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Rich and the movies: Marvel movie dates

By Ohio.com Published: October 31, 2014

There's a lot of superhero movies planned over the next five years. But do we really need to know the dates already? Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels discusses that in his weekly video below and writes about it more here.

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More "Vicious" on PBS in 2015

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 31, 2014

The official word: PBS and Shine International announced today that the second season of ITV's acclaimed British sitcom VICIOUS will be coming to PBS in 2015, kicking-off a star-studded summer lineup of British programming on the U.S. network.

 

Following a re-commission by UK broadcaster ITV, VICIOUS will return with Freddie (Sir Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Sir Derek Jacobi) delivering more biting remarks, snide comments and cruel asides. Joined by friends Violet (Frances de la Tour), Ash (Iwan Rheon), Penelope (Marcia Warren), Mason (Philip Voss) and a host of surprising guest characters, the boys embark on another season of humorous mishaps, misunderstandings, hideous break-ups and heart-warming make-ups. The six part series will air first on ITV in the UK, with the PBS transmission following in summer 2015.

 

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The newest LeBron Nike ad

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 30, 2014

Mixed notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 30, 2014

Ted Sikora of Akron is finding more and more success, including a successful Kickstarter campaign, with the comic-book tale "Apama." You can read about it here.

It's the 76th anniversary of the legendary Orson Welles radio production of "War of the Worlds." Last year,, I wrote about it, and about the way people in Akron reacted (including the man who inisisted aliens had landed in his yard.) 

Tonight brings the return of a regular, non-football lineup on CBS. In this case: "Big Bang Theory," "Mom," "Two and a Half Men," new show  "The McCarthys" and "Elementary." I have seen the pilot for "The MCarthys." Good cast, predictable show.

As you may know, Saturday Night Live alumni Tim Meadows, Rob Schneider and Jon Lovitz will perform at 8 p.m.pn Nov. 6 in the Akron Civic Theatre. And I have tickets to give away.
You can win one of two pairs of tickets to the show by emailing the answer to this question: What was the favorite drink of Meadows’ character The Ladies Man? Send an email with the header SNL Stars to rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com.
From all correct answers received by 5 p.m. Sunday I will choose two at random to receive a set of tickets. Be sure to include your name, address and a daytime phone number.

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ICYMI: New "Avengers 2" clip

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 29, 2014

 

First aired during last night's "Agents of SHIELD."

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CBS gives full seasons to "Madam Secretary," "Scorpion, "NCIS: NOLA" and "Stalker"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2014

The official word: CBS has given full season orders to all four of its new dramas, including the #1 and #2 new series of the season, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS and SCORPION, Sunday's #1 scripted broadcast, MADAM SECRETARY, and the time period-winning suspense thriller STALKER. These pick-ups include three of the top four new shows launched on television this season, and three series that rank among the top 15 of ALL prime time programs.

The four freshman dramas, along with the Network's returning hit series and NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, have helped CBS win the first four weeks of the season for the sixth consecutive year, with growth of +5% over the comparable period a year ago.

 

"These four shows have had an immediate impact on our schedule by improving nights, winning time periods and adding more hours of success across our primetime line up," said Nina Tassler, Chairman, CBS Entertainment.

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Neil Patrick Harris getting NBC variety show

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2014

Which has to be the most obvious idea in recent TV history. The official word:

ringing five-time Emmy Award winner Neil Patrick Harris to the network, NBC has ordered a new primetime variety series based on the hugely popular U.K. format “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” which was created by ITV Studios, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. The series is an institution in the U.K., winning multiple awards, including two prestigious BAFTA’s in 2014.
Harris, who has served as an Emmy and Tony Award host and was recently announced as host of the 2015 Academy Awards, will bring his multi-dimensional skills to the forefront of this new hourlong series.
NBC’s new variety series will feature comedy sketches, musical numbers, mini game shows, hidden camera pranks on celebrities and appearances by A-list stars, based on ITV’s U.K. format, “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.”

NBC has ordered 10 episodes from ITV Studios America, all of which will be filmed in front of a live audience. Neither an official title nor air date has been set.
"As I watched the show, I couldn't stop smiling. Now that I've seen many seasons, my face hurts. It's a game changer,” said Harris. “Nothing like this has been done before, and its unique structure fits right into my random skill set. I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and have some fun!"

“All of us here at NBC have been dying to work with Neil, as we’ve watched him brilliantly host the Tonys and Emmys,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment. “This series will suit his extraordinary talents perfectly. He is a versatile and thrilling talent for us to welcome into the NBC family.”

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"Morning Joe" to broadcast from Ohio State

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2014

The official word: “Morning Joe” will tackle the important issues of what really moves the American economy with a special broadcast from The Ohio State University on Wednesday, October 29th. The MSNBC program will take place in conjunction with the Middle Market Summit, which will be held at the university and live streamed on msnbc.com.


Joe and Mika will head to the heart of Buckeye Nation to discuss the driving force behind over 44 million U.S. jobs with special guests including: Fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA); Ohio Senators Rob Portman (R) and Sherrod Brown (D); General Electric Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Immelt; investor Steve Case; and Christine Poon, dean of The Ohio State University College of Business.


This special edition of “Morning Joe” is sponsored by GE Capital and is open to the public. More information and a live stream of the broadcast can be found at http://msnbc.com/middlemarket


Alex Korson is the executive producer of “Morning Joe” (weekdays on MSNBC 6-9 a.m. ET).
 

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In case you think TV viewing habits have not changed ...

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2014

.. note how many people are watching TV on some kind of delay, and how that affects the ratings. At least, this is how CBS is showing some of it. From the network:

NCIS moved ahead of “Sunday Night Football” as the week’s #1 broadcast, according to Nielsen Live +7-day ratings for Week 3, Oct. 6-12.

 

With Live +7-day ratings, NCIS gained +4.31m, up +25% to 21.61m from its live plus same day average of 17.30m, overtaking “Sunday Night Football's” 18.18m. THE BIG BANG THEORY (20.85m, up +4.91m, +31% from 15.94m) and NCIS: NEW ORLEANS (18.51m, up +3.10m, +20% from 15.41m) also surpassed “Sunday Night Football.”

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In case you missed them ...

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2014

The most recent mailbag is here.

My look at "Becoming," a new show about the development of LeBron James, is here.

I also had some thoughts about the TV series "WKRP in Cincinnati" and a new DVD set. And there's a second item about a new series on "Masterpiece Mystery."

Check out the Kickstarter campaign for the NE Ohio-set comic-story series "Apama." It has made its basic goal, but more money means more possibilities (and more goods for contributors.) I'll have a chat with Ted Sikora about the project later this week.

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Honey Boo Boo done

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 24, 2014

The video above, from Mama June, indicates that TLC has pulled the plug -- although June denies any wrongdoing. TMZ, which reported on the allegations of June's relationship with a conviced pedophile, broke the news of the cancellation as well.

And TLC itself issued a statement to some publications, including EW.com. It says:

“TLC has canceled the series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and ended all activities around the series, effective immediately. Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority.TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well-being.”

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Capaldi "Doctor Who" on DVD/Blu-ray in December

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2014

The official word: The new era of Doctor Who has begun and on December 9, 2014 Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series lands on Blu-ray and DVD. The most recent season sees a brand new face at the controls of the TARDIS with Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It) as the Doctor. TV Guide Magazine calls his performance “Absolutely brilliant” and People Magazine says “His arrival in the premiere is a jolt – and a joy.” Relive all 12 episodes of this electrifying season, as well as bonus features including EXCLUSIVE footage from the London Premiere Q&A with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, four EXCLUSIVE episode commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, a special documentary following Doctor Who: The World Tour, and many more.

