Supposedly WB is going to start a new cinematic universe based on Hanna Barbera cartoons. Because that’s something that so many people are waiting for. And no, this does not appear to be a joke. We can look forward to dark and gritty reboots (and lack of warm colors to emphasize how serious everything is) of all your favorite childhood cartoons. The first cartoon to fall victim to this new plan is Scooby Doo. The only good that could come out of that is maybe Scrappy Doo will need to die in order to set up the inevitable darkness and grittiness of the new universe. Plus, Batman and Superman are already controlled by WB so maybe we can get Justice League tie ins.
After making a series of characteristically bigoted remarks, Donald Trump now finds himself fired. Both Univision and NBC have cut ties with Trump amidst widespread criticism of Trump, particularly from Latin American communities and organizations. What must be most galling to Trump is that NBC is planning to continue his TV show, The Apprentice, without him.
The removal of Trump from television also conveniently solves a dilemma for NBC. If Trump is really serious about running for office, the NBC would have been forced to either stop airing Trump’s shows or to dramatically increase coverage of other campaigns. Of course, it’s impossible to tell for sure just how serious Trump really is. One gets the feeling that a Trump campaign would be little more than a high profile advertising campaign for the Trump brand. As it is, no one with any sense respects Trump’s brand but a campaign would do a lot to get his name in the papers a lot more.
It was announced a couple days ago that Harry Shearer has decided to leave the Simpsons after over 25 years as a member of the main cast. I think that Shearer would be the first major cast member to leave the show. Previous departures (including the tragic loss of Phil Hartman) meant that only some minor characters would need to be written off or recast. While Shearer doesn’t voice any of the main characters, he does do voices for many of the most important minor characters. He’s the voice of Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, and Principal Skinner as well as many others. Shearer is fairly old and has said that he would like to do something new for once, which is understandable given how long he’s been on the show.
The producers say that they will recast most of Shearer’s characters. Obviously, it would be too difficult to just not show his characters again, as many are too important to just let disappear. Nevertheless, it’s hard to see this as anything but the beginning of the end for the Simpsons. The whole main cast has been around for decades, and the show is too iconic to remove any main characters or recast their voices. In fact, that is the sort of thing that the Simpsons would have lampooned while the show still had the vitality that it lost years ago.
Fortunately for consumers, the proposed merger of media conglomerates Comcast and Time Warner has been canceled. It seems that the FCC wasn’t going to approve the merger due to antitrust concerns. Given that both companies have terrible records for things like consumer protection, this is a win for basically everyone. The merger would have given the new company a virtual monopoly over large swathes of the US, which means that consumers could have expected higher prices for less service.
The BBC announced that it is not renewing Jeremy Clarkson’s contract for Top Gear. Given the popularity of the show, this really means that he’s being fired. While there have been many controversies in recent years about his comments and behavior, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident where he reportedly assaulted a producer. The other hosts have more or less said that they won’t do the show without Clarkson, so it seems that Top Gear may be facing an ignominious end. While this is sad for fans of the show and probably bad for the BBC’s brand, I can’t say that I blame them. They have much more of an obligation to protect their regular employees from abuse than to protect their stars/personalities from themselves. While many people are understandably upset, they really should focus their anger on Clarkson and not on the BBC, which is doing what any responsible organization would do when faced with responding to an incident of workplace violence.
The TV comedy Community is making the transition from traditional network TV to an online format with Yahoo. The Avengers-themed trailer for season 6 is out now. While there are some cast changes, it looks like things will mostly be the same as previous seasons. Plus, some people claim that Yahoo is able to offer a larger budget than NBC.
You may have heard that Leonard Nimoy – most famous for portraying Spock in Star Trek – died earlier today. He was 83. I’ve never been a huge fan of Star Trek, but Nimoy portrayed one of the most iconic and most beloved sci-fi film characters of all time. He will be missed.