U.S. broadcaster Erin Burnett has become a first-time mum. The CNN newswoman welcomed a baby boy with husband David Rubulotta on Friday (29Nov13).
Confirming the happy news to People.com, she says, "Dave and I welcomed a healthy, happy baby boy at 9:47 p.m. Friday November 29th. He weighed in at 8 lbs., 10 oz."
She adds, "We've always wanted this and we're very lucky."
The 37 year old wed her financier partner last December (12).
New CNN boss Jeff Zucker is looking to change the image of the sagging cable news network. One of the first steps he’s taken is to clean house of one of its most accomplished journalists: Soledad O’Brien. The cabler’s current morning show Starting Point is being scrapped in favor of a new show starring CNN’s raven-haired primetime personality Erin Burnett and also Chris Cuomo, whom Zucker just hired away from ABC News.
O’Brien’s a rarity in cable journalism in that she’s invested less in establishing a cult of personality than in, you know, actually being a journalist. In recent years she’s reported and anchored a series of documentaries examining the challenges facing different minority groups, including a highly acclaimed series of films called Black in America, for which she already has two new installments in production. She’s also produced such issues-driven, reporting-heavy docs as Latina in America, Gary and Tony Have a Baby, Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door, and Don’t Fail Me: Education in America.
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But if you’re worried about seeing those specials evaporate as quickly as Piers Morgan’s ratings, you’re in luck. O’Brien is starting a new documentary production company called Starfish Media Group, which will continue distribute similar titles — potentially to CNN. It will not be an exclusive partnership with CNN, however, so future documentaries she makes could appear on other networks.
In the meantime, though, are you sad to see O’Brien leave the CNN anchor desk? And will you still tune in when Erin Burnett and Chris Cuomo head up the cabler’s new morning lineup?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Larry Levine/WENN]
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Sorry, everyone, but Tuesday night the only thing you will be allowed to watch on television is the results of the presidential election as they slowly roll in from across this great nation of ours. Yes, that means field reporting, concession speeches, red and blue states on a big old poster behind the anchor desk, and pundits turning red in their faces when the races don't go their way.
Even if you can't tell the difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and a donkey and an elephant fighting over pizza and burritos, you're going to have to watch something. But what? Here are all your major choices, broken down by what to expect and what is the best for you. If you're going to be stuck with journalists, you might as well find some that you like.
Talent: Diane Sawyer, George (copy, paste) Stephanopoulos, Barbara Walters, and Katie Couric
Pros: Sawyer and Stephanopoulos have both actually worked in the White House, so that is some real K Street cred right there. With Walters and Kouric they'll have a nice balance of hard and soft news. Also, they have a lot of female reporters. It's almost as if they had a binder, and it was full of women, and that's who they put on the show.
Cons: Walters and Kouric have devolved into daytime chatterers. They might not be able to deliver the gravitas an occasion like this merits. And seriously, can't we just put Barbara Walters on Social Security already and make her give up a place at the anchor desk? Oh, wait, not if Mitt Romney wins and there is no more Social Security. Never mind.
Watch This If...: You think The View is hard-hitting journalism.
Talent: Scott Pelley, Bob Schieffer, Norah O'Donnell, John Dickerson
Pros: Bob Schieffer moderated one of the debates, so he might have some insights. The network will be using virtual reality models to display the election results. I don't know what that means, but "virtual reality" always sounds like the future.
Cons: What is a Scott Pelley? Who are these people?
Watch This If...: You are old and can't find NCIS.
Talent: Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, David Gregory, Savannah Guthrie, Andrea Mitchell, Tamron Hall
Pros: Everyone will be reporting from a place called Democracy Plaza, which sounds like what the inside of a voting booth should be like. Either that or a politics-themed restaurant in Times Square. There will be a lot of really deep voices, so your dog won't be able to hear a thing. It's also the only major network to bring back a returning anchor, so thanks, Brokaw. Oh, and have you seen Brian Williams on 30 Rock? He brings the funny.
Cons: Tamron Hall will be reporting from the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. We are already embarrassed for her. Also, no one likes Savannah Guthrie (especially Ann Curry).
Watch This If...: You want to be like the cast of Girls.
Talent: Bill O'Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove
Pros: If Mitt Romney loses, they'll freak out so bad it will look like a million nervous breakdowns at once.They're the only ones to have a former candidate in the newsroom.
Cons: That candidate is Sarah Palin. Also, Karl Rove, a lugey of human phlegm that came to life, will share his evil ways. That could be insightful but is also like making out with Emperor Palpatine. And, just like MSNBC, this broadcast has a political bias. Unlike MSNBC, they're not bothered by those little things called facts.
