Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bachelor Preview - February 6th

More than likely a response to the spoilers issued by ABC's nemesis, Reality Steve (www.realitysteve.com), who posts a season's worth of Bachelor details on his site before the first installment airs, the network is now releasing its own preview.

Bachelor Ben Flajnik
Here's today's news release from ABC outlining what will happen on next week's episode.  It includes a list of those bachelorette's still standing after last night's episode:

"Episode 1606" - Nine excited bachelorettes travel to the exotic tropical country of Panama, but two nervous women - Blakeley and Rachel - face the dramatic two-on-one date where one of them will be sent home immediately. How will the Bachelor handle his heartbreaking decision at the end of the night? Ben soars in a helicopter with Kacie B. over Panama City and the Caribbean, landing on a deserted island where they spend the day, but she makes a stunning disclosure which demonstrates her ability to really open up to Ben. The six women on the group date trek with the Bachelor through the Panamanian jungle and end up at a small village, communicating with their inhabitants, the Emberas. But this week's drama is ratcheted up when Chris faces off with Casey S. about a bombshell disclosure she has failed to reveal to anyone, on "The Bachelor," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Ben treats Kacie B. to a panoramic view of Panama City and the Caribbean via helicopter before they land on a deserted island, which becomes their home for the day. Will they be able to work together as a couple? The duo returns to the mainland for dinner, and this emotional woman shows that she is willing to share a very upsetting, personal experience with Ben.

Six lucky women "get lost" with Ben in the middle of the Panamanian jungle at the bank of the Chagres River. The Bachelor scoops up the ladies in a motorboat and the group zip through the jungle waters before coming upon the Emberas in their small village. The people warmly welcome Ben and the women, but one bachelorette decides to take local customs a bit too far and dons some native garb that leaves little to the imagination. That evening at the after-party at the Trump Ocean Club, Courtney continues her strategy to win Ben's heart with her brash, aggressive behavior. But will this off-putting demeanor score her another rose?

Finally, Ben must face the always difficult task of taking two women he is fond of on the famed two-on-one date. Blakeley is supremely confident, but Rachel is intimidated and anxious. The two join Ben for a day of sexy salsa dancing. All of this comes easily to Blakeley, but Rachel feels like a third wheel on the date. After both women have alone time with him, Ben is forced to make the toughest decision of his journey so far.

On rose ceremony day, Chris pays a surprise visit to the women, pulling Casey S. from the group. In another of "The Bachelor's" most dramatic moments, he confronts her about a situation she has kept secret from everyone. A shocked Casey S. then must admit the truth to Ben. How will he take the news?

The surprises keep coming at the cocktail party when one of the shy bachelorettes decides to make her somewhat awkward move on Ben, rendering him speechless. However, Ben has the courage of his convictions, and the six women left with roses will accompany him to beautiful, blissful Belize.

The nine women are:
Blakeley, 34, VIP cocktail waitress, Charlotte, NC
Casey S., 26, trading clerk, Leawood, KS
Courtney, 28, model, Santa Monica, CA
Emily, 27, PhD student, Chapel Hill, NC
Jamie, 25, registered nurse, Dryden, NY
Kacie B., 24, administrative assistant, Clarksville, TN
Lindzi C., 27, business development manager, Seattle, WA
Nicki, 26, dental hygienist, Hurst, TX
Rachel, 27, fashion sales rep., New York City, NY

CNBC's Inside Look at Online Dating

Amy Robach, CNBC
Online dating, once a refuge for the socially challenged, has gone mainstream, and is now a multi-billion dollar a year business fundamentally changing the way we seek relationships. Hundreds of websites cater to every preference—all trying to unlock the secrets of the human heart—with science. But can a computer algorithm really help find your perfect match?

On Thursday, February 9th at 9pm ET/PT, CNBC presents “Love at First Byte: The Secret Science of Online Dating” a CNBC Original reported by NBC News and Today Show Correspondent Amy Robach that takes viewers inside the booming online dating industry. From major corporate players to the hundreds of niche websites that accommodate daters of every conceivable interest and background, CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, explores the science that claims to use secret computer algorithms to convert the desire for companionship into romantic success.

Robach goes behind the scenes at the headquarters of the most influential online websites—Match.com and eHarmony—profiling the small armies of computer scientists, mathematicians and psychologists who claim they can draw revealing conclusions about you, not only by what you say, but by what you do—and don’t do—on their websites. With both sites claiming a high success rate, CNBC speaks with experts who examine those claims and question whether the algorithms actually capture a client’s personality and preferences. CNBC also profiles a number of online daters who have used these sites—both successfully and unsuccessfully—in hopes of finding the perfect mate.

CNBC introduces viewers to Samantha Daniels, a former divorce lawyer thriving in a trade that pre-dates the Internet by centuries. Daniels is a modern-day matchmaker, who claims that the rise of online dating has actually revived her old-world industry. With many of her clients being unhappy refugees from the land of online dating, Daniels claims that even the best computer equation can’t outmatch human intuition.

