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After Decades of Crafting Fake Ads, ‘Saturday Night Live’ Plans Real Spots for Verizon, Apple

After Decades of Crafting Fake Ads, ‘Saturday Night Live’ Plans Real Spots for Verizon, Apple
Anyone who watches “Saturday Night Live” on NBC knows the late-night program’s antics stop when the show goes to a commercial break. In at least one coming “SNL” broadcast, that won’t be the case.

Viewers who stick around for the ads either during the April 8th or the April 15th broadcast of NBC’s late-night institution will glimpse a spot for Verizon written by “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost and featuring cast member Kenan Thompson. The bespoke pitch is part of an ongoing effort by NBC and executive producer Lorne Michaels’ hardworking crew of satirists to make the show more compelling to watch live, rather than via clips the next morning.

“Everyone is struggling now in a world where there is so much media,” Michaels told Variety in an interview. “We are all competing for sponsors, and everything is being reinvented. ‘SNL’ has been reinventing itself from season two.”

Saturday Night Live
See full article at Variety - TV News »

On this day in pop culture history: Both ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’ premiered

  • Hitfix
On this day in pop culture history: Both ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’ premiered
It was 32 years ago today that not one but two classic horror comedies opened in theaters. Yes, Ghostbusters was released on the same day as Gremlins. It’s hard to believe that these two movies opened against each other, but 1984 was a different time, when opening weekend numbers weren’t given the same weight as they are now and films stayed in theaters much longer. Ghostbusters that dominated the U.S. box office that opening weekend but not by much — it earned $13.6 million then, while Gremlins grossed $12.5 million. The Bill Murray movie became the clear winner of the box office over the summer, though, holding the No. 1 spot for seven consecutive weeks. Ghostbusters, of course, has a very buzzy and headline-grabbing (for better or worse or mass hysteria) follow-up film on the way this summer, a reboot of the original. There’s reportedly a new Gremlins on the way too:
See full article at Hitfix »

Pepsi’s ‘Empire’ Ads Push TV Closer to Commercial Breakdown

Pepsi sank what must have been hundreds of thousands — maybe even millions — of dollars into a TV commercial, and then decided to hide it in plain sight.

The beverage giant paid Fox last year to weave its flagship beverage into a three-episode storyline in “Empire,” the network’s smash music biz drama in which the average 30-second spot costs more than $500,000.

As part of the deal, none other than Lee Daniels, the series’ co-creator, and writers from the show crafted a story arc in which one of the main characters, Jamal Lyon, works to win a Pepsi endorsement deal and the chance to do a Pepsi ad. That commercial surfaced in a distinctive ad break that contained only the Pepsi spot. It was as if the “Empire” episode in question never paused for a word from its sponsor.

“The 30-second spot is still very important to us and it will
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Jack Carter, Emmy-Nominated Comic Actor, Dead at 93

Jack Carter, Emmy-Nominated Comic Actor, Dead at 93
Jack Carter, a veteran comedic performer and director, died Sunday of respiratory failure at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 93. The Brooklyn native worked in a variety of media over his decades-long career, from radio and Broadway to TV and film. He got his first break when appearing on Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theatre” in the late 1940s, then hosted NBC’s “Cavalcade of Stars” and the eponymous “The Jack Carter Show” for three years. Also Read: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2015 (Photos) Carter received an Emmy nomination in 1975 for the daytime movie special “The Girl Who Couldn’t Lose.
See full article at The Wrap »

Jack Carter, Comedic Actor and Calvacade of Stars Host, Dead at 93

Jack Carter, Comedic Actor and Calvacade of Stars Host, Dead at 93
Jack Carter, a comedian whose nearly seventy-year career encompassed fare as diverse as Cavalcade of Stars and iCarly, is dead at the age of 93.

Carter died of respiratory failure on Sunday, June 28, at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., our sister site Variety reports.

The actor — who also worked as a singer, director and emcee — got his TV break in Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theatre in 1948, from which he built a long career as a character actor who appeared in TV fare as varied as I Dream of Jeannie, Fantasy Island and Desperate Housewives.

A contemporary of Jimmy Durante,
See full article at TVLine.com »

Comedian Jack Carter Dies at 93

Comedian Jack Carter Dies at 93
Comedian Jack Carter died June 28 of respiratory failure at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 93. He was also an actor, emcee, singer, mimic, dancer, and director in a career that spanned over seven decades.