 

The new era of Doctor Who starring Peter Capaldi delivered the highest rated season premiere ever on BBC AMERICA. In the feature-length premiere, the new Doctor crash-lands in Victorian London. As Clara (Jenna Coleman, Dancing on the Edge) struggles to recognize the man she thought she knew so well, killers are stalking the capital. A slaughterhouse restaurant and a buried spaceship lead the Doctor into a confrontation with a long forgotten foe… but how far is this new man ready to go to protect his friends? The new season sees the Doctor and Clara encounter wonders and horrors. They meet a fleet of Daleks as they attempt to rescue a stranded ship of human survivors, face ranks of Cybermen stalking the Earth, go back in time and join Robin Hood in a fight with killer robots in Sherwood Forest, become bank robbers when they break into the deadliest bank in the cosmos, face a mummy on the Orient Express, discover a deadly horror dwelling on the Moon, and come to know the last man standing at the end of the Universe. And as Clara falls for handsome fellow teacher, Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson, The History Boys), can she keep her two extraordinary lives going?

Bonus materials include:

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Two Guys Talkin': Fun with music censorship

By Deanna Stevens Published: October 23, 2014

Inspired by San Francisco radio stations banning "Royals" by Lorde during the World Series, Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels and pop music writer Malcolm X Abram talk music censorship through the years. 

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Video: Rich and the movies - 'Dear White People'

By Ohio.com Published: October 23, 2014

This week, Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels Dear White People, starring Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson and Dennis Haysbert. He recommends the movie highly.

Read Rich's full review of the movie here.

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"Lizzie Borden" becoming limited-run Lifetime series; Christina Ricci back as Lizzie

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2014

The official word: Lizzie Borden takes another whack...  Lifetime has ordered the limited series Lizzie Borden: The Fall River Chronicles, in which Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award nominee Christina Ricci (Monster) will reprise her haunting role as the notorious murder suspect she portrayed in the network’s hit original movie Lizzie Borden Took An Ax (#LizzieBorden).  Screen Actors Guild Award® winner Clea DuVall (Argo) will also reprise her role in the series as Lizzie Borden’s sister, Emma.  The announcement was made today by Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Lifetime.

 

Lizzie Borden: The Fall River Chronicles delivers an intense and fictionalized account of actual events and people surrounding Lizzie’s life after her controversial acquittal of the horrific double murder of her father and stepmother in 1892, when the exonerated figure lives a life awash in newfound celebrity.  But when numerous people close to Lizzie – ranging from her half-brother to Broadway luminaries and the head of the criminal underworld -- start to mysteriously die under brutal and strange circumstances, legendary Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo (Cole Hauser, Good Will Hunting) becomes determined to prove her involvement in their ultimate demise.  Emmy nominee John Heard (The Sopranos) will portray William Almy, the business partner of Lizzie’s murdered father Andrew, while Lizzie’s half-brother William will be played by Andrew Howard (Hatfields & McCoys).  Six-one hour installments of Lizzie Borden: The Fall River Chronicles will air on Lifetime in 2015.

 

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I like "Gotham" anyway but, man, this trailer ...

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2014

"Avengers 2" Trailer: Is it May yet?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2014

Spin-off Wednesday: "Cold Justice," "Shark Tank" variations announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 22, 2014

From ABC, re "Beyond the Tank":

From the producers of the Emmy-winning reality series, “Shark Tank,” comes the launch of a new companion series for ABC, “Beyond the Tank.” The ten one-hour episodes from Sony Pictures Television and United Artists Media Group will explore the opportunities and challenges that come after striking a deal on “Shark Tank.” The series will air on ABC.

Audiences familiar with the compelling ups and downs of the negotiations will be further engaged in the drama that takes place after the entrepreneurs’ appearance on “Shark Tank.” What lies in the aftermath of their investment? Did a promising deal turn sour or launch a million dollar profit margin? After closer inspection of the business, did the Sharks or the entrepreneur back out of the deal?

“Beyond the Tank” will feature a look back at past “Shark Tank” pitches and deals to examine the highs and lows that can come from an appearance in the tank. The series will revisit entrepreneurs whose businesses were groundbreaking in terms of their technology, business model or branding who have taken their business to new heights with the help of the Sharks, entrepreneurs and their Shark investors who gambled on their businesses and lost, businesses that multiple sharks fought hard against each other to secure and even those entrepreneurs who did not get deals from the Sharks, but continued on in pursuit of their dream.

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Kenny G fights the power

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 22, 2014

My favorite news of the day has Kenny G in solidarity with Hong Kong protesters, much to the dismay of the Chinese government and many Kenny-loving Chinese. ("Going Home," so reports say, is the standard song businesses and schools play at quitting time.) No suggestion yet that Kenny's tune is being banned in the People's Republic, though. And a report I heard on NPR wondered if Mr. Going Home's presence was a subtle message to the protesters that it's quitting time for them.

In any case, I hope -- really, really hope -- that this will lead to a collection of protest songs in the G style. Call it "Smooth Jazz for a Rough World" or something. And here's the start of a list of songs I'd love to hear Kenny try. And just imagine the music videos.

Idioteque (Radiohead)

Straight Outa Compton (NWA)

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"Mockingjay" soundtrack announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2014

They're going crazy for it at Buzzfeed. The official word: The digital pre-order for the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 [Republic Records] has officially gone live on iTunes today. The album will be available in stores and on all online partners beginning November 17. The full track listing and cover artwork for the highly anticipated soundtrack curated by 17 year old LORDE has also been revealed. The soundtrack will feature unique and groundbreaking collaborations from artists including Stromae feat. Pusha T, Q-Tip, Haim, CHVRCHES, Tove Lo, Charli XCX feat. Simon Le Bon, Raury, Grace Jones, Chemical Brothers feat. Miguel, a special Kanye West rework of LORDE’s already released hit single “Yellow Flicker Beat,” and an additional surprise track that will be revealed soon.

 

Those who purchase the pre-order will receive instant downloads of the first single, multiplatinum GRAMMY® Award winner LORDE's "Yellow Flicker Beat" and The Chemical Brothers' "This Is Not A Game" [featuring Miguel].

 

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Ready for Halloween camp and absurdity?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2014

Streaming site Frightpix.com has a list of its top 10 campy horror movies (as opposed, of course, to horror movies set in camp). Its recommendations, in alphabetical order: "Aaah! Zombies!", "The Attic," "The Collector," "Devil in the Flesh," "Infection: The Invasion Begins," "Mask Maker," "Psychoshark," "Seduction of Dr. Fugazzi," "They Wait" and "Toxic Avenger." I have not seen any of these (except "Toxic Avenger") so I can't judge. But neither do I feel deprived.

Hitfix, meanwhile, has a list of 10 ludicrous horror villains, among them a killer bed. Yes, you read that right. It also includes "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," a horror-comedy, which seems not to have gotten on Ryan Murphy's radar. The list is here..

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A new Eugene Levy/Catherine O'Hara series? Now, please

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2014

But we have to wait until 2015, for the launch of the series and of the POP network on which it will appear. The official word:

SCHITT’S CREEK, a character-driven comedy series created by and starring Eugene Levy and his son Daniel, will premiere on POP (currently TVGN), becoming the first original scripted project in the history of the network.

 

SCHITT'S CREEK on POP will debut with 13 half-hour episodes and will star Emmy® winners Eugene Levy (“American Pie,” “Best In Show,” “SCTV”) and Catherine O’Hara (“Home Alone,” “Best In Show,” “SCTV”) and Chris Elliott (“How I Met Your Mother,” “Late Night With David Letterman,” “There’s Something About Mary”) alongside Daniel Levy (“Admission,” MTV’s “The Hills After Show”) and Annie Murphy (“Blue Mountain State”). A trailer and Facebook page for SCHITT’S CREEK launch today at http://poptv.com/preview/schittscreek and http://www.Facebook.com/SchittsCreekPOP.

