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Archive for February, 2012

Interviews with two Georgians in ‘Idol’ semifinals: Phil Phillips, Aaron Marcellus Sanders

phil-phillips-picture

The top 25 on “Idol” season 11 features two Georgians: Phil Phillips of Leesburg and Aaron Marcellus Sanders of Atlanta.

We will hear the 13 guys on Tuesday and 12 women on Wednesday. On Thursday, the top 12 (or like last year, 13) will be named. Fox has not released how it will work but I presume the top 9 or 10 will be from the public votes and the final three will be “wild card” picks from each judge. We then go straight into the live final rounds next week and the way things are scheduled, it appears a top 13 is likely.

Last week, I talked to Phillips and Marcellus.

Here are bits from the Phillips interview:

Where the 21-year-old performs: mostly Albany and Valdosta. He has never performed in Atlanta, though he has visited.

Began performing at age 17: “I just want to get out there and play bigger places. I’m not the bar scene type. I’d rather play restaurants and festivals.”

“Idol” as an outlet: “”This isn’t really my type of show. It’s more pop. I feel like they saw …

Continue reading Interviews with two Georgians in ‘Idol’ semifinals: Phil Phillips, Aaron Marcellus Sanders »

TV best bets with Lindsay Lohan on ‘SNL,’ season finales of ‘Parenthood,’ ‘White Collar,’ return of ‘Army Wives’

Lindsay Lohan will show up on TV Saturday night - and not in a courtroom! CREDIT: AP

Lindsay Lohan will show up on TV Saturday night – and not in a courtroom! CREDIT: AP

The gossip sites will be all agog as train wreck Lindsay Lohan hosts NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” this week.

But it is otherwise a quiet week on TV land. A few mid-sized shows such as NBC’s “Parenthood” and USA’s “White Collar” are finishing up their third seasons. And Lifetime’s “Army Wives” returns Sunday for a sixth season.

Plus, two new dramas are carted out: NBC’s intriguing “Awake” on Thursday and on Sunday, ABC’s dishy “GCB,” which is based on a book with a much harsher title.

MONDAY

The Bachelor” 8 p.m. ABC — Ben’s final three finalists visit Switzerland.
“House” 8 p.m. Fox — House’s mom pops up to tell him about a new man in her life.
How I Met Your Mother” 8 p.m. CBS — Barney is attracted to a stripper.
The Voice” 8 p.m. NBC — More blind auditions as the four judges are close to filling out their teams.
Two and a Half Men” 9 p.m. CBS — Walden is taken aback when he gets a surprise …

Continue reading TV best bets with Lindsay Lohan on ‘SNL,’ season finales of ‘Parenthood,’ ‘White Collar,’ return of ‘Army Wives’ »

Adele’s ‘Set Fire to The Rain’ on top of Atlanta radio for three weeks

Adele accepts the award for best pop solo performance for "Someone Like You" during the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Adele accepts the award for best pop solo performance for "Someone Like You" during the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Adele, who just celebrated six Grammy awards last Sunday, continues to top the Atlanta radio chart in its third week. Her single “Set Fire to the Rain” is now heard on five stations: B98.5 (27 spins), Dave FM (29), Wild 105.7/96. (38), Star 94 (68) and Q100 (97).

Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” which had lasted seven weeks on top, has remained at No. 2, still a top 5 song on Q100 (89 spins) and Star (71) and mid-rotation for Wild (54).

Up and coming : Katy Perry’s “Part of Me,” the seventh single off her current album “Teenage Dream.” How often do albums go seven singles deep? Almost never. And six of her songs have gone No. 1. Incredible!  I can remember a seven-single-deep album happening with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”  I’m hard-pressed to think of any …

Continue reading Adele’s ‘Set Fire to The Rain’ on top of Atlanta radio for three weeks »

Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay interview for Punchline appearance Feb. 27

Andrew "Dice" Clay played a version of himself on "Entourage" in 2011. He will appear at the Punchline Feb. 27. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Andrew "Dice" Clay played a version of himself on "Entourage" in 2011. He will appear at the Punchline Feb. 27. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Andrew “Dice” Clay for a brief time in the late 1980s was the biggest comic in America. He sold out arenas nationwide, twice filling up Madison Square Garden.

But his schtick also drew accusations of sexism, racism and seemingly every other “ism” out there. Eventually, fans tired of the act, and he grew bitter under the media heat. He disappeared from the pop culture conversation. A reality show in 2007 (”Dice Undisputed”) died after just seven episodes.

Now 54, more than two decades after his career peek, Clay is still on the comeback trail. His latest calling card was a well-received role playing a demanding version of himself on HBO’s “Entourage” last year. Fox’s  “Raising Hope” featured him last fall. And he is now shopping another reality show about himself. And you can see him Monday, Feb. 27 at the Punchline.

If anything, he …

Continue reading Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay interview for Punchline appearance Feb. 27 »

Kelly Clarkson rocks the Fox Theatre again

Kelly Clarkson gave her sold-out fans at the Fox Theatre a lovely sampling of her past decade's output, plus choice covers of songs by Carrie Underwood, Florence + the Machine and Whitney Houston. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Kelly Clarkson gave her sold-out fans at the Fox Theatre a lovely sampling of her past decade's output, plus choice covers of songs by Carrie Underwood, Florence + the Machine and Whitney Houston. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Nearly a decade ago, “American Idol” crowned a sweet Texas crooner named Kelly Clarkson as its first winner.

A magical moment like that can never be replicated, kicking off a program that defined the first decade of this century on TV. Clarkson herself has taken the crown, bronzed it in her own special way and has never looked back.

Five albums into an extraordinary career, Clarkson came to the Fabulous Fox Theatre with more than 11 million copies sold and far more hits than she could fit into a 90-minute, 19-song concert. That, my friends, is a good problem to have.