He began his professional career appearing on Broadway in “Call Me Mister.” He later appeared on Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theatre” shows, and it was during this time that Carter got his first real break.

For two years, he hosted the early television variety program “Cavalcade of Stars” prior to having his own show on NBC, “The Jack Carter Show,” which lasted three years, and was a part of the “Saturday Night Review.” He also co-starred in several of the Colgate Comedy Hours with Ed Wynn, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Donald O’Connor.

In addition to “Call Me Mister,” his Broadway credits include “Mr. Wonderful” and “Top Banana.” He hosted the
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Comedian Jack Carter Dies at 93

Comedian Jack Carter Dies at 93
Comedian Jack Carter died June 28 of respiratory failure at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 93. He was also an actor, emcee, singer, mimic, dancer, and director in a career that spanned over seven decades.

He began his professional career appearing on Broadway in “Call Me Mister.” He later appeared on Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theatre” shows, and it was during this time that Carter got his first real break.

For two years, he hosted the early television variety program “Cavalcade of Stars” prior to having his own show on NBC, “The Jack Carter Show,” which lasted three years, and was a part of the “Saturday Night Review.” He also co-starred in several of the Colgate Comedy Hours with Ed Wynn, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Donald O’Connor.

In addition to “Call Me Mister,” his Broadway credits include “Mr. Wonderful” and “Top Banana.” He hosted the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Monica Lewis, Actress, Singer, Dies at 93

Monica Lewis, a former Benny Goodman vocalist who headlined the very first broadcast of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” was the voice of the popular Chiquita Banana cartoons, clowned opposite Jerry Lewis, Red Skelton and Danny Kaye, and had co-starring roles in such films as “Earthquake,” “Airport 1975” and “The ConcordeAirport ’79,” died on June 12 of natural causes at her apartment in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was 93.

Lewis was born in Chicago to a musical family headed by her father Leon Lewis, who was a symphonic composer and conductor. Her mother Jessica sang with the Chicago Opera Company and her sister Barbara was an accomplished classical pianist. Her brother Marlo became head of variety for CBS-tv and created Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” show.

Monica studied voice with her mother from the time she was a toddler, but when the family lost everything during the Depression, they moved to New York to start over.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Monica Lewis, Actress Who Sang in Chiquita Banana Cartoons, Dies at 93

Monica Lewis, Actress Who Sang in Chiquita Banana Cartoons, Dies at 93
Monica Lewis, a former Benny Goodman vocalist who headlined the very first broadcast of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” was the voice of the popular Chiquita Banana cartoons, clowned opposite Jerry Lewis, Red Skelton and Danny Kaye, and had roles in such films as “Earthquake,” “Airport 1975” and “The ConcordeAirport ’79,” died on June 12 of natural causes at her apartment in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was 93.

Lewis was born in Chicago to a musical family. Her father Leon Lewis was a symphonic composer and conductor; her mother Jessica sang with the Chicago Opera Company and her sister Barbara was a classical pianist. Her brother Marlo became head of variety for CBS-tv and created Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” show.

Monica studied voice with her mother from the time she was a toddler, but when the family lost everything during the Depression, they moved to New York to start over.
See full article at Variety - TV News »

TV’s Old Product-Placement Era Could Be Nearing Its End

TV’s Old Product-Placement Era Could Be Nearing Its End
When the CW drama “Gossip Girl” launched in the fall of 2007, advertiser interest in the show’s trendy young characters was so intense that At&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint clawed each other for the right to get phones and gadgets into their hands. Just seven years later, the same crowd seemed indifferent to an even more obvious opportunity: the debut on ABC of “Selfie,” a comedy with a heroine who had a smartphone more or less glued to her palm.

“Product integration never made its way into ‘Selfie,’ which I found surprising,” says Emily Kapnek, creator and showrunner of the Warner Bros.-produced comedy. “Before production started, as always, there was much talk of keeping an eye out for the right partnership — but nothing ever really materialized.”

