Friday, May 30, 2014
Sorry to break this to you, Japan, but NBC has canceled "The Michael J. Fox Show." Nonetheless, here's a promo for Superdrama TV (love that channel name) in which I tell Japan how much American audiences still love Michael J. Fox and love a comeback story.
OK, it made sense at the time I said it. Hey, maybe they should run the Japanese dubbed version and reboot it as a crazy game show.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Downtown's new Ace Hotel has become one of neighborhood's new hot spots -- and that's even before the Big Gay Ice Cream shop opens. The upstairs bar at the Ace offers fantastic views and a big drink menu, but the place is packed -- and that means service is spotty. You may have to kidnap a bartender or waiter to finally get a drink. I hope that's just because it's still new... but nonetheless, worth checking out. Some pics:
Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel
933 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Conan O'Brien and Ricky Gervais Yuk It Up at the TV Academy; Plus: Here's Something You Didn't Know About Conan
Quite possibly the greatest thing I learned at the TV Academy on Tuesday night? Conan O'Brien's assistant is on a dodgeball team named "The Arsenio Balls."
O'Brien was at the TV Academy theatre in North Hollywood to interview Ricky Gervais on stage and screen an episode of Gervais' Netflix comedy "Derek." I came to see two modern-day comedy legends riff with each other. And while much of the conversation was a serious dissection of the state of comedy (fascinating to hear as well), the two did indeed manage to crack each other up numerous times.
Gervais: "I'm surprised they pay me format fees for The Office. it's just an office!" Conan: "You don't have to take the money."
Gervais to Conan: "I can't wait for your breakdown!" Conan: "I just got picked up through 2018, I can start now."
The two also had some laughs at the audience, which had some typically bizarre questions and observations. One guy, who had freelanced frequently for O'Brien's TBS talk show "Conan," told the host he brought a gift of a six pack every time he worked there. Did O'Brien ever get the beer? "No!" O'Brien then riffed on his assistant, who had left the screening early to, yes, play a game with the "Arsenio Balls."
I love this. Reminds me of what I love about humor in da islands: Adweek writes about a new ad campaign from Kona Brewing Co.:
One of two new spots, "Sad Hour," suggests that we set aside one hour a day for all the tedious crap we hate doing so the other 23 hours of the day can be happy. A second spot, "Single-Tasking," introduces the concept of only doing one thing at a time (drinking beer, for example).
Kona is borrowing heavily from old Bartles & Jaymes ads here, and adding a healthy dose of island life stereotyping, but the big guy's delivery is good enough to make it all work.
The ads will air in Orlando, San Diego and Los Angeles markets throughout the summer. "The 'Dear Mainland' campaign truly captures the unique Hawaiian spirit of Kona Brewing and, in a fun way, delivers our message that reconnecting with family, friends and community is what truly matters," says Aaron Marion brand manager at Kona Brewing.
Here's one more:
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Your Final Upfronts Recap: A Look at the Week in Pics, Including Outkast, Neon Trees, Alan Cumming's Nipples and Rizzoli & Isles' Selfie
Another week in New York for the annual network upfronts -- when the big dogs pimp their new TV wares to advertisers -- is now long over. But before it's a distant memory and we start watching pilots, here's a quick look at some snapshots from the week that helped coin "eventize" as a new catch phrase and ended several major TV streaks (Most notably: CBS will enter fall without a comedy on Mondays at 9 p.m. for the first time since 1948 -- with a bit of an asterisk in 1988, when the TV writers' strike delayed fall.) Above, Seth Meyers opens NBC's upfront
NBC sales chief Linda Yaccarino touts NBC's return to No. 1
Fred Armisen and the 8G Band perform at the NBC upfront
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt at the NBC upfront
"The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon at the NBC upfront
Fallon awards Carson Daly the "Even Whiter Ryan Seacrest" title
Fallon also has a gag for NBC Universal boss Steve Burke
Pitbull, who will host Fox's New Years Eve special this year, opens the Fox upfront
Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly proclaims Fox as "America's Next Generation Network"
Fox calls on Andy Samberg to provide a few yuks. First up: Fox's new research system, the "E.N.E.M.A.S."
Also, a few new shows on the horizon, according to Samberg: First up, CBS' "CSI: Mike & Molly." (Everyone's still making "CSI" jokes, 14 years later!)
Also: "CSI: CSI Production Offices"
At ABC, Samberg offers up "The Disney Butt Implant Funtime Hour"
CBS reveals its schedule at its annual morning breakfast, the Wednesday of Upfronts
Another tradition: Turner's annual Wednesday post-upfront lunch. Here, my table mates Eric McCormack ("Perception"), Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander ("Rizzoli & Isles") take a selfie.
At Carnegie Hall, Alan Cumming performs at the CBS upfront.
David Letterman gives his farewell at his final upfronts appearance.
Neon Trees performs at The CW's upfront.
And of course, you can see my whole collection of pics from Adult Swim's Outkast concert here.
Restaurant: Xi'an Famous Foods
Location: 24 W. 45th Street (New York)
Type of restaurant: Chinese/Noodles
We stipulated: Before heading to the Vulture Fest event in New York a few Saturdays ago, I met up with pal Diane for a quick lunch. I wasn't going to waste one of my few non-work lunches in the city, and had been told good things about the spicy noodles at Xi'an. Spicy noodles? I'm in.
They stipulated: "Xi’an Famous Foods began as a 200 square foot basement stall in the Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing, N.Y. The original location, established in late 2005, was the first restaurant to bring the little-known cuisine of Xi’an to the United States, with signature hand-ripped noodles, secret spice mixes, and Xi’an “burgers” with housemade flatbread. Since then, we’ve expanded to three locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. As a family-owned business, we hope to reintroduce the world to the unique cuisine of our hometown: liangpi “cold skin” noodles, lamb pao mo soup, and wide hand-pulled “biang biang” noodles, all in its most authentic form."
What we ordered: Mount Qi Pork Hand-Ripped Noodles (6.50); Spicy Cucumber Salad (4.75)
High point: Good prices, good spice.
Low point: The line for one of just 18 stools is long -- and you can't save a seat until you get your food.
Overall impression: Another good midtown lunchspot, although I can't imagine going here during a weekday -- those noodles can be messy.
Will we return: I could see returning, next time I'm in town.
Monday, May 26, 2014
This was quite a treat: The Blogger Kid's best friend celebrated his 9th birthday in style, at Dodger Stadium. The kids (and their parents) were treated to a private tour of the ballpark (including on the field -- well, on the dirt. (Don't walk on the grass!) We then headed to one of the luxury boxes for sandwiches and birthday cupcakes. It was pretty cool seeing the empty stadium (kind of like the scene in Fox's upcoming midseason show "Last Man on Earth"). Some pics:
View of downtown
Visiting team bullpen
View from the pressbox
Friday, May 23, 2014
Hey gang, it's the latest edition of The Spin-Off, KCRW's monthly podcast about all things TV, hosted by yours truly! Go listen now... it's our post-upfronts edition, and this month Joe and I are joined by The Hollywood Reporter's Lacey Rose!
Here's what's on tap:
The broadcast TV networks -- most notably ABC -- have added several new shows starring African-American characters and created by African-American writer/producers. For a long time statistics have shown that African Americans watch more TV than other ethnic groups, so why are the networks only now embracing diversity on screen? Also, new comedies were picked up for series at the upfronts this year. Why so few, and why are the ones on the air not big hits? Finally, riffing off of a Salon.com article, we consider why TV stars -- like Jon Hamm -- can’t launch a hit film.Listen below: