Reno 911! (2003) - News Poster

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‘Cannonball Run’ Reboot Taps ‘Central Intelligence’ Director

‘Cannonball Run’ Reboot Taps ‘Central Intelligence’ Director
Warner Bros. is negotiating with “Central Intelligence” director Rawson Thurber to helm a reboot of the “Cannonball Run” franchise.

Reno 911” stars Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant are also in talks to write the script.

Andre Morgan and Alan Gasmer are producing the movie. Albert S. Ruddy and Raymond Chow are the exec producers.

The original franchise starred Burt Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dom DeLuise. The films centered on an illegal cross-country race where the participants played dirty tricks on one another.

The series produced three films, with the first, “The Cannonball Run,” released in 1981 and the most recent, “Speed Zone,” in 1989.

Warner Bros. acquired all sequel and remake rights to the franchise from original copyright owners Brock Yates, the Hal Needham Estate, and Fortune Star Ltd.

Thurber recently directed the Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart action-comedy “Central Intelligence,” which grossed almost $217 million worldwide on a $50 million budget,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Thomas Lennon brings comedy to NBC

Two months after he broke the news of his Comedy Central show "Reno 911!" coming to an end, series star/co-creator Thomas Lennon is headlining a new comedy project at NBC.

The broadcast network has handed a pilot commitment with penalty to the multicamera comedy he will write with Robert Ben Garant, his "Reno" co-creator/co-star and frequent collaborator.

The two also will executive produce the project, whose premise is being kept under wraps, with Peter Principato and Paul Young. Lennon will star; Garant will play a supporting role.

Additionally, NBC and sibling Universal Media Studios, which is producing the Lennon/Garant project, has inked a talent holding deal with Lennon that includes his show with Garant.

NBC and Ums moved quickly to lock in Lennon and Garant following "Reno's" August cancellation after a six-season run.

"Our entire team has long been fans of the work Lennon and Garant have done
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Comedy Central cancels 'Reno'

Comedy Central cancels 'Reno'
"Reno 911!" won't be answering emergency calls anymore.

Comedy Central has canceled the mocumentary series after six seasons.

The news broke the way a lot of news tends to break these says, with a tweet.

"Reno 911! was cancelled at 1:30 pm today," the show's co-creator/star Thomas Lennon wrote on his Twitter feed Thursday afternoon. "Won't be wearing the shorts again."

The sixth season of "Reno 911!" wrapped its run July 8.

The show, a parody of "Cops"-type law enforcement documentary shows," co-stars Kerri Kenney-Silver, Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash and Robert Ben Garant.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

DVD Playhouse--July 2009

DVD Playhouse—July 2009

By

Allen Gardner

Do The Right Thing: 20th Anniversary Edition (Universal) Spike Lee’s groundbreaking fable about race relations in an ethnically mixed Brooklyn neighborhood during a sweltering New York summer remains as potent, timely and prescient as it was in 1989. Lee is among the cast, which also includes John Turturro, Danny Aiello, Samuel L. Jackson, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Rosie Perez (to name a few), that provide the tableaux-like framework for this stunning work. Criminally ignored by Oscar (it wasn't even nominated for Best Picture, but did garner nods for Supporting Actor Danny Aiello and Lee’s screenplay), it endures as a timeless classic. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Commentary by Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Wynn Thomas, Joie Lee; Documentary; Deleted and extended scenes; Featurettes. Widescreen. Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround.

Coraline (Universal) A young girl moves into an old Victorian house with her parents
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

Lopez Tapped To Host Late-Night TV

  • WENN
Lopez Tapped To Host Late-Night TV
Comedian George Lopez has been tapped as the latest celebrity to host his own late-night talk show.

The 47 year old's star turn in the Sandra Bullock-produced The George Lopez Show secured him a leading name on the small screen, even though the sitcom was cancelled in 2007 after a five-year run.

The show's syndicated success has reportedly spurred talk of Lopez hosting yet another programme produced by Warner Bros.

According to the New York Post, the show is set to premiere next Autumn, although it has yet to be picked up by a U.S. network.

Since his show went off the air, Lopez has made guest appearances on U.S. TV series including Reno 911 and The Naked Brothers Band. He has also taken on hosting duties for a network special on cable channel HBO.

Sarah Silverman in for 'Match Game'

Sarah Silverman in for 'Match Game'
Is Sarah Silverman the new Brett Somers? Could Norm MacDonald be the next Richard Dawson?

The comedians have signed on to be on the panel for TBS' updated "Match Game" pilot, shot this week in Los Angeles. Also taking seats are Super Dave Osborne (Bob Einstein), Kids in the Hall trouper Scott Thompson, Rashida Jones ("The Office") and Niecy Nash ("Reno 911!").

Andrew Daly ("Semi-Pro") is serving as host for the pilot, which is being executive produced by Robert Smigel of "Saturday Night Live" and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog fame.

The project, from FremantleMedia North America, was announced in March as part of the network's development slate, with TBS saying that it marks the network's biggest foray into game shows.

The original, which debuted in 1962, has had several incarnations in daytime and in the evening as a weekly syndicated show. "Match Game", featuring contestants trying to match missing words in a given phrase with a panel of celebrity guests, reached its naughty heyday with the Gene Rayburn-hosted version in the 1970s -- once the questions were tweaked to allow for a generous amount of double-entendre humor.

Comedy's Corrao upped to president

Lauren Corrao has been upped to president of original programming and development at Comedy Central.

Corrao, who was executive vp, has overseen the development of such Comedy Central series as The Sarah Silverman Program, Reno 911! Mind of Mencia, Drawn Together, Lil' Bush and Chappelle's Show. She will continue to be responsible for the development and supervision of all original programming on the network and original content created specifically for digital platforms, overseeing the development teams in Los Angeles and New York.

Corrao also will manage the network's talent and events staff, who are responsible for identifying and developing promising comedians and comedy stars and producing such special event programming as the Comedy Central Roast franchise and the network's stand-up specials. Corrao also will supervise the Comedy Central Records label.

In addition, Corrao is responsible for attracting established comedic talent to the network. Most recently, deals were signed with Silverman; Lewis Black, whose pop-culture debate series The Root of All Evil is scheduled to debut in March; and Demetri Martin, whose sketch-variety show Important Things With Demetri Martin is targeted to debut in the fall.

Red-carpet game first for TV Guide

TV Guide Network is getting into the original game show business for the first time, greenlighting a red carpet-based series titled "Celebrity Says!"

The network has ordered 65 half-hour episodes of the series, produced by City Lights Tele-vision and hosted by Dave Holmes (Reno 911!, Say What? Karaoke). "Celebrity Says!" will spotlight stars via footage captured by TV Guide on the red carpet. Three contestants will be challenged on how well they know celebrities through a series of questions the stars have been asked on the red carpet.

The series, which begins filming in Los Angeles this month for a first-quarter debut, also will feature themed episodes, including Hollywood Sex Symbols, Hollywood's Funniest and Most Hated Villains.

TV Guide Network president Ryan O'Hara said the show will fit well with the channel's brand.

"Our highest-rated programming is our red-carpet (coverage)," he said. "For us, this is just a great concept, and it was the right time to launch our first-ever original game show."

He said the show will be stripped weeknights and be repeated during the day.

20th TV pilots spread laughs

Two 20th Century Fox TV comedy projects -- one from Abraham Higginbotham and the other from Jonathan Groff -- have landed at Fox and at CBS.

The untitled Higginbotham project, which stars Niecy Nash (Reno 911), has received a put pilot commitment from Fox.

The multicamera comedy, written and executive produced by Arrested Development alum Higginbotham, revolves around the less-than-glamorous staffers at a glamorous New York hotel.

Groff's Private Lives of Public People sparked a heated bidding war between ABC and CBS, landing at the Eye with a mid- to high-six-figure penalty that often qualifies as a put pilot.

The hybrid single- and multicamera project revolves around three adult siblings who are pillars of the community in their town but are decidedly less in control of their lives at home.

Both the Fox and the CBS show stem from Higginbotham and Groff's overall deals at 20th TV.

