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August 2008 Archives

TV double-takes in convention coverage

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In the last 24 hours, it's become clear that both presidential candidates are aiming their campaigns at TV fans ...

Jennifer Aniston to guest on '30 Rock'

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Jennifer Aniston will make a return visit to NBC, the TV network where she became a breakout star on ''Friends.''

She is currently filming a guest appearance on the network's comedy, ''30 Rock,'' Aniston publicist Stephen Huvane confirms.

New Common video makes an 'Announcement'

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Oddsmakers weigh in on 'Dancing'

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Thousands of oddsmakers on the Web are posting the line on the upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars"....
Among the odds-on favorites to win that trophy are: Toni Braxton and Lance Bass. They're one of my early top picks, though I gotta keep an eye out for Cody Linley and Maurice Green. We'll see, once the dancers step onto the dance floor on Sept. 22.

Michael Phelps and Lil Wayne: 'SNL,' MTV, what next?

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Are Lil Wayne and Michael Phelps BFFs? (AP file)

"Saturday Night Live" will come back from its summer break with two of the hottest names from this summer: Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and rapper Lil Wayne.

Chicago-area fitness buff on next 'Survivor'

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Buffalo Grove's Kelly Czarnecki is on the next "Survivor" (Monty Brinton/CBS)

She can sell you on a cute top, but can Kelly Czarnecki wangle her way to $1 million on "Survivor"?

The 22-year-old fashionista from Buffalo Grove was revealed Wednesday as one of the 18 cutthroats competing on "Survivor: Gabon -- Earth's Last Eden."

Cable TV, 'Meet the Browns'

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A scene from the film "Meet the Browns," which is now coming to cable TV.

Tyler Perry's latest cauldron of crazy characters is another TV series -- TBS just picked up "Meet the Browns," a spin-off from Perry's successful sitcom "House of Payne."

'Deal or No Deal' finaly forks over the million

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We mentioned earlier on our Twitter feed the announcement that when "Deal or No Deal" returns next month -- in newly syndicated half-hour form -- someone, after four freakin' years, finally wins the million.

Here's a lil' teaser video showing the jubilation:

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Esai Morales portrays Joseph Adams (left) and Eric Stoltz portrays Daniel Graystone in "Caprica." (AP/Sci Fi)


Need proof the television ratings system is dead, a victim of the TiVo, the ubiquitous satellite dish and schizophrenic viewing habits? Take a look at what's happening with ''Battlestar Galactica.''

If the traditional ratings system is used to measure its success, well, the series is scraping bottom like a viper throwing sparks on a hot landing.

Yet the show's producers are moving forward with two post-''Galactica'' projects that would never have seen the light of a cathode tube had ratings been the only factor in the decisions.

Jamie Bamber, the British actor who plays Lee ''Apollo'' Adama in the series, has a much better way to gauge ratings. Turns out, as the ratings plummet, the show's popularity continues to skyrocket as it reaches the end of its five-year run early in 2009.

''When the numbers were high I would get stopped in the street maybe once a week,'' Bamber said. ''Now that the viewing figures are lower on the TV, everywhere I go someone will come up to me and say what a huge fan they are. That just tells me that people watch the show in a more modern way and that it has reached its sort of critical mass.''

'American Idol' adds a fourth judge

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Kara DioGuardi celebrates being named Co-Songwriter of the Year during last year's BMI Pop Awards. She's now an extra judge on "American Idol." (AP file)

Who in the Simon Cowell is Kara DioGuardi?

In January, she will be the new fourth judge at the "American Idol" table. Fox announced today they're adding a fourth voice to the show's panel of critics.

Like they need an extra mouth to feed. Sounds like they're grooming a replacement for Paula.

NBC Universal smashed yet another historic ratings benchmark: The Beijing Olympics is the most-watched U.S. television event of all time.

Through 16 days of coverage, 211 million viewers tuned in to the Olympics on NBC Uni's broadcast and cable properties, according to NBC, citing Nielsen Media Research.

Lean mean dancing machine

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Okay, so I only got two right. Still, there were a LOT of surprises when the lineup for season 7of "Dancing with the Stars" was announced today. The new season kicks off Sept. 22 on ABC, with a three-night dancing premiere extravaganza. Each couple is slated to peform two dances, but one unlucky couple will be booted off on night two of the competition, so the carnage starts early.

Let's cut to the chase: Here's the mix vying for that coveted mirror-ball trophy:

Susan Lucci, 62, daytime soap's reigning diva, Home Shopping Network superstar, (partnered with the suave Tony Dovolani). Even if she's eliminated early on, she's mastered the art of the gracious but fake "I'm so glad you won instead of me" look from decades of Tony nominations (and losses).

Misty May-Treanor, 31, Gold-medal beach vollyball champ in Beijing (partnered with . Maksim Chmerkovskiy). She's a pistol. Plus, she's already used to being on television in skimpy getups. She's got the stamina to handle the grueling dance rehearsals, and plenty of coordination on the ever-shifting sands. Let's see if she can handle dance shoes. And rhinestones. And spray-on tans. She and the feisty Maks will be a force to be reckoned with.

Kim Kardashian, 27: Reality show personality. Partnered with Mark Ballas. She's suffering from a serious cut on her toe after an altercation with the glass table in her New York hotel room (that required an overnight hospital stay), but the little darling of "Keeping Up wiht the Kardashians" says she'll be up on her dancing toes very soon. Can't wait to see the meltdowns she has when she realizes Karina Smirnoff's tan is darker than hers.

Lance Bass,29, former 'N Sync boy bander. Plenty of controversy has been brewing after rumors floated that Bass, now openly gay, would be partnered with a male pro. He gets pro newcomer Lacey Schwimmer (fresh from "So You Think You Can Dance" and her own line of tube socks). So there.

Cloris Leachman, 82, Oscar-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress (partnered with Corky Ballas), and the oldest competitor ever on the show. Best known for her role as the pesky Phyllis on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Leachman is known for her rowdy personality If she's got the stamina and the moves, she could be a real surprise. But at 82, she seems more a producer's ratings gimmick than a serious choice. Her partner Corky is Mark Ballas' dancing dad, himself a former world champion of Latin Dance. Here's to the senior circuit!

Cody Linley, 18, actor. He's the boy of Hannah Montana's dreams on the hit Disney series, and the youngest competitor in the history of "Dancing." And as host Tom Bergeron quipped earlier today, finally Julianne Hough (Linley's partner) can be the older woman. The token "Disney" star will bring in hordes of "Hannah" fans. Can you say ratings bonanza?

Ted McGinley, 50, actor. (partnered with Inna Brayer). Most famous for TV roles in "Married With Children" and "Hope and Faith," he's got the comedic snap to liven up things a la George Hamilton. His partner is a U.S. Amateur 10 dance champ, with over 60 competitive dance titles to her name.

Toni Braxton, 40, singer. (partnered with Alec Mazo). The sultry chanteuse has had a tough going in real life, and has proven she can conquer whatever challenges come her way. She's got the drive and could be one of this season's big surprises.

Warren Sapp, 35, former NFL star (partnered with Kym Johnson). What can I say, this show loves its former NFL stars (Jason Taylor, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith). He's been campaigning for a slot on the show for a long while, so let's see if this defensive lineman has what it takes to make his NFL bretheren proud.

Rocco DiSpirito, 41, chef (partnered with Karin Smirnoff). The charming and highly acclaimed celebrity chef (and star of an ill-fated reality show several years back) is no doubt the show's attempt at wooing more female viewers. Could be a spoiler if he's as good with his feet as he his with his food processor.

Maurice Green, 34, Olympian sprinter (partnered with "Dancing olympian" Cheryl Burke): The gold medalist in track and field might just be the one to beat this season. He's got the moves and Burke is every bit the competitor he is. That mirror-ball trophy would look smashing alongside his two Olympic gold medals.

Jeffrey Ross, 42, comedian (partnered with Edyta Sliwinska). Any way you slice it -----"The Roastmaster General" or "The Meanest Man in Comedy," Ross is not one to mince words or attitude. He also served as a judge on "The Next Best Thing." So he has plenty of experience with crushing criticism. Let's just see if he can take what he's famous for dishing out.

Brooke Burke, 36, TV personality (partnered with Derek Hough). The former model has hosted a variety of cable shows including the E! travel series "Wild On!" (1999-2002) and the dismal "American Idol" wannabe "Rock Star" (2005-2006). She's posed nude for Playboy and nearly so for Maxim, so the skimpy getups of "Dancing" will prove downright constricting. She's also a video game goddess, as "Rachel Teller" from EA's Need for Speed: Underground 2." And, just to make the rest of us not-so-physically uhm "fit" females vomit with jealousy, she's also the proud mom of four!!! She follows a long line of leggy celeb eye candy, including Shannon Elizabeth and Stacy Keibler.

