Howard Stern was back on David Letterman’s show and it’s a good one. As usual, Howard has to bring up the feud with Jay Leno.
We’re coming up to the end of this – the 20th season – of Tyra Banks’ crazy modeling extravaganza, America’s Next Top Model.
Have you smized your way through this season or have all the bitching, back biting and bottled blinds turned you off this series?
America’s Next Top Model 2.0
She kept it fresh this cycle by including boys and girls and by having more than 14 contestants. In addition, it’s the first series to have more than 13 episodes – are these all necessary moves for a franchise that’s running out of steam or is there plenty of life in the old model yet?
Stylized as America’s Next Top Model 2.0, it’s pretty obvious Tyra is aware there needs to be something new for viewers, fans and haters to get their teeth into. It’s become a big deal in the online gambling world as well, as people queue up to bet on their favorite competitor, presumably playing online on online slot games and the like while watching the models fight it out.
As well as Tyra, of course, Kelly Cutrone, Rob Evans and Bryanboy all returned as judges to make the models weep on a weekly basis, while criticizing their body, face and appearance to the utmost. It’s a brutal competition and that’s why viewers love it.
With a catchphrase this year of ‘Who will dominate?’, it’s clear that the contestants are encouraged to take no prisoners when it comes to fighting it out for the honor of winning.
Some new prizes and sponsors for this cycle as well, with the grand prize being a modelling contract with NEXT Model Management, a feature spread in Nylon magazine and a $100,000 contract with Guess.
With guys and girls in the competition for the first time, the season followed the usual format of randomly themed photoshoots and the always amazing makeover episode, which has become famous for making models weep into their crew cut while staring at the foot long hair Tyra deemed it necessary to shave from their reluctant skulls.
Sometimes it’s difficult to believe the makeovers aren’t carried out due to some cruelty on Tyra’s part, as there is always at least one model who is left utterly bereft and looking decidedly worse.
In the first episode of this cycle, there were 35 models, swiftly reduced to 26. In the second episode, they were cut down to 16 who made it through to the main competition. Double eliminations in various episodes added to the tension, as did the twist of some of the contestants being allowed to fight to come back later on in the cycle.
With new elements including social media awards and various interaction with the viewers, this season differed from the original premise that the models are locked away from the outside world for the duration of the competition.
Posted in: TV
We’re huge fans of the beautiful and talented Marilu Henner, so we always pay attention when she’s attached to a new project. The latest news has Marilu starring with Brooke D’Orsay (“Royal Pains”) and Wes Brown (“Deception,” “Shadow on the Mesa”) in the Hallmark Channel original movie “June in January,” premiering Saturday, January 11th. D’Orsay plays a newly engaged bride in the film whose dream wedding is threatened by her scheming future mother-in-law, played by Henner, when a sudden change in plans pushes her perfect outdoor June wedding up to a wintry January date. Check it out!
If you’re not hooked yet on “Downton Abbey” we highly recommend it. It’s a very soapy drama set in the early 20th century in England as the old way for life for the aristocracy is slowly starting to crumble. The show is excellent, and we recommend starting from the beginning.
Those of view who haven’t started watching or aren’t caught up should probably avoid watching the trailer as it contains some serious spoilers about the ending of Season 3. The rest of you can take a look to see what’s next for Mary.
Posted in: TV
HBO’s “True Blood” started out as a great show, as the vampire stories and cable TV sex scenes made it one of the hottest shows on television. But the show has slipped over the years, even if it still commands a decent audience. HBO has announced that next year’s seventh season will be its last, and frankly the show lost it long ago. It used to be a regular on Bullz-Eye.com’s TV Power Rankings but this year was left off again.
TV critic Laura DeMarco explains how the show has suffered in recent years.
Yes, there are bad guys, but most of them are so cliched and cardboard as to be laughable. Case in point is good ol’ boy Louisiana Governor Burrell, the main force behind getting the hungry, marauding vampires off the street and into the camps.
He’s a jokey, hokey cliche. The only true villain, former preacher’s wife/governor’s girlfriend Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp), is truly bad. But she’s so bad, so campy, so over-the-top cliched, she’s entertaining. But she’s not too scary. She’s no Russell Edgington, though she’s quite fun to watch.
We love Anna Camp and were thrilled to see her character come back, but she’s just not enough to carry the show.
Molly Lambert also chimed in about how the fairies were the last straw. She appreciated the eye candy and all the sex scenes but the idiotic stories got to her.
So we’ll see what happens in the final season. We know there will be plenty of sensual sex scenes to keep many viewers interested, but we can’t expect much more than that.
Photo by John P. Johnson courtesy of HBO
Posted in: TV
ESPN seems to cover every major sport these days, with soccer being the fastest growing part of the portfolio. It’s amazing how much impact ESPN can have when they “bless” a sport. With poker, we saw a huge explosion in popularity over the past 15 years, and the amount of poker on television certainly fueled that growth, with ESPN being a huge part of that. Viewers will be reminded of that now that the World Series of Poker is around the corner, and ESPN will have plenty of coverage across its various channels. The WSOP poker buzz takes the game to another level, and every sport/game needs a signature event to take the excitement to another level, but poker on TV has become much more than just an annual circus around this event.
Poker on television has grown for years, though the shenanigans by the feds has at times thrown some cold water on the poker boom. That hasn’t done much to slow down all of the various television outlets desperate for entertainment content, so finding a poker game on TV usually hasn’t been that difficult. But the uncertainty surrounding the federal regulatory climate has had an some impact on the game. It’s always a buzz kill when big name sites get into a fight with the feds.
Now things are heating up again, as recent court decisions have basically given a green light to the states to set up their own regulatory frameworks. Unfortunately the dysfunction in Washington has made it impossible to get uniform rules throughout the country, but state actions are reinvigorating the poker movement.
