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April 23, 2014

Documentary

'River Monsters' Host Jeremy Wade Talks Killer Fish

by Kelly Woo, posted Apr 22nd 2010 4:30PM
Jeremy Wade, River MonstersSomething fishy is going on at Animal Planet. Something killer fishy.

In the second season of 'River Monsters' premieres Sun., April 25 at 10PM ET, host Jeremy Wade continues his search for the world's largest, weirdest and most dangerous fish.

The extreme angler and biologist travels across the globe, from Texas to the Congo, and wrestles with monsters like the ferocious Goliath tigerfish, the venemous freshwater stingray and the predatory giant snakehead.

Wade stopped by AOL TV's office to chat about his killer fish adventures and where he'd like to go next.

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HBO Acquires 'Al Qaeda' Doc

by Nick Zaino, posted Apr 19th 2010 8:28PM
HBO picks up Lawrence Wright's 'My Trip to Al Qaeda' HBO picks up Lawrence Wright's 'My Trip to Al Qaeda' This fall, HBO will bring journalist Lawrence Wright's perspective on Al Qaeda to light in yet another format. Wright has been covering the subject since 2001 for the New Yorker, won a Pulitzer for his 2007 book 'The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," and put his more personal observations into a one-man show called 'My Trip to Al-Qaeda,' which played in New York City.

HBO announced in a press release last Thursday it has acquired the domestic TV rights to the film documentary version of that one-man show, also called 'My Trip to Al Qaeda,' which will debut sometime this fall. The documentary is a collaboration with director Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar in 2007 for his exploration of torture in Afghanistan, 'Taxi to the Dark Side' and also directed the film adaptation of the book 'Freakonomics.'

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'Modern Family,' 'Glee' Pick Up Peabody Awards

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 31st 2010 7:30PM
The Peabody AwardsThe Peabody Award winners were announced today and they included their usual mix of enlightening documentaries and popular favorites, both of which are equally worthy of recognition.

This year's list didn't have many fictional shows, but the one's they picked more than made up for their absence. ABC's 'Modern Family' and Fox's 'Glee' both picked up awards, the only two sitcoms on the list. HBO's 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' and 'In Treatment' were also the only dramas on the list.

Other notable winners include 'The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson' for his sit-down with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, HBO's documentary 'Thrilla in Manila,' PBS' 'Frontline' for their stirring report on Bernie Madoff and '60 Minutes'' expose on "The Cost of Dying."

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Now Levi Johnston Wants to Do a Show About Alaska Too

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 30th 2010 5:02PM
JohnstonIf you had told me a few years ago that in 2010 we were going to have not one but two reality shows about Alaska on the air, one hosted by a former candidate for Vice President and the other hosted by her Playgirl-posing almost-son-in-law, I probably would have told you that you're drinking way too much Yoo-Hoo. But it's happening!

True, Sarah Palin's show for TLC is more of a documentary, but 'Levi Johnston's Final Frontier' is being described by one of the producers as "'Jersey Shore' on ice," which conjures up a lot of really bad images, one of them being Disney characters with rock hard abs skating around drunk and punching each other.

Johnston doesn't have a network for his reality show yet (it could land on MTV), but I'm going to go ahead and assume it's not going to be on PBS or The History Channel.

[via TV Tattle]

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HBO Chooses New York Jets for 'Hard Knocks'

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 26th 2010 1:29PM
rex_ryan_new_york_jets_mark_sanchezLast year, the idea of putting the New York Jets on HBO's 'Hard Knocks' documentary series might have seemed a poor choice. They had a rookie head coach, a rookie -- albeit high profile -- starting quarterback, and they were coming off a less than stellar, no-playoffs season.

This year, however, it's a whole 'nother story. The Jets are smokin'. As a Miami Dolphins fan, this pisses me off like you can't imagine. But for HBO, the New York Jets are a great pick for 'Hard Knocks,' the show that takes viewers into the training camp of an NFL team to watch them put it together for season to come.

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It's Official: Sarah Palin's Going to TLC

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 25th 2010 11:10AM
sarah_palin_outdoorsWell, the deal is done. Sarah Palin's next line on her resume, the one after Vice Presidential candidate and Governor of the State of Alaska, will be television host. The former politico has teamed with reality TV producer Mark Burnett and they've sold a travel show. Discovery's TLC will air 'Sarah Palin's Alaska,' a show about the state and why it's such a great place to live and/or visit. Sarah Palin will be the tour guide and 'proud daughter' of the territory, showing off the mountains, lakes, streams and vistas of the 49th state.

As Joel pointed out the other day, this new show is a good move for Palin as well as Discovery. The numbers she'll need to pull for TLC are in the low millions, so that should be do-able considering her appeal to a large segment of the public. Especially that segment that likes her without taking an interest in her political opinions. This show will have no politics. It's going to be like a movie from the Alaska Convention and Visitor's Bureau. You know, "Come to Alaska, experience the wild life and feel the chill." (Hmm ... maybe I should trademark that?)

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Fake Game Show Physically and Psychologically Tests Their Contestants

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 22nd 2010 8:09PM
If you had the chance to take home thousands of dollars and all you had to do was inflict teeth wrenching pain on a fellow human being, would you do it?

In France, a documentary posing as a fake TV game show posed just that question and the results may surprise you. They won't if you're a cynical bastard with no hope for humanity.

The concept for the experiment is based in part from the work of Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist who sought to understand the psychological actions of the Third Reich and the Nazi regime and how authority influenced their actions.



[via Neatorama]

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Bear Grylls Hosting 'Worst Case Scenario' Revival

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 15th 2010 8:32PM
The 'Man vs. Wild' host's career just got a little wilder.

