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September 3, 2015

hurricane katrina

One Night Only kicks off on BET this evening

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 23rd 2007 3:00PM

dreamgirlsOne 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.

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Anderson Cooper: the $4 million dollar man

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 19th 2007 5:05PM

Anderson CooperCNN'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]

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Free download of Studio 60's Christmas musical performance

by Julia Ward, posted Dec 9th 2006 4:40PM
Trombone ShortyIf you didn't see Studio 60's Christmas episode, then you should. Not only was it one of the show's best, but it featured a musical performance by New Orleans musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina that's sure to put a lump in your throat. The musicians were led by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews in an original arrangement of "O Holy Night." You hear carols a thousand times, and after awhile, they lose the power to move you. This performance brought all that power back. You can now download the track as a free MP3 from NBC's Studio 60 website or iTunes.

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Comic Relief raises $4 million

by Anna Johns, posted Nov 27th 2006 7:29PM
comic reliefLast week's Comic Relief telethon raised $4 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina. It aired simultaneously on TBS, HBO and AOL. Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal headlined the Comic Relief telecasts of the 1980s to raise money and awareness about homelessness. The original Comic Relief stage shows raised about $50 million.

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.

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Mos Def arrested for VMA performance

by Anna Johns, posted Sep 2nd 2006 3:24PM
mos defMos Def: not exactly a bad ass rapper. Sure... he was arrested in New York City, but it's not for your usual rapper garbage like gun possession (Diddy) or lying about a murder (Lil' Kim). Nope, NYC police cuffed Mos Def for an impromptu performance he gave outside the Radio City Music Hall last Thursday before the MTV VMAs. Apparently he didn't have a permit for the sound system. The cops interrupted a song he was performing about Hurricane Katrina on the back of a flatbed truck outside the awards show. Police kept Mos Def overnight and now he'll have to appear in court.

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Harry Anderson is leaving New Orleans

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 30th 2006 11:58AM

Harry AndersonThis 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.

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NBC brings Spike Lee on board

by Anna Johns, posted Jul 19th 2006 9:22AM
spike leeFormative filmmaker Spike Lee has signed a development deal with NBC. Talks between the network and Lee reportedly began in May, after he directed the pilot for the CBS legal drama, Shark (starring James Woods). No word yet on exactly what the show will be about.

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.

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Comic Relief returns to help Katrina victims

by Anna Johns, posted Jun 1st 2006 10:17AM
comic relief; robin williamsComic Relief launched 20 years ago to raise awareness and funds for the homeless. It went off the air eight years ago but, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it is making a comeback this year to benefit the still-suffering victims of Hurricane Katrina. Traditional Comic Relief headliners Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal plan to lighten the mood during a benefit performance that will broadcast simultaneously on TBS, HBO and AOL on November 18th. Previous performances raised $50 million for the homeless cause. This time, the benefactors of the fundraising will be children and animals.

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Anderson Cooper writes about personal pain, Katrina

by Bob Sassone, posted May 13th 2006 2:44PM
Anderson CooperI have been one of the very few Anderson Cooper supporters around here. While most see him as the bad guy who took over for Aaron Brown, or as "that guy from The Mole," I see him as a solid, veteran reporter who has done a lot and actually earned his job at CNN.

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.

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Celebrity Poker Showdown hits the road

by Anna Johns, posted Mar 23rd 2006 9:06AM
celebrity poker showdown; new orleans;
dave foley; phil hellmuthFor its next season, Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown gets a new co-host and a new location. In support of the people affected by Hurricane Katrina, the poker contest will film at Harrah's Casino in New Orleans. The building was damaged in the hurricane and just reopened in February. All the celebrities involved with be playing for Hurricane Katrina-related charities. Also, Phil Gordon is out. His replacement is poker champ Phil Hellmuth. Don't worry, Dave Foley is still the other co-host. No word yet on which celebs will participate, but I'd love it if they invite Bonnie Hunt back. She was hilarious.

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Try getting this song out of your head

by Anna Johns, posted Mar 23rd 2006 8:28AM
nena 99 luftballonsSomeone paid $35,000 to be able to play the same video over and over for one hour on VH1 Classic. What video? The 1984 classic, "99 Luftbalons" by the German group Nena. Naturally.

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.

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William Cowsill dead at 58

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 20th 2006 8:38AM

The CowsillsCowsill 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. 

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Tonight on Anderson Cooper 360: Anderson Cooper!

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 10th 2006 5:59PM

Anderson CooperHey, 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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