Controversy has surrounded the HBO horse racing drama Luck since production on the show’s first season. Early on, it was reported that two horses died on set. The deaths have been attributed by animal rights activists to negligence on the parts of the network and the crew. Just yesterday, it was reported that a third horse was injured and had to be euthanized during production on a Season Two episode. In light of this, HBO promptly decided to cancel the critically acclaimed (but low rated) series altogether.
Although production for Season Two was already underway, HBO decided that the matter at hand takes precedence, pulling the plug on its newest drama. Although the old maxim says that controversy surrounding a show pulls in viewers, some controversies are big enough to extinguish the programs altogether, including the other defunct series.
As an MTV series about underage teens drinking, doing drugs and having sex, Skins was cursed with controversy from the start. Although the program came from a popular and critically acclaimed British series, the American incarnation was never associated with the same veneration. It reached the point where Skins was under investigation for child pornography laws (which lost it a good deal of its sponsors). Shortly after, MTV canceled Skins, to absolutely no one’s surprise.
I Love Money
Like Luck, VH1’s I Love Money’s controversy concerned the tragic goings on behind the scenes, rather than onscreen. During the third season of I Love Money, contestant Ryan Jenkins was declared the primary suspect in the brutal murder and mutilation of his wife, Jasmine Fiore. Shortly after Fiore’s death, Jenkins himself was found dead in an apparent suicide. Unable to escape these connotations through its fourth season, I Love Money was soon canceled.
The Playboy Club
A recent addition to the list is NBC’s The Playboy Club, a period drama set in Chicago’s Playboy Club in 1961. Well before its series premiere, The Playboy Club was earning a great deal of heat from a variety of interest groups. It was admonished for its "vulgar," sexual nature, and for its "degrading" portrayal of women. Feminist activist Gloria Steinem, who went undercover in New York's Playboy Club as an investigative journalist in 1961, spoke out against the series as an unrealistic and exploitative depiction of the setting. NBC canceled The Playboy Club shortly into its first season.
The Smothers Brothers
Controversial television dates back to the 1960s. The comedy duo Tom and Dick Smothers’ CBS variety show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was one of the earliest pieces of satirical comedy, taking shots at issues like the Vietnam War and the government. Not long after musician and activist Joan Baez came on the show to comment on her husband’s imprisonment for refusing to serve in the military, CBS pulled the show abruptly.
Politically Incorrect As its title would suggest, ABC’s current events talk show Politically Incorrect often treaded the waters of what some might consider appropriate subject matter. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, host Bill Maher and guest Dinesh D’Souza made critical remarks about President George W. Bush’s dubbing of the terrorists as cowards. Maher went on to apply the title of cowardice to the American military, although apologized soon afterward, and specified that he was not referring to the soldiers themselves, but to U.S. military policy. Maher’s inflammatory remarks are often cited as the reason ABC canceled the long-running series the following June.
The producer, who died in 1991, was responsible for seven series of the cult show, beginning in 1966. He also took the reins on 10 big-screen versions of the sci-fi classic.
Roddenberry will be posthumously added to the Hall of Fame at a ceremony on 20 January (10) at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.
Other stars to be inducted include Saturday Night Live's Don Pardo, U.S. comedy brothers Tom and Dick Smothers, as well as actress Candice Bergen, who starred in Murphy Brown in the 1990s.
Director Charles Lisanby and The Price Is Right creator Bob Stewart will also join the list.
Tina Fey stole the show at the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, receiving top honors on Sunday's, September 21, event for her hit series 30 Rock.
The series, starring creator Fey,
Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, won the Outstanding Comedy Series award, while TV series Mad Men claimed its own top honor for Outstanding Drama Series.
Fey and Baldwin each took home top honors of Outstanding Lead Actress and Actor in a Comedy Series for their roles on the show.
Fey took the stage, musing of her honors: "I thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done. That is what all parents should do."
Historical series John Adams, executive produced by Tom Hanks, was the most-nominated show of the year, taking in five awards of its record 23 nods,
including a win for Outstanding Miniseries. Actress Glenn Close also claimed victory, picking up an honor for her lead role on dramatic series Damages.
