Archive for the ‘Television’ Category
Should CBS fire David Letterman?
My father-in-law stopped by for a visit last night, and the David Letterman blackmail news came up while we were sitting at the kitchen table. To my surprise, David Letterman’s love life has somehow become a Republican issue. At least according to my father-in-law it is.
Then this morning I woke up to the following headline on a news aggregator site: “CBS Has Got to Dump Letterman”. The article is from the New York Post, which is tabloid journalism. But does being part of the sensationalistic tabloid journalism industry explain the vehemence of Andrea Peyser’s insistence that David Letterman should be fired immediately?
Here are some of the points she made in her commentary, along with my thoughts on each of those points. I’ve put her points in bold and quotation marks. (You can read her original post in its entirety here.)
“CBS has got to dump David Letterman. Right now.”
Where’s the urgency? Why not wait to see if he’s really done something wrong?
“Dave must go. If not, CBS will have lost any remaining shred of credibility, not to mention common decency.”
I’m baffled by the phrase “remaining shred of credibility”. What kind of credibility problems does CBS have?
“By his own admission, the married Letterman has bedded any number of women working under His Highness. Problem is, he doesn’t seem to know precisely how many. And brass has long looked the other way.”
Calling him “the married Letterman” implies that he was having sex with employees while he was married. Everything I’ve read indicates that the trysts occurred before he was married.
Pointing out that the women were working “under him” implies that there was pressure involved in the boss-employee relationship leading to the sex. That might or might not have been the case; we don’t know. (And if that is the case, then maybe Letterman should be fired.)
But assuming that every time a woman sleeps with her boss is because she feels “pressure” is insulting to women. Some women like to have sex. And some of them might even like to have sex with a funny, famous talk show host. Assuming that all women are helpless in the face of pressure from the boss at the office is demeaning. I know women who have had sex with their boss, and they’re strong people who don’t consider themselves victims.
Letterman doesn’t seem at all confused about “precisely” how many women he’s slept with. But even if he did, Peyser would probably slam Letterman for keeping notches on his bedpost.
Keeping the number of women at work he’s slept with private over the last few decades of work is respectful of his partners’ privacy.
“This development certainly makes Dave a victim — a victim of his own recklessness.”
So if he’d behaved himself in the first place, he wouldn’t have had to worry about extortion?
This is called blaming the victim, and it’s deplorable.
“This is a full-grown adult who made a grown-up choice. And he chose to sleep with junior staffers rather than take the standard route and walk to the corner bar to conduct a sad, ordinary affair. Instead, he’s working out some twisted Freudian issues on dewy-eyed underlings.”
The assumption is that because Letterman’s older than some of the women he slept with, they’re not adults, and they’re not able to make adult choices.
The tone of the article is meant to be insulting to David Letterman, but it’s more insulting to the women he had sex with.
Maybe these affairs were happy? Maybe they were extraordinary? After all, it wasn’t one of these alleged “victims” who came forward trying to blackmail Letterman.
“Letterman is guilty of cheating on the woman he eventually married after a 20-year relationship…”
Is it possible that Letterman’s wife knew about the affairs and didn’t care? I don’t know whether that’s the case or not, but shouldn’t it at least be a consideration? (Some men and women do have open relationships.)
And is cheating on your wife grounds for termination? We’d have a crazy unemployment rate if that were so.
“He has shown a wicked hatred of Republicans, which reached a climax when he joked about Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old daughter, Willow, getting “knocked up” in the seventh inning of a Yankee game by Alex Rodriguez.”
I haven’t noticed a “wicked hatred of Republicans” in his comedy. And Letterman explained that the joke wasn’t aimed at the 14-year-old daughter, and he apologized for the joke too. When is the last time a conservative broadcaster like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly apologized for mocking liberals?
“Americans would not stand for this kind of behavior from a government official.”
Hey, guess what? American did stand for this kind of behavior from a government official. His name was Bill Clinton, and he was the President. And he wasn’t fired.
And guess what else? David Letterman isn’t a government official anyway.
Should CBS fire Letterman?
Maybe CBS should fire Letterman. And they still might fire Letterman. He might have done something wrong. He might have used his position of authority irresponsibly, recklessly, or even maliciously.
But we don’t know that yet.
It’s also possible that Dave’s a get-around-guy with a healthy sexual appetite and an open mind. Some of the women he’s worked with over the years might have been get-around-gals with healthy sexual appetites and open minds too. Maybe everyone involved (Letterman, his lovers, his wife) were aware of what was going on and okay (even happy) with the situation.
But they shouldn’t fire Letterman based on the nonsensical and mean-spirited rant published at the New York Post.
by Randy Ray
How did Conan O’Brien do on his opening night?
Comedian and writer Conan O’Brien recently took over the seat usually occupied by Jay Leno on NBC’s popular “Tonight Show”. Conan O’Brien made a name for himself in show business first as a writer for popular comedy shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons”. O’Brien was eventually offered the job as the replacement host for David Letterman after that popular late night host’s show moved up an hour.
Late Night with Conan O’Brien premiered in 1993, and was met with seriously unfavorable reviews. In fact, for the first three years of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, NBC considered cancelling the show. Once O’Brien hit his stride, he became a critical darling with a huge cult following. While Jay Leno and David Letterman tended to “play it straight”, O’Brien was never scared to venture into the bizarre, as evidenced by sketches involving self pleasuring diaper wearing bears and marathon races between famous landmarks.
Conan O’Brien further distanced himself from the norm with several “routines” that became part and parcel of his image. O’Brien is more active and spontaneous than other Late Night hosts. O’Brien would often mime, and is known for extreme self depreceation. His expressive face and heavy use of impressions, combined with awkward pauses and playing with his hair makes him an easy target for imitators. O’Brien is “100% Irish”, according to his interview on Inside the Actor’s Studio, and uses his pale skin and odd hair often in his monologues and routines.
So how is Conan O’Brien faring in his new time slot? Many critics were worried that his awkward delivery and off beat style wouldn’t work as well with an audience used to the more laid back Jay Leno. Overall, the critical reaction has been cautiously optimistic — many bloggers are quick to remind people that late night TV is a long-term game, and we shouldn’t be too quick to pass judgement. Remember that it took Conan about three seasons to really hit his stride on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”.
One TV blogger noted that his first episode was slightly awkward — “like swooping in for a kiss at the end of a first date.” As we expected, Conan O’Brien didn’t lean on the stand up comedy routines Jay Leno is famous for. Instead, his first show seemed like a cross between his own awkward style and David Letterman’s — a few O’Brien-esque jokes peppered in between taped segments. In fact, the taped portions of the show made up a full half of the show’s entirety.
Right from the start, O’Brien was quick to acknowledge the difference between himself and his predecessor. “I’ve got great timing,” O’Brien joked, just after a taped segment that showed O’Brien running across the country from his old studio in New York to his new swanky Los Angeles studio. To break the ice, O’Brien offered his best joke of the night — “I’m on the last-place network, I moved to a state that’s bankrupt, and the show is sponsored by General Motors.” Typically self deprecating and hilarious.
A series of taped segments showed Joe Biden purportedly “vetting” Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, asking her if she “has swine flu”. We also saw O’Brien sitting in the nosebleed section of a Los Angeles Lakers game, not exactly getting the red carpet treatment. Finally, in what many are calling the best bit of the night, O’Brien played host for a Universal Studios tour bus, stopping to buy all the tourists tacky souveniers at a Los Angeles dollar store.
The fact is that viewers love Conan O’Brieb. Many fans will be glad to give O’Brien time to get used to his new studio, new hosting role, and new city. If O’Brien has to work out a few awkward bits of timing with his new/old announcer and sidekick Andy Richter, so be it. The return of Richter, whose departure from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” was one of the saddest moments on the old show, is a highlight for this late night viewer.
More good news — silly bits work well for Conan. We saw Fabio and O’Brien trying to look cool driving O’Brien’s infamous 1992 Taurus around L.A., with Fabio (who famously owns tons of expensive muscle cars) remarking “I wish I could have a Taurus. Then there was the apperance of O’Brien’s only “sit down” guest, Will Ferrell, who was also the last guest on O’Brien’s old show. Ferrell was funny, if not a bit awkward. Note to the producer’s of The Tonight Show — more guests, please.
Even the slightly outdated musical guest Pearl Jam hit a nice groove about halfway through a song off their new album. Let’s all hope that O’Brien and his producers are comfortable enough to unleash some of O’Brien’s best bits — like the often offensive Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or the always hilarious “In the Year 3000″. These bits are typical for O’Brien in that they are wacky and chuckle inducing bits that highlight O’Brien’s strengths in humor. Some critics fear that if O’Brien sticks to his old “Late Night” antics, the audience used to the more morose Jay Leno will stop watching. Remember, The Tonight Show still holds the ratings lead against David Letterman.
Once he gets comfy in his new digs, a relaxed and more confident Conan O’Brien is likely to make the same kind of hilarious and compelling television that forced me to stay up late just to see what he would do. We just couldn’t expect that from him on his first night.
Anyone who has been keeping up with their soap opera news has by now heard about the cancellation of “Guiding Light”. The longest-running soap opera, and longest-running television show in broadcast history, will air its last episode on September 18, 2009. The show has been on the air for 72 years and by the time the lights go out for the last time, it will have produced 16,000 episodes.
There is a lot of history to “Guiding Light”. It started out as a 15- minute serial on NBC radio back in 1937 before it made its move to television in 1952 with CBS. It was one of the first shows to be called a ‘soap opera’ because soap companies usually sponsored the programs. After all these years of broadcast with some groundbreaking storylines, it had a dedicated audience of die-hard fans. So why was it cancelled?
Poor Guiding Light Ratings
The reason “Guiding Light” was cancelled was the same reason any other television show gets its walking papers: poor ratings. The most recent episodes this year have had an average of 2.1 million viewers. Last year it averaged 2.4 million and five years ago the average number of viewers was at 3 million. That may seem like good numbers until you compare them to other daytime shows. “Guiding Light” actually has the smallest number of any other daytime show. “The Young and the Restless”, the most popular daytime drama, has an average of 5.26 million viewers. “The Price is Right”, another CBS show, has an average viewer audience of 4.95 million. On the other networks, ABC’s soap opera “General Hospital” has an average of 2.96 million viewers. “Days of Our Lives”, which airs on NBC, has 2.76 million. The thing that separates shows like “General Hospital” and Days of Our Lives” from “Guiding Light” is the audience for the first two shows is much younger than for “Guiding Light” and thus attracts more advertising.
So why did “Guiding Light” have such poor ratings? One reason has affected all soap operas and that is the role of women in the workforce. There are fewer women at home these days to watch these shows because more and more are getting jobs and going to work. Even women who started out as homemakers have had to go back to work because of the world’s changing economy.
Bad Guiding Light Storylines
Many fans have complained over the years that the storylines for “Guiding Light” have been lacking and don’t hold viewer’s attentions. The main attraction to soap operas is that their storylines are serialized and slowly build momentum, working up to a climax. Viewers turn in every day so that they don’t miss any part as the story develops. But in the past years “Guiding Light” seemed to have concentrated more on short, contained stories that left fans unsatisfied.
Death Of Main Characters
In any soap opera, main characters are permanent fixtures, always there and involved in the drama. As the years go by, each of these characters develops their own fan base. To kill off main characters would deprive a soap of part of their fans. But that is exactly what “Guiding Light” did. By killing off some of their long-standing main characters, they shocked and enraged fans which ultimately hurt their overall ratings.
What They Did To Save Guiding Light
In order to save money and thus save the show, CBS switched the shows format. They changed over from the large pedestal cameras to hand-held digital cameras. This allowed for more movement and more freedom. CBS also built permanent sets with four walls instead of the traditional three walls. Normally sets are constantly being rebuilt so this helped save money and allowed for more dimension when filming. There were also more outdoor shots used. Studio lights were switched out with hand-held lights and microphones that also gave the shop a different look and feel. All of these changes helped to cut costs but in the end just weren’t enough. Plus, not everyone was happy with the changes. Many fans did not like the new format nor did a few of the stars. Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin quit the show soon afterwards and went to work for ABC on their soap “All My Children”.
Guiding Light Might Survive Elsewhere
Proctor & Gamble, the company that owns “Guiding Light”, is currently seeking alternative sources to keep the show going. They are looking into moving the show to a satellite channel, such as NBC did with their show “Passions” when it was cancelled. There might even be other cost effective means of keeping the show alive. Until then, the show’s cast and staff will continue to put out stories about the town of Springfield until their final curtain in September.
Who won the 8th season of Dancing with the Stars?
Olympic Gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson, who thrilled the world with her balance beam performance in the Beijing Olympics, can now hang a new piece of hardware on her wall. Shawn Johnson and partner Mark Ballas won the 8th season of ABC’s hit Dancing With the Stars by one of the narrowest margins of victory in the show’s history.
ABC television’s Dancing with the Stars 8th ceason gleefully celebrated a new winner Tuesday night. This season, which premiered on March 9, 2009, saw 13 couples vying for the number one spot. The competition must have been fierce, as ABC television reports the outcome of the competition had its narrowest margin ever. In a finale that was declared as the most competitive in the show’s history, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson took home the mirror ball trophy.
Shawn Johnson won with less than a one percent lead in the final vote, narrowly beating out actor Gilles Marini. The finale was declared as the most competitive ever. Shawn Johnson’s professional partner in the 2009 dance competition was Mark Ballas. Actor Gilles Marini, with dance partner Cheryl Burke, took second place in the competition. Melissa Rycroft, who became famous after an appearance on the Bachelor, took third place with her dance partner Tony Dovolani.
Shawn Johnson was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She is the daughter of Doug and Teri Johnson, who were smart enough to enroll their daughter in a gymnastics class at the tender age of three after they noticed her climbing up cabinets and jumping down from tables. Wanting to channel this particularly dangerous behavior into something healthy, they figured gymnastics was the route to go. Boy, dd they have good timing — at the age of six, Shawn was among the first students of Liang Chow, who opened a gymnastics school in Des Moines. Chow’s training really paid off.
Unlike many top notch athletes even at her age, Johnson attends public school — specifically, Valley High School in Des Moines. She enteried the 2008–09 school year as a junior. Most elite gymnasts train around 40 hours a week and choose to work with private tutors rather than attend school. Shawn Johnson trains instead for just 20-25 hours a week and maintains a “normal life” in high school — where she is currently on the A Honor Roll and takes part in the regular extra-curricular activities of the average teenager. In this way, Johnson is a great role model for young athletes, who often get sucked into the world of elite sports and miss out on a “regular life”.
