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Happy New Year

By admin Published: December 31, 2007

A little early yet, and I may do some other posting before then. But in case I don't get back before the ball drops, here's something from U2 to mark the occasion ...

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"Amazing Race" Tonight

By admin Published: December 30, 2007

Some notes (and spoilers) after the jump ...

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Weekend This 'N That

By admin Published: December 30, 2007


Kirk Douglas in "Ace in the Hole," discussed after the jump

Been on the road and on the couch. ...

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Letterman Gets His Writers

By admin Published: December 28, 2007

Here's the official word from the Writers Guild as posted on the WGAW Web site:

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have issued the following statement regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:
“The Writers Guild has reached a binding independent agreement today with Worldwide Pants that will allow Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson to return to the air with their full writing staffs. This is a comprehensive agreement that addresses the issues important to writers, particularly New Media. Worldwide Pants has accepted the very same proposals that the Guild was prepared to present to the media conglomerates when they walked out of negotiations on December 7.

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"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"

By admin Published: December 27, 2007


Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor: One Tough Woman

See the picture above? THAT's Sarah Connor. Tough and more than a little scary. Small, maybe, but look at the arms. (Remember her working out in "T2"?) You can see the relentlessness, the fury that could help turn a boy into a brilliant leader of men and women, a protector of humanity.

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More Time at the Movies: "Enchanted"

By admin Published: December 27, 2007

(Photo from EW.com)

So how freakin' adorable is that Amy Adams?

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"Charlie Wilson's War" And Other Movie Adventures

By admin Published: December 27, 2007

Some thoughts about "Wilson's," "Live Free or Die Hard" and "Superbad," after the jump ...

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Merry Christmas To All

By admin Published: December 24, 2007

I hope you all will have a grand and glorious day.

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"No Country For Old Men": No Movie For Animal Lovers

By admin Published: December 24, 2007

Not long ago, a reader called me to ask about "I Am Legend." She was worried about what happened to the dog in the movie. The question did not surprise me, because the bride -- who cannot stand to see animals harmed -- had had the same worry about the movie, and decided not to see it after watching a trailer in which the dog seemed to be in trouble. And I warned the reader accordingly.

This brings me to "No Country For Old Men," the latest movie from the Coen brothers, and one that has been on my catch-up list. ...

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The New "Law & Order"

By admin Published: December 22, 2007

I'm more or less on holiday for the next few days, but the blog rolls on. I'm hoping to catch up on some new and returning shows as they become available, and I started with "Law & Order." It returns Jan. 2 but fans have been troubled by its long absence, and my mail has included several questions about it. Well, it's coming, and I have seen five episodes and I have a few things to say after the jump. (No plot spoilers, but a lot about the characters) ...

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Letterman Talks Stall?

By admin Published: December 21, 2007

The anticipated return of David Letterman to the airwaves with his writers appears to be running into some kind of trouble. Here's the statement from the Writers Guild Web site:

Representatives from Worldwide Pants [Letterman's production company] and the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East met today. A lively exchange of information took place. The WGAW and WGAE will not comment further.

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Now Stewart, Colbert

By admin Published: December 20, 2007

The late-night dominoes continue to fall, with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert going back to work on Jan. 7.

If Conan' O'Brien's statement sounded like a guy with his arm twisted behind his back all the way up to his neck. Stewart and Colbert sound like two kids being pulled back to class by the ear. But it's becoming ever more evident that the production companies are amping up the pressure on people to go back to work. The concerns about immediate revenues are clearly outweighing the damage that could be done by putting on subpar shows. And no one is pretending these shows will be as good as what's done with full writing staffs.

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Tequila Spin-Off

By admin Published: December 20, 2007

From MTV today:

After becoming the highest rated series telecast on MTV for 2007, “A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila” spins off a new comedic, romantic elimination series, “That's Amore!” starring Domenico Nesci, one of the fan-favorite contestants from the first season of the breakout hit series. Six episodes are scheduled to air Q1, 2008. Casting is underway. ..

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SAG Awards Nominations

By admin Published: December 20, 2007

Complete list of the Screen Actors Guild nominees after the jump...

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Doing the Schedule Shuffle

By admin Published: December 19, 2007

The networks can't seem to make up their minds. Earlier today I got this e-mail re "Celebrity Apprentice":

NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice," which was previously scheduled to premiere on Thursday, January 3 (9-10 p.m. ET), will now debut one week later on Thursday, January 10 (9-10 p.m. ET). For its seventh season, the series returns to New York City as Donald Trump welcomes an all-star celebrity lineup of candidates who will work to raise over $1 million for various charities.

