October 9th, 2009
10:46 PM ET

"True Blood" creator Alan Ball gives up the goods on Season Three

Don't you hate it when you see a story about your favorite actor, TV show, or movie, and you want just one question answered, but you have to sift through unimportant crap to get what you want? Well, I'm not going to do that to you when it comes to "True Blood."  I recently had a long chat with the hit cable show's creator, Alan Ball, and I got straight to the point early on in the interview. I asked the questions that are on everyone's minds: What is going to happen in Season Three, AND what is up with our favorite characters - Bill, Sookie, Tara, and Sam?

Well, I won't lie: he didn't show me the script or give me a play-by-play of each episode in the upcoming season. BUT he did dish a little to me:

"I don't think people will be disappointed in Season Three. We are taking everybody to some new places. We are revisiting some old relationships that maybe we thought were over. There's going to be a lot of new characters coming in. I can tell you that you will see Werewolves. We'll find out a little bit more about exactly what Sookie is, which is that she is not entirely human. Bill and Sookie's relationship will be put to a serious, serious test. Sam's gonna meet his biological family. And I think Tara will find true love eventually, but I'm not sure she will find it in Season Three. "

Season Three of "True Blood" begins filming in December,  and won't hit the screen until the middle of next year. So until then... you'll just have to feast off of those few morsels.

October 9th, 2009
05:38 PM ET

Network execs: Stop ruining my 'stories'!

So here is a little tidbit about me — one that I don’t usually share with perfect strangers, but here it goes: I am a soap fan. Actually that might be putting it mildly; I am a HUGE soap fan. I am the girl who DVRs my favorite ones ("General Hospital" and "All My Children," in case you were wondering) when I am at work and watches them when I get home.

eric braeden

It doesn’t end there though — I read the gossip and spoilers online and I have a subscription to Soap Opera Digest. Yes, you read that right; I proudly give up a portion of my paycheck to read all about my favorite “stories” as they used to be called and about the actors that play them.

I can tell you all about "General Hospital" — I can tell you what happened when Jason met Carly or when Luke hooked up with Felicia. I will patiently sit and explain to you why Carly number two, Tamara Braun, was my favorite and why Sonny and Carly are my favorite "supercouple."

I am worried though, because soap operas appear to be dying. "Guiding Light" just aired its final episode last month after 72 years on TV and radio. The entire production, including most of the cast of "All My Children" is being moved to Los Angeles in what many insiders are viewing as a last ditch effort to save the ABC soap. Actors across the board are being asked to take drastic pay cuts to offset the budgetary constraints and it is resulting in the departure of a lot of fan favorites.

Just this week, Eric Braeden, who had been on "The Young and the Restless" for almost three decades, left the show after a contract dispute. He told “Showbiz Tonight” that “contracts that actors sign are not worth the paper they are printed on and I am keeping all my options open and may or may not return to Y&R in the future.”

The problem is that viewers tune in to see these familiar faces. When shows getting rid of beloved veteran actors like Braeden, what motivation do viewers have to tune in? A story is only as good as the actor in it — and a familiar face telling the story is why these viewers tune in every day.

October 9th, 2009
04:39 PM ET

Good from Lenny Bruce

During his lifetime, comedian Lenny Bruce was known for his caustic take on the era's headlines and his battling of authority figures. In death, he's been an incredibly influential comedian - the list of comics who owe their livelihoods to Bruce would go on for pages - and, now, a benefactor for a cause.

On Tuesday, October 13, an Internet-based auction will begin to benefit Lenny's House, a non-profit recovery house for women healing from drug and alcohol addictions. The auction will feature more than 25 items from the Bruce estate, which is overseen by his daughter, Kitty Bruce.

According to a press release, the auction will run through Wednesday, October 28, and will also feature items from Bruce family friends and supporters Yoko Ono, Hugh Hefner, Elizabeth Taylor, Chris Rock, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer and Carl Reiner.

