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Archive for December, 2010

TV year in review in Twitter form

In honor of  the most efficient mode of communication out there, Twitter, here are highlights from the year using 140 characters or fewer:

- A zombie apocalypse was good news for Atlanta and AMC: “The Walking Dead” drew huge numbers of live viewers. guaranteeing a second season.

Britney Spears (R) and Heather Morris (L) on the set of GLEE for the "Britney Britney" episode of "Glee" which aired Sept. 28 on Fox.  ©2010 Fox

Britney Spears (R) and Heather Morris (L) on the set of GLEE for the "Britney Britney" episode of "Glee" which aired Sept. 28 on Fox. ©2010 Fox

- Fox’s “Glee” kept people believin’ in a cappella singing with Britney Spears, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rocky Horror. Downloads through the roof!

- The Palins became reality TV stars. Sarah shot caribou for TLC while Bristol beat a bevy of better dancers on “Dancing With the Stars.”

- “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is as popular as ever: NeNe’s marriage crumbles, Kim bags a Falcon, newcomer Phaedra says wacky things.

- NBC tries to move Conan to 12:05 after Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. experiment bombs. No go. Conan bolts, embraces martydom. Atlanta’s TBS …

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Radio year in review: open mikes, news/talk going FM, Steve McCoy leaves

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People are spending fewer hours with AM/FM radio, more with their iPod or sites such as Pandora Radio.

But the format is far from dead. Its appeal remains the same: it’s free and offers personality. After business bottomed out in 2009, Atlanta radio saw signs of a recovery this past year, with revenue growth in the 5 to 6 percent range.

Here are this year’s most notable stories, with links to the original stories:

- With ratings falling, news/talk 750/WSB-AM in August added an FM signal at 95.5, replacing hip-hop station The Beat. So far, so good as the station regained listeners it had lost since early 2009.

- With the Beat gone, Groove 105.7 became Wild in November, with a hip-hop music mix that sounds much like the old Beat.

elle_duncan_200_1- V-103 remained top dog in the ratings despite some changes. In January, the R&B/hip-hop station dumped its long-time night-time host Joyce Littel, who has yet to be replaced. In late spring, up-and-comer Elle Duncan was moved from mid-days to …

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CNN’s Soledad O’Brien stops by Atlanta for book signing

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CNN special projects correspondent Soledad O’Brien is usually a whirl of energy but she fell off a horse in early October and messed up her knee.

“It’s taught me the value of slowing down,” she said last month at CNN Center, visiting from New York to sign her memoir “The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities.” “I’m now using a cane.”

O’Brien, 44,  will recover. But she isn’t stopping her mission to illuminate Americans on the sensitive topic of race and ethnicity. It’s a subject she knows well: her mom is a black immigrant from Cuba and her father is a white man from Australia. They were an inter-racial couple before it was technically even legal in Maryland for them to marry. (They had to travel to D.C. to do so.) “They came here as immigrants with a tremendous sense of possibility,” she said.  “They were successful in an environment that was not necessarily supportive of them.”

She grew up in Smithtown, N.Y., an affluent, mostly white Long Island …

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‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ ep 12

dish-121310-kandiI’m on vacation this week so I can’t do my regular recap, but I’m going to  leave this space open so you can provide YOUR comments below. Currently, I see Bravo is skipping Dec. 26 and running episode 13 on January 2, 2011. That’s probably just as well  since people’s TV watching schedules are usually all over the charts during Christmas weekend.

[Thanks Jen for doing the recap for me here!]

The season finale is set for January 16, with two reunion shows after that and a “lost footage” extras episode.

Based on the promos, Kandi gets nervous about her upcoming promo tour with Kim and NeNe worries about landing big-name interviews for her WXIA-TV gig as an entertainment correspondent. And there’s a delightful blow up between Phaedra and Kim as they cart out each other’s dirty laundry.

RATINGS RECAP

For episode 11 on Dec. 12, the show drew 2.9 million viewers. That’s down a bit from last week but still ahead of the comparable episode 11 from season two, when 2.6 million …

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TV best bets with Christmas films galore and ‘Million Dollar Money Drop”

Kevin Pollak hosts a new Fox game show "Million Dollar Money Drop."

Kevin Pollak hosts a new Fox game show "Million Dollar Money Drop."

This is the quietest week of the year for TV, which mean plenty of classic Christmas films and not a lot of fresh programming. Seriously, who is watching anything this week besides a football game or two?

The most notable new show this week is a game show on Fox that airs all week as the network is hoping it gets the next “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” with “Million Dollar Money Drop.”

