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'Seinfeld' at 25: How the show about nothing became a huge hit

Revisiting the NBC comedy's improbable journey from busted pilot to juggernaut

Earlier this week, a former NBC sitcom made headlines by improbably returning from the dead, thanks to a website most people didn't even know was in the streaming video business. But the story of how "Community" will live again on Yahoo isn't nearly as far-fetched as the tale of another NBC Thursday sitcom, which few of the executives at the network understood, which was considered too weird and self-referential to ever succeed, and which — unlike "Community," the little cult engine that could — actually turned into the most popular show on television.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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CW cancels TMZ reality show 'Famous in 12'

CW cancels TMZ reality show “Famous in 12”
The TV series designed to help a family become famous in 12 weeks with the help of TMZ and its “TMZ” TV show has been canceled after just one month.

Jimmy Kimmel recreates the “Thelma & Louise” selfie with Susan Sarandon
Kimmel played the Thelma role, as they used an iPhone to take their selfie.

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Angelina Jolie reacts to passing of 'Unbroken' inspiration Louis Zamperini at age 97
Credit: Universal Pictures

Angelina Jolie reacts to passing of 'Unbroken' inspiration Louis Zamperini at age 97

The film based on his life story will hit theaters this Christmas

Louis Zamperini is a hero, no question about it. From Olympian to POW, his story is one for the ages, one laid out on the page beautifully by author Laura Hillenbrand in the book "Unbroken" and adapted by filmmaker Angelina Jolie in a film that will be released later this year. But just six months shy of seeing that life story writ large on the big screen for movie fans the world over to learn about his struggle, Zamperini has passed away, having lived a long and full 97 years.

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Joey on "Big Brother 16"

Recap: Big Brother Wednesday - A Hairy Power of Veto

Frankie is vulnerable for eviction after the first Battle of the Block. Will our wide-eyed little diva bro be in trouble?

Last episode we learned important things: Devin is dumb and loud about it. Brittany is both a fine swinger and swigger (yay, wine!). Paola is just horrible at games, and maybe thinking too. And now, because his eviction nominees won the challenge, former co-HOH Frankie is vulnerable to a possible eviction. Frankie is also vulnerable to a deep shampooing by me, because that streak of purple highlighter in his coif is still killing me. Let's get with the recappin'. 

8:03: Caleb reminds us that he's "the country boy" -- If there's another reality show with contestants who are more than proud to identify as boring archetypes, I don't know it -- and is still HOH this week because his nominees, Donny and Paola, lost their match against Christine and Victoria. Donny realizes his fate looks grim and notes that it's "pretty darn scary." Donny is pretty darn folksy, isn't he? Even when he's talking about how "the young people in the house" are nice to him, he remains quaint as hell as tears fall from his face. Too bad emotions are the true enemy of the "Big Brother" house. You're failing me, Donny!

8:08: Devin is giddy as hell that Donny is still up for elimination, as he has invented some bizarre paranoid theory/fantasy about how diabolical Donny is. "I think he's a great actor!" Devin says confidently as Donny weeps an incredible geyser of real tears. Yeah, Devin. Donny must be method or something. 

8:11: In a terrible development, Nicole (not my favorite) and Christine (my favorite) believe in ghosts. Nicole, who has a wide-eyed Babs Bunny face like Aaryn from last year, is shrieking about a ghost in her darkened bedroom -- which is interesting considering this is not a real house. It's actually the set of a TV show that is recreated every single year. I feel like ghosts would show up on the monitors, you know? But I'm afraid of what this news will do to Nicole, who is screaming and basically hurling gallons of Ectoplasm at the floor. She believes, y'all. 

8:14: Donny goes to bed and Caleb proudly announces that he believes Donny is an ex-military member, since we're in full conspiracy territory with this guy. Devin agrees because Devin is in the mood to believe anything. Frankie, suddenly, is the voice of reason. "Devin believes Donny is a super-soldier," he tells us, before mocking his theories. "Is he Justin Bieber in a beard? Is he Lady Gaga's new character?" Rarely do voices of reason look like troll dolls with bejeweled navels. "Expect the unexpected," I murmur in my best sinister Chenbot drone.

