Tag: television

TV Review: Dwayne Johnson Rocks New Reality Series “The Hero”

The Hero Season 1 - Ep 101 Ph: Frank Masi Panama City, Panama

The Hero (8pm Thursdays, TNT)

Host:  Dwayne Johnson

I’ve got to give it to the folks at TNT – it was a smart choice to air a competition reality show hosted by wrestler-turned-movie-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s completely entertaining, mainly because The Rock reminds the viewer very early on, well…that he’s got charisma in spades.

The Hero takes nine contestants and makes them endure physical challenges as well as ethical mind games while attempting to gain enough viewer appeal to be voted into the final where the winner’s pot could reach up to one million dollars. I usually get frustrated with the whole audience voter scenario, but The Hero has thrown in measuring a person’s moral compass, and that makes what the home audience thinks a little more appealing.

On top of jumping, rappelling, crawling, and conquering real fears, the participants have their principles tested with offers of cash on the sly.  In other words, the show asks each of them the question: “If no one’s looking, how greedy will you be?”  If every contestant selflessly resists the chance to pocket easy money when it’s offered in private, then it all goes into the team pot.  The way the money is earned and the challenge scenario is tiered and a bit confusing.  Nonetheless it’s easy to grasp that there is a one in nine chance to win up to a million dollars.

James Bond himself doesn’t have to do half the stuff these contestants do.  And the casting is genius.  They’ve got contestants with serious phobias. One can’t handle heights, another freaks out in the dark…um, hello…you signed up for a show called The Hero hosted by the Rock…and you’ve got phobias?  It’s such a fun twist I was sucked into watching human behavior at its rawest.

In a pretty hilarious segment, a female contestant who is terrified of heights is asked to join The Rock atop the roof of a skyscraper. He eagerly awaits her as she chants, “I’m not going to fail … I’m not going to fail.” As she walks up two flights of stairs (yes, only two) to get to him he utters, “You’re not going to fail.” It’s just some stairs and there is railing but she is terrified. She makes it and leaps into the Rock’s bulging , welcoming arms. It’s a terrific human moment. He smiles, hugs and encourages her, but then offers her some money to pocket for herself or put in the pot. A moral dilemma ensues.

It’s a provocative scenario each time it occurs: “You’re broke…here’s some money and you need it… take it or put it in the pot.” As one contestant puts it (I’m paraphrasing here): “These people are not saying no to the money because they are good people. They are saying no because they want to appear to be good for the audience that votes so they will be voted to go to the end and have a chance at a more money.”

All on all, The Hero is a thoroughly watchable show, although I can’t say the title works. Are these people actually heroic? Not really. But Dwayne in all his Rockness and the challenges make for a fun summer series. Set in Panama, I’m not sure they’ll find a “Hero”… but they may just find the ratings.

Lesa LakinReviewed by Lesa Lakin

‘Black Bodies In Propaganda: The Art Of The War Poster’, PBS TV Host Tukufu Zuberi’s Black War Posters Focus of US Exhibit

In this Thursday, May 30, 2013 photo, University of Pennsylvania professor and PBS History Detectives host Tukufu Zuberi speaks about an Italian 1942 broadside matted on canvas by Gino Boccasile during an interview with The Associated Press at the Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster exhibit at the Penn Museum, in Philadelphia. The new museum exhibition presents 33 posters owned by Zuberi that were designed to mobilize Africans and African-Americans in war efforts, even as they faced oppression and injustice in their homelands. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Thursday, May 30, 2013 photo, University of Pennsylvania professor and PBS History Detectives host Tukufu Zuberi speaks about an Italian 1942 broadside matted on canvas by Gino Boccasile during an interview with The Associated Press at the Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster exhibit at the Penn Museum, in Philadelphia. The new museum exhibition presents 33 posters owned by Zuberi that were designed to mobilize Africans and African-Americans in war efforts, even as they faced oppression and injustice in their homelands. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A new exhibit created by a University of Pennsylvania professor and host of a popular public television show examines how wartime propaganda has been used to motivate oppressed populations to risk their lives for homelands that considered them second-class citizens.

“Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster,” opens Sunday and continues until March 2 at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Lectures, film screenings and other programming will be rolled out over the course of the exhibit’s run.

The exhibit’s 33 posters, dating from the American Civil War to both World Wars and the African independence movements, are part of the personal collection of Tukufu Zuberi, Penn professor of sociology and African studies and a host of the Public Broadcasting Service series “History Detectives.”

Zuberi began his collection in 2005 and owns 48 posters in all. There are five he’s seeking to complete his collection, but he’s not divulging any specifics. “Oh, I don’t want to go there,” he said with a laugh. “If I say anything, then there’s going to be someone out there with more money and I won’t be able to buy anything again.”

Continue reading “‘Black Bodies In Propaganda: The Art Of The War Poster’, PBS TV Host Tukufu Zuberi’s Black War Posters Focus of US Exhibit”

Tracy Morgan to Star in FX Comedy Pilot “Death Pact”

Tracy Morgan FX Comedy Pilot StarAfter his scene-stealing turn on 30 Rock, the NBC series’ co-star Tracy Morgan is starring in his own single-camera comedy project, this time on cable. FX has given a pilot order to Death Pact, from writer-creators Rob Long (Cheers) and Tad Safran (The Long Weekend) and producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. In Death Pact, Morgan stars as a formerly lazy, pot-dealing assistant high school coach who returns to his hometown as a decorated war hero. He runs across three down-on-their-luck friends and former students and sucks them into his new radical self-help philosophy, which involves harsh consequences for failure. The pilot, produced by FX Prods, will film this summer in New York or New Jersey. “Needless to say anything starring Tracy Morgan could be off-the-charts hilarious and we’re betting this one is,” said FX’s EVP Original Programming Nick Grad. “Rob Long, Tad Safran, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum have delivered a terrific starring vehicle for Tracy. We look forward to casting the other three co-stars and getting started with production. This is going to be fun.”

The edgy FX should be a suitable home for Morgan’s sensibility, as showcased in his not-always politically correct stand-up. At the cable network, he would join other stand-up comedians including most notably Louis CK. Since 30 Rock ended its run in January, Morgan has been focusing on his stand-up with his international Excuse My French tour. Before his seven-season stint on 30 Rock, which earned him an Emmy nomination, Morgan spent seven years on Saturday Night Live. FX Networks is ramping up comedy development and production as the company is preparing for the launch comedy-focused channel FXX, which will join flagship FX.

article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

Usher, Darius Rucker Join Oklahoma Tornado Benefit Concert

(Images courtesy of Getty)
(Usher, Darius Rucker; Images courtesy of Getty)

The event, titled “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert,” was organized by country singer and native Oklahoman Blake Shelton. Joining Rucker and Usher, who worked with Shelton on The Voice, are country stars Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire, among others listed in the lineup.

“I’m hoping it will raise a lot of money,” Shelton told Billboard after announcing his project during last Tuesday’s edition of The Voice.  According to Reuters, the May 20 tornado was the deadliest windstorm to hit the United States in two years and left 24 dead and 377 injured. After decimating the city of Moore and surrounding areas, the tornado caused an estimated $2 to $5 billion worth of property damage and loss while over 1,200 homes were left destroyed.

The proceeds from the benefit concert will go to the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund and will be used for recovery and rebuilding needs.  The concert will be held tomorrow, May 29, and is set to air on NBC at 9 p.m. EST. According to the network, tickets went on sale Saturday morning and were sold out within five minutes.

article by Lilly Workneh via thegrio.com

Tavis Smiley Marks 10th Year of Daily Talk Show on PBS

Talk show host Tavis Smiley speaks during the 'Tavis Smiley' panel at the PBS portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour held at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Talk show host Tavis Smiley speaks during the ‘Tavis Smiley’ panel at the PBS portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour held at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tavis Smiley has stood out in 20 years in broadcasting, and he has no intention of changing his style or substance.  He’s the rare black host with national TV and radio platforms, one who sees his job as challenging Americans to examine their assumptions on such thorny issues as poverty, education, and racial and gender equality.

