Jay-Z debuted his arty Picasso Baby promo on TV in America on Friday night (02Aug13). The 10-minute clip featured the rapper performing at the Pace Gallery in New York City surrounded by famous friends including moviemakers Jim Jarmusch and Judd Apatow, actors Alan Cumming, Adam Driver, Taraji P. Henson and Rosie Perez, and members of the Big Apple's art scene, including performance artist Marina Abramovic, who was personally thanked in the end credits of the Mark Romanek-directed video.
NBC may still be in fourth place, but that doesn't mean they were hurting for news at today's Television Critics Panel, in which the network's entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt and other Peacock execs unveiled a slate of exciting upcoming programming...and less than satisfactorily addressed NBC's shortcomings. Here's what we learned.
1. A Hillary Clinton Miniseries Is in the Works
Diane Lane has been cast to play the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State in a four-hour miniseries event that will likely air in late 2014 or early 2015. Greenblatt was quick to note that it most likely will broadcast before Clinton announces whether or not she will seek the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination, a decision expected in spring or summer of 2015. No word yet on who will play Bill.
2. Rosemary's Baby to be Rebooted
Roman Polanski's 1968 horror-pregnancy classic will become a series, following the network's success with turning another classic horror movie franchise into a TV series in Hannibal.
3. Stephen King's The Tommyknockers To Get the Series Treatment
Considering the blockbuster numbers for CBS' summer adaptation of Stephen King's Under the Dome, NBC wants a piece of the action. So they're planning a series treatment for King's 1987 novel about the residents of a Maine town who slowly fall under the influence of a mysterious object in the woods, The Tommyknockers.
4. NBC's Ratings Are Fine!
Greenblatt defended NBC's ever-sagging ratings and suggested that there would be nothing the network could do to replicate the success of say, The Walking Dead, a hit so big he called it "an anomaly." Way to set the bar low!
5. Sunday Night Football Will Feature Matrix-style Replays
360-degree "bullet time" replays are in the works to give viewers an all-angle overview of key plays during Sunday Night Football next season. Sounds expensive, but considering that it's the only NBC franchise with blockbuster numbers it's probably a sound investment.
6. Sean Hayes Has a Bold Proclamation for His New Show
The former Will & Grace star, who despite playing a gay character for years on the hit series only recently came out of the closet himself, says sexuality isn't at the forefront of his new series Sean Saves the World. Rather, he calls it a "post-gay" series.
7. Sorry, Jessica Simpson
NBC has canceled the reality-competition show Fashion Star.
8. Praise for The New Normal, Just Not Renewal
Greenblatt called the Ryan Murphy-cocreated sitcom "ahead of its time" in its depiction of a gay couple...so ahead of its time that it had to be canceled.
9. They Want Jay Leno to Stick Around
But not on The Tonight Show, nor on a 10:00 variety show. Greenblatt says he's hoping Leno will become an NBC alumnus like Bob Hope, who in his later years didn't have a regular show on the network but remained loyal to it nonetheless, popping up for specials every now and then.
10. Why? Whyyyyyyyy?
In time for their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next February, NBC Sports will produce an original documentary on the 20th anniversary of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan's infamous clubbing attack at the hands of the ex-husband of her skating rival, Tonya Harding.
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Jay-Z's Barclays Center venue in New York City has eclipsed Madison Square Garden to become America's most profitable concert venue. The rapper owns a percentage in the company which operates the venue and he is co-owner of resident basketball team the Brooklyn Nets. He also played the opening gig there in September (13).
The Brooklyn arena has since hosted some of the world's most famous musicians including the Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney, as well as Justin Bieber and Rihanna, and new statistics show the Barclays Center raked in $46.9 million (£31.3 million) in concert ticket sales between 1 November (12) and 31 May (13).
The figure puts it ahead of the Big Apple's other famous arena, Manhattan's fabled Madison Square Garden, which scored second place in the list of America's top gig venues with sales of $39.5 million (£26.3 million), according to Billboard.com.
The figures also make the Barclays Center the second highest grossing concert venue in the world, coming in behind London's O2 Arena, which grossed $119 million (£79.3 million) in concert ticket sales over the same time period.
Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay-Z joined demonstrations on the streets of New York City on Saturday (20Jul13) to protest against the controversial verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. The stars have been among the most outspoken critics since neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges after fatally shooting the 17 year old in Florida in 2012.
The not guilty verdict sparked numerous protests across the U.S. and the celebrity supercouple joined in by attending a rally in the Big Apple on Saturday.
The stars joined the protest outside the New York Police Department headquarters in Manhattan, along with civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton.
Beyonce has also urged fans to sign a petition stemming from the case by posted a link to Moveon.org on her official website, with the statement: "We are still struggling with the issue of inequality and the lack of value for a black man's life. Trayvon Martin's most basic civil right, the right to live, was violated.
"We have made so much progress and cannot allow hatred and racism to divide us. When we all join together, people of all races, we have the power to change the world we live in."
Superstars Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake turned up the heat in New York on Friday (19Jul13) by bringing out Alicia Keys and Timbaland to join them onstage during their joint concert. The Suit & Tie hitmakers, who are currently touring North America as the Legends of the Summer, had two special guests lined up for the Yankee Stadium gig with Jay-Z sending the audience into a screaming frenzy as he welcomed Keys to perform their chart smash hit, Empire State of Mind, in their hometown.
