Signs of the Apocalypse Roundup – January 2010 – Week 1
NBC’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ cast announced
Darryl Strawberry, Cyndi Lauper, Bret Michaels, Sharon Osbourne, Michael Johnson, Holly Robinson Peete, Goldberg, Carol Leifer, Sinbad, Summer Sanders, Rod Blagojevich, Maria Kanellis, Curtis Stone and Selita Ebanks will be competing for charity when NBC’s "Celebrity Apprentice" returns Sunday, March 14.
Sarah Palin takes Fox News commentary gig
Will be regular contributor and host ‘Real American Stories’
In a not-so-surprising development, Fox News said Monday that the former Republican vice presidential candidate will be a regular contributor to various shows and will occasionally host a show debuting this year called "Real American Stories."
Fox gets ‘X-Factor,’ Cowell quits ‘Idol’
"American Idol" judge Simon Cowell will leave the reality juggernaut after this season to launch another reality singing competition on Fox, "The X-Factor," in fall 2011.
Hasselhoff leaves ‘America’s Got Talent’
Says he will announce own TV show shortly
"I am proud that I was part of making ‘America’s Got Talent’ the No. 1 rated show for the past four summers," Hasselhoff said in a statement to People magazine. "It’s been a rewarding experience and now I’m thrilled to be able to follow my dream to do my own TV show, which will be announced very shortly."
Fox pulls ‘Our Little Genius’ quiz show
Mark Burnett discovered some contestants were given ‘info’
In a shocking move, Fox on Thursday pulled Mark Burnett’s quiz show "Our Little Genius" less than a week before the series’ Jan. 13 premiere to do reshoots. At the heart of the matter was a recent discovery by Burnett that some contestants were provided "information" — though not the actual answers — ahead of time. "I believe my series must always be beyond reproach, so I have requested that Fox not air these episodes," Burnett said.
- ‘Jersey Shore’ porn parody announced
- TruTV locks up ‘Southern Fried Stings’, centered on state trooper
- Oxygen slate includes ‘Bad Girls’ spinoff
- TV Land picks up Harry Hamlin-Lisa Rinna series
- ITV readies ‘Operastar’ for market, Meatloaf to star
Business of the Business
Flixster buys RottenTomatoes
IGN Ent. will have minority stake in reviews aggregator
News Corp. unit IGN Entertainment has sold its movie review Web site RottenTomatoes to movie-info site Flixster on unspecified financial terms. The Fox studio parent will maintain a minority stake in the reviews aggregator. Officials said IGN was offloading control of RottenTomatoes as the company continues to "refocus its efforts on building out its suite of game-related and men’s lifestyle offerings." IGN recently launched Game On, a video game-dedicated portal on Web site MSN.
Digital format adopted
Studios, retailers aim for ‘buy once, play anywhere’ plan
Hollywood is one step closer to being able to collect more coin from the digital distribution of its movies and TV shows. A consortium of studios, retailers and electronics manufacturers that are members of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem have agreed on a format that will enable entertainment to be played across a number of digital platforms and devices. The first devices and services using the format are expected to roll out early next year. While specific technical details have not yet been disclosed, studios will essentially have to create just one standard or high-definition file that can be played on any service or device over the Internet, on a set-top box or mobile device. Studios currently have to create multiple files of their movies or TV shows in order for them to play in various formats.
China blocks access to movie site
IMDB.com unavailable since Wednesday, cause unknown
Access to IMDb.com was blocked in China this week, adding the movie business Internet portal to a fast-growing list of banned Web sites featuring user-generated content, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Readers looking for everything from movie trivia to settle bets to job opportunities on projects in development can access the site in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. But there’s no Chinese-language edition of IMDb and industry insiders here say they can’t understand why it’s been shut down for since Wednesday.
Imax plans next-gen 3D digital camera
News comes on heels of joint venture 3D TV network
"Given the significant amount of 3D content being developed over the past 12-18 months, requests from filmmakers for an Imax 3D digital camera, consumer appetite for the Imax experience and this week’s joint venture announcement for the 3D television network, we believe the timing of this initiative could not be better," said Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax filmed entertainment.
TV makers bet on 3D but payoff uncertain
Consumer Electronics Show features 3D screen advances
Top TV makers including Sony Corp, Panasonic Corp, LC Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will feature 3D screen advances at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, hoping the new technology will be as big a boost for the industry as the transition to color TVs from black and white.
- Media stocks start 2010: Time Warner, News Corp., CBS Corp., Viacom see gains
- Kiosks lift video business revenue, led by Redbox, grew 94% in 2009
- Blockbuster mulls Hulu-like business
Planet of the Odd
Emile Hirsch joins Kilimanjaro climb
Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco and Isabel Lucas on celeb trek
The "Milk" and "Into the Wild" star is joining Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, Isabel Lucas and Elizabeth Gore for a weeklong trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. The Summit on the Summit expedition, which begins Thursday, aims to use star power to help raise awareness about the need for clean water worldwide. The 24-year-old Hirsch says the climb combines "an epic adventure with an educational process on the global water crisis." Fans can follow the climb online and donate as little as a dollar to provide clean water to those who need it.
‘Dinosaurs’ producer Billy May dies
Produced more than 40 theatrical productions
William H. "Billy" May, a renowned entertainment producer, director and composer, died Dec. 31 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He was 56. May’s latest creation, "Walking With Dinosaurs — The Live Experience," is a $20 million arena show that transports audiences back 65 million years to walk with 15 realistic dinosaurs. This production, one of the largest and most acclaimed shows to come out of Australia, is now touring two productions in North America and Europe.
Gumby creator Art Clokey dies at 88
Animation also created claymation shorts ‘Davey and Goliath’
Animator Art Clokey, whose bendable creation Gumby became a pop culture phenomenon through decades of toys, revivals and satires, died Friday. He was 88. Clokey, who suffered from repeated bladder infections, died in his sleep at his home in Los Osos on California’s central coast, son Joseph told the Los Angeles Times.
French filmmaker Eric Rohmer dies
New Wave director focused on feelings and foibles
Eric Rohmer, a member of the French New Wave who directed such films as "My Night at Maud’s," "Claire’s Knee" and "Chloe in the Afternoon," died Monday in Paris. He was 89. The cause of death was not known.
Sylvester Stallone says he broke his neck during the filming of The Expendables
ACTION hero Sylvester Stallone broke his neck while filming a fight scene with wrestler co-star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in his latest movie. The Rocky star has revealed he needed emergency surgery and a metal plate inserted in his neck after the accident on the set of The Expendables.
Bits and Pieces
- What’s killing the porn industry? World of Warcraft!
- Firefly to live on in new book of short stories
- Gary Coleman hospitalized in L.A.
- Gerard Butler’s battery charge dismissed
- Vince Vaughn gets married
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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