Dave Gee: Entertainment Now: October 2006
Dave Gee: Entertainment Now
Latest News from the world of Entertainment, including the newest TV shows, DVD releases, Pop Music, and Celebrity Gossip

The stars of the hit Disney Channel TV movie High School Musical are to hit the road, for a forty city tour of North American, beginning in San Diego late next month, and winding up in Las Vegas in late January.

The tour will feature High School Musical stars Vanessa Anne Hudgens (Gabriella Montez), Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay Evans), Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), Corbin Bleu (Chad Danforth), and Monique Coleman (Taylor McKessie).

However, the popular Zac Efron (Troy Bolton) is notably absent from the concert tour. He's currently shooting the film version of the Broadway musical Hairspray in Toronto, playing the role of Link Larkin.

He'll be replaced by Drew Seeley, who co-wrote HSM's Breaking Free and basketball anthem Get'cha Head in the Game, and actually sung most of Troy's songs on the movie soundtrack.

High School Musical: The Concert will feature songs from the smash hit film's soundtrack, which is on track to be the year's biggest selling album, going triple-platinum in the United States, and just as popular in other countries.

The concert tour is just the latest in a run of spin-offs from the hit tv movie, including CDs, DVDs, Books, and Clothing.

A live stage version of High School Musical had its world premiere at the prestigious US theatre summer camp Stagedoor Manor in August. Over 1,200 amateur stage productions of HSM are now lined up this school year, as well as a number of professional productions. (Here in New Zealand, Wellington Musical Theatre are planning to stage High School Musical in May 2007).

A sequel, High School Musical 2: Sing It All Or Nothing! is also planned, and will start filming when Zac Efron finishes Hairspray.

All the main cast members will return, with the students organising a talent show during their summer break. The main setting for the film will probably by the Albuquerque Country Club and Golf Course, where characters Ryan and Sharpay are members, and Troy works as a lifeguard.

* Toronto Star: Boy meets girl is never tired
* E! Online: High School Musical Hits the Road

High School Musical: The Concert - Tour Dates...
San Diego, Nov 30; Glendale, Dec 3; Sacramento, Dec 5; San Jose, Dec 6; Stockton, Dec 7; Bakersfield, Dec 8; Portland, Dec 10; Seattle, Dec 11; Salt Lake City, Dec 13; Bossier City, Dec 16; Dallas, Dec 17; Houston, Dec 18; Tampa, Dec 20; Jacksonville, Dec 21; Columbia, Dec 22; Charlotte, Dec 23; Greensboro, Dec 27;
Washington DC, Dec 28; Long Island, Dec 29; Manchester, Dec 30; ** New Year's Gig Added - Uniondale, NY, Dec 31;
Toronto, Jan 2; Rochester, Jan 3; Hartford, Jan 4; Pittsburgh, Jan 6; Albany, Jan 7;
East Rutherford, Jan 8; Worcester, Jan 10; Philadelphia, Jan 11; Cincinnati, Jan 13; Cleveland, Jan 14;
Auburn Hills, Jan 16; Indianapolis, Jan 17; Columbus, Jan 18; Chicago, Jan 19; Milwaukee, Jan 21;
St Louis, Jan 22; Kansas City, Jan 23; Anaheim, Jan 26; Fresno, Jan 27; Las Vegas, Jan 28.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor has left the band for a second time. Andy Taylor originally quit the group in 1986 while recording the album Notorious, shortly after drummer Roger Taylor. Bass player John Taylor left Duran Duran in 1997, part way through recording the album Medazzaland.

Andy, John and Roger reformed with their former bandmates Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes in 2001, embarking on a highly successful 25th Anniversary tour, and releasing the comeback album Astronaut in 2004.

However, British newspaper News of the World has reported that Andy was unhappy with plans to scrap an album's worth of recorded material which returned the band to their New Romantic roots. The band and management were instead keen to pursue collaborations with hip-hop producer Timbaland and singer Justin Timberlake.

An official statement from Duran Duran says, "As of last weekend... the four of us have dissolved our partnership and will be continuing as Duran Duran without Andy, as we have reached a point in our relationship with him where there is an unworkable gulf between us and we can no longer effectively function together."

Session guitarist Dom Brown will stand in for Andy Taylor in the meantime (he featured on Duran Duran's first three studio albums, and previously filled in for Andy on two other tours.

A group of fans have launched a campaign to try and persuade Sony/Epic to release what they're calling "The Lost Album". The full 5-member lineup of Duran Duran have been recording with producer Michael Patterson for some time, and completed the bulk of their album in May this year. According to drummer Roger Taylor, the songs apparently return to Duran's "dance and new wave origins".

* Beyond Thunder: Sony/Epic Campaign to release "The LOST ALBUM"

Reports out of the UK suggest singer Kylie Minogue is planning to reunite with hitmakers Stock/Aitken/Waterman.

The legendary trio of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman are one of the most successful songwriting and producing partnerships of all time, with over 200 top 40 UK hits in the 80s and early 90s.

The team split up in the early 90s, as first Matt Aitken left in 1991, followed two years later by Mike Stock. Stock/Aitken reteamed as a duo, producing the likes of Robson & Jerome, Scooch, and the Fast Food Rockers. Pete Waterman had success through new writing and production teams, most notably with Steps and Tina Cousins.

