Varietyhas announced that they're phasing out the "Just for Variety" column, written for 52 years by gossip dinosaur Army Archerd. It's probably about time -- there's something about endless interviews with Rat Pack widows that make it difficult for me to even get hard enough to make a joke -- but the sendoff published in the trade today (attributed to "Variety Staff") reads like the obituary they've been sitting on since the late 80s. Archerd's great acheivements are ticked off in order of importance -- he broke the story that Rock Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS; he vocally oppossed Elia Kazan's special Oscar; he's co-produced and hosted the People's Choice Awards since 1974. As if in a plea to make the kids care, Archerd is pitched as "Hollywood's first blogger." But -- whoops! -- by acknowleging Archerd's ethics ("He is known for being fair and quoting people accurately -- much rarer than one would wish"), the piece essentially confirms why his style of gossip is woefully out of date. The question is begged: what is Variety going to do for a replacement?

UPDATE: As a friend of Cinematical pointed out, Variety's Peter Bart recently lured celebrity columnist Liz Smith to his paper. She told the NY Daily News, "
He is going to start running my column, or a version of it, in September." But, the item also insists that Smith "won't be bumping out Variety's longtime columnist Army Archerd." And if they are doing a clean swap, it's something of a disapointment; Smith wouldn't exactly provide an injection of fresh blood, which is what I'm sure I'm not alone in suggesting the trade desperately needs.
categories Movies, Cinematical