Despite her star status, she sounded genuinely thankful when she acknowledged a full room of adoring fans. She didn’t pretend she could dance. (Her stage moves remain comically limited but …

Continue reading Kelly Clarkson rocks the Fox Theatre again »

FX’s Atlanta-created ‘Archer’ renewed for fourth season

archer season 3

FX is bestowing fast-rising spy Atlanta-created animated spoof “Archer” a fourth season before the third one is even over.

Renewals that come while the previous season is still ongoing is always a sign of confidence.

FX’s patience has been rewarded. The show, which airs on Thursday evenings, opened a bit on the slow side in 2009 season one but as the cult of Sterling Archer has grown, so has the fan base.

Counting DVR use for a week after the original airing, the show is pulling in two million viewers a week so far, up 32 percent from season two. Counting repeats, the show is averaging 3.3 million viewers.

There are four more new episodes this season, ending March 22. The fourth season will have 13 episodes.

Former Conyers resident Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) guest voices on tonight’s episode at 10 p.m.

Matt Thompson, one of the Atlanta creators, who works with Adam Reed at Floyd County Productions near Emory University sent me two quotes to choose from that he sent to the FX …

Continue reading FX’s Atlanta-created ‘Archer’ renewed for fourth season »

‘American Idol’ recap, season 11: the rest of the top 24 (and a twist!)

Contestants find out their top 24 fate. Are they in or out? CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

Contestants find out their top 24 fate. Are they in or out? CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

I was late posting my recap because I was at the Kelly Clarkson concert at the Fox tonight. (My recap for that concert will post Friday morning.)

We return for the final 20 singers and their fates. But since we only have a hour, a few folks get completely snuffed out or are barely seen.

Some of the stronger talent is highlighted tonight, including Jeremy Rosado, DeAndra Brackensick, Shannon Magrane and Hollie Cavanagh. There is definitely some debate about the inclusion of Skylar Lane over, say, Lauren Gray.

Among the final two guys, it was a tough call between Eben Franckewitz or David Leathers Jr. The judges chose Eben, but Nigel Lythgoe pulls off a new twist. The judges pick a 13th guy but we won’t find out until Tuesday. For the first time, we have a top 25, not a top 24.

The choices for that 25th spot? David Leathers Jr., Richie Law, Jermaine Jones or Johnny Keyser (who wasn’t even in …

Continue reading ‘American Idol’ recap, season 11: the rest of the top 24 (and a twist!) »

Magic Johnson creates new Aspire cable network with Atlanta-based GMC

Magic Johnson. AP

Magic Johnson. AP

Entrepreneur and NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson is creating a new cable network targeting blacks with partner GMC TV, an Atlanta-based cable network whic calls it’s programming “uplifting” entertainment.

Aspire will be headquartered in Atlanta and feature a mix of movies, documentaries, short films, music, comedy, visual and performing arts and faith and inspirational programs. The network is just starting to pick up programming to be ready to start airing in June.

Charles Humbard, president and CEO of GMC, said Aspire will focus on “family friendly” fare. Humbard said he hopes to include higher-end performing arts programming and documentaries generally ignored by some of these other networks. He plans to hire 20 to 25 extra employees to work with Aspire locally.

Aspire is entering an increasingly crowded field. Its most direct competitors are BET, Centric, TV One and the six-month-old Atlanta-based Bounce TV, which is available for viewers …

Continue reading Magic Johnson creates new Aspire cable network with Atlanta-based GMC »

Punchline Comedy Club celebrates 30 years after 10,000 plus shows including Jay Leno, Jeff Foxworthy, Steve Harvey, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen

The partygoers who worked at the Punchline between 1982 and 1997. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The partygoers who worked at the Punchline between 1982 and 1997. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The Punchline Comedy Club on the surface looks very much like it did when it opened three decades ago.

The wood paneling, the classroom-style wood chairs, the black and white eight-by-tens on the walls of comics with bad 1980s hair. The only overt nod to modernity: flat screen TVs, including two on the stage.

But clearly, the success of the club has nothing to do with the modest decor. For the first 22 years or so, the club was managed by Ron DiNunzio and Dave Montesano, then by Jamie Bendall and Chris DiPetta (who also worked there in the 1980s.).

They treated the comics, staff and customers well. They marketed consistently. Even as they expanded into other markets in the Southeast and added two other Punchline clubs in Atlanta in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the main club held its own. The Sandy Springs Punchline fended off at least a dozen competitors, including the recently …

Continue reading Punchline Comedy Club celebrates 30 years after 10,000 plus shows including Jay Leno, Jeff Foxworthy, Steve Harvey, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen »

Bonkerz replacing Funny Farm at Andretti’s

bonkerz-logo2The Funny Farm shut down earlier this month after two years at Roswell’s Andretti’s Indoor Karting & Games space.

The final comic was Tom Green, who was also the first comic when it moved to that space from the now closed Startime Entertainment.

But Andretti’s quickly found a replacement: Bonkerz, a national chain with 18 other locations in six other states.

The first comic coming to Bonkerz is Carmen Vallone March 9 and 10.

Joe Sanfelippo, president of  Bonkerz Comedy Productions, sent me an email last night saying he was traveling all day Thursday and responded to me by email.  He wrote that he splits his time between Las Vegas and Orlando.

He said he approached Andretti’s after the Funny Farm shut down. “I thought it would be a prime opportunity for me to approach Andretti’s to see if there was a possibility to develop a working relationship. Andretti’s is a unique and impressive facility and I thought it would serve as a great host for the next Bonkerz location.”

The Funny …

Continue reading Bonkerz replacing Funny Farm at Andretti’s »