Neil Young wants to change your digital music listening experience, and now he has the money to do it.
The rock legend and founder of Pono Music (“Pono” is Hawaiian for righteous) shattered his new music player's Kickstarter crowdfunding goal in all of one day. Young needed $800,000 to fund his April 15 project; at the time of this writing, Pono Music's Kickstarter had amassed nearly $1.5 million. It still has 34 days to go.
“Pono is about the music, it's about the people who make the music, and the way it sounds to us when we're in the studio making it,” Young said in a near-12 minute promo video, embedded below. “It's about you hearing what we hear.”
In the clip, Young refers to his new technology as a “music ecosystem,” and the “Rockin’ in the Free World” singer utilizes an underwater-to-surface ocean graphic to explain the differences between his player and the competition.
Most people listen to MP3s, which compresses files to the point of what the rocker calls “underwater listening.” CD listening does not give as deep an underwater sound, Young says, but is still “not quite in air.”
“When you make it to 192[kHz], you actually break through the surface and you're breathing air,” Young says of his format. “It's actually a visceral release and you feel good, your body feels good.”
Young was not the only music legend touting the sound quality in the promo. Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Kid Rock, Dave Grohl, T Bone Burnett, Rick Rubin, Eddie Vedder, and many more also weighed in. The list — and clip — goes on for a while.
Watch the video:
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Will “Noah” float with the faithful? That's the $130 million question for Paramount and New Regency.
TheWrap obtained a draft of the script by Darren Aronofsky and provided it to Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, professor of Old Testament studies at at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, who read it and shared his thoughts (below). His conclusion? The story is almost an “anti-human, pro-environmental polemic,” though it hardly violates what he understands to be a biblical moral story — and not necessarily a historical narrative to begin with.
Christopher critiques the script for making Noah into a man of violence and an “Earth-First activist.” Instead of approaching the Biblical story with compassion toward humanity, he says, the script makes Noah, played by Russell Crowe, into a violent man himself.
The notion that God was angry over mankind's violence “is powerful political theology, and any telling of the Noah story that overlooks this is, I believe, deficient,” he wrote. As for veracity, he'll leave that to others: “Although I do believe that the Bible contains ideas that are inspired by people's understanding of God … I also believe that this story is not historical, and it is questionable whether it was ever understood to be so.”
(It should be noted that this version of the script, by director Aronofsky and Ari Handel, may not be the final draft — and that Christopher has not seen the film.)
We open with imagery from the Book of Genesis, including man's descent into chaos and warfare. A passage appears: “The Creator saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and it grieved His heart.”
Christopher: “Wickedness” omits the “violence” as a specific reason for God's disappointment. The script generally emphasizes the “angry vengeance” of the Creator, rather than the deep regret and disappointment! That is a rather different view — but the writers give in to stereotypes about the “angry God.”
Noah engages in brutal hand-to-hand combat to stop a gang of poachers attacking a bison herd. Described as a “master of military arts” and armed with mysterious exploding “packets,” Noah “carves through a half-dozen men without breaking a sweat.”
Christopher: I deeply resent Noah presented as a military fighter rather than as a man of peace. Come on! Here is a story where God regrets how violent humanity is, and they have to make Noah a martial-arts expert?
In the aftermath, Noah laments that the hunters kill the bison only for their horns — then tends to an injured juvenile bison.
Christopher: I do like the creative idea of Noah's concern for animals. But why does this have to be in the context of so much violence even from our “hero?” The notion that modern films need such violent “action sequences” is itself part of the problem, now, isn't it?
Noah tells an authority figure that the Creator mourns the “poisoned husk” that the Earth has become at the hands of men. “We must change,” he says, “we must treat the world with mercy.”
Christopher: Noah is made into an “Earth-First” activist here. I like the environmental message, but not turned into an anti-human message! It is the privilege of the well-to-do to regret so many people on the earth, and overlook how their own wealth and privilege created a great deal of the environmental crisis! Are the masses of poor on the earth, struggling to survive, really the problem? Or is it the greedy corporations and states whose notions of “economic development” led directly to our current crisis?
Noah meets “The Watchers,” 18-foot giants with skulls the size of “beach balls.” Text from Genesis appears onscreen, explaining that giants “walked the Earth in those days.”
Christopher: The writers are borrowing heavily from the Book of Enoch here. [Ed's note: The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work ascribed to Noah's great-grandfather that is not part of biblical canon.] That is a creative decision, but it should probably have been indicated as such. The way (the giants) are portrayed here sounds a bit silly, but I like CGI as much as the next guy, so I will see how they are portrayed!
