Michael Arbeiter
Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.
  • Preview: President Obama Discusses Gaddafi's Death on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    Tonight, President Barack Obama taped an interview for The Tonight Show in which he talks to Jay Leno about everything from the Republican Party candidates to the first lady's healthy Halloween. You can watch the interview Tuesday night, Oct. 25, and check back here on Oct. 26 for full coverage. But for now, we have a clip of the president discussing the biggest news of the week with Leno: the death of Muammar Gaddafi. In the clip below, Obama illustrates the evils in Gaddafi's actions as a leader and a supporter of global terrorism. Watch the video to hear the president's perspective on Gaddafi and his fall from power, and tune into NBC at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT for the full interview with the president.
  • 'Person of Interest' and 'Unforgettable' Get Full Season Pickups on CBS
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    In a move we all saw coming, CBS has finally officiated the full season pickups of its new drama series, Person of Interest and Unforgettable. If you haven't been following, Person of Interest is the all too real crime drama series about a pair of mysterious men, played by Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, who make it their mission to prevent violent crimes before they occur, via the help of a special machine that predicts individuals who will be somehow involved in a murder. Caviezel plays John Reese, an expert soldier, former government operative, and shell-of-a-man with nothing to lose, thanks to a broken heart. Emerson's Mr. Finch is a character with far less known about him. The only things we know for sure: he built the show's central machine for the government for the purposes of predicting high-profile terrorist activity, but somewhere along the line became just as concerned with the day-to-day crimes and lives of "ordinary people." The overlying theme of the show, depicted via the abundance of surveillance cameras and frequent phone-tapping: someone is always watching, for better or worse. Also starring in the show are Taraji P. Henson, playing a detective bent on capturing the mysterious Reese, and Kevin Chapman, playing a crooked cop who is consistently at the mercy of the starring duo. The series was created by screenwriter Jonathan Nolan (who co-writes his brother Christopher Nolan's Batman series), and is produced by J.J. Abrams. Person of Interest airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Unforgettable is another crime drama series, with play on the traditional detective story. Poppy Montgomery stars as Carrie Wells, a New York City police officer who uses her gift-and-a-curse ability to remember everything that has ever happened to her (with the exception of the events on the day her sister was killed) to solve cases. Wells struggles with her condition and lives with the consistent drive to solve her sister's murder. Montgomery is joined by Dylan Walsh, who plays her partner and ex-lover Al Burns. Also on the force: Michael Gaston, Kevin Rankin and Daya Vaidya. Actress Marilu Henner serves as a consult for the show, as she is an actual sufferer of hyperthymesia, the condition that afflicts Wells. She will play a guest role as Wells’ aunt in a November episode. Unforgettable airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Source: TVLine
  • Brad Pitt Joins Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen's 'Twelve Years a Slave'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    Way to go, Steve McQueen. Way to ruin it for everyone else. First, you establish this Scorsese-DeNiro thing with Michael Fassbender—Hollywood's lightning wolfcub. Together, you two make Hunger and Shame. Pretty greedy for you to grab grandiose titles like that. What's even worse is that both films more than lived up to the grandieur of them. And now, not only are you and Fassbender are working on Twelve Years a Slave together, but the Brad Pitt is actually getting on board for a role on this developing movie? Was having the most badass namesake in world history not enough for you? Some people. So what's Pitt to play, anyhow? Well, the film is about an 1800s black American, a free citizen of New York, who is tricked into traveling to Washington D.C. for a phony job opporunity, and then kidnapped and forced into slavery in the Deep South. Playing the lead will be Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose credits include American Gangster, She Hate Me and Children of Men. Ejiofor's character Solomon Northrup will seek the aid of a Canadian abolitionist, who helps him pursue the legal system to achieve his freedom once more. This character will possibly be the one given to Pitt. However, Northrup finds himself under the imprisonment of several different slaveowners, so Pitt might find himself in a (more) rare villainous role. But all this aside, McQueen, you're doing good things. You might be hogging all the cool people/movie ideas/names...but you're making very good things with them. So...we're good. For now. Source: Indiewire
