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USTownhall RealStories presents BRYAN FULLER of HANNIBAL
Written by Scott Katz   
Monday, 01 April 2013 12:48

NUP_152907_0513-resizeOn Thursday, April 4, one of the most anticipated new television series of the year premieres on NBC.  Hannibal brings the iconic Dr. Hannibal Lecter to the small screen and into your living rooms as the cannibalistic serial killer serves up weekly helpings of his own peculiar brand of justice.

Mads Mikkelsen sinks his teeth into the title role, while Hugh Dancy functions as his bromantic foil, the troubled and tortured Will Graham, Special Agent for the FBI.  Rounding out the talented cast is veteran actor Laurence Fishburne as Graham's boss, Special Agent Jack Crawford.

Hannibal introduces us to these characters at a time that is years before the events of Thomas Harris' seminal novel, Red Dragon.  In the premiere of the series' first season of 13 episodes, Jack Crawford seeks Hannibal Lecter's help in assisting Will Graham in profiling the most dangerous serial killers stalking society.  Over the course of the first season, the relationship between Lecter and Graham is explored with an ever-present undercurrent of tension. Will Graham discover that his partner is a serial killer more dangerous and cunning than any he has ever encounted?  What will happen to him if he does?

We spoke with Bryan Fuller, the creator and Executive Producer of Hannibal about the series, its storylines, and the actors who make up the cast.  How are Hannibal and Will Graham similar?  What drives Hannibal to do the monstrous things that he does?  Does Hannibal see himself as a villain?  Will characters from Bryan Fuller's previous series such as Pushing Dasies, Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me appear?  How far do the depictions of gore and violence go?  Which of the four Hannibal novels will be used to form the basis of the series' stories?  What was it like working with Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Laurence Fishburne?  The answers to all that and more are in the podcast below.

 

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BRYAN FULLER - ENTIRE HANNIBAL INTERVIEW (1 hr.)
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Click on the triangular "Play" button to listen to the podcast.

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BRYAN FULLER - HANNIBAL INTERVIEW EXCERPTS:

Bryan shares his feellings about the upcoming premiere night (2:46)
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What makes Hugh Dancy & Mads Mikkelsen the perfect choices for the roles of Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter? (4:46)
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How are Will Graham & Hannibal Lecter similar? (2:47)
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How far do the depictions of violence and cannibalism go? (2:48)
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What motivates Hannibal Lecter?  Can his actions be explained? (3:48)
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How long can this series run?  Where do the books fall in the timeline of this series? (4:31)
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Bryan shares what Laurence Fishburne told him about this summer's Man of Steel film. (1:18)
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Our thanks to Bryan Fuller for speaking with us today.  Hannibal airs Thursday nights at 10pm on NBC beginning April 4.

 

 
USTownhall RealStories presents DONALD TRUMP, BRET MICHAELS, LA TOYA JACKSON of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice
Written by Scott Katz   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 00:00

NUP_136398_1032-resize2Donald Trump's hit reality competition series returns for an all-new season.  The Celebrity Apprentice airs is sixth season (thirteenth overall for The Apprentice franchise) beginning Sunday, March 3.  This latest edition is an All-Star version with fourteen celebrities who have all appeared on previous installments of the series.

The participating celebrities are as follows: from Celebrity Apprentice 1: Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin, Marilu Henner, and Omarosa; from Celebrity Apprentice 2: Claudia Jordan, Brande Roderick, and Dennis Rodman; from Celebrity Apprentice 3: winner Bret Michaels; from Celebrity Apprentice 4: Gary Busey, La Toya Jackson, Lil Jon, and Lisa Rinna; from Celebrity Apprentice 5: Penn Jillette and Dee Snider.  Past winners Piers Morgan, Arsenio Hall, John Rich, and Joan Rivers will appear as judges in the boardroom alongside Mr. Trump and one of his children.

 

USTownhall RealStories speaks with Donald Trump, Bret Michaels, and La Toya Jackson of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice:

 

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USTH: Mr. Trump since this is an all star version of the show and everybody has been on it before, in your estimation did everybody perform better than they did the first time? And if you had to award a prize or a ribbon for most improved celebrity from the first time to this time who would it be?

DONALD TRUMP: Well I would say, I can't give names obviously, Scott, because it would be inappropriate, but a number of people really were different and performed better. Some didn't perform as well, I would say, but a number of people really performed better than they did in the first show. And some are just smart people that, you know, they do well including the two people that you're talking to. I mean, they're very smart people, and they do well.
You know, I said great things about Bret, [but] I always say people don't get La Toya. She is sharp and tough as can be. She dealt with Omarosa so incredibly. I mean, what she had to go through -- that was not easy. I have great respect for La Toya Jackson. So yes, I think everybody really performed very well to be honest with you.

LA TOYA JACKSON: Thank you Mr. Trump.

 

USTH: And also Mr. Trump, how is this season divided? Was it male celebrities versus female celebrities or is it a mix?

DONALD TRUMP: Generally, we find that male versus female is the best and that's generally what we do. And we do a lot of that here. It just seems to work the best. I mean, there's no great secret. We could come up with 15 different formulas, but generally speaking, we find that's the best way of going about it. People like it. We don't want to change a formula that works too much.

USTH: That's good business. I agree with you there.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, it doesn't get any better than male versus female.

USTH: It's time tested.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes it's time tested.

[Note that when the series premiered, the initial teams were not male vs. female, but rather a mix of celebrities chosen by either Trace Adkins or Bret Michaels.  Notice the wiggle room in Mr. Trump's answer above.  It remains to be seen whether there will be opportunities this season for the men and the women to compete against each other.]

 

USTH: Onto the two celebrities -- since you are playing for charity, I'd like to give you the opportunity to promote your charity a little bit and tell us what is the name of your charity, what does it do, and why is that charity important to you personally. We'll start with La Toya.

LA TOYA JACKSON: Well, my charity that I was playing for was National Network to End Domestic Violence.  As you all know, domestic violence occurs all over the world, and as we're speaking now, there are women, and, of course men, that are just going through abuse at this very single moment. And they have no shelter, they feel that they have no lobby, they have nowhere to go.
So, I'm here to let them know that we are doing something about it and there are shelters; there is an 800 number that's right there for you to call and get help.
This charity that I'm playing for, National Network to End Domestic Violence, was actually formed by the people themselves. So, they went out, and they got together and said we need a charity; we need a place to stay, something to do and have people come and donate for us.
So, I thought that was very commendable of these little kids and women who were basically really suffering to get together and do something and say this is what our charity is going to be about, and this is what it is.
And it needs awareness. And people are just watching and just donating, and I'm so happy. You can never, ever, ever have enough. And I truly believe that no one charity is better than the other, but just bringing awareness to it is what I'm here for, and I am very proud and pleased to be happy working with Mr. Trump to bring that awareness to it.

USTH: Okay, and Bret?

BRET MICHAELS: Yes my charity is simply called Life Rocks Foundation, and I've had it for a really long time and, being a lifelong diabetic myself, obviously a big part of it goes to diabetes. A big huge part of it which works also with ETF is St. Jude's and childhood cancer and in Wounded Warriors and pet adoption. It's got a variety of different things that we work.
But it's called Life Rocks Foundation Faces and Places and you just go to bretmichaels.com and you see the thousands of faces and the money, every penny, has been donated over the years.

 

USTH: Well that's really great. Let me ask another question for Bret and La Toya. Since you had met a bunch of new celebrities this time, is there anyone that you were sort of intrigued to meet before you met them, and is there anyone you bonded with during the show and kept in touch with after the show? And we'll start with Bret this time.

