Saturday, 30 August 2008


In which Emma, er... Ingrid sees green and reads that Life on Mars could not be the only British jewel to move to the US, remembering the immortal words of Sir Alan Parker: « I mean what is the British Film Industry anyway? Just a bunch of people in London who can't get Green Cards » (Will Write and Direct for Food, Page 85 - Cf.


« ... and I've seen it before.. and I'll see it again... yes I've seen it before... just little bits of history repeating » sung Dame Shirley Bassey (Bless her name till the end of times and beyond). Almost as an echo of our previous post about new dogs with old tricks come now new frog with new tricks, as Disney announces a new movie starring Jim Henson's beloved children: Kermit the Frog and The Muppets (

This is of course not the first Muppet movie but this one will be written by Jason Segel, writer and star of the comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), and if it does well at the B.O. it could bring back The Muppet Show on television with Segel helming the program. Most amusingly, unlike what is written everywhere, this is not the first attempt to revive The Muppet Show (1976-1981) for tv. But everybody seems to forget the short-lived Muppets Tonight, shown from 1996 to 1998 on ABC.

In 2006 France even had its own local version, by radio and television presenter/producer Sébastien Cauet for TF1. The original series, green-lighted in its time by UK media baron extraordinary Sir Lew Grade ( for his ITC Entertainment company, is very popular in this country, because of its first french-speaking dubbing voices ( The first Muppet show was the addition of Jim Henson's Folie douce to the generous spirit of Lord Grade, and to capture the essence of that magic is mission: impossible.


According to several websites, Jane Tranter (, the BBC controller responsible of fiction, the woman whose influence on television series in UK equals the legacies of Verity Lambert and Lew Grade, is in talks to move next year to the Mecqua of global Entertainment industry: Los Angeles (

« One source said: "Unsurprisingly, Jane has quite a few offers to consider. People within the BBC are being told she will make an announcement about her future before the end of the year " » writes Tara Conlan in The Guardian ( To understand why the Kingdom awaits this announcement, suffice to say that Jane Tranter's flair and instinct brought such gems as the new Doctor Who, Life on Mars or Spooks to the Corporation.

She once said: « Can anyone remember what BBC drama was like in 2000? How bare and depressing the BBC drama cupboard was? » ( One of the options would be for her to stay within the noble house to work for what is said to be BBC Worldwide's new US drama production unit, but her departure from its UK public service would not be without consequences as fiction is the jewel of the BBC's crown. Add what Mimi Turner wrote in Hollywood Reporter: « ...though there also is a chance that [Julie] Gardner may move to the U.S to work with Tranter in Los Angeles », take a look at, and take the TARDIS to the troubled times of Bugs (1995-1999).

According to Digital Spy, quoting News of the World, two of the 2009 Doctor Who specials could be shot in the US ( Should this information be confirmed could we imagine that a possible move of Ms Tranter to Los Angeles (provided it's confirmed too) could be useful in some way or another to manage to get additional funding or co-production from a US partner (?), like Hustle - co-produced by American cable channel AMC. Note that the show is already co-funded by canadian CBC.

Hopefully, Survivors, the re-imagining of Terry Nation's classic (1975-1977) by Adrian Hodges (The Lady in the Smoke, Primeval), is coming... (

Friday, 29 August 2008


To Michael SLOAN

Everybody knows that Hollywoodland can't keep an old tv show dead... in peace. Like Bernie Lomax (remember the fabulous Terry Kiser) in Weekend at Bernie's and its follow up, remakes of cult tv series regularly take a ride from where pigeons go to die to the schedules of the US networks or, more frequently, to their dusty shelves.


Without remakes the only on-screen Batman ever would be Lewis Wilson in the 1943 serial (cf. Heroes & Villains Movie serial classics by Michael Bifulco, Bifulco Books, Woodland Hills, California, 1989). Remakes allow new generations to discover a character or a concept. The contemporary Doctor Who is probably the best show in the History of Television (at least for its first three seasons). But each season, tv executives seem to compete for the award of the most unnecessary remake of an old cult show, think of the 2003 Dragnet version by Dick Wolf (Law & Order), with Ed O'Neill as Joe Friday.

Don't get your humble french servant wrong, Dick Wolf is one of the most brilliant producer in the Pantheon of US television, and Ed O'Neill is a magnificent actor whose talent go far beyond Al Bundy in Married with children. But Dragnet and Friday are so anchored in their times (the fifties and sixties) and so linked to the personality of one man, actor-producer Jack Webb, that the only proper way to remake this classic was to make fun of it (Dragnet, 1987, with Dan Aykroyd).

As the always wise and excellent Furious D remarks in his blog: « [Since] the remakes of old hits usually sink into oblivion faster than you can say "Bionic Woman" » ( but the fact that the concept got cremated with the syndicated 1989 New Dragnet should have drawn the network's attention.


The demises of Dick Wolf's Dragnet or of Kojak (2005, with Ving Rhames) apparently don't discourage CBS-Paramount, as the studio announced this summer new versions of The Streets of San Francisco and... Hawaii Five-O. The second, based of course on the 1968-1980 mega hit with Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett (1968-1980), is particularly astonishing, as an unaired previous revival attempt, shot in 1997 with Mr Gary Busey (your french fans salute you) in the main role, didn't leave the shelf.

« Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it » wrote George Santayana. In 1992, tv czar Aaron Spelling tried to revive The Streets of a Francisco (1972-1977), the Quinn Martin cop show starring Karl Malden and a pre-Basic Instinct Michael Douglas, with Back to the Streets of San Francisco, a tv movie with Malden but of course sans Douglas.

The success of Streets was totally the result of the alchemy between Malden and Douglas to the point that when Douglas left the show for a movie career, his replacement by Richard Hatch, a rather honourable actor, led to cancellation. In both cases (Five-O and Streets), remaking series so characterized by the charisma and the talent of their stars is more than a risqué venture. And McGarrett, the hawaiian Joe Friday, the quintessential conservative with a badge (, would now probably look pale compared to Jack Bauer. What about a new version of The F.B.I. (1965-1974)? But who will be the next Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. ?


Writer, author and producer Lee Goldberg, perhaps one of the last men in Hollywood able to make a television series entertaining, and one of the finest connaisseur of tv business, co-wrote in 1997 an hilarious episode of his Diagnosis Murder show (1993-2001), a wonderful piece of wit and causticity called Must Kill TV (season 5, episode 9), with Doug E. Doug (Cosby), Reginald VelJohnson and Jaleel White (Family Matters), Erik Estrada, Jane Seymour and Peter Graves appearing as themselves.

In this Kind Hearts and Coronets meets TV Guide ( where a female tv exec, Rachel Woodrall, is killed by a pilot, the great Stephen J. Cannell plays Jackson Burleigh, a television producer: « But Rachel wouldn't let Burley out of his exclusive contract to write the last three episodes of "The Young Barnaby Jones Chronicles"... And when he was done, she canceled it ».

Police procedural is not the only genre to benefit of the attention of US television networks: a new 90210 is coming from CW, with Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth (,,20221152_20221173_20221579,00.html) but without Tori Spelling ( And ABC launches a resuscitation of Cupid, the romantic comedy with Jeremy Piven (Entourage) cancelled after only one season in 1998-1999. Somewhere in the Spelling catalog there's a forgotten show called Finder of Lost loves (1984), with Tony Franciosa and Deborah Adair. Maybe someone remembers an old show from Rick Rosner, the man behind CHiPs, called Lottery! (1983). The possibilities are infinite.

« I'm waiting for the revival of My Mother The Car, as a police drama » writes Furious D. No, D, My Mother the Car - The Movie. The movie...

Monday, 18 August 2008


Kudos to the genius who got the idea of the french title of You don't mess with the Zohan, the Adam Sandler vehicle where the comedian is the myeresque character of a former Mossad secret agent retired in New York as an hairdresser.

In France, You don't mess with the Zohan becomes... Rien que pour vos cheveux: For Your Hair only, excellent and hilarious reference to For your Eyes Only, the James Bond.

In a country where Der Schuh des Manitu (Manitou's shoe) has been translated Qui peut sauver le Far West? (Who can save the Far West?), such an effort of creativity and humour must be saluted with at least a Golden Kudos. The guy who found that is not enough paid...

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


For those who came in late... In July Uber Infotainment journalist and Movie business blogger goddess Nikki Finke published a memorandum from one of the ABC network executive vice-president leaked to her by one of her sources. She described the document as a « Blatant Blueprint To Rip Off Foreign TV Series » (


Yesterday, Nikki offered us the sequel ( according to the excellent Guardian newspaper, Pact - UK Producers'organisation ( - is aware of the memo and « looking into it » ( The Guardian underlines that leading british producers, such as BBC Worldwide Limited (the Beeb's commercial arm) and RDF Media Group, do a lot of business with ABC on shows such as Supernanny, Wife Swap and Dancing with the Stars, all aired on the US network.

UK Television is a huge exporter of Real TV formats, but, as Nikki Finke remarked with sagacity : « Obviously, ABC Studios doesn't want to repeat what happened with a show like Ugly Betty, which is the American version of the Latin telenovela ». And every TV series aficionado knows that an american remake of the BBC/Kudos cult-classic Life on Mars is due to arrive on ABC's fall schedule for the 2008-2009 season ( - not without some difficulties in its production.

Readers of the french version of this blog know our advocacy of the quality of contemporary british television shows: Doctor Who, Jekyll, Primeval, The Fixer, Spooks, Lewis, etc all these products that don’t go beyond BBC America or PBS in the US (sometimes Sci-Fi, with luck...), which - as we pointed in a comment on Nikki's blog, probably leaves some field to more network adaptations in the future.


The Beeb gains a substantial amount of its revenues from its Worldwide subsidiary. So we can easily imagine their reaction after the leak of the ABC memo. Past year, the Doctor Who franchise and the Top Gear motor show helped BBC Worldwide to reach record profits ( in a rather uneasy context. Ofcom, the british communications regulator recently rejected BBC license fee claims and went even further by suggesting a reduction afer the switchover to digital (

In this perspective, the decision of BBC Worldwide to take a stake in the company of Jeremy Clarkson, the Top Gear presenter and executive producer (, to keep the man in the venerable house, has raised some eyebrows... « Would Top Gear lose its drive without Jeremy Clarkson? » asks Tara Conlan in The Guardian [Personal note: er, yes...]

