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Mixed Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 31, 2013

Some projects and personal business have kept me blog-free for a few days. Some updates:

The Despicablimp, inspired by the movie "Despicable Me 2," will be in Akron, arriving sometime Monday and then giving media rides on Tuesday. (Heck, yes, I am riding.) So if you see a huge Minion in the sky, your eyes are not playing tricks. If I get some details on where it is flying, I will post them.

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Tarantino "Festival" at Akron Civic

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 27, 2013

The "festival" consists of three films, two that Tarantino wrote and directed, and one that he co-wrote and acted in. Here's the official word:

Festival Entertainment is proud to present The Quentin Tarantino Film Festival on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Doors will be opening at 4:00PM for an array of food vendors and the films will begin at 6:00PM.
Come and enjoy three of the most entertaining Tarantino movies in this order; “Reservoir Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction”, and “From Dusk Till Dawn”. The first movie will start at 6:00PM with a 30 minute intermission between each film.
Doors to the theater will open at 4:00 PM for an array of Food vendors until 11 p.m. Food vendors will include Mr. Zub’s Deli, Marco’s Pizza, House of Hunan and Retro Dog.
$2 of each ticket sold will be donated to the Akron Children's Hospital Foundation.
The Quentin Tarantino Film Festival will have one showing on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 4:00 PM. Ticket price is $12. Tickets are available at the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office, by calling (330) 253-2488 or online at www.akroncivic.com, or TicketMaster (1-800-745-3000).  Tickets are on sale now.

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PlayhouseSquare Broadway Series Replaces "Music of Webber" with "Joseph"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 27, 2013

Newlywed "American Idol" veterans Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young star. The official word: PlayhouseSquare announced a change to its 2013-2014 KeyBank Broadway Series lineup following the news that the national tour of THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER has been postponed for a subsequent season.

 PlayhouseSquare will launch the new tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT filling the same time slot – (March 4-16, 2014) - on the season ticket package which also includes touring productions of Sleeping Beauty, Once, Wicked, Porgy and Bess, Flashdance and Jersey Boys. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome JOSEPH back to our stage,” said Gina Vernaci, Senior Vice President, Theater Operations. “This show is a crowd pleaser that is sure to delight our audiences of all ages, fun for the whole family with its epic story and sing-along score.”

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Memory Lane: Here's Some Weird, Wild Stuff

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 27, 2013

As Arsenio Hall prepares for his return to late-night talk on Sept. 9, here's a demonstration of what a force he was in late-night the last time around. "Saturday Night Live" noted what a threat Hall was to Johnny Carson's reign by presenting Dana Carvey as "Carsenio," Carson remade Arsenio-style. Terrific sketch (although it lacks a strong ending)and not only for Carvey. Look at Phil Hartman's rendition of Ed McMahon: it's a beauty.

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I So Miss "Bunheads"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 27, 2013

Above is a farewell video from the creator and cast of the show, which ABC Family canceled after a single season. Between this and the early demise of "Huge," my resentment of ABC Family is considerable.

Anyway, here's the info accompanying the video:

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Mixed Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 25, 2013

The Complete Ben Affleck/Batman Announcement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 23, 2013

No doubt you saw the news that broke Thursday evening about Affleck playing Batman in the next "Man of Steel" movie. Here's the official word from Warner Bros., including the claim that this will be "an entirely new incarnation" of  Batman. Now we just have to wait two years for the movie.

Ending weeks of speculation, Ben Affleck has been set to star as Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne.  Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character in Snyder’s as-yet-untitled project—bringing Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen and continuing the director’s vision of their universe, which he established in “Man of Steel.”  The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

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"The Harder They Come" Returns to Theaters One Night Only on Sept. 5

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 23, 2013

The Cedar Lee is among the theaterrs showing it. The official word:

Syndctd Entertainment & International Films Management (IFM) have officially announced they will theatrically re-release Perry Henzell’s cult classic film “The Harder They Come,” to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of its US premiere. On opening night in Kingston, Jamaica, the reggae-fueled hit provoked riots when thousands could not get into the sold-out Carib Theater. The February 1973 launch in New York led to six straight years of cannabis-smoke filled midnight screenings around the United States and has gone on to become one of the best regarded independent films of all time.

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Complete "Weeds" Blu-ray in November

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 22, 2013

The official word: Showtime's smoking hot hit is back with Weeds: The Complete Collection, arriving on Blu-ray Disc (plus Digital HD Ultraviolet) November 5 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Including seasons one through eight of the popular cable series, the limited edition Blu-ray collection is a must-have for fans and features 16 discs in a special "glowing" acrylic case package along with all-new bonus content featuring Mary-Louise Parker. Headlined by Parker (Red 2) in her Golden Globe® winning role, Weeds also features a hilarious ensemble cast including Hunter Parrish (It's Complicated), Alexander Gould (Finding Nemo), Justin Kirk (TV's "Animal Practice") and Kevin Nealon (TV's "Saturday Night Live"). In addition, the series boasts strong turns from Elizabeth Perkins (Big), Albert Brooks (Drive, Broadcast News), Demian Bechir (A Better Life, TV's "The Bridge") and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Margot at the Wedding, TV's "Revenge") along with celebrated guest stars including singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, Mary-Kate Olsen (Beastly), Michelle Trachtenberg (TV's "Gossip Girl") and Zooey Deschanel (TV's "New Girl"). During its final season, the series lit up the ratings, averaging 3.2 million viewers an episode across all platforms.