Anyone who’s watched the Dancing with the Stars series knows how much work the competitors must put into the show. The consistent practice and workouts and dance routines can be extremely taxing on the human body. Many contestants have left the show with injuries, and on several occasions injuries related to dancing have been highlighted on the show or made much of in the media.
In fact, Dancing with the Stars has a whole team of doctors and chiropractors working behind the scenes to keep the dancers in top condition. It was in season three, back in September of 2006, when show coordinators behind the Dancing with the Stars reality series decided they were in desperate need of a chiropractor’s help. They hired a local chiropractic service, and DWTS contestants have had access to onset chiropractic care at the filming location in Los Angeles ever since.
In that same season, Emmitt Smith (former NFL running back) won the Dancing with the Stars competition. This is a bit ironic, as Emmitt Smith has long been a vocal celebrity advocate for chiropractic care, famously advising fellow NFL player LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers to find a good chiropractor. Smith was even shown on TV during training for Dancing with the Stars receiving an ‘adjustment” from his chiropractor, reportedly to spread the health benefits of chiropractic practice and take away any “stigma” associated with chiropractic care.
Congratulations to Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas. Not only is Shawn Johnson a national hero for her performance at the most recent Olympics, she is now enjoying her fifteen minutes of Dancing with the Stars fame. No one was surprised to hear that Dancing with the Stars is set for another season, the show’s ninth, on ABC. The show is incredibly popular, and is a wholesome option for family viewing at a time when television is crammed full of murder, sex, and other questionable behavior.
Are Jon and Kate Gosselin already already split up?
This story just won’t die.
Jon and Kate Gosselin, stars of TLC’s popular reality show “Jon and Kate Plus 8”, have reportedly been living apart for as long as 6 months, according to some sources close to the couple.
The pressure has begun to mount for the popular TV couple, enough pressure that the infamously stern and unshakeable Kate Gosselin has “cracked”, according to People magazine, and is not only expressing doubts about her marriage, but is also behaving rather strangely, including posing for papparazi in her bikini after undergoing a tummy tuck. Kate Gosselin has also been saying negative things about her husband Jon and being very nasty towards his alleged mistress, a woman named Deanna Hummel.
Of course, what Kate isn’t talking about is her own alleged affair with a bodyguard hired after the TLC show began a few years ago.
According to Kate, “I don’t know that we’re in the same place anymore, that we want the same thing. I’ve been struggling with the question of ‘Who is this person?’ for a while. I remember where I was the first time I heard her name. It’s one of those things where you can try to make it go away, but there’s blaring, red flashing lights.”
Jon Gosselin has been spotted having dinner and driving around town with a much younger woman, and photos of the couple have appeared in gossip rags and major magazines.
Although Kate reportedly hasn’t given up all hope for her marriage, she has publicly considered a future without her husband, saying “You can’t imagine yourself in a certain position when all this first happens, but you can do it over some months.”
Meanwhile, coloumnists for US Magazine continue to claim that cheating is happening on both sides, and that the couple has been split “for some time now”. Allegedly, kate and her bodyguard Steve Neild have moved beyond a merely professional relationship.
An unnamed source, an employee at one of TLC’s promotional events for the show, told reporters that Kate and Steve Neild were “very physical, often touching each other ,“ going on to say that Kate was “ . . . gently poking him, giving him little love pats, totally unlike the slapping she does with Jon. She and Steve were joking around so much, I actually wondered if they were having an affair. There’s a lot of open affection between them.” Kate is infamously cold towards Jon, and many people are calling for TLC to pull the show until the heat is off the couple.
The rumors all started when Jon Gosselin allegedly told a woman in a bar that the Gosselins “ . . . might be getting a divorce.”
Star Magazine reported one witness’ account of Jon’s night out:
“He was dirty dancing with several of them, making out, kissing them on their necks and mouths. I thought it was rather surprising for a father with his wife and so many kids at home to be acting like this. He was all over one girl, a long-haired blonde who’s nearly 6 feet tall. He left with several of the girls, including her.”
All of these rumors have prompted Jon to issue a statement through his representation, an excerpt of which says:
“It is certainly hurtful for people to spread rumors and lies about us. It certainly makes me reluctant to live my life like the average person would. This has made it very clear that the simplest innocent gesture -— such as taking a picture with a fan, can be taken out of context.”
Jon and Kate are often seen arguing and bickering on camera, and the arguing has become simply part of the everyday activities on the show. Fans are used to seeing family outings, movie nights, grocery store trips, and dentist visits. Just as normal are fights between Jon and Kate. The couple even traveled to Hawaii to renew their wedding vows on the show.
Their children include 8-year-old twins Cara and Mady and 4-year-old sextuplets Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah and Joel. The children were the result of fertility treatments.
More reports surfaced this weekend in gossip coloumns that Jon and his alleged girlfriend Hummel have been having a few more romantic dates, including one at Ruby Tuesday restaurant and another at Paolo’s Restaurant & Bar.
Why did Tony Kornheiser leave Monday Night Football?
The official reason for Tony Kornheiser’s exit from Monday Night Football is the analyst’s fear of flying. Kornheiser, who also hosts a radio show named after him and is co host of ESPN’s popular “Pardon the Interruption” program with Michael Wilbon, can frequently be heard complaining about his fear of plans, and relating anecdotes about his use of the anti anxiety drug Xanax to overcome this fear.
Many believe that ESPN wanted to go in a different direction with Monday Night Football, and cut a kind of shadowy “deal” with Kornheiser in which he could make it appear that he was stepping down. Fans of Monday Night Football were not exactly happy with Kornheiser’s work on the legendary football show, which was at times as bad as that of his fellow Monday Night Football alumnus Dennis Miller. Kornheiser simply couldn’t get along with the established Monday Night Football personalities.
Now, former NFL coach for the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jon Gruden will replace Tony Kornheiser this fall on ESPN’s broadcasts of Monday Night Football, the network announced on Monday.
Kornheiser is stepping down after three lackluster years in the Monday Night Football booth. In a statement released by ESPN announcing the move, Kornheiser cited his fear of flying and the increased need for him to travel via air this season as his reason for stepping aside. Famously, John Madden refuses to fly, and when he was an analyst for the NFL, he travelled the country by bus. Unfortunately, Kornheiser’s role at Monday NIght Football required much more cross country trips that simply wouldn’t give Kornheiser the time he would need to drive from game to game as well as continue hosting his popular radio and TV programs.
“My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true. When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would’ve frequently moved me from the bus to the air,” Kornheiser said in his statement.
Jon Gruden will join Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski on this season, which is the 40th season of Monday Night Football. many fans of Monday Night Football see the move as a positive one. Though Tony Kornheiser is a popular TV and radio host, his work on Monday Night Football was often overshadowed by difficulties relating to his co hosts. Kornheiser’s jokes fell flat, and he was fond of going on long winded rants about individual plays and players, something that the rapid fire format of Monday Night Football just won’t allow for.
In a statement about the move, Jon Gruden said the following: “I grew up a fan of Monday Night Football, and whether I’ve coached on Monday night or watched, I’ve hardly missed a game all these years. To join Mike and Jaws in the booth and to work alongside this top-notch team is going to be a real thrill.”
Gruden was a head coach in the National Football League for 11 seasons between the Raiders and Bucs. Gruden won Super Bowl XXXVII with the Bucs, making him at the time the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl.
Tony Kornheiser will continue to appear on ESPN on “Pardon the Interruption”, and his recently resurrected radio show “The Tony Kornheiser Show” will air on XM Satellite Radio. The popular radio show has existed in one form or another since 1992.
What Is Hulu?
Hulu is a website which streams videos of movies and television programming from several major film studios and most of the tv networks, including Fox, ABC, and NBC. I guarantee that Hulu.com contains a lot of recent content that you would never imagine showing for free on the Internet.
Hulu Programming – Hulu Homepage
Let me give you some examples. Go to the Hulu homepage and you get a good idea of the video options. There’s an episode of “The Morning After” which debuts on February 2nd (tonight as I write this) in the “Recent Episodes” feature. Other featured videos includes “Popular Clips”, “Popular Shows”, “Featured Content”, and even “My Videos”, which lets you cull the clips you like the most.
Hulu Featured Content
Among the featured videos on Hulu at present, you get your standard fare of Saturday Night Live skits (two SNL clips showing at present), a glimpse at Katy Perry’s appearance on an upcoming tv show, and a feature involving Brooke Burke on the E! Network. As you can tell, watching Hulu clips lets you keep up with American pop culture and entertainment, if that’s important to you.
The video content ranges from the high-minded to the absent-minded. You can watch clips from “Million Dollar Money Drop”, which I have to admit has to actively pursue the worst decision-makers they can find, while the clip just below features a Charlie Rose interview from PBS–which many might find stimulating, but many others might find to be soporific. (I love Charlie Rose, but I might have to go with the crowd on this one, since it involves Barbara Walters.)
You’ll find a whole list of featured programming just on the Hulu homepage. Here’s a list of tv episodes currently featured.
- House Clips on Hulu
- Family Guy Videos on Hulu
- The Bachelor on Hulu
- The Office Clips on Hulu
- The Biggest Loser on Hulu
- Lie to Me on Hulu
- Saturday Night Live Hulu Clips
- Parenthood Hulu Videos
You can also click on the “More” link right beneath these options to find a wider selection. This takes you to the “Most Popular” videos on Hulu, including streaming vids of Greek, Detroit 1-8-7, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Chuck, Naruto Shippuden, E! News Now, Human Target, Modern Family, The Simpsons, and the all-important Glee.
Hulu Movie Trailers
You can also go to Hulu to watch film trailers and previews for both new releases and upcoming releases. For instance, movies like “Just Go With It” starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and Nicole Kidman. There’s also the super-hot model Brooklyn Decker (Andy Roddick’s wife–the lucky bastard) in a key role. Sure, this looks like another mailed-in Adam Sandler performance, but anyone interested already knows that. The point being, this is the latest preview of a big release coming up in just over a week’s time.
Other movie trailers being offered include Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never”–in fact, five different clips. There’s also sneak peaks at “Peep World”, starring Rainn Wilson, Sarah Silverman, and Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, and “Today’s Most Popular” entries like Miss March, The Eagle, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Hulu Load Times
People visiting a video website are going to want (and have) a high-speed connection, but Hulu tries to help out where it can. The site is designed with small thumbnails of the clip in question, but they are small enough and the rest of the design is sparse enough to make navigation and connection times reasonable. That’s important, even for those ready to stream videos.
Hulu “Coming Soon” Page
To see what you don’t want to miss in the coming days and weeks, Hulu also offers it’s “Coming Soon” link, which gives a list of episodes and video clips that should be loaded soon. Each day has it’s own list of soon-to-be-added videos, such as Friday (2/04/11), when Bones episode 6.12 (“The Sin in the Sisterhood”), Grey’s Anatomy 7.13 (“Don’t Deceive Me: Please Don’t Go”), and Private Practice 4.12 (“Heaven Can Wait”) all arrive. I should mention that the Grey’s Anatomy episode title may be one of the wimpiest tv program titles I’ve ever seen.
These programs can be arranged according to “Coming Soon”, “Air Date”, or “Latest”. You can also simply “Browse TV”, so you can search Hulu clips in whichever manner best suits your taste and browsing habits.
Who Owns Hulu?
Hulu is owned jointly by “NBC Universal”, “News Corporation” (Rupert Murdoch’s company), and the Disney Corporation in a joint venture to produce Hulu. Disney is the world’s largest media conglomerate, followed by Time Warner (owner of NBC) in the #2 position, and News Corporation in the #3 position. Therefore, Hulu is owned and operated by a joint partnership of the three largest media conglomerates in the world. No wonder Hulu has the best video clips.
How Does Hulu Make Money?
Hulu makes most of its own from advertising sales. Hulu ads are placed briefly at the beginning of video clips and elsewhere on the sites. The video ads are relatively unobtrusive for streaming video ads, and are what you’re used to on many other video websites out there. Hulu also makes money from subscriptions to “Hulu Plus”, which gives additional content options for paid customers, but I imagine that’s a small part of Hulu’s overall revenue stream.
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Good Movies on Netflix Instant Play
The question “What are some good movies on Netflix instant play” was a lot harder to answer than it is now. That’s because the selection has grown to include many of the first-run blockbusters and new releases on the video rental market. I even know one person who chose the cheapest of the Netflix plans available because he ONLY uses their instant watch capability.
Most people looking for good movies on Netflix already have their by-mail Netflix queue filled up. But with the many new instant viewing options on Netflix, your instant watch queue might be a little limited.
In fact, if you have haven’t watched Netflix streaming videos since their inclusion of Starz Play in late 2008, you may have given up the idea altogether, or you might only have B-movies and bad movies on your viewing list. So I wanted to talk about the latest good movies from Netflix you can find to watch instantly, since the selection is so much better than it used to be.
You might be asking yourself what’s changed so radically in a couple of years. I’ll give you the answer: Starz Play on Netflix.
Using Starz Play, a partnership of Netflix and Starz Entertainment, you can watch over 1,000 first-run movies instantly on your tv or home theater system. When you get on the Netflix homepage, click on the link at the top of the page called “Starz Play” to see what’s available. You can use your Wii or XBOX 360 to sync the Starz Play with your tv, or hook up directly to your television set or computer. You might have to click on the link “Instantly to Your TV” and follow the instructions to know what’s required to set up the instant watch option.
Good Movies on Netflix – Instant Queue
Just like you have a Netflix queue for movies you want sent to you through the mail, you can browse the Netflix instant queue library to see what to add to your Netflix Instant Watch Queue.
If you haven’t streamed movies from Netflix in the last couple of years because you thought their selection wasn’t so hot, check out the latest selection through Starz Play. The purpose of this deal was to allow Netflix to show new releases, blockbusters, and A-list movies in their first-run, instead of less mainstream selections. These are big name movies and critically-acclaimed movies from the big studios–not just B-list productions and niche films.
Good Movies on Netflix Instant Watch
This lets you plan a movie watching schedule with your entire family without taking the time to go to the movie rental store or you forgot to put the right movie at the top of your queue, all you have to do is use the instant watching option accessed through your television screen. Here are examples of good family entertainment movies you could choose on Netflix instant watch
- Up (Disney & Pixar)
- The Princess and the Frog
- Alice in Wonderland
- Astro Boy
- Planet 51
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Dragon Hunters
If you want viewing for your children that the entire family might not actually watch, you can choose from selections like Strawberry Shortcake: The Sky’s the Limit, G-Force, Ponyo, and Care Bears: Big Wish Movie.