Roughly one in ten Americans visit online dating websites each month, spanning in range from digitally savvy twenty-something to baby boomers seeking a fresh start. Whatever their age, a growing number of online daters are using cutting-edge mobile technology in their search for love. Robach accompanies a group of young singles who use a mobile application called “Skout” to connect to other nearby mobile daters with just the click of a button. Mobile dating applications have taken off not only in cities like New York and Los Angeles, but are gaining steam all over the country. Many experts and credible observers agree that the future of online dating is on mobile devices.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Steve Jones Out as Host of The X Factor

Steve Jones, host of The X Factor on FOX, announced today via Twitter that he will not be host of the show for its second season:

"I wont be hosting next seasons XFactor which is a shame but I cant complain as I've had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show."

No replacement has been announced since there hasn't been an official announcement from the show, which is produced by Simon Cowell, also a judge.

The X Factor begins auditions in September and will begin airing in the fall.

The Seinfeld Super Bowl Ad: Funnier Than Ferris Bueller

I had high hopes for the Ferris Bueller Super Bowl Honda ad starring Matthew Broderick, but the Seinfeld spot for Acura is a heck of a whole lot better.  And, it has the surprise ending the first should have had - I'm thinking Sarah Jessica Parker should have shown up to tell Matthew to get to work 'cause he has kids to feed.  (But she's probably too expensive.)

You be the judge.  Here's the Seinfeld ad.  The Broderick one was posted earlier today.  Let us know what you think by posting a comment.

Networks Now Promoting Brand Tie-Ins

If you think you're seeing more brand integration in TV shows, you're absolutely right.  In fact, the practice of inserting the names of products is getting so intense that the networks are now crowing about it.
We just received a news release from NBC touting the many companies promoting themselves through The Celebrity Apprentice whose producers are two of the most active self-promoters in history - Donald Trump and Mark Burnett.  The release goes so far as to say the program is "revolutionizing brand integration on television." OMG!
Here's the text of the release:
Donald J. Trump and Mark Burnett have partnered with some of the world’s most prominent and recognizable brands on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” airing Sunday’s from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT.

Continuing to revolutionize brand integration on television, “The Celebrity Apprentice” welcomes world class brands on season 12, including: Entertainment.com, Farouk Hair Systems, General Motors, Good Sam, Ivanka Trump Collection, Kraft, O-Cedar, Five Star Fragrance and Walgreens. In addition, The Mars Company will support the recent launch of the new M&M’s character “Ms. Brown” with a season run of bumpers.

“This season’s sponsor line up of ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ is unparalleled,” said Donald J. Trump, Host and Executive Producer. “As the top television show for branded integration, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ proves that between our fantastic cast and the creative tasks they participate in, the show offers an extraordinary value for our partners.”

In the past 11 seasons, many of the companies that have partnered with “The Apprentice” franchise have achieved astonishing sales results. Last season, finalists John Rich and Marlee Matlin hit it out of the park for Dr.Pepper/7UP Inc. with their 7UP 70’s and 80’s retro campaign.

In “Apprentice” history, many of America’s largest and most successful companies have eagerly chosen to showcase their products in the form of Apprentice tasks. Companies included are Best Buy, Burger King, Dove, Domino’s Pizza, Dairy Queen, The Dial Corporation, General Motors, Home Depot, Kodak, Lexus, Microsoft, Nestle, Outback Steakhouse, Procter & Gamble, Staples, Pontiac, Pedigree, Priceline.com, Right Guard, Rockport, Snapple and Unilever.

“This season of ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ we partner with some of the biggest brands in America. The show format has proven itself to be an engaging platform which continues to deliver unparalleled sales and customer outreach for our partners,” stated Co-Executive Producer and Head of Business Development, Sadoux Kim.

A few sales highlights from past seasons are:
  • Most successful product launch for the home care division for Dial US in 2007 with Softscrub
  • Doubled sales of Kodak printers in 2008
  • Chicken of the Sea was voted the most effective integration on a TV show by the New York Times in 2009
  • Clock Work Home Services received a 30% lift in call volume in 2010
  • 7UP experienced a significant lift in WOM and online chatter, increasing its Facebook fan base by over 330% in 2011.
Since the 2007 premiere of the Celebrity version of the franchise, the series has generated millions of dollars for charities worldwide.

This season 18 new business-savvy celebrity contestants will compete to raise money for their charity of choice and the final prize of $250,000.

The men are: late-night legend Arsenio Hall, pop star Clay Aiken, radio host Adam Carolla, the “Incredible Hulk” Lou Ferrigno, magician/comedian Penn Jillette, rock star Dee Snider, actor George Takei, IndyCar legend Michael Andretti, and star of “American Chopper,” Paul Teutul, Sr.

The women are: supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, pop star Debbie Gibson, actress and multi-Grammy winner Tia Carrere, author and reality star Victoria Gotti, comedienne Lisa Lampanelli, former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, singer and actress Aubrey O’Day, actress and model Patricia Velásquez, and star of “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Teresa Giudice.

Watch the Matthew Broderick/Ferris Bueller Super Bowl Ad for Honda

Here it is, the ad everyone's talking about in advance of Sunday's Super Bowl.  Pitching for Honda, it's a grown-up Ferris Bueller starring Matthew Broderick.

Are Super Bowl Ads Worth the Investment? Maybe They Should Go Straight to the Net

A big ad this year will reportedly feature a "grown up
Ferris Bueller" for Honda starring the original,
Matthew Broderick.
Last year’s hit Super Bowl ad, a Volkswagen spot featuring a boy dressed as Darth Vader, was unique in that it was actually released before the game.