Worse, after the decision of the BBC to postpone the fifth season of Doctor Who until 2010 and to reduce the season 3 of Torchwood to 5 episodes, the reception of the corporation summer lineup of fictions is rather mitigated if not negative. Bonekickers, the archeology-adventure drama didn't fare up to the legitimate expectations provoked by such a project, particularly with the names of Matthew Graham & Ashley Pharoah (creators of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes - its sequel) and Adrian Lester (Hustle) involved in it.


Spooks: Code 9, the awaited and heavily promoted spin-off of Kudos' hit Spooks (MI-5 in the US) is slaughtered by critics: « With a cast of fresh-faces and a budget of several pounds, it fancies itself as gritty and hip, combining state torture with a boozy, flirty This Life house-share for the torturers, yet it lacks the balls to link the “code-9” attack with either the Olympics or al-Qaeda » (The Times, August 11, 2008).

But the justified prestige of British television series remains intact enough to inspire eminent protagonists of the US television industry bridges between both sides of the ocean, rather than filling the shelves with ill-fated remakes (remember Viva Blackpool). Dick Wolf is preparing a London version of his Law and Order franchise with Kudos for the ITV network(, and Fox made a deal with ITV to share formats and develop new series together, with local versions for the United States and United Kingdom.

Interestingly, one of the most dynamic UK production companies, Shine (Hex, Sugar Rush...), was founded by the daughter of Rupert Murdoch and owns Kudos, a company that can be considered definitely as the ITC Entertainment of the 21st century.

Saturday, 9 August 2008


Everybody has a blog these days, your humble servant has two and even my mother's late dog had one. And as there's a critic born every minute, Movie blogs are in some respects dazibaos of what is left of contemporary culture.

The theme of this first episode of It's only a Mo
vie, Ingrid (the Notebook of will naturally be... blogs. « Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose »...


The ultimate reference in M
ovie blogs, if not in Movie business news, is of course Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily ( In Hollywoodland, Nikki Finke is the daring voice of intelligence and common sense and her field of expertise covers every aspect of the Infotainment industry and Cinema business from Box Office to corporate, egos... er, personalities and - remember what it was all about in the first place, Movies.

Not to mention the fact that Nikki's address book is as big as my annual consumption of coffee and Nestle milk tubes and that the résumé of this great journalist includes Associated Press, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair and Esquire. And her non-stop coverage of the WGA strike will remain the mètre étalon of what Movie journalism should always be.


The Fantastic Adventures of Furious D (
) is another of your french Milk tube addict's favourites. Furious D defines himself as « the ultimate Pop Culture outsider » and parodies egotism applied to M
ovieverse with hilarious posters. But the interest of this blog lies in the tone and the style of his views, mixing a true and sharp Philosophy of Movie business with a pretty good dose of humour.

Morceaux choisis of Mr D's Thoughts:

« You see, in Hollywood, the popular mindset is that to land an Oscar nomination you must play someone who is mentally handicapped, terminally ill, or both. »

« [...] the fundamental tenet of capitalism is that in any deal all sides must walk away happy. »
« The casual renter-buyer, not the raging fanboy, is what will make a movie profitable in DVD. »

- « When I was a kid the joke about Hollywood movies was that everything was a sequel to something, and to a certain extent it was true. Hollywood's predominant philosophy was that every film needed a sequel, and possibly more, preferably with the 3rd instalment in 3D. »

- « Because the majority of Hollywood's A-List stars couldn't sell tickets to a lifeboat on a sinking ship. »

- « I would like to see everybody in the movie business make money, be happy, the world to be all sunshine and unicorns, and Alyson Hannigan to do nude scenes. »


One of Nikki Finke's trademarks is her now famous « Toldja! », which she uses when news she attributed to her sources are officially confirmed ( or when one of her predictions goes real. Recently she let me indulge myself in a typically french exercise of arrogance when I shamelessly borrowed her « Toldja! » after the announcement of a fourth opus in the Austin Powers franchise.

Almost one month before I wrote under one of her posts ( a comment comparing the course of the talented Mike Myers' career to the one of Peter Sellers, after The Love Guru bombed, and asked myself if - all proportion kept - the Austin Powers movies would become his equivalent of the Pink Panther series - my conclusion being that I would not be surprised if another one began shooting soon...

« Ingrid » in French:

Friday, 1 August 2008


Hello, my name is Amandine Attard. I was born on Sunday 27th July at 5.42 AM. I'm 50 cm tall and my weight at birth was 3,20 kg.

For the moment, I'm fan of Babar, Noddy and The Cat in the Hat, but later my dad will show me Doctor Who (family tradition...) But not Torchwood and for the movies from Hammer and Amicus of my uncle Pollux's collection I will have to wait until my 18th Birthday.

Well, now I leave you to watch my Babar in plastic, the one which squeals when you press it...