Meanwhile, the television big wigs are paying attention, and we’re going to see another big push into poker content. Showtime will air the 2009 documentary “All In – The Poker Movie” about how poker became part of the mainstream culture in the US. This will be the TV premiere of this film. More TV shows like “Queens are Wild,” , a new reality show from NBC Universal is another example. It will follow four female poker players around the world. Babes and poker – we agree that’s probably a winning formula!
So get ready for the next TV poker boom!
Posted in: TV
Remember the days when you could only compare CBS, NBC and ABC on the television set?
The quaint notion of just three channels – not to mention a TV where you actually had to stand up, walk over to the set and turn the dial – seems like it was so long ago.
Now, with the advent of the Internet and being able to watch TV from your desktop or laptop computer, or even your mobile phone, there are many more ways to watch your favorite shows and even shows and entertainment from other countries.
Whether you look across the Pacific to Asia and Japan for entertainment, or you scan the Atlantic and look at what Europe has to offer, there are so many different choices for television networks.
When people think of foreign television networks, the Univision or Telemundo names come to mind from Mexico or even CTV or the CBC in Canada.
With the United States’ growing Hispanic population, Univision has become a popular network in this country, with levels of viewership it did not have even five years ago. Univision’s “telenovelas”, or Spanish-language soap operas, have become so popular they even outrank NBC programming on some nights (or that of the CW, the former Paramount/WB network now owned by Viacom/CBS).
Univision’s prime market for international sales happens to be the United States, thanks in part to a 56 percent growth in the Hispanic population to 50 million residents. Univision’s research indicates the 18-49 market is growing thanks in large part to that Hispanic population. In the most recent upfront figures available, which reflect advertiser purchases for commercial time, Univision booked $1.8 billion in upfront ad sales in 2011.
CBC and CTV offer shows that can be seen here, but both networks offer original content exclusive to Canada but possibly syndicated to the USA later like the crime shows “Rookie Blue” and “Flashpoint”. Program sales internationally for CBC are handled through Content Television, while CTV’s program lineup consists of plenty of American fare like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Big Bang Theory”.
Head overseas to Europe and you may see the familiar logo of Thames Television, which became famous in this country through repeats of “The Benny Hill Show” in the 1970s and 1980s. It went out of business as a British network in 1992, but it still serves as a program producer through Fremantle Media. Or you may even see the true British Broadcasting Corporation on the air or its counterpart in this country, BBC America. BBC America syndicates the current version of “Doctor Who” to this country. BBC spends $3 billion per year on content, some of which is shown on BBC America and the rest can be seen on British TV stations.
With a tap of the computer keys, you can access other channels. Satellite TV services such as Hunan/Qinghai ($200 million in ad revenue in 2012) and Shenzhen in China offer original programming and knock-offs of such popular USA shows as “The Voice”. However, one of China’s shows, “Celebrity Splash”, was such a hit in that country that it was copied to the United States.
The possibilities are endless. Through “rundfunks”, or networks, you could watch German television programs.
Nippon Hoso Kyokai is a Japanese version of America’s Public Broadcasting Service, so you may be able to see serious programming in a nation loaded with satellite technology and escapist programs.
With Khalijia, you could watch Arabic movies or other live TV shows originating from Arab nations. Khalijia is part of the Rotana group of network channels, owned in part by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and mostly by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Khalijia was founded in 1987 and operates one of the largest TV networks and ad sales operations in the region and owns the largest Arabic film library. It has also built the leading record label in the Middle East, managing many of the most popular artists in the region and controlling the biggest Arabic music catalog.
A look around the television world shows how much times have changed. We have gone from the Big Three to the Big Four in America (with the addition of Fox in 1986), cable channels have exploded from dozens to hundreds, and numerous worldwide satellite services have proliferated.
This easily means you could watch an Arabic network from your own American home and make yourself comfortable. Or you might tune in to an old movie from another country with subtitles.
The possibilities are endless in this new world of television. See for yourself just how much the global reach has affected us.
Posted in: TV
One of the more interesting parts of the interview has Ivana discussing her experience working on episodes of “Seinfeld” and “Friends.”
Well, as I say, “Seinfeld” was my first job, which is a really good first job to have, because…that was, I want to say, the second-to-last season of that show, and they were a tight-running ship. But they weren’t a tight-running ship like they were phoning it in. They were still, even at that point, constantly trying to keep the jokes fresh, even kicking them up a notch on the night you were shooting. They never got lazy. They never relaxed. Their work ethic was incredible, and it was really good to be a part of that, to see that. So all the shows I worked on after that, I was, like, “Oh, well, this show isn’t like ‘Seinfeld,’ so that’s why it isn’t as tight…or as good.’” [Laughs.]
The second runner up, though, would be “Friends.” They were also super-tight. Nothing like “Seinfeld,” but that’s because “Seinfeld” was its own crazy thing. So “Friends” was different, but it was still a really close second as far as how tight they were…and, y’know, look at the success of that show, too! You could be, “Ah, it’s comedy, it’s just a sitcom,” but you have no idea how hard people work on these things…and, believe me, I saw the difference between shows where they do work hard and shows where they don’t. So that was good. And, of course, it’s just amazing to have been on those iconic shows. I still make money from them…which is beautiful, because you know Mama needs a new pair of shoes.
Check out the entire interview linked above.
“Homeland” has won the award for Best Drama Series two years in a row, while Claire Danes and Damian Lewis won for best actress and best actor. It’s a pretty incredible show, even with the elevated craziness of Season 2. And while I don’t think it’s quite as good as “Breaking Bad” it’s hard to argue with these choices.