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April 2008 Archives

No Swimming Pools or Movie Stars Here

April 29, 2008 3:17 PM


Tinseltown became a little more country Tuesday morning as some of the stars from The CW’s upcoming reality series “Farmer Wants a Wife” took a tractor-and-wagon ride down Hollywood Boulevard. As you can see from the following photo essay, this groundbreaking series—premiering Wednesday at 9 p.m.—will tear down the walls that keep country men and city women from finding love with each other. And it’ll do it the only way Hollywood can—through glamorous media blitzing.

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Hold Onto Your Lunch…

April 29, 2008 10:45 AM

If the worst part about the apocalypse for you is the not knowing, then today is your day.

G4 has announced the premiere of competition show, “Hurl!” It’s a bold step toward cementing “body fluids” as a stand-alone genre and surely, with it, the imminent destruction of the human race.

“Hurl!” asks contestants to consume massive amounts of “popular All-American favorite foods,” such as hot dogs, fish sticks or blueberry pie, and then participate in physical challenges (“carnival rides,” “belly flops” and “mechanical bull-riding” among others) designed to induce reverse peristalsis. The last player to hold on to his bolus gets the “Iron Stomach Award” and the honor of having helped replicate Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote sketch without English accents or ironic distance.

“The aim of ‘Hurl!’ is to hold up a mirror to the wan face of a society driven by economic and sociopolitical woes into base aesthetic escapism and induce a kind of cultural nausea,” said G4 President Neal Tiles.

Just kidding—he didn’t say that.

But he did say, in a statement painstakingly crafted to include every possible marketing buzzword of 2007, “G4's mission is to be a multimedia destination that's relevant and authentic to the interests of today’s young male demo. ‘Hurl!’ is really an idea that is inspired by the world of viral video, which has proven to be massively popular with young guys today.”

Barring a second press release from Ashton Kutcher, look for “Hurl!,” and for the sun to turn black as sackcloth, this summer.

—Julieanne Smolinski

Making Headlines

April 27, 2008 8:50 PM

Earlier this month on CNN.com, amid the stories on the presidential election and credit card reform, you would have found these quirkier headlines: “Mama duck saves stuck ducks,” “26-toilet mansion plan irks neighbors” and “Lover asks ‘bus girl’ to be his bus wife.”

They’d have taken you to video reports on a mother duck who quacked her ducklings from a drainpipe to safety; a blueprint for a Greenwich, Conn., home to be built with 26 bathrooms; and a bus driver who proposed to his girlfriend on the bus.

Now, if you’ve got a hankering to hang onto a headline, CNN.com will provide: The news site is adding to most of its breaking-news video headlines a T-shirt icon on which visitors can click to order a $15 shirt brandishing that headline and the words “I just saw it on CNN.com.” The goal is to get the word out that CNN.com isn’t just home to serious news—it tells water-cooler stories, too, said Andy Mitchell, VP of interactive marketing for CNN. The Web site draws about 35 million unique visitors each month.

— Daisy Whitney

Between Friends

April 27, 2008 8:50 PM

So you know social networking is really big.

You know all the cool kids are not just on Facebook and MySpace, but Twitter and Pownce and Jaiku.
But how the heck do you use all these sites? How do you not get social overload? And how do you avoid the dreaded TMI? (That’s “too much information,” folks, and it’s a bad thing when it comes to netiquette.)

Enter “Social Brew,” an Internet show that premieres this week. It’s the latest from San Francisco-based Revision3, the online TV network that appears to be on a relentless quest to launch as many new Web shows as possible this year. Blink had the chance to sneak a peek at “Social Brew,” hosted by the lively Irene McGee. And Blink thinks the show can help all you folks who want to be Web social but have been afraid to take the leap. So just jump in.

Daisy Whitney

‘Early Show’ Denizens Descend on Greensburg

April 27, 2008 8:50 PM

The A-team of “The Early Show” will spend this week in Greensburg, Kan., pitching in on a volunteer effort to build an eco-friendly playground for the town that was all but wiped out a year ago by a tornado.

Maggie Rodriguez, the newest member of the CBS morning show’s anchor team, said she’s “not handy at all.” She laughed as she confessed that it’s easy to tell whether she or her husband, Telemundo ad sales executive Michael Rodriguez, hung the pictures on the walls at home: If she did it, it was “trial and error” and there are several holes in the wall behind the art. Her husband can do it perfectly with one hole.

