Will snow add to Super Bowl ratings?

Despite tons of issues on the field and court battles off of it, the NFL continues to enjoy incredible popularity. The NFL Network has been a huge hit and has become a real asset for the NFL. The Super Bowl has always been an iconic sporting event, but now it has practically been elevated to national holiday status. Television ratings for the Super Bowl routinely set records or come close. We’re not talking about records just for sportsing events. We’re talking about records for all-time television audiences.

Of course, betting and fantasy football have increibly huge effects on the popularity of the NFL and the Super Bowl. Fans will be getting ready to gamble at SuperBowl360.com or at one of the sports books in Las Vegas as they consider everything from the final score to which songs will be played by Bruno Mars during the halftime show. Which brings up yet another draw, as now we have music and celebrity fans making sure to tune in. The NFL has been brilliant about making this an event for everyone, from hard core sports fans, betters, teenagers and more. Women and men obsess about the spread at the Super Bowl party. Even the television commercials have become part of our national conversation.

This year we have yet another factor that might goose the television ratings – snow. Or at least the possibility of snow. This will be the first Super Bowl plyed outdoors in a northern city as the game will be played in New Jersey. As we saw last week, mother nature can significantly alter an event, and the prospect of snow in particular could really change things. Of course, it might just be dreary and cold, and that could actually take away from the pageantry of the event. But a field covered in snow would be a novelty that everyone would semmingly want to see. It might make the actual game a joke, but we might just see the highest Super Bowl ratings ever.

  

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Entourage 7.2 – Buzzed

Many people have been clamoring for “Entourage” to switch to an hour-long format for quite some time now, but with how thinly plotted each season tends to be, I’m glad that the only thing HBO has changed is reducing this season’s order from 12 to ten episodes. And it appears to be already working, as tonight was jam-packed with so much story that the chance of those pesky filler episodes popping up this season is unlikely.

Vince was also at the forefront yet again, as his newfound addiction to thrill-seeking continues to get him into trouble. I don’t think cutting his hair was a really big problem (if Cassavetes wants to do reshoots, he can always use a wig), but Vince certainly isn’t doing himself or his career any favors by acting out like that. It’s good to see him finally having some fun, even if it’s posing for pictures while leaving a strip joint or skydiving with a bottom feeding agent like Scotty Lavin, but that doesn’t mean he can act like an asshole either. While doing an interview for Access Hollywood, Vince says that his new film with Cassavetes would “probably end up sucking,” and while he may get a thrill out of making a joke like that, it’s also pretty damn rude and unprofessional. And if he was trying to be funny, then he should have at least told Maria Menounos that he was just joking around, because now Shauna, Ari and Eric are forced to run around town trying to fan the flames while Vince leaves a path of destruction behind him.

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And it’s not as if Ari has the time to deal with such childish behavior. After all, he’s finally done the impossible: get a meeting with the NFL. Granted, it’s only Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and a handful of others that take the meeting, but he definitely left a lasting impression, thanks in part to Lizzie, who helped break the ice after begging Ari to sit in. Nevertheless, Jones informs Ari that they won’t be needing his services to negotiate the TV rights, but does invite him to the upcoming owner’s meeting with an eye to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles. Ari loves the idea (although the L.A. Gold sounds more like a WNBA team), and expresses his excitement by dancing with Lizzie around his office… just as Mrs. Ari walks in.

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A visit with “Brothers”

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I’m no Hollywood insider. Nikki Finke does not rely on me for her tips and I don’t ever expect to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar after party. Nevertheless, there’s one thing I do know about show business: personality goes a very long way in “this town.” And so a few of us press people recently found ourselves the subject of a 50 megaton charm offensive by the four stars of the new Fox sitcom, “Brothers” — C.C.H. Pounder, Carl Weathers, and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, and one extremely enthusiastic newbie, former New York Giants Defensive End and Fox Sports commentator Michael Strahan. I haven’t seen the show itself yet, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m./7 central, but the visit was certainly a performance I won’t be forgetting.

From long-time writer-producer Don Reo, whose credits run from “M*A*S*H” to “Blossom” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Brothers” stars Strahan as a former NFL star who winds up moving in to the house he bought for his parents when a financial reversal puts him in the metaphorical poorhouse. Since this is a sitcom, naturally there will be conflict with his brother, played by Mitchell, and the usual issues with parents Weathers and Pounder. One ace the show will be playing will be guest appearances by some fairly big names playing themselves, including former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, hip-hop star T-Pain, celubutante Kim Kardashian, and the great Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band. Also appearing will be well actress Tichina Arnold from “Chris” and, not playing himself, rap superstar Snoop Dog. Stand-up comic Lenny Clarke will be playing a neighbor on the show.