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Watching: "Listen Up Philip"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 21, 2014

Now on iTunes and On Demand, and coming to the Nightlight on Oct. 30, "Listen Up Philip" is at once a tale of bitter writers, an homage to '70s filmmaking (particularly the work of John Cassavetes) and a wonderful showcase for Elisabeth Moss. Have I convinced you to see it yet?

Let's try again. In brief: Give "Listen Up Philip" a try. Jason Schwartzman plays a writer who is also a miserable jackass, as everyone who comes in contact with him recognizes. Elisabeth Moss is excellent as Philip's girlfriend Ashley, Jonathan Pryce is Ike Zimmerman, a mentor of Philip. Alex Ross Perry wrote and directed. The ton...e is multilayered, including a mocking narration (voiced by Eric Bogosian) and a grubby style that recalls the '70s interest in documentary style and intriguing jerks. Ben Gazzara comes to mind, especially in some very Cassavetes-like scenes, as does Robert Redford in his "Little Fauss"/"Downhill Racer" period. But where those guys had charisma and occasional charm, Philip is just a creep -- as Perry admits when he shifts our interest from Philip to Ashley. And Moss is terrific, as usual

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James Denton joins Hallmark's "Good Witch" series

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2014

The official word: Hallmark Channel announces Golden Globe® Award and two-time Screen Actors Guild Award winner James Denton ("Desperate Housewives") has been added to the cast of its new Original Scripted Primetime Series, “The Good Witch,” starting production October 29th in Toronto. 

The series, based on the network’s most successful original movie franchise of all time, will star Catherine Bell (“Army Wives,” “JAG,” “Bruce Almighty”), who returns to the network as audience's beloved ‘good witch’ Cassie Nightingale, alongside series regular Bailee Madison (“Northpole,” “Just Go With It,” “Trophy Wife”).  Denton will play Cassie's new next-door-neighbor, a divorced doctor and single dad who stirs things up in Middleton when he discovers Cassie's signature charm is more than just a magic touch.  Season One will have 10 episodes and is slated for a Q1 2015 premiere.

“For 8 years, James Denton captured the hearts of millions of viewers on ‘Desperate Housewives,’" said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President of Programming, Crown Media Family Networks.  "Having James move from 'Wisteria Lane' to 'Middleton' to join Catherine Bell and the talented cast of 'The Good Witch' is sure to be another very successful role for him and we are thrilled to have him join the Hallmark family.”  

James Denton is best known for his portrayal of Mike Delfino in the hit ABC series “Desperate Housewives,” garnering him a Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series – Comedy and two Screen Actors Guild Awards he shared with the cast for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.  His other notable roles include starring in “The Pretender,” “Philly” and “Threat Matrix.” Most recently, he starred in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie, “Stranded in Paradise,” opposite Vanessa Marcil.  Denton is represented by Paradigm and John Crosby Management.

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"Simpson's World" arrives tomorrow

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2014

Lots of stuff via apps and the web. The official word:

FX Networks will unveil “Simpsons World,” a new immersive, interactive digital and online experience centered on the legendary Emmy® Award winning animated television series The Simpsons, tomorrow, October 21.  Offering a unique experience for both casual and super fans, “Simpsons World” will provide authenticated users with the most user-friendly, comprehensive hub for all things Simpsons.

It will include a deep catalog of clips, fun facts and, for the first time ever, instant and on-demand access to every single Simpsons episode – all 552 episodes (25 Seasons) – and each new episode from the current 26th season will be available for viewing the day after its original broadcast on FOX.   The tailored Simpsons experience will be available via SimpsonsWorld.com, as well as the FXNOW app for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Xbox One, Xbox 360, AppleTV, and Samsung Smart TVs.

 

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Fox takes page from FX's "AHS," orders horror-comedy anthology

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2014

From the creator of "American Horror Story," of course. (And, his claims notwithstanding, comedy-horror has been around for some time. Think of "Comedy of Terrors" and "Motel Hell," for starters.) The official word:

FOX has ordered SCREAM QUEENS, a new genre-bending comedy-horror anthology series, it was announced today by Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group. The series, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, is from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan and Dante Di Loreto, the executive producers of GLEE and “American Horror Story.”

 

The first installment in the new anthology series revolves around a college campus which is rocked by a series of murders.

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ICYMI: "Duck Dynasty" begins new season Nov. 19

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2014

The official word: A&E Network catches back up with its number one original series, “Duck Dynasty,” as the Robertsons embark on a family trip to Scotland in the season 7 premiere on Wednesday, November 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Cable’s top unscripted show continues with a new season following the Robertson family as they approach business and life as only they can. Willie becomes assistant coach on Lil’ Will’s football team, Sadie’s “Dancing With the Stars” partner, Mark Ballas, visits Monroe and attempts to teach Willie and Kay some dance moves, and the whole family takes over a local TV show for a holiday special with Si serving as the weatherman, Kay presenting her famous recipes and Phil offering holiday tips. Jep and Jessica move into a new house a few doors down from Willie and Jase and the family helps out a longtime Duck Commander employee whose mom has fallen on hard times by buying her a house for Christmas.

In the season 7 premiere, Willie takes a business trip to Scotland to expand the duck call business and brings the entire family along so they can reconnect with their Scottish roots. But when Willie organizes a bus tour to trace his family heritage, he discovers much more than he expected. Meanwhile, Jase brings a group of people to the Highland Games and winds up participating, while Jep and Jessica try to sneak away for a romantic getaway, only to find themselves with Uncle Si in tow.

In Live+7,  “Duck Dynasty” averages 8.3 million viewers year-to-date.

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"22 Jump Street" back in theaters before its home-viewing release

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2014

The announcement: The #1 comedy of 2014, Columbia Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' 22 Jump Street, will return to theaters on Friday, October 24, 2014, in advance of its release on home entertainment, it was announced today by Rory Bruer, president, Worldwide Distribution for Sony Pictures.  As the film has taken in a domestic box office of over $191 million and a worldwide take over $327 million, the re-release is a chance for audiences across the country to revisit the top-grossing comedy of 2014 on the big screen.

Following the theatrical re-release, 22 Jump Street will be available early on Digital HD on October 28, and on Blu-ray and DVD on November 18.

Commenting on the announcement, Bruer said, "Clearly, audiences fell in love with these characters two years ago and this summer they showed the strong appetite for more adventures with the hilarious pairing of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.  There's nothing like laughing out loud in a packed theater, so before the movie becomes available to own, we wanted to give moviegoers the chance to relive the experience on the big screen."

In 22 Jump Street, after making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership.  Now they don't have to just crack the case–they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship.  If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.  Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller.  Screenplay by Michael Bacall and Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman, from a story by Michael Bacall & Jonah Hill, based on the television series "21 Jump Street" created by Patrick Hasburgh & Stephen J. Cannell.  The film is produced by Neal H. Moritz, Jonah Hill, and Channing Tatum.

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Bethenny Frankel returning to "Real Housewives"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2014

The official word: Bravo Media announced today Bethenny Frankel will return to her roots for season seven of “The Real Housewives of New York City.”  First premiering in 2008, Frankel became an instant fan favorite appearing as a main cast member in seasons one through three of “The Real Housewives of New York City” as well as two spin-off series on the network, “Bethenny Getting Married?” and “Bethenny Ever After…” The new season will follow Bethenny and returning cast Carole Radziwill, Heather Thomson, Kristen Taekman, LuAnn de Lesseps, Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan.

“I'm genuinely excited, with a side of slightly nervous, for my return to ‘The Real Housewives of New York City,” said Frankel. “Bravo has always been the place on television where I have the freedom to be unfiltered, honest and inappropriate, with an audience who has been with me from the beginning. I can't wait to see what this next chapter brings for all of us. Watch what happens!”

"Bethenny is one of the most popular Housewives in the history of the franchise, and I couldn't be more excited she is coming home to Bravo!,” said Andy Cohen, Host & Executive Producer, “Watch What Happens Live” and Executive Producer, “The Real Housewives” Franchise.

