March 12, 2002 10:43am EST
And a big sigh of relief can be heard from Ted Koppel and the rest of the Nightline crew. For now.
David Letterman has decided to remain at CBS and hopes to finish his career there, despite ABC's ardent wooing of the late-night talk-show host.
While Koppel and Nightline are worried about their future--Letterman's relocation would have meant a flat-line for Nightline--Letterman, of course, has no such worries. CBS re-signed the gap-toothed gabfest host to the tune of $150 million-plus over the next five years.
Letterman made the announcement himself on his own show Monday night to the raucous cheers of his audience.
"I know it sounds pretty good to you, folks, but there goes the vacation to Disney World," Letterman quipped.
Letterman's camp didn't signal to CBS that the deal was done until right before taping began for Monday night's Late Show.
Though ABC execs have publicly stated that Nightline is staying put at ABC, the alphabet network is reportedly now pursuing Jon Stewart and Chris Rock to perhaps host a new 11:30 time slot talker.
January 16, 2002 11:11am EST
Wanna own your own movie studio? If you've got $7 billion, you can buy MGM. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio has been put up for sale by controlling shareholder and billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who has hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to manage the deal. As yet no one is biting, and some analysts have said a more realistic price will fetch more offers. Although no one is commenting on potential buyers, Disney has been forecasted as a likely contender.
Backstreet Boy Justin Timberlake is now an impersonator, and no, Elvis is not in the picture. Timberlake appears in Elton John's new video, "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore," in '70s drag, donning oversized glasses and bright, funky clothes. The similarity is so real, People reports, that John admitted, "[Timberlake] had obviously done his homework. It freaks me out."
Mariah Carey, Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters made several journalists wait an hour and a half before giving scheduled interviews at the Sundance Film Festival for their film "Wise Girls," according to PageSix.com. Obviously their film's title doesn't reflect their knowledge of good manners.
Speaking of Sundance, HBO and Showtime are proving a prominent presence this year, the Associated Press reports. HBO hosted the festival's opening and featured centerpiece films, The Laramie Project and Hysterical Blindness, respectively, and Showtime premiered Our America last weekend, proving "independent film" seems to be "depending" heavily on big-name corporations for funding and promotion.
Chris Rock will star in and direct DreamWorks' political comedy Head of State, which is set to begin production in May, Variety reports. Rock co-wrote the script that has him entering a presidential race to replace a deceased candidate. If only George W. were so amusing.
In other laughable news, Comedy Central funnyman Jon Stewart will host the 44th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Feb. 27, Reuters reports. This will be Stewart's second year in a row.
"Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel will receive the Chairman's Award at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention in Las Vegas, according to Variety. The award, given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the TV industry, will be presented during the 9 a.m. opening session Tuesday. Sounds about as exciting as "Nightline," doesn't it?
Paul McCartney will perform his song "Freedom" at the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in Louisiana, Reuters reports. McCartney wrote the song as a result of the Sept. 11 tragedy and says he is "honored to add my voice to the message of tribute that this year's Super Bowl will carry."
Martha Stewart's company may discontinue its deal with the Kmart Corp. if the discount store files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Reuters. Stewart's line of home décor is considered one of Kmart's most important suppliers. Apparently, association with financial problems wouldn't be "a good thing" for Stewart's products.
Expect to get burned if you're playing with Eminem...er, fire. Eminem's movie "8 Mile," which has a scene with a burning house in it, infuriated residents of Highland Park, Mich. (where the scene was being filmed), who claimed the fire would be ruinous to their neighborhood's reputation. The fire injured four crew members who were taken to the hospital and treated for burns but were back on the set the same night, according to People.
ABC's Once and Again, starring Sela Ward, has been pulled (once again) from the network's schedule, according to Variety. ABC says, "The show simply hasn't worked on Fridays, so we're returning it to [Monday] where it had its greatest success." The show is set to go back on the air on Monday, March 4.
Some of the students at Tom Brokaw's alma mater will soon be $50,000 richer, thanks to his newly established scholarship for American Indians attending the University of Iowa. The first recipient is expected to be named this spring and will receive the scholarship for the 2002-03 school year, the AP reports.
New wave '80s singer Adam Ant has been confined to a psychiatric ward in The Royal Free Hospital in London, Reuters reports. Charged in January with assault and possessing a firearm after a stint at a local pub, the 47-year-old claimed he'd fallen victim to a sinister plot and that he'd been "abducted by the police again." Wait...was that Adam Ant or Adam Alien?
Willie Nelson is multimedia man extraordinaire, it seems. The 68-year-old country singer is not only back on tour for his new album, "The Great Divide," (which features duets with other famous voices), but Random House has just released his new book, "The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes." At least now we know what he means when he sings "Always on My Mind."