In Greensburg, she said, it won’t matter that she’s not a natural-born carpenter, because “this is all about going and doing whatever you can, even if it’s learning how to do something. I’m sure there’s something I can do. I want to roll up my sleeves and learn to do something.” When she worked in Los Angeles, she said, she spent a day in Mexico on a group project to build a house: “I held my own there and it really was the most gratifying thing.”

The “Early Show” anchors and staffers will work with a team from Planet Green, Discovery Communications’ eco-focused network, which debuts its 13-part series “Greensburg” on June 15; the series documents the rebuilding of the town with ecological and economical sustainability in mind.

Michele Greppi

Russians Nab Bauer, New Cohorts

April 24, 2008 6:03 PM

24 Welcome back, Jack.

Russian Web site filmz.ru has obtained one of the first stills from the upcoming season of “24.”
Fox confirmed that this shot is the real deal, but hasn’t posted it on its press site, meaning filmz.ru might have used Jack Bauer-esque tricks to obtain it.

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Helfer Heats Up ‘Burn Notice’

April 24, 2008 3:21 PM

Helfer“Battlestar Galactica’s” Tricia Helfer will be joining the cast of USA Network’s “Burn Notice.” She’ll be playing the role of Carla, who until now has been known to fans only as a voice who left Michael Westen, played by Jeffrey Donovan, mysteriously vague, threatening phone messages.

Ms. Helfer's addition to the cast comes a few weeks after she signed a one-year talent holding deal with Fox Television. Fox Television Studios produces "Burn Notice."

Ms. Helfer is also one of FHM Magazine’s Sexiest Women this year, according to NBC Universal’s press release announcing her addition to the cast.

With such a claim, curiosity led the Daily Blink to a Google Image search. This is one of the many red-hot photos that came up.

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Writers Do Lunch, Hand Out Awards

April 23, 2008 5:44 PM

The Writers Guild of America, West, handed out its 2008 honorary awards Wednesday at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.

According to WGA West president Patric Verrone, the guild was celebrating the occasion differently than it has in past years. Instead of a black-tie dinner in Beverly Hills, the presentation was a business-attire lunch in downtown L.A. A little more relaxed, it seemed, as the guild is still tingly from the strike that ended two months ago.

The ceremony, hosted by Mr. Verrone, recognized Budd Schulberg (“On the Waterfront”) with the Screen Laurel Award, David Chase (“The Sopranos”) with the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television, Robert Eisele and Jeffrey Porro (“The Great Debaters”) with the Paul Selvin Award, Tom Schulman (“Dead Poets Society," J.J. Abrams' series "Anatomy of Hope”) with the Valentine Davies Award, Don M. Mankiewicz (“Ironside”) with the Morgan Cox Award and Brad Bird (“Ratatouille”) with the Writers Guild Animation Writing Award.

The honorary awards recipients were announced weeks in advance, but this is the first time the WGA has been able to get together since the strike ended. At the luncheon, the guild seized the opportunity to hand out its award statues, which had yet to be distributed because of the strike.

The real winner for the day, though, was the decision to serve parmesan-crusted chicken with mashed potatoes instead of the traditional salmon with wild rice.

Why? It takes a little bit of comfort food to assure you that things are getting back to normal.

—Sergio Ibarra

Showtime Hails King Henry

April 22, 2008 2:31 PM

Peter O'TooleHeads will roll. Bosoms will heave. Liberties will be taken with chambermaids and, um, history.

Showtime has renewed its codpiece-ripper “The Tudors” for a third season/second marriage. Next year’s episodes, according to the pay network, follow the exploits of the sexy, hard-bodied King Henry VIII (Showtime’s words, not ours) and two more of his six wives.

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Wrestlemania Hits Campaigns

April 21, 2008 1:15 PM

Political discourse has jumped to the wrestling ring as the WWE has finagled Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain to tape segments for tonight’s “Monday Night Raw” on USA.

The video includes McCainaics, smelling what Barack is cooking and something called HillRod. Full video and grades on the candidates’ promos after the jump.

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McHale’s ‘Soup’ Line

April 21, 2008 5:00 AM

The SoupWith an impish grin and laid-back aplomb, “The Soup’s” Joel McHale slices and dices through the world of reality TV week after week on E! Entertainment Television.

During a recent on-set visit, Blink talked with Mr. McHale, who said that of all the reality shows on television currently, the one that ruffles his faux-hawk is CBS mainstay “Big Brother.”

