Darrell Hammond Rejoins ‘Saturday Night Live’ As Announcer

September 18, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The new “voice” of “Saturday Night Live” is going to have a familiar tone. Darrell Hammond, the versatile impressionist who held forth on the program between 1995 and 2009 – the longest tenure of any cast member on the show – will return to the venerable program as its announcer, Hammond and show executive producer... Read more

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CBS’s New Fall Shows, Ranked from Best to Worst

September 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Today in our week-long roundup of new shows on broadcast, we're looking at CBS, the place to go for young people committing crimes. There are networks that, faced with changing times and a media landscape diversifying both by viewer type and by medium, radically change their programming approach in an effort to stake out new territory before their competitors are inevitably pushed into it. CBS is not one of those networks. It's the most conservative in its programming strategy, and with good reason: Stalwarts like The Big Bang Theory, the NCIS and CSI franchises, and The Good Wife provided several consecutive years of growth, and Big Bang in particular tops the charts year after year. More than any other network, CBS unapologetically does capital-T Television along classic lines: one-and-done mysteries, sitcoms with laugh tracks, and dramas about politics. Oddly, CBS chose to save for midseason its best-written and -acted series, buddy cop dramedy Battle Creek, but don't worry, there are no fewer than three cop shows in the five full-season series CBS will premiere in the next few weeks. Of the networks we're looking at, CBS is the most drama-heavy: four of the five are hour-long, big-budget, slick-looking series, and while nothing here is wildly innovative, you can kick the tires on any one of these guys and the muffler won't fall off the back of the car. As with my roundups of ABC and Fox , I'm only able to review the screeners provided by the network, and those are the pilots. Series frequently evolve pretty radically, but when you're writing about the ad industry like we are, those first episodes are vitally important, because there's enough on the dial that if a viewer doesn't like episode one, there's no reason for him or her to come back for episode two.

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Film Review: ‘Samba’

September 18, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

After the runaway success of “The Intouchables,” French directing duo Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache were positioned to tackle nearly any project they pleased, especially if comedic muse Omar Sy agreed to be involved.

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James Franco Accidentally Makes Comedy in AOL’s ‘Making a Scene’ Movie Mashups

September 18, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

James Franco, famous multihyphenate, wasn’t trying to make a string of comedic sketches for AOL. But that’s how his latest project, “Making a Scene with James Franco,” turned out. The writer-director-producer-actor-poet-professor was promoting “Making a Scene With James Franco,” a 10-episode series that mashes up famous movie scenes, at a launch event Wednesday night in New... Read more

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‘Captain America’ Easily Conquers Video Sales

September 18, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

In a big week for new releases, five newcomers made it into the top 10 on Nielsen VideoScan’s weekly overall disc sales chart for the week ending Sept. 14. Walt Disney Studios’ “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the action sequel that grossed nearly $260 million in U.S. theaters, was an easy winner, debuting at No.... Read more

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Disney on Premium VOD: ‘Nothing Substantial Has Come of It’

September 17, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Despite attempts by Disney to explore the premium VOD window — which offers up home video versions of movies closer to their theatrical release — “nothing substantial has come of it,” the studio said. That should give theater owners a little bit of relief as exhibitors worried that earlier than usual VOD releases would leave... Read more

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Beyond ‘The Walking Dead’: Mining Darker Comics to Find a Hit

September 17, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Contrary to what broadcast television’s fall schedules might suggest, the revamped trend of using comicbooks as source material for TV shows has been hot for a while — even if the brains behind the networks’ programming slates have a hard time remembering that. “It’s funny — if you talk to the people at the networks,... Read more

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Bryan Cranston Acts Out Baseball’s Greatest Moments in Fantastic Ad For the Postseason

September 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As the Baltimore Orioles became the first Major League Baseball team to clinch a division last night, baseball fans, fairweather and hardcore alike, are gearing up for the most exciting time of year—the postseason.

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For First Time Ever, Panama Joins Oscar Race, with ‘Invasion’

September 17, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

MADRID – Panama has joined the foreign language Oscar race for the first time ever with, moreover, an acclaimed film which, as the U.S. considers sending ground troops to Iraq, takes a questioning stance on the efficacy – plus humanity – of American armed intervention in foreign lands. Panama’s first Oscar submission for the Academy... Read more

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Jackie Chan’s Son Jaycee Now Put Under Official Arrest

September 17, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Jaycee Chan was Wednesday put under formal arrest on drug charges, Beijing courts said.

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