Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17, 2008 - DGA & AMPTP Have A Deal!!, Writers Next?????

In a week that is proving that hard ball is getting played in the writers strike, there was some news today that could very well put things into gear in getting this settled. Variety reported some big news earlier today when they reported that after six days of negotiations, the Directors Guild has come to a tentative new agreement with the AMPTP. The DGA has these highlights listed on their website of gains that they got from the new deal: Increases both wages and residual bases for each year of the contract; Establishes DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet; Establishes new residuals formula for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that essentially doubles the rate currently paid by employers; Establishes residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet. Gil Cates who is the chair of the DGA's Negotiations Committee had these comments on the new deal, “Two words describe this agreement -- groundbreaking and substantial. The gains in this contract for directors and their teams are extraordinary -- and there are no rollbacks of any kind.” This is what DGA president, Michael Apted, had to say on the deal, “This was a very difficult negotiation that required real give and take on both sides. Nonetheless, we managed to produce an agreement that enshrines the two fundamental principles we regard as absolutely crucial to any employment and compensation agreement in this digital age: First, jurisdiction is essential. Without secure jurisdiction over new-media production -- both derivative and original -- compensation formulas are meaningless. Second, the Internet is not free. We must receive fair compensation for the use and reuse of our work on the Internet, whether it was originally created for other media platforms or expressly for online distribution.” I say great news cause this will put pressure on the WGA/AMPTP talks and maybe it will finally get them to talking. The feeling among many in the industry has been that the DGA talks could very well have a big effect on how the WGA deal turns out. At this point, I am just steaming mad that this strike is continuing so anything that can come about and hopefully end this strike, I am all for. As far as the writers strike goes, things continue to be busy but not for the better. Monday saw several studios cut some writers' contracts. The Golden Globes were effected by the strike and barely even happened. Now, the talk turns to whether the WGA will picket the Oscars. No decision appears to have been made as of yet on what to do but I tend to think that the Oscars are going to be big time effected as well if the strike isn't settled. I read an article today on how the WGA is considering pushing several singers that are Screen Actors Guild members to not attend the Grammy Awards in support of the writers. Ok, I have to admit that this got on my nerves and just felt like really stretching to effect another awards ceremony. That just kind of gave me a "give me a break" type feeling after hearing that news considering it is a music award ceremony. The WGA may need to become concerned with doing this much stuff and turning the public against them. We're getting to the point now where all of us as fans of whatever kind of entertainment are getting beyond extremely cranky. This strike is now starting to effect "pilot" season. It is becoming highly likely that this fall may not see a very big amount of new scripted shows. Well, obviously if the strike isn't settled by then, that is a no brainer. I'm talking about even if it is settled soon, can the networks get stuff together in time for the upfronts in May where they will premiere their upcoming fall schedule? That seems to be where we're at and this is the time when the pilot season is developing. There has also been talk about when the networks will finally just say that is it for this TV season. It appears likely that it could be soon if a deal isn't reached to end the strike. There are rumors that it won't be much longer before the TV season is just declared done and the focus turns to the summer and fall seasons. DVD box sets of the current TV season are obviously likely to be shorter but there is also talk of how the extras on the box sets will be slim as well due to people not participating in stuff produced for the DVD's such as commentaries and other stuff. Yeah, it continues to get uglier and uglier and I just hope that a deal can be worked out that the writers will be happy with and the entertainment world can get back to business. The DGA deal announced today is a definite confidence lifter and let's just hope this builds some momentum.

The Golden Globes took place to a packed crowd and viewing audience of.....well....did anyone watch it? The ratings were bad for the press conference style show which was changed due to the strike. The show only did a 4.0 rating with the announcement portion of the coverage on NBC finishing in 4th place among the networks. It did defeat a rerun of One Tree Hill on The CW.

The seventh season of American Idol is underway after four hours of episodes this week. I have to say that I'm feeling better about this season than I was last season. Last season, I just kept watching episodes and was having very few singers jump out at me that I liked. So far, I have seen several that I like voice wise and several that have good personalities as well. One criticism of last season from me and many other fans was that they spent so much time on the bad auditions that it ended up hurting the season overall. I'm talking about how we didn't really know much of anything about the finalists when the voting started cause so little of their personalities had been talked about. That has always been a strong point of the show but it was missing last season. The audition episodes are usually a mixed bag for me as I'm someone that doesn't like watching the bad auditions especially the ones that just get their dreams trashed on national TV. I'm just not into that stuff. I like seeing the good singers from the beginning and watching them grow. It is nice to see that the judges appear to be nicer than they were last season. I just thought that they were very unnecessarily mean at times during the auditions last season and lots of people were complaining about it. It does seem toned down quite a bit so far this season. I did take some notes while watching the shows this week as I wanted to get a ratio of good and bad auditions that make it to TV. So, I made a tally of how many good and bad auditions were shown to compare them. I should point out how I made the decisions on what to count. If a person's name was shown on TV while they were singing, I counted that. If it was a montage of bad singers such as the montage of bad singers singing Kelly Clarkson's song, I counted that as one and would also count a montage of good singers as one cause there were no names mentioned of who these people were. If there were singers that weren't either good or bad, I just threw it out and counted it neutral. However, it's pretty obvious that most of these are either good or bad with very little middle ground. This is what I came up with. With the Philly audition episode on Tuesday night, I had ten good auditions compared with seventeen bad auditions with only one bad audition montage. With Wednesday's Dallas audition episode, I had ten good auditions compared with sixteen bad auditions including two montages. There have been a lot of good stories so far on the people auditioning including people that did and didn't make it. The story of Temptress Browne was a nice one. She was the 16 year old football linebacker who also had a mom that was very sick. She didn't make it but the judges loved her. It was a nice moment having them walk her out to her family. When they left her and came back in the room, all three judges had a sad look on their face really touched by her. On the other side, we had Angela Martin who is the 26 year old mom of a daughter who has Retts Syndrome and Angela made it through to Hollywood. After hearing Angela's story, you really wanted her to be good and make it through. Names that stood out to me this week were Kristy Lee Cook (cage fighter from Oregon), Brooke White (married and nanny of twin girls), Alaina Whitaker (country girl from Oklahoma), and Kady Malloy (who Simon said was the best audition yet this early season). I know I said I don't like the bad auditions but I don't mind the ones that are light hearted and not just mean spirited. I found the last audition on Wednesday's episode to be entertaining with the guy that wrote his own song about being brothers and sang it to Simon. After one week of episodes, I'm left optimistic about this new season. Just to keep in mind, season three was also not a favorite among many and it followed with arguably the best talent group of the show's run in season four which featured Carrie Underwood. Next week moves on to San Diego for more auditions.