The Watchers and Noah witness a miracle — a forest sprouting from the Earth. One of the giants says: “Maybe God will forgive us … “
Christopher: But for what? In Enoch, the (giants) who “fell” taught humans how to make the weapons of war! Once again — the writers omit an opportunity to highlight the ancient texts’ own criticism of human violence, and replacing it with … naturally … MORE violence!
Noah wonders out loud whether “a world without men would be a better world,” suggesting that they may not be meant to survive.
Christopher: This is another example of extremist environmentalism at the cost of humanity.
The rains begin, and as Noah prepares to seal the Ark, the horde panics: “Mayhem reigns … 10,000 souls rushing for the safety of the ship.”
Christopher: Isn't it interesting that the biblical version of the story does not mention other humans trying to get in? It does not dwell on violence and suffering. But the script writers seem to insist on making this a major aspect of the story.
Safely aboard the floating sanctuary after a terrible battle, Noah tells his frightened family the story of creation, including a fleeting reference to Adam and Eve.
Christopher: Nothing about the creation in the Image of God, indicating something important about humanity? No, I don't suppose this would fit the anti-human, pro-environmental polemic being constructed here. In other words — this “Earth-first” version of the Noah story conveniently omits God's compassion and care for humanity is something special. Humans are a disappointment because they failed their responsibilities, which were significant, not because they simply exist!
Noah reveals to his family that the plan isn't to procreate once the waters subside — it's to make sure man does not carry on in the new world.
Christopher: The entire sub-story, with Noah wanting to kill the last female to make sure all of humanity is wiped out, is contrary to the pro-human narrative of having humans survive in the first place! If the animals were to survive — so, too, were the humans! Also, it is interesting that the writers seem to be carrying on an implicit dialogue with Abraham's near sacrifice of Isaac … where they wish Abraham would have said, “I can't do it,” they seem to be pleased to present Noah, in the end, with having to say, “I can't do it.” The Abraham narrative, of course, is a matter of huge debate for literally hundreds of years, but the writer's dialogue with it is an interesting decision. But in the end … just which Bible story is being told here?
Christopher: I believe that film and TV producers have the right to take creative decisions — even with the Bible. All “re-tellings,” whether in a film or in a sermon, are viewpoints — they are all “interpretations.” It would be silly to talk about “accuracy” in a film about Noah, because it is a short moral story with a powerful message, not a historical narrative and description.
However, I think we can take issue with implied messages and implications — and my main concern about the Noah film is its ambiguity with regard to human violence when that seems to be a major element of the original narrative. Why can't Noah have been a peacemaker in direct contrast to human violence? Isn't that implied by saving him, when the rest of humanity grieved God because of its violence?
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As many may have expected, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry was booed by Jimmy Kimmel's South by Southwest festival audience in Austin on Tuesday.
“I thought maybe here in Austin that you'd get a favorable response,” Kimmel said after boos overtook the cheers welcoming the politician on stage for the interview (above). “But what have you done to make these people dislike you so intensely?”
Perry didn't speculate, but did describe the liberal Texas city as “the blueberry in the Tomato soup in the state.”
“That's a weird analogy,” Kimmel noted.
While Perry did not receive the warmest of welcomes, he was able to get audience support when Kimmel brought up the agenda to move Texas toward the decriminalization of marijuana.
“We're trying to be smart about it. You don't want to ruin a kid's life for having a joint, and that was historically what you saw,” Perry said. “We put drug courts into place, I think making some really smart decisions about dealing with people — particularly when it comes to the small amounts of drugs. We've been able to shut down a prison in the state of Texas. That's conservative, man.”
Perry has been the state's longest-serving governor to date, with three terms under his belt, but has stated he will not seek re-election for a fourth. Instead, there has been speculation that he will once again run for President of the United States. However, he wouldn't confirm his intentions of campaigning for the Oval Office.
“This is not the crowd that I want to make this announcement,” the politician joked.
“Why would you run for President?” Kimmel asked. “I mean, it didn't go that great last time.”
“America is a great place for second chances,” Perry countered. “Let's just leave it at that.”
Watch part two of Perry's interview with Kimmel below:
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The CW pilot “iZombie,” from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and Warner Bros. Television, has finally found its lead.
Rose McIver will play the role of Liv, a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner's office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity. But with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse's memories. With the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head.
