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"Cougar Town" returns in January

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 31, 2013

Video: 'Dancing with the Stars' recap

By Ohio.com Published: October 31, 2013

The cult of Derek dances on, leaving poor Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi in its wake.

 

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Mixed Notes Thursday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 31, 2013

My review of "Ender's Game," which I saw in IMAX, is here.

The mailbag, mostly about shows that are not coming back, is here.

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"Simpsons" pay tribute to "The Hobbit"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 30, 2013

One thing they get very right is how much of that movie consisted of people crossing long spaces. And STILL Peter Jackson is releasing an extended cut. This sequence is the show opener on Sunday ...

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Songs for Akron Baseball

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 30, 2013

You probably thought I was going to start with something else. I'll post it below. But I do think we should get C.W. McCall as a special guest for RubberDucks opening day ... I am trying not to think how terrible some of these songs are, including the one above, and this one...

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AMC renews "Walking Dead"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 29, 2013

The official word: AMC announced today that it has renewed The Walking Dead for a fifth season. The number one show on television among adults 18-49, The Walking Dead returned for a fourth season earlier this month and the premiere episode set a new record for the series, delivering 20.2 million viewers, live+3, and 13.2 million adults 18-49, a new record for any non-sports cable telecast.


“We are very happy to make what has to be one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever:  The Walking Dead is renewed for a fifth season,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “This is a show that has erased traditional distinctions between cable and broadcast. Its expanding base of passionate fans has grown every season, most recently – and most notably – with the season four premiere earlier this month, which broke viewership records for the series and became the biggest non-sports telecast in cable history. On behalf of the incredible team on both sides of the camera, thank you to the fans and here’s to more Dead.”

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Cher set for "DWTS" as judge and performer, will plug new album

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 29, 2013

The official word: “Dancing with the Stars” celebrates the legendary music career of Cher MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET). The news was confirmed live on this evening’s broadcast. The iconic Oscar®, Grammy® and Emmy® Award winning singer and actress will open the show with a dazzling and spectacular performance of her hit song “Believe” before joining judges’ Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba to give critiques and scores on each celebrity routine.

The seven remaining couples will compete in two rounds of dance. In the first round, each couple will take on a dance style they have not previously performed including the Tango, Argentine Tango, Contemporary, Viennese Waltz, Jazz, Disco, and Foxtrot. The couple to receive the highest total score from the judges in this round will receive immunity and not be subject to elimination. In the second round, the six remaining couples will compete in a thrilling head-to-head "dance off" competition. The winning couples of the “dance off” round will be awarded additional Judges’ points that will be added to their overall score for the night. At the end of the show, Cher will perform her new single, "I Hope You Find It" from her current album, “Closer To The Truth”, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Pop Charts, before one couple is eliminated.

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Cinemark Plans "Thor" Marathons

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 29, 2013

You can see "Thor," "Avengers" and "Thor 2" in one lonnnnng stretch. The official word: Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK), one of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors is pleased to announce that for one day only, on Thursday, November 7, 2013 Cinemark locations nationwide will host the Thor Movie Marathon, featuring the three Marvel Movies of the iconic comic book character, back to back for one low price. The admission price will allow movie-goers to see Thor, Marvels’ The Avengers and Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World in RealD 3D.

“Our Movie Marathons have become a great way for movie lovers to enjoy their favorite characters and films ,” states James Meredith, Vice President of, Marketing & Communications for Cinemark USA, Inc. “Cinemark is excited to offer Thor fans the chance to see the new movie and his two previous films in a back to back setting.”

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Netflix adding "Dexter"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 28, 2013

Early pisodes will be available starting Thursday. The official word:

Netflix and CBS Corporation announced today a content licensing agreement in which all eight seasons of the SHOWTIME drama “Dexter” will become available for Netflix members in the United States.  Beginning on Halloween (Oct. 31, 2013), the first four seasons of the award-winning series will be available to watch instantly; seasons 5-8 will begin on Jan. 1, 2014.  

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Fox announces winter series premiere dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 28, 2013

Also includes info like the season finale date for "Sleepy Hollow." The official word: FOX is announcing premieres dates for new and returning series, including the returns of AMERICAN IDOL and THE FOLLOWING, and the debut of new legal drama RAKE.

Featuring host Ryan Seacrest, a new judging panel, including Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, and Randy Jackson returning as the new in-house mentor, AMERICAN IDOL XIII begins with an exciting two-night, four-hour premiere Wednesday, Jan. 15 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Jan. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).

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TV One sets "12 Years a Slave" special

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 28, 2013

The official word: TV One announced today that it will premiere 12 Years A Slave: A TV One Special with Cathy Hughes, a one hour program featuring a discussion with the film’s director Steve McQueen and cast members Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and Alfre Woodard. Set in pre-Civil War era America, 12 Years A Slave is based on the true story of Solomon Northup (played by Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The special will air Saturday, November 9 at 7 PM/ET exclusively on TV One.

“As part of our commitment to serve the African American community with programming that inspires conversation, this emotional special serves a dual mission,” said Hughes, Radio One Founder and Chairperson. “At once generating awareness about this painful and brilliantly executed story, the special is also bound to ignite critical cultural retrospection among our viewers.”

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Mixed Notes Monday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 28, 2013

I miss Lou Reed.

He has gone with me from LP to tape to CD, from solo box set to the Velvet Underground collection, from a friend in college who dubbed another friend "Lonesome Cowboy Bert" to that one, odd moment when I was at a press conference including Reed, and I summoned up the nerve to ask him a question.

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Rich and the movies: The Counselor

By Ohio.com Published: October 25, 2013

Even with a good cast featuring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt, Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels isn't sure to whom he should recommend The Counselor.

 

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Mixed Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 25, 2013

WKSU has a new program director. Here's the official word:

Ele Ellis has joined the WKSU staff as the station’s program director. She will be responsible for managing the sound of WKSU’s broadcast content, including the primary signal and the HD Radio all news and all classical channels. Ellis comes to Northeast Ohio from WUGA in Athens, Georgia, where she also served as program director.

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For Your Video Amusement: My Favorite Clip of the Week

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 25, 2013

You can read more about the song here.

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"Doctor Who" 50th-Anniversary Special Gets Theater Showing in Akron Area

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 24, 2013

As you can see, the Nov. 23 showings are in theaters outside Northeast Ohio. But the 300-theater showings on Nov. 25 include the Regal Montrose. Use the Fathom link to see other venues.

The official word: BBC AMERICA announced today two special theatrical screening events of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary special, Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor,in RealD™ 3D on November 23 and 25, 2013.

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Video: 'Dancing with the Stars' recap

By Ohio.com Published: October 23, 2013

Features editor Lynne Sherwin and Pop Culture writer Rich Heldenfels discuss Dancing with the Stars.

 

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New WNIR morning team announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2013

Announced on the air this morning, and here's the official word from the station:

WNIR station Manager Bill Klaus announced today that Chris Fox and Angela Bellios have joined the WNIR Morning Show beginning Monday October 28th. According to Bill Klaus “Chris and Angela both bring a strong background in Northeast Ohio
radio and together with Phil Ferguson and Steve French WNIR will have an all new Morning Show.”

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PBS Announces Winter/Spring Schedule

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2013

It includes the return of "Sherlock," "Bletchley Circle," "Call the Midwife" and, yes, "Downton Abbey"; documentaries abotu J.D. Salinger and Stephen Hawking, and more. The very long and detailed official word:

PBS announced today its slate of Winter/Spring 2014 programs, including the long-awaited return of MASTERPIECE “Sherlock, Season 3” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the legendary British sleuth, on Sunday, January 19 at 10 p.m. ET. The highly acclaimed “Sherlock” follows Season 4 of “Downton Abbey,” which debuts with eight new episodes January 5 on MASTERPIECE. The two shows bolster Sunday night as a hallmark of British drama on PBS, whose ratings that night have grown 26 percent (8-11 pm, 2011-12 season: 9/19/2011-9/23/2012 to 2012-13 season: 9/24/2012-9/22/2013) season over season. The schedule also reinforces PBS’ move into 10 p.m. programming on several key nights.

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"Downton Abbey" Season 4 Premiere Gets Youngstown Preview

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2013

The preview event is on Dec. 12. The new season starts on PBS on Jan. 5. The fourth season is also airing now overseas, so watch out for spoilers online. The official word:

"Downton Abbey" fans in Northeast Ohio who are eagerly awaiting the show's Season 4 premiere can enjoy a free one-hour exclusive sneak preview of the new season on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown. Western Reserve Public Media and Stambaugh Auditorium are co-sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public. Tickets are available by calling the Stambaugh Auditorium box office at 330-259-0555 or by visiting www.stambaughauditorium.com. Complimentary parking is available in the adjacent parking lot.

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Fox Changes Plans for "Almost Human," "Bones," More

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2013

Remember that earlier post where I mentioned the plans for "Bones" and "Almost Human"? Never mind. The new official word: New buddy-cop thrill-ride ALMOST HUMAN will have a special two-night series premiere on Sunday, Nov. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), following an NFL ON FOX double-header, and Monday, Nov. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

 

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Neil Young Live Recordings From 1970 Coming in December

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2013

This includes most of the songs I most prize by Young. The official word:

Neil Young will release Live At The Cellar Door, the latest in his Archives Performance Series, on December 10th on Reprise Records. The album collects recordings made during Young's intimate six-show solo stand at The Cellar Door in Washington D.C. between November 30th and December 2nd, 1970, a few months after Reprise released his classic third solo album After The Gold Rush in August. Of the many unique gems found on Live At The Cellar Door, a rare solo version of "Cinnamon Girl" performed on piano rather than guitar is a particular treasure for Neil fans (the full band version appears on Young's 1969 second solo album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere).

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Return Dates Announced for ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," "Switched at Birth," More

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2013

The official word: ABC Family will kick off the New Year with all new episodes of returning original hit series and fan favorites “Pretty Little Liars,” “Twisted,” “Switched at Birth,” and “The Fosters,” all of which are set to premiere the second week of January 2014, with two nights of original programming.

The hit ABC Family original series “Pretty Little Liars” returns on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT. As the Liars go looking for answers about Alison and try to make sense of their lives for the past year, a darker side of Ezra emerges. “Pretty Little Liars” won six Teen Choice Awards in 2013, including Choice TV Show, Choice Summer TV Show, Choice TV Actress Drama – Lucy Hale, Choice TV Actor Drama – Ian Harding, Choice Summer TV Actress – Troian Bellisario, Choice Summer TV Actor – Keegan Allen  and Choice TV Villain – Janel Parrish. According to SocialGuide, “Pretty Little Liars” summer finale became the #1 “most social” TV series episode in history, breaking records with over 1.9 million tweets. ABC Family will air a special “Pretty Little Liars” marathon on Tuesday, January 7, from 12:00PM – 8:00PM ET/PT, leading up to the premiere. The special Halloween episode premieres tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 22, at 8:00PM ET/PT, on ABC Family.

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Griffith's "Intolerance" on Blu-ray, Reissued on DVD

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2013

The Blu-ray is a debut in that format. It has been on DVD before, from Kino Video, but this promises a remastered version and new extras.

The official word: D.W. Griffith changed the course of film history with his 1915 Civil War blockbuster The Birth of a Nation, and spurred on by its colossal success, he went even bigger on his next epic. The ambitious and still awe-inspiring INTOLERANCE, in which the Father of Film masterfully links four centuries-apart stories of universal suffering, remains a signal achievement by any measure. Cohen Media Group's Cohen Film Collection proudly brings this canonical 1916 work to DVD and, for the first time ever, Blu-ray on November 5, 2013. The remastered, full-length film, bolstered by a wealth of extras, will carry SRPs, respectively, of DVD $24.98 and BLU-RAY $34.98.

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"One Direction: This Is Us" DVD/Blu-ray Plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2013

The official word: Follow international pop sensation One Direction from their humble hometown beginnings to the global phenomenon in ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US, arriving  in an "Ultimate Fan Edition" coming to Blu-ray(tm) Combo Pack with UltraViolet(tm) Dec. 17 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  Also available in 3D format, the special edition release features both original theatrical and extended fan cuts of the feature film.  The Extended cut includes 20 minutes of new footage and four additional songs for fans to treasure. 

As MTV's 2012 Artist of the Year, Academy Award® nominated director Morgan Spurlock (Best Documentary, Super Size Me, 2004) and producer Simon Cowell (TV's "The X Factor") give fans a captivating and intimate, all-access look at the journey of One Direction, chronicling the group's almost immediate rise to superstardom.  Never-before-seen footage from the "Ultimate Fan Edition" includes three exclusive featurettes with behind-the-scenes footage of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis having fun at a radio station in Japan and paying a visit Madam Tussauds wax museum to experience their own sculptures being created.  This edition will also feature "Up All Night" - two mini movies previously only seen at the live concert.  ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US also comes with extended scenes and seven featurettes where fans will have the opportunity to go backstage with the group as they prepare for one of their biggest performances of the year and even see members of the group take breaks to make hometown visits with the cameras rolling. The fan-favorite "Best Song Ever" Music Video will also be featured on the disc, which was the lead single from Midnight Memories, the new record from the group which will be released November 25th globally.

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"Bones" Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2013

Tonight's episode of "Bones" is noteworthy for what happens and what Fox is doing within it.

As for what happens, this telecast finally gets viewers to the Booth/Brennan wedding -- with more than one line that seems a meta acknowledgment that the show should have done this long ago. The keeping apart of the two has been noticeably strained this season, and even tonight's episode stretches things a bit; there's a tricky murder to solve, and the Jeffersonian staff has to work at keeping Brennan from getting involved in the case instead of preparing for her wedding day; and there's another bump along the way.

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Mixed Notes Sunday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2013

In case you missed it, Saturday's HeldenFiles looked at some entertainment books of note, including a new biography of Jim Henson and Billy Crystal's latest. I found all of them interesting to some degree, although I have been engrossed in other reading as well: the new "Dallas 1963," about the city and the political forces swirling in it before the JFK assassination, and Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak novels. (I am up to the 11th, "The Singing of the Dead," and an official member of the Danamaniacs page on Facebook.)

This week's video column is here and the list of new releases is here.

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A Back Nine for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 18, 2013

The official word: FOX has picked up nine additional episodes of the arresting new comedy BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, bringing the series to a 22-episode order, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. BROOKLYN NINE-NINE will join NEW GIRL in a special one-hour comedy event, airing immediately following the Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014.

 

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NBC Schedules "Community," "Chicago PD"; Drops "Ironside," "Welcome to the Family"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 18, 2013

The official word: NBC has announced it will debut Dick Wolf’s “Chicago P.D.” (the spin-off of “Chicago Fire”) at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, as well as the season premiere of “Community” with back-to-back episodes from 8-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2.

“Community” then settles into its 8 p.m. time period on Jan. 9 followed by “Parks and Recreation” at 8:30. The Jan. 9 episode will be the show’s 100th and was co-written by Amy Poehler and Mike Schur.

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CBS Gives Full-Season Order to 3 Comedies

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 18, 2013

I am still hanging on with "The Crazy Ones," although it has gotten less entertaining in each episode. (Still have not seen last night's.) Although I greatly admire Margo Martindale (and Beau Bridges), "The Millers" seemed close to unwatchable the last time I checked in. And "Mom" has yet to do much for me, although I may give it another try. But here's the official word:

CBS has given full season "back nine" orders to television's top three freshman comedies — THE CRAZY ONES, THE MILLERS and MOM.

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For Your Video Amusement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 18, 2013

Lady Gaga Meets the Muppets

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 18, 2013

Let us ponder, too, what a "spectacular cameo performance" might be. The official word: On Thanksgiving night, NOVEMBER 28 (9:30-11:00 p.m., ET), the ABC Television Network will air the 90-minute special, "Lady Gaga & The Muppets' Holiday Spectacular." The broadcast offers an avant-garde twist on the classic holiday variety show as Lady Gaga goes backstage with The Muppets, making a performance dream come true for the multi-platinum singer songwriter when they combine forces to sing holiday favorites and Lady Gaga hits.

"I was so excited when ABC called me about doing a holiday special this year," said Lady Gaga. "I knew it just wouldn't be a complete night of laughter and memories without The Muppets! Can't wait to see the gang again, and I hope Miss Piggy's still not mad about Kermit. We're just friends!"

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Happy Birthday, "Roseanne"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 18, 2013

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the series premiere. I remember when the then-Roseanne Arnold was on a press tour to promote show; she was whip-smart, funny, unassuming (she said if the show was a hit, she and her husband might go to different homes to thank people directly), provocative (her description of Mormons was especially blunt) -- and charming. I liked her, and I really liked her show. Years later, as the show was winding down, I said this:

From the late '80s to the early '90s,  Roseanne was one of the best series on television, sometimes the best of all. ... The story of the working-class Conner family, headed by Dan (John Goodman) and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr, later Arnold, now no-last-name), the series was funny in a serious way.

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Don't Pay the Ransom! I've Escaped!

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 18, 2013

That old punchline is my way of acknowledging I have been away from you faithful blog readers for some time. A large part of this week has been filled with obligations at my other job, teaching at the University of Akron, including marking papers and meeting indivudally with my students. That left little time or energy for blogging. But I expect to post a few things later today.

For now: the latest mailbag is here.

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Conway Schedule Change, Viewing Reminder

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2013

The time of Tim Conway's appearance at the GhoulardiFest has changed since my column about it was published. The new time, based on a change in Conway's schedule, is now 2 p.m.

If you watch CBS's Monday comedies (and managed to miss a few million on-air promos by the network), "We Are Men" is off the schedule, and "2 Broke Girls" has moved. The lineup for now  is "How I Met Your Mother," "2 Broke Girls," a rerun of "The Big Bang Theory," then "Mom" and "Hostages."

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Mixed Notes Sunday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2013

My look at scary TV and movies, including the season premiere of "The Walking Dead," is here.

This week's DVD/Blu-ray column, which talks about "The Heat," a new John Ford collection and other topics, is here.

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Notes on "Glee"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 11, 2013

Tasteful, restrained, earnest, with some excellent acting, "Glee" offered a touching send-off to both Finn Hudson, the character, played by actor Cory Monteith, who died not long ago. I admit to some teariness, particularly when Burt talked about his loss; that should have kicked any parent hard.

The music was well chosen and rendered -- even if it fell into the "Glee" habit of having its supposedly young characters reach into an old-songs catalog. And it was a welcome change from the iffy-at-best renditions of Beatles songs the last couple of weeks. More to say below.

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GLAAD Issues Annual Analyses of TV

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 11, 2013

The full reports are here.  Some of the highlights:

In its Network Responsibility Index, which rates LGBT content on networks during the 2012-2013 TV season that wrapped earlier this year, GLAAD found FOX was the most inclusive broadcast network with 42% of primetime programming hours having included LGBT images and earning FOX a rating of Good. Each network is reviewed on a scale of Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing. No network received an Excellent rating this year. ABC came in second place for the number of inclusive hours at 33% and also earned a score of Good. On cable, ABC Family was the most inclusive network GLAAD tracked last year with 50% of its original programming including LGBT impressions or storylines. It was followed by FX at 40%. History received a Failing grade with no LGBT images on any of its shows last season.

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For Your Video Amusement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 11, 2013

And this week's "Dancing With the Stars" video chat with Lynne Sherwin:

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"Agents of SHIELD" Gets Full-Season Order

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2013

I am still on board after two telecasts. (This week's is still in the DVR.) The official word: ABC has picked up new hit drama “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” for a full season, it was announced today by Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group. 

The series opened as TV’s highest-rated drama debut in nearly 4 years (since 11/03/09) and ranks as the No. 1 new show of the 2013-14 season among Adults 18-49 (4.0 Live + Same Day rating/5.7 Live + 3 Day rating). On average, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is No. 1 in its Tuesday, 8 o’clock time period, and has more than doubled the young adult delivery in the hour year-to-year (+150%).

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PBS Sets "Downton Abbey" Special for December

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2013

I mention this in part in order to remind "DA" fans: STAY OFF BLOGS! DON'T GOOGLE THE SHOW! Season 4 is already airing overseas and you run the risk of hitting spoilers.

Anyway, the official word: A welcome treat for millions of viewers eagerly awaiting the debut of the new season of “Downton Abbey” on MASTERPIECE on PBS on January 5, 2014, RETURN TO DOWNTON ABBEY savors fond memories from the past three seasons and offers a tantalizing taste of Season 4 from the series The New York Times called “an instant classic.” Hosted by Academy Award®-winning actress Susan Sarandon — a devoted fan of the series who especially admires the writing of fellow Oscar®-winner Julian Fellowes — the program includes a mix of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with creators and cast members, and video clips of favorite moments. RETURN TO DOWNTON ABBEY premieres Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).