BRET MICHAELS: Yes, you know what, when I went in there I was very excited and, you know, extremely passionate -- my passion is both my blessing and my curse. But I went in there and everyone was in there, La Toya was great, she's -- honestly she's fantastic. She is a unique person because she has a heart of gold and fiercely competitive. We kind of share that same thing. You've got a good heart but you also want to be very competitive.
But everyone on the show, you know, I've known Trace for a while. Penn -- all these people, very, very competitive people. And, you know, each of them brought a different winning quality to the table. And I've got to be honest with you, very, very, very dramatic season.

USTH: Okay. And for La Toya, what about you? Any celebrity that you were happy to meet and maybe kept in touch with afterwards?

LA TOYA JACKSON: Yes, I have to say that I was really, really thrilled and I do mean thrilled, and I'm not saying this Bret because you're on the phone. I just -- he's a big rock star. And I thought he had already won, and he's wonderful, and I just could not wait to meet him. And I never really expressed that to you because like Bret said, once you get there you get in work mode immediately because you know that competition is there.
But I was truly looking forward to meeting him and he's such a wonderful person. And I will always, always adore Bret as well as Penn Jillette who is such a sweetheart, isn't he guys?

BRET MICHAELS: He's great.

LA TOYA JACKSON: Yes he really is.

BRET MICHAELS: Very intelligent and pretty to the point.

LA TOYA JACKSON: Yes, but he has a heart of gold as well just like you Bret.

BRET MICHAELS: Thank you.


 

USTH: Our thanks to Donald Trump, Bret Michaels, and La Toya Jackson for taking the time to speak with us.  All-Star Celebrity Apprentice airs Sunday nights on NBC at 9pm Eastern beginning March 3, 2013 in two-hour installments.  Beginning March 31, the show becomes an hour version airing at 10pm for a few weeks before returning to its two hour format.

 

 
2013 MOVIE SCHEDULE
Written by USTownhall staff   
Saturday, 12 January 2013 16:00

Below is a preliminary listing of the Hollywood releases for 2013 grouped by month.  Release dates are subject to change.  Keep checking back for updates and trailers as they become available.

 

JANUARY

Jan 11

• Gangster Squad

Jan 18

• Broken City

• Guillermo del Toro Presents Mama

• The Last Stand

Jan 25

• Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

FEBRUARY

Feb 1

• Bullet to the Head

Feb 8

• Identity Thief

• Top Gun (3D reissue)

Feb 14

• Beautiful Creatures

• A Good Day to Die Hard

Feb 22

• Dark Skies

• Snitch

MARCH

Mar 1

• The Last Exorcism, Part II

• Jack the Giant Slayer

Mar 8

• Admission

• Oz the Great and Powerful

Mar 15

• The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Mar 22

• The Croods

Mar 29

• GI Joe: Retaliation

• Tyler Perry's Temptation

APRIL

Apr 5

• Evil Dead

• Jurassic Park (3D reissue)

Apr 12

• 42

• Scary Movie 5

Apr 19

• Oblivion

Apr 26

• The Big Wedding

• Pain and Gain

MAY

May 3

• Iron Man 3

May 10

• The Great Gatsby

• Tyler Perry Presents Peeples

May 17

• Star Trek: Into Darkness

May 24

• Epic

• Fast & Furious 6

• The Hangover Part III

May 31

• Now You See Me

• The Purge

JUNE

Jun 7

• After Earth

• The Internship

Jun 14

• Man of Steel

• This is the End (Jun 12)

Jun 21

• Monsters University

• World War Z

Jun 28

• The Heat

• White House Down

JULY

Jul 3

• Despicable Me 2

• The Lone Ranger

Jul 12

• Grown Ups 2

• Pacific Rim

Jul 19

• The Conjuring

• RIPD

• Red 2

• Turbo (Jul 17)

Jul 26

• The Wolverine

Jul 31

• The Smurfs 2

AUGUST

Aug 2

• 2 Guns

• 300: Rise of an Empire

Aug 9

• Disney's Planes

• Elysium

• Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Aug 7)

