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August 29, 2015


What's Next for Chaz Bono? A Follow-Up to 'Becoming Chaz' on OWN

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 27th 2011 7:45AM
Chaz BonoChaz Bono's got time on his hands now that he's been eliminated from 'Dancing With the Stars,' but he won't be off TV screens for long. OWN has announced that it will air a follow-up special to 'Becoming Chaz' on November 27.

'Being Chaz' follows Bono and his fiancée Jennifer Elia as they navigate life after his gender reassignment surgery. We'll see her getting used to living with a man and him preparing to compete on 'Dancing With the Stars.' The documentary is executive produced by the veteran reality team of Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ('Million Dollar Listing,' 'The Strange History of Don't Ask Don't Tell'), with Elise Duran ('Millionaire Matchmaker') as director and co-executive producer.

OWN will air a second special focusing on issues affecting the transgender community after 'Being Chaz.' 'I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition' follows 11-year-old transgender Jazz and her family wrestling with life-altering decisions as Jazz approaches puberty.

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PBS to Air No-Holds Barred Steve Jobs Documentary: 'One Last Thing'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 27th 2011 6:15AM
PBS has announced that it will air a new, "unflinching" documentary about the late Appple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died three weeks ago. 'Steve Jobs -- One Last Thing' will air Wednesday, Nov. 2 as part of a night devoted to science and technology exploration.

In what's sure to stoke controversy in some quarters, PBS says 'One Last Thing' takes "an unflinching look at Jobs's difficult, controlling disposition, and offers unique insights into what made him tick. While there has been near-universal agreement that Steve Jobs was a great innovator in business and technology, ONE LAST THING looks into why he was so great. What were the influences that shaped his character? What drove him from such humble beginnings to the heights of success?"

The documentary features interviews with Apple insiders Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne and Dean Hovey, as well as Bill Fernandez, who introduced Jobs and Wozniak in Sunnyvale, where the three hung out in his father's garage and tinkered with electronics.

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EXCLUSIVE Preview: 'The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (VIDEO)

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 19th 2011 7:00PM
The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't TellOn Tues., Sept. 20, U.S. history will be made: The government is repealing "Don't ask, don't tell," its official policy that barred openly gay homosexuals from serving in the military.

Enacted in 1993, the policy mandated that military officials not ask or require members to reveal their sexual orientation. If members revealed their homosexuality, they could be discharged.

As the discriminatory ban becomes history, HBO is taking a look back at its creation and dissolution in 'The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (premieres Mon., Sept. 19 at midnight, re-airing Tues., Sept. 20, 8PM ET).

Filmed during the final 15 months of the law, 'The Strange History' was directed by Emmy winners Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. The special documentary uses news footage woven together with interviews from policy experts, key players and testimonial from actively serving gay soldiers. The soldiers will have their faces obscured since speaking about their sexual orientation violates Don't ask, don't tell.

Below, preview the personal accounts from actively serving soldiers.

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Gloria Steinem Talks Female Presidents, Sexist TV and 'In Her Own Words'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Aug 12th 2011 3:30PM
Gloria SteinemIn case you hadn't heard, Gloria Steinem isn't a fan of NBC's new show 'The Playboy Club.' The world-renowned feminist and political activist hasn't been shy about bashing the show -- which claims that donning the ears, bodysuit and fluffy tail to work at the legendary Playboy Club was anything near empowering for women.

But what we haven't heard as much about lately is who in the media she is looking to as a positive example for women.

Promoting her HBO documentary, 'Gloria: In Her Own Words' (premieres Mon., Aug. 15, 9PM ET), Steinem took the time to reflect on the progress our society has made.

She also covered everyone from Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin to Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep when we talked about whether or not she thinks she'll see a female president elected in her lifetime, and who should play her in the movie of her life.

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HBO to Air Martin Scorsese's George Harrison Documentary

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jul 14th 2011 6:45AM
George Harrison, 1964It's been announced that HBO is to air Martin Scorsese's new documentary film, 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World.'

The film follows the life of The Beatles' lead guitarist from his musical beginnings in Liverpool through his life as a musician, a seeker, a philanthropist and a filmmaker.

It weaves together interviews with Harrison and his closest friends, performances, home movies and photographs. Much of the material in the film has never been seen or heard before in public.

In a statement, George Lombardo, President, HBO Programming, said "When Martin Scorsese brings a project to HBO, we all know it is going to be very special, and he has added to that body of work with this monumental film on George Harrison. From rock'n'roll icon to moviemaker, to spiritual seeker and humanitarian, George Harrison was a true renaissance man. This amazing film will illuminate every aspect of Harrison's remarkable, multifaceted life."

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Sarah Ferguson Relives Her Darkest Hour on 'Finding Sarah' (VIDEO)

by Mike Moody, posted Jun 13th 2011 1:39AM
finding sarah OWNSarah Ferguson -- a.k.a., the original "Fergie" -- talks about her much-publicized fall from grace on the premiere of her new six-part documentary series, 'Finding Sarah' (Sun., 9PM ET on OWN).

