In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s series “My First Big Break,” we speak to HDNet “Dan Rather Reports” anchor and former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather. Did you know that if it weren’t for a hurricane that struck near Galveston, Texas, he might never have had his shot at working in network news? That among other things, he had to deal with thousands of snakes in order to report on the story? That he helped create a weather-reporting graphic that has become ubiquitous on TV news? Below, Rather talks about the event that brought him to the attention of CBS in New York, and changed his professional life.
Alex WeprinAlex Weprin is a senior editor at Mediabistro. He has written about television for Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Cynopsis: Weekender and other outlets, and is a big New York Mets fan. You can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/alexweprin
They were two of Hollywood’s most enduring icons.
Trigger, the thoroughbred horse that served as Roy Rogers partner on the trail for all 88 of his movies, and all 100 episodes of Rogers’ TV show. Bullet the Wonder Dog, Rogers’ faithful canine companion, who accompanied the cowboy and Trigger on Rogers’ TV program.
Both died many years ago, but have been reunited… on the floor of the NATPE trade show:
The FishbowlLA Interview with Charlie Sheen: ‘If I saw Chuck [Lorre] on the street I would give him a hug. For the first seven years, not the eighth.’
He’s still got it.
The long odyssey surrounding his abrupt departure from Two and a Half Men is long over, but Charlie Sheen still knows how to throw a party, and he still has strong feelings about the incident, even if he doesn’t exactly know what happened.
“I don’t know what it was, I am still baffled by it. Can that ever happen again, the way it did?” Sheen told us, after being asked whether another celebrity could find themselves in a similar situation. “Who could you make Being John Malkovich about, if not John Malkovich?”
The ArKadia nightclub at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach has been taken over by Sheen, Lionsgate TV and Debmar-Mercury, the producer and distributor of his new show, Anger Management. There are mermaids swimming in the outdoor pool, and women dressed as tables (yes, seriously) on which drinks have been placed. There are a handful of celebrities in attendance, including Katie Couric, Jeff Probst, Ricki Lake and Steve Harvey.
We are sitting in Sheen’s VIP cabana, it is nearly midnight. He would have an excellent view of the mermaids and the pool, except there is a throng of people on the other side of the velvet rope, wanting to say hi.
“It looks like chaos, but everyone is happy to see me, nothing but kind words to offer,” he says.
That doesn’t mean he is pleased with the way he has treated in the press. When asked about making the press rounds to promote his new show, he replied with a rebuke of the harsh words that have been thrown at him over the last year.
“I don’t really care, because I don’t take any of it personally, it is just words, coming from people that don’t know anything about me. So how much stock can you put in it, you know, a strangers random opinion?” Sheen said. “It is like getting mad at a three-year old for hurting your feelings. I never read anything anymore, because all that happens is you get upset.”
At the NATPE conference in Miami Beach, FishbowlLA spoke with Barry Levine, the executive editor of the National Enquirer, the gossip rag that always gets flak, even when it breaks major scoops, such as the John Edwards lovechild scandal, or Tiger Woods‘ mistresses.
The Enquirer is here to pitch a TV show concept, not a TMZ-like program, but a behind-the-scenes look at how the sausage gets made at the paper. Yes, that includes the nasty bits, like checkbook journalism, and sneaking into hotel rooms to grab some DNA samples.
“If it wasn’t for us there wouldn’t be TMZ, there wouldn’t be Entertainment Tonight, and I think after the last couple of years, the new credibility we have established after John Edwards, and the Tiger Woods scandal after that, we have had so much media interest and interest from readers and the question is always ‘how does the Enquirer get those stories?’”
Twentieth Century Fox is looking to revive the TV series Soul Food, a source familiar with the decision tells FishbowlLA.
The original Soul Food ran on Showtime from 2000 to 2004, and was based on the 1997 film of the same name from director George Tillman Jr. The film and TV series centered on the trials and tribulations of an African American family in Chicago that gets hit by the loss of their matriarch.
Now, Fox is looking to revamp the series for a new generation. The project is still in the very early stages of development, but executives at the company are said to be keen on it. It isn’t yet clear whether the new Soul Food would be for the Fox broadcast network, or whether the company would try and sell it to other channels.
Zucker stood firm on the matter, saying that they made the right decision:
“What I regret is that neither show worked. That is really what happened, neither show worked. So we had to make a decision on how to fix both. I think we went with the one that we thought would attract the largest audience, and the broadest viewership. I think we were borne out to be right about that.
It was a very unfortunate period that we went through when we made that change. It wasn’t pleasant for anybody, there are no winners out of any of that. A lot of people got hurt in that process, and that was incredibly unfortunate.
At the end of the day it was my responsibility. Others were on the line to make the decisions, but I signed off on it, so it was my responsibility.”
In part two of our discussion with novelist and TV host James Ellroy, we discuss what makes Los Angeles such a compelling city for stories about crime.
Ellroy is the creator and host of “James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons” on Investigation Discovery.
“I come from LA, I was born on Wilshire boulevard in 1948, in the film noir epicenter during the film noir era. I don’t view LA as any place other than my stomping grounds,” Ellroy says. “This show reconciles all the paradoxes within me, and in an engaging, amusing and consistently non-solipsistic way.”
In Part I, we spoke to Ellroy about his new program on ID, including his animated co-host, the police dog Barko.
In Part III, which will run tomorrow on GalleyCat, Ellroy discusses his writing.
The Investigation Discovery network has been on something of a tear lately, reaching new ratings heights thanks to its crime-centric programming, a topic novelist James Ellroy knows a thing or two about.
The author of LA Confidential and The Black Dahlia, among others, has been obsessing over crime ever since his mother was murdered, and the killer never caught. Now, Ellroy has been tapped for a new series for the network, “James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons.”
We sat down with Ellroy to discuss the program, which he hosts along with an animated talking police dog named Barko. Seriously.
“LA: come in on vacation, go home on probation,” Ellroy quipped in our interview. “It is the outrageousness of me, myself, and the outrageousness of criminal Los Angeles, past and present, as deployed in my brilliant novels and memoir.”
Plus, there’s Barko.
In Part II Tuesday, Ellroy discusses what makes Los Angeles such a good backdrop for his stories.
In Part III Wednesday on GalleyCat, Ellroy discusses his books.
Byron discussed her new show on The Science Channel, Head Rush, explaining how they would reach a generation of teenagers surrounded by distractions. She also talked about President Barack Obama‘s visit to the set and the possibility of more Mythbusters‘ books.
Press play to listen. The show was hosted by GalleyCat editor Jason Boog and TVNewser co-editor Alex Weprin. Music by Kevin MacLeod.
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When Syfy rebranded the network last year, it said that it was making the change partly in response to its programming. Shows like “Ghost Hunters” were clearly not in the science fiction realm, so the network wanted to move beyond the constraints of the genre-specific name.
In part two of our discussion with Syfy President Dave Howe, we talk about the network’s programming strategy, including the recently launched Thursday night block of unscripted shows.
“[We can] maybe take a few more risks, experiment a bit, try and attract new viewers and advertisers,” Howe says. He goes on to discuss a cooking show that the network has ordered, starring former “Top Chef” contestant Marcel Vigeneron.
“It makes sense for us because it is a futuristic molecular gastronomy cooking show,” Howe says. “We can justify it from a brand perspective and from and advertiser and audience perspective. It says something new about Syfy.”