July 31st, 2009
07:16 PM ET

A day of contrast at the Television Critics Association

You know it's the home stretch at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, when you have so many interviews that you have to schedule bathroom breaks and ditch lunch.

From my first interview with the ladies of Lifetime's show "Rita Rocks," (Tisha Campbell-Martin and Nicole Sullivan who by the way are FULLY pregnant and just weeks away from their due dates) to my non-stop laughfest with comedienne-actress MoNique, to the intensely serious talk with Edward Norton. I sat in the CNN suite of the Langham Hotel in Pasadena for nine hours through more than 15 interviews on Thursday.

Some of it goes in one ear and right out the other, but some of it really stays with you. Today MoNique and Edward Norton's words stuck with me. MoNique has always had that effect on me because she is REAL whether you like it or not. Real about Hollywood,  real about current news topics, VERY real about race in America and real about her beloved Larry King! Yes, I said Larry King. Before I could ask her a single question, she said she wanted to get a message across to Larry King. So, she looked into the camera and asked Larry to be a guest on her upcoming late night talk show on BET. She even gave out her digits so he could call her back and make it happen. She LOVES Larry King. She talked about her upcoming show, her critically acclaimed film "Precious," and thanked President Barack Obama for talking about racial profiling and having the professor and the cop over a beer. She could have gone on and on about ANY topic.

But the tone in the room changed when actor Edward Norton walked in to promote his new documentary "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama" which his company Classic 5 films produced. He was initially very quiet but once he relaxed a bit he talked, without taking a break at times, about how the directors got access to then presidential candidate Obama's inner circle to shoot hours of private meetings and behind the scenes footage for the documentary while Obama zigazagged the country campaigning. Norton says he doesn't think this is a puff piece like some, on the right side of the political landscape, might think try to label it. He says it's simply a history of one of the most important times in America.

Interesting documentary to say the least.

 

July 31st, 2009
10:52 AM ET

Return of the Atlanta ‘Housewives’

Watch out - the Georgia peaches are back!

The “Real Housewives of Atlanta” returned for season two on Thursday night and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited.

Nobody brings the drama like the ATL crew, so I can’t wait to see what they have served up for us this time around.

The usual cast of characters is back – NeNe Leakes, Sheree Whitfield, Lisa Wu Hartwell, and Kim Zolciak – with a new addition, singer/songwriter Kandi Burruss. (DeShawn Snow is no longer with the show.)

We learn that NeNe and her family have moved into a new home near Lisa and Ed, who are considering having a new baby; Kim has broken up with Big Poppa and wants to start her own line of wigs; and Kandi’s mom is not happy about Kandi marrying a man with six kids.

NeNe, Lisa and Sheree seem headed for a showdown with Kim, who they hear has been talking junk about them around town.

For all this, the real star of Thursday’s show was Sheree.

She and her kids have been evicted from her home, she says, because her ex didn’t pay the mortgage. And she and NeNe appear to have buried the hatchet.

But the moment that had me going “Oh no he didn’t!” was when Sheree’s party planner, Anthony, got all up in her face and served her a big old fat helping of cuss out with a side order of attitude!

Sheree was planning a party to celebrate her divorce being finalized (minus her seven figures it appears) and she was less than pleased with the customer service Anthony was offering.

He didn’t come through with a promised helicopter for her entrance, or the planned meeting with the poet who was to memorialize Sheree in print. What he did do was go off on her, inform her that her name was “burnt in the industry” and get into a screaming match that almost came to blows.

The moment Anthony let loose with “Your mama’s a b--” I thought for sure that Sheree, who got in his face as well, was going to punch him out.

You do NOT mess with a girl from Cleveland.

What did you think of the premiere?

July 31st, 2009
09:20 AM ET

'Dance' gives enjoyable results show

Last week's results show, featuring Emmy-winning dance routines, must have been very well-received, because the producers of "So You Think You Can Dance" decided to bring back several contestants again this week to perform the Emmy-nominated dances from last season. So once again, it was a very enjoyable results show that offered much more than just a 50-minute wait for the eliminations.

After a Tyce Diorio-choreographed group dance based on "Send in the Clowns" (the "saddest" routine ever, according to host Cat Deeley), it was time to get down to business, as Deeley announced the first dancer who would go to next week's finale. She noted that this person did not necessarily get the most votes. ... So it was rather anticlimactic, but a pleasant surprise to see Jeanine announced as the first dancer to be safe.

Season four's Jessica and Will came out next to perform Diorio's Emmy-nominated "Adam and Eve" routine, one of the most beautiful ever performed on the show, and a chance for the pair to do the encore performance they never had a chance to do in last season's finale due to Jessica's injury.

The guys came out next to learn which dancer would be the second person to be in the final four, and after last night's spectacular solo, there was no doubt that Brandon would be safe. (Since the safe dancer was not necessarily the one with the most votes, the producers could have made him wait to find out, just so the audience could see that solo again... but then again, where would be the suspense in that?) Judge Mary Murphy took the opportunity to mention that she believed in Brandon from the start unlike fellow judge Lil' C and choreographer/occasional judge Mia Michaels. Michaels might never live that down, though she does have that Emmy as consolation.

Mark and Chelsie did an encore of the final Emmy-nominated routine, "Bleeding Love" by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo, a hip-hop number which always brings the house down, and this time was no exception.

Sean Paul came out to perform his latest hit, followed by the exciting announcement by Deeley that next week's season finale would take place in Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, on the same stage where the Academy Awards are presented.

Then, without further ado, Deeley brought out Kayla and Melissa to tell them the news: Kayla would be going to the final four. Melissa appeared to be expecting this, but was quite grateful for the opportunity and had words of encouragement for other ballerinas out there, "naughty" and otherwise.

As for Kayla, it was clear that she had been a judge's favorite, but it has definitely been an uphill battle for her, having been in the bottom two and three so many times this season. At the same time, she clearly shined on Wednesday night, so there was little doubt that the audience would pick up the phone for her.

With five left in the competition, it was time to say goodbye to a guy as well, and Deeley delivered the bad news to Ade.

What do you think? Did America make the right choices for the final four? Whom do you want to see win it all next week?

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