Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24, 2008 - Writers/AMPTP Talking, Amazing Race, Oscars, and more

Wow, what sad news this week about Heath Ledger!! He was a very talented actor and someone that I looked at as an actor that was going to do some great things in the future. He had already had a good career and strong movie performances including an Oscar nomination. So sad to see such a promising career cut short. My prayers go out to his family and friends!!

Strike update. Well, the good news is that the writers and the AMPTP were set to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to continue the negotiations. The WGA and AMPTP put out this joint statement about their first meeting, "On Wednesday, January 23rd, the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will begin informal discussions to determine if there is a basis for both parties to return to formal negotiations. Both the AMPTP and the WGA have agreed to make no public comments about the informal discussions until those discussions have concluded." The WGA also said to its members in a letter that they have "decided to withdraw our proposals on reality and animation" hoping that it would help the negotiations as this was said to be a big factor on why the AMPTP left the negotiating table in the first place. The sides are still meeting so hopefully that is good news. The WGA has also reached separate deals with Lionsgate and Marvel Entertainment. The networks continue to make cuts. The shows that were in development are now starting to get cut. CBS was said to have cut 20 out of their plans. Fox and The CW have begun making cuts as well. Fox was said to have cut about 24 while The CW cut around 12. ABC is also making cuts to its developmental plans. This is obviously beginning to play into what I was concerned about and that was the fall season. Fall is already starting to reel from the strike with all of this news. However, NBC is not cutting their development plans. The WGA has also decided not to picket The Grammy Awards. The Academy Awards still plan on going ahead as planned.

Week two of American Idol is done and I say, even stronger this week, that I am feeling good about this season. The show has done some really good stories on several of the singers so far and we're getting a story to put with the singer. Once again, I did a tally of good and bad singers to see the ratio of who got the most time on the show. If a person's name is shown on TV, I count that as a person. If a montage is shown without names being shown, I just count the whole montage as one. Tuesday's show from the San Diego auditions went this way with what I've got. I had eleven bad auditions compared to seven good auditions. There was one montage in there and it was of good auditions. Wednesday's show from Charleston was a lot more complicated to rate. I say that cause there were some that didn't make it through to Hollywood that I didn't think were bad. So, I had a neutral category going with this episode. I had five good auditions with one montage. I had seven bad auditions with two montages. Then, I had four neutrals. San Diego had 31 singers that went on to Hollywood while Charleston sent 23. Lots of good stories this week and good singers although I thought the star power may have been stronger with some of last week's singers. Just thought I'd give some random thoughts on various people from this week's shows. Carly Smithson is the one that is getting a lot of buzz about her. She made it through to Hollywood a couple of years ago but was DQ'd when she couldn't get her visa to come through for her as she was from out of the country . She is back this season and got good reviews from the judges so keep an eye on her to do well. Oliver Highman was the new father as his wife went into labor while the auditions were underway. We ended up with an Idol baby and he was able to bring his wife and baby back to the audition. Super nice guy but he didn't make it through. I was disappointed as I thought he was definitely good enough to get to Hollywood. He took it great though and wanted to introduce them to his wife and new baby. After it all, Paula was having second thoughts on him not getting through. No doubt. I thought he was good. Samantha Musa was a lot of fun as her and her sister were the Simon fanatics and the sister got to sit and judge with the others. London Weidberg had a good story and it was nice to see her get through to Hollywood. She was the one who had to put her music on hold due to her dad having cancer. I liked David Archuleta and was very impressed with his voice considering that he came back from vocal chord paralysis. I liked Amy Flynn as well. She was the abstinence speaker and also high school dance team member. Fun personality and talented singer. I did cringe when she said that she was going to sing "Reflections" but I cringe when anybody says they're going to sing that song or just about any Christina Aguilera song cause they are such hard songs to sing. Amy did well with it but I look forward to hearing what she can do with some other songs. The brother/sister combination of Jeffery and Michelle Lampkin were fun. As far as bad auditions go, I did have to laugh at the one girl that was talking about how she did tend to laugh at the bad auditions on TV. Then, she took a beating from the judges and said in the confessional "I'll be one of the rejects. So not cool". It's such a reaction that anyone would be thinking if they did bad. Overall, I really enjoyed this week's Idol episodes and am liking what I'm seeing so far with the singers getting through to Hollywood. Next week takes the auditions to Omaha, Nebraska.

Movie box office numbers for last weekend. 1. Cloverfield - $41 million. 2. 27 Dresses - $22.4 million. 3. The Bucket List - $15.2 million. 4. Juno - $10.3 million. 5. National Treasure - $8.1 million. 6. Mad Money - $7.7 million. 7. Alvin & The Chipmunks - $7 million. 8. First Sunday - $5.5 million. 9. I Am Legend - $5.1 million. 10. Atonement - $4.8 million.

The finish line has been reached for another season of The Amazing Race. The team that crossed the finish line first was TK & Rachel. I was very happy with them winning as they have been my favorite team for much of the season. They did the final leg of the race just like they have all of their others and that was just remaining calm and working on the task at hand. Ronald & Christina led for much of the last leg until all the teams met up at the final roadblock which was letting the teams have to figure out a puzzle that involved their travels during the entire race. It was clear that whoever left there first was probably going to win it. It was Rachel, Christina, and Nicolas all battling it out with their partners all just standing waiting and hoping for their partner to run out of there in the lead. Rachel got out of there first. TK & Rachel headed for the finish line finishing first and winning the million dollars. Second place went to Ronald & Christina and third place went to Donald & Nicolas. TK & Rachel were very close to being eliminated in the last couple of episodes so it really shows how tough that they were to overcome the odds. Congrats to TK & Rachel for winning this season of The Amazing Race.

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Hey Big Brother fans. Jessica from Big Brother 8 is now on the radio. You can listen to her on 96.3FM out of Wichita, Kansas. If you aren't in the area, don't worry as the station streams online at this link: http://www.channel963.com/pages/stream.html
Jessica is on the air with Sammy from 3:30pm to 7:00pm central time Monday through Friday. I tuned in to listen to her today and she is doing really good on there. Sounds like she is having a lot of fun!!

Don't forget that Smallville returns with new episodes one week from tonight on The CW.

A Buffy reunion was announced today that will take place at The Paley Center For Media during PaleyFest08 in March. No news on who will be appearing but that is the plan for it. For more info, head over to: http://www.paleycenter.org/

Some Buffy/Angel comic news for you. The first issue of the season eight Buffy comic was the 15th highest selling comic of 2007. IDW, who is doing the season six comic for Angel, has said that the first issue of the Angel series is the highest charted comic release ever for them. The first printing of the comic was said to be sold out before it was even released in stores. If you didn't know, issue three of Angel is now in stores and issue ten of Buffy is also in stores.

The nominations are in for the 80th Annual Academy Awards set to take place on Sunday, February 24th. Here are the nominations for some of the categories.
Best Picture: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"; Julie Christie, "Away from Her"; Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"; Laura Linney, "The Savages"; Ellen Page, "Juno".
Best Actor: George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"; Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"; Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"; Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Valley of Elah"; Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises".
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"; Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"; Saorise Ronan, "Atonement"; Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"; Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton.
Best Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"; Hal Holbrook, "Into the Wild"; Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton".
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"; Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"; Jason Reitman, "Juno"; Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly".
Best Original Screenplay: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, "Ratatouille"; Diablo Cody, "Juno"; Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"; Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages"; Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl".
Best Sound Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum, No Country for Old Men, Ratatouille, There Will Be Blood, Transformers.
Best Sound Mixing: The Bourne Ultimatum, No Country for Old Men, Ratatouille, 3:10 to Yuma, Transformers.
Best Visual Effects: The Golden Compass, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End,
Transformers.
Best Animated Feature: Perseopolis, Ratatouille, Surf's Up.
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; Roger Deakins, "No Country for Old Men"; Robert Elswit, "There Will Be Blood"; Janusz Kaminski, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; Seamus McGarvey, "Atonement".

Tonight's Celebrity Apprentice. The task was selling tickets to Broadway shows in New York. The teams were allowed to negotiate to deal on which shows that each team got to sell for. Vinnie led the men as project manager while Marilu was the project manager for the women. The episode was mostly once again about who had the most contacts to write big money checks. Of the two ticket booths, I thought the women had the better presentation and Marilu did a good job in leading it. Piers was put in a outfit that resembled King Arthur and was fine with doing it. I did have to think that things were coming back and getting Piers with the people ignoring him on the streets. I seem to remember Piers a few weeks ago being rude to people in New York who wanted to give money for charity for the hot dog challenge. He wouldn't even bother with them if they couldn't spend humongous amounts so it was funny that it came back at him in this episode. It matched the nickname of Boomerang that Stephen gave him. Whether you like or don't like Piers though, he is delivering big for the men's team. So much so that I was shocked when the men won once again remaining undefeated. They defeated the women $33,300 to $31,700. I was completely surprised as it really appeared that the women were going to win. Nely had some people coming to write some checks but they weren't able to arrive in time which would have likely given the women the win. Marilu brought Jennie and Carol back with her to the boardroom and it was Jennie who was fired. Jennie admitted how hard it was to compete with the women cause of all the strong clashing personalities. Jennie just seemed too nice of a person for this kind of a competition. Trump also agreed looking at it is as doing her a favor of getting her away from all the nastiness that this show can take at times. Next week will apparently be seeing a big clash between Piers and Vinnie.

We almost had the first million dollar winner on Deal Or No Deal. Britney Lewzader of Gilbertsville, KY was within one case of having it. The million dollar challenge is underway and that meant that nine $1,000,000 cases were on the board. I am pretty sure it was nine at the point of this episode but I'm not positive. Her story was that her and her husband wanted to start a family but weren't able to afford it. She asked about whether they could if she found a way for them to afford it and he told her yes. So, Britney gets on Deal Or No Deal and she was a lot of fun. I was on the edge of my seat wanting her to win the million dollars cause she was so close to winning. She was extremely likable and became someone that you could tell everyone in the studio was pulling for to win. The story of her game seemed to remain 50/50 odds on the million dollars and it remained that way till the end. She played a smart game all the way to the end and kept the odds strong in her favor until she got to 50% with only two cases in play. She would either walk away with $400 or $1,000,000 and she chose to take the deal of $471,000. Good deal as her case contained the $400. Watching that show just makes you think what would you do with those decisions of whether to take the money or keep playing? She made the right decision at the end as you couldn't risk leaving with $400.

Not only is Jericho getting set to return with season two on CBS but Jericho will be having its reruns airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. The first two seasons have been picked up by Sci-Fi and the first rerun airings of Jericho on the channel will be a four episode marathon on February 11th. Don't forget about the season two premiere on CBS on Tuesday, February 12th.

I did not even realize that Julie Benz was in the new Rambo movie until I saw her doing promotional stuff for it this week. I think the hair color change threw me off. That is a big movie role for her and I think she is a very good actress. Big fan of her work on Angel. I actually got to meet her a few years ago and she was extremely nice. I always like to see the Whedon-verse actors doing well.

Starz premiered two original shows this week. First, Head Case is about a celebrity therapist with a unique way of treating her patients. There will be several celebrities making appearances on the show. Also premiering was Hollywood Residential. That show is about the host of a celebrity home makeover show. The host is also a struggling actor and ends up ruining celebrity homes and humiliating himself in the process. Expect to see a lot of celebrity names making appearances on this show as well including American Idol's Paula Abdul. Head Case airs on Wednesdays at 9pm central time while Hollywood Residential airs Wednesdays at 9:30pm central time on Starz. You can currently watch the first episodes of both shows over online at these links:
http://www.starz.com/starzheadcase
http://www.starz.com/starzhollywoodres

TV on DVD releases for Tuesday, January 29th.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Volume Five), Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season Six), Damages (Season One), Emergency! (Season Four), JAG (Season Five).

You Tube Video Of The Week:
Missing a driver.


Hope everyone has a great weekend!! Take care and God bless!!

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