Dave Gee: Entertainment Now
Dave Gee: Entertainment Now
Latest News from the world of Entertainment, including the newest TV shows, DVD releases, Pop Music, and Celebrity Gossip

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

American rapper and singer Vanilla Ice (real name Rob Van Winkle) is back in the charts in the UK, thanks to a couple of identical twins.

Young Irish singers John and Edward Grimes shot to fame last year on TV talent show The X Factor. The duo attracted criticism for their unusual performances and their crazy "big hair". But the pair - dubbed Jedward - caught the public's imagination and kept getting voted through to the later rounds.

Dismissed by many critics, Jedward were offered a recording deal through X Factor judge Louis Walsh. The twins' debut single Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby) has just gone straight in at Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart (just pipped at the post by US group Owl City).

The single's a mash-up of Queen and David Bowie’s song Under Pressure with Vanilla Ice’s breakout hit Ice Ice Baby, and features Mr Ice himself in the second half of the song...

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After five years as TV's most popular Time Lord, the tenth Doctor Who David Tennant has said goodbye to his alter ego for the final time.

Tennant had 48 adventures as the time-travelling alien from Gallifray, taking over from Christopher Eccleston who launched the new series. His time as Doctor Who ended this week in the BBC's 2-part holiday season story 'The End of Time', with a look back at some of his friends and foes of the past few years.

The hectic episode saw the tenth Doctor team up with arch enemy The Master (John Simm) and Donna's grandad Wilf in a battle against their own kind, as the Time Lords returned with bad intentions.

(The civilisation of the Time Lords had largely been absent from the modern series, after losing the great Time War).

The 2-parter was also the final episode for the sci-fi show's Executive Producer Russell T Davies, who successfully revived and relaunched the Doctor for a new generation.

Fellow Executive Producer Julie Gardiner is also leaving, with Steven Moffatt taking over as EP and showrunner as the story continues with the Eleventh Doctor.

As is tradition in Doctor Who folklore, his alien body was regenerated after the death of tenth doctor (David Tennant), with 27-year old Matt Smith taking over the Tardis.

The youngest Doctor yet, Smith's version of the character is eccentric, with a quirky taste in clothes (bow-tie, tweed jacket, slim trousers, Doc Marten boots), and big hair to boot.

Moffat admits the writers were originally looking for an actor "in their thirties or forties", but were impressed with the Northampton actor's "dynamism and swagger".
Smith's incarnation is described as being "old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the Universe”. The Doctor's new companion is Amy Pond (Karen Gillan).

The team began shooting new episodes of Doctor Who in Cardiff around the middle of 2009. The 13 episode series will be the fifth since being revived by the BBC, and is due to hit UK screens in the Spring (March/April 2010)

* Check out the first trailer of the BBC's new season of Doctor Who below. (There's a few spoilers, including the return of old (and upgraded) foes, along with some familiar faces...)

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The writers of British sci-fi series Primeval have plenty of "shocking" storylines in store for fans of the revived tv show, according to lead actor Andrew Lee-Potts.

The show follows a team of Government scientists, investigating "temporal anomalies" (portals or dimensional holes through time) across Great Britain. The team must stop or retrieve prehistoric dinosaurs and futuristic creatures from entering the present time through the portals.

The UK series first screened in 2007 on ITV, and is also broadcast in other 35 international markets. However, ITV announced in June 2009 that the television network was cancelling the series at the end of its third season (despite its cliffhanger ending).

Reasons suggested for Primeval's axing included a slight fall in ratings, and the high cost of production due in part to its heavy use of CGI and special effects. (Although ITV didn't pay the full cost of the Impossible Pictures-produced show, the broadcaster had earlier revealed a company-wide loss of £2.7 billion).

However, in late September ITV announced the series was being recommissioned for another 13 episodes, under a new co-production deal which will see Primeval shared between the free-to-air broadcaster and satellite/cable operators.

The new episodes will be split into shorter fourth and fifth seasons, with shooting due to begin in March 2010. However fans will have to wait until 2011 to see new episodes of the show onscreen.

