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G.H. Harding

CANNON FODDER — It was a real shocker to learn of The Masked Singer and POWER 106/LA ‘s morning host Nick Cannon being fired by for making anti-Semitic remarks during a recent podcast in which he talked about conspiracy theories regarding Jewish people and praised a minister notorious for anti-Jewish comments

Cannon took to Twiter and told the world about how sorry he was yesterday evening for anti-Semitic comments he made during an episode of his videotaped podcast, Cannon’s Class.

He apologized by tweeting, “First and foremost I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth during my interview with Richard Griffin (Public Enemy). They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naive place that these words came from. The video of this interview has since been removed.”

And according to the Hollywood Reporter, Fox and Cannon have come to a meeting of the minds and Cannon will keep his deal as host of The Masked Singer with Fox saying, “When we were made aware of Nick Cannon’s interview with Richard Griffin on YouTube, we immediately began a dialogue with Nick. He is clear and remorseful that his words were wrong and lacked both understanding and context, and inadvertently promoted hate. This was important for us to observe.”

“Nick has sincerely apologized, and quickly taken steps to educate himself and make amends. On that basis and given a belief that this moment calls for dialogue, we will move forward with Nick and help him advance this important conversation, broadly. Fox condemns all forms of hate directed toward any community and we will combat bigotry of any kind.”

I’ve always liked Cannon and when he left America’s Got Talent (replaced by Terry Crews), I thought the show would drop in popularity. Crews is great and the show is bigger than ever. With all the static about this imbroglio, I honestly don’t see Cannon remaining on Fox for long and predict he himself will step aside for the good of the show.

I’m not a huge fan of the show (I think it’s kind of silly!) and have yet to come to grips with Cannon’s turban-wardrobe, but, really, how can he remain there?

Dancing with the Star’s hosts Tom Bergeron and Eric Andrews were unceremoniously axed this week … to be replaced by Tyra Banks … so, look for a similar situation to happen with Cannon. Truth be told, ABC handled it very, very poorly. Bergeron’s been there for 15 years and deserved much, much better treatment from the alphabet network.

With all that’s gone in in the last four months, the last thing a network wants is a problem like this … just ask NBC/Comcast about their Matt Lauer-problem.

Mike Greenly

GREENLY GOOD — After our take on wordsmith-extraordinaire Mike Greenly last time, we sat with him and asked him about his current activities:

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I have no mechanical skills and can barely change a light bulb, but was lucky to discover that words are my friends. I’m currently co-writing three books (with a global beverage alcohol exec; another with a hair stylist in NYC; and the mayor of my home town, Beaufort, SC … a eulogy for the owner of a small factory who’s losing his dad … and, a new dance club song with a DJ/producer in California … and, an anti-racism song requested by the Mayor (Beaufort, SC) as part of his project.

A number of my songs seek to contribute positively to society – about climate change, equality (gender, racial, etc.) and mutual respect of one another. I’m especially focused right now on “I See You” with Grant Maloy Smith. It’s been adopted as the theme of a new anti-ageism campaign by Masterpiece Living.

Q: What are your thoughts about this pandemic; will things return to normal?

A: I came up from South Carolina on a Greyhound bus, thinking I’d find “work” as a playwright … learned there are nohelp wanted ads like that, so I became a business exec so I could afford theater tickets. It pains me for many reasons that Broadway is closed till next year … and I fear that there might not be the same “normal” in the years ahead if we need to maintain more social distancing. That’s just one example, but my guess is we’ll have lots of “new normal” to adjust to. 

Q: What artists would you most want to work with?

A: I have a song right now I’d love for Adele to record. Also, Dierks Bentley or Tim McGraw in the country genre.

I’ve written songs for artists – Kimberly Davis and Shara Strand – not unlike the way I have written speeches for execs: getting to know them and their message and then helping to express it. Also, I’d love to work with Ariana Grande, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and a whole bunch more. Let’s face it: lyrics are my passion!

Q: What did you learn from your AVON experience-Fortune 500 company take-away?

A: I use all that experience today in helping execs by writing their speeches – then coaching their on-stage delivery (Avon forced me to conquer my “stage fright” so I could speak comfortably and effectively even to 5,000 people) … and, I’m a motivational speaker for their meetings and events.

Avon, of course – since we created “theme songs” for every major meeting – also led me to realize the joy I get from writing lyrics.

Q: What are you hearing on the radio that you like these days?

Sam Hunt’s “Hard to Forget”, Luke Bryant’s “Drunk on You”, H.E.R.’s “I Can’t Breathe” and Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” all come to mind. But I also admire Drake’s “The Motto” with Lil Wayne and Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” which features him, too. Also, Beyonce’s “Black Parade”.

