Signs of the Apocalypse Roundup – February 2010 – Week 1
Industry exploring 3D game shows
‘Wheel of Fortune’ could be one of the first available
A 3D version of “Wheel of Fortune” could be coming to television as game shows become the next form of entertainment to explore the technology. “One of the biggest challenges is keeping a game show fresh — by changing the show without changing the game,” Harry Friedman, executive producer of “Wheel” and “Jeopardy!,” said. “We do that with enhanced production value, such as set design. We typically do dimensionalized sets, which are made for 3D.”
Joe Simpson lands comedy at Nickelodeon
Loosely based on experience raising two daughters in Texas
Joe Simpson, father and manager of pop stars Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, has teamed with veteran tween and teen series producer Tommy Lynch for a comedy series project set up at Nickelodeon. The untitled show will be loosely based on Simpson’s real-life experience as a psychologist raising two daughters in Texas.
A. Smith & Co. developing ‘First Responder’
Docu-series to feature First Response Team of America
A. Smith & Co. Productions is developing a docu-series starring Tad Skylar Agoglia, founder of the First Response Team of America. Agoglia and his team help U.S. communities after suffering natural disasters. “Tad is an incredible human being and there is no better way to bring attention to his great work than to share it through this series,” said company founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed. “People need to see firsthand how he selflessly puts himself in dangerous situations for the sake of rescuing lives.”
ITV fined for rat-eating incident
Reality show producer guilty of animal cruelty
U.K. terrestrial giant ITV has paid the price after contestants on the local version of “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” killed and ate a rat — A$3,000 ($2,600) rat to be exact. The fine for animal cruelty followed an incident in December in the reality skein in which Italian celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo, the show’s eventual winner, and Brit actor Stuart Manning killed the rodent and ate it as a “rat kebab” during a jungle challenge.
VH1 signs Brandy, Ray J
Reality show to highlight family at work and home
VH1 has given an 11-episode order to an hourlong nonscripted series built around the family of pop singer Brandy and her brother Ray J. “Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business” will highlight the two young performers and their parents, Sonja (who runs the family music production business) and Willie (singer and the kids’ vocal coach). During the course of the season, Brandy will juggle raising her 7-year-old daughter with work on a new album. Ray J will also embark on a new project, while Sonja will look to transition out of her business role.
- Faith Evans starring in reality series
- CW sets midseason reality schedule
- Ellen DeGeneres set for ‘American Idol’ premiere
- ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ returns this summer
Business of the Business
ISP wins first round against Hollywood studios
Appeal likely in precedent-setting download case
In a summary of his 200-page judgment dismissing the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft’s claims Thursday, Justice Cowdroy said that iiNet had not intended to infringe copyright and had not authorized its customers to infringe copyright, although it did have knowledge of infringements. He ordered AFACT to pay costs.
Mark Cuban takes aim at online aggregators
HDNet chairman compares aggregators to vampires
The HDNet chairman and Dallas Mavericks owner urged newspaper publishers to try cutting off online aggregators like Google, a move that News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch has been flirting with, calling them vampires that suck dry content creators. During a keynote speech entitled “How to Save the Content Biz” at the OnMedia NYC conference, Cuban said the vampires seem to have had an “unending source of victims,” and ballsy publishers should put a stake through their hearts.”
U.K. rethinks product placement plans
Gov’t will exclude alcohol, junk food, gambling
The U.K. government’s plans to greenlight product placement in locally produced TV shows is being watered down. The ban on product placement involving alcohol, junk food, high-sugar drinks and gambling will continue, making it more difficult for brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to pay to have their goods featured in TV shows.
Who will surf 3D TV?
If history has the answer, look to porn, vidgames
From a layman’s perspective, it seems likely that viewing of 3D on a TV monitor will at least initially be driven by the two usual culprits when it comes to high-tech gadgetry: Videogames and pornography. Both would seem to benefit from an enhanced role-playing experience, which is more significant to those more interactive pursuits than when passively watching entertainment, news or even sports.
New global recipe for film production
Foreign companies are making English movies
The model for this 21st-century global studio is StudioCanal, which is doing multi-territory distribution, has a massive library rich with remake potential, an international sales arm, inhouse pay TV deals through Canal Plus, and production relationships with Hollywood producers.
- Hasbro reports strong earnings, ‘Transformers’ brings in big bucks
- Dish, Oberon and Tetris launch TV game service
- Comcast Q4 profit more than doubles, Fourth-quarter revenue rose 3% to $9.1 billion
- Time Warner beats forecasts, raises dividend; Sees strong film year after record
- Warner Bros., Technicolor form partnership for DVDs and digital media
- Sony bids on ‘Terminator’ rights
Planet of the Odd
‘War of the Worlds’ plans U.S. invasion
Musical production based on cult Jeff Wayne album
For the past few years, the U.K., Europe, Australia and New Zealand have been visited by an arena tour of a musical version of “The War of the Worlds,” toplined by an 11-foot tall hologram of Richard Burton. The production is based on a cult 1978 double-album by Jeff Wayne, who conducts the arena shows. Starring on the tour: the Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward, who sang on the original album. He’s real, not a hologram. Hayward just wrapped the 2009 arena tour, and will reprise his role as one of five performers who appear alongside holo-Burton for the upcoming 2010-11 tour of the U.K. and Europe. After that, America beckons. Producer Damian Collier is in Los Angeles, in part to begin laying the groundwork.
Lucasfilm sues to stop ‘Skywalker’ billboards
Lawyers for the George Lucas company are using a potent brand-zapping canon known as a trademark infringement lawsuit. In a complaint filed yesterday in Illinois District Court, Lucasfilm claims Skywalker Outdoor is improperly using its Skywalker mark in connection with a billboard advertising business, including displaying signage bearing the Skywalker mark promoting the company.
Darth Vader star David Prowse clear of cancer
Darth Vader star David Prowse yesterday spoke of his joy at winning his year-long battle with prostate cancer. Star Wars actor David, 74, who played the 6ft 6in villain in the first three films, got the all-clear last month. The former body-builder – and TV’s Green Cross Code – stunned doctors by making a full recovery after intensive radiotherapy at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.
The right way forward on space exploration
An editorial by James Cameron
What do rockets burn for fuel? Money. Money that is contributed by working families who have mortgages and children who need braces. And why do the American people support our efforts in space? Because they still believe, to some extent or another, in that shining dream of exploring other worlds. So it could be said that rockets really run on dreams.
L.A. County can’t require condoms for porn actors, officials say
County officials said the California Legislature would need to approve legislation that would require condom use for pornography shoots. They said it would be difficult to try to regulate the porn industry through the county’s Public Health Department. “It is very, very difficult to implement. There are roughly 200 production companies with about…1,200 actors,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county’s public health chief. “All you need is a room and a camera and a bed, basically, to do this kind of shoot, and we have no ability to police this.”
Bits and Pieces
- Indian tribe appeals for Avatar director’s help to stop Vedanta
- Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sue the News Of The World newspaper
- Brittany Murphy’s death ruled an accident
- This Twilight star is now a sexy underwear model!
- Miley’s 9-year-old sister launching a lingerie line for kids
- Car owned by actor Charlie Sheen stolen, plunges over cliff on Mulholland Drive
- British actor Ian Carmichael dies
- ‘Boston Legal’ actor, Justin Mentell, dies in car crash
- ‘Days of Thunder’ gets anniversary push with designer tees
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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