Signs of the Apocalypse Roundup – April 2010 – Week 1
WE unveils seven new shows
Lineup includes docusoap starring Joan and Melissa Rivers
WE unveiled a programming slate of seven new shows, including a docusoap starring Joan and Melissa Rivers. Two of the series are about mother-daughter relationships. The Rivers duo will star in “Mother Knows Best,” which will have Joan and Melissa living together under one roof. Another, “You’re Wearing That?!” has moms and daughters sharing how they feel about each others’ wardrobe.
Crime Time: Why do so many reality TV stars end up in jail? It’s an addiction
Sadly, this week is not unlike other all weeks. (Yes, that’s a Passover pun.) Reality TV wannabe Richard Heene is currently finishing his 90-day jail sentence at his Colorado home while his wife, Mayumi Heene, awaits the start of her 20-day sentence for their concoction of the “Balloon Boy” hoax. In February 2009, rapper T.I. starred in his own MTV reality show, “T.I.’s Road to Redemption,” chronicling his last days before beginning a one-year-plus-one-day prison sentence for weapons charges related to purchasing machine guns and silencers. In July 2008, Khloe Kardashian, the youngest daughter of O.J. Simpson lawyer Robert Kardashian and co-star of E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” spent 173 days in jail after violating probation stemming from a prior DUI. And let’s not forget about Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, patron saints of reality TV for their roles on “The Simple Life.” Each spent time behind bars after hitting the bars.
‘Real American Stories’ with Sarah Palin
Fox’s production of ‘Real American Stories’ won’t make Sarah Palin a television celebrity
Sarah Palin will have a career in TV, that’s for sure, but “Real American Stories” isn’t the show to make her a superstar. That’s not her fault. It’s the production. The show is a collection of inspirational tales hitting all the emotional buttons. The former Alaska governor does the voice-overs for the in-depth interviews, which were done by others. Afterward, some of those interviewed appear for chats with Palin before a studio audience.
NBC renews ‘Marriage Ref,’ ‘Minute,’ ‘Who’
The network is picking up Thursday night unscripted comedy “The Marriage Ref,” along with two other freshman series — the game show “Minute to Win It” and “Who Do You Think You Are.”
‘Jersey Shore’ adding to cast
From the casting notice: “Killer shades, awesome hair, bandanas and bling can mean only one thing. So if you’re a tanned and toned fist pumper, and you love the shore, we want to hear from you! Do you dominate the gym, tear up the dance floor and rule the bedroom? Prove it!”
- ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?’ gets first-run syndication on CMT and MyNetworkTV
- Ron Artest to get own reality series, ‘They Call Me Crazy’
- Wrestling’s Ring of Honor leans toward Internet, PPV is more economical
Business of the Business
New litigation campaign quietly targets tens of thousands of movie downloaders
More than 20,000 individual movie torrent downloaders have been sued in the past few weeks in Washington D.C. federal court for copyright infringement. A handful of cases have already settled, and those that haven’t are creating some havoc for major ISPs. The lawsuits were filed by an enterprising D.C.-based venture, the US Copyright Group, on behalf of an ad hoc coalition of independent film producers. So far, five lawsuits have been filed against tens of thousands of alleged infringers of the films “Steam Experiment,” “Far Cry,” “Uncross the Stars,” “Gray Man” and “Call of the Wild 3D.” Another lawsuit targeting 30,000 more torrent downloaders on five more films is forthcoming,
What can Viacom attorneys learn from a gay erotica lawsuit?
Io Group, Channel One Releasing and Liberty Media has filed a lawsuit in California against various parties, including the operators of the website jerkyoutube.com, for stealing content. According to the complaint, the digital age hasn’t been kind to the adult industry: “Wide-spread online infringement has dealt a devastating blow to the entertainment industry generally and the adult content industry specifically … Industry outsiders with no investment and no commitment to the long-term viability of the industry skim huge amounts of unearned profits with a slash and burn approach, resulting in the shuttering of numerous small businesses.”
ABC shows heading to iPads
Disney releasing app for hand-held device
ABC’s shows will be available on Apple’s iPad, with Disney releasing an app that extends the network’s video player to the new hand-held device. The ABC Player app will allow viewers to watch free, ad-supported episodes from 20 ABC shows via a Wi-Fi connection. Users can also purchase episodes via Apple’s iTunes store.
