ABC Television Network
Nashville, the brainchild of Academy Award-winning writer Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise), started off with a ton of promise. The pilot was heavily promoted and the audience that tuned in was treated to an inside look at the clashing generations within the country music industry... a real life storyline that has been repeating ever since the advent of rock-and-roll. Connie Britton seemed to take her Friday Night Lights character and make her a successful music icon along the lines of Reba McEntire, while Hayden Panettiere schemed convincingly as the up-and-coming singer who's part Taylor Swift, part ice princess.
Early on, the show focused on the yin and the yang of Britton and Panettiere's relationship, with the former's Rayna Jaymes stuck in a career rut and Panettiere's Juliette Barnes more interested in kicking the established Queen of Country while she's down than helping her get back up. Throw in Charles Esten's caught-in-the-middle guitarist and there was plenty of drama to go around. Certainly, there were some soap opera elements — the parentage of Rayna's older daughter and the political machinations of her husband and powerful father among them — but as long as Britton and Panettiere were at the center the show stayed fairly even keel.
Then came the back half of the first season and things started to go off track. After initially steering clear of cameos, despite shooting on-location in Nashville, suddenly every member of the Grand Ole Opry started popping up to squeeze in a line or two. Juliette's mother appeared and brought a little too much crazy, while Rayna's husband became the mayor and left her for Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Season 2 became even more scattered as the focus shifted to ancillary characters like Clare Bowen's Scarlett and Sam Palladio's Gunnar. Next thing you know, there are assassination plots and a murder-suicide, Juliette is ostracized for questioning the existence of God, and Rayna finds her Tim McGraw in Will Chase's Luke.
Enough! While it's fine that the show has some soap opera elements — so do Scandal and Grey's Anatomy — Nashville has gone so far off-course that some fans have already abandoned it. It's not completely a lost cause, though. With the second season winding down, there are still ways to fix it.
For starters, keep the cameos to a minimum. Just because Rascal Flatts or some NASCAR driver is available doesn't mean that you need to put them on the show. Once and a while is fine, but not every episode... and not when there really isn't any purpose to their being around. Next, lose the political intrigue. No offense to Eric Close, but we don't really care about Mayor Teddy.
Most importantly, put the focus back on Rayna and Juliette. Britton and Panettiere aren't just capable actresses, at their best they are both mesmerizing. Preventing them from engaging with each other — whether in conflict or in country congeniality — is like moving Scandal's Olivia Pope out of D.C.; the whole reason for the show would be lost. Keeping Juliette down too long is a mistake, just as it would be to tone down her ego or her conniving. We don't need her in a happy relationship with Jonathan Jackson's Avery... we need her using all of her assets to get back to the top.
Similarly, Britton needs a good, juicy storyline to sink her teeth into. Having a happy and contented Rayna is not in the best interest of the show. She should be scraping and clawing to maintain her career, not chit-chatting with other country music royalty about her fledgling record label.
The show is teetering on the brink of oblivion — or, worse, irrelevance — and needs to act fast to bring back into focus the stories that drew us in at first. Otherwise, it will be a tough sell to get viewers to come back for season three… if there even is one.
Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Queen Latifah and Christoph Waltz helped U.S. talk show host Jimmy Kimmel turn popular YouTube.com videos into hilarious new film trailers on Sunday (02Mar14). As part of the comedian's annual Jimmy Kimmel Live! post-Oscars special, the TV host recruited Australian acting brothers Chris and Liam Hemsworth to shoot a big screen version of 2007 viral video Charlie Bit My Finger in a movie titled Bitman Begins.
Streep played the brawling siblings' mother, while Hanks portrayed a hooded monk looking out for Liam.
Another fake film preview featured Queen Latifah as Kimberly 'Sweet Brown' Wilkins, who rose to Internet fame in 2012 after giving an interview to a local news station in Oklahoma about her escape from an apartment fire, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt led the cast in an amusing movie adaptation as David, a youngster who begins to hallucinate from the anaesthesia he was given for dental surgery.
That trailer starred Catherine Zeta-Jones as the tooth fairy and Samuel L. Jackson as a mad dentist.
However, the best clip, a take on Amadeus the piano-playing cat, was saved until last, and starred Kevin Spacey, dressed in a giant cat costume, as Ameowdeus, while Christoph Waltz donned a furry white suit to play a scheming hamster.
The bizarre 'trailer' also featured appearances from Sir Ben Kingsley, Mandy Patinkin, Gary Oldman and Abbie Cornish.
Dame Judi Dench is set to skip the Oscars due to her filming schedule, according to reports. The British veteran is nominated for the Best Actress award alongside Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep for her turn as an Irish mother searching for her adopted son in Philomena.
Unlike her competitors, Dench has been missing from the awards season campaign trail after undergoing a knee replacement operation, and now she is reportedly set to miss out on Hollywood's biggest night.
The actress is currently in India filming the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and sources suggest the long-haul trip to Los Angeles for the prizegiving would be too much for the 79 year old.
Her daughter, Flinty Williams, also admits she is unsure about her mother's plans, telling Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Honestly, I don't know. She has been hard at work in India making the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I am not sure if she is going to fly from there to the States. It has been a few days since we have spoken."
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose studio produced Philomena, recently admitted Dench's health woes have put her at risk of missing out on awards, saying, "Honestly, it's been tough for her, health-wise, and she hasn't done the kind of campaigning the others have.
"Cate Blanchett has had the luxury of being in a lot of places... Amy Adams has been very visible at awards shows and everything else."
Dench has been nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award four times before, for Mrs. Brown, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents and Notes on a Scandal, while she won the Best Supporting Actress prize for her appearance as Queen Elizabeth I in 1998's Shakespeare in Love.
Britain's Prince Andrew has reportedly started dating George Clooney's ex-girlfriend, Croatian model Monika Jakisic. The royal was spotted on a low-key dinner date with Jakisic, 33, at Cecconi's in London on 19 February (14) as they celebrated his 54th birthday and eyewitnesses insist they were acting like a couple.
A source tells UsMagazine.com, "They sat next to each other at an intimate table by the front of the restaurant and were cuddling up to each other.
"Andrew was making Monika laugh and kissing her hand. Monika gave him a birthday card and the server brought out a white birthday cake for dessert."
The Duke of York stepped out with his new woman again two days later, when they enjoyed another outing at The Arts Club in Mayfair, London.
The witness adds, "It was obvious they are a couple, they looked like two lovebirds!"
A representative for royal residence Buckingham Palace has refused to confirm or deny the reports, stating, "We never comment on the private time of members of the Royal Family."
Prince Andrew, the third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was previously married to Sarah Ferguson, the mother of his two daughters, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Jakisic, known as 'the Croatian Sensation', was first linked to Hollywood hunk Clooney in 2004.
Veteran actress Dame Helen Mirren has mixed emotions about landing a fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) as she is sad her parents did not live to witness the proud moment. The Oscar winner will be presented with the honour by British royal Prince William at the annual prizegiving in London on Sunday (16Feb14), but Mirren has been feeling emotional about her big moment.
The 68-year-old star of The Queen tells Britain's Press Association, "I'll try not to be too emotional about it. The emotional quotient, if my lip starts trembling, is the thought that my parents aren't here to be proud and that's the trouble with getting these sort of lifetime things because they do tend to come towards the latter part of your life as opposed to the beginning and they would have been so proud and so pleased for me. They would be so relieved that it all worked out".
Mirren's father Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov died in 1980 and her mother Kitty Mironov passed away in 1996.
British pop star Adam Ant once spent more than $96,000 (£60,000) on a new suit and diamond jewellery to smarten himself up for a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. The singer was given a brief audience with the monarch during his 1980s heyday, but prior to the meeting, veteran entertainer Liza Minnelli warned him to ditch his stage costume and wear something more respectable.
Ant took her advice and splashed out thousands on a tuxedo and diamond accessories.
He tells U.K. talk show This Morning, "Liza Minnelli... she said 'I think you should change out of your costume and wear a suit'... so I went to Old Bond Street... and got some diamonds for £60,000 and I changed out of my costume into a tuxedo, and Her Majesty came along and I was standing there. The first thing she said was, 'You must be bored playing for old fuddy-duddies (old people) like us... I didn't recognise you without your make-up, Adam'... she knew my name... it was marvellous."
The singer went on to reveal his own personal connection to the Queen, adding, "My mother worked as a dressmaker... and mother actually worked on the Queen's wedding dress - she embroidered the left hand sleeve, so my mum knew Her Majesty when she was a princess."
U.S. reality TV regular-turned-sex tape porn queen Farrah Abraham has stunned fans by revealing she has been drugged and raped "more than once". The Teen Mom and Couple's Therapy star, 22, became an X-rated sensation last year (13) following the DVD release of a graphic sex session with porn star James Deen.
The film, Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Mom, became a big hit and earned the single mum millions in deals and endorsements, but she claims her debut as a porn star also led to some very dangerous situations at clubs and X-rated film conventions.
In a new interview with In Touch magazine, Abraham reveals, "I was drugged and raped more than once. I allowed the (wrong) type of people into my life. It was a very dark time."
And she has also opened up about her troubled upbringing, claiming her parents were abusive towards her.
She says, "(They) would beat me with a belt if I acted out. I had cuts, bruises, welts, swelling and scars."
She tells the magazine that she finally cut ties with her mother in 2010 following a fight over Farrah's now four-year-old daughter, Sophia.
She adds, "It was a turning point. I needed to stop the abuse."
Abraham admits that intense therapy sessions with TV shrink Dr. Jenn Berman during the filming of reality series Couple's Therapy helped her come to terms with her troubled past: "I (still have) a lot of issues but I'm more aware now, and I'm determined to break the pattern."
Singer Bruno Mars blended his R&B/pop style with rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers for a high energy Super Bowl half-time set on Sunday (02Feb14). The Grenade hitmaker's spirited show brought thousands of fans to their feet in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey as he performed a rousing medley of his greatest hits.
The 28 year old, who is the youngest artist in Super Bowl history to serve as the sole performer during the half-time show, kicked off his 12-minute set with an impressive drum solo, using a custom-designed kit in honour of his late mother, Bernadette Hernandez, who died last year (13). The artwork displayed on the bass drum, a red heart with the name 'Bernadette' running through it, was modelled after the tattoo inked on Mars' arm.
A moving platform carried him from the centre of the field through throngs of fans and onto the main stage, where he joined his eight-piece band, The Hooligans, for his hit song Locked Out of Heaven.
They also performed Treasure and Runaway Baby, before Mars introduced the California rockers to the stage.
Despite freezing temperatures in New Jersey, frontman Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea stormed the Super Bowl shirtless, as they proceeded to rock out to their hit track Give It Away. Mars and his band soon joined the Chili Peppers, with them all enthusiastically jumping in unison to the band's 1991 smash song.
As soon as Kiedis and his bandmates left the stage, the tone was brought down a notch for the final number, a touching version Just The Way You Are, as a video montage of men and women from the United States Armed Forces sent personalised messages to their loved ones at home.
A huge firework display then brought the performance to a spectacular end.
The Super Bowl kicked off with singer and New Jersey native Queen Latifah performing America the Beautiful, while opera singer Renee Fleming belted out the U.S. National Anthem.
The Seattle Seahawks triumphed over the Denver Broncos 43-8.
The cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 has finally been officially released after being leaked online ages ago. The new trailer has everyone gagging over the amazing celebrity guest judges, the higher production value, and the amazing queen moments. A queen does a death drop when she first walks into the studio! The caliber and expectations of the queens are definitely getting higher. RuPaul may have trouble picking America's Next Drag Superstar.
Judging from the trailer Khloe Kardashian, Adam Lambert, Paula Abdul, and Sheryl Lee Ralph will be judges. Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka also appear in matching outfits and may be performing as one judge. NewNowNext reports that other judges include Game of Thrones star Lena Headey, The Exorcist star Linda Blair, Leah Remini, Jaime Pressly, Community’s Gillian Jacobs, Chaz Bono and Cher’s mom, Georgia Holt.
It looks like the acting challenge may be a horror challenge since the girls are covered in blood and Ms. Blair is present. There also has to be a Cher challenge. RuPaul is a die-hard Cher fan and since Cher’s son and mother will be there as judges it seems to make sense. There will be the requisite sitcom challenge that will probably be judged by Remini and Jacobs. There also may be another musical challenge since Abdul and Ralph are judges. If there wasn't so much time to wait we wouldn't have to speculate, Ru!
This looks like it’s bound to be an amazing season.
Here are some amazing quotes from the trailer alone:
We’re drag queens in a f***ing competition; the only thing worse is prison. -Bianca del Rio
I appeared on American Idol. I looked like a lesbian Jonas brother. - Adore Delano (Danny Noriega)
Basic Bitches not wanted. - Khloe Kardashian
This is the motherf***ing Olympics! - RuPaul
Get More: RuPaul's Drag Race Full Episodes, RuPaul, Logo TV
A representative for Gisele Bundchen has defended the supermodel after she came under fire for driving a quad bike while carrying her baby daughter. The Brazilian beauty was snapped travelling on the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on a beach in Costa Rica earlier this week (begs13Jan14), but the image sparked safety concerns because Bundchen had her one-year-old daughter Vivian strapped to her chest while using one hand to control the bike. Neither mother nor daughter wore a protective helmet.
Now the star's spokesperson has released a statement to insist the catwalk queen was extremely vigilant as she manoeuvred the ATV, insisting, "Gisele was on a private beach driving very, very slowly."
Under Costa Rican law, it is illegal for people to ride an ATV on public land without wearing a helmet.
Profile of Her Majesty, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The program explores the Queen Mother's life through the eyes of relatives, friends, courtiers and biographers. Born Elizabeth Bowes Lyon on August 4, 1900, five months before the death of Queen Victoria, her life has been as varied as the century through which she lived -- a century that forms the fascinating backdrop to the program.