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Our Best "DWTS" Video Chat

By Dan Published: September 29, 2011

Features editor and former dance instructor Lynne Sherwin and I break down this week's show, along with special guest Phil Trexler. You may know Phil from his crime reporting, but he is also a frequent guest on Nancy Grace's show. So we had him stop by to talk about Grace's costume controversy.

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Video: HeldenFiles Live

By Dan Published: September 29, 2011

Pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels talks about the good, bad and ugly on TV this week.

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Andy Rooney Stepping Down From "60 Minutes"

By admin Published: September 27, 2011

I have long been exhausted by his commentaries on the show. But I try to remember that he has been at CBS since before I was born -- and I can only hope that I still have a steady gig when I am 92.

The official word: Andy Rooney will announce on this Sunday’s 60 MINUTES that it will be his last regular appearance on the broadcast. Rooney, 92, has been featured on 60 MINUTES since 1978.

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"The Gathering" Finally on DVD 10/25

By admin Published: September 27, 2011

With scenes shot in Northeast Ohio, "The Gathering" is one of those movies that people ask about every year around holiday time. Up to now, I usually have had to refer them to old VHS copies or, back when I acknowledged bootlegs, unauthorized DVDs. A couple of years ago Warner Bros. offered it through its Archive series of made-to-order discs. But Warner Home Video is finally releasing it officially to stores -- with no extras, but a bargain price of $14.96.

And here's the official word: On October 25, Warner Home Video will lead off the holiday season with the DVD release of the Emmy®-winning 1977 television film, The Gathering. This emotional and heartfelt holiday drama won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Special – Drama or Comedy (1978) as well as receiving an additional four nominations (Outstanding Art Direction, Outstanding Directing in a Special Program, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special and Outstanding Writing in a Special Program Drama or Comedy - Original Teleplay).

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More Viewing: "Terra Nova," "Hart of Dixie," "Blue Bloods"

By admin Published: September 26, 2011

I reviewed "Terra Nova," which begins tonight, for Sunday's Beacon Journal and you can find the review here:
http://www.ohio.com/the330entertainment/heldenfels/terra-nova-not-so-nova-1.236969.

"Hart of Dixie," much reviled by other reviewers, just perplexed me. Starring "The O.C.'s" Rachel Bilson as a big-city doctor who goes to a small town to boost her career, "Hart" has some obvious antecedents, including "Northern Exposure" and "Royal Pains." But I think the show it most wants to recall is "Everwood," which after a lousy pilot turned into a good series. The pilot for "Hart" is also less than impressive, but not irredeemable, especially as it nears the end. And in spite of my tendency to confuse Bilson with Mila Kunis, Bilson gives an adequate performance here, especially when it comes to the chilly side of her character. That said, the end of the pilot -- with a shocking revelation that isn't, and a suggestion of larger forces at work -- was not a good way to end.
(Is there no small town in the world of The CW which does not have dark secrets? Do the coast-inhabiting executives of the network look at any town and think, "Peyton Place"? Are they old enough to remember "Peyton Place"?)

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Monday Notebook: "Amazing Race," "Good Wife," Alec Baldwin, More

By admin Published: September 26, 2011

The weekend's activities included marking papers, cleaning the house, mowing the (damp) lawn, hitting the University of Akron football game (the Zips finally won one), catching the Browns around the housecleaning (another win) -- and watching some TV shows. I am already facing a DVR backlog from the new season -- still haven't gotten to the "Grey's Anatomy" or "The Office" season premieres, for example -- but still working through things. After the jump, notes on what I have managed to watch.

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AMC Adds Post-Show Talk to "Walking Dead"

By admin Published: September 22, 2011

The official word: AMC announced today “Talking Dead,” the network’s first live after-show that serves as a platform for discussion for AMC’s series, “The Walking Dead.” The half-hour episodes are produced by Michael Davies’ Embassy Row and are hosted by Chris Hardwick (Nerdist; G4). “Talking Dead” premieres immediately following the encore presentation of “The Walking Dead” on Sunday, October 16. Then beginning on Friday, November 4th the series follows "The Walking Dead’s" encore presentation at 11 pm EST.

“Talking Dead” features Hardwick spending time with fans, actors, producers and tv enthusiasts, recapping that most recent “Dead” episode, and taking questions and comments from viewers. Fans may continue to engage with the after-show following the on-air conclusion, online, at amctv.com for more conversations, questions and trivia.