Let the dancing begin!

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Joan Rivers (right) talks to brothers David Z (from left), Paulie Z and Joey Cassata in "Z Rock" a partly scripted reality show on IFC. (AP/IFC)

After more than 40-plus years in show business, Joan Rivers is embarking on a first: a regular role on a weekly sitcom.

So what's taken her so long to do this?

''I've never been asked,'' says the legendary comedian. ''Never. Spell it out. 'N' is for 'never.' 'E' is for 'ever.' Never been asked. I am the only person in America who has not been asked to act in a series. If you wait for them to ask, it will never happen.''

Chicago comic: I didn't blow 'SNL' tryout

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A rising star from Chicago who tried out for "Saturday Night Live" this month wants the world to know: He didn't blow his audition -- at least not intentionally.
A report on E! Online said T.J. Miller turned off "SNL" honcho Lorne Michaels with his "obnoxious" shtick at the NBC audition in New York. "All the other auditioners sat there and watched him destroy his shot at fame, what looked like on purpose," a source is quoted as saying.
But Miller said he was just playing characters from his stand-up act -- albeit weird ones.
"They're very bizarre and not necessarily what 'SNL' is into," he told the Sun-Times on Thursday. "But I thought I should show them who I am." Among them: a cool guy always on the verge of crying, and a construction worker who acts effeminate.
What's more, he says, other auditioners didn't see any of his bits because they weren't there; the actors entered the room one at a time.
"I do have somewhat of a reputation for being a maniac, but I take comedy and my work very seriously," said Miller, who ended up with a gentle rejection from the "SNL" team.
Miller was a key player in Chicago's stand-up scene until he relocated to L.A. last summer. Since then, he's played the slacker Marmaduke on ABC's sitcom "Carpoolers" (now canceled) and starred in the hit sci-fi movie "Cloverfield" as the camera-toting Hud.
His upcoming films include "She's Out of My League" and the animated "How to Train Your Dragon."
One comic did pass muster with the "SNL" folks: Bobby Moynihan of New York's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater has been hired as a featured player for the show's 34th season, starting Sept. 13.
Another cast addition or two is likely, especially with "SNL" star Amy Poehler expecting a baby and planning to leave midseason to work on a sitcom.

Checking in with Terri on 'Runway': Where's the love?

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Chicago's Terri Stevens designed this samurai spectacular for her drag queen.

Why can't our Terri get some love on "Project Runway"? Thus far on the season, Terri Stevens from Chicago is always the bridesmaid, never immune. And while last night's winner was deserving -- Joe, the straight guy, made a drag queen deliriously happy! -- we can't believe Terri's jaw-dropping "Blade Runner" geisha get-up didn't take the top slot.

And by the stone-faced shots in the green room after the runway, hoo boy, looks like she can't believe it, either.

When Emmy goes wrong: The worst snubs of all time

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Go ahead, laugh, but Jim Nabors' Gomer Pyle deserved Emmy recognition. Do you think we'd have "30 Rock's" Kenneth the intern without him?


What if the Emmy voters got everything right, and all the very finest shows and actors were honored every year? Yawn. The Emmy Awards would be a perfect bore.

So we probably shouldn't complain when worthy shows and actors are dissed -- it makes for lots of entertaining debate. But still, we love to complain. With the 60th annual ceremony airing on Sept. 21, it's time to look back at some members of the Emmy Snub Hall of Fame.

Chicago bride featured on TLC reality show

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Chicago bride Elizabeth Roach looks like she's going to "Say Yes to the Dress" in next week's episode.

TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress," now in its second season, helps brides-to-be find their perfect wedding dress. Next Friday, Aug.29, at 9 p.m., the bride doing the hunting will be Chicago's Elizabeth Roach.

'CSI' gets its man: Laurence Fishburne joins cast

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''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'' has solved the mystery of who will replace departing CBS series star William Petersen: It's Laurence Fishburne.

Fishburne, an Emmy and Tony winner, will be introduced in the ninth episode of the upcoming 10th season, the network said today. He'll play a forensics scientist with a secret.

'Dallas' cast reuniting -- for party, not show

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J.R. from "Dallas," pre-shooting.

J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen and other members of the Ewing clan are getting back together for a ''Dallas'' reunion party.

Michael Vick's dogs star in their own TV special

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Even though Georgia is still excitable, the 6-year-old pit bull has progressed a lot after her arrival at the no-kill animal shelter north of Kanab, Utah, following her rescue from former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's dog-fighting operation.

And Georgia is not only learning social skills -- she's on the brink of stardom.

The dog, along with three other rescued pits, will be featured in a multi-part series airing on National Geographic Channel starting with a two-hour premiere Sept. 5.

The Kings of Comedy -- clockwise from bottom left, D. L Hughley, Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer -- during a tour in 2000. (AP file)

The "Original Kings of Comedy" -- D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey -- gather at 8 tonight on CNN's "Larry King Live" to remember their comrade, Bernie Mac.

Mac, who died this week in a hospital in his native Chicago, was a part of that comedic quartet that frequently toured together to huge sell-out crowds.

UPDATE: Also, WCIU-Channel 26 will remember Bernie Mac with four hours of special programming this weekend. The lineup -- including a new hourlong tribute special, interviews with his admirers and episodes of his sitcom -- will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday.

A CTA worker carrying "Slow Zone" signs would surely be part of Chicago's Olympic opening ceremonies. (Photo illustration by Thomas Conner)

Two thousand drummers drumming! Nymphs, muses and sprinters flying through the air! A thousand Tai Chi practitioners in perfect formation! Fireworks, fireworks, and more fireworks!

Friday night's opening ceremonies to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were a television spectacle like none we've seen in ... well, ever. A cinematic smorgasbord of intense visuals -- and no CGI! -- telling an interesting cultural story, and actually entertaining.

But we couldn't help ask, as we watched each spectacle top the previous one: Could Chicago pull off anything remotely like that if we're chosen as host of the games eight years from now?

Any Sooners/Cowboys fans this far north?

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Barry Switzer, legendary coach for the Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys football teams, will guest star in Monday's episode of TNT's acclaimed "Saving Grace," starring Holly Hunter. Here's a sneak peek:

Two of the contestants we'd like to see on the next "Dancing With the Stars" -- former Bradys, Florence Henderson and Barry Williams. (AP file/Photo illustration by Thomas Conner)

By Miriam Di Nunzio

The Internet is abuzz with rumors of the next cast for "Dancing With the Stars." The uber-hit for ABC returns Sept. 22 for a three-night live premiere with the regular cast of judges and hosts. But what of the celebrity lineup? The cast won't be revealed later this month, but seeing as it's still one of my fave shows (even after the debacle that was last season's troupe), here's my wish list for the new lineup:

Holy frak! Another 'Battlestar' movie announced

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A new "Battlestar Galactica" TV movie will explore Cylon No. 1's (Dean Stockwell) backstory.

"Battlestar Galactica" fans certainly have a lot on the horizon. There's the final half of the final season -- which now, as expected, aren't scheduled to begin airing until January. There's the prequel TV movie that hopes to become a series, "Caprica," starring Esai Morales and Eric Stoltz, also coming next year (watch the enticing trailer here). And now ... another prequel has been announced ...

Gold medals for ghastly getups on 'Project Runway'

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It says something about the dreadful results of tonight's "Project Runway" challenge when you can survive after having given the U.S. Olympic team an enormous floppy hat.

Watch a clip from the 'My Boys' season finale

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So we checked today with the network -- Thursday night's finale of "My Boys" is still being hawked officially as a SEASON finale, not a series finale. We worry, simply because while we love the spunky, Chicago-centered comedy (and not just because the lead character is a Sun-Times sportswriter), we just don't see it getting enough love out there.

But here's a clip of the finale, after the jump...

Mark Wahlberg joining the 'Entourage'

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Fall is full for Mark Wahlberg. The 37-year-old actor-producer has upcoming productions in film, television -- and his own family.

Wahlberg will make a rare cameo appearance on ''Entourage,'' the hit HBO series he executive produces, when the fifth season begins next month. And his third child with fiancee Rhea Durham is due in September.

Bill Maher returns to HBO and then ... his movie!

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HBO talk star Bill Maher is moving to the big screen. (But, relax -- he returns to TV on Aug. 29 for an election-themed cycle of his Emmy-nominated HBO talk show, ''Real Time with Bill Maher.'')

But for a movie that skewers organized religion, Maher's ''Religulous'' is, well, a little preachy.

And Maher is fine with that ...

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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