As it was with Johnny Carson, it's impossible to underestimate the impact that David Letterman has had on late night television. Letterman, who announced last week that he will be retiring in 2015, bridged the gap between Carson and the old Hollywood guard and the Internet generation in ways that are still clearly evident in the shows that followed. From the pre-taped bits that he made a staple of his shows, to putting staff members on camera, to having a house rock band, everyone that has followed — including his primary competitor and former friend Jay Leno — stole liberally from Letterman. The man created not one but two different long-running network shows in Late Night and The Late Show that have made boatloads of money for NBC and CBS respectively. He may never have been warm and friendly, but there's no arguing with his results.
His decision to leave The Late Show after 22 years behind the desk (speculation is that he had promised his wife that he would leave at the end of his current contract), puts CBS on the clock to come up with a plan for his replacement. The network seems inclined to move quickly to announce a course of action so that they don't end up in the quandary that NBC did when Carson retired.
After some initial murmurs that CBS might go after one of NBC's castoff hosts, either Leno or Conan O'Brien, speculation has increased that Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, whose contract for The Colbert Report runs out at the end of this year. Considering that at one time it was Colbert's former boss Jon Stewart that was seen as the eventual successor to Letterman, the rumors have some weight. (Even though the network's own Craig Ferguson has been following Letterman's in the 12:30 a.m. time-slot, it also seems pretty clear that CBS won't seriously consider the oddball comic for the gig, which could lead him to leave when his contract expires.)
The bigger question becomes if Colbert, or any of the other potential choices that would seem acceptable to the fairly conservative suits at CBS, has the ability to compete against The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel Live! As those two shows consistently raise the stakes with their competition (not just on the air, but in using social media), it seems clear that the landscape of late night is going in a younger, more interactive direction. Still, if there's one other comic who has maintained a healthy Internet presence, and media-active fanbase, throughout his time on TV, it's Colbert.
It seems unlikely, but might CBS be better served by going completely outside of the box and taking a chance on a lesser name, the way that NBC did when it replaced Letterman with the completely unknown O'Brien? They don't have to go quite that far, but someone like Comedy Bang! Bang! creator Scott Aukerman, or Comedy Central star Keegan-Michael Key, might be more willing to jump into the fray with Fallon and Kimmel and compete for younger viewers. Better yet, they each have established cohorts in Reggie Watts and Jordan Peele, respectively, who could come along for the ride.
As it has been since the days of Carson's departure, the late night shuffle will provide plenty of intrigue as CBS tries to sort out a succession plan. One thing that's certain, however, is that whoever may sit behind the desk at The Late Show is going to have to do some amazing work to someday approach Letterman's considerable legacy.
The 2013 nominees for the Writers Guild of America awards have been announced. Writers, you say? Yes, writers! The people that make words dance on pages to create the worlds in which our favorite shows flourish. Some people, when confronted with a brilliant episode of television automatically assume the credit for its general goodness should go to the actors. But what about the writers? They are often just as (if not more so) likely to be the reason you laughed, cried, gasped, guffawed, or squirmed in your seat during last week's episode of your favorite show.
These makers of televised scripts carry a good chunk of a show's success (and failure) on their shoulders, and leading the pack of successful witty wordsmiths? Lena Dunham and her HBO darling Girls. Overall, it seems as though cable dramas fared better than broadcast (which, duh), but on the flip-side, broadcast comedies outdid their cable brethren. Breaking Bad cleaned up in the episodic drama category, and comedy lady hero Amy Poehler got herself a nod for the episode of Parks and Recreation she penned, "The Debate."
Check out the full list of nominees below!
