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LeBron's "Cleveland Hustles" details; Akron Honey Co. involved

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 24, 2016

The official word:

CNBC announced LeBron James’ and Maverick Carter’s selection of local judges and globally recognized c-suite host for the network’s highly anticipated unscripted primetime series, “Cleveland Hustles,” premiering ‪Wednesday, August 24 at 10pm ET‪/PT. The series teams four successful Cleveland business leaders with local entrepreneurs looking for an investment to launch their own brick-and-mortar stores. The series is set in the Gordon Square Arts District, a once troubled neighborhood that’s working to rebuild.


“This show is special to me because it’s about giving hard-working people a life-changing opportunity to make their dreams a reality while creating real change in the Cleveland community,” said Maverick Carter. “I’m proud that SpringHill Entertainment is behind a project like this that is more than a TV show – it’s a transformational series that can lift up all of Northeast Ohio and one that will resonate with people across the country.”

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CBS sets new-season premiere dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 21, 2016

The breakdown:

Thursday, Sept. 15


8:25 PM, ET THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL (NY Jets @ Buffalo Bills)

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"Believeland" getting revised ending; the women question remains

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 21, 2016

As I've mentioned elsewhere, ESPN is updating its "Believeland" documentary about Cleveland's history of sports frustration, thanks to the Cavs winning the NBA championship. Here's the official announcement:

With the Cavaliers delivering Cleveland its first major championship in over 50 years, ESPN Films has decided to update the 30 for 30 documentary “Believeland” with an ending focused on the 2016 NBA Finals and the immediate aftermath. The new version of the film will premiere Thursday, June 30, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

“Believeland,” which originally debuted May 14, focuses on the struggles of Cleveland’s major sports franchises over the last half-century. Director Andy Billman and his production team were in Cleveland for Game 7 and will be there through the championship parade to capture the historic celebration. The Ohio native will also record a new introduction to the film based on the events of the last month.

John Dahl, ESPN Films VP told me this in a phone call today:

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More "Frozen" tie-ins

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 21, 2016

Disney announced "Frozen Northern Lights," an original story from the kingdom of Arendelle spanning a collection of books, animated shorts from the LEGO Group and new digital extensions. Beginning in July, "Frozen" fans can follow Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven on an epic adventure to restore the glimmer of the Northern Lights.

Credit: ©Disney*
Click here for photo and video assets including an interview with Josh Gad.

"Natural phenomenon meets cultural phenomenon in this all new story, 'Frozen Northern Lights,'" said Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president, Disney Publishing Worldwide. "We're excited to share this new adventure and offer fans great new ways to connect with their favorite characters thanks to a host of related books, digital games and activities."

The story titled, "Disney Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights," published by Random House, will be introduced as a deluxe novelization in July ahead of an extended collection of books featuring the familiar characters fans know and love, as well as a brand new protagonist named, Little Rock. The storyline will be reimagined by the LEGO Group with four new animated shorts and a full compilation airing on Disney Channel this fall. The shorts will bring the unique brand of stylized animation and witty LEGO humor to the world of "Frozen," with the voice talent from the movie reprising their roles.

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Two Guys Talkin': Stephen A. Smith and mansplaining Ayesha Curry's tweet

By staff Published: June 17, 2016

In this edition of Two Guys Talkin', Rich Heldenfels Malcolm X Abram take on comments made by the ever controversial Stephen A. Smith.

The setup: Smith called out Ayesha Curry, Steph's wife, for her "rigged" tweet during Game 6. During his rant, he goes to compare Ayesha to LeBron James' wife, Savannah. 

The response: Rich and Malcolm break down the sexist comments with a rant of their own.  

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CW sets fall premiere dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 17, 2016

The list:


8:00-9:00pm THE FLASH (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00pm NO TOMORROW (Series Premiere)

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Cleveland Museum of Art sets festival of boxing movies before "Rocky." Lots of knockouts!

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 14, 2016


"Champion." "The Harder They Fall." "Requiem for a Heavyweight." "Fat City." More. Lots of cinema to love here. The official word:

Lords of the Ring: Boxing Films before Rocky and Raging Bull

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CMT makes deal for new "Nashville" season

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 10, 2016

Interesting details about the deal are in this story. 

The official word: Nashies rejoice! On the heels of tremendous outcry from legions of devoted fans, CMT, Hulu, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and ABC Studios today announced that the critically acclaimed and fan darling series “Nashville” will return with a brand new season on CMT. Long-time SVOD partner Hulu will continue to bring fans their favorite series 24/7 by making all “Nashville” episodes available to stream the day after they air on CMT.


The series is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios, and Opry Entertainment. Production will commence in Nashville with Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (the creators of “Thirtysomething”)at the helm. The deal, negotiated by Lionsgate Television Group President Sandra Stern on behalf of Lionsgate and ABC Studios, Sarah Levy of Viacom Kids and Family Groupon behalf of CMT, and Hulu executives, is an orchestrated initiative to ensure that “Nashville” fans will continue to have the same level of access to their favorite show.

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Stuff I've been thinking about: Cavs and our feelings, Muhammad Ali, "Alias"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 6, 2016

In the fall of 1997, when Tom Feran and I were enjoying the success of our "Ghoulardi" book, Tom hypothesized that one reason for it doing well was that NE Ohio was feeling good about itself, not least because the Indians were doing so well (at least until the end of the World Series). And last night's Cavs loss underscored the way our emotions get tied up with how sports teams do. (And I don't just mean Cleveland teams; think how fans in Oklahoma City must have felt not long ago.) Even with the Indians back in first place in their division, the deflation of the Cavs gives this morning a sourness that is hard to get past. This is not how the Cavs are supposed to be, this is not how the world is supposed to be, particularly when other parts of the culture are so gloomy. Many of us look to our sports teams as a way to feel better about life. Last night sure did not do that. I turned the game off in the third quarter, devoid of any hope that a Cleveland comeback was in the cards.

Many years ago, a small group of young cynics sat in the bar of the Century Plaza, chatting about the day on the TV press tour. We were the sort who often proved hard to impress. Across the lobby, Muhammad Ali came walking with two associates. We stopped talking. Heck, we stared. One of Ali's sidekicks noticed and spoke to the champ. Ali looked toward us and waved. Jaws dropping, we waved back. Cynicism was gone. This was Ali. RIP.

How big was Ali? Look at the lineup in this TV special marking his 50th birthday.


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"American Pickers" hunting in Ohio

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 6, 2016

The official word:

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