S8:E1 Well, it's certainly been a bit of time since you've had a The Office recap to read, hasn't it? Indeed it has! Well, all things considering (like the fact that Steve Carell won't be on this season and the fact that Steve Carell lost the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to someone named after what might as well be Duane Reade's version of Vegemite), I'm pretty excited for what lies ahead of us this year and I think we're going to get some good recaps out of it! Even though we've already had a few spoilers revealed to us about the upcoming season (which, hey, is now THIS SEASON!), I've got a feeling this is going to be an exciting adventure for everyone involved. That is, of course, unless you believe that Jim Parsons deserved the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Things might get a little dicey if that becomes an issue. And not the good kind that can pass for okay if you just put it in a nice gold frame.
But I don't mean to impose any divides so early in the game! Let's focus instead on the material that unites us, like the greatness that was last night's premiere episode. Things began rather quickly!
"He talked her out of her own job." - Jim
We started with Jim, who explained that since we last saw him, he and Pam had conceived another baby... and it's a boy this time. Angela also married her State Senator boyfriend and she is also expecting. But more importantly, you're probably itching to know who the new manager is! Right, well, the search committee gave Robert California the job, but then on his first day he walked into the office and the atmosphere was too depressing for him and so he flew down to Florida and told Jo that he would be a better CEO than she would. And so Jo quit and made Robert California the CEO. And then ANDY BERNARD became the Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Everyone else that I didn't mention spent the summer getting really good at planking.
"It's just a list of our names split into two columns." - Jim
Things got awkward, though, when Robert California was doing his routine walk around the office and looking for someone to talk to so he could judge them for what they said. He finally stopped at Erin's desk, and then after reminding her that she should never start describing her day by saying that she woke up that morning, he was called into Andy's office for a meeting. Erin noticed that Robert left his notebook at her desk and when she picked it up to go deliver it to him in Andy's office, she saw that it was opened to a page that had the names of everyone in the entire office divided into two columns. So once Andy's meeting was over with Robert, Erin brought the notebook to Andy and told him that he should ask Robert what each category meant. So Andy did as he was told and when he confronted Robert about why he divided the office in half, Robert said it was just his way of doodling, like the way Jonah Hill's character in Superbad used to uncontrollably draw penises.
"I guess they are losers." - Robert California
Andy was convinced that the list was harmless until Robert California announced that he would be taking some people out to lunch (that included Dwight, Jim, Creed, Toby, Phyllis, Darrel, Angela, Kevin, and Oscar) and that everyone whose name he did not call was not invited. At the lunch, Dwight got Robert to admit that everyone sitting at the table with him was someone he respected and that everyone back at the office was someone who he considered a loser. This, of course, did not sit very well with Jim, or Toby (who hilariously got up from the table and said Robert had made a mistake in confusing him for a winner). While the winners were out eating a fancy meal, Andy was pressured into doing something special for lunch as well and so he ordered pizza, and Ryan complained that the crust was too sharp. But when the "winners" came back from work, it somehow got out that the people Robert took out to lunch were the employees he had high regard for, and that everyone who was at Andy's pizza party wasn't worthy of Robert's attention or praise. This did not sit well with Andy because he considered all of his employees to be winners and so he barged into Robert's office (which was the conference room) and confronted the CEO for a second time about his list with the two columns. Robert then addressed everyone in the office publicly and admitted that yes, the people who he ate with were people he admired and those who were not invited were people he did not admire. He closed his statement with asking the group he ate with to prove his assumptions about them right and then told the group that stayed in the office for lunch to prove his assumptions about them wrong. But the entire exchange seemed very wrong to Regional Manager Andy, who then barged back into Robert's office for a third time and sat down and showed Robert that not one person in the office was a loser by going through each and every one of them and informing him of their strengths. For example, he claimed that Robert wrongly assumed Pam was a loser because she was, in fact, kind and the most creative person in the office. Andy also argued that Meredith wasn't a loser because she was the best customer representative and she never takes no for an answer. In the end, everyone high-fived Andy on their way out for defending them and Jim made his own list on a piece of paper that had "Pam," "Cece" (their daughter) and "new baby" written in one column and then had "everyone else" written in the other column. And Pam cried about it because it was sweet and she was so mega pregnant.
The Berlin International Film Festival, one of the top three festivals in Europe, kicked off Wednesday with a homegrown film by German director Tom Tykwer. Heaven stars Cate Blanchett as an English teacher who tries to kill a heroin dealer who has been selling drugs to schoolchildren by planting a bomb in his office, killing four innocent people. Filmed before the September 11, it received scant approval from the 1,000 journalists who saw the press screening, Reuters reports.
