Toronto Metro tidbits

I’m starting to read newspapers critically again. Here’s some interesting tidbits, and my reactions to them, from the Toronto Star owned free newspaper Toronto Metro (available online for the next two weeks in PDF format):

All excerpts reproduced here without written permission. Download a copy of the freely-available source material if this bothers you.

SPEECHLESS: Tween “It Girl” Hilary Duff has, according to, backed out of a CBS comedy series because the script was lousy.

  OK, I’ll run that by you again: “Singer/actress” Hilary Duff, star of Cadet Kelly and Cheaper By The Dozen, has walked away from a TV sitcom because the script wasn’t up to scratch.

  OK, one more time. A 16-year-old starlet whose principal audience is years from voting age has turned down a major network series because the script stank like a sack of squid lying in the sun. That sound you hear? Oh, that’s the hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen. The sudden heat? That’s the gate of hell pouring out a river of fire, because the Apocalypse has arrived, people.

Sounds to me like someone’s career is growing up, and she (or her agent) is realizing she needs some steady income. I’d reject a script, too, if my goal was to try and get a sure-fire multi-year TV series deal.

OY VEY: NBC has announced a one-hour special airing on May 12th — the height of sweeps week — featuring Gerry McCambridge, a “mentalist” apparently discovered by NBC president Jeff Zucker at a party in the Hamptons five years ago.

  McCambridge’s audiences “have included Friends stars Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Courteney Cox Arquette . . . Larry David, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Muhammad Ali and Matt Lauer,” a press release reports.

  The show’s apparently called The Mentalist, but I have a better suggestion: The Big Deal Celebrity Bar Mitzvah Entertainer.

I don’t think this could get any more anti-semitic without a swastika bulleting off the news item. Yes, the Hamptons are traditionally a getaway place for NYC-area people of Jewish descent. And things like “mentalists” in eras gone by in nightclubs in the Hamptons were often entertainers specializing in Jewish-branded humour. But I think this journalist has decided to take things one step too far. There’s no evidence that he exclusively entertains for Jewish audiences, as evidenced by his audience listing. And only a party is mentioned; nowhere does it say that this guy specializes in Hamptons parties — just entertaining celebrities. Sure, being “a mentalist” is probably half-baked humour (anyone else thinking John Edward, recipient of the BDIU award?) In light of the anti-Semitic hate crime that occurred in Toronto over the weekend, and the increase in violent activity in the Mid-East, I am perhaps more attuned to religious and racial discrimination than usual. However ,the editorial staff of the Toronto Metro would have done better to separate out what’s a likely valid prediction (this guy’s show is going to stink to high heaven) from the red herring (he’s going to suck because he caters to unsophisticated Jewish Bar Mitzvah audiences.)