Watch This If...: You hate truth, liberty, and the American way.
Talent: Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Candy Crowley, Erin Burnett, Paul Begala, James Carville, Alex Castellanos, Ari Fleischer, Margaret Hoover, Van Jones, Roland Martin and Ana Navarro. Is there anyone they didn't hire?
Pros: Since it's a news network, you can watch it all darn day so you can get all the sweet political news you need to stay alive. Also, it tries to be fair and balanced, which is nice. You never know when Cooper is going to lapse into a fit of the giggles and Begala and Carville are the funniest talking heads in all of punditville.
Cons: Who wants their news balanced? Tell me what to think, news! I'm stupid and need some opinions. Also, remember last election when Wolf Blitzer talked to a hologram. Yeah, that's gone. I already miss it.
Watch This If...: Like Anderson, you'd rather be watching Real Housewives.
Talent: Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Rev. Al Sharpton, Lawrence O'Donnell, Ed Schultz, Steve Schmidt
Pros: If there was ever a pro, it's Rev. Al Sharpton. If Obama wins, he'll go crazy. If Romney wins, he'll go double crazy. Stay tuned! Also, Matthews will yell and Maddow will say lots of smart and vaguely mean things that are totally right.
Cons: There doesn't seem to be any virtual reality, holograms, reincarnated robots of William Taft, or anything. Where are the bells and whistles?
Watch This If...: You wear glasses.
Pros: Well, it's unfiltered, unbiased coverage of the democratic process.
Cons: That sounds more dry and boring than a dump truck full of Shredded Wheat.
Watch This If...: You hate fun.
Talent: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert
Pros: Screw taping, these guys are going live! That means the funny is going to be fast, furious, and possibly NSFW (damn those seven-second delays). Also, Colbert's half hour is called Election 2012: A Nation Votes, Ohio Decides; The Re-Presidenting of America: Who Will Replace Obama? ‘012!. Yup, I'd watch that. Oh, and he'll have Andrew Sullivan too.
Cons: Their coverage starts at 11 PM, so you have nothing to watch until then. But, then again, if you have a life outside of watching boring political reporting on TV, then that is actually a pro. They each only get 30 minutes. Boo!
Watch This If...: You think The Onion is real.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Getty Images (2), Comedy Central]
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Seemingly right after we learned that Katie Couric was expected to leave her post as anchor of CBS News came the news that Meredith Vieira was also probably going to leave her job on the Today show when her $11 million contract expires in September. Sources say the reason for her departure would be related to the tough schedule of extremely early mornings, in combination with wanting to spend more time with her husband, who currently suffers from multiple sclerosis. When talking about the time she'd consider leaving the show to Ladies' Home Journal, she said "I'll know when it's time to go, and I'm not afraid. If I were to leave Today at the end of next year because it's the time for me, I wouldn't jump on another show. I would look forward to not working, to traveling with Richard and craving out time for us." However, she's supposed to continue hosting the game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
Last September was the original date for when Vieira's contract was to expire, but she decided to renew it for another 12 months. It is unlikely that she'll choose to tack on 12 more months, and so NBC executives have already begun the process of picking her replacement. Possible candidates include Ann Curry, (who's been the show's news anchor since 1997), Nataile Morales, Savannah Guthrie, and CNBC's Erin Burnett. Another conflict could arise if executives choose someone other than Curry to fill Vieira's void because they believe if they select someone else for the position, she will be forced into leaving the show, too.
Smitten by a young woman (Ryder) celebrating her 22nd birthday in his chi-chi restaurant relentless womanizer Will Keane (Gere) sets his sights on this cherubic vision 27 years his junior. Against his better judgment the chiding of his friends and the fact that she's the daughter of a former flame Will invites Charlotte to a reception and sparks fly. The morning after Will recites his "Let's be friends" speech but Charlotte counters with an emotional challenge and a situation that will change his life -- and hers -- forever.
Why these A list stars chose this script might always remain a mystery but to their credit they make this unlikely romance border on the believable. Gere oozing his patented "Pretty Woman" and "Runaway Bride" romantic charm hits every trademark brood squint and exhale in his repertoire. Ryder continues to mine her kewpie doll blank expression punctuating her performance with intermittent anger and puppy dog eyes.
A lot of beautiful fall foliage can make any film watchable and director Joan Chen ("Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl") struggles admirably to construct a silk purse from a sow's ear script. Despite sappy set pieces and some painfully awkward lines Chen manages to exploit the beautiful seasonal locations and cuisine scenes to their fullest proving she can direct a sturdy picture.