Starbucks Teams Up With Three ‘Simpsons’ Writers For Its Second Web Series

Starbucks’ first branded web series, Upstanders, was an inspirational look at people who are difference-makers in their respective communities. The coffee chain’s second digital show, on the other hand, adopts a very different tone. It’s called 1st & Main, and it consists of short, animated vignettes set within a Starbucks establishment.

The brains behind 1st & Main are John Frink, Joel H Cohen, and Rob Lazebnik, all of whom have written episodes of The Simpsons. For their work with Starbucks, which they produced through their studio Tolerable Entertainment, they sketched out a few amusing stories that use some of Starbucks’ signature elements as plot points. The first episode, for example, imagines what would happen if a couple chose their baby’s name from among the ones shouted by the barista at their local coffee shop.

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11 late-period 'Simpsons' episodes you should watch this week

11 late-period 'Simpsons' episodes you should watch this week
When the “Every Simpsons Ever” mega-marathon of The Simpsons began last Thursday on Fxx, it renewed interest in a show that will go down as one of the all-time greats—but has nevertheless been struggling commercially and creatively for awhile at this point. The show’s unimpeachable heyday in the ’90s is rightfully heralded, and as the marathon got going, it was those episodes that created the most excitement. Sure, they’ve been out on DVD for some time, but rebroadcasting them in order emphasized how great the show was at its peak.

Precisely when The Simpsons began to descend
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Rip ‘Simpsons’, ‘Thor’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’ writer Don Payne

Writer Don Payne, who began his writing career on TV in the mid-nineties with episodes of Hope and Gloria, Can’t Hurry Love, Men Behaving Badly, Veronica’s Closet and The Brian Benben Show before becoming writer, producer, supervising producer, co-executive producer and consulting producer of The Simpsons, has passed at 48, losing his long battle with bone cancer. The Simpsons’ showrunner Al Jean stated: “Don was a wonderful writer and an even more wonderful man. He was beloved in the ‘Simpsons’ community and his untimely passing is terrible news to us all.” Payne either wrote or co-wrote 18 episodes of the long-running Fox series beginning in 2000. He segued into screenwriting in 2006 with My Super Ex-Girlfriend, followed by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, Maximum Ride and this fall’s Thor: The Dark World. In 2006, he told the website Cinematical that “I’ve always wanted to write features. That’s
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'The Simpsons' and 'Thor' writer Don Payne dies at 48 years old

  • Pop2it
Award-winning writer and producer Don Payne died at home Tuesday, at age 48, according to the La Times. Payne had been suffering from bone cancer, says John Frink, a friend and former writing partner.

A Wilmington, N.C. native, Payne graduated from UCLA with a master's degree in screenwriting. He had intended to work in the movie industry, but Frink was interested in television. Happy with finding work in any medium, the pair got their first writing job on the 1995 sitcom "Hope & Gloria."

They continued finding work in sitcoms, including "Men Behaving Badly," "Veronica's Closet," and "The Brian Benben Show," before they joined the writing staff at "The Simpsons" in 1998. With the show, he won four Emmy Awards.

Payne was able to eventually make the jump to writing for film with 2006's "My Super Ex-Girlfriend." He followed that movie by writing the screenplay for "Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
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Emmy-Winning 'Simpsons' Writer Dies

Emmy-Winning 'Simpsons' Writer Dies
Los Angeles -- Don Payne, an Emmy-winning writer and producer for "The Simpsons" who also wrote the hit movie "Thor," has died. He was 48.

His friend and former writing partner, John Frink, tells the Los Angeles Times ( that Payne had bone cancer and died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home.

Payne shared four Emmys won by "The Simpsons."

He also wrote the 2006 Uma Thurman comedy "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" and 2007's "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."


Information from: Los Angeles Times,
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'Thor', 'The Simpsons' writer Don Payne dies

Screenwriter Don Payne has died, it has been announced.

Payne is best known for writing several episodes of The Simpsons and co-writing the screenplay to Thor and its upcoming sequel Thor: The Dark World.

