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

CNN returns with “Black in America 2″

CNN last year dove into a tough topic: what’s it like to be “Black in America” with a focus on families and relationships.

Ratings were solid. More than 13 million people caught the series.

But reaction was decidedly mixed. Many found the series an enlightening attempt to dig behind stereotypes, but others pegged it superficial, narrow, detached and too negative.

“I almost think we tried to do too much in four hours,” said executive producer Jeff Reid said in an interview after a screening last week at the Carter Center. “We just scratched the surface.”

So this year, CNN has created a sequel that is decidedly more upbeat, focused on solutions. The four-hour special, which airs over two days Wednesday at 9 p.m. and Thursday at 8 p.m., features profiles of African Americans who are making a difference.

Most are not household names. John Rice trains black executives to break the glass ceiling. Steve Perry opened a magnet school where every graduate goes to …

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“Wedlock or Deadlock” in test run on WAGA-TV

Recently, the CW ended a reality show in which they set up a wedding for an engaged couple. At the altar, the couples decide whether to go forward — or not. Thus, the name: “Hitched or Ditched.”

Now WAGA-TV and six other Fox stations are testing a show called “Wedlock or Deadlock.” In it, relationships expert and pscyhologist Dr. Michelle Callahan listens to an engaged couple and at the end of the 30 minutes decides if they’re ready for matrimony — or not.

The show debuted Monday at 11 a.m. on WAGA. It will air for six weeks.

Callahan, in an interview, said half the couples she saw were ready; half were not.

Even if they aren’t, “I’m not trying to devastate anybody. The point of me speaking to them is to give them some guidance and some direction so they can still find ways to be together,” Callahan said. “It’s not to find a way to break couples apart.”

Here’s what she wrote on her blog:

During the show, I ask all the questions the couples should be asking themselves …

Continue reading “Wedlock or Deadlock” in test run on WAGA-TV »

Atlantan pulls out all stops to get on ABC’s “Wipeout”

Brilliant self promoter or a man desperate for attention? Chad Elkins is arguably both.

Elkins wants to be a contestant on the ABC hit summer show “Wipeout.” The concept is as dopey as it sounds. On a massive obstacle course, people get slammed into posts and bounce off big red balls while commentators make snarky remarks. The winner gets $50,000 each episode. Fans are aplenty: more than 8 million viewers rubberneck each week.

The show solicits contestants in California because it does not fly people in to try out. Plus, it requires up to three trips if you make the finals. (There’s a preliminary round, an elimination round and a final round. Each requires a different shoot date.)

Elkins lives in metro Atlanta. He is willing to shell out the bucks to fly out just for the fun of it. To consider him, ABC challenged him to collect 10,000 names. As an ebusiness consultant, he decided to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to jimmy up the 10,000 “signatures.”

After three weeks,

Continue reading Atlantan pulls out all stops to get on ABC’s “Wipeout” »

Oprah ratings lowest ever

The Oprah mystique may be fading.

For the week of July 4, the heralded talk-show host brought in the fewest viewers since her syndicated debut in the mid-1980s, according to this story in The New York Post.

She averaged about 4 million viewers, seventh for the week among syndicated daytime shows. That compares to 5.1 million for “Judge Judy.”

Is Oprah still must-see TV?

  • Yes! She’s as relevant as ever.
  • No! I’m so over Oprah.

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While the week of July 4 was packed with repeats, MJ coverage and Wimbledon, Oprah has faced similar circumstances in the past. But her ratings overall have been slipping the past five years, according to the original blog entry that got the blogosphere talking on

Theories abound why. General Oprah fatigue. Her support of Obama a year ago that may have turned off some Republicans. Broadcast TV viewership falling across the board.

She is still the No. 1 talk show in daytime by a wide margin. …

Continue reading Oprah ratings lowest ever »

TV best bets: “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Black in America 2,” “Robot Chicken,” David Cassidy, Terrell Owens

That smell from your TV is probably the cheese coming from various shows.

For one, David Cassidy is back in action. The man who sang “I Think I Love You” stars in an ABC Family series as a washed-up musician Tuesday.

Or you can listen to the verbal stylings of controversial NFL player Terrell Owens Monday on a new reality show (thanks, VH1!). 

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Nibble from James Van Der Beek (”Dawson’s Creek”) playing a scientist (check out the studius glasses) on a cheesefest miniseries called “The Storm” Sunday on NBC. 

Then there’s a big mouthful in the form of Gordon Ramsay back to yell at hapless chef wannabes on Fox Tuesday with “Hell’s Kitchen.”

“The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All” 8 p.m. ABC — Get the dirt about Jillian from the men’s perspective. How devious was Wes?
“Prom Night in Mississippi” 9 p.m. HBO — Morgan Freeman bribes a school to integrate the prom. Naturally, some white parents …

Continue reading TV best bets: “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Black in America 2,” “Robot Chicken,” David Cassidy, Terrell Owens »

Atlanta personal chef Jamika Pessoa finishes fourth on “Next Food Network Star”

Jamika Pessoa, the Atlanta personal chef, showed a bit too much ‘tude in the last challenge Sunday night and just missed making the top 3 in “The Next Food Network Star.”