Despite leaving the show in December, Eriq La Salle may still be making the rounds in ER. The actor, who plays the role of Dr. Benton on the NBC medical drama, will reportedly appear in a late-season story line. No details about the episode content have been revealed, USA Today reports.
Influential writer Norman Mailer told Britain's Daily Telegraph Wednesday that patriotism can go too far, calling America "the real religion in this country." Mailer added that if anyone had benefited from the attacks on Sept. 11, it was America's right wing. "If I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they'd done it," he said.
Nicolas Cage, 38, and Lisa Marie Presley, 34, ended their 10-month relationship two weeks ago, USA Today reports. According to their reps, the two "hope to remain friendly."
In the Bedroom and Memento have been ruled ineligible for Writers Guild of America honors because the writers weren't members of the WGA at the time the films were made. The WGA contends that while it it's difficult to pass up wonderful screenwriting, their objective is to protect writers.
CBS will air a two-hour special March 10 featuring exclusive video shot inside the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. According to The Associated Press, the material was caught on tape by French filmmakers Gedeon and Jules Naudet, who were in lower Manhattan shooting a documentary on New York City firefighters.
As NBC begins its coverage of the Salt Lake City Olympics Friday, the red, white and blue on-air peacock--changed after the Sept. 11 attacks--will go back to its original clear hue, Variety reports. Network executives didn't want to keep such a visibly pro-USA symbol on the air during an international event that's meant to promote global unity.
Director Frank Oz (The Score) has signed to shoot his first TV pilot for ABC, Variety reports. The pilot for The Funkhausers, which revolves around an eccentric yet tight-knit family, was written by Emmy-winning writers/producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein (The Simpsons).
Nathan Lane, who is currently starring in the hit Broadway comedy The Producers, has signed on to a project at CBS. Party, a comedy about a passé TV star who wins a seat in Congress, is expected to get a pilot order from the network once it finalizes a deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Lane's contract with The Producers is up in March.
Singer James Brown testified Tuesday that he never touched a former employee who is suing him for alleged sexual harassment and wrongful termination, reports Reuters. The plaintiff, Lisa Agbalaya, 36, has accused Brown of making unwanted sexual advances and then firing her when she filed a complaint about his behavior. She is seeking $1 million in damages.
1980s pop idol Tiffany will appear in the April issue of Playboy. According to Reuters, the spread was designed to change her image from that of a 15-year-old performer to a 30-year-old wife and mother.
Singer Johnny Cash, who is currently in Jamaica working on a new album, turns 70 on Feb. 26. To commemorate his birthday, many album releases are in the works including, The Essential Johnny Cash, a retrospective look at his career, and the American Milestones series, which will release five classic Cash albums from 1959 to 1967.
Singer-songwriter Graham Nash celebrated his 60th birthday Saturday at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CNN reports. More than 150 guests attended, including Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Bette Midler. Midler, along with a dozen other women, presented a musical tribute to Nash with "As Time Goes By." Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's three-month Tour of America is slated to begin Wednesday in Detroit.
Rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard will be inducted into the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Hall of Fame on Feb. 23, Reuters reports. The Hall of Fame Award is given to artists who have excelled throughout their careers and have been creative and innovative forces in their respective fields.
Cult sci-fi actor George Nader, best known for his starring role in the kitsch sci-fi classic Robot Monster, has died at the age of 80 from pneumonia at the Motion Picture Country Home, near Los Angeles. Nader was also well known as one of the inner circle of late actor Rock Hudson.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, to promote the launch of his new action drama Collateral Damage. The film opens nationwide Feb. 8.
Colombian newcomer Juanes received six Latin Grammy Awards nominations on Tuesday, the most for any artist, including record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, for "Fijate Bien," and best new artist.
Spanish artist Alejandro Sanz earned the second-most nominations, five in total, including record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, for "El Alma Al Aire," and best male pop vocal album.
Two of the most popular Mexican female acts also were nominated. Thalia and Paulina Rubio, who both performed with the group Timbiriche during their teens, each received nominations for best female pop vocal album.
Among the young stars who has successfully crossed over to the Spanish market is pop sensation Christina Aguilera. She received two nominations: best record of the year and best female pop vocal album for Pero Me Acuerdo De Ti (But I Remember You).
A group of famous Latin American singers and musicians, including Thalia, Jon Secada and Emilio Esfetan, took the stage at the American Airlines Arena in Miami to read the list of nominees for the second annual Latin Grammy Awards. The awards will be held at the arena on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
All the artists present at the nomination announcement carried a sense of pride to be able to carry their music across the world.
"There is a lot of diversity in the music, different angles and different flavors," said producer Emilio Estefan, who is married of singer Gloria Estefan. " It's a dream for me to showcase the music here. That is always something that I dreamt about when I was younger, and to have that finally happen is a dream come true."
