July 16th, 2009
05:42 PM ET

Newfound understanding for Jackson?

I saw the just released video of Michael Jackson’s 1984 accident on the set of his Pepsi commercial before I left work yesterday.  I had to leave early for a doctor’s appointment and when I got there, the waiting room was packed and the wait to see the doctor was a long one.  People were hanging out in the waiting room watching CNN on TV.

 As we were all sitting around the video of Jackson’s accident came on.  Since I had just seen it I knew what was coming, but I knew that this was the first time anyone else would be seeing it. As soon as Wolf Blitzer teased it the room became silent and anyone who wasn’t watching before was watching now.  The clip began and people literally gasped when the pyrotechnics went off at the wrong time and Michael, unaware that his hair had caught fire continued to dance. 

As soon as the clip ended people started talking- people who, until moments before, had been absolute strangers.  I was struck by how many people seemed to change their opinion of Michael Jackson’s drug use just by watching that clip.  One woman said to me, “You know, you kind of understand it now.”  It made me wonder, if people had seen this tape before Michael had died, would they have thought differently of him while he was alive?   

Tonight on Showbiz Tonight we are going to look at some of the disturbing, brand new questions that the release of this video has raised.  Be sure to tune in to Showbiz Tonight at 11pm Eastern and Pacific on HLN- Don’t miss it!

July 16th, 2009
01:52 PM ET

ESPY Awards: The thrill of victory, the agony of the teleprompter

The ESPY awards… the annual event where Hollywood celebrities and sports figures collide, and big names like Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Phelps trade in their uniforms (or in Michael's case, Speedos) for suits, sunglasses and lots of bling for a walk down the red carpet.


The ESPY awards is the annual event where Hollywood celebrities and sports figures collide. More photos »

There were those familiar with the glitzy setting: Terrell Owens has never met a camera he didn't like; Serena Williams and Danica Patrick know how to strike a pose; and Lakers star Kobe Bryant is no stranger to the Hollywood spotlight. 

But then there are those who genuinely seemed bewildered by the whole scene, as if out of their element, but in an endearing way.

Matthew Stafford, this year's number one overall NFL draft pick, was attending his first ESPY awards.  The 21-year-old quarterback admitted that despite playing in front of thousands at the University of Georgia, the setting outside the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday was not something he’s used to. 
photo Check out photos from the red carpet »

Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips had a “you really want to talk to me???” look on his face when I wrangled him for an interview.  But to his credit, he successfully skirted media questions about his star quarterback Tony Romo’s personal life… well played, coach, well played.

And then there was the taping of show itself.  The production was a little shaky at the beginning.  Host Samuel L. Jackson had to improvise when the teleprompter stopped working not once, but twice.  But Samuel L. kept his cool and took a few stabs at audience members during his opening monologue where no one was off limits.  Just ask Phelps (remember the photo of him apparently using drug paraphernalia?), whom Jackson said is glad to be back in the pool where nobody can give him a hard time “when you smoke the competition.”

And by the way, Phelps DID smoke the competition at the ESPYS: the Olympic swimmer won five trophies.  However, that’s three less than the total of gold medals he won in Beijing last summer, so overall a disappointing night… but you wouldn’t know it by watching his mother Debbie, who’s perfected the “so proud” facial expression.

Despite a few production delays and prompter hiccups, the show taping was completed in less than three hours.  That's one thing Hollywood award ceremonies, which tend to drag on for hours, can learn from the ESPYs – shorter acceptance speeches.  We’re all familiar with long, dramatic monologues from a sometimes frantic actor or actress after a big win as they thank countless  people you’ve never heard of.  Often times, even the theme music that’s played as a sign to wrap it up isn’t enough to get them off the stage.

But there was no need for a maestro at the ESPYs.  Take Atlanta Falcon’s quarterback Matt Ryan’s speech after winning the best breakthrough performance award:

"All right, wow.  Well, thank you to the fans for uh, for voting for this, um, congratulations to the other contestants also, Derek (Rose), Evan (Longoria), and Shawn (Johnson), you guys are all deserving of it.  Uh, thanks to my teammates, without you none of this is possible, um and thanks to my family for their support through everything so, thank you and have a fun night and hopefully we can do it again next year, thank you."

Dignified, simple, non-controversial and most importantly, less than thirty seconds.  With the Emmy Awards approaching, a few in TV land might want to take notes.

The ESPY Awards air this Sunday on ESPN.