Mike Greenly … a secret weapon if there ever was one!

SHORT TAKES — Mark Bego gets the Australian-podcast treatment from Plastic EP this Friday; on his book career and the November re-release of his #1 book Eat Like A Rock Star, which he penned with Supreme-Mary Wilson. We’ll post the interview here shortly … We did indeed watch last week’s 2-hour Snowpiercer on TNT and really enjoyed it. The show’s been uniquely compelling, but I just wished that TNT would have allotted a few more dollars for it. Sloppy editing, IMO, really got in the way. Jennifer Connelly really shined during these last two episodes and Daveed Diggs, just splendid. I won’t reveal the ending, but it was pretty awesome. I will say that the mysterious Mr. Wilford did not appear … but, will next season – to be played by the always enjoyable Sean Bean. As exciting an ending as I’ve seen in quite some time …

I was going through some old industry papers when I came across an article on a Netflix show called The Eddy – about a jazz club in Paris that was executive produced by Damien Chazelle of Lala Land fame; and, the renowned-record producer Glen Ballard. I watched the first of eight episodes and just totally embraced it. Just amazing. My first thought was one of how could I have missed this? Apparently, Netflix, to their credit, did quite a bit of promo for it when it came on in May … but, still, I missed it.

Damien Chazelle

We’ll have a much more in-depth review next column, but I am enjoying it immensely. Actually, right up there with my #1 shelter-in-place-show, The Morning Show on Apple+ … Happy Bday Angelo Babbaro and Ron Shuter.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Curtis Urbina; Bob Hartz; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Melissa Davis; Anthony Noto; Billy Bush; Ryan Seacrest; John Tesh; Mary Hart; Regis Philbin; Army Archerd; Chuck Pulin; Paul Chase; Neal Travis; Randy Alexander; Kent Kotal; Nancy Berk; and, CHIP!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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As Host of “The Traitors,” Multi-talented Alan Cumming Brings a New Flamboyance to The Peacock Network’s Hit Reality Game Show

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Not one to watch reality TV, I didn’t really get what “The Traitors” (the US version) was all about. But since it was hosted by Alan Cumming, the gender fluid actor/artist, I was intrigued to hear him speak about the show. He’s the host of the reality game show which is based on “De Verraders,” the Dutch show created by Marc Pos and Jasper Hoogendoorn.

Having completed two seasons, the offbeat American version features Cumming in flamboyant costumes making grand gestures and arch pronouncements as contestants in the game move into a majestic castle. As a result, Cumming has garnered an Emmy nom for Outstanding Host for A Reality or Reality Competition Program (“The Traitors”). This further enhances the show’s impact — but hopefully positive results will be in when the 75th edition of The Emmys airs September 15th on ABC.

The contestants work as a team to complete a series of dramatic and challenging missions. All of this to earn money for the prize pot. Some contestants are loyal, some are traitors — all of them established characters from other reality series.

Cumming — born on January 27, 1965, in Aberfeldy, Scotland — has had a long and distinguished career. He’s done everything from editing pop magazines, a cabaret show, dramatic TV series, various stage versions of Shakespeare’s plays and many starring roles in award-winning films. And, according to IMDB.com, “he’s able to flawlessly change his voice and appearance for each role.”

Now as he tackles “The Traitors” reality show, as both host and a producer, Cumming creates a new icon to connect to the LGBTQ community. At a recent screening of an episode, he spoke about this series just in time for Pride Month and preceding the Emmy nominations.

T2C: Alan Cumming, what makes you such an incredibly fun host to watch is that, unlike a lot of other reality shows, you really get into character. You become part of the cast in so many ways. What were your thought processes in coming into the show and figuring out how to play the role that you do within “Traitors”?

Alan Cumming: When they first talked to me about it, this was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I couldn’t quite understand why they’d ask me but it sort of sounded fun. My agent said, “Oh, there’s some show in a castle and they want you to do it.” I took the meeting and realized they wanted me to, in a way, subvert the form of hosting a show like this by playing that sort of character. Everyone does a version of themselves when they host something that’s not very true. But in this [case], it was actually a version of me and it’s a very sort of down-to-east Scottish layout. [My dog] Lala wasn’t allowed to come the first time because of her papers, or COVID or something. But I said, “Oh, I should take my dog and pet her like a James Bond villain.” I thought of it, and I still think of it as a character that I play who happens to be hosting all these people in this castle, which happens to be being filmed for American TV.

