I freely admit base motives on this one: I tuned in to this overhaul of the dreadful Personalities prepared to sneer. Its new name, Entertainment Daily Journal (with initials you're supposed to pronounce as ''edge''), is a combination of the pretentious and the ridiculous that I assumed would carry over into the show's content.
I was wrong. For a celebrity-news half hour, E.D.J. is smart, nervy, and enterprising. For example, the show recently chided Columbia Pictures for erecting a self-serving billboard on Sunset Boulevard congratulating itself for being brave enough to release Boyz N the Hood. E.D.J. pointed out that the studio then left director John Singleton alone at press conferences, without any Columbia support, to defend his film against charges of inciting violence.
E.D.J.'s recent four-part series on AIDS in Hollywood was notable for its frankness in presenting the testimony of HIV-positive people in all areas of the industry who have felt discriminated against and even blacklisted.
Oh, sure, there are the usual two-minute, movie-plugging interviews with superstars, but at least some of these are conducted by columnist Liz Smith, and when it comes to lobbing softballs, no one does it with more blithe charm.
I came to mock, but it turns out that E.D.J. is the celeb show I've been waiting for. Do large numbers of viewers want to see their idols treated with skepticism and even, occasionally, a certain healthy sarcasm? I hope so. B+