Latest Blog Posts

'Hot in Cleveland’s' animated episode asks: What if LeBron James never left Cleveland?

“Hot in Cleveland’s” animated episode asks: What if LeBron James never left Cleveland?
Here's a timely glimpse of the  July 30 episode, featuring an appearance by "the Great and Powerful LeBron.”


Convicted felon “Southern Charm” star has gathered 16,000 signatures to run for U.S. Senate
Thomas Ravenel could become longtime U.S. senator Lindsey Graham’s challenger.


Why it wouldn’t be surprising if Brooks Wheelan is the only “SNL” newbie to be fired
If nobody else is fired — not even John Milhiser — it could be Lorne Michaels' nice show of confidence in the still-developing cast.


John Oliver, speaking on PBS, expresses his distaste for “Downton Abbey"
“Those kind of shows were the bane of my childhood,” says Oliver, who has yet to watch the British import, in an interview with “Newshour."


“Chicago Fire” boss: One character will die in the Season 3 premiere
"Not everybody makes it out of that building,” says showrunner Matt Olmstead, "and then certainly what people deal with in terms of the loss of whomever that character is, that's definitely what we're dealing with in the first episode and beyond."


Hurricane warning forces “House of Cards” cast and crew together in one room.
"Entire cast & crew of @HouseofCards gathered in green-screen room for safety,” tweeted creator Beau Willimon. “Wish us luck!"


Bravo’s “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” features a fake CW vampire-twins show
What if "Blood Sisters” became an actual TV series?


Esquire Network orders “Weekend Fix” and "Best Restaurants In America”
Starring “CSI: Miami’s” Omar Miller, “Weekend Fix” will use social media to determine the best of everything in each city.


“Person of Interest” adds Cara Buono
The “Mad Men” and “Sopranos” alum will recur as a “femme fatale” in Season 4 of the CBS drama.


What if each “Buffy” season was recapped on a napkin?
Inspired by Joss Whedon, here are season-by-season napkin recaps.


“America’s Next Top Model’s” only plus-sized winner now runs her own restaurant
Whitney Thompson says: "I'm not giving up modeling.... I'm satisfied with what I've accomplished so far. I just don't want to be a mom with kids going on castings. That's not for me."


“Masters of Sex”: When bad opening credits happen to good shows
The opening title sequence of the Showtime series has a slew of problems. PLUS: “Masters of Sex” costume designer talks vintage lingerie, and the reality of that shocking season premiere scene.


Meredith Vieira’s new talk show will film across the hall from Jimmy Fallon
Vieira revealed new details about her show, including that her band will consist of four female musicians and that there will be a “House Party” theme every Friday to discover new talent.


A marble statue in Philadelphia looks just like Ron Swanson
The resemblance is uncanny.


Syfy’s “12 Monkeys” is a “complete re-imagining of the film”
“We're all big fans of the original film and we didn't want to just re-do what the movie does,” co-executive producer Terry Matalas said at the TV press tour. "Everything from the top-down changed. While the story has a lot of the same themes, it wouldn't make sense to tell the same story again.”


“The Strain” and “The Leftovers” feel a lot like Stephen King novels
"They may not be descended from King’s work in name, but they certainly are with him in spirit, and share many of his favorite themes,” as Molly Lambert points out. PLUS: Former “Doctor Who” Christopher Eccleston got his own “Leftovers” episode this week, and Episode 3 was an "Are you in or out?" moment for "The Leftovers."


Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow discuss how they collaborate on “Girls”
Apatow doesn’t like Skype, so most of their work is done over the phone.


What it’s like to work as a Netflix professional binge-watcher
Greg Harty, 34, is one of 40 part-time “taggers” whose job is to categorize TV shows and movies. “It’s one of the luckier gigs I’ve gotten,” he says of his 8-year-old job.


Style Network’s "Clean House New York” sued
A man claims his home was wrecked when he appeared on the reality show.