8:15: Sorry, "Extant" is a horrible title.

8:18: Donny, in bed across the room from Devin, finds himself saying things like, "Uh, no, I'm not in the military. Sometimes I just wear camouflage. I'm pretty sweet! Are you OK? Are you crying, Devin?" Not exactly that, but close. Devin confesses to us that he feels bad if he has somehow maligned Donny, and then I remember that Devin is a gigantic, military-looking dude who could clearly dominate Donny no matter what. What is going on here. 

8:20: Caleb, the remaining HOH, assigns the first Have Nots of the season. He is wearing tiny pink shorts, and as a credited TV critic with a shrewd, incisive sense of quality programming, I will tell you I LIKEZ DEM SHORTZ. He picks Hayden, Joey, Brittany, and Cody, and it turns out the new Have Not room is no place for pink shorts: It is a frozen, icy room teeming with glacier-like furniture. Even the Have Not food is frozen in popsicle form. I would love it if Madonna's "Frozen" were constantly playing, but "Big Brother" is not as cool as my dreams.

8:24: Joey tries to make her all-girl alliance happen, and gorgeous Leona Lewis doppelganger Amber smirks a bit knowing she has something of an alliance with the gents. I'm worried for Joey. Her efforts seem to be alienating her. I like this girl! She recycled once. 

8:26: Well, turns out I'm exactly right: Caleb learns about Joey's efforts and immediately pegs her as a threat. She needs to dye her blue hair pink this instant and hide in Frankie's doll pompadour because she just became the only real "target" in the house. 

8:29: Weirdly, Joey tells Devin of her failed attempt to form an all-girl alliance. She assumes that guilelessness is a good idea. Devin immediately tells us that she's "the worst player in 'Big Brother' history" because she gave up on her own master plan and dared to be honest about it. OK, I'll grant that she might've made a mistake, but Devin shouldn't be so cocky. He sounds like every ninth-place nothing who ever sat with Julie Chen to lament how he overthought the game. He may as well wear a Nick Uhas t-shirt and try romancing GinaMarie for relevance.

8:32: For the veto competition, Caleb, Paola, and Donny find themselves up against Zach, Cody, and Victoria. Save her, that's a lot of "Bomb Squad" going on. Also, this marks the first time I've heard the words "Zach and Cody" pieced together this season. Let's hope a "Suite Life" alliance is in the very near future.

8:34: Ohhhhh, this veto competition. It's called "Miami Lice," and everybody is clothed in pastel-colored suits and jumping into a gigantic bathtub to retrieve letters from -- oh yes -- fake hair. Lice! Miami! Miami Lice. "I need to win this," Donny tells us. "Or I may be going home. Maybe they think I'm smarter than I let on. [Long pause.] I'm not." Later he admits that he's purposely going slowly so that he can "keep his thoughts." Apparently Donny has a medical condition where thoughts spill from his brain when he moves too quickly. The More You Know.

8:38: The object is to collect enough letters from the hairy muck that you can spell a long word. The longest word wins the veto competition. Zach, unsurprisingly, has the best strategy: Because you're only allowed to retrieve the letters one at a time, he stashes a bunch in an easy-to-access, but secret part of the pool so that he always has a place to grab one.

8:40: Time runs out and Zach clocks in with a seven-letter word, "WARNING." Please cherish this morsel of pseudoo-literacy because Oh. My. God: Caleb, Cody, and Victoria reveal their answers and they all turn out to be misspelled or under-spelled long words. And they didn't think to reorder their letters into a smaller acceptable word either. Just wonderful. And bigger Oh My God -- Paola came up with "CALTORU." Yes, CALTORU. "I was trying to spell 'calculators!'" she explained. You sure were, honey. 

8:45: Donny reveals his answer after a dramatic break and it's "SPLITTERS." He wins! Hooray! What the hell is a splitter? Oh well! Hooray! All that non-military training has really come in handy. 

8:48: Joey realizes -- somberly -- that she's only houseguest who sticks out as a possible replacement nominee. Caleb tells her that she, indeed, got caught trying to plot against him. He pretends to be placated by her honesty. Honesty is the least reassuring thing in "Big Brother." We'll have to see how much she really saved herself. Cue "Big Brother" voiceover: "IS JOEY COMPOST OR WILL CALEB FIND A WAY TO RECYCLE HER?"

8:55: Donny saves himself (in his kindly prospector coo). Caleb doesn't flinch and throws Joey on the block. Ugh. Of course. "I don't know what's going on in that blue head of yours," he says of Joey in the diary room. I actually laugh out loud. This is the true tragedy of the episode. 

So, who's going home? Paola (who is worthless and should go home as payback for the similar-ish GinaMarie making it all the way to final two last year) or Joey? Seems like the latter to me. 

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<p>Tom Cruise in &quot;Collateral&quot;</p>

Tom Cruise in "Collateral"

Credit: DreamWorks Studios

On the digital legacy of Michael Mann's 'Collateral' nearly 10 years later

How long did it take the Academy's cinematography branch to catch up?

If you're interested in an anniversary conversation that really has some bearing on today's film industry, I highly recommend American Cinematographer's recent chat with "Collateral" DP Dion Beebe. It's been nearly a decade (if you can believe it) since Beebe and Paul Cameron carved out a serious place for digital with that film, earning an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) nomination in the process. It got me thinking about the history of the industry's acceptance of digital as reflected in the nominations handed out by both the ASC and Academy's cinematography branch over the last 10 years.

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'Enlisted' fans to Yahoo: Why not a 'Community'/'Enlisted' double feature?

“Enlisted” fans to Yahoo: Why not a “Community”/“Enlisted” double feature?
“Enlisted” fans are campaigning to get the Fox military sitcom rescued by Yahoo in the wake of Monday’s “Community” pickup.


Carol Kane headed to “Gotham"
She’ll play the mother of Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin.

“Full House” stars reunited today for Dave Coulier’s wedding
The 54-year-old Coulier’s new wife, Melissa Bring, was about 4 years old when “Full House” premiered.

Disney princesses get a “Orange is the New Black” makeover
Graphic designer Maya Bayley also did an “OITNB” makeover for Prince Eric from “The Little Mermaid."

Did the New York Post help get “Seinfeld” canceled?
Jerry Seinfeld was reportedly upset by the Post’s plans in 1997 to run the results of an informal poll on whether the sitcom should be canceled. The poll ran 50-50. PLUS: Watch a 1-hour “Seinfeld” documentary on how it all began.

Monica Lewinsky sat down with Nat Geo because she thought it was a very respectful brand
Lewinsky also felt comfortable filming her "The ‘90s: The Last Great Decade?” interview because she was working with a British production team.

WGN America will promote “Manhattan” on the 4th of July with a “Manhattan Project” special
“The Manhattan Project: Beyond the Bomb” will delve into the 1940s Los Alamos, New Mexico world the atomic bomb drama is set in hopes of making the show interesting to viewers who might be turned off.

The Weather Channel boasts that it preempts regular programming for storm coverage
As Dennis Mersereau points out, "The Weather Channel took 20 seconds out of every other commercial break  yesterday to brag that they'd preempted programming to talk about the weather, because we live in a world where The Weather Channel has to use  advertising time to tell its viewers that it's going to talk about the weather.”

CBS’ “Extant” was discovered last year thanks to a scriptwriting contest
Creator Mickey Fisher’s script’s journey to Steven Spielberg happened via the TrackingB TV Pilot Contest, where his script was a finalist.

Why adding a male to “The View” is a terrible idea
You can get the male opinion everywhere else, and adding a man to a woman’s show will only make the show all about gender politics.

