Category Archives: Showbiz / entertainment

MTV New Raunchy Sex Addled Show Raises Concerns

MTV’s newest reality show “Skins” is causing headaches to parent company Viacom and advertiser Taco Bell. The show racy content is showing under age kids provocative situations. From the New York Times:

MTV executives have a new hit drama on their hands, featuring the sexual and drug-fueled exploits of misfit teenagers. They also have something else — a fear that coming episodes of the show may break the law.

In recent days, executives at the cable channel became concerned that some scenes from the provocative new show “Skins” may violate federal child pornography statutes.

The executives ordered the producers to make changes to tone down some of the most explicit content.

One episode feature a 17 year boy with issues a Viagra like medication:

They are particularly concerned about the third episode of the series, which is to be broadcast Jan. 31. In an early version, a naked 17-year-old actor is shown from behind as he runs down a street. The actor, Jesse Carere, plays Chris, a high school student whose erection — assisted by erectile dysfunction pills — is a punch line throughout the episode.

MTV officials say the series  deals with problems that teens encounters in everyday life:

“ ‘Skins’ is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way,” she said in a statement. “We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of ‘Skins’ will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

Two major advertisers  has dropped sponsorship.Taco Bell and General Motors.

And the Parents Television Council are calling for Congressional hearings. From The Hollywood Reporter:

One day after it was reported Viacom executives ordered producers to tone down its racy teen drama, the Parents Television Council has announced it’s urging the Department of Justice and U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees to open an investigation.

“In addition to the sexual content on the show involving cast members as young as 15, PTC counted 42 depictions and references to drugs and alcohol in the premiere episode,” the group wrote in a letter to the government organizations.

“It is clear that Viacom has knowingly produced material that may well be in violation of [several anti-child pornography laws],” added the PTC, which earlier called the show “the most dangerous program ever for children.”

And I thought late 1970’s / early 1980’s teen and young adult movies were racy. Wow. Just. WOW!

Parents, grandparents and guardians read everything!!!

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Rally For Sanity Draws Celebrities and a Crowd of Thousands in Washington

As the politicians are in the home stretch for the November 2 midterm elections Comedy Central stars Steven Colbert and John Stewart held their so-called “Rally for Sanity and /or Fear” on the Capitol Mall in Washington DC on Saturday.

Celebration including singers Cheryl Crow and Kid Rock performed. Stewart and Colbert did their stick. Also there was former Saturday Night Live character Father Guido Sarducci and the hosts of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters also were there.

Democrats  advertising a get out to vote phone bank to remind demonstrators to vote on Tuesday. From AP via Yahoo News:

In the shadow of the Capitol and the election, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert entertained a huge throng Saturday at a “sanity” rally poking fun at the nation’s ill-tempered politics, fear-mongers and doomsayers.

“We live now in hard times,” Stewart said after all the shtick. “Not end times.”

Part comedy show, part pep talk, the rally drew together tens of thousands stretched across an expanse of the National Mall, a festive congregation of the goofy and the politically disenchanted. People carried signs merrily protesting the existence of protest signs. Some dressed like bananas, wizards, Martians and Uncle Sam.

Stewart, a satirist who makes his living skewering the famous, came to play nice. He decried the “extensive effort it takes to hate” and declared “we can have animus and not be enemies.”

Organizing for America, Obama’s political operation based at Democratic National Committee headquarters, was mounting a “Phone Bank for Sanity” to urge people to vote Tuesday.

Read more

Steven Colbert Appears in Congressional Meeting

Congressional Hearings have this habit of turning into a three-ring circus.Today is not exception. Comedian Steven Colbert of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central was invited to testify to House of Representative committee on Immigration. He was invited by Rep. Zoe Loftgren (D-CA)

AP via Yahoo News

Tragedy at Germany’s Love Parade 18 Killed

Tragedy  befall Germany’s Love Parade Festival killing 18  in a stampede. Annual festival draws between 3/4 million to 1 million people from around the world. From AP via Yahoo News:

Crowds of people streaming into a techno music festival surged through an already jammed entry tunnel on Saturday, setting off a panic that killed 18 people and injured 80 at an event meant to celebrate love and peace.

Duisburg continued the festivities  hoping not making the situation worse:

The circumstances of the stampede at the famed Love Parade festival in Duisburg in western Germany were still not clear even hours after the chaos, but it appeared that some or most of the 18 had been crushed to death.

Authorities also suggested that some of the people killed or injured might have attempted to flee the crowd by jumping over a barrier and falling several meters (yards). Witnesses described a desperate scene, as people piled up on each other or scrambled over others who had fallen in the crush.

German leader Angela Merkel  express her sorrow at the loss of life at the Love Parade:

“The young people came to celebrate and instead there are dead and injured,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel. “I am horrified by the suffering and the pain.”

Critics say town of Duisburg is at fault for the disaster for not being  more ready:

Criticism quickly fell on city officials for allowing only one entrance to the grounds of a hugely popular event that drew hundreds of thousands of people to dance, watch floats and listen to DJs spin. German media said 1.4 million people attended but that figure could not be immediately confirmed.

The founder of the Love Parade, Matthias Roeingh, known by the name Dr. Motte, blasted the planning for the event, saying “one single entrance through a tunnel lends itself to disaster. I am very sad.”

Duisburg officials opted not end the festival fearing if would create more panic:

City officials chose not to evacuate the site, fearing it might spark more panic, and many people continued partying, unaware of the deaths.

First responders had a difficult time reaching victims and communications were down:

Emergency workers had trouble getting to the victims, hampered by the huge crowds. The area was a hectic scene, with bodies lying on the ground and people milling around or attending to them. Rescue workers carried away the injured as techno music thundered in the background.

Local media reported that the cell phone system in Duisburg broke down temporarily and frantic parents trying to reach their children instead drove to the scene to look for them.

However, most streets downtown were blocked by police and the highways leading to the city were jammed. Several media outlets also reported that rescue helicopters had problems taking away the heavily injured because there was not enough space for them to land.

Read rest of the story.

Gary Coleman Star of Diff’rent Strokes Dies

Gary Coleman star of the late 1970’s- early 1980’s tv situation-comedy “Diff’rent Strokes” is has died. Coleman was hospitalized in Provo, UT earlier this week after suffering a brain hemorrhage when the actor turned spokesman to fall and injured his head and was in a coma:

Gary Coleman, who by age 11 had skyrocketed to become TV’s brightest star but as an adult could never quite land on solid footing, has died after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 42.

Coleman died at 12:05 p.m. at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, where he had been in a coma.

“He was removed from life support; soon thereafter, he passed quickly and peacefully,” his manager John Alcantar says. “By Gary’s bedside were his wife and other close family members.”

The actor suffered an intracranial hemorrhage at his Utah home on Wednesday night. On Thursday, he was “conscious and lucid,” the hospital says in a statement, “but by early afternoon that same day, Mr. Coleman was slipping in and out of consciousness and his condition worsened.”

Coleman like his fellow child co-stars Todd Bridges who played Coleman’s Willis Jackson-Drummond and Dana Plato who play  Kimberly Drummond on “Diff’rent Strokes” struggle in life after the eight year of the NBC to ABC network series:

As Arnold Jackson, the plucky Harlem boy adopted into a wealthy white household on Diff’rent Strokes from 1978-86 – with his much-mimicked catchphrase of, “What’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” – Coleman was pulling down as much as $100,000 per episode, though it was later reported that three-quarters of the money ended up being shelled out to his parents, advisers, lawyers and the IRS.

As has been chronicled, the three children on the series grew up into troubled lives. Dana Plato, 34, died of a drug overdose in 1999. (Plato’s son, Tyler Lambert, never came to terms with his mother’s death, and committed suicide on May 6, 2010. He was 25.)