July 16th, 2009
01:38 PM ET

Madonna Responds to Accident on Set

 One worker is dead and 6 injured in an accident on the French set of Madonna's "Sticky & Sweet" Tour. The accident happened during construction of the pop singer's massive stage at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseilles, France. According to Madonna's spokesperson Liz Rosenberg "the roof accidentally fell."  Rosenberg adds Madonna was in Udine, Italy at the time and given the news as she finished her soundcheck at the Stadio Friuli.

 Madonna issued the following statement:  “I am devastated to have just received this tragic news. My prayers go out to those who were injured and their families along with my deepest sympathy to all those affected by this heartbreaking news.”

Filed under: Celebrities • Music
July 16th, 2009
10:37 AM ET

It's an Honor to be Nominated...

Chandra Wilson from ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and Jim Parsons from CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" announced the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards nominations Thursday morning in Los Angeles.  Stars are reacting to the honor of being nominated. We'll post their statements in this blog throughout the day.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominee

"I'm thrilled for everyone connected to the show, but I'm especially excited for Jane, Jack and Tracy. It's great working with the entire group and I'm grateful for the recognition of our work."
-Alec Baldwin NBC's 30 Rock

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominees

“This year’s nomination means more to me than ever before. I’m incredibly happy and honored.  Certainly it’s  bittersweet- we no longer get to do the show that we love so much, but that doesn’t take away from the excitement and honor of this nomination. This is a wonderful  recognition of what we created together every week.”–Christina Applegate ABC's “Samantha, Who?”

"I am thrilled to be nominated amongst this talented group of actors and especially happy for my friend Christina that she is being recognized for her great work.  I feel proud to be a part of this show and to work with an incredible group of creative minds who take chances and are being acknowledged for this today." – Mary-Louise Parker, Showtime's Weeds

"I am thrilled and honored to represent United States of Tara in this way! I really hope this helps to widen the audience for our show!" – Toni Colette, Showtime's United Sates of Tara

 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominee

"The writers have created an amazing character in Jenna which I just love to play.  I'm so honored to be part of this ensemble, this is my first Emmy nomination, I'm so excited!  I am blown away by the number of nominations the show has received and thrilled for everyone."  – Jane Krakowski, NBC's "30 Rock"

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominee & Emmy Host

"I love being in the mix again this year, but am absolutely over the moon about HIMYM's Best Comedy Series nomination.  The only multi-camera show in the mix!  This kind of recognition is huge for us.  Just huge.  It should be quite the night.  Being asked to host the show – terrific.  Getting a third nomination – fantastic.  Having the ability to scribble my name in the envelope backstage when no one is looking – priceless."    – Neil Patrick Harris, CBS "How I Met Your Mother"

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominee

"It is an honor to be recognized by my peers and be a part of "30 Rock's" 22 nominations. I thank everyone from Tina to Lorne to everyone in craft services." – Tracy Morgan NBC's 30 Rock

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominee

“I’m thrilled.  I’m part of a phenomenal team and am so, so happy for all our nominees.” –Glenn Close, FX's "Damages"

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominee

"I'm hugely grateful to be nominated, and ridiculously proud to stand in the company of these incredible artists."- Mariska Hargitay NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Outstanding Comedy Series Nominee: Family Guy

We’re thrilled to see Family Guy and American Dad recognized by the Academy. And the idea that Family Guy can transcend animation and be honored as one of the best comedies on television is truly rewarding. We have a great team of people that work incredibly hard on both shows. I’m really proud of them.– Seth Macfarlane, Voice of Peter Griffin

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Nominee

 “What a happy surprise!”–Carol Burnett NBC's Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Nominee

I was overjoyed with my nomination, for what was it, 30 Rock?? Because if I get lucky, it will give me yet again another opportunity to express my deepest feelings about “show business.” Feelings that have been bottled up for 365 days.   – Elaine Stritch   NBC's 30 Rock

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Nominee

"Here I am associated again with one of the best best shows ever on television. I couldn't be luckier - or happier."
– Alan Alda NBC's 30 Rock

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Nominee

"We are all thrilled and honored to receive any kind of recognition and this, of course, is beyond our wildest expectations. There are a lot of motivations that keep us writing late into the night. One of them is our fear of Jack McBrayer's violent outbursts. Another is the gratification that comes from being recognized by our peers. " - Robert Carlock NBC's 30 Rock

About this blog

Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.