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"Mad Men" Season 6 DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Plans (Updated)

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 30, 2013

The official word: Featuring the most watched episode in series history, Mad Men: Season 6 arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital Download November 5 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

From creator Matthew Weiner (HBO’s “The Sopranos”), the critically acclaimed show features a top notch cast that includes Golden Globe® winner and Primetime Emmy® nominated Jon Hamm (Friends with Kids), Primetime Emmy® nominated Elisabeth Moss (TV’s “Top of the Lake”), Primetime Emmy® nominated Christina Hendricks (Ginger & Rosa), Primetime Emmy® nominated January Jones (X-Men: First Class), John Slattery (The Adjustment Bureau) and Primetime Emmy® nominated Robert Morse (TV’s “City of Angels”). As TV’s most talked about drama, Mad Men has been recognized for its intelligent storylines and stellar acting, winning three consecutive Golden Globe® Awards for Best Television Series - Drama and four consecutive Primetime Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Drama Series.

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DVD/Blu-ray Announcements: "To Do List," "Girl Most Likely"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 30, 2013

The official word on "The To Do List," with Aubrey Plaza; 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes:

Easy A meets Superbad in the raunchy and irreverent comedy THE TO DO LIST, available Nov. 19th on Blu-ray(tm), DVD and digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film is written and directed by Funny or Die veteran Maggie Carey and features an ensemble cast, including Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed, TV's "Parks and Recreation"), Johnny Simmons (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Bill Hader (TV's "SNL"), Alia Shawkat (TV's "Arrested Development"), Scott Porter (TV's "The Good Wife"), Rachel Bilson (TV's "Hart of Dixie"), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick Ass 2), Andy Samberg (Grown Ups 2), Donald Glover (TV's "Community"), Connie Britton (TV's "Nashville") and Clark Gregg (The Avengers, Iron Man). In this all-star film, Type A overachiever (Plaza) comes up with a "to do list," featuring all the risqué extra-curricular activities she missed out on in high school and wants to complete before starting college. Hilarious bonus features on both the Blu-ray and DVD include deleted scenes, commentary, a gag reel, a.k.a. "The Re-do List," as well as two featurettes. The "Maggie Carey: Directing her To-Do List" featurette highlights the director's personal connection to the film and the comedic talent starring in it, and the "Dirty Mouth" featurette is a big, raunchy montage of some of the film's key moments. 

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Watching Stuff Monday: A New Show and Some Weekend Catching-Up

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 30, 2013

New tonight is "We Are Men," an ensemble comedy for CBS starring Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O'Connell, Kal Penn and that guy I keep having to look up, Chris Smith. And therein lies part of the show's problem. Within the limitations of the writing, which are significant, Shalhoub still brings the funny; this reminds me of his work in "Galaxy Quest," although that mainly makes me want to rewatch "Galaxy Quest." O'Connell is all right and Penn, mostly wistful in the pilot, has comedy cred.

But Smith? He's an empty hat and, as the centerpiece of the show, a mistake. Already I am wishing the show was entirely about the other guys, and that Smith was sent on his way, Even then, though, this is a silly show -- not so silly that I won't give it a second-chance viewing, but neither sufficiently funny to make me thrilled. Of course, there aren't many thrills in the new commercial-broadcast-TV offerings this fall.

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CBS Orders More "Unforgettable" (Updated)

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 30, 2013

The network still has some unaired episodes from its 2013 order for eventual telecast. UPDATE: The 13 episodes for the third season will be in addition to those still waiting to air from Season 2..

Here's the official word:

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Demi Lovato Tour Includes Cleveland Stop

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 30, 2013

That show is March 27. The official word: Platinum-selling music artist and The X Factor judge Demi Lovato announced exclusively on a Facebook Q&A yesterday that she is launching THE NEON LIGHTS TOUR on February 9, 2014, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at Pepsi Live At Rogers Arena. Produced and promoted by Live Nation, the North American tour will support her latest Hollywood Records album, DEMI, and visit 27 cities across the United States and Canada, including shows in the New York City area, Chicago, Toronto, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Nashville.

“Neon Lights” is the forthcoming single from DEMI and will impact at radio in early November. THE NEON LIGHTS TOUR will also feature lead special guests, Little Mix, performing on their first U.S. tour, as well as Cher Lloyd who will also perform on select dates. The X Factor finalists turned hit-making girl group, Fifth Harmony, will also join their X Factor mentor on all dates throughout the tour.

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Goodbye, "Breaking Bad"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 29, 2013

Walter White was never one for loose ends or half measures.

Whether it involved cooking the finest meth in the world or dealing with threats and enemies, Walt was always thorough. Less than perfect was not his way. As he said in the "Breaking Bad" series finale, he like what he did. He was proud to be good at his craft. And so, the series ended with Walt doing what Walt had done all along.

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Mixed Notes Sunday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 29, 2013

As far as I am concerned, there is really only one show to watch tonight, and that is the series finale of "Breaking Bad." Seeing how darkly marvelous it has been in recent weeks, I am full of optimism about the finish. And, considering I have a stack of papers to grade, "Breaking" is the one show I will take a break from grading to watch.

That said, millions of viewers will be looking at different options among the new and returning series tonight. My DVR is set for "The Amazing Race" and "The Good Wife." The night's new broadcast offering is "Betrayal" on ABC, in which I have absolutely no interest.

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Rich and the movies: 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' thoughts

By Ohio.com Published: September 27, 2013

This week, Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels checks in with some thoughts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- specifically, do you have to have seen the Marvel movies to fully appreciate the show. Short answer: Yes.

 

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Watching Stuff Friday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 27, 2013

Tonight brings the series premiere of "Masterchef Junior" along with the season premieres of "Dateline NBC," "Undercover Boss," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Blue Bloods." The DVR is set for "Five-0" just because I like to see Hawaii in HD (even when the plots are silly) and "Blue Bloods."

Other stuff I have watched, with notes below, includes the season premieres of "Modern Family," "The Big Bang Theory," "Nashville" and  "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" as well as a second episode of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

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ICYMI: Oprah Winfrey Network Gets TV Rights to "The Butler"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 27, 2013

The official word: OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today that it has secured the network television rights to “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.  OWN has licensed the first broadcast window behind pay television beginning in 2017. The critically acclaimed Weinstein Company film, which opened nationwide on Friday, August 16, spent three straight weekends at #1 and recently surpassed $100 million at the box office.

“On the heels of the film’s fantastic debut, we couldn’t be more excited to showcase this incredible movie for our viewers,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN.  “This is a film that every American should see and we look forward to its debut on OWN,” said Sheri Salata, president, OWN.

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Gretchen Carlson's New Show Begins Monday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 27, 2013

Carlson, the former Cleveland news anchor, has more recently been on FNC's "Fox & Friends" but was reassigned in the wake of Elisabeth Hasselbeck joining the network and the morning show. Here's the official FNC thumbnail of the new series:

What: FOX News Channel (FNC) will debut a new one-hour daytime program, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, on Monday, September 30th at 2PM/ET. Preceding that program, at 1PM/ET, will be a one-hour weekday presentation of America’s News HQ, co-anchored by Bill Hemmer and Alisyn Camerota.

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Rock Hall Details Rolling Stones Tribute Events

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 26, 2013

The official word: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University are pleased to announce the full week of events that will honor the Rolling Stones at the 18th Annual Music Masters series It’s Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It): The Music of The Rolling Stones. The series begins on Monday, October 21 and culminates with an all-star tribute concert on Saturday, October 26.  The series is sponsored by ELS Studio.

The tribute concert on October 26 will be anchored by a group of top flight musicians who have performed with the Rolling Stones over their fifty year career and contributed to shaping the band’s extraordinary sound. Grammy Award-winning drummer Steve Jordan will lead the house band as musical director. Jordan has assembled a group of critically-acclaimed musicians, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ian McLagan, Bernard Fowler, Bobby Keys, Trevor Lawrence, Steve Madaio, Waddy Wachtel and Willie Weeks to perform.  Joining the tribute concert lineup are Merry Clayton and Sarah Dash. Due to a scheduling conflict, Lisa Fischer and Ivan Neville are no longer performing.  Tickets to the October 26th tribute concert range from $30 - $80 and are available at the PlayhouseSquare box office, by calling (216)241-6000, or by visiting www.playhousesquare.org.  TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE, BUT ARE GOING FAST.  

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Akron Contestants on "Let's Ask America"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 26, 2013

The show airs locally on WEWS (Channel 5) at 7:30 weeknights. The official word:

"Let's Ask America," the TV game show where contestants can win up to $50K from home, features Akron’s Saleswoman and Mother of two, Kym Whitehead, as a contestant on Friday, September 27th and Akron’s Motorcycle Mama, Staci Smith, as a contestant on Thursday, October 3rd.

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Watching Stuff Thursday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 26, 2013

Tonight brings the series premieres of "The Michael J. Fox Show"
and "The Crazy Ones," as well as the season premieres of "Grey's Anatomy," "Parenthood," "Elementary," "Two and a Half Men," "Parks and Recreation" and "The Big Bang Theory." Both "Big Bang" and "Parks" have hour-long premieres. "Grey's Anatomy" is two hours; "Scandal" begins a new season on Oct. 3.

I have mistakenly mentioned that "The Millers" starts tonight; it will arrive on Oct. 3.

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Watching Stuff Wednesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 25, 2013

Tonight brings one new series, "Back in the Game" on ABC, and the season premieres of "The Middle," "Modern Family," "Nashville," "Criminal Minds," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Revolution" and "Law & Order: SVU." I also have some thoughts about "Survivor," which began its latest season last week, and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which began Tuesday night.

First, "Back in the Game" stars Maggie Lawson as a woman who is trying to get back in more than one game -- life after a broken relationship, for one, and baseball, for another. Both efforts have her dealing with her crusty father (James Caan), who has been out of the game a long time himself. There are some painfully obvious pieces here, particularly the homages to "The Bad News Bears," but there's something genuine and charming in the Lawson-Caan interplay. I'm not crazy about it but won't mind too much giving it a second chance.

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Turner Classic Movies Seeks "Ultimate Fan"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 25, 2013

The official word: As Turner Classic Movies (TCM) celebrates its 20th year as a leading authority in classic film, the network is launching TCM's Ultimate Fan Contest. TCM is calling for fans to submit videos of themselves introducing a favorite movie, much in the same way TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz introduce films on TCM. One entrant will then be chosen to win a trip to the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival and the chance to introduce a movie at the festival and co-host a film on-air.

 

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"X Factor" Amps Up the Drama in Contestant Selection

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 25, 2013

The official word: When THE X FACTOR’s nationwide auditions come to a close tonight (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Sept. 26 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), the judges – Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio – must choose the Top 40 acts. After deliberations in Los Angeles, only 10 acts from each category – Boys, Girls, Over 25s and Groups – will be selected to move forward in the competition, and the category assignments will be revealed to the judges.

 

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PBS Sets Elton John Concert Telecast

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 25, 2013

I note that the playlist includes the song he used in "tribute" to Liberace. Plug, plug, plug. The official word: PBS today announced the world television premiere of ELTON JOHN IN CONCERT, a new special featuring the legendary musician in an exclusive and intimate performance taped in the beautiful surroundings of the BBC's famous Radio Theatre in the heart of West London. The concert special showcases the multi-Grammy Award-winning superstar performing songs from his new album, The Diving Board, mixed with classic songs from his extensive repertoire of hits. Originally broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, the UK's most listened to station, ELTON JOHN IN CONCERT premieres Saturday, October 5, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET / 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT (check local listings) on PBS.

"We are thrilled to bring PBS viewers this fantastic concert special from one of the world's great entertainers," said Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. "Elton John's songs are iconic and timeless, and his enormous appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds is a tribute to his singular genius."

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Goodbye, "Army Wives"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 25, 2013

Aside from a retrospective special, the series is done. The official word:

Army Wives, Lifetime’s longest-running series, will not return after recently wrapping its historic seven-season run on the network.  To honor the ABC Studios-produced series, Lifetime is planning a two-hour retrospective special with cast members that will air early next year.

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"Biggest Loser" Contestant To Speak at Revere High School

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 24, 2013

The official word: Help start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. Come experience one of America's largest character development programs that has transformed millions of lives worldwide. Hear the true story of a remarkable young girl who believed her life would impact the world.

The Revere Middle School Rachel's Challenge group invites the community to a free Rachel's Challenge Community night on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 at 7 p.m. in the Revere High School Auditorium, 3420 Everett Road in Richfield. The event will feature a national speaker from Rachel's Challenge, who will also speak to the Revere Middle School students during daytime assemblies and a workshop for students. Due to the nature of the subject, the program is recommended for students age 12 and over and adults.

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Watching Stuff Tuesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 24, 2013

Tonight brings the premieres of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," "The Goldbergs," "Trophy Wife" and "Lucky 7," all on ABC; and the season premieres of "NCIS," "NCIS:LA," "Person of Interest," all on CBS, and "Chicago Fire," on NBC.

I have not seen "S.H.I.E.L.D." yet, since ABC has limited its availability, but there is no show I have looked forward to more. I have watched the handful of available clips time and again and have enjoyed some long after I knew the jokes. So I have hopes. Also, I am a complete nerd.

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Because I Seldom Miss a Chance To Mention "Love Actually" ...

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 23, 2013

A 10th-anniversary Blu-ray is coming in October. The official word:

Relive the love this holiday season and take part in the decade-long phenomenon with Love Actually 10th Anniversary Edition! Hugh Grant (Bridget Jones’s films), Liam Neeson (Taken 2), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Laura Linney (Hyde Park on Hudson), Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina), Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee) and Bill Nighy (About Time) are part of an illustrious all-star cast that charm and delight in this heartwarming romantic comedy about eight couples whose lives intersect shortly before the holidays. Brimming with early career appearances by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead), January Jones (Mad Men) and Thomas Sangster (“Game of Thrones”) Love Actually 10th Anniversary Edition has been newly restored to provide longtime fans and first-time viewers alike with a heartwarming holiday treat. Love Actually 10th Anniversary Edition will be available on October 15, 2013 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment with an exclusive collectible holiday ornament included with purchase. Also available on DVD with Digital.

Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Richard Curtis (About Time, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill), comes Love Actually, the unforgettable holiday classic that has had audiences laughing, crying and hugging since it first premiered to U.S. audiences in 2003. Love, the fire that makes the world go round, is causing chaos for all. The lives and loves of these eight couples collide, mingle and climax again and again with romantic, hilarious and bittersweet consequences for anyone lucky (or unlucky) enough to be under love’s spell. The film’s hilariously unpredictable plot examines how love inspires experiences that are alternately exciting, unexpected and unequalled. This “star-studded, multi-plotlined movie” has become “one of the great Christmas movies” of all time (Entertainment Weekly).

The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack includes a Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet.

BONUS FEATURES:

· OVER 30 MINUTES OF DELETED SCENES with Introductions by Writer/Director Richard Curtis

· THE STORYTELLERS (exclusive to Blu-ray)
· THE MUSIC OF LOVE ACTUALLY with Introductions by Writer/Director Richard Curtis
· KELLY CLARKSON “THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE IS” MUSIC VIDEO
· FEATURE COMMENTARY with Writer/Director Richard Curtis and Actors Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and Thomas Sangster

· BILLY MACK “CHRISTMAS IS ALL AROUND” MUSIC VIDEO (exclusive to Blu-ray)

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Watching Stuff: "Breaking Bad" and the Dark Night of the Soul

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 23, 2013

My schedule has for the most part meant that I have been seeing "Breaking Bad" episodes as much as a couple of days after their telecast. This usually had to do with my schedule, since I teach early Monday mornings and that means that Sunday night contains lesson prep. But last night, as we go into the final episodes of the series, I did watch it in real time and realized another reason why I've tended to catch up during a day.

After watching "Breaking Bad," it is very hard to sleep. (Spoilers will follow.)

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Watching Stuff: New Series, Emmys

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 23, 2013

Tonight brings three new series: comedy "Mom" and dramas "The Blacklist" and "Hostages," which are pitted against each other. It's also new-season night for "How I Met Your Mother," "2 Broke Girls," "Castle" and "The Voice" as well as Week 2 of "Bones," "Sleepy Hollow" and "Dancing With the Stars."

I have two DVRS cranked up for shows tonight -- even though I have already seen several things so I don't have to record. For the next week or so, there will be double-DVR days, and some dipping into on-demand, as I sort out which new shows are worth watching more than twice. Some, of course, don't deserve more than one shot but I try to give them a couple of shows before writing them off permanently. As for the new shows:

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Next Akron Comicon Coming in November

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 23, 2013

The long official word, with guests and other elements: Akron Comicon is an annual event established to celebrate newspaper comics and comic-books as an original American art form and promote comics as a viable entertainment medium by bringing creators, dealers, and fans together for a day of fun and interaction designed for the entire family.

Akron Comicon is a one day event scheduled to take place at the University of Akron’s Quaker Station on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 135 S. Broadway Street, Akron, Ohio 44325 from 10am to 6pm.

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Cher Tour Includes Cleveland Show in May '14

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 23, 2013

The official word: It’s now official - the one and only Cher herself revealed that she will kick off her “Dressed To Kill” 49 city North American Tour beginning in Phoenix on March 22nd! Cher shared the happy news with her fans following her performance on the Today Show this morning.


Cher will bring her “Dressed to Kill” 2014 tour to Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena on Friday, May 2nd at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are priced at $105.50, $85.50, $45.50, $25.50 (additional fees may apply) and go on sale Friday, October 11th at 12:00 p.m. at theqarena.com, the Quicken Loans Arena box office, charge-by-phone at 888-894-9424 or at any Northern Discount Drug Mart.

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Which Actor Should Play Johnny Carson?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2013

NBC has announced a miniseries about the "Tonight Show" host. So who should star?:Ryan Gosling would be interesting ...

The official word: NBC is in development on a miniseries about the life of legendary late-night talk show host Johnny Carson.

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CBS New Saturday-Morning Lineup Premieres Sept. 28

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2013

Here is the CBS schedule:

9:00-9:30 AM, ET LUCKY DOG

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"Salinger" Adds Footage for National Release; Dramatization in the Works

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2013

Theaters showing the film include the Cedar Lee.  official word: The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that their latest documentary release, SALINGER, will have a special edition debuted for its national release on Friday, September 20th.

The film, which opened in New York and Los Angeles on September 6th, will feature new, never-before-seen material about Salinger's life, his complex relationships with young women, and footage of the iconic author added for its 62-city theatrical expansion.

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"Fight Club" Back on Big Screen Sunday; More Cinemark Classics Showings Announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2013

I was going to question the inclusion of  "The Matrix" in a classics package -- and you may yet do so on qualitative grounds -- but then noticed that it's 14 years old!

The official word: Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK), one of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors is pleased to announce the next film in our “Classics Series” will be the 1999 drama Fight Club starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. This digitally restored movie will be scheduled to play Sunday, September 22 at 2:00pm, followed by two separate show times of 2pm and 7pm on Wednesday, September 25.

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"Queer Eye" TV Reunion Set

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2013

The official word: Bravo Media celebrates the Emmy award-winning, cutting-edge series, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” with a “Queer Eye Reunion: 10 Years Later” airing in October.

Host Andy Cohen welcomes food & wine connoisseur Ted Allen, grooming guru Kyan Douglas, design doctor Thom Filicia, fashion savant Carson Kressley and culture vulture Jai Rodriguez. The Fab Five reflects on the groundbreaking series, unveils behind-the-scenes secrets and discusses how their lives have changed since their now-famous “make-betters.” Fans can tweet @Andy with questions for the quintet.

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Mixed Notes Thursday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2013

Today's mailbag is here. Topics include the off-camera life of two "Dexter"stars, the real-life couple in those Swiffer commercials and more.

Forner Canton resident Bruno Gunn will be in the next "Hunger Games" movie, "Catching Fire," which opens in November. He's also hosting a special event in Canton this weekend. Read my chat with him here.

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Science Channel Sets Movie and Special on Challenger Disaster

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 18, 2013

Local folks will recall that Judith Resnik of Akron was among those killed in the shuttle accident. The official word on the productions:

Americans sat in stunned silence on the morning of January 28, 1986, as the Space Shuttle Challenger tragically exploded in the clear blue sky over Cape Canaveral, Fla. Just 73 seconds into Challenger’s 10th mission, America’s dreams of reaching beyond earth suffered a horrific setback. In the months following, a special Presidential Commission worked to determine the explosion’s cause in the hopes of making future spaceflight missions safer. Of the 14 commission members from the domains of NASA, the military and other affiliated organizations, one person stood apart as an independent voice–Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Richard Feynman.

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Mixed Notes Wednesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 18, 2013

I spent part of last evening chasing the Stan Piatt/Maggie Fuller story and with help from other reporters and editors managed to come up with this. Many unanswered questions, I know. And I heard things that are not in the story. But there are things you hear and there are things you can report -- information with some kind of firm, on-the-record backing. And, as this situation appears to have people lawyering up, there was not a lot on the record to say. Here's how the folks over at Ohio Media Watch put it:

We can’t confirm the rumblings, which are all over social media. We may never be able to confirm everything, or be able to pass along all the details. But in one day, the WNIR morning drive fun-fest basically fell apart in half, and Stan Piatt’s retirement got pushed up a few months.

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"Mad Men" To Split Final Season

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 17, 2013

In an approach akin to that of other cable series, including "Breaking Bad," AMC will air seven episodes in spring '14 and another seven in 2015. The official word:

AMC announced today that the final season of the Lionsgate series Mad Men will be expanded to 14 episodes and equally portioned with seven episodes airing in spring of 2014 (“The Beginning”) and the final seven episodes of this iconic series (“The End of an Era”) airing in the spring of 2015.

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Film Festival Set for Massillon's Lincoln Theater

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 17, 2013

This will be the last of these festivals. I am looking into why. There are some nice illustrations of the films here. The official word:

 Fall is the air and that means it’s time for silent and classic cinema shown in all of its celluloid glory at the oldest operating movie theatre in the country. The Fall Cinesation Film Festival arrives at the Lion’s Lincoln Theatre Thursday, Sept. 26th through Sunday, Sept. 29th. This will be the festival’s last year and the public’s last chance to see the featured films presented on film. All silent film presentations will showcase the musical talents of Dr. Philip Carli or Ben Model.

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Viewing Tuesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 17, 2013

Tonight brings the series premieres of "Dads" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" on Fox, along with the season premieres of "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project." Of the four, I'd go with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Whoever decided that Andre Braugher would be a good foil for Andy Samberg was very, very smart. And even smarter was to have Braugher play his role pretty much deadpan, demanding that Samberg not lapse into his charming-doofus role because that just would not work when you have Braugher gazing, unimpressed. And I very much liked the pilot because of that.

Butt then, maybe I'm just enjoying acting a lot these days. (Who could watch "Breaking Bad" at the moment and not be wowed by ALL the performances?) "Dads," a largely forgettable comedy from the "Family Guy" gang, perks up when Martin Mull and Peter Riegert are at work. Unfortunately, the show tries to balance those guys with scenes built around Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi. Green and Ribisi can be good at times, but they can't keep the material here afloat, where Mull and Riegert have that old-school way of lifting anything they decide is worth lifting. The problem with "Dads," though, is that their effort is not in great cause.

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Sondheim/Furth "Merrily" in Movie Theaters in October

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 16, 2013

The official word: Bringing London’s renowned West End theater culture to select U.S. cinemas this fall, NCM Fathom Events, CinemaLive and Digital Theatre present Maria Friedman’s award-winning production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s “Merrily We Roll Along” on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 p.m. local time. This one-night cinema event will also feature 20 minutes of exclusive backstage content including interviews with cast, crew and special guests.

Presented in 460 select movie theaters around the country [including Montrose Movies 12 in Akron, Cinemark Tinseltown in North Canton and Severance 14 in Cleveland Heights] through NCM’s exclusive Digital Broadcast Network, tickets for “Merrily We Roll Along” are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com. For a complete list of theater locations and prices, visit the NCM Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

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"Walking Dead" Companion Series in the Works

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 16, 2013

The official word: AMC announced today that the network is in the initial stages of developing a companion series to its original drama series The Walking Dead, which premiered on AMC in October of 2010. The Walking Dead is currently the #1 show on television among adults 18-49.  Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert are on board as executive producers, with AMC Studios set to produce. The companion series has a target on-air date of 2015.

 

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Mixed Notes Monday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 16, 2013

I was out of the office -- and out of state -- from Thursday evening through late Sunday afternoon to attend the wedding of one of my nephews. (Congratulations again, Davis and Chrissy!) It was a lovely family event and a reminder of how technology has changed. The wedding was in Richmond, VA, which for one thing meant that the hotel TV lineup did not include Big Ten Network. Football closer to that region, and nationally televised games, you could find in abundance. But not Akron-Michigan. So the bride and I followed the play-by-play closely on ESPN's Gamecast. And even there we had a a bit of a disconnect: the Twitter feeds from game-watchers were often ahead of the Gamecast posts, so we would see the score change in tweets alongside the game display before the display had changed. (It was also amusing to see the variations in tone between the U of Akron tweets and those from Michigan.) Dramatic on any platform, though, and I hope it means better things for Akron football in the near future.

These days, if we want to find a way to track an event, we can do so -- well, except for LeBron James's wedding, which even this morning seemed to keep a lot of information buttoned up. But on the ride from Virginia back to Ohio on Sunday, while we could not find the Browns game on the radio for a long stretch -- and, in the end, not finding it wasn't really a bad thing -- while I drove the bride kept track of the score on my phone while following the Akron men's soccer game on her iPad and phone. (The phone was for Twitter, which was faster and more detaiiled than the online poswts through Gametracker. And the video feed from UA didn't work at all.)

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Further Amusement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 12, 2013

For Your Amusement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 12, 2013

Special Richard Myers Program at the Cinematheque

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 11, 2013

The official word:

Richard Myers has been northeast Ohio’s most prominent and internationally honored filmmaker since the 1960s, but few in the region know his work. This will change somewhat on Sunday, September 22, at 3:00 pm when the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque welcomes Myers and presents a program entitled THE FILMS OF RICHARD MYERS: AN INTRO.

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More Noir on DVD

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 11, 2013

The previous collections of Columbia film-noir gems have been nicely packaged. Here's the announcement of he latest:

Five film noir classics from Columbia Pictures are coming to DVD for the first time ever in the latest home video collection from Turner Classic Movies (TCM), The Film Foundation and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The fourth in an ongoing series of film noir collections, Film Noir Classics IV includes five feature films – So Dark the Night (1946), Johnny O'Clock (1947), Walk a Crooked Mile (1948), Between Midnight and Dawn (1950) and Walk East on Beacon (1952) – each of which has been fully restored and remastered. The collection features a special video introduction by Academy Award®-winning director and Film Foundation founder Martin Scorsese.

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9/11 12 Years On

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 11, 2013

I don't have anything new to say about 9/11. The memory is strong, but specific parts of the memory have faded. I teach college students who were 6 years old when the attacks happened. There are personal upheavals in some of their lives that were felt more strongly than that day. Below I am posting the piece I wrote on the 10th anniversary. I think it still applies.

From the Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 11, 2011:

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Fox Dividing "SYTYCD" Finale Around President's Speech Tuesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 9, 2013

Here's how the network explained it:

ATTENTION ALL “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE” FANS IN

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Rich and the movies: Summers winners and losers at the movie theaters

By Ohio.com Published: September 9, 2013

Did you have fun at the movie theater this summer? Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels says that if you look at box office returns, some people were happy, some were not.

 

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For Jimi Hendrix Fans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 9, 2013

PBS's "American Masters" will have a two-hour telecast on Nov. 5 about Hendrix. So, for that same day, I offer an official word with guitar solo: Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release, on DVD and Blu-ray , the expanded home video edition of the American Masters documentary Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Train A Comin', combined with a host of never-before-released special performance features, on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

Also coming November 5, Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival, the first-ever release of one of the guitar virtuoso's most sought-after performances, as originally recorded on site by Hendrix's long term sound engineer, Eddie Kramer. Never available in any form, Miami Pop Festival is being released as a single CD and a limited edition numbered double 12" audiophile vinyl set (all analog cut by Bernie Grundman, pressed at QRP on 200 gram vinyl).

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More Monday Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 9, 2013

Those of you who remember Buchtel High grad Leon Harris, formerly of CNN, will want to take a look at this dramatic account of his recent illness and recovery; (Video above, text and video at the link.)

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"Breaking Bad" Complete-Series and Final-Season Blu-ray/DVD Plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 9, 2013

The official word: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment cooks up a full batch on Nov. 26 when BREAKING BAD: THE COMPLETE SERIES comes to Blu-ray(tm) in its entirety. One of the most explosive series ever to air on television, the 16-disc set is this year's must-have gift for the holiday season, complete with all 62 episodes and more than 55 hours of special features.  Starring three-time Emmy® winner Bryan Cranston (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series) alongside two-time Emmy® winner Aaron Paul (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series), the critically acclaimed drama from Sony Pictures Television boasts one of television's most radical storylines, giving viewers a glimpse into the life of how far a man might go in order to take care of the ones he loves. "Bryan Cranston is still turning in a transformative, unimpeachable performance as Walt, who remains one of the greatest dramatic creations ever to grace our TV screens," hails USA Today's Robert Bianco.

 

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Mixed Notes Sunday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 8, 2013

The bride and I spent a good bit of Saturday at sports events: a University of Akron volleyball  game in the afternoon (which the team, unbeaten to this point, lost when a number of unforced errors overwhelmed some gritty and determined play) and then an insane UA football game, where what was supposed to be an easy win over James Madison turned into an early JMU lead, back-and-forth lead changes and a naibiting 35-33 win for Akron with the outcome still in doubt as time wound down. Exciting it was. A sign that the team can win more than one game this year? Not. And next week the Zips play Michigan, which just beat Notre Dame.

Items of interest: My look at what we know, and the great deal that we do not know, about LeBron James's wedding plan as well as some notes about celebrity weddings and keeping them secret.

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Ticket Giveaway

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 7, 2013

You may have noticed at the end of today's HeldenFiles a giveaway offer for tickets to the Quentin Tarantino film festival at the Civic. Well, here's a bonus offer for blog readers: I have two MORE pairs of tickets available for two lucky winners. Here's what you do to win the blog tickets: Email your name, address and phone number along with the name of either one of the two films for which Tarantino won a screenwriting Oscar to rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Two winners will be chosen at random from all correct entries. The deadline is 11 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

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MSNBC Adding Alec Baldwin's Talk Show

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 5, 2013

The official word: Award-winning actor, activist and philanthropist Alec Baldwin will join MSNBC as the host of a new weekly current events and culture talk show to air Fridays from 10-11 p.m. ET. “Up Late w/Alec Baldwin” will begin this October. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC.


“After two seasons of my WNYC podcast, I've developed a fondness for hosting a show that involved talking with smart, talented and engaging people in every imaginable field,” said Baldwin. “I'm grateful to MSNBC for helping me bring a similar show to television.”

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Rolling Stones the Rock Hall's Latest "Music Masters" Honorees

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 5, 2013

UPDATE: The Stones themselves are not attending, says a Rock Hall rep, because of the band's busy schedule. But take a look at the house band for the tribute concert. The official word:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University will honor 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, the Rolling Stones, during the 18th Annual Music Masters series It’s Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It): The Music of The Rolling Stones beginning Monday, October 21 through Saturday, October 26, 2013 in Cleveland. This year, the series will be renamed the Annual Music Masters to reflect the historical evolution and expansion of the rock and roll story. The series is sponsored by ELS Surround.

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"American Bible Challenge" Auditions Coming to Cleveland 9/14

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 5, 2013

To apply for the show,  go to www.gsntv.com/casting; call 323.860.6744 or email Biblechallenge2014@gmail.com for further instructions. The official announcement:

The producers for GSN’s highest-rated original series of all time, THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE are on a coast to coast search to discover the next champions of THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE. The third season of the hit series hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy along with Grammy® winner Kirk Franklin as musical co-host is slated to air in 2014.

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New Hercule Poirot Novel Coming

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 4, 2013

Arriving close to 40 years after Agatha Christie's last Poirot novel, it's being written in conjunction with her estate. From the official word:

William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, today announces plans to publish the first-ever new Agatha Christie novel, fully authorized by the Christie estate, to be penned by international bestseller Sophie Hannah. ...  The novel will be published in September 2014 by HarperCollins worldwide.

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"Dancing With the Stars" Cast Announcement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 4, 2013

Snooki, Valerie Harper, another Osbourne and more. The official word:


This season’s dynamic lineup of stars -- including a sitcom legend, a reality mega-star, a football champion and a pop music sensation – will perform for the first time on live national television with their professional partners during the two-hour season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

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DVD/Blu-ray Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 3, 2013

Official word on some upcoming titles

The high-octane follow-up to the worldwide hit, Red 2 arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD UltraViolet), DVD (plus Digital Ultraviolet), Video On Demand and Pay-Per-View on November 26 from Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE Company. The film will be available on Digital HD two weeks early on November 12. ...The Red 2 Blu-ray Disc and DVD bonus materials include "The Red 2 Experience," an in-depth look at the film's characters, weapons, spy gadgets and stunts, as well as deleted scenes and a gag reel and will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

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"True Blood" Conclusion Announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 3, 2013

The official word: The hit show TRUE BLOOD will end its run in  2014, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. Consisting of ten episodes, the previously announced seventh season will launch next
summer.

“TRUE BLOOD has been nothing short of a defining show for HBO,” noted Lombardo. “Alan Ball took the books by Charlaine Harris, assembled a brilliant cast led by the magnificent Anna Paquin in the role of Sookie Stackhouse, and crafted a show that has taken its many devoted fans on an unforgettable journey. Alan passed the baton to Brian Buckner, who led our fantastic writers and crew in crafting a spectacular sixth season, and he will lead us through the seventh and final season of this amazing show.Together with its legions of fans, it will be hard to say goodbye to the residents of Bon Temps, but I look forward to what promises to be a fantastic final chapter of this incredible show.”

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"50 Shades" Casting: Hunnam, Johnson in Leads

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 3, 2013

Charlie Hunnam of "Sons of Anarchy" will be Christian Grey, Dakota Johnson will be Anastasia Steele. Here are the two announcements:

Charlie Hunnam will star as Christian Grey, the lead male character in Universal Pictures and Focus Features’ highly anticipated film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” it was announced today. He joins Dakota Johnson, who will star opposite him as Anastasia Steele. The film, which will be released by Focus Features on August 1, 2014 in North America, is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside E L James, the author of the #1 bestselling book on which the film is based. The screenplay is by Kelly Marcel. The announcement about Mr. Hunnam’s casting in Fifty Shades of Grey was made today by Ms. James.

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News Notes: Couric Engaged, New Premiere Date for "Crossfire"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 3, 2013

From ABC News: Katie Couric will be wearing an extra piece of jewelry when she returns for the second season of her talk show, "Katie," next week.

The ABC News special correspondent, 56, became engaged Labor Day weekend to John Molner, 50, her boyfriend of nearly two years.

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LeBron James Producing New Series for Starz

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 3, 2013

Interesting that the Starz series James mentions liking, "Magic City," has been canceled. The official word: Starz Chief Executive Officer, Chris Albrecht, announced today that Starz will work with LeBron James, Tom Werner, Mike O’Malley, Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter to develop a half-hour scripted comedy series, “Survivor’s Remorse,” for STARZ.  The series will explore the complexity, comedy and drama of an experience that everyone reads about, but few understand – what truly happens when you make it out.  Through a combination of God-given talent and north Philly grit, Cam Calloway and Reggie Vaughn have achieved fame and fortune that neither could have imagined growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.  But success comes with its own challenges, and the cousins and confidantes wrestle with the rewards of money, stardom, love, and occasionally, the guilt of having “made it.”

“We are incredibly excited at Starz to work with such a deep bench of talented storytellers to develop ‘Survivor’s Remorse,’” said Albrecht.  “Everyone involved brings something unique to the table – from Tom Werner’s legendary television success to LeBron’s extraordinary life experiences and point of view.  We hope that ‘Survivor’s Remorse’ will bring the humor, pain and complexity of these characters to life in a way that is honest and compelling for audiences worldwide.”

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RIP, David Frost

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 3, 2013

The interviewer and talk-show personality passed away over the long holiday weekend; I tweeted about it then, but wanted to offer a little more here. First, that Frost was far more impressive than he has at times been portrayed. I am thinking especially of "Frost/Nixon," the movie about Frost's interviews with Richard Nixon, with Michael Sheen as Frost and Frank Langella as Nixon. When the movie came out on DVD, part of my review said this:\

Then there's the whole idea of Frost as some low-rent talk-show host who is not used to interviewing the powerful. Look at The Man Who Owns the News, Michael Wolff's biography of Rupert Murdoch, and you find Frost interviewing Murdoch in 1969 -- long before the Nixon interviews -- and scourging the mogul-on-the-rise. As Wolff describes the interview: ''It's notable for the ferocity of Frost 's attack -- sarcastic, prosecutorial and sanctimonious.''

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