Groff, who most recently created and executive produced NBC's comedy Andy Barker, P.I., is repped by UTA, manager Tim Sarkes and attorney Jared Levine.

Balls of Fury

Balls of Fury
The pingpong balls fly fast and furious -- and for a while, so do the laughs -- in this willfully dumb sports-underdog sendup from the creators/stars of Comedy Central's Reno! 911.

The good news is that Christopher Walken, resplendent in purple silk, isn't the film's sole redeeming element. The bad news is that even his arch-villain can't save Balls of Fury from losing bounce as the story proceeds. But as business for boxoffice superstar Superbad fades, young viewers, especially males, will flock to this martial arts action take on table tennis.

Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, whose writing credits include The Pacifier and Night at the Museum, have concocted a boilerplate setup for their hero, a fallen-from-grace Olympic contender who gets a chance to redeem himself as a secret agent. It seems there's more to table tennis than suburban basements; the movie takes us into the sport's seamy underworld, traveling from Chinatown alleys to "somewhere in Central America." Plot and character development are minimal, while short pants and groin-injury jokes are plentiful in the story of Randy Daytona (the affable and comically agile Dan Fogler).

In a nice touch, we see that even the White House-occupying Reagans were rapt as 12-year-old Randy (Brett DelBuono) faced East Germany's maniacal Karl Wolfschtagg (Lennon). Nineteen years after his humiliating defeat in Seoul, Randy still has game -- and his 1988-issue Def Leppard paddle -- but he's reduced to performing a pingpong lounge act for early bird diners in Reno. (David Koechner's lead-in act, complete with cockatoo, might set a new standard for showbiz delusions.)

Rescuing Randy from has-been ennui is FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez (a well-cast, gray-suited George Lopez), frustrated with desk work and eager for a Bondian adventure. He enlists the pudgy headband wearer to infiltrate a high-stakes private tourney organized by evil mastermind Feng (Walken), a former pingpong student who also happens to be responsible for Randy's father's murder.

Director Garant draws committed performances of varying loopiness from his cast, providing able comic foils for Fogler's ultra-likable protagonist and his mega-sideburns. James Hong's winningly deadpan blind pingpong master, Wong, offers adages of little practical or philosophical value. As Wong's niece, Maggie Q sweetly falls for Randy and displays lean, mean chopsocky moves. And the presence in small roles of martial arts movie actors Jason Scott Lee and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ups the ante in the film's kung-fu-ization of pingpong.

The rapid-fire, absurd yet precise volleys are a blast to watch, whether Maggie Q is taking on four opponents at once or Walken and Fogler are going paddle-to-paddle across a suspension bridge -- one of the more striking elements of Jeff Knipp's flavorful production design. Walken's priceless line delivery is a fine, disorienting mismatch for his long braid and Elvis-meets-Madame Butterfly getups (the most deliriously over-the-top costumes in MaryAnn Bozek's impressive arsenal).

But even the sight of the dastardly Feng sipping fancy drinks between lethal commands to his statuesque henchwoman (Aisha Tyler) can't disguise the fact that the film loses steam as it proceeds. Abetted by their fine troupe, Garant and Lennon know how to emphasize self-serious foolishness, but as the story line grows more ridiculous, it mines fewer laughs and slips dangerously close to formula schmaltz. It's the killer pingpong action that ultimately keeps Balls afloat.

BALLS OF FURY

Rogue Pictures

A Rogue Pictures, Intrepid Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment presentation

Credits:

Director: Robert Ben Garant

Screenwriters: Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant

Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Jonathan Glickman, Thomas Lennon

Executive producers: Ron Schmidt, Derek Evans

Director of photography: Thomas E. Ackerman

Production designer: Jeff Knipp

Music: Randy Edelman

Costume designer: MaryAnn Bozek

Editor: John Refoua

Cast:

Randy Daytona: Dan Fogler

Feng: Christopher Walken

Ernie Rodriguez: George Lopez

Maggie: Maggie Q

Wong: James Hong

Freddy: Terry Crews

Sgt. Pete Daytona: Robert Patrick

Gary: Diedrich Bader

Mahogany: Aisha Tyler

Karl Wolfschtagg: Thomas Lennon

Siu-Foo: Jason Scott Lee

Mysterious Asian Man: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Young Randy: Brett DelBuono

Rick the Birdmaster: David Koechner

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13

'Reno,' 'Chappelle' cleared to go

MGM's domestic television distribution operation has cleared Reno 911! and Chappelle's Show in 18 markets, including the top three, for a fall launch in syndication.