Good Movies on Netflix to Watch Instantly
But don’t think Netflix Instant Watching and Starz Play is just about good kids movies. There are hundreds of mainstream films for an adult audience, always entertainment at the top of the mind of a contemporary audience. Below are some good movies on Netflix available for instant viewing.
- The Proposal
- Law Abiding Citizen
- Dear John
- The Ugly Truth
- The Crazies
- Year One
- The Taking of Pelham 123 (remake)
- District 9
- Young Victoria
Looking through the list of current instant watch DVDs on Netflix, there are still plenty of lousy movies. I saw a few Rob Schneider films on the list–always a sign of a bad movie. But the bulk of these films are going to be the selections you would be seeing in the new releases section at your local video rental outlet.
Good Movies on Netflix Streaming
You’ll also find many classic films available for streaming on Netflix. Starz Play can interface with televisions, desktop PCs, laptops, Mac computers, iPads, Wii consoles, and XBox consoles. Name just about any standard electronics able to view movies and you can watch excellent movies through Netflix streaming with it.
- Netflix Plans and Pricing 2011
- What Is Starz Play?
- Netflix VS. Blockbuster
- What Is Blockbuster Video?
- Where to Rent Movies
- DVD Kiosks
- Watch Movies Online
Starz Entertainment and Netflix
Starz Play is an streaming video service by Starz Entertainment which lets you watch tv, film, and concert videos instantly through providers like Netflix and Verizon.
You can interface through you Wii or XBox, or watch instantly on Microsoft PCs and Macs using the Silverlight Movie Player.
And if you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can stream videos directly through your home theater system or television set.
What Is Starz Channel?
Starz began as a tv channel back in 1994, when it was known as Starz!. Starz is owned by Liberty Starz Encore, and Encore Channel and Starz are considered the flagship stations in the network.
Starz is known for showing first-run motion pictures on its channel. As of 2008, it boasted over 17 million subscribers.
Starz Play Service Netflix
Starz Play service from Netflix is a partnership between Starz Entertainment, LLC and Netflix, Inc to provide streaming videos to all subscribers to the Netflix online video rental service. The deal was brokered in fall of 2008, and gives users access to over a thousand instant watch videos.
At the time the deal was announced, Netflix already had over 12,000 movie and television titles available through their instant queue. What “Starz Play” provides is premium content and new releases. Everyone who streamed videos from Netflix up until a year or two ago can tell you that Netflix’s instant view options were limited to older titles and (generally) low quality and B-list productions. StarzPlay provides quality to go with that quantity.
Starz Play Quality
When I say Starz Play quality, I mean new releases among tv shows, films, and musical performances. I also mean that these are releases from the big production studios, like Sony, Walt Disney, Pixar, Miramax, The Weinstein Company, IFC, and other studios at that level. So Starz Play quality is top quality entertainment.
Starz Play Netflix
Few people know this, but Netflix subscribers have the option to subscribe only to Starz Play for $6.99 a month. To find this option, log into Netflix and go to the homepage. Then click on “Your Account & Help” in the top right-hand corner of the page. Click on the “Change Plan” link, which should be on your right and towards the upper portion of this page. Finally, scroll down to “Limited Plans” and click on “Show Additional Limited Plans”. The $6.99 option should be the last option on the page (as of this writing).
Starz Play Community – Starz Play Wiki
If you want to keep up with the latest developments with Starz Play and Netflix, go the Starz Entertainment official website and register with “My Starz” to join in discussions on the community message boards, custom schedules, rating & favorites, email & SMS reminders, and eNewsletters. You’ll also be able to find Starz on Facebook and Starz on Twitter. I’m not aware of a Starz Play wiki, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one exists.
Starz Play Verizon
“Starz Play” through Verizon costs $5.99 a month for Verizon FiOS or Verizon High Speed Internet subscribers, or $9.99 a month for everybody else. A Starz Play subscription entitles you to over 2,500 films and videos for up to 3 devices per one membership. You can bundle this subscription with Verizon Games to get more savings.
Starz Play Wii
To watch Starz Play Netflix through your Wii console, go to your Netflix homepage. Click on the “Instantly to Your TV” link, which should be in the center of your page towards the top. This takes you to a page with a whole list of options of interfaces. Scroll down the page until you get to the “Wii Console” option, then click the appropriate “Learn More >” link.
This provides quick and easy instructions for setting up your Netflix account to your Wii. You can instantly watch TV titles and film titles stream via Netflix into your game room.
Starz Play Mac
Netflix Instant Viewing is compatible with Apple MacIntosh, too. You’ll need an intel-based Mac with OS 10.4.8 or later, Safari 3 or higher (or Firefox 2 or higher), and 1 GB of Ram. Mac users complained for years that Netflix wasn’t compatible, but a deal was brokered in late 2008. The Microsoft Silverlight Movie Player is now compatible with both PC and Mac.
Starz Play Review
Depending on the method used, Starz Play lets you watch between 1,000 and 2,500 new releases and mainstream films, television show episodes, and musical concerts. The Netflix-Starz partnership is going to continue at least into 2012, and the titles offered are going to continue to be among the best new releases in the video market.
Whether you buy a subscription through Netflix or Verizon, or whether you want to stream through your television, home theater system, cell phone, XBox, or Wii, you can get streaming videos through Starz Play for less than $10 a month.
- Netflix Plans and Pricing
- Netflix Versus Blockbuster
- What Is Blockbuster Video?
- Where to Rent Movies Online
- Rent Movies at DVD Kiosks
- Where to Watch Movies Online
- Netflix Pricing Plans (at OnlyGoodMovies.com)
Netflix Rental Plans for 2011
Netflix recently announced new price plans which go into effect on January 11, 2011, so I wanted to go over the Netflix plans and pricing for 2011. Whether you’re prospective customer to the online DVD rental giant, or a continuing costumer trying to figure out whether to change to a new rental plan, you’ll find data to inform your choices.
Netflix Plans and Prices
There are a variety of Netflix plans and prices, including the traditional DVD rental tiers most people are accustomed to, Netflix plans for blu ray rentals, and streaming-only plans. I’ll go over each of these, giving the latest pricing tiers for 2011 and a comparison of the plans based on a combination of cost and service.
A Netflix executive recently stated that Netflix was now primarily a streaming video company–not the by-mail movie rental company most people perceive–though I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. That’s where Netflix is pointing itself, but the day when most of us stream videos to our tv sets, instead of getting movies in the mail, is still in the future. That future might not be too far down the line, though.
For the time being, I’m going to cover the plans and prices you can rent DVDs and blu ray discs via the snail mail, then discuss the streaming option below.
Netflix Plans – Prices
As of January 11, 2011, here are the new prices for Netflix rental plans.
- 1 DVD out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $10.99 a month
- 2 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $16.99 a month
- 3 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $20.99 a month
- 4 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $28.99 a month
- 5 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $35.99 a month
- 6 DVDS out at-a-Time - Unlimited Rentals – $42.99 a month
- 7 DVDS out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $49.99 a month
- 8 DVDS out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $56.99 a month
- 1 DVD out at-a-Time – Limit 2 Rentals per Month – $4.99 a month
- Watch Instantly Unlimited – No DVDs – $7.99 a month
Netflix Plans Comparison
Now that you see the full list of Netflix plans, let’s discuss several of the most intriguing options. Let’s get streaming videos out of the way first, since it’s what is on everyone’s mind right now. It’s hard to argue with the deal Netflix is throwing out there for customers.
Netflix Plans – Streaming Only
For $7.99 per month, you can choose to avoid the DVD mail plans altogether. That means you won’t be able to get Netflix movie discs mailed to you. Instead, everything is streamed directly to your television set. You’ll need to have your tv set up to interface with your computer, and that might cost you the money to have someone come out to your home to install and prep the electronics. Once set up, the streaming plan is the easiest and most efficient, and you don’t have to remember to drop off your return videos in the mail.
You can see why Netflix executives are pushing this option. The overhead of dealing with the U.S. Postal Service and having to “throttle” customers who rent too many films for the cost structure is eliminated. You click on a button and Netflix streams the video to your home. I’ve found there are some connection issues at time, but this is clearly the wave of the future. For $7.99, you get unlimited film rentals pumped directly to your television.
I tend to wonder if Netflix isn’t making this the introductory price, to get more people to switch over from the mailing plans, and the price won’t go up, once most people have made the switch. But if you have the electronic set-up at your house, this is the best plan, according to bang-for-your-buck.
Netflix Plans $4.99
Now let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. The most basic Netflix pricing plan is the $4.99 a month for a maximum of 2 rentals. I suppose people and families which watch few movies, but want to avoid the trip to the video rental store, can use this plan. I don’t see why anyone would choose this option, though.
For five dollars more, you can get unlimited rentals, while still having the same number of DVDs out at one time. Even if your family has one movie watching night a week and you want 1 disc per week, the unlimited $9.99 plan is going to service your needs better.
Netflix Plans – Pricing
As for the standard “DVD out at-a-time” plans, the best remains the 3-film plan, in my mind. This is one of the price plans which has gone up in price ($2 from $17.99 a month), but that’s because it’s the most popular one of the bunch. That’s because 3 movies at a time let’s people stagger their movie watching, almost always having a film DVD to watch. With the standard 2-day turnaround on shipping, the three-video plan simply works.
You can choose the bigger plans, especially if you’re a film geek or you have a whole family of movie watchers, but the price increase from 3 to 4 videos is a steep $8. I still wonder at the people who need 8 film rentals out at a time, but those people exist.
I imagine these people should be among the first to get the $7.99 streaming option, since they can take those $48 per month in savings to put towards having someone come out and set up a streaming connection between their computer and television. A couple or three months of savings should more than make up for that expense, and then they’ll be paying eight dollars a month for unlimited rentals (not just 8).
Netflix Plans – Blu Ray
To add blu ray rentals to your option list, pay an additional $4.00 a month. Remember that you’ll need a high-definition television to watch blu ray discs at home. There are also streaming plans or blu ray-only plans available, listed below. By the time January 11, 2011 rolls around, the prices on several of these might have gone up, but these were the latest pricing tiers for blu ray rentals I could find.
- 1 Blu Ray Disc out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $9.99 a month
- 2 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $14.99 a month
- 3 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $19.99 a month
- 4 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $27.99 a month
- 5 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $34.99 a month
- 6 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $41.99 a month
- 7 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $48.99 a month
- 8 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $55.99 a month
- 1 Blu Ray Disc out at-a-Time – Limit 2 Rentals per Month – $5.99 a month
- Watch Instantly Unlimited – No Blu Ray Discs – $7.99 a month
Netflix Plans – Cost
Whatever the case might be, Netflix remains the best movie rental company in the world. Netflix rental plans are efficient, on the cutting edge, and scandalously cheap. Who knows whether that remains the case in the years ahead–Blockbuster once was the giant of the film rental industry–but as far as 2011 goes, Netflix plans and pricing remain the best.
- Netflix or Blockbuster?
- Blockbuster Video Movie Rental Stores
- Rent Movies Online
- DVD Kiosks
- Watch Movies Online
On the Internet:
Once you’ve written the next Hollywood blockbuster, you’ll want to know how to sell a screenplay. Keep in mind that this is a difficult proposition, as even the most high-quality script has a slim chance of being sold. And the odds of it making to theaters is even smaller. While this slim odds shouldn’t stop you from trying to sell a screenplay, you should temper your expectations and remain realistic about your chances.
The following article will provide practical advice on how to sell a screenplay, including agents, cold calling, and copyrighting your work. We’ll also look at some of the most common terms used when discussing scripts, including the dreaded “development hell.”
How to Copyright Your Screenplay
Once your screenplay is written, it’s a good idea to copyright it. While it’s unlikely that an agent or studio would actually risk litigation and steal your idea, there’s also no point in taking any chances with something you’ve worked so hard on. There are two ways to copyright a script, but please note that sending yourself a copy in the mail isn’t one of them. This method will not stand up in court, so forget what you’ve heard. The following are the only acceptable ways:
- The Writers Guild – A writer’s union that allows you to copyright your script. You don’t have to be a member to do so, and the fee is $20 per script. This can be done quickly, and the entire process can be accomplished online.
- Library of Congress – While a copyright exists the moment that you create your work, it will need to be registered in order to bring a lawsuit. The best way to do this is toregister it with the Library of Congress, although it will take longer than the Writers Guild. The beginning fee is $35, although certain options may cause the price to rise.
If you’re really serious about protecting your work, you’ll want to register with both the Writers Guild and the Library of Congress. It does take a time, effort, and money, but it’s nowhere near as taxing as actually writing a script. Before you learn how to sell a screenplay, this is the first step you should take.
If you’re looking to sell your screenplay, it’s important to start small. The best people to target are independent producers. These are men and women who specialize in finding promising scripts and combining them with actors and directors. Once this has been accomplished, the resulting package of talent is sold to a studio. The best way to get in touch with a producer is to first have an agent. First of all, this will keep you from getting suckered by one of the many con artists running around Hollywood. Secondly, it assures the producer that you’re a reputable individual who won’t sue if the studio turns down your script and releases something that bears a slight resemblance to your story a decade later. Finally, Hollywood is all about who you know. Having an agent is like having an automatic friend in Hollywood, and that kind of help can never be underestimated.
Before directing Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino sold the screenplay for True Romance, and he also did an uncredited re-write for Past Midnight. John Sayles is another example. While he’s directed films such as Lone Star and The Secret of Roan Inish, many of his projects have been funded by writing genre scripts for films such as The Howling, Piranha, and Alligator. Starting small can lead to big things.
How to Sell a Screenplay in Hollywood – Finding an Agent
Finding an agent is not an easy task. It takes perseverance, people skills, and (sometimes) talent. Before you begin, make sure you possess at least two of the three qualities just mentioned.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make a list of potential agents. Again, it’s best to start small, as major agencies won’t accept unsolicited scripts. The best option is to obtain a copy of the Hollywood Agents and Managers Directory. This periodical is published twice a year, and it details every reputable agent currently working in Hollywood. A one-year subscription will cost you $80, while a single issue runs around $50. It’s well worth the price if you’re serious about learning how to sell your screenplay. You can also purchase The Agents Directory or The Guide to Literary Agents, books that are published annually.