 

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Mixed Notes Wednesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 21, 2013

Dr. Phil, or whoever tweets in his name, has proven to be spectacularly insensitive. And this clarification does not really change that.

TNT seems to have it in for Northeast Ohio, On Monday's "Major Crimes," a murder victim (and a killer) were from Akron. On Tuesday's "Rizzoli & Isles," Cleveland was the location of an old murder.

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RIP, Elmore Leonard

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 20, 2013

Leonard, who was 87, suffered a stroke three weeks ago. His passing ends a formidable literary career, whether you look at the small things (Leonard knew how to craft a sentence) or the big ones (engrossing plots, unforgettable characters). I can't say I read all of him, but I read a lot, and i don't remember a stinker in the bunch.

Leonard's way with a story led to a great TV series ("Justified") and, when in the right hands, some terrific movies ("Out of Sight," "Get Shorty," "52 Pickup"). But those all started with his ideas, and his words, with decent men and women who had a lethal side, and others who were just plain lethal. Even when I knew where he was taking me (and that didn't happen all that often), I loved the taking.

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Marg Helgenberger Returns to "CSI" for the 300th Episode

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 20, 2013

The official word: CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION will celebrate its 300th milestone episode with original cast member Marg Helgenberger returning as Catherine Willows to help solve a cold case that has haunted the team for 14 years, Wednesday, Oct. 23 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

 

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MSNBC Returns "Ed Show" To Weekdays

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 19, 2013

It replaces one of the "Hardball" hours. Chris Matthews has been reducing his TV workload, (see second question in the link) and Ed Schultz fans had been very unhappy about his being shifted to weekends. It was a shift that Schultz said he wanted, but I haven't heard him kick about this new change. The official word:

“The Ed Show” hosted by Ed Schultz is moving back to MSNBC’s weekday lineup starting Monday, August 26. “The Ed Show” will air Monday – Friday at 5 p.m. ET. “Hardball with Chris Matthews” will continue at 7 p.m. ET. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC.

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NPR President Departing After Two Years

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 19, 2013

When he was in Kent last year, he sure didn't sound like a short-timer.

The official word: The Board of Directors of NPR announced today that it has been informed by President and Chief Executive Officer Gary E. Knell that he will leave this fall to become President and CEO of the National Geographic Society. Knell will remain with NPR until then to work with the Board to ensure a smooth transition as it launches a search for his successor.

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Notes: Feagler Retiring, Rosen Documentary, "SYTYCD" in Cleveland, More

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 19, 2013

I have been off this site for a few days because my older son married his longtime sweetheart on Saturday, an occasion for great excitement and celebration. So what follows are some of the items that flew into the mailbox while I was off. ...

Veteran newsman Dick Feagler has announced his retirement from his TV show. The final show will air on Sept. 27, after being recorded in front of a live audience a few days earlier. Here's the official word:

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Netflix Expands Scholastic Media Carriage

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2013

The official word: As vacations wind down, school supplies stack up and everyone begins to get back into the school-year routine, Netflix has even more to offer families as they head back to school.  Today Netflix Inc.  (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic Inc. (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education and media company, announced a distribution agreement that will make popular television series and video content produced by Scholastic Media available to Netflix subscribers in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland and Latin America.  This is the first time many of the Scholastic titles have been available in the streaming format.

Starting on Aug. 15, The Magic School Bus® (seasons 1-4; all 52 episodes), will be available exclusively for SVOD to Netflix members in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland and Latin America.  Additionally, Goosebumps® (seasons 1-4; all 74 episodes) will be available in the US, Canada, UK and Ireland.  The deal also includes several non-exclusive titles based on award-winning and best-selling books from the Scholastic Storybook Treasures™ line – including such classics as Harry the Dirty Dog, Danny and the Dinosaur, Chrysanthemum, The Snowy Day and The Mouse and The Motorcycle, and movies such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories and Stellaluna, which are now available in the US and Canada. Many of the titles have never been previously available to consumers on TV or online.

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Robin Roberts W/LeBron: ICYMI

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2013

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TNT Renews "Rizzoli," "Major Crimes," "Perception"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2013

The official word: TNT has renewed three of its hit summer series, including the top-ranked Rizzoli & Isles and the Top 10 dramas Major Crimes and Perception. The renewals join the previously announced fourth-season order of TNT's epic drama Falling Skies, one of the summer's most popular dramas with key demos.