The Duchess of York discussed the downside of being plucked form obscurity to become part of the Royal Family, and she relived the scandal that led the media to dub her an "outcast" and the "Duchess of Disgrace."

Ferguson was caught on tape by a U.K. tabloid last year trying to sell access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew. Re-examining the event, Ferguson confessed that she was "broke and hurting" when she made the deal, and that she was forced into the situation in order to pay back a friend who was in desperate need of cash.

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Hollywood Legend Jerry Weintraub on Pranking George Clooney & Doing It 'His Way'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Mar 31st 2011 12:00PM
Jerry Weintraub, 'His Way'Jerry Weintraub's resume reads like a play-by-play of major moments in pop culture history. I had the pleasure of walking down memory lane with the fascinating Mr. Weintruab -- "Jerry, Jerry, call me Jerry!" -- to hear more about his many careers and reinventions.

Before becoming a well-known Hollywood producer of films like 'Diner,' 'Karate Kid' and 'Oh, God!', Bronx native Weintraub got his start in music management for original Rat Packer Joey Bishop, the Four Seasons, and the songstress who eventually became his wife, Jane Morgan.

He then moved on to promote huge acts like Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Led Zeppelin, The Carpenters, John Denver and The King, Elvis Presley, which made him a millionaire at a very young age.

"The craziest was Led Zeppelin," says Weintraub. "Because they were crazy. That was the time though -- it was the '70s. Sex, drugs and rock n' roll, you know?" When I commented that it sounded like a hard life to keep up with, Weintraub barked, "Not really," followed by his signature full, throaty laugh.

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Stephen Merchant on Karl Pilkington's Adventures as 'An Idiot Abroad'

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 21st 2011 4:00PM
Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington on 'The Ricky Gervais Show' on HBO
When I asked Stephen Merchant if he helped his friend and writing partner Ricky Gervais with some of the scathing jokes he said on the Golden Globes awardcast last week, he acknolwedged that he did, but "I'm not going to take any credit for anything, because I want to work in Hollywood again," he said with a nervous laugh.

Seriously, though, Merchant wonders why there's been so much hubub about Gervais' jokes. "If you can't make jokes about movie stars, I don't know who you can make jokes about," he told me yesterday. "It just seems like they are a perfectly legitimate, fun target, because they have won. They've won the lottery of life. They're the best looking, they're the richest, they're the most privileged. And generally speaking, in my experience, they can laugh at themselves."

Merchant and Gervais have a lot going on at the moment. In addition to their individual projects, they've got two projects on the air that revolve around their friend and podcast partner Karl Pilkington. There's the second season of HBO's 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' which started last week, which contains clips from the trio's famous podcasts rendered as cartoons.

Then there is 'An Idiot Abroad,' debuting Saturday at 10PM ET/PT on the Science Channel. In the documentary series, Pilkington is sent to exotic locations to see how a simple man from England with "interesting" observations deals with different cultures.

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Coming Soon: Mike Tyson's TV Show About Pigeons

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jan 7th 2011 7:35AM
Mike TysonGet ready to see a softer, gentler side of "Iron Mike" when his new show debuts on Animal Planet in March. We already know him as a heavyweight boxing champion, convicted rapist and occasional actor, but who knew that he's also a lifelong pigeon fancier?

His new show, 'Taking on Tyson', is a six-part documentary in which the former world heavyweight champion returns to his old Brooklyn neighborhood to train pigeons.

And not just any old airborne vermin, either, but racing pigeons, which are, according to Tyson, "the crème de la crème of the pigeon world. These are thoroughbred pigeons."

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Fran Lebowitz on 'Public Speaking,' Twitter and Knowing Everything

by Gary Susman, posted Nov 19th 2010 2:40PM
Fran LebowitzThere aren't a whole lot of job openings these days for philosophers, public wits and raconteurs. Fran Lebowitz pretty much has the monopoly to herself.

As recorded by no less than director Martin Scorsese in his new HBO documentary 'Public Speaking' (which debuts Nov. 22), Lebowitz is the last of a breed that once included such sparkling conversationalists as Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, Oscar Levant, Jack Paar, Truman Capote, William F. Buckley, James Baldwin and others who could dine out on their witticisms and pontifications.

Though Lebowitz, 60, hasn't published a book of new essays in decades (she famously suffers from a bout of writer's block so durable that she calls it "writer's blockade"), she still makes a living as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and, as the title of the documentary implies, on the lecture circuit. For her, "public speaking" really just means "talking back," the sort of opining she got punished for as a child, but which now pays for her cigarettes and tailored suits.

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Andrew Jenks' World: Total Immersion, With a Big Heart

by Anna Dimond, posted Oct 24th 2010 6:30PM
"Always be prepared for the unexpected."

In his July 2008 commencement speech at his alma mater, Andrew Jenks pointed to his own experience as a filmmaker as a model for following one's dreams, taking risks, and turning failure into success.