• We're the Millers

Aug 16

• Kick-Ass 2

• The To-Do List

Aug 23

• Grandmasters

• The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

• The World's End

• You're Next

Aug 30

• Closed Circuit

• Getaway

• One Direction: This is Us

• Satanic

SEPTEMBER

Sep 6

• Riddick

Sep 13

• Battle of the Year

• Escape Plan

• Insidious Chapter 2

• Machete Kills

Sep 20

• Malavita

• Prisoners

• Rush

• Walk of Shame

Sep 27

• Baggage Claim

• Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

• Runner, Runner

OCTOBER

Oct 4

• The Delivery Man

• Gravity

• Paranoia

• Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Oct 11

• Captain Phillips

• Haunts

• Old Boy

Oct 18

• The Butler

• Carrie

• Don Jon

• Seventh Son

Oct 25

• Paranormal Activity 5

NOVEMBER

Nov 1

• Ender's Game

• Freebirds

• Last Vegas

Nov 8

• Thor: The Dark World

Nov 15

• Best Man 2

• The Counselor

• The Fifth Estate

• The Wolf of Wall Street

Nov 22

• The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Nov 27

• Black Nativity

• Frozen

DECEMBER

Dec 13

• The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

• Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas

Dec 20

• Anchorman: The Legend Continues

• The Monuments Men (Dec 18)

• Saving Mr. Banks

• Walking with Dinosaurs

Dec 25

• 47 Ronin

• Jack Ryan

• The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

 

 

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

 
2013 OSCAR NOMINATIONS & WINNERS
Written by USTownhall staff   
Thursday, 10 January 2013 19:39

Ealier today, the nominations were annouced for the 85th Academy Awards ceremony, which will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2013.  Steven Spielberg's Lincoln led the pack with 12 nominations, followed by Ang Lee's Life of Pi with 11.  The major surprise of the nominations was that three odds-on favorites for Best Director were not even nominated: Ben Affleck for Argo, Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thrity, and Tom Hooper for Les Misérables.

The nominations were announced at 8:30am Eastern time at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills by television and film producer Seth McFarlane (The Family Guy, Ted) and actress Emma Stone, who recently played Gwen Stacy in last summer's The Amazing Spider-Man.  McFarlane will also serve as host of the Oscars themselves.

 

List of nominees and winners - major categories:

Best Picture

• Amour
Argo
• Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Django Unchained
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Les Misérables
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director

• Michael Haneke – Amour
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
• David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
• Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
• Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Writing - Original

• Amour – Michael Haneke
Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino
• Flight – John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom – • Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
• Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal

Best Writing - Adaptation

Argo – Chris Terrio
• Beasts of the Southern Wild – Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
• Life of Pi – David Magee
• Lincoln – Tony Kushner
• Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell

Best Animated Feature

Brave – Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
• Frankenweenie – Tim Burton
• ParaNorman – Sam Fell and Chris Butler
• The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Peter Lord
• Wreck-It Ralph – Rich Moore

Best Actor

• Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
• Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
• Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
• Denzel Washington – Flight

Best Actress

• Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
• Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
• Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Naomi Watts – The Impossible

Best Supporting Actor

• Alan Arkin – Argo
• Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
• Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
• Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress

• Amy Adams – The Master
• Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
• Helen Hunt – The Sessions
• Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

 
USTownhall RealStories presents JOHN CENA & SHEAMUS of WWE'S TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS
Written by Scott Katz   
Saturday, 15 December 2012 15:29

NUP_136398_1044-resizeOn Wednesday, December 19, the WWE will air the 10th anniversary edition of its annual special, WWE's Tribute to the Troops, on the USA cable network from 9-11pm Eastern.  A one-hour version will air a few days later on Saturday, December 22 at 10pm on NBC.  This event has some of the biggest names from the WWE putting on a special exhibition for the American troops and their families as a way of honoring them for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This year, the show will take place in the Scopes arena in Norfolk, Virginia, and in addition to WWE stars such as John Cena, Sheamus, The Miz, Big Show, and Dolph Ziggler, the Muppets and musical guests Kid Rock and Flo Rida will appear.