T2C: What makes the character so interesting is that for long-time fans of reality shows, you have a lot of personalities who are binary in nature and larger-than-life. That is why we watch them year after year, characters like C.T. and Adra, who have been on American television for decades. You somehow manage to out-character them in many ways. It’s like navigating a lot of those personalities while playing that character.

Alan Cumming: In a way, it’s because they have characters and they all come with their shtick. That’s what’s so interesting about doing it. The first series was comprised of half-real and half-reality people. Definitely, the people who are used to the camera and have an inbuilt persona already, they play themselves very well and understand the role they have to do. Then they’re thrown into this thing where everything’s sort of destabilizing for them. I just guide them into situations that hopefully, will destabilize them even more. That’s what’s fun about it. Everyone has a character in a way.

I think we’re used to C.T. or Phaedra or people we’ve known for years. We understand their characters. We’re now associates getting to know my character in it. I’m sort of the stern daddy of it all. It’s interesting to play that role and also, to try to keep some distance from them — the cast — on set. I don’t talk to them or do takes. I don’t engage with them in a chummy sort of way like you might in a normal [situation] when there’s other cast members. I very much think it’s important that I have authority. They’re kind of scared of me. Then, of course, now, after it’s all done, I can be like a normal person with them. I think you find that really overwhelming. They all came to my bar as it was when they were here earlier in the year doing the press thing. It was so hilarious. It was like them seeing Father Christmas having a drink or something.

T2C: That’s the sign of a good host — that they’re scared of you.

Alan Cumming: They should be scared of me because I’ve got to reprimand them sometimes. There’s a lot of things, obviously, that are captured in the show that I’ve got in those situations where I’ve really got to intervene. My word is law. It’s great fun. Clearly, I’m a terrifying figure, but I don’t think I’m scary. Also, I don’t take any shit. I know how to play a scary person. I’m fair but firm in real life.

T2C: Part of what makes “The Traitors” so unique is that in so many other reality shows, both competition and lifestyle, there’s no real setting other than the competition. You go to “Survivor Island” and do this thing. Or, if you look at “Real Housewives,” it is their real-life kind of, from time to time. Here, you have this beautiful gothic backdrop. A lot of the events, whether it’s the funeral or going to a cemetery, feels very theatrical — and creepy. We’re almost subverting the narrative of what this type of show format really is while also being [true] to the format.

Alan Cumming: What I think is liberating is the theatricality of it. Everyone in television is very scared of theatricality. If you ever try to pitch a show to a TV executive, the word “theater” or “theatrical” is poison to them. It’s very liberating that theatricality is in its very DNA. It’s gothic and camp in the true sense of the term. American people sometimes don’t have the same understanding of what camp means to British people. What we’re doing on the trade is camp. There’s a sort of annoyingness to it, an archness of theatricality, and a winking at the audience all the time about what it is.

There’s me in those insane costumes in this castle saying, “Welcome to my castle.” We’re bringing all these nutty personalities out of their comfort zones and then making them do insane things and pitting them against each other. It’s so amped up already in a sort of gothic [manner] of what it’s trying to do. The core of it is just a game. All those shows – as I’ve discovered now in my crash course in reality competition television over the last couple of years – are basically the same.

“Survivor” is the same as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the same as “The Chef” one. They’re all people doing things and then slowly one person gets put out and then they have to hold. Then there’s intrigue. Basically, it’s just like schoolyard games of pushing one person out until it’s just the next thing. In a way, what’s good about this is that that’s all it is. But it’s got all these psychological layers that I think people underestimate. Also, you’re in a castle and they’re maddened, these contestants, because they’re not allowed to pick up their phones. They’re not allowed to talk to each other. All they think about from morning to night is the show and the game. And they go nuts. It’s great.

T2C: We mentioned something, this idea of camp in the British sense of the term. Not necessarily what we think of it as evidenced by the Met Gala themes.

Alan Cumming: The theme was a good idea. People just didn’t understand it.

T2C: “The Traitors” has a British counterpart. There was a version of this before the U.S. version. What’s your take on what had to change within the format for a different audience, or if there had to be any changes, because television has become so much more globalized? Audiences are more open and receptive to different types of formats of television and different types of humor.

Alan Cumming: I don’t really know how to answer that question. I saw some of the first season of the British one. It’s not as camp and theatrical as ours. I think this is probably the first time in television history that an American version of the show is more camp and theatrical than the British one. I think that’s me, in my opinion. But I feel like, in a funny way, we were able to have more leeway in that department. That’s partly down to the costumes and Sam Spector, the stylist — he and I had an idea of the character I wanted to play.

