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Archive for September, 2009

Atlanta designer Vern Yip interview post-’Design Star’

The winner Antonio Ballatore

The winner Antonio Ballatore

Before the fourth season of ‘Design Star’ debuted on HGTV a couple of months ago, Atlanta designer and show judge Vern Yip told me he thought this was the strongest crew yet.

Sure, there was a bit of hype in that statement because he was promoting the show. But the two finalists, set designer Antonio Ballatore and interior designer Dan Vickery were both talented and charismatic.

Antonio Ballatore vs. Dan Vickery

  • The judges were right to pick Antonio
  • Dan had a more refined aesthetic. They should have picked him.

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“In my eyes, they were really the right two people standing there at the end,” Yip said. “They both proved it doesn’t pay to be a wallflower in the beginning. You have to stand up and take chances from the start, show you really want this.”

But Yip said the boisterous, confident and often funny Ballatore won because he had that extra “it” factor.

“He brings something unique to the table,” Yip …

Continue reading Atlanta designer Vern Yip interview post-’Design Star’ »

Who won ‘America’s Got Talent’? Kevin Skinner or Barbara Padilla?

Kevin Skinner

I was grappling with 20 other things this week, plus I had some computer issues to boot. And now I’m taking a few days off (theoretically). So I was remiss this week in covering “America’s Got Talent.”

And I wasn’t even around last night to watch the “AGT” finale. But I hear that chicken farmer and heartfelt Kentucky country crooner Kevin Skinner beat the other heartwarming story, the operatic cancer survivor Barbara Padilla.

AGT winner Kevin Skinner

  • He earned it!
  • No way. Barbara Padilla should have gotten it but AGT didn’t need two winning opera singers in a row
  • No way! Somebody else deserved it.

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Those were the two I figured were most likely to win. AGT fans love singers (the first three winners sang) and they love both opera and great back stories. Padilla had all three. Skinner only had two but clearly, Skinner moved more people to vote for him.

I absolutely loved his first audition. But on a bigger stage, I felt like his …

Continue reading Who won ‘America’s Got Talent’? Kevin Skinner or Barbara Padilla? »

‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ interviews with the final three

The Johnstons won: Cameron, Regina, Carliegh, Theresa

The Johnstons won: Cameron, Regina, Carliegh, Theresa

So will the neighborhood ever be the same?

In June, CBS built a wall and placed eight families in Legacy Park in Kennesaw into a strange “Big Brother”/”Survivor” prison – all for $250,000. They eliminated each family one by one until the Johnstons were left standing wtih the cash this past Sunday.

The show did not do well at all, with just 3.6 million tuning into the finale Sunday on CBS, a very low figure for that network.

I spoke with the representatives from the final three families – the Upshaws (who dominated but came in third), the Schindlers (runner ups) and the Johnstons.

Ricardo Upshaw said there has been some “post trauma game disorder” but he believes by Halloween, everything will be back to normal. “There are bigger things to worry about,” he said.

During the show, five of the eight families knew each other well and were dubbed “the core.” The positive outcome, said David Schindler (who was part of the …

Continue reading ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ interviews with the final three »

E! Online procures photo of arrested actresses from ‘Vampire Diaries’ on bridge near Macon

Nina Dobrev. CREDIT: The CW

Nina Dobrev. CREDIT: The CW

E! Online got a hold of a photo taken on the bridge in Smarr, near Macon, in mid August that led to their arrrests.

The cops locked them up for flashing and dangling from the bridge. The photo is merely posed. No shots of the flashing. They were fined and released.

Coincidentally (or not), the news came out on Smoking Gun the day after the show debuted last Thursday although the arrests happened in mid August.

Nina Dobrev, Sara Canning, Candice Accola and Kayla Ewell, along with photographer Tyler Shields were all arrested.

Continue reading E! Online procures photo of arrested actresses from ‘Vampire Diaries’ on bridge near Macon »

Latest in reality shows: NBC seeking a capella groups!

We’ve had solo singers (”American Idol”), duets (”Can You Duet” on CMT), rockers (”Rock Star”on CBS), country singers (”Nashville Star”), gospel singers (BET’s ‘Sunday Best”) groups (the shortlived “The Next Great American Band” on Fox) and choirs (NBC’s “Clash of the Choirs”). To name a few.

Now NBC is seeking the next best a capella singing group. Anoop Desai (of “Idol” fame) –maybe your buds are ready for their spotlight?

NBC will be in Atlanta tomorrow. The victor has “a chance” to get a major label recording contract, the press release said.

Wednesday, September 16
Avatar Events Group
471 Glen Iris Drive NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
Line Starts at 8am • Doors Open at 9am

Here’s the press release:

A capella music has been the basis and inspiration for many top musical acts on the charts from Motown to Boyz to Men. Recently it has been the focus of national tournaments and exploded in popularity on college campuses all over the country. With …

Continue reading Latest in reality shows: NBC seeking a capella groups! »

Jay Leno starts up show at 10 p.m. on NBC


Thank you, Kanye West.

The rap star who endured a day-long public beating after his stage invasion during Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech provided Jay Leno the hour’s only genuine emotion and drama on the entertainer’s first 10 p.m. show on NBC tonight.

