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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for March, 2009

4/1: Morning Mash with Steve Barnes’ “High Rise” on Comcast on Demand, Michael Eric Dyson, Alyson Hannigan,

CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The Comcast RealCityTV shows debuted today on Comcast On Demand, with 25 different shows, most reality based and in two to 12 minute snippets.

The most notable is former 99X host Steve Barnes’ “High Rise,” a drama set at the Terminus building in Atlanta. It’s going to air in Internet-friendly five-minute snippets over 20 episodes. The first two episodes are available.

It opens with a married couple in bed, screenwriter Marcus (Rob Pralgo) and Elizabeth (Cynthia Evans). He’s a playa who refuses to grow up while she wants to settle down more.

Scene two is local singer Shawn Mullins (”Lullaby”) in the Terminus bar playing a struggling bartender/musician, strumming a tune he wrote for the show. Barnes plays a smarmy attorney who may or may not help Mullins’ career. Reese (Heather Smith) arrives on the scene, ready to shake things up. End of episode one.

If you’ve sampled the new local drama “High Rise,” what do you think so far?

  • I’m …

Continue reading 4/1: Morning Mash with Steve Barnes’ “High Rise” on Comcast on Demand, Michael Eric Dyson, Alyson Hannigan, »

3/31: Morning Mash with February radio ratings, Kevin & Taylor marathon running, Glenn Beck on the rise

Fish morning host Taylor Scott finished the ING marathon in four hours, 36 minutes!

Fish morning host Taylor Scott finished the ING marathon in four hours, 36 minutes!

Breaking the stereotype of schlubby morning radio DJs, Kevin Avery and Taylor Scott of the Fish ran the ING marathon this past weekend and both made it to the finish line. Kevin did it in a respectable four hours and 6 minutes. Taylor, who had told everyone (including her husband) she was going to run the half marathon, pulled a fast one and went all 26.2 miles. She finished with a time of 4 hours and 36 minutes.

“I had done a marathon three years ago,” Avery told me Monday. “I signed Taylor to the half marathon a year ago with 10 days notice. She is a serious runner so it wasn’t signing up a couch potato.” This year, he made two New Year’s resolutions: become a personal trainer (done) and do the marathon again.

He said the weather was nearly perfect. “You want cool temperatures and overcast,” he said. Then he joked, “I usually try running with the Kenyans but wasn’t feeling it.”

Avery said his …

Continue reading 3/31: Morning Mash with February radio ratings, Kevin & Taylor marathon running, Glenn Beck on the rise »

3/30: Celebrity Apprentice recap: Atlanta’s Tionne “T Boz” Watkins finally makes an impression

Tionne "T Boz" Watkins led her team to a win in Sunday night's episode
Atlanta’s Tionne “T Boz” Watkins of TLC fame was virtually invisible the first four episodes of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

She finally stepped up to be project manager of the task in episode five Sunday night. Her team had to run five rooms at a Loews Regency Hotel in New York City.

She was a hard worker, providing zero drama. But results are results: she and Team Athena won hands down. The gals have won four out of five tasks. “She was great. She was organized. She was on top of us,” Joan Rivers said. So Watkins’ charity Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia got $20,000.

The drama naturally revolved around the men’s team leader Dennis Rodman, who Donald Trump finally ousted Sunday. Rodman started kind of organized, had a few drinks, then went off the rails. He became unfocused and even went off and partied with a couple of the guests (though they enjoyed his company and his ability to create access). He forced the others to pick up the slack. He was a poor leader and …

Continue reading 3/30: Celebrity Apprentice recap: Atlanta’s Tionne “T Boz” Watkins finally makes an impression »

3/27: Gospel Music Channel debuts “Revealed” with Third Day

L-R David Carr, Mac Powell & Tai Anderson

L-R Mark Lee, Mac Powell & Tai Anderson

When East Point-based Gospel Music Channel needed some help launching its new show, “Revealed,” it stayed close to home, asking Atlanta’s most successful Christian rock band Third Day.

The group had no qualms, given the five-year-old network’s body of work. “They’re as committed to quality and uniqueness as we are,” said bassist Tai Anderson.

“Revealed,” starting tonight, will be a series of one-hour specials similar to MTV’s “Unplugged” and VH1’s “Storytellers.” (Future acts: Jars of Clay and Israel Houghton.) It’s a mix of songs and stories behind those songs set in a 1,500-square-foot studio inside GMC headquarters. The space is so intimate, some of the 40 attendees literally sit on rafters above the stage.

“The secret sauce in what makes us different is the faith element,” said Brad Siegel, GMC’s vice chairman and a former president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “When there is scripture behind a song, they can tell the audience. …

Continue reading 3/27: Gospel Music Channel debuts “Revealed” with Third Day »

3/27: Morning Mash with former Praise host Sonya Hamm passing, “Big Brother” casting call

 

Sonya Hamm, former morning host at Praise 97.5(now at 102.5), passed away Wednesday from colon and abdomen cancer, her husband of 24 years Gary Hamm told me Thursday afternoon.

“She had a natural connection with people,” said Praise program director Derek Harper. “You don’t have a lot of jocks like her anymore. People felt her reach through the radio to embrace them.”

Hamm, a Durham native and Atlanta resident, spent most of her radio career in that Raleigh/Durham area at a gospel station. She moved to Atlanta in 2004 to be the new morning host at Praise. In 2007, when Praise owners decided to launch the syndicated morning show starring Yolanda Adams, Hamm was moved to mid days.

Last August, Praise let her go for budgetary reasons. Hamm, her husband said, was in the midst of starting her own radio Web site and he had helped build a studio at their home.

Gary Hamm said she started going downhill about a month ago but was grateful he got to say goodbye. 

