One Night Only: The Series, a new reality show on BET, debuts tonight at 7:30pm. The new series follows a group of students from McDonogh 35 High School, the oldest African-American high school in New Orleans, as they compete for roles not in Dreamgirls, but in One Night Only: Live on the Stage, a multi-media tribute to Dreamgirls. Taped in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the series will not only focus on the upcoming musical, but on the students' efforts to rebuild their homes and communities. Watching high school kids try out for a musical doesn't really interest me, but the mix of trying to be "normal" kids while dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history might make this one worth checking out.
The series will also feature guest appearances by Jennifer Hudson, Blair Underwood, Dwayne Martin, Tisha Campbell Martin, George Faison and Damone Roberts.
CNN's Anderson Cooper has just signed a new contract with the cable network, and this one is estimated to be worth $4 million dollars a year, a raise from the $2 million dollars a year he is getting under his current contract.
The Broadcasting & Cable article linked above also says that because Cooper is no longer available, producers of The Early Show are going to have to look elsewhere for a new host for the morning show. Though I never heard definitive word that Cooper was in line for the gig, just that the show was undergoing major changes.
Cooper hosts the nightly news show Anderson Cooper 360 and has started to also contribute to CBS' 60 Minutes. The new contract is a multi-year deal.
So readers...is he worth it?
[via TV Newser]
Did anybody watch Comic Relief on November 18th? I caught a little bit of it but had to turn it off because A) Robin Williams is no longer funny, and B) Dane Cook isn't funny either. I was actually more interested in the on-location stories about the current situation in New Orleans than the performances by a long list of guest comedians.
This week is the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting The Gulf Coast, and former Night Court star Harry Anderson has announced that he and his wife, like many people, are leaving the city.
Anderson hasn't done much television since Dave's World left the air in the late 90s. Instead, he opened a club in New Orleans, where he has been performing a one man show and showcasing local talent. They also owned a home in the city, which had a magic shop on the first floor. But now Anderson and his wife are leaving the city, and in this interesting New York Times piece (you don't hear much about Anderson these days, so any story that pops up immediately grabs my attention), Anderson talks about what Katrina has done to the people of New Orleans, why he's leaving, getting mugged, and where he might move to.
Knowing that Spike Lee is creating a television drama is very exciting. I'm not sure how his work will translate onto television, but you can bet that whatever he comes up with will be thoughtful and poignant. At least, that's what I'm hoping. In the meantime, Lee is premiering a four-hour documentary on HBO on August 16th about the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.
In the new Vanity Fair, there's an excerpt from Cooper's upcoming memoir/book of reportage, Dispatches From The Edge (the Vanity Fair web site has a preview of the article, but you'll have to buy the print edition for the actual article). Cooper mixes the pain and horror of what he saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with the personal story about how the suicide of his older brother Carter affected him and his family. It's quite a read.
But why, you ask? It all has to do with a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser that VH1 is just wrapping up. With a $25 pledge to the Pay to Play fundraiser, donors could request a video. VH1 sent them an e-mail notifying them of when it would be played. But, for $35,000, donors could have their own portrait painted and choose from three decades' worth of videos to program on VH1 for one full hour. The one person who paid the $35,000 just chose one song. Whatever floats your boat, dude.
VH1 holds up its end of the bargain on Sunday, March 26th from 2 pm to 3 pm, when VH1 Classic will play the English and German versions of the video for "99 Luftballons" over and over.
Cowsill was the lead singer of the 1960s pop group The Cowsills, which was the inspiration for the family band depicted in The Partridge Family. The four Cowsill brothers formed the band, and then the mother and little sister joined the group later.
Cowsill suffered from emphysema and osteoporosis. Oddly, Cowsill's brother Barry disappeared during Hurricane Katrina, and his body was found four months later.
Hey, I like Anderson Cooper, but even I have to admit this Slate piece is pretty damn funny. Writer Tom Peyer gets Cooper's (and the show's) tone and phrasing and M.O. just right:
ANNOUNCER: Shock. Grief. Outrage. Glee.
One year after a devastating tsunami, four months after the fury of Katrina, mere days after a tragedy underground, which emotions will overtake Anderson Cooper next? Tonight, a special investigation on ANDERSON COOPER 360°.
ANDERSON COOPER: And good evening from CNN studios in New York, where we begin with a picture. Take a look. The man you see is 38 years old. A Manhattanite. A citizen, an employee, a friend, a son. His name: Anderson Cooper.
Most nights, he appears live on CNN to show you the devastation, destruction, disaster, sadness, and pain his countrymen endure.
But not tonight.
Tonight, he will explore Anderson Cooper. How one reporter copes while waiting for news, any news at all. A story of hope, and of prayers, ahead on 360.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. Our topic is Anderson Cooper, so we have a lot to cover in these two hours. We begin at his workplace.
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