“True Blood’s” Tara Buck talks about Ginger’s backstory
"I never sat down with the writers and spoke to them about it. But when I got that script, I was like, 'This is amazing. You read my mind,'” she says.


Meet Ryan Seacrest’s new girlfriend
It’s confirmed that the “Idol” host, who turns 40 later this year, is dating a 23-year-old model.


A med student is trying to take down “Dr. Oz”
"Dr. Oz has something like 4-million viewers a day,” says Benjamin Mazer, a third-year med student at the University of Rochester. "The average physician doesn't see a million patients in their lifetime. That's why organized medicine should be taking action."


“Real Housewives” star Tamra Barney announces she’s going to be a grandma
Barney 46, revealed that her 28-year-old son is expecting his first child with his fiancee.


“Orphan Black” stars discuss the Clone Dance Party
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video from the season finale.

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Jack Antonoff

Album Review: Fun.'s Jack Antonoff travels back to the '80s for Bleachers' 'Strange Desire'

See if you don't pull out your Modern English and OMD albums next

As one-third of fun., Jack Antonoff gets to explore many facets of his pop sensibilities. On “Strange Desire,” the debut album from his side project, Bleachers,”  out Tuesday (15), he gets to indulge his quirkier side, and sing lead.

Even though Antonoff wasn’t born until 1984, “Strange Desire” is so awash in ‘80s sounds, from big, echo-y drums, to funky, jangly guitars, that it’s almost possible to take each song and come up with its ‘80s analog. Squiggly guitar riffs crash into each other, layered vocals soar over synths, and it feels like a dance party could break out on the street where you live at any moment. Bleachers could share a bill with Modern English, OMD, Oingo Boingo, The Cult, The Cure, and New Order. Opening track “Wild Heart” has a light-hearted, skipping keyboard similar to The Buggles’ “Video Killed The Radio Star,” before it gives way to walls of synths.

Antonoff has talked about wanting the album to have a John Hughes feel. And, indeed, a number of songs on here would have fit right in on the “Pretty In Pink” soundtrack— yearning inspirational first single, “I Wanna Get Better,” being one of the few that does not sound like Molly Ringwald’s Andi should be playing it in her bedroom while waiting for Andrew McCarthy’s Blaine to call.  

While much of the music is upbeat, the subject matter deals with loss, the immediate aftermath, and trying to overcome, learn from it and move on. Antonoff wrote many of the songs with producer John Hill, who worked with many of the acts Antonoff is emulating here, including Erasure and Yaz.

Antonoff is going for a mood here and while his themes may become slightly repetitive, he has created an immersive world where beats bounce like ping pong balls on obvious single, “Rollercoaster” (even when he suggest she suck on his little toe) and synth lines skitter in between drum beats on “Shadow.”

A few of the tracks reach the outer fringes and seem weird simply because no one is going to tell Antonoff that he can’t do something:  “I’m Ready To Move On/Wild Heart Reprise” sounds like Yoko Ono crossed with Tangerine Dream. There’s a good reason it sounds like Ono, since she is on the track (which is different somewhat from her similarly-titled “Double Fantasy” tune, “I’m Moving On”), and the track will likely appeal to only Ono fans. Organ-drenched, album closer “Who I Want You To Love,” which is largely instrumental with ambient voices in the background, feel extraneous  But to his credit, one thing “Strange Desire” never is is boring. If you’re not willing to step back in time, however, you might want to just wait for the next fun. album.

 

 

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Brooks Wheelan: 'SNL' fired me

Brooks Wheelan: “SNL” fired me
One of seven featured players hired last season, Wheelan just tweeted: "Had a blast and loved every second of it. I'm totally honored to be able to make this next joke... FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!” The L.A.-based standup comic, considered the most likely to be fired of last season's new featured players, last year documented his "SNL" hiring in a video capturing one second from each day of 2013. PLUS: Wheelan quit his job as an engineer to join "SNL."


“Vampire Diaries” casts Colin Ferguson as Season 6’s villain
The "Eureka" star will play "the head of a community militia who will “do anything to protect his town.”

