OnMedia: So long, Mr. Rooney
I can't say I'm going to miss Andy Rooney's regular commentaries. It's been years since I've watched CBS' "60 Minutes" on a weekly basis. I'll tune in for a specific interview, or a particularly interesting report.
But I can't remember the last time I caught one of the 92-year-old Rooney's curmudgeonly essays, which have been airing on the weekly news magazine since 1978. They didn't strike as particularly interesting, or funny or insightful enough to make me tune in.
Let me bring you up to speed on the Rooney story. He didn't appear on last week's "60 Minutes" season premiere, leading to speculation about his fate. Then, on Tuesday, the TV Newser internet site broke the story of his imminent retirement.
That led to CBS releasing a statement confirming it all:
"Andy Rooney will announce on this Sunday's '60 MINUTES' that it will be his last regular appearance on the broadcast. Rooney, 92, has been featured on '60 MINUTES' since 1978.
"He will make the announcement in his regular essay at the end of the program, his 1097th original essay for '60 MINUTES.' It will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career in an interview with Morley Safer."
For the record, "60 Minutes" airs at 6 p.m. Sundays on Channel 58. (Of course, it's frequently delayed by NFL football.)
Rooney isn't formally retiring and is supposed to appear from time-to-time on his old broadcast. We'll see about that.
His long TV career – he started at CBS in 1949 as a writer on the old "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" – deserves note. Before CBS, he was a London correspondent for Stars and Stripes during World War II.
But, quite frankly, his years of griping about frequently mundane topics has yielded more parody than discussion. He had well-earned reputation as a writer, a skill frequently lacking in modern TV.
Still, it's long past a good time for him to step down and for "60 Minutes" to move on.
Here's an example of Rooney's recent "60 Minutes" work:
Tonight's new TV stuff: Most of the network schedule is in place, but CBS premieres the sitcom, "How to Be a Gentleman," at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 58. Meanwhile, ABC's "Private Practice" starts a new season at 9 on Channel 12.
On TV: The nominations are out for the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards and Milwaukee stations picked up more than three dozen nominations. Leading the list is Channel 6 with 26, Channel 10 had four, Channel 12 had three, and Channel 4 and Channel 58 had two each. You can find the complete list at the Emmy website. The Emmys will be awarded on Nov. 6.
- My boss, OnMilwaukee.com publisher Andy Tarnoff, guests on the co-host panel for Channel 6's "Real Milwaukee" at 9 a.m. Friday on Channel 6.
- Starting Friday, Time Warner Cable is distributing free Milwaukee Brewers yard signs at its retail locations. You can find the hours of the locations at Time Warner's website.
- Fox Business Network's Liz Claman interviews Warren Buffett at 9 a.m. Friday on the cable channel.
- I'm happy to say that Zooey Deschanel's "New Girl" on Fox is one of the early successes of the new season, holding on to more than 90 percent of its premiere audience in its second outing this week, and becoming the first new show picked up for a full 24-episode season. Nielsen Media Research reported 9.2 million viewers for the sitcom.
At the Milwaukee Film Festival: Tonight's Milwaukee Film Festival program is headlined at 7 with "The Milwaukee Show" at the Oriental Theatre. It is a collection of nine short films by local filmmakers.
Today's also another chance to see the entertaining and interesting "Make Believe," a look at young magicians. It screens at 5 p.m. at the Oriental.
Another good choice is "Page One: Inside the New York Times," a look inside the nation's most important newspaper in an era of revolutionary change. It screens at 5:15 at the Marcus Ridge Theater.
Here's the trailer for "Page One":
Most of the time I did enjoy listening to Mr. Rooney....he was never politically incorrect...but he did discuss and complain about subject matter that often time went under the radar...small pet peeves and things that probably irritated all of us at one time or another.
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