There has been talk of a proper SAW reunion since a retrospective CD collection of their greatest hits, 'Gold' came out last year. And now it seems they may reunite with arguably their biggest ever pop star.

Kylie Minogue came to the Hit Factory 20 years ago as an innocent young Aussie actress from the TV soap Neigbours. A couple of hours after she arrived at the SAW studios, they'd penned her smash hit UK debut single I Should Be So Lucky and catapulted her to fame.

She has a string of hits with the team, but left SAW after four albums. Kylie had a few stumbles as she tried to reinvent herself as an indie-girl, but eventually returned to her pop roots, and to the top of the charts.

Kylie Minogue is now working on a comeback record, her first since she was diagnosed with breast cancer eighteen months ago. Sources say she's turned to her old songwriter/producers to help ensure the new album's a smash hit.

Apparently, Kylie's new music will still have a melodic pop sound, but have "a bit more of an edge". She's also working with producer Amanda Ghost (James Blunt, Boy George), the Scissor Sisters, Steve Anderson, Richard Stannard and others.

* thisislondon.co.uk: Kylie reunites with 80s hit-makers

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Zealanders have a new online community to discuss what they're watching on the small screen.

The people behind New Zealand's Idolblog (for NZ Idol) and Street Talk (for soap Shortland Street) have launched a new NZ TV Community called Throng.

The site offers news and spoilers for some of the most popular tv shows, with surfers able to browse through different blogs by member, or by tv show. Members can set up their own blogs to talk about what they do and don't like on tv, as well as post their own tv news and gossip.

Throng also lets users rate tv shows, and ranks the programmes by popularity.

New site, just launched... Looks promising, especially with the existing teen traffic from Idol Blog and Street Talk.

* Throng : NZ's TV watching community

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flegling US broadcast network, MyNetworkTV is preparing for a big marketing push, as it tries to educate viewers that it actually exists.

The News Corp (Fox) owned network was launched in early September, to provide programming for stations left out in the cold when the WB and UPN networks merged to create the new CW network.

My Network TV
currently covers about 96% of the United States, offering a unique schedule of English-language telenovelas - limited-run television serials - very popular with Spanish-speaking viewers.

At the moment, MyNetworkTV is running two shows in primetime, Fashion House (starring Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild) and Desire. They're both translated from Spanish series, and air every weeknight, with a recap episode on Saturday night. These two shows will end after a 13 week run, being replaced in December by two new telenovelas.
(They also screen on Australia's W. Channel, under the branding 'FOXTELENOVELA').

But MyNetworkTV has so far failed to fire in the ratings, and is reportedly losing close on a million dollars a week. Only around 900,000 viewers tune in each night to watch the shows - around a 1% share - well below other free-to-air broadcast networks (although the shows have fared slightly better in markets with large Latin populations).

Despite the poor start, News Corp plans to stick with the telenovelas, rather than replacing them with reality or news programming at this stage. (ABC has had considerable success with their new show Ugly Betty, adapted from a hit Colombian telenovela).

Chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group Roger Ailes says test audiences do like the shows on his fledgling network, but admits "I probably undermarketed it". My Network TV is planning a big marketing push over the next three months through supermarkets, WalMart, and billboards in key markets, as well as encouraging web surfers to sample the shows online.

The network may also tone down the content of its shows, after test audiences wanted "less graphic scenes, and more romance".

Advertisers also indicated concerns over content as one reason why they haven't so far bought big on the new network. (The Parents Television Council has already made indecency complaints, after the word "shit" was used on the telenovela, Desire. - Huh?! Get a grip people! ;-)

* Advertising Age: My Network TV Retools Marketing, Programming
* MyNetworkTV Official Website

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Captain Jack is about to return (to British tv screens at least ;)

John Barrowman will once again step into the shoes of Captain Jack Harkness, when the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood launches on BBC Three on October 22nd.

Created by Russell T. Davies - the man behind the recent revival of the long-running Doctor Who franchise, Torchwood deals with the activites of the fictional Torchwood Institute.

An initial 13-part series has been comissioned by the BBC, after the character of Captain Jack and the Torchwood Institute were seperately introduced during the adventures of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors.
Other characters include include Police officer Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) Torchwood medic Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori), and receptionist Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The new comeback single from British boyband Take That, Patience, has just been released to radio in the UK. The video - shot in Iceland - will screen from October 20.

Patience is the first new song recorded by Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Jason Orange and Howard Donald since their reunion and sell-out tour earlier this year.

The single has great buzz from music insiders, who're tipping it as a Christmas Number One, and say it's worth the wait. The track has a catchy chorus, and has been described as a 'little like James Blunt' (although I personally think it has more in commmon with A-ha's recent songs).

Take That had 8 #1 singles in the UK, and sold 25 million records around the world, before they split up more than a decade ago.

The single Patience is taken from Take That's forthcoming album Beautiful World, and is due for release on November 20. The new album's due in stores a week long.

A live reunion tour DVD - The Ultimate Tour: Live In Manchester - is also due in stores later this month. It includes footage of their homecoming show in Manchester and a documentary about the build-up to the tour.