Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Star Studded Oprah Goodbye

Celebs Come Out to Say Goodbye to Oprah
May 18, 2011
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Oprah Winfrey wiped away tears as celebrity after celebrity surprised her during a farewell double-episode taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that will precede her finale.

"Thank you is not enough, but thank you," Winfrey told the crowd of 13,000 gathered at Chicago's United Center on Tuesday night for "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular." "For your love and your support, thank you."

The crowd gave Winfrey a standing ovation when she first walked on the stage. Then the stars came out, with Winfrey's producers making good on their promise of the biggest celebrities of movies, music and television.

Aretha Franklin sang "Amazing Grace." Tom Hanks acted as host for the evening. Michael Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during the 1990s, told Winfrey she inspires him. Tom Cruise, famous for his couch jumping on Winfrey's show, was there. Jerry Seinfeld wore a tuxedo to give a comedy routine. And Madonna said she is among the millions of people who are inspired by Winfrey.

"She fights for things she believes in, even if it makes her unpopular," Madonna said.

Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular talk show after 25 years. Tuesday's taping will air May 23 and 24, before Winfrey's final show on May 25.

"You always had the power, and that is the message you brought into our lives," Cruise told Winfrey.

The show highlighted Winfrey's charity efforts over the years. About 300 Morehouse College scholarship students walked along the United Center aisles as Kristen Chenoweth sang "For Good" from the musical "Wicked." Grammy winner John Legend was beamed in from a New Orleans school and Winfrey's book club was lauded for getting millions to read.

Josh Groban and Patti LaBelle sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as Winfrey sat in a white chair onstage. Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder sang "Isn't She Lovely" to Winfrey. Wonder followed with his own song, singing to her, "Oprah thank you for using your gifts to uplift so many hearts." Simon Cowell made an appearance; Rosie O'Donnell sang a Broadway-style song.

Winfrey's longtime partner, Stedman Graham, introduced Franklin after telling Winfrey he loved her and was proud of her.

"It really does amaze me that I get to be around a woman who changes people's lives every day and who also takes her own lunch to work," Graham told the crowd. "You know what really is amazing? You have done this, sweetheart, through all of the sacrifices you've made, humility you have and through God's amazing grace."

That's when Franklin took the stage in a one-shouldered white gown to sing "Amazing Grace." She later joined Usher for the show's finale song, "Oh Happy Day," as sparkly confetti filled the arena.

Maria Shriver, the TV journalist and Kennedy heiress, appeared on the same day it was revealed her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, fathered a child with a woman on his household staff more than a decade ago. Shriver did not mention her husband during the taping.

"You have given me love, support, wisdom and most of all the truth," Shriver told Winfrey. "And I know I'm not alone in receiving those gifts from you."

The taping of the second show began with Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who thanked Winfrey and told her she mothered millions and "that puts you in the status of a goddess."

Actresses Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes and Dakota Fanning all appeared, along with newswoman Diane Sawyer.

Beyonce sang her song "Run the World (Girls)" backed by dozens of dancers. Rascal Flatts performed too.

"Oprah Winfrey, because of you women everywhere have graduated to a new level of understanding of who we are, of what we are and most of all who we can be," Beyonce said.

The stadium was decorated with pictures of Winfrey at seminal moments over the course of her talk show. Boxes of tissues were on scattered seats throughout the audience.

Harpo Productions received more than 154,000 ticket requests for seats to Tuesday's event. Tickets were free and distributed to fans through a lottery.

Winfrey also received messages from some less-famous admirers. Female American soldiers gave a taped message from Iraq and three female fans from countries around the world came on stage. The show was interspersed with clips of Winfrey's fans and flashbacks of previous episodes.

Fans started lining up outside hours before the taping started.

Bessie Carroll, 70, of Chicago came to the show with her daughter.

"I think we've gotten everything we could have and more than we should have from her," Carroll said. "If she feels it's time to go, we have to release her and let her enjoy her life."

Mashonda White, 41, an engineer from Aurora, called Winfrey an inspiration.

"She's a blueprint of what I would like to become," White said. "She never takes anything negatively. She always makes it positive."

Celebrities such as Lisa Ling, Carson Kressley, Jessica Seinfeld, Ally Wentworth, Bob Greene and former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley sat in the audience.