Is a “Reading Rainbow” app a good idea?
The problem is there are already many reading apps out there, and they are all tough to evaluate.

Watch the “Blossom” cast, reunited
Here’s a preview of the cast reunion, 20 years later.

“Bachelorette” No. 1 Trista Sutter is jealous that current “Bachelorettes” get to travel the world
"They get to go on much better trips!” she says. "I went to Seattle and Cabo and Sedona. And now (they’re) going to Marseilles and Paris and Venice...They travel the world."

“Mulaney's" John Mulaney is getting married, but producer Lorne Michaels won't be in attendance
Former “SNL” writer and Fox sitcom star John Mulaney is getting married this weekend, with his co-stars expected to attend.

Edie Falco had mixed feelings about “Nurse Jackie’s” drug storyline
“Originally,” she says, "the drugs were not a part of her story, and I had all kinds of mixed feelings about it. But I thought if it was gonna be about her drug addiction, then it’s gotta be portrayed in a way that feels real to me. I wanted to depict my experience of addiction. Not my own, per se, but certainly my experience with addictions in the lives of people I know and love.”

College student paying $3,250 to hang with Robin Wright on the “House of Cards” set
Andi Benson, 23, won the set visit via a charity auction.

“Arrow” gets a Hong Kong handler
Karl Yune will join the CW series as Oliver’s handler.

Adult Swim is giving away a “China, IL” shower curtain
It’s drawn by creator Brad Neely.

Andy Cohen recalls the time Obama announced Osama bin Laden’s death just before “Watch What Happens Live”
It’s the one show he wishes could be erased existence.

Larenz Tate fights crime in BET’s “Gun Hill”
Tonight’s BET original movie is a bit problematic.

“Breaking Bad’s” RJ Mitte honored by the Starlight Children’s Foundation
He’ll receive the inaugural Inspiration Award.

Yes, “Bet On Your Baby” is a real show
The ABC game show is like “The Newlywed Game,” but with babies.

Anna Faris looks just like her real mom
The “Mom” star posted a childhood photo of her being held by her mother.

Coming to Comic-Con: “Big Bang Theory," “Supernatural,” “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” “Arrow,” “The Vampire Diaries”
The WBTV's contingent also includes “The Originals” and “The 100,” as well as “iZombie.”

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Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea sets record for a female rapper on the pop charts with 'Fancy'

Who else is making Hot 100 moves?

Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, has set the record for the longest tenure at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 by a female rapper.

Her breakthrough hit spend its sixth week at No. 1, passing Lil Kim’s 5 weeks at the top as part of the collective that remade “Lady Marmalade” in 2001 for “Moulin Rouge.” Given her comments at the BET Awards on Sunday night, we’re sure Nicki Minaj is gnashing her teeth over the news.

Magic’s “Rude” moves 3-2, which means Azalea’s other major hit, her feature on “Problems” by Ariana Grande, will likely be locked out of the top spot after spending five weeks at No. 2. Billboard predicts that “Rude” will likely topple “Fancy” from the top spot.

Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong” moves to No. 4, while Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” stays at No. 5. (“Latch,” hIs song with Dispatch climbs to No. 11).

As for the bottom half of the Top 10, the song remains the same: Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” featuring Snoop Dogg at No. 6, John Legend’s “All of Me” at No. 7, Calvin Harris’ “Summer” at No. 8, DJ Snake and Lil John’s “Turn Down For What” at No. 9 and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” at No. 10.


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Scott Derrickson has already found a perfect Doctor Strange, but is Marvel ready?
Credit: Screen Gems

Scott Derrickson has already found a perfect Doctor Strange, but is Marvel ready?

It's time to introduce a little more color to the Marvel movie universe

Short version: let's see Marvel add some different shades to the Marvel movie universe.

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'Reading Rainbow' Kickstarter ends with $6.4 million and a record 105,846 donors

“Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter ends with $6.4 million and a record 105,846 donors
The $6.4 million includes $1 million from Seth MacFarlane.