[The British host] Claudia Winkelman has such a lovely personality and a lovely way in which she deals with people. They have real people, as well. They don’t have celebrities. It’s all a bit toned down and quite British. Whereas we were able — partly because it was a new show and partly because of the costume thing and me being this character — we’ve amped it up. It’s got this higher level of theatricality built into it. I think sometimes other countries try to do that. But I don’t think they’re quite as nuts as we are. I know that now there’s something someone said, “Claudia does your thing when she throws a picture on the floor now.” I was like, “Yes, you bitch, throw away my little picture.” But it’s kind of funny. Sometimes I see little clips of people from other countries’ versions. It’s like, “Oh, it seems like it’s sort of a fever dream.” You know vaguely what they’re talking about, but the circumstances are all different.

T2C: Going to the opposite of toned down, your outfits on the show are probably some of the best parts of it. They somehow get even more fabulous and glamorous every episode.  How involved are you with choosing the outfits versus someone else?

Alan Cumming: Well, very involved. I talk to Sam all the time. especially in the first season, because I said I wanted to be this dandy Scottish laird. You know what a laird means? It’s like lord in a Scottish accent, a Scottish dandy, sort of an aristocratic gent. To me, that means a lot of tartan, a lot of cloaks might be featured, things like that. I went to him with that idea and those sorts of things. Then he ran with it. We go back and forward. Then the second season, we were able to amp it up a bit. He themed the missions with my clothes. There’s one with birds. I just have a funny big peacock on my hat and stuff like that. For the next one, I’m about to go and do it again. It’s amped up again, more about layering things.

I have this great relationship with him. We text all the time. He sends some stuff to me, just ideas and things to improve. I think we’re going more and more and bigger and bigger. I think surely they’re going to stop us soon. But one thing I really do like about it is that — in terms of if we think about what’s happening in America and the way that trans people and non-binary people are facing lots of hatred and challenges — me, in this show as a middle-aged man, I’m being quite femmy and wearing a lot of practically feminine female clothes. What’s really interesting is to be able to do that in a mainstream way, and challenge people’s perceptions of what male and female is, and maybe be a bit in the middle.

Hopefully, when the audience sees someone in the street who’s non-binary or non-gender conforming, they won’t be as shocked or horrified. They’ll see me in a sort of a fanny dress and a cloak the night before. That’s a really positive, accidental thing that’s come out of this sort of theatricality of the costumes. One of the things that didn’t make it is … I saw it today in my dressing room in my house because I was doing a fitting for some little film I’m doing. I opened this cupboard in the last episode of the last season. It was all on this big ship, which was another story because we had a hideous storm and it was like “Triangle of Sadness.” It really was. I was vomiting into a metal bowl. I’ll never forget it. Thank you. And bon appetit. But there was a funny little hat that had a little galleon on it with sails. It was hilarious. It was sort of this Tracy-esque sort of thing. Absolutely bonkers. So impractical and nuts. It was on theme for the thing. But it was so windy that day that it kept falling off my head. Now I have it as a little memory.

T2C: As hosts, you are effectively the audience of the show. We’re seeing a lot of the things that you’re seeing and your commentary throughout the challenges is both biting and reflective of how we’re thinking. One of the themes that emerges in this episode you all saw as well leads up to this idea with these contestants, of gamers, those who have been on competitive reality shows and the non-gamers — what they refer to as the bravo, basically anyone that sits up and has fancy wine as part of their show. Is there a core advantage to one side or the other?

Alan Cumming: No, it was the funeral episode. The funeral. Yeah, hilarious. But I just love that because I liked it. As the series went on, they showed me more of me laughing. Obviously, it’s Pedro falling in the water. I just loved seeing how he’s always getting wet.

T2C: Who doesn’t?

Alan Cumming: Who doesn’t? But the thing I think about that, I thought was really interesting about the second season — this truly has been a crash course for me — I’m really at the center of it and I can experience it. I feel that a lot of people said that, “Oh, the gamers, they know how to do this, the survivors, the big brothers, the CT did.” The challenge, yeah. The perception is they are devious and they know how to do this game, whereas the outsiders are, oh, you know.

That’s not true. It was proven wrong in this season because — like, who was the one who worked it all out, kind of blew it in his execution of it — was the cutie little bachelor, Rafaela Peet. So, you know, the other non-gamer. That to me was really exciting because I loved when our sort of perception about the game was just smashed. And although I guess two gamers did win, but, you know … it didn’t necessarily mean it was because of their game win. It’s that somebody had to win. I think it’s really interesting. It’s a much more level playing field. Also, it’s a game of chance. You’re a traitor because I tap you on the shoulder.