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Rich and the movies: 'Captain Phillips'

By Ohio.com Published: October 10, 2013

Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels checks out Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks. The harrowing thriller features a compelling role from a breakout actor opposite Hanks. Read his full review here.

 

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American Music Awards Nominations Announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2013

The official word: Recording artists Kelly Clarkson and will.i.am revealed the 2013 American Music Awards (AMAs) nominations this morning in New York City on ABC’s Good Morning America. Five categories were announced live on air followed by a press conference to reveal the remaining seventeen categories at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill in Times Square (see full list of nominees below).

It was also announced that Miley Cyrus and Imagine Dragons will be performing on this year’s show which will be broadcast live from the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24th (8:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) on ABC. Additional acts and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Mixed Notes Thursday (Edited/Updated)

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2013

This week's mailbag is here. Questions involve "Upstairs Downstairs," "Gold Rush" and other topics.

Tim Conway will be at this year's Ghoulardifest to help promote his new memoir. Info about the appearance is here and about the book is here.

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HBO, Peter Berg Collaborate on New Documentary Series

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2013

The official word: HBO Sports and executive producers Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey will team up again for an innovative new documentary film series, it was announced today by HBO.

Presented by Film 44 in collaboration with Herzog & Company (HCO) and HBO Sports, STATE OF PLAY will take on complex and multi-layered themes in sports, exploring their relationship to larger society.  Each new edition will spotlight a topic or person whose impact on the sports world is undeniable, opening with a brief overview followed by a 40-minute cinéma vérité documentary and concluding with an in-depth, 20-minute roundtable discussion of the issue with the filmmakers, subjects and guest experts.  Emmy® nominee Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) will serve as moderator of the panel discussion.

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TNT Orders More "Cold Justice" for 2014

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2013

The official word: TNT has booked a second season of its gripping, real-life crime series Cold Justice. The network has ordered 10 new episodes of the powerful docu-drama, which is produced for the network by Wolf Films and Magical Elves. Emmy® winners Dick Wolf (Law & Order, Chicago Fire), Dan Cutforth & Jane Lipsitz (Top Chef, Fashion Star) and Tom Thayer (Hitchcock, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) serve as executive producers. Cold Justice has averaged 2.5 million viewers in Live + 3/Live + 7 blended delivery for its first season. The show ranks as one of basic cable's Top 5 new unscripted series of Q3 2013.

 

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Halle Berry & TV: A Good Match

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post, Cleveland's own Halle Berry is set to star in "Extant," a series for CBS in summer '14. This has struck some observers as a big deal; a couple of writers at HifFix said it had been "a long time coming," and used it as a reason to note other big-screen actors who should try TV.

Granted that the article did not say Berry had never done TV, and the list of other actors included John Travolta, who first found fame on "Welcome Back, Kotter." But the suggestion that Berry has avoided TV also seems misplaced, and not only because she was appearing in series like "Living Dolls" and "Knots Landing' in the '80s and '90s.

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TCM Marks JFK Assassination Anniversary With Documentaries & "PT 109"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2013

From the offiical word: Turner Classic Movies (TCM)will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ... assassination of President John F. Kennedy with a primetime lineup on Thursday Nov. 21 featuring five powerful documentaries about Kennedy's election, presidency and tragic death. Also included is a popular drama about Kennedy's service during World War II.

 TCM's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination will open with four works by documentary filmmaker Robert Drew, considered a pioneer of the cinéma verité. Drew's use of new light-weight cameras traditional allowed him to capture reality as never before, leading to a filmmaking movement known as "direct cinema." He utilized the new cameras for the first time while chronicling the election of John F. Kennedy in Primary (1960), airing at 8 p.m. (ET), which focuses on the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic Primary contest between Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

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James Dean Blu-ray Set Coming in November

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2013

The official word: On November 5, Warner Home Video will debut East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant (a George Stevens production), remastered Blu-ray as the James Dean Ultimate Collector’s Edition – a limited and numbered six-disc set that boasts three feature-length documentaries about Dean’s life including James Dean Forever Young, narrated by Martin Sheen; American Masters James Dean Sense Memories and George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey.  Packaged in a double-wide gift set, the collection also contains a 48-page photo book with behind-the-scene images and rare insight into each film. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will sell for $99.98 SRP; each film will also be available as a stand-alone Blu-ray book for $27.98 SRP each. 