"Its almost like a dream to be a part of the music," singer Paulina Rubio said. "The Grammys are one of the most important awards in music and I am glad to be a part of it. I owe it all to my fans."
Latin artists are beginning to confirm that their music is cross-cultural, Colombian singer Shalim said.
"Music is the universal language, and the fact that we are Latin and are to take our music across is very satisfying," Shalim said.
This year's nominations "truly reflect both international scope of Latin music and the diversity of the artists who make it," said Michael Greene, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Latin Recording Academy.
"We are celebrating span the globe and the multi-faceted genres of what we now know as Latin music," he added.
"Miami is a direct connection with the Latin music industry," said Alex Penelas, Miami-Dade Mayor, during a pre-recorded televised speech. "We have some of own very own Latin American artists here, such as Jon Secada, Gloria Estefan, and Celia Cruz...I love Celia Cruz."
Penelas was unable to attend the event because he is currently in South Africa promoting cultural events for the city of Miami.
" We have to celebrate Miami and Miami has to celebrate its music," he said
The aim of the Latin Grammy Awards is to recognize excellence and create a greater public awareness of the cultural diversity and contributions of recording artists.
But it hasn't been easy for Miami to be the host of the Latin Grammy Awards.
Last year, Miami-Dade's civic leaders rejected that the show was hosted in the stage, citing an ordinance that bars the country from those doing business with Cuba. The show was held in Los Angeles. The ordinance was later dropped, allowing Penelas and City of Miami Mayor Joe Carollo to pursue hosting the awards.
Jorge Mas Santos, president of the Cuban American National Foundation said how important it was to bring the show to Miami.
"Make no mistake about it: This is a community that is a center of ideas of freedom of expression and cultural exchange," Mas Santos said. "I am proud to be a part of this endeavor."
Greene took the opportunity to talk about the 2001 Person of the Year Award, which will be given to Julio Iglesias on Sept. 10.
"Julio [Iglesias] has always opened the doors to his house and offered help when we built the South Florida Chapter of the Latin Recording Academy," Greene said.
These awards show will also a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Latin Academy's outreach and education programs.
The academy is expanding its chapters to Latin American countries across the world, such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Republica Dominicana to help raise music education in schools.
"We're probably concentrating this year a little more on discovery of talent," Greene said. "We'll still have the big artists ... but we're committed to finding new artists that can be successful."
A complete list of the 39 nominations can be seen on the Grammy Web site, http://www.grammy.com
The second Latin Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from Miami by CBS on Tuesday, Sept 11, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT.
The ratings weren't so big as those for the finale of the original Survivor, but CBS' Survivor II: The Australian Outback still drew the third-highest numbers of the year, behind only the Super Bowl and the Oscars. (CBS noted that the second Survivor finale aired in a more competitive time slot than its predecessor's.) The two-hour episode pulled a 20.1 rating and a 31 share (a 15.9/39 among adults 18-49), peaking in the final half-hour with a 23.6/33. A reunion show, hosted by Bryant Gumbel, at 10:00 p.m. also edged out a new episode of E.R. on rival NBC. CBS said that was the first time a first-run episode of the hospital drama had been beaten by any network since E.R.'s premiere season in 1994. The Late Show with David Letterman also benefited from the Survivor finale, notching up a rare win over NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
CNN WOOING CLINTON?
CNN co-founder Reese Schonfeld claimed on Friday that Robert Pittman, the cable news channel's COO, is personally wooing Bill Clinton to join the company as the host of a live, nightly interview program. In an interview with CBS MarketWatch, Schonfeld also indicated that CNN is looking to have CBS anchor Dan Rather host an expanded primetime program of hard news. Schonfeld roundly endorsed the CNN strategy, saying that Clinton "could triple ratings" for the network. Asked about Schonfeld's comments, Clinton attorney Robert Barnett told CBS MarketWatch that the former president "has received many, many offers for media projects, to host his own show or be a commentator, and is not pursuing any of those things at this time."
UPN MAKING FRIENDS WITH DIAMONDS
UPN has sent what its CEO, Dean Valentine, has called "welcome-to-the-neighborhood" gifts to Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar that include a diamond necklace and a Gucci leather jacket, the New York Times reported Monday. The gifts presumably were intended to win over Gellar's affinity after she had publicly stated earlier this year that she would continue to appear on the show only if it remained on The WB. The Times said that other cast members had received gift baskets that include beluga caviar, Cristal Champagne and $4,000 Cartier watches. "They [the gifts] may be a little pricier than a chocolate cake, but the idea's the same," Valentine said.