The off-cable shows have been cleared in the top markets of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, which MGM said secures a national syndication launch for both programs.

In New York, MGM sold both shows to Tribune-owned WPIX, while in Los Angeles, MGM cleared Reno on CBS-owned KCAL and Chappelle on Fox-owned KTTV/KCOP. In Chicago, both series were cleared on Fox-owned WFLD/WPWR.

The two shows are being offered on an all-barter basis, with Reno set to run as a strip and Chappelle cleared for weekend runs. Jim Packer, president of worldwide television distribution at MGM, declined to say whether the deals include double runs. He also declined to specify any markets outside of the top three for competitive reasons but did say that both shows have been cleared in nearly 40% of the country at this point.

Night at the Museum

Milan Trenc's whimsically illustrated The Night at the Museum, about a New York Natural History Museum night guard who discovers the displays have a habit of doing the Jumanji thing once visitors go home, has been turned into a big, loud movie (minus the "The") starring Ben Stiller.

It's definitely a cute, workable premise, but as mishandled by director Shawn Levy (the Pink Panther and Cheaper by the Dozen remakes) and the writing team of Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (Reno: 911!), the inspiration that was required to make Museum fly is seldom on exhibit in this interminably monotonous production.

As Stiller runs around an awful lot attempting to riff his way to something funnier, the rest of the able cast, including Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney, see their talents go sadly underutilized, playing second fiddle to all the busy visual effects.

Given its holiday placement and its family-friendly premise, the 20th Century Fox release will probably still shake enough bones at the boxoffice to keep Levy's streak intact, though the overall result unlikely will go down in any kind of history.

On a positive note, maybe it might have the pleasant side effect of boosting museum attendance.

The problematic pace feels off from the start, as Stiller's Larry Daley, a failed inventor of a divorced dad, competes with his wife's (Kim Raver) financial whiz fiance (Paul Rudd) for the affections of his son, Nick (Jake Cherry).

Seeking the help of an employment counselor (played by Stiller's mom, Anne Meara), he takes a menial job as a graveyard shift security guard at the Natural History Museum, but judging from the odd behavior of the trio of veteran daytime guards (Van Dyke, Rooney and Bill Cobbs), his first night on the job will prove to be anything but uneventful.

Larry's first clue is when the giant Tyrannosaurus rex suddenly goes missing, only to reappear, eager to play a game of fetch with one of its bones. By the time Larry catches on, the marble corridors are filled with marauding Huns (looking like they just stepped out of a Capital One commercial), mischievous capuchin monkeys, charging wildlife and out-of-control, unmistakably lifelike dioramas.

With the help of trusty Teddy Roosevelt (a subdued Robin Williams), Larry not only manages to restore order, but also his crumbling relationship with his son.

This is the kind of vehicle that would have been a natural for someone like Museum producer Chris Columbus, having directed Home Alone and Harry Potter installments and demonstrating an equal comfort level with both extensive comedy and intensive special effects.

But director Levy struggles to find a uniform pitch that would agreeably blend together the gags, the visual effects and the obligatory heart moments. In its absence, there's a stop-and-start hollowness that confuses noise and chaos for comic energy.

While Gervais has some amusing moments as Stiller's tongue-tied boss, the rest of the cast, also including Steve Coogan and an uncredited Owen Wilson, are never given the chance to really strut their humorous stuff.

Behind-the-scenes, production designer Claude Pare (The Aviator) does a nice job filling those larger-than-life spaces, while costume designer Renee April has her sewing machine going full tilt with all that period wardrobe and Alan Silvestri goes back to his Back to the Future cues for his hyperactively dense score.