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Aaron McGruder News

By admin Published: December 19, 2007

Since people are still lamenting McGruder's departing the print version of "Boondocks," here's one of the things he has been up to, from TBS this morning:

Super Deluxe, the comedy broadband network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), has signed a deal with writer/producer Aaron McGruder for an original series of 20 Webisodes entitled The Super Rumble Mixshow. McGruder is the creator and executive producer of the highly successful Peabody Award winning series, The Boondocks, which airs on Adult Swim.

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Zoey 101 Plus One

By admin Published: December 19, 2007

As you already know, Britney Spears's 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn is pregnant.

Something about the holiday season, I guess. This time a year ago, Keisha Castle-Hughes was on the big screen as Mary in "The Nativity Story." Off-screen, she was 16 and pregnant.

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Denise Martin Apologizes, Passes on the $50,000

By admin Published: December 18, 2007

"Survivor: China" fans know that fourth-place finisher Denise Martin got in trouble after she claimed she lost her job and ended up taking a demotion when she went on the show. (See one story here, and a statement from her employers here.)

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Kimmel's Back, Too

By admin Published: December 18, 2007

With an announcement that sounds basically like, "Yeah, what those other guys said," Jimmy Kimmel makes plans to go back against Leno and Conan. Here's the brief word:

New episodes of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” return to air WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2 (12:05-1:05 a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

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Another Sign of a Long Strike: "Monk," "Psych" to NBC in March

By admin Published: December 18, 2007

Full announcement after the jump. But this is one more indication that the nets are not anticipating fresh scripted programming from their broadcast suppliers any time soon. ...

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"Wildfire" Sets Return Jan. 21

By admin Published: December 18, 2007

Missed this one in my e-mail last week. Full announcement after the jump ...

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Conan, Jay Set Returns Jan. 2 (Updated)

By admin Published: December 17, 2007

Conan,, Jay statements added below, and an item from Deadline Hollywood Daily. Here's the NBC announcement:

After two months of repeats, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" will resume broadcasting all-new episodes beginning Wednesday, January 2, 2008 (11:35 p.m., 12:35 a.m., respectively).

The late night shows suspended production due to the strike by the Writers Guild of America on November 5 and have aired repeats since.

"During the 1988 writers strike, Johnny Carson reluctantly returned to 'The Tonight Show' without his writers after two months. Both Jay and Conan have supported their writers during the first two months of this WGA strike and will continue to support them. However, there are hundreds of people who will be able to return to work as a result of Jay's and Conan's decision," said Rick Ludwin, Executive Vice President, Late Night & Primetime Series.

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Monday Morning Notepad (Modified)

By admin Published: December 17, 2007

-- So Todd won "Survivor: China" Sunday night. Ugh. Wasn't happy with any of the final three (or even the final four). In fact, aside from the maneuvers involving the immunity idols, and James's way of playing them (and not playing them), it was a pretty blah season. Hoping for better the next time around.

-- -- Brian Windhorst. Remember the name. Brian Windhorst. He works for the Beacon Journal and co-wrote with Terry Pluto the new LeBron book. The Plain Dealer, now Terry's workplace, on Sunday repeatedly referred in headlines to "Pluto's new book." You had to read the fine print to find Windhorst's name. Tacky tactic. The Beacon Journal played much more fairly on the authorship issue.

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Any More Thoughts on Holiday Songs?

By admin Published: December 16, 2007

You can find the reader comments from today's Beacon Journal here. Feel free to add more thoughts by commenting on this post.

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Greetings from Alex Trebek

By admin Published: December 15, 2007

This came in the e-mail today from the folks at "Jeopardy!" ...

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is recuperating at his Studio City home after his release from Cedars-Sinai Hospital on Saturday Dec. 15 following his recent minor heart attack.

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"Lost" Sets a Date, More ABC Mid-Season Plans

By admin Published: December 15, 2007

For "Lost," it's Jan. 31, a Thursday night. More stuff after the jump.
I'm trying to see some optimism in this move -- that ABC is hoping that the strike will be over in time for it to make more "Lost" episodes, instead of just stopping with the eight it reportedly has finished. That maybe there will be a deal by the end of January?
On the other hand, moving "Lost" into the "Grey's Anatomy" slot suggests pessimism -- that they're not going to get that show up and running again any time soon, so they might as well fill the time slot with fresh product.
Either way, the winter keeps looking rocky.