Boardwalk Empire written by Dave Flebotte, Diane Frolov, Chris Haddock, Rolin Jones, Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki, Andrew Schneider, David Stenn, Terence Winter; HBO
Breaking Bad written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
Game of Thrones written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, George R. R. Martin, Vanessa Taylor, D.B. Weiss; HBO
Homeland written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
Mad Men written by Lisa Albert, Semi Chellas, Jason Grote, Jonathan Igla, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Brett Johnson, Janet Leahy, Victor Levin, Erin Levy, Frank Pierson, Michael Saltzman, Tom Smuts, Matthew Weiner; AMC
30 Rock written by Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tom Ceraulo, Vali Chandrasekaran, Luke Del Tredici, Tina Fey, Lauren Gurganous, Matt Hubbard, Colleen McGuinness, Sam Means, Dylan Morgan, Nina Pedrad, John Riggi, Josh Siegel, Ron Weiner, Tracey Wigfield; NBC
Girls written by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Jenni Konner, Deborah Schoeneman, Dan Sterling; HBO
Louie written by Pamela Adlon, Vernon Chatman, Louis C.K.; FX
Modern Family written by Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Audra Sielaff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC
Parks and Recreation written by Megan Amram, Greg Daniels, Nate Dimeo, Katie Dippold, Daniel J. Goor, Norm Hiscock, Dave King, Greg Levine, Joe Mande, Aisha Muharrar, Nick Offerman, Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, Alexandra Rushfield, Michael Schur, Mike Scully, Harris Wittels, Alan Yang; NBC
Girls written by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Jenni Konner, Deborah Schoeneman, Dan Sterling; HBO
The Mindy Project written by Ike Barinholtz, Jeremy Bronson, Linwood Boomer, Adam Countee, Harper Dill, Mindy Kaling, Chris McKenna, B.J. Novak, David Stassen, Matt Warburton; Fox
Nashville written by Wendy Calhoun, Jason George, David Gould, David Marshall Grant, Dee Johnson, Todd Ellis Kessler, Callie Khouri, Meredith Lavender, Nancy Miller, James Parriott, Liz Tigelaar, Marcie Ulin; ABC
The Newsroom written by Brendan Fehily, David Handelman, Cinque Henderson, Paul Redford, Ian Reichbach, Amy Rice, Aaron Sorkin, Gideon Yago; HBO
Veep written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO
“Buyout” (Breaking Bad), written by Gennifer Hutchison; AMC
"Dead Freight” (Breaking Bad), written by George Mastras; AMC
“Fifty-One” (Breaking Bad), written by Sam Catlin; AMC
“New Car Smell” (Homeland), written by Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
“The Other Woman” (Mad Men), written by Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner; AMC
“Say My Name” (Breaking Bad), written by Thomas Schnauz; AMC
“The Debate” (Parks and Recreation), written by Amy Poehler; NBC
“Episode 9” (Episodes), written by David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik; Showtime
“Leap Day” (30 Rock), written by Luke Del Tredici; NBC
“Little Bo Bleep” (Modern Family), written by Cindy Chupack; ABC
“Mistery Date” (Modern Family), written by Jeffrey Richman; ABC
“Virgin Territory” (Modern Family), written by Elaine Ko; ABC
LONG FORM – ORIGINAL
Hatfields and McCoys, Nights 2 and 3, teleplay by Ted Mann and Ronald Parker, Story by Bill Kerby and Ted Mann; History Channel
Hemingway & Gelhorn written by Jerry Stahl and Barbara Turner; HBO
Pilot (Political Animals), written by Greg Berlanti; USA
LONG FORM – ADAPTED
Coma, Nights 1 and 2, teleplay by John McLaughlin, based on the book by Robin Cook; A&E
Game Change written by Danny Strong, based on the book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann; HBO
“A Farewell to Arms” (Futurama), written by Josh Weinstein; Comedy Central
“Forget-Me-Not” (Family Guy), written by David A. Goodman; Fox
“Holidays of Future Passed” (The Simpsons), written by J. Stewart Burns; Fox
“Ned and Edna’s Blend Agenda” (The Simpsons), written by Jeff Westbrook; Fox
“Treehouse of Horror XXIII” (The Simpsons), written by David Mandel & Brian Kelley; Fox
COMEDY / VARIETY (INCLUDING TALK) – SERIES
The Colbert Report writers: Michael Brumm, Stephen Colbert, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Dan Guterman, Peter Gwinn, Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Meredith Scardino, Scott Sherman, Max Werner; Comedy Central
Conan writers: Jose Arroyo, Andres du Bouchet, Deon Cole, Josh Comers, Dan Cronin, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Laurie Kilmartin, Rob Kutner, Todd Levin, Brian McCann, Conan O'Brien, Matt O'Brien, Jesse Popp, Andy Richter, Brian Stack, Mike Sweeney; TBS
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart writers: Rory Albanese, Kevin Bleyer, Richard Blomquist, Steve Bodow, Tim Carvell, Hallie Haglund, J.R. Havlan, Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, Jo Miller, John Oliver, Zhubin Parang, Daniel Radosh, Jason Ross, Jon Stewart; Comedy Central
