Odds & Sods

A fine day for ABC News...
December 1, 1999

A fine day for ABC News

The news arm of U.S. network ABC has been ordered to hand over 200 pennies to American supermarket chain Food Lion, according to a report from Broadcasting & Cable – far less than the original US$5.5 million fine. Food Lion had originally sued ABC after PrimeTime Live correspondents went undercover as Food Lion employees and revealed such unsanitary practices as repackaging and selling outdated meat (…bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘green grocer’). The supermarket’s beef was not with the truthfulness of the report, but with the methods used in newsgathering. Ultimately, the appeals court decided a nominal $2 in damages was a sufficient slap on the wrist for ABC. SR

To make a short story long…

Alan Abel, who during the hbo documentary Private Dicks – Men Exposed claimed to have the smallest penis on record, was found to be lying. (Why we’re not sure…) Canadian specialty women’s channel WTN, which aired the film at the end of November, cut Abel and his little friend out of the Canadian broadcast version before it was aired. BC

Cue the throbbing music

U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has aired the first-ever free broadcast ejaculation (ya, you heard me), during the series Pornography: The Secret History of Civilization. The orgasm in question came from the 1972 adult film Behind the Green Door and was part of a demonstration showing the chronological evolution of porn. A C4 spokesperson defended the choice to show the clip by saying: ‘when you are making a program about pornography you have to, at some point, show what you are talking about.’ (C4 will also be clubbing a few baby seals later this season, just so you know what that looks like too.) BC

Try living in Buffalo

A recent press release announced that a NOVA production team was trapped for a night – a whole night – on a South Georgia island by strong winds and blowing snow. The crew, which was trained for severe weather conditions and had plenty of provisions, waited out the storm in a metal hut. A member of the crew said the ordeal gave them insight into what explorer Earnest Shackleton and his crew must have faced during the 18 months they spent trapped and starving on the ice. If only Shackleton hadn’t lost the keys to his Hummer… BC

Send ‘em to the Big House

The craze for courtroom shows has led Twentieth Television to crank the heat up a notch with a criminal court offering. According to a report from Hollywood Reporter, the harder-edged strip show Crime and Punishment, now in development, will focus on real-life trials and sentences, and give the TV audience the chance to witness actual felons facing harsh jail terms – unlike the civil suits featured in such typical judiciary fare as Judge Judy. (But have they heard her yell?) SR

Talk to us…we’ll give you money

Just a reminder that RealScreen is now accepting entries for the ID Award 2000. Along with our congrats, the winner will receive a US$5,000 cash reward.

To submit a project, forward a two-page (maximum, please) summary of the production, illustrating why you feel your innovation was noteworthy. Please include two copies of a well-labeled NTSC VHS cassette. (Sorry, we don’t have PAL machines.) Eligible projects are those completed and/or delivered in the calendar year of 1999. Proposals will be adjudicated by a committee which includes the editorial staff of RealScreen. The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 3, 1999. No entries will be accepted after this date, and applications beyond two pages will not be considered.

For more info, check out the RealScreen website at While you’re there, don’t forget to give us your feedback on the Factual Price Guide 2000 and the Tech Wish List.

Submissions to Odds & Sods are welcome. If you have an amusing anecdote or a juicy tidbit to share, please contact Brendan Christie: (416)408-2300 ext. 444 or e-mail

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.