Comedy talks 'Shop'; 'Giant' rising at MTV

Comedy talks 'Shop'; 'Giant' rising at MTV
Comedy Central said Wednesday that it has given a series pickup to American Body Shop, an improvised narrative in the vein of the network's Reno 911! that is set in the world of auto body repair. Separately, MTV said that it has given the green light to a sketch comedy series called Human Giant. Shop centers on the life of a twice-divorced auto body repair shop owner who tries his best to keep the shop running smoothly but has a hard time with his unruly employees and put-upon receptionist. The 10-episode, half-hour series is set to premiere in the summer. "Our audience will find the bizarre and over-the-top characters on 'American Body Shop' hysterical and intriguing," said Lauren Corrao, executive vp original programming and development at Comedy Central. "Any guy who's ever taken his car to one can relate to the wild individuals who invariably work there."

Three pilots revving up for Comedy

Three pilots revving up for Comedy
Comedy Central has gone into production on three new pilots, including a reality project about two best friends trying to make a movie, an "improvised narrative" in the vein of the network's Reno 911! set in an auto-body repair shop and a comedy-variety project featuring comedian DeRay Davis. Lauren Corrao, executive vp original programming and development at the network, said the projects are very different from one another but do have a common thread. "First and foremost at Comedy Central, we go with what really makes us laugh -- comedy comes first, and these pilots are three different ways of getting at comedy," she said. "Beyond that comes great characters and great storytelling. That's what everybody is looking for, but we have an irreverent twist to all (of the network's shows)."

'Reno 911!' gets call for big screen

The creators of Comedy Central's Reno 911! are taking their cop spoof to the big screen. 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures will co-produce Reno 911!: Miami, which will be helmed by the TV series' co-creator, Robert Ben Garant. The film is described as an improvisational-based project that will follow a script written by Garant and fellow series co-creators Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney. Reno 911!: Miami, which starts shooting Jan. 23 in Miami and Los Angeles, finds the officers visiting a national police convention in Miami Beach at the height of spring break. When the convention center is bio-attacked, it's up to Reno's "finest" to save the day.

'Campus' life for Hines with Oxygen series

Oxygen has ordered a series pilot featuring improvisational comedy from one of the stars and directors of the HBO hit Curb Your Enthusiasm. Curb star Cheryl Hines will executive produce Campus Ladies for the female-targeted cable channel with Peter Principato and Paul Young of Principato-Young, which will serve as the studio on the project -- a first for the management/production company. Given Principato-Young's experience producing improv series including Comedy Central's Reno 911 (with Jersey Television), Young described his company's decision to get more involved on this particular production as a natural move.

FX Networks taps Landgraf for No. 2 job

After a seven-month search, FX Networks has hired Jersey Television chief John Landgraf as its president of entertainment. Landgraf co-founded Jersey TV in 1999, where he went on to produce current primetime series including ABC's Karen Sisco and Comedy Central's Reno 911! He will replace Kevin Reilly, who left the post in September to become president of primetime development at NBC Entertainment (HR 6/11). FX Networks president Peter Liguori believes that Landgraf was worth the wait. "One of the reasons this process took so long is that it was absolutely important for us to find someone who understands what makes an FX show, and John's got that in spades," he said. "John has an impeccable reputation as someone who fights doggedly for great creative." In his new post, Landgraf will be charged with overseeing development and production of programming, particularly ushering in a new generation of edgy hit series to follow on the heels of The Shield and Nip/Tuck, as well as longform projects.

'Kid' out of the ratings picture

The new Comedy Central series Kid Notorious stumbled in its debut Wednesday, dropping nearly half of its lead-in audience. The animated program, inspired by the life of veteran mogul Robert Evans, failed to capitalize on a strong ratings performance at 10 p.m. by a new episode of South Park, which drew 3.1 million total viewers. At 10:30 p.m., Kid attracted 1.6 million viewers and nearly 1 million in the 18-49 demo -- down from the 2 million South Park garnered. The post-Park time slot was a better launching pad for Chappelle's Show and, more recently, Reno 911, which debuted to more than 2 million but had the benefit of not going up against the World Series.

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