In other words, he doesn’t squander his opportunities on PBS’ daily talk show “Tavis Smiley,” which marks its 10th year this month, or on public radio’s “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Smiley & West,” the latter a forum for commentary he shares with scholar and activist Cornel West.

His quarterly “Tavis Smiley Reports” specials for PBS, in-depth looks at topics such as the relationship between the juvenile justice system and the teenage dropout rate, fit the same bold pattern.

Smiley, marking two decades in broadcasting this year, considers himself engaged in a calling as much as a career: “This is the kind of work I think needs to be done. I’m trying to entertain and empower people.”

Continue reading “Tavis Smiley Marks 10th Year of Daily Talk Show on PBS”

Candice Glover Wins 12th Season of “American Idol”

The third time’s the charm for Candice Glover on “American Idol.”  The 23-year-old vocalist from St. Helena Island, S.C., won the Fox TV singing competition after auditioning a trio of times and making it to the finals this year.  Glover looked stunned when “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest announced she bested soulful 22-year-old country singer Kree Harrison from Woodville, Texas.

Candice GloverGlover said backstage after winning she learned to “Have fun, live in the moment and be confident.”  “Because in previous years I wasn’t, so that’s definitely the key if you want to audition for the show or have a career,” she said.  After her crowning, an emotional Glover sobbed her way through her new single “I Am Beautiful.”

Grammy- and Oscar-winning former “Idol” finalist Jennifer Hudson returned for Thursday’s finale for a show-stopping duet with Glover on Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable” (see above).

Glover’s win marks the first time a female and a nonwhite singer has won the competition since Jordin Sparks dominated the sixth season in 2007. The previous five winners — Phillip Phillips, Scotty McCreery, Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen and David Cook — were all Caucasian guitar players, known to “Idol” fans as WGWGs, or white guys with guitars.

The lack of a female champion for the past five years was mocked in a finale bit featuring the female finalists, in cahoots with Sparks, jokingly sabotaging this season’s five male contestants.  “The good news is ‘Idol’ leftovers have been doing really well on ‘The Voice,'” Sparks teased.

Besides the coronation of Glover, Thursday’s finale also served as a farewell for Randy Jackson, the show’s last remaining original judge who announced last week that he’s leaving “Idol” to focus on his record label and other business opportunities. Jackson served as a judge on all 12 seasons of “Idol.” He first appeared on the panel alongside Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul when the competition debuted in 2002, becoming famous for his easygoing “yo, dawg” rapport with contestants.

Continue reading “Candice Glover Wins 12th Season of “American Idol””

Will and Monifa Sims Become Internet Sensations via Gas Station Karaoke for “Jay Leno”

Will and Monica Sims Jay Leno Show

Will (pictured far right) and Monifa Sims (pictured) never imagined that they’d become overnight Internet sensations as a result of a quick trip to their local gas station to fill up their car.

Actor Tim Stack of “Pumpcast News,” a regular sketch on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,takes a break from reading the day’s news to play around with unsuspecting patrons from  pump-mounted TV screens. When Stack a.k.a. “Jack Rafferty” spied the Sims at a Burbank, Calif., gas station, he surprised Will with a greeting and asked him if he’d be willing to belt out a song for his telecast. Will, who admitted that he enjoys karaoke, agreed to sing a Bon Jovi classic, “Livin’ On A Prayer,” without hesitation.

As Will performed the song without any reservation, his wife of 12 years, Monifa, sat boisterously laughing inside their vehicle. When Will ended his rendition of the song, Rafferty asked Will whether Monifa would join in too.  And while Monifa was initially hesitant, after Rafferty mentioned a free tank of gas and Will began singing about the offer, Monifa exited the car.

Rafferty was soon able to coax Monifa in to singing a song as well, with the fitness instructor choosing a Eurythmics chart topper, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).”  Not only did Monifa belt out the song in near perfect pitch, but her husband soon joined her, chiming in where needed.  The couple also showed off their synchronized dance moves.