Jimmy Kimmel Live writers: Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Joelle Boucai, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Gary Greenberg, Josh Halloway, Bess Kalb, Jimmy Kimmel, Jeff Loveness, Molly McNearney, Bryan Paulk, Danny Ricker, Rick Rosner; ABC
Key & Peele writers: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Keegan Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Sean Conroy, Colton Dunn, Charlie Sanders, Alex Rubens, Rebecca Drysdale; Comedy Central
Portlandia writers: Fred R. Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Karey Dornetto, Jonathan Krisel, Bill Oakley; IFC
Real Time With Bill Maher writers: Scott Carter, Adam Felber, Matt Gunn, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Mike Larsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin; HBO
Saturday Night Live Head writer: Seth Meyers. Writers: James Anderson, Alex Baze, Neil Casey, Jessica Conrad, James Downey, Shelly Gossman, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Zach Kanin, Chris Kelly, Joe Kelly, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney, Christine Nangle, Mike O’Brien, Josh Patten, Paula Pell, Marika Sawyer, Sarah Schneider, Pete Schultz, John Solomon, Kent Sublette, Bryan Tucker, Additional Sketch By Emily Spivey, Jorma Taccone, Additional Material By Frank Sebastiano; NBC Universal
COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS
66th Annual Tony Awards written by Dave Boone; special material by Paul Greenberg; opening and closing songs by David Javerbaum, Adam Schlesinger; CBS
2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards written by Billy Kimball, Wayne Federman; IFC
After the Academy Awards Head writers Gary Greenberg, Molly McNearney. Writers Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jeffrey Loveness, Bryan Paulk, Danny Ricker, Richard G. Rosner; ABC
National Memorial Day Concert written by Joan Meyerson; PBS
Days of Our Lives written by Lorraine Broderick, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Rick Draughon, Christopher Dunn, Lacey Dyer, Janet Iacobuzio, David A. Levinson, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan, Melissa Salmons, Roger Schroeder, Elizabeth Snyder, Christopher J. Whitesell, Nancy Williams Watt; NBC
One Life to Live written by Lorraine Broderick, Ron Carlivati, Anna Theresa Cascio, Daniel J. O’Connor, Elizabeth Page, Jean Passanante, Melissa Salmons, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Courtney Simon, Chris Van Etten; ABC
The Young and the Restless written by Amanda Beall, Jeff Beldner, Brent Boyd, Susan Dansby, Janice Ferri Esser, Jay Gibson, Scott Hamner, Maria Kanelos, Natalie Minardi Slater, Beth Milstein, Michael Montgomery, Anne Schoettle, Linda Schreiber, Lisa Seidman, Sarah K. Smith, Christopher J. Whitesell, Teresa Zimmerman; CBS
CHILDREN'S – EPISODIC & SPECIALS
“The Good Sport” (Sesame Street), written by Christine Ferraro; PBS
CHILDREN’S – LONG FORM OR SPECIAL
Girl vs. Monster story by Annie De Young; teleplay by Annie De Young and Ron McGee; Disney Channel
Winners will be announced on February 17th at events in New York and Los Angeles. What do you think of this year's nominees? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Jojo Whilden/HBO]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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One thing that far too many entries of zombie-related media do not seem to get is that walkers aren't the only issue you've got to deal with in a zombie apocalypse. There's also the little pain in the neck that is other people. Luckily, our trusty AMC series The Walking Dead understands this concept.
Season 2 of the phenomenal Robert Kirkman adaptation will take the group, consisting of Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his wife (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son (Chandler Riggs), Rick's spouse-stealing best friend Shane (Jon Bernthal), the group's mystical patriatch Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), grieving sister Andrea (Laurie Holden), token racist Daryl (Norman Reedus) and spirited pizza boy Glenn (Stephen Yuen) to new levels of in-fighting, distrust and disloyalty. Where the camp was a place of sanctuary last season, it may now present an even greater danger than the zombies themselves.
Or it'll be a close second. They are, after all, zombies. The Walking Dead returns to AMC with a 90-minute premiere on October 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Click the picture to check out the Walking Dead season 2 gallery!
Donovan, the star of U.S. TV series Burn Notice, was busted by police in Miami Beach, Florida in July, 2009 after he was forced to swerve his vehicle to avoid crashing into a stationary cop car.
He told the arresting officer, "Sorry, I didn't see the red light or your stopped car."
He failed a sobriety test, but insisted, "I really think I'm only borderline and not too drunk... The only mistake I made tonight was drinking (allergy medicine) Benadryl with three glasses of wine."