It’s important to target an agency that deals in the genre of film you’ve written. This will save you time in the long run and maximize your chances of finding an agency that will potentially represent you.
Agencies located in Hollywood and Los Angeles are the best to target, while those in New York should be secondary considerations. For additional tips and ideas on what individual agents are looking for, you might consider attending a writer’s conference. This is also a great way to network, and there’s no telling what you might get accomplished over a couple of drinks after the conference has concluded.
Once you’ve compiled a list of talent agencies you’re interested in, you can either send out query letters or try cold calling. Either option can be a frustrating proposition, and this is where you’ll need to use all your skills of perseverance. Query letters should be no longer than a page and succinctly tell the agent what your screenplay can offer them. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope and maintain a professional attitude at all times.
If you decide to cold call, be prepared to deal with lots of receptionists, many of whom won’t be willing to give you the time of day. Don’t give up, though. Small agencies may have actual agents answering the phone, and this could lead to an invitation to send in your screenplay for review. Just remember: never send an unsolicited script to an agency. It will wind up in the trash. In fact, you may even receive a letter from their legal department kindly asking you to not send unsolicited material.
Making the Sale
When you secure an agent, then the process of selling your screenplay will begin. The agent will contact producers throughout Hollywood, pitching them on your idea. Any that are interested will then be sent your script, and then it’s simply a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Keep in mind that the agent doesn’t work for free, and they’ll usually receive a small percentage of whatever you get paid for your project.
Types of Sales
Anyone who wants to know how to sell a screenplay should be aware of the three major kinds of deals.
Development Hell – A very rare deal that virtually guarantees that the screenwriter will get paid (often double) even if the project is derailed. This kind of deal is hardly ever made, as it often allows the writer to sue the producer or studio if things go horribly awry. Don’t expect this one to ever come up.
Option – Basically, a producer rents your script for a specified period of time. You get paid for this rental, and you cannot shop the script to anyone else while it is being optioned. During this time, the producer can choose to buy the script, or he can let the option elapse. If the latter happens, ownership and control of the script reverts back to you. The usual fee for optioning a script is under $50,000. A common deal in Hollywood.
Sale – This occurs when a producer buys your script outright. This usually ranges from $60k to $100k, although screenwriters with excellent track records can often demand higher salaries. In some cases, you may be offered a deal such as “100 against 300.” This means that you would receive 100k for the sale and another 300k of the film actually got made. There’s also a chance to receive residuals, meaning the writer will receive profits from DVD sales and other forms of merchandising. Your agent will negotiate such points for you, but only writers with a great amount of clout can usually expect the premium deals.
- 15 Awesome Resources for Screenwriters
- Screenwriting at the Open Directory Project
- How to Write a Screenplay
- Syd Field
MLB Playoffs 2010 Predictions
Since most teams in Major League Baseball have now played their 81st game of this season, we are officially at the halfway mark. In the race for October glory, there are still plenty of tight divisional races.
Currently, the American League is led by the Yankees, Tigers and Twins, Rangers, and Red Sox. Those are the top five teams based on their position in their divisions. Don’t think of the Red Sox as just another wildcard team — the team they are second place in the division too is none other than the New York Yankees, who also happen to have the best record in baseball. The Rangers are enjoying their time in the sun after decades of playing awful baseball, and sports fans in Detroit are overjoyed (if not a little shocked) by the prowess of their starting nine.
The National League holds few surprises. Sitting pretty at the top are some familiar faces, including the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinatti Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, the LA Dodgers, and the Amazing Mets. The same story that holds true for Boston in the AL holds for the New York Mets, who sit just two games behind a dynamic Atlanta Braves team.
This season has its share of strange developments. From the 14-1 record and 2.27 ERA for Udalbo Jimenez in Colorado to the (nearly) three perfect games pitched within thirty days of each other. It has certainly been a wild season and we’re only halfway through.
Besides Jimenez’ fantastic season opening play, there are at least two entire club systems whose performances shock us on a daily basis. For the Cincinnati Reds to be a full game and a half up on NL powerhouse St. Louis at this point in the season is nothing short of an Ohio miracle. Should the Reds hold on to win the division while Cleveland’s NBA team somehow manages to re-sign LeBron James, there’ll be riots in Columbus for a week. The Reds have pulled off this surprising season by mixing the stellar play of a handful of veterans with plenty of talented new blood. The Reds have six players aged 26 or younger, mostlythem big-time prospects like first baseman Joey Votto (hitting .311 with 10 homeruns and 31 RBI), but much of the work is being done by otherwise “no name” young players, like outfielder Jay Bruce (.264, four homers, 16 RBI) and the Reds’ 2009 draft pick and starting pitcher Mike Leake (4-0, 2.91 ERA). Veterans like shortstop Orlando Cabrera and outfielder Jonny Gomes act as anchors to a fiery young lineup that punishes everyone they play.
There is no greater disappointment than the pain being felt in Philly land these days. The National League champion Phillies are beset with injury troubles and something you might call “whiff syndrome”. Their big players are hurting, and the supporting cast are swinging Wiffle bats. Put simply, a 43-40 record is not good enough for Philly nation. A dismal home record (23-18) means that home fans have seen plenty of bad baseball. Sure, there’s nothing you can do about injuries — or is there? Fans are grumbling that something needs to change, and some sources are already talking about “changes” in the front office.
Two other teams that are playing surprisingly bad are the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs. The Mariners were 85 – 77 last season and already this year they’ve hit the bottom of the division and pretty much just sat there. When your team hits lots of losing streaks and has trouble on your home field, you’re going to be a basement dweller. As for the Cubs, they are under .500 at home. There are no fans like Cubs fans, stil waiting for that championship stolen what seems like an eternity ago by an errant fan maneuver. If any team in the league is cursed, it is the Cubbies. Any team that is 3-9 in twelve games against lowly Pittsburgh this season is in for some big changes come year’s end.
In the spirit of the halfway point of the season, here are our divisional predictions, along with 2010 MLB Playoff picks.
1st New York Yankees
2nd Boston Red Sox, 1 GB
3rd Tampa Bay Rays 2 GB
4th Toronto Blue Jays 8 GB
5th Baltimore Orioles 30 GB
1st Detroit Tigers
2nd Minnesota Twins 1 GB
3rd Chicago White Sox 1.5 GB
4th Kansas City Royals 8 GB
5th Cleveland Indians 11 GB
1st Texas Rangers
2nd L.A. Angels 4 GB
3rd Oakland A’s 8.0 GB
4th Seatle Mariners 12 GB
1st Boston Red Sox
2nd Tampa Bay Rays 1 GB
3rd L.A. Angels 2 GB
AL Championship — New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox. The Yankees win in a seven game series during which they lose at least one key offensive player.
1st Atlanta Braves
2nd New York Mets 2 GB
3rd Philadelphia Phillies 5 GB
4th Florida Marlins 8 GB
5th Washington Nationals 13 GB
1st Cincinnati Reds
2nd St. Louis Cardinals 1 GB
3rd Milwaukee Brewers 3 GB
4th Houston Astros 10 GB
5th Chicago Cubs 12 GB
6th Pittsburgh Pirates 17 GB
1st San Diego Padres
2nd L.A Dodgers 2 GB
3rd Colorado Rockies 4 GB
4th San Francisco Giants 8 GB
5th Arizona D’backs 19 GB
1st New York Mets
2nd L.A. Dodgers 0.5 GB
3rd St. Louis Cardinals 1.0 GB
4th Milwaukee Brewers 3 GB
World Championship: New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves. We say Atlanta wins in a tough seven game contest after tough competition in several long playoff series puts the Yankees roster on injury watch.
The MLB season is a little over halfway over. All-Star fever is here, and teams are hoping to make second half changes to improve their standings. The days are long and hot and the cool breezes of October seem forever away. Before you know it, the Astros will be making a strong second half run (ultimately unsuccesful) at the Wild Card and the Cubs will really start choking. That’s just how it goes in the second half of the baseball season.
To find more information related to MLB Playoffs 2010 Predictions, visit the following:
- 2010 MLB Baseball Playoff Predictions at Bleacher Report
- 2010 MLB Second Half Predictions at Sprung on Sports
- Fantasy Baseball Leagues
Emmy Awards 2010: Who Will Win?
The 2010 Emmy Award nomination list is out — start the speculation. Glee is sure to rack up the awards, leading the entire field with 19 nominations including Best Comedy Series. The big news this year is that fans of Friday Night Lights finally have something to cheer for. Both Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were nominated for Best Drama acting awards. Some of the same Emmy questions from last year are still on our minds. Will Jon Hamm finally beat out Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston? Here’s our predictions for the most popular categories.
BEST COMEDY SERIES
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Modern Family (ABC)
Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
The Office (NBC)
30 Rock (NBC)
Glee fever is a serious condition. I’ve known people from all walks of life who watch their first episode of Glee and by the next morning they’ve seen every episode. Though their eyes may be blurry, they stand as a testament to the power of FOX’s comedy mega-hit. Glee walks away with this award, easy, even though 30 Rock (a perennial Emmy favorite) and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie provide stiff competition. The darkhorse candidate in this category has to be Nurse Jackie. This has been one of my favorite shows this year, but the question is will Emmy voters get past its extremely dark comedy and give it a nod?
BEST COMEDY ACTOR
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Tony Shalhoub (Monk)
Steve Carell (The Office)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
The winner of this category depends heavily on how Glee-happy the Emmy voters get. If you see Glee winning a lot of early categories, you can write in the victory here for Matthew Morrison. Otherwise, Alec Baldwin is the likeliest candidate. Dark horse candidate Jim Parsons is a fan favorite, but his show has usually gotten the old Emmy snub.
BEST COMEDY ACTRESS
Lea Michele (Glee)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Toni Collette (United States of Tara)
The most likely winner in this category who is not in the cast of Glee is Tina Fey. 30 Rock goes big at the Emmys, and for good reason. Your dark horse candidate, Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie, deserves some kind of recognition for her virtuoso performance. Heck, Nurse Jackie needs accolades for being a medical show that doesn’t bore us to tears. Lea Michele or Tina Fey wins this one.
BEST SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR
Chris Colfer (Glee)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Statistics dictate that someone from Modern Family is going to win this award. Using the “funniest name usually wins the award” tactic, I predict that Eric Stonestreet goes him with an Emmy in his rental car. Yes, Neil Patrick Harris should win it, but since Modern Family got screwed out of the Best Comedy Series category, expect Emmy voters to offer a consolation prize to Mr. Stonestreet.
BEST SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)
Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live)
Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Not to sound like a broken record, but audiences really love Glee. Glee-heads pester their friends until their friends watch it, then those friends pester three or four other friends until eventually you’re getting your hair cut and Glee is on in the barbershop. All that to say — Jane Lynch wins the Emmy.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
Breaking Bad (AMC)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Mad Men (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)
In what could be the greatest snub in Emmy history, neither the consistently good Friday Night Lights or the phenomenon that is Treme were nominated for Best Drama Series. The team at Friday Night Lights have taken an impossible concept and made huge changes over the last two seasons that did nothing but up the awesomeness of this show. Since we have to hand an Emmy out to a show other than Friday Night Lights or Treme, let’s throw a dart and say Lost will win because it recently ended. And we’ll say it with clear eyes and full hearts.
BEST DRAMA ACTOR
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Matthew Fox (Lost)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
This is the year that Jon Hamm will stand up and collect his Emmy. Cranston has won it two years running, and he certainly deserves it. His acting in Breaking Bad is just frighteningly good. However, three Emmys in a row is too much. Let’s honor Hamm for his performance in AMC’s instant classic Mad Men.
OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Mike O’Malley (Glee)
Neil Patrick Harris (Glee)
Fred Willard (Modern Family)
Eli Wallach (Nurse Jackie)
Jon Hamm (30 Rock)
Will Arnett (30 Rock)
Despite a personal soft spot for Will Arnett from his GOB days, you have to think that a great character actor like Fred Willard or Jon Hamm is going to walk away with this Emmy. Willard’s earned it, and we’d love to see him be honored for his outstanding performance in Modern Family as well as his body of work in general, but just in case it doesn’t work that way, it is probably safe to pencil in anyone with Glee next to their name. Eli Wallach is a darkhorse.
OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Kristin Chenoweth (Glee)
Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live)
Betty White (Saturday Night Live)
Elaine Stritch (30 Rock)
Jane Lynch (Two and a Half Men)
If Betty White weren’t on this list for her hilarious SNL episode, this award would be Kristin Chenoweth’s without question. The presence of White, who has crashed back onto the pop culture scene with multiple TV appearances and flirting openly with LeBron James, makes this a no-brainer. Emmy goes to the Golden Girl.
BEST VARIETY, MUSIC, OR COMEDY SERIES
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien (NBC)
This is the only category that really matters at this year’s Emmys. You look down this list and see some familiar names — Colbert, Jon Stewart, SNL — then you get to The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien and you realize just how “down with Coco” the Emmys really are. This is a sure thing. You don’t lose your job on a television show only to see that show nominated for an Emmy the same year. It is unprecedented.
Whether you watch the Emmys to play a drinking game (take a shot every time someone says “Hugh Laurie’s accent is so convincing!”) or because you stand behind a particular show or performer, award season wouldn’t be right without the Primetime Emmys. Have your own predictions about these or any other categories? Let us know. Consider this your chance to sing the praises of your favorite show, nominated or not.
A lot of the television shows that have been nominated for Emmy Awards in 2010 are available on DVD at Amazon. Check them out below:
- 30 Rock
- The Big Bang Theory
- Breaking Bad
- The Colbert Report
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
- Desperate Housewives
- Friday Night Lights
- The Good Wife
- How I Met Your Mother
- Mad Men
- Modern Family
- The New Adventures of Old Christine
- Nurse Jackie
- The Office
- Parks and Recreation
- Real Time with Bill Maher
- Saturday Night Live
- True Blood
- Two and a Half Men
- United States of Tara
See also: How to Get Satellite Television
Where Can You Find the Cheapest LCD TV?
LCD TVs have been around since the late 80s when Sharp introduced a relatively small LCD TV — a fourteen inch screen described as more of a “boutique” item rather than a TV for everyday use.
LCD technology used to be very expensive (hence the small size of the 1988 LCD TV screen) and with the rise of plasma screens in the late 90s and early 2000s most people thought LCD was dead in the water. Due to the high cost of plasma screens (a cost that never really went down) and the advances in LCD technology, LCD stuck around and by 2006 were cheaper and more widely available than plasma.