That’s why I loved it when, a couple of weeks in, they’re going mental. They’re like, “I could never be a traitor.” I go, “You would if I tapped you on the shoulder.” That’s why the show is so good. It really screws with people’s minds, with the psychological, and the hurt and guilt that people get as well. The guilt [comes from] lying to your friends and everything. It’s layer upon layer of awfulness. Having seen people in physical distress, it’s always hilarious.

T2C: In the first episode of this [season], as you’re walking around, you’re going to pick the traitors. You do it a few times, and there’s conversation afterwards amongst the cast members about the sound of your jacket rustling as you lift an arm. Or your footsteps and the sound of breathing happening. How did you approach that moment of, “I need to make this as secretive as possible?”

Alan Cumming: It was absolutely the most terrifying part of the whole thing. I could fuck it up immensely in one fell swoop if they heard me or something. There were more of them this year. I do all sorts of things. The first year, we filmed a thing where I touched every single person. We’ve got the close-up of my hand going on the thing. We filmed that first. They’ve got an idea of what it feels like to be touched. Then we go round and round and round and round. In terms of the rustling, I would do this. Right in front of their ears. It’s so fun.

I really enjoy it; it’s the scariest part because I have a thing in my ear all the time. I can hear in the control room. When we’re inside the castle, they’re all in the control room, which is like NASA. It really is insane.  I could feel the tension because it was the first thing of the show. Obviously, it’s very tense in the room. When you’re blindfolded, your other senses get much more aware. So it’s really, really scary. I’m trying to get in and just do it without touching anything.

I was just talking with Sam, the stylist, this week about what I was going to wear for that bit. Of course, there were things on my lapels. I thought that would be terrible if you heard them. You have to be really conscious of stuff like that. It’s because everyone’s senses are so heightened. But it is exciting and terrifying.

T2C: Out of all of your friends or celebrities that you know, who do you think would be great on a season of “The Traitors?” And, what would you have more fun with? Or which role would you think would be better — a traitor or a faithful?

Alan Cumming: I would like to be a traitor. I think everybody would like to be a traitor. It’s just getting to go to the turret late at night and think who you’re going to kill. I just think it’s such fun. They get extra snacks when they go to the turret sometimes. But I don’t know. Some people really don’t want to be like that. That’s why we do this thing now when I interview them. It’s just hilarious. Lala and I are sitting there, and they come in one at a time, and they’re really terrified. Some people are adamant they don’t want to be a traitor.

Of course, that’s actually quite a good idea to make them a traitor when they’re doing that. That’s what I love about the game, is all these weird, confounding things you can do. Some people very much do think, well, you’re not going to. It’s actually really interesting, the mix of people that we choose for the show is all based on a lot of factors. But in terms of people that I know, we were just talking about her actually.

I think Martha Stewart would be so good at it. She’s so bossy and sort of strategic and so accomplished and everything. She would make that raft. She would get that catapult going. And, also, I just think she would be at home in a castle. So there’s people like that. But I love those people who come on the show. I don’t know who they are.

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G.H. Harding

Madonna; Jellybean and David Salidor

MADONNA’S BACK — (via Deadline) Madonna is teasing she is back working on her biopic and is titling it Who’s That Girl.

The singer shared a social media post where she is seen with a typewriter and making edits to a movie script.

“I Need A-lot of Bandz to make this………..OKAY. (Story of my life),” she captioned the post on Instagram.

In one of the pictures from the slideshow Madonna teased, you see a line drawn across the title M Untitled. The new title of the biopic is Who’s That Girl, a nod to Madonna’s 1987 film and song of the same name.

The script is noted as being “Rewritten by Madonna and ECW.”

News of Madonna working on her biopic comes almost a year and a half after the project was paused indefinitely. In January 2023, it was reported that the film at Universal Pictures had been scrapped.

Madonna was set to direct the film about her life and career, penning the script with Diablo Cody and Erin Cressida Wilson. Julia Garner had been chosen by the Queen of Pop herself to star in the film after proving to be a standout in a singing and dancing boot camp.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Garner is still attached to star in the film now called Who’s That Girl.

Following the biopic getting put on pause, Madonna suffered a “serious bacterial infection: in June 2023, which made her postpone her Celebration Tour. After recovering from health complications, Madonna embarked on her tour in October 2023 with stops in cities like London, Paris, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, San Francisco, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and many more.

Having lived through Madonna’s hey-day (and survived) I will admit it’s quite the story: From Patrick Hernandez to 610 Broome Street, Jellybean, Shep, PR-man David Salidor, MTV, Mark Kamins, Preston Powell and Seymour Stein and Warren Beatty too, I wonder just how forthcoming she’ll be. To me, the truth is, those early days were simply astounding and do make a terrific story, but that said, they’ve have to be told honestly and a accurately.