The New Zealand native most recently played Tinker Bell on ABC's “Once Upon a Time.” She also appeared on Showtime's “Masters of Sex”, Peter Jackson's “The Lovely Bones”and children may recognize her as the Yellow Power Ranger on ABC's “Power Rangers R.P.M.” McIver was recently cast on Lifetime's upcoming sequel to “Flowers in the Attic,” “Petals on the Wind.”
McIver joins Robert Buckley, Malcolm Goodwin, Alexandra Krosney and David Anders on the pilot's cast.
“iZombie” is based on the comic book characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, and published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint.
The project is executive-produced and written by Thomas and Diane Ruggiero with Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge also serving as executive producers.
WME, Sue Barnett and Associates (Australia), Johnson and Laird Management (New Zealand) and Principato-Young Entertainment represent McIver.
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Small businesses, ostensibly the biggest losers via rampant runaway production, will rally this weekend to support for California's TV and film tax credit program near Los Angeles.
Among those speaking will be State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, who with his Assembly colleague Mike Gatto last month introduced legislation that would renew and expand the program.
The rally is sponsored by the California Film and Television Production Alliance, a coalition of small businesses, studio and network representatives, labor groups, local politicians, film liaisons and vendors.
They see the bill as a critical tool to help California retain the jobs and economic activity generated by the film and television industry. The state's slice of the TV and film production pie has been diminishing for a decade as other states and nations have been offering incentives that outstrip California's.
The event, which will be held at Independent Studio Services in Sunland, is intended to be a call-to-action to help bring jobs and revenue back to the state.
The doors will open at 11 a.m. The Grammy-nominated band Lisa Haley and The Zydekats will perform and a catered lunch will be provided for guests. The studio is located at 9545 Wentworth Street in Sunland. For more information, check the event web site.
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NBC swept each half-hour in the key ratings demographic on Tuesday, as Fox's “Glee” dipped to the series’ low. CBS topped the night in viewers.
NBC was first in ratings with a 2.4 rating/8 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and second in viewers with an average of 9.2 million, according to preliminary numbers. “The Voice” at 8 p.m. topped the night in ratings and audience, with a 3.4/12 — a season low — and 13.1 million viewers. At 9, “About a Boy” earned a 2.1/6 and 7.9 million viewers. “Growing Up Fisher” at 9:30 received a 1.8/5 and 6.5 million viewers. “Chicago Fire” at 10 had a 2.0/6 and 7.3 million viewers.
ABC was second in ratings with a 1.4/4 and third in viewers with 4 million. “Marvel's Agents of SHIELD” at 8 earned a 2.0/7 and 5.8 million viewers. “The Goldbergs” at 9 received a 1.5/5 and 4.3 million viewers. “Trophy Wife” at 9:30 got a 0.9/3 and 2.9 million viewers. “Mind Games” at 10 had a 0.9/3 — up 50 percent from last week — and 2.5 million viewers.
CBS was third in ratings with a 1.3/4 and first in viewers with 9.4 million. It aired entirely reruns.
Fox was fourth in ratings with a 1.1/3 and fifth in viewers with 2.4 million. “Glee” at 8 dipped to a new series low for a regular episode, with a 0.9/3. It had 2.3 million viewers. Previously, a Thanksgiving special also hit a 0.9. “New Girl” at 9 tied a low with a 1.2 and had 2.4 million viewers. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” at 9:30 got a 1.2/3 and 2.5 million viewers.
Also read: ‘Big Bang Theory’ Renewed Through 2017
Univision was fifth in ratings with a 1.0/3 and fourth in total viewers with 2.6 million.
The CW was sixth in ratings with a 0.7/2 and 1.6 million viewers. “The Originals” at 8 earned a 0.9/3 and 1.9 million viewers.
Telemundo was seventh in ratings with a 0.5/2 and in total viewers with 1.3 million.
“The Big Bang Theory,” TV's top-rated sitcom, will remain on the air through at least 2017, CBS announced.
The highly unusual, three-year renewal represents a major vote of confidence in the show, which is also the top-rated scripted series on broadcast television in the key 18-49 demographic. (Last season, AMC's “The Walking Dead” beat it in the demo, the first time a cable show has led.)
“Comedy is a big part of our schedule, and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is the biggest comedy force on television,” said CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler. “This multi-year deal further strengthens our network's position for future seasons and marks another chapter in the great partnership CBS enjoys with Warner Bros. Television for delivering audiences the best in comedy. We're proud to work with and showcase the incredible talents of Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro and this amazing cast every week.”
The move brings stability to a network that loves stability. “Big Bang Theory” has powered a Thursday night CBS block that has hit both Fox and NBC hard, cutting deeply into the ratings for “American Idol” and thwarting NBC's attempts to recapture its longstanding place as the Thursday-night destination for comedy.
