Signs of the Apocalypse Roundup – December 2009 – Week 4
CBS to air Jeff Probst’s ‘bucket list’ reality show
CBS will air the pilot for Jeff Probst’s “bucket list” reality project “Live For the Moment” on Thursday, Jan. 28, the “Survivor” host revealed in his weekly recap. The project was formerly titled “Live Like You’re Dying,” but CBS felt like that wrist-slashing title might be a bit of downer. The pilot will air as a special and, as always, more episodes are possible should it pop a number.
Hulu, Fuller have a ‘Dream’
Five wannabe stars living in a house will be streamed 24/7 on the site
Hulu has signed on as one of the primary partners on “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller’s new Web venture, “If I Can Dream.” Dream,” which launches next year, will follow five young, aspiring performers who will live together in the Hollywood Hills and spend time trying to make it in the entertainment biz. Project, which will officially launch in late February, will rep the first original program to run exclusively on Hulu.
‘Real Housewives’ star goes nude for PETA ad (pic)
“Real Housewives of New York City” star Bethenny Frankel is the latest celebrity to go naked for a PETA anti-fur ad. “I used to wear fur,” she said. “I went to a cocktail party, walked outside on Fifth Avenue, and a PETA protester was holding up a skinned animal. I looked at it, and it made me sick. I felt disgusting. That day was a huge change, and since then I’ve really been against fur. I’m cleaning out my closets—trim, everything. I don’t see any reason for cruelty.”
Golf Channel rolls out celebrity programs
Starting with ‘Donald J. Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf’
The Golf Channel continues to roll out new programming featuring celebrities, unveiling on Wednesday a six-part series called “Donald J. Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf.” The show will see Trump provide some behind-the-scenes about his golf empire as musicians, politicians, actors, business leaders and professional athletes, including professional golfers, swing for the charity of their choice.
CBS picks show for post-Super Bowl slot
In a surprising move, CBS will premiere the new reality show “Undercover Boss” after the most-watched television event of the year. “Boss” follows top executives as they anonymously assume entry-level jobs at their company and receive eye-opening perspectives on how their decisions affect lower-wage employees. Executives from White Castle, 7-Eleven, Hooters, Waste Management and Churchill Downs are on board for the first season.
- MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ cost Nicole (Snooki) Polizzi her receptionist job, but not her shot at fame
- Company behind Fox’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ ramps up cable offerings
- Nancy O’Dell leaving ‘Access Hollywood’
- Shine France buddies up has launched a 50/50 joint venture with ‘Big Brother’ creator
- At least one advertiser loves MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’
- Investigation Discovery to launch six series, icluding ‘Prison Wives’
Business of the Business
Privacy Wars: Netflix, Facebook and the ‘Brokeback Mountain Effect’
The lawsuit was filed by a group of individuals lead by a Jane Doe who identifies herself only as a lesbian. In the complaint, the plaintiffs take issue with a contest that Netflix ran in October 2006 where the company offered $1 million to anybody who could come up with an algorithm to improve upon its movie recommendation engine by 10 percent. Netflix opened the contest to the public and gave participants a lot of data, including 100 million subscriber movie ratings. A few weeks after the contest began, researchers at the University of Texas published a paper entitled, “How to Break Anonymity of the Netflix Prize Dataset,” describing a method of unmasking that compared Netflix ratings with those made on Internet Movie Database. The researchers wrote they were able to uncover political preferences and other sensitive information of its users. The plaintiffs call this the “Brokeback Mountain Factor,” referring to an idea that anybody who has the movie in their queue is more likely to be homosexual.
Now playing: 3D specs for Blu-ray
Blu-ray Disc Association finalizes specifications
The long-anticipated spec calls for every 3D Blu-ray software/hardware product to be TV agnostic: The 3D images will work with any compatible 3D display regardless of whether it is uses LCD, plasma or any other technology. In addition, 3D Blu-ray products will output eye-popping content regardless of what 3D technology format the displays use.
“Fuck Them”: Times Critic On Hollywood, Women, & Why Romantic Comedies Suck
“This business is really about clubby relationships. If you buy Variety or go online and look at the deals, you see one guy after another smiling in a baseball cap. It’s all guys making deals with other guys. I had a female studio chief a couple of years ago tell me point blank that she wasn’t hiring a woman to do an action movie because women are good at certain things and not others. If you have women buying that bullshit how can we expect men to be better?”
Hulu’s Caption Search Lets You Find Clips With Just One Line
the company is amping up its search capabilities again, this time adding “caption search” to all shows that support closed captioning. Just search for a particular word or phrase in the captions tab on a supported show and you’ll get back results that you can immediately access. The captions search results show up with thumbnails, so you can visually select the part of the clip you want to watch. Hulu has also implemented a “Heat Map” that shows the portions of an episode that contain the words or phrases you are searching for. You can click on the blue lines in the map to go straight to those sections or more generally visualize your searches’ placement in the clip.
Top 10 Technologies Tormenting Hollywood This Decade
Ranks_redbox_150x150 Talkies. VHS. DVD. LP. CD. TV. 3D. Is it our imagination, or is Hollywood having a more difficult time wrapping its head around the latest technological advances than it had with earlier innovations? No matter. We’re sure it will all get figured out eventually, and profits will resume an upward trajectory. In the meantime, though, it has been a confusing chore to harness the fantastic new digital advances for the greater good of the entertainment industry. In fact, many of them have been just a giant pain. So, without further ado — our list of the 10 technologies that gave Hollywood the biggest headache during this most recent decade.
- Fox takes war with Time Warner to Web, TV
- Mexican theater chain opens in India
- Symphony 3D buys MasterImage, Fund to inject $15 million into Korean company
- Comcast begins to stream HBO, Cinemax among 27 participating cable channels
- WTO rules against China, says country illegally restricting import of U.S. CDs, DVDs
- Sony licenses RealD’s 3D system for Bravia line of TVs
- MTV creates comedy/animation dept.
- Metrodome agrees iTunes deal; New, catalog titles to be sold, rented from site
Planet of the Odd
Confirmed: Brittany Murphy dies
Coroner’s rep: Death appears to be from natural causes
Brittany Murphy, the actress who got her start in the sleeper hit “Clueless” and rose to stardom in “8 Mile” before her movie roles declined in recent years, died Sunday in Los Angeles of what appeared to be natural causes, a Los Angeles County coroner’s official said. She was 32.
Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart to be knighted
Patrick Stewart—Star Trek’s Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and X-Men’s Charles Xavier—will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, according to a report in the British newspaper the Mirror. In addition to appearing in films, Stewart has been spending much of the last decade performing on the British stage. He is to be knighted by the queen on this year’s New Year’s Honours list. (The news isn’t official yet; the newspaper bases its report on anonymous sources.)
‘Alien’ screenwriter Dan O’Bannon dies
Dan O’Bannon, the unassuming sci-fi screenwriter and quirky horror specialist behind the “Alien” film franchise, died Thursday in Los Angeles after a short illness. He was 63. O’Bannon adapted the Philip K. Dick tales “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” and “Second Variety” into “Total Recall” (1990) and “Screamers” (1995), respectively. He wrote 1985 space vampire tale “Lifeforce,” wrote and directed the zombie parody “The Return of the Living Dead” (1985) and helmed “The Resurrected” (1992), an HP Lovecraft adaptation. O’Bannon was hired by George Lucas to do some effects work on “Star Wars” in 1977, then set “Alien” on its course into space with his and Ronald Shusett’s bug-filled action spec script “The Star Beast.” O’Bannon also worked on the sequels “Aliens” (1986), “Alien3″ (1992), “Alien: Resurrection” (1997) and the two “Alien vs. Predator” films from 2004 and 2007. He was working on the untitled “Alien” prequel that is set for 2011.
Roy Edward Disney dies at 79; nephew of Walt helped revive animation
Roy Edward Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney whose commitment to his uncle’s creative spirit prompted him to mount revolts that led to the unseating of two of the company’s chief executives and a revival of the studio’s legendary animation unit, died Wednesday. He was 79.
Emma Watson and Orlando Bloom Named Most Profitable Actors of the Decade
Over the course of the decade, films that Emma Watson was involved in made $5.4 billion worldwide and these boasted the highest average box office earnings, making roughly $900 million per film. Orlando Bloom was named the highest grossing actor of the decade, taking in more than $7 billion for his role in movies like “Lord of the Rings” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Bits and Pieces
- Ari Emanuel trying to erase name from ‘SuperAgent’ iPhone app
- DRM Flub Prevented 3D Showings of Avatar In Germany
- ‘Dark Shadows’ actor Conard Fowkes does at 76
- Alec Baldwin donates $1 million to New York U.’s Tisch School of the Arts
- Roger Corman family feud spills into court
- Former film exec sues TMZ for $20 mil
- Utah man who inspired ‘Rain Man’ dies
The Fine Print
This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive roundup of the entire weeks’ news. All stories are chosen by me for no other reason than that they got my attention and might capture yours. If something you think is more important chime in on the feedback; we’d love to hear comments and have a conversation about it.
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