Veteran TV producer Ted Bergmann has died at the age of 93. He passed away on 2 March (14) following surgery in Santa Monica, California, according to his wife, Beverly.
Bergmann began his career in that late 1940s and was known for helping officials from the National Academy of Recording Artists bring early Grammy Awards ceremonies to TV audiences in the form of The Best On Record, a post-show programme which began in 1963 and featured performances from winners such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Peter, Paul and Mary.
He produced the show for U.S. network NBC for seven years and later moved on to serve as the president of the DuMont Television Network, working on broadcasts of early American football games and live boxing matches.
His other TV credits include 1970s sitcom Three's Company and its spin-off series The Ropers and Three's A Crowd, while he was also known as a screenwriter, penning an episode of The Munsters in 1968 and '70s show Sanford and Son.
Rihanna and Drake have fuelled rumours they are giving their romance another shot after they were spotted having dinner together in Amsterdam, Holland on Thursday night (06Mar14). The rapper/singer is currently touring Europe and his former girlfriend Rihanna sparked rumours they might be back together when she joined him on stage at a gig in Paris, France last month (Feb14).
They have now sent gossips into a spin after they were pictured dining out together at a sushi restaurant in Amsterdam on Thursday.
The stars dated briefly in 2010.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Frasier star Bebe Neuwirth is returning to the small screen in a new political thriller from Homeland writer Barbara Hall. The actress, who was a TV hit as Dr. Lilith Sternin in Cheers and its Frasier Crane spin-off, will play the chief of staff in Madam Secretary, a new pilot which features Tea Leoni as an embattled U.S. Secretary of State.
The project by Hall, who also created Joan of Arcadia, will mark Neuwirth's first major main cast role since Law & Order: Trial by Jury, which ran between 2005 and 2006.
Neuwirth has had more recent recurring roles in The Good Wife and Blue Bloods.
The pilot is slated to air on U.S. network CBS later this year (14).
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Tomorrow has finally arrived, and it has brought with it the trailer for the upcoming Annie remake, starring Quvenzhané Wallis as the titular orphan and a supporting cast that includes Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as the modern-day Daddy Warbucks, Will Stacks. In this version of the classic story, Wallis' Annie lives with her evil foster caretaker (Diaz) and several other over-worked, unappreciated girls in Harlem before she is plucked out of her apartment by the billionaire mogul Stacks, who is running for mayor and looking for an attention-grabbing photo opp. After she moves into his penthouse apartment, the two grow closer and both of them find the family they've been searching for.
Of course, any time a beloved classic is remade or updated, people are bound to be apprehensive. But no matter how you feel about the score getting a vaguely hip-hop remix or Diaz chewing the scenery as the obnoxious Miss Hannigan, Annie fans can take comfort in the fact that the trailer shows the new film featuring an important staple of musical cinema. We are instead referring to the scenes of Wallis and the rest of the cast dancing around the rooftops of New York City, which has long been a feature of films, movies and musicals.
In honor of the new Annie trailer, we've decided to salute Wallis and her castmates for their bravery and and well-executed choreography with a list of ten great rooftop dance sequences from film and television. Although please, don't actually try this home. We really don't want to be responsible for inspiring a wave of severe injuries just for the sake of a light-hearted dance routine. We're including clips, just live vicariously through them.
Empire Records After you've damned the man and saved the Empire, what better way to celebrate than with a rooftop dance party? Joe owns the store now, everyone's forgotten about Lucas stealing the money, Warren has a job, Corey and AJ are officially together, Gina and Deb are finally getting along and Mark... well, he's Mark, so everyone gets to spin around the roof in the glow of the newly-fixed sign. If you're looking for a way to celebrate Rex Manning Day, this is it.
10 Things I Hate About You If we've learned anything from the teen movies of the '90s, it's that a story has never properly ended until someone gives a rooftop performance while the credits roll, and 10 Things I Hate About You wrapped up the love story of Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles by having Letters to Cleo perform a Cheap Trick cover on what appeared to be the tallest castle spire in all the land. And lest you worry that this scene doesn't fit the "dancing" criteria of this list, we'd like to remind you of the two guys in this band whose sole purpose it is to arm-dance behind the lead singer. Don't shatter their dreams.
The Princess and the FrogTeen movies aren't the only ones that like to wrap up a story with some well-lit, rooftop dancing; Disney has fallen victim to the same urge, and The Princess and the Frog ends with Tiana and Naveen dancing a giddy Charleston in the skyline over New Orleans at sunset. You know how people say that Disney films have given them unrealistic expectations about love and life? This scene is one of the reasons why.
West Side Story Yes, the main character of this film is technically sweet, innocent Maria, but everyone knows the real star was Anita, who was played to perfection by Rita Moreno. The scene that established her dominance over the movie musical genre is the rooftop-set dance off "America." She gets all the best lines, all the best dance moves, and once she starts sassing the boys and twirling her skirt, it's impossible to care about Tony and Maria's sappy romance anymore. If you watch carefully, you can pinpoint the exact high kick that earned Moreno that Oscar.
Friends, "The One With the Ballroom Dancing" In order to keep the superintendent, Mr. Traeger, from evicting Rachel and Monica, Joey sucks up to him by helping him learn how to dance for "The Super Ball," which culminates in a tender, beautifully choreographed dance sequence between the two on the roof of the building. Who knew Joey was so smooth?
