy Belinda to the very busy Branson it’s been one heady season.
Starting last October with a top Canadian news story, and by this June, devolving into short segments of free publicity for anyone who’s got name-brand recognition, usually an American.
George was even explaining it to us, the studio audience, but really, he was just bragging.
Turns out that he does not deal with public relations firms but rather with powerful publicists. A huge difference.
He describes being in the office of one such honcho to get what his increased popularity and power deserves. And next year, George is expecting he’ll get someone named Clooney.
He simply plays a snippet of tape from his show to prove how harmless and easy his interviews are, provides proof of how many eyeballs and ears The Hour can deliver, and he’s handed a menu of celebrities to choose from.
(Marilyn Manson, check, but who’s Gore Viddel? Isn’t that something they ate on The Beverly Hillbillies?)
Clooney is unquestionably popular, and so is Lindsay Lohan, and a dozen others.
But is that really worth aspiring to when you have an hour-long show that’s played on Newsworld and the main network across the country.
Is that how the next generation sees “going forward” as a nation?
And which country are we in, again?

In the past nine months, the staff at The Hour learned that they had been working way too hard. Turns out they didn’t have to think at all, because no one was interested in them or their news, let alone Canada.
It quickly became clear that the less they tried new things, and just went with celebrities, the higher the ratings, and that’s what mattered the most when going on basic network.
They learned that it feels so much better to sell out than to lose out (though in the unedited PopoLouieLouie interview, George seems a tad troubled that perhaps he should have sold out sooner).
They went from flashing NEWS LIES, in the first episode, to doing a little lying of their own:

(we’re in the studio, watching a taped interview, just like the people at home will be doing in a few hours.)
” … and over the weekend, Nickelback were inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.
And here they are …”
George looks Chad Kroeger straight in the eye and says …
“Because it is Monday night, you were on the weekend inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. That’s exciting.”
“Very, very exciting. Very exciting” says the cooperative Kroeger.
Like George, he’s polite, and faking it.
Because, this interview was taped last Friday, as was Hitchens, due to “availablity”.
And the gullible audience is not about to be jarred into reality and the truth, so even George’s outfit of red and black is exactly as it was three days ago.
You wonder who checks to see if the sleeves are rolled up the same distance. Perhaps they use a magic marker on his arm to keep track.
Why, George, why?
Tell us that valid reason for deceiving viewers with something so petty.
What it is intended to accomplish, in place of simply telling the truth?

Come the fall, expect some added bells and whistles that will quickly fade from the ordained agenda, because why bother trying when “stars” are the only thing that seems to work at that hour of the night.
Regardless of who’s asking the questions.
It’s all become way too easy.
Is The Hour doomed to being derivative and smarmy?
Pretty much.
Why bother trying to change the world when there’s not a lot of money to be made in revolution.

The best antidote to complacency is competition.
But The Hour has none.
And to think or suggest that motivation will come from within is as laughable as George’s delight in the clever writer who came up with “Christopher Bitchins”.
There were apparently no adults in the room when that one was deemed “funny”.
Now if Ben Mulroney were across the dial at CTV doing the same predictable show of three guests a night, then George would actually have to get off his leaden butt and come up with something.
Something original, perhaps even daring.
But that involves taking risks, and being honest, and such virtues are not paying off these days in a broadcasting world that’s more showbiz than ever.
Anything resembling This Hour Has Seven Days is off the table, in favour of whatever would go over well in a household of milquetoast taxpayers.
So words like provocative, insightful, courageous, vital and timely are gathering dust in Tony Burman’s drawers (in his desk, of course).

But George did commit to one dramatic change in content for season four.
He’s getting new chairs.


  1. Johnny Happypants
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:20 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    hey Anon June 26 9:07. Don’t feel alone…more than 32 million Canadians don’t know what the CC Channel is either, even with the free preview month now underway. And don’t be fooled by the crap that it’s “subscriber supported”—this ain’t the Playboy Channel.

