Unemployed, but Not
This week we start with a
British Internet find. It's not the latest fight from stupid
self-absorbed teenagers. This is a true joy to watch. As you know,
Britain's Got Talent has spawned off from America's Got Talent. The
judges across the pond are Piers Morgan, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell.
The reason why Simon Cowell judges there and not here, is because of an
exclusivity contract with American Idol and 19 Entertainment.
Anyway, the show that discovered Paul Potts has just started his second
season and this clip is a find. Thirteen-year-old Andrew Johnston is a
child from a town where he is bullied for the only fact that he is in a
choir. Well, this week, he moved the judges and an audience to tears
with his performance of Pie Jesu. And let me tell you something, he
moved me as well. Watch it here at this link which will also be in the
show notes. And the link is from ITV:
The final major network
released it's summer schedule this week, and it's CBS. And here's what
going to happen for us in the game show/reality competition genre,
courtesy of zap2it.com. The backbone of CBS' summer schedule will be the
three weekly airings of "Big Brother." The 10th installment of the
shut-in franchise will begin on Sunday, July 13 at 8 p.m., moving
quickly into regular installments at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
at 8 p.m. As usual, Julie Chen will host. And there was much
No fewer than three other unscripted competition shows will premiere
during the summer months, starting with the network's Regis Philbin-hosted
revamp of "Million Dollar Password." The classic game show will return
with stars including Betty White, Rachael Ray, Neil Patrick Harris and
Monique Coleman and will air on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. premiering on
Thursday, July 10 will see the 8 p.m. premiere of "Greatest American
Dog," which pits pets and their owners against each other to find the
nation's best trained dogs.
Then on Sunday, July 27 at 9 p.m., Mark Burnett will ask ordinary people
to come up with catchy advertising slogans on "Jingles."
Speaking of CBS, we have a
huge piece of technological news to report. According to Variety, the
granddaddy of the current generation of competition-based reality shows
will make the jump to high-definition starting with its 17th edition,
which shoots this summer for a fall debut....and that's Survivor.
"Survivor" will be the first CBS reality show to be produced in HD, and
one of just a handful of reality shows to opt for the more expensive
Announcement of the "Survivor" shift was made Sunday by Sony and CBS at
the National Assn. of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. "Survivor"
will use Sony's XDCAM production system to make the transition to HD.
"Survivor" exec producer Mark Burnett said the jump to HD would usher in
"a new era" for his show, "creating an immediacy that draws viewers
right into the frame. This is something we'd been looking to do for some
CBS reality guru Ghen Maynard said HD would open up new storytelling
tools for the show's producers.
" 'Survivor's' locations and natural elements have always served as
another character in the show and an important part of the competition,"
"With HD, viewers will feel as if they are on location instead of in
their living room."
CBS and Sony didn't reveal the cost of the move to HD, or whether Sony
would subsidize the expense. However, the large number of cameras used
by reality shows such as "Survivor" -- not to mention specialized cams,
including some that film underwater -- has long been cited as a barrier
to moving reality shows to HD.
Just four other network game shows -- "American Idol," "Dancing with the
Stars", "Don't Forget the Lyrics!", and "American Gladiators" -- are
shot and presented in HD.
As a personal note, also remember that Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune
have been broadcasting in HD since September 2006. And the Price is
Right Million Dollar Spectaculars just started to be shown in HD as of
This is a great move and I can't wait to see the natural landscape in
HD. Just be glad you didn't get to see Richard Hatch in HD.
Another piece of news from
the NAB convention was Bob Barker's Hall of Fame Award. He received the
award Monday afternoon, according to the New York Times, and he
concluded his speech with a game of Plinko, a pricing game that is among
the most popular on the show.
Mr. Barker, whose name is name is synonymous with the phrase "come on
down," retired from "The Price Is Right" on CBS last fall after 35
In a video about Mr. Barker's 50-year career in television, Adam Sandler,
the narrator, said, "If you think reality TV is anything new, check this
film then reviewed Mr. Barker's appearances in sitcoms and dramas, his
hosting of the 1950s game show "Truth or Consequences," and his movie
star turn with Mr. Sandler in "Happy Gilmore."
Mr. Barker was met with a standing ovation by hundreds of
conference-goers. "Thank you for the applause," Mr. Barker said. "I
think the thing I miss most about 'The Price Is Right' is the applause.
No, I beg your pardon, the thing I miss most about 'The Price Is Right'
is the money!"
Two memorable parts of "The Price Is Right" set were re-created on the
ballroom stage: the big wheel and the Plinko board. Two contestants,
drawn from the audience, went home with a flat-screen television and an
Xbox 360...that's cool.
