Archive for March, 2006

Real live “Simpsons”

Just when you think “The Simpsons” might be running out of ideas for their opening, along comes a first: Real, live Simpsons.

For the first time ever, the opening sequence of “The Simpsons” at 8 p.m. Sunday on Fox-Channel 2 will have real people playing the animated characters.

From the Simpsons parting through the clouds to the infamous Bart writing on the chalkboard, Homer pulling the nuclear rod out of his shirt, Maggie scanned at the supermarket and the always-anticipated “couch gag” conclusion, the live-action opening mirrors each element of the animated sequence.

Said “The Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean, “I’m just amazed there are people who want to be known for looking like the Simpsons.”

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WB’s censor end-run

Bowing to pressure from recent Federal Communication Commission fines for indecency, the WB has chosen to delete some scenes from the new series “Bedford Diaries,” about randy college students taking a class in sexuality.
But in a truly subversive move, the network will show the uncensored version where the FCC has yet to tread: on the Internet. The WB issued a statement on Thursday:

“The WB takes its responsibility as a broadcast network very seriously and we have always been mindful of the FCC’s indecency rules. While we believe that the previous uncut version of “The Bedford Diaries” is in keeping with those rules, out of an abundance of caution, we decided to make some additional minor changes to the premiere episode of the series which is set to debut next Wednesday, March 28th.
“We also decided to make the original version available on the Internet at which allows those interested in seeing the producer’s creative vision to do so while at the same time recognizing the special rules that apply to the broadcast medium.”

Let the streaming steamy video begin.

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Woodruff released

ABC’s World News Tonight anchor Bob Woodruff checked out of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland this morning and will be continuing his recovery at a private facility in the New York area.

It’s expected that he’ll go home to continue his rehabilitation as an out-patient after that.

This good news reflects Bob’s continued progress in all
respects,” says ABC News President David Westin. “Bob is up and about, regularly talking and joking with (wife) Lee, the children, other family members and – yes – watching the news. He continues to show just how strong and determined he is.

That said, Westin says, Woodruff still has months of further recuperation.

All of us need to help Bob and Lee with this process by respecting their privacy,” Westin says. “For now, Bob will be devoting his full strength and energy to his family; later we will focus on getting him back to work on his schedule.

If there are major developments, Westin says, they will be reported. But in the meantime, the family will be given some rest from media attention.

Let’s leave them alone and give them the chance to be a family again,” Westin says. “Let them tell us when they want us to reach out.”

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Casting call

Get ready for your close-up.

USA networks have launched an online search for the No. 1 character in the country _ and in return you get fame and prizes…but mostly prizes.

The Show Us Your Character Contest begins March 20 and ends April 28. Enter online at and get wacky with it. Of course, this is all just a subtle ruse to launch USA’s version of My Space. Once you get on the site, you’ll be encouraged to upload videos and pictures as well as create detailed character profiles.

Oh, yeah. Don’t forget about the contest. Fame seekers need to demonstrate why they are unique through talents, personalities, style…we could go on, but really, what’s the point?

All submissions will be reviewed by a casting agency that will whittle the field down to 30 finalists. The Grand Prize winner will be selected by a panel of NBC suits. There will also be a Viewers Choice Award.

The Grand Prize winner will be seen in a national on-air campaign on USA Network; featured on the silver screen in AMC, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group’s FirstLook movie pre-show and will get an exclusive Web series of his or her own, which will live on

In addition, the lucky person to earn this distinction will receive a MAC G5 Quadcore Desktop with 30″ HD screen and a Sony HVR professional HD camcorder with which to create webisode greatness.

The First Prize Winner receives a Sony DCR DVD Camcorder, with an Apple Video iPod going to the Runner-Up.

The Viewer’s Choice character will win $1,000 cash.

Go, my Webbies. Bare your souls for the chance to win a fabulous prize.

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Sarandon sizzles

Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon heats up the New York fire department this summer on FX’s “Rescue Me.”

Rescue indeed.

For three episodes in the upcoming season, Sarandon plays hottie Franco’s (Daniel Sunjata) latest flame, who happens to be a rich successful older woman.

Sarandon’s character Alicia seduces Franco by teaching him that an older woman is exactly what he needs in the second episode of season three.

Currently in production, season three of “Rescue Me,” which stars Denis Leary premieres in early summer.

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Sway Gone

The Bay Area lost its only “American Idol” rep on Thursday when it was revealed that Jose “Sway” Penala was voted off the show.

The judges on Wednesday did a thumbs down on his performance. The viewers obviously agreed

More than 42 million votes cast after Tuesday and Wednesday

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Sway Gone

The Bay Area lost its only “American Idol” rep on Thursday when it was revealed that Jose “Sway” Penala was voted off the show.

The judges on Wednesday did a thumbs down on his performance. The viewers obviously agreed

More than 42 million votes cast after Tuesday and Wednesday

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Bonds Dressing Up

The tip-off that Barry Bonds new reality series was a go should have been seeing the San Francisco Giants slugger dressed as Paula Abdul during a recent photo op.

He’s fun. He’s frivolous. It’s Bonds like you’ve never seen him before.

That man knows how to dress up a reality show.

Yes, it’s true.

A weekly half-hour series has begun filming during Spring training and Bonds is the star. The series chronicles Bonds’ pursuit to reach the milestones set by Babe Ruth (most home runs by a left-handed hitter) and Hank Aaron, the all-time home run leader, according to the press release.

Interesting, given Bonds’ recent statements that he doesn’t care a whit about breaking any records.

Currently, Bonds has 708 home runs, just six behind Babe Ruth’s 714 and 47 behind Aaron’s 755.

“It was over ten years ago when (series producer) Mike Tollin interviewed me for the Hank Aaron documentary,” said Bonds in a statement. “And I said at the time that no one will ever get close to 755. At the age of 42 to finally have a chance to catch legends like Babe and Hank is really a mind-blowing honor. This is a project that we’re both passionate about and feel we have the opportunity to capture a unique behind-the-scenes experience that fans will be able to enjoy each week.”

The television documentary series will debut with a one-hour special Tuesday, April 4 on ESPN2 and then will be aired weekly on ESPN Tuesdays beginning April 11.

Tollin and his production partner Brian Robbins currently have such shows on the air as “Smallville” and “Crumbs.”

“We’ve known Barry for over ten years now and this seems like the perfect time to reveal the many sides of his life that the world never sees, ” Tollin said.

Robbins added that “He’s never been more eager for a season to start or more comfortable with himself.”

We figured that out when we saw him in a dress.

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