But if you insist, here are highlights for the week:

MONDAY
“Million Dollar Money Drop” 8 p.m. Fox (new series) — Contestants start with $1 million but answer questions wrong and the dollars start “dropping” out of sight. Episodes will also air the rest of the week.
“The Sing-Off” 8 p.m. NBC (two-hour second season finale) —Surprisingly robust ratings have buoyed NBC execs. Committed is the early favorite to win it all.
The Closer” 9 p.m. TNT — Brenda gets some interesting news from her visiting …

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Check out Richard Blais as mad food scientist in Science Channel pilot series ‘Blais Off’ Friday

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Richard Blais has been his usual consummate professional self on Bravo’s “Top Chef: All Stars” after three episodes – save for missing the clock in the debut episode. He’s been safe after four eliminations, with 14 remaining.

But he’s already looking beyond that show with his very own effort on the Science Channel called “Blais Off.”

On Friday, the small network is doing what it’s dubbing a “sneak preview” of the show with two episodes.

“It’s a test run,” said Blais in a phone interview earlier this week while he was cooking sourdough bread. “They’ll see how it goes over. For me, it’s a great education.”

He is using his love of science to tinker with traditional recipes of iconic foods. In these test episodes, he will try to update pizza and burgers.

Blais said he pitched the show to other networks but Science liked it best. “I pitched to Science knowing in my heart and head that’s the one that’s going to stick,” he said. “I walked into the pitch with a tank of liquid …

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John Pruitt’s last day at anchor desk is today at Channel 2 Action News

My colleague Bo Emerson wrote this farewell to John Pruitt, who leaves the 6 p.m. anchor desk for Channel 2 Action News for the final time today.

John-PruittAfter 46 years in the business, John Pruitt will anchor his last news broadcast Friday. He still remembers his first story.

A new arrival at WSB-TV in July, 1964, the 22-year-old Pruitt was sent to help haul equipment to a cover a speech by Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett. Barnett’s white audience, assembled to protest the Civil Rights Act, suddenly discovered a group of black counterprotesters in their midst, and began beating them with feet, fists, and folding chairs.

The untrained Pruitt was tossed a camera and told to get film of the audience. His disturbing footage of the beating made the network news that night.

“In a strange way, it was exhilarating,” Pruitt said Tuesday as he sat at his modest cubicle in the cavernous newsroom for Channel 2 Action News at WSB’s Midtown headquarters. “You’re there. You are …

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Steve Harvey give more ’straight talk’ to women with his new book

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With his track record of two divorces and a third marriage, comedian, radio host and actor Steve Harvey is not the most obvious person to become a relationships guru.

But his 2009 book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” shocked the literary world by becoming the second-biggest non-fiction book of the year, behind only Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue.” More than two million copies have been sold.

Women, however, were not sated. They kept asking him more questions. So the Atlanta resident is back with a sequel, “Straight Talk, No Chaser,” which debuted No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. We spoke with Harvey recently before his book signing at the Borders in Lithonia.

Q: The book just came out. What’s been the reaction?

A: I’ve had a lot of people email me and say, “Great book! I can’t put it down. It’s a great complement to the first book.” And some people are even asking me to write another one. But I’ve been saying this is my last relationships book. I think I’ve said …

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Did local sous chef Nona Sivley win ‘Hell’s Kitchen’?

*Dec 05 - 00:00*05_Flatbed_WEBBlustery Gordon Ramsay crowned Nona Sivley, the ebullient Atlanta sous chef, his latest “Hell’s Kitchen” winner last night.

Sivley, festooned with tattoos and a big smile, beat out the far more arrogant Russell Kook for the prize: head chef at the LA Market at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles and spokesperson for Rosemount Estate Wines.

Overall, she made relatively few mistakes during the show. She was seldom a target of Ramsay’s wrath. During the final dinner service, in which she had a team of former contestants to help her out, she  showed solid leadership qualities, patiently handling her weakest team member Boris. She finished her service 45 minutes before Russell, she said.

“Gordon liked both of our menus so that probably made the difference,” she said in a phone interview today.

She was not a drama instigator, didn’t foolishly self-aggrandize herself before the cameras about her skills (e.g. Trev.) While that didn’t make her good reality TV material, it didn’t …

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Kim Zolciak planning a relationships book

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Kim Zolciak is planning a book about relationships, according to Blackvoices.com.

The “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member certainly has experience with relationships. She was married to a man named Dan Toce from 2001 to 2003 and has two children, presumably his. She had a long time on-and-off again relationship with local realtor Lee Najjar, known to all as “Big Poppa” because he was married and didn’t want to be on camera. She had a lesbian fling earlier this year with New York DJ Tracy Young.

And now she’s knocked up with Falcon player Kroy Biermann’s child.

Her advice will certainly inspire others. And given her vast academic qualifications (she has a nursing degree!) and writing skills (check out her Twitter page!), this book will be a keeper for decades to come. (Dr. Phil, you better watch out!).

And given Zolciak’s incredible work ethic, she should be able to pump this book out quickly with no need for a ghost writer.

Who is the wise publishing house who signed …

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