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Archive for September, 2010

Dish Network customers lose FX, Fox Sports, NatGeo over rate dispute

The possible final games for outgoing Braves manager Bobby Cox may be blacked out for Dish Network customers if a dispute over rates isn't resolved by midnight tonight. CREDIT: Curtis Compton/ajc.com

Two of the three possible regular season final games for outgoing Braves manager Bobby Cox may be blacked out for Dish Network customers if a dispute over rates isn't resolved. CREDIT: Curtis Compton/ajc.com

If you’re a Dish Network customer and planning to watch two of the three final Atlanta Braves regularly scheduled season games this weekend, you may be out of luck.

News Corp.’s Fox is blocking Dish’s access to 19 Fox Sports channels, FX and the National Geographic Channel. The sticking point is rate increases. Dish said they are asking for transmission fee increase of more than 50 percent. Those increases are often passed on to customers in the form of higher monthly subscription rates.

In a press release today, Dish said, “Fox has flatly refused Dish Network’s request to allow customers to continue to watch these FOX channels during the negotiations.”

“Dish Network is not going to allow Fox or any programmer to bully our customers into paying such an unconscionable …

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V-103 wins national urban station of the year award

v103_logoV-103 Thursday night won urban station of the year at the National Association of Broadcasters’ Marconi Radio Awards in D.C.

The Marconi awards are considered a top honor for a radio station.

V-103 has been a top-rated R&B/hip-hop station in Atlanta for many years under the eye of Rick Caffey. It has built up a dominant on-air staff, including veterans Frank Ski and Wanda Smith in the morning, Ryan Cameron and Rashan Ali in the afternoons and Greg Street in the evenings.

The station, which remains No. 1 in Atlanta despite a recent slip in ratings, currently has two slots open: mid days and late nights.

Reggie Rouse, the program director, said the station was excited to win the award but has no plans to “rest on our laurels.” He said V-103’s successful formula has been melding service and community with great personalities and music.

This is the first time in a decade V-103 has taken home this award. The station won five times between 1990 and 2000.

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Lifetime taps Atlanta again for drama pilot, this time starring Sherry Stringfield, Lou Diamond Phillips and Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Lifetime already shoots “Drop Dead Diva” in Peachtree City, led by creator Josh Berman.

sherry_stringfield

Berman clearly likes the area because he has another Lifetime project that he is shooting here in Atlanta. The unnamed drama stars Sherry Stringfield (”ER,” right) and Jamie-Lynn Sigler (”The Sopranos”) as cops. Lou Diamond Phillips is also attached to the project as their boss. So if you see those actors around town, now you know why.

According to deadline.com, it’s set in San Diego.

Otherwise, details are sketchy. I’ll update this if I get anything more.

Continue reading Lifetime taps Atlanta again for drama pilot, this time starring Sherry Stringfield, Lou Diamond Phillips and Jamie-Lynn Sigler »

Sad news about Greg Giraldo

Giraldo-GregGreg Giraldo, the stand-up comic, died yesterday after being hospitalized on an overdose of prescription drugs. He was 44.

He was best known as a resident “roaster” on various Comedy Central celebrity roasts, most recently one of David Hasselhoff (see the video below) He was also a judge on this past summer’s edition of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.

Marshall Chiles, a stand-up comic who runs the Funny Farm in Roswell and Laughing Skull Lounge in Midtown, said Giraldo is one of his favorite comics and has booked him a couple of times. “We’ve lost another one of the greats to drugs,” he said. “It’s kind of surreal.”

He loved Giraldo’s honest, personal observations and said he was nothing but cordial and professional in person. They bonded a couple of times over the fact both had been in recovery. Chiles recalls Giraldo would bring an opening act with him partly to watch over him and keep him sober and clean while he was on the road.

I saw him at the Funny Farm in 2007. Here’s what …

Continue reading Sad news about Greg Giraldo »

Enrique Iglesias’ comeback hit ‘I Like It’ is tops in Atlanta radio as the Groove narrows its playlist

Enrique_IglesiasEnriqueFrontalEnrique Iglesias has been off the pop culture radar screen for several years. His last hit on top 40 radio was in 2001 with “Escape.”

He’s now back with his No. 1 hit “I Like It,” which topples Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me” as the most played song on Atlanta radio. Posner was on top for a month.

And the Groove’s shift to sounding like the old 95.5/The Beat is virtually complete.

105.7/The Groove, which had a more oldies pop sound a few months ago but has become more and more of a “rhythmic top 40,” has increased its airplay of its top songs, from around 70 spins a week, or once every two hours and 24 minutes to a whopping 125 spins a week. That means once every 80 minutes. So if you listen to the station for eight straight hours, you’ll hear five particular songs six times each – or about one-quarter of the time.

The five big songs are “I Like It,” Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite,” Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie,” Usher’s “DJ’s Got Me Falling In Love Again” and B.o.B’s “Airplanes.”

I …

Continue reading Enrique Iglesias’ comeback hit ‘I Like It’ is tops in Atlanta radio as the Groove narrows its playlist »

Film inspired by a Carrollton man ‘The Way Home’ starring Dean Cain debuting on GMC Friday

Dean Cain plays Randy Simpkins, a Carrollton father seeking his lost son in the film "The Way Home"

Dean Cain plays Randy Simpkins, a Carrollton father seeking his lost son in the film "The Way Home"

In March, 2000, utility contractor Randy Simpkins’ two-year-old son Joe disappeared from the driveway of his Carrollton home.

