About

TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.

Blogroll

Blink

Main

Out and About Archives

May 4, 2009

TV Academy Honors Laud 'TV With a Conscience'

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented its Television Academy Honors to eight programs from the past year that embody “television with a conscience.” The dinner and awards ceremony was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel Thursday night.

Spurlock

FX’s “30 Days” was honored with the first award of the night. Creator and executive producer Morgan Spurlock said, “I thank you for recognizing that there is a world that exists beyond shiny floor shows, that where you think and what you do matters, where the impact could be measured long after the ratings have come in, and where at the end of the day, just maybe, we played our small part in making this world a better place.”

Mr. Spurlock also took his moment on stage to ask the voting members of the TV academy to vote for “30 Days” for an Emmy nomination, and to joke that NBC Entertainment Co-Chair Ben Silverman was not in attendance due to prior commitments with Deadline Hollywood Daily blogger Nikki Finke.

Continue reading "TV Academy Honors Laud 'TV With a Conscience'" »

April 19, 2009

‘Grey’ Goings-On

Hollywood’s fabled Grauman’s Chinese Theater was jammed Thursday night for the L.A. premiere of HBO Films’ “Grey Gardens,” which debuted on the pay cable network Saturday night.

Grey Gardens' Premiere

The film, based on the Maysles Bros.’ 1975 cult classic documentary of the same name, chronicles the lives of Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, a once-wealthy mother and daughter who gradually grow impoverished and acutely eccentric. Stars Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange turned out for the event, as did co-stars Daniel Baldwin and Ken Howard, writer-director Michael Sucsy, executive producers Rachael Horovitz and Lucy Barzun Donnelly and HBO Films President Len Amato.

Grey Gardens

For the elaborate after-party, HBO took over the entire Spanish Colonial-style lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel across the street. In a nod to the Beale women’s unusual sense of fashion, party guests were encouraged to don the flowing scarves and extravagant hats plentifully stocked around the premises.

An only-in-Hollywood footnote: In his pre-screening comments, Mr. Amato alerted the crowd to expect a slight inconvenience: At the film’s conclusion, guests would have to exit the theater a special way due to the fact that by that time a TV series would be filming a scene outside Grauman’s main entrance. The series? None other than HBO’s “Entourage.”

—Tom Gilbert

April 7, 2009

Conan’s Tuning Up for ‘Tonight Show’

Conan O’Brien is getting ready to start hosting “The Tonight Show” June 1, mainly by shouting at tourists.

Mr. O’Brien was shooting remote bits at Universal Studios Monday, armed with a bullhorn and a golf cart shaped like his desk.

He welcomed studio tour trams as they roamed around the backlots at Universal. Here’s a shot of Conan saying hello to Los Angeles:

Conan


It appears that Conan has more resources to play around with during his “Tonight” stint. Here was his last drive around Los Angeles on “Late Night”:


March 27, 2009

'Lost' Writers Provide Glimpse of Island Life

“Lost” executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, co-executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis and supervising producer Elizabeth Sarnoff sat down March 26 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills to talk about the craft of writing the winding, twist-filled ABC sci-fi mystery.

Lost

At least it started that way. The “Lost” gang quickly diverged onto different topics, discussing how video games influenced season three, how giving fans what they want tends to not impress and how John Locke is Mr. Lindelof’s “cherry.”

Here’s what we learned at the panel, presented by the Writers Guild Foundation:

—Mr. Cuse said video games nearly ruined season three of the show as the writers consistently played them while they should have been breaking stories. So much so, in fact, that the Dharma Initiative’s submarine, the Galaga, is named after the Namco video game.

—Mr. Lindelof compared switching focus of characters from episode to episode in the earlier seasons to eating a pack of Starburst. If cherry is your favorite flavor, you’ll eat a few different flavors to get to another cherry, he said. “My cherry is Locke,” he said.

Continue reading "'Lost' Writers Provide Glimpse of Island Life" »

March 1, 2009

‘Breaking,’ Mexican-Style

Following Thursday’s “Breaking Bad” season-two premiere screening at the ArcLight Hollywood, Sony and AMC threw an after-party at the Velvet Margarita, the swank, cave-like Mexican lounge on Cahuenga Boulevard.

AMC President Charlie Collier and series executive producer Vince Gilligan

AMC President Charlie Collier and series executive producer Vince Gilligan, pictured at right, worked the packed party with series star Bryan Cranston, executive producer Mark Johnson, AMC Senior VP of Original Programming, Production and Digital Joel Stillerman and Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko.

In the dark lounge, which was festooned with sparkling sombreros, elaborate piñatas, chandeliers and velvet paintings, guests enjoyed clips from “Breaking Bad” intercut with a new music video from the controversial Mexican band Los Cuates de Sinaloa—known for their songs about drug trafficking, border politics and corruption. Check it out . . .

Continue reading "‘Breaking,’ Mexican-Style" »

February 10, 2009

Judge Penny Tunes Up at Image Awards

“Family Court With Judge Penny’s” Penny Brown Reynolds took a break from the bench to deliver the benediction at the NAACP Image Awards luncheon on Feb. 7.

Judge Penny

Promoting a message of giving thanks, Ms. Reynolds read the third verse of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as “The Negro National Hymn.”

She said she still considers herself a courtroom judge rather than a television personality, so her strut down the red carpet was something new for her.

NAACP Image Awards nominees also attended the breakfast, including “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Chandra Wilson, “Ugly Betty’s” Vanessa Williams and “American Idol’s” Randy Jackson, who introduced Ms. Reynolds at the luncheon.

Seated next to her at the breakfast was Motown singer Thelma Houston. Ms. Reynolds said she didn’t recognize Ms. Houston at first, and used her BlackBerry to Google her name.

“I clicked on a link for her name expecting information,” she said, “but ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ started playing.”

“Don't Leave” was Ms. Houston’s big 1977 disco hit. Ms. Reynolds said they both laughed off the embarrassing moment and began singing an impromptu duet of the song.

—Andrew Krukowski

January 28, 2009

Meet ‘How I Met Your Mother’

“How I Met Your Mother” is the little show that did.

“It took three and a half years, but people are really catching on,” star Jason Segal said at a panel for the show held by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Jan. 27.

