Funnyman Graham Norton will be hosting a new reality pilot for Lifetime.
The new show will serve as a kind of popularity contest in which an audience of women vote off one woman at a time from a group of seven as they answer challenges and tackle different challenges. The Hollywood Reporter article doesn't go into much detail than that, so it's hard to say exactly what the hell the point of the show is supposed to be, other than showing women at their most judgmental and catty. Oh yeah, and the show was originally called Judgment Day, which probably isn't a good sign, either.
Norton will still appear in TV in the UK. The Graham Norton Show, his BBC2 series, hits BBC America on June 2. Previously, he hosted So Graham Norton, a Channel 4 series that was adapted into an American version which ran on Comedy Central for a short time.
An acquaintance of mine used to ask me if I ever listened to The Sound of Young America, and I told her I didn't like it. As it turns out, I had it confused with some low-rent internet podcast with a similar name I cannot recall at the moment.
Anyway, Jesse, the fellow who helms Sound of Young America, recently had a couple great interviews with some very funny women. First, he interviewed Anne Beatts, who was the first female editor of National Lampoon, wrote for Saturday Night Live when that show first started, and created Square Pegs. Major TV nerd points to those of you who remember Square Pegs.
Actor and comedian Matt Besser of Upright Citizens Brigade is producing a new broadband series for TBS.com, and he's looking for some pictures of sexy ladies to use in one of the episodes. Somebody writing on behalf of Besser, or perhaps Besser himself writing in the third person, has the details on his MySpace page. He's looking for "MySpace self portraits," those photos shot in just the right light and at just the right angle to make one appear far sexier than they do in real life. The pictures used will be part of a montage at the end of the episode.
Until Besser's new online series is launched, you should check out some of his prank work over on Prank.com, a site created by artist Joey Skaggs. The site was launched April 1, naturally.
Ana Claudia Talancon has been cast as the lead in Whitney, a new comedy for HBO about a group of sexy women in Miami who take advantage of men by making each men think they're the only ones in the women's lives. The pilot was written by Lisa Schrager and will film in Miami. Ana Claudia Talancon was last seen in theaters in Richard Linklater's film Fast Food Nation.
There's not much information on this new series, so all I can say is I hope it doesn't fall into the newish cliche of smart, sexy women manipulating stupid men. I'm not saying women can't be smart and sexy, and I'm definitely not saying men can't be stupid, I'm saying that mix has been done before. I want to know what Whitney will bring to the table that hasn't been done before.
PBS will air a four-part documentary on Wednesday, January 10 and Wednesday, January 17 at 9pm titled China from the Inside. The documentary will delve into both the history and current political landscape of China from all perspectives. It will also examine how women are treated in the country, problems with air and water pollution, religion, and the government's slow response to the AIDS epidemic. The four parts of the documentary are:
1. "Power and the People"
2. "Women of the Country"
3. "Shifting Nature"
4. "Freedom and Justice"
China is quickly becoming a major player on the world stage, but little is known about it. The creators of this documentary hope to shed some light on a country that still remains a mystery to many. I love the idea, and hopefully it will be as in-depth as they claim it to be.
Mr. Stephen Colbert had a great run in 2005, when The Colbert Report debuted and took off like a mighty eagle... with a disturbingly dedicated fanbase. This past year somehow managed to top all that, making Colbert and his show absolute pop culture giants and easily one of the biggest hits of 2006. I've been a fan ever since I first saw the man many years ago on The Daily Show and Strangers With Candy, so I feel like I've seen his career positively explode before my very eyes. Ohh, my boy's all grown up.
Now now, let's move on to my list before I get even more sappy and awkwardly maternal (the fact that Colbert's over twenty years older than me does not help the strangeness). Here are the top nine Colbert Report moments of 2006!
1. The return of Scrubs: T-minus one week and counting! I am just so, so happy that NBC has decided to bring back Scrubs early this year. I've been watching and laughing at the reruns of the show since September, and that's only whetted my appetite for new episodes even more than usual. It's my favorite current show, and even a bad episode gives me at least one big belly laugh. Because this might be the show's last year, Bill Lawrence and company might go even wackier than they did last year. Yes, even wackier than "Dr. Acula" and "Floating Head Doctor." The musical episode promises to be especially good. Can't wait.
Tomorrow evening at 9 pm HBO will air Thin, a documentary directed by famous still photographer Lauren Greenfield that looks at the lives of four women trying to overcome eating disorders at the Renfrew Center in Florida, where she previously shot photographs. Greenfield has written about anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders before, once for a 1997 piece for Time. This is her first time directing.
Greenfield stayed at the center for six months in order to obtain access to the patients, their families, and the staff. The documentary will examine not only the women who have improved with the help of the center, but also those who did not, and one who was unable to continue when it was found out her insurance would not pay for her treatment. You can see a trailer for the documentary here.
I'd love to see more documentaries like this to balance out the onslaught of media images that make pencil-thin appear to be the norm, when anyone with optic nerves knows that's not the case. Not to say that overweight men aren't also stigmatized, but it's especially true for younger women and girls.
I've watched a couple episodes of Rachael Ray's new show this week. And I'm surprised I have the energy to type these words.
The woman is exhausting. She's running around the stage like a nut showing a cool feature that the stage has, high fiving people in the audience, opening doors to grab more spices, etc, etc. You get exhaused and just a bit nervous watching her, even from the comfort of your living room. I have this overwhelming feeling that sometime next week, men in white coats are going to burst into the studio and grab her and take her away after injecting her with a sedative. They'll be dragging her out the door and she'll be screaming, "No, no!!! I've got to put more parmesan on my sandwiches!!! I've got to put my parmesan on my sandwiches!!"
Thanks to Mack Swift for the info.
CBS has pulled Tuesday Night Book Club after only two episodes. The show was really low-rated, and CBS hasn't announced whether or not the final six eps will be shown or not. Which is a really bad sign, because usually when there are remaining episodes of a canceled show, they'll burn them off during the summer. But CBS isn't even planning on doing that.
My suggestion? Go read a book instead, in the show's honor.
You know, if it weren't for these stupid laws we have in place, I think my idea for a reality show in which rich, beautiful people are fed to sharks would do quite well in the ratings. Apparently, though, delving into the lives of the affluent and vacuous is still a popular concept, so brace yourselves for what's being described as a new "docu-reality" (or any number of similar hyphenated words) series in the vein of Desperate Housewives. On June 13, CBS will debut Tuesday Night Book Club, which will focus on seven women living in Scottsdale, Arizona who get together once a week to discuss the trials and tribulations of being beautiful and not having any real problems. Although, I must admit my heart does go out to Jamie, the wife who can't decide whether to stay married to her husband and sleep with other men, or divorce him and sleep with other men. That is a conundrum, I must say.
Inspired by the success of social networking sites like MySpace, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is planning to launch a similar site aimed at women ages 25 to 45. The new network is set to launch in the latter half of 2007, though that could change. Rather than exist as a separate site, the new network, which will allow women to share recipes, pictures, and household tips with one another and various experts, will be integrated into Stewart's main Web site. Now that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns MySpace I'm hoping the competition might eventually lead to some kind of apocalyptic battle between these two media giants, a la King Kong vs Godzilla.
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