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A&E Sets New "American Hoggers" Date

By admin Published: September 22, 2011

The official word: A&E Network presents "American Hoggers," a new original real-life series that follows the Campbell family and their struggle to rescue Texas residents and ranches from the devastating chaos caused by millions of invasive wild boars. The 9-episode half-hour series premieres Wednesday, October 19 at 10PM ET/PT.

Each episode of "American Hoggers" follows legendary hog hunter Jerry Campbell, 64; his level-headed son, Robert, 28; and firecracker daughter, Krystal, 23; as they respond to those threatened by feral hogs. Located in the heart of Texas, the family dedicates itself to the front lines - riding horseback, driving a custom-rigged Jeep, using highly trained dogs with GPS tracking systems and employing good old-fashioned know-how to help those endangered by these destructive beasts. Clad in chaps and cowboy boots, the family sets out in each episode to square off against these extremely intelligent animals that are terrorizing helpless landowners.

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"Harry Potter 7.2," Complete-Movies Set 11/11

By admin Published: September 22, 2011

The official word: The “Boy Who Lived” comes face to face with the enemy of the wizarding world for a final, epic battle in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” when it arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on November 11 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson return for the closing installment of the most successful film franchise of all time. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” has earned more than $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” was directed by David Yates who also helmed the blockbusters “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1.” Returning from previous Harry Potter films is an all-star supporting cast, including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

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"Captain America" DVD/BD Oct. 25

By admin Published: September 22, 2011

The official word: Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures introduce the latest addition to the incomparable Marvel Super Hero team with CAPTAIN AMERICA: The First Avenger, ready for action on high definition Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD October 25, 2011. Called “the best superhero movie ever” (Brian Erdy, CBS-TV), the thrill-packed adventure is a blockbuster hit with audiences worldwide, earning over $350 million at the Global Box Office. When a terrifying force threatens everyone across the globe, the world’s greatest soldier wages war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull. Loaded with fantastic action, stunning visual effects and an awe-inspiring hero imbued with courage, humanity and an unbreakable spirit, CAPTAIN AMERICA: The First Avenger transports viewers into a world of daring exploits and excitement. Starring Chris Evans in the title role, the film features an outstanding ensemble cast including Academy Award®-winner Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving as Marvel’s Ultimate Villain, Red Skull, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke and Stanley Tucci.

The CAPTAIN AMERICA: The First Avenger three-disc set includes the film on Blu-ray in high-definition 3D and in high definition 2D, as well as on standard definition DVD with a digital copy. The two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes a high definition presentation of the film, plus a standard definition presentation with a digital copy. Both sets boast over an hour of behind-the-scenes bonus material including an original Marvel short film, an exclusive sneak peek into the ultimate Super Hero team, Marvel’s The Avengers, six featurettes that go behind-the-scenes of the filmmaking process, deleted scenes and much more.

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"Hangover II" Home-Video Plans

By admin Published: September 22, 2011

The official word: A strip club, a finger, a drug lord, a tattoo parlor and a monkey are the keys to solving the mystery of the missing wedding guest at the latest bachelor party. The Wolfpack is back as “The Hangover Part II” arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on December 6 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. In Todd Phillips’ sequel to the 2009 smash hit “The Hangover,” Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis reunite in Thailand for the wildest comedy of the year!

In “The Hangover Part II,” Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), Alan (Galifianakis) and Doug (Bartha) travel to Thailand for Stu's wedding. Determined not to risk his own wedding by repeating the destructive antics of Doug’s bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu opts for a subdued, pre-wedding brunch…with no alcohol. However, things don't go as planned, and a night of wild partying leaves the Wolfpack with no memory of the night before and no idea how to find the bride’s missing brother.

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TV Notebook

By admin Published: September 22, 2011

The DVRs are set tonight for "Big Bang Theory," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Mentalist," "The Office," "Community" and some other stuff I cannot remember without an onscreen guide to sort through. (Is "Whitney" on tonight? No matter. I couldn't even get through the pilot.) No "Parks and Rec" recording because NBC sent out a disc of that one (and it's funny). No watching "Charlie's Angels" because I have, and there's no need to view it again. Or ever. I have also seen the premiere of "Prime Suspect," which I like, and which I wrote about it at greater length in a Sunday column; I have posted that review at the end of this post.

I have been slowly cleaning previous telecasts from the DVR, or watching things in real time, including "X Factor" and the season premieres of "Glee," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Modern Family." More about those shows after the jump.

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TV Tonight (Tuesday) and Last Night

By admin Published: September 20, 2011

What am I watching tonight? Well, nothing in real time because I have an assignment in Cleveland this evening. But there are plenty of DVR possibilities, with the debuts of "New Girl" and "Unforgettable," and the season premieres of "Body of Proof," "Glee," "Raising Hope," "The Biggest Loser," "NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles." Also, the first results show for "Dancing With the Stars" (preceded by a "meet the cast" special -- isn't that what we did last night?). And, if the premiere of "Ringer" did anything for you, the second episode is tonight.