  • Kim Kardashian Will Star in Tyler Perry's 'The Marriage Counselor'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    Kim Kardashian is, among all else, a brand. You hear about a Kim Kardashian TV show/movie/wedding, you expect a very Kim Kardashian experience. Tyler Perry is, too, a brand. Your quintessential Tyler Perry movie is something with which we are all more or less familiar. So what happens when two brands come together within one medium? What might this collaboration produce? Will there be a happy melding, or a jagged contradiction? We'll just have to see. Perry's new film, The Marriage Counselor, has recently added Kardashian to its cast. The film centers around a marriage counselor (that's the twist) who undergoes her own relationship struggles and begins an extramarital affair (oh, that's the twist). Kardashian will reportedly play the titular character's coworker. So what might Kim Kardashian plus Tyler Perry equal? And for that matter, what will the socialite bring to the table as an actress? Her on camera roles not playing herself are few and far between. Those include her Disaster Movie appearance, her stints on Beyond the Break and CSI: NY, and a movie called Deep in the Valley, which makes me weep, "Why, Chris Pratt, why?" But who knows what this new concoction of Perry's melancholic working man struggles and Kardashian's volcanic notoriety will bring? Source: EW
  • Keith Olbermann Tells Letterman He's in Favor of Occupy Wall Street Protests
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    Keith Olbermann paid a visit to The Late Show to discuss the Occupy Wall Street prostest with David Letterman. Both expressed a fondness for the idea of protest, and an appreciation for the sentiment being illustrated by the groups and individuals in New York's Zuccotti Park. Obviously, not everyone shares this opinion on the matter. Letterman quoted Rush Limbaugh as referring to the protestors as "human debris," while Olbermann listed all of the unfounded accusations with which the activists are being labeled, incluidng racism, anti-Semitism, and involvement in a radical Muslim fundamentalist movement.  In response to the criticism that the protestors are "unfocused" in their goals, Olbermann stated, "I like the idea that there isn't that set of demands, because I'd get very suspicious...the thing started thirty-eight days ago, in New York. If they had all the answers already, I'd be worried about where the answers came from." Olbermann also clarified what he believes the true message of the movement to be: "It's not an anti-money thing. It's not even an anti-capitalism thing. After you have capitalism, don't let the people who have money put their thumb on the scale and get all the benefits from it." Watch the full conversation from The Late Show:   
  • New 'The Pirates!' Trailer is Silly, Swashbuckling Fun
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    The Aardman Animations studio is one of the unsung heroes of animation. Everything they create—from Wallace & Gromit shorts, to Chicken Run, to their Robbie the Reindeer Christmas specials that I still think about every holiday season—is a work of splendor. Their upcoming The Pirates! Band of Misfits looks to be a humorous, good-natured and hyperactive romp of silliness: the studio's milieu. As with the first trailer, this new international preview for the film (which sports a UK-only title) shows the comically egomaniacal Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) vie for the coveted Pirate of the Year Award. In order to earn this, he must pull off the greatest plunderance the seven seas have ever seen (the end of that sentence needs to be sung). Unfortunately, the Pirate Captain and his ragtag crew (consisting largely of fish in hats) are not exactly up to the task. So who do pirates turn to when they need help? SCIENTISTS. Also lending their voices are Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko from LOST). Enjoy the trailer. The Pirates! reaches theaters March 30, 2012.   Source: Empire via Indiewire
  • You Can Now Watch The Full 'Happy Endings' Halloween Episode
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    Halloween in an ordinary year is a force to be reckoned with as is. But Halloween in the Year of Penny is bound to be no holds barred. On Wednesday night, Oct. 26, Happy Endings is airing its Halloween episode (will they bump things up to a triple Snooki this time?). However, if Wednesday is just too far away for you to subdue your Happy Endings cravings, then you're in luck: YahooTV is streaming the full Halloween episode, and you can watch it right here (and if your appetite is that big, you might even give the multi-dinnering Max a run for his money). This year's episode, "Spooky Endings," will see Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.) involved in the horror tale of house-sitting in the suburbs, while Dave (Zachary Knighton), Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), Penny (Casey Wilson) and Max (Adam Pally) all have their own misadventures at a costume party. As this is their first Halloween since the breakup, Dave and Alex are finally free from the bounds of joint costumes. As such, both embrace their own individual (and out of touch) flares: Dave wears an Austin Powers costume, while Alex dresses as Marilyn Monroe. Meanwhile, Penny and Max team up once more to form the joint costume of a mother and her likely uncomfortable results.      Happy Endings airs Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Source: YahooTV via TVLine