A comedy benefit is also scheduled for October 28 at the Laugh Factory comedy club in West Hollywood, California.

"I ... wanted to honor my father's memory in a way that will change lives," Kitty Bruce said in the release. "With Lenny's House, I have never felt so right about anything in my entire life. And in these times we need to help each other and those who cannot help themselves."

More information can be found at www.lennybruceofficial.com.

October 9th, 2009
04:02 PM ET

A flood of support in Atlanta

Since Georgia was hit by devastating and deadly floods last month, help has come in from all sides.  TV and radio stations, the Atlanta Braves, schools, local and national businesses, and others have pitched in, after flooding destroyed a reported 781 homes and caused an estimated $250 million in damage.

Celebs have contributed as well: Atlanta natives Ludacris and T.I. each contributed $10,000 to the recovery effort, and now Third Day is doing its part.  The Grammy-winning Christian rockers have turned their show tomorrow night in Atlanta into a flood victims' benefit concert.  One dollar from each ticket sold will go to a local federation of churches working with the relief agency Samaritan's Purse to provide aid to flood victims.

Atlanta resident Jeff Foxworthy is matching the donation, and the band is also donating autographed memorabilia, VIP access passes, and other such goodies to be auctioned off for the cause, as well as accepting canned goods at the show.

I was fortunate enough to call Atlanta home for awhile, and I was stunned at the extent of the damage, just as I've been warmed by how many people have rushed to help those affected by the flooding.  Here's hoping this latest relief effort inspires even more contributions, as the recovery continues in the region.

October 9th, 2009
12:13 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Here's what's happening in the world of entertainment today:

  • It's the circle of life on Twitter - just as an online campaign to get "30 Rock's" Tracy Morgan on the social networking site has succeeded, according to The Wall Street Journal, People reports that Miley Cyrus has deleted her Twitter account, citing advice from "Liam," who is believed to be Australian actor Liam Hemsworth. This has launched another campaign, "#mileycomeback."
  • EW.com reports that the ABC comedy trio of "Modern Family," "The Middle" and "Cougar Town" have all been picked up for full seasons. All three of these shows have been well received by critics and audiences. "Hank," starring Kelsey Grammer, however, has yet to be picked up. Meanwhile, "Southland," one of NBC's big series for this past mid-season, has been canceled before its second season even began, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Dramas on NBC are something of an endangered species, thanks to "The Jay Leno Show."
  • Daniel Radcliffe is trying his hand at musical theater for the first time, according to Variety. The "Harry Potter" star will take the lead in of a possible Broadway revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
  • Book 'em, Dan-o: Variety reports that CBS wants to bring back the classic series "Hawaii Five-O." Writing partners Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ("Star Trek," "Transformers," "Fringe") will team up to resurrect the cop show, which made Jack Lord a star.
October 9th, 2009
11:18 AM ET

First 'Housewives' after the death of A.J.

In a way, it was almost a relief that Thursday night’s episode of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” didn’t feature any scene with Ashley "A.J." Jewell.

The death of Jewell, whose engagement to new cast member Kandi Burruss has figured prominently in this season’s plotlines, took viewers by shock.

Fans of the show know that Kandi’s mother objected to their relationship and that tension has caused a great deal of stress for the singer/songwriter. I braced myself for more scenes of Burruss being torn between her man and her mama.

But thankfully, none of that occurred on Thursday night. The show instead focused on Sheree and Dwight’s tug-of-war over her fashion show, NeNe’s campaign against domestic violence and her search for her biological father, Lisa and her husband’s attempts to deal with his retirement from the NFL and get pregnant and Kim’s shopping habits.

A.J. was only mentioned during a discussion Kandi had with Kim about the future of the relationship and whether she was pushing so hard to make the relationship work so her mother wouldn’t be proven right. Very sad given that we all now know.

The tease for the following week’s show features Kandi, her mother and A.J. in therapy. The session does not look like it goes well and might prove to be uncomfortable, as the now deceased A.J. appears to come off like a lout.

Will you be watching?

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