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August 29, 2014

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Starz Planning to Remake 'Underbelly'

by Scott Harris, posted Jun 22nd 2010 12:00PM
American fans of the wildly popular Australian gangster drama 'Underbelly' are about to be in luck, because a domestic adaptation is in the works. Just one thing: The show will be about different characters involved in different storylines in a different setting.

If that seems like a fairly odd way to stage an adaptation, well, have no fear: The folks at Starz know what they are doing, at least according to New York Magazine, which is reporting that network CEO Chris Albrecht has acquired the rights to 'Underbelly' and is fast-tracking an adaptation. And Albrecht is no stranger to internationally acclaimed gangster shows -- in his previous gig as head of HBO, Albrecht was responsible for a little series called 'The Sopranos.'

So can 'Underbelly' do for Starz what 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' did for AMC? Albrecht certainly hopes so, as he has been aggressively pursuing new series and adaptations, including 'Camelot' and an American version of the BBC sci-fi hit 'Torchwood,' in hopes of emulating AMC's success. But to hear New York Magazine tell it, the main sticking point with 'Underbelly' may be the fact that the source material is so inherently Australian in nature -- telling the true story of drug wars that ravaged the Australian underworld over a period of decades -- that it can't be adapted without completely changing it.

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Hugh Jackman says 'no thanks' to Oscar repeat

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 30th 2009 6:02PM
hugh_jackman_tuxedoSo Ricky Gervais has signed to host the Golden Globes, which means the pressure is on the Oscars to come up with a host or hosts equally as stellar. Or interesting. Or compelling.

One star who has removed himself from the running is last year's host, Hugh Jackman. He will not return as Oscar host when the show airs on ABC, March 7.

He's currently on Broadway in a play -- with 007 Daniel Craig -- and he "quietly turned down the job" according to sources. It's not because he was a bomb emceeing the proceedings either. He didn't do the "Oprah, Uma, Uma, Oprah" joke nor did he trip on his shoelaces in the opening number. Quite the contrary, in fact. Hugh Jackman was a perfectly fine host.

But he doesn't want to do it in 2010. Maybe he doesn't want to push his luck? Maybe he just doesn't want to work that hard.

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Oscars 2009: What worked vs. what didn't

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 23rd 2009 12:02PM
It was the best of Oscar it was the worst of Oscar. It wasn't the best show I've ever seen, but was it the worst Oscars ever as one friend emailed me? I think there were features that worked and features that tanked. There could have been more star power -- where were Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Sandra Bullock, Christian Bale, Tyler Perry (he had the biggest box office opening last week!), etc.? Forget about stars from the '70s...

Anyway, I had predicted that the Oscars would stink. Well, I was wrong, or half-wrong. Separate from whether you agreed with the winners -- I did by and large -- or you didn't, what about the broadcast? I think if you had seen all the nominees (or at least the Best Picture noms), you probably had a rooting interest and were amused by most of the show. However, the other half was pretty bad. After the jump, what worked versus what did not.

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See that Johnny Cash video

by Adam Finley, posted Nov 13th 2006 3:02PM
johnny cashIf you've missed the video for the late Johnny Cash's song "God's Gonna Cut You Down," you can watch it in all it's sucktackular glory here. No offense to Johnny Cash, who deserves every modicum of respect he receives plus a million, but this video is exactly what I thought it would be: a bunch of mediocre musicians and Hollywood stars emoting for the camera. Granted, we do have a couple appearances by venerable musicians like Keith Richards and Brian Wilson, but the whole "tribute video" concept just feels forced and ingenuous to me. And really, why does there need to be a music video for a Johnny Cash song, anyway? Cash's music is meant to be played on an old record player while you smoke cigarettes and drink whiskey until the woman who done left you disappears into that fog bank called memory. Everyone knows that, it's the first thing you're taught in elementary school.

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The new IMDb annoys me

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 1st 2006 3:01PM
IMDb logoI think that The Internet Movie Database is a fantastic resource. Really, it's invaluable when you write for a television blog. But they've made some changes recently that I just hate.

They started adding a ton of info for specific episodes of TV series and for each season of a TV series, which on the surface sounds like a good idea. But in the process of doing that they've buried the main cast list for the TV shows! You used to be able to go to a TV show, say a show like Outlaws that I did a story about recently, and see the cast list right there on the front page. But no more. I spent about an hour trying to find the damn cast list, but got various dead ends, including "Full Cast and Crew" and "Episodes Cast." You'd think the main cast list would be there, but you'd be wrong. You have to click on "Season" and then the episode title. It's not like that for every show, but it is for many of them.

To quote Nancy Kerrigan, why, why, why??

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Naming celebrity babies

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 18th 2006 12:13PM

babyThe New York Times has an interesting piece on the phenomenon of celebrities bestowing weird and unique names upon their children. My stance for the longest time was that giving your child names like "Pilot Inspektor" (Jason Lee's kid) or "Moxie CrimeFighter" (that's magician Penn Jillette's little girl) was essentially like turning your child into a walking billboard to advertise your own fertile imagination. However, I've had to lighten up on that stance recently, since this has become the new rule for baby naming these days, including my own family. Besides, I can't help but admit that "Moxie CrimeFighter" is a pretty awesome name.

Also, perhaps it's jealousy. My name is Adam, which I like just fine, but it lacks that certain je ne sais quoi. That's why I've teamed up with NASA scientists to devise a method of coming up with a suitable "Hollywood" name for yourself or your children, if you have any. Here's what to do:

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