The content of the final episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is still under wraps.

(June 1, 2011-Details about the final episode and the ratings are BELOW )

Some fun facts courtesy of ABC News:

The first national episode, "How to Marry the Man/Woman of Your Choice," aired September 8, 1986.

The average number of Americans who watch "The Oprah Winfrey Show" each week is estimated at 40 million, and the show is distributed to 150 countries outside the United States.

Total number of shows, including the finale: 4,561.

Total number of guests over 25 seasons: about 30,000.

The celebrity guests who appeared most often were Celine Dion (27) and Chris Rock (26).

Five U.S. presidents have appeared on the show: Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The total number of items selected as "Oprah's Favorite Things": 283.

Winfrey and her show have won a total of 48 daytime Emmys.

In 25 years, about 1.3 million people have been in the studio audience for her show. For the final season, about 1.4 million people have requested tickets.

The audience for Tuesday's event at the United Center may not have been the largest for a taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." That distinction goes to the Season 24 "Kickoff Party" in 2009, when about 21,000 people closed down Chicago's Michigan Avenue to watch the Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson, Rascal Flatts and James Taylor.

A total of 65 books became Oprah's Book Club selections and nearly 2 million people joined Winfrey's book club.

More than $80 million has been donated to Oprah's Angel Network.

Oprah Winfrey's final episode drew her the highest ratings since a 1994 episode about 'shedding'


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oprah Winfrey's final syndicated show Wednesday (May 25, 2011) drew her highest ratings in 17 years.

Neilsen said the last episode of "Oprah," during which Winfrey delivered a combination benediction and pep talk to the faithful, earned a 13.3 household rating in metered markets.

That figure isn't translatable to a number of viewers, since only half the nation's markets are metered - and St. Louis didn't see the show at all Wednesday, since the "Oprah" affiliate there preempted her for storm coverage and will air her show today.

The 13.3 is, however, her highest number since she scored a 13.4 in February 1994 for an episode on "shedding." That meant guests gave up some style item to which they had been addicted, like makeup.

Neilsen said a total viewer count for the finale will take about two weeks.

The final surge is encouraging because Oprah's viewership has steadily dropped over the last decade or two. At her peak, in 1991-92, she was averaging about 12.6 million viewers per show. This season and last, before the finales began, she was averaging a little under 6 million.


Nightline has a story about Oprah's final episode (May 25, 2011) at their website here

Related post
Oprah's Farewell Spectacular

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shonda Rhimes Fixer Show Gets Picked Up and Another Title

Shonda Rhimes brings ‘Scandal’ to ABC-- but not until mid-season

Danielle Turchiano

Shonda Rhimes has done it again. Well, I guess technically that remains to be seen. But ABC is hoping she will do it again, surely. Though they cancelled Off The Map, a show that fell under her umbrella of programming, they ordered Scandal (formerly Damage Control) to series to start in the midseason of 2011-2012.

What used to be the death slot, or at least the "we may never even air" slot has increasingly become a launch pad for critical successes, as well as fan favorites. Hell, Seinfeld was a mid-season series way back when and just a few months ago ABC saw a rally around Happy Endings when it premiered almost a year after the pilot was shot.

Entertainment president Paul Lee for ABC did admit that he has "big plans" for the shows he is saving for mid-season. He just felt that some of the pilots he picked up were too big to be ready to launch in the fall, and he wanted to take the time to nurture them. There has to be something to respect about that, right?

Anyway, Scandal will be Rhimes’ third series on-air in the ABC 2011-2012 line-up as Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice are still going strong, but this one doesn’t deal in the medical field but instead public relations.

Great pic of Kerry Washington from the pilot
See more promotional pics from the pilot here

Related posts- 
Feb. 10, 2011- Shonda Rhimes new Fixer show
Feb. 28, 2011- Shonda Rhimes New Show has a Title and New Co-Stars

Friday, May 13, 2011

'The Game' Producers Sign New Deal with BET

BET Signs 'The Game' Producers To Development Deal
Akil Productions to develop new shows for network

By R. Thomas Umstead, Multichannel News -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/12/2011
BET has reached a multi-year development agreement with The Game producers Salim and Mara Brock Akil (pictured left), the network announced Thursday.

