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Archive for June, 2012

Magic Johnson, GMC launch new Atlanta-based cable network Aspire June 27

Magic Johnson is investing major bucks into his new cable network Aspire. CREDIT: AP

Magic Johnson is investing major bucks into his new cable network Aspire. CREDIT: AP

Earvin “Magic” Johnson has spent a lot of time on TV over the years, as a Hall of Fame point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, an NBA analyst and for a brief moment in time, a TV talk show host.

Now he is now working behind the scenes, launching his own Atlanta-based cable network called Aspire that will focus on family-friendly programming.  It debuts Wednesday, June 28, at 8 p.m. Johnson is a majority owner but is in partnership with Atlanta-based GMC, which carries its own brand of uplifting shows.

“I’m a great believer in partnerships,” Johnson said in a phone interview Monday. “If I didn’t partner with GMC, I wouldn’t be in the business. We needed someone with some expertise. I thought it was a natural fit.” The name of the network, he added, is meant to reflect the positivity he hopes will come out of the programming.

Aspire was created as part of an agreement with the Federal …

Continue reading Magic Johnson, GMC launch new Atlanta-based cable network Aspire June 27 »

Casey Abrams talks about his new album, the dreaded National Anthem

casey abrams

Season 10 contestant Casey Abrams is sometimes such a goofball, it’s hard to know when he’s being sincere and when he’s not.

For instance, I asked him about his current, even more hirsute look. He didn’t give me a genuine answer. Rather, he joked about it.

“Who cares about image?” he said. “We need to focus on my music, not my hot body.”

Then there’s the botched National Anthem from Sunday night at Citi Field before the Mets/Yankees game. He even knew the headline of the YouTube video: “Casey Abrams from American Idol butchers anthem”

“It was a lot of pressure,” Abrams admitted. “It kind of reminded me of classical music. You have to get every single note right, every lyric right. Maybe the pressure got to me.”

His lesson: never sing the National Anthem ever again.

His self-titled album is officially out today but is already available in streaming form if you want to sample it. It’s light and frothy and fun.

“I love the reaction,” Abrams said. “Let’s make music for the …

Continue reading Casey Abrams talks about his new album, the dreaded National Anthem »

Video: Talking ‘The Game,’ Susan Lucci, Keisha Knight Pulliam

Cinestars’ Brittany Umar joins me to talk about a new cast member on “The Game,” Susan Lucci on a new Marc Cherry show set to be taped in Atlanta and the possibility that Keisha Knight Pulliam may join “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.” >

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

Continue reading Video: Talking ‘The Game,’ Susan Lucci, Keisha Knight Pulliam »

‘Smash’ adds Jennifer Hudson for multi-episode arc

JenniferHudson_AP_628x336

Jennifer Hudson will be joining NBC’s “Smash” early next year for the second season for a multi-episode arc, according to deadline.com.

Hudson, who has transcended her time on “Idol” seven years to win an Oscar and Grammy and become a Weight Watchers spokesman, will play Veronica Moore, a Tony-winning stage actress who tangles with the players of “Smash’s” fictional musical “Bombshell.”

She joins regular Katharine McPhee, runner up on “Idol” season five.

The New York Times noted why “Smash” got renewed. It’s overnight ratings were not that good but when you included DVR playback, it’s 18-49 rating was 3.3, tied for best among all 10 p.m. dramas.

Hudson will also be getting a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star.

- I am talking to Casey Abrams later today to promote his new album. I’ll also have to ask him about his National Anthem performance last night for the Yankees-Mets game. Things didn’t go too well. You can listen to his album here.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

Continue reading ‘Smash’ adds Jennifer Hudson for multi-episode arc »

TV best bets with Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management,’ ‘Wipeout,’ ‘Louie,’ ‘Weeds’

Anger-Management-BannerCharlie Sheen is back.

Whether that tickles you or repulses you, Mr. Tiger Blood has found a new home on FX in a sitcom featuring Sheen as a former baseball player who specializes in anger management. It’s based loosely on the Adam Sandler film and debuts Thursday, the same night as the critically acclaimed “Louie” and sophomore year of “Wilfred.”

ABC brings back the silliness in “Wipeout” the same night as MTV returns with “The Real World,” season 27. That’s not a typo. The show has been around so long that members of the original season are now firmly middle aged.

And if none of that makes you high, there’s always Showtime’s “Weeds,” which returns for its final and eighth season Sunday.

MONDAY
“Bridal to Homicidal” 8 p.m. E! — Stories of housewives who snapped.
“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” 8 p.m. VH1 — Ratings for the debut last week were solid: 1.9 million viewers.
“America’s Got Talent” 9 p.m. NBC — The first batch of talent who made it to Vegas.
“Bunheads” 9 p.m. ABC Family …

Continue reading TV best bets with Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management,’ ‘Wipeout,’ ‘Louie,’ ‘Weeds’ »

TNT’s ‘The Great Escape’ tries to paint outside the walls

"The Great Escape" is TNT's first serious foray into reality TV. CREDIT: TNT

"The Great Escape" is TNT's first serious foray into reality TV. CREDIT: TNT

Atlanta-based TNT is attempting to escape its comfort zone of scripted drama and enter the wild, woolly world of reality TV in “The Great Escape,” debuting at 10 p.m. Sunday night, June 24.

And this is not the cheaper kind, where housewives and pawn shops reside. This is where thumping, dramatic music (cue “Amazing Race”) and dramatic locales (Alcatraz! The U.S.S. Hornet aircraft carrier!) intertwine. Three couples are placed in seemingly difficult situations and given a map to escape. Whoever completes four challenges first and “escape” takes home $100,000.

“The beauty of the competition is how intense it is,” said host Rich Eisen, an NFL Network sportscaster. “It’s arranged to be exhilarating from start to finish.”

The creators include film producers and reality show maestros. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are known for big films such as “Apollo 13″ and “A Beautiful Mind” while Elise Doganier and …

Continue reading TNT’s ‘The Great Escape’ tries to paint outside the walls »

New Lifetime series ‘Devious Maids’ by Marc Cherry to be shot in Atlanta

Susan Lucci is a star in "Devious Maids," picked up by Lifetime and set to shoot in Atlanta. CREDIT: AP

Susan Lucci is a star in "Devious Maids," picked up by Lifetime and set to shoot in Atlanta. CREDIT: AP

You lose some, you win some.

Atlanta recently lost Kevin Williamson’s new Fox cop show The Following’ starring Kevin Bacon to New York and J.J. Abrams’ NBC drama “Revolution” to Wilmington, N.C., but the city received good news this week: Marc Cherry’s new Lifetime dramedy “Devious Maids” will be shot in Atlanta.

According to deadline.com, the show’s pilot was taped in Los Angeles but not picked up by ABC. Lifetime gave it a look and decided to take it instead for 13 episodes.

Cherry is best known as the creator of the just-completed ABC series “Desperate Housewives.”

“This show and Marc Cherry’s unique story telling voice perfectly articulate Lifetime’s strategy of attracting top-tier creatives with their most original and exciting projects,” Lifetime’s president Nancy Dubuc and EVP Rob Sharenow said in a joint statement.

The show is based on a hit Mexican telenovela …

Continue reading New Lifetime series ‘Devious Maids’ by Marc Cherry to be shot in Atlanta »

The Supreme Court gives both sides something to cheer about in FCC ruling

Actress Connie McDowell showed off quite a bit of herself in a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue" that the Supreme Court addressed this week. CREDIT: ABC

Actress Connie McDowell showed off quite a bit of herself in a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue" that the Supreme Court addressed this week. CREDIT: ABC

The Supreme Court yesterday issued a narrow decision that will do nothing to clarify how the Federal Communications Commission should regulate obscenity (especially the “fleeting” kind).

It’s effectively leaving the FCC to do so on their own,  effectively forcing broadcast networks and AM/FM radio stations to double up efforts to keep themselves cleaner than their counterparts on Sirius/XM, the Web and cable TV.

The original complaints took nearly a decade to reach this point after bouncing up and down the judicial ladder. The only winners to date: attorneys working on the cases.

What were those complaints?

Remember when ABC’s  “NYPD Blue” used to show the buttocks of people in prime-time TV? Maybe not, but one of those episodes, featuring a female actress’ exposed backside in 2003 for about seven seconds, generated numerous …

Continue reading The Supreme Court gives both sides something to cheer about in FCC ruling »

WATL-TV brings ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ to the evenings starting Monday, June 25

Andy_griffith

‘Andy Griffith” on WATL over “Everybody Loves Raymond” at 7:30 p.m.

  • Great move! Love that show! A classic!
  • I prefer “Raymond”
  • Andy who?

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WATL-TV (MyAtlTV) is hitting the nostalgia button five decades by bringing back “The Andy Griffith Show” weeknights at 7:30 p.m. starting Monday, June 25.

Small-town sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), his son Opie (Ron Howard), Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) and his sidekick Barney Fife (Don Knotts) are already seen at noon every day on TV Land. Netflix makes the show available to stream for subscribers. And its also on DVD.

But there are still plenty of viewers who don’t mind hanging out with Griffith’s pleasant cast of Mayberry characters at dinner hour when flipping around the dial. The show aired for eight seasons, from 1960 to 1968, always pulling in strong ratings.

“Griffith” was a staple in the early years of WTBS, when it was the first satellite-beamed national network. It has been in …

Continue reading WATL-TV brings ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ to the evenings starting Monday, June 25 »

‘Dallas’ week two ratings include good news and bad news

dallas episode 2

On TV
“Dallas,” 9 p.m. Wednesdays, TNT.

TNT did not send out a press release about “Dallas” ratings after the second week episode came out this past Wednesday.

There’s a reason why: ratings dropped alarmingly from the first week: about 30 percent in total viewers.

But there is mitigating good news: the number of viewers in the advertiser-friendly demo dropped only 13 percent, from a 1.5 to 1.3 rating. And among 18-to-34 year olds, ratings actually went up. Interestingly, many of the older viewers who came to revel in nostalgia dropped out.

Week one, the show opened at a solid 6.9 million viewers. This past Wednesday, it had fallen to 4.8 million viewers. But if viewership can stabilize at those numbers, TNT will certainly renew the show, which includes the shenanigans of J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman is 81), Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy is 63) and Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray is 72) as well as the younger generation including John Ross (Josh Henderson is 31) and Christopher (Jesse …

Continue reading ‘Dallas’ week two ratings include good news and bad news »