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New episodes of "Sesame Street" to air on HBO before PBS

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 13, 2015

The official word:  Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the Emmy Award-winning program, Sesame Street, and HBO, the nation’s leading premium cable network, today announced a new partnership that will make the next five seasons of the iconic series available on HBO and its multiplex channels, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and the new internet only SVOD service HBO NOW. As a key part of the deal, Sesame will be able to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons, and for the first time ever, make the show available free of charge to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.

 

“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO. “It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Street and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay cable and SVOD access to the nation’s most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”

 

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Garth Brooks to give first Cleveland concerts in 19 years in October

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 12, 2015

The official word:  For the first time in 19 years, The Garth Brooks World Tour is coming Cleveland, OH! The shows will be Friday, October 9th, 7:00 PM and Saturday, October 10th, 7:00 PM at Quicken Loans Arena.

Tickets will be on sale Friday, August 21st at 10:00 AM EST. You can only buy tickets at www.theqarena.com/garth or 1-844-63GARTH (844-634-2784). Please note there will be no ticket sales at the venue box office or outlets on August 21st.

Tickets will cost $61.56 plus $4.92 tax, a $3.00 facility fee and a $5.50 service charge for a total of $74.98.

More ticket details:

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Monday notes (expanded)

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 10, 2015

You may have seen my column a week ago about Ohio stereotyping. It generated some reader reaction, and more love for Ohio. I accordingly wrote this follow-up column.

This week's mailbag is here.

Of time and culture: Listening to satellite radio this morning, I heard a host sending condolences to Kathie Lee Gifford re Frank's death and the host admitting she had no idea that Frank had played football. A co-host then said Gifford had played before many of them were born -- and he knew of Gifford from "Monday Night Football." A reminder of a man who, among other things, was a Pro Bowl selection at three different positions is here.

The Cuyahoga County Public Library's series of writer lectures is now selling single-event tickets. The lineup includes Gillian Flynn, Neil Gaiman and the co-creators of the "Serial" podcast.  More info here.

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What's new in Hulu's plans?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 10, 2015

Here's some info from the online service, including its streaming of new "Mindy Project" episodes:

The Awesomes
Premiere date: Season three streaming weekly beginning Tuesday, September 8
Cast: Seth Meyers,Taran Killam, Paula Pell, Ike Barinholtz, Rashida Jones, Bill Hader, Kenan Thompson, Bobby Lee, Emily Spivey and Josh Meyers
Crew: Executive Produced by Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker
Synopsis: The Awesomes is the story of the greatest superhero team in history, and what happens after all the most powerful members leave. In season three, the new Awesomes and team leader Prock (Seth Meyers) have finally been accepted by America. Their only problem: the team’s founder and Prock’s Dad, Mr. Awesome, has returned from space and he’s been infected with Dr. Malocchio’s evil serum and has a plan to destroy his own son’s team.



The Mindy Project
Premiere date: Streaming weekly beginning Wednesday, September 15
Cast: Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina, Ed Weeks, Ike Barinholtz, Beth Grant and Xosha Roquemore
Crew: Executive Produced by Mindy Kaling, Howard Klein, Matt Warburton, and Charlie Grandy
Synopsis: A young Ob/Gyn doctor balances her personal and professional life, surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small office.



Casual
Premiere date: Streaming weekly beginning Wednesday, October 7
Cast: Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins and Tara Lynne Barr
Crew: Created by Zander Lehmann, directed by Jason Reitman, executive produced by Jason Reitman, Zander Lehmann, Helen Estabrook and Liz Tigelaar
Synopsis: A comedy series about a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister living under one roof again. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating while raising her teenage daughter.



RocketJump: The Show
Premiere date: Streaming weekly beginning Wednesday, October 21
Cast: Freddie Wong, Jimmy Wong, Ashly Burch, Clint Jones, Chase Williamson, Ellary Porterfield, Josh Blaylock, Anthony Alabi and Noah Segan
Crew: Created, produced, written by Freddie Wong with Showrunner Ben M. Waller, Producer Ashim Ahuja, Head Writer Anthony Burch and Director Matt Arnold
Synopsis: Each half-hour episode of the comedy series will chronicle the filmmaking behind RocketJump’s newest short. The eight full episodes will be released exclusively on Hulu on a weekly basis and the newly created shorts will premiere exclusively on Hulu.

 

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After Thursday ...

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 7, 2015

In today's Beacon Journal, I have a chat with Joe Vitale, the great and renowned drummer, who is in Meryl Streep's band in the new movie "Ricki and the Flash." (I also liked the movie.) You can read the interview here.

