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Archive for April, 2010

Atlanta’s Erin Andrews gets rights to peephole videos

erin-andrews-02The Smoking Gun (remember them?) has gotten documentation showing Atlanta ESPN reporter Erin Andrews now has legal ownership of the naked peephole videos of her taken by Michael Barrett.

Barrett is going to prison next week for a felony stalking conviction. He secretly shot the videos in three hotels while she was on the road for her job.

According to the site:

Barrett, sentenced last month to 30 months in federal prison, recently signed over his rights to the videos to Andrews, according to Daniel Alberstone, one of the sportscaster’s lawyers. With ownership of the videos legally transferred from the felon, Andrews could pursue federal copyright lawsuits against anyone distributing or broadcasting the videos.

In an interview I did with her a month ago, she expressed frustration that the Internet makes it virtually impossible to snuff out the videos completely.

Andrews, an Atlanta resident since 2002, has been in Los Angeles on “Dancing With the Stars.” With five contestants …

Continue reading Atlanta’s Erin Andrews gets rights to peephole videos »

The Weather Channel’s ‘Storm Stories’ explores the 2009 Georgia Floods

StormStoriesAtlanta-based The Weather Channel’s “Storm Stories,” hosted by Jim Cantore, looked right in its own backyard to explore the 2009 Atlanta floods last fall. Ten people lost their lives and thousands lost their homes.

The half-hour special, using re-enactments and interviews with the key players and debuting Saturday at 8:30 p.m., focused on two harrowing stories of people trapped in high waters, one on a river in Douglas County, another on I-20.

Josh Chandler and his sister on Sept. 20 had to take his one-year-old daughter to the hospital for an allergic reaction. They drove onto a bridge just as flood waters were hitting it hard. A major current knocked the car into the guard rail, then pushed it over, plummeting them into the river. “I thought we were gone,” said his sister Shanice Daniel.

The car got lodged in some trees, allowing them to up and out of the water. Three rescuers  tried to get them but their boat capsized and forced them to join Josh, Shanice and his baby in …

Continue reading The Weather Channel’s ‘Storm Stories’ explores the 2009 Georgia Floods »

Spike Lee explores his Georgia roots on tonight’s NBC show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

Spike LeeTonight, filmmaker Spike Lee will journey through the South to explore his ancestral roots on the NBC shot “Who Do You Think You Are?” And he digs through parts of Middle Georgia to find out.

The Morehouse College grad’s grandmother lived in Dublin, GA. In the first 10 minutes of the episode I screened, he goes down to Dublin and meets Atlanta University Center assistant archivist Melvin Collier at the Dublin library to get information about his great great grandmother Lucinda Jackson, who was born into slavery and died in 1934.

Collier, who said he spent eight hours with Lee that day, helped him find a newspaper obituary for Jackson, which named her three sons (including his great grandfather) but not Lucinda’s husband. He found the name on the death certificate, which was Mars.

11.nike.nolaHe named his character in his first major film “She’s Gotta Have It” Mars, inspired by his grandmother, who died in 2006 at age 100. He recalled her saying that Mars was the name of a “crazy uncle” …

Continue reading Spike Lee explores his Georgia roots on tonight’s NBC show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ »

Alasia Ballard loved her time on ‘America’s Next Top Model’

alasia

Alasia Ballard, a senior at Wheeler High School in Marietta, lit up the TV screen during this season’s “America’s Next Top Model,” finishing sixth after entering the competition with zero modeling experience.

As the youngest contestant, she often acted that way, too. She got into frequent arguments with other housemates, including Dacula’s Anslee Payne-Franklin. A couple of times, she was shown running late for challenges, annoying the other women. She was wildly inconsistent, finishing in the bottom two three times, yet winning two challenges.

But she was always entertaining, bringing a personality that ranged from prickly to bubbly to goofy in a heartbeat.

“I don’t have any regrets,” said Alasia in a phone interview Thursday afternoon, a day after the episode in which Tyra Banks informed her she was going home. “I had never experienced anything like that. I thought I’d been through stuff in high school but these people were so cutthroat!”

One time, she was walking by the …

Continue reading Alasia Ballard loved her time on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ »

Conan O’Brien said he wouldn’t have done what Leno did

conan-kroftConan O’Brien, in his first interview since he left the “Tonight Show,” said he would not have done what Jay Leno did, precipitating his departure.

“He went and took the show back and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed,” said O’Brien, who talked to Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes” in an interview set to air on Sunday. “I know– I know me, I wouldn’t have done that. If I had surrendered ‘The Tonight Show’ and handed it over to somebody publicly and wished them well — and then… six months later. But that’s me, you know. Everyone’s got their own, you know, way of doing things.”

O’Brien said he would have just done something else.

After NBC’s 10 p.m. experiment with Leno failed due to affiliate rebellion and low ratings earlier this y ear, execs offered an 11:35 p.m. slot to Leno that would push O’Brien’s show to 12:05 a.m. O’Brien refused and negotiated a major exit deal.

This all came from a CBS press release. I’m sure he will talk about the TBS deal as well. …

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CBS affiliate WGCL-TV Atlanta news director apologizes for airing alleged murderer’s spouse’s reaction

wgcL tv logoIn an unusual mea culpa on in its Web site, WGCL-TV (CBS Atlanta) News Director Steve Schwaid wrote a sincere apology for airing emotional footage Tuesday night of a Cobb County woman who did not know her husband has been accused of a homicide until their  cameras showed up.