The show’s Willis, actor Todd Bridges, now 45, was first arrested in 1994 after allegedly ramming someone’s car during an argument, He also has owned up to serious drug habit, which he struggled to beat.

By 1999, Coleman also faced troubles of his own. Long gone from Diff’rent Strokes, he had gone broke. His string of misadventures and humiliations included a bitter lawsuit that fractured his family, reports of erratic behavior (his father claimed Gary tried to run him over with a car during an argument in 1986) and a stint in 1998 as a security guard on a movie set.

All told, Coleman had amassed and lost an estimated $18 million fortune. Although he argued that his parents had a huge role in dissipating his wealth, he makes no apologies for having spent like a star. “I have lifestyle requirements,” he said at the time. “Photos, meetings, lunches, dinners, facial care, tooth care. It requires an exorbitant amount of money.”

Coleman’s life plagued with health issues:

At the pinnacle of his fame in 1979 PEOPLE reported that Coleman had grown up in Zion, Ill., north of Chicago, with nephritis, a potentially fatal kidney defect.

He underwent two transplants before the age of 14. At one stage in his life, he underwent dialysis four times a day in order to survive.

“The reason I survived is that I had a kidney that wouldn’t give up,” he once said. “Now I got a Greek kidney donated from a kid who was hit by a car.”

n recent months, Coleman suffered a series of medical problems. He had been admitted to hospitals three times this year: in January, for reasons that were not disclosed; in February, when he suffered a seizure on the set of TV’s The Insider; and again on May 26.

Coleman’s parents attribute Gary Coleman’s sucess to God-given talents in overcoming his health issues:

“His talent,” said his mother, Sue, “may be God’s way of compensating him for what he’s been through, and the fact that he’ll never have the physical size of other boys.”

Coleman’s father, Willie, worked for a pharmaceutical company near Chicago, where Gary started modeling at age 5 after he wrote a brazen pitch letter to Montgomery Ward. (He could read at 3½.)

That led to commercials for McDonald’s and Hallmark cards before producer Norman Lear cast him in a pilot remake of The Little Rascals, which didn’t get picked up, en route to Diff’rent Strokes.

Coleman found love late in life and was later Married at age of 40:

At times, there appeared to be turnarounds in his fortunes. In February 2008 – at the age of 40 – Coleman married for the first time. He’d met his bride, Shannon Price, on a movie set the previous August. She was 22.

Coleman admitted that Price was the first woman in his life. “I never got the opportunity to be romantic or feel romantic with anyone,” he said. “I wasn’t saving myself, she just happened to be the one.

Their relationship, they both admitted, was often rocky. “We may go a week and not speak to each other,” he said, while she claimed, “He lets his anger conquer him sometimes … He throws things around, and sometimes he throws it in my direction.” Still, they remained together, and Price survives him.

Coleman’s agent released a statement:

“Thanks to everyone for their well wishing and support during this tragic time,” his manager says. “Now that Gary has passed, we know he will be missed because of all the love and support shown in the past couple of days. Gary is now at peace and his memory will be kept in the hearts of those who were entertained by him throughout the years.”

People Magazine

Lena Horne Dies a 92

Lena Horne star of stage and screen and the first African-American singer and actress who sign with a major Hollywood studio is dead.  Horne was as an outspoken on Race relations in America and the entertainment industry in particular. Horne as with many black in the 1930’s,1940 and 1950’s lived with racism in nearly every aspect of her life:

Ms. Horne first achieved fame in the 1940s, became a nightclub and recording star in the 1950s and made a triumphant return to the spotlight with a one-woman Broadway show in 1981. She might have become a major movie star, but she was born 50 years too early: she languished at MGM for years because of her race, although she was so light-skinned that when she was a child other black children had taunted her, accusing her of having a “white daddy.”

