– ABC has confirmed that it has signed Christiane Amanpour to be the new host of This Week. Amanpour is known more for covering foreign policy than domestic policy, so that might shift the focus of This Week a bit from the very domestic-politics-inclined Stephanopoulous. The real question is whether she can or will shift the show in the direction of discussing issues, rather than process or horse-race stuff. Since Meet the Press has been totally obsessed with trivial horserace stuff for years, first under Russert and now under Gregory, there is an opening for a Sunday talk show where the discussion is about who’s factually correct, rather than who’s winning the media narrative. But I don’t really feel confident that this can happen, under any host. The shows just aren’t built that way.
– The National Arts Centre in Ottawa has signed Pinchas Zukerman for another four years as music director of their orchestra. Zukerman has never been a particularly inspiring conductor, at least to listeners (okay, let me rephrase that: by “listeners” I mean “me”). I always get the impression that he wanted to make the leap from instrumentalist to conductor like his old friend Daniel Barenboim, but never fully knew what he wanted to say about much of the music he conducts. (He knows what he doesn’t want to say and do, as evidenced by his tendency to inveigh against historically-informed performance. But unlike Barenboim, who also likes the old-school Romantic style of conducting, he rarely makes it sound like that’s actually what he’s doing.) But he’s hung on for more than a decade for a number of reasons, one of which is emphasized in the press release: he has a lot of connections and has been able to bring a number of big stars to Ottawa as guests of the orchestra.
– Finally, Fess Parker, TV’s Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, is dead at the age of 85. The Davy Crockett craze of the ’50s can’t be overstated; it was so huge that in 1955 Charlie Brown was going around wearing a coonskin cap and arguing with Schroeder over whether Davy Crockett was better than Beethoven. Of course, by the end of the year, the craze had faded, as fads usually do: