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Wednesday Notebook

By admin Published: July 15, 2009

A couple of recommendations: "The Hurt Locker," new movie, which I saw yesterday, and "Torchwood: Children of Earth," on BBC America next week. I expect to write at greater length about both. Here's a peek at the first seven minutes of "Children of Earth":

Other topics: TBS has commissioned a TV series of "Are We There Yet?" from Ice Cube, et al. Terry Crews, so very good on "Everybody Hates Chris," takes over Cube's movie role for TV. Release is after the jump.

"Dexter" Season 3 comes to DVD and Blu-Ray Aug. 18. "Two and a Half Men" Season 6 arrives on DVD on Sept. 1. Announcement after the jump.

"Pitchmen," the Billy Mays series, will continue even with Mays dead. Also after the jump.

If you missed my review of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the sixth HP film, it is here. Field conditions: Saw it at 11 a.m. Monday in the Solon Cinemas with a small group, most of it movie reviewers. I was looking forward to the film, since I have read all the books and enjoyed the fifth film in the series. But, as you can see, I was disappointed.

I mentioned the trouble with news being embargoed as it relates to movie reviews. An account of another awkward situation is here.

And so to the jump. ...

"Pitchmen" announcement:

Discovery Channel's PITCHMEN, the 12-part series that featured the late Billy Mays II and his business partner, Anthony 'Sully' Sullivan, will be back for a second season. Because of the success of the series first season, and as a tribute to Mays' legacy, the show will continue. PITCHMEN, which is produced by Original Productions, a division of Freemantle Media, took viewers behind the curtain into the billion dollar infomercial industry, as Mays and Sullivan helped everyday men and women bring their inventions to the masses. Discovery Channel is developing the format of season two with Mays' son, Billy Mays III, Anthony Sullivan and Thom Beers, CEO of Original Productions. More information will be announced as it becomes available. A premiere date for season two of PITCHMEN hasn't yet been set.

PITCHMAN: A TRIBUTE TO BILLY MAYS, which first premiered on Discovery Channel on July 9, will re-air Friday, July 24 at 10PM ET/PT. The special pays tribute to the larger-than-life infomercial pioneer - the products he launched, the numerous inventors he helped, and how this family man from Pittsburgh became a household name, ultimately redefining television ad sales.

"Are We There Yet?" announcement:

TBS, using the unique model created by Debmar-Mercury with Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Meet the Browns, is teaming with Joe Roth and Ice Cube for ARE WE THERE YET?, a sitcom starring Terry Crews (Everybody Hates Chris) and based on the hit Revolution Studios film of the same name. TBS has ordered 10 episodes of the new sitcom, slated to premiere in June 2010, with the option for an additional 90 episodes. The series is produced by Cube Vision and distributed by Debmar-Mercury. Revolution’s Joe Roth and Cube Vision’s Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez serve as executive producers, along with award-winning show-runner Ali LeRoi, who has won an Emmy® for his work on The Chris Rock Show and an NAACP Image Award for Everybody Hates Chris. In addition to executive-producing, Ice Cube will have a recurring role.

“We are confident that ARE WE THERE YET? will fit extremely well within TBS’s popular and diverse comedy lineup,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “It’s great to be working with Debmar-Mercury again after enjoying such enormous success with Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Meet the Browns. We also look forward to forging a new relationship with Revolution Studios and Cube Vision.”

The movie Are We There Yet?, a breakout 2005 hit, told the story of Nick (Ice Cube), a smooth operator who is trying to land a date with Suzanne, a divorcee stuck working out of town over New Year’s and miserable because she misses her kids. Nick gallantly offers to make her New Year’s wish come true – and his own in the process – by driving her two children to be reunited with their mom. What Nick doesn’t know is that Suzanne’s children, whom he’s never met, hate every man their mom dates on sight. The movie grossed more than $82 million at the box office and was followed in 2007 by a sequel, Are We Done Yet?

In the sitcom ARE WE THERE YET?, Crews will star as Nick, the character Ice Cube played in the film.

“Are We There Yet? was a hit family movie that transitions seamlessly into a television show,” Roth said. “There is nothing quite like it currently on television. Teaming Cube Vision with Ali LeRoi to create this show with the astoundingly funny Terry Crews is a perfect way to continue the Are We There Yet? franchise.”

Ice Cube said, “People of all ages loved the movies, so I am very excited to work on the series. Terry Crews is the perfect person to replace me as Nick. His physical comedy is undeniable. And Joe Roth is a master at putting the right team together. Cube Vision and Ali Leroi is a match made in heaven. No one runs a show like Ali. We are dedicated to creating the new template for family comedy.”

Debmar-Mercury’s association with TBS began in 2006, when the company devised a groundbreaking distribution strategy for Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Debmar-Mercury offered a 10-episode experiment in select markets that produced strong ratings, leading TBS to order a full-fledged series with an unprecedented 100 episodes. In January 2009, TBS premiered 10 episodes of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns to strong ratings, leading the network to order additional episodes for a total of 80. So far this year, the two series have ranked as the top television programs in delivery of African-American viewers.

“When we set out to expand on the television comedy model that the amazing Tyler Perry has turned into a runaway success at TBS, we knew we had to be in business with Ice Cube, a cultural icon who can do it all: an acclaimed hip-hop artist, film phenomenon, actor, writer, director and producer,” Marcus said.

Bernstein added, “To be back with TBS again and have a dream team of creative partners like Ice Cube, Joe Roth, Matt Alvarez and Ali LeRoi attached to this project, plus a breakout star in Terry Crews, this show has all the elements to be a major hit.”

Debmar-Mercury, a worldwide media company specializing in syndication, network, cable and ancillary markets, produces and distributes The Wendy Williams Show, debuting in July 2009; distributes Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and spinoff Meet the Browns; distributes a new, untitled comedy debuting in 2010 from Gary Sanchez Productions’ Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy; produces and distributes Trivial Pursuit: America Plays, in association with Hasbro, Inc.; distributes strips Family Feud, South Park and True Hollywood Story, as well as weeklies American Chopper, Deadliest Catch and The Dead Zone; and a movie library featuring titles from Revolution Studios and Lionsgate. In September 2007, Debmar-Mercury established a London-based international television distribution unit focused on acquiring international formats for U.S. and worldwide distribution, as well as licensing U.S. television formats to the global market. Debmar-Mercury is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading next-generation studio.

Revolution Studios is the licensor and a distributor of the new series. Revolution Studios was founded in 2000 by Joe Roth, in partnership with Sony Pictures, Starz Encore Group and Fox Entertainment Group. Since its inception, Revolution Studios has created a library of 46 films, including Black Hawk Down, Maid in Manhattan, Anger Management and the Are We There Yet? franchise, collectively earning more than $3.7 billion at the box office. Currently, Revolution Studios is engaged in actively managing its library and pursuing licensing opportunities, including sequels, spin-offs and other productions based on its films. Prior to forming Revolution Studios, Joe Roth served as chairman of both the Walt Disney Studios and Twentieth Century Fox. In addition to being the majority owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, a major league soccer team, he is currently producing Alice in Wonderland for Disney with director Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.

Cube Vision is a film and television production company that was started in 1998 by Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez. They have produced the successful Friday, Barbershop and Are We There Yet? franchises, as well as movies such as The Longshots and the upcoming The Janky Promoters. Additionally, they have produced the critically acclaimed television series Black/White. Other series include Barbershop: The Series and Friday: The Animated Series.

"Dexter" release:

Enjoy Showtime's most-watched original series in its horrifyingly intoxicating junior season, when DEXTER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON slays the competition on DVD and Blu-ray August 18 from Showtime Networks, CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment. Both sets include all 12 captivating third season episodes plus access to a host of cunningly clever bonus features.

Led by the riveting performance of Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Michael C. Hall
as Dexter Morgan, a vicious serial killer on the right side of the law, this provocative crime drama deftly combines high thrills and razor-sharp wit. features an impressive ensemble cast that includes Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez, David Zayas and James Remar

The third season of DEXTER is highlighted by a special guest appearance by Jimmy Smits as Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado, whose own keen instincts may endanger Dexter's vigilante work. With access to special features including cast interviews plus two episodes each of Showtime's acclaimed hit series United States of Tara and The Tudors,
DEXTER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $47.99 US and $52.99 CAN and on Blu-ray for the suggested retail price of $57.99 US and $65.99 CAN.

DEXTER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON DVD is a four-disc set presented in Widescreen with English 5.1 Dolby Surround, English 2.0 Surround and Spanish Mono sound. The DVD is not rated in the U.S. and rated 14A (Gory Scenes/ Brutal Violence/ Disturbing Content) in Canada. The total running time is approximately 10 hours.

"Men" release:

Malibu bachelor, the chiropractor and the all-grown-up kid continue their lives under one roof when Warner Home Video (WHV) gets set to release TV’s #1 comedy hit, Two and a Half Men: The Complete Sixth Season, on DVD on September 1, 2009 for $44.98 SRP. This four-disc set includes all 24 episodes from the sixth season along with two all-new featurettes and a hilarious gag reel. The Two and a Half Men franchise continues to be one of Warner Bros. Television’s most successful and award-winning shows. In its first five seasons, it was nominated for 30 Emmys®, two Golden Globes and has won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy for three of those seasons.

In Two and a Half Men: The Complete Sixth Season, a smart, independent brunette named Chelsea (Jennifer Bini Taylor) may finally have turned party-boy Charlie (Charlie Sheen) into a man. The kind of man who brings you tea when you’re sick, sleeps over at your place even if he can’t watch ESPN in bed, or makes the ultimate sacrifice: nukes the nudie pix off his cell phone. There are alot of memorable, funny moments that keep Two and a Half Men the #1 comedy on TV: Jake (Angus T. Jones) locks lips with the cute girl next door, the one whose football-star dad is named Mad Dog. Judith (Marin Hinkle) prepares for a midlife baby who may end up looking a lot like Alan (Jon Cryer.) Alan also dates his receptionist and then ends up in bed with her frisky mom.

“Two and a Half Men continues to be the top-rated comedy on television, with its star-studded cast, unique/quirky humor and top-notch writing,” said Rosemary Markson, WHV Vice President, TV & Special Interest Marketing. “We are delighted to be releasing Season Six on DVD.”

In addition to all 24 episodes of the sixth season, Two and a Half Men: The Complete Sixth Season, contains never-before-seen special features, including:

Growing Up Harper – The Evolution of Jake Harper and the talented young actor who portrays him, Angus T. Jones.
The Women of Two and a Half Men – Let’s hear from the girls!
Gag Reel

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