Her former …

Continue reading 3/27: Morning Mash with former Praise host Sonya Hamm passing, “Big Brother” casting call »

3/26: Kim Zolciak settles with publicist over payment spat

“Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kim Zolciak has settled a financial spat with publicist Jonathan Jaxson. The two had exchanged lawsuits, Jaxson accusing her of not paying her bills and she blaming him for “hijacking” her Web site. 

Here’s what he wrote on www.kimzolciakonline.com

My former client Kim Zolciak and I have settled our differences which includes voluntarily dismissing all pending legal claims against one another. Our past grievances were due to a misunderstanding that regrettably got blown out of proportion. Going forward, I wish Ms. Zolciak the very best with respect to her acting and overall entertainment endeavors.

And the photo accompanying it:

Jonathan Jaxson (left) with Kim Zolciak in more halcyon days.

Jonathan Jaxson (left) with Kim Zolciak in more halcyon days.

“We buried the hatchet,” Jaxson said. “I wish her the best.” I’ve left messages with both to get a reaction and will update this blog if I get any.

“You have to take precautions to protect yourself,” he said, justifying his initial lawsuit. “I’m sorry it …

Continue reading 3/26: Kim Zolciak settles with publicist over payment spat »

3/26: Interview with WWE Raw’s John Cena, starring in 12 Rounds

WWE wrestler and actor John Cena ready to shoot 12 rounds. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

WWE wrestler and actor John Cena ready to shoot 12 rounds. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

WWE wrestler and actor John Cena, a man with rippling biceps that appear even bigger in person than on TV, doesn’t appear to need a gun to defend himself. But he knows how to use one.

At the Wild West Traders Gun Shop and Shooting Range in Austell earlier this month, Cena grabbed a 45, loaded it with 12 bullets in homage to the film he stars in (“12 Rounds”) and shot at a paper target 21 feet away. (see above)

The verdict: 9 out of 12 bullets hit the tiny circle in the center. Impressive!

“I’m from small town,” he said afterwards. “Shooting was the only thing to do. I shot my first rifle when I was 10 years old.”

In the drama “12 Rounds,” Cena uses plenty of guns. He plays a cop who accidentally kills a mad man’s girlfriend. The bad guy later kidnaps his girlfriend as revenge and forces Cena to go through “12 rounds” of games, kind of like those in “Die Hard With a Vengeance.”

“It very …

Continue reading 3/26: Interview with WWE Raw’s John Cena, starring in 12 Rounds »

3/26: Morning Mash with Comcast on demand Atlanta “network,” WABE’s spring campaign

Comcast is developing an “on demand” channel called RealCity TV focused on Atlanta-only content.

My colleague Kristi Swartz wrote a story about it, referencing former 99X jock Steve Barnes’ “High Rise” project as one of the examples.

Comcast began doing local on-demand shows in Atlanta two years ago. Atlanta has been one of the top performers out of two dozen cities. “That’s why we chose Atlanta to debut Real City,” said Comcast Atlanta VP of marketing Larry Schweber. “Crime Stoppers,” “Dating on Demand” and “Pet Adoptions” were the most successful of the early shows, though he wouldn’t release viewership numbers. 

If RealCity as a concept works, Comcast will roll it out to other cities. The target audience, Schweber said, is the “wired” generation of 18 to 45 year olds who are used to going on YouTube. In earlier experiments, shorter on-demand shows did better than traditional long-form 30 or one-hour shows. Thus, all the shows are going short from. 

The shows mostly sound …

Continue reading 3/26: Morning Mash with Comcast on demand Atlanta “network,” WABE’s spring campaign »

3/25: Morning Mash with George Lopez doing a talk show on TBS, Kicks Careathon results

TBS is starting its first talk show ever starring George Lopez in November. He’d be the first Latino-American late-night talk-show host.

“There’s an aspect of being a Mexican-American in these turbulent times,” said Lopez in an interview Tuesday. “With the wall and the drug cartels and immigration, so many things beings negative, this is a good story for us. And I don’t want to divide. I want to make this inclusive.”

He hopes to fashion his show like Arsenio Hall back in the early 1990s: upbeat, fun, diverse, younger.

“I’m not afraid to call people out,” he said. “I’m not afraid to do material that’s edgy.” To Lopez, this will be a break from the relative white male hegemony of late-night TV.

He thinks the reason broadcast TV executives have not given another minority a shot since Arsenio is fear despite his success. In fact, Lopez is indebted to Arsenio, who had Lopez on his show 16 times. “What I saw was a guy who managed to bring everybody together. I don’t think that …

Continue reading 3/25: Morning Mash with George Lopez doing a talk show on TBS, Kicks Careathon results »

3/24: Morning Mash with Dancing With the Stars, Carol Blackmon on Majic 107.5

-Carol Blackmon, formerly of the V-103 morning show with Mike Roberts in the 1990s, has been officially named the mid-day host for the new Majic 107.5, completing that station’s lineup. “We had about close to 80 resumes and applicants and she was the best candidate through the entire process,” said Tim Davies, her boss. He cited her experience in the market, excellent delivery, her professionalism and her ability to connect with the listeners and music.

-The Insider reports that “Dancing With the Stars” stars get paid a decent $200,000 for an entire season, plus bonuses based on how well they do. For some of these “stars,” that’s a decent payday for all the work and potential injury. For others (such as bazillionaire Steve Wozniak), it’s clearly for the public exposure and challenge, not the payday. This sure beats “Celebrity Apprentice,” which reportedly pays a measly $15,000.

-Broadcast TV? Cable TV? Most people under 35 don’t know the difference because they grew up with …

Continue reading 3/24: Morning Mash with Dancing With the Stars, Carol Blackmon on Majic 107.5 »