“I have a problem with ‘Big Brother,’ but I’ve always had a problem with ‘Big Brother’ since the moment it went on the air,” Mr. McHale said. “It is the epitome of conspiratorial whispering. It’s just people lying on beds or couches quietly plotting against each other. And it drives me up the wall. I’m like, ‘People are watching this.’ They are just watching people sit around, hating each other.”

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Ray to Transform Young Chefs in One Night

April 20, 2008 9:00 PM

Daytime’s “Rachael Ray” is cooking up quite a treat for a hand-picked group of aspiring young chefs from around the country.

The CBS Domestic Television-distributed syndicated strip is flying the wannabe cooks to New York City to mount an April 28 dinner; they’ll create the menu and prepare full dinners for 70 guests paying $2,500 a head. Proceeds from the event will go to Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! organization.

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The Other Ender

April 20, 2008 9:00 PM

Chris Ender, CBS’ West Coast-based senior VP of communications, is now a political spouse.

His wife, Laurie, who will be remembered fondly by many in the business from her days as a supervising producer at “Entertainment Tonight” and a producer who helped develop “Access Hollywood,” was elected to the Santa Clarita (Calif.) City Council April 8 after a yearlong door-to-door campaign.

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Wings of the Doves

April 20, 2008 9:00 PM

The Gospel Music Channel is relying on more than prayer to deliver viewers as it telecasts the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards for the first time Wednesday. The network has formed partnerships with the association, record companies and other groups to promote the telecast.

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Keeping Up With ‘Gossip’

April 18, 2008 11:05 AM

Gossip GirlIn case you didn’t know, The CW’s “Gossip Girl” comes back from its writers strike-induced break on Monday at 8 p.m.

On Thursday the network announced it would not stream the upcoming final five episodes of the season on CWTV.com, in an effort to get viewers to watch the TV broadcast.

The CW has been blitzing many media outlet and blogs, hoping the promotions will translate to higher TV ratings.

Among the ways the network has been trying to help build the show’s already strong buzz is a racy ad campaign that takes a nod from IM-speak to tantalize viewers into watching, like the newest commercial below.

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Cartoon Net Keeps Viewers Humming

April 15, 2008 10:15 AM

In honor of the Los Angeles Cartoon Network upfront, the Daily Blink has this report from the well-funded but criminally underused “Cartoon Watching Habits of Foreign Leaders” department.

British newspaper The Sun reports that a radio station asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown what is on his iPod. Mr. Brown responded that the theme song to Cartoon Network series “Ben 10” is on it and he can’t get the song out of his head.

Mr. Brown’s son, John, reportedly is a big fan of the show.

However, for our money, the catchiest title of the current Cartoon Network lineup is “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.” Just try to watch this and not hum the theme throughout the day.

— Andrew Krukowski

TiVo No Fan of ‘Idol’s’ Mercado

April 10, 2008 3:02 PM

American Idol (Fox)Based on second-by-second audience measurement, TiVo is predicting that Syesha Mercado is getting the boot tonight on “American Idol.”

TiVo said according to its numbers, Ms. Mercado had the fewest number of people sticking around to watch her Tuesday-evening performance. The company added that for the past four weeks, the contestant whose performance was viewed by the lowest number of subscribers has been sent packing.

“Viewers tend to rewind and watch their favorite performances multiple times, while fast-fowarding through ones they don’t like. These viewing preferences correlate with voting patterns,” the company said in a statement.

For what its worth, David Archuleta was on the high end of audience viewership this week.

TiVo is doing this sort of prediction for one week only—meaning that either the company really hates Ms. Mercado to the point that even a machine decided that she sucks, or that bookies were threatening to do bad things to their logo’s antenna.

—Andrew Krukowski

Pedaling Along With Bill Nye

April 9, 2008 5:32 PM

In keeping with the spirit of upfront season, Tuesday’s Discovery Communications slate announcement at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills included lions, bicycle-powered blenders and Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Discovery’s new slate, covered here, included standouts like a singing competition show called “The Singing Office” on TLC, “Dave Salmoni: A Year With Lions” on Animal Planet and “Stuff Happens” on Discovery’s newest channel, Planet Green, set to launch June 4.

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Keeping Up With ‘Kyle’

April 8, 2008 3:01 PM

Fresh from last month’s PaleyFest series of tributes, the Paley Center for Media hosted a screening and discussion with the cast and producers of ABC Family’s “Kyle XY” at its Beverly Hills facility on Monday night.