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The Ramones

How the Ramones changed my life

A late appreciation for Tommy Ramone

 

The Ramones changed my life. It seems incomprehensible that with drummer Tommy Ramone’s death on Friday (11) that all four of the original members are gone (none of them got out of their 50s other than Tommy). I was out of pocket for most of the weekend, but his passing is too significant not to observe it.

I was too young—and not cool enough— to get into their music when the foursome’s self-titled debut album came out in 1976.  I remember as I got older, seeing photos of them in their matching black bowl haircuts, leather jackets and sunglasses and feeling scared.  I was raised on Top 40 pop and didn’t veer outside the lines very much until I got older. They looked like they would push me into a  school locker and make fun of me. How could I have been so wrong?

It took until I saw The Ramones on New Year’s Eve, 1988, at Irving Plaza in New York with my then-boyfriend to realize I had been a fool. By then, of course, Tommy was no longer playing with the band. His replacement, Marky, had gone and come back again. But the show was an epiphany for me. Instead of being afraid of the Ramones, I should have embraced them and their dumb, mindless fun. They were misfits just like me.

I dove into the albums. That first album, all 26 minutes of its ragged glory, is a classic. For all my fears that the music was unapproachable or just noise, it was as inviting as could be with a keen pop sensibility. Listen to “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” and try not to draw comparisons to early-day Beatles.  Even “Chain Saw,” about missing his love who’s murdered in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, has a certain undeniable charm, if for nothing else that they sing “massacreee” instead of “massacre.”

 Those first four albums, released within a 2 1/2-year span, are all brilliant (though most purists are captivated only by the first three). Tommy left after the first three and he took a bit of the edge with him, but even today when I listen to “Blitzkreig Bop” and his steady, simple playing I’m transfixed. As Robert Christgau wrote in Billboard, “Tommy thought the simplicity of the band's attack required something much cleaner than [original drummer Joey Ramone’s] choppy style – "eight-notes across, with the `one' on the bass and the `two' on the snare, fast and consistent." So when the drummers who auditioned wouldn't stop with the fills and rolls, he climbed behind the kit and found he had a knack for it.”

I never met Tommy. The only one I had a relationship with was Joey. When I was talent editor at Billboard in the last ‘90s, I interviewed him a number of times. We hit it off and he would call me a couple of times a year just to check in. I’d pick up my phone and hear in that instantly recognizable voice, “Hey, hey Melinda.  It’s Joey.”

There was a underdog sweetness to Joey that was impossible to resist. We may start talking about one thing— including his joy over producing a Ronnie Spector album and, later, how he was doing once he got cancer— for a while it looked like he had beat it -- but the conversations usually veered into his sadness and resentment that the Ramones had never had the commercial success they deserved. Indeed— was there ever a band that influenced so many acts that followed who had so little sales? It’s bittersweet that only two months before Tommy died, the Ramones’ debut album was finally certified gold for sales of 500,000, the group’s only title to do so. I hope he got to know.

The biggest thing I learned from the Ramones was to never ever judge a band by anything other than the music. I lost out on years of enjoying their music because the image scared me. I haven’t made that mistake again since.

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Rob Lowe, Candice Bergen, Paz Vega to star in Lifetime’s 'Beautiful and Twisted' movie

Rob Lowe, Candice Bergen, Paz Vega to star in Lifetime’s “Beautiful and Twisted" movie
Lowe will play a murdered millionaire heir, Bergen will play his mom and Vega will also co-star as his former stripper ex-wife.


“Friday Night Lights” alum Gaius Charles joins NBC’s Charles Manson drama
The recent “Grey’s Anatomy” doctor will play "a former gang-banger who is now a fanatical Nation of Islam adherent whose hatred of the white man is evident" in "Aquarius."


Marvel using “The View” to announce a new project
The Disney-owned company is using its corporate connections to promote “an all-new thundering title” on Tuesday.