Sara Rue joins TV Land’s “Impaster”
The “Less than Perfect” alum will play the assistant to Michael Rosenbaum’s fake gay pastor in a new small town.

1960s “Batman” stars Adam West and Burt Ward will reunite at Comic-Con
West, 85, and the 68-year-old Ward -- along with “Catwoman” Julie Newmar -- will promote the Blu-ray and DVD release of their entire “Batman” series.

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Review: 'Deliver Us From Evil' offers up a grimy real-world take on supernatural horror
Credit: Screen Gems

Review: 'Deliver Us From Evil' offers up a grimy real-world take on supernatural horror

Strong sense of mood balances a familiar script nicely

So, basically, it's "CSI: 666."

Makes sense. Jerry Bruckheimer doesn't really do horror films. When you look back at his long and storied career as a producer, you see several recurring things, but horror seems like it's never really been part of his cinematic diet. I guess you could argue that some of the "Pirates" movies have some creepy elements, but those films are ultimately family adventure movies with a healthy dose of comedy thrown in.

So what attracted him to the story of Detective Ralph Sarchie, a real-life NYC officer who gets involved in a case that subjects him to some insane supernatural attention? Hard to tell, but the finished film, directed by Scott Derrickson and adapted from Sarchie's non-fiction book by Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman, plays like a police procedural first and foremost. It's a dark and grimy film, and while I think it's juggling a whole lot of cliches, there is something genuinely admirable about the way it tells this story and the way it handles the supernatural onscreen.

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Ashanti to Iggy Azalea: 'Hey! I did it first!', plus, prepping video with French Montana

What's the latest on her work on John Singleton's Tupac biopic?

Ashanti has an A.M. booty call on her mind with her new single, “Early In The Morning,” and she tells us all about the “sexy vibe,” the video featuring French Montana will have. “It’s about how sometimes you wake up in that morning and you have that mmmm on your mind,” she coyly says. The track is from her recently released set, “Braveheart,” her first album on her own label.

The singer was in town for the BET Awards and had a few thoughts on Nicki Minaj’s alleged take down of Iggy Azalea in her acceptance speech:  Ashanti felt was fairly typical hip hop behavior.   “It’s tough in hip hop, but for females, you have to have a little bit of swag. You have to have that, I don’t want to say, ‘rivalry.’”

Azalea just matched Ashanti’s 12-year record for being the only female to have the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 for multiple weeks. She praises Azalea’s success, but jokes, “Hey, I did it first!

She has plenty of other activity on her plate. She is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, an effort to fight childhood obesity. She contributed a new song, “Just Believe,” to the cause and serves as a spokeswoman.

Ashanti is also still on board to write the music for John Singleton’s Tupac biopic. “It’s still very early in the development stage,” she says. “They have to move forward to casting and music comes further into it.”

While that happens, she heads back to New York to start filming “Stuck,” with Amy Madigan, a movie that takes place in a subway car in New York City. “It’s a very relatable character. Kind of different for me,” says Ashanti, who has also appeared in such films as “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz” and “John Tucker Must Die.” “Some of the stereotypes she had in her head were able to be changed.”


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WBTV 2014 Comic-Con includes 'Supernatural,' 'Vampire Diaries' and... Mike Tyson
Credit: Cartoon Network/Adult Swim

WBTV 2014 Comic-Con includes 'Supernatural,' 'Vampire Diaries' and... Mike Tyson

'Gotham,' 'Flash,' 'Arrow' and 'Constantine' form Saturday mega-panel

Warner Brothers Television announced its 2014 Comic-Con lineup on Wednesday (July 2) afternoon, a slate that includes a whopping 15 shows, including five new series premieres. 

The WBTV Comic-Con lineup includes the studio's regular Wednesday Preview Night pilot screenings, the previously announced Saturday night event featuring "Gotham" and "The Flash," plus a panel with Mike Tyson.

Yes. Mike Tyson is coming to Comic-Con.

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