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Archive for July, 2010

TNT renews ‘The Closer,’ ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ and ‘Leverage’

Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander star in "Rizzoli and Isles," which gets 13 more episodes in 2011

Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander star in "Rizzoli and Isles," which gets 13 more episodes in 2011

In a no-brainer move, Atlanta-based TNT has renewed three of its most popular series: “The Closer,” “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Leverage.”

“Rizzoli & Isles,” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, has been a surprise breakout hit, averaging 7.1 million viewers per week. Sure, it’s only three episodes in, but TNT obviously sees enough staying power for this crime drama to give it another year. This series, based on books written by Tess Gerritsen, balances lighthearted banter with criminal procedural drama that is compatible with “The Closer.” In fact, it was the first show to ever draw more viewers following “The Closer.” (Already nixed shows such as “Saving Grace” and “Raising the Bar” failed to do that.)

TNT has committed 13 episodes of “Rizzoli & Isles” in 2011 after 10 for season one.

Kyra Sedgwick’s “The Closer,” TNT’s first huge scripted hit series since it started promoting …

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‘Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta’ debuts tonight on TLC at 9:30 p.m.

Bridals By Lori owner Lori Allen talks with employee Tiffany Eubanks and her fiance Jonathan Peek at 200 Peachtree, the new catering space in the old Macy's downtown. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Bridals By Lori owner Lori Allen talks with employee Tiffany Eubanks and her fiance Jonathan Peek at 200 Peachtree, the new catering space in the old Macy's downtown. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The new TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” held a rollicking party Thursday night at 200 Peachtree, the new catering space in the old Macy’s downtown.

The gathering, whose cost is split among TLC, Brides Atlanta, and Bridals By Lori, celebrated the show’s debut tonight at 9:30 p.m. It drew more than 900 people, a range of friends and family, customers and vendors. There was a separate room so folks could watch the show, which aired every 30 minutes.

The first episode’s emotional highlight came when one of the brides said she knew her recently deceased grandfather would have loved the dress she picked.

Photographer Christy Rhea of Digital Memories by Christy from Newnan wiped away tears from her face moments after one screening ended. “I cried when she mentioned her …

Continue reading ‘Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta’ debuts tonight on TLC at 9:30 p.m. »

Lisa Wu Hartwell confirms departure from ‘Real Housewives’ in interview

Princess Banton-Lofters, comic Rodney Perry and Lisa Wu Hartwell at the Loft 22 Entertainment party July 30, 2010. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Princess Banton-Lofters, comic Rodney Perry and Lisa Wu Hartwell at the Loft 22 Entertainment party July 30, 2010. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

I caught up with Lisa Wu Hartwell last night at the Loft 22 Entertainment opening party near Atlantic Station.

She confirmed that yes, she is leaving Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” after this season and won’t be a regular.

She also said it was a mutual decision. She wouldn’t confirm if Bravo tried to create sexier story lines for her that she refused to partake in, something Black Voices Buzz speculated about. But she said she had gotten tired of the silly fights “Real Housewives” shows love to partake in.

And as an aspiring actress, she doesn’t want to spend so much time in reality TV that it makes it impossible for her to successfully transfer to scripted work. (Her husband and former NFL player Ed is also getting into acting.) So far, she is getting some bites. For instance, she has a small role in an upcoming Robert Downey …

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TV production blossoming all over Atlanta

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Atlanta has become a popular place to shoot movies, especially since Georgia began offering sweetened tax incentives in 2008: “The Blind Side,” “Zombieland” and the upcoming Robert Duvall vehicle “Get Low,” to name a few.

But TV has been blossoming, too, providing steady work for the likes of caterers, grips and makeup artists. Over the past two years, the number of television shows shooting here has skyrocketed.

For instance, BET now tapes more than 150 episodes a year of “The Mo’Nique Show” at Turner Studios. The CW’s hit drama “The Vampire Diaries” began production two weeks ago in Decatur and parts around town for its second season. And Lifetime’s dramedy “Drop Dead Diva” is now a staple in Peachtree City.

“I never imagined the growth to happen this quickly,” said Ric Reitz, a local actor who helped design the tax incentive package. “It’s unprecedented in our state’s history.”

What are your favorite shows shot out of metro Atlanta? (Pick up to 3)

  • Good …

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Cybill Shepherd guesting on ‘Drop Dead Diva,’ recalls getting ’slimed’ in 2007 for ‘Curvy Widow’

Cybill Shepherd with Brooke Elliott on the "Drop Dead Diva" episode airing August 1

Cybill Shepherd with Brooke Elliott on the "Drop Dead Diva" episode airing August 1

Your favorite Cybill Shepherd role

  • Moonlighting
  • Last Picture Show
  • Taxi Driver
  • Cybill
  • Martha Stewart
  • The L Word
  • Something else

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Cybill Shepherd plays haughty well. That’s why she’s so successfully portrayed Martha Stewart twice in films and often ends up with roles like the one you’ll see this Sunday on “Drop Dead Diva,” the Lifetime dramedy shot in Peachtree City.

In the episode. Shepherd is a fashion editor nicknamed “Queen of Mean” who sues a former employee about to release a tell-all book against her. Jane, played brilliantly by Brooke Elliott, has to defend Shepherd.

“Brooke’s a real hard worker,” said Shepherd, who talked to me by phone from her hotel room in New  York City today. “The way she plays that part is wonderful. She’s so funny. And then she moves me. There’s really a lot of emotion in there.”

She also had worked on a …

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Former Atlantan Eric Roberts Tweets from ‘Celebrity Rehab’

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Academy Award nominated actor Eric Roberts, who grew up in Atlanta along with his sister Julia, is now on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.”

A film actor in his early years with an Academy Award nomination for “The Runaway Train” in 1985, he’s done more TV recently. He was on the sitcom “Less Than Perfect” from 2002 to 2006, had a recurring role on the recently axed NBC show “Heroes” and plays Seth Blanchard on the Starz show “Crash.” He’s also appeared in videos by the Killers, Eminem and Mariah Carey.

What is he in rehab for? We don’t know for sure but his Tweet to the left may give you some clues.

eric_roberts

How he managed to sneak access to his Twitter account is a little odd but hey, it’s a reality show.

Among the other participants are Frankie Lons, mom of Keyshia Cole; actor Jeremy London; model Janice Dickinson and Tiger Woods mistress Rachel Uchitel.

The season will air in the fall.

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Lisa Wu Hartwell leaving ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’

imagesLisa Wu Hartwell’s third season with “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” will be her last, her publicist Carlos Scott confirmed.

“She doesn’t want to just be a reality star,” Scott told me today. In fact, she’s gotten some  acting gigs lately. A few months back, she was on a “Meet the Browns” episode. She just did a fitness DVD. And she’s working on a film with Robert Downey Jr., Scott said.

He said the decision was mutual though Bravo is keeping mum on any production details about season three.

The Black Voices Web site, which broke the news, speculates that she won’t even be on the opening credits and may only pop up in a handful of episodes as the show introduces the two new cast mates Phaedra Parks and Cynthia Bailey.

Lisa Wu Hartwell’s pending departure

  • She will be sorely missed
  • No big deal. She’s no Nene or Kim!

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Wu Hartwell didn’t cause much drama overall though she did get angry at Kim Zolciak during the season one reunion show …

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Jim Norton, coming to the Punchline, defends Jay Leno, battles Jesse Ventura

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Stand-up comic Jim Norton, the embodiment of the angry New Yorker, wouldn’t seem like an obvious advocate of Jay Leno, often derided as milquetoast and blander than boiled carrots.

But Norton, who does comedy bits for Leno on occasion, believes the NBC talk-show host has been unfairly maligned after bombing out at 10 p.m., then taking back “The Tonight Show” earlier this year, displacing Conan O’Brien.

“Critics feel smarter preferring Conan over Jay,” said Norton from his home in Manhattan, promoting his shows at the Punchline this weekend (details below).  “There’s a natural inclination in people who pride themselves intellectually to not go with what the masses go with. Leno is actually a lot edgier than  Conan as a stand up. He’s edgier than David Letterman though Letterman is great, too. Jay got a bad rap.”

He didn’t see any reason why Leno should have stepped down when he was doing as well as he was. “It’s a childish attitude to tell a guy who was No. 1 in his time slot …

Continue reading Jim Norton, coming to the Punchline, defends Jay Leno, battles Jesse Ventura »

Gospel Music Channel’s Dove Awards coming to Atlanta

The 2009 logo

The 2009 logo

Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards, normally taped in Nashville, is moving to Atlanta next year for the first time in  its 42-year history.

Given that Nashville is the nexis for gospel and Christian music, this would be odd except the network airing the show, the Gospel Music Channel, happens to be headquartered in Atlanta.

The show, the Christian music equivalent of the Grammys, will be held at the Fox Theatre April 20, 2011.

Atlanta may be better known for hip hop but it does have a fair share of Christian artists such Third Day, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Dottie Peoples and Bishop Paul Morton. From the press release:

“GMC is thrilled to present the Dove Awards for another year to Gospel and Christian music fans,” said Charley Humbard, President and CEO of GMC.  He added, “As the leading television provider of Gospel music, we are dedicated to making GMC the television home of Gospel and Christian music’s biggest events.”

“That’s awesome news,” …

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Six weeks for Usher’s ‘OMG’ as top Atlanta radio song

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Matching Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” in the spring, Usher’s OMG” has been top dog on Atlanta radio for six weeks. It might reach seven weeks.

The song was spun 319 times last week, down 18 from a week earlier, from six stations: Magic (2), Beat (98), Hot (45), V-103 (41), Groove (62) and Q100 (71).

Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” is handicapped by being played on only four stations so it remains at No. 2. The only new top 10 song this week is Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me,” which got spin increases from the Groove. Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” was upgraded in spins on Star 94 from 59 to 74 despite its relative age and moved back into the top 10 overall.

The Groove is being much more aggressive lately adding new songs. Usher’s latest single “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” gained 49 spins this week, mostly from the Groove, which is already playing it five times a day. Sugarland’s latest single “Stuck Like Glue” was immediately added by the Bull and Kicks for a total of 37 spins this …

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