Monday, June 18, 2012

The Power of Bieber

On Friday morning, June 15, 2012, Justin Bieber performed on the Rockefeller Plaza outside the NBC Today show studios. Before the concert, he sat down with Matt Lauer to discuss his tour.

Longtime Today show host Matt Lauer confessed that Bieber had convinced him to sign up for twitter, something he said he swore he'd never do. During the interview, Lauer asked the 18-year-old pop star to prove his influence by helping him gain followers, "I want to find out the power of Bieber. I'm gonna do a little test here... I want you to tell your 23 million followers to follow me."

After first promoting the release of his new album Believe on June 19th. Bieber finally complied, tweeting from @justinbieber at 8:18 that morning:
    "Everyone follow my man @mlauer

Matt Lauer had quietly signed up for twitter the day before, but said he had "zero followers." Lauer said that NBC's director of digital news operations, Ryan Osborne would streak in the studio if he can gain over 750,000 followers by Tuesday, June 19.

I found Lauer's account before the Bieber blitz and clicked to follow his tweets, taking this screen shot showing 85 followers. Joining right before me were: Amanda Wright @adwritght10, Susan @savedbygraceto, Carrie Mitchell @MonsterPuma, and Lauren Boudreau @LBoudreauu.

"We're going to see the power of Justin Bieber by Tuesday," said Lauer.

Within three minutes, while Bieber typed away, Lauer announced: "We have 9,000 already, okay? And this has been going on for three minutes... Ryan, start taking your clothes off."

Within five minutes, Matt Lauer had 30,753 followers and was trending.

Only one day later, on Saturday, June 16, @mLauer had over 131,000 followers. Today, he has nearly 140,000. Although he won't reach the 750,000 mark he had hoped for, it's still quite impressive.

Will Matt Lauer remember me, having been one of the first 100 to follow him on twitter? Nah, probably not. It's fun trivia, though, just another story for tvgrrrrl's files.

Bieber will be back on NBC on Wednesday and Thursday nights, June 20th and 21st, for his All Around the World tour TV special airing at 8 p.m. each night. (NBC can be found on channels 4 and 1020 in Orlando on Brighthouse Cable.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who shot J.R.? Dream Season, Priscilla Presley, and more Dallas folklore

Season 3 of Dallas included cast: Gary Ewing (Ted Shackleford), Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), Pamela Barnes Ewing (Victoria Principal), patriarch Jock Ewing (Jim Davis), J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray), matriarch Miss Ellie Ewing (Barbara Bel Geddes), and first grandchild, Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton).

Do you know who shot JR? Did you remember that Season 8 of Dallas was mostly just a bad dream? Did you wonder if Priscilla Presley could actually act when you found out she had been cast? And did you remember that Lucy had an affair with Ray Krebbs, who was later discovered to be her half uncle?

These are just a few of the scandals revealed on the hit television series Dallas, which ran from 1978 to 1991. I was too young to understand it when it first aired, but caught it in reruns. Unlike daytime soap operas, the plot on Dallas moved quite fast, airing once a week, keeping viewers spellbound by shocking them with the cruel and conniving behavior of the Ewings, a mega rich Texas oil family.

The show is re-airing tonight on TNT in a newly produced series, picking up where it left off, and reviving the old fabulous characters of J.R., original heir to the South Fork family ranch and the Ewing oil well fortune, his ex-wife Sue Ellen, and his brother Bobby.

The same hallmark Dallas soundtrack is also being used, much to my delight.  Hear the Dallas theme soundtrack here. It's catchy!

New characters in the form of offspring who have grown up, new wives and husbands, and others have been added to inject new life into the series. I hope they walk with a swagger, emitting the same air of nasty confidence which only extreme wealth can foster. I hope that the bad guys are just as ruthless, selfish, and lawbreaking so that I can cheer when their innocent victims, the good guys, muster the strength to fight back and win in the end.

The show will air from 9 p.m. to 11:13 p.m tonight with two back-to-back episodes on TNT, channel 11 or 1237 HD on Brighthouse cable here in Orlando. The show will re-air tonight at 11:14 p.m., Friday night at 10:30 p.m., and Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

If you didn't watch Dallas the first time around, here is the plot in a nutshell: 

Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) marries Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), who chooses him over her other beau, Digger Barnes (David Wayne and later Keenan Wynn). Jock Ewing and Digger Barnes become business partners, then have a disagreement over oil rights where Jock ultimately cheats Digger out of the oil, setting the field for a huge Ewing-Barnes rivalry.

The Ewings have three children: J.R. (Larry Hagman), Gary (David Ackroyd and later Ted Shackelford), and Bobby (Patrick Duffy). As the eldest son, J.R. runs the farm and oil company like a ruthless bastard, steam-rolling over anyone who gets in his way. Youngest son Bobby is more interested in loving life, doing good, and caring for others.

Digger Barnes marries Rebecca Blake and has two children: Pam (Victoria Principal) and Cliff (Ken Kercheval).

In the first episode, Pamela Barnes and Bobby Ewing, children of the two rival families, elope in Romeo and Juliet fashion. Bobby brings Pam home to the Southfork ranch where he resides with his father Jock, mother Miss Ellie, siblings Gary and J.R. and his wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), and niece Lucy (Charlene Tilton), who is the daughter of his brother Gary. Lucy is so boy crazy that she sleeps with farmhand, Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly).

The show stews in scandal. There are murders, shootings, affairs, lawsuits, and conniving criminal business deals. It's over-the-top fantasy, filled with the glitz and glam of designer fashions and fancy sports cars owned by people residing in sprawling mega mansions and downtown Dallas condos. I owe the success of the show to the fact that in the real world, the economy in 1978 had tanked, and everyone needed an escape, a mythical place to live in their minds as far detached from reality as possible, while still representing the very real American dream of becoming absurdly rich and successful.

