Monthly Archives: June 2012
The premium cable channel EPIX has announced a new monthly comedy showcase called Comedy Unbound. The show gives EPIX alumni a platform to perform new specials. The showcase kicks off with Jim Norton: Please Be Offended premiering on tonight. Each special will air on the last weekend of every month.
CEO Mark Greenberg said that the network has had great success with their original comedy specials since its launch and that the network is committed to featuring the most talented comedians today. He wants them to feel free to test boundaries as they please.
Comedian Jim Norton said, “My experience with EPIX has been unlike any other network. I’ve worked closely with the EPIX team throughout the entire process, including promotion, which is an incredibly rare luxury for a performer.” Other comedians feel the same way.
Comedy Unbound will also feature Kevin Smith, Austrailian stand-up Jim Jefferies, and Ben Stiller. Sherri Shephard, Eddie Griffin, and Lewis Black will also perform specials. The show will air new showcases on the last weekend of every month.
Savannah Guthrie, who co-anchored today’s episode of Today with Matt Lauer, has officially been announced as Ann Curry’s replacement. She has been with NBC chief legal analyst and will continue to be in that position. The only thing that has changed at NBC is that Ann Curry is no longer co-anchor of Today. At least, the final chapter of Curry’s Today show saga has been written and everyone can move on.
The Supreme Court recently ruled in further policing the content on broadcast television, saying the the Federal Communications Commission has standards for indecency that are too vague. This essentially means that the FCC is being asked to place more specific restrictions on TV’s content. Network television stations are only fined after something is deemed indecent. They do not need to be further censored and deciding what should be censored after the fact is unfair. Also, censoring network television at all isn’t needed.
In this day and age, when free expression is so valued and uncensored content is so readily available, a move like this seems counterproductive. An instance known as a fleeting expletive or a fleeting image has happened many times in recent history. This excuses accidental indecent material on live television. The exception no longer exist. Janet Jackson’s well-known “wardrobe malfunction” and cursing on live award shows will no longer be protected, even if accidental. Any nude scene, such the one in a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue, will now face harsher penalty.
Last night, Brand X with Russell Brand debuted on FX. Either I misread the press releases or FX did not make clear the concept of Brand X. I thought it was going to be talk show, possibly along the lines of the short lived Talkshow with Spike Feresten. It wasn’t, but that isn’t a bad thing.
The show is basically a half hour comedy special with a lot of interaction with the audience and Brand’s sidekick, Matt Stoller. If you’re a fan of Brand, you’ll love it. If you hate Brand, Brand X won’t change your mind. If you’re like me, you were somewhere in the middle to begin with and this will leave you on the fence.
Charlie Sheen got his shot to return to television and it’s already not working out. Anger Management opened with two episodes on Thursday night and there wasn’t really much chance it would be a huge success. An FX comedy is probably not enough to fix a disgraced career and the type of actor Sheen is just seems unappealing. After two episodes, it’s certain this is going to be a failure. The fact is the show could not have been any worse. There was not one moment worthy of laughter for the entire hour.
Sheen stars as Charlie Goodson, an anger management therapist who has anger issues himself. This should actually be treated as a serious conflict and the fact that it is portrayed comically just makes it seem wrong. Of course, comedy seeming wrong would be okay if it was funny and innovative. This was neither. This was just boring. The laugh track only made it worse.
After the controversy surrounding the use of a mask depecting former President Bush’s head, the HBO series Game of Thrones has made some changes After HBO pulled the episode and stopped DVD production. The producers then apologized saying it was out of necessity and that they had to use the heads available. Now that the story went viral, the production team has altered the George W. Bush mask. It’s chin, nose, and face are now considerably smaller.
The changes to the mask may not erase the inappropriate mistake that the Game of Thrones staff made, but it is at least a step in the right direction. By altering the mask, the show did the right thing in trying to make amends. It acknowledged its mistake. Of course, the staff should not have made the mistake in the first place but at least it was handled with some grace.
For those who are aware of who the mask originally depicted and were offended, changing the mask may not help because the damage has been done. Using the mask of a former president to depict a beheading will always be inappropriate, but trying to alter the head was the right thing to do. The mistake will still be remembered, but so will the correction.
Did HBO and the Game of Thrones do enough?
I didn’t know what to expect for Wednesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent. On the one hand, the first night of Vegas performances were terrible. I’ll never understand why the judges were willing to let 25 of the acts go to New York. On the other hand, Tuesday’s episode proved that the show is capable of getting better. Day three in Vegas was mixed. Some acts were impressive and some acts were a disappointment but none of the acts were amazing. The meager selections of The Top 48 this season leave a lot to be desired.
The magic acts were first. Magicians have never been great on the show and now they are definitely below average. Hawley Magic started with a cheap looking levitation trick, but made it through anyway. The most impressive act of this category was Jarret and Raja, but that is not saying much. The magic acts this season are for the most part unexciting. They have never been great, but even compared to the sub-par acts this season has had, the standard of magic is low.
USA Today reports that Curry’s new multi-year contract will have her traveling the world with a seven-person crew. She will also produce specials and segments for all of NBC’s news programs as well as be a fill in anchor for the Nightly News. Her new official title is Anchor-at-large and NBC national/international correspondent.
I think that the new position fits Curry better because she prefers hard news. I just wish the official announcement that she was leaving Today this morning came before the show aired, since I missed Ann saying goodbye. However, NBC has posted the video up on MSNBC.com.
Despite rumors that Savannah Guthrie will be Today‘s new co-anchor, NBC still has not announced Curry’s replacement.
What do you think about NBC decision?
I was really not looking forward to Tuesday’s America’s Got Talent. After a very disappointing showing on Monday, I didn’t really have any expectation that it would get better. Fortunately, I was wrong. Tuesdays performances were not great, but it was a considerable improvement compared to these awful last few weeks.
The show opened with the magic category. First up was mind reader Eric Dittelman. He was entertaining in his initial audition, but also very intimate. His act seemed a bit small for Vegas. It still might be. As the judges agreed, he’s not a great showman. Nonetheless, overall he was impressive. At this point, the show was already far better than the first night in Vegas. Next up was one of my favorite acts, escape artist Nate Horseman. He was a bit better in his initial audition, but watching him escape from a glass box underwater was still exciting to watch. On the plus side, there might have been higher risk for serious damage, but escaping from a straightjacket is still more exciting. Both Dittelman and Horseman will get a chance to further prove themselves in New York.