Saturday, 04 February 2023

Cable TV preview; what’s up with the new TCM look


The Walt Disney Co. owns so many entertainment properties, including networks, cable channels, and film studios, that it is a wonder the behemoth corporation has not become a monopoly, but probably not for a lack of trying.

“Doogie Howser, M.D.,” a medical drama starring Neil Patrick Harris in the titular role as a teenage physician, ran for four seasons on the ABC television network, which was acquired by the Walt Disney Company a few years after the end of the series.

Fast forward to now, the Disney+ channel is releasing a coming-of-age dramedy inspired by the hit medical series “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and an obvious nod to this original show is captured in the title of “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” which is shot on location in Hawaii.

This Disney+ series follows Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a 16-year-old prodigy juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager, a premise sounding quite familiar to any viewers of the ABC series.

Marketing the show may be easier with “Doogie” in the title, and during the TV press tour executive producer Kourtney Kang in referring to this reboot noted that “Doogie” is a physician’s nickname that is “apparently a thing that happens to young doctors.”

Guiding the new Doogie is her career-driven mother Dr. Clara Hannon (Kathleen Rose Perkins) who’s also her supervisor at the hospital, her doting father Benny (Jason Scott Lee), her free-spirited older brother Kai (Matthew Sato), and various friends and colleagues.

Since we are on the subject of Disney programming, it is worth noting that on October 1st the ABC network will present a spectacular television event, “The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 years of Walt Disney World.”

Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, the two-hour program will take viewers on a historical journey spanning half a century and beyond at Walt Disney World in Florida with impressive visuals and musical performances.

The musical talent features Christina Aguilera and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” Halle Bailey in front of the legendary Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park, accompanied by the renowned Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

Interviews are conducted with iconic actors, actresses and athletes, Walt Disney World cast members, Disney Imagineers and executives past and present, who have all played their unique part in sprinkling pixie dust over “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”

Celebrity participants include Gary Sinise, John Stamos, Melissa Joan Hart, NFL athletes Tom Brady and Phil Simms, and creative forces George Lucas and James Cameron.

This special event offers a look at Walt Disney World’s humble beginnings in the Florida swamplands and its evolution into a cultural phenomenon, as well as a never-before-seen-on-TV glimpse into the journey to bring Walt’s vision to life and a look at grand plans for the future.


Turner Classic Movies, or TCM, has been the venerable leader in airing uncut, commercial-free classic films for nearly three decades, engaging film buffs not only on a premium cable platform but also with an annual classic film festival.

Now TCM is unveiling a cable network rebrand that’s a “New Look, Same Old TCM,” however, they are calling their new tagline “Where Then Meets Now.” TCM is based in Atlanta, so I was wondering if they remember the fiasco of New Coke, which was quickly abandoned.

According to Wikipedia and most sentient beings at the time, the failure of the reformulated soft drink remains “influential as a cautionary tale against tampering with a well-established and successful brand.”

We hope that the idea of establishing the network as the destination and catalyst for reframing the conversation around 20th century films for contemporary times is not ill-advised.

“Everything old is new and classics movies are no exception,” said Pola Changnon, general manager of TCM in a press release touting dynamic creative packaging of a new logo that focuses on the energy of the letter “C” in TCM that comes to life in print and video.

Changnon goes on to claim that TCM’s new look “better reflects the vibrant brand and respected industry authority that TCM has become over the years, with an eye toward the future.”

That “fans can still enjoy the same curated classic film experience, now presented with a bold new energy that reflects today’s audience” may offer some comfort, but what does this mean anyway?

Does TCM want to target more millennials or other demographic groups that might not be drawn to black-and-white films? For young adults, it could be a challenge to gain appreciation for the classics.

In a video clip, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz notes the refresh of the brand is to “stay culturally relevant,” and the only new difference is “we’re doing it with a cool new logo and a spiffy 21st century set.”

TCM remains committed to showing the films from Hollywood’s Golden Age and in Mankiewicz’s words “putting them in context and telling stories of the artists who made them.” This may be the message we need that the new look won’t detract from enjoyment of great films.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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