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How movies and TV have added to our Ebola fears -- for years

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 17, 2014

The following is a column I wrote for the print Beacon Journal, which may appear in the days ahead. (Update: It was in the print editions on Oct. 20.)  I offer you a sneak preview.

You may be unsettled by all the news reports about Ebola, its spread and what it might do. Even when you are looking at the information as sensibly as possible, you can’t help but feel that ache in your stomach, the gut sensation that deadly business is happening.

Of course you do. You’ve been trained to think that way. Consider:

 

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Frank Langella joins "The Americans"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 16, 2014

The announcement: Academy Award® nominee and three-time Tony Award® winner Frank Langella will go deep undercover with FX’s critically acclaimed drama The Americans, in a recurring role in the show’s third season, which began production this week. 

Langella will play the role of “Gabriel,” Philip and Elizabeth’s former KGB handler who comes out of retirement to take back responsibility for overseeing these two KGB operatives from their previous handler, Claudia (Margo Martindale).

“We’ve been huge fans of Frank’s work for a long time, and it’s been such a pleasure getting to know Frank himself in the beginning stages of working together on the character of Gabriel,” said Executive Producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields.  “We look forward to a great season together, and to what we’re sure will be a phenomenal creative collaboration.”

Langella, who is repped by Paradigm, has three upcoming feature films set for release in 2015: the romance 5 to 7 opposite Anton Yelchin and Glenn Close, Driftless Area with Zooey Deschanel, and Captain Fantastic opposite Viggo Mortensen.

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"Intruders" DVD/Blu-ray plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 16, 2014

The official word: BBC Home Entertainment will release the eight-part suspense series Intruders on Blu-ray and DVD on December 23, 2014. From writer and executive producer Glen Morgan (The X-Files), Intruders is a chilling tale that spins a fascinating and complex web of drama in the moody Pacific Northwest. John Simm (Doctor Who, Life on Mars) and Academy Award®-winner Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite, Norma Jean & Marilyn) star in this paranormal thriller about a secret society devoted to chasing immortality by seeking refuge in the bodies of the living. The Hollywood Reporter called the series “…spooky and riveting, a paranormal thriller as addictive as anything on television.”  The Blu-ray and DVD includes “Inside the Intruders” a special behind-the-scenes look at the series featuring interviews with John Simm, Mira Sorvino, Glen Morgan and more.

 

As strange, apparently unrelated events start happening, multiple story-lines – a missing wife, an assassin covering his crimes, a child on the run – begin to intertwine to reveal a conspiracy that will forever change our understanding of human nature. The series, based on British novelist Michael Marshall Smith’s ‘The Intruders,’ gave BBC AMERICA its biggest ever Supernatural Saturday series premiere when it debuted on August 23, 2014.

 

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Steven Van Zandt's "Lilyhammer" Season 3 coming in November

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 16, 2014

The official word: Season three of the internationally acclaimed Netflix original series Lilyhammer, starring Steven Van Zandt, will launch on Friday, November 21 at 12:01 AM PT.

Eight all new episodes of the one-hour series follows the continuing exploits of former gangster Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano (Van Zandt) as he makes a new life under the federal witness protection program in Lillehammer, Norway.

Lilyhammer will be available for Netflix members to stream in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Latin America, Denmark and the Netherlands. Seasons one and two are streaming now.

“Lilyhammer is a funny and fantastic example of programming for a global audience - a comedic culture clash that’s drawn in viewers from around the world,” said Ted Sarandos,chief content officer at Netflix. “We’re especially proud of the many international awards the show has earned, cementing its cross-cultural appeal.”

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CBS launches subscription streaming service

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 16, 2014

 

The day after HBO made a play for cord-cutters, CBS is doing likewise. Some questions: What will this do to CBS affiliates who are not part of the new plan? Will consumers paying a bit here for HBO, and a bit there for CBS, and a bit more for other programmers, end up with a bill comparable to what they have been paying for cable? And will cable in the long run basically become a low-cost Internet provider?

The official word: CBS Corporation today announced the launch of CBS All Access, a new digital subscription video on demand and Nielsen-measured live streaming service for the CBS Television Network. CBS All Access will offer subscribers thousands of episodes from the current season, previous seasons and classic shows on demand, as well as the ability to stream local CBS Television stations live in 14 of the largest U.S. markets at launch.

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2009 Review: Documentary on LeBron James, high school teammates leaves you wanting more

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2014

The only major problem with More Than a Game is that there is not more of it.

This is a story that begs for the miniseries treatment, so that it can provide even more detail about the lives of its major characters: The Fab Five basketball players from Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and their coach, Dru Joyce II.

The film, which opens locally Friday, has long been anticipated here because one of the Fab Five is LeBron James, whose very presence invites the attention of media and audiences. At a recent University of Akron football game, eyes and binoculars strayed from the on-field action to the sideline, where James was watching.

It is James' presence that has given not only the film but a companion book a national profile, as well as putting the movie on a world tour that included a stop in Akron in August.

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WGN orders second season of "Manhattan"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2014

I have watched every episode, even when it is at its bleakest, even when the conversation tries to make scientific esoterica sound dramatic, because ... well, I really want to see what is going to happen to all the characters (and I'm still somewhat surprised at what happened last Sunday). The official word:

WGN America has ordered a second season of its critically acclaimed original drama "Manhattan," it was announced today by Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios. Among television's most widely praised new series of the year, "Manhattan" is scheduled for its season one finale on SUNDAY, October 19 at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT on WGN America. Created and written by Sam Shaw, directed by Emmy Award®-winning director Thomas Schlamme and produced by Lionsgate Television, Skydance Television and Tribune Studios, the second season of "Manhattan" will begin production next Spring for a 2015 debut.

 

“'Manhattan' represents the kind of high-quality original series we aim to deliver at WGN America, and we couldn't be more thrilled with the show’s widespread critical acclaim and its loyal audience," said Cherniss. "Sam, Tommy and the talented cast and creative team have so brilliantly brought to life the world of the Manhattan Project and we can’t wait to see what secrets and surprises await us in season two.”

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Williams reups with "The Voice," Aguilera returning

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2014

The official word: Pharrell Williams, who is receiving sensational reviews in his inaugural season of “The Voice,” will be returning to the eighth cycle of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning series with fellow coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera, as previously announced. The eighth cycle will begin in early 2015.

Shelton and Levine have been with “The Voice” since the show began in 2011. Aguilera, who is also one of the original coaches, most recently appeared in cycle five.

"We are excited to welcome Christina back to her red chair and can't wait to see how she mixes things up among Adam, Blake and Pharrell, in what will be an incredibly competitive competition" said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment. "These four talented artists are at the top of their game as musicians and as coaches. The mentoring is sure to be intense and the stakes will be high."

“The Voice” has opened the new fall season as primetime’s #1 reality show and the #2 entertainment series on the Big 4 networks behind only CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” in adults 18-49, with Monday’s “Voice” averaging a 4.0 rating, 11 share in 18-49 and 12.9 million viewers overall and Tuesday originals delivering a 4.1/13 and 13.5 million viewers, according to “live plus same day” results reported to date by Nielsen Media Research.

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CNN to air LeBron/St. VM documentary "More Than a Game"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2014

You may already know the film from local presentations and the DVD. If not, here's another chance to see it.

MORE: Rich Heldenfels' review of the film.

MORE: Q&A with film's writer and director Kris Belman

The official word: Before Cleveland Cavalier fans knew him as ‘King James,’ LeBron James was a member of an elite band of young basketball phenoms known collectively as the ‘Fab Four.’ Together, Sian Cotton, Dru Joyce III, Willie McGhee, and LeBron James were the Shooting Stars – a traveling youth basketball team that began in an Akron, Ohio, Salvation Army gymnasium.