Under a somewhat complicated deal, ITV1 gets to play series four (7 episodes) of Primeval first, early in 2011. UKTV's general entertainment channel Watch (pay tv) gets the first UK screening of series five (6 episodes) later in the year.

ITV1 will have second run rights to the fifth season of the show. BBC America and German channel ProSieben are also involved in the complicated deal.

Andrew Lee-Potts (Connor Temple) is returning for the new episodes, along with co-star and real life fiancée Hannah Spearritt (Abby Maitland). Jason Flemyng (Danny Quinn) and Ben Miller (James Lester) are also confirmed as being back for the next two seasons of the sci-fi action show.

It's also understood there are ongoing talks about an American version of the series, as well suggestions of a spin-off show, and a a possible Primeval film.

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TV teen drama star Brian Austin Green is considering a move to One Tree Hill...

The actor's big tv break came with the original Fox series of Beverly Hills 90210, but Green most recently starred in the sci-fi series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which was recently cancelled after two seasons.

Green would become a regular cast member of The CW's hit teen drama One Tree Hill, which is losing some of its top stars for the next (seventh) season.

Chad Michael Murray (Lucas Scott) and Hilarie Burton (Peyton Sawyer) are both leaving the show, after reports the pair couldn't reach a new deal with the network (apparently over money and potentially more creative control).

Brian Austin Green is set to play Clayton, a sports agent and close friend of Nathan Scott. Austin Nichols was recently promoted to series regular in his role as movie producer Julian Baker (boyfriend of Brooke Davis).

One Tree Hill producers are planning to introduce two more characters to replace their exiting stars. Haley James Scott is expected to get an older sister, while Brooke Davis will be hiring a model-actress to front her clothing line.

With the world watching on, unlikely internet singing star Susan Boyle found herself surprisingly pipped at the finish-line in the UK television talent show, Britain's Got Talent.

48 year old Scotswoman Susan Boyle attracted international media attention after her rousing rendition of the Les Miserables song I Dreamed a Dream in the heats of the competition (which she repeated in the final). The original video clip is closing in becoming the most viewed clip of all time.

In the British final, Boyle found herself up against a couple of 'child prodigy' singers including blubbering 10-year old Hollie Steele, Saxophone player Julian Smith, father & son comedy-dance act Stavros Flatley ("two little pudgy fellows" doing their version of Michael Flatley's Riverdance), and a couple of dance troupes including Diversity.

Boyle made it into the final three, but young East London dancer troupe Diversity were the surprise winners on the night, scoring 24.9% of the final vote, ahead of 2nd placed Susan Boyle with 20.2% of the vote.

The result surprised and pleased the bookies, who were facing multi-million pound payouts if Boyle had won, despite the short odds. UK bookmakers Ladbrokes says they've "couriered a crate of bubbly to Diversity."

Boyle was gracious in defeat, but has reportedly since been admitted to London private medical clinic The Priory, suffering from exhaustion.

Boyle loses out on the £100,000 first prize, but is still set to sign a lucrative record deal with Sony BMG (through Simon Cowell's Syco Music). The company is now offering her legal advice, psychiatric counselling and management services.

But before she can record her debut album, she has to prepare for the upcoming 18-date Britain's Got Talent tour. The UK tour with other finalists is a condition of competing in the show, and begins on June 12. Participants are bussed between venues, and paid just £500 a night (less tax and agents' fees).

Scottish spinster Boyle is due to fly to the Czech Republic as soon as the BGT tour is over, and under the watchful eye of Simon Cowell, she is scheduled to record an album of show tunes over three days with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Given the international interest in Boyle, Cowell believes she can be even more successful that former BGT Opera find, Paul Potts. Cowell reportedly believes Susan is capable of scoring a US #1, with earnings of up to £10million in her first year. (Potts made almost £5 million). A number of high-profile personal appearances are already booked in, along with an autobiography offer.

Check out the winning announcement from Britain's Got Talent 2009, and Diversity's encore performance (HQ version)...

It was decision time in the United States as the major TV networks confirmed their programme lineups for the coming Autumn season.

Last year the big 4 network (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox) pre-sold US$9.6 billion in advertising slots for the autumn and winter seasons, but those numbers are expected to be well down this year.

That will put more pressure on the networks' programming budgets, with more reality and talk shows set to fill up primetime.

NBC has renewed spy show Chuck for a third season, despite it failing to ignite the ratings in the United States (although it is more popular overseas). However Chuck producers have denied rumours that NBC demanded big budget cuts or a smaller cast to cut the cost per episode (although signing a last-minute sponsorship deal with Subway probably helped).

NBC's former-hit-show Heroes is back, as is the 20th(!) season of Law & Order (matching Gunsmoke as the longest-running primetime tv drama series). The spinoff show Special Victims Unit also returns, along with a new season of Celebrity Apprentice.

Jay Leno's new talkshow will fill the 10pm timeslot during the week, forcing some shows to move to earlier in the night. However NBC has cancelled Medium, My Name is Earl, The Chopping Block, and gameshow Deal or No Deal. The network also has substantial coverage of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver over February.

Over at Fox, executives have axed low rating series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which lasted two seasons but was expensive to make, as well as long-running animated show King of the Hill.

However Fox surprised many commentators by renewing its other big-budget Friday night sci-fi series, Dollhouse (from Buffy/Angel creator Joss Whedon) for a second series.

Fox also has new seasons of hit shows American Idol, 24, So You Think You Can Dance, The Simpsons, and House (albeit with a shorter season of 18-20 episodes) to hold the network steady.

It's also launching five new comedy series, including an animated spin-off from Family Guy called The Cleveland Show, following slow-talking Cleveland Brown, and a heavily-hyped High School Musical-style comedy called Glee (about a high school glee club - basically a choir).

Meanwhile a former pro-footballer moves home with his Mom in Brothers, while Sons of Tucson sees 3 brothers hiring a man to impersonate their imprisoned father. Comedian Wanda Sykes also gets her own Saturday night show.

ABC is hoping the return of old sitcom favourites will bring viewers back to its network, and is dropping shows like Samantha Who? and According to Jim. In their place is former Frasier star Kelsey Grammar as an out-of-work corporate hotshot in Hank, while former Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton becomes a small-town family Mom in new comedy series The Middle.

Former Friends star Courtney Cox (Monica Geller) meanwhile is playing a newly single Mom in Cougar Town, while former Married with Children Dad Ed O'Neill heads up Modern Family, a sitcom filmed in the documentary-style of The Office.

Scrubs will be back for a 9th season (although only its second on ABC, after 7 seasons on NBC), but star Zach Braff will only appear in a few episodes. Paul Gross replaces Jack Nicholson as the devil in Eastwick, a small screen adaptation of the film Witches of Eastwick. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? gets a special "10th Anniversary" run over the US summer.

Also on ABC's slate is V, a mini-series remake of the 80's lizard alien invasion series, and Shark Tank, a Dragon's Den-style show from reality tv expert Mark Burnett.

Desperate Housewives is renewed for a sixth season, while Lost will return for its sixth and final season in early 2010. Ugly Betty gets a fourth season, but has been relegated to late Friday nights after a ratings decline.

* Digital Spy - 2009-10 US TV Season

* NZ Herald: Networks face grim future as advertising lifeline shrivels

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If you're even a slight fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, you've probably seen by now the 2009 winner, fresh-faced singer and violinist Alexander Rybak who won for Norway with the song Fairytale.

Ryback was the clear runaway winner of the 54th annual contest, crushing the competition and scoring a record 387 points with his modern folk tune.

Unfortunately the 23-year old managed to drop the coveted Eurovision trophy just minutes after he received it, accidentally shattering the crystal microphone-shaped statue when he put it down on the stage.

However his single Fairytale is expected to top the charts across Europe following the win...

Finland and Greece were our favourites, although Norway was also in our catchy top five. Here's Waldo's People from Finland with their entry Lose Control, which didn't deserve to finish in last place in the final...

The UK managed its best finish in years, with Jade singing well to finish in 5th place, with the Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Diane Warren-penned ballad It's My Time. Sweden's multi-octaved singer Malena Enman didn't set the voting lines alight, with her soaring Opera-pop song La Voix.

Here's the song we would have preferred to have seen represent Sweden, the "boy band" trio E.M.D. with Baby Goodbye, from Melodifestivalen 2009...

Repeat Melodifestivalen finalist Måns Zelmerlöw would also have been a good choice for Sweden with Hope & Glory...

Here in New Zealand, the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow was broadcast on television for the first time in a few decades, on satellite channel Stratos and Auckland community station Triangle. The show screened just 12 hours after the live European broadcast, and encouraged kiwis to vote for their favourite songs from the contest.

The New Zealand "jury" results were...

1 point for Portugal (Flor-de-Lis - Todas as ruas do amor)
2 points for Albania (Kejsi Tola - Carry Me in Your Dreams)
3 points for Sweden (Malena Ernman - La Voix)
4 points for Turkey (Hadise - Düm Tek Tek)
5 points for Finland (Waldo's People - Lose Control)
6 points for the United Kingdom (Jade Ewen - It's My Time)
7 points for Iceland (Yohanna - Is It True?)
8 points for Azerbaijan (AySel and Arash - Always)
10 points for Germany (Alex Swings Oscar Sings! - Miss Kiss Kiss Bang)
12 (Douze) points for Norway (Alexander Rybak - Fairytale)

The year's most unlikely singing sensation, Susan Boyle, is poised to break an internet record. Boyle's performance on UK tv talent show Britain's Got Talent is on its way to becoming the most watched online clip of all time.

Videos of her rendition of the Les Miserables song 'I Dreamed A Dream' have been viewed over 100 million times in just over a week.

The videos easily beat other "hit" web events like Barack Obama's Victory Speech, which has received around 18.5 million hits on YouTube. The most popular internet video of all time is 2006's Evolution of Dance (comic Judson Laipply), which has been received over 118 million views.

Susan Boyle's story has gone far beyond the British tv viewing public, where she is now favourite to win the 100,000 prize for the current season of Britain's Got Talent.

She has been courted by American talk shows and breakfast television, and garnered international news coverage for her "inspirational story", as the "podgy woman with a frumpy frock, a wiry hairdo and heavy brows" who blew away the judging panel and the audience with her voice.

Boyle claims she has never been kissed, but now has an offer for a romantic dinner with show judge Piers Morgan. Another judge, Amanda Holden, says she doesn't want to see Susan undergo a big makeover for the purposes of the tv show, because that would ruin some of her original charm.

Susan herself says she's happy about the way she looks, but doesn't plan to lose any weight... "I looked like a garage on TV and it was mortifying to see", she told Star Magazine. "I didn’t realise I could reduce people to tears and I hope it wasn’t because of that." (At least she's got a sense of humour about it all ;-)

The 47 year old volunteer church worker lives alone with her cat Pebbles in Bathgate. She is the youngest of nine children, and was originally encouraged to audition for the ITV talent show by her mother, who died in 2007.

UK newspapers say Boyle has already met with bosses from Sony BMG about a possible record deal. She is keen to work with Simon Cowell (she trusts him apparently), and is believed to have been promised a deal, even if she doesn't end up winning the ITV1 talent show.

* Mirror.co.uk - Britain’s Got Talent: Susan Boyle set for internet world record

* Stuff: How did Susan Boyle do it?

High School Musical was a surprise mega-smash-hit... High School Musical 2 continued with fun in the sun... and High School Musical 3: Senior Year blasted it out of the park on the big screen, grossing $250 million+ in the worldwide box-office, as Troy and Gabriella graduated from East High.

But the High School Musical story isn't over... As well as the films finding a new life on the stage, Disney has already begun work on the next sequel in the High School Musical franchise.

High School Musical 4 (full name still to be confirmed) will return to the small screen, with the film set to premiere on the Disney Channel in 2010. (The 2007 US Disney Channel premiere of High School Musical 2 remains the #1 basic cable telecast of all time with 18.6 million viewers).