Debate waging over 2D-to-3D conversion
Some tech insiders, reviewers complaining about quality
Dave Walton, assistant vp marketing and communication at JVC Professional, cautioned: “No 3D is better than bad 3D. Those who view bad 3D can get headaches and nausea within a few short minutes. So conversion has to be accurate, and you have to pay attention to the brain’s ability to process the images without fatigue.”
First P2P arrest under new law in Japan
62-year-old nabbed for uploading ‘Avatar,’ ‘Percy Jackson’
A 62-year-old man was arrested last week in Shizuoka, and has admitted uploading 500 movies over the last four years using “Share” software. He uploaded “Avatar” in December after having downloaded it from another P2P site, and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” last month.
- Karmaloop launching niche cable network; Online retailer targeting young adults into ‘verge culture’
- Google pitches Canuck politicians on YouTube; Rep says online video sharing sites help local talent
- Exec: Mass 3D TV adoption to be slow, event-type content will be key
- Entertainment stocks mostly up in Q1
- Cracked.com adding two Web series, ‘After Hours’ & ’8 Bits’
- Sharp working on advanced 3D displays, Technology will extend 3D to portable devices
Planet of the Odd
What if ‘Taken’ actually happened? Just ask Hal Berger…
Berger is a Southern California investment banker married to a South African woman who one day refused to return from a trip back to Johannesburg with their young son. After months of struggle and the intervention of federal agencies, Berger finally got his son back. A few months later, the unthinkable happened: The boy vanished from his school. And that’s when the story gets really crazy. Fake passports. Guns. Death threats. Nigerian gangsters. False arrests. The International Hague Convention. Panic. And one decidedly regular guy faced with the necessity of being willing to do anything to get the kid back. (You can read about some of it here.) Screenwriter named Adam Mazer quickly snatched up Berger’s life rights (indeed, the working title of the project is “Snatched”).
Steven Spielberg ready for anything
Steven Spielberg is so paranoid about security at his office, he keeps a never-used motorcycle permanently parked outside in case he needs to make a getaway, a new book about DreamWorks claims. In “The Men Who Would Be King,” due May 4 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, former Variety scribe Nicole LaPorte writes of the “Schindler’s List” director, “His passion for secrecy sometimes suggests a burgeoning near-paranoia.”
True Blood Star Reveals True Self — Anna Paquin Says She’s Bisexual
Anna Paquin is publicly revealing she’s bisexual for the very first time. Paquin — who’s engaged to her handsome True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer — quietly made the revelation during a top-secret taping earlier this year of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on behalf of the True Colors Fund, an organization dedicated to fighting for equal rights for everyone –gay, straight, bisexual or transgendered.
John Forsythe dies at 92
Starred as Blake Carrington on ‘Dynasty’
John Forsythe, who starred as the urbane Blake Carrington on the 1980s primetime soap “Dynasty” and provided the unseen voice of Charlie on “Charlie’s Angels,” has died. He was 92. Forsythe died Thursday in Santa Ynez, Calif., of complications from pneumonia after a yearlong struggle with cancer. He owned a ranch in the area north of Santa Barbara.
Nicollette Sheridan claims ‘Desperate Housewives’ creator assaulted, fired her
The actress has sued ABC Entertainment Group, ABC Studios, Touchstone Television and series creator Marc Cherry for $20 million. Sheridan alleges series creator Marc Cherry struck her in the head in September 2008 on the set of the hit ABC series. “After she complained to her employer about Cherry’s improper behavior, Cherry arranged to have Sheridan terminated from the show, resulting in her losing millions in future earnings,” the complaint says.
Bits and Pieces
- Regency Theatres rescues Mann’s Westwood-based Village, Bruin founded in 1931 and 1937
- Rip Torn pleads not guilty to burglary, gun charges
- Stephen Colbert as a WOW Character
- Emmy-winning writer David Mills dies, credits included ‘The Wire,’ ‘ER,’ ‘The Corner’
- Madonna & daughter to launch fashion line, ‘Material Girl’ juniors collection
- Life-sized chocolate Robert Pattinson says “Bite me!”
- Erykah Badu charged over nude video
- Ivanka Trump’s accused stalker Justin Massler says he’ll ‘win her over’ in rambling e-mail
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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