TNT's news comes as all four shows rank among basic cable's Top 10 series with total viewers for the summer-to-date, with Rizzoli & Isles leading the pack at #1 and Major Crimes ranking among the Top 5. In addition, all four series rank among basic cable's Top 10 summer dramas with adults 25-54. And Falling Skies and Rizzoli & Isles are two of basic cable's Top 5 dramas with adults 18-49.

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USA Network Announces Fall Network Premiere Dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2013

The official word: USA Network announced today a powerful fall programming lineup, including new series acquisition MODERN FAMILY, one of the top comedies in all of television, debuting on Tuesday, September 24 at 8pm.  The first four seasons of this multi-Emmy® Award-winning series, which takes a modern and hilarious look at the complications that come with being a family today, will air five nights a week (Tuesday-Friday 8-9pm, Tuesdays 9-11pm, Fridays 9-10pm, Sundays 9-11pm). The series stars Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez.
Ratings juggernaut drama NCIS: LOS ANGELES begins Monday, September 23 and airs four nights a week (Mondays,Wednesdays, Fridays at 7pm, Wednesdays from 9-11pm, Thursdays at 7pm & 11pm). The high-stakes drama, starring Chris O’Donnell and LL COOL J, centers on the pressured world of a NCIS division charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals that pose a threat to the nation's security.
Two of the network’s hit original dramas return on Thursday, October 17, beginning with the fifth season premiere of sexy, sophisticated series WHITE COLLAR at 9pm and the nail-biting final six episodes of COVERT AFFAIRS season four at 10pm.
WHITE COLLAR picks up after the shocking arrest of FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) on murder charges. Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) must make a deal with the devil to help clear his name. The series also stars Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Marsha Thomason and Sharif Atkins. Garson makes his television directorial debut this season and DeKay returns to direct another episode.
In season 4.5 of COVERT AFFAIRS the hunt is on. As the people closest to Annie (Golden Globe®-nominee Piper Perabo) suffer in the aftermath of Henry Wilcox’s (guest star Gregory Itzin) bitter revenge plot, Annie makes her biggest sacrifice, pushing herself farther than ever in order to face off against a devious puppet master. The series also stars Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett, Peter Gallagher and Hill Harper.
In full festive spirit, USA will air a special holiday season reality series event, IT TAKES A CHOIR (fka “The Choir”), on Sundays at 8pm, beginning November 3. Based on the hit UK series, this show follows the distinct and charming choirmaster Gareth Malone, who unites an unexpected mix of characters through the spellbinding power of music. A true fish out of water, in both his environment and teaching style, Malone finds himself in the craziest situations with some of the biggest characters. Each episode culminates in a unified and powerful public performance from the choir in front of their family, friends and community.
Rounding out the holiday programming slate is PSYCH: THE MUSICAL, an unprecedented two-hour special event on Sunday, December 15 from 9-11pm. Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) dive into a world that's equal parts mystery and melody to track down an escaped playwright mad man, Z (Anthony Rapp, “Rent”), who six years earlier was deemed criminally insane after locking a critic in a back room of the theatre that he burnt to the ground. The holiday event also stars Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Timothy Omundson and Corbin Bernsen.
Emmy Award-winning journalist Cat Greenleaf, USA’s new host of daytime TV, will be making her debut on the network in tandem with the MODERN FAMILY launch, kicking off with behind-the-scenes interviews with MODERN FAMILY’s Steve Levitan, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez. Her segments, airing between 11am-3pm on weekdays, will feature one-on-one interviews with actors, personalities and tastemakers from her iconic stoop.






 

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Independent Local Movie Theaters Seeking Financial Help With Digital Conversion

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 14, 2013

A couple of area venues are taking unconventional approaches to fundraising. The Canton Palace is using a crowdsourcing plan (see below) while Wadsworth's Blue Sky Drive In hopes to win a contest for digital gear. From the Blue Sky website:

We will face possible closure with the movie industry’s switch from film to digital. Film will no longer be available. We need your support to stay open. We have an opportunity to win new digital projection equipment donated by Honda and other supporters.  Please visit Project Drive-In here and vote for us.
You can vote once every 24 hrs, so vote daily. Voting ends September 9th.  Thank you!
You can also text your vote to "Vote53" (without quotes) to 444999.

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Michael Nesmith Coming to Lorain County

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 14, 2013

Mixed Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 14, 2013

I'm working on a column looking more closely at the merits of extras on recent DVD and Blu-ray sets. And one that has caught my eye is on the Season 4 DVD set of "The Good Wife," which will be in stores on Aug. 20.

The 11-minute segment looks at how the show portrays sex -- and it can be a very sexy show -- and dealing with CBS's Standards & Practices department. In addition to the discussion, it shows selected scenes both as they were turned in to S&P and as they finally aired. Unaired versions are for the most part, uh, better.