Because of this boom in LCD technology, prices have really started to come down. It is common to find a decently-sized (26 – 32 inch) LCD HDTV for around $600 – $700.
But what’s a technophile to do if he wants to score a big screen LCD HDTV and doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg? Discount retailers.
Deals on LCD TVs
Pricing LCD TVs is a matter of matching your wants with what deals are available. You might be drooling over a 52-inch 1080p widescreen LCD HDTV from Samsung but unless you’ve got $2,000 in your TV budget, that might be a bit unrealistic.
The best way to save money shopping for an LCD TV is a one-two punch — cut back on your expectations a little and shop at retailers who offer big discounts.
I’ve been browsing Overstock.com this morning looking at LCD television prices. That massive and powerful Samsung we were just talking about? Overstock has it for sale at just under $1,500 — that’s greater than $500 savings without really doing too much digging.
Another way to save a little money on LCD TVs is to shop for refurbished items. Websites like RefurbDepot.com and SavingLots.com have plenty of refurbished LCD TVs to choose from all carrying big discounts on the sticker price. Just looking at their front pages, I see a 55-inch Olevia 1080p LCD HDTV for under $1,200 which is a savings of around $400.
Refurbished LCD TVs
There’s no reason to be scared of refurbished LCD TVs. If you buy a “factory refurbished” TV set, you can still get a manufacturer’s warranty or even a warranty extension on the original warranty. Buying a refurbished LCD TV is a great way to save money on otherwise expensive technology while still ensuring you’ll get the best customer service. Especially if you can secure a manufacturer’s extended warranty.
This is part of a series of blog posts we’re publishing about where to find cheap deals. The other posts in this series include:
- Where Can You Find the Cheapest Flights and Airline Tickets?
- Where Can You Find the Cheapest Laptop?
- Where Can You Find the Cheapest Hotels?
- Where Can You Find the Cheapest Cars?
Why Was “As the World Turns” Canceled?
CBS has canceled two high profile daytime television shows in the last four months.
First, “Guiding Light” — the longest running soap opera in television history, which aired in some form from 1937 to 2009. On December 8th, 2009, CBS announced that “As the World Turns” (which started airing in 1956 and was the longest running broadcast soap opera after the cancellation of “GL”) will end its run in September of 2010. “As the World Turns” has an annual audience of around 2.5 million, and is by far the most popular of the remaining soap operas.
So why would a show with that many viewers be cancelled after more than fifty years? Put simply — money.
Even though the show boasts millions of annual viewers, soap operas simply aren’t profitable for networks anymore. The reasons for this loss of revenue have been debated in recent years — women joining the work force en masse, and competition from multiple cable channels and online programming are the two usual suspects.
Daytime television has moved away from big budget dramas to cheaper talk shows and other formats. Soap operas require big budgets because of the size of the cast, guest stars, the number of writers needed to keep a show interesting, productions costs and high productions values, etc.
Look at other daytime soap operas for an example of how the entire industry has been affected by tight budgets. Think back to October, when Eric Braeden of “The Young and the Restless” made noise about leaving the show because he’d been asked to take another huge pay cut. Reportedly, Braden makes seven figures for his work on that popular soap.
In related news, ABC is moving its most popular soap, “All My Children”, to a more cost effective California studio before the end of 2009. Industry insiders report that show will save as much as $15 million every year for moving the studio.
There may be hope for fans of “As the World Turns” — the production company that puts the show on the air is reportedly trying to sell “World” to any number of other venues, including a possible move online, hoping that production of this popular daytime drama can continue. Outlook for this plan is not so good, as “Guiding Light” tried the same thing and failed to find a competent buyer.
Daytime dramas are struggling, just as television and other entertainment media are struggling. To keep your favorite soaps on the air, the best move you can make is to shop with their sponsors.
What Is Bluray Disc Storage?
“Blue Ray” is what people often called Blue-Ray disc storage, which is simply an optical disc storage technology meant to supercede DVD.
Though the Blu-Ray disc is exactly the same size as CD and DVD discs, Blue Ray stores more information and displays it better. Blue Ray technology is used with high-definition televisions and with the Playstation 3 game system.
Blu-Ray storage is an upgrade from the existing technology, because it allows the disc to store roughly six times the information a standard DVD could store. Data retrieval requires a shorter wavelength ray compared to the DVD laser retrieval. Since the DVD wavelength uses a 650 nanometer red laser and the Bluray wavelength uses a 405 nanometer blue-violet laser to retrieve date, the name “blue ray” was used early on to define the optical disc storage device. This was shortened to Blu-Ray for marketing purposes by Sony.
Blue Ray technology was made possible by the invention of the blue laser diode by Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Blue-Ray marketing was delayed for six years due to a dispute over the blue laser diode’s patent.
Blue Ray or HD?
Eventually, Sony began marketing “blue-ray players” and Toshiba began marketing a competing technology, called High-Definition or “HD DVD Players”. This was similar to the marketing war between Betamax and VHS in the early days of the VCR. Like the battle that VHS won, the two competing systems would not be viable indefinitely, so the Blue-Ray War became a marketing battle for the life of the systems.
Eventually, Toshiba took its DVD HD players off the market, admitting that Blu-Ray Disc Players would be the next stage in storage disc technology development. Toshiba now markets its own version of the Blue-Ray disc player.
The high definition optical disc format war, as it came to be called, appeared to be a format war among equals at first. On the HD DVD side, three of the Big 6 movie studios gave support, along with Microsoft, several big PC firms (including Toshiba) and Wal-Mart. On the Blu-Ray side, 3 major Hollywood studios joined Hitachi, Panasonic, Sharp, Pioneer, Samsung and a number of other companies on the Blu-Ray Disc Foundation.
Blu-Ray sales started strongest, but many predicted the participation of Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Warner Bros. would tip the balance in HD DVD’s favor. Attempts were made to come to an agreement, but the Blu-Ray firms had lost billions on royalty rights on DVD, and they refused to change their technology to suit the compability desires of Microsoft and their personal computer allies.
Many movie production firms and studios adopted both technologies when selling their movies to the public, while Netflix and Blockbuster rented both Blue Ray and HD DVD discs. HD DVD had a cheaper price, though Blue-Ray was considered a better system with one or two add-ons its competitor did not have.
Warner Bros Blue Ray Decision
Eventually, Warner Bros., which has the largest share of the American movie market, decided to discontinue its use of HD DVD discs. This began a wave of defections to the Blu-Ray camp, as Best Buy, Netflix and Blockbuster announced they would use Blu-Ray exclusively. The Warner Brothers decision is seen as the pivotal decision in the format war.
The final strike against HD DVD was the decision by Sony to include a Blu-Ray player in its Playstation 3 console. Microsoft’s XBox game console did not have the ability to play HD DVD discs. This was a major advantage, because PS3 users bought millions of blu-ray discs, while video game rental companies and video rental companies also ordered blue-ray discs by the millions. HD DVD could not compete, and Toshiba announced in 2008 it would take its HD DVD players off the market.
- What is a Blu-Ray Disc Player?
- What is a Plasma Screen Television?
- What is a HD Ready Television?
- Should I Become an Early Adopter?
- What is the Best By-Mail Movie Rental Service: Netflix or Blockbuster?
Will The Days of Ours Lives By Canceled Soon?
After an 18-month renewal in November 2008, Days of Our Lives is signed to continue on NBC until September 2010 , but there have been constant rumors of a cancellation since Guiding Light was canceled in September 2007. In fact, there were rumors at the time that The Days Of Our Lives would not survive 2009, at least before the renewal.
Declining ratings in the summer of 2007 made this seem a certainty, but changes in writers and an 11th-hour new contract seemed to save the show at the time. Rumors have continued to persist throughout 2009, though.
The Days Of Our Lives is now NBC’s only traditional soap opera, so the rumors are probably fueled by the logic that NBC might be getting out of the soap opera business. Rumors also suggest that The Days Of Our Lives could be picked up by another network (possibly ABC) if NBC were to cancel the show.
The Days Of Our Lives Picked Up By Another Network?
ABC still supports a number of soap operas, so it might be a good fit for The Days of Our Lives. Other speculation has centered on the soap opera being picked up by DirecTV, like Passions was when it was canceled. Most fans of The Days Of Our Lives would prefer the show to be aired on a big network like ABC, because they would be more likely to see the show in its traditional time slot and format.
The Days Of Our Lives – 44 Years & Counting
The Days of Our Lives has been on the air since 1965, originally being written and produced by Ted and Betty Corday. Corday & Co have remained involved in the production of the soap opera through much of its history, though Ted Corday died in 1966 and Betty Corday died in 1987.
Many soap opera watchers associate The Days Of Our Lives with the bizarre and sometimes supernatural storylines of the 1990′s, when Marlena was possessed by the Devil in a 1994-95 plotline and the “Cruise of Deception” storyline of 1990, which included the mad Ernesto Tuscano holding much of the cast captive on his cruise ship and set up many of the resulting off-kilter storylines of the 1990′s-era Days Of Our Lives broadcasts.
The 2000′s haven’t been nearly as strange, though masked psychopaths have turned up occasionally. One popular storyline revealed the beginnings of the Brady & DiMera Feud. Despite some high moments, ratings have declined and new writing and production teams have been brought in frequently. At one point in 2007, The Days Of Our Lives had the lowest ratings of any daytime soap opera.
The Days Of Our Lives – 2010 Cancellation Rumors
It’s possible The Days Of Our Lives will be canceled in 2010, given that it’s hard for NBC to sell advertising blocks for only one daytime soap. If ratings take a downturn again, that could prove the end for The Days Of Our Lives, too. But even if that happens, there’s a good chance that The Days Of Our Lives continues on with another network, and perhaps one willing to do what it takes to make DOOL a ratings success again.
So join letter writing campaigns to save The Days Of Our Lives if you want to, but know that a series cancellation isn’t always the end of the show.
Why did Paula Abdul leave American Idol?
Late last night, Paula Abdul announced she would not be returning as one of a triad of hosts on TV’s popular American Idol. Did she throw a press conference? Let it slip during an interview?
Nope — she used Twitter.
Someone needs to tell celebrities to stop the madness. I’m sick of Twitter being used as a kind of slam book (see Shaquille O’Neal’s taunting of David Beckham) or de facto news organization (Abdul’s announcement et al).
Why did Abdul decide to leave what is likely a lucrative position on one of the most popular TV programs in the world?
Early speculation held that she was using the Twitter post as a bargaining tool. That didn’t make sense to me right from the start. Why would Paula threaten to quit, publicly, in order to increase her position against Fox? A better tactic, had she been interested in bargaining, would have been a private meeting suggesting she had a better offer elsewhere. (She didn’t.)
For their part, Fox issued a statement this morning saying “While Paula will not be continuing with us, she’s a tremendous talent and we wish her the best.”
What do we know about American Idol that might inform this quitting business? Well for one thing, Paula Abdul was very vocal about the huge salary difference between her and the other Idol judges and hosts. Ryan Seacrest, for instance, just signed a $45 million three year deal to stay with the show, and sourpuss Simon Cowell makes more money than God through American Idol. Paula Abdul on the other hand was earning between $2 and $3 milion a year — around 20% of Seacrest’s earnings. Really, Idol? Paula Abdul makes less than Ryan Seacrest?
Tuesday, Fox and the two parent companies of “American Idol” (FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment) issued a joint statement: “Paula Abdul has been an important part of the ‘American Idol’ family over the last eight seasons and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show. While Paula will not be continuing with us, she’s a tremendous talent and we wish her the best.”
Since it is clear that Fox could have decided to pay Paula more, their decision to let her go means they just didn’t want her around anymore.
So it really is “Goodbye, Paula” this time. She’s threatented before, and there have been rumblings of some shakeups among the Idol judges. This time, though, all bets are off.
Abdul wrote, via Twitter — “I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day1 become an international phenomenon.”
Paula Abdul’s contract expired just after the end of this past season. The show, now headed for its ninth season, starts auditions this Thursday in Denver.
Last week, before Paula quit, word was leaked that Kara DioGuardi, added this year to the judging panel, would return for more Idol, sparking rumors that Abdul was a goner. Fox officially announced earlier this week that they’d picked up DioGuardi’s option.
Who took home an Espy award in 2009?
Surprisingly, the biggest winner at the 2009 Espy awards (put on by cable sports channel ESPN) was one of sports’ most controversial figures.
Michael Phelps, in trouble recently for his off camera behavior (including the circulation of pictures of him smoking marijuana), won four awards in last night’s show in Los Angeles. In a year when it seemed there were dozens of men and women eligible for multiple prizes (think Manny Pacquiao, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Serena Williams, Lorena Ochoa, Phil Jackson, Sidney Crosby, etc) Phelps snapped up all four awards for which he was nominated, including one group award for the US Men’s swimming team.
There were few surprises in last night’s event, hosted by veteran actor Samuel L. Jackson, ouside of Best Male Athlete going to Michael Phelps — many predicted Kobe Bryant had an easy route to victory. But even in Kobe’s best category — Best NBA Player — there was a bit of a shocker, as LeBron James walked away with the trophy. I assume that Kobe got shafted by the Espy’s because of the perception that the team he plays on is better than LeBron’s team, making LeBron’s game more of an uphill battle.
I was personally upset when Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree didn’t win the award for best play (full disclosure: Tech is my alma mater) after a once in a lifetime last second catch and touchdown to beat Tech’s rival the University of Texas. However, since Texas Tech didn’t do much with the last minute win (and the winner for best play went to a Super Bowl winning touchdown pass by Ben Roethlisberger) I can understand why the votes fell where they did.
Below there’s a full list of the nominees and winners by category.