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"The Strain" Season 1, "The Americans" Season 2 disc plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2014

The official words: The Strain Season One
Experience the first season of TV’s hottest, most blood-curdling sci-fi series – from Executive Producers-Writers Guillermo Del Toro, Carlton Cuse and Chuck Hogan – along with behind-the-scenes special features that explore the story’s journey from bestselling novel to hit show.

When a freak virus kills all but four passengers on an airplane at JFK, Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), head of the Center for Disease Control’s “Canary Team,” is immediately called to the scene. With help from a mysterious Holocaust survivor (David Bradley), “Eph” and his colleague (Mía Maestro) uncover the outbreak’s ties to vampirism. Now, the only way to stop the terrifying disease from wiping out mankind is to face its source – a sinister supernatural creature known as “The Master” – whose evil intent seems more powerful than any other force on Earth!

Special Features
● In the Beginning
● A Novel Approach
● Setrakian's Lair

The Strain Season One Blu-ray
Street Date: December 2, 2014
Prebook Date: October 29, 2014
Screen Format: Widescreen: 1.78:1
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Total Run Time: 595 Minutes
U.S. Rating TV-MA
Closed Captioned: Yes

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Disc and digital plans for Linklater's acclaimed "Boyhood"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2014

The official word: Hailed as “a moving 12-year epic that isn’t quite like anything else in the history of cinema” (Andrew O’Hehir, Salon), “a breathtaking achievement” (Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post) and “a profound viewing experience” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times), writer/director Richard Linklater’s extraordinary film BOYHOOD debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD January 6, 2015 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The film arrives four weeks early on Digital HD December 9, 2014.

 

Filmed over the course of 12 years with the same cast, BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason. A box office hit from IFC Films that has garnered universal critical acclaim, BOYHOOD achieved a rare 99% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, earned an unprecedented score of 100 on Metacritic and is the first film to receive an A+ score from Entertainment Weekly’s Critical Mass. The film stars Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane as Mason.

 

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Fox orders more "Gotham" episodes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2014

Glad the network is staying with it. The official word;

FOX has ordered six more episodes of this fall’s breakout new drama series, GOTHAM, it was announced today by Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group. The announcement raises the series order to 22 episodes.

 

“GOTHAM debuted as one of the most buzzed-about shows of the fall, and with good reason. Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon have created an incredibly rich world, with characters that draw you in and a cast that brings to life these heroes and villains in a way we’ve never seen before,” said Walden and Newman. “We are so excited to see where Bruno, Danny and the entire GOTHAM team take this story over the course of this season, and so thankful to all the fans who have embraced it this fall.”

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FX orders another round of "American Horror Story"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2014

The official word: Producer Ryan Murphy’s Emmy® and Golden Globe® award winning anthology miniseries American Horror Story has paid big dividends as his newest installment, American Horror Story: Freak Show has broken all ratings records for FX with its premiere episode last Wednesday night (10/8/14, 10-11:32PM). In light of that record-setting performance, FX has rewarded American Horror Story with a 13-episode order for the fifth and next installment of the show, which will debut in October 2015, it was announced today by John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions.

 

With Live+3 time-shifted viewing, the premiere telecast of American Horror Story: Freak Show has become the most-watched single program in FX’s 20-year history and that includes all programs with Live+7 deliveries. AHS: Freak Show’s debut delivered 10 million Total Viewers, 6.54 million Adults 18-49, and 4.08 million Adults 18-34, surpassing the network’s previous record holder, the recent seventh and final season premiere telecast of the hit drama series Sons of Anarchy on Sept. 9th (9.25 million Total Viewers and 6.1 million Adults 18-49). American Horror Story: Coven held all previous records in delivery Adults 18-34.

 

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"When the Game Stands Tall" digital/disc plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2014

The official word: Jim Caviezel (TV's "Person of Interest") brings to life the remarkable journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur in the inspiring sports drama WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, available on Digital HD Nov. 25 and on Blu-ray(tm) Combo Pack and DVD Dec. 9 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and AFFIRM Films.  Directed by Thomas Carter (Coach Carter) and adapted from the novel of the same name, the film follows the incredible winning streak of the De La Salle High School football team -- 151 straight victories over 12 years. But when "the streak" is finally broken and the team suffers a series of real-life adversities, Coach Ladouceur must teach his players - and the entire town - that it's not about how you fall, but how you get back up. The film co-stars Golden Globe® winner Michael Chiklis (Best Actor, TV's "The Shield," 2003),  Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games), and Academy Award® nominee Laura Dern (Best Actress, Rambling Rose, 1992)

 

WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL bonus features include six deleted and extended scenes, Director's Commentary, and select scene commentary with Director Thomas Carter and Coach Bob Ladouceur.  Also included are three all-new, behind-the-scenes featurettes, taking a look at the De La Salle Football program and Coach Ladouceur's legacy, highlighting the challenges and excitement of bringing the story to the big screen, as well as the filmmakers' approach to creating dynamic and exciting football sequences. The film is directed by Thomas Carter from a story by Scott Marshall Smith and David Zelon and a screenplay by Scott Marshall Smith based on the novel When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of The De La Salle Spartans and Football's Longest Winning Streak by Neil Hayes. Cathy Schulman, David Tice and Thomas Carter serve as the executive producers with David Zelon as the producer. 

 

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"I Am Ali" on disc in November

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2014

The official word: A touching and unprecedentedly personal view of the only three-time heavyweight boxing champion in history, I Am Ali comes to Blu-ray™ and DVD on November 11, 2014 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. This inspirational and revealing film provides viewers with one of the most in-depth portraits ever of the charismatic global superstar.

 

I Am Ali is an intimate and heartwarming look at the legendary athlete, beloved father, humanitarian, and activist as he has never been seen before. With exclusive access to Ali’s personal archive of “audio journals,” I Am Ali features touching interviews and testimonials from his inner circle of family and friends, legends of the boxing community—including former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and George Foreman—and Ali’s longtime friend and business manager, Gene Kilroy. The film shares the champion’s extraordinary history as a fighter, lover, brother, father, and friend as told by insiders and by the man himself for the very first time.

 

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Video: Rich and the movies - 'The Judge'

By Ohio.com Published: October 10, 2014

This week, Beacon Journal pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels checks out The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. The movie itself isn't quite as good as the trailer and cast may lead you to believe.

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Marvel & Disney announce animated "Guardians of the Galaxy" series for 2015

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2014

The official word: Production has begun on "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy," an upcoming animated-television series for Disney XD, featuring the hugely popular characters introduced in the  record-breaking Marvel Studios film of the same name. The announcement was made today by Jeph Loeb, Marvel's Head of Television, at New York Comic-Con.  Produced by Marvel Television, the series stars Peter Quill as Star-Lord, the brash adventurer  who, to save the universe from its greatest threats, joins forces with a quartet of disparate misfits – fan-favorite Rocket Raccoon, a tree-like humanoid named Groot, the enigmatic, expert fighter Gamora and the rough-edged warrior Drax the Destroyer. The series will premiere in 2015 on the Marvel Universe programming block on Disney XD.

"The movie and franchise quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. We're looking forward to working with the great team at Marvel Television to deliver an engaging animated series that fans can enjoy each week," said Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD.

"This is a very exciting time for the Marvel Animation Studio as we get to explore the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe by developing the first-ever 'Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy' animated series," said Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television. "After starring in the biggest movie of 2014, everyone wants more of Star-Lord and his crew – now they'll get it."

Produced by Marvel Animation, the series' award-winning creative team includes executive producers Alan Fine ("Marvel's The Avengers," "Iron Man," "Thor"), Dan Buckley ("Marvel's Avengers Assemble," "Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H."), Joe Quesada ("Marvel's Avengers Assemble") and Jeph Loeb ("Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."); co-executive producers Stan Lee ("Spider-Man"), Eric Radomski ("Spawn," "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"), Cort Lane ("Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man") and Stephen Wacker ("Marvel's Avengers Assemble"); supervising producers Marty Isenberg ("Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters") and Harrison Wilcox ("Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H."); consulting producer Steven Melching ("Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H."); and supervising director Leo Riley ("TRON: Uprising").