Watch the trailer for “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce”
Lisa Edelstein stars in Bravo’s first scripted series, debuting Dec. 2.


Oxygen unveils new logo, announces “Very real” tagline
The rebranded Oxygen will focus on "authentic, proudly imperfect and diverse characters" for young, modern women. PLUS: Oxygen orders 2 new shows: “After Happily Ever After” and “It Takes a Sister."

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<p>&quot;The Book of Life&quot;</p>

"The Book of Life"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Guillermo Del Toro says projects like 'The Book of Life' are 'worth protecting'

The producer presented new footage from the film along with director Jorge R. Gutierrez

CENTURY CITY, Calif. — For Guillermo Del Toro to get involved with a new filmmaker, to hop onto a project to produce when it will take him away from his family, away from his life, it goes without saying, it has to be worth it. And when animator Jorge R. Gutierrez came to him with "The Book of Life," an animated feature set for release by 20th Century Fox in October, it checked off a lot of boxes for the "Pacific Rim" director.

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Gwen Stefani taps hubby Gavin Rossdale to join her on 'The Voice'

Gwen Stefani taps hubby Gavin Rossdale to join her on “The Voice”
Rossdale will serve as mentor for his wife's team.

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Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' eyeing November 2015 release after Paramount acquisition

Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' eyeing November 2015 release after Paramount acquisition

Adaptation of the Shusako Endo novel will star Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield

Martin Scorsese's "Silence" is finally making its way to the screen. First announcing his intention to direct an adaptation of the acclaimed Shusako Endo novel in 2007, the Oscar-winning filmmaker has directed a trio of narrative features in the intervening years ("Shutter Island," "Hugo" and "The Wolf of Wall Street") but is now closer than ever to realizing his vision for the book, which was the recipient of Japan's prestigious Tanizaki Prize in 1966.

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Stephen Colbert books NYC’s mayor via Twitter

Stephen Colbert books NYC’s mayor via Twitter
Colbert tweeted today, "@BillDeBlasio I demand you come on my show! Stop dodging me, Mr Mayor!” To which the mayor responded: "Sure, @StephenAtHome. How about Wednesday?” And that later prompted Colbert to tweet: "I demand you come on my show on Wednesday! Stop dodging me, Mr Mayor!"


Bravo gives San Francisco a “Million Dollar Listing,” renews “Southern Charm, gives “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” a holiday debut
In addition to announcing the 4th "Million Dollar" franchise, Bravo also announced two new series: “There Goes The Motherhood” and “Secrets & Wives.”


Oprah will send you a birthday card if you spend $200 on an O magazine subscription
The Oprah magazine has developed special bonuses for subscribers in hopes of boosting circulation.


Watch a preview of Jon Stewart getting coffee with Jerry Seinfeld
“The Daily Show” host is this week’s guest on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."


John Walsh does big numbers for CNN
The former “America’s Most Wanted” host’s new show “The Hunt with John Walsh” delivered CNN’s best original series demo debut.


First openly gay soccer player Robbie Rogers’ life to become a sitcom
Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will develop the project based on the life of Rogers, who is currently dating TV producer Greg Berlanti.


Rosie still feuding with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Twitter
Over the weekend, Rosie O’Donnell tweeted a link to an old clip of them arguing on “The View.” PLUS: Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg may get married before she exits “The View,” and Meredith Vieira could never return to “The View" full-time.


Craig Ferguson to moderate Comic-Con’s “Game of Thrones” panel
"I shall be wearing chain mail underpants,” says the “Late Late Show” host.


“HIMYM’s” Ted Mosby responds to LeBron James going back to Cleveland
"Yes, I shaved for this,” Josh Radnor says of the video he filmed, which includes the real blue horn. PLUS: Hodor is going on a “Rave of Thrones” tour.


"House of Cards’" Kristen Connolly joins “The Whispers"
She’ll replace Brianna Brown, who was let go from the ABC pilot.


USA’s “Dig” producers talk about the difficulty of filming in Israel’s current climate
Producers have also released the first trailer for the six-part drama from the creators of “Heroes” and “Homeland."