This year, nearly all ad agencies are expected to run previews of their commercials before the Feb. 5 Super Bowl on YouTube and other sites, leading a marketing expert at Washington University in St. Louis to question the wisdom of running a television ad at all.

“Pre-releasing a teaser to a Super Bowl commercial certainly evokes interest for consumers to ‘anticipate’ what is going to come on Super Bowl Sunday, thus improving the quality of ad consumption,” says Seethu Seetharaman, PhD, the W. Patrick McGinnis Professor of Marketing at Olin Business School.

“But the $3-million-dollar question is whether that Super Bowl commercial will lead to incremental buying,” he says. “Is there any significant return on investment for the $3 million spent? I doubt it.”

The average cost for a 30-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl is $3.5 million, with some time slots costing as much as $4 million.

With the continuing trend toward viral commercial releases, Seetharaman advocates companies reconsider traditional television ads and focus their efforts on the Internet, saving them millions of dollars in the process.

“The return on investment for a viral ad is far greater, since it is much cheaper to get the commercial in front of viewers,” he says. “A viral campaign, at best, produces incremental sales at zero cost, and at worst, produces a lot of social conversation without any incremental sales, like a well-noticed Super Bowl ad would, but without a $3 million spend,” he says.

Last year’s Volkswagen ad with the child dressed up as Darth Vader has been viewed online more than 50 million times.

Seetharaman says a purely online viral ad campaign, without the actual television Super Bowl component, does not impose any prohibitive costs on a company.

“Water cooler conversation does not a purchase make. Just because a company spends $3 million or more for a 30-second ad, it does not automatically increase purchase of their product. Viral videos are cheaper to produce and have a much longer shelf life.”

The final purpose of the Super Bowl ad, Seetharaman says, is to stimulate sales, not to stimulate consumption of online videos.

“Fifty million hits for the Darth Vader ad on YouTube, advertising awards etc., will only give cold comfort to VW if the YouTube hits do not end up selling more VW cars,” he says.

“Take the ‘Will It Blend’ campaign from BlendTec, which was rolled out on YouTube. It not only reached online viewers running in to tens of millions, but more importantly, it increased BlendTec blender sales by 700 percent in the first few months of its rollout.

“That is what an effective promotional campaign must do.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

SAG Award Winners

The Screen Actors Guild presented its Actor® statuette for the outstanding motion picture and prime time television performances of 2011 at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® in ceremonies attended by film and television’s leading actors tonight at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.

Honored with individual awards were Viola Davis, Jean Dujardin, Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer for performances in motion pictures and Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Lange, Betty White, and Kate Winslet for performances in television. Screen Actors Guild originated awards for the outstanding performances by a motion picture cast and by television drama and comedy ensembles.

The Actor® for a motion picture cast performance went this year to The Help, while the Actors® for television drama and comedy ensemble performances went this year to Boardwalk Empire and Modern Family. Screen Actors Guild’s honors for outstanding performances by a stunt ensemble in film and television were awarded to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Game of Thrones. Nearly 100,000 active members of Screen Actors Guild nationwide were eligible to vote for the recipients.

Dick Van Dyke presented Mary Tyler Moore with Screen Actors Guild’s highest honor, the 48th Annual Life Achievement Award, following a filmed tribute. Jessica Chastain introduced a film salute to SAG's regional branches, spotlighting memorable moments created by actors who live and work across the nation. Meryl Streep introduced a filmed “In Memoriam” tribute to the actors we have lost in the past year.

Here is the complete list of recipients:


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
JEAN DUJARDIN / George - "THE ARTIST" (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures /Touchstone Pictures)


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thompson - “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
JESSICA LANGE / Constance - “American Horror Story” (FX)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - “30 Rock” (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
BETTY WHITE / Elka Ostrovsky - “Hot In Cleveland” (TV Land)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Modern Family (ABC)


Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series GAME OF THRONES (HBO)

Screen Actors Guild Awards 48th Annual Life Achievement Award

Madonna Video to Debut on American Idol

With American Idol doing poorly in the ratings, it's no surprise that producers are pulling out all the stops to draw ratings.  And, the fact that they're using Madonna to do so tells me the superstar's star is fading as well.

This week on Idol, Madonna will world preview the video for her new single “Give Me All Your Luvin,” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., during Thursday's edition.

The song releases the next day, February 3. Written by Madonna, Martin Solveig, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A, it is the first single from her upcoming studio album “MDNA."

This week, Idol continues with Portland auditions Wednesday and St. Louis auditions Thursday. Contestants are now vying for the last of the tickets to Hollywood where auditions lead to the top 24 contestants and the eventual weekly countdown to one singer who lands a recording contract.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pivotal Episode of The Good Wife This Sunday

If you're a fan of The Good Wife on CBS, you'll want to be watching this Sunday night (January 29th).

In this episode, Will (Josh Charles) goes on trial for his role in alleged judicial misconduct with special prosecutor Wendy Scott-Carr on his tail.  Alicia (Julianna Marguilies) is set to take the stand and there's word that her relationship with Will will become known to all, especially her estranged husband, Peter (Chris Noth).