Details of his death have yet to be released.

Thor stars Kat Dennings and Jaimie Alexander tweeted about Payne's death today (March 27).

Don Payne won four Emmy Awards for his work on The Simpsons. He wrote 16 episodes of the Fox animation, serving as a consulting producer for 100 episodes.

He also wrote the screenplays for Uma Thurman comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and the upcoming Maximum Ride.

Payne had worked on several TV sitcoms in the 1990s, including Hope & Gloria, Pride & Joy, Can't Hurry Love, Men Behaving Badly, Veronica's Closet and The Brian Benben Show.

For many years, he worked with fellow screenwriter John Frink.

Dennings described Payne as "a wonderful,
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Don Payne Has Died

Don Payne Has Died
Don Payne, a writer whose work has encompassed sitcoms, The Simpsons and big movies for several Marvel characters, has died at the age of 48.Born and raised in North Carolina, Payne harboured a desire to be involved with TV and, in particular, film, from a young age. He met writing partner John Frink while at UCLA and the pair worked together on the staffs of several unsuccessful sitcoms.But more high profile work was to follow when they joined the team behind The Simpsons, writing several episodes including two Treehouse Of Horror entries and The Bart Wants What It Wants.Yet Payne had big screen ambitions. “I've always wanted to write features. That's why I moved to Los Angeles in the first place,” he told Cinematical. “I started writing with John Frink when I was in college at UCLA. And I've been a comic book geek from way back.” After the disappointing My Super Ex-Girlfriend,
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R.I.P. Don Payne

Don Payne, whose screenwriting credits include 2011′s Thor, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and who was an award-winning writer/producer on The Simpsons, has died. He had been battling cancer. Payne started out in TV, hooking up with writing partner John Frink before graduating with a screenwriting master’s from UCLA. They penned episodes for such series as Hope & Gloria, The Brian Benben Show and Veronica’s Closet. Payne and Frink eventually joined The Simpsons, sharing in four Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program. In 2005, Payne received the WGA’s Paul Selvin Award for penning the Simpsons episode “Fraudcast News”, which skewered the TV news business. Another Simpsons episode — co-written as was the usual case with Frink — was “The Bart Wants What It Wants,” was nominated for a WGA Award for animation in 2003. Among his projects in the works, Payne, who described himself in a
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'Family Guy,' 'Simpsons' writers protest 'Community' animated episode on Emmy ballot, want 'same rights'

'Family Guy,' 'Simpsons' writers protest 'Community' animated episode on Emmy ballot, want 'same rights'
Updated: Animated series writers are protesting a decision by the Television Academy to allow NBC’s Community to compete for Emmys in animated categories, arguing that they should be allowed similar cross-genre privileges.

Community made it onto the Emmy nomination ballot in several categories, including best animated program — along with 33 entries from full-time animated shows. The episode, “Digital Estate Planning,” features the cast rendered into 8-bit characters to compete in an old-school-style video game.

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), David X. Cohen (Futurama) and Al Jean (The Simpsons) are among the 52 writer-producers who signed a letter to the TV Academy arguing
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‘The Simpsons’ Gets a Stay of Execution as Producers Accept Pay Cuts

‘The Simpsons’ Gets a Stay of Execution as Producers Accept Pay Cuts
The Simpsons has been on television for twenty-three years and, in the first few years of that run, was one of the defining programs of the then-new Fox network. The show has had a remarkable run by any benchmark. But as Fox looks at the possibility of a twenty-fourth season, execs and beancounters have done some math. Their conclusion is that The Simpsons will continue to generate money for a long time with or without new shows, and so paying out high salaries to actors and producers may no longer make sense. The first salvo in the Simpsons budget battle came early this week when the core cast members (Dan Castellaneta, Julie KavnerNancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer), each of whom makes about $8m per year, were each asked to take a smaller paycheck [1]. Now unnamed members of the top producing team (Al Jean, John Frink,
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The Writers Behind ‘The Simpsons’ Take Front Stage at UCLA

The Writers Behind ‘The Simpsons’ Take Front Stage at UCLA
Dennis Nishi The eight-man panel of writers for the “The Simpsons” included Bill Odenkirk, David Silverman, Joel Cohen, John Frink, Kevin Curran, Michael Price, Rob Lazebnikv, Tom Gammill and moderator Geoff Boucher.