The actor faced up to six months behind bars for the offence - but he recently agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving, in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
Donovan will instead be placed on probation for six months and pay over $1,000 (£670) in fines, reports TMZ.com.
1. Unsolicited Bond 23 Advice.
Now that we know November of 2012 will bring us a new Bond film, it's time we start meddling with the production process. First off, I'd like to see the new blood on the writing crew, John Logan, be given some creative license. He's the guy behind Gladiator, The Last Samurai, and The Aviator. Clearly a man with some skill, though the other two writers on the project were behind a very well paced Casino Royale, so we can expect positive contributions there as well. Next up, avoid a stupid title. No Quantum of Solace nonsense. No silly double entendres. Keep it simple and classy. Something like Deception Pass or Midnight Morning. Perfect.
After the title and script were locked, I'd hire Cillian Murphy to be my villain, because he is the creepiest human on Earth. Quantum of Solace suffered from a lesser bad guy, let's not go down that road again. Speaking of casting, Jeffrey Wright must be brought back, he's been excellent as C.I.A. agent Felix Leiter. Finally, Sam Mendes has proven he's capable of introspective dramas (Revolutionary Road) and solid violence (Road to Perdition). As long as he dials in the hand-to-hand combat aspect this next Bond film can't miss. With that in mind, I'd steal whoever choreographed the Bourne fight scenes. There. We've left nothing to chance. Check back in 18 months for the Bond teaser trailer live blog.
2. How to Tactfully Disagree With Your Friends and Neighbors
Some people have bad taste in movies. It's just a fact of life. So how do you get through your day without offending said people, or, even better, how do you say something offensive to them without them catching on? You follow this advice:
If they say they liked Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, you say "I know how you feel. I really liked the toys, back when I was six."
If they say they liked Little Fockers, you say "I think Ben Stiller's best work was back when he hosted the Vh1 Fashion Awards. You catch those? Pretty great."
If they say they liked The Expendables, you say "I'm pretty sure they CGI'd Arnold Schwarzenegger into that due to the California budget shortfall. No seriously."
If they say they liked 2012, you say "C'mon, the Mayan calendar didn't even account for St. Patrick's day. How accurate could it be?"
If they say they liked Paul Blart: Mall Cop, you say "I heard Wal-Mart has a sale on edible paste you might wanna check out."
If they say they liked Clash of the Titans, you say "Krakens are people too, you know."
If they say they liked Couples Retreat, you say "I was cheering for the sharks."
If they say they liked Leap Year you run. You run and you never look back. It’s best just to avoid certain situations.
3. Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: What We Know
The first still from the new Spider-Man film has been released, and you can tell a lot from a picture. At least a couple dozen words worth. So here's what we can glean about the new Spider-Man project (Click on the image on the left for the larger version).
1. The scratches on his face indicate: He's not afraid to engage in physical combat with a housecat.
2. The dirty costume shows us: No one will dry clean the Spidey suit.
3. Garfield's downward glance means: He won't be singing and dancing, and for that we're very thankful.
4. The book bag strewn over his shoulder tells us: He still has to study.
Final Thoughts: The suit looks more textured than the previous Tobey Maguire version, doesn't it? Overall, I like the mood. Spidey, all alone, with a solid two inches of height on the previous version. The casting of Sally Field as Aunt May is a marked improvement, and Emma Stone is a slight upgrade over Kirsten Dunst. They hired a guy to direct whose last name works nicely into any Spider-Man headline. So we're on the right track. Spider-Man 3 was a bloated and silly mess, which makes this one all the more important. You only get one shot to make your Batman Begins. Don’t let us down, Marc Webb.
On that note, I'm off to live blog The Golden Globes. Good times.
Check out last week's Movie Musings here.
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.
Top Story: DiCaprio Questioned in Street Brawl Suit
Leonardo DiCaprio has been questioned in a $45 million lawsuit stemming from a five-year-old case that alleges he ordered "his posse" to beat up actress Elizabeth Berkley's ex-boyfriend, Reuters reports. The suit accuses DiCaprio of inciting his entourage to attack screenwriter Roger Wilson on March 14, 1998 outside the Asia de Cuba restaurant on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Wilson claims he suffered a broken larynx when he was punched in the throat, which he said ruined his singing career. But DiCaprio's lawyer, Paul Callan, expects the charges to be dismissed before the case reaches Manhattan Supreme Court on Sept. 2. "Leonardo DiCaprio has repeatedly and forcefully denied any wrongdoing in this case and looks forward to these false charges being dismissed by the court," Callan told Reuters.