Mary Poppins When you think "dancing on the roof," it's almost impossible not to think about the chimney sweeps tap dancing and high kicking around the roofs of London. Thanks to the repetitive lyrics, everyone can learn to do this dance (once you figure out what Dick Van Dyke is saying through that terrible accent), and everyone did when they were little, stomping and twirling their way around the living room along with all of the chimney sweeps. And if you were really adventurous, you probably threw in some couch-hopping as well.
Clerks IINo matter how foul-mouthed your characters are, there's always an opportunity to work in a romantic rooftop dancing scene, and so Kevin Smith managed to work on into Clerks II with Becky attempting to teach Dante how to dance to "ABC" by the Jackson 5. Unlike the rest of the films on this list, this one turns into an all-out, elaborate dance party, but it all started with Rosario Dawson shimmying around the roof.
High School Musical 3 Sometimes the rooftop dance sequence is important to the plot, sometimes it's a fun moment of celebration, and sometimes it's just there to look pretty, which is the case with Troy and Gabriella's number in High School Musical 3. Theoretically, it's part of Troy asking her to the prom, but mostly it's just in there because Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens hadn't sung a touching ballad to each other since the pervious movie. However, we do give director Kenny Ortega bonus points for managing to work in a second rom-com staple: dancing in the rain.
Victorious, Multiple Episodes What can we say? Tween movies and television shows love to feature people dancing on top of roofs. No show made more use of this trope than Victorious, where seemingly every performance took place on the school's roof, including a prom number featuring Victoria Justice and a pre-pop stardom Ariana Grande singing a song about having a crush on your best friend's older brother. Again, bonus points to Dan Schneider for managing to work a thunderstorm into this performance, which surprisingly doesn't concern the kid playing the electric guitar at all.
Moulin Rouge In a film that featured characters singing, dancing and falling in love all over Paris, it's no surprise that the biggest, most romantic moment occurred on a rooftop that was covered in flowers, fairy lights, and a giant windmill that was often utilized for dramatic moments. We are, of course, referring to the "Elephant Love Medley," which is less formally known as the moment that everyone fell head over heels in love with Ewan McGregor. Forget "Come What May," this is the dance sequence that teenage girls the world over dream about.
American TV game show host Geoff Edwards has died, aged 83. The veteran TV and radio personality passed away at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California on Wednesday (05Mar14) after a battle with pneumonia.
Edwards began his career presenting a radio show before moving into acting, appearing in TV series such as Petticoat Junction, I Dream Of Jeannie and Diff'rent Strokes, and also took up game show hosting.
He fronted a number of game shows from the 1970s into the early 1990s, including Jackpot, The New Treasure Hunt, Shoot For The Stars, Play It By Ear and Chain Reaction.
He was also the host of The Big Spin, the lottery TV show in California, for 10 years.
Actress Patricia Arquette is heading back to TV to front a new CSI spin-off. The Medium and Boardwalk Empire star will play a cyber-psychologist in the new series, which will debut later this year (14).
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul is in "serious talks" to reprise his role in the hit TV drama for the show's upcoming spin-off series, Better Call Saul. Show co-creator Vince Gilligan has been working on a prequel based on the dodgy dealings of lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, and Paul reveals he has been invited to reunite with his old co-stars as troubled youth Jesse Pinkman.
His character will be portrayed as a low-level drug dealer before he joined forces with his high school chemistry teacher-turned-drug lord Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
He tells the New York Daily News, "Anything Vince is involved with, I'm there. I owe him my entire career. And the idea of jumping into the skin of Jesse Pinkman again in his lighter days - because it's all a prequel - it would be fun."
Paul won't be the only familiar face making an appearance on Better Call Saul - Jonathan Banks, who played private investigator Mike Ehrmantraut, has also signed on for the series.
It is not yet known if Cranston will also return, but Dean Norris, who was cast as his onscreen brother-in-law and drug enforcement agent Hank Schrader, will not be part of the reunion.
He says, "I think that experience was that experience. I'm not a big fan of kind of revisiting something that has already been done. But I think it's going to be awesome. So I can't wait to see it."
Better Call Saul is due to debut on America's AMC network in November (14), a year after Breaking Bad's fifth and final season aired on TV.
Hip-hop stars Dj Paul and Da Mafia 6 are paying tribute to their late bandmate Lord Infamous by taking his casket with them on tour. The rapper, real name Ricky Dunigan, suffered a fatal heart attack in December (13), at the age of 40, but DJ Paul is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of his half-brother and he is determined to keep his spirit alive onstage by keeping his casket nearby.
He says, "We're bringing his casket out, we're bringing it to every show. I wanted him to be there. I'm that kind of guy - a weird, kinda creepy kind of guy. I had to pay a lot of money to get an extended tour trailer that would fit his casket and all of the merch (merchandise)."
Lord Infamous and DJ Paul were co-founders of Three 6 Mafia and formed the spin-off group, Da Mafia 6, last year (13) with five of the original six members of the Oscar-winning group.
Da Mafia 6's Triple 6ix Tour kicks off in Memphis, Tennessee on Friday night (28Feb14).
Top TV director Cliff Bole has died at the age of 76. Bole, whose full name was Clifford John Bole, passed away at his home in Palm Desert, California on 15 February (14). No further details of his death have been released.
After starting his career as a script supervisor on sitcom McHale's Navy in the 1960s, Bole moved into directing and producing, most famously taking the helm of more than 40 episodes of the Star Trek franchise, including The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine spin-offs. He even had a race of Star Trek aliens, The Bolians, named after him.
Bole also directed episodes of Baywatch, Charlie's Angels, MacGyver, Fantasy Island, Mission: Impossible, and The X Files throughout his five-decade career.