 

USTOWNHALL SPEAKS TO JOHN CENA AND SHEAMUS OF WWE'S TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS:

USTH: John, on a personal level, what does it mean for you to be able to perform at this event, and do you consider yourself a very patriotic person?

JOHN CENA: I absolutely do.  This is the proudest day on our touring schedule, I've often said that, a lot of the Superstars have said that.  Almost so much so that it becomes cliché – it is not.  This is a very proud day for me, especially.
I take great pride in being able to be put front and center in front of the people that I admire most, and that's the people that defend our freedom. I adopt a lot of my creed – my personality – from military Code of Conduct.
Simple words like "hustle," "loyalty," "respect" are easily translated to honor code and country. It really is an extra special day for me. I'm glad we continued our relationship. I'm glad the folks at the Naval Station in Norfolk and bases around the country and abroad have opened their arms to give us not only a place to entertain, but the hospitality that they've given us over the years.
Like I said, we do in excess of 300 shows a year, and this is the proudest day on our calendar.

 

USTH: This next question is for both of you, but we'll start with Sheamus. Can you just tell us a little bit about your participation in the show in terms of matches? Is it going to be one-on-one or tag team?

SHEAMUS: Along with all the live acts we actually have – Kid Rock is there, Flo Rida and the Muppets – it's to show a kickoff for the tag match with myself and Randy Orton taking on The Big Show and Dolph Ziggler.
The show itself as well was packed to the brim.  It was exciting, and we want to make sure that all the Naval Officers, Marines, everyone in the arena, everyone from Norfolk got the best show they possibly could get and that's what we did – went out there and gave them everything we had, as much as they deserve.

JOHN CENA: I'll be competing in a match, and the great thing about our Tribute to the Troops show – there is an extended form on USA or its abbreviated form on NBC– it's a great watch.
It's not something that you necessarily have to be up-to-date on all the WWE storylines or all the plots. It really is just a general entertaining program, which is why we have a guest host and the Muppets – that's why we have musical guests.
I myself am in a singles match against our current United States Champion Antonio Cesaro, but it's one show that for the holiday season you can truly sit down, watch, and enjoy.
You don't have to know who's bad, who's good, who's a champion, who's not.  You can really just take in the show for what it is, and it's an entertaining hour or two hours on either NBC or USA, but I'll be doing what I do best.  I'll be in the ring doing what I do.

 

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Above: John Cena with American military personnel

[Image credit: NBC, WWE]

Above: Sheamus [Image credit: NBC, WWE]

 

 

USTH: Sheamus, do you have any favorite moments from taping this show this past Sunday [December 9]?

SHEAMUS: I think my favorite part of the show – obviously, I don't want too give to much away because of the show itself – but getting to interact with everybody in the Norfolk Scope arena.
I think the most important thing is recognizing all of them. I'll be honest with you, they were probably the best crowd I've ever been in front of and the Officers and the Marines were just off the charts – they were an absolute pleasure to perform in front of.
The interaction and the energy of the fans and the crowd I think makes our job that much easier and that much better.
I think they were the stars tonight, too, because they were into every single minute of it, and they were an absolute joy to perform in front of, and if we could do that every week, that would be awesome.

 

USTH: John, what are the feelings that you take away from actually meeting the soldiers and their families. You said before that it was sort of backwards that they were happy to meet you. Is it a humbling experience for you?