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More "Survivor's Remorse" coming

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2014

The official word: Starz announced today a season two pick up of the critically acclaimed slam dunk STARZ Original Series “Survivor’s Remorse” from executive producers Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Mike O’Malley, Paul Wachter and Victor Levin. The sophomore season of the half-hour scripted comedy series will feature 10 episodes – up from its six-episode first season.

 

The first episode of “Survivor’s Remorse” debuted on October 4 on STARZ with a multiplatform performance of 1.3 million viewers in the first week.*

 

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Two Guy's Talkin': The good pie edition

By Ohio.com Published: October 9, 2014

Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels and pop music writer Malcolm X Abram talk about the return of Twin Peaks, set to air on Showtime. 

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CBS orders more "Extant," "Under the Dome"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 9, 2014

The official word: CBS announced today that the hit series UNDER THE DOME and EXTANT will return for broadcast in summer 2015. Both from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, UNDER THE DOME returns for its third season, and EXTANT for its sophomore season.

 

"We're committed to delivering our viewers and advertisers year-round programming with a wide variety of storytelling," said Nina Tassler, Chairman, CBS Entertainment. "We continue to see summer as a great place for unique concepts, innovative business models and passionate television audiences."

 

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Amazon orders more "Transparent"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 9, 2014

The official word: Transparent Debut Smashes Prime Instant Video Records—Amazon Studios Orders Season Two

 Amazon Original Series Transparent is already breaking records. In just over a week since its debut, the critically acclaimed dark comedy, created  by Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight, Six Feet Under) and starring Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Judith Light (Dallas), Gaby Hoffmann (Girls), Amy Landecker (Louie) and Jay Duplass (Togetherness), is the no. 1 ranked series on Prime Instant Video, since the show’s launch.

Also proving popular among critics, the new show clocked in a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98 percent critic rating, and a 91 metascore on Metacritic making Transparent one of TV’s top three highest ranked, currently airing shows. Due to the overwhelming success of the show, and the incredibly positive viewer response, Amazon Studios has greenlit a second season of Transparent, to air in 2015. 

 

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"Orange" star Laverne Cox coming to Kent State

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2014

The official word: Outspoken transgender advocate Laverne Cox will visit Kent State University to give her “Ain’t I A Woman: My Journey to Womanhood” presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom.

This event is free and open to the public, but a wristband is required. Required admission wristbands can be reserved starting at 8 a.m. on Oct. 15 at www.eventbrite.com and selecting the “Laverne Cox at Kent State” event. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. the day of the event.

Cox is the first transwoman to produce and star in her own television show, “TRANSForm Me,” and appear on the cover of Time Magazine. She is also the first transwoman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show, “Orange Is the New Black.” She received rave reviews and an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actress for the role of Sophia Burset in the show. 

“We are very excited about bringing such a talented actress and inspirational transgender advocate as Ms. Cox to Kent State University,” Alfreda Brown, Kent State’s vice president for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Her message of moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically, for all people, is something the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion wholeheartedly supports.”

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"Expendables 3" goes unrated for Blu-ray, digital, On Demand

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2014

The movie, a noticeable dud in the U.S. (though still a draw worldwide), was thought to lose a hard-action-loving audience because it was PG-13 instead of R-rated. The home-viewing release will try to get those viewers back with some unrated takes; the theatrical version will be on DVD. But it's still the worst of the "Expendables" movies.

The official word: The Expendables return tougher and faster than ever as old friends face off in the exclusive unrated edition of The Expendables 3, arriving on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Digital HD) and On Demand November 25 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The Blu-ray Combo Pack will include the never-before-seen unrated edition of the film - featuring more action, more explosions, more fights - and a higher body count - everything fans have come to love in the franchise!  And now, with the immersive Dolby Atmos soundtrack experience, audiences will feel like they're at the center of the action.  The Blu-ray Combo Pack will also feature the original theatrical movie. Full of "testosterone-fueled fun" (IGN), both versions of the film will be available two weeks earlier on Digital HD November 11. Also available November 25, The Expendables 3 DVD (plus Digital) will include only the original theatrical version of the film.

 

The Expendables 3, "the best Expendables yet" (Crave Online), features an all-star cast of iconic action veterans and new recruits including Sylvester Stallone (Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise), Jason Statham (Crank, Snatch), Jet Li (Hero), Antonio Banderas (The Legend of Zorro), Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand), Wesley Snipes (Blade), Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier), Randy Couture (The Expendables franchise), Terry Crews (TV's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"), Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules, The Twilight Saga franchise), Ronda Rousey (UFC Champion, Fast & Furious 7), Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises), Victor Ortiz (WBC World Welterweight Champion), Robert Davi (Die Hard, The Goonies), with Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Mad Max), with Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones franchise) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator franchise).

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Let the trumpets sound: Next season of "Snooki & JWOWW" will be the last

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 8, 2014

MTV nonetheless promises it is "the wildest season yet." The official word: MTV is giving fans one final spray tan dose of everyone’s favorite BFF’s, Snooki & JWOWW.  The network announced today that the final season of the hit reality series, “Snooki & JWOWW,” will premiere on Wednesday, November 5th at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. 

The series returns with 12 all-new episodes chronicling the zany antics of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Jenni “JWOWW” Farley, their fiancés Jionni LaValle and Roger Mathews, and their new babies.  In what is sure to be their wildest season yet, fans will witness the besties as they tackle life milestones including new motherhood and upcoming nuptials.

Over the past five years, viewers have fallen in love with Snooki and JWOWW, who have become a modern day Laverne and Shirley, watching them go from party girls to motherhood and roommates to wombmates, while trading in beer for baby bottles. Now it’s time to say goodbye and see how it all ends.

“I have never been more proud to be a part of a show.  Since their first steps on the ‘Jersey Shore,’ I have watched these women go out, accomplish big things and find exactly what they wanted out of their lives:  a ‘guido-husband/fiancé’ and to start their own families.  I love these ladies and we will end this series on MTV with a bang as their lives are just getting started!  Personally, I can’t wait to put Lorenzo, Meilani, and Giovanna in the ‘Jersey Shore’ house one day,” said SallyAnn Salsano, Founder & President of 495 Productions. 
“It’s the last and best season yet. Two babies and a wedding!  Snooki and JWOWW do it like nobody else and viewers will have one more chance to see their meaningful once-in-a-lifetime adventures,” said Susanne Daniels, President of Programming for MTV.
The final season of “Snooki & JWOWW” follows the dynamic duo as they deal with the craziest adventure of all - motherhood.  Snooki and JWOWW have always joked about their desire to be pregnant together, and it's finally happened! With both girls pregnant (JWOWW’s first and Snooki’s second) and living next door to each other, the girls are growing up before our eyes.  There's always time for fun, whether they're attending yoga class together, making sushi for the boys, or preparing for Snooki's upcoming wedding.  The season will feature a mix of laughs and tender moments.
For more information and additional content, viewers can go to MTV.com to catch up on season 1, 2 and 3 of “Snooki & JWOWW” and get sneak peeks of the all-new upcoming season. Additionally, to connect with Snooki and JWOWW fans can “like” the “Snooki & JWOWW” Facebook page and use the hashtags #SnookiAndJWOWW on Twitter.





 

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FX orders "American Crime Story" about O.J. Simpson, from "AHS" creator Ryan Murphy

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 7, 2014

The official word: Prolific award-winning producer Ryan Murphy, whose American Horror Story franchise invented the anthology miniseries format, has come up with his next entry: American Crime Story, a companion anthology focused each season on a different true crime story which made headlines and captivated the imagination of the public. The new franchise has been ordered by FX, it was announced today by John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions.