Julia Garner would be great, though I wonder again, what exactly was involved in Madonna’s so-called boot camp? Madonna can be, somewhat demanding!

BIDEN OUT — I knew it was a forgone conclusion after that first (and last debate with Trump) but Biden is officially out; with Kamala Harris eyed as the new choice. Biden did, btw, endorse her, though as of this writing she has not been formally nominated.

Topsy-turvy? Yes. More to come? I’m sure. Stay tuned.

Amos Lee

SHORT TAKES — Amos Lee was terrifically impressive on CBS’ Saturday Sessions this weekend. Stellar in fact.

Adrian Niles

Reminded us of Adrian Niles from years ago … After a seemingly endless heat wave in NYC, I heard one of the weather-heads describe the break in the heat as borderline comfortableGuess Who Don’t Sue: What enterprising director had a red-hot doc ready to go on a iconic superstar, but he let his reps go fingering he could do it with his own mojo? He couldn’t and the deal fell through …

Steven J. Immerman

Brad Balfour interviewed Steven J. Immerman on his In Search Of Pleasure Island tome for the Irish Examiner. Check it out here: https://irishexaminerusa.com/wp/?p=29625

We watched Sofia Coppola’s On The Rocks with Bill Murray and Rashida Jones. Coppola’s Lost In Translation (2003) is perhaps my all-time favorite film. This was a different, lighter path, but we definitely give it a thumbs up. Murray, as usual, was terrific …

Katy Perry

I’m a bit bothered by all this media-backlash about Katy Perry and her comeback single “Women’s World.” There were disturbing items about it in both SHOWBIZ 411 (https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/07/19/katy-perrys-new-single-womans-world-fails-to-launch-with-just-3k-sold) and the Daily Mail (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-13635579/Katy-Perry-comeback-music.html); citing everything from Dr. Luke’s involvement to a hideous video for the song. It all seems a bit unwarranted. It may not be “Firework,”  but not totally a disaster. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVIJUH29pjU … And, great quote from Peter Frampton on the passing of Bob Newhart: We were friends and when I took him to lunch, it was the Four Seasons. when he took me to lunch, it was some place else. It was the accountant in him.” Much-missed and thank you Bob! for all the laughs.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Andrew Sandoval; Bob Merlis; Roy Trakin; Roger Grimsby; Bill Beutel; Spike Jonze; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent & Laura Denmark; Susan Storm; Geraldo Rivera; Rosanna Scotto; Paul Mescal; Paul Undersinger; Harrison Jordon; Jordon Gray; Lori Immerman; Vinny Rich; Scott Stark; Don Wardell; Marsha Stern; Billy Smith; Robert Funaro; and CHIP!

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24 BACK — (Via TV Line) The clock is ticking (again): A movie adaptation of the hit Fox drama 24  is in early development at 20th Century Studios, our sister site Variety reports.

Keifer Sutherland

Brian Grazer, who executive-produced the original series, teased the prospect of a film version in a June interview with MSNBC’s Squawk Box. In a discussion of different legacy IP brands at his production company Imagine Entertainment, Grazer mentioned a 24 movie in the works “that we’re going to do in a very interesting way with Disney and Fox.”

The project is still in the very early stages, though, so there’s no word yet if Keifer Sutherland will return to reprise his role as counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer in the film. Sutherland starred as Bauer during 24′s original run, which aired for eight seasons on Fox beginning in 2001. The real-time thriller became a hit and won a number of awards, including Emmys for best drama series and for Sutherland as best lead actor in a drama. Sutherland returned as Bauer for the limited series 24: Live Another Day, which aired in 2014. Fox also tried a spinoff, 24: Legacy, in 2017 — with Corey Hawkins taking over the lead role — but that was scrapped after a single season.

The way I see if – and, as a longtime fan of both the show and Sutherland – is that if Keifer is not there, it’s not worth doing. Agreed?

Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford


SHORT TAKES — I watched an interview with Kathie Lee Gifford on Today Wednesday and didn’t even recognize her. Check out the clip here: https://www.today.com/health/news/kathie-lee-gifford-hip-surgery-rcna162079 … Great Micky Dolenz interview from the Monterey Country NOW by Dave FariesMicky Dolenz of The Monkees – and much more – still thrives on stage with songs and stories. | Music | montereycountynow.com

Brad Balfour (Film Festival Traveler) interviewed Steven J. Immerman on his In Search Of Pleasure Island tome this week… Home Depot loads in their Halloween-toys and treats this weekend. It may seem a bit early, but October will here before you know it. A PR-source of ours was about to work on a Halloween-movie coming out in September and had a co-promotion event with the store and the movie; then it all fell apart. Seems to me this would have been a superb tie-in … One of the great A&R men of them all Ed Rosneblatt passed this week in LA. From Peter Gabriel to Madonna to Neil Young; Eddie had a hand in it. Take a look at this story from Hits:https://hitsdailydouble.com/news&id=341939&title=EDDIE-ROSENBLATT-1934-2024 

Cameron Crowe

Meryl Streep is set to essay Joni Mitchell in a film by Cameron Crowe. Big news for sure. Crowe’s Almost Famous is a stone-called classic; as is Crowe …

Francis Ford Coppola

This year’s Kennedy Center Honors will be awarded to director Francis Ford Coppola, rock band Grateful Dead, blues and rock singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval and the venue The Apollo. The ceremony will take place on Dec. 8, for broadcast on Dec. 23 …

We haven’t weighed in on Apple +’s Presumed Innocent; the re-working of Scott Turow’s book (in 1987) and movie (in 1990), but the finale is next week and the show’s just been renewed for a second season. Jake Gyllenhaal has been great, as has Bill Camp, but David E. Kelly’s words have been just off the charts. For me, it’s the best Kelly’s done since Big Little Lies. If you haven’t seen this series yet, watch all the 8 episodes. It’s a gift for sure. Stunningly good … Just received: NYC’s legendary West Bank Cafe will close …

Tom Viola (by Tristan Fuge)

After an extraordinary run of 36 years, Broadway Cares’ Tom Viola is leaving. Bravo Tom! … RIP Bob Newhart!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Hoda Kotb; Roseanna Scotto; Ray ‘Pinky’ Velazquez; Jim Burgess; Stephanie Shepherd; Monica Lynch; Robert Dragatta; Len Berman; Brad Balfour; Jim Milliot; Sue Simmons; Cindy Adams; Liz Smith; Claudia Cohen; Neal Travis; Richard Johnson; Howard Smiley; and SADIE!

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FOLEY’S FUN — I watched Axel F: Beverly Hills Cop the other night and though everyone looked dreadfully old, I rather enjoyed in. Murphy was 23 when the first one came out in 1984 and was a massive hit; 40 years later, the demand is perhaps not the same, but I was surprised by how much of the original music was repeated in this one: from The Pointer Sisters on down to Bob Seger; it was almost like a walk down memory lane.

Kevin Bacon, as a corrupt police captain, is the big bad here and while he was good, he was nowhere near as bad as Stephen Berkof as Victor Maitland in the original. Face it, the badder the bad-guy is, the more it works. It was great seeing the original cast back; I love Paul Reiser, Judge Reinhold and John Ashton, but newcomers Taylour Paige, who essays Foley’s daughter, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt bring real gravitas to the screen. Levitt continues to impress every time I see him. I predict he’ll find that one big role and will be a major, major star.

The script by Will Beall; Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten is pretty bland, although one line that Murphy says to Paige is a killer:  I’ve been a father as long as you’ve been a daughter.

Don Simpson

If you’ve seen the trailer and it evoked similar feelings as the one in 1984, it’s because the studio brought back the original editor to do the new trailer. Smart move for sure. Also impressive was adding the name of producer ‘Don Simpson’ in the opening credits. Much missed.

TRUMP BIDNESS — After the weekend’s events with Trump, what can you say. He survived and the ;photos and videos have been used and viewed hundreds of times. We don’t even talk about a replacement for Biden anymore?

There still are some that say it was staged, but were the injured part of the plan too?. Even for me, that’s a bit cyclical.

I lived through the Kennedy (both); King; Wallace; Reagan and Scalise events and they were just terrible.

Still you’ve got give Trump credit for pushing on …. right?

SHORT TAKES — Hard to believe LIVE AID was 39 years ago last weekend. We we’re there, actually sitting in the row where they stopped to hose the crowd down. Was a terribly hot day at JFK Stadium. My main memory was Clapton, The Cars and Hall & Oates and of course, all of Phil Collins. Quite a day …

Have you seen this latest video from Ringo Starr? “Gonna Need Someone”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r0NthMLvtQ And that’s Nick Valensi (the Strokes) on guitar. Song was written by Linda Perry and from Ringo’s current EP Crooked Boy Sign Of The Times: LA’s famed Record Plant is closing after 55 years as one of the industry’s most in-demand recording studios. Hotel California and Rumours were recorded there. New York’s Record Plant closed their doors in 1987. Check this out from MIXhttps://www.mixonline.com/business/renowned-record-plant-studio-shutters?utm_term=2B400D4A-A644-43F4-980A-3A38D94AC1E6&utm_medium=email&utm_content=F16B421C-44D3-4A98-81C2-A992E5552E7D&utm_source=SmartBrief …