Timberlake also got into the Big Apple spirit by belting out a rendition of Frank Sinatra's city anthem New York, New York and he further delighted fans by introducing his longtime producer Timbaland into the spotlight for SexyBack.
Keys' husband Swizz Beatz, another of Jay-Z's frequent collaborators, was also in attendance at Yankee Stadium, but he remained backstage and shared a Twitter.com photo of the couple after the show, alongside the message, "Date Nite NYC Yankee stadium we out cheaaaa (here) (sic)".
Friday night's concert wasn't the first to feature a surprise guest - Rihanna made an appearance at the London kick-off for the Legends of the Summer tour last weekend (14Jul13) to perform Run This Town with the hip-hop mogul during the Wireless Festival.
Actress Rose Byrne is in talks to join Cameron Diaz in a revamped version of beloved movie musical Annie. The Bridesmaids star has been tapped to portray Grace in the role made famous by Anne Reinking in the classic 1982 film, according to Eonline.com.
If she signs on, it will be Byrne's debut in a big screen musical. She will appear alongside Diaz as cruel orphanage boss Miss Hannigan, Jamie Foxx as the rich Daddy Warbucks character, who will be renamed Benjamin Stacks, and child star Quvenzhane Wallis in the title role.
Will Smith and rap mogul Jay-Z are attached to produce the project, which is scheduled for release next Christmas (Dec14).
Zachary Levi's new Broadway show First Date got off to a rough start last week (begs08Jul13) when the actor choked on his meal in the middle of a monologue. The Tangled star made his New York stage debut on 9 July (13), when the musical about an awkward dinner date began previews at the Longacre Theatre, and during one particular scene in the show, Levi took too big a bite of his cheeseburger and raised a few laughs as he struggled to manage the mouthful.
During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday (16Jul13), he said, "Live theatre has some hiccups every once in a while. There's a scene, where part of the show I'm eating a cheeseburger, and I start choking in the middle of the show and everyone started laughing.
"I was like, 'I could be dying right now and everyone is loving this'. I kind of screwed up a couple jokes and a song that I was supposed to sing because I couldn't talk, but it was fine, everything worked out and I didn't die."
Rapper Drake is on the look out for new investment opportunities so he can become the next big hip-hop mogul and bank $250 million (£161 million) by the time he turns 29. The Best I Ever Had hitmaker has set himself the lofty goal after achieving his dream of making $25 million (£16 million) by his 25th birthday, and he is confident he will soon be joining the ranks of Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Sean 'Diddy' Combs, who have all established themselves in the business world.
The 26 year old tells GQ magazine, "Rappers aren't the really rich ones. We all have nice houses with studios and cars, but you need a piece of someone's business to be super wealthy.
"I feel this great responsibility to see how far we (rappers) can take it, how out of reach can I set the bar for whoever comes after. While I'm here, I'm gonna keep pushing that bar higher up and make you really work for it."
John Malkovich has revealed he once fancied himself as a vigilante on the mean streets of New York City. The movie star, who often plays quirky characters, portrays a retired tough guy in the RED films - and he admits the role brought back memories of the time he spent tackling criminals in the Big Apple when he was a struggling actor.
He admits he frequently became embroiled in arguments with petty street criminals and bullies, and he admits one particular incident almost turned deadly when someone questioned his fashion sense.
During an appearance on America's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Wednesday (10Jul13), he said, "I was at a restaurant and a mugger came by and grabbed someone's purse... A friend of mine... said to me, 'Did you see that? Let's go!' And so we finally ran this guy down into the park, but he'd had an associate and passed it off.
"(I also had an) altercation with a mugger that involved some harsh words and a butcher knife.
" I had on a very nice suit, he said a bunch of things to me on the street for no reason, which on reflection I wasn't so happy with, and then I went and changed clothes and picked up my utensil (and went out back looking for him) and asked him if he wanted to carry on the discourse. He declined and life went on."
Jay-Z has spoken out about his old feud with Robert De Niro, suggesting the acting veteran showed him a lack of respect after asking the rap mogul to get involved in his New York film festival. The Raging Bull star was previously said to have reached out to Jay-Z and talked to him about recording a song for the Tribeca Film Festival, but after initially agreeing to the collaboration, the Empire State of Mind hitmaker failed to return De Niro's calls.
The actor allegedly confronted Jay-Z about the incident during Leonardo DiCaprio's birthday party in the Big Apple last November (12), with a source telling the New York Post at the time, "Bob wasn't in any mood to make polite conversation. He told Jay that if somebody calls you six times, you call them back. It doesn't matter who you are, that is just rude."
The hip-hop mogul addressed the issue during an interview on New York's Power 105.1 radio station on Wednesday (10Jul13), and although he failed to offer up details about the fall out, he hinted that De Niro had offended him in some way.
He explained, "It doesn't matter who you are, everybody has to be respectful and everybody has to be a human being, you know? No one's above (manners)... We're all human beings and we all have to be respectful to one another and that's just standard. That's how I carry on with anybody."