The show is averaging 19.79 million viewers, up 4 percent from last year, and a 6.1 rating in the key demo.
Series star Jim Parsons has won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The show also stars Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.
Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro and Bill Prady are executive producers. The series comes from Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. Television. Lorre and Prady created it.
Gawker has BuzzFeed in its snarky crosshairs.
The website's founder Nick Denton held an online meeting on Tuesday and singled out the listicle-loving social content sharing website as its chief rival.
“Jonah Peretti's company is pointless,” Denton sniped. “But he understands the internet; he manipulates the Facebook ecosystem better than anyone; and he is utterly shameless in his pursuit of viral stories. (Even more shameless than we are, some would say.)”
“And Buzzfeed is the perfect competitor — highly motivating. It is a fair fight; some earlier rivals like Gothamist required too much puffing up to make a plausible rival,” he explained. “And it's a meaningful fight, because Gawker Media and BuzzFeed represent two very different forces struggling for the soul of internet media.”
Late last year, Gawker writer Tom Scocca fired the first shot in the BuzzFeed wars when he defined the quiz-obsessed site's modus operandi as smarm.
Denton introduced Scocca's thought piece by criticizing BuzzFeed”heartwarming” shtick:
The supposed snark of the early Gawkerish blogs was in response to the smarm of television, as well as the pomposity of newspapers. … And now online media has become the mainstream, and the smarm has returned, because it has always been the lowest common denominator of communication, a hollow exchange of insincerity between people who don't really know each other or trust each other.
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Keith Richards, owner of rock ‘n’ roll's most resilient internal organs, will turn his attention to a project that makes total sense given his decades of hard living as the guitarist for The Rolling Stones. He will write a children's book.
The new venture is a family affair, one that will see him collaborate with his artist daughter, Theodora Richards, who will provide the illustrations. It will also draw on a chapter of his personal life, recounting Richards’ introduction to music by his grandfather, Theodore Augustus Dupree, known as “Gus.”
It sounds like a departure from Richards’ previous written work, “Life,” a decadent 2010 autobiography filled with kid-friendly anecdotes about his acid-flecked road trip with John Lennon and tumultuous and druggy affair with Anita Pallenberg.
Entitled “Gus & Me,” Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will release the book on September 9, 2014.
“I have just become a grandfather for the fifth time, so I know what I'm talking about,” Richards said in a statement. “The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is a story of one of those magical moments. May I be as great a grandfather as Gus was to me.”
The book will pair Theodora Richards's pen-and-ink collages with photographs from the rocker's family collection. If this works well, a possible sequel could focus on Altamont.
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“The Colbert Report”opted for an interesting musical choice when it came to introducing Tuesday night's guest, MSNBC host Ronan Farrow — “Fly Me to the Moon.”
The love song is sung by Frank Sinatra who may or may not be Farrow's biological father. Questions about the newly minted newsman's parentage came to light in a Vanity Fair profile last year of his mother Mia Farrow. Prior to that, it was believed that his father was Woody Allen, the Oscar-winning film legend who was accused of sexually molesting Ronan Farrow's adopted sister Dylan Farrow while she was a child.
Mia Farrow told Vanity Fair that she and ol’ blue eyes remained intimate for much longer than the public had assumed. They were briefly married in the 1960s.
For his part, Farrow seemed to take the musical introduction in stride, betraying no hint of annoyance. Nor was that the only reference to fathers.
After Stephen Colbert accused Farrow of being a shill for the left by appearing on MSNBC, the 26-year old host responded, “I could secretly be [a Bill] O'Reilly type. Papa Bear. You are my Papa Bear.”
Watch the video:
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You get a microphone shoved in your face and are asked a nonsensical question. Do you answer for a dollar or risk ridicule?
Vociferous comedian Billy Eichner thrives off this kind of spontaneity on his Fuse series “Billy on the Street.” This time he went indoors where he unleashed his mic on Jimmy Fallon's unsuspecting audience.
“You've done ‘Billy on the Street’ can you do ‘Billy in the Audience?'” Fallon asked.
“Right here?!” Eichner exclaimed. “You want to play along?!”
Immediately, the ambush comic thrust himself into the crowd and began peppering them with non sequiturs.
Some audience members were perplexed by Eichner's questions, especially the guy who was asked to scream a name of a TV show.
“Not loud enough!” Eichner yelled. “Sit down!”
“What is he doing?!” Fallon asked incredulously.
After a while, the crowd eventually figured out how to correctly answer the ambush comic's questions.