Jonathan Wolfson just sent us the new Daryl Hall album, D. Review next time …

Palm Restaurant

PR-pasha David Salidor’s book on the infamous Palm restaurant is due in September … Happy Bday Angelo Babbaro; Ron Shuter and Bill Evans. RIP Richard Simmons; Dr. Ruth; James B. Sikking; and Shannen Doherty.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Al Roker; Bruce Grakal; John Billings; Jane Blunkell; Chris Gilman; Peter Shendell; Barry Fisch; Eppy; Vinny Rich; Anthoiny Noto; Anthony Pomes; Matt Crutch; Lush Ice; Belinda Carlisle; Gary Gershoff; Steve Walter; Chubby O’Brien; Pat Walsh; Mike Shanley; and ZIGGY!

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ALEC BALDWIN — I’ve had my own issues with Alec Baldwin for years; then, literally on a dime, it all turned around and I found him to be pretty compassionate, intelligent and a nice guy. What happened in Santa Fe on the Rust set was an unspeakable tragedy, and his trial was halted yesterday and the case was dismissed due to evidence not being given to the Baldwin-team. The Santa Fe prosecutor Kari Morrisey seemingly told two different stories on the stand and outside the court room. She is, without a doubt, toast.

Baldwin is still liable for civil suits, but this case is gone and he cannot be tried again. A win for sure, but the questions still remain: who brought live ammo onto the Rust-set. Clearly that may never, ever be determined.

Baldwin’s a good guy with a short fuse, but this situation, once and for all, is done.

Mirage

SHORT TAKES — Hard to believe the Las Vegas Mirage is closing … after 35 years. Opened in 1983 it was a great hotel and hosted The Beatles’ Love show. I have stayed there numerous times and loved it. The new owner will build a Hard Rock hotel there, with a HUGE guitar in front. Yet again changing the skyline of that town. It’ll open in 2027 …

Lyndsey Parker

Lyndsey Parker is a terrific writer. Her new site, Lyndsanity just posted a great interview with Micky Dolenz about his direction of the video “Love Is Dangerous” from Noel – masterminded by the Mael Brothers in 1979. Great piece, check it out here:  https://www.lyndsanity.com/music/micky-dolenz-on-directing-long-lost-dancing-is-dangerous-video-for-sparks-protege-noel-its-pretty-weird-huh/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2W-9c0OfpLdT3WVy52ZWliQu7XTVoVjaYREbiUMSAUcdgJatcsL547X8c_aem_8St7LVBDI_U5Qp-ZJ5lxQA

… Hard to believe there are only 8 episodes left of CBS’ Blue Bloods. Salary concerns killed this show and it’s a shame as it was really superb for 15 years. Bad move on CBS’ part …

Zach Martin

Veteran-broadcaster Denny Somach joins Zach Martin’s NEW HD radio – https://newhdmedia.com/rock-and-roll-for-grownups-debut-denny-somach/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR1j_BeyvWnRksk6pRN7IUtWK-kzu5G35zKqcjBUjVJOJ3w_b4IVFjDE6UI_aem_hW0aEBIVaHEwpJXVTItulA

Benny Harrison

Whatever happened to Benny Harrison’s album Pages? It was a great one. Heard an early advance and loved it …And, (via Deadline)

Stevie Nicks

There are special guest stars, and then there’s extra-special guest stars. Which is what Harry Styles what is as he joined Stevie Nicks at her July 12 concert in the UK for versions of her hits “Stop Draggin’ My heart Around” and “Landslide.” Styles played guitar on stage and held up on the Tom Petty/Lindsey Buckingham vocal parts. It was familiar turf, as Styles has joined Nicks on stage several times in the past. Nicks was appearing at the BST Hyde Park concert series on Friday. Nicks told the audience in London that she asked Styles to help her in commemorating what would have been her late Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie’s 81st birthday … RIP Dr. Ruth!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Nancy Ruth; Mark Bego; Freda Payne; Jerry Brandt; Kent & Laura Denmark; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Kramer; Terry Jastrow; Steve Immerman; Jordan Immerman; Tony Seidl; Roy Trakin; Markos Papadatos; Sparks; Pat Prince; Cindy Adams; Tony LoBianco; Tone Scott; David Adelson; Joel Denver; Pat Prince; and SADIE!

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