BEST MALE ATHLETE
Kobe Bryant, NBA
LeBron James, NBA
Jimmie Johnson, Auto Racing
Michael Phelps, Swimming ***WINNER***
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE
Natalie Coughlin, Swimming
Nastia Liukin, Gymnastics ***WINNER***
Maya Moore, NCAA Basketball
Candace Parker, WNBA
Serena Williams, Tennis
BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimming ***WINNER***
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, Olympic Beach Volleyball
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE
Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gymnastics
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ***WINNER***
BEST RECORD BREAKING PERFORMANCE
Usain Bolt, Olympic Sprinter
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Phil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers
Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer ***WINNER***
Mine That Bird wins the Kentucky Derby
Oregon State stuns then #1 USC
Tampa Bay Rays win the American League Championship Series
US Soccer shocks Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals ***WINNER***
Federer vs. Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon Final
Steelers vs. Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII ***WINNER***
Syracuse vs. Connecticut in the Big East Tournament Quarterfinals
Florida’s Tim Tebow’s speech
Helio Castroneves wins the Indy 500
US swim team wins thrilling finish in Olympic relay ***WINNER***
Ovechkin vs. Rangers
Pacquiao KO’s Hatton
Roethlisberger to Holmes Super Bowl Winning TD ***WINNER***
Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree makes game-winning catch vs. Texas
Connecticut Women’s Basketball
Los Angeles Lakers ***WINNER***
North Carolina Men’s Basketball
Phil Jackson Los Angeles Lakers ***WINNER***
Geno Auriemma Connecticut Women’s Basketball
Dan Bylsma Pittsburgh Penguins
Joe Maddon Tampa Bay Rays
Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers
BEST SPORTS MOVIE
The Express: The Ernie Davis Story ***WINNER***
BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE
Tim Tebow Florida Football ***WINNER***
Sam Bradford Oklahoma Football
Matt Gilroy Boston University Hockey
Blake Griffin Oklahoma Basketball
Stephen Strasburg San Diego State Baseball
BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE
Maya Moore Connecticut Women’s Basketball ***WINNER***
Kerri Hanks Notre Dame Women’s Soccer
Courtney Kupets Georgia Gymnastics
Danielle Lawrie Washington Softball
Dana Vollmer California Swimming
BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY
Jason Lester Ironman ***WINNER***
Jeremy Campbell Track and Field
Will Groulx Wheelchair Rugby
Oscar Pistorius Track and Field
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY
Erin Popovich Swimming ***WINNER***
Jessica Long Swimming
Maureen McKinnon-Tucker Sailing
Asya Miller Goalball
BEST MALE INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE
Usain Bolt Jamaica, Sprinter ***WINNER***
Pau Gasol Spain, Basketball
Lionel Messi Argentina, Soccer
Rafael Nadal Spain, Tennis
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal, Soccer
BEST FEMALE INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE
Lorena Ochoa México, Golf ***WINNER***
Yelena Isinbayeva Russia, Pole Vault
Marta Brazil, Soccer
Stephanie Rice Australia, Swimming
Dinara Safina Russia, Tennis
BEST BASEBALL PLAYER
Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinals ***WINNER***
Roy Halladay Toronto Blue Jays
Ryan Howard Philadelpia Phillies
Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
Francisco Rodriguez Los Angeles Angels/New York Mets
BEST NBA PLAYER
LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers ***WINNER***
Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers
Dwight Howard Orlando Magic
Dwyane Wade Miami Heat
BEST WNBA PLAYER
Candace Parker Los Angeles Sparks ***WINNER***
Deanna Nolan Detroit Shock
Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury
Lindsay Whalen Connecticut Sun
BEST NFL PLAYER
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals ***WINNER***
James Harrison Pittsburgh Steelers
Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts
Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Kurt Warner Arizona Cardinals
BEST NHL PLAYER
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins ***WINNER***
Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals
BEST MLS PLAYER
Landon Donovan LA Galaxy ***WINNER***
Juan Pablo Angel New York Red Bulls
Jon Busch Chicago Fire
Kenny Cooper FC Dallas
Guillermo Barros Schletto Columbus Crew
BEST MALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE
Shaun White Snowboarding/Skateboarding ***WINNER***
Ryan Sheckler Skateboarding
Kelly Slater Surfing
James Stewart Motocross
BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE
Maya Gabeira Surfing ***WINNER***
Torah Bright Snowboarding
Sarah Burke Skiing
Ashley Fiolek Motocross
Norm Duke ***WINNER***
Jimmie Johnson ***WINNER***
Manny Pacquiao Boxing ***WINNER***
Lyoto Machida MMA
Shane Mosley Boxing
Anderson Silva MMA
BEST MALE GOLFER
Tiger Woods ***WINNER***
BEST FEMALE GOLFER
Lorena Ochoa ***WINNER***
Calvin Borel ***WINNER***
BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER
BEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER
UNDER ARMOUR ALL-AMERICA MOMENT
Andre Debose & Russell Shepard Football ***WINNER***
Jake Bernhardt Lacrosse
Tara Glover Softball
David Renfroe Baseball
Hannah Werth Volleyball
Arthur Ashe Courage Award: President Nelson Mandela
Jimmy V Award For Perseverance: Don Meyer, Northern State University coach
Best Comeback: Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer.
Who got snubbed in this year’s Emmy nominations?
You would think that this year’s Emmys would be less of a snub factory than usual — after all, the Emmy awards have expanded. Most categories now features six nominees instead of the traditional five, with the two biggest categories (Best Drama and Best Comedy Series) expanding to seven.
Before revealing the full list of nominations, I want to point out some interesting oversights. Jim Parsons was finally recognized with a nomination in the Best Actor in a Comedy Series category for his role in the hilarious The Big Bang Theory, a one time cult hit that is gaining popularity by the week. Fans can finally stop whining about that show getting the big snub from critics and award shows. Also, two other nominations that are sure to please fans — Damages’ Rose Byrne and 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski both got Supporting Actress nominations in the Drama and Comedy category respectively. Fans of these shows were primed and ready to explode if these actors weren’t recognized. Last but not least, there’s the surprise nomination of Vanessa L. Williams for her role in Ugly Betty.
Some shockers — Michael Urie’s performance in Ugly Betty got a major snub. Over in the Lead Actress in a Drama category, Mariska Hargity of Law & Order: SVU earned a nod even though that show is practically dead this season (terrible writing, predictable plots, etc), and Brothers & Sisters’ star Sally Field was nominated even though her performance on that show can best be described as “woody” — her character Nora Walker seems to live out the same story line every episode. The big snub in the Lead Actress in a Drama category was Patricia Arquette from the show Medium. While we’re on the subject of Medium, Arquette’s on screen spouse, played by Jake Weber, was snubbed in the Lead Actor in a Drama series in favor of the rather bland William Hurt from Damages. I’m not sure that the Emmy awards voters are watching the same shows I am.
More snubs — Anna Paquin, the most exciting thing about True Blood, woke up this morning without a nomination. A strange semi-snub is in the air for Kiefer Sutherland, who was nominated for the TV movie prequel of 24 but not for the show itself. Strange happenings in Emmy land.
But the biggest problem that fans have with this year’s Emmys has to do with Battlestar Galactica — sure, it’s on the SciFi Network, and yes, it can be a bit of a nerd magnet, but that show features some incredible acting and has a fan base that has to be seen to be believed. Add in the fact that there are now seven individual shows nominated in the Best Drama Series category, and you’ve got yourself a big dilemma. Once again, the groundbreaking and popular sci-fi series gets snubbed, even though the category expanded this year. There weren’t even any acting nominees from Battlestar. One would think that Mary McDonnell (who plays President Laura Roslin on Battlestar) could earn some serious Emmy hardware for her acting chops.
As much complaining as people will do about this year’s Emmys, the awards show got a ton of stuff right. House’s Hugh Laurie was recognized for his outstanding work as the sociopathic doctor, and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston (who is the reigning champion of his category) certainly deserves attention for his work in that outstanding series. Holly Hunter and Kyra Sedgwick do in fact still deserve recognition for their work on Saving Grace and The Closer. So it isn’t all bad news — just a bit shocking at times.
Here’s a complete breakdown of the Emmy nominees by category.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Bryan Cranston, ‘Breaking Bad’
Michael C. Hall, ‘Dexter’
Hugh Laurie, ‘House’
Gabriel Byrne, ‘In Treatment’
Jon Hamm, ‘Mad Men’
Simon Baker, ‘The Mentalist’
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Sally Field, ‘Brothers and Sisters’
Kyra Sedgwick, ‘The Closer’
Glenn Close, ‘Damages’
Mariska Hargitay, ‘Law & Order: SVU’
Elisabeth Moss, ‘Mad Men’
Holly Hunter, ‘Saving Grace’
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
William Shatner, ‘Boston Legal’
Christian Clemenson, ‘Boston Legal’
Aaron Paul, ‘Breaking Bad’
William Hurt, ‘Damages’
Michael Emerson, ‘Lost’
John Slattery, ‘Mad Men’
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Rose Byrne, ‘Damages’
Sandra Oh, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
Chandra Wilson, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
Dianne Wiest, ‘In Treatment’
Hope Davis, ‘In Treatment’
Cherry Jones, ’24′
BEST COMEDY SERIES
‘Flight Of The Conchords’
‘How I Met Your Mother’
BEST ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Jim Parsons, ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Jemaine Clement, ‘Flight Of The Conchords’
Tony Shalhoub, ‘Monk’
Steve Carell, ‘The Office’
Alec Baldwin, ’30 Rock’
Charlie Sheen, ‘Two And A Half Men’
BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘The New Adventures Of Old Christine’
Christina Applegate, ‘Samantha Who?’
Sarah Silverman, ‘The Sarah Silverman Show’
Tina Fey, ’30 Rock’
Toni Collette, United States Of Tara’
Mary-Louise Parker, ‘Weeds’
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Kevin Dillon, ‘Entourage’
Neil Patrick Harris, ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Rainn Wilson, ‘The Office’
Tracy Morgan, ’30 Rock’
Jack McBrayer, ’30 Rock’
Jon Cryer, ‘Two And A Half Men’
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Kristin Chenoweth, ‘Pushing Daisies’
Amy Poehler, ‘Saturday Night Live’
Kristin Wiig, ‘Saturday Night Live’
Jane Krakowski, ’30 Rock’
Vanessa Williams, ‘Ugly Betty’
Elizabeth Perkins, ‘Weeds’
BEST VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SPECIAL
‘The Colbert Report’
‘The Daily Show’
‘The Late Show With David Letterman’
‘Real Time With Bill Maher’
‘Saturday Night Live’
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Kevin Kline, ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’
Brendan Gleeson, ‘Into The Storm’
Sir Ian McKellen, ‘King Lear’
Kevin Bacon, ‘Taking Chance’
Kiefer Sutherland, ’24: Redemption’
Kenneth Branagh, ‘Wallander: One Step Behind’
BEST ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Chandra Wilson, ‘Accidental Friendship’
Shirley MacLaine, ‘Coco Chanel’
Drew Barrymore, ‘Grey Gardens’
Jessica Lange, ‘Grey Gardens’
Sigourney Weaver, ‘Prayers For Bobby’
BEST GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Edward Asner, ‘CSI: NY’
Ted Danson, ‘Damages’
Jimmy Smits, ‘Dexter’
Ernest Borgnine, ‘ER’
Michael J. Fox, ‘Rescue Me’
BEST GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Sharon Lawrence, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
Ellen Burstyn, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’
Brenda Blethyn, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’
Carol Burnett, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’
CCH Pounder, ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’
BEST GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Beau Bridges, ‘Desperate Housewives’
Justin Timberlake, ‘Saturday Night Live’
Steve Martin, ’30 Rock’
Jon Hamm, ’30 Rock’
Alan Alda, ’30 Rock’
BEST GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Christine Baranski, ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Gena Rowlands, ‘Monk’
Betty White, ‘My Name Is Earl’
Tina Fey, ‘Saturday Night Live’
Jennifer Aniston, ’30 Rock’
Elaine Stritch, ’30 Rock’
BEST REALITY COMPETITION
‘The Amazing Race’
‘Dancing With the Stars’
BEST REALITY SHOW HOST
Phil Keoghan, ‘The Amazing Race’
Ryan Seacrest, ‘American Idol’
Tom Bergeron, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ ‘
Heidi Klum, ‘Project Runway’
Jeff Probst, ‘Survivor’
Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, ‘Top Chef’
What can I do to prepare for TV’s digital transition on Friday?
If you haven’t already worked out a television setup that will allow you to view digital signals, you aren’t quite out of luck.
You may remember that television’s digital transition was supposed to occur this past February. Unfortunately for cable companies, the government stepped in and extended the deadline. The reason? Too many people were simply not prepared. But it wasn’t totally the consumer’s fault.
If you own an analog television, and many of us do, you can still receive televsion through a converter box that sits on top of your television and converts digital cable signals into analog signals that your old school television can recognize. The problem for many people — cost. These converer boxes run for well over $60, including tax. So the government began to issue vouchers for this technology, “coupons” that brought the cost of the converters down to around $24.
Unfortunately for the government, the vouchers were scarce or non existent in many television markets, including in my current home state of New Mexico. This, combined with serious pressure from consumers, led the government to push back the transition date. That day is coming, this Friday, June 12th. After Thursday night, television broadcasters are forbidden from sending out any analog signals.
What can you do if you haven’t already bought your converter box, or subscribed to a service that will ensure you get the new digital signal?
For more information on how to survive the digital transition, visit the FCC’s Web site dedicated to the transition at www.dtv.gov or call their hotline at (888) 225-5322 . To apply for a coupon to help pay for a converter box, go to www.dtv2009.gov.
This Friday will mark the final attempt to make the national transition to all digital television. Older television sets not equipped to receive digital signals can still be used, with the addition of an outboard box as mentioned before. The device is not exactly inconvenient — it is smaller than a DVD player and should easily fit into your home entertainment system.
The voucher program is ongoing. In fact, I found out this morning, via a call to the FCC, that many vouchers are still available.
“We have our guidelines available online free of charge” said the customer service rep from the FCC. When asked what the FCC is most concerned about regarding the transition, the answer was crystal clear: senior citizens. “We’ve been doing everything we can to help seniors get set up with digital.” My representative mentioned, again, that the FCC guidelines were available for free online (and at senior centers and other locations in cities around the nation) and that these guidelines have easy to follow instructions that just about anyone should be able to follow. If a citizen still has trouble installing the box, they can always do what I did, and call the FCC. That number again — (888) 225-5322.
While there was indeed a shortage of converter boxes (not just the vouchers for the boxes), this shortage appears to have ended. Check it out yourself — go to your local Radio Shack, Best Buy, or electronics store of your choice. They likely have converter boxes stacked floor to ceiling. The FCC expects many people to wait until weeks or months after the transition to break down and get a box, and have warned major electronics distributors to be ready for this rush on converters boxes.
If you’re looking to get a voucher at this late hour, go ahead — but you won’t get it in time to buy a cheaper box before the transition, which occurs this Friday, early in the morning. You can go ahead and buy the box yourself, for somewhere between $60 and $70, but it is unlikely that any retailer will take the box back and exchange it for a cheaper one after you’ve opened it.