On Wednesday night, student fans got a backstage peek of “The Simpsons” writers’ room where pop culture has been diced up and reassembled to create 22 seasons of the award-winning animated Fox show. The event was held by the “UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television” and the school’s “Young Alumni Program.
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2010 Annie Award Nominations

With awards season is underway comes the 38th Annual Annie Award nominations, which recognize the year’s best work in animation. Since the creation of the animation-specific Oscar category in 2001, the Annies have predicted the Academy Award winner every year except 2006 and 2008.

Unfortunately, the award has been tainted by controversy after CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg reportedly bought each DreamWorks Animation employee a membership in the International Animated Film Society, Asifa-Hollywood, skewing the voting in the studio’s favor. This likely resulted in a surprise sweep by DreamWorks Animations’ Kung Fu Panda at the Annies in 2008-2009 over Pixar’s eventual Oscar winner, Wall-e.

Disney Studios has since pulled its official support of the event and submissions for the awards, though individual animators are able to submit their films themselves. As a result, the rules were changed for individual achievement categories, but Disney sought a neutral committee of animators from every studio to propose and approve guidelines.
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'The Simpsons' Receives Four Annie Awards Nominations

The contenders of the 38th Annual Annie Awards have just been announced. In TV category, "The Simpsons" grabs four nominations, including a nod for Best Animated Television Production along with "Futurama", "Kung Fu Panda Holiday", "Scared Shrekless" and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars". The Simpson is nominated for episode "The Squirt and the Whale", and "The Clone Wars" is nominated for episode "Arc Troopers".

Next, the "Simpsons" leads Bob Anderson vying for Directing in a Television Production, thanks to its "Treehouse of Horror Xxi". Anderson is facing off Peter Chung ("Firebreather"), Duke Johnson ("Frankenhole: Humanitas"), Tim Johnson ("Kung Fu Panda Holiday") and Gary Trousdale ("Scared Shrekless").

The "Simpsons" music worked for "Elementary School Musical" by a team consisting of Tim Long, Alf Clausen, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement gets nominated for Music in a Television Production, and scribe John Frink is up for Writing in a Television Production for
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The Simpsons: Thirteenth Season Blu-ray Review

The feeling I get talking with fans and casual viewers is that The Simpsons hit a high for a couple of years (say, seasons 5-10), and then got pretty bad. They were off their game, and it all became too route. But then when you watch later seasons, they’re never that bad. Sure there are a couple episodes that really miss, but ultimately the show has hit a point where they know their formula. The familial unit is place, there’s the standard group of supporting performers who often have a spotlight episode every season, and the peripheral characters. They haven’t really added much to it in years, and though some dynamics have been explored and changed (Barney is clean and sober in this season), stasis is maintained. Season 13 is solid, but nowhere near the show at its best. My review of the Blu-ray edition of The Simpsons
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The Day The Clown Cried: the movie Jerry Lewis doesn’t want you to see (not that you’d want to)

Not many people have seen Jerry Lewis' The Day The Clown Cried. And David has a good idea as to why that is...

Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis is known for a lot of things. When he first exploded on the scene in the late 40s with Dean Martin, they were the rock stars of comedy. Whether performing onstage or starring together in movies, they were the hottest act in show business.

When Lewis went solo in the late 50s, he had big success writing, directing and acting in a number of classic comedies, peaking in 1963 with the original Nutty Professor. (Julius Kelp, the uber nerdy title character, was the inspiration for Professor John Frink on The Simpsons.)

