August 31st, 2009
06:37 PM ET

DJ AM: Tragic end to a troubled life

When I first heard that Adam Goldstein, a.k.a. DJ AM had died I was shocked and truly saddened.  I was lucky enough to hear him spin at a few parties in LA and he was extremely talented. I didn’t know him personally, but for some reason this celebrity death hit a chord with me. 

Since first hearing of his passing I have been trying to figure out why that is. I think I may have figured out why: even in Hollywood, we all love to root for the underdog and DJ AM certainly qualified.  He had a tough life, speaking openly about his troubled childhood, his battle with obesity (he had gastric bypass after his weight ballooned over 300 lbs), and was open about his battle with addiction. Goldstein went from being a troubled kid to playing the hottest clubs and dating Hollywood starlets. Then there was the plane crash.  If ever there was a defining moment in a celebrity’s public life, this was his.  He literally walked away from a plane crash that killed four people-there is no question he had overcome a lot in his 36 years.

The thing about DJ AM that I found so personally appealing was that he managed to be a part of the Hollywood scene with out being a ‘scenester’.  He dated Hollywood starlets but didn’t seem like a ‘hanger on’ because he had his own career. Most of all what I liked most about DJ AM is that he wanted to help others. After all he had been through- the weight, the addictions, the plane crash- the thing that he was working on when he died was a series with MTV about helping teenagers suffering from addiction. I don’t know what happened in his home on the day he died and I don’t want to speculate on what caused his death, but clearly he battled a lot of demons. I find it admirable that this was a guy who clearly was successful and instead of sitting back and letting life pass him by, he sought ways to help others try to climb out of the throws of addiction that he had spent so many years fighting.

August 31st, 2009
05:02 PM ET

Fun in the sun with TV's brightest stars!

 

The 36th annual Daytime Emmy Awards can be described in one word, HOT, as in hot weather. Try nearly 100 degrees. This year the awards were moved from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood to the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. As the sun beat down on me, in my 6-inch heels and my designer dress, I  did what I came to do- interview the stars.  The daytime Emmys honors people I watch every day on television, from 'Regis & Kelly'  to the ladies of  'The View'  to those morning network shows… I LOVE IT ALL.

Every year the red carpet basically boils down to two types of arrivals, the familiar soap stars who show up 2 hours before the show are usually the first on the red carpet and then the more notable daytime TV hosts that show up minutes before the event, talking to one or two major entertainment syndicated shows before running into the theater to take their seats. This time I saw the backs of Rachael Ray, Tyra Banks and TV newcomer Wendy Williams as they were whisked away minutes before show time.

But the red carpet isn't just full of missed opportunities. I actually got a chance to talk to Buzz Aldrin, Erik Estrada, Lori Loughlin, Victoria Rowell,  Alex Trebek and a long list of soap opera actors and actresses. Mr. Aldrin was a blast. He told me he was getting an Emmy on Sunday for being old and grumpy and beamed with pride as he talked about accepting an Emmy on behalf of NASA the night before at the Emmy Engineering awards. Aldrin joked that he didn’t know why it took the Academy 40 years to recognize the momumental landing on the moon mission in 1969! Alex Trebek was a bit more straight laced. He offered some great advice on how to achieve longevity in show business: "You have to be fortunate enough to land on a great show… and luck plays a big part."

The backstage press area, or what I refer to as the "lion's den" is the place where winners like Tyra Banks, Rachael Ray, Montel Williams and even the cast of Sesame Street field questions from journalists without a time limit or a publicist running interference. Tyra talked about what it feels like to win an Emmy for a second time in the best informative talk show category. She also talked about whether she would show us her real hair when the show debuts on September 11th as promised in TV spots? And is the ring on "that" particular finger a wedding ring? She said yes she would show her REAL hair and NO it's not a wedding ring, but rather her high school ring ! And even though it was a night for those on daytime TV to let their hair down and get all dolled up, work was on the mind of Rachael Ray after winning for best entertainment talk show. She said it was the work ethic of her staff that deserved the credit.

Well said Rachael!

August 31st, 2009
04:57 PM ET

Jay-Z remembers DJ AM

Jay-Z announced this morning that he will be holding a benefit concert on September 11th to raise money for the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's benefit fund.

But he took a moment after the press conference to talk to us about the passing of DJ AM. And this is how he remembered Adam Goldstein.

"It’s very tragic, especially when you survive that type of tragedy like a plane crash," he said.

"What I remember about DJ AM - and this was my memory and I’ll take this with me forever - I had met with him maybe a couple of days or maybe even the day before he flew away.  And we were talking about doing this concert together and he was going to DJ for me.  And he was like I’ve just have to make this run and I’ll be right back and the accident happened and you know I’m thinking OK we'll get up next year, whenever he gets back on his feet. But he called, 'like man don’t count me out for the concert.'  I'm like 'what?' And he came and he had a bandage on his head. It was just a small thing, but his passion and love for what he did that’s what is always going to stick with me."

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Filed under: Jay-Z • Music
August 31st, 2009
12:38 PM ET

'True Blood': Uneven 'Frenzy' sets up big finale

Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the Sunday, Aug. 30, episode of HBO’s “True Blood.”

A mess, hilarious, captivating and confusing.

Sunday night’s “True Blood” episode, “Frenzy,” was all of that.

Maybe it’s because the show was a setup for the season finale. But, wrapped around the typically creepy, hilarious and just plain fun scenes were some real duds.