In attendance for the discussion were executive producers Eric Tuchman and David Himelfarb, supervising producer Julie Plec and cast members Matt Dallas (who plays Kyle XY), April Matson (Lori Trager), Chris Olivero (Declan McDonough), Bruce Thomas (Stephen Trager), Marguerite MacIntyre (Nicole Trager) and Jaimie Alexander (Jessi XX).

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The Whole of Lundin

April 6, 2008 8:45 PM

Cody Lundin, the survivalist author who spent two years spent living in a brush shelter in the woods where he slept on pine needles and cooked over an open fire, is about to become a member of an elite class of television franchise players. Juma Entertainment has signed Mr. Lundin to a development deal with not one but two series in the works, both drawing heavy interest from broadcast and cable outlets.

The first series, “Stranded,” finds 12 people living in the extreme wilderness for 20 days and vying for a prize of $1 million. Unlike other outdoor survival reality shows, Mr. Lundin, the star and host of the series, will be living out there alongside the contestants, guiding them through the experience and offering advice along the way.

The second series is based on Mr. Lundin’s book “When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes.” That series will take on the urban jungle, explaining what to do in the city in a worst-case situation such as the electrical grid shutting down, a building collapsing, etc. Lewis Fenton, head of production for Juma, said there are multiple networks after the latter series.

“When we were in New York pitching the show, we realized that in this technological era, we have no survival skills. So we will explore how to find potable water, catch a sewer rat or get out of a trapped subway. Those skills are hot right now.”

—Chris Pursell

Keith Olbermann, Happy at Long Last

April 6, 2008 8:45 PM

Much was made last week of Keith Olbermann’s fifth anniversary as anchor of MSNBC’s “Countdown”—a far longer arrangement than his 1997-98 stint at MSNBC, which was abruptly ended by his distaste for the Monica Lewinsky-President Clinton saga.

Politically inclined comic Janeane Garofalo and documentarian Ken Burns were among those at the celebration, held on competitor CNN’s home turf at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. Inside the private room at Landmarc restaurant, the party poster read, “Party @ 7. Beat CNN @ 8.”


NBC Universal President-CEO Jeff Zucker, NBC News President Steve Capus and NBC News VP Phil Griffin took some proud and playful shots at Mr. Olbermann (who was happy to return the favor to his bosses) during the program, which was a reminder of how funny the truth can be.

Later, Blink asked the “Countdown” anchor if he could have lasted the five years if George W. Bush had not been president and the target of so much Olbermann verbiage. He said he thought he could have, for a number of reasons: He’d gotten daily sports out of his system during a shorter-than-expected gig with Fox Sports and he’d come back to the NBC-MSNBC family in 2001 with everyone knowing which of everyone else’s buttons not to push.

He said everyone seemed to agree it was time to try his idea of a “21st-century newscast that people will stick around to watch.” That worked out given the show’s flexibility to let someone else do “four or five minutes worth of, you know, Michael Jackson stuff”—basically anything he didn’t want to cover. “We had a backup plan. We never used it, because there was a lot of goodwill created by then. More than anything else, I think that’s what contributed to the change. That and just growing up,” Mr. Olbermann said. So would he actually describe himself as happy these days? “Oh yes, yeah, very much so. And I like it large-carload lots. Yeah,” he said.

—Michele Greppi

‘Access’ Nears 3,000

April 6, 2008 8:45 PM

In celebration of its latest milestone, “Access Hollywood” is gearing up for “3,000 Episodes in 30 Days,” a monthlong celebration pegged to reaching its 3,000th episode launching Monday, April 21.

The NBC Universal-distributed newsmagazine will feature themed weeks of nightly and weekend segments looking back at the show’s early days, including memorable red-carpet coverage and favorite celebrity interviews from over the years. The programming gala will culminate the weekend of May 17-18 in the “Access 3,000th Episode Special,” in which the show’s anchors and correspondents will sit down to discuss favorite moments and changes since the program began in 1996.

“Given the sheer volume of breaking news, exclusive interviews and unforgettable moments the team here has created over the past 3,000 episodes, we couldn’t simply honor it in one day,” noted Executive Producer Rob Silverstein. “I’m proud to say that the team—family, really—of people here have made and continue to make the show a success, including many who have been with us from the very first season.”

Among the behind-the-scenes material being offered online during the run will be the unedited video of Britney Spears’ breakdown onstage with Nancy O’Dell in 2004, Billy Bush jumping in a pool to save Mariah Carey’s dog in 2003, Angelina Jolie dragging an “Access” producer into the pool after her Golden Globe win in 1999 and Shaun Robinson choking during an interview with Will Smith for “I, Robot” in 2004.

—Chris Pursell

‘The Price’ Is Silly

April 4, 2008 4:20 PM

The Price is RightIn an update to our April Fools blog, here’s “The Price Is Right’s” 2008 April Fools day showcase showdown. That rascally Drew Carey gives a bum showcase to an unwitting Lisa. Our favorite moment is at the 52-second mark as Lisa feigns excitement over a vacation to “Boguslovania,” and then tries to ballpark a bid on something called a “transrebounder.”

Video goodness after the jump.

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If It’s on ‘Oprah,’ It’s Gotta Be … True?

April 3, 2008 5:29 PM

The video hit the Web last week: An ABC News broadcast segment examined an article in the Advocate about a man who claimed to be pregnant.

The rampant speculation on the veracity of the claim came to a screeching halt today when Thomas Beatie appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” the undisputed arbiter of truth and bejeweled floaty tops.

Mr. Beatie, an Oregon man, claims he became pregnant after Danny DeVito implanted him with embryos as part of a fertility research project.

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Blaming Canada … Again

April 3, 2008 10:23 AM

South Park

Johnny-on-the-spot in terms of current events, Comedy Central’s “South Park” absolutely torched the Writers Guild of America last night with an episode entitled “Canada on Strike.”

The episode might have sailed over the head of certain viewers, but speaking from the experience of working for a television trade magazine, Trey Parker and Matt Stone ran WGA heads through the satirical grinder Wednesday.

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Scouting for ‘Office’ Spinoffs

April 2, 2008 5:23 PM


With the slotting of “The Office” spinoff, The Daily Blink’s mind is swimming with the possibilities of what other wacky hijinx the crew from Scranton can get into.

But the sinking reality of spinoffs has set in. For every “Frasier,” we get 15 “Joeys.”

The NBC press release doesn’t offer any guidance either. “Audiences will follow another comic journey, complete with new faces and new locations, but with the same unique sense of humor and brand of quality from [executive producer Greg] Daniels and his creative team. It’s the next chapter of what viewers have come to know and love about ‘The Office.’” ...

It’s written with such a generic force, it’s almost like Mr. Daniels was unwittingly called five minutes before the release was written and asked, “So, what’s this show about?” Mr. Daniels would stammer “comic journey…um, some new stuff…Dwight’s there too, I guess?” before faking bad reception.

The Daily Blink offers up some pitches for “The Office” spinoff, after the jump:

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No Foolin’?

April 1, 2008 3:24 PM

Here’s a roundup of some of the more noteworthy April Fools Day jokes circulating today:


'Office' Party "The Office" crew gets a makeover on April Fools Day.

  • “The Price Is Right” held an April Fools Day showcase showdown, something the game show hasn’t done in several years. The Daily Blink is working on getting the video of the showcase up in the near future. Video of a past April Fools showcase after the jump.
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Google Gets in on the Gag

April 1, 2008 7:46 AM

Google is notorious for getting in some clever April Fools press releases, including the announcement of a Google drink and the news of a Web-based email with the ability to hold a gigabytes worth of material. (Oh, wait.)

Anyway, Google has two new April Fools Day pranks this year.

First, Google is teaming with Virgin to send an expedition to Mars! A press release dated April 1, 2008, heralds a new venture dubbed Virgle: "Some people are calling Virgle an 'interplanetary Noah's Ark,'" said Virgin Group President and Founder Sir Richard Branson, who conceived the new venture. "I'm one of them. It's a potentially remarkable business, but more than that, it's a glorious adventure. For me, Virgle evokes the spirit of explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo, who set sail looking for the New World. I do hope we'll be a bit more efficient about actually finding it, though."

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Let the April Foolery Begin

April 1, 2008 7:44 AM

YouTube is out of the gate already in the Internet April Fools Day joke department.

Head over to youtube.com, and click on any of the featured videos. Congrats, you’ve just been Rickrolled.

For those new to the world of Rickrolling, it’s the Internet phenomenon of misdirecting viewers to a video of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

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