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

Interview with Sarah Wayne Callies, teaser from season 2 of ‘The Walking Dead’

Sarah Wayne Callies visits International Rescue Committee in Atlanta in May. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Sarah Wayne Callies visits International Rescue Committee in Atlanta in May. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Last month, I met up with Sarah Wayne Callies, part of the cast of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which is now in production all over metro Atlanta.

Callies, who plays Lori Grimes, the wife of the lead character Rick Grimes, had arrived early in town to get used to the hot weather, something the actors have to acclimate to since most of the shoots are outdoors. She, as a celebrity spokesman for the International Rescue Committee, visited the Atlanta operations, meeting with refugees from countries ranging from Iraq to Afghanistan. The organization helps people transition from their home country to the United States.

We toured English classes, the computer room, a day-care area and the store where refugees can pick up supplies for free. We also visited a couple of refugees from Congo and Afghanistan who were placed in apartments in Clarkston. (If you want more info about the …

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‘America’s Got Talent’ recap in Atlanta: more talent than any other city?

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Anna Graceman concluded last night's show. CREDIT: NBC

Yes, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” first round auditions seem to drag on forever. They even go to cities twice.

Three weeks ago, “Talent” opened with Atlanta and they returned Tuesday. Nick Cannon opens in a tank in the Georgia Aquarium. Why? Why not? We get plenty of shots of the foyer of the Fox Theatre as the judges enter. The show taped over three days there in April. Piers noted that this was the largest audience “Talent” has ever seen. Go Atlanta (or as Nick dreadfully says multiple times, “Hotlanta.”)

And although much of the talent at the Fox Theatre was from elsewhere, it’s nice to be praised.

“Atlanta’s been fantastic,” Piers said.

“The amount of talent here in Atlanta is incredible” burbled Sharon.

“We can do the entire season here in Atlanta,” Howie said. “I talked to Piers who has been here from the beginning. This is the most talent we’ve ever gotten out of one city in the history of ‘America’s Got Talent.’ …

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Advice to get on ‘Family Feud’

CREDIT: Family Feud

CREDIT: Family Feud

Classic game show “Family Feud,” which is seen at noon weekdays locally on WPCH-TV, has moved production to Atlanta, starting next month.

Casting producer Sara Dansby is seeking families to be on the show, with a shot to win up to $100,000. Live auditions are here June 26. Candidates get to play a mock “Feud” game in front of cameras. To reserve a possible spot, email atlanta@familytryouts.com. She tells me what she’s looking for:

- Bring oodles of energy and personality. Be willing to say “Good answer!” even when the answer is clearly no good: “We need people who are clapping and smiling and high-fiving.”

- Engage with Atlanta-based comic and radio host Steve Harvey, who took over as host last season. “I want a family to be able to bounce things off of him and go back and forth with him. They don’t need to try to be a comedian. That’s his job. But they need to joke around with him and get his jokes.”

- Bring five family members, though she recommends a …

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A talk with Drew Lachey, host of GMC’s ‘America Sings,’ debuting June 22

DRew Lachey-small

Atlanta-based GMC used to be called Gospel Music Channel. Over the past 18 months, it has shifted to more “lifestyle” programming, much like CMT and other networks that began as a music network.

I haven’t heard much from the network lately, save for the Dove Awards. But the network had an outside publicist send me “America Sings,” a new show which features videos of interesting singing groups. It debuts Wednesday, June 22 at 9 p.m. Over eight episodes, about 100 groups from North America will be featured.

This is a low-budget affair. Drew Lachey, the host and former member of boy band 98 Degrees, sits in front of an obvious green screen with no audience. The videos are submitted. The winner, based on public vote, gets $10,000 (as opposed to, say, $100,000 if this had been on Bravo or $500,000 if it were on a broadcast network.)

“It’s not heavily produced,” Lachey acknowledges in an interview. “It’s more grassroots. A lot of other shows, people want to be famous. Here, people …

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Interview with Don Lemon, CNN anchor, for book signing at Outwrite June 22

CREDIT: CNN

CREDIT: CNN

CNN anchor/reporter Don Lemon, who lives in Virginia Highland, spent weeks wondering whether he should come out as a gay man in his book “Transparent.”

He had it in his original transcript but had the option of taking it out. Then last fall, Tyler Clementi, a closeted gay college student, killed himself after a roommate posted online a sexual encounter he had with a man.

That sealed it for Lemon: “I left it in there.”

Response, he said, has been “99.9 percent” positive and he feels happier than he ever has: “I’m lighter and freer. It makes me better on air. I’m not trying to hide anything.”

Now friends jokingly say, “You’re Don Lemon: gay icon!”

Meet him at Outwrite Books, the gay bookstore in Midtown, Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. where he’ll sign his book for you.

He said he was never in the closet. He just never talked about it publicly. But he realizes now that “there are so few people who are out in broadcast news journalism. And if you break it out to African …

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Ratings for ‘Drop Dead Diva,’ ‘Teen Wolf,’ ‘Single Ladies,’ ‘Falling Skies’

Here are early ratings updates on three shows shot in metro Atlanta, plus the results from the debut of Atlanta-based TNT’s biggest new show “Falling Skies.”

drop-dead-diva- Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” (shot mostly in Peachtree City): This dramedy starring Brooke Elliott has had impressively consistent numbers its first two seasons, averaging about 2.7 million viewers each Sunday.  Its season 3 opener, which featured Wendy Williams, LeAnn Rimes and Mario Lopez, held par with 2.9 million viewers. (Last year’s opener drew 3.12 million and the series debut brought in 2.8 million.) This show has been a keeper from day one and there are no signs that it’s going anywhere.

- MTV’s “Teen Wolf” (shot all over metro Atlanta but mostly in Conyers): The remake of the 1980s film starring Tyler Posey opened at 2.17 million viewers June 5, holding fewer than half the audience of the MTV Movie Awards, which drew 4.5 million. The next day, with no such support, the show dipped to 1.47 million but last week …

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11 Alive (WXIA-TV) wins top Southeastern Regional Emmy award; Channel 2 wins most Emmys

emmy-statuetteChannel 2 Action News, the ABC affiliate and the highest rated broadcast news operation in Atlanta, won the most Southeastern Emmys Saturday night among the four local broadcast news networks with 13, four more than last year.

11 Alive News (WXIA-TV), the local NBC affiliate, took home 11 Emmys, including top newscast in a major market, which broke Channel 2’s three-year win streak in that category.

After winning 10 Emmys last year, Fox affiliate WAGA-TV won just three this year. The station changed general manager and news director last year. (Doug Richards on his blog explains why the usually heralded I-Team came home empty handed. The submitted DVD was, um, blank.)

WGCL-TV, the CBS affiliate, improved to five Emmys after two a year ago.

Among the winners:

- News gathering excellence in breaking news:  “DeKalb Officer Shot,” Channel 2, Ryan Young, Tom Jones Jason Durden

- News gathering excellence in team coverage: “Crawford Lewis Raid,” Channel 2

- News gathering …

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TV best bets include series finale of ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent,’ returns of ‘Futurama,’ ‘True Blood,’ ‘Leverage’

Vincent D'Onofrio ends his run as Det. Goren Sunday on USA's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." CREDIT: NBC Universal

Vincent D'Onofrio ends his run as Det. Goren Sunday on USA's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." CREDIT: NBC Universal

After ten seasons and two different networks,”Law & Order: Criminal Intent” retires for good on Sunday on USA. The show ran for six seasons on NBC, then was shared with USA to defray costs.

It included one of the more indelible characters in Detective Robert Goren, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who used his smarts to get confessions out of almost every criminal he comes across. His oddly haughty approach either turned viewers on or annoyed them to no end.

This leaves only one Dick Wolf “Law & Order” left: SVU. “Law & Order,” the original, was axed last year and “Law & Order; Los Angeles” only lasted one season.

Two shows on Sunday also enter their fourth seasons: TNT’s “Leverage” and HBO’s heralded “True Blood.”

MONDAY
The Bachelorette” 8 p.m. ABC — Can Ashley get over her heartbreak over Bentley?
“Bait Car” 8:30 p.m. TruTV — Atlanta police target car …

Continue reading TV best bets include series finale of ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent,’ returns of ‘Futurama,’ ‘True Blood,’ ‘Leverage’ »

Journey 97.9 debuts at noon today with 80s and 90s music. First song: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ ” Of course.

Masthead_Journey_061411_v3

At noon today, FM 97.9 started a new format called Journey97.9 , which focuses on songs from the 1980s and 1990s.

The name Journey of course is a reference to the seminal 1980s band. A pre-taped introduction from Randy Jackson (who played bass for Journey) opened the station. Naturally, the first song up: “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” Eleven of the first 17 songs are from the 1980s but it’s too early to say how the balance will play out over time.

12:03 p.m. Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” (1981)
12:07 p.m. Madonna “Holiday” (1984)
12:12 p.m. Michael Jackson “Rock With You” (1980)
12:15 p.m. Bon Jovi “Living on a Prayer” (1987)
12:19 p.m. Lenny Kravitz “It’ Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” (1991)
12:23 p.m. Simple Minds “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (1985)
12:27 p.m. Pat Benatar “Love is a Battlefield” (1983)
12:32 p.m. Matchbox 20 “3 a.m.” (1998)
12:36 p.m. Animotion “Obsession” (1985)
12:40 p.m. Billy Idol “White Wedding” (1982)
12:44 p.m. Annie Lennox “Walking on Broken Glass” …

Continue reading Journey 97.9 debuts at noon today with 80s and 90s music. First song: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ ” Of course. »

Two weeks for Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ at the top

Adele. CREDIT: AP

Adele. CREDIT: AP

It’s now two weeks for Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on top of the Atlanta charts.

Six stations in town are playing the song, the first one in recent memory that both rock station Dave FM (7) and R&B/hip-hop V-103 (12) are spinning, on top of B98.5 (24), Wild (114), Q100 (85) and Star 94 (50).

The fastest growing song is Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory,” which has a solid chance of making it to the top in a few weeks. Katy Perry also has the makings of yet another hit song “Last Friday Night.”

Two stations in the past month have pivoted younger:

Top 10 songs this past week:
1. Adele “Rolling in the Deep” 294 (+13)
2. Katy Perry “E.T.” 252 (-2)
3. Black Eyed Peas “Just Can’t Get Enough” 209 (+3)
4. Bruno Mars “Lazy Song” 204 (+19)
5. Kanye West “All of the Lights” 203 (+47)
6. Kelly Rowland “Motivation” 170 (+5)
7. DJ Khaled “I’m on One” 158 (+15)
8. Britney Spears “Till the World Ends” 156 (-2)
9. Miguel “Sure Thing” 148 (-6)
10. Lady Gaga “The Edge of Glory” …

Continue reading Two weeks for Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ at the top »