Ms. Horne was stuffed into one “all-star” film musical after another — “Thousands Cheer” (1943), “Broadway Rhythm” (1944), “Two Girls and a Sailor” (1944), “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946), “Words and Music” (1948) — to sing a song or two that, she later recalled, could easily be snipped from the movie when it played in the South, where the idea of an African-American performer in anything but a subservient role in a movie with an otherwise all-white cast was unthinkable.

“The only time I ever said a word to another actor who was white was Kathryn Grayson in a little segment of ‘Show Boat’ ” included in “Till the Clouds Roll By” (1946), a movie about the life of Jerome Kern, Ms. Horne said in an interview in 1990. In that sequence she played Julie, a mulatto forced to flee the showboat because she has married a white man.

When Horne went on tour with the USO during World War II, she was angry with about the treatment of the solider and sailors in the armed forces:

Touring Army camps for the U.S.O., Ms. Horne was outspoken in her criticism of the way black soldiers were treated. “So the U.S.O. got mad,” she recalled. “And they said, ‘You’re not going to be allowed to go anyplace anymore under our auspices.’ So from then on I was labeled a bad little Red girl.”

Ms. Horne later claimed that for this and other reasons, including her friendship with leftists like Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois, she was blacklisted and “unable to do films or television for the next seven years” after her tenure with MGM ended in 1950.

This was not quite true: as Mr. Gavin has documented, she appeared frequently on “Your Show of Shows” and other television shows in the 1950s, and in fact “found more acceptance” on television “than almost any other black performer.” And Mr. Gavin and others have suggested that there were other factors in addition to politics or race involved in her lack of film work.

Although absent from the screen, Ms. Horne found success in nightclubs and on records. “Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria,” recorded during a well-received eight-week run in 1957, reached the Top 10 and be. came the best-selling album by a female singer in RCAVictor’s history.

In the early 1960s Ms. Horne, always outspoken on the subject of civil rights, became increasingly active, participating in numerous marches and protests.

Horne focused on her musical career while only appearing in feature-length films :

In 1969, she returned briefly to films, playing the love interest of a white actor, Richard Widmark, in “Death of a Gunfighter.”

She was to act in only one other movie: In 1978 she played Glinda the Good Witch in “The Wiz,” the film version of the all-black Broadway musical based on “The Wizard of Oz.” But she never stopped singing.

She continued to record prolifically well into the 1990s, for RCA and other labels, notably United Artists and Blue Note. And she conquered Broadway in 1981 with a one-woman show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” which ran for 14 months and won both rave reviews and a Tony Award.

In an interview for biography of her teacher and composer and accompanist Billy Strayhorn she was not a natural for singing:

Ms. Horne’s voice was not particularly powerful, but it was extremely expressive. She reached her listeners emotionally by acting as well as singing the romantic standards like “The Man I Love” and “Moon River” that dominated her repertory. The person she always credited as her main influence was not another singer but a pianist and composer, Duke Ellington’s longtime associate Billy Strayhorn.

“I wasn’t born a singer,” she told Strayhorn’s biographer, David Hajdu. “I had to learn a lot. Billy rehearsed me. He stretched me vocally.” Strayhorn occasionally worked as her accompanist and, she said, “taught me the basics of music, because I didn’t know anything.”

Horne is survived by her daughter Gail Lumet Buckley; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her son died of kidney failure in 1970; her husband died the following year.

New York Times has the rest story.

Horne legacy open the doors many African-American women who whose inspired by her life too many to count and name. and without Lena Horne were would we be. Thank you Ms. Lena very much.

Conan Says to NBC No to 12:05 A.M.

Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien  sent a letter to NBC say no deal to move his show to 12:05 AM. The letter obtained by Breitbart via PR Newswire describes the comedian opposition to the move:

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me.  For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky.  That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009.  Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me.  I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future.  It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule.  Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35.  For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news.  I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting.  The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show.  Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot.  That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it.  My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.  Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter.  But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next.  My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Yours,

Conan

SOURCE Conan O’Brien

Breitbart via PR Newswire.