The story aired Tuesday during the 11 p.m. newscast.

There was no disciplinary action taken. After it aired, Schwaid said in a phone interview today that he got some negative reaction from the public. “We don’t run certain 911 tapes. We don’t show body bags or pools of blood,” he said. After the fact, “I was uncomfortable with the video.” He had a staff meeting yesterday and they talked about  it as a “learning tool” for future stories.

Here’s the apology in full:

Writing apologies is one of the hardest notes to write. But clearly in this case we owe you, our viewers of CBS Atlanta and users of CBSAtlanta.com, an apology.

Last night we aired a story about a local man charged with murdering another man in …

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NFL draft, ‘America: Story of Us,’ ‘Project Runway’ do well in TV ratings while ‘Idol’ droops

Nationally, “American Idol” last week dropped below 20 million viewers and locally, it fell below 600,000 viewers. The “Idol Gives Back” special April 21 drew a season low 18.8 million viewers.

In 2006, the show typically drew 30 million viewers and 1 million in Atlanta.

kate gosselin dancing

The final performance show with Kate Gosselin on “Dancing With the Stars” held its own with 21.1 million, the top show of the week. The top scripted show was “The Mentalist,” which ranked No. 4 with 15 million viewers and No. 12 in Atlanta with 268,000 viewers.

The new ABC sitcom “Romantically Challenged” on April 19 only held 50 percent of the “Dancing” audience, not a good sign. CBS’s season finale of “Accidentally on Purpose” ended with 5.2 million viewers, holding the same audience as its lead in “New Adventures of Christine” April 21, giving it hope for a sophomore year.

On the CW, Atlanta-based “Vampire Diaries” remained the network’s top show with 3.3 million viewers, beating “America’s Next Top Model” …

Continue reading NFL draft, ‘America: Story of Us,’ ‘Project Runway’ do well in TV ratings while ‘Idol’ droops »

“The Next Food Network Star” new season features two Atlantans; ‘Worst Cooks in America’ Atlanta casting call May 1

Next-Food-ChallengeSeason six of “The Next Food Network Star” will have its biggest cast yet with 12 wannabes, including two Atlantans:

Brianna Jenkins, 30 (Atlanta, Ga.), originally studied food journalism at Georgia Perimeter College but fell in love with cooking after moving to Atlanta. She graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Française in Paris and now serves as the executive chef and owner of her own catering company. In her spare time, Brianna teaches cooking classes and travels the world looking for culinary inspiration.

Herb Mesa, 41 (Atlanta, Ga.), is a restaurant-trained chef who worked his way up from dishwasher to director of catering and assistant general manager of luxury hotels. He has worked as a personal chef since 2003 and adds creative twists on recipes from friends and family. Herb, who works as a personal fitness trainer in his spare time, also attempts to nutritiously enhance any recipe he encounters.

From the press release, a teaser of what’s to …

Continue reading “The Next Food Network Star” new season features two Atlantans; ‘Worst Cooks in America’ Atlanta casting call May 1 »

NeNe Leakes denies rumors of separation from husband, liaison with NFL player

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes and her husband Gregg just released a joint statement denying that they are separated or divorcing. She also said she has not been unfaithful to him. But both sides acknowledge that the relationship is having problems that perhaps fueled the rumors in the first place.

NeNe Leakes says:

“Gregg and I are still together – not separated or divorced. I have not left my husband for NFL player Charles Grant, and  I don’t know how those rumors started.  Charles Grant is no more than a casual acquaintance of mine since hosting one of his charity events in Atlanta about a year ago. I really have not had any contact with him since the Super Bowl, where I congratulated him for his big win along with other fans. I have never cheated on my husband, and reports of infidelity on my part are simply untrue. Like any married couple, we’re going through some marital problems, and working toward a path of recovery that’s personal and private. Our …

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Dr. Ian Smith (’Celebrity Fit Club’) interview to promote his book ‘Happy’

Dr. Ian Smith visits the Decatur-DeKalb YMCA where Member Involvement Coordinator Safiyah Pankey gave him a tour.

Dr. Ian Smith visits the Decatur-DeKalb YMCA where Member Involvement Coordinator Safiyah Pankey gave him a tour.

Dr. Ian Smith, 40, is best known for his diet books and his appearance as a judge on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club,” which just concluded its seventh season featuring Kevin Federline and Bobby Brown.

The Chicago resident was in town today to promote his new book “Happy,” which provides simple strategies to help people improve their happiness level. After doing WAGA-TV’s “Good Day Atlanta” and Rolling Out magazine, he came over to my Decatur-DeKalb YMCA to talk to me. I figured given his fitness angle, the Y would be as good a place as any to do it instead of a coffee shop or a hotel room.

Anyway, the member coordinator Safiyah Pinkey gave him a ten-minute tour of the place before I got there at the scheduled time of 10 a.m. (Dr. Ian got there early.) He said the visit brought back warm memories of his time growing up in Danbury, Ct. at the YMCA there, where he learned …

Continue reading Dr. Ian Smith (’Celebrity Fit Club’) interview to promote his book ‘Happy’ »