Mr. Barker said he should end with a profound thought. So he offered
this one, familiar to any of his fans: "Help control the pet population.
Have your pets spayed or neutered."
Well deserved, Mr. B. Well deserved.
This next story touched me.
As you may or may not know, David Cook, a finalist in American Idol has
a brother who is battling brain cancer. So, B102.7FM in Terre Haute,
Indiana , an adult contemporary radio station and LifeLine donated their
time and services to make sure his brother Adam and his wife saw him
perform this past week on American Idol.
"This literally came to be in the course of a day or so. In that short
amount of time, we have seen so many people step up to support someone
they don't even know carry out his last wishes. Individuals and
businesses alike have donated and continue to call and e-mail, asking
how they can help. It's truly touching - it makes me proud of the city I
call home," says B102.7 Program Director and Morning Co-Host Adam
This was really great. The town came together to bring some pleasure to
a man battling a crippling disease. I am so glad this happened. It goes
to show you with all the negativity in the world, you read a great story
Speaking of American Idol,
we had Mariah Carey week and David Cook stole the show with his version
of "Always Be My Baby." And now we are down to six as Kristy Lee Cook
was sent home. Syesha Mercado and Brooke White were in the bottom three
Now that we are down to six....each artist is going to have to sing two
songs! And with this week's Mentor being Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, we
could have a surprise or two come this week's elimination.
We had the first female
winner of "The Biggest Loser" this year, as Ali Vincent took home the
big prize. And you can be a loser too...of pounds that is. There have
been a lot of items associated with the show and now we have the Biggest
Loser Meal Plan!
According to the press release The Biggest Loser Meal Plan, which was
created in conjunction with Bistro MD, has been carefully developed by
doctors and experts who specialize in treating patients with weight
disorders. Plan participants receive five days of gourmet-quality meals
(three per day), which arrive at their doorstep, ready to reheat. The
meals include everything from omelets or honey oat waffles for
breakfast, to blackened tilapia or black bean soup for lunch, to whole
wheat pasta or stuffed chicken breast for dinner. All of the food is
prepared according to kosher standards and with only the finest
ingredients. The meals are then flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed to
preserve nutrients and maximize freshness and flavor. The plan is
available for $99.95 per week for five days of meals, which can be
tailored to personal dining preferences or other dietary restrictions,
I think this is...well...interesting. I mean, if you are on the plan for
a year...that's $5,200 for meals alone....so NBC and the Biggest Loser
are profiting big time off of people. Let's just hope this isn't a total
marketing scam which is what this appears to be unfortunately.
Last week, we had the story
of Lifetime snatching up "Project Runway" and this week, Lifetime had
their upfronts and the subject came up...sort of. According to the
Hollywood Reporter, Harvey Weinstein said on Monday afternoon that
moving "Project Runway" from NBC Universal to Lifetime Networks will
help the Peabody Award-winning reality series reach its potential.
He declined to discuss when the Weinstein Co. would respond in court to
the lawsuit filed against it by NBC Universal over the move.
"That's the one thing I can't talk about," Weinstein told The Hollywood
Reporter after a presentation by Lifetime Networks at a midtown
Manhattan restaurant Monday afternoon.
But Weinstein disclosed that Lifetime would televise two new Weinstein
Co. reality series: "Project Pygmalion," in development for 2009, which
will remake the winner and give her entry into high society, and a
series looking at "Project Runway" from the models' eyes ("Models of the
Runway") that will air in November along with the reality series'
Lifetime made a big splash with "Runway" at its presentation, which in
some ways overshadowed the rest of its development slate because of the
announcement and lawsuit. Weinstein and Tim Gunn attended the event.
Gunn, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors are on board to continue with the new
seasons, though the fate of Nina Garcia remains uncertain after a change
at Elle, where she worked, and which is a major sponsor. Weinstein said
that he was still trying to work that out.
"Nina wants to stay with us and we want her to be," Weinstein said.
Random news bits to end the
- Top Design has a new host in India Hicks.
- Chronicle Books is releasing Top Chef: The Cookbook
- The Indian Class of "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader" has been
- As expected, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of
Radio & Television Artists are negotiating separate contracts. In a
letter Monday to SAG, the American Federation of Television and
Radio Artists said it would not revisit its decision to sever the
guilds' longtime unified negotiations.
- Deal or No Deal is taping in the Philippines.
- And CTV is allowing online auditions for Canadian Idol.
That's all for this time, this is Jason Block reminding you...don't just
play fair...play to win.
Jason Block could knock
out a killer aria if given the opportunity. E-mail him at