Close paid tribute to actresses in her category: "We're proving that complicated, powerful, mature women are sexy and are high entertainment and can carry a show. I call us the sisterhood of the TV drama divas."
In a first-time category, Best Reality-TV Competition program went to Amazing Race, the show's sixth award.
Elsewhere, the spectacular ceremony was marked by a performance from American singer/songwriter Josh Groban, joined briefly on stage by Ed McMahon during a musical salute to television history. Groban took to the stage, singing a medley of songs inspired by TV themes including songs from South Park and
This year's show, opened by talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, was hosted by reality-TV stars American Idol's Ryan Seacrest, Project Runway's Heidi Klum, Dancing with the Stars' Tom Bergeron, Deal or No Deal's Howie Mandel and Survivor's Jeff Probst.
The full list of Grammy Award winners is as follows:
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeremy Piven - Entourage
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Smart - Samantha Who?
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Zeljko Ivanek - Damages
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Dianne Wiest - In Treatment
Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Louis J. Horvitz - 80th Annual Academy Awards
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: The Colbert Report
Commemorative Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety:
Tommy Smothers - The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Laura Linney - John Adams
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Tim Conway - 30 Rock
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Kathryn Joosten - Desperate Housewives
Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series: Barry Sonnenfeld - Pushing Daisies
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Tina Fey - 30 Rock
Outstanding Made for Television Movie: Recount
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Tom Wilkinson - John Adams
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Series: Jay Roach - Recount
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Kirk Ellis - John Adams
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Eileen Atkins - Cranford (Masterpiece)
Outstanding Reality-TV Competition: The Amazing Race
Outstanding Miniseries: John Adams
Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Don Rickles - Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Glynn Turman - In Treatment
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Cynthia Nixon - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Greg Yaitanes - House
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Matthew Weiner - Mad Men - "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (Pilot)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Paul Giamatti - John Adams
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Glenn Close - Damages
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Tina Fey - 30 Rock
Outstanding Host for a Reality Competition Show: Jeff Probst - Survivor
Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock
Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men
(c) 2008 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All global rights reserved. No unauthorized copying or re-distributing permitted.
A comedy writer is suing Walt Disney claiming he was the brainchild behind hit TV show Hannah Montana.
Buddy Sheffield filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday alleging breach of contract, breach of confidence, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
Sheffield - who has written for The Smothers Brothers Show and The Dolly Parton Show - claims he pitched an idea for a television series called Rock and Roland to the Disney Channel in 2001.
According to the lawsuit, the story was about a junior high school student who lived a secret double life as a rock star. Sheffield claims Disney plagiarized the idea for their show Hannah Montana and is demanding a share of the revenue.
Disney bosses were unavailable for comment.
COPYRIGHT 2007 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
Top Story: James Garner Becomes 8 Simple Rules Regular
Touchstone TV, the producers of ABC's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, has signed veteran actor James Garner as a regular to its sophomore comedy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Garner will appear in all remaining episodes of the season as Grandpa Jim, the father of Katey Sagal's character, the widowed Cate Hennessy. He has guest-starred in all episodes of the show to date, starting with the emotional Nov. 4 one-hour segment, the first episode without star John Ritter, who died of a heart ailment in September. His character came to support Cate and three teenage grandchildren as they dealt with the realities of becoming a single-parent family. The 75-year-old Garner, who took a fall on the set of the show last week and bruised his hip, is set to return to 8 Simple Rules Jan. 5 in an episode guest-starring David Spade, who signed on to do a multiple-episode arc.
Maverick Films Launches Screenwriting Competition
Madonna and Guy Oseary's Maverick Films has teamed with online script scouting service ScriptShark--a division of Baseline/Filmtracker, which is owned by Hollywood Media Corp., Hollywood.com's parent company--to launch the Maverick Blueprint Screenwriting Competition. According to Variety, the grand prizewinner will receive $10,000 and a 12-month option with Maverick. The second place winner will receive $5,000 while third place will get $2,000. All three winners will also receive the opportunity to sign for management representation with Concept Entertainment. The deadline to enter the contest is Feb. 29.