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"Falling Skies" Video Game in the Works

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 14, 2013

The official word: Survival of the human race is at stake. TNT and worldwide video game publisher Little Orbit today announced a partnership to bring the epic alien-invasion television series Falling Skies to multiple video game consoles. Depicting a world gone mad after an alien invasion, the Falling Skies video games will grab a foothold in the gaming world with a mobile game due out this holiday and multiple consoles launching in 2014. Falling Skies is based on the popular TNT show of the same name and will tie directly into the television series, with a scenario that will weave itself into the existing universe and feature voice work by the show’s actors.

"Little Orbit’s mission is to identify high-quality licenses and bring their world to gamers in a truly unique and interactive experience," said Matt Scott, president of Little Orbit. "We are collaborating closely with the show’s own writers to craft the game’s storyline, wholly integrating the Falling Skies universe into a visceral gaming experience."

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"Twilight" Complete-Saga Movie Set Coming to DVD, Blu-ray With New Extras

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 14, 2013

The official word: Timed to celebrate the fifth anniversary of The Twilight Saga’s original theatrical debut, fans are invited to relive the immortal love story with Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga, available as a 10-disc Blu-ray (plus Digital HD UltraViolet) set and as a 12-disc DVD (plus Digital UltraViolet) set debuting November 5, 2013 from Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE company. 

Whether Team Edward or Team Jacob, the passion of Twilight fans hasn’t dissipated with the final film, continuing through fan fiction, pop culture and the constant engagement of over 166 million fans in Twilight’s online network. Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga encompasses all five films, over 2 hours of brand new exclusive content and over 10 hours of every special feature ever created for the multi-billion dollar franchise. Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga is the ultimate collector’s set, an immersive experience for every Twilight fan to recapture and relive the most epic romance of the century.

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Lifetime Renews "Devious Maids"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 13, 2013

The official word: Lifetime and its viewers are going to get even more Devious next year.  The network has renewed for a second season its hit drama Devious Maids (#DeviousMaids), starring Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sánchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes, with a 13 episode order, it was announced today by Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Lifetime.  Devious Maids is produced by ABC Studios.

 

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Cleveland Play House Announces Woody Guthrie Show "Woody Sez," With Hootenannies

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 13, 2013

 

The official word: Cleveland Play House enthusiastically brings to Northeast Ohio audiences the internationally acclaimed West End hit Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie.  This incredible production about the celebrated musician and iconic figurehead of the American Folk Movement, Woodie Guthrie, will take Cleveland Play House’s stage from Sept. 13 – Oct. 6 in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. 

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James Franco Roasters Announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 13, 2013

From Comedy Central: COMEDY CENTRALunveiled today an all-star roster of Roasters who will join Roast Master Seth Rogen for the “COMEDY CENTRAL Roast of James Franco,” which includes close friends, “This Is The End” co-stars and some of today’s top comedians.

To accommodate the growing list of celebrity Roasters and attendees, the network has moved the event tape date to Sunday, August 25 at Culver Studios. The #FrancoRoast airing will remain unchanged, premiering on Labor Day, Monday, September 2 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

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"Scandal" Soundtrack Set for September

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 13, 2013

Lionsgate To Reissue Emma Peel Megaset

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 12, 2013

I should not have to tell you that Emma Peel is the character Diana Rigg played on "The Avengers." The previously released DVDs of Peel's "Avengers" episodes are out of print, and older versions of the megaset can run you $500-600 on Amazon.com. Here's the brief official word on the reissue:

Relive all the excitement, drama and action of one of television's most beloved crime-fighting spy duos when The Avengers - The Complete Emma Peel Megaset arrives on DVD October 8 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Enjoy all of Emma Peel's (Diana Rigg, HBO's "Game of Thrones") undercover roles, from her unforgettable debut in her famous leather cat suit, to her thrilling last spy adventure! Available on DVD for the first time in four years, the collection spans all three seasons of Emma Peel's time on the hit series. Co-starring Patrick Macnee (TV's "Super Force"), The Avengers - The Complete Emma Peel Megaset will be available for the suggested retail price of $49.98.

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"This Is the End" DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 12, 2013

The low-budget hit also had overwhelmingly favorable reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes. The official word:

The end may be near but the party’s just beginning when the hit comedy THIS IS THE END comes to Blu-ray™ combo pack, DVD and Digital on Oct. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  James Franco (127 Hours, Pineapple Express), Jonah Hill (Moneyball, Superbad), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express), Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder), Danny McBride (TV’s “Eastbound & Down,” Due Date), and Craig Robinson (TV’s “The Office,” Hot Tub Time Machine) star in this apocalyptically hilarious movie about six friends trapped in James Franco’s house as the world around them comes to an end. Written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, creators of Pineapple Express and Superbad, THIS IS THE END is filled with raunchy and irreverent humor, shocking special effects, as well as surprise cameos, with appearances by Rihanna (Battleship), Michael Cera (Juno) and Emma Watson (Harry Potter series).