But his words of wisdom, directed at a roomful of graduates-to-be at Hendrick Hudson High School in Montrose, N.Y., also serve as a logline for his latest success story, 'World of Jenks.'

The MTV series, which debuted Sept. 13 and airs weekly (Mondays at 10PM ET), follows the 24-year-old as he immerses himself in the life of a different young person in each episode, living out an anthropological mini-movie that's made for the millennial set, and offering a glimpse at wildly diverse subcultures, from professional poker to rapping to cheerleading.

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Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Talk About 'Baseball: The Tenth Inning'

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 28th 2010 4:00PM
Logo for 'Baseball: The Tenth Inning'Fans of Ken Burns' 'Baseball' documentary should get their DVRs ready tonight, as PBS airs the first part of the four-hour, two-part follow-up to that landmark 1994 series. Called 'Baseball: The Tenth Inning,' Burns and co-producer Lynn Novick take a look at the historic and changing baseball landscape from 1993 to the present.

Every major issue from this time period will be explored: the 1994 strike, steroids, 'Moneyball,' the shattering of home run records by Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, the rise of the Yankees and Red Sox, the increased number of Latin players in the game, and the impact of Japanese stars like Ichiro Suzuki.

Bonds, as you'd expect, is the main character in this drama, and steroids are one of the biggest topics. When Burns and Novick presented the program to the TCA press tour in August, I sat with them to talk about the documentary and how tough it is to boil down an era that has alreday been covered and dissected more than any in the sport's history into four compelling hours. Let's just say that fans of the A's, Rays and Twins aren't going to be very happy.

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Adrian Grenier Talks Fame, the Paparazzi and Paris Hilton

by Chris Jordan, posted Sep 27th 2010 1:00PM
Teenage PaparazzoAdrian Grenier, the person, has a bit more depth than Vince, the character, he plays on 'Entourage.'

Take Grenier's new project, 'Teenage Paparazzo,' which debuts at Mon., Sept, 27 at 9PM ET on HBO. The documentary chronicles the life of a 14-year old paparazzo named Austin who stalks celebs in the middle of the night in Los Angeles.

But Grenier -- who wrote, directed and stars in 'Teenage Paparazzo' -- broadens the scope of his doc to make it a multi-layered look at celebrity in our fame-obsessed world. He becomes a paparazzo himself and and interviews high-wattage stars Alec Baldwin, Paris Hilton, Matt Damon, Lindsay Lohan about their experiences, plus talks to big-idea thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Jake Halpern about fans' "relationships" with celebs. It's that pseudo relationship that's fueling today's paparazzi frenzy, according to Grenier's documentary.

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Spike Lee on the Gulf Oil Spill and Returning to New Orleans

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 20th 2010 10:03AM
Spike Lee filming 'If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise' for HBOWhen Spike Lee first planned out his new HBO documentary, 'If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise,' about the state of New Orleans and the Gulf region five years after Hurricane Katrina, he figured he'd end the movie on a high note, with the city celebrating after the Saints won the Super Bowl.

But BP changed those plans.

After the Deepwater Horizon blew up in April, starting the epic Gulf oil spill that only recently got plugged, Lee knew he had more work to do on the follow-up to 'When the Leeves Broke.'

"The film is trying to tell what has happened in the last five years since August 29, 2005. So therefore we have to include the biggest oil disaster in the history of the world," Lee told a roundtable of reporters before his TCA panel earlier this month. "If I sat here and you guys see this film and you would've said 'Spike, what the f---? How come there's no BP in this movie?' Everyone would look at me like I'm crazy. It had to be included. So we included it, we had to start shooting again."

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'ESPN 30 for 30' - 'June 17, 1994' Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 17th 2010 11:03AM
OJ Simpson pulls into his house during the infamous white Bronco chase - 'June 17, 1994' on 'ESPN 30 for 30' Most people who are over the age of 25 probably remember the major event of June 17, 1994. It was the day that O.J. Simpson and A.C. Cowlings took the Los Angeles police, an army of TV helicopters, and 95 million Americans on a slow chase up the 405 freeway. He was supposed to turn himself in that morning and be charged with murdering his ex-wife Nicole and waiter Ron Goldman, a story that had riveted the country all week long.

But to sports fans like me, O.J. wasn't the only story. The Rangers had just won the Stanley Cup, and they had their ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan that day. Then, while the white Bronco was slowly making its way to Brentwood, the Knicks and Rockets were at Madison Square Garden, playing the pivotal fifth game of the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, Arnold Palmer was playing his last-ever US Open round, the World Cup opened in Chicago, and baseball was chugging along despite the rumblings of labor strife.

Filmmaker Brett Morgen (who directed 'The Kid Stays in the Picture') tries to recapture that day in the documentary 'June 17, 1994,' part of the mostly-excellent 'ESPN 30 for 30' series. While Morgen does a mostly effective job of capturing the chaotic nature of the day, but he also tries to force feed chaos and drama into a day that didn't need any more of either. By doing it, he diluted the impact of what was a memorable day.

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