Pessoa showed promise early on. The judges liked her bright smile and cheery personality. Plus, they appreciated her Caribbean food and her culinary point of view.

But in recent weeks, her foundation showed some craks. She would second guess herself, allow stress to get to her and shut down on camera. Pessoa’s problems revealed themselves yet again on last night’s show.

Were the judges right to eliminate Jamika on “Next Food Network Star”

  • Yes. It was her time.
  • No. She should have been in the top 3!

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During the first challenge, she had to do a live cooking demo that was deliberately sabotaged. She reacted with signs of aggravation as the camera man got too close to her and the director kept giving her incorrect time cues. She was also too business like compared to …

Continue reading Atlanta personal chef Jamika Pessoa finishes fourth on “Next Food Network Star” »

Who’s up and who’s down in the June Arbitron ratings?

R&B/hip hop station V-103 found the heat in June, finishing at No. 1 in all major categories and among all listeners.

Frank Ski and Wanda Smith overtook Scott Slade at WSB-AM for the coveted morning show top spot among 25 to 54 year olds while remaining No. 1 by a huge margin over Q100’s the Bert Show among 18 to 34 year olds.

-Dave FM, under a new program director Scott Jameson, saw its ratings rise steadily from January to April, take a dip in May, but resume its climb in June. The station finished 6th among 25-54 year olds, its best showing in years. Tim Orff landed at No. 8 in mornings among 25 to 54 year olds and Mara Davis during mid-days hit No. 5 for the second time in three months.

-94.9/The Bull is another station that has been a reclamation project under a new program director Scott Lindy. It has also seen some of its best numbers ever, especially among younger listeners, finishing 7th among 18 to 34 year olds in June, just a smidge behind long-time country …

Continue reading Who’s up and who’s down in the June Arbitron ratings? »

“Atlanta & Company” hosts Holly Firfer and Tom Sullivan let go

Holly Firfer and Tom Sullivan

Holly Firfer and Tom Sullivan

Budget cutbacks cost WXIA’s “Atlanta & Company” hosts Holly Firfer and Tom Sullivan their jobs today, Sullivan confirmed.

Sullivan, who used to be a full-time sidekick for Steve & Vikki at Star 94 until 2007, has been at “Atlanta & Company” for nearly two years. Firfer, who has anchored at CNN Headline News & hosted at Dave FM, worked at “Atlanta & Company” from the very start in the fall of 2005.

With revenues dropping, Gannett, which owns WXIA-TV, this year has instituted furloughs, staff cuts and pay cuts.

As freelancers, neither Firfer nor Sullivan received benefits and get no severance. Laura Hale, their boss, offered them to do a farewell show Monday but Sullivan was not inclined to do so.

He said Hale sat them down after today’s show at noon. She told them they had to go to a single host. At first, Sullivan said, he joked that this was like “American Idol.” Only one of them would stay. But Hale had bad news for both: she said they worked …

Continue reading “Atlanta & Company” hosts Holly Firfer and Tom Sullivan let go »

Interview with Bill Engvall for TBS show (season 3 starts Saturday, July 18)

Bill Engvall’s self-titled sitcom is like a time capsule circa 1992. It could easily fit in between “Family Matters” and “Step By Step” on ABC’s “family” Friday nights. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

He plays a harried, but understanding dad (who is ironically a therapist), with a harried, but understanding wife played by Nancy Travis. They have three kids. One is the doofy stud guy, one is the pretty gal and one is the precocious younger boy who says things far beyond his years. And Engvall has a wacky best friend played by Tim Meadows.

“I want to make them as relatable as the American family as I can,” Engvall said in a recent phone interview. That’s why the first episode focuses on Engvall having trouble paying for a spring break vacation for his daughter because budgets are tight. “We just don’t want to make it depressing,” he noted.

TBS has given the Blue Collar comic a third season. This time, though, he is being placed on Saturday nights, not a time when …

Continue reading Interview with Bill Engvall for TBS show (season 3 starts Saturday, July 18) »

Michael Jackson special tops Atlanta ratings, HBO’s Sunday night hot, top Atlanta radio songs



Atlantans were still interested in Michael Jackson last week. The top show during primetime the week of July 6 was an ABC “Primetime” special focused on his kids. It drew 309,000 viewers, beating out ABC’s “The Bachelorette” by 27,000 viewers.

Otherwise, the top 20 was populated by reality shows, “The Closer,” and some sports programs.

Nationally, HBO, former home of “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” has a burgeoning hit on its hands with vampire drama “True Blood.” And HBO Sunday nights, which once was THE place to be, is starting to come back for the pay cable network.

This past Sunday, “True Blood” hit another series high with 3.9 million viewers, according to the Washington Post. The sixth season debut of “Entourage” doubled last year’s debut at 3.4 million viewers. In between, the second episode of “Hung” grew from its opening week to 3.6 million.

For the entire prior week, “True Blood,” created by former Marietta man Alan Ball, drew 10.8 million …

Continue reading Michael Jackson special tops Atlanta ratings, HBO’s Sunday night hot, top Atlanta radio songs »