In modern day, you still see Lewis every Labor Day raising money on his telethon for muscular dystrophy, and you see his comedic influence continue through generations of funny people, from Woody Allen to Jerry Seinfeld.
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The 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards Winners

The 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards Winners The Writers Guild of America, East (Wgae) and the Writers Guild of America, West (Wgaw) tonight announced the winners of the 2010 Writers Guild Awards for outstanding achievement in writing for screen, television, radio, news, promotional, and videogame writing at simultaneous ceremonies at the Hudson Theatre at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City and the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Susie Essman of Curb Your Enthusiasm hosted the East Coast show, which was executive produced by Craig Shemin, who was also the head writer. Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) hosted the West Coast show, which was executive produced by Spike Jones, Jr.

The Writers Guild of America, East presented special honors to: Alan Zweibel - Ian McLellan Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award; Gary David Goldberg - Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence; Edward Albee - Evelyn F. Burkey Award for contributions
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Writers Guild Nominations Announced

As hard as it may be to believe sometimes, someone (or someones) actually sits down and writes a movie or TV show before you end up seeing it at your local multiplex or on your favorite TV network. The people who do the sitting and the writing are, surprisingly, called writers and, like the Directors, the Golden Globes and the Oscars, they have their own awards show.

This week, the Writers Guild of America, which is the trade group and advocate for writers, announced its nominations for outstanding achievement in feature film and television, radio, news, promotional writing, and graphic animation during the 2009 season to be honored at the upcoming 2010 Writers Guild Awards on February 20, 2010, in Los Angeles and New York.

We realize that these nominations may not be as glamorous as the Golden Globes or the Oscars, but we kinda like writers around here and think they do a pretty important job.
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Writers Guild of America Announces TV Nominations

It’s mid-December and that can only mean one thing: awards season. Today, the WGA announced their TV nominations (feature nominations will be announced Jan. 11th) and it’s the usual suspects for the most part with a couple of surprises. Mad Men, 30 Rock, The Office, and newcomer Modern Family earned 3 nominations each. Meanwhile, popular fan favorite Glee received two. There are a lot of categories and nominees so I’m just going to mention the two big awards before the jump.

The nominees for Best Drama Series are: Breaking Bad, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Lost, and Mad Men. The nominees for Best Comedy Series are: 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee, Modern Family, and The Office.

The WGA will announce the winners on Feb. 20th. Hit the jump to see the full list of nominees.

Drama Series

Breaking Bad” - Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, George Mastras,
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'Glee,' 'Modern Family' break through with Writers Guild

Several usual suspects -- "30 Rock," "Mad Men," "The Office," "The Simpsons" -- picked up multiple nominations for the 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards -- but a couple of new shows broke through too.

"Glee" and "Modern Family" are both up for best comedy and best new series at the guild's awards, which will be presented Feb. 20. "Modern Family" also picked up an episodic comedy nomination for its pilot, written by series creators Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd.

The other comedy series nominees are "30 Rock," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Office." For drama series, the contenders are "Breaking Bad," "Dexter," "Friday Night Lights," "Lost" and "Mad Men." Someone from "The Simpsons" will win in the animation category, as its writers swept all five nominations.

Below is a partial list of the nominees in the TV and radio categories (movie nominations will be announced later). The complete list is at
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A Trio of Clips from The Simpsons: Season 12 DVD!

  • Starlog
With The Simpsons 12th Season arriving in-stores on DVD today, Fox sent Starlog a trio of clips from the new box set.

See the clips below the jump, along with the full specs on this massive Mint Condition set that is Comic Shop Guy Approved!

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie return for more outrageous adventures when “The Simpsons” The Complete Twelfth Season arrives on DVD August 18th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The longest running animated series in television history, the latest DVD collection features all 21 classic episodes from the 2000-01 season including Bart’s boy band odyssey in “New Kids on the Blecch” featuring pop sensations N’Sync and a hilarious less-than-ordinary day for Homer, Bart and Lisa in “Trilogy of Error.” The season also boasts an impressive line-up of talented guest stars including Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Justin Timberlake, Stephen King, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Roger Daltry and many more.
See full article at Starlog »
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