December 4th, 2009
05:34 PM ET

From sitcoms to reality

Goodbye sitcoms, hello reality.

There can be few clearer examples of the changing of the TV guard than The Hollywood Reporter’s list of the 10 most-viewed series episodes of the ‘00s.

Tops on the list: the series finale of “Friends,” from 2004. Also in the top 10 are the series finale for “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the 2000 season finale for “Frasier” and the last “Spin City” with Michael J. Fox.

But other top audience grabbers indicate the rise of that once-new genre, reality TV. The first-season ender of “Survivor” makes the list, as does the first-season finale of “Joe Millionaire,” the sixth-season premiere of “American Idol” and a stray episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” during its 2000 peak.

Moreover, only one show in the top 10 dates from after 2006 – the “Idol” premiere – yet another indication of the continuing splintering of TV audiences. (Was it only a decade ago when a sitcom could garner more than 30 million viewers?)

What shows will you remember the decade by?

December 4th, 2009
05:30 PM ET

Coming up at Sundance

Leaving the vampires behind for a spell, Kristen Stewart will star as Joan Jett in the feature-length movie “Runaways” at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

The film is one of 13 selected to be shown in the film festival’s “Premieres” category, which often has bigger-budget movies with bigger stars than categories for independent and documentary films. Films in the category are not in the competition for Sundance awards, but help to bring star power to the festival.

Other members of the “Runaways” cast include Dakota Fanning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Michael Shannon, Alia Shawkat and Tatum O'Neal. The film is the coming-of-age story of Jett’s early band, the all-girl Runaways.

Other movies which will be showing at Sundance in the “Premiere” category include “Jack Goes Boating," directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman; “The Company Men” starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner and Chris Cooper; and “The Extra Man,” starring Katie Holmes and Kevin Klein.

Thriller “The Killer Inside Me,” starring Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba, and teen angst drama “Twelve,” starring “Gossip Girl’s” Chace Crawford and Kiefer Sutherland, will also be showing in the “Premieres” category.

Known as a platform to promote documentary film, the Festival will also be showing “The Mormon Proposition,” a documentary about the relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the promotion and passage of California's Proposition 8 denying marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples; and “Teenage Paparazzo,” where “Entourage" star Adrian Grenier explores the complicated relationship Hollywood has with the photographers who document their lives.

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival runs January 21-31 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Started in 1978 by Robert Redford as a small festival to highlight independent film, the Sundance Festival has become a landing spot for larger films who already have distributors but want to premiere before a select audience of tastemakers before going out with a wide release

December 4th, 2009
03:50 PM ET

'Entourage' the movie?

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“Entourage” creator Mark Wahlberg wants to bring the HBO buddy comedy to the big screen after two more seasons.

When asked about the future of the sitcom that follows movie star Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends through life in Hollywood, Wahlberg told the Hollywood Reporter that the show will continue on HBO for now, but could have a bigger future ahead.

"We'll see; there could be more," Walhberg said to the Hollywood Reporter at the premiere of his latest film, "The Lovely Bones." "But then, a movie."

“Entourage” was recently picked up by the cable network for a sixth season. HBO and CNN are owned by the same company.

The HBO original series “Sex and the City” made a big splash at the box office, pulling in $152 million in 2008.

The sequel to the film will be out in 2010. But it is questionable whether “Entourage” could see the same returns in theaters, given the show's mostly male core audience.

“’Sex’ had an enormous audience because there are so fewer movies directed at women,” explained Hollywood Reporter film editor Greg Kilday. “There have always been plenty of movies for and about guys.”

“Sex and the City,” which ran for six seasons on HBO, had also gone into syndication by the time the movie version hit theaters, so it had already reached a much wider audience beyond HBO viewers.

"'Entourage' isn’t as well-known as ‘Sex and the City’, which had already gone into syndication by the time the movie came out,” Kilday said.

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Filed under: Entourage • television
December 4th, 2009
01:29 PM ET

What constitutes Best New Artist?

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In her critique of this year's Grammy nominations, colleague Lisa Respers France noted the uproar over Lady GaGa's exclusion in the Best New Artist category because one of her songs, "Just Dance," was nominated for a Grammy last year.

If there's one Grammy category that confuses critics and music fans alike, it's Best New Artist. What artists are eligible for the award, and why?

According to the official Grammy Web site, the Best New Artist award is presented to someone who releases, during the eligibility year, "the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist."  Sounds simple enough, right?

But the language doesn't explain the nominations, and wins, of Lauryn Hill, Jody Watley and Shelby Lynne in that category.  You can easily argue that Hill and Watley established their "public identities" through their work with the Fugees and Shalamar, respectively.  Lynne won her Best New Artist Grammy in 2001,  more than a decade after charting several singles on the country charts.  Did Lynne win because "Best Career Comeback" is not a Grammy category?

Even this year's nominee list is not without controversy.  Silversun Pickups enjoyed modern rock chart and airplay success in 2006 and 2007, so why is the band nominated for Best New Artist, a few months after releasing its second full-length album?

The award is also the one Grammy category where, year in and year out, you can expect an eclectic mix of nominees going at it.  When Hill won in 1999, she beat a boy band (Backstreet Boys), a country trio (Dixie Chicks) and an Italian tenor (Andrea Bocelli).  The Beatles' 1965 Best New Artist win saw the Fab Four defeat two Brazilian bossa nova musicians (Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim),  jazz-blues artist Morgana King and British songstress Petula Clark.

While the Recording Academy should be honored for recognizing so many genres in one category, perhaps it is time to change the award.  Grammys are awarded in several genres, so why not present Best New Artist awards in a variety of fields?  Let the new country stars battle it out against each other instead of facing off against a comedian, a hip-hop artist or a classical musician.

In the end, it may be time for the Recording Academy to get rid of the Best New Artist Grammy once and for all.  The winners and nominees may make great trivia (A Taste of Honey beat Elvis Costello?), but the award doesn't make sense when those making the nominations can't seem to agree on what constitutes a "new" artist.

Do you think the Best New Artist Grammy has outlived its usefulness?  And what constitutes a "new" artist to you?

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Filed under: Lady Gaga • Music • The Beatles
December 4th, 2009
12:21 PM ET

New Jersey Hall of Fame wants Nicholson

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Jack Nicholson has won three Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes and even been nominated for a Razzie.

But in May he will receive what could be his highest honor yet when he is inducted, alongside Danny DeVito and Susan Sarandon, into the New Jersey Hall of the Fame.

The Garden State announced its 2010 inductees on Thursday.

The stars of the silver screen are in distinguished company; joined by astronaut Wally Schirra, singer Frankie Valli , former President Woodrow Wilson and former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.

The Hall of Fame’s mission, according to its website is “ to honor New Jerseyans who have made invaluable contributions to society and beyond.”

Nicholson was born in Neptune, New Jersey.

The winners were chosen online by those notoriously fickle New Jerseyans themselves and by the hall's Voting Academy of 100 state organizations.

This is the third class to be elected. Past inductees have included musicians and beloved New Jerseyans Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, both of whom made acceptance speeches at the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony.

We would like to see Jack, 72, embrace this hometown honor with gusto! Here’s hoping he can take some time out of his busy schedule to make the induction ceremony in May. All work and no play....

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Filed under: Celebrities • movies
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