Bill’s opening sequence with the queen? It dragged. How many times do we need to see Bill offered a tasty morsel and refuse it before we’re supposed to get the point?

The scene between Tara and her mother? Frustrating. OK, I get it. People need to do stupid things in horror movies/shows so they can get into potentially bloody situations. But she’d leave her family and closest friends to go rescue a guy she’s known for a couple of months? And her mother, despite a well-established lifetime of bad decisions, would help? It was just hard to believe, even by “let’s split up so I can go into the dark basement alone and fix the circuit breaker” standards.

And while we’re on Tara – an egg? Really? No … really? I’ll accept vampires, shape-shifters and immortal servants of a Greek god for you, Alan Ball. But that felt weird just for the sake of being weird.

All that said, there was still fun to be had. Take Lafayette and Sookie’s scenes on the front porch. Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette manages to be hilarious, sympathetic and brave. Consistently great character who the show’s creators, thankfully, didn’t kill off like the Charlaine Harris books did.

Eric’s scene with the “teacup humans” also rocked. Drool over the guy all you want – but don’t forget he’s the sort of creature that finds babies delicious.

Also, we find out how Maryanne got to Bon Temps and why she’s so set on catching Sam, are treated to another fun episode of Jason and Andy doing their Rambo impersonation and enjoy the wonderfully creepy sight of Jane carving up a special hors d’oeuvre for “the god who comes.”

I’m holding out hope that this week’s sloppiness was just a minor slip as the “True Blood” creators load up for an amazing finale.

Don’t forget there’s a two-week wait – no bloodsucking on Labor Day weekend.

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Filed under: television • True Blood
August 31st, 2009
09:29 AM ET

'Entourage' returns to jaw-dropping roots

Ladies and gentlemen, we have liftoff.

Simply put, I loved the show. We have now returned to the familiar place that "Entourage" keeps us in. From my strange "thing" for Beverly D'Angelo's character (don't ask – but yes, I want more "Babs" please) to Andrew Klein's pajamas, the episode started well and ended phenomenally, just like its supposed to. I even saw Turtle's bong make an appearance after a long hiatus.

The only hiccup I could have held my breath for was the "Vince versus stalker" storyline. Its neither catchy nor compelling. Yes, I know there's a nut on the loose, but the drills weren't laughable, and the security guy isn't funny either.

Other than that? The show grabbed me, shook me, spun me around, patted me on the head and told me to "enjoy the rest of my night" once the credits rolled.

For the record, I keep having to go all the way back to my first blog of the season where I called for an end to Sloan's character, at right, and/or her relationship with E for some ungodly reason. What was I thinking?

Since then, I've been "Sloan'd" several times by her appearances, and last night was no exception. She placed a call to E to check in on him and I found myself not wanting the scene to end. E met her for cocktails (Hi Sloan!), got the call from Ashley (uh-oh), and ultimately decided that he had enough of Sloan's indecisive nature (What? NO!). As Eric drove away, I exhaled and silently mouthed the words "Bye Sloan" to the TV. Please don't be gone Sloan. I didn't mean it. I rebuke that first blog!

Meanwhile, the readers have been pretty diligent about frying anyone who speaks a harsh word about Ari Gold's character on the show. Well, last night's performance is what Emmy noms are made of. Don't be surprised if you see him eagerly waiting to hear his name called for the award as scenes from last night's show portray him in the role. What a fantastic performance.

As his scenes unfolded, Ari guides Klein through the chaotic wilderness of his own creation, only moments before the single-most important meeting of his professional life. Then, in an instant, we get the patented Entourage "mayhem" we've come to know and love as Klein reacts to his "Sorkin notes" going up in flames at the hands of his jilted wife. Klein then gives us a gift by reversing his Cadillac, and driving it through the front of his very own house.

At this point in the show, I'm now standing up in front of the TV. Wow! I remember discussing this "Klein implosion" concept earlier in the season, but wow! Talk about a tree bearing juicy, delicious fruit??

By now, I'm actually hoping Klein can score the Sorkin deal, and what do you know? The uber-schmuck comes through from behind the prison glass, and I'm officially spent.

All in all, I believe we got more of what we were looking for in our beloved show.

By the way, you'll be glad to know I just added my stellar suggestion for "Pajama Mondays" to the employee suggestion box.

Loved, kinda liked, or hated this week's show? Let us know!

August 31st, 2009
08:56 AM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

"The Bold and the Beautiful" cast, at right, took top honors at Sunday's Daytime Emmy Awards. It was the first time in the show's 22-year history that it won the award for drama series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It was also a bittersweet victory for Jeff Branson, who tied for supporting actor honors, as his show, "Guiding Light" is going off the air after 72 years. In talk show categories, Rachel Ray, Tyra Banks and hosts of "The View" were big winners.

"Halloween II" lost the big box office weekend battle to the 3-D horror sequel, "The Final Destination." So, as The Los Angeles Times reports, the next "Halloween" will be in 3-D.

This week's reruns of "Fringe" and "Glee" will come with a bonus: fans can follow along on Twitter for trivia about the show, according to Variety.

Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager is joining NBC's "Today" as a part-time education correspondent, according to People.

New music out today: "I Look to You" by Whitney Houston, "The Chronic: Re-Lit" by Dr. Dre, "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again" by John Fogerty, "Killer" by Alice Cooper, "Here Comes Science" by They Might Be Giants, "Bang! Pow! Boom!" by Insane Clown Posse, and "Terra Incognita" by Juliette Lewis, among others.

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