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Rare Jerry Lewis "Day the Clown Cried" Footage Discovered

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 12, 2013

A notorious part of the Jerry Lewis story is "The Day the Clown Cried," a movie in which he played a clown working in a Nazi death camp. The movie has never been in a theater and by all accounts never will be.

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Mixed Notes Sunday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 11, 2013

With "Breaking Bad" and "Dexter" nearing the end, I talked about the villain as TV star here.  And I have a non-spoilery assessment of tonight's "Breaking Bad" return here.

Brimfield Police's famous Chief Oliver weighed in on the column in a Facebook post today. Here are his thoughts:

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For Your Video and Literary Amusement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 9, 2013

The above video, by Miley Cyrus, is one of the more fascinating examples of the fiorm gone terribly wrong. It's "Football on Your Phone" without the self-awareness. It is a reason to believe that no one should ever make a music video again. It is dancing teddy bears.

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Video: Rich and the movies - 'Elysium'

By Dan Kadar Published: August 9, 2013

This week, Akron Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels checks out Elyisum, from the makers of District 9. As an action piece it's good, just don't look too much into the plot. Read Rich's full Elysium review by clicking here.

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Mixed Notes Friday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 9, 2013

"Strike Back" returns to Cinemax tonight. As I said on Twitter, I have a hard time watching it without thinking of Philip Winchester as "Commando Nanny," a planned series based on the real-life experiences of reality maestro Mark Burnett. It never made it from pilot to air. Akron's own Rachel Sweet, these days a writer-producer on "Hot in Cleveland," recalled the show this way when we talked a couple of years ago:

''Oh, my God, it was such a fiasco!'' Sweet said. ''There was Mark Burnett . . . and there was the WB, wanting to get a reality show from Mark Burnett. I met with him probably a year before, and he pitched Commando Nanny , and I said, 'No, I can't write that.' He went off and got another writer to write the pilot, and the pilot was shot. I was on a deal with Warner Bros., and I got a call from [Warner Bros. TV boss] Peter Roth, and he said, 'Guess what? You're running Commando Nanny .' '' Sweet had no choice, since - as she put it -? Roth ''signs my checks.''
''It was a business deal, basically,'' Sweet said. The WB ''gave [Burnett] a scripted show because they wanted a reality show from him. And neither one ever materialized, because it was an ill-conceived situation. Sometimes you get caught in those and, you know, you write your best stuff and you see what happens.''

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GSN Renews "American Bible Challenge"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 8, 2013

The official word: GSN announced today that it has ordered a third season of its highest-rated original series of all time, THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE, a one-hour game show hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy in which contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible. Grammy® winner Kirk Franklin, who joined the show as musical co-host in season two, also returns for season three. The network has ordered 9 episodes for season three, which is slated to air in 2014.

 

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Comedy Central Adding "Community" Repeats

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 8, 2013

The official word: – COMEDY CENTRAL is enrolling in Greendale Community College this semester! The cable television premiere of “Community” kicks off with a special 10-episode block of fan-favorite episodes on September 15 from noon – 5:00 p.m. on COMEDY CENTRAL. Starting September 20, well-studied fans and clueless freshmen can start “Community” cramming when the series settles into the schedule with a four-episode block airing weekly every Friday from 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., beginning with season one. During the Friday premieres, super fans can use the hashtag #Community for a chance to see their tweets on-air.

To help prepare for the beginning of the term, COMEDY CENTRAL will schedule programming blocks of content that have featured the stars of “Community,” along with college-themed movies and scholastic-themed episodes of its own original series, every Friday from 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. from August 9 through September 13.

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Mixed Notes Thursday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 8, 2013

The mailbag, including a few words about the way "Dance Moms" presents Ohio, is here.

My unenthusiastic review of "We're the Millers" is here.

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More Video Amusement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 7, 2013

Very entertaining Colbert clip:

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Sony Announces Complete Sets of Jesse Stone Movies, "Bewitched"TV Series, More

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 7, 2013

Also "Damages" and "The Partridge Family," plus complete-series reissues of "The Shield" and "I Dream of Jeannie."

The official word: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) will help solve the perennial “what to get” shopping dilemma for TV fans this holiday season by releasing the complete series of four of the most popular and acclaimed TV series, beginning this fall. With a variety of comedy, drama and suspense, these box sets will provide options to please any member of the family. SPHE will begin rolling out some of the most treasured titles this fall including The Jesse Stone Collection, Bewitched: The Complete Series, The Partridge Family: The Complete Series and Damages: The Complete Series, all marking their availability for the first time as a complete set.

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CBS Orders "Extant" for Summer 2014

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 7, 2013

The success of "Under the Dome" is obviously the reason. The official word:

CBS has given a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes of EXTANT, a serialized drama from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and CBS Television Studios.  The series will be broadcast during summer 2014.