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I Really Should Be ... Something

By admin Published: December 14, 2007

There's a book title that nags me, by pianist Gary Graffman: "I Really Should Be Practicing." I'll explain why after the jump ...

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Any Room for Common Sense Here?

By admin Published: December 14, 2007

The Parents Television Council is screaming about a moment it considers indecent in the Nov. 30 episode of "Las Vegas." According to PTC, the episode "included a side camera shot of a stripper exposing her breasts." I haven't seen the episode, "The High Price of Gas, but it is available at NBC.com. See for yourself, and I'll try to give it a look later.)

I have posted PTC's complete announcement after the jump. But I had to snort at the way PTC is making a big deal about this because the episode was "viewed by hundreds of thousands of children."

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A Bit of Holiday Cheer

By admin Published: December 13, 2007

It's a night for giggles. I'm even watching the "Saturday Night Live" Christmas special, even though I have seen it and every sketch in it before. Hooray for the Chanukah Song! Bring on Pete Schwety!

And in the giggle mode, I found this the other day while looking up information about "The Bell That Couldn't Jingle," a Burt Bacharach tune.

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Golden (Yawn) Globes

By admin Published: December 13, 2007

You can find all the nominees here.

My friend Alan Sepinwall makes an interesting point about the Globes' TV nominees on his blog (as well as giving me props for the Chamber of Commerce theory of awards). But I'm going to focus on the movie noms here.

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Rock Hall: Glad All Over For Clark, Cohen

By admin Published: December 13, 2007


Dave Clark Five

From the Rock Hall:

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"Smurfs" on DVD Feb. 26

By admin Published: December 12, 2007

Yes, it's happening. The word from Warner Home Video, after the jump ...

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"Idol" Gives Back Again

By admin Published: December 12, 2007


Annie Lennox at the 2007 "Idol Gives Back"
Here's today's announcement:

After raising an astounding $75 million last season, AMERICAN IDOL will once again host IDOL GIVES BACK, a music celebration raising awareness and benefiting various U.S. and international charities.

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Briefly Noted Tuesday

By admin Published: December 11, 2007

Ringing in my head: Delaney & Bonnie singing "Been out of the blog, about six months too long ... " I know that it hasn't been that long since I posted but it feels that way. Dealt mostly with family business yesterday. Today was a four-fer: HFiles, Channels cover, mailbag, pop quiiz, plus catching up on phone calls and e-mails.
And tonight I am heading to Cleveland for "I Am Legend," the Will Smith pic from the Richard Matheson novel. Novel's great. Hope the movie's good.

A few notes:

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Perils of the Gossip Game

By admin Published: December 10, 2007

Since I draw on news and gossip sites a good bit for the HeldenFiles, I'm glad I didn't grab the story about a $10,000 tip supposedly left by Donald Trump. Trump himself denied the story, and now the Los Angeles Times has this story about the way the fakery was accomplished. But it's a scary moment for the gossip biz. There's already enough to be skeptical about thanks to checkbook journalism, unnamed sources, confrontational reporters/photogs and the side-taking by various gossip orgs. (I always try to attribute things to the entities I find them in.) All the more to beware when someone can concoct a fake story that is both this outlandish and yet vaguely plausible.

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Saturday This 'N That

By admin Published: December 8, 2007

The snow from yesterday was beaten back enough by the sun today that I could no longer put off the stringing off the Christmas lights. More than usual: string along a sidewalk, lit garland over the porch and around the posts. Took a little time (and a trip to the store because we had underestimated how many lights we needed). Learning experience, too. But when the sun went down tonight, it didn't look too bad.

Tonight we rested for the most part. Continued my exploration of HD DVD. Admit to being suitably dazzled so far, but I've been testing it on action movies ("Top Gun," "Patriot Games") where you get the sweep of landscape and the fire and fury of big action sequences. Love the clarity and detail for the most part. But, as is sometimes the case with HDTV, I can sometimes be distracted by the detail -- the odd blemish obscured but not hidden by makeup, the missed shaving spot on a leading man's neck, the threads in the rip of a jacket -- and so be taken out of the movie itself for a moment.

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"Friday Night Lights": Between Jail and Hell

By admin Published: December 7, 2007

Notes after the jump ...

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Between Meat and Pizza

By admin Published: December 7, 2007

Because I had a gigantic memory lapse last night, I neglected to record most of my Thursday faves, and only saw "Grey's Anatomy" in its entirety because we got home in time.

But, as title of this post indicates, I am catching up thanks to online viewing. Haven't gotten through all of "30 Rock" or "Earl" because, well, I am at the office and can't spend every second watching shows and laughing too loudly. But what I've seen of "30 Rock" has been plenty hilarious, even in the throwaway lines (Jenna's having to get out of bed at 4 a.m. and go home). Good start to "Earl," too, thanks to the Joy-Catalina dozens. As Tracy would say, "BANTER!"

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Oh, Just Give Him the Oscar

By admin Published: December 6, 2007

Today's road trip to Cleveland involved "There Will Be Blood," the new movie from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. After the jump, why it made me think of "Training Day" ...

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Dewey Cox Begins Tour

By admin Published: December 6, 2007

John C. Reilly performed songs from "Walk Hard" tonight, staying in character as Dewey Cox both during a brief appearance on a red carpet and in an hour-long, 14-song set. Song list and other notes after the jump ...

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Wednesday on the Road (Slightly Updated)

By admin Published: December 5, 2007

This morning I scrambled to the office to write a movie review ("The Golden Compass," which I did not like much) then hit the road for Cleveland. Stop one was the Cedar Lee to see "Sweeney Todd" (which I liked a great deal). Then it was on through the snowflakes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to talk to John C. Reilly and director Jake Kasdan about "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," the comedy that hits theaters on Dec. 21. Reilly's doing a music tour to promote the movie, starting with tonight's show. Besides talking about the movie, we talked about the music tour and the rock hall, so I could have a story for tomorrow's Beacon Journal as well as movie material for use closer to the opening date. Then, once someone helped me figure out the wireless network at the hall, I wrote the story. Now I'm going to pass the time until a little later this evening, when I'll be at the red carpet for Reilly's performance, and then at the performance itself. This all makes for a long day, but a useful one. I hope to post later tonight or early tomorrow after Reilly's show.

Well, it's about an hour and a half later than the last time I posted here, and I am deeply into the just-hanging-out portion of the evening. It's another couple of hours before Reilly plays, but media are supposed to be here now, so there was no sense in my driving back to Akron only to turn around and head back to Cleveland.

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As the "Heroes" Turn

By admin Published: December 4, 2007


If I only had a brain ...

It wasn't far into the episode before I began thinking that it looked like a bad daytime soap opera -- lots of expository and revelatory dialogue, often delivered in closeup as if being addressed directly to the camera. This was not good.

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"Law & Order" Returns, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" Comes Back to Broadcast

By admin Published: December 3, 2007

Here's the topper from NBC:

NBC will lawyer-up on Wednesday nights as the Emmy Award-winning "Law & Order" resumes with a two-hour season premiere event on Wednesday, January 2 (9-11 p.m. ET), and will continue on Wednesdays starting January 9 (10-11 p.m. ET) preceded by this season's network broadcast premiere of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (9-10 p.m. ET) in its return to NBC that night.

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CBS January-February: "Jericho," "Old Christine" Return

By admin Published: December 3, 2007

No question that this is a strike-driven schedule, drawing on a fair amount of unscripted fare, including a winter edition of "Big Brother," and the return of shows already in the can. ("Jericho" fans: Mark Feb. 12.)

Complete announcement after the jump ...

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More Saltman-Knievel

By admin Published: December 3, 2007

In a previous post I noted Sheldon Saltman's ties to Ghoulardi in light of Saltman's role in the now-concluded life of Evel Knievel. Now word comes that Saltman hopes to get an old judgment against Knievel paid out of the daredevil's estate. Story is here.

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"The Closer" Tonight

By admin Published: December 3, 2007


(Photo from TV Guide.com)

Technical difficulties have kept me offline most of the day, but I promised to post about "The Closer" so here I am at last. ...

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Local "Funniest Videos" Winner

By admin Published: December 3, 2007

Dave Smith of Akron won $10,000 on the "America's Funniest Home Videos" that ABC aired on Sunday night, and is now in the running for a $100,000 prize on the show airing Dec. 9. Here, while it lasts, is a clip of the big moment:

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"Amazing Race" and Other Notes

By admin Published: December 2, 2007

Result after the jump ...

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