All three films were 4k restorations from original camera negatives at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI). Due to color fading, the original camera negatives could no longer yield an acceptable photochemical print.

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DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Announcements: "Despicable Me 2," "Smurfs 2," "Big" Anniversary

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 7, 2013

"Despicable Me 2" will be on Digital HD on Nov. 26 and on DVD/BD/3D-BD on Dec. 10. Here's a listing of extras:

Exclusive to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Pack. 

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Midnight Syndicate Seeks Kickstarter Help for Live Show

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 7, 2013

The official word: After seventeen studio albums, including three horror movie scores and a motion picture of their own,  Gothic Halloween Horror music composers Midnight Syndicate have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a multimedia concert experience.   Entitled MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE LIVE! the Halloween horror-themed show will feature  a unique blend of live Midnight Syndicate music, original films, music videos, and live theatre.

"We want it to be a feast for the eyes as much as the ears," said Gavin Goszka, "a unique show that is not only a Midnight Syndicate concert but also something that stands on its own as a great horror multimedia experience."  In order create the visual elements of the show, the band is teaming up with of veterans from the special FX, film, and haunted house industries.   The initial group includes special FX legend  Robert Kurtzman (Creature Corps, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, KNB EFX), director Gary Jones (XENA, AXE GIANT), David "House" Greathouse (FACEOFF, Mushroomhead), Jason Carter (BABYLON 5, THE DEAD MATTER), Beki Ingram (FACEOFF), and Jason Blaszczak of Screamline Studios (Rob Zombie's AMERICAN NIGHTMARE). 

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Mixed Notes Monday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 7, 2013

Are tweets a way to measure audience interest? Is this different from, say, finding out what people discussed around the water cooler? The New York Times reports on Nielsen's new Twitter analysis.

Is NBC backing away from support of gun groups? Media Matters notes the network is dropping one sponsorship.

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Mixed Notes Saturday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 5, 2013

I chatted with Anthony Paul, a local resident who made it through the live auditions to Team CeeLo on "The Voice." The story is here.

I have a column of notes about some festivals and other matters here.

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"Simpsons" Gets 26th Season

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2013

The official word: FOX has picked up THE SIMPSONS for a historic 26th season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

 

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NBC Extends "Blacklist"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2013

The official word: NBC has ordered an additional nine episodes of “The Blacklist” for a 22- episode full-season commitment, it was announced today by Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment.

“The many layers of Red Reddington and his mysterious reasons for getting into bed with the FBI seem to be fascinating to fans of this show,” said Salke. “With great talent like James Spader and Megan Boone on board, as well our stellar executive producers and the whole cast and crew, we believe this outstanding series will continue to make NBC a big destination on Monday nights.”

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Finn Farewell on "Glee" Is Next Week

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2013

Here's some of what Fox is doing in conjunction with that telecast about the death of Finn, who was played by the late Cory Monteith: It has set up a memory page for fans and made the following suggestions.:

SUPPORT

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"NIkita's" Final Run Begins Nov. 22

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2013

That puts it during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season when many other shows will be in rerun. The official word:

NIKITA will wrap up her mission with a final six-episode run beginning Friday, November 22, 9:00-10:00 pm ET on The CW, airing over six straight weeks.

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"Gold Rush" Resumes Oct. 25

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2013

The official word: Discovery Channel's highest rated series, GOLD RUSH, returns for a fourth season with a two hour season premiere on Friday, Oct. 25 at 9PM ET/PT. The GOLD RUSH pre-show, The Dirt, hosted by series executive producer Christo Doyle, also returns this season on Friday, Oct. 25 at 8PM ET/PT.

 For three seasons a golden pay day had evaded the GOLD RUSH gold mining teams led by Todd Hoffman, Parker Schnabel and “Dakota” Fred Hurt. These men and their crews battled against equipment breakdowns, infighting and rough weather and it was revealed during last season’s Gold Rush Live seasonfinale that the gold mining crews had finally made a mark for themselves, bringing in a combined grand total of 1,158 ounces across all claims. Todd Hoffman aimed high and fell short, but still mined 803 ounces, worth more than 1.2 million dollars at the time, while Parker Schnabel just managed to cover his costs for the season after mining 192 ounces and “Dakota” Fred hit his mark with 163 ounces of gold for the season.

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Schedule Changes at Cinematheque; Filmmaker's Visit Canceled

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2013

The official word: Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman, who was scheduled to appear at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque on Saturday, October 19, has had to cancel her appearance due to personal reasons that will keep her in Belgium.

 

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Fox Orders More "Sleepy Hollow"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2013

I enjoyed the first couple of episodes and have the third sitting in the DVR. The official word: FOX will delve into a second season of the hit action/adventure series SLEEPY HOLLOW, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“The show has proven to be a risk well worth taking – it’s a conceptual blast unlike anything else on television and it all holds together with inventive writing and a fantastic cast,” said Reilly. “I can’t wait for fans to experience what else is in store for this fall and even more of this wild ride into Season Two.”

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Mixed Notes Thursday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2013

This week's mailbag is here. My recent chat with Eddie McClintock of 'a fish story' and "Warehouse 13" is here.

Tonight brings the return of "Scandal" (yay!) and "Vampire Diaries" and new series ""The Originals," The Millers," "Welcome to the Family" and "Sean Saves the World." If you are in Northeast Ohio watching NBC shows on WKYC, the Browns-Buffalo game pre-empts "Welcome to the Family" and "Sean," but I have posted when you can see it on TV in a previous post. And they will likely be On Demand, online or both at some point. Notes on the new show follow.

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Watching Stuff at the Movies: "Gravity"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 2, 2013

The "story" of "Gravity" is very simple. Two astronauts (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) are working in deep space when a shower of debris damages their vessel too much for them to leave. The rest of the movie then consists of their efforts to get back on the ground The narrative is almost spartan; there is no display of their lives before going into space, and there are no scenes of what Mission Control in Houston is doing about the astronauts are stranded. Bits of conversation tell us about the main characters' past -- Clooney is a veteran on what appears to be his last mission, Bullock is a space rookie -- but even those pieces are revealed almost as asides to the central issue: Can they get back? Call it "The Odyssey," call it a western (with space as an actual, final frontier). The adventure has its complications but it is far from complex. And it is swiftly told; in this age of overlong epics, it runs about 90 minutes.

But on that slender peg s hung an intensely focused and often beautiful movie. directed by Alfonso Cuaron, with cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki and production design by Andy Nicholson. (The images of space, and the use of 3D, are spectacular.)

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Watching Stuff

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 2, 2013

A couple of premieres tonight: the reboot of "Ironside," which I reviewed here, and "Super Fun Night," the new comedy from and starring Rebel Wilson.

You may remember Wilson from a small role in "Bridesmaids" or, more importantly, a major role in "Pitch Perfect." She played Fat Amy, whose very name was her taking control of herself and her body by stealing the name she suspected the skinny-minnies called her behind her back. She was confident, she was largely fearless and she was comfortable in her own skin. This was one of the things that made "Pitch Perfect" a good movie for young women; there was no mocking of body types, and a celebration of all kinds.

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If You Are a Fan of NBC's Thursday Shows ...

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 2, 2013

You may not know that WKYC is carrying the Browns game Thursday night instead of NBC's lineup. (When NFL games are on cable nationally, they still have to have a broadcast window in the teams' home markets.) So here is what will happen with the NBC shows that night:

New series "Welcome To The Family" and "Sean Saves The World" air right after the game.

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George Will Joins Fox News

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 1, 2013

The writer and commentator has long worked for ABC, notably on its "This Week" programs. But The Daily Caller said he had been "conspiciously absent" from the program lately. Here's the official word:

FOX News Channel (FNC) has hired political columnist and author George Will as a contributor, announced Michael Clemente, Executive Vice President of News. In this role, he will offer analysis and commentary across FNC’s daytime and primetime programming, including on the panels of Special Report with Bret Baier and FOX News Sunday.

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