Latest Blog Posts

'24' seriously considered killing off Jack Bauer

“24” seriously considered killing off Jack Bauer
As exec producer Howard Gordon explains, "This has always been a show that is really about the days and the life of this man and no day is probably as intense as a person’s last day. So killing Jack was something that was intriguing to us all but it had to be done just right. And that didn’t present itself to us.” PLUS: How producers arrived at that ending, Tzi Ma says: "You couldn't ask for anything better,” “Live Another Day” was a terrific season of TV, Kiefer Sutherland deserves credit for the powerful finale, and this season played like “Jack Bauer’s Greatest Hits."


Facebook to begin tracking its users’ TV habits for Nielsen
Starting this fall, Facebook will track users who watch TV via their cellphone or tablet.


Judd Apatow tells fired “SNL”-er Brooks Wheelan he’ll have a Robert Downey Jr.-type post-"SNL" career
Downey was let go from “Saturday Night Live,” too. Wheelan’s response: "thanks man! I'm gonna take this time to formally submit myself for the Ironman reboot in 2021 and the Chaplin reboot in 2032."


Matt Lauer & Savannah Guthrie did the “Today” show this morning from Howard Stern’s studio
Matt and Savannah did a simulcast this morning from the shock jock’s couch.


Jenny McCarthy calls “The View” a “stepping stone,” reveals she’s been unhappy on the panel
McCarthy said in an interview with Howard Stern: “I’ll tell you something Howard, it’s like halfway into it, it was probably around February, I went, ‘God I’m not allowed to be the best of me here.’”


Ian Ziering helps promote Sprout’s “Sharknado” week
The channel for preschoolers is having a "Sprout-Nado” this week.


HBO developing a movie with Frank Gifford on the 1958 Giants-Colts NFL Championship game
The overtime game that put the NFL on the map is the subject of Gifford’s “The Glory Game,” which HBO has optioned.


Conan O’Brien buys a billboard to promote his cameo on “Sharktopus vs. “Pteracuda"
“I’m going to be a movie star,” says Conan.


Kate McKinnon: I got into a little bit of trouble over my “SNL” cat shelter sketch
McKinnon tells Seth Meyers she had been at a real cat shelter the week before, and was accused of doing research.


“Switched at Birth” boss explains last night’s sad episode
"I shied away for the longest time for all the obvious reasons,” says exec producer Lizzy Weiss.


Lena Dunham going on tour to promote her book
The “Not Kind of Girl” tour will include a stop in Iowa, where her “Girls” character is attending college.

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<p>Syfy&#39;s &quot;12 Monkeys&quot;</p>

Syfy's "12 Monkeys"

Credit: Syfy

Press Tour: Syfy's '12 Monkeys' isn't a cover version of Terry Gilliam's movie

Series creators discuss making their own choices on the 2015 drama

The first thing I'd tell you about Syfy's "12 Monkeys" is that it isn't Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys." 

Fortunately, that's one of the first things that the people being the new Syfy time-travel drama would tell you as well.

"I think it’s a complete sort of reimagining," co-creator Terry Matalas says at Monday's (July 14) Television Critics Association press tour panel for "12 Monkeys." "We were all very, very big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for that material. So when we came together with Richard and talked about this, we didn’t want to just re do what the movie does. We changed the rules in the movie. Can’t actually change time, and here you can. So everything from the top down changed, from Cole’s character to Dr. Railly’s character to some new characters, Ramse and Aaron. So the story, while it has a lot of the same themes, it’s very different."

Adds co-creator Travis Fickett, "Wouldn’t make sense to tell the same story again."

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<p>&quot;The Hundred-Foot Journey&quot;</p>

"The Hundred-Foot Journey"

Credit: DreamWorks Studios

'Hundred-Foot Journey' producer's first film finds Spielberg and Winfrey along for the ride

Juliet Blake discusses the themes that spoke to her in Richard C. Morais' novel

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — If you're going to make your first foray into producing feature films, you can do a lot worse than to have Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey by your side. That's just how things turned out for Juliet Blake, a content producer for TED Talks who has been with "The Hundred-Foot Journey" since before the book was even published.

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<p>24: Live Another Day</p>

24: Live Another Day

Credit: FOX

Season finale review: '24: Live Another Day' - '10 p.m. - 11 a.m.'

Jack races to prevent war with China, and the series finally jumps ahead in time

"24: Live Another Day" has concluded, and I have thoughts on the finale and the season as a whole coming up just as soon as I explain that it is NOT pronounced "nucular," Mr. President...

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Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery takes a beach break in new video for 'Feelin' It'

'American Idol' winner heads for the surf in summertime ode


It feels like Scotty McCreery has grown up in front of our eyes since winning “American Idol” a few years ago. Now he’s hanging out in the beach with his buddies, enjoying the summer in his new video for “Feelin’ It.”

The summer ode is an easy, breezy track that has the great feeling of letting your cares go, but never resorts to bro country. It’s the perfect tune for the last half of summer.

McCreery shot the video in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the beautiful barrier islands that are very special to all  NC natives. Enjoy and don’t be surprised if you hear the roar of the surf and feel the sand between your toes. 

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'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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BLOGS BY NAME