JOHN CENA: It truly is, and the great thing is you get to meet some of these soldiers and families who can follow you throughout your appearance scheduled over the course of three days.
So, you truly get to talk to these families more than we would when we were in the deployed areas where we were in Fort operating bases literally spanning across the war zone.
So, in the past few years [that the show has been filmed in the United States], you get to know some of these folks, and you do see them at the arena, and there is that personal connection that you very rarely get. It's like seeing a friend or a family member in the audience.
You really pay them a little extra attention – certainly go above and beyond, obviously – for the group you perform in front of. It's a really good feeling being able to socialize with these people for three days and then perform in front of them and let them enjoy what you do best.

 

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Above: The Miz, Kermit the Frog, and Miss Piggy

[Image credit: NBC, WWE]

Above: Kid Rock perfoms [Image credit: NBC, WWE] Above: Flo Rida perfoms {Image credit: NBC, WWE]

 

USTH: Sheamus, what was it like for you to come to America in the first place? Was it always your dream to wrestle here in America? What is it like for you to live your dream as a wrestler?

SHEAMUS: From a very early age, I was infatuated by WWE and in ways I was infatuated by America, too. I guess a lot of the American cultures were very apparent in Ireland. Like going to movies, watching American films, and I had a lot of relatives over here in America as well – in Chicago and Florida.
But, it was always my dream to come to this country, and I always knew from an early age what I wanted to do. I was enthralled with WWE ever since I was seven or eight years old and I never lost sight of that. I was always very determined to follow that dream, and it took a lot longer than I thought it would.
But, as I said, I finally made it here five years ago. WWE gave me an opportunity, and I jumped on that opportunity, and for me it's been an incredible journey. I've traveled the whole world. I've entertained and performed in front of fans worldwide.
In the last five years, the United States has become my home, and I'm very proud to go home back to Ireland after everything I have achieved, but this country has given me an opportunity to pursue my dream.
Back in Ireland, I always remembered hearing that [America is] the land of opportunity, and that's exactly what it has been for me. It's just been incredible, and getting to meet all the soldiers and the Officers in the Air Force and the people who protect the country where I live – an opportunity to thank them for helping me and letting me live my dream here without any fear is a fantastic opportunity for me.
And it's just to say thank you to all of them because sometimes there's even some heroes [that] don't get the thank you that they deserve, or sometimes it's just nice to hear the word "thank you."
It's not a very common word, but to say the "thank you" to them is just for me a great opportunity, and for the WWE, it's a great opportunity because they keep us safe, and they let all of us live our dreams and live our lives without fear.

 

USTH: Our thanks to John Cena and Sheamus from the WWE for speaking with us today.  WWE's Tribute to the Troops airs on NBC on Saturday, December 22 at 10pm Eastern time.  An expanded, two-hour version airs a few days earlier on the USA cable network on Wednesday, December 19 at 9pm Eastern time.

 

 
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MORE FEATURES... 

 

Reviews & Previews:

Summer 2011 Movie Preview

Fall 2010 Television season

Fra Diavolo

Die Drei Pintos

Romeo and Juliet in Brooklyn

MPI Home Video

Timless Media Group

Boris Karloff's Thriller

Hunter: The Complete Series

Polly and Her Pals

Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee

Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern

Spider-Man musical delayed again

Frozen

Dead Space: Aftermath

Altitude

 

 

    

Events:

New York Comic Con

Apprentice 10 kickoff

Farewell to Guiding Light

Farewell to As the World Turns

The Broadway Directory

 

Award Show winners:

Academy Awards

Emmy Awards

Grammy Awards

Tony Awards

American Music Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

American Country Awards

 

    

Television blogs:

American Idol 10

American Idol 9

American Idol 8

Big Brother 12

Big Brother 11

ABC Cancels Both All My Children and One Life to Live

Guiding Light: A Look Back

 

Editorials & Issues:

Scam Alert: Have You Received This E-Mail Job Offer?

Meet the 112th Congress

Brooklyn politicians Kevin Peter Carroll vs. Ralph Perfetto

Before Rosa Parks There Was Lizzie Jennings

Understanding New York State Government

USTownhall RoundTable podcast: The Worlds of Entertainment and Current Events