'MOTHER'S' FAMILY Cobie Smulders, left, Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segal, Josh Radnor, co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, director/executive producer Pamela Fryman, co-executive producer and unit production manager Suzy Mamann-Greenberg and production designer Steve Olson.

CBS, which kept the cast and crew waiting for a renewal for each of the first three seasons, seems to agree. All five cast members have extended their deals with the show through a possible eighth season.

“Mother” is known for its playful use of time, narrative and POV, drawing comparisons during the panel to a sitcom version of “Pulp Fiction.” Trying to figure out who the mother is, online fans often are sent into a tizzy of clue-descrambling akin to another show that likes to play with time.

“The bloggers are amazing,” said Neil Patrick Harris. “They keep everyone on point and hypothesize. It’s like an episode of ‘Lost.’” Mr. Harris had a gee-whiz moment of his own during the evening.

Hannigan, Harris and Segal

Online speculation has surfaced about upcoming guest star Laura Prepon, who plays Ted’s high school girlfriend Karen. Karen taught Ted everything he knew, Josh Radnor explained, which makes her even more pretentious than college-student Ted.

Not everything is a clue, however. Production designer Steve Olson admitted that a letter hanging both in one-time fiancée Stella’s apartment and behind Ted’s kids in the future is just a coincidence.

The show is beloved for its relatable stories about friendship, love and work. Creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays Mr. Bays and Mr. Carter said they draw many storylines from the real experiences of the shows’ writers and their friends, including this season’s “The Naked Man” episode and season one’s cockamouse storyline (a personal favorite of the Daily Blink’s).

While Mr. Bays and Mr. Carter were tight-lipped about the ending of “Mother” and the owner of the mysterious yellow umbrella, they did offer up plenty of teases for the rest of the season:

Continue reading "Meet ‘How I Met Your Mother’" »

Neil Patrick Harris: Gee Whiz

Last night at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' panel for "How I Met Your Mother," Neil Patrick Harris rushed off stage in the middle of the discussion to use the restroom.

He just forgot one thing: His mic was still on.

As the panelists and audience erupted into gasping-for-air laughter, one could hear Mr. Harris tell someone he just had to use the bathroom and what sounded like a door.

Co-star Jason Segal declared it the greatest thing that's ever happened to any of them, while the pregnant Alyson Hannigan complained that she had had to pee since the panel started, but wasn't rushing off.

Mr. Harris eventually returned while a gag reel was playing with a stream of toilet paper sticking out of the back of his pants.

Stay tuned to the Daily Blink for a full recap of the night's festivities.

—Vlada Gelman

December 14, 2008

The Snow Must Go On!

In true the-show-must-go-on tradition, NBC Entertainment Co-Chairman Ben Silverman hit the slopes for charity the weekend immediately preceding the network’s wholesale axing of its top creative executives.

Ben Silverman at the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest

Mr. Silverman—looking startlingly upbeat, considering—posed with slalom ace Steve Mahre, left, and event host Bob Horowitz, president of Juma Entertainment, right, at the 17th annual Deer Valley (Utah) Celebrity Skifest presented by Paul Mitchell. Highlights of the fest, which raised $500,000 via live auction for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that fights water pollution, are scheduled to air Sunday on—you guessed it, CBS.

—Tom Gilbert

September 22, 2008

Music Creates Party Mood for HBO

HBO's post-Emmy party

What: HBO's post-Emmy Awards reception

Where: The plaza at the Pacific Design Center

When: Sunday, Sept. 21

Entertainment: A DJ playing everything from Madonna to Justin Timberlake to Earth, Wind & Fire rocked some fierce beats. But what made the music stand out even more was the live drum accompaniment timed to match the beats of the music.

Decor: In a word, stunning. The theme of Brazilian carnivale included fire coming from candles in flower centerpieces and flaming torches, as well as lots of green décor and lighting. Two platforms high above the action let guests take in the entire scene below. The walls featured street murals hyping HBO and some of its party partners. It might be sensory overload, if it weren’t for the vast space and wonderfully laid-back vibe of the room.

Food: Portuguese chicken with potatoes, lemon, peppers and tomatoes; roasted sea bass with spicy red balana sauce and lemon; grilled black bean cakes with avocado and grilled sweet corn guacamole; banana and spice braised green empanadas with curry crème fraiche; Brazilian-style ratatouille with eggplant, tomatoes, sweet peppers and zucchini; guava panna cotta; coconut black rice pudding; Portuguese chocolate bread pudding; mango pudding. Not to mention the Godiva booth with a dozen different varieties of exotic truffles, which was a chocaholic’s dream come true.

Jeremy Piven

Jeremy Piven on drums

Highlights: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Emmy winner Jeremy Piven and nominee Bret McKenzie from “Flight of the Conchords” banging on the drums with DJ Ravidrums as partygoers looked up and snapped pictures; “30 Rock” winner Alec Baldwin dancing with a bevy of female admirers; “90210’s” Michael Steger wandering over to young starlets Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) and Amanda Seyfried (“Big Love”), who had been chatting for a while; an influx of non-HBO stars trickling in from other parties, including Kate Walsh (“Private Practice”), David Boreanaz (“Bones,” not “The Bones,” Heidi) and Jennifer Morrison (“House”) sticking close to Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”). “The Amazing Race” executive producer Bert Van Munster, celebrating his sixth Emmy win, said he was going to go for No. 7 next year. And yes, that was Kenneth—er, Jack McBrayer—giddily downing a glass of Champagne (or was it white wine?) with a big ol’ smile on his face.

—Vlada Gelman and Josef Adalian

TV Guide Party Takes on Asian Air at the Kress

TV Guide's post-Emmys party

What: TV Guide Emmy after-party

Where: The Kress, Hollywood

When: Sunday, Sept. 21

Entertainment: DJ Samantha Ronson continued the weekend rounds. Live performances from indie rock favorites MGMT and the Bravery.

Decor: The Kress takes a nod from the land of the rising sun, with a chic Japanese feel including VIP couches and chaises, cherry blossoms, paper cranes and bonsai trees. Most of the action happened outside, behind the club’s building, under giant projections of Japanese art. Also floating about were busgirls in short-skirt kimonos and performers in full geisha regalia. Photo booths also gave attendees the chance to grace their own TV Guide covers.

Food: Sweet corn dim sum, salmon served as tiny ice cream cones, goat cheese balls covered in various sesame and poppy seeds, and a wide variety of sushi rolls. Nabisco Toasted Chips sponsored a cracker bar featuring cheese, fruits, veggies and dips. And crackers. Lots of crackers. Olay Definity provided the wine and sake bar. The house open bars served a variety of themed cocktails, including Mad Margaritas, On the 30 Rocks and According to Jim Beam.

The Bravery

The Bravery

Highlights: Lindsay Lohan joined friend Sam Ronson for the night. Lauren Conrad and Lo Bosworth made the rounds, but no Audrina Partridge sighting (at least none Blink can attest to personally). MGMT and the Bravery rocked out to a younger crowd than, say, Billy Idol in downtown Los Angeles. Several cast members of “The Office,” including B.J. Novak and Brian Baumgartner, showed up following their visit to the Governors Ball. Seth MacFarlane, still glowing from his $100 million deal with Fox, chatted up some lovely young women. Blink also spotted ABC Entertainment Executive VP of marketing, advertising and promotion Michael Benson among the throng. The Kress solidified its spot on the list of popular haunts for young Hollywood types, though for all Emmy intents and purposes, the better parties were in other parts of town.

—Sergio Ibarra

Billy Idol Rocks the House at 'ET'/People Bash

ET's Emmy Party

What: The “Entertainment Tonight”/People Emmy after-party

Where: Walt Disney Hall

When: Sunday, Sept. 21

Entertainment: Billy Idol, continuing this event’s annual “I Love the '80s” theme. Past performers have included Duran Duran and Prince. Also keeping the crowd happy: Smooth jazz king Dave Koz, who performed outside.

Decor: Other than lights, both colored and spelling out sponsors’ names, the interior of the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall was pretty unadulterated. Party planners took full advantage of the space, using the garden for Maybelline/Garnier giveaway stands and Coppola Wine bars and tucking food stations into the venue’s various nooks and crannies. And there were helpful crossroads-style signs to lead people to different sections of the bash (especially useful for those pop-culture arbiters who may never have been inside the temple of high culture).

ET Party

Fun TIMES Anne Sweeney and Terry Wood mixing it up at the Disney Hall affair.

Food: A little bit of everything, spread over the many levels of the Disney Hall. Bacon-wrapped figs were a nice combination of sweet and salty. The sweet potato/mashed potato bar made an encore appearance this year, allowing guests to garnish their carbs with luxe toppings (truffle butter, anyone?) And Crumbs Bakeshop had a corner offering a wide variety of their monster cupcakes, with sweet flavors such as Oreo and Raspberry Swirl. Bartenders were nearby pouring mixes of Bailey’s, Kahlua and/or milk to go with the cupcakes. Elsewhere, Grey Goose mixologists had a range of cocktails ready to go.

Highlights: One expects the inside of the concert hall to have good acoustics. The surprise was that, performing in an area of the lobby, Billy Idol and his band sounded pretty great. The group was beyond retro, with Idol sporting leather pants with a studded crotch, but everyone in the crowd was singing (or at least mouthing) along with the lyrics. Once you get “Dancing With Myself” stuck in your head, it never goes away. Idol made a token effort to tailor the lyrics of “Hot Summer Night” to the occasion, singing about the “hot Emmy night,” but people including Showtime’s Matthew Blank seemed to be just as happy to hear his old hits in the original.

ET Party

Behind the Scene Lara Spencer and Linda Bell Blue of Entertainment Tonight at the Entertainment Tonight Emmy Awards Party.

With its location not too far from the Nokia, as well as its notorious gift bags as a lure, the "ET" party appeared to be the second stop after the Governors Ball, with Chi McBride searching for his “Pushing Daisies” castmates Lee Pace and Kristen Chenoweth (Pace, check; Chenoweth must feel even tinier around those two tall gents), and Amy Poehler parting the crowds as Will Arnett and their entourage trailed behind.

Neil Patrick Harris also appeared popular with those in attendance. He even gave mad props to “Survivor” host and Emmy winner Jeff Probst, who was literally jumping up and down with delight.

Also spotted: Sitcom legend Valerie Bertinelli, who’s preparing to begin production on her TBS comedy pilot and next year is planning to launch a talk show with CBS Paramount. The Jenny Craig spokeswoman said she avoided the many caloric temptations by popping breath mints.

Blink also spotted Kathy Griffin acting quite A-list by completely skipping the red carpet. That didn’t stop a photographer who jumped off the line and ran to snap Ms. Griffin as she entered Disney Hall through the civilian entrance. Blink kibbitzed with Ms. Griffin as we rode up the escalator, noting that five years ago she never would have missed a red-carpet opportunity. She nodded knowingly and pointed out that she now has two Emmys. Blink then accidentally stepped on Ms. Griffin’s very long dress. The conversation was over.

—Josef Adalian and Lisa D. Horowitz

Comedy Central Plays the Host

Stephen Colbert and Sarah Silverman

Stephen Colbert and Sarah Silverman

What: Comedy Central after-party

Where: The club STK in Hollywood.

When: Sunday, Sept. 21.

Entertainment: A DJ spinning classic tunes.

Food: Simple appetizers, including spoon-based samplings of prime rib and bite-sized morsels of sautéed mushrooms on toast. Specialty cocktails and martinis were available at the door, along with champagne.

Highlights: A friendly atmosphere early in the night, with celebrity-gazing limited to stars on the lower rungs like “Reality Bites Back” winner Theo Vonkurnatowski. David Alan Greer, of Comedy Central’s newest show “Chocolate News,” also made the rounds. Later into the night, Comedy Central’s main talent started to filter in, including Sarah Silverman, “Daily Show” talent John Hodgman and Jason Jones and the Emmy-winning purveyor of truthiness himself, Stephen Colbert.

—Andrew Krukowski

September 21, 2008

Tanks a Lot

TMZ Wrapped Tanker Trucks

Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution apparently is into “TMZ” for the long haul. This month the distributor is outfitting petroleum tanker trucks with the TMZ logo and the slogan “Keeping Hollywood Real Since 2007” and dispatching them onto Los Angeles’ busiest freeways. For two months the tankers will serve as moving billboards for the celebrity-stalking strip, which is entering its second season. WBDTD also has launched a series of TV commercial touting the show’s “viewer benefits,” in which wannabe celebrities express heartfelt gratitude for the lessons they have learned by watching the real stars’ everyday behavior—good, bad or just plain odd—on “TMZ.”

—Tom Gilbert

Kickin' It, NBC Style, at Spago

  • TVWeek's Emmy Central 2008, full Emmys coverage here.


    Lindsay Lohan and Hayden Panettiere

    Lindsay Lohan, left, and "Heroes'" Hayden Panettiere attend NBC Universal's pre-Emmy party at Spago.

    What: NBC Universal pre-Emmy party

    Where: Spago

    Entertainment: DJ Samantha Ronson was spinning a corporate-friendly mix of tunes. Early on, we heard some classic soul and pop tunes. By night's end, things were getting more current (think Rihanna's "Disturbia"). And yes, Lindsay Lohan was by her side most of the evening. (We only pointed and gawked once.)

    Decor: Spago, without the outside tables. A neon Peacock and a few signs congratulating nominees were the only indications this was an NBC bash.

    Food: Passed appetizers were a mix of classic Wolfgang (tuna cones, smoked salmon pizza) with some more modern bites (Kobe beef skewers). The dinner buffet offered a crunchy Thai chicken salad, rave-worthy gnocchi and a very tender beef with onions. Seafood lovers could gorge on a wall of crustaceans and other oceanic delights. Dessert selections included neon-green petit fours and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

    Kathy Griffin and Ben Silverman

    Kathy Griffin, left, and NBC Universal's Ben Silverman.

    Highlights: Besides Lindsay and Sam? Conan O'Brien and wife Liza arrived early and held court for a couple of hours in a corner booth toward the back of the restaurant. Hard to fathom, but this time next year, O'Brien won't have to travel nearly so far to attend the Emmys. Fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Tina Fey had much of the room, even executives, in awe a week after her bravura turn as Sarah Palin. The "Heroes" cast were all over, while "Access Hollywood" and "Today" contributor Maria Menounos mingled mightily. NBCU Entertainment Co-Chairmen Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff worked the crowd, crossing paths with USA Network chief programmer Jeff Wachtel and agents including Endeavor's Rick Rosen and Ari Greenburg, ICM's Greg Lipstone, UTA's Rob Kim and Debbee Klein of Paradigm. Kelsey Grammer, who produces "Medium" for NBC, stopped by, as did several of Fey's "30 Rock" co-stars. Although "Project Runway" soon will leave the NBC Universal family, star Tim Gunn was still a welcome guest this year, as was Andrea Wong, the Lifetime leader who masterminded the deal to steal "Runway" from NBCU-owned Bravo. Also spotted: NBC reality guru Craig Plestis, NBCU marketing chief John Miller and former NBC Entertainment chief Garth Ancier, who's now running BBC America.

ATAS Fetes Performer Nominees

  • TVWeek's Emmy Central 2008, full Emmys coverage here.


    2008 Emmy Nominees Reception

    What: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 2008 Performers Emmy nominee reception

    Where: Wolfgang Puck at the Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood

    When: Friday, Sept. 19

    Entertainment: A five-piece band on the patio, including (unless our eyes deceived us) a vibraphone!

    Decor: Wolfgang Puck did it in his customary style: modern, slick and understated. Nominees, guests, executives and assorted hangers-on were greeted by a phalanx of wait staff lining either side of the entrance with trays carrying glasses of white wine and Pellegrino. The dining area opened gracefully onto the patio, where partiers could try on pricey diamond jewelry modeled after architectural marvels around the world, listen to the band and sip cocktails.

    Food and drink: ATAS and sponsors Dove Chocolates, Grey Goose and Beaulieu Vineyard put on a lavish event. One highlight: A seafood table that rivaled the cathedral of Notre Dame, with crab legs that could have served as flying buttresses. When the buffet got rolling, comfort food such as mini meatloaf and mac ‘n' cheese had the crowd queuing up. Attentive wait staff mingled with platters of mini pigs in blankets and smoked salmon-topped pizzas crowned with dollops of caviar. But back to the seafood: Oysters, shrimp, lobster tails (or were those just Paleolithic langostas?) and sushi.

    Highlights: Sarah Silverman playing the incongruence card, rocking a refined, high-necked dress in a slightly retro print against her raunchy, potty-mouth TV persona. Actress Phylicia Rashad looking refined and fine in a satiny black jacketed number. “Grey’s Anatomy” star Sandra Oh in a sleek, yellow, sleeveless sheath. Actress Kate Linder in kicking black boots and a feral animal-print dress accented with a low-slung belt. “Two and a Half Men’s” Jon Cryer looking relaxed in a black jacket with crisp white shirt. “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm not wandering far off character in a slick gray suit and thinnish blue tie. ATAS COO Alan Perris working a crowd where he apparently knew everyone. PR magnate Dick Lippin enjoying old friends and family, working the crowd, looking refined, chilled-out and happy.

    —Greg Baumann

September 8, 2008

2008 MTV VMAs: The Clap Edition

VMATila.jpgSunday night the Daily Blink was at the MTV Video Music Awards live from the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood to cover the red carpet.

While Britney Spears and some sizzling performances from Rihanna, Pink and Christina Aguilera are the big stories the next day, the Daily Blink got its own round of, um, “applause,” before the show began.

Two-time “A Shot at Love” star and MySpace celeb Tila Tequila walked the red carpet, kindly agreeing to interviews with several outlets. As she was giving an interview directly to our left, on our right was none other than “Girls Gone Wild” franchise founder and late-night infomercial staple Joe Francis.

Continue reading "2008 MTV VMAs: The Clap Edition" »

September 4, 2008

'Disturb' Star Makes Guests Feel Right at Home

Do Not Disturb Jerry O’Connell proves that cheaters never prosper.

The actor and his “Do Not Disturb” castmates Niecy Nash, Molly Stanton, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jolene Purdy were on hand at a promotional event for the upcoming Fox sitcom Wednesday at the Grove shopping center in Los Angeles.

The stars of the hotel-set comedy teamed up with local radio station 104.3 MYfm for a hotel-themed obstacle course, with prizes sponsored by Hotel Shangri-La.