“For a dollar, who do you like better 2 Chains or Angela Lansbury?” he asked.
“Angela Lansbury!” one audience members answered assuredly.
“Yes! Correct!” Eichner erupted.
Watch more of the Fuse star's shenanigans above.
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In case you were wondering if the men of “Million Dollar Listing New York” have ironed out their differences since last season, Bravo reminds us that there's no love lost between the realtors.
TheWrap has the first look at a new promo spot that will begin airing on Wednesday evening. It features stars Fredrik Eklund, Luis D. Ortiz and Ryan Serhant dressed to the nines and ready to do battle – per usual. But instead of real estate, the weapons of choice are pillows.
Watch them take it way too far in the video above.
Last season, the series averaged 1.4 million viewers, a 23 percent increase over its previous first season. And while it may not look like it from the promo above, the guys have made some pretty adult decisions in both their personal and their professional lives.
Read Bravo's description for Season 3 below:
As Fredrik settles into married life, he has baby on the brain and takes a new approach to life by becoming more Zen, but that might not be so easy in the cut-throat world of high-end real estate. Ryan's days of being single and lonely are a thing of the past as he welcomes a very special lady into his life, leaving him to balance his new relationship with his growing success. Luis is growing up both professionally and personally as he now works with Fredrik at Douglas Elliman and leaves the comfort of his shared apartment with his brother for a luxurious bachelor pad overlooking the city he hopes to dominate.
“Million Dollar Listing New York” returns Wednesday, April 2 at 9/8c.
Watch the first Season 3 trailer below.
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Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano has what he admits is a contrarian view of the Civil War: He thinks Abraham Lincoln picked a fight with the South in order to speed the end of slavery, sustain the Union, and collect tariffs.
The traditional view: The South shot first.
On Tuesday's “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart enlisted three history professors for a game show, “The Weakest Lincoln,” in which Judge Napolitano faced off with President Lincoln himself (played by Jessica Williams). Stewart started the game by saying that he “loves” Napolitano despite their differences of opinion.
And then the new Civil War began.
The first question was straightforward enough: “Why did Abraham Lincoln start the Civil War?”
Napolitano buzzed in: “Because he wanted to preserve the union, because he needed the tariffs from the Southern states, because he resented the challenge to his authority.”
Abraham Lincoln responded: “Uh, yeah. Well they shot first, and you don't mess with Lincoln. All the vampires know what I'm talking about.”
He was referring to Confederate troops firing on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 — and Lincoln's well-documented hatred of vampires.
City University of New York distinguished professor Jim Oaks sided with Lincoln, though he agreed he wanted to preserve the union: “They shot first and you don't mess with Lincoln.”
UMass Amherst professor Manisha Sinha said the tariff wasn't an issue, because it wasn't raised until after South Carolina seceded.
Napolitano soon revealed that Stewart had provided the questions in advance, and that the game was rigged.
But hey, it was still informative.
Watch the video:
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Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus argued Wednesday that his company's controversial $45 billion merger with Comcast will benefit customers if regulators approve the deal.
“We are from a strategic and philosophical perspective, incredibly well aligned,” Marcus said, adding, “The combination truly is a dream combination.”
Marrying the two companies will bring an estimated 33 million cable subscribers under Comcast's umbrella, making it the dominant player in providing broadband and cable in the United States. In turn, the greater size and scale will allow the companies to innovate at a faster clip, Marcus argued during a keynote speech at the Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference.
He did not, however, indicate that it would lead to lower prices for subscribers. Customers shell out $80 a month on average for cable or satellite television. Faced with ever escalating bills, many are voting with their feet. The cable business shed 80,000 net subscribers over a 12-month period last year, according to Leichtman Research Group.
Marcus put the blame for rising prices squarely on content creators and cable channels who charge providers retransmission fees for the right to air their programming. In the past, disputes over these fees have led to blackouts.
He also denied that the combined negotiating power of Comcast and Time Warner Cable will lead to more of this brand of brinksmanship and shot down complaints from programmers that they will lack power at the negotiating table.
“I find that ironic…given how much programming costs have risen,” Marcus said. “I don't think the world changes in that regard.”
Rising fees are leading to increased competition for pay television and broadband dollars. One of these emerging services, Google Fiber, is busy rolling out its industrial-strength broadband service in cities such as Austin, Texas and Portland, Ore. That has Time Warner Cable's attention.
“We take them seriously, they're a real competitor…they don't have the incumbent's baggage and they have the Google brand,” Marcus said.