At my local electronics dealer, converter devices are selling “incredibly well”, according to store manager Danielle Munoz. She added that she was surprised how many people have put off the purchase of their converter box to what literally appears to be “the last moment”. Hey, some of us are procrastinators.
I wasn’t aware of this until I spoke to the FCC, but several major electronics retailers, including Radio Shack, have converter box installers on staff, temporarily, who will go to your home and help you handle the digital transition. At this late date ,you can expect these installers to be booked up.
Some people will attempt to depend on “tabletop” digital antennas, which are smaller and cheaper, and which many people already own, especially in rural areas. Unfortunately, when asked, my friend at the FCC said this was a last ditch effort that people should avoid. The problem lies in signal strength. “Unless you live down the block from the source of the digital signal, you’re out of luck.” It appears that the signals of so called “regional broadcasters” are even weaker, causing people who live in remote areas to wonder if it is even worth purchasing a converter box.
As for why the digital transition was necessary, and why the government is requiring everyone to “go digital” — there’s a simple answer. The FCC says the switch was motivated by the need for emergency services. You see, by forcing commercial television broadcasters off of the analog signal, more analog space is available for police, fire, 911, etc. The end result of the digital transition is that emergency responders will be in better communication with one another.
So, if you’ve put this off to the last minute, your best bet is to go ahead and swallow the $60 or $70 purchase price of the converter box. You simply won’t get your voucher in time to use it.
The Cosby Show Cast — where are they now?
The Cosby Show did not have a particularly long run on television. The popular show centered around an upper middle class African American family and ran for eight seasons, from 1984 to 1992.
Critics consider The Cosby Show one of the greatest television shows of all time. The Cosby Show literally changed the way African Americans were portrayed on television, and paved the way for African American television stars of today.
America fell in love with the Huxtable family — from husband and wife Cliff and Claire (a doctor and a lawyer respectively) to Rudy, Vanessa, Theodore, Sondra, Denise, and all the rest. What has become of the actors who blessed us with their presence faithfully every Thursday night?
Bill Cosby attempted to revamp the on screen magic he shared with Phylicia Rashad in a spinoff, called “Cosby”. The show was popular, but never had anywhere near the ratings that “The Cosby Show” had, and coupled with the tragic death of his son Ennis, forced the show to cancel. These days, Bill Cosby is best known for his controversial statements about the black community, often attacking African Americans in the media for their negative behavior. Cosby has stayed in the spotlight, guest hosting for David Letterman when the talk show host was out of work dealing with a heart attack.
Phylicia Rashad became the first black actress to win a Leading Actress Tony award for her amazing and critically praised role in the Broadway revival of ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ co-starring rap mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs. A television movie version of the play earned her an Emmy as well as an award from the NAACP. She’s appeared in guest roles on shows as varied as ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ and ‘Psych.’ Recently, Rashad has appeared as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig.
Sabrina LeBeauf, who played eldest child Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux, attempted to continue her television career once “The Cosby Show” went off the air, but after a few guest appearances on ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ ‘Cosby,’ and ‘Fatherhood,’ Lebeauf decided to enroll in UCLA’s Professional Interior Design Program. Today, LeBeauf owns her own successful interior design business. She continues to perform as an actress on stage, including a critically acclaimed role in the Classical Theatre of Harlem production Chekhov’s Three Sisters”.
Geoffrey Owens, who played Sondra Huxtable’s slightly chauvinistic husband Elvin Tibideaux, has continued his career in television, appearing in multiple minor roles. His screen credits include work with “Cosby Show” castmate Raven Symoné on her show ‘That’s So Raven.’ He’s also had minor stints on ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ ‘Medium,’ ‘Boston Legal’ and ‘Without a Trace.’
Lisa Bonet, who portrayed troubled second child Denise Huxtable, was a controversial character in real life as well. After she became pregnant with then up and coming musician Lenny Kravtiz’ child, she was quickly written off the show. The season after she left the show, Bonet came back after a surprise marriage to a Naval officer, and with a daughter in tow. In 1991, the “creative differences” between Bonet and the show’s executives led to her final exit from the “Cosby” world. She did not appear in the series finale. Allegations of Bonet’s drug use have never been confirmed. Bonet has had bit parts in films like ‘Enemy of the State’ and even had a major film role in the John Cusack vehicle ‘High Fidelity.’ Bonet worked with ‘Different World’ co-star Kadeem Hardison on the film ‘Biker Boyz,’ and most recently had a supporting role on the ABC series ‘Life on Mars’, in which she played Sam Tyler’s modern day girlfriend. Bonet has three children – a son with the unlikely name of Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa (the child of her and actor Jason Momoa), and two daughters — Zoe Kravitz and Lola Iolani Momoa.
Joseph C. Phillips played Martin Kendall, the surprise husband of Denise Huxtable. Though Kendall had a very stiff and military personality, the Cosby family came to love and accept him, and his daughter from a previous marriage, Olivia. Phillips continues a succesfull career both in Hollywood and in his private life. For four years he played Justus Ward on the soap opera ‘General Hospital’, and had additional roles in ‘Vanished,’ ‘Without a Trace,’ ‘The Parkers,’ ‘King of Queens,’ ‘Popular’ and ‘Las Vegas.’ Phillips has returned to regular series TV work as the mayor in the upcoming show ‘Castle.’ Phillips has taken a sort of political turn to his career, as a conservative speaker with regular appearances on National Public Radio. Phillips has published a semi autobiographical book called ‘He Talk Like a White Boy.’
Malcolm-Jamal Warner has had some success in television, with more than a few failures along the way. His starred in his own show “Malcolm and Eddie” for four full seasons before the plug was pulled. Warner also released an album in 2003 that went mostly unnoticed. He is married to fellow “Cosby Show” alum Karen Malina White.
Tempestt Bledsoe, who played the young Vanessa Huxtable, enjoyed a very brief run as a talk show host in ‘The Tempestt Bledsoe Show,’ which was critically ignored and only lasted a year. Bledsoe then had a recurring role on ‘The Practice’ and guest spots on ‘The Parkers,’ ‘Strong Medicine,’ and ‘Raising the Bar.’ She lends her voice to the role of Abbey on the Disney show ‘The Replacements’. Bledsoe participated in the third season of ‘Celebrity Fit Club.’ In late summer 2009 she will be seen in the Fox Reality series ‘Househusbands’ with her hubby, ‘A Different World’ star Darryl M. Bell.
Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played the feisty and hilarious Rudith “Rudy” Huxtable, graduated from Spelman College in 2001 with a degree in sociology and won both ‘Celebrity Fear Factor’ and a celebrity version of ‘The Weakest Link.’ She has starred in two Tyler Perry projects — the TV series ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Payne’ and a major role in the film ‘Madea Goes to Jail,’ where she shook her wholesome image by playing a prostitute. We will never forget Rudy lip syncing “Night and Day” with her family.
Raven-Symoné, who played the step child Olivia Kendall, is no doubt the most successful Cosby kid. Symoné has been in showbiz since the show went off the air. She’s had roles in ‘Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,’ ‘Dr. Dolittle,’ ‘The Cheetah Girls,’ ‘Fat Albert,’ ‘The Princess Diaries 2,’ ‘Kim Possible’ and of course her own series ‘That’s So Raven,’ for which she also worked as a producer. She recently held the starring role and was the executive producer of the film ‘College Road Trip’. According to Hollywood rumors, Symone is rumored to star alongside Miley Cyrus in an ‘Adventures in Babysitting’ sequel that is due out in 2010. Symoné has also had something of a successful singing career, releasing several albums since 1993.
Who won The Biggest Loser Season 7?
The controversial winner of this past season of The Biggest Loser is Helen Phillips. I saw controversial because fans of the show are lining up to complain about the outcome — most fans, it seems, wanted Tara Costa to win, and don’t mind sharing their feelings about Helen Phillips. One message board is full of terrible insults, from claims that Helen Phillips is “an uncaring mother”, while another fans calls her “selfish” and warns that “what goes around comes around”. Obviously the victory of Helen Phillips was upsetting to many fans.
The Biggest Loser is an NBC program in which show participants come in with “at least one hundred pounds” to lose in order to be at a healthy weight. The contestants compete for months, engaging in various types of exercise and following fitness programs that are guided by strict weight trainers and exercise coaches. Every week, the person who loses the least amount of weight leaves the show for good, eventually leading to a showdown between the top two contestants. The “biggest loser” becomes the winner of that particular season during the finale, taking home $250,000 and enjoying a brief moment of nationwide celebrity and popularity.
However, The Biggest Loser is not just about the winner. In a sense, every contestant is a “winner” — and not in the way that everyone in your junior high science fair was a “winner”. Even the first person to be eliminated from the show usually sheds about 10 pounds during that first week of training and healthier eating. And the contestants eliminated along the way have been given an amazing opportunity to transform their bodies, even if they don’t take home the top prize. Ideally, everyone who is cut from the program goes home having subscribed to a healthier lifestyle, through better food choices and a workout routine.
NBC’s The Biggest Loser is one of the few shows on television that can be watched by the whole family. The show carries a rating of “TV-PG”, not often seen outside of Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel. It isn’t just the participants that benefit from the show — viewers of The Biggest Loser are likely to come away from the viewing experience with a renewed hope for their own lives. The show lays out a solid plan for losing weight and gaining confidence in your body, not to mention very visual proof of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle The message of the show is simple — when you exercise and eat right, you become healthier.
Helen Phillips won this season’s challenge because she lost 55 percent of her weight — an incredible feat, and one of the largest losses in the show’s history, and it means that Helen Phillips lost a total of 140 pounds. There should be little controversy, considering the show chooses its winner based on numbers alone; you lose the most weight, you win the money. However, during the course of the show, fans fall in love with some contestants while others become “villains”. This is the natural effect of television, and it creates intrigue and keeps people interested in the show. What is it about Helen Phillips that makes people so angry? And why did viewers fall in love with Tara Costa?
Entering the show at 47 years old, many people thought that it would be impossible for Helen Phillips to demonstrate the kind of weight loss necessary to win The Biggest Loser. She came into the show at 257 pounds, and left at 117, an incredible amount of weight loss. Working alongside her daughter (and team partner) Shanon, Helen Phillips managed to go from a so called “Real Age” of 60 (even though her biological age was 47) to a “Real Age” of 50 — effectively adding ten years to her life. However, many viewers looked past her incredible weight loss to some supposedly “selfish actions” made by Helen Phillips during the course of the show. This includes a moment when Phillips ate a cookie to spite another contestant, and ended up costing that contestant a $10,000 prize. Also, at one point during the show, Helen Phillips had the choice of staying and continuing on with the show, or letting her daughter/partner stay — obviously, Helen Phillips chose to stay and sent her daughter home.
In stark contrast to Helen Phillips, Tara Costa often offered a helping hand to her fellow contestants, including a touching moment in episode 2 when she got a small group of contestants together to help fellow contestant Dan up a small mountain. Fans of Tara Costa speak of her “heart” and her “joy” during the course of the show — not to mention that she lost a ton of weight.
Fans of the show will just have to be happy with the result. After all, The Biggest Loser is not a personality contest. Helen Phillips won because of the amazing change in her body, and anyone who loses over 50% of their body weight is obviously committed to the program.
Will Shirley Jones pose nude for Playboy magazine?
The short answer to this question is a resounding “No”. Shirley Jones never contacted Playboy magazine, and the magazine says they never contacted her about shooting a pictorial.
Rumors began to pop up all over the web last week — Shirley Jones, the 75 year old actress best known for her role as the matron of TV’s “The Partridge Family”, was planning on dropping the laundry for a Playboy photo shoot.
If Shirley Jones did appear in Playboy, she would be the oldest model in the magazine’s history by far. Runner up would be then 55 year old Terry Moore. And it isn’t as though Playboy hasn’t set a precedent for itself in terms of featuring older models. Joan Collins, Nancy Sinatra, Farrah Fawcett, and other celebs and models have posed well into their 40s and 50s.
Shirley Jones, whose character on “The Partridge Family” was the very definition of wholesome, was considering posing nude for Playboy at the age of 75. If her husband and manager Marty Ingels had his way, she would have done it. Ingels told Page Six magazine “She’s still drop-dead gorgeous, and at the age of 75, a natural beauty.”
Shirley Jones’ other famous characters were equally as wholesome as Shirley Partridge. Jones can be seen in the classic film versions of musicals like “Oklahoma!”, “Carousel”, and “The Music Man”. However, Jones took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a prostitute in the film “Elmer Gantry”.
Shirley Jones’ “natural beauty” would be difficult to debate. She was named “Miss Pittsburgh 1952″ fresh out of high school. Part of her prize was a scholarship to an acting and singing workshop, known as the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Still unsure of her future, Jones planned on attending college to become a veterinarian. It was on a trip to New York City in 1953 that Shirley Jones found her future. Having auditioned on a whim for a Broadway agent, Jones found herself with her first professional role, as a chorus girl in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The two composers were so impressed with her, they placed her under personal contract — Shirley Jones was the first and only performer to be placed under contract to the famous Broadway duo.
The rest, as they say, is history. Jones went on to star in plenty of films, including the aforementioned “Elmer Gantry”, and starring with Ron Howard in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”. Her television credits include hits like “McMillan and Wife”, “The Love Boat”, “Hotel”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “Melrose Place”, and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” to name just a few.
Unfortunately for those of you eager to get a look at Shirley Jones in the buff, she will not be appearing in the famous men’s magazine Playboy. In fact, the magazine made statements to several news outlets stating that they “never offered Shirley Jones” a pictorial, and that the actress never contacted them about posing either. Was this a publicity stunt? It is unlikely that someone with the start power of Shirley Jones would need a minor splash like this one across the internet, but as Playboy has said they nor Shirley Jones ever considered shooting Jones in the nude, one has to wonder.
Shirley Jones is a vegetarian, no doubt influenced by her childhood love for animals. She is something of a conservative, having infamously stated that she didn’t understand why so many “Hollywood big-wigs” were trying to “undermine President Bush”. Jones is currently starring in the long running soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and has several film projects in the works.
Who is Katy Tur?
Katy Tur is the girlfriend of polarizing news figure Keith Olbermann, one time reporter for the popular ESPN program “Sportscenter” and current host of the MSNBC hit “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”. Katy Tur has been in the news recently for landing a number of high profile jobs supposedly secured with the assistance of her much older live-in boyfriend Keith Olbermann. However, there is probably another factor in Katy Tur’s early success — she may be only 24, but the fact that her father, Bob Tur, is a major force in the world of television news means there’s more to her success than her connection to Olbermann.