Also promised in the episode, some interesting antics by Eli (Alan Cumming) and a new romantic pairing that will be a surprise to viewers.  Returning as guest stars are Parker Posey and Amy Sedaris.

To get caught up, watch the latest episode of The Good Wife by clicking here.

SAG Awards Sunday Night on TNT

The Screen Actors Guild Awards will be broadcast tomorrow night (Sunday) on TNT, beginning at 8 p.m. eastern.

Here are the nominees:

Best Drama Ensemble 
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Games of Thrones
The Good Wife

Best Comedy Ensemble
The Big Bag Theory
Modern Family
The Office
30 Rock

Best Drama Actor
Patrick J. Adams, Suits
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Best Drama Actress
Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Julianna Marguilies, The Good Wife
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Best Comedy Actor
Alex Baldwin, 30 Rock
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Steve Carell, The Office
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Best Comedy Actress
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland

Best TV Movie/Miniseries Actor
Laurence Fishburn, Thurgood
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
James Woods, Too Big to Fail

Best TV Movie/Miniseries Actress
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Emily Watson, Appropriate Adult
Betty White, Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Lost Valentine
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce

Best Ensemble
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris

Best Lead Actor
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Lead Actress
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Warrior

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Friday, January 27, 2012

Station Breaks: Letterman's 30 Years in Late Night; Is American Idol Going Down? and more

Howard Stern will help David Letterman mark 30 years in late night TV when he makes his 21st appearance on Late Show with David Letterman, Wednesday, February 1st.  He has guested with Dave a total of 41 times, if you count the NBC Letterman show.   As of the first of February, Letterman will have hosted 5,443 shows and welcomed 17,904 guests in his 30 years in late night TV.   

The Big Bang Theory topped American Idol in adults 18-49 for the second consecutive week in the common half-hour and also placed first in viewers, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34, according to Nielsen preliminary live plus same day ratings for Thursday, January 26th.  Big Bang was first in households (9.6/15), viewers (15.96m), adults 25-54 (6.8/17), adults 18-49 (5.4/15) and adults 18-34 (4.0/13).  

Emily Maynard, 25, who became "engaged" to Brad Womack on The Bachelor, a couple of years ago, will be the next Bachelorette, ABC has officially announced.  “I think she’s America’s sweetheart and I think it will be a home run,” host Chris Harrison said on Good Morning America.  Maynard, a single mom from Charlotte, N.C. who ended her tumultuous relationship with Womack, 38, last summer, has signed on to star in the eighth installment of the reality show, which will premiere this spring. She will be the first single mom to be in the spotlight on the show.

Jimmy Fallon to Indianapolis for Super Bowl Shows

NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon with a series of shows from Super Bowl XLVI host city Indianapolis February 1 through February 3 and a special Sunday night show after the game.

Broadcasting from the Hilbert Circle Theatre, Fallon will welcome actor/comedian Tracy Morgan, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and a performance by rock band All American Rejects on February 1st. The next night he'll have actor Taylor Lautner, musician Adam Levine, retired Super Bowl Champion Michael Strahan and musical guest Nas.  On Friday, February 3 it's rapper Snoop Dogg, former NBA all-star Shaquille O’Neal, NBC Sports Super Bowl host Bob Costas and soul/pop band Fitz and The Tantrums.

For the first-time ever, Fallon will host a post-Super BowI game program Jimmy Fallon’s Super Bowl Special, featuring comedians Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg live on Sunday, February 5. The show will air following NBC’s presentation of Super Bowl XLVI, the season two premiere of NBC’s hit competition series The Voice and the NBC stations' late local news.

First Week of ABC's The Revolution is no 1776

The debut week of The Revolution on ABC, One Life to Live's replacement, cost the network 37 percent of its viewers compared with the same week last year.

The program started with a scant 1.68 million viewers for the week of January 16th.  The numbers were even worse in the targeted female demographics.  The new show was off by 43% among women 25-54 and 40% with women 18-49 and 18-34.

In related news, The Chew, The Revolution's lead-in and the replacement for All My Children, had 2.44 viewers and a 1.0 rating/6 share with women 35-54; .7/5 with women 18-49, and .5/3 with women 18-34.  The previous week, 2.56 million people watched The Chew.

A good way to look at these ratings is to look at the audience figures for The View, which is a daytime blockbuster in comparison.  That show draws 3.67 million viewers per week.

ABC isn't the only network with little watched talk shows.  The Talk on CBS had 2.39 million viewers last week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

George Clooney to the Actor's Studio - January 31st

Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio returns for its 18th season with one of Hollywood's biggest and hottest stars.  Host James Lipton welcomes Golden Globe® Award-winning actor George Clooney on Tuesday, January 31 at 7pm et/pt. In the two-hour premiere, Clooney courses through his life from his early days as Dr. Doug Ross on ER to his most recently acclaimed role as Matt King in “The Descendants,” for which he just received an Oscar nomination.  (Of course, most of us know his career predates ER with semi-regular roles on Roseanne and Facts of Life before that.)

For a sneak peek go to: http://www.bravotv.com/inside-the-actors-studio/season-18/videos/george-clooney-brad-pitts-career-is-over.

Clooney has , of course, moved gracefully through various genres from comedy to drama in projects as varied as ER, Out of Sight, Oh, Brother Where Art Thou, The Perfect Storm, Oceans 11 and Michael Clayton.