Thursday night I tweeted my way through the early debate, the late debate and Jon Stewart's farewell. You can find those tweets through @RHeldenfelsABJ. Here are some brief thoughts about those events:

Re Stewart, the cameos and thank-you's went on too long. Paddy Chayefsky beat Stewart to the "BS is everywhere" speech by about 40 years. (See "Network.") But in the end -- as Bruce Springsteen sang for the last moment of zen -- it's still about the land of hope and dreams. And I so very much wish Stewart had done one more show, just to see what he'd say about today's GOP debates.

That said, Stewart's best walk-off would have been this "Destroyer of Worlds" piece from Wednesday. It combined his passion with the awareness that all the jokes hadn't changed as much as people would like to think.

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Follow Rich Heldenfels as he live-tweets GOP presidential debates, Jon Stewart's finale

By Ohio.com staff Published: August 6, 2015

It's going to be a busy night for pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels.  Follow along with him on Twitter as he tweets live about the Republican presidential debates in Cleveland and Jon Stewart's Daily Show finale.

MORE: Five things to know before the GOP debate

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Rock Hall hosts "conversation" with Michael Stanley

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2015

The official word from the hall: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will host a live interview with Cleveland rock icon Michael Stanley at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19 in the Museum’s Foster Theater.

Stanley will discuss his latest album, And Then…, with Dr. Lauren Onkey, the Rock Hall’s VP of Education and Public Programming. And Then… was produced by Stanley and mixed by legendary producer/engineer Bill Szymczyk (Eagles, B.B.King, Joe Walsh, The James Gang, The Who and Santana). Following the interview, Stanley will sign copies of his new CD.

Backed by members of his road band The Resonators, And Then… is another outstanding example of Stanley’s eclectic musical leanings. “I guess it springs from growing up in the same timeframe as rock n’ roll and being knocked out by all the different styles that led to that musical melting pot,” said Stanley. “Because of that I rarely sit down to write a certain ‘type’ of song… whatever happens, happens… and although that can be a marketing man’s nightmare, it keeps me interested and, hopefully, growing as a writer.”

The event is free with a reservation through the Rock Hall website at tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall box office. Seating is limited. Rock Hall Members can RSVP starting at 10 a.m. EST on Mon., August 10. Non-Rock Hall members can RSVP starting at 10 a.m. EST on Tues, August 11. The event will also be live streamed on rockhall.com.

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More "Descendants" news: animated short-form series coming in September

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2015

 

The official word: "Descendants Wicked World," an animated short-form series set in the Auradon and Isle of the Lost worlds of Disney's hit movie "Descendants," is set to premiere FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 on Disney Channel and its digital platforms, including WATCH Disney Channel. The series will introduce new characters. Providing the voices of the animated characters are the movie's stars: Dove Cameron as Mal, Sofia Carson as Evie, Cameron Boyce as Carlos, Booboo Stewart as Jay, Mitchell Hope as Ben, Brenna D'Amico as Jane, Sarah Jeffery as Audrey and Dianne Doan as Lonnie.

"Descendants Wicked World" picks up after the final scene of Disney's "Descendants," the Disney Channel Original Movie that delivered over 10.5 million Total Viewers (L+3) for its premiere telecast, ranking as the most watched cable TV movie of 2015 and the top-rated telecast in two years in Kids 2-11 and Tweens 9-14.

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Disney's "Descendants": A fan speaks

By Rich Heldenfiles Published: August 5, 2015

On Friday night, I noted that not much was on TV and was told by a friend that Disney was premiering "Descendants." "If your column's audience consisted of 11 year old girls, 'Descendants' could take the next month of your writing," he said.

So I asked an 11-year-old girl about it, as you shall see.

For those of you tuning in late, "Descendants" is an addition to Disney's fairy-tale universe (which rivals MCU in its crossovers) where Belle and the Beast are married parents. Their kingdom, Auradon, is near an island where villains Maleficent, Jafar, Cruella DeVil and Snow White's Evil Queen have been exiled. Belle and the Beast's adolescent son, Ben, thinks the villains' teen children should get a chance at a good life, and they are brought to Auradon. That creates an emotional struggle between the evil they have been brought up on and the good around them,

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Monday roundup: Cilla Black, Jon Stewart, Ohio-ness, more

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 3, 2015

Singer and TV star Cilla Black has passed away. She was big in England, recipient of several songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (who can be seen in the above video) and had some success in the U.S. I have come to like the video a great deal, both because the song is a good one and because it's a reminder of the weird behaviors in variety shows of the past. I also learned when I tweeted about Black's death that her following is global and still devoted.

My look at the "Daily Show" years of Jon Stewart, with some local flourishes, is here.

My rant about the way some folks view Ohio is here. I am planning a follow-up column with some reader reactions, among them the note that Ohio actually has a village called Hicksville.

This week's mailbag is here.

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