Continue reading "'Disturb' Star Makes Guests Feel Right at Home" »

August 25, 2008

9-0-2.0: Malibu Beach Party

Got the press release last week describing a party on the beach in Malibu to celebrate The CW’s revamp of “Beverly Hills, 90210." Umm, hello? The Daily Blink was so there to take in the sights, sounds and gossip on Saturday night. And to see just how one “lives by the code.”

90210 Premiere Party

The Daily Blink, with photographer in tow, descended on the picture-perfect town of Malibu to be shuttled over to a patch of sand and rock just off Pacific Coast Highway. This random lot—usually filled with trash and boulders, surfers parked and changing into their wetsuits, waves crashing—had been transformed into a magical Hollywood wonderland for one night, to celebrate The CW’s latest effort to capture those elusive teen viewers.

The impressive show CW put on, coupled with all the recent buzz surrounding the new “90210,” got the Daily Blink thinking back to the original series premiered in 1990. The Daily Blink was just starting seventh grade—junior high! “90210” was the big show that season and Fox made sure we all knew about it. The network handed out “90210” posters and book covers at school (so we could plaster our textbooks with the cast members’ faces) as the Daily Blink discovered the world of high school along with the characters on the show. The revival makes us look back on the series with a fond nostalgia, which is exactly what The CW is banking its future on. Without a doubt, there’s a lot riding on this series.

And let’s get this question out of the way: Absolutely no footage, other than the promos we’ve been seeing online, was screened at this event. Saturday night was all about spectacle and flash.

Continue reading "9-0-2.0: Malibu Beach Party" »

August 12, 2008

We’re With the Band

Band From TV Most actors seem to also sing out of a burning desire to be media hyphenates. The actors in Band From TV sing for a good cause.

“Heroes” star Greg Grunberg started the band to raise money for epilepsy research, inviting his fellow actors to play and sing with the band for their own charities.

Last Saturday, band members Grunberg (drums), “Desperate Housewives’” James Denton (guitar, vocals and a mean harmonica), “The Bachelor’s” Bob Guiney (vocals) and “House’s” Jesse Spencer (electric “sexy violin”) headlined a free Netflix Live! on Location concert and screening of some classic TV series on DVD outside the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. Nice idea having the event outside, but the hay-like shavings on the ground and persistent bugs aren’t really what you think of when you hear “Pine Meadows Lawn.” There should be at least some grass involved.

But the Daily Blink will forgive the blunder because it was all for a good cause, with Netflix donating money to each actor’s charity. Plus, the Band put on a infectiously fun performance with the help of some special guests.

Half the “Heroes” cast must have been working overtime because the other half was rockin’ with Grunberg. Hayden Panettiere introduced the band and Milo Ventimiglia snuck onstage to snap pictures. His onscreen brother, Adrian Pasdar, spent the night on-stage playing guitar in his too-cool-for-school sunglasses.

Check out video from the concert after the cut.

Continue reading "We’re With the Band" »

August 10, 2008

To School With 'Seinfeld'

Seinfeld College Tour Bus

“Seinfeld” is going to college this summer—lots and lots of times.

Syndicator Sony Pictures Television is dispatching a 60-foot-long, biodiesel-fueled “Seinfeld” bus Tuesday from Atlanta to embark on a 26-city, 10,000-mile interactive “‘Seinfeld’ Campus Tour” designed to more closely involve students with the iconic off-NBC show that most of them grew up with.

At each stop, visitors can enter the bus and visit a replica of the diner from the show; order from Kramer’s Yogurt Bar; watch video of the series’ most memorable moments; and see original costumes, one of the show’s Emmy statuettes and an original script with writers’ notes.

Outside the parked bus, Sony will erect a 1,700-square-foot compound of tented kiosks offering classic carnival games with a Seinfeldian twist, including a Marine Biologist Hole-in-One putting game and a Frisbee competition called Monk’s Diner Plate Toss.

Tom Gilbert

July 20, 2008

Television Sales Executives Tee Up for Charity

In Hollywood, where competition is fierce, the intensity on the green can rival the players’ competitiveness in a suit. But the 2008 City of Hope Golf Classic benefiting the Tim Nesvig Lymphoma Fellowship & Research Fund is on pace to unite rival companies and bring in a record amount of money this year.

The annual event honors the memory of Tim Nesvig, who died in 2005 at age 30 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was the son of Fox Broadcasting President of Sales Jon Nesvig.

This year’s organizers include executives from Fox, Tribune, DirecTV, Comcast and MTV.

The event will take place July 27-28, with a dinner and auction Sunday at the Casa del Mar Hotel by the Sea in Santa Monica and the Golf Classic on Monday at El Caballero Country Club.The event is closing in on raising more than $4 million for City of Hope and the foundation over the past three years.

“We are actually oversold this year for the tournament,” said Bill Wanger, co-chair of the organizing committee and senior VP of Fox Sports research and programming.

Up for grabs at the auction, hosted by Joe Buck, will be an autographed Super Bowl XLII game ball, a VIP trip for four to the 2009 Masters Tournament, a VIP trip for two to the 2009 “American Idol” finale and the opportunity to become a sports reporter on Fox News Channel for a day.

Other co-chairs include Twentieth Television President-COO Bob Cook and Tribune Broadcasting President Ed Wilson. Dinner co-chairs, in addition to Mr. Nesvig, include Chase Carey, president-CEO of DirecTV Group; Dave Cassaro, president of Comcast Network Advertising Sales; Hank Close, president of U.S. ad sales for MTV Networks; and David Hill, chairman-CEO of Fox Sports Television Group.

“This is obviously a very important cause for a very special family,” Mr. Wilson said. “This is a family that took a terrible situation and have turned it to something wonderful for many Americans.”

Chris Pursell

King’s Squared; Cooper Circled?

Conversation between a reporter and a CNN executive, whose identities are being withheld to preserve future lines of communication and because it’s unclear which is most in need of a comedy transfusion. This is not a perfect transcription, but it is a faithful recollection of what seemed like a logical follow-up to the City of Los Angeles’ decision to name an intersection near the CNN bureau Larry King Square.