The deal with Akil Productions calls for the husband and wife team to continue their current roles as executive producers for BET's hit comedy series, as well as to develop and unspecified number of new shows for BET Networks.

The Game is the most watched series in BET's history, averaging 4.6 million viewers during its freshman run on the network earlier this year.

Along with The Game, Salim Akil directed the current theatrical hit Jumping The Broom. In 2000, Mara Brock Akil created and executive produced the former CW broadcast network hit series, Girlfriends, which currently airs in repeats on BET.

"We're thrilled to build on the very important relationship between our network and the Hollywood creative community, especially with two proven powerhouses in entertainment - Salim and Mara Brock Akil," said Loretha Jones, President of Original Programming at BET Networks in a statement. "Through this partnership we hope to continue to bring our audience high quality content that reflects their lives and our communities."

Related posts-
The Game Season Finale Ratings

Social Media Has Got 'Game'

From 2009: Q & A with BET CEO Debra Lee

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Charlie Murphy-The Making of a Stand-Up Guy REVIEW

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book because to me Charlie’s story is just as interesting as his brother Eddie’s. This was a guy who seemed really be from the streets and led a hard knock life. He also made several funny appearances on the Howard Stern Show, telling his tales of his background. Even though he tells some humorous tales here and there, the book as a memoir is average. He has lived an interesting life, but nothing I found extraordinary.

As a screenwriter/filmmaker myself, I found the most interesting facets of the book were about his scriptwriting. I had no idea that he sold so many scripts to Hollywood even though only few got made into films (which is the norm in Hollywood for most scripts).

He spends a lot, maybe too much time, recounting his venture into stand up comedy which I know I should expect from a book called ‘The Making of a Stand-Up Guy’, but I didn’t expect so much detail. Maybe I’m not a “stand-up guy” because I didn’t’ require a lot of details about the clubs he first played. He did have several laugh out loud humorous tales, but the book to me is something you read in high school when you HAVE to do a book report on someone.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 9, 2011


Discovery and Oprah ax OWN channel chief
By Yinka Adegoke

Fri, May 6 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Discovery Communications and Oprah Winfrey have pushed out Christina Norman (pictured left) as chief executive of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, after a tough start for the five-month old cable network.

Discovery Chief Operating Officer Peter Ligouri will take over from Norman on an interim basis, in addition to his current role.

OWN, which launched in the United States on January 1, has struggled to win ratings in its first five months.

In a memo to staff on Friday, Winfrey thanked Norman for her hard work in getting OWN on air but said the new network had much to do.

"Given all that we have to do, the OWN board felt it was necessary that we have a different kind of leadership in place for the next phase of OWN's growth," Winfrey said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

OWN, a joint venture between Discovery and Winfrey's production company, offers largely female-oriented programming with a combination of lifestyle, advice and uplifting shows.

Winfrey, regarded as the most influential woman on U.S. television, is expected to devote more energy to OWN in the coming months after the last original episode of her popular syndicated TV show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," airs on May 25 on ABC.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav said on a conference call last month that OWN's ratings had been "below our expectations."

"We have been digging in. We are focused on what does the audience want from OWN. We are fully committed to the brand."

Discovery has said it will probably invest more in OWN in addition to the $215 million that it used to fund the joint venture through the first quarter.

Executives have said additional investment will depend on the progress of ratings through the next several quarters.

Ligouri, speaking late last month, said Discovery intended to produce about 400 hours of prime time original programming from then until the end of the year.

The exit of Norman, a former MTV executive, has already sparked speculation Discovery might turn to another former MTV executive, Judy McGrath, some 24 hours after she stepped down as CEO of MTV Networks.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman and Ted Kerr)

Related posts-

OWN Network Needs More Money

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network - The Next Season

From April 2010: OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network reveals its upcoming slate of shows

Friday, May 6, 2011

'Waiting to Exhale' Film Sequel Coming Soon?