He garnered critical acclaim for his writing and directing talents with movies Good Night, and Good Luck. and Ides of March, in which he also played a principal acting role. 

Clooney has twice been named People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Smartest People in Hollywood and one of Time magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in the World. 
He has been nominated for more than 100 awards, winning over 50 of them.

Bravo's news release has the following "quotables" from the episode:

"I thought it meant acting like an adult, I didn't know what the hell it meant." - Clooney admitting to adultery in confession when he was in the second grade.

"Coming off of [Batman Returns] I suddenly realized I was going to have to pick better projects.” – Clooney on his future roles.

“I enjoyed the fact that I was allowed to dip my toe into an area that I am very uncomfortable with.” – Clooney on his role in “The Descendants”

Best Superbowl Ads Ever - Here are Some

Hulu's AdZone and Ad Age have teamed up to present their pics for the best Super Bowl ads ever.  If you have others, please feel free to comment or to post links in the comment field.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Tops ABC by 1.8 MILLION AND CBS by 2.8 Million+

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams was America’s number one newscast for the week ending January 22, 2012, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The NBC broadcast delivered an average of 10.249 million total viewers, 1,800,000 more than ABC World News 8.449 million, and 2,855,000 million more than CBS Evening News 7.394 million. This marks Nightly's best total viewer delivery since the week of January 31, 2011.

On Monday, Nightly averaged 11.033 million viewers, the broadcast's biggest single-day delivery since February 7, 2011. It was also the biggest single-day advantage over ABC's "World News" since December 5, 2011.

Nightly has won for 123 consecutive weeks, and in 170 of the past 171 weeks in total viewers. Versus the first quarter of 2012-to-date average, Nightly increased in homes (+12%) and total viewers (+14%). Season-to-date, Nightly leads World News by +986,000 total viewers. As the number one network broadcast last week, Nightly delivered a 6.6/12 household rating, with World News in second place with a 5.6/10, and Evening News in third with a 4.9/9.

For the week, Nightly delivered a 2.4 rating A25-54, ahead of World News and Evening News 1.9 rating. Nightly averaged 2.861 million A25-54 (000) viewers last week, 600,000 viewers ahead of World News. This represents the best advantage since the week of June 27, 2011. Versus the first quarter of 2012-to-date average, Nightly increased in rating W/M/A25-54 (+13%/+11%/+14%). This is the 165th consecutive week Nightly has topped “World News” in A25-54 (000). Season-to-date, Nightly leads “World News” by 345,000 A25-54 viewers.

Patrick Burkey is the executive producer of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Jamie Kraft and Aurelia Grayson are the senior broadcast producers. For more news and information about Nightly News - www.nbcnightlynews.com.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Katie Couric Shows Has 93% Clearance

Katie Couric's nationally syndicated talk show, Katie, has been cleared in 93% of the country, it was announced today by Disney-ABC Domestic Television, which will syndicate the show. Katie will premiere on leading stations across the country in September 2012.

"The sales momentum behind Katie has been truly remarkable," said Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic Television. "The multi-talented Katie Couric is in a class all her own, which is why we believe the show has led the charge in the first-run syndication marketplace this year. We are committed to an extraordinary launch with these preeminent stations across the country."

Marinelli said, in addition to the ABC Owned station group, Katie has also been sold to leading stations from broadcast groups including Allbritton Communications, Belo Corporation, Cox Media Group, Gannett Broadcasting, Granite, Griffin, Hearst Television, LIN Broadcasting, McGraw-Hill, Media General, Meredith, Raycom, Scripps Howard Broadcasting, Sinclair and Young Broadcasting, among others.

Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author and TV personality. In addition to hosting the new program, Couric is also a member of the ABC News team. Katie will be executive-produced by Couric and Jeff Zucker, who used to be with NBC.

TCM Celebrates The Artist with List of 10 Most Influential Silent Films

Silent Film Pioneer D.W. Griffith
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has unveiled its list of 10 Most Influential Silent Films in celebration of Michel Hazanavicius' ode to the silent era, The Artist, which won three Golden Globes® Sunday night, including Best Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor – Musical or Comedy for Jean Dujardin and Best Original Score. The Artist also picked up 12 British Academy Film Award nominations. The Weinstein Company will expand its release of The Artist nationwide on Friday.

TCM's list of 10 Most Influential Silent Films spans from the years 1915 to 1928 and features such remarkable films as D.W. Griffith's groundbreaking (and controversial) The Birth of a Nation (1915), which revolutionized filmmaking techniques; Nanook of the North (1922), a film frequently cited as the first feature-length documentary; Cecil B. DeMille's epic silent version of The Ten Commandments (1923); Sergei Eisenstein's oft-imitated Battleship Potemkin (1925), which took montage techniques to an entirely new level; and Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), a film that broke new ground in visual effects and production design. The complete list is included below.

In addition to compiling its own list of Most Influential Silent Films, TCM asked The Artist director Hazanavicius for his thoughts on silent cinema and a few of his personal favorites from the era. While he greatly admires Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925), which appears on TCM's list, he considers Chaplin's City Lights (1931) a masterpiece. "No need to explain it," Hazanavicius says. "Just watch it."