The first installment, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, is based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin.Murphy joins Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson (The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and Brad Falchuk (Glee, American Horror Story, co-created with Murphy) as Executive Producers of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, alongside writers Alexander and Karaszewski. Dante Di Loreto also serves as an Executive Producer, with Murphy set to direct.

The first two hours of the miniseries will be written by Golden Globe-winning screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski(The People vs. Larry Flynt, Ed Wood, Man on the Moon), who are Executive Producers of ‘ACS: O.J.’. Production begins early next year in Los Angeles. It is produced by FXP and Fox 21, the companies that co-produce the long-running hit seriesSons of Anarchy for the network.

“Time and time again, Ryan Murphy has transformed the medium of television by redefining genres and formats as he did with Nip/Tuck, Glee and the American Horror Story franchise, and we expect the same of American Crime Story,” said Landgraf. "Scott and Larry have adapted Jeffrey Toobin’s book into a masterful 10-hour piece. I have no doubt that Ryan and his partners, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, and Dante Di Loreto are going to make something very memorable here – and that it will be a spectacular first entry in what is destined to become a series of great true crime-based miniseries."

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David Cross's "Todd Margaret" returning in 2015 after 3 years off

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 7, 2014

Interesting that Cross faces a problem for his third season akin to the one "Sledge Hammer" faced at the end of its first. ("Sledge's" solution: Make the second season a flashback to before the first.)

The official word; David Cross is bringing his scripted comedy The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret back to IFC for a third season. Based in London, the series is created, written by and stars Cross (Arrested Development) as Todd Margaret, an American lacking any sense of good judgment. After a three-year hiatus, the show will return to IFC in 2015 with six all-new, half-hour episodes picking up where the second season left off when Todd detonates a battery of nuclear bombs that incinerate the planet. Writing on the third season has begun and production will start next year.

 


“As thrilled as I am to not have to answer the question, ‘Hey man, will there be a third series of Todd Margaret or what?’ anymore, the true thrill comes in figuring out how to extend a serialized episodic in which the world blows up at the end of series two. How do you do that for six episodes?! Well Shaun, Mark, and I are up to the challenge,” said Cross. “I sincerely couldn't ask for a better group of folks to be doing it for than the lovely ladies (and one dude now) at IFC. It is such a pleasure to work for them. They are a rarity in this business.”

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"Walking Dead" renewed for sixth season

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 7, 2014

The official word: Days away from its season five premiere, AMC announced today that it has renewed “The Walking Dead,” the #1 show on television among adults 18-49 for the last two years and most highly-rated show in cable television history, for a sixth season. The season five premiere is this Sunday, Oct. 12, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the live season premiere of “Talking Dead” at 10 p.m. ET/PT with host Chris Hardwick and this week’s guests Scott M. Gimple, Greg Nicotero and Conan O’Brien.


“We could not be more excited for October 12th as we share new episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ with fans around the globe,” said AMC President Charlie Collier. “In advance of Sunday’s season five premiere, AMC proudly confirms a sixth season order of this extraordinary series. Thank you to Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, the terrific executive producers, and the entire team who brings this compelling world and these rich characters to life. There’s plenty more Dead ahead thanks to their impressive, collective effort.”

 

Social media activity and interest around “The Walking Dead” is up significantly from the same period a year ago. For several weeks leading up to the season five premiere, the show has been #1 in digital engagement of all returning fall cable series, as measured by the ListenFirst Digital Audience Rating. The show’s social media following and fan engagement are at an all-time high with more than 30 million Facebook fans and 2.7 million Twitter followers, while video views of scenes and trailers for the upcoming season are well outpacing last year’s results.

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Carrie Coon "Gone Girl" appearance moved from Nightlight to Lake 8

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 7, 2014
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Here's what the folks at the Nightlight are telling ticket holders:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we're hosting Tuesday's special screening of GONE GIRL with Carrie Coon at another nearby independent theater – Lake 8 Movies in Barberton – instead of at The Nightlight. When you enter the theater, you will be directed to a separate ticketing table, where we will honor the tickets you’ve already booked or purchase.


There is one other difference: the 5:45pm screening will now happen at 6:45pm.

If these changes affect your plans negatively or a recently purchased membership, please do not hesitate to let us know so that we can extend you a full refund. You can always email us at info@nightlightcinema.com.

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More "Twin Peaks" coming

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 6, 2014

The cult series will begin production on new episodes in 2015 for telecast the following year. A couple of reports on the revival are here and here.

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New WEWS news director starts today

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 6, 2014

Jeff Harris succeeds Jill Manuel, who left many months ago. It is worth noting that he comes from Denver, the home base for that "Now" program WEWS is now airing.

Here's the official word: WEWS NewsChannel 5 welcomes Jeff Harris as the station’s new news director effective Monday, October 6th. Jeff joins the station from KMGH in Denver, where he spent the last 6 years leading an innovative, award-winning newsroom. Both WEWS and KMGH are owned by E.W. Scripps, and both are ABC affiliates.
Jeff is no stranger to northeast Ohio; he’s a Cleveland native who graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and Cleveland State University. “This is all things coming together at the same time,” states Jeff. “I’m excited and grateful to return to Cleveland. It’s a great opportunity for me personally and a perfect match for the company.”
“Jeff’s knowledge of Cleveland, our culture, and our competitors will benefit our station and community right away,” adds Sam Rosenwasser, NewsChannel 5’s VP & General Manager. “He’s a great leader and will help us continue to innovate and build deeper connections with our audiences on-air and online.”
A die hard Cleveland sports fan, Jeff looks forward to arriving at NewsChannel 5 while the Browns’ season is still young and the buzz about LeBron and the Cavs is high.
Jeff’s wife Cecille is also originally from Cleveland. Along with their two children, they look forward to once again calling northeast Ohio home.
 

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"Signed, Sealed" renewed, but as movies for Hallmark film channel

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 6, 2014

The official word: Crown Media Family Networks announced today that Hallmark Channel original weekly scripted series, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” executive produced and written by Martha Williamson (Executive Producer of “Touched by an Angel”), will move to sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as a movie franchise consisting of a series of two-hour original films. Debuting on November 23 at 9pm ET/PT, 8C, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered For Christmas” will be the first movie in the franchise, with three more slated for 2015.

“We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Martha Williamson and to bring her brand of rich and poignant stories to viewers on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries,” said Michelle Vicary, executive vice president, programming and network publicity, Crown Media Family Networks. “At their core, the narratives on ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ revolve around mystery and suspense, with compelling characters and dramatic storylines that will be enhanced by an extended format.”

"When Bill Abbott and Michelle Vicary asked if I can evolve the ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ franchise into a series of movies, I was honored to continue the Hallmark tradition of quality family movies," said series Creator and Executive Producer Martha Williamson. "At the heart of ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ is Oliver, a modern day gentleman with old world values played brilliantly by Eric Mabius," she added. "He and his wonderful team of postal detectives will continue to surprise us and sometimes make us laugh as they work to solve mysteries behind letters, even mysteries of life."

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will introduce viewers to the “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” franchise by airing a marathon of the series on Saturday, October 11 from 11am—11pm ET/PT, 10C.

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Raisin a question

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2014

I've lately been listening to several conversations about, well, raisins. And I was quite surprised to discover how much raisin hatred (or is that rais-ism?) out there. Google "raising hating" and you'll get about 83,000 results. So where do you stand, pro- or anti-raisin? Is it a delightful fruit or sour grapes? Please respond in the comments. This may turn into a column.

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Video: Rich and the movies - 'Gone Girl' review

By Dan Kadar Published: October 2, 2014
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Beacon Journal pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels checks out Gone Girl, a twisting, turning and tantalizing tale. He says the movie, starring Ben Affleck, is unsettling, but a very satisfying experience.