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Video Guidance For Today's Students

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 7, 2013

"SYTYCD" Sets Top 10 for Tour, Including Cleveland Stop

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 7, 2013

Bits from official word, with tour dates at the end: 

So You Think You Can Dance, the eleven-time Primetime Emmy® Awardwinning show that sparked America’s fascination with dance, is set to captivate audiences again this fall live on tour. Celebrating its landmark 10th season, So You Think You Can Dance’s Top 10 finalists will make their way across North America, performing in a mix of theaters and arenas as part of the So You Think You Can Dance Tour 2013, sponsored by BLOCH, an international leader in dance wear.

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Whedon's "Much Ado" On Demand in September, DVD/Blu-ray in October

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

You can read my review of the movie here. The official word: Joss Whedon's modern retelling of a timeless tale, Much Ado About Nothing, arrives on Blu-ray Disc (plus Digital HD UltraViolet), DVD (plus Digital UltraViolet) and Digital Download on October 8 (with an early Video on Demand Window Beginning September 24) from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

From acclaimed director Joss Whedon comes a "truly delightful, charming, sexy" (BlackBook) and modern retelling of Shakespeare's timeless tale, Much Ado About Nothing, arriving on Blu-ray Disc (plus Digital HD UltraViolet), DVD (plus Digital UltraViolet) and Digital Download on October 8 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Much Ado About Nothing will also be available two weeks prior to the Blu-ray and DVD release with a September 24 Video on Demand premiere date.The film features an all-star cast from many of Whedon's cult favorite projects including Amy Acker (The Cabin in the Woods, TV's "Angel"), Alexis Denisof (TV's "Angel," TV's "How I Met Your Mother"), Reed Diamond (Moneyball, TV's "Franklin & Bash"), Nathan Fillion (TV's "Castle," TV's "Firefly"), Clark Gregg (The Avengers) and Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods).

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Ifill, Woodruff Fulltime "PBS Newshour" Anchors

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

The official word: Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, it was announced that Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will be co-anchors and managing editors for the PBS NEWSHOUR. Ifill and Woodruff will anchor the broadcast together Monday through Thursday each week. On Fridays, Woodruff will anchor solo as Ifill hosts WASHINGTON WEEK that evening. This will mark the first time a network broadcast has had a female co-anchor team.

It was also announced that Hari Sreenivasan will serve as Senior Correspondent for the PBS NEWSHOUR with Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, reporting several times a week from WNET’s Tisch Studios in New York, along with his duties anchoring PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND Saturdays and Sundays beginning September 7.

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RIP, George Duke

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

One obit/tribute is here, The masterful keyboardist was long a fave of mine. I interviewed him back in the '70s and was particularly fond of the variety in his playing; "I Love the Blues She Heard My Cry" was an album I cherished because of its eclecticism. I accordingly had mixed feelings about the period when his funk moves, good as they were, overshadowed his range; seeing him in performance once, I complained about the way he had to cater to the funk fans. But he remained strong in memory. And here are some selections, starting with Duke talking about his "DreamWeaver" album and playing from it:

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The Time Warner Cable/CBS Dispute: An Epistolary Debate

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

Here's an exchange of letters between Time Warner top man Glenn Britt and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves regarding their ongoing cable-carriage dispute. I have to say I like Moonves's letter a lot better both because it is such a takedown and because it is so very, very Moonves.. Anyway, Britt's first, from Business Wire:

Dear Les,

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Locally Filmed "Kings of Summer" on Blu-ray/DVD in September

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

I liked this movie quite a bit, but it never got far in theaters. So this is your chance to see it. You can read my review here. And I have a piece on the making of the movie here.

The official word: Acclaimed, coming-of-age comedy THE KINGS OF SUMMER becomes available on Blu-ray(tm) and DVD Sept. 24 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Rising stars Nick Robinson (TV's "Melissa & Joey"), Gabriel Basso (Super 8) and Moises Arias (TV's "Hannah Montana") join comedy stalwarts Nick Offerman (TV's "Parks and Recreation"), Alison Brie (TV's "Community") and Megan Mullally (TV's "Will & Grace") in the uniquely comic tale of three teenage friends who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (TV's "Funny or Die Presents"), THE KINGS OF SUMMER first summoned laughs from audiences and critics at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

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"Hangover III" Blu-ray/DVD/Digital in October

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

This was both the most expensive and least successful film in the series. You can read my review of the theatrical release here.

The official word: All bets are off when “The Hangover Part III” arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on October 8 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “The Hangover Part III” follows the infamous Wolfpack as the gang sets out on a fearless mission to save their kidnapped friend in Sin City.

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Juan Pablo Is the New "Bachelor"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

Fans will watch him search for love in January '14. The Hollywood Reporter notes the historical context. The announcement:

Juan Pablo Galavis, the sexy single father from Miami, Florida, is ready to find love. He’ll have his own opportunity to find his wife and stepmother to his daughter when he stars in the 18th edition of “The Bachelor” which returns inJanuary of 2014 on the ABC Television Network. The identity of the new “Bachelor” was revealed tonight on the “The Bachelorette – After the Final Rose.”

