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Archive for January, 2010

Project Runway season 7 preview (including Atlantan Anthony Williams)

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On Thursday night at 10 p.m., Lifetime is bringing “Project Runway” back just two months after the conclusion of a soporific season six. Perhaps this new crew can quickly extinguish that stale odor.

Lifetime was kind enough to send me an advance copy of episode one. I won’t give away who was eliminated (not that it matters much in the grand scheme of things), but it isn’t a “I can’t believe they did that!” moment.

Here are some notable things to watch for:

– The network was smart enough to bring the show back to New York City, in part to give judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia a chance to be regular judges again. (When the show was in Los Angeles, they were bit players, forcing the show to rely on lame guest judges.) In a TV Guide interview, both said it was harder to judge when they weren’t seeing the contestants’ work week in and week out and questioned some of the eliminations.

– It looks like “Project Runway” will continue to salt in celebrity guest judges. First …

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Tom Green interview for Jan. 15-17 Funny Farm appearance

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Comedian Tom Green’s pop culture heyday came almost a decade ago with his quirky MTV show, his gross-out film “Freddy Got Fingered” and his brief marriage to actress Drew Barrymore.

He’s had a much lower profile in recent years, his more notable recent work include a Web talk show and an appearance on last year’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” Now he’s embarking on his first standup tour since he was a teen-ager. He comes to Roswell’s Funny Farm Comedy Club this weekend.

I spoke to him last week while he was in Edmonton, Canada for the start of his tour.

AJC: What was your stand up like when you were a teen?

Green: I remember doing jokes about cereal. I’d dress up in my dad’s suit and wear khakis and Adidas sneakers and look like [David] Letterman except I was 15. When I was 16, the local paper did an article on me. I considered myself a professional comedian because the club would pay me $20.

AJC: Why did you stop?

Green: I was 18. I had gotten an offer to do a weekend of shows in …

Continue reading Tom Green interview for Jan. 15-17 Funny Farm appearance »

Atlantans create new FX spy spoof ‘Archer’ launching Thursday at 10 p.m.

archer cartoon

Film and TV series pitches often come down to a simple phrase, combining two or three existing TV shows and/or films. Fox’s “Glee” is “High School Musical” meets “Election.” Sandra Bullock’s “The Proposal”? “Green Card” meets “The Devil Wears Prada.”

So two Adult Swim alums, Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, came up with this pitch: James Bond meets “Arrested Development.”

FX bought it. And the animated series “Archer” debuts on the network Thursday at 10 p.m. How do they feel? “Utterly freaked out,” Reed said.

The animation, which has a ’60s era retro feel, is created primarily in the Atlanta-based offices of Radical Axis, which also does work for Adult Swim shows such as “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”

Reed and Thompson worked for a time under Adult Swim guru Mike Lazzo, creating “Frisky Dingo” and “Sealab 2021.”

Lazzo’s philosophy: “Show me something I haven’t seen before.”  ”He is such an expert on everything that’s ever been on TV or in the movies, that was really hard to do,” …

Continue reading Atlantans create new FX spy spoof ‘Archer’ launching Thursday at 10 p.m. »

2 Live Stews get at least three more years at the Zone/Sporting News

2 live stews red shirts

The dogs and poodles are barking with delight.

Agent Norm Schrutt confirmed that Ryan and Doug Stewart of the 2 Live Stews on New Year’s Eve signed a new contract guaranteeing three more years on 790/The Zone and the syndicated Sporting News operation. The contract has an option for two more years on top of that.

They are on about 35 stations nationwide, including San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale and Memphis, Schrutt said. The Stews started humbly in the early 2000s at night on the Zone but have developed into a powerhouse show, the most popular program on the Zone from 1 to 4 p.m. daily.

“We’re real excited the Stews continue on 790/The Zone,” said Zone’s President Andrew Saltzman. “They continue to grow their brand here locally as well as nationally.”

Ryan should be thrilled about his job and home situation. He and his wife had their first child, a son, five weeks ago.

More to come as I await comments from Ryan and/or Doug.

Saltzman added that the station will begin …

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T-Pain resurrects Freaknik – as an Adult Swim cartoon

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A decade later, Freaknik is back — in animated form.

Rapper T-Pain (left) has executive produced a one-hour animated special set to air on Adult Swim in March called “Freaknik.”

Anyone who lived in Atlanta in the 1990s knew it well. In the 1980s, Freaknick started out as a modest gathering of African-American students during the third week of April. But by 1994, it had mushroomed into a city-wide spring-break party with traffic jams, men videotaping booty-shaking on car roofs, and debauchery galore.

With no warning, the party would hit major thoroughfares, creating snarls for hours. Folks who weren’t even in college started causing trouble. There were cases of sexual assault and drunken lewd behavior. Residents rebelled and the city government subsequently squelched the fun with aggressive police patrols and traffic stops. By 2000, Freaknik was more or less dead.