Bob Tur created the legendary Los Angeles News Service, which was the first major news service to use a helicopter in its coverage of live breaking news. The infamous O.J. Simpson slow speed chase through the streets of Los Angeles was instigated by Bob Tur; he was the first to locate the even more infamous white Ford Bronco Simpson was travelling in back in 1994. Bob Tur’s new service was also the first to begin televising O.J’s odd pursuit.
Katy Tur’s first breakthrough job was as a news anchor on New York City’s massive CW11 channel. Before taking this position, Katy Tur was a student at UC Santa Barbara, and worked for Los Angeles’ KTLA. There have been “investigations” into Tur’s seemingly “out of the blue” success in television journalism, and Olbermann has been “acquitted” in the public eye of assisting his girlfriend in landing jobs.
Recent news about Katy Tur includes the fact that she’s now scheduled to join the Weather Channel as a “Digital Journalist”. Katy Tur will join host Mike Bettes on the program Vortex2 in a five week experiment to discover the origin, structure, and evolution of tornados. In other words, Tur is set to become a tornado chaser. When asked to make a direct statement on Katy Tur’s uncanny success in the news media, Olbermann denied that Katy Tur was hired on the basis of any grounds besides talent, saying:
“Anybody who suggests so is misinformed, or sadly unaware that in this time when the industry is collapsing around us, nobody gets a job based on ‘influence,’ only talent.”
What got people whispering about the “influence” question is the fact that NBC, parent company of Olbermann’s bosses at the MSNBC network, recently acquired the Weather Channel, adding it to their already large sphere of media outlets. If Olbermann assisted in Katy Tur’s hire in anyway, the news giant’s opponents will be crying “Nepotism!” until the’yre blue in the face. It would be a blotch on the careers of Tur, Olbermann, and on the face of NBC as a whole. Still, no proof exists that Katy Tur was hired for any other reason than her abilities as a journalist.
Olbermann has plenty of “enemies” in the media and in the “blogosphere”, including the website Olbermann Watch, which attempts to correct “mistakes” in Olbermann’s broadcast, and to just generally attack Keith Olbermann. Famously, Olbermann and Fox News big wig Bill O’Reilly are in a state of constant feud — meaning that fans of Olbermann of O’Reilly tend to dislike the fans of their “opposite”. This has created a bit of an embarassing situation for Katy Tur and Keith Olbermann, as more and more photos of Katy Tur surface, most of them from college parties. I think this is way out of bounds, considering Katy Tur and Keith Olbermann were not romantically involved at the time the pictures were taken, and Katy Tur was not working in her current jobs, the ones that were supposedly “set up” by Olbermann.
To be honest, the pictures of Katy Tur aren’t the most flattering. In many of the photos (easily found on the web through a Google search on her name) Katy Tur appears to be intoxicated. In more than one of the leaked photos, Katy Tur is behaving like a Miss America contestant, touching another woman’s breast, or hanging all over her male counterparts. While many of us had this kind of “fun” in college, it probably isn’t great for anyone’s career to have pictures of said fun floating about the internet.
We have also been treated to a slice of Katy Tur’s jouranlistic abilities — a section of an article written by Katy Tur for a student newspaper appears at Olbermann Watch and other media watchdog websites. In part, it reads:
“When are the people in charge going to realize that we, the youth, the ones who are in high school and college or who, like me, have just graduated, do not want to be read the news by another cheesy blonde anchor who looks like the girl who does keg stands and dances on coffee tables at frat parties? Respectable journalists don’t wear hot pink and they don’t die their hair blonde if they are Korean like Mia Lee, one of the anchors at KCAL. The women shouldn’t have fake tits that are pushed up to their neck and the men shouldn’t be orange. Do you respect the guy in your psych class that has frosted tips and highlights? No. Then why would you feel differently toward the guy reading the news?”
Needless to say, Olbermann’s web enemies have taken this article and run with it, especially the bit about men “being orange” — a regular attack point of the anti-Olbermann set.
I’m excited to see how Katy Tur performs on the Weather Channel’s always fascinating tornado coverage. This young woman deserves the same chance we would give a young journalist who is not attached to a famous name. I hope we can sit back and let her work speak for itself, rather than lobbing attacks at Katy Tur — a person just starting out in her career.
Little is known about Mr. ZZee — much more is known about his “line of work”.
Mr. ZZee (also known as Mr. Z or Mr. ZZEE) is the infamous celebrity sex tape broker responsible for myriad celebrity sex tapes and the ensuing cocktail of embarassment and publicity that follows.
It is said he is the mystery man behind several best selling celebrity sex tapes, but so far, Mr. ZZee has not disclosed his true identity — probably a good thing considering the rash of lawsuits that are no doubt waiting to be filed against him.
On Sunday night, May 10th 2009, Mr. ZZee began to leak information about a new celeb sex video– the so called “Hoopz” tape.
The Hoopz tape is an amateur video of female celeb Hoopz, real name Nikki Alexander, who is best known for her work on VH1 reality shows Flavor of Love and I Love Money.
The full video will reportedly be made available for online pay per view purchase and on sale in DVD format at your local sleazy retailer. Hithiphop.com posted four Hoopz tape promo pictures that were first leaked on celeb gossip site on221.com. The pictures show Hoopz (censored) in some rather compromising positions with “her boyfriend”, according to reports. Rumors of the contents of the tape were making the rounds quickly on the internet, including the fact that Hoopz apparently displays a “wild side ways cowgirl position that must be seen to be believed”.
Infamous celebrity sex tape broker Mr. ZZee, the mystery man behind the sex tape of Hoopz’ fellow VH1 reality star Buckeey, has merely stated that he “acquired a hardcore sex video starring reality TV star Nikki Alexander aka Hoopz”. We have no idea yet where he got the tape from, although another rumor floating around the web suggests that Hoopz herself sold the tape. Nikki Alexander was the star and winning contestant of VH1’s first season of Flavor of Love and the spinoff I Love Money.
From what I’ve seen of the video, it is surprisingly high quality. Many amateur sex tapes, even of celebrities, feature bad lighting, poor angles, and questionable identities. Hoopz’ video is quite different — the video is high quality, and features multiple positions, the use of at least two cameras with multiple camera angles. For now, only screen shots and a short video clip are available for public viewing.
Why do celebrities make these tapes? The key part of that question is the word “celebrities”. Bigger names don’t need the flash in the pan attention garnered by cheesy amateur sex videos, while “celebrities” and reality stars find their names falling out of popularity, and release these videos as a kind of last ditch effort to keep their celebrity alive. The other side of the question is — do celebrities have a hand in these tapes at all? Many celebrities, like Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson, claim their sex tapes were never meant to be released. Often, a jilted lover or “friend” of the celebrity releases the videos to make money for themselves. Remember, celebs — be careful who you let into your home.
Lisa Rinna — best known for her acting roles on TV shows like Melrose Place, Days of Our Lives, and Veronica Mars – first posed for Playboy magazine in 1998, when she was six months pregnant. Maybe you remember her Playboy shoot because of the controversy that sprang up. Rinna’s first shoot featured her on the front cover in all her pregnant glory, wearing a very revealing sweater and not much else.
Lisa Rinna will grace the pages of Playboy again, now aged 45. Rinna has been quoted as saying that she is “in better shape” now than she was 11 years ago, when she first posed for the magazine. This led people to wonder if she’d had any work done. It isn’t often that a 45 year old woman is featured in Playboy, probably best known for their shoots featuring college age women.
Lisa Rinna Admits to Botox
Rinna admits openly that she has had some minor work done over the years, including Botox and juvederm. Rinna openly admits that getting juvederm in her cheeks was a big mistake, telling US magazine that she “looked life a freak”, but she still uses Botox and is a big fan of the substance.
Interestingly enough, Playboy instructed Lisa Rinna to not work out before her shoot. According to Rinna, the photographer Deborah Anderson said that Playboy was looking for a “soft” look, and didn’t want Rinna to “work out too much” or “starve herself” before the shoot. This would imply that Rinna didn’t have any work done specifically for her appearance in the men’s magazine — but some people have their doubts.
Lisa Rinna Plastic Surgery Opinions
This article from Celebitchy.com pokes fun at Rinna’s overall look, and even implies that she’s had more work done than she admits to. Here’s another opinionated blogger from Cougars Wild Kingdom who weighs in on the amount of work Rinna has had.
Just looking at Lisa Rinna’s face will give you some idea about the extent of work she’s had done on her face – her lips are infamously plump and slightly misshapen due to surgery or injections. The logic of most celebrity gossip writers seems to be that “someone who has had so much work up top must have had something done to her body as well”. On the other hand, Rinna is famous for her workout habits – anytime Playboy magazine tells someone to stop working out, you know they must put in a ton of time at the gym.
Since Lisa Rinna has only admitted to getting Botox injection and juvederm treatments, we can only verify that she has had that work done, but many gossip writers and bloggers assume she’s had other work done.
As far as how much work she’s had done recently, specifically for her new Playboy shoot? The photographer for Playboy has told her the magazine wants to see a “soft look”, and I doubt there’s a plastic surgeon in the world who would agree to “soften you up” with a few nips and tucks.
Pick up a copy of the May issue of Playboy and check out Lisa Rinna’s shoot for yourself.
I have offered the fun questions to ask friends to anyone who’s looking for something to talk about. I’ve categorized them into 8 different categories. Pick and choose the questions you like, and avoid the questions which might be too intimate or uncomfortable for you.
Fun Questions About Movies to Ask Friends
Everyone watches movies these days, so here are some fun questions to ask you friends about the movies.
- What’s your favorite movie of all time and why?
- What was the best movie you saw this last year and why?
- Who’s your favorite director and why?
- Do you like black and white movies? Why or why not?
- Do you read movie reviews? If so, which reviewers do you enjoy? If not, why?
- What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? Do you like horror movies? Why or why not?
- Who’s your favorite actor and why?
- Do you cry at movies? If so, which movies make you cry?
- What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen?
- Would you rather see a movie at the theater or at home on DVD? Why?
Fun Questions to Ask Friends About TV
Even more people watch TV than go to the movies. So here are some fun questions to ask your friends about TV.
- What’s your favorite TV show of all time and why?
- How many hours a week do you spend watching TV?
- What’s your favorite TV station and why?
- What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?
- Who’s your favorite actor on television and why?
- Would you rather watch a sitcom, a reality show, a police drama, a legal drama, or a medical drama? Or something else? Why?
- Has a television show ever moved you to tears? If yes, which one and when?
- Do you watch the news on TV? How often?
- Have you ever been on TV?
- If you were a character on a TV show, which one would you be?
Fun Questions to Ask Friends About Books
This one is a little tougher, because a lot of people don’t read books anymore (unfortunately). But here are 10 fun questions to ask friends about books anyway:
- Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
- Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction? Explain your choice.
- If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
- Has reading a book ever made you cry? Which one and why?
- How many books do you read each year?
- Have you ever written (or started to write) a book?
- Name one book you had to read but hated, and explain why you hated it.
- If someone wrote a book about your life, what would they title it?
- If you could pick a book you’ve read to make into a movie, which one would you choose?
- What was your favorite book as a child and why?
10 Sexy Questions to Ask Your Friends
Depending on your relationship with your friends, you might or might not be comfortable asking them sexy questions. If so, just skip past this list of 10 sexy questions:
- Have you ever been involved in a threesome? Would you consider doing so in the future?
- At what age did you lose your virginity?
- What’s your favorite sexual position?
- What’s your favorite foreplay activity?
- Have you ever faked an orgasm?
- Have you ever had a one night stand?
- Which 3 celebrities would you most like to have sex with?
- What’s the kinkiest kind of sex you’ve ever had?
- Do you own any sexy underwear? How often do you wear it?
- How often do you have sex each week?
Fun Questions to Ask Friends About Money
Money is a less sensitive issues than sex with some people, but others might find it even more personal. Here are 10 lighthearted and fun questions about money you can ask a friend:
- What would you do if you had a million dollars?
- Are you a spender or a saver?
- How much money do you save on a regular basis? (As a percentage of your income?)
- Do you have a personal written budget?
- When you go to a meal dutch, would you prefer to itemize the receipt or just split it in half?
- When you’re on a date, do you think the man should pay or not?
- What’s the most expensive gift you’ve ever given someone?
- What’s the most expensive gift you’ve ever received from someone?
- If someone offered you a million dollars for a night of sex, would you do it? Would it matter if the person were good looking or not?
- Do you invest in the stock market? What kind of investing strategy do you use if you do?
Fun Questions to Ask Friends About Music
Almost everyone listens to music. Here are a few fun questions about music you can ask your friends:
- What’s your favorite kind of music?
- Who’s your favorite singer or band?
- What’s your favorite album?
- What’s your favorite song?
- Do you like to sing karaoke?
- Are you a good dancer?
- Do you like musicals? (movies or theater)
- Has a song ever made you cry?
- If your life was a song, what would the title be?
- If you could be a particular singer or musician, who would you be?
Fun Questions to Ask About Games
All of us played games of some kind growing up, and some of us still play games now. Here are some fun questions on the subject:
- What was your favorite game to play as a child?
- Do you play video games now?
- What’s your favorite gambling game?
- Do you prefer card games or board games?
- Do you ever play drinking games?
- Are you good at Chess?
- Have you ever played Dungeons & Dragons? Did you like it/
- Do you ever play solitaire when you’re bored?
- Are you good at Trivial Pursuit?
- Have you ever been on a game show? Which one?
Dilemmas are questions you have to think about. Thinking aloud about your answers with your friends can be a lot of fun, and it can shed a lot of light on why your friends are the way they are.
- Would you rather be rich or healthy?
- Would you rather be good looking or rich?
- Do you believe in the death penalty? Why or why not?
- Have you seen Sophie’s Choice, and if so, do you think she made the right choice or the wrong choice?
- Would you like to know the day you’re going to die ahead of time? Why or why not?
- Would you rather have super strength or super intelligence?
- Would you rather have the power to be invisible or the power to read minds?
- Would you rather spend the rest of your life without a significant other, or would you rather have a partner who is extremely difficult?
- Would you rather spend life in prison or be executed?
- Should marijuana be legalized? Why or why not?
And that’s that. 80 fun questions to ask friends. Hope these break the ice at your next party or first date. For more creative questions we recommend the The Complete Book of Questions: 1001 Conversation Starters for Any Occasion book.
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