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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for May, 2011

TNT goes lighthearted with ‘Franklin & Bash’

In recent years, USA Network has established itself as the home for the lighthearted drama: “Psych,” “Monk,” “Fairly Legal,” “Royal Pains.” They’re all chock full of quick banter and jocular give and take, with occasional moments of drama thrown in to give characters a modicum of depth. Enjoyable but not weighty.

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Atlanta-based TNT has had more success with slightly grittier fare and we’re saying slightly because its two biggest shows “The Closer” and “Rizzoli & Isles” are hardly FX “Sons of Anarchy”/”Justified” territory.

TNT’s new drama “Franklin & Bash,” which debuts June 1 at 9 p.m., would fit nicely paired with  USA’s “Psych.” Instead, it airs before the more earnest “Men of a Certain Age.”

“Franklin & Bash” features two rebellious, somewhat immature lawyer buddies who run the type of law firm that advertises on buses.  But their showboating ways are successful – because such methodology works well in fictional justice land. A well-heeled legal firm, led by an …

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Kidd Chris debuts on Project 9-6-1 this morning

alertKidd Chris, a radio host who has worked in Philadelphia and most recently Portland, Or., joined Project 9-6-1 this morning at about 7:40 a.m. after an extended “countdown” introduction featuring clips of them from past shows.

“You’re going to hate us in the beginning,” Chris (real name: Chris Foley) said on the air. “All we ask is to give us a chance. Like I said before, wait for us to blow it.”

And as a visual cue (though visual cues don’t really matter in radio), Chris said he’s 37 and still highlights his hair. “I’m the bloated boy band guy,” he said.

Chris, who occasionally contributes to Howard Stern and announced his new job last week on Stern’s show, brought his on-air partner Thomas. They also added an existing Clear Channel employee named Alfie.

This is the station’s first attempt at a genuine “personality”-based show since it became Project in late 2006. It has tried three other combinations (Giant Briant Carothers with Shaffee, Shaffee with El Jefe and Shaffee and …

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TV best bets with ‘Teen Wolf,’ ‘The Glades,’ ‘Ice Road Truckers,’ ‘America’s Got Talent’

Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel are back with "America's Got Talent" Tuesday on NBC. Photo credit: NBC

Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel are back with "America's Got Talent" Tuesday on NBC. Photo credit: NBC

Sure, the broadcast TV season may be over per se, but this opens the floodgates for a raft of summer shows. You can pick dramas – A&E’s “The Glades” is back Sunday, TNT tries a new light law drama Wednesday in “Franklin & Bash”  and MTV debuts “Teen Wolf” the same night.

Reality programming is always ready to go – Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” and History’s “Ice Road Truckers” Sunday are a couple noteworthy returnees.

And there are reality competition shows, including Bravo’s new songwriting show “Platinum Hit” Monday night and the return of “Food Network Star” Sunday on (what else?) Food Network.

I’m also afraid to say, Oxygen is bringing back Paris Hilton.

MONDAY
The Bachelorette” 8 p.m. ABC — The 18 opening-night survivors move into the mansion.
“Basketball Wives” 8 p.m. VH1 — Evelyn tries to profit from the brawl that ended season 2.
The …

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VH1 embraces Atlanta with new ‘Singles Ladies’ show debuting May 30

Single_LadiesVH1 has morphed numerous times over the years to stay relevant.

Once a haven for music videos, the channel dabbled in “Behind the Music” documentaries, pre-Twitter snarky “Pop Up Videos” and “I Love the [fill in the blank]” pop culture shows. Then the network hit gold a few years back with what it dubbed “celebreality,” helping resurrect the likes of Hulk Hogan, Danny Bonaduce and most famously, Flavor Flav. In fact, his “Flavor of Love” series became so popular, they spawned a comical number of spinoffs.

But VH1 has been in a ratings slump lately as its reality-show slate has felt tired and palyed out. Meanwhile, VH1 executives watched sister stations MTV (”Jersey Shore,” “Teen Mom”) and BET (”The Game”) grab the ratings gold the past year.

So VH1 is not only bringing back “Pop Up Video” and “Behind the Music,” but it’s trying what TV Land and AMC have succeeded in doing recently: scripted shows.

Its first big gamble is “Single Ladies,” a relationships drama set in Atlanta …

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Kiss 104.1 to get a more youthful musical facelift

dm_logo_kiss

The "old school" portion of the logo will soon be gone.

Kiss 104.1 will get a facelift on Monday. A home to 1970s and 1980s classic R&B hits for 18 years, the station will add more songs from the past 20 years into its mix to try to draw more youthful listeners, said Tony Kidd, vice president of programming for Cox Media Group’s radio division.

Kidd said he’d like to draw more listeners in their early 30s.

There will be no personnel changes but the station will go commercial-free at least on Monday, he said.

Though still a solid top-five station in overall listeners, Kiss ratings have slipped a bit in the past two years and its audience has aged. In the April Arbitron ratings, Kiss tied for fifth place overall but was eighth among 25 to 54 year olds. In April, 2010, the station was tied for fourth in overall ratings but second among 25 to 54 year olds.

Kiss is going directly after Majic 107.5/97.5, which plays mostly R&B songs from the past 20 years, though Kidd said it won’t …

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Oprah ratings best in 19 years

AP

AP

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” finale on Channel 2 WSB-TV Wednesday drew the highest ratings in at least 19 years, based on a sampling of markets that are measured daily.

It will take a bit longer to calculate the nationwide numbers but it may exceed 15 million viewers.

In Atlanta, she drew a 16.1 rating, which is nearly triple her normal number. That comes out to loosely, 600,000 people. The “American Idol” finale, in comparison that same night, drew a 22.6 share or more than 900,000 viewers in metro Atlanta.

WSB-TV debuted its 4 p.m. newscast Thursday to replace her.

Oprah will now move to Los Angeles and focus on her new OWN cable network, which has underperformed since its debut earlier this year.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

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Scott Bakula promotes summer start of ‘Men of a Certain Age’

Who is your favorite main character on the show?

  • Owen (Andre Braugher)
  • Joe (Ray Romano)
  • Terry (Scott Bakula)

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When TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age” debuted in late 2009, it was a bit like the characters: slow, uncertain, not quite in the rhythm.

Ray Ramano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher cut up on the set of "Men of a Certain Age." CREDIT: TNT

Ray Ramano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher cut up on the set of "Men of a Certain Age." CREDIT: TNT

But as the show enters the second half of its second season, the writers and three main actors – Scott Bakula, Ray Romano and Emmy-winning Andre Braugher - are shooting on all cylinders, having found their voices. The show brings pathos, humor and humanity to their characters  in fine balance, making you root for them even when they’re screwing up.

Bakula’s character Terry is arguably the most stunted of the trio. As an actor, he grew up feeling entitled and uncommitted to anything and anybody except his friends. Approaching 50, Terry’s acting opportunities dried up so he became a car …

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‘So You Think You Can Dance’ debuts May 26 with Atlanta auditions

Haikem Stewart works the cameras outside Fox Theatre this past February. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Haikem Stewart works the cameras outside Fox Theatre this past February. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Atlanta has been an audition site for Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” three times.

But the actual number of metro Atlantans who have made it to the live shows? Exactly zero.

We can only hope that ignominious streak will end this year.

“Atlanta had an abundance of talent this year,” producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe said in a teaser reel the network provided.

It’s not that the past Atlanta auditions haven’t created talent. It’s that most of the people trying out are from somewhere else.

And I saw it myself. Fox allowed me to watch some of the auditions and it was an incredible stretch of quality auditioners. At least seven in a row made it to the next round. Only one I can recall was from the Atlanta area.

“I don’t remember a time when we gave so many tickets to Las Vegas in a row,” said Mary Murphy, who is back as a full-time judge, in the promotion reel. “We were …

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Former Star 94’s Tommy Sullivan at Oprah Winfrey’s final show

tom sullivanFor years, former Star 94 jock Tommy Sullivan tried to get on “Survivor” to no avail.

But he applied to be in the audience of Oprah’s final show, which airs today at 4 p.m on WSB-TV locally and was taped yesterday.  He was chosen to be part of an audience of just a few hundred due to his heartfelt essay on what Oprah meant to him.

“It was a dream of a lifetime,” he said today while checking out of his hotel in Chicago. “I love Oprah’s light and the healing she brings.”

He brought his friend and publicist Toren Anderson for the ride.

“It was the hottest ticket in TV history,” Anderson said, in publicist’s fashion. But she probably wasn’t far from the truth.

Anderson said Oprah had in many ways already moved on. “She was regal, a little detached,” she said, as Oprah discussed what the show meant to her. “It was very low key to the point of almost feeling like a funeral,” Anderson added. But at the same time, “it was amazing to be there.”

Sullivan said it seemed like Oprah was …

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Lil Jon feted by Decatur charity United Methodist Children’s Home

lil jon closeup

CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The two metro Atlanta representatives on “Celebrity Apprentice” this year were a study in contrasts. NeNe Leakes manufactured drama with half the cast, revealing her deep insecurities at every turn. She lost both challenges in which she was project manager. He charity got nada. Then she quit.

Lil Jon, the rap star, showed maturity, intelligence and teamwork. Sure, he got sick of Gary Busey but who didn’t? On the show, when he made the final four, he was honest to a fault when asked whether he should win the competition (John Rich or Marlee Matlin, not him). Donald Trump “fired” him.

But winning two challenges as project manager, he won $80,000 for the United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur, which has helped foster kids for 140 years. The home feted him under a tent Tuesday morning with his family and DeKalb County politicians on the dais. His brother Chris wore an oversized face mask of Lil Jon and entered first to cheers while one of Lil …

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