 

MORE:

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Netflix makes deal with Adam Sandler for four original movies

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 2, 2014

The official word: Netflix, the world’s leading Internet TV network, will be the exclusive home of four feature films starring and produced by comic icon Adam Sandler, whose movies have delighted hundreds of millions of fans all over the world.

 

Sandler is a unique and prolific comic voice, whose films have grossed more than $3 billion globally at the box office and made him one of the world’s top movie stars. He is among the few actors in the world whose films consistently rank among the most viewed by Netflix members in the U.S. and across its global territories from Brazil to the U.K.

 

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TV Land orders 2 series for 2015

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 2, 2014

The official word: TV Land has ordered 10-episode first seasons of two new single-camera comedies, “Impastor” and “Teachers,” it was announced today by TV Land President Larry W. Jones. Both series will premiere on TV Land in 2015.
“’Impastor’ and ‘Teachers’ are perfect examples of the type of comedies we’re looking for as TV Land evolves its original series – innovative, unconventional, and hilariously funny for an audience that enjoys smart humor with a hint of heart,” said Jones.
“Impastor,” a single-camera comedy from Christopher Vane (“Wings”), stars Michael Rosenbaum (“Smallville”), Sara Rue (“Less Than Perfect”), Aimee Garcia (“Dexter”), Mircea Monroe (“Episodes”), Mike Kosinski (The Second City Chicago), and David Rasche (“Ugly Betty”).

The series revolves around Buddy Dobbs (Rosenbaum), a gambling, pot-smoking slacker on the run from a loan shark, who steals a man’s identity and ends up posing as the new gay pastor in a small, tight-knit town. Though he’s tempted to immediately run off with the pastor’s money, Buddy has a change of heart when he realizes that the people there, including his prim church assistant Dora (Rue), actually like this new and semi-improved alter ego…and he kind of likes them back.

Other officials at Buddy’s new church include Alexa Cummings (Monroe), the gorgeous treasurer that has Buddy rethinking his whole con; Russell Kerry (Kosinski), the young secretary who’s very excited to have a gay pastor; and Alden Schmidt (Rasche), the church president and the only person who seems to be just a little suspicious of Buddy. As Buddy deals with his new life, his bartender ex-girlfriend Leanne (Garcia), has to deal with the huge mess he left behind.

“Impastor” is executive produced by Vane and Rosenbaum, along with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (“Two and a Half Men”). Rob Greenberg (“How I Met Your Mother”) directed the pilot.
“Teachers” revolves around six elementary school teachers who are trying to mold the minds and lives of America’s youth, even though they don’t really seem to have their own lives together at all. From refusing to read fairytales because “sometimes Prince Charming wants to date other people” to hitting on the resident “hot dad,” these teachers are certainly changing the world, one student at a time. The series stars improv group The Katydids - Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Katie Thomas – who also wrote and starred in the web hit that the TV series is based on. In addition to writing for and starring in “Teachers,” they will also serve as executive producers alongside Alison Brie (“Community”) and showrunners Ian Roberts and Jay Martel (“Key and Peele”).
Matt Miller and Cap Gun TV also serve as executive producers of “Teachers.”

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Video: Two Guys Talkin' - The cranky old guys edition

By Ohio.com Published: October 1, 2014

Our two guys are tired of all the sexism and ageism. And get off their lawns!

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"Better Call Saul" music video premiering on Sunday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 1, 2014

The official word: Fans will get a special new look at “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul” this weekend, with the debut of a music video for the song “Better Call Saul,” co-written by “Better Call Saul” Executive Producers and Co-Showrunners Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould and series composer Dave Porter (who also created the opening theme and score for “Breaking Bad”). The song is performed by country artist Junior Brown.

 

The music video for “Better Call Saul” will premiere this Sunday, October 5th at 7:15pm ET/PT, during the final night of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” Binge, which began in August and concludes this Sunday night with the final six episodes of the Emmy® Award-winning series (beginning at 5pm ET/PT, through the series finale, “Felina,” which begins airing at 11:00pm ET/PT).

 

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LeBron James, partner producing Disney XD show profiling journeys of athletes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 1, 2014

The official word: Worldwide basketball star LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter are set to executive produce ESPN Films' and Disney XD's new special "Becoming," a half-hour show for kids and families profiling the inspirational journeys of today's top athletes.

"Becoming" will debut SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney XD and is in development for an ongoing series. Produced in association with ESPN Films and LeBron James' Springhill Production Company, the pilot will tell the story of the NBA champion's trajectory to the top and reflect the spirit of his accomplishments, including some of the most defining and triumphant moments of his life.

"I'm really excited about helping develop 'Becoming' and bringing this kind of program to kids," said LeBron James. "Sports and athletes were my inspiration growing up. It was the stories about Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders, and Allen Iverson that kept me dreaming. When I learned that they had some of the same struggles and challenges I did, it made everything seem possible. That's what 'Becoming' is all about."


"This is a very exciting project for Springhill Production Company," said Maverick Carter, co-founder and partner of Springhill Production Company. "We are looking at a variety of projects and this was an obvious choice. It's so true to the type of content for kids we want to do. ESPN Films understands how to bring sports stories alive. We do a lot of work with different projects focusing on kids, and the demand for programming like this is obvious."

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Women filmmakers' competition set, using "Twilight" characters

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 1, 2014

The official word: As part of its ongoing effort to enhance its diverse portfolio of premium content, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a premier next generation global content leader, is teaming with Facebook, the prestigious Women In Film organization, the crowdsourcing platform Tongal and best-selling Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer to create and manage a social media campaign to develop and produce a series of short films directed by aspiring female filmmakers. 

The campaign, called “The Storytellers – New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga,” will include films based on a broad spectrum of characters from the Twilight universe, with guidance provided by Meyer’s encyclopedic The Twilight Saga: Official Illustrated Guide.

The campaign will center on a multiphase contest culminating in the selection of at least five aspiring female filmmakers to direct short films based on characters from the Twilight universe.  The films will be produced and directed with the mentorship of a blue chip panel of advisors, which will ultimately select the winning shorts that will premiere exclusively on the Facebook platform next year.  The star-studded group of female panelists will include Stephenie Meyer, actress Kristen Stewart, Academy Award winners Kate Winslet and Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Lee, the award-winning writer and one of the directors of Disney’s global blockbuster Frozen, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, Emmy Award-winning actress Julie Bowen, and Women In Film President Cathy Schulman.

Five winning shorts will be financed through production advances, and fans will help select a grand prize winning filmmaker who will receive a cash prize and career opportunities.  The short film development and production process will involve extensive fan engagement on the Facebook and Tongal platforms.

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Worst new show of the season: "Stalker"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 1, 2014

While I have made unhappy note of it before, I bring up the show once more because it  premieres tonight at 10 on CBS. Some may see its portrayal of ugly, violent crimes as a reasonable companion to "Criminal Minds." I am not a fan of that show, either, but "Stalker" is even more extreme in its presentation, and especially in its misogyny.

I have been thinking a lot lately about violence in a more general way. I grew up watching TV westerns with their gunplay and fistfights, wallowed in the films of Peckinpah and Scorsese, was amused by the extremes in the climax of "Scarface." But instead of being numbed by all that violence, I seem to have become more sensitive to it, more uneasy when it feels excessive or gratuitous -- not explaning a character or a context but simply reveling in the extremes of it.

I have been reminded of Dan Fienberg's line about "Stalker," that it's for people who liked the awful violence of "The Following" but did care for Kevin Bacon or found the Edgar Allen Poe allusions too literary. Too much of the audience is now from Generation Slasher, schooled in "Friday the 13th" or the "Saw" films, and equating grotesqueness with art. I have been tilting the other way, and "Stalker" tilted me all the way over -- not because of its explicitness, which could be considered somewhat mild, but because of its smirking cruelty. .

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