Leno effectively lucked out. Kanye was already scheduled to do a song with Rihanna and Jay-Z. And he didn’t back out despite the maelstrom of controversy – much to Leno’s relief, for sure.

When Leno asked Kanye what his late mom would have said to him about what he had one, Kanye sat speechless for several rivetingly uncomfortable seconds. He massaged his forehead and grimaced. The audience was eerily silent. Leno had to grope for something to say.

“Would she be disappointed?” Leno said gently. “Would she give you a lecture?”

West didn’t quite answer that but looked deeply and genuinely chagrined. “Yah. You know obviously. I deal with hurt. And you know – so many celebrities never take time off. I never took time off. …

Continue reading Jay Leno starts up show at 10 p.m. on NBC »

Taylor Swift, post Kanye West, on… V-103? A strange Bull/V-103 connection

Kanye Taylor

If you heard a Taylor Swift song on V-103 this morning, you weren’t imagining things.

Obviously, the Kanye West dissing of Taylor Swift at the MTV VMAs last night was the talk of morning radio today. Frank Ski and Wanda Smith were excoriating West’s behavior, as was everybody else.

But Smith wondered why Swift didn’t thank Beyonce immediately for the airtime she gave Swift on stage later that night.

A 94.9/The Bull fan in his office overheard another colleague listening to V-103, according to Jason Pullman, Bull morning host. He thought Smith was overtly criticizing Swift so he called in to Pullman and Kristen Gates at the Bull. Pullman, curious, called V-103. The studio line was busy so he found the office line and got through to Ski and Smith live on the air.

So for the first time probably in the history of Atlanta radio, a country station morning team was gabbing with an R&B/hip-hop morning team at the same time. Ski said Smith clarified her position with Pullman …

Continue reading Taylor Swift, post Kanye West, on… V-103? A strange Bull/V-103 connection »

V-103, Fish, WABE, the Fan hot in August Arbitron radio ratings


WABE-FM, which blends news and classical music, smoked August, finishing sixth in the overall ratings for the month, according to Arbitron. And “Morning Edition” ranked 8th among 25 to 54 year olds.

This is by far the best performance the station has had this year. In fact, the station has been steadily improving for momths. (Arbitron changed its methodology a year ago so data before the fall of 2008 isn’t apples to apples.)

The same can be said for 680/The Fan, which continues to expand its lead over sports rival 790/The Zone. Lineup changes the station has made the past year has clearly borne fruit.

Tops as usual is V-103. The R&B/hip-hop station hit another 2009 high in ratings in August. Frank Ski and Wanda Smith in the mornings have seen a steady rise the past four months. They drew almost 20 percent of the 18 to 34 listeners, an astoundingly high number given the competition in the market. Ski is currently in contract renegotiations. These numbers certainly help him. …

Continue reading V-103, Fish, WABE, the Fan hot in August Arbitron radio ratings »

‘Good Day Extra’ debuts on WAGA-TV today

Good Day Xtra logo

This morning, WAGA-TV has added yet another hour of local news programming with its 9 a.m. “Good Day Atlanta,” an addendum to its “Good Day Atlanta” show.

Meteorologist Jeff Hill and sports reporter Karen Graham don their best “Regis and Kelly” personas to do a fast-paced, frothy hour of features.

Jeff opened with an imitation “Power Ranger’ salute with Karen. Any reference to the “Power Rangers”: frighteningly uncool.

He also stumbled on his first intro. Both kept missing camera cues. There were technical snafus.

But hey, nerves are nerves on Day One. That’s to be expected.

Their bosses last week praised Karen to me and she did not disappoint. She was peppy without feeling fake. She seemed instantly comfortable in the host role.

The show front-loaded its debut with some local stars: pre-taped interviews with the band Collective Soul and Tyler Perry, who was promoting his latest movie last week. They had one in-studio star guest: “Guiding Light” vet Tina Sloan, a nice way …

Continue reading ‘Good Day Extra’ debuts on WAGA-TV today »

TV best bets with season debuts of ‘Survivor,’ ‘Biggest Loser,’ ‘Office,’ ‘Fringe,’ ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’


Brace yourself for a DVR deluge because a raft of fan favorite shows are coming back this week. From “Fringe” to “Survivor” to “Gossip Girl” to “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” there’s no shortage of choices.

And Jay Leno is taking over five hours of primetime territory on NBC starting Monday at 10 p.m. Expect plenty of hijinks and big stars.

Plus, a few summer series are closing shop. “Big Brother 11″ hands out $500,000, “America’s Got Talent” crowns its $1 million Wednesday and TNT’s “Dark Blue” ends its freshman stanza that same night.

Oh, and the Emmys are on Sunday if you care for that type of thing.

Which new or upcoming series are you most psyched about this week?

  • the CW’s “One Tree Hill”
  • the CW’s “Gossip Girl”
  • NBC’s “Jay Leno Show”
  • NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”
  • the CW’s “The Beautiful Life” (Mischa Barton)
  • Fox’s “Bones”
  • CBS’s “Survivor”
  • NBC’s “The Office”
  • Fox’s “Fringe”
  • FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
  • HBO’s “Curb Your …

Continue reading TV best bets with season debuts of ‘Survivor,’ ‘Biggest Loser,’ ‘Office,’ ‘Fringe,’ ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ »