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Archive for January, 2012

Jeff Dunham (Philips Arena, Jan. 28) does not take his success for granted

You can’t call Jeff Dunham just 220px-Jeff_Dunham_and_Achmeda ventriloquist.

He’s really a comic who uses his puppets as his muses. Through those puppets, he can make jokes he couldn’t otherwise say out of his own mouth, be it grouchy old Walter or goofy redneck Bubba J or clueless Achmed the Terrorist.

After years working small clubs like the Punchline in Sandy Springs, Dunham is now a selling out 12,000-seat arenas. His trip to Philips this Saturday will be his second.  His fourth Comedy Central special “Controlled Chaos” last September drew 5.5 million viewers. His Facebook fan page has 6.5 million followers.

And his voice is now so valuable, he only does interviews by email. Here are his answers to the AJC:

Q: You have been doing ventriloquism for 40 years. Are there aspects of the craft that still challenge you?

A: I realized early on that the ventriloquism needed to be just a vehicle for the comedy. It couldn’t be the focus of the act. In other words, I focus on the material. The …

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Bruno Mars’ ‘It Will Rain’ stays at top for five weeks on Atlanta radio

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AP photo

No song seems to be able to dislodge Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain’ from the top of Atlanta radio after five weeks.

The song is still in top rotation on Star 94 (47), Wild 105.7 (125) and Q100 (92.)

Rihanna’s “We Found Love” remains at No. 2 with comparable spins on Wild and Q100 but just one spin on Star 94.

Otherwise, not much is happening on the charts in the slog days of January.

The top 10
1. Bruno Mars “It Will Rain” 264 (-2)
2. Rihanna “We Found Love” 225 (+7)
3. Gym Class Heroes “Stereo Hearts” 197 (-4)
4. Flo Rida “Good Feeling” 189 (+17)
5. Katy Perry “The One That Got Away” 178 (-12)
6. Maroon 5 “Moves Like Jagger” 170 (-26)
7. LMFAO “Sexy and I Know It” 152 (+2)
8. Drake “Make Me Proud” 151 (-4)
9. Wale “Lotus Flower Bomb” 150 (+2)
10. David Guetta “Without You” 149 (-9)

Top 5 songs in Atlanta
V-103
1. Wale “Lotus Flower Bomb”
2. Drake “Make Me Proud”
3. Beyonce “Party”
4. Rick Ross “You The Boss”
5. Young Jeezy “I Do”
ADDS: Common “Celebrate,” Trey Songz “Sex …

Continue reading Bruno Mars’ ‘It Will Rain’ stays at top for five weeks on Atlanta radio »

Rhodell Lewis, booted from Praise, decides not to sue after all, finds part-time job at WYZE-AM

13736_1300886046215_1352341977_30858567_20542_n-199x300Rhodell Lewis, booted from Praise 97.5 for murky reasons last September, has found a part-time job at 1480AM WYZE-AM, a 5,000-watt gospel station. He starts at 3 p.m. today and will work Mondays and Tuesdays.

In terms of audience size, there’s no contest. Praise draws 600,000 listeners a week. WYZE doesn’t even show up in the Arbitron ratings some months.

Lewis, who was the afternoon jock at Praise for about four years, said last year that he was let go for “embarrassing” allegations made by a client. He wouldn’t say what they were but he said he was let go without any ability to defend himself.

He considered filing a wrongful termination lawsuit. “I was wrongly accused,” he said at the time. “I know right from wrong. I have to fight this. I wasn’t treated properly.”

“I want my name cleared even if I don’t get my job back,” he added.

But today, Lewis said after consulting with attorneys, he decided it wasn’t worth it. “I’m done with that situation, moving …

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Alton Brown joins ‘Next Food Network Star’ as a mentor

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AP photo

With “Good Eats” production over, Atlanta’s own Alton Brown is being given a full-time role on “Next Food Network Star,” according to Variety magazine.

The show, which is set to return May 13 for an eighth season, will be reconfigured this year. Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will no longer be judges. Bobby, Giada and Alton will pick a set of finalists to mentor through the competition, like “The Voice” or “The X Factor.”

Brown in the past has done guest spots on the show.

The winner will be decided for the first time by public vote. The winner’s mentor is will be the producer of the test show the winner gets.

Bob Tuschman, Food Network GM and SVP of programming and production, and Susie Fogelson, Food Network senior VP of marketing, creative and brand strategy, will remain as judges, along with a rotating set of guest judges.

The summer series draws strong ratings for the Food Network but the track record of its winners has been mixed. Arguably, season two winner …

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TV best bets with return of Kiefer Sutherland (’Touch’) and debut of Dustin Hoffman (’Luck’) in a TV series

Kiefer Sutherland and David Mazouz star in Fox's new show "Touch."

Kiefer Sutherland and David Mazouz star in Fox's new show "Touch."

Kiefer Sutherland, 18 months removed from the end of “24,” returns to Fox television Wednesday with a new series “Touch.”

This time, he plays a blue collar widower who is having trouble connecting with his mute (but incredibly smart) son. This is nothing at all like “24.” His character early on even gets punched in the stomach and he does… nothing.

Meanwhile, film star Dustin Hoffman for the first time enters the world of television with “Luck” on HBO Sunday, created by David Milch (”Deadwood”). He plays a sharp gambler, just out of prison, who jumps right back into the wooly world of horse racing.

MONDAY
“The Bachelor” 8 p.m. ABC — Ben and his 13 possible soul mates visit Park City, Utah. Clay Walker guests.
“House” 8 p.m. Fox — House and Foreman butt heads.
“Alcatraz” 9 p.m. Fox — A child killer, who would kidnap his victims and return to their homes, reappears from the past.
Fear …

Continue reading TV best bets with return of Kiefer Sutherland (’Touch’) and debut of Dustin Hoffman (’Luck’) in a TV series »

‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ recap: season 4, episode 11: Marlo joins the crew

Kandi Burruss and Phaedra Parks prep for the South Africa trip by taking an African dance class.

Kandi Burruss and Phaedra Parks prep for the South Africa trip by taking an African dance class.

This was what one would call a “set up” episode. Not much happened but it’s all in preparation for the big trip to South Africa starting next week.

So this may be one of my briefest recaps to date.

First of all, NeNe Leakes reluctantly ends up deciding to fly to South Africa but invites Marlo Hampton without telling the other ladies.

Previous episodes have set up recurring character/”Housewives” wannabe Marlo as a socialite who lives off rich men but has a shady past with seven mug shots to her name. (Most of the arrests date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s and include an assault.)

Kandi Burruss and Phaedra Parks last week wagged tongues about Marlo’s past and did so a bit more this week. Scandalous!  If Marlo gets angry, Phaedra cracks, “I ain’t gonna sit and wait. I’ll get on my Nikes and run!”

Naturally, the producers set it up so Phaedra, Kandi and Sheree Whitfield are …

Continue reading ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ recap: season 4, episode 11: Marlo joins the crew »

‘American Idol’ recap: season 11, auction city #3 San Diego

Jane Carrey, daughter of Jim Carrey, auditions.

Jane Carrey, daughter of Jim Carrey, auditions.

In this Very Special Sunday Episode of “American Idol” after the NFC Championship Game (go Giants!), we travel to San Diego on the U.S.S. Midway.

And again, in the ode to positivity, Nigel Lythgoe and his editors focus on the good singers. Seven of the eight featured auditions resulted in tickets to Hollywood.

In the end, 53 people got through from the city. Yowza!

If you are into spoilers, this site has 21 of the 24 supposedly named. Feel free to compare to the names below if you’re into that thing.

I don’t expect ratings will be much different than they were last week – in the 17 to 20 million range. (UPDATE: The show drew about 20 million viewers and will be repeated in the “Glee” time slot Tuesday before the State of the Union address.) I think half of the football fans will disappear almost instantly the moment the Giants-49ers game ends. And it ended even later than expected because it went into overtime. This will impact …

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Paul Ossmann joins CBS Atlanta as weekend forecaster

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Six months after his final day at 11 Alive, Paul Ossmann has landed a part-time weekend weather forecasting  job at CBS Atlanta.

He starts tomorrow, Saturday, January 21, 2012, at 6 p.m. He will be on regularly at 6 and 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

“They have a young staff,” said Ossmann, 54, who was at CBS Atlanta studios when I called him. “I’m kind of the old guy.” At the same time, the preternaturally sunny Ossmann added, “I’m excited to be here.”

Ossmann was on Atlanta TV for 23 years, first at WAGA-TV, then WXIA-TV until last July.  He has since worked in real estate and plans to continue to do so.

“He has the credentials, the experience,” said Kenny Lawrence, CBS Atlanta director of programming and audience development. “People know of him for all the right reasons. He brings local cache.”

11 Alive informed him early in 2011 that he …

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Tom Joyner brings back the Sky Show at the Rialto

Tom Joyner at the Rialto this morning. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Tom Joyner at the Rialto this morning. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

It was indeed an old-school sort of morning: Tom Joyner today brought back his Sky Show for the first time in five years, this time at the Rialto Center for the Arts.

Credit George Lucas and his film “Red Tails” for the Sky Show’s return. Lucas and Wells Fargo helped under-write the free event. Joyner’s syndicated show airs live on more than 115 stations nationwide, including Kiss 104.1 locally.

Joyner, 62, on stage wore a Tuskegee Airman jacket and walked around with a glittery cane. He brought out a former Tuskegee Airman and people involved in the film.

Elijah Kelly, an actor in the film who is from LaGrange, told Joyner it was a treat to be able to meet some of the remaining Tuskegee Airman on the set.

“To see them, to be able to touch history and look history in the eye,” Kelly said, “it was amazing.”

Joyner revived the old-school dance contest, the winner getting a leather jacket. At one point, the …

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‘American Idol’ recap: season 11, audition city #2 Pittsburgh

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This is the first time “Idol” has ever gone to Pittsburgh for auditions. And this may be the first time in 11 seasons that “Idol” did not feature even a few moments of a godawful singer. Even the one singer featured who didn’t make it through wasn’t cringe-worthy.

And there’s no doubt the final singer Hallie Day will make the final 42. She has that special something about her.

This turn towards the positive is clearly an emphasis on the “warmth” and “humanity” that Nigel Lythgoe is pushing.

They passed through 38 to Hollywood. We hear 10 folks who do.

First up is a guy who could be the next William Hung. Heejun Han from Flushing is acting odd, comparing his head size to that of Ryan Seacrest, a clueless quirkiness that yelps “Bad singer!” And his friends and family  say they’ve never heard him sing.  So nobody is expecting much. And he sings a Michael Bolton soul classic “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You.” The shocker: he is actually good! And off to Hollywood he …

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