He had left Joe on his tricycle for a few minutes while grabbing a few items inside as the family packed to go on vacation. Scary thoughts filled Simpkins’ head. Was he kidnapped? Did he get fall into a ditch? Did he drown?

Within a few hours, about 400 townsfolk and dozens of cops scoped out the surrounding area searching for Joe. By late afternoon, media helicopters circled the area.  As hope waxed and waned, Simpkins faced his own crisis of faith, questioning his own priorities in life.

His story is told in a film starring Dean Cain called ”The Way Home,” which debuts Friday on Atlanta-based cable network GMC at 8 p.m.

In 2006, Simpkins shared his story with filmmakers Clint Hutchison and Lance Dreesen, who were scouting for film locations in …

Continue reading Film inspired by a Carrollton man ‘The Way Home’ starring Dean Cain debuting on GMC Friday »

Who was out second on ‘Dancing With the Stars’? (And ‘Boo-gate’ is cleared up)

bolton

The voters gave Michael Bolton a clear message tonight: stick with singing.

After last week’s surprise departure of David Hasselhoff, Bolton’s ouster was expected. His stiff jive Tuesday night practically gave judge Bruno Tonioli a coronary.

Did Michael Bolton deserve to leave?

  • Yes. He was a bit of a dog on the dance floor.
  • No! He needed a little more seasoning and confidence.

View Results

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With just 12 points from the judges (including a pitiful 3 from Bruno), the soul singer needed a serious amount of votes from the public to catch up to the dancers with the second fewest votes: Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino and Margaret Cho. They each had 18. He obviously didn’t get it.

Bolton, who was in a literal doghouse opening his jive act, lacked any sense of nimbleness or athleticism, though he appeared to be in decent shape. He told media before the show that he avoided dancing while in concert – and he showed why.

“I thought Rin Tin Tin could …

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Former Atlantan David Cross stars in new series ‘The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret’

David-Cross-001Former Atlantan David Cross is a brutally honest comic who isn’t afraid to express his thoughts with equal doses of sarcasm, wit and vitriol.

So it seems ironic that his latest TV project features him starring as Todd Margaret, a nice enough guy who will lie his way into any predicament if he thinks it will make himself look good, without any thought of the consequences. In other words, he’s nothing like Cross.

The show, “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret,” is IFC’s first foray into scripted series and debuts Friday at 10 p.m.

In one sense, the show wasn’t Cross’s idea. A British production company approached him in 2007 to star in a program for a U.K. audience but with the potential to “cross over” to the United States. They paired him up with a British writer and producer. He came up with the concept.

“I didn’t have any interest in a show that was simply comic situations around cultural ignorance,” Cross said in an phone interview Monday. “That was boring to …

Continue reading Former Atlantan David Cross stars in new series ‘The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret’ »

El DeBarge seeking a second chance, will be at Center Stage Oct. 28

Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of TLC fame stopped by the green room to greet El DeBarge before his For Sisters Only appearance Sept. 12, 2010. PHOTO CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of TLC fame stopped by the green room to greet El DeBarge before his For Sisters Only appearance Sept. 12, 2010. PHOTO CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Since the late 1980s, El DeBarge saw his career crumble under a haze of cocaine and heroin. Just last October, he ended a 13-month stint in prison over drug possession.

But at age 49, the singer with the sweet falsetto voice is forging an unlikely comeback.

Known in the 1980s for his role as lead singer of DeBarge (”Rhythm of the Night,” “All This Love”) and solo artist (”Who’s Holding Donna Now,” “Who’s Johnny”), he signed a deal earlier this year Interscope Records. (He was set to open for Mary J. Blige Saturday at Chastain Park Amphitheatre but recently pulled out and changed his tour dates. Instead, he is going to be at Center Stage October 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale for $24 at noon Friday.)

DeBarge’s current single, an emotional ballad appropriately titled “Second Chance,” quickly jumped into …

Continue reading El DeBarge seeking a second chance, will be at Center Stage Oct. 28 »

Long-time news director Budd McEntee resigns from WAGA-TV

490Long-time news director Budd McEntee resigned today from his post at Fox affiliate WAGA-TV this afternoon.

He’s leaving at the end of the week. A WAGA spokeswoman said a replacement is being sought but has yet to be named. This is the second major shift in management in just a few weeks. The station’s veteran general manager Gene McHugh stepped down last month, replaced by Bill Schneider.

McEntee, 55, said his decision to retire was independent from McHugh’s.

“It’s been a fascinating opportunity and a great ride,” McEntee said in an interview today. “I need some time to throttle back a bit and take care of me and my family.” He will take some time off before deciding what his next step will be.

An insider took a shot of his going-away announcement today.

An insider took a shot of his going-away announcement today.

McEntee, who joined the station as a producer in 1982, has been news director at WAGA since 1991. His proudest accomplishment: turning I-Team investigative team into an award-winning powerhouse. (”That team is so bloody …

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