"THE X-FILES" FINALE: STILL AN X
X-Files creator Chris Carter has indicated that the final two episodes of the current season could serve one of three purposes: as a cliffhanger for a season finale; as the closing episode of the entire series; or as a teaser for a forthcoming feature film. In an interview appearing on the TV Guide Web site, Carter also said that he is in "constructive" negotiations with Fox about returning for a ninth year with the sci-fi drama, but, he suggested, it was unlikely that David Duchovny would be back. "We had a really good, and I felt sweet, send-off for him his final night a little over a week ago. And whatever decision he makes, we have done eight terrific seasons together, and if there are more, great. And if there are no more, I will figure out a way to hopefully make the show as good as it can be," Carter said. He also noted that the final two episodes will center around the character Scully's pregnancy.
CONTRACT TALKS STALL WITH "THE VIEW" COHOSTS
Negotiations to renew the contracts of The View cohosts Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar and Star Jones have bogged down, according to TV Guide columnist J. Max Robins. Writing in the May 12 issue, Robins quoted an unnamed network insider as saying that following Disney's recent round of layoffs, ABC is "trying to lowball everybody." Although The View has become a hit in the 11a.m. hour, Jones and Behar reportedly earn only $300,000 a year according to Robins, while Vieira is paid about $500,000. Lisa Ling, the newest member, makes only $200,000, the columnist said.
WILL ACTORS FOLLOW WRITERS IN SETTLING WITH PRODUCERS?
A spokesman for the Screen Actors Guild has taken issue with numerous analysts who have suggested that Friday's agreement between the Writers Guild of America and the Association of Motion Picture and TV Producers is likely to serve as a model for a similar settlement between SAG and the AMPTP. SAG spokesman Greg Krizman told Monday's New York Times: "Everybody is telling us that the writers' agreement is a template for us, but we're trying to back away from that somewhat." Nevertheless, an article in today's Wall Street Journal quotes an unnamed labor lawyer who formerly negotiated labor contracts for the studios as saying: "Everyone expects SAG's proposals to fairly closely mirror the WGA's financial proposals." In a statement on Friday, SAG and AFTRA said, "If the AMPTP and the networks are prepared -- as they have assured us they are -- to address the unique needs of actors, we are confident we can emulate this significant accomplishment of reaching an agreement without a work stoppage." Among other things, the new industry contract with the WGA calls for a 3.5-percent pay increase for writers, higher residual fees, greater earnings from foreign and DVD sales, the right to visit sets, attend premiers and sit in on the cast's readings of their scripts.
NAME-CALLING ESCALATES IN "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER" TO DO
John Babcock Jr., the CEO of media publishing giant BPI, the parent company of the Hollywood Reporter, has given a ringing endorsement to the trade paper's publisher, Robert Dowling, in the wake of the controversy surrounding the resignation of the Reporter's labor reporter, David Robb. Robb had quit after Dowling spiked an article that he had written suggesting that the paper's gossip columnist had accepted favors from two Hollywood producers in exchange for favorable mentions in his column. Dowling assigned the article to other Reporter journalists. In a memo to the trade paper's staff, Babcock accused other journalists of painting an "incomplete and obviously one-sided" version of what had occurred. He also underscored Dowling's criticism of Robb's article, saying that "Robb had become so emotionally invested in this story that any pretense of objectivity had long since been abandoned." Without citing specific incidents, Babcock alleged that the issue "also involved claims of harassment (both internally and externally) along with overly aggressive and questionable reporting techniques which put the company at legal risk." Dowling said in a letter appearing in the Reporter that the allegations of harassment had been made by executives of the Directors Guild of America after Robb allegedly threatened DGA Executive Director Jay Roth with an investigation of his personal affairs after Roth complained to Dowling about an article that Robb had written.
INSIDE.COM TO COST. "INSIDE" MAG TO BITE THE DUST
Brill Media, the publishing company formed by Court-TV founder Steven Brill, said Friday that it plans to launch a fee-based version of its online media newsmagazine Inside.com on July 1. The new site, it said, will reportedly combine content from Inside.com with material from other Brill-owned publications, including Folio, Cable World and the Kagan World Media newsletters. Inside, a magazine print version of the online site, which had been expected to be combined with Brill's Content magazine as a new publication, Inside Content, has apparently been cast off. The statement said that "launching any new magazine in this economic environment doesn't make sense."
BOLLYWOOD STAR ARRESTED FOR COCAINE POSSESSION
Rising Bollywood film star Fardeen Khan has been arrested in India for alleged possession of cocaine in the latest scandal to rock the Indian film industry. According to Monday's India Express, the actor has confessed that he uses cocaine. "We are immune to shocks now," an industry veteran told the newspaper, referring to numerous sensational arrests involving Bollywood figures during recent months.
The third program in a series of conversations with internationally recognized CEOs focusing on high-level business issues. This episode brings together Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, and Jim Rose, CEO of QXL.com, two mavericks in the pursuit of European online business and industry.