The Time Warner Cable CEO said he is not allowing the merger's various regulatory hurdles to distract him from improving the company's services and balance sheets, even though his own future is up the air.
“I haven't allowed myself to think about what the next chapter for me personally is,” Marcus said.
“We're playing for pride,” he added.
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Seth Meyers recut the infamous Justin Bieber deposition video that went viral Monday, turning four-and-a-half hours of rude testimony into fewer than two minutes of slightly less rude testimony.
“Late Night” rolled the “unedited” version of the tape, which included interjections of silly questions — such as: “Do you think dogs get embarrassed, and are you too cute for rules?” — to help defend the singer's ridiculous responses and actions.
The clip contains exactly as much collar-popping, smiling and winking — though this time prompted — and still plenty of bratty behavior.
“In my mind now, I think the lawyer was the problem,” Meyers concluded.
Watch the clip:
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Bad news for the Jay Leno haters.
Those metaphorically dancing on his talk-show grave as Jimmy Fallon's ascent nails the coffin door shut on even the faintest fear of a Leno zombie comeback should be rightly afraid. Jay is now “immortal.”
Leno, along with Rupert Murdoch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David E. Kelley, former ABC executive Brandon Stoddard, and the late Ray Dolby were all inducted inot the TV Academy Hall of Fame at an industry-heavy dinner Tuesday night.
The 23rd annual ceremony took over the ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Despite the big names from all constituencies of the TV universe earning honors (the owner of a global media conglomerate to a winning network executive who delivered 70 shares, to a superstar showrunner, to an inventor) and friends like Amy Poehler, Bill Maher, and Katy Sagal making presentations, Academy Chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum knew where to stack Leno in the show: his usual home at the end of everyone's night.
TV people know how to get a show launched on time. Phil Gurin (“The Singing Bee”) produced the good looking night that hit the mark with an 8:05 on-the-dot start time. They finished way over the planned 9:30 sign off, with Leno saying good night around 10:15 p.m.
A little over a month off-the-air and in the wake of Jimmy Fallon's blazing start, the Hall of Fame induction marked Leno's first social industry outing, where he shared insight into his life outside the daily media cycle.
“I am so thrilled to watch Jimmy do what he does,” Leno said. “We talk once or twice a week.” While he has time to watch Fallon, that's not the only thing Leno's picked up.
“I enjoy working in my garage and doing stuff like that. I fixed the washer yesterday,” he told a group of media on the way in with his wife Mavis. “Washing machines are really straightforward. They're not really complicated.”
He's planning a trip to New York to shoot for his ”Jay Leno's Garage” Youtube channel (812,000 subscribers) and he and Mavis “took a drive to Ojai the other day.”
Lachlan and James Murdoch flank their father on his birthday.
Bill Maher addressed Leno's fractured legacy, now irreparably dented by the 2009-10 TV season departure and return that claimed Conan O'Brien as collateral damage. Maher stuck up for the buddy he came up with on the comedy scene.
“In 1985, I read for ‘Top Gun',” Maher said. “Tom Cruise stole my dream. He saw me over there with the sides. He knew I wanted that part and he f—ing stole my dream!,” mimicking the narrative that Leno “stole” O'Brien's dream.
“Jay Leno reminds me a little bit of Israel,” Maher said. “He's not perfect, but he is a held to a standard that no one in the world is expected to live up to other than him.”
That Maher used this stage and this celebratory moment to defend Leno's legacy against the stock attack reinforces the idea that despite a 22-year run at the top, the O'Brien debacle will be a messy handprint that remains in the cement as the Leno legacy hardens over time.
“He has sole writing credit on 400 episodes of TV,” “The Crazy Ones” Executive Producer Bill D'Elia said of his collaborator David E. Kelley. Elia repeated it to draw applause. Above, Kelley with his wife Michelle Pfeiffer.
At the front row center table, Leno sat at the head with NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt to his left, Late Night-Alternative President Paul Telegdy, fellow exec Doug Vaughan, and producer Jack Coen amongst others.
Rupert Murdoch celebrated his 83rd birthday with sons James and Lachlan, as well as Chasey Carey at Table No. 2, also upfront.
Other power tables included the troika of Jon Murray (Governor of the Reality Peer Group) slated with Marc Graboff, and Steven Bochko.
“Steven Bochko changed my life,” inductee David E. Kelley said. He credited agent Marty Adelstein with first getting his writing in to Bochko's hands.
“Marty (Adelstein) became my friend and agent for 20-plus years,” Kelley said on stage. “He's not technically my agent the last six or seven, but he finds it in his heart to commission me.”
In a cool crossover amongst inductees, Kelley's career-spanning clip package included a 1999 Emmy win, handed out by Leno.
Former ABC executive Brandon Stoddard drew the loudest and warmest applause of the night. It sounded like he had his own cheering section of several tables on the elevated tier. Host Tom Bergeron gave him a special shout out as being from the “Dancing with the Stars” host's “home network.”
“This is the best thing to happen to me since ‘wolf pin’ in cub scouts,” Stoddard began.
Stoddard's highlights of movies of the week and miniseries like “Roots” and “The Thorn Birds” stood out both for how that terrain has disappeared and for how astronomical ratings he pocketed a few (media and actual) generations ago: a 40 rating and 60 and 70 shares for “event” miniseries. To compare to the modern analog of ABC “major event” programming nowadays,”Bachelor” Juan Pablo's three-hour season finale — which included a petulant standoff with host Chris Harrison and combative spirit towards ABC — the reality dating show franchise's Monday night airing drew a 3.4 rating and a 10 share.
Posthumous inductee Ray Dolby, who passed away last September, was nearly an “EGOT.” He had won every major award except for a Tony. “Thank you for this recognition at a time when our life has become very quiet,” his wife Dagmar Dolby said, brining the most heartfelt and somber tone to the night.
Katey Sagal, who Murdoch called “the anchor of Fox's original programming schedule” told the room about “my boss” repeatedly during her introduction.
Murdoch's reel must have come warm out of the edit bay, as it included successes as recent as Bruno Mars’ splits during the Super Bowl halftime show and Sunday's first airing of “Cosmos” 48 hours prior.
Similar to Sagal, Murdoch recounted how many people have been with Fox for decades. (Fox Networks Group Chairman and CEO) Peter Rice started as an intern at Fox,” Murdoch said. Rice was in the room Tuesday night.
“I'm not fond of looking back, which makes it particularly annoying that this event falls on my 83rd birthday,” Murdoch quipped, drawing laughs the contrasted with several “evil-Murdoch” clips from “The Simpsons” that played before he spoke.
Inductee Julia Louis-Dreyfus was looking in the opposite direction. “I look forward to generations of TV fans visiting the TV Hall of Fame to admire my bust,” she said.
Amongst other career achievements, Louis-Dreyfus is the first female “Saturday Night Live” alum who returned to the show as a host, where she met her presenter Amy Poehler in 2006.
Poehler swerved from Murdoch, who had singled out Louis-Dreyfus for her role in the recent Fox Searchlight movie “Enough Said.”
“I don't want to talk about film,” Poehler said. “We all know that movies are dumb and TV is awesome.”
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Comedy Central has ordered a fourth season of sketch series “Key & Peele” and signed its stars to a series development deal.
The 22-episode renewal order for “Key & Peele” will include two “best of” episodes. The network hasn't announced a return date.
Under the new pact, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele will develop their Critiquer's Corner “Vandaveon & Mike” characters into an animated series. It will follow the 12-year-old hall monitors as they navigate their way through middle school.
“Keegan and Jordan keep generating such a limitless supply of funny, inventive sketches, I'm starting to think they are not only half black and half white, but also three-quarter alien,” Comedy Central content development and original programming president Kent Alterman said in a statement.
The third season of “Key & Peele” averaged 2 million total viewers per week and ranked No. 1 on cable in its Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. timeslot. It was in the Top 5 in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic.
Its sketches have taken nine out of the Top 10 spots on Comedy Central's YouTube channel, generating more than 500 million streams.
Created and executive-produced by Key and Peele, the animated series will also be executive produced by Jay Martel, Ian Roberts and Joel Zadak.
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With less than two months before its release, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ has entered the next phase of its promotion: releasing full clips.
We've seen a plethora of trailers and other bits and promotions for Marc Webb's follow-up to his 2012 reboot, and with plenty of competition in the space for big summer movies — “Godzilla,” Maleficent,” and sequels to “Captain America” and “X-Men” will open in April and May, as well — Sony is working hard to keep the webslinger in our minds.
Two full clips have been released online, working two appeal to very different sensibilities. There remains a bit of mystery to Jamie Foxx's Electro character — he's one of the big baddies in this sequel — and so the first clip gives us an idea about his powers and internal struggle. Its Times Square setting also provides a sort of shout out to the fact that “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ is, until Marvel begins its Netflix series, the biggest production ever shot in New York.
The other clip focuses on the excellent chemistry between Garfield and Emma Stone, who plays the ultimately ill-fated Gwen Stacey. Every moment they spend together is heartbreaking.