Reporter: Now that Los Angeles has Larry King Square, shouldn’t CNN be lobbying New York City to rename Columbus Circle “Anderson Cooper Circle”?
Executive: I never thought of Larry King as a square.
Reporter: But it seems especially fitting to put Anderson Cooper’s name on a circle, since his show is called “360.”
Executive: [Blank look and pause.]
Reporter: “360”—circle.
Executive: Heh. Heh.

TVWeek Staff

July 17, 2008

Dancing With a Pro

Dancing With the Stars

DANCE PRO Kym Johnson takes the Daily Blink for a twirl.

On Wednesday night, “Dancing With the Stars” pro Kym Johnson picked me to dance with her. She dragged me to the center of the dance floor by my lanyard. And, for a few moments, I felt like a star.

ABC brought out Ms. Johnson, along with “Dancing” colleagues Mark Ballas, Derek Hough, Alec Mazo, Edyta Sliwinska and Karina Smirnoff, for a night of dinner and dancing at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

The program promised, “You’ll come away from the experience with more insight into what [tennis star and season six contestant] Monica Seles must have been going through. Plenty of alcohol will be available to help you loosen up both your hips and your inhibitions.”

Basically a drunken dance party. Yippee!

Continue reading "Dancing With a Pro" »

July 6, 2008

Faces of New York

BillboardSome familiar faces started popping up all over New York last week, thanks to Ovation TV. The fine arts network just kicked off a monthlong programming stunt called “American Revolutionaries,” in which all of its prime-time shows are dedicated to world-changing American artists. It has taken over billboards, city buses, kiosks and wild postings around Manhattan, including in Times Square and along Museum Row. Artists paid tribute to in red, white and blue images include Maya Angelou, Kurt Cobain, Nat King Cole, James Dean, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Georgia O’Keefe, Elvis Presley, Hilary Hahn, Annie Leibovitz, Loretta Lynn, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Vaughan, Andy Warhol and Orson Welles. Now that’s a group worth standing up for. (Ovation, get it?)

—Tom Gilbert

June 13, 2008

Playing 'House' in Hollywood

An enthusiastic audience gathered Thursday to show "House" some love during its crusade for Emmy nominations, part of the Los Angeles Times' screening series at the ArcLight Cinemas. After screening the Emmy-bait conclusion to its two-part season finale, "House's" cast and creators chatted with the Times' Mary McNamara and took questions from the house.

Turns out the two-part season finale was supposed to be the episode that aired after the Super Bowl, but that annoying writers strike messed up that plan. However, series creator/executive producer David Shore said, "It worked out very nicely. It gave us more time to establish the Amber-Wilson relationship."

Continue reading "Playing 'House' in Hollywood" »

June 12, 2008

Double the ‘Battlestar’ Blink, Double the Fun!

Battlestar Cast

A Scene From "Battlestar": (From Left) Rekha Sharma, Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, and Michael Hogan.

TelevisionWeek sent a two-person Blink team to cover the premiere of “Battlestar Galactica’s” midseason finale June 11 at Hollywood’s ArcLight Cinema. The screening, hosted by the Los Angeles Times, was part of Sci Fi Channel’s “For Your Consideration” campaign for the show.

For the purposes of clarity and impartiality, the premiere was Blinked by a die-hard fan of the show and an observer seeing it for the first time.

After the jump, the newcomer’s segments are the ones in italics, in case you couldn’t figure that out...

Continue reading "Double the ‘Battlestar’ Blink, Double the Fun!" »

June 5, 2008

Opening Up With ‘Big Love’

Big Love

Creators Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olsen and actors Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin and Bill Paxton.

The Los Angeles Times’ Envelope kicked off its Emmy screening series Wednesday with a screening and discussion of HBO’s “Big Love” at Hollywood’s ArcLight Cinemas. In attendance were creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer and actors Bill Paxton (Bill Henrickson), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Barb Henrickson), Chloë Sevigny (Nicki Henrickson) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Margene Henrickson).

It was a night of firsts, marking both the Envelope’s first Emmy screening series and the first year that the show is eligible for an Emmy nomination, due to timing issues.

The evening began with a “fun-reel” montage summarizing the past two seasons, which made the polygamist family drama look like an edgy comedy. Describing young Rhonda’s betrothal to the much older prophet Roman, the snarky young-sounding voice-over declared, “She’s 15-ish and he’s, like, old. That’s creepy,” before moving at lightning speed through the rest of the montage.

“Bill’s a very busy man,” the deadpan voice-over reminded the audience repeatedly over scenes of Bill having sex with his three wives. “Bill pops a pill.”

Bill’s going to need many more pills if the closing of that “fun reel” (“There’s no fourth wife…yet.”) is any indication.

Video after the cut.

Continue reading "Opening Up With ‘Big Love’" »

May 21, 2008

‘Idol’ Jottings

Another season of “American Idol” rolls to a close, and the Daily Blink was on hand Tuesday at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles to see rock star extraordinaire David Cook and Shire-inhabiting David Archuleta sing their faces off.

After walking through security and getting our cell phones confiscated (lest we incur the wrath of Fox for Twittering that Simon said something mean), we took our seats and waited for the show to start.

Of course, considering that the last person to wear a watch was Dark Ages magician Merlin himself and the security at the Nokia Center had our only timepiece, we were trying to guess the time based on a sundial and Mr. Cowell’s 5 o’clock shadow.

During the audience warm-up, David Cook received a bigger pop from the crowd than Mr. Archuleta. But once the crowd heard of Mr. Archuleta’s harrowing journey up Mount Doom, they switched their favor.

Some notable signs spotted during the event were “My David Is Fun-Sized” and “Simon Needs a Hug.” A Brownie troop brought in letters that on one side spelled out “Brownies” and the other side spelled out “I Love David.”

Mr. Cowell also was visibly impressed with Mr. Archuleta’s bravery in the face of the orc horde, and declared a “knockout” of Mr. Cook, continuing to extend a ridiculous boxing metaphor that had the two dressed in ring attire and the audience having to listen to Michael “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” Buffer.

Once Mr. Archuleta finished his final song, John Lennon’s “Imagine,” the audience rushed toward the doors, either because they wanted to be first in line to get their cell phone back or because second-season winner Ruben Studdard was closing the show.

Check the Daily Blink tomorrow for coverage of tonight’s finale, with special guests rumored to be anyone from George Michael—“the biggest star in the world,” according to Nigel Lythgoe—to Donna Summer and the Jonas Brothers.

—Andrew Krukowski

May 18, 2008

He Shows Who’s Top Dog at CBS’ Show of Shows

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

All together now: Practice, practice, practice.

Also, kiss CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler on the lips when she gets down on the floor with you and let her scratch you on your lower chest (only appropriate if you act on four little legs).

Last week at CBS’ upfront presentation, a 6-year-old Boston terrier named Pi reduced the SRO Carnegie Hall audience to a collective “awwwwwww” with one of those perfect moments on the fabled stage that signifies a performer has arrived.

After clips from the well-received summer reality series “America’s Greatest Dog,” Pi zoomed out from stage-right and across the stage, coming to a perfect stop in front of Ms. Tassler, who was scooched down and said what all hopefuls dread hearing: “I’m sorry. Auditions were last week.”

After one perfect hangdog look, Pi raced off stage-left. Pi is a rescue dog trained by Bill Berloni, who has made his name by turning rescue dogs into stars of Broadway shows including “Annie” and “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” He’s even written about it with Jim Hanrahan in “Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz Superstars,” to be published June 9 by Lyons Press. Pi, who needed much rehabilitation after being rescued from owners who kept him chained to a tree, is now a member of the Berloni family and has his own chapter in the book. He also appeared in “Doga: Yoga for Dogs,” the 2003 book by Jennifer Brilliant and Mr. Berloni, and has done print ads and TV commercials.

After his (bow)wow of an appearance for CBS, Pi and Mr. Berloni commemorated the debut by posing in front of Carnegie Hall for a picture taken by actress-pal Mary-Pat Green (if you’ve ever watched TV, you know her friendly face). That’s where Blink met the pooch, who is just as winning on the street as on-stage. The fact that Pi had the tough childhood that produces stars, is professional, is “Doga”-level flexible and plays well with others might make him perfect for TV, which has to work on tight schedules with actors who are quick studies and can hit their marks on cue, mightn’t it, Ms. Tassler?

“I’ll call casting,” the CBS executive said with a chuckle.

— Michele Greppi


April 27, 2008

‘Early Show’ Denizens Descend on Greensburg

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

April 23, 2008

Writers Do Lunch, Hand Out Awards

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

April 21, 2008

McHale’s ‘Soup’ Line

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.”

Continue reading "McHale’s ‘Soup’ Line" »

April 9, 2008

Pedaling Along With Bill Nye


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.

Continue reading "Pedaling Along With Bill Nye" »

April 6, 2008

Keith Olbermann, Happy at Long Last

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.”

Olbermann

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

March 11, 2008

Wrestling With Puberty

It’s official. The Daily Blink has moved on from childhood, and is now a full-fledged young woman.

Well, maybe not, but we did get to see how it happens at the mun2- and WWE-sponsored “Ultimate Quinceañera” on Saturday.

A quinceañera, for those unfamiliar, is similar to a Sweet 16 party, and it’s an important event in Spanish-speaking areas of the world to mark a girl’s 15th birthday.

Mun2 and the WWE held a sweepstakes to throw one girl a quinceañera, and they received more than 10,000 unique entries. Starr, a 15-year-old from Van Nuys, Calif., was the big winner. (She's in the center, surrounded by her family.)

Starr and Family

So what makes this quinceañera an “ultimate” quinceañera?

How about WWE stars Carlito and Melina showing up?

Carlito and Melina

And maybe mun2 personalities Frankie Needles and Yasmin Deliz?

And a performance by Prima J, who had the lead single off the “Bratz: The Motion Picture” soundtrack?

Prima J

All in all, a great night for Starr. But, how does the WWE, a male-skewing organization, fit in with a 15-year-old girl’s birthday party?

“Surprisingly, 40% of our audience is female that watches ‘WWE Raw’ on mun2,” said Lisa Hackett, VP of marketing for mun2.

“We do have a lot of females,” agreed Melissa Seffens, WWE director of network affiliate marketing. “Either because they like the way the guys look or because their fathers watched it or their boyfriends or their brothers. But this was something we did just for the ladies.”

Starr said she watches “Raw.”

We asked the WWE stars at the party, knowing what they know now, what advice they would give to themselves at 15?

Melina said she wouldn’t be able to convince herself to do anything because her 15-year-old self would want to do it on her own.

“I would tell myself, ‘Forget wrestling and try football.’ The schedules are shorter, and it’s not as stressful or hectic. You don’t travel as much. You play, what? Sixteen games a year? I think I would have been good at football, if I would have tried it out,” Carlito said.

Both Carlito and Melina are prepping for Wrestlemania 24 matches, later in the month. Carlito is lined up for a Money in the Bank match, which involves climbing a ladder to grab a briefcase, all while fending off seven other competitors.

“You can’t really prepare for it. Actually, it’s more mental than physical. You have to go out there and realize that you are going to go through a lot of pain, and that you’re going to be hurting the next day,” he said about preparing for the match.

The match was in the news today as the WWE announced the 60-day suspension of Jeff Hardy for a second violation of the company’s substance-abuse and drug-testing policy. Mr. Hardy was scheduled to compete in the match.

Andrew Krukowski

February 29, 2008

Having a Laugh, Legally

A comedy club, particularly one situated at the mouth of the Sunset Strip, seems an unlikely setting for dry, officious legal proceedings. But that’s what DirecTV proposed in a dark room at the back of the Laugh Factory, at a meet-and-greet for their new project “The Supreme Court of Comedy.” Justice, and brunch, were served.

The new show from creator Jamie Masada hopes to breathe new life into the courtroom genre by hiring the Laugh Factory’s resident comedians to act on behalf of real litigants.

Ever wished Tom Arnold could help you resolve your small-claims case? Now he can, as part of an unholy law firm that includes Kennedy, Joe Piscopo, Victoria Jackson and a host of other wholly unqualified comedians. Taking up Judge Judy’s lacy mantle is Dom Irrera, who will preside as the court’s resident “chief justice.”

The Daily Blink habeas’d its corpus to a banquet near the buffet, where wire photographers and comedians jockeyed for space at the bagel station.

When asked if they had any legal experience, comedian and “defense lawyer” Dov Davidoff mentioned that he’d once successfully fought a traffic ticket.