The absence of obvious markings in “Selfie” from Samsung, Verizon or any of their rivals is one of several signs suggesting
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Meet Jack Bauer’s ’24′ Support Team: Chrysler and Sprint

Meet Jack Bauer’s ’24′ Support Team: Chrysler and Sprint
When Jack Bauer appears on TV screens again in Fox’s much-anticipated revival of its spy-serial “24,” he will do so with two important helpers in tow. One is a trusted colleague and the other a new assistant.

The veteran ally is Sprint, which is returning to “24: Live Another Day” as its primary telecommunications sponsor, and the newbie is Chrysler, which makes its first appearance in the drama, filling a role previously held by Ford and Hyundai.

Many TV shows feature advertisers as part of the action, but “24” is in many ways a first-mover in the increasingly important world of product placement. The practice has been part of TV for decades, as anyone who pauses to analyze the title of 1940s and 50s TV program “Texaco Star Theater” can tell you. But as more viewers gain the ability to avoid traditional advertising, whether through use of a DVR or by
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Your Show of Shows: Comic Legend Sid Caesar Dies at 91

A true television legend has died. Sid Caesar, who influenced generations of comedy writers and performers, passed away earlier today in Los Angeles. He was 91 years old.

Born to immigrant parents in 1922, Caesar made his first television appearance on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater in the late 40's. He soon met NBC president Pat Weaver and landed his first TV series, The Admiral Broadway Revue, with Imogene Coca.

In 1950, he appeared on the first episode of Your Show of Shows, a 90-minute variety show. The series featured comedy sketches, satires, monologues, musical guests and production numbers -- an early predecessor to Saturday Night Live (which Caesar guest-hosted in 1983). On-screen talent included Caesar, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, and Imogene Coca. Backstage, the show's legendary writing staff included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Mel Tolkin and Danny Simon.

Your Show of
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

R.I.P. Sid Caesar

TV pioneer Sid Caesar has died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles. The Yonkers, NY-born comedian made his first appearance on TV in 1949 on Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater. On February 25, 1950, Caesar was among the ensemble cast on the premiere of Your Show Of Shows. With Caesar, Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner in front of the camera and Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Mel Tolkin and Danny Simon among the writers, the 90-minute weekly NBC show became one of early TV’s biggest hits, running until June 1954, and served as a launching pad for future TV comedy talent — with proteges spawning protoges through the years. Ceasar moved on to topline several shows: the one-hour satirical Caesar’s Hour debuted just a few months later and ran until 1957, followed by 1958’s The Sid Caesar Show, which had Woody Allen as a writer. He starred in a series of
See full article at Deadline TV »

It’s Not TV: HBO, The Company That Changed Television: The Wasteland

The Wasteland:

Television is a gold goose that lays scrambled eggs;

and it is futile and probably fatal to beat it for not laying caviar.

Lee Loevinger

When people argue over the quality of television programming, both sides — it’s addictive crap v. underappreciated populist art — seem to forget one of the essentials about commercial TV. By definition, it is not a public service. It is not commercial TV’s job to enlighten, inform, educate, elevate, inspire, or offer insight. Frankly, it’s not even commercial TV’s job to entertain. Bottom line: its purpose is simply to deliver as many sets of eyes to advertisers as possible. As it happens, it tends to do this by offering various forms of entertainment, and occasionally by offering content that does enlighten, inform, etc., but a cynic would make the point that if TV could do the same job televising fish aimlessly swimming around an aquarium,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Costume Designer Grady Hunt Dies at 91

Costume Designer Grady Hunt Dies at 91
Nine-times Emmy nominated costume designer Grady Hunt died May 5 in Hollywood. He was 91.

Born on May 16, 1921 in Lone Oak, Texas, the costumer began his career — after serving in the Navy during WWII — by opening a couture shop called Gradis in Dallas, Texas. After moving to Los Angeles in the 1950s, his first project was designing costumes for then-theater director Aaron Spelling.

Hunt was a costumer for Columbia Pictures for 15 years, and is most remembered for his work on “The Milton Berle Show,” “Saturday Night Review” and the “Colgate Comedy Hour” as well as styling such stars as Anne Baxter, Joan Crawford, Eartha Kitt, Ruta Lee and Donna Wynter.

His Emmy-nominated work included “Fantasy Island,” “The Dream Merchants” (1980), “Belulah Land” (1981), “Ziegfield: The Man and His Women” (1978), “Quark” (1978), “The Quest” (1977), “The Snoop Sisters “ (1974) and “Columbo: Dagger of the Mind” (1973).

Hunt’s partner of 54 years, Emmy-award winning costume designer William L. “Bill” Jobe,
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Milton Berle's filing cabinets full of jokes are going up for auction

Four filing cabinets filled with index cards holding the late Milton Berle’s jokes are going up for auction next week. Each cabinet contains jokes typewritten onto 3x5 index cards then divided into subjects (kind of like what Joan Rivers showed off in A Piece Of Work). According to the auction house, Berle “meticulously maintained” the joke file over his whole career, and he considered it “to be the most valuable resource in his office.” Some of the cards, for example, feature potential monologue bits from The Milton Berle Show’s 1966-67 run on ABC. Those cards have little notes ...
See full article at The AV Club »

6 things you may not know about Jimmy Fallon and 'Late Night'

Jimmy Fallon took center stage at the 2011 PaleyFest Friday night (March 11), and this time he was the interviewee, not the interviewer.

Fallon was the sole guest at the festival, submitting to an easygoing, funny and clip-filled interview with his friend, comedian and "Web Soup" host Chris Hardwick. He talked a lot about how he puts together "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," the type of people he likes to work with (he hired his writers "based on their talent, not their resumes") and about his career leading up to "Late Night," including his time on "Saturday Night Live."

He also shared a few things we didn't previously know. Depending on your level of Fallon fanaticism, some of these things might be familiar to you. But we thought found the following six tidbits pretty interesting.

1. He didn't pass his first "Saturday Night Live" audition. Producers liked his audition bit -- as part of his early stand-up act,
See full article at Zap2It - From Inside the Box »

Jackson's '84 Victory Tour glove sells for $190K

Bidders from around the world bought up Michael Jackson memorabilia worth nearly $1 million at an auction on the anniversary of his death, including $190,000 for the Swarovski-crystal-studded glove he wore on his 1984 Victory Tour.The bidding that began Friday on more than 200 items was "unlike anything we've ever experienced," said Darren Julien of Julien's Auctions, which ran the auction at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.Some items, like the glove, brought 10 times more than their estimated value, he said."It just shows you Michael Jackson is the most sought after and most collectible celebrity of all time. It was just phenomenal," Julien told the Las Vegas Review-Journal."People flew in from Asia, Russia, all over. Now that he's gone, we now realize the true legend we lost," said Julien, who has not had a similar auction in his 15 years in the business. He predicted the
See full article at Filmicafe »

How Adam Carolla Became a Podcast Superstar

Adam Carolla is a master builder who created this glass office. His next project? Building his podcast network to profitability. | Photographs by Jeff Minton

Carolla, midrant, at his warehouse/studio, in Glendale, California | Photographs by Jeff Minton

Radio-and-tv personality Adam Carolla stumbled into podcasting and immediately became its No. 1 star. Now he's launching his own broadcasting network. Inside the messy birth of a new medium.

Adam Carolla has done the math. The comedian, actor, and multimedia ranter is studying what appears to be a trap door in the ceiling of the garage he personally helped build for his West Hollywood home. He's scowling.

Somewhere above the opening is his office, a glass box he added to the 1929 Spanish-style mansion he assiduously restored from near-wreck conditions. The office, a modernistic anomaly when compared with the rest of the house, was designed to do one thing: showcase one of Carolla's many expensive vintage cars,
See full article at Fast Company »

Arnold Stang, voice of Top Cat, dead at 91

  • Aol TV.
Arnold Stang, voice of Top Cat, dead at 91
When I was a kid, I loved the cartoon Top Cat. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the cool music or the fact it was set in New York City. I also really loved Top Cat's voice.

Arnold Stang, the voice of the clever feline, died earlier this week at the age of 91. Stang was in 75 gazillion TV shows and movies over the years (you'd know the face and/or the voice even if you couldn't place the name), including The Jonathan Winters Show, Broadside, Batman, Bonanza, The Red Skelton Show, December Bride, The Steve Allen Show, The Milton Berle Show, Emergency, and Mathnet.

He was also in several movies, including Hercules in New York, Dennis The Menace, and It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. He was also the original voice of Buzz Bee in Honey-Nut Cheerios commercials.

After the jump, an episode of Top Cat.

Continue reading Arnold Stang,
See full article at Aol TV. »
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