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2013 | 2008

3 items from 2013

Happy 65th Birthday, Olivia Newton-John! What’s Her Most Underrated Song?

26 September 2013 1:55 PM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Happy 65th birthday to Olivia Newton-John, a woman who has been hopelessly devoted to pitch perfection for upwards of four decades. I have a friend who calls her “the female James Taylor” (hear me out) because the clarity of her vocal is so pure, yet so distinct. She’s got enough hits to warrant a handful of compilations (please see Snicks for exact number of singles, exact chart positions of singles, and the exact “lostness” of each forgotten single), but I can honestly say her oeuvre appeals to a wide platter of tastes. What’s the definitive underrated item in her catalog?

I’m going with the Ishtar of her Billboard career, the danceable, pranceable “The Rumour.” The leadoff single from the same-named album of ’88, “The Rumour” peaked at a measly #62 despite Elton John’s songwriting hand and that checkered-floor Peppiness we’ve come to associate with the late ’80s. »

- Louis Virtel

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Ellen DeGeneres, ‘Sesame Street’ Lead Daytime Emmy Wins

15 June 2013 1:03 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Sesame Street” landed a half-dozen wins apiece on Friday night as the Daytime Emmy Creative Arts Awards were handed out in Los Angeles.

DeGeneres’ syndie yakker, a perennial Daytime Emmy darling, won a craft and technical awards as well as a nod for directing a talkshow or morning program, in a tie with NBC’s “Today.”

Sesame Street” took the statuette for preschool program as well as writing and directing for a children’s program. Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who left the show last November after more than 20 years as the beloved Elmo character amid revelations about his sexual relations, won for performer in a children’s program. He also shared in the directing award for “Sesame Street” with three others: Ken Diego, Joey Mazzarino and Matt Vogel.

Cabler the Hub prevailed in the children’s program category with its “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour” series. »

- Variety Staff

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The 10 Greatest Celebrity "Pyramid" Players, In Honor Of The Classic Game Show's 40th Anniversary

26 March 2013 12:38 PM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

You may have guessed that I'm a fan of game shows, but if you're a decent, totally American human being, you love game shows too. Thus, it's only right that you know today is the 40th anniversary of the first airing of Pyramid, the beloved franchise that eventually spawned the Dick Clark-hosted $20,000, $25,000 and $100,000 versions, as well as two recent incarnations starring Donny Osmond and Price is Right producer Mike Richards, respectively. The classic game of verbal clues and Egyptian iconography is just so addicting, and we're lucky that Game Show Network still airs it all the damn time. 

For the record: The first-ever Pyramid celebrities -- when the show was filmed in New York -- were Rob Reiner and June Lockhart.

To celebrate the show's incredible run, I thought we'd rank the 10 greatest celebrities ever to lend their clue-giving skills to Dick Clark's game. My list includes mainly »

- virtel

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2013 | 2008

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