When I have a chance, I will be seeing "Glee," with some reservations because last season was often not good; "Body of Proof," because it's mildly watchable and seems always on the verge of getting better, and "NCIS" because it's the season premiere and I give it a couple of looks every season.

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TV Tonight (Revised and Corrected)

By admin Published: September 19, 2011

The fall season really kicks in tonight, with the premieres of "2 Broke Girls" and "The Playboy Club" and the season premieres of "Two and a Half Men" (with Ashton Kutcher's debut), "The Sing-Off," "How I Met Your Mother," "Dancing with the Stars," "Castle" and "Hawaii Five-O."

Notes on where my viewing tendencies lie, and on the Emmys, are after the jump.

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ABC Family Orders More "Make It," "Lying," Pilots

By admin Published: September 16, 2011

ABC Family, the Millennial-skewing network, continues to go from strength-to-strength as it grows its lineup of groundbreaking original programming. To join this summer’s breakout hit, “Switched At Birth,” the network has given the greenlight to an additional season of “Make it or Break It” and a back-order pick-up of “The Lying Game,” it was announced today by Michael Riley, president ABC Family. Riley also announced development of four new pilots, including two dramas, “Bunheads” and “Intercept,” and two comedies, “Baby Daddy” and “Village People.” ...

More after the jump.

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Starz Sets Andy Whitfield Tribute

By admin Published: September 16, 2011

The official word: Andy Whitfield – an honorable fighter both on and off camera – will be remembered on STARZ, Sunday, October 2 beginning at 9:00 p.m. (et/pt).

The actor passed away on September 11th and is known internationally for shaping the breakout role of Spartacus, during the first season of the STARZ Original series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.” He was chosen after a worldwide search to find the perfect Hollywood star to play the title role with passion and grace. His fans, friends, and colleagues alike have compared Whitefield’s own persona, to that of the noble, brave, honorable gladiator character he played on screen.

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Video: HeldenFiles Live

By Dan Published: September 16, 2011

TV Tonight: "The Secret Circle"

By admin Published: September 15, 2011

I had a call on my voicemail yesterday from a man trying to find The CW in his satellite-service lineup. My guess is that he is not in the network's target demo. I got many such calls when "Blue Collar TV" was on the old WB, because fans of Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy had managed not to be attracted to anything else on The WB even though it had been around close to a decade at that point. While I don't know what this latest caller hoped to see -- we're playing phone tag -- just getting the call is a reminder that The CW has opted for an audience strategy so narrow that, even five years after it was formed from the remains of WB and UPN, some viewers have no idea what it is.

This a roundabout way of talking about "The Secret Circle," which premieres tonight on The CW. It is resolutely, unapologetically, adamantly, unbendingly a CW show. It ties in not only with "Vampire Diaries," based as it is on books by the same author, adapted for TV by the same adapter (Kevin Williamson). Its supernatural side makes it a companion to "Nikita" and "Supernatural," and its scheming young people make it promotable in "90210," "Gossip Girl," "Top Model" and, sort of, "Ringer." ("Hart of Dixie" may also fall in that area, although it's hard to tell from the pilot how much of it will be grim secrets, and how much more will be "Doc Hollywood"-Meets-"Royal Pains"-And-"Everwood.")
In fact, "Secret Circle" has more than a little "90210" in it -- young woman outsider dealing with an established social order. Of course, there is also more than a little of "The Craft." And other things that Williamson in other times would have made fun of.

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TV Tonight: "Up All Night," "Free Agents"

By admin Published: September 14, 2011

I am posting these later than I had planned because I was wearing my teacher hat for most of the day. But I did want to jot a few notes for your amusement before or after you see these shows, which NBC hopes will keep some of the "AGT" audience tonight, and then lure that audience back a week from now. I may post later re "H8R" and "Survivor," since I have not yet seen either.

Anyway, after the jump, some thoughts about these two comedies.

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"AGT's" Charles Peachock Sets Local Show

By admin Published: September 13, 2011

The official word: On Oct. 7, at 7:30 pm, local America’s Got Talent juggler Charles Peachock will be hosting a show of his own at the 600-seat Kent Stage in downtown Kent, OH with two fellow AGT alums, “Lady Guy-Guy” singer Daniel Joseph Baker of Katy, TX and Yellow Design Stunt Team BMX cyclist James McGraw of Denver, CO.