CBS May Air Jackson Special
Michael Jackson Number Ones, CBS' Michael Jackson music special that was scrapped last month when child molestation allegations against the singer surfaced, may air after all. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday that the network is considering a January airdate for the hour-long retrospective, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 26 in conjunction with the release of Jackson's greatest hits album, Michael Jackson Number Ones. TV news circles were also abuzz yesterday about Jackson possibly sitting down for an interview with Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes next month.
Bruckheimer Shows Dominate Primetime Ratings
CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Without a Trace and CSI: Miami-- three different shows produced by Jerry Bruckheimer--were the three most-watched programs on prime-time television last week, giving the network a win in the week's ratings race. Cold Case, a fourth Bruckheimer show, was ranked ninth in last week's prime-time numbers, compiled by Nielsen Media Research. The top shows for the week of Dec. 15-21 were: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 24.7 million; Without a Trace, CBS, 19.4 million; CSI: Miami, 19.2 million; NFL Monday Night Football: Philadelphia at Miami, ABC, 18.8 million; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 18.1 million; Two and a Half Men, CBS, 14.8 million; NFL Monday Showcase, ABC, 14.3 million; Cold Case, CBS, 14 million; Primetime Special Edition, ABC, 13.9 million.
Recording Academy Chooses Lifetime Award Recipients
Recording artists Van Cliburn, the Funk Brothers, Ella Jenkins, Sonny Rollins, Artie Shaw and Doc Watson will receive lifetime achievement awards at next year's Grammy Awards ceremony, The Associated Press reports. Jazz producer Orrin Keepnews, songwriting duo Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and pianist/radio host Marian McPartland will receive Trustees Awards. Both recipients of the special merit awards will be officially acknowledged in a ceremony during a weeklong celebration leading up to the 46th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, set to take place Feb. 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show will be telecast live on CBS.
Springsteen Top Concert Earner of 2003
Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band ruled the concert business in 2003, raking in a whopping $115.9 million for 47 concerts, including 13 stadium shows in the New York area, the AP reports. The numbers, released by the concert industry trade publication Pollstar, aren't final yet, but editor Gary Bongiovanni predicts 2003 will be the fourth record-setting year in a row with around $2.4 billion in concert business. Bongiovanni said that's largely because fans have accepted higher ticket prices for big-name acts, particularly veterans. Rounding out the Top Five earners for the year were Celine Dion, the Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel and the Billy Joel-Elton John double bill, all of which charged more than $100 per ticket on average.
Academy Award Winning Animator Dies
Academy Award winning animator Wah Ming Chang died Monday in Carmel, Calif., at the age of 86, the AP reports. Born in Honolulu, Chang moved to San Francisco in the early 1920s. Chang was instrumental in creating a stop-motion animation production of The Three Bears, and he also designed costumes for the film The King and I, created masks for Planet of the Apes and made Elizabeth Taylor's headdress in Cleopatra. But it was his work on the 1960 feature The Time Machine that earned him an Oscar for special effects. Chang married Glenella Taylor in 1941 in Texas, since California law at the time did not allow marriage between a Chinese and a Caucasian. Taylor, his wife of nearly 60 years, died in 1997. Chang is survived by a half-sister and several nieces and nephews.
Comedian Lenny Bruce Gets Posthumous Pardon
Comedian Lenny Bruce, who died of a drug overdose in 1966 at the age of 39, was pardoned Tuesday for a 1964 obscenity conviction over a raunchy, irreverent monologue at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York, Reuters reports. New York Gov. George Pataki issued what his office said was the first posthumous pardon in the state's history: "Freedom of speech is one of the greatest American liberties and I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve." A group of lawyers and comedians, including Robin Williams and The Smothers Brothers, petitioned Pataki earlier this year, saying the posthumous pardon would help set the record straight on the career of a man who helped transform comedy.
Role Call: Stormare To Play Satan in Constantine
Top Story: Douglas Feted at Golden Globes
The 61st annual Golden Globes has chosen Michael Douglas as this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient for career achievement, The Associated Press reports. Douglas follows in the footsteps of his father, Kirk Douglas, who won the same honor in 1968. Previous recipients include Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, Al Pacino and Sophia Loren. Douglas will receive the award during NBC's live telecast Jan. 25 in Los Angeles. AP reports the Hollywood Foreign Press Association also announced that Kevin Costner's 17-year-old daughter, Lily Costner, will escort winners offstage at this year's ceremony as Miss Golden Globe.
Hilton "Embarrassed" By Tape
Paris Hilton admitted to AP she never thought a sex video she made with her ex-boyfriend would ever become public. "I feel embarrassed and humiliated, especially because my parents and the people who love me have been hurt," the socialite and reality TV actress said Monday in a statement to AP. "I was in an intimate relationship and never, ever thought that these things would become public." The ex-boyfriend, Rick Solomon, recently filed a $10 million slander lawsuit against Hilton, her family and her publicist, claiming they have sought to portray him as a criminal.
Spears Hits Hollywood Walk of Fame
Pop princess Britney Spears got her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday, on the eve of her first album release in two years, Reuters reports. "I'm seriously speechless right now. This is something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl. ... Thank you so much for even coming out today and sharing this memory with me that I'll never forget," the giddy singer told her cheering onlookers at the ceremony. Her album In the Zone was released Tuesday.
Minnelli Files Suit Against Husband
Liza Minnelli has filed a lawsuit against her estranged husband, David Gest, claiming he stole at least $2 million from her. AP reports Minnelli's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan court, says she and her representatives question Gest's expense deductions from money she earned in performances that he produced, or in which he acted as her agent. This follows Gest's own scathing $10 million lawsuit filed in October in which he claims Minnelli physically abused him. Needless to say, the two, who married in March 2002, have also both filed for divorce.
Anderson Launches Clothing Line
Jumping on the entrepreneurial bandwagon, Pamela Anderson is set to launch her own clothing line. AP reports "The Pamela Collection" will include jeans, T-shirts, sweaters, jewelry, lingerie and fragrance when it reaches stores in fall 2004. "I want to make sure it's affordable and available," Anderson said, who will have creative control and will be involved as a co-designer. "I can't wait for it to come out so I can get the clothes for myself and my friends. It's been a lot of work," the Baywatch star added.
Mickey Mouse Turns 75
Happy Birthday, Mickey! The Disney icon arrived on the scene 75 years ago today when he made his screen debut in the animated short Steamboat Willie on Nov. 18, 1928, as an irreverent rodent who takes Captain Pete's steamboat on a joyride and woos Minnie Mouse (who is turning 75 as well).
Music Industry To Get Worse Before Better
According to a study done by the London-based research firm Informa Media Group, the music industry has at least two more years before they'll see any sales recovery, Reuters reports. Informa's study showed the retail value of global music sales will drop to $28.2 billion this year from $30.9 billion in 2002 and to $28 billion in 2004 before returning to growth in 2005 as new Internet music services take off. "The music industry is in a bad way at the moment but the continued fall in the value of music sales is certainly not irreversible. The success of the new download services proves there is a viable market for legitimate digital sales," Simon Dyson, an Informa analyst, told Reuters.
Reagans Gets Airdate
In an unexpected move, Showtime announced they will air The Reagans, the controversial TV-movie CBS nixed a few weeks ago, on Nov. 30, AP reports. Originally, Showtime said they would wait until next year to air the movie, which follows Ronald and Nancy Reagan's rise to power and caused an uproar from some who claimed it contained inaccuracies that projected the former president in a bad light. "We just thought it didn't make sense to prolong this and bring it on next year," Robert Greenblatt, Showtime Entertainment president, told AP. "I'm just tired of people making judgments on this when they haven't seen it. Let them see it."
