Robert Osborne remains Turner Classic Movies' main man, but he's there slightly less now.
And that's fine with him.
While the veteran Hollywood columnist and historian still handles the lion's share of introductions for the channel's films, he's been off a bit more -- notably on Friday nights -- with fellow TCM host Ben Mankiewicz picking up those duties. In 2011, Osborne took a three-month leave for unspecified "minor surgery," and he says his current schedule is a perfect fit for him.
"I love it," he tells Zap2it. "It's great. I'm not traveling except for big occasions, like the Classic Film Festival or the Classic Cruise. To not be worried about the airports or the weather, or getting out of New York and getting into Atlanta [where Osborne had been taping his segments], and not having to leave for a week every month and stay in a hotel ... it's been great.
"And I think I feel better than I have in a long time," the genial Osborne adds. "I think there's something about traveling in airplanes all the time that's not the healthiest thing in the world for you."
Osborne, who continues to co-host "The Essentials" with Drew Barrymore each Saturday, is happy whenever TCM can maximize its brand with a fresh approach. It does so again with "The Story of Film: An Odyssey," a weekly documentary that begins Monday, Sept. 2.
In concert with that series, Osborne will introduce full-length Monday and Tuesday showings of many of the movies the program excerpts, from "The Battleship Potemkin" and "Citizen Kane" to "The Graduate" and "Jaws." Especially now, he likes being able to remind viewers of the meaning that "Classic" has in his channel's name.
"I know they're trying to make a buck," Osborne reflects of the major studios' efforts today, "but they're spending so much money and they're all doing the same thing. Every weekend, something opens and it looks like something you just saw two weeks ago.
"I just think it's great to have this mix of Chinese films, Swedish films, French films, German films, American films ... just all kinds. That's really exciting. And now that we have video recorders, you don't have to be up watching 24 hours a day to see them."
Photo/Video credit: TCM