Discovery announced that Bear Grylls will host six episode of a new survival show called 'Worst Case Scenario,' based on the popular line of books published by Quirk Books.

The show will put Grylls in a series of heightened and dangerous situations to teach viewers how to survive them or at least walk away with most of your limbs still intact.

This isn't the first time the book series has gotten the TV treatment. TBS turned the book series into a reality information show that only lasted two seasons and featured a fresh-faced Mike Rowe before he found infamy as the host of Discovery's 'Dirty Jobs'.

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Kim Kardashian Becoming a Documentary Filmmaker?

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 12th 2010 7:08PM
kim_kardashian_butt_shot_e_onlineIs there more to Kim Kardashian than meets the eye? We're about to find out. The model who's one of the stars of E! channel's 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' has always been famous for... being famous.

Now she's stepping behind the camera (a bit) as the producer of a E! half-hour documentary called 'The SPINdustry,' chronicling the world of entertainment public relations. Yes, that sounds like Bravo's 'Kel on Earth,' but that's just a big coincidence. The press release actually makes it sound like Kim's picking up the camera and shooting footage herself.

Kim's involvement as producer of 'The SPINdustry' likely has a lot to do with the fact that it's on E! and the subject of the show is the launch of a new product by Command PR. Comprising Command PR two publicists, Jonathan Cheban and Simon Huck, who are FOK. Friends of Kim. Get it?

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on 'Faces of America' and the Beer Summit

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 9th 2010 2:03PM
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at the premiere of 'Faces of America'While I was in Pasadena for the TCAs, I got a chance to have a very interesting talk with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He was at the press tour to promote his new PBS series 'Faces of America,' which debuts on Wednesday, February 10.

In the four-part follow-up to his 'African-American Lives' series, Gates traces the lineages of a number of celebrity guests via the use of both old-fashioned digging -- documents, genealogical investigations -- and cutting-edge genome research. Some of the guests include Eva Longoria, Yo Yo Ma, Stephen Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell, Dr. Oz and Meryl Streep.

Professor Gates and I talked mostly about what he found surprising about his research, and what guests were most surprised by their lineages. Of course, I also asked him about the aftermath of the "beer summit" with President Obama and James Crowley, the Cambridge police officer who arrested him for breaking into his own house last summer. You'd be surprised what the officer gave Professor Gates as a keepsake of the incident.

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History Channel gives new show to Larry the Cable Guy

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 25th 2010 4:05PM
Once again, I'm forced to ask the question: what the hell is going on here? Have we crossed over into the bizarro world? Is up now down? Has black become white? Did NBC give Jay Leno a swift kick in the ass for scoring such low ratings and replaced him with Chevy Chase?

The History Channel is giving comedian Larry the Cable Guy his own travelogue show.

The comic told Punchline Magazine that The United States of Larry will feature the large forearmed funnymaker traveling the States in search of "folks with interesting jobs, hobbies and ways of life." So what part of that involves history? Has one of the "interesting" people have created some sort of time machine?

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Hawking channels Sagan with new space series

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 23rd 2010 2:30PM
Professor Stephen Hawking has more letters after his name to forge his own alphabet. And, now he has his own television series heading our way from Discovery.

According to a release from the network, Hawking (Ph.D., CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA...See what I mean?) is the centerpiece of Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking -- will explore the major questions confronting modern science and physics. How did our universe begin? Could alien life be found on distant planets? Does our galaxy have a life expectancy? Hawking will lead an audience in a layman friendly exploration of those questions in the four part series.

It's Hawking taking up the mantle of the late astronomer Carl Sagan and his 1980 PBS series, Cosmos. The above video looks back affectionately on that show with a little music remix. In the original show, Sagan would explain the seemingly unexplainable every week.

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Stephen Colbert is one of the Faces of America

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 13th 2010 4:02PM
PBS has a new documentary series debuting on February 10 titled Faces of America. Henry Louis Gates Jr. (he of the famous "beer summit" at the White House last year) interviews many celebrities about their family history, including Stephen Colbert, Eva Longoria Parker, Malcolm Gladwell, and Mario Batali. Here are three clips where Colbert (hard T) talks about his family.

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An apology to The Simpsons

by Nick Zaino, posted Jan 11th 2010 9:00AM
The SimpsonsForgive me, Simpsons, but I don't watch you as often as I used to. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point, watching The Simpsons slipped from an every-week ritual to catch as catch can.

I'm sure I'm not unusual in that respect. I'm sure there are people who were with The Simpsons from those very first shaky frames, who saw them adopt No. 9 and laughed at Homer botching Christmas songs on the closing credits, and faithfully watched for several years, maybe even a decade before they dropped off.

But one of the best things about the show is, you can always come back. The Simpsons never forget. Yesterday's episode and the 20th Anniversary Special that followed was a nice reminder of that. The episode wasn't the funniest I've seen, but I did realize there has never been an episode of the show that wasn't worth at least a few laughs.

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Morgan Spurlock on the Simpsons 20th anniversary documentary

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 7th 2010 2:02PM
Morgan Spurlock, director of The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special -- In 3D! On Ice!
I've been holding this interview for almost six months, but I think it was worth it. When I was in Pasadena last summer for the TCA press tour (whose winter edition I'll be leaving for on Friday morning... eep!), I spoke to Morgan Spurlock about the 20th anniversary film he was making about The Simpsons. FOX has finally decided to air that film, entitled The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special -- In 3-D! On Ice!, on January 10, along with the venerable cartoon's 450th episode.

Spurlock was just in the initial stages of filming the documentary when I talked to him, but his views on the show, how it and the perception of it has changed over the years, and some of the interesting things he learned about the show made for a fun interview. Since I didn't know how long the movie was going to be, I start the talk by expressing some surprise about its length.

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