Showbiz Today (1984–2002)

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20 November 2004 | Chip_douglas
| Bill Tush for President!
Back in the dark ages before IMDb, this CNN show provided a daily dose of entertainment news. Over the years several duo's presented it from the east and west coasts simultaneously. The eternally cheerful pair that held out the longest were Laurin Sidney from L.A. and Jim Moret in N.Y. A team of regular reporters made the rounds at every press junket in town, reporting on (in this order) film, TV, music, the stage and games. Most prominent amongst these contributors was Dennis Michael, mainly because he made William Shatner sound normal by putting an accent on every other syllable. Not surprisingly, Dennis always made sure he got all the SF and fantasy assignments, as well as the Tech Guide. On the other side of the spectrum was Gloria Hillard, who had such a masculine voice she only got to do the token novelty items shown during the last two minutes (later dubbed Hillard's Hollywood). She usually had important assignments like visiting the used clothes-worn-by-famous-people shop or interviewing the old lady who provided Snow White's voice.

Every Monday, 'Movie Analyst' Marty (wobble head) Grove would analyze the weekends box office. His reasoning being that a movie is good as long as it makes money. Marty would always make really strange comparisons and come up with records like 'most successful opening for an animated move not distributed by Disney' or 'highest grossing non-sequel released during a holiday weekend'. He would also use really lame-o puns and got giddy like a school boy when showing off the latest promotional kits he got in the mail. At that point Laurin would have to cut him off (but Marty never learned). They used to have a boring guy doing the same for the Nielsen ratings on Tuesday, but they quickly got rid of him.

One late addition was 'He said, She said'. Each Friday, magazine movie critics Peter Travers and Dana Kennedy would argue about a new release, using the male and female perspective as a starting point. These two never agreed on anything. Even on the rare occasion when he would actually like a chick flick, she would turn around and hate it. After a while Dana was suddenly replaced by Lisa Schwarzbaum, who seemed to feel the same as Peter about every film, thus ruining the entire concept. Maybe Peter and Dana really despised each other. She never even got to say goodbye. Needles to say, the segment immediately lost it's punch.

Senior reporter and Ted Turner's pal Bill Tush did a bit of all of the above, often filling in as host and trading big star interviews for novelty duties. He also made set visits, attended conventions, holiday parks and toy fairs, which became the frame work for his weekend compilation (Showbiz This Week). Often pre-emptied to make way for breaking news, Showbiz Today got cut down from a half hour to just a couple of headlines between other, more important CNN shows (like sports and fashion) and became increasingly hard to find. After 9-11 the show disappeared completely and it's reporters reassigned, only to come out occasionally during award season.

8 out of 10




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