The 35-year-old Peachock, a veteran juggler who makes a living performing on cruise ships and special shows, decided to put the show together for two reasons. First, Peachock said he wants to give an opportunity to two of his fellow AGT contestants, whom he believes are raising stars in the entertainment industry. But secondly, and more importantly, Peachock wants to thank the members of the Akron/Kent community who have supported of him throughout his career.

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DeGraw/Cook Tour Set; Cleveland Show 11/6

By admin Published: September 13, 2011

The official word: Platinum selling musicians Gavin DeGraw and David Cook will embark on a national tour kicking off on October 9th at Penn State University. The US tour, with opening act Carolina Liar, will wrap on November 10th in Athens, GA. Tickets in select markets will go on sale beginning September 16th. For the latest ticket information please visit www.gavindegraw.com and www.davidcookofficial.com.

Gavin DeGraw will be performing new material off his highly anticipated fourth album SWEETER, out next week on September 20th on RCA Records. Entertainment Weekly describes the first single “Not Over You”, which debuted most added at the Hot AC format, as “a soulful majestic ballad” and People Magazine declares the “hot single” as his “welcome return” to the airwaves. DeGraw first broke through with the 2003 release of his debut album, Chariot, which sold more than 1 million copies, earned platinum certification and yielded three hit singles: “I Don’t Want To Be,” “Follow Through” and the title-track, “Chariot.” DeGraw’s self-titled second album debuted at No. 1 on the digital sales chart and at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart in 2008, earning DeGraw his first Top 10 album. It spawned the hit singles “In Love With A Girl,” and the gold-certified “We Belong Together.” In 2009, DeGraw released Free as a gift to his die-hard fans clamoring for recorded versions of his live favorites. DeGraw recently toured with Maroon 5 and TRAIN that wrapped at the end of August. He has performed and is scheduled to perform on numerous TV shows in support of his new album including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and more.

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ABC's Sawyer Scores Giffords Interview

By admin Published: September 12, 2011

The official word: In a landmark television event, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Space Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly will share their remarkable story for the first time since the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011.

Giffords' story of strength, hope, and astounding resilience has captivated the nation over the past eight months. Rep. Giffords was hosting a 'Congress on Your Corner' meet-and-greet event for constituents in Tucson, Arizona the morning of January 8 when shots rang out. Six people were killed, and many others injured, including Giffords.

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Ion Sets Date for "Flashpoint," Including New Episodes

By admin Published: September 12, 2011

The official word: ION Television premieres its newly acquired hit police drama “Flashpoint” on Tuesday, October 18 at 10pm ET/PT with new original episodes. ION Television, the new home for the award-winning series, will schedule “Flashpoint” in a two-hour block on Tuesdays from 10pm-12am ET/PT and again on Saturdays from 9-11pm ET/PT. . . .

ION Television, a top-10 network, acquired the rights to all existing episodes and future production of “Flashpoint” from CBS Television Distribution earlier this year. The production of the season’s upcoming episodes marked ION Television’s first venture into originals planned by the network in the coming year.

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Weekend Notebook

By admin Published: September 11, 2011

The bride and I spent part of yesterday on errands, wished away the rain long enough for some yardwork, and then went to a soggy (and lightning-delayed) University of Akron football game. Dismally small crowd; the official number was 15,156 but I'm not buying it. Maybe if they counted feet instead of people. And the game, which looked promising before the lightning delay, fell apart for Akron afterwards. Oh, well.e hav

Today we have done more yardwork, with housecleaning ahead, and have been watching the Browns. Early on, the 9/11 tribute ads were far more effective than the Browns' play, although the team is showing some new life. (I even bought the State Farm song on iTunes today.) But that would have been the case even if Cleveland was doing well. I remember watching the second plane hit and the towers fall. I have been to Ground Zero and Shanksville. I have a son living in New York City, another son in Army training, a daughter who lives outside NYC and whose fiance works in the city. No ignoring what has been, and what might be. Here's what I said on Facebook:

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TSO Winter Tour Has Cleveland Show, Nothing in Youngstown

By admin Published: September 9, 2011

The official word: Rock Theater originators, Trans-Siberian Orchestra are preparing
to light up the road for an eight-month world tour, traveling to over 120 markets in the U.S. and Europe.
The tour will showcase their unique combination of story-telling, virtuoso musicianship and over the top
production. With the tour beginning November 11th, TSO will rock your winter season, performing the
timeless classic “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” in its entirety, followed by excerpts from the upcoming
Rock Theater installment “Gutter Ballet and The New York Blues Express”.