Documentary about “Community” creator Dan Harmon will be shown in theaters and on video on demand
Says Harmon: "‘Harmontown’ is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a man that would quote himself saying that a movie about him is fascinating.”


Showtime teases “Homeland”
Here’s the first look at Season 4.


Check out Fox’s Comic-Con posters
Including the “Bob’s Burgers” Food Pyramid.


“Nathan for You’s” Nathan Fielder: Only once did we have to scrap filming after a business owner learned about our show
Fielder talked about the making of his Comedy Central show in a Reddit AMA.


“Parenthood’s” Sarah Ramos will only return for 1 or 2 episodes in the final season
"You know we’re hoping that she comes back — we’re hoping she comes back for the first episode,” says exec producer Jason Katims. "You know she’s in college, the actress…so it’s about her schedule.”


Watch a glimpse of Kanye West’s failed reality TV pilot
West appeared in a pilot in 2010 with his travel agent.


“Real Housewives of New York” star threw her fake leg across a restaurant in season finale
Aviva Drescher apparently tossed her prosthetic leg during an argument featured in the July 22 Season 6 finale.


Weird Al’s “Tacky” music video features Eric Stonestreet, Aisha Tyler, Kristen Schaal
The parody of Pharrell’s “Happy” also includes Margaret Cho and Jack Black.


“Chrisley Knows Best” star: “Today, I’m not gay”
“I don't feel there's a need for me to not address it,” Todd Chrisley said of the gay rumors surrounding him.

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A new 'Ask Drew' tackles Marvel rumors and the mother of all Movie God questions
Credit: HitFix/Marvel Comics

A new 'Ask Drew' tackles Marvel rumors and the mother of all Movie God questions

Did I get this one wrong?

One of the things I'm loving more and more about HitFix these days is working with our video team on new programming. We've just started working on ideas for a new regular video feature that delights me, and I think we're still just barely getting started on all the good stuff we're going to do in the future.

So far, I love the way you guys have reacted to "Ask Drew," and when I refer to it as "the show that you write," I mean it. If you don't send questions, we have no show. You are great about sending in a wide array of questions, both personal and professional, about films both new and old, and the only thing I can say to you is that you should feel free to dig even deeper. I find it slightly terrifying when you ask something that I don't have an immediate answer for, but that's the point of the show. It shouldn't be easy. So often, we can go into an auto-pilot mode doing this job, and you guys do a great job of knocking me out of that way of thinking.

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Yahoo may rescue 'Enlisted,' too

Yahoo may rescue “Enlisted,” too
The studio behind the canceled Fox military comedy is in negotiations for a 2nd season with Yahoo, according to Deadline.

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Trailer for Nick Cave's '20,000 Days on Earth' documentary: Rock out with talk out

Trailer for Nick Cave's '20,000 Days on Earth' documentary: Rock out with talk out

Unorthodoc due September

"20,000 Days on Earth," the new Nick Cave film introduced at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, is not your typical music documentary. Instead of the acclaimed musician chatting with filmmakers off-camera, he's "interviewed" by a psychoanalyst. Instead of introducing archival material during a third-person retrospective voice-over, Cave gets a rundown of his own past by archivists. Instead of a face-to-face chat with collaborators from his past like Kylie Minogue and Blixa Bargeld, their perspectives are explored from sitting in the back seat of his car.

Of course, there's plenty of music all around -- with new score pieces from Cave and his Bad Seeds, as well as behind-the-scenes clips of their creative process during the making-of "Push the Sky Away" and two key performances. As mentioned during my interview with Cave and "20,000 Days on Earth" filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, there's a melding of the man and myth, which is really what the man does with his music anyway.

The first trailer for "20,000 Days on Earth" is now available, stream it below. This extraordinary film heads to theaters on Sept. 19. Check out a full clip from Drafthouse below that, and the interview from Sundance beyond that. Cave is on tour now.

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