In response to TCM's choice of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), with its virtuoso performance by Lon Chaney, Hazanavicius cites The Unknown (1927), which he calls, "a sexy, perverse film that takes place in a gypsy circus. It has one the best performances by Lon Chaney as a knife thrower with no arms who falls in love with a young Joan Crawford."

Although TCM's list includes the beautifully filmed drama Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans(1927), Hazanavicius considers F.W. Murnau's City Girl (1930), a late-era silent film (shot simultaneously as a now-lost sound version), to be every bit as good. He also points out that John Ford's Four Sons (1928), one of the few surviving silent films made by the director, "shows the influence Murnau had on Ford's work after he observed the maestro shooting Sunrise."

Hazanavicius also praises silent films by two directors whose work did not make TCM's list. He points to Josef von Sternberg's Underworld (1927), a hugely popular gangster film written by Ben Hecht. "You will see a lot of Scarface in it," he says, referring to the 1932 thriller also written by Hecht. And Hazanavicius considers King Vidor's powerful domestic drama The Crowd (1928) to be "a great epic American classic story about one man's life struggle. It has brilliant performances."

Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist is a heartfelt and entertaining valentine to classic American cinema. Set during the twilight of Hollywood's silent era and shot on location in Los Angeles, the film tells the story of a charismatic movie star unhappily confronting the new world of talking pictures. Mixing comedy, romance and melodrama, The Artist is itself an example of the form it celebrates: a black-and-white silent film that relies on images, actors and music to weave its singular spell.

The Artist was written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius and produced by Thomas Langmann. The movie stars Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Malcolm McDowell, Missi Pyle, Beth Grant, Ed Lauter, Joel Murray and Ken Davitian, with Uggie as The Dog.

TCM's List of 10 Most Influential Silent Films

The Birth of a Nation (1915) – Directed by D.W. Griffith
One of the most challenging of all film masterpieces, D.W. Griffith's first great feature demonstrates filmmaking innovations and a shocking example of the medium's potential for cultural impact. Griffith wanted to make a film that would rival the feature-length epics coming out of Europe. With his innovative use of panoramic long shots, iris effects and panning shots, among other techniques, the film was a marvel, and its Civil War battle scenes, staged with the help of West Point, are among the most effective ever put on film. He almost single-handedly established the American film as an art form. The story of two families split by the Civil War and the combination of historical and fictional materials would become Hollywood mainstays. But Griffith's material – two novels and a play written by Thomas Dixon in a personal campaign to maintain laws against racial intermarriage – triggered massive protests and violence around the nation. The political message so tarnished Griffith's reputation he made Intolerance (1916) the next year to counter charges of racism. The racist depiction of freed slaves and the glorification of the Ku Klux Klan in The Birth of a Nation inspired both the Klan's modern resurgence (it would use the film in recruiting drives into the 1970s) and a series of protests that thrust the still young NAACP into national prominence. It also further encouraged black businessmen to finance films of their own, leading to the "race film movement" that flourished into the 1950s.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) – Directed by Rex IngramThis early anti-war drama, the sixth-highest grossing of all silent films, is a testament to the medium's cultural impact, particularly when manipulated by master artists like writer June Mathis and director Rex Ingram. Mathis was one of the industry's first female executives, heading Metro Pictures' scenario department. Her interest in spiritism drew her to the Blasco Ibañez best seller, which used biblical imagery to depict an Argentine family torn apart by World War I, even though most studios had deemed it unfilmable. When she came up with a script that worked, studio head Louis B. Mayer was so impressed he gave her director and star approval. Hiring Ingram to direct was no issue as he had been rising steadily in the industry, but her choice of Rudolph Valentino to play a key role was controversial. Not only was he a bit player at the time, but Hollywood had never promoted such an ethnic leading man (the dark-skinned sex symbol was of Italian and French lineage). One look at the rushes, though, and Mathis and Ingram not only expanded his role but added the tango sequence to show off his dancing abilities. The result was a national craze for the tango and the gaucho pants Valentino wore in that scene. The role of a society playboy shamed into military service made Valentino a star and turned the "Latin lover" into one of the screen's most bankable commodities.