J.Lo's Flashdance Snafu
Paramount Pictures has sent a legal letter to Sony Music's Epic Label over Jennifer Lopez's latest video for the single "I'm Glad," which the singer describes as a tribute the 1983 dance drama Flashdance. But what Lopez calls a tribute, Paramount calls copyright infringement.
The studio said Lopez's dance sequences in the video are so similar to the moves Jennifer Beals' double performs in the movie that it should be compensated. Like Beals, Lopez plays a female steel welder who moonlights as an exotic dancer but dreams of attending a real dance school. The two companies are settling out of court, MTV.com reports.
CSI, American Idol Score Biggest Ratings
CBS has edged past NBC in overall viewers in the first half of May rating sweeps month. CBS led the way with 11.8 million overall viewers, barely passing NBC, which averaged 11.4 million. Fox followed with 9.7 million, ABC with 8.7 million, the WB had 4.1 million, UPN had 3.4 million and Pax TV had 1.1 million. According to Nielsen Media Research, the top shows for the week of April 28-May 4 were CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Fox's American Idol (Tuesday and Wednesday), NBC's ER, NBC's Friends, NBC's Law & Order, CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS'Survivor: Amazon, CBS CSI: Miami and NBC's Friends special.
Timberlake Gets TNT Gig
Singer Justin Timberlake is branching out into sports. According to The Associated Press, Timberlake will serve as a special correspondent for Turner Sports and will report for TNT sports events including the NBA playoffs, NASCAR races and the PGA championship. The 22-year-old pop star will also appear at major league baseball games and Big 12 and Pac-10 college football games for TBS.
Nell Carter Died of Natural Causes
The coroner's office determined Tuesday that actress Nell Carter, who collapsed in her Beverly Hills home Jan. 23 at the age of 54, died of probable heart disease and diabetes complications. The actress had also undergone two brain operations in 1992 to fix aneurysms, Reuters reports. Carter received two Emmy nominations for Gimme a Break!, playing a housekeeper to a family headed by a widower who was the town police chief. The show ran from 1981 to 1987.
Welcome Back, Kotter Actor Arrested
Actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, better known as Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington on the '70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, was arrested over the weekend for allegedly pushing a woman to the ground during an argument. According to the AP, Hilton-Jacobs was roller-skating with the 42-year-old woman in Venice Beach, Calif., Sunday afternoon when two officers heard a commotion. The 49-year-old actor was arrested and booked but was released from custody late Monday with bond set at $20,000.
NY Doctor Sues Rapper 50 Cent
Rapper 50 Cent is being sued by a New York surgeon who claims the artist owes him more than $32,000 in fees for the treatment of gunshot wounds nearly three years ago. According to the suit, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, 50 Cent and a friend showed up at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens May 24, 2000 and received treatment for the gunshot wounds, including the use of X-rays and post-surgical treatment both in the emergency room and hospital. The surgeon claims 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, owes him $32,511.87.
Def Jam Loses $132 Million Lawsuit
New York-based TVT Records won a $132 million verdict against Island Def Jam Music Group and its top executive Tuesday in a dispute over an unreleased record by rapper Ja Rule, the AP reports. Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, started his career with TVT in 1993 and moved to Island Def Jam with president Steve Gottlieb's blessing five years later. But when Ja Rule and two friends tried to make an album for TVT in 2001 that included early Ja Rule recordings, Def Jam's parent record company Universal Music Group blocked its completion. Gottlieb said he was "in ruins" when he could not release the album, the AP reports.
Dr. Dre Loses Plagiarism Lawsuit
On the West Coast, a federal jury awarded $1.5 million to the England-based Minder Music Ltd., which sued rapper-producer Dr. Dre for song plagiarism, the AP reports. Minder claimed Dre used a riff from Fatback's 1980 funk tune "Backstrokin" in his 1999 song "Let's Get High." The song, one of the lesser known tracks from Dre's 2001 album, has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide and has generated more than $150 million in retail sales.
The Muppets Are Homeward Bound
German media company EM.TV & Merchandising AG said Wednesday it will sell Jim Henson Co. back to the late Jim Henson's five children for $89 million, Reuters reports. EM.TV bought the 45-year-old company from the Henson family for $680 million at the peak of the stock market bubble in 2000. It has since sold off pieces of the company, including the Sesame Street characters and its stake in children's network Noggin. The Jim Henson Co. produced the Muppets, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and many more.
Role Call: Luhrmann's Epic Second to Stone's