With American Idol premiering, the next thing to cover is how were the ratings? The show did very well on its Tuesday night premiere getting 33.24 million viewers which defeated all the networks combined. The premiere was down 11% from last season's premiere. The numbers on Wednesday night's episode were 30.3 million viewers.

All right, Smallville fans. We are not far off from another new episode. Smallville will return with new episodes on Thursday, January 31st. This will be the tenth episode of the season. The rest of the schedule looks like this so far with new episodes airing on February 7th, February 14th, March 20th, March 27th, and the last episode completed has yet to have an air date announced and would be the season finale if the strike doesn't end very soon.

Movie box office numbers for last weekend.
1. The Bucket List - $19.5 million. 2. First Sunday - $19 million. 3. Juno - $14 million. 4. National Treasure - $11.5 million. 5. Alvin & The Chipmunks - $9.1 million. 6. I Am Legend - $8.1 million. 7. One Missed Call - $6.1 million. 8. P.S. I Love You - $5 million. 9. Pirates: Veggie Tales - $4.4 million. Atonement - $4.3 million.

This past week's Amazing Race was all about seeing where TK & Rachel were in the race. They had a ton of attention on them from teams hoping that they hadn't caught back up. Problem was that they caught up!! They got the advantage of doing the stunt deal in second place when it was first come first serve. When they finished it, they hit their speed bump task and it gave them a few minutes. They still caught back up after that and ended up finishing in second place. What a run they had in this leg of the race!! In the rest of the leg of the race, Ronald and Christina got an early advantage and were able to hold that advantage finishing first by a good margin. The rest of the race was the battle between the other three teams which was fun to watch. Donald and Nicolas finish in third place and fourth went to Nathan and Jennifer which means that they finished last. Wow, Jennifer was melting down in that battle especially with TK & Rachel catching up to the rest of the pack. To make matters worse for Jennifer, they got eliminated from the race on her birthday. Ouch. That brings us to the finale. The finish line of this season's Amazing Race is this Sunday night as Ronald & Christina, TK & Rachel, and Donald & Nicolas will battle it out for one million dollars.

American Gladiators has been picked up for a full season as the show continues to do well for NBC.

CBS continues to fill programming space as they are airing a couple of concerts in the next month. Garth Brooks' concert "Live In LA" will air on January 25th. The other concert will be of Celine Dion's and that special will air on February 15th.

Heroes star, Hayden Panettiere, might be wearing another cheerleading outfit as she is said to be in talks to star in a movie called I Love You, Beth Cooper. It is a comedy and she will be playing a high school cheerleader. The story revolves around the "nerdy" class valedictorian being in love with her character. He mentions her in his valedictorian speech and gets to hang out with the girl of his dreams for a night. The movie is based off a book and I have heard a lot of people saying how good the book is.

If you're a fan of the Star Wars spoof that Robot Chicken did, then you'll be happy to hear that it is coming to DVD. May 20th appears to be the release date for it.

The hit TBS show, My Boys, is set to have its first season coming to DVD on March 11th. I really love this show and recommend checking it out if you get the chance. The first season is very good.

Apple announced this week about their new movie rental service. The iTunes movie rentals will go for $3.99 on new movies and then older movies will go for $2.99. You get the movie for one month and then the movie file disappears off of your computer.

Ok, I don't follow Miley Cyrus or Hannah Montana at all but this whole body double story is beginning to get on my nerves. So, she uses a body double for like two minutes of her entire concert. Why does this have so many people in an uproar? What is the big deal??!! LOL. I just finally had to comment on it cause I'm tired of reading the story on every entertainment site. Wait a minute. Now, it's on my blog site as well. Well, crap. Never mind. LOL.

After announcing last week that The Mole would be returning, ABC is bringing back The Bachelorette. It is being speculated that the show will return this summer.

TV on DVD releases for Tuesday, January 22nd.
Barney Miller (Season Two), ER (Season Eight), The Girls Next Door (Season Three), Hawaii Five-O (Season Three), Hustle (Season Four), The Jeff Corwin Experience (Season One), Make Room For Daddy (Season Six), The Odd Couple (Season Three), Swamp Thing (Season One), Torchwood (Season One).

TV Line Of The Week:
"You know what's amazing about this country is that you're genuinely happy when someone you know does well." Simon Cowell to Paula and Randy on Tuesday's American Idol after a loud reaction of applause broke out outside the room when someone got through to Hollywood. Simon went on to say that he just wouldn't care enough to
react that well. LOL.

You Tube Video Of The Week:
The Idol audition that closed Wednesday's show. What a likable guy.

Have a great weekend!! Take care and God bless!!

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