Watch Will and Monifa Sims sing here:

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via newsone.com

NBC’s ‘Ironside’ with Blair Underwood – 1st Trailer Out (VIDEO)

Blair UnderwoodIn the ongoing quest to reinvent the police procedural, NBC has revamped the 1967-75 hit “Ironside.” The original starred Raymond Burr as a San Francisco cop paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet and confined to a wheelchair, thus forced to solve crimes using his wits. This time around, the action moves to New York City and Blair Underwood takes the chair.

“Ironside” will air on NBC Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. this fall. 

Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/starr-raving/see-the-first-trailer-from-nbcs-gritty-take-on-ironside-with-blair-underwood#AALbVpqUGKHgjWcI.99

Cee Lo Reality Show ‘The Cee Lo Life’ Scheduled To Premiere On TBS

The Cee Lo Life Cee Lo Green Goodie Mob

In addition to making his return to “The Voice” this week, Cee Lo Green has also landed a new show with TBS.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Turner network has green lit a six-episode series, tentatively titled “The Cee Lo Life,” which follows the Grammy Award-winning musician along with his Goodie Mob group mates, Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo, as they work on their new long-awaited hip-hop album.

“With his distinctive voice, winning personality and remarkable ability to tap into a wide range of musical styles, Cee Lo Green has risen to the top of the music industry,” Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TBS explained to the site. “This new TBS series will give viewers the chance to get to know Cee Lo Green,who is without a doubt one of the hardest working men in show business. “The Cee Lo Life” is certain to be a smart, fun and funny journey packed with a lot of great music.”

Earlier this year during an interview with FUSE, Green revealed that the hip hop quartet is looking forward to releasing their first album together since 1999’s “World Party.”

“We’re still mixing and doing a few more guest appearances and putting the final touches on it, but yes, it’s pretty much done,” he said. “I think we’ve grown a great deal in the last 10 years. There’s a lot more to consider.”

“There’s a broader audience and a greater aspiration to reach as many people as we can, to be as relatable, to be as real, relevant and resourceful as we can. So Age Against the Machine is symbolic of wisdom being the weapon of choice. Those rules will apply.”

“The Cee Lo Life” is scheduled to premiere on TBS in 2014.

article via huffingtonpost.com

Maya Angelou, India.Arie Set for Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Sunday’

oprah dr angelouIn the first of a special two-part event, Oprah Winfrey sits down with her mentor, acclaimed writer, author and poet Dr. Maya Angelou, on her Emmy-winning series “Super Soul Sunday,” premiering Mother’s Day, May 12 from 11 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.

In this candid conversation, Oprah’s “mother-sister-friend” opens up about forgiveness, family, and the rich relationship they’ve shared for more than thirty-five years.

Discussing her latest book “Mom & Me & Mom,” Dr. Angelou delves into one of the deepest personal stories of her life: her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter. Dr. Angelou also reveals intimate stories from her childhood, including how her nurturing, yet fiery, mother challenged her to find strength in the face of adversity.

This season’s “Super Soul Sunday” line-up continues with all-new inspirational episodes airing every Sunday (from 11:00-12:00p.m.) on OWN, including:

May 19- “Oprah & Dr. Maya Angelou, Part Two”
Oprah’s heart-to -heart conversation continues with acclaimed author, Dr. Maya Angelou. Discussing her latest book, “Mom & Me & Mom”, Dr. Angelou reveals how her tough, but tender-hearted mother transformed her life. Plus, she shares her insights on aging brilliantly, and how love can liberate you.

May 26- “The Bigger Picture with Oprah, Rev Ed Bacon, Elizabeth Lesser & Mark Nepo”
Join Oprah and three dynamic thought leaders for the first installment of ‘The Bigger Picture,’ a Super Soul Sunday panel discussion about today’s top global headlines, bringing unique and thoughtful perspective to world news topics ranging from prescription drugs to terrorism, gun violence, and our fascination with celebrity culture.

June 2- “Oprah & Dr. Brian Weiss: Reincarnation, Past Lives and Miracles”
Groundbreaking psychiatrist and best-selling author of “Many Lives, Many Masters” tells Oprah of how he came to practice past life regression therapy.

Continue reading “Maya Angelou, India.Arie Set for Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Sunday’”