Sony has a lot riding on this sequel, as the studio is looking to expand its main superhero's universe to fit in side characters and spinoffs, adhering to the current business plan of every major studio with a name brand comics franchise.
Watch the clips:
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The wife of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State assistant football coach convicted on 45 counts of child abuse, denies her husband of 37 years molested boys and says his alleged victims were “manipulated.”
In an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer, Dottie Sandusky walked the “Today” anchor through her home, where some of the molestation was alleged to have taken place.
“There was nothing that went on,” she said. “It is not a dungeon. It is not what those kids said.”
Jerry Sandusky was accused of molesting at least eight boys. The 70-year-old was sentenced to serve at least 30 years in prison. School president Graham Spanier was forced to resign and athletic director Tim Curley and coach Joe Paterno were fired. Paterno died soon after from lung cancer.
One boy said he screamed while being molested. Lauer noted that it is a small house, and that she probably would have heard him.
But she didn't, Dottie Sandusky said: “because he didn't scream.”
“I'm not a weak spouse,” she added.
Dottie Sandusky said her husband did shower with boys.
“I believe he showered with kids,” she said. “And that's the generation that Jerry grew up in.”
John Ziegler, who is making a documentary about the case, said that while it was very inappropriate for Sandusky to shower with boys, and hug one of them, he was not charged with a crime for showering or hugging.
“No one checked the math on this story,” Ziegler said.
Dottie Sandusky said of the victims: “They were manipulated. Once lawyers came into the case they said there was money.”
Watch the video:
If it's the fate of rebooted franchises to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, then let's just say that “Muppets Most Wanted” puts a fresher spin on “The Great Muppet Caper” than “Star Trek Into Darkness” did to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”
Even if the 21st century Muppet features don't quite reach the pinnacle established while Jim Henson was alive, “Muppets Most Wanted” is often as good as or even better than 2011's “The Muppets,” which wonderfully relaunched the cinematic shenanigans of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and all the felt-covered rest.
This latest chapter picks up precisely where the last one left off, down to featuring stand-ins for the backs of Amy Adams and Jason Segel, who have not returned. Newcomer Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) wonders what's next, and the rest of the Muppets start singing a hilarious ditty about sequels and doing everything all over again. (Bret McKenzie, the “Flight of the Conchords” vet who scored a Best Song Oscar last time around, provides a new batch of clever and catchy tunes for the Muppets to sing.)
Kermit (voiced by Steve Whitmire) wants his newly-reunited crew to hone their act, but everyone else falls for the sales pitch of one Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) — he insists it's pronounced “bad-jee” — to tackle a world tour. Badguy's plan is to replace Kermit with his look-alike Constantine (voiced by Matt Vogel), “the world's most dangerous frog,” and to use the Muppet tour to cover up a series of crimes across the European continent.
The presence or absence of a facial mole is all it takes to dupe people that Constantine is Kermit, and vice versa, so while Constantine tries to fill Kermit's emcee shoes (despite the fact that he can't even say “Kyer-mitt” without an accent), Kermit gets thrown into Constantine's old cell at a Russian gulag, overseen by no-nonsense Nadya (Tina Fey).
The script, by Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin (both veterans of the previous movie), is classic Muppets in that it knows when to barrage the audience with gags and when to provide enough plot to keep things moving right along.
Kermit tries to escape the gulag under cover of the prison talent show he's been dragooned into directing — and if you ever wanted to see Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo perform “I Hope I Get It” from “A Chorus Line,” this may be your one and only chance. Meanwhile, Sam the eagle (voiced by Eric Jacobson), now all too fittingly a CIA agent, tries to solve the rash of continental crimes with Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell); the latter being European, he often interrupts the investigation with lengthy lunch hours and extended vacations.
Try to avoid peeking at the IMDB page, since one of the delights of “Muppets Most Wanted” is the cavalcade of celebrity cameos that come fast and furious throughout the film. Wisely, these famous faces never distract too much from the movie's real stars, and longtime Muppet fans will enjoy appearances by invaluable second bananas like the Swedish Chef (who gets to be at the center of a hilarious Ingmar Bergman reference), Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, and boomerang fish-tosser Lew Zealand.
Purists who nit-picked “The Muppets” for moments of hipness or smuttiness or something else that they claimed somehow besmirched the Henson legend will no doubt find some tiny throwaway moment objectionable, but overall “Muppets Most Wanted” remains sensational and celebrational, proving beyond a doubt that these beloved characters will continue to lead a plush life on the big screen for years to come.
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