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Archive for February, 2010

Looking back: The late great ‘Deadliest Catch’ Capt. Phil Harris knew he wasn’t going to live to 100

phil harrisPhil Harris, one of the most popular captains on Discovery’s reality show “Deadliest Catch,” led a rough life so the fatal stroke he suffered recently isn’t exactly a shocker, but sad nonetheless. Discovery isn’t sure how it’s going to address it when the show returns in April.

I got to meet him in 2008 when he was doing some off-season promotion. We met at the downtown Hooters, which serves Alaskan snow crab. He was actually a pretty low-key, matter-of-fact guy who actually joked to me about dying.  He was refreshingly real.

Discovery is planning a special “Deadliest Catch” marathon Feb. 20. According to a press release, “We will provide information regarding a public memorial, where to send donations and a tribute show as details are finalized. ”

Here’s the story I wrote back then:

Broken ribs, broken wrists, broken arms, broken back. For Phil Harris, that’s standard fare trolling the Alaskan seas for snow and Alaskan crab, a lifestyle chronicled in Discovery Channel’s …

Continue reading Looking back: The late great ‘Deadliest Catch’ Capt. Phil Harris knew he wasn’t going to live to 100 »

Latest new Atlanta housewife rumor: Phaedra Parks. And whither Lisa Wu Hartwell?

phaedraJonathan Jaxson, Kim Zolciak’s former publicist, posted an exclusive report on his blog stating that the new housewife on Bravo’s hit show “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” will be entertainment attorney Phaedra Parks.

Parks was a producer for BET’s “Tiny & Toya” and has represented the likes of Bobby Brown and Jermaine Dupri, according to a recent Rolling Out magazine interview with her.

I checked in with her office but the administrative assistant said she was out of town and won’t be back until Monday. Plus, she probably won’t even get my message until then. I’ll try some electronic methods to track her down to refute this or fess up (or neither.)

FreddyO, a local photographer who knows Parks, said he isn’t sure she’s going to do it. Based on recent conversations with her, he thinks there’s a 70% chance she won’t do it because the craziness surrounding the show could threaten her client base.

Jaxson also said Kandi Burruss, NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak have signed on for …

Continue reading Latest new Atlanta housewife rumor: Phaedra Parks. And whither Lisa Wu Hartwell? »

Whatever happened to… Jeff Hullinger?

Jeff Hullinger

When Jeff Hullinger ended his final WAGA-TV broadcast on May 31, 2002, he had established himself as one of the biggest sportscasters in town after 18 years on the job. A slew of Emmy Awards. Play-by-play announcer for the Falcons when they made the Super Bowl. Sub for CNN’s “Talk Back Live.” Prominent radio gigs at 96rock and WGST-AM.

At age 43, with a rock-solid resume and brand-name appeal, he figured he’d have no problem finding another TV job in Atlanta.

He never did. After calling games for ESPN on a freelance basis and two years toiling in Tampa, he nabbed a job reading the news at WSB-AM in 2006. But the news/talk radio station inexplicably cut him last summer. (No comment from WSB-AM program director Pete Spriggs, per policy.) He is now unemployed.

Hullinger has gotten nary a nibble from any of Fox 5’s rivals. Nothing close, he said. (Management at those stations did not return calls and emails or declined to comment.)

“I’ve been mystified,” said Bill Hartman, …

Continue reading Whatever happened to… Jeff Hullinger? »

Project Runway: Season 7, Episode 5: Cover girl and catfights

anthonyblogThis week brought an intimidating challenge: Design an outfit to be worn by Heidi Klum on April cover of Marie Claire magazine. It also brought out a lot of ugly. Seriously, a lot of the designers apparently don’t flip through many magazines. Too many of them used pale, flat colors that most mags won’t use as cover art (with rare exception).

Besides that, the cat fights started percolating. A couple of annoyed designers had some “please shut up” commentary for Seth Aaron. He apparently turns A-D-D if it gets too quiet.

But Mila really rubbed some people the wrong way. Emilio said she comes off as a “cocky” “one-note wonder.” Wonder if this is why fellow designers didn’t congratulate her for placing second last week. She wondered if it could be jealously. Moving on…

Before we get the best and worst, I just want to say that I really liked Amy’s colorful strapless print and Jay’s long, romantic cream gown (just not for a mag cover). I did not like Jesse’s green pleated sheath …

Continue reading Project Runway: Season 7, Episode 5: Cover girl and catfights »

Interview with former Atlantan Parvati Shallow, part of ‘Survivor: Heroes v. Villains’

parvati20

Former Atlantan and fitness fanatic Parvati Shallow has already been on “Survivor” twice. On her second trip to Micronesia a couple of years ago, she even won the coveted $1 million prize.

Both times after she left the show, she said she’d never do it again. Too taxing physically and mentally.

But here she is back again.

“I think it’s just my insane competitive spirit,” she said in a phone interview last week from her home in the Los Angeles area. (She boxes and competes in triathlons.) “I honestly never thought they’d ask me to come back or want me to come back. I figure everyone would be sick of me!”

Alas, there’s another $1 million at stake. And she gets to play against some of the more colorful characters of the past 19 seasons including “Boston Rob” Mariano, Rupert Boneham, Ben “Coach” Wade and Jerri Manthey.  Sadly, nobody from season one is on the show, although winner Richard Hatch wanted to. (He was still under house arrest for tax evasion at the time.)

“It would …

Continue reading Interview with former Atlantan Parvati Shallow, part of ‘Survivor: Heroes v. Villains’ »

‘Undercover Boss,’ ‘Lost’ open strong in Atlanta; Lots of Lady Gaga on local radio

undercoverbossx-inset-community

Besides the massive record-breaking numbers for the Super Bowl last week, CBS’s “Undercover Boss” opened with 38.7 million viewers after the game, one of the better performances for a new show.

Locally, it drew 852,000 viewers. The real test, of course, will be this Sunday when the show will be in its regular time slot and Atlanta’s Hooters is featured.

Other highlights:

-ABC’s final season of “Lost’ opened strong with 12.1 million, up from a year ago and ranked No. 19 among broadcast programs. In Atlanta, it drew 330,000, No. 9 for the week.

- ABC’s “The Bachelor” continues to fly, growing to 11.7 million viewers last week (and it went up again this pst Monday.)

- Comedy Central’s “The Sarah Silverman Show” opened last season at 2.4 million. This time? A mere 767,000. Her shock schtick is apparently growing old.

-A&E’s “Steven Seagal: Lawman” may have lost its novelty over the season. The show was drawing 2 million plus a month ago. By its finale Feb. 3, it was down to 1.3 …

Continue reading ‘Undercover Boss,’ ‘Lost’ open strong in Atlanta; Lots of Lady Gaga on local radio »

‘America’s Got Talent’ auditions in Atlanta Feb. 20-21

americas_got_talent

Viewers of “America’s Got Talent” have seen a variety of acts, from trampoline jumping basketball players to weird oversized cartoon characters to sword swallowers. It’s a veritable circus of weirdness.

If you want to at least try to get on the show and think you have talent (or just plain weirdness), the show is holding open auditions at AmericasMart Feb. 20 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The celebrity judges, though, are not going to be there. They might come for a later round, like “American Idol.”

Despite the mix of oddball acts early on, voters tend to favor crooners, based on past finalists and winners. Season one featured child singer Bianca Ryan; season two was Terry Fator, the singer/ventriloquist who is now a regular in Vegas and biggest success yet; season three was opera singer Neal Boyd and last year was country singer and former chicken farmer Kevin Skinner.

But the show is seeking anybody who can do something visually interesting for 90 seconds. There is no age …

Continue reading ‘America’s Got Talent’ auditions in Atlanta Feb. 20-21 »

Atlanta-shot Fox drama ‘Past Life’ may not get a second life after terrible ratings post-’Idol,’ horrid reviews

past life

Atlanta has gotten lucky with a couple of shows shot here recently: Lifetime’s likable “Drop Dead Diva” and the CW’s addictive drama “The Vampire Diaries.” Both have been critical and popular hits on their respective networks.

But the city may not get so lucky with Fox’s “Past Life,” a crime show using “past life regression” as the hook. Six of the seven episodes were produced here. The drama lost 70 percent of the “Idol” audience last night, bringing in just 9 million viewers (compared to 27.7 million for “Idol.”). That’s extremely poor retention.

If you caught “Past Life,” what did you think?

  • Intriguing. Will give it another shot Thursday.
  • Dreck. Pure, unadulterated dreck.

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Fox had already cut the original run from 13 to seven and placed it in the tough 9 p.m. Thursday slot for its next six episodes.

Critical reviews were deadly as well (though many did like Cumming native Kelli Giddish. They just wish she were in a better …

Continue reading Atlanta-shot Fox drama ‘Past Life’ may not get a second life after terrible ratings post-’Idol,’ horrid reviews »

Atlanta-based Hooters CEO part of ‘Undercover Boss’ Feb. 14

CREDIT: Vino Wong

CREDIT: Vino Wong

For its entire existence, Atlanta-based Hooters has been mocked and reviled for its entire concept from its double-entendre name to its tight bright-orange short shorts to its efforts to be a “family-friendly” restaurant.

At the same time, the wings chain has grown consistently and become part of the American landscape. So much so that CBS is giving Hooters an entire primetime hour Sunday for its new reality show “Undercover Boss.”

Coby Brooks, the CEO, shaved off his goatee, donned glasses, journeyed to Texas last year and spent several days rotating jobs such as a cook, a busboy,a promotions guy and a store manager. He learned more about his operations from the ground up.

“I went undetected,” said Brooks, whose much brasher father built the company before relinquishing the CEO title to Coby in 2003.

Brooks said as a high school and college student, he did dishwashing and other jobs at a Myrtle Beach Hooters. But two decades later, it’s not any easier. “I …

Continue reading Atlanta-based Hooters CEO part of ‘Undercover Boss’ Feb. 14 »

Steve Harvey interview to talk about his book, ‘Family Feud,’ ‘Soul Train’

Steve-harvey-kmart

I spent a few minutes with Atlanta entertainer and radio host Steve Harvey yesterday at a local Kmart where he was promoting its “Share the Word” program during Black History Month.

Harvey’s appearance was tied in with “relationship wellness,” thanks to his huge best-selling book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” which has sold more than two million copies. He said his book was the third biggest selling book of the year, behind a “Twilight” book and Sarah Palin’s memoir. He complained that her book was often discounted big time and that he tries to sell his at $19.99 or at worst, $16 at Kmart (though ironically, I could not find his book on kmart.com.)

He is working on a sequel to dig deeper into a woman’s psyche, especially those struggling to balance life as a single mom. “How can she find the guy to take over that,” he said. “That’s a major issue… the one thing I learned: I haven’t found a single woman who set out to find a husband who found one… you can’t hunt the …

Continue reading Steve Harvey interview to talk about his book, ‘Family Feud,’ ‘Soul Train’ »