98.5 WNCX, FirstMerit, Ohio Natural Gas and Live Nation are proud to welcome TSO when they return to
Northeast Ohio for two spectacular shows at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday, December 30th at
3:00pm and 8:00pm. The performances are part of the Time Warner Cable Music: Sessions. Tickets go
on sale to the general public for both shows on Friday, Sept. 16 at 10am. This will be the only Northeast
Ohio stop of the 2011 TSO Winter Tour. TSO will not be performing the winter tour in Youngstown this
year.

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This Week's Video Chat

By admin Published: September 8, 2011

Paul Simon, "Rescue Me," "Straw Dogs" and more ...

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"Horrible Bosses" on Video 10/11

By admin Published: September 8, 2011

The official word: When you have a nut job boss in a tough economy, you need the job, but not the nut. Find out whether you should off the boss when “Horrible Bosses” arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on October 11 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. Jason Bateman (“Up in the Air,” TV’s “Arrested Development”), Charlie Day (TV’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Jason Sudeikis (“Hall Pass”) team up to achieve every employees dream: getting rid of the big wigs.

Management candidate Nick Hendricks (Bateman) has been slaving away under the tyranny of his twisted supervisor Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), only to find out there is no promotion in sight. Meanwhile, dental assistant Dale Arbus (Day) has been struggling to resist the overt advances of his sexpot boss, Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. (Jennifer Aniston), and accountant Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis) has just learned that his company's depraved new owner, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell), is bent on environmental destruction. Trying to save their jobs and their sanity, the three friends hatch a plan to off their bosses.

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Chaney "Phantom" to Blu-ray

By admin Published: September 8, 2011

The official word: He was the “Man of a Thousand Faces.” Generations of filmgoers the world over have been thrilled by his portrayals that showcased – and more often than not, empathized with – the shadows of human nature. And now the makeup artistry of a true cinematic pioneer can be seen in high definition! On November 1st, Image Entertainment releases the Lon Chaney classic Phantom of the Opera for the first time on Blu-ray™! The Blu-ray™ features 3 versions of the film – assembled together for the first time in a single release -- including a brand-new high definition digital transfer from the 35mm negative, plus Gaylord Carter's famous theatre organ score, released for the first time as recorded in stereo! MSRP is $39.98, and pre-book is October 4th.

Produced by renowned silent film authority and preservationist David Shepard, the Phantom of the Opera Blu-ray™ includes the following versions:

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"Alphas" Gets Second Season

By admin Published: September 7, 2011

The official word: Syfy’s new super-powered original drama series Alphas, featuring a team of superhuman investigators, will be returning for a second season, it was announced today by Mark Stern, President, Original Content, Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. Syfy is ordering 13 episodes of the breakout scripted summer hit from series producers Universal Cable Productions and BermanBraun Television to air in 2012.

“Alphas’ smart, innovative approach to a superhero franchise has clearly caught on with our audience,” said Stern. “From the first-rate writing to the outstanding cast lead by David Strathairn, we’re very proud of what was achieved in its first season and look forward to seeing this series fulfill even more of its creative potential in a second season.”

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Lifetime Picks Up "America's Most Wanted"

By admin Published: September 6, 2011

The official word: Lifetime has picked up John Walsh’s pioneering series America’s Most Wanted, television’s top crime-fighting show that will return for its 25th season later this year. The announcement was made today by Nancy Dubuc, President and General Manager of Lifetime Networks.

Hosted and executive produced by Walsh, America’s Most Wanted has become one of the most important programs on television, having played a major role in the capture of more than 1,100 fugitives in the U.S. and 30 countries, including 17 on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, and rescue of 61 children and missing persons since its launch in 1988. Aside from its landmark status in the annals of television as a leader in using the medium to apprehend the world’s most dangerous criminals, the series also has shaped legislation and the national dialogue on crime fighting, and received numerous honors for its work. This month at the Creative Arts Emmy® Awards, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will present Walsh with the prestigious Governors Award, which “salutes an individual, company or organization that has made a substantial impact and demonstrated the extraordinary use of television.”

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Notebook: Eddie Murphy Hosts '12 Oscars, Regis's Last Day 11/18, "Bachelor" Ben

By admin Published: September 6, 2011

The official Murphy announcement: Oscar nominee Eddie Murphy, whose performing career spans movies, television and the stage, will host this year’s Academy Awards show on Sunday, February 26, 2012, telecast producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer announced today. This will be Murphy’s first hosting stint on the Oscars.

“Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever,” said Ratner. “With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances – especially on stage – I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don and I want to produce in February.”

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