“The Forty Year Old Virgin” actor and standup Gerry Bednob, also a defense lawyer, said, “You watch those court shows on TV and the judges so badly want to be comedians. They’re up there insulting everyone. It’s like a comedy show anyhow.”

So what’s the difference, we asked.

“We don’t insult the clients, we embrace them,” offered Bednob.

“But,” said Davidoff, “we’ll screw them over for the sake of a goof.”

Should Sinbad ruin your case in the name of a “hung jury” joke, you’ll be happy to know it’s not legally binding. The series airs this spring on DirecTV’s original content channel, The 101.

Julieanne Smolinski

February 26, 2008

I Fed Half of Hollywood and All I Got Was This T-Shirt

Cleveland’s native son Drew Carey has been giving stuff away on “The Price Is Right” for a handful of months now. But he also gave away food during the Writers Guild of America strike, covering the meals of striking writers during the pickets at Swingers and Bob’s Big Boy in the Los Angeles area.

Writer Elaine Aronson thought that was really sporting of Mr. Carey, and expressed her appreciation and that of other writers by giving him a signed shirt.

Drew Carey's Shirt

Ms. Aronson took in a meal at Bob’s Big Boy a few days before the writers’ big meeting at the Shrine Auditorium in early February and noticed a vast majority of the patrons at the diner were WGA writers.

“I thought it would be really nice to take advantage of having so many people there to get something special signed to send to him. At first I thought maybe a card, but I couldn't find one,” she wrote in an e-mail to Blink.

Ms. Aronson estimates Mr. Carey spent tens of thousands of dollars feeding hungry writers.

“I know some people who went to eat at Bob's or Swingers every day of the strike,” she wrote.

Some notes from the writers on the shirt include, “You’re my big boy,” “Thanks for the strike fuel,” “Like Cleveland, you rock” and “Drew, I ate there and I threw up, so you should get your $8.50 back.”

Mr. Carey did not respond to a request for comment.

Andrew Krukowski

February 25, 2008

Quiet Riot: A Day With the WWE

Wrestlemania 24If you ever wanted to see a minor-scale riot, World Wrestling Entertainment is more than happy to fill that need. The Daily Blink took a trip down to the Wrestlemania 24 press conference at Staples Center today to see what all the commotion was.

Scheduled for March 30 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Wrestlemania brings all sorts out of the woodwork, from Donald Trump to Pete Rose to, this year, pro boxer Floyd Mayweather. Mr. Mayweather is going to take on Paul “The Big Show” Wight (all 7 foot, 430 pounds of him) in a match.

Hundreds of rowdy fans turned out for the press conference, held in the main lobby. For the rest of this post, we’re going to flag the riot threat level during the event.

WWE Crowd

The modern-day P.T. Barnum himself, WWE CEO Vince McMahon, kicked off the event by talking about how global and awesome the WWE is.

“The WWE is the only variety show left on television,” Mr. McMahon said.

Vince McMahon

RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Low.

John Cena, who has effectively split fans into “love him” or “despise him” categories, also was on hand. The crowd—and remember, this is a "press" conference—started up competing chants of “Cena” and “Sucks.”

These chants continued throughout the event, long after Mr. Cena had sat down.

RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Moderate.

Also making appearances at the event were current Raw champion Randy Orton, current Smackdown champ Edge, Triple H, WWE diva Maria and Rey Mysterio.

Then undefeated WBC welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. came out. In terms of wrestling, Floyd should be considered a “babyface,” or good guy. But "Pretty Boy" Floyd, who defeated hometown hero Oscar De La Hoya in May, was roundly booed during the event. Until he flashed some cash. Which he could afford to do—after all, he's getting $20 million for the WWE bout.

Floyd Mayweather

RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Quickly rising.

Mr. Mayweather was flashing a huge stack of bills (it looked like 50s and 100s) and, after three minutes of taunting the crowd, threw up the cash out into the crowd.

Cash

RIOT THREAT LEVEL: A large siren should be sounding now.

While it’s nice that some fans were compensated for their, one assumes, day off from work to attend this event (one guy was shown, on the big screens displaying the event, walking with four $100 bills), they definitely had to work for that cash as the crowd just scrambled around chasing the money.

Mr. Mayweather’s opponent, The Big Show, talked tough about “Money” Mayweather, and then promptly threw the podium down into the first row of press, nearly taking out the staff member looking to get the podium out of Mr. Show’s way.

Take that, podium.

RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Moderate.
BODILY INJURY THREAT LEVEL DUE TO WAYWARD LECTERN: Surprisingly high.

All in all, fans got to a real taste of Wrestlemania and WWE got what it was looking for, some crossover publicity between wrestling and boxing media outlets; several of the latter turned up to give the conference coverage.

The Daily Blink talked to The Big Show after the event, and he said, “All kidding aside, it’s an honor to be in the ring with Floyd Mayweather.”

But, he said, “It’s a different environment. [Mayweather] might be a great athlete in boxing, but he might choke in the wrestling ring. Or get choke-slammed…several times.”

Andrew Krukowski

February 19, 2008

Pants: The Hidden Cost of the Writers Strike

WGA Contract HQWith our beloved writers back at their laptops where they belong, it’s now time to assess the damage of the WGA strike. Sure, we can look at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.’s report of a $2.5 billion loss to the Los Angeles economy. But the writers have lost something more than that.

Specifically, their pants.

The Daily Blink took a trip down to the Writers Guild of America’s contract headquarters (formerly WGA Strike HQ, formerly the guild’s lounge) to check out the picket line Lost & Found. Aside from the standard baubles and trinkets with show logos on them (sweatshirts, hats, cups), here are some of the more interesting things writers lost during their 100-day war:

- Two pairs of pants
- A bra
- About 10 pairs of glasses
- Sets of keys (BMW, Porsche, etc.)
- An iPod
- Several cell phones
- Elementary school homework
- A walking stick
- A voter registration card (Republican)
- Several pots and pans
- Dr. Scholl’s orthopedic inserts, donated by a talent agency
- Collapsible stadium chair

And the biggest find: a wedding ring. The ring, a man’s silver band with the word “Benchmark” stamped on it, was found at CBS Television City. The WGA is using the inscription and date inside the ring as a security question in case someone wants to claim it.

Andrew Krukowski