  • Is Aaron Sorkin Writing a Steve Jobs Biopic?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    After Steve Jobs' passing, the entrepreneur's friendship with writer Aaron Sorkin was made public. Apparently, Jobs was a fan of Sorkin's work, and wanted him to write a Pixar movie. Sorkin has been resistant about taking on a project like this, but what he is potentially working on might be all the more interesting: a Steve Jobs biopic film. Sony is already taking steps to adapt Steve Jobs: A Biography, written by Walter Isaacson, to film. Word has it that the network is pursuing Sorkin to write the script for this project. Although nothing is definite, there is really nobody whose wheelhouse is closer to this sort of project than Sorkin. In fact, so "Sorkin" is this project, that one might argue it a poor choice for the writer. His 2010 film, The Social Network, was about a young genius who revolutionized a facet of the electronic world, and as a result, human society as a whole. This is a description that would also aptly suit any Jobs biopic that would materialize about Jobs. But although Sorkin does have a style, and a loud one—you could spot one of his scripts within a few minutes of watching in performed—all of the things he has produced are unique from one another. Might it feel a bit repetitive for Sorkin to put the Social Network spin on Jobs? Possibly, yes. But could he very well do it with a flare and a style we haven't seen before? I'd imagine so. Source: LA Times
  • Zach Galifianakis Accidentally Burnt Down a Farm: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 25, 2011
    Last night, Zach Galifianakis appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to talk about his childhood tormentors, why he got into showbusiness, and an incident involving his North Carolina farm and a whole bunch of fire. Jonah Hill visited The Tonight Show to recall a shoving fight he had recently with a suited man in the parking lot of a sushi restaurant. Salma Hayek stopped by The Late Show to tell a story about snapping her ankle, but refusing to go to the hospital because the Spain-Holland soccer game was on. Finally, Chris Colfer showed up on Conan to talk about his sister's being constantly unimpressed with his career, his many dangerous teenage fans, and some of Jane Lynch's "over the line" insults to Kurt that they had to cut from Glee.
  • Casting Roundup: Katie Couric Nabs Regis' 'Live!' Exit Interview, Banderas Takes On Lifetime
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 24, 2011
    Regis Philbin will be bidding farewell to his Live! days on Nov. 18, just under a month from now. While it will be difficult and strange to see him go, we can at least be sure that his goodbye will be treated with the respect it deserves. The night before Philbin's final broadcast, he will sit down with Katie Couric to undergo his "exit interview," in a segment called Katie Couric with a Regis Philbin Biography. The interview will likely go into detail on Philbin's long and impressive career in show business, his personal life, and where he plans to go from here. As Philbin has stated, his exit from Live! does not indicate that he is retiring. He is seeking other venues. And we all wish him the best of luck. Couric's interview with the entertainer will air Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. -AOLTV Lifetime is expanding its big name appeal once more. First we got word of a Johnny Depp project venturing to the network, and now there is a deal surrounding American Housewive, starring Melanie Griffith, and produced by Griffith and her husband, Antonio Banderas. The pilot will confront a mother's difficulties in dealing with children growing up and leaving for college, and those that don't seem to have as promising prospects. Eclipse director David Slade is in talks to direct. -Deadline Dharma and Greg's leading woman Jenna Elfman will find herself in a rare dramatic role on the final season of Damages. Elfman will portray an investment banker who becomes discouraged by her company's illicit business practices, and brings them to the attention of a Julian Assange-type, potentially played by Ryan Philippe. Elfman's character will also have a daughter, reportedly played by Alexandra Socha (The Big C). Damages returns to DirecTV next summer for its fifth and final season. -TVLine