Nanook of the North (1922) – Directed by Robert FlahertyAlthough Robert Flaherty is often hailed as the father of the documentary and Nanook of the North often called the first feature in that genre, his work is far from what filmmakers would consider documentary today. The director readily admitted that some of his sequences were staged, which would become a common practice for early documentarians. Among other things, Flaherty changed his subject's name from Allakariallak to "Nanook" and cast his own common law wives to play Nanook's two mates. He also had Nanook and his fellow Inuit hunt walrus and seal with spears, even though they had recently begun using guns, because he wanted to capture the way they had lived before European influences took hold. Since the only cameras available to the director were large and bulky, his crew even had to construct a special three-walled igloo so they could shoot interiors. The director also may have invented the story that Nanook was dying of starvation as the film premiered. Allakariallak died at home two years later, reportedly of tuberculosis. The filming, however, was the real thing, shot in the remote locale when many so-called documentaries would be made in film studios with actors. With funding from a French fur company, Flaherty brought cameras, a generator and a portable lab halfway to the North Pole with him. When he showed the film's participants the footage of the walrus hunt, it was the first film any of them had ever seen.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) – Directed by Wallace WorsleyAfter years of character work, Lon Chaney shot to stardom and started his reign as the "Man of 1,000 Faces" with this lavish adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic tale of the deformed bell ringer in love with a beautiful gypsy. Although most fans know the 1939 Charles Laughton version better, connoisseurs like Orson Welles have hailed this as the story's and character's definitive screen version. Chaney fought for three years to get this film made. Nothing came of his efforts until he shared his dream with Irving Thalberg, recently named head of production at Universal Studios. Thalberg helped spearhead a lavish production that established Universal as a major studio, and the film proved to be their most successful silent. The sets covered 19 acres, while the production required a crew of 750, particularly during two months of night shooting – an unprecedented undertaking at the time. Chaney put himself through the wringer for the role, wearing a 15-pound plaster hump and false chest that made it almost impossible for him to stand up straight, while the contact lenses he wore for the role caused permanent vision problems. But the makeup was so convincing at the time that many patrons thought the studio had hired a real hunchback for the role. Beyond his physical transformation, the star delivered a sympathetic, deeply felt performance that set the standard for "human monsters," to be followed by the likes of Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee and Chaney's own son, Lon Chaney, Jr.

The Ten Commandments (1923) – Directed by Cecil B. DeMilleToday, the biblical epic is viewed as a product of the 1950s, when filmmakers used spectacular tales like The Robe (1953) to lure audiences away from their TV sets and back into theatres. The roots of the genre, however, lie in such silent spectacles as the Italian Quo Vadis? (1913), D.W. Griffith's Judith of Bethulia (1914) and Cecil B. DeMille's original tale of Moses and the exodus. Always aware of his audience, DeMille had already popularized the risqué society comedy with films like Old Wives for New (1918) and would anticipate the return of the Western with The Plainsman (1936). He brought back the epic twice, first with the lavish The Ten Commandments, then with Samson and Delilah (1949). He hedged his bets somewhat with The Ten Commandments; the biblical story comprises only a third of the film's running time, followed by a modern morality tale illustrating the importance of Christian values. But that first section was as eye-popping as DeMille could make it, even including 2-strip Technicolor sequences. Sixteen hundred workers created the Egyptian sets, which featured 36 foot tall statues of the Pharaohs, 21 sphinxes and 110-foot-tall gates. The parting of the Red Sea was created with miniature shots of Jell-O, which jiggled to approximate the surging waters. Even the modern sequence featured the spectacular collapse of a church built with shoddy materials, a visual comment on defying the commandments. The only director who could top such grandeur was DeMille himself, when he remade The Ten Commandments three decades later.

The Gold Rush (1925) – Directed by Charlie ChaplinWhen Amy Adams is left on her own in The Muppets (2011), she sits in a restaurant, sticks two forks into a pair of dinner rolls and makes them do a little dance. The scene is a loving tribute to one of the great sight gags in film history, Charlie Chaplin doing the Ocarina Roll in The Gold Rush. Often hailed as “The Little Tramp's,” and even the silent screen's, greatest comedy, the film is a treasure trove of brilliant comic routines and heart-rending pathos. The plot, about Chaplin's involvement in the Klondike Gold Rush, had an unlikely inspiration – the fate of the Donner Party. That may explain the prevalence of food jokes, as the starving Chaplin cooks and eats his own shoe, is chased around a snow-bound cabin after equally ravenous partner Mack Swain imagines him a chicken, or dreams of entertaining the woman of his dreams (dance hall hostess Georgia Hale) by making the dinner rolls dance. That sequence, possibly inspired by a Fatty Arbuckle routine in 1917's The Rough House, would be echoed by everyone from Curly Howard in the short "Pardon My Scotch" to Johnny Depp in Benny and Joon. The Gold Rush was Chaplin's first successful film at United Artists, the studio he co-founded with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith. At the time, it was the longest comedy every made and would become the highest grossing of all silent screen comedies. It was also the film by which Chaplin said he would most want to be remembered.

Battleship Potemkin (1925) – Directed by Sergei EisensteinThe image of an untended baby carriage relentlessly rolling down a flight of stairs is one of the most iconic in film history. Brian De Palma used it to dramatic effect in The Untouchables (1987), while Woody Allen lampooned it in Bananas (1971). But the legacy of using montage as a tool to move the audience emotionally goes beyond that one masterful image. Drawing on early work by D.W. Griffith, Abel Gance and fellow Soviet Lev Kuleshov, director Sergei Eisenstein used montage to engage viewers, particularly to generate sympathy for the revolutionary sailors on the Potemkin and their sympathizers. By combining rhythmic cutting and recurring images – the czarist soldiers descending the steps, a nurse wearing pince-nez and the legendary baby carriage – he created a powerful narrative entirely out of images. Battleship Potemkin was not an instant hit, even in the Soviet Union. Initially it was banned in some countries because of its shocking violence. Later, countries would ban it for its revolutionary message. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels declared it off-limits for Germany's military personnel. But as prints circulated around the world, filmmakers gathered in small groups to view it with admiration. When David O. Selznick saw the film in 1926, he wired his boss (later to be his father-in-law), Louis B. Mayer, advising him to screen it at MGM to teach studio employees how to edit. Filmmakers, and film students, have now been learning from Battleship Potemkin for more than three quarters of a century.