Role Call: Smothers Brothers Reunite
Tom and Dick Smothers, the successful sibling team behind the wacky '70s variety show Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, have agreed to play themselves in a two-hour telepic for Paul Reiser's production company, Nuance Prods. Variety reports the hybrid biopic/mockumentary will explore how the two got their start, their rise to stardom and their controversial variety show, which CBS yanked due to disagreements over content. Smothers Brothers alum David Steinberg will direct.
First-time pregnancy isn't exactly turning out to be a cherished experience for Liz Hurley. The 36-year-old actress is lashing out at former boyfriend/movie producer Steve Bing for publicly stating that he is not convinced he's the father of her unborn child. Bing describes their 18-month relationship as not "exclusive," which creates some doubt in his mind that he might be the proud pop. Hurley insists she was faithful to Bing. "This is the first I had heard of this and the implications are very painful, especially as I am shortly to give birth to his child,'' Hurley said in a statement on Tuesday. "I'm deeply distraught."
U2 front man and political activist Bono received the European of the Year award on Tuesday, an honor bestowed upon him by a panel of European journalists. According to Reuters, Bono was mainly recognized for his charitable work for the organization Drop the Debt, which provides financial relief to poor countries.
According to USA Today, the First Amendment Center will honor a handful of comedians for their advancement of free speech through humor at the upcoming U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. Among those honored will be Bill Maher, the Smothers Brothers, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Orlando's Walt Disney World will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Walt Disney on Wednesday with a massive parade, a fireworks show and a 25-foot-high portrait of the man--made entirely out of cakes.
Stars from all six major broadcast networks are shooting special promos for the holidays aimed at boosting the morale of U.S. troops overseas. Among those filming ads are Ray Romano, Drew Carey, Patricia Heaton and the casts of The West Wing, Third Watch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Enterprise, according to People.
ABC's World News Tonight has emerged as November's nightly news ratings champ, barely edging out NBC's Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. ABC averaged 11.54 million viewers while Brokaw's program took in an average of 11.42 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.
According to Variety, Arnold Schwarzenegger's paycheck for the upcoming Terminator sequel, T3, will be a cool $30 million. Comparatively, the movie's director, Jonathan Mostow, will pull in just $5 million.
In other news of the "ridiculously overpaid," actress Cameron Diaz will earn $20 million to star in a sequel to Charlie's Angels, Variety reports. The only other actress to score that kind of loot for one film is Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich.
After five months in rehab for alcohol addiction, Metallica's James Hetfield checked out of an undisclosed treatment facility on Tuesday, according to a spokesman for the singer. On Metallica's official Web site, Hetfield wrote to his fans, "My rough road has become smoother."
According to the BBC, a legal battle is underway between a woman who donated Frank Sinatra's Jaguar to a New Jersey auction house and the man who eventually placed the winning bid for the car. The man bid $20,000 for Ol' Blue Eyes' automobile but the woman who donated the Jaguar is now refusing to cough up the prize, complaining that the amount is too low for such an item.
The legendary late show producer Fred De Cordova, who produced The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for 22 years, died Saturday of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 90.
He started his career as a director in the 1940s, directing B-movies including Here Come the Nelsons, with Ozzie, Harriet and sons, and Bedtime for Bonzo, with Ronald Reagan. But during the television boom in the '50s and '60s, he began directing and producing television programs, including My Three Sons and variety shows with Jack Benny, George Gobel, Burns and Allen, and the Smothers Brothers.
Mr. De Cordova began producing The Tonight Show in 1970, eight years after Carson became the show's star, and became executive producer in 1984. The always-present Mr. De Cordova proved to be the perfect orchestrator for Carson and his crew, able to make split decisions to keep the show moving.
In Mr. De Cordova's words, "I can't think of anything else that would be interesting and as much fun as this. It's the best job in television."
He was a stage fixture, stationed next to a video monitor just off stage, and was often seen on camera, answering Carson's questions or serving as a butt of a joke. Rip Torn's character Artie parodied Mr. De Cordova on the HBO hit show The Larry Sanders Show. When Carson retired in 1992, Mr. De Cordova remained as an executive consultant for Jay Leno.
Mr. De Cordova is survived by his wife, Jane.