Cast of Waiting to Exhale
The WHOLE cast, plus its director (Forest Whitaker), is supposedly returning to film a sequel. I say supposedly because these kind of things are mostly rumor even if one of the stars talks it up in the media to attract industry attention. Read about it at and see a video from one of the stars at Shadow & Act by CLICKING their logo below

African-American Network New Distribution Deal

EXCLUSIVE: African-American Net Bounce TV Lands Raycom As First Carriage Deal puts Bounce in 26 markets

By Jon Lafayette -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/5/2011 11:34:38 AM

Raycom Media has agreed to carry Bounce TV, the new over-the-air television network aimed at African-American audiences, in 26 markets when it launches in the fall.

Raycom is the first station owner to agree to carry Bounce TV, which expects to be in 50% of U.S. television households at launch and to announce more distribution deals shortly.

The launch of Bounce TV was announced in April. Martin Luther King III and Ambassador Andrew Young are among its founders.

"Bounce TV is the right network at the right time for our stations," commented Raycom president and CEO Paul McTear. "Bounce TV will allow us to better serve our communities, giving underserved African-American consumers a new local television brand designed specifically for them while also providing our local stations an ideal companion network for their digital spectrum. We believe Bounce TV will be a meaningful network in our local communities and we look forward to a great relationship for many years to come."

Those Raycom stations represent 10% of all U.S households and 19% of African-American television homes.

"Landing our first station group is significant, but to explode out of the gate with Raycom, a leader in providing local television across the country, is tremendous and instantly validates the mission of Bounce TV," said Bounce TV distribution chief Jeffrey Wolf. "The Raycom stations will be able to localize our network and have it serve as a perfect complement to their primary channel. We could not be more thrilled to welcome Raycom as our foundation affiliate group."

Bounce also got an endorsement from the National Association of Broadcasters. "In launching the new Bounce TV network, Raycom is utilizing digital spectrum in a very smart and truly meaningful way by serving African-American television viewers with a free niche programming service," said NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith. "Local TV stations across America are using TV airwaves to deliver on the promise of digital television, and we fully expect that other broadcasters will support Bounce TV and other unique program services."

Related Post
New Broadcast Net Aimed at African Americans, To Launch in Fall

Bounce Tv's Official Website

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

News Chiefs Navigate Coverage of Osama bin Laden's Death

CNN Tops Cable News Coverage of bin Laden's Death
7.76M tune in for Obama's speech

By Lindsay Rubino -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/2/2011 4:07:19 PM

With the news of Osama bin Laden's death so broadly covered, CNN came out as the dominant cable news source on Sunday night, according to Nielsen fast nationals.

At 10 p.m., in the hour before the official announcement, 2.33 million total viewers tuned into CNN's coverage with Fox News Channel following closely behind with 2.32 million.

At 11 p.m., in the hour of President Obama's speech, CNN jumped ahead with 7.76 million total viewers; Fox News stayed behind at 4.78 million. MSNBC started at 10 p.m. with 1.09 million, and rose to 2.28 during the announcement.


At CNN, Scrambling to Prepare for an Unknown Story
With limited initial information, network prepped for multiple scenarios

By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, May 2, 2011

When CNN got word the evening of May 1 that President Obama was going to make a statement, it immediately fired up its Washington-based operations without knowing what the story was. In a May 2 interview with B&C, Sam Feist, CNN VP of Washington programming, who was the executive producer of Sunday's coverage, told us about tracking down CNN talent at a hockey game, how they prepared for several possible stories, and why they sat on the Bin Laden news for 30 minutes before reporting it. An edited transcript of the interview follows.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What Ever Happened to that Black Guy that Won 'The Apprentice'?

Randal D. Pinkett (pictured above) is a business consultant who in 2005 was the winner of season four of the reality television show, The Apprentice. Pinkett was the first African American to win the US version of The Apprentice. Check out a brand new cool YouTube video at the link below

Check out his Official website

Read about him on Wikipedia here

Anthony Mackie's New Roles

Anthony Mackie has been stacking up several high profile gigs as of late. Yes there are all the co-star, but anything to raise an actor's profile is good.

Anthony Mackie
You can see a video clip of what Anthony Mackie had to say about the current diversity issue at our parent blog 'Nother Brother Entertainment Blog here

Read about Anthony Mackie's new roles at the great website Shadow & Act at the link below
Anthony Mackie Offered Co-starring Role With Brad Pitt

Check out his IMDb page here