The new film will feature a new cast and introduce a new generation of characters at East High. Most of the major stars of the original trilogy (like Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens) are unlikely to appear, but the original tv movie is expected to feature some of the new cast members introduced during High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

Peter Barsocchini - who wrote the original 3 HSM movies - is again screenwriter on the fourth instalment. Details of the storyline are still sketchy, but fans can look forward to a “classic love triangle set against the cross-town school rivalry between the East High Wildcats and West High Knights”.

In the meantime, have a chuckle over this "teaser trailer" put together by an enthusiastic fan, for 'Beverly Hills HIGH SCHOOL Chihuahua Road Trip MUSICAL 4' ! ;-)

** Click here for High School Musical 3 DVDs, CD and a huge range of High School gear and gifts...

Kelly Clarkson should have learned a life lesson this month... The former American Idoler's comeback single My Life Would Suck Without You recently rocketed to the Number One spot on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, setting a new record for the largest leap in the chart's 50 year history.

The lead single from Clarkson's upcoming 4th album All I Ever Wanted has returned the singer to the top of the pops. My Life Would Suck is her first Top 20 since 2006's Walk Away, which peaked at #12 on the Hot 100.

It's no coincidence that Kelly's comeback single is penned by hit-makers Max Martin (Swedish writer/producer behind the Maratone hit factory) and Dr Luke (former Saturday Night Live guitarist, turned hit song writer/producer), who wrote her worldwide smash singles Since U Been Gone, and Behind Those Hazel Eyes.

Clarkson's 3rd album My December saw an attempt by Miss Independent to head in a new "serious" direction, embracing an artistic indie sound, writing or co-writing every song on the album. Her songwriting abilities didn't appear to match her large vocal talents... the new sound turned off fans, and caused controversy with her record label.

Clive Davis - head of RCA (Sony-BMG) - was very unhappy with the album and Kelly Clarkson's change in direction. Davis reportedly wanted to dump the entire album, and urged her to record all new material, even offering her US$10 million to record some "radio friendly" tracks with previous pop/rock collaborators like Dr Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) and Max Martin.

After a very public standoff, the record company eventually gave in and My December was released. (It was reported that Clarkson pledged to Clive Davis that if he agreed to release the album "as is", she would do exactly what he and the record company wanted for her 4th album).

Davis' take on the album ultimately proved correct. My December sold just 782,000 copies in the United States, and 2 million albums worldwide... compared to sales of over 20 million for her second pop/rock album Breakaway.

Just two singles were released from the album (Never Again and Sober). Following disappointing sales, Clarkson cancelled her US tour, and fired her manager Jeff Kwatinetz and band.

Following that up with another "artistic" album could have been a career-ender for Clarkson, and the singer probably realised that herself. Clive Davis asked the reliable Dr Luke and Max to come up with a "smash comeback" single for Kelly, the hit-making pair returning with a song that almost sounds like a sequel to 2004's Since U Been Gone.

Dr Luke says he and Max tailored the lyrics especially for Kelly... One has to wonder how she feels singing lyrics that sound suspiciously like an admission that she needs their help to be a superstar, and seem to offer an apology to Clive Davis and Gottwald for the public feud, and for trying to do things her own way...
"Guess this means you're sorry, You're standing at my door,
Guess this means you take back all you said before...

Maybe I was stupid for telling you goodbye
Maybe I was wrong for trying to pick a fight
I know that I’ve got issues, But you’re pretty messed up too,
Anyway, I found out I’m nothing without you

Cuz we belong together now, yeah
Forever united here somehow, yeah
You got a piece of me, And honestly,
My life would suck without you..."
Yup, got it in one Kelly. The history of pop music is littered with singers who believed their own hype, but quickly discovered their fans weren't into their self indulgent "serious" material. Kelly's want the catchy pop/rock Kelly Clarkson they had previously voted to the top of the charts.

The massive worldwide chart success of My Life Would Suck Without You will ensure solid sales of her upcoming fourth album - All I Ever Wanted - due for release in mid-March. The album also features the work of Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic), and rock producer Howard Benson.