Metropolis (1927) – Directed by Fritz LangWithout Metropolis, there would be no Star Wars, no Alien no Blade Runner. Fritz Lang's science-fiction masterpiece was one of the first films to create an entire world convincingly on screen. Working with cinematographer Karl Freund, special effects supervisor Eugen Schüfftan rose to new heights with this film, supervising dazzling miniature sets, mounting a camera on a swing for one sequence and creating the Schüfftan Process, a system using mirrors to combine actors with the miniatures almost seamlessly. That particular effect would become a mainstay of filmmaking around the world, while the sleek, modernistic design of the mad scientist's laboratory would set the standard for science fiction for decades to come. Beyond that, Lang’s dystopian vision of a future dominated by unbridled capitalism until a workers’ revolt forces some kind of détente represented one of the screen's first and still most effective uses of science fiction as social commentary. Even the performances – particularly Rudolf Klein-Rogge as the mad scientist Rotwang and Brigitte Helm as the noble Maria, who inspires the workers, and her evil robot doppelgänger – have been echoed in other films. In later years, Lang dismissed the film, partly because of its popularity with the Nazi Party, but even he could not deny its influence and, in many ways, its prescience, particularly when he saw the first manned space flights of the 1960s.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) – Directed by F.W. MurnauOscar lore labels Wings (1927) the first film to win Best Picture, but the same year it won, in a category then called "Best Picture, Production," Sunrise won for “Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production.” Even such an overstated award title ultimately understated the importance of this film, which first brought German Expressionism to Hollywood thanks to the work of director F.W. Murnau. The German filmmaker had developed his craft with such international classics as Nosferatu (1922) and The Last Laugh (1924), but arguably reached his highest level of achievement with this film. Murnau chose a simple story so like a fable the characters don't even have names. Farmer George O'Brien is tempted to kill wife Janet Gaynor for love of The Woman from the City (Margaret Livingston). In other hands, it might have been old-fashioned melodrama, but Murnau raised it to a level of dreamlike poetry by inventing new ways of telling the story visually. Where most films of the time made only limited use of camera movement, he suspended a camera platform from above the sound stage so the camera could glide, even as it followed his characters through rough marshlands. He also created compositions of depth by having cameraman Karl Struss shoot multiple superimpositions before the invention of the optical printer. It all creates a dreamlike effect that would influence filmmakers as different as John Ford and Orson Welles for years after Murnau's tragic death, just four years later in an auto accident.

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) – Directed by Carl Theodor DreyerIt was this film from Danish pioneer Carl Theodor Dreyer that played the largest role in convincing critics the cinema was an art form. Dreyer threw out the elaborate script his French producers had prepared, instead basing his film almost entirely on transcripts of Joan of Arc's trial. Then he made the amazing choice to cast a popular stage comedienne, Falconetti, to star. Though he had only seen her in a light comedy on the Parisian stage, he could tell even then that she had a spiritual side he could exploit, which is exactly what he did. To get just the right facial expressions, Dreyer forbade Falconetti and the other actors to wear makeup and moved his camera in as close as possible, using newly developed panchromatic film to capture even minute variations in skin tones. At times he forced his cast to work under extreme duress. Falconetti had to kneel for hours on bare stones, forbidden to show any expression on her face as Dreyer shot repeated takes to capture every nuance of her inner pain. And just to make things more grueling, he shot the entire film in sequence. Her suffering, captured in a film shot entirely in close ups and medium shots, makes the film a profoundly spiritual experience and has been hailed by many as the greatest piece of acting in film history.

TCM has celebrated the art of silent films since the network's very beginnings. Each week, the network's Silent Sunday Nights showcase presents classic silent films from all over the world. It's an excellent opportunity for movie lovers to experience the joy of silent cinema, where image is everything. Upcoming highlights include Haxan (1922), a fascinating Danish documentary on witchcraft airing Jan. 22, and Exit Smiling (1926), a delightful backstage comedy starring Beatrice Lillie and airing Jan. 29. During TCM's annual 31 Days of Oscar, which runs Feb. 1 – March 2, silent offerings include the adventure White Shadows in the South Seas (1928 – Feb. 23 at 6:30 a.m. ET), which won Clyde De Vinna an Oscar for Best Cinematography, and Two Arabian Knights (1927 – Feb. 29 at 8 a.m. ET), which earned Lewis Milestone an Oscar for Best Comedy Direction. And in March, TCM will present one of the films on its 10 Most Influential Silent Films list; F.W. Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) will air as part of TCM's The Essentials showcase on Saturday, March 31, at 8 p.m. (ET).

Ratings for the Week of January 9-15

Here are the broadcast and cable TV ratings, supplied by Nielsen, for last week, January 9-15.


NFL: Broncos vs. Patriots
Golden Globe Awards
NCIS: Los Angeles
The Big Bang Theory
Person of Interest
The Mentalist
Blue Bloods
Modern Family

B.C.S.: LSU vs. Alabama
Jersey Shore
Pawn Stars (Mon, 10pm)
Pawn Stars (Mon, 10:30 pm)
American Pickers
Gold Rush
Stor. Wars (Tues, 8:30&10)
The Game
NCIS (Mon, 8 pm)
SportsCenter (Mon, 11:56 pm)