The show has been getting some additional attention for a perhaps less fortunate reason, in that while African-American actors are featured in more diverse roles these days, it’s the only current show on the networks schedules with a predominantly black cast. That’s largely a reversal of the trend of the past when the vast bulk of decent TV parts for nonwhite actors were on shows like “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” as well as some of the later, more controversial shows aimed at black audiences like “Martin.”

The first to meet the press were Carl Weathers, perhaps still most famed as Rocky Balboa’s venerable opponent, Apollo Creed, and C.C.H. Pounder, who is taking a break from her usual intense, gravitas-laden, roles on shows like “The Shield” and seems to be enjoying every minute of it. In fact, I’m here to tell you that extremely skilled Ms. Pounder is downright bubbly in person. You heard me, “bubbly” — but in a very smart sort of way.

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The mood was light right off the bat with more than one of us entertainment journos confessing a complete lack of knowledge of sports and Ms. Pounder joining in. Weathers was the exception. “Well, I played for the Oakland Raiders so I hope I know a little bit about football.” And that somehow prompted an impersonation of Butterfly McQueen from “Gone with the Wind” from Pounder. I guess you had to be there.

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The Biggest Loser: Final Four, But Wait…..

Last night’s “Biggest Loser: Families” got us down to the final four for the season, but there are two episodes left including the live finale on December 16. And as she does as sneaky as ever, host Alison Sweeney made mention of the fact that there would be a “final three” and another twist. Uh-oh. They already brought one eliminated player back…what next? Really now, this show is starting to become a cartoon of itself, and that’s not good.

But down to business. Last night they showed the remaining five players go to New York City for a makeover with Christian Soriano. Now, I can tell you the quarterbacks and coaches from every NFL team, but I had no idea who this guy was, or what “Project Runway” was until Mrs. Mike pointed that out. Thanks, Mrs. Mike. Anyway, they all received makeovers which they would then debut on the “Tyra Banks Show.” The makeovers, honestly, were not all that great, but the contestants all look good because of the weight they lost. Vicky’s red hair looked, well, really bad. And the best part was that they each had a family member surprise them on stage. Those family members were also there to hang out and work out with the contestants for an extra day or two. Then it was back to the ranch.

There was a product placement of Jennie-O Turkey when Ed and Heba made trainer Bob Harper a “thank you” meal of turkey lettuce wraps. Then the challenge, which was to be suspended in a box 15 feet above a pool, holding yourself up as long as possible. Vicky was out first, but refused to drop into the water because she was scared. Then Heba, then Ed, then Renee, which left Michelle the winner. The prize was a spa package in some resort. Vicky, meanwhile, had to face her fear and jump, which she eventually did. Everyone was very nice and encouraging to the evil Vicky, and they actually wound up showing a soft side of her.

At the weigh in, Heba lost the most, followed by Michelle and Vicky. Renee and Ed were below the yellow line. So do the math….two blue shirts to one black shirt were voting, which meant for sure Renee was going home, right? Well, they made us all think that maybe Vicky would vote Ed off since he has a lot of weight to lose. But in the end, she stayed true to her “blue” teammates and voted Renee off.

Renee was shown coming home at the church where it all began, when Jillian showed up to recruit her and Michelle. And she has really lost a ton of weight, and looks great. So now we’re left with Ed, Heba, Vicky and Michelle. They spoke about the twist and that America may vote off the next contestant….let me tell you something Vicky, you’d better not be below the line if that’s the case next week, because I am quite sure no one in America will want to keep you there except maybe your own family. You are still evil, Vicky!

With that, we’re winding down and let’s hope the final two episodes are exciting with a limit on bickering and gameplay and twists. See you next week!

  

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The Biggest Loser: Revenge Doesn’t Taste Sweet

So last week I said that Amy was making a big, big mistake by not voting Vicky off the ranch on “The Biggest Loser: Families”…..and I was right. Amy voted off Vicky’s husband Brady the week before, and last week, instead of pulling the trigger on kicking off evil Vicky, she plucked Coleen off the ranch.

Last night’s episode began by showing Michelle and Renee, the remaining black team members, commenting that Amy had made a mistake and then trainer Jillian Michaels saying, “Vicky is going to get Amy.” Vicky’s pal Heba agreed, and Vicky even said she still doesn’t trust Amy. Oh, how I wish you would have pulled the trigger last week, Amy.

Anyway, it was an NFL-themed week since it’s the week of Thanksgiving, and the first challenge featured former NFL stars Jerry Rice and Steve Young Read the rest of this entry »

  

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