November 02, 2001 7:25am EST
Leave it to Pixar to come up with another clever story. We are introduced to a thriving monster metropolis where Monsters Inc. employs an elite group of big bad guys to go into children's closets and gather the city's energy supply--the children's screams. But lately there has been an energy crunch; it seems kids are not getting as scared as they used to. Enter top Kid Scarer Mr. James P. Sullivan a.k.a. Sully (voiced by John Goodman) a big blue fuzzy monster who along with his assistant Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) a green one-eyed wisecracker gets potent screams from the kiddies. Unfortunately the one thing Sully Mike and the others are deathly afraid of is the children themselves. And when one child Boo (voiced by Mary Gibbs) makes her way through the closet door into the monster world things get decidedly complicated for Sully who learns kids aren't so scary after all.
Honestly how could you go wrong with the vocal talents of John Goodman Billy Crystal Steve Buscemi and James Coburn? In Monsters Inc. they absolutely shine. Oscar-winning Coburn brings the head of Monsters Inc. Mr. Henry J. Waternoose a crablike spidery monster vividly to life. Buscemi as the evil Randall Boggs a slimy serpent monster who can camouflage himself to blend with anything plays the perfect foil to Sully a monster with grand plans who rivals the big guy in the quota for kids' screams. Crystal is hysterical as Mike with enough neuroses and wild antics to offset the sweet Sully--without stealing the show. Even the little girl Boo comes across convincingly as a two-and-a-half-year-old especially when she sings in the bathroom. It's Goodman who makes the movie complete--his Sully is one big galoot you can wrap your arms around.
Pixar Animation must constantly search high and low for the cream of the crop in animation and story development; they never settle for second best. The studio has the Midas touch when it comes to computer-animated films--its three features so far Toy Story Toy Story 2 (still one of the best sequels ever made) and A Bug's Life have grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide. Yes Dreamworks may have given Disney a run for its money with its spectacular summer blockbuster Shrek but Pixar isn't going to roll over that easily. Monsters Inc. is a wonderfully inventive film especially in its creation of such otherworldly settings as the factory and its assembly line of closet doors. The movie combines all the right elements--there's a good guy a funny sidekick a slimebag a climactic chase scene and an adorable reason for things to end happily.
September 19, 2001 12:20pm EST
Producers of television late-night comedy shows and cable news parodies were wrestling Tuesday with the question of when it will be fitting to be funny again. Following David Letterman's somber return to the air on Monday, Jay Leno attempted a more upbeat reappearance Tuesday night.
While spending much of the evening praising the efforts of "heroes" of last week's events, Leno also evoked some laughs. "It's hard to believe, nine days ago, the biggest story in the United States -- the Barbara Walters special, the cover of the magazines: 'Anne Heche is crazy,'" Leno quipped. To those who might object to lightheartedness following such an enormous national tragedy, Leno urged that they tune into ABC's Nightline, "which is a good show, too."
The events of last week posed a particularly difficult problem for cable's Comedy Central, which has already pulled That's My Bush! and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from its lineup. A spokesman for the network told today's Boston Globe: "There's ... nothing to make fun of. ... There's nothing left to work with. At what point does that change? It's hard to say."
Even Canadian comics were having difficulty getting a handle on recent events. Don Ferguson of the comedy group Royal Canadian Air Farce told the Canadian Press wire service that the group has been stymied writing material for their season debut next month.
"What would you do -- a topical, political comedy show goes on the air and doesn't mention it? How can you deal with it but not deal with it?" Antonia Zerbisias, the television writer for the Toronto Star, commented in her column today: "Is this another victory for the terrorists? ... I'm not saying that now is the time to return to the comedy business as usual but, when pundits keep saying 'Nothing will ever be the same again,' should [comedy] be one of the things they are talking about?"
September 11, 2001 7:13am EST
After surviving a devastating car accident following her first college party freshman Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller) falls into a coma and steps into a nightmare of otherworldly visitations. Haunted by a grim reaper of a far different kind her only hope is to cling to chance encounters with her lost love Sean (Casey Affleck) and the aid of a mysterious young priest named Father Jude (Luke Wilson). Cassie's malicious friends Matt (Wes Bentley) Annabel (Eliza Dushku) and the morose Raven (Angela Featherstone) seem intent on drawing her to the dark side but the spirit of her soul mate Sean guides her back to the world of the living.
Sagemiller (Get Over It) may be a fine actress but this film--her second full-length feature--isn't the one to prove it. Not that Sagemiller does a poor job but like most dull and stale horror movies the female lead isn't asked to do much other than look frightened and scream--a lot. Affleck (Good Will Hunting) Bentley (American Beauty) and Dushku (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) are among the more talented actors of their generation but are completely wasted especially Affleck in his one-dimensional role. Wilson as Father Jude is the only character with an interesting part but unfortunately the good Father's development is stunted and incomplete leaving Wilson little to work with.