The entire situation became a bit of a racial football. Some people have warm memories of Freaknik, especially in …

Continue reading T-Pain resurrects Freaknik – as an Adult Swim cartoon »

Interview with Regina King, star on TNT’s ‘Southland’ (starts up Tuesday Jan. 12)

regina King

A decade ago, the gritty Los Angeles police drama “Southland” might have been a huge hit on No. 1 network NBC, a companion to classics such as “ER” and “West Wing.”

But last spring, with NBC languishing in fourth place, “Southland” opened without much fanfare and a seven-episode commitment. It averaged a modest 7 million viewers.

Nonetheless, NBC gave it six more episodes this past fall. It was set to air at 9 p.m. on a Friday, since the brass had cordoned off its weekday 10 p.m hour for Jay Leno, a blatant cost-cutting move signaling a major retreat by NBC from scripted TV.

Then the shocker: just two weeks before “Southland’s” scheduled return, NBC nixed it. Too dark, too expensive, given the ratings expectations on a Friday night.

But within hours, a white knight came calling: Atlanta’s TNT.

TNT quickly picked up all 13 episodes. An extended version of the pilot is airing Tuesday night at 10 p.m. The kinder, gentler cable model should help “Southland.” And if first-run …

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Checking out the new Funny Farm with ‘In Living Color’ alum Tommy Davidson

I checked out the new Funny Farm at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games in Roswell Saturday night and caught the 10:30 p.m. show starring “In Living Color” alum Tommy Davidson, the second headliner at the locale since it officially opened New Year’s Eve.

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Davidson was a blast. Turnout was light, with maybe 60 people in a space that could easily fit 200 people. (Operator Marshall Chiles Monday morning said he didn’t market it particularly aggressively so it did okay considering.) Manager Mike Stiles said there were far more people there at the 8:30 p.m. Chiles said he is planning to move the start times earlier (8 p.m. and 10 p.m.) to accommodate the surburbanites who don’t want to stay out that late.

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The comic did very little, if any, set material. He mostly winged it for an entire hour, which takes a certain amount of hutzpah to pull off. He mostly targeted a handful of people for an hour. For instance, he laughed himself silly first mocking a black man in a Russian Cossack …

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First hour of the new Elvis Duran morning show on Groove 105.7

Elvis Duran low resI have listened to bits and pieces of the Elvis Duran morning show when I’ve visited New York over the years but now we in Atlanta get to hear him every day on Groove 105.7 thanks to the magic of syndication. He will air from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

He debuted this morning at 6 a.m.. Early observations: the show is very high energy, and there are a lot of different voices to differentiate. He told me there are four core people (he, Carolina Bermudez, Danielle Monaro, John T. Bell) but he also had at least three others on the air that hour: Greg T, Skeery Jones and Froggy. Carolina has a higher voice than Danielle so it’s not too difficult to discern who is who among the women. But the guys? Clearly, Elvis dominates but it’s hard to figure out at first who is who otherwise, though Elvis does go out of his way to identify the secondary players before they speak.

Elvis, whose voice sounds a bit rough as he recovers from a cold, welcomed Atlanta to the fold at least three times hour …

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TV best bets with return of ‘24,’ ‘Project Runway,’ ‘American Idol,’ ‘Golden Globes’

Bauer New yorkWith the new year well under way, Fox is carting out two of its biggest weapons: season eight of “24″ Sunday and season nine of “American Idol” Tuesday plus a new show called “Human Target” before “24.”

Fox had a great fall thanks to shows such as “House,” “Bones” and newbie on the block “Glee.” Signs are pointing to a powerhouse winter/spring, too, even if shows like “24″ and “Idol” are on the aged side.

“24″ tries to shake up a very familiar formula by moving the scene to New York City and bringing in new CTU agents played by Katee Sackhoff and Freddie Prinze Jr.

“Idol” is bringing a new fourth judge Ellen DeGeneres to replace Paula Abdul. Since she was hired after the early auditions were done, there are also a gaggle of guest judges such as Neil Patrick Harris, Mary J. Blige and Avril Lavigne.

“Project Runway,” after a lousy fall season in Los Angeles in its debut on the Lifetime network, comes quickly back this Thursday. Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are regulars again …

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NBC officially ending 10 p.m. Leno experiment Feb. 11

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Today, NBC offiicials confirmed that the grand Jay Leno experiment will end next month right before the Olympics begin.

How this will play out overall is unclear in terms of how long Leno’s new show will be at 11:35 p.m. and whether Conan O’Brien sticks around. NBC said Leno was bringing in the modest ratings (and the profitable dollars) they were expecting but the affiliates were balking because their 11 p.m. news operations were losing viewers.

Locally, WXIA-TV’s 11 p.m. show has not suffered to the degree other NBC affiliates have. In fact, its 24-54 ratings in December 2008 were only down slightly from December 2009. Then again, it’s been mired in fourth place last spring and this past fall behind WSB-TV, WAGA-TV and WGCL-TV. UPDATE: As of Monday afternoon, I have yet to get a callback from WXIA’s general manager Bob Walker, who is understandably busy.

Where would you like to see Jay Leno now?

  • Back where he belongs at 11:35 p.m. for an entire hour
  • Keep him …

Continue reading NBC officially ending 10 p.m. Leno experiment Feb. 11 »