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Bob Hope Memorabilia To Be Auctioned

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2013

Wouldn't you want to own his golf cart? A gold belt buckle? I know, probably not at these prices. The announcement:

Julien’s Auctions, the world’s premier celebrity and entertainment auction house, announced the exclusive auction of Property From The Collection of Bob and Dolores Hope to take place on Friday, September 20th and Saturday, September 21st at Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills gallery.

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CBS: We're Fine Without Time Warner for Now

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2013

The network released the following data today.

RATINGS HIGHLIGHTS FOR CBS-OWNED STATIONS IN NEW YORK (WCBS), LOS ANGELES (KCBS) AND DALLAS-FORT WORTH (KTVT and KTXA) FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 - SUNDAY, AUGUST 4

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MTV Sets Series Looking at Virginity

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2013

From a longer official word on several new show deals: MTV announced today the pick-up of four new unscripted shows set to debut in 2014. Part of the new schedule includes two prime time weekly series with “Untitled Virgins Project,” a docu-series following the lives of young adults as they navigate the world of relationships and sexual pressures all while sharing one major thing in common: virginity; and “MTV’s House of Food” (working title) featuring young aspiring chefs living under one roof while competing in a variety of cooking competitions for a rare chance to win a career-launching apprenticeship....

 

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Brian Wilson/Jeff Beck Coming to Akron on Oct. 27

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2013

Wilson will be with Al Jardine and David Marks as well as Beck. The show will be at 7:30 pm. in E.J. Thomas Hall.

Gold Circle Tickets: $125 Reserved Tickets: $75, $59.50 & $45
Tickets go on sale Friday August 9th at 11:00 AM and will be available at www.ticketmaster.com,Ticketmaster locations, the venue box office or by phone (800)-745-3000. All tickets subject to applicable service charges and fees

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Because There's Just Not Enough Ryan Seacrest in the Media

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2013

The official word: Emmy Award-winning producer and host Ryan Seacrest has been tapped as host of NBC’s unique, fast-paced live interactive game show “The Million Second Quiz.” The announcement was made by Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late night programming.

“When people see Ryan Seacrest, whether at the Emmys, the Oscars or New Year’s Eve, he is at the epicenter of national events” said Telegdy.  “He is a broadcaster, in all the traditional sense, but also in the most contemporary -- he is an accomplished host of live TV and a master of social media and pop culture.  This makes him perfect for ‘The Million Second Quiz.’”

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The New Doctor

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2013

Between chores on Sunday, and before settling in to watch the telecast of Tiger Woods at Firestone, I took half an hour to see check out who will be the new star of "Doctor Who." And he is Peter Capaldi, a character actor with a fine resume.

There has already been some debate because the new Doctor is another white guy -- when it is technologically possible for him to become a woman, or a person of color -- and that he is older than most Doctors. (The first, William Hartnell, was about the same age as Capaldi, who is 55.) Apparently a lot of the show's younger fan base wanted a young cutie like the most recent previous Doctor, Matt Smith.

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Sunday Notebook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 4, 2013

In today's Beacon Journal I have a review of "Clear History," the upcoming movie from Larry David. You can read my thoughts here.

Conveniently, my DVD/Blu-ray column looks back at "Fridays," the sketch-comedy show where David was part of the ensemble (and, according to some reports, refused to allow a DVD release for years.) Also in that column: Tom Cruise's "Oblivion," the science-fiction classic "A Boy and His Dog," "The Thick of It," more.

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Television Critics Association Awards Winners

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 4, 2013

The list is below, followed by the announcement and then a few words from me.

The Television Critics Association (TCA) tonight recognized the top programs and actors of the 2012-2013 television season at its 29th Annual TCA Awards presentation. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of Comedy Central’s hit series “Key & Peele,” hosted the annual invitation-only event, held at the Beverly Hilton hotel in conjunction with the TCA’s summer press tour. The non-televised ceremony bestowed awards in 12 categories to recipients in comedy, drama, reality, miniseries, news and youth programming.

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Saturday Notebook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 3, 2013

Recently I caught up with Yvette Nicole Brown about "Community," "Percy Jackson," being sober on "Hollywood Game Night" and other topics. The column is here.

I have a review of "2 Guns" here.

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Time Warner Drops Showtime Nationwide, CBS in Some Cities, in Fee Dispute

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 2, 2013

Locally, this is important for Showtime subscribers on Time Warner. One of the stories on the situation is here. It includes a comment from Time Warner, but I have not yet seen a full statement. Below are the statements from CBS and Showtime.