Steve Carpenter's first turn as a director leaves much to be desired. Of course Carpenter wrote the formulaic script so why shouldn't he be the one to helm it? One major flaw (and there are plenty to choose from) is that nearly half the movie is shot tight on the characters giving the audience a very myopic view. Even if that was intentional it certainly did nothing to heighten the tension (what little of it there was) in the movie. The flick's tagline "The World of the Dead and the World of the Living... are About to Collide" conveys the message of an epic struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of good--a struggle that never materializes. And the film's final message that love conquers all is the boring hackneyed truism that breaks the cliché camel's back.
August 17, 2001 7:41am EST
Jon Stewart, host of the The Daily Show, said on his cable program that the Headline News Network's new slogan should be "Dude, Where's My News?"
"['Headline News' is for] viewers with short attention spans and zero tolerance for complexity or nuance. When they don't feel like it, reporters don't actually have to say anything."
May 23, 2001 9:16am EST
Spoof metal band Spinal Tap and its main players, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, will take the stage at Montreal's 19th Just for Laughs Festival. Joining them as headliners will be Will & Grace's Megan Mullally, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Jeff Foxworthy, organizers of the event said Tuesday. Other performers slated to appear are Darrell Hammond (Saturday Night Live), Joy Behar (The View), Marla Sokoloff (The Practice) and Scott Thompson (The Kids in the Hall). The festival, running July 12 through July 22, will showcase 49 stand-up shows, as well as theater, film and dance.
May 22, 2001 1:11pm EST
For the second year in a row, HBO's The Sopranos and NBC's The West Wing have received the prestigious Peabody Award. NBC Today show anchor Katie Couric also received a Peabody for a report on colon cancer, during which she underwent a colonoscopy. Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2000, Fox's Malcolm in the Middle, a 60 Minutes II report about AIDS in Africa and a 48 Hours report about the deaths of six Massachusetts firefighters were among the other shows honored by the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which bestows the Peabody Awards for distinguished efforts in broadcasting annually.
May 22, 2001 10:12am EST
NBC Today anchor Katie Couric received a Peabody Award on Monday for a very personal report on colon cancer, which included footage of Couric undergoing a colonscopy. At the awards show, Couric read a letter from a fan who said she was encouraged to get tested after seeing the report and learned that she had cancer, The Associated Press reports. "Now that's the kind of fan mail that makes you realize that what you do matters and you can make a difference." The HBO mafia series The Sopranos and NBC's presidential drama The West Wing also received Peabodys. Also honored were two CBS news reports, 60 Minutes II: Death by Denial, about AIDS in Africa, and 48 Hours: Heroes Under Fire, about the death of six Massachusetts firefighters. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2000 also received an award for its comic coverage of the aftermath of the presidential election. Malcolm in the Middle, a Fox family sitcom, also won a Peabody.
March 19, 2001 11:51am EST
It's time for some old school fun.
Seasoned comedian Eddie Murphy and seasoned tough guy turned sometime funny guy Robert De Niro might star in "Showtime," Daily Variety says.
The project is about a no-nonsense cop who is forced to partner up with a rookie as the star of a new reality-based TV show in the vein of "Cop."
DOING GOOD 'DEEDS': Variety also says that Adam Sandler and "Little Nicky" director Steve Brill will team up again in the pic "Deeds," an homage to the 1936 Frank Capra classic "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town."
KISS ME, STUPID: Here's another comedy item: Jon Stewart will join Edward Norton, Robin Williams and Catherine Keener in the comedy "Death to Smoochie."
Directed by Danny DeVito, the film follows a Barney-like kid-show host who gets canned. Stewart will play the network exec that gives the show the ax.
THE 'ROYAL' TREATMENT: The Hollywood Reporter says that Anjelica Huston is in early talks to join the cast of "The Royal Tenenbaums" for "Rushmore" director Wes Anderson. The movie is about a family of five geniuses and already stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Gene Hackman, Ben Stiller, brothers Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson and Bill Murray.
'VIEW' FINDER: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" co-star Marc Blucas has join Gwyneth Paltrow in the comedy "A View From the Top." He will play the ex-boyfriend of a flight attendant (Paltrow) who finds fame in the sky, the Reporter says.
'EMPIRE' STRIKES BACK: "Virgin Suicides" helmer Sofia Coppola and John Ridley have co-created a one-hour drama series for HBO called "Empire," the Reporter tells us. Set in the world of urban music, the project will be co-written by the two partners with Coppola directing the pilot episode.
TO THE MOUSE HOUSE: Last but not least, the Reporter says that stage turned "Titus" director Julie Taymor is in talks to helm "Chang and Eng," a story about Siamese twins which Disney has recently purchased.