    Here’s the Wikipedia description

    “Licensed as “Land and Sea” on November 24, 2000 by the CRTC as a joint venture between Corus Entertainment (70%) and the CBC (30%); it was intended as a service dedicated to programs of interest to rural Canadians and the lifestyle. The channel launched on September 4, 2001 as Country Canada; based on the CBC Television series Country Canada. In 2002 Corus sold its interest in Country Canada to the CBC and thus changed its name to CBC Country Canada thereafter. After the sale the service began a shift in its programming and continuously promoted itself and its programs as a channel dedicated to celebrating Canada, its land, people, regions and passions with less emphasis on rural programming. This shift included an increase in dramatic television series from Canada and Britain that had little relation to the rural lifestyle along with amateur sports coverage including alpine skiing, curling, snowboarding and more. In continuation with this shift, today CBC Country Canada no longer promotes itself as a rural lifestyle service, rather a “new home for exclusive dramas and world championship sports”.”

    Again…these “exclusive” dramas are the TMN duds that Showcase didn’t buy—or worse—that the CBC outbid them on.

    Again…shouldn’t there have been a CRTC review of this?


  2. ajmal
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 4:03 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Dear Allan,
    FIrst of all I would like to thank you for commenting on my blog (
    But I didn’t get what you asking me for.
    If you are asking me why do I like The Hour? The answer is that I like it because It is real. Also I like it, because He is not afraid to intervie anyone, and question anything, even “Big” people. (if u kno wat i mean). Also I did interview Goerge himself and I have some new Pics with him and I will post them up in my blog soon. Goerge is not my Life Hero, but he is a successful man, and I addmit that. I hope I said all what you needed to know.
    Your friend, Ajmal

  3. Mark Dowling
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 11:34 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve actually found Strombo fairly watchable lately. The skits are the start are drivel and I’m not sure what it’s doing on Newsworld though it’s a far more convenient time slot, but there’s worse ways my taxes are spent before I worry about CBC never mind Strombo.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 7:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Johnny, I had never heard of the Country Canada channel until I started reading your posts here…what is your pre-occupation with it? From my research, its entirely subscriber funded, so can’t you just do the old “if you dont link it, dont watch it” cliche?

  5. Johnny Happypants
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 3:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Now we have the horrible Doc channel to go with the unwatchable Country Canada channel.

    Playback item here

    My Corus Entertainment stock keeps going up every time they offload a dud property on the CBC.


  6. Allan
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 12:51 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    No argument there.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 11:28 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan sucks more than summer reruns.

  8. Allan
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 11:26 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    That’s because I have Dura-Sell ability.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 10:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    When summing up an “Allan” comment, one “blah” would never suffice seeing as how “Allan” goes on and on about the same thing over and over again. “Allan” is like an f’n broken record. The song that never f’n ends. He goes on and on my friends.

  10. Allan
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 5:47 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    So how come no thank you note from George and Kristine?
    Shortsighted sophists, I say.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2007 at 4:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Hour gets more attention in this blog than it gets on the air.

  12. Enik Sleastak
    Posted June 25, 2007 at 7:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well, until you said “My name is Allan,” I thought you were Ben Mulroney.

  13. Allan
    Posted June 25, 2007 at 6:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I suspect that simply one blah alone would pretty much have covered your entire point.

  14. Who is this supposed to be?
    Posted June 25, 2007 at 4:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    ’śBlah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah. I hate The Hour. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Stroumboulopoulos doesn’™t care. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Where is the truth? Where are the risks? Blah, blah, blah, blah. The Hour’™s audience is made of morons. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Stroumboulopoulos gave up Canadian Idol. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah’ť.

    ’śMy name is Allan. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Apparently I can’™t come up with anything new or original either. Blah, blah, blah, blah’ť.

    Oh, I almost forgot blah, blah, blah, blah.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted June 25, 2007 at 1:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Maybe CBC should give The Hour to George’s old buddy Ed the Sock.

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