CBS:

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Donny & Marie Bringing Christmas Show to Cleveland

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 2, 2013

Tickets go on sale in September. The announcement:

In the holiday tradition of the “Osmond Family Christmas” television specials, the legendary Donny and Marie invite you and your family to celebrate the spirit of the season in true Osmond fashion when “Donny & Marie Christmas in Cleveland” comes to Quicken Loans Arena on Monday, December 16th at 7:30 p.m.!

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"World War Z" on DVD/BD/On Demand Sept. 17, Digital Sept. 10

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 2, 2013

The official word: “The suspense is killer!” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) in the fast-paced, pulse-pounding epic WORLD WAR Z, debuting on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D™, DVD and On Demand on September 17, 2013.  The pandemic begins one week early on Digital September 10th.  Due to overwhelming demand, the film has been digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX® 3D format and will be released in select IMAX theaters domestically for an exclusive one-week running beginning today. 

Starring international superstar Brad Pitt and based on the best-selling and wildly popular novel, WORLD WAR Z took audiences by storm and was hailed by critics as   “thrilling, epic and spectacular” (Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly) and the “most gratifying action spectacle in years!” (David Denby, The New Yorker).  The tense and thrilling film follows a former United Nations investigator (Pitt) as he helps stop the chaotic pandemic that has gripped populations around the world.  WORLD WAR Z features stunning visual effects and edge-of-your-seat action and suspense that take the Zombie apocalypse phenomenon to a more extreme and electrifying level.

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"Shepard & Dark" Documentary Coming to DVD and VOD in October

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 2, 2013

You can read a review a roundup of info about the film, which won the documentary award at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and some festival reviews here. The brief from the Cleveland fest is here.

The official word on the DVD/VOD release follows: The fascinating documentary SHEPARD & DARKfocuses on the rich, complex and decades-long friendship between legendary playwright/actor Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark, a writer and archivist who lives in Deming, New Mexico and works behind a deli counter. An earnest, intimate and often comedic portrait of two male friends whose relationship has spanned some 50 years, the award-winning SHEPARD & DARK is the first directorial effort by filmmaker Treva Wurmfeld.

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Billy Bob Thornton Joins TV Version of "Fargo"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 2, 2013

The official word: Academy Award® winning writer/producer and Academy Award and Golden Globe® Award nominated actor Billy Bob Thornton has signed on to star in the FX limited series Fargo, an adaptation of the classic Academy Award winning feature film of the same title by Joel & Ethan Coen, it was announced today by John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions. Production begins this fall in Canada and the series is slated to premiere next spring on FX.

Thornton will play "Lorne Malvo," a rootless, manipulative man who meets a small town insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction.

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Ellen DeGeneres Returns as Oscars Host in '14

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 2, 2013

The official word: Television icon Ellen DeGeneres will return to host the Oscars® for a second time, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Academy Awards® will be broadcast live on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014 on the ABC Television Network.

“We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres host the Oscars,” said Zadan and Meron. “As a longtime friend, we had always hoped to find a project for us to do together, and nothing could be more exciting than teaming up to do the Oscars. There are few stars today who have Ellen's gift for comedy, with her great warmth and humanity. She is beloved everywhere, and we expect that the audience at the Dolby Theater, and in homes around the globe, will be as excited by this news as we are.”

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Investigation Discovery Sets Telecast on 1989 Lundgren Case

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2013

The official word: On Tuesday, August 6 at 9 PM E/P, Investigation Discovery is featuring the story of convicted mass murderer and Ohio cult leader Jeff Lundgren on a new episode of its hit series DEADLY DEVOTION.

Cheryl and Dennis Avery think they’ve found spiritual salvation in the teachings of Mormon preacher Jeff Lundgren. But when the Averys give up everything to join Lundgren’s religious commune in Ohio, this preacher leads his followers on a dark path of violence and destruction.

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Chloe Back At "24"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2013

I especially liked the headline on this release:

DAMN IT, CHLOE!

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Syfy Orders Third Season of "Continuum"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2013

The official word: Syfy has announced that it will air the third season of the popular time traveling police series Continuum.   The #1 original cable drama in its Friday 10PM time period, Continuum will return to the network in 2014 with 13 all-new episodes.

 

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Sundance Sets Decades-Themed Movie Lineups for August

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2013

The official word: This August, Sundance Channel invites viewers to bust out their white polyester disco suits and black feathered leotards for a “Decades” summer movie marathon, celebrating the films that accompanied and maybe shaped our journey to adulthood. Beginning Monday August 5th, the network will spotlight some of the pop culture classics from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s.  From “follow the money” to “greed is good,” from “lick my love pump” to “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,” all the memorable moments, shifting mores, and movie magic from the films that defined our decades.

 

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WOIO/WUAB, Dish Network at Impasse

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2013

Here's a statement from the Cleveland stations: At WOIO and WUAB, we are committed to serving the community of Northeast Ohio with the very best local news and weather, great CBS programming and local community services. We also serve the local business community, providing a critical advertising platform for reaching their customers.

 

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