Priscilla Presley was added during Season 7 as Bobby's first love, Jenna Wade.

And, to answer those questions:
Do you know who shot JR at the end of Season 3? 
We find out at the beginning of Season 4 that Kristin (Mary Crosby), J.R.'s mistress who is also Sue Ellen's sister pulled the trigger.

What about Season 8, otherwise known as the "Dream Season?"
Bobby and Pamela, divorced for two years, decide to remarry, only to have their dreams tragically end after he is killed in a car accident saving Pam's life. At the beginning of Season 9, we find that Bobby's death was all just a bad bad dream which Pam had been having, earning that year the nickname, the "Dream Season."

Could Priscilla Presley act?
Yes, Elvis Presley's widow Priscilla could act, and quite well in fact. She played Jenna Wade, the mother of Bobby's son Lucas Wade, and was introduced in episode 138, then appeared on the show from 1983 until 1988. After her time on Dallas, she continued acting in various roles on TV shows and movies until the year 2000.

Lucy slept with her uncle?
At the beginning of the series, Lucy and ranch hand Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly) have a steamy sordid affair. It was later revealed that Krebbs was actually her father's half-brother, Jock's illegitimate son, making him her half-uncle.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bonnaroo TV blasting broadcasts via youtube

Donald Glover, who plays Troy on Community, performs at Bonnaroo as his rap act, Childish Gambino, on the "little screen" of youtube, which is livecasting the festival.

Were you unable to make it to Manchester, TN to the Bonnaroo music and arts festival this year? No worries. It's being "live" cast online via youtube. Unlike other live feeds I've seen, this one is a huge improvement. I began watching Friday evening just to see how it was working out, and the picture, though high definition, stuttered annoyingly despite my high speed internet connection. The problems appear to have been fixed. Rebroadcasts, which have been airing each morning and during downtimes, are TV perfect.

In order to stagger performances and give the viewers at home a steady feed of entertainment, some shows seem to be captured in near real time with a safely padded, room-for-editing, 30 minute delay, while others are shown hours or days later, such as the heavily bearded acoustic Trampled by Turtles, who played Friday and Saturday, but are being broadcast live today at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

Bonnaroo's trailer aptly advertised: "Sounds. Stages. Sights. Get down on the farm, without being on the farm."

Airings are pretty spectacular – definitely one of the best live music broadcasts I've ever seen, and youtube-upload-worthy for future watches. The sound is perfect. The camera angles are great. The picture is crystal clear. All that's missing are the smells, and I can do without that.

Broadcasting Bonnaroo acts live on youtube will most likely have the same effect on the festival that MTV’s Spring Break had on Daytona Beach in the late ’80s.

There is a legend here in Florida of epic Woodstock proportion of the day the film crews came to town beginning in March of 1986, with big stars in tow, drawing in mega crowds of sweaty coeds from all over the country. For four years, we kids would do anything to get our parents to let us go to the free beach concerts. I got to see the Beastie Boys live, something I'll never forget.

At Bonnaroo, performers are able to strut their stuff live, proving they are not just smoke and mirrors while crowds of festival goers vie for camera time from the front row waving hi to Mom back home. I get to sit in the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment and watch online on hi-def, blowing up the picture mega huge, with my Bose speakers blasting the beautifully crystal clear music. It's like I'm there, but without all the dusty dirt, long lines for the honey pots, greasy hair and stench. Win! Win!

Two channels broadcast each day, on the appropriately named Channel 1 and Channel 2.  I'm sure next year, they'll come up with much more creative names for these, but hopefully not as confusing as "This Tent," "That Tent," and "The Other Tent," just a few examples of real Bonnaroo stage names. Both channel feeds are found here:

Bonnaroo Music Fest on Youtube

Unlike television which is subject to panels of censors, youtube appears to be self-regulated, meaning that swear words can fly freely.

I caught Community TV star, Donald Glover, performing as Childish Gambino in an uncensored rebroadcast this morning. I have to give props to the guy -- he can energize a crowd, displaying sing-a-long lyrics on a big screen, exciting the crowd into clapping in time, then moving them with sad and heart broken lyrics.

Later today on Channel 2 at 6 p.m. EDT is Sing-Off TV show judge Ben Folds, reunited with his fabulous lineup from the late '90s: Ben Folds Five.  Dr. Folds promises to stand on his piano, whip out his wide lens and photograph people flipping him off.  Sounds like he’s a gluten for punishment.

Should be fun. Catch it if you can. Check out the uploaded videos on the Bonnaroo youtube channel as well.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Save The Sing-Off petition reaches landmark halfway point

Yesterday marked a landmark victory for the fan-based movement to #SaveTheSingOff. The grassroots campaign reached 25,167 signatures by midnight, eastern time, Monday, June 4, just over halfway of its goal of 50,000 signatures. The fan-based group formed on Monday, May 14, just three short weeks ago. The online petition was created by Dan St. John of Lawrence, Kansas, to gather enough signatures to gain the attention of network executives at NBC. The halfway point now being reached, the movement is gaining even more momentum.

The Sing-Off television show, which aired on NBC for three seasons from 2009 to 2011 and features several a cappella groups vying for a Sony recording contract, was not renewed for a full season this coming fall.  Fans are hoping to bring The Sing-Off back in Season 4 as a five or six day post-season run in December, the slot in which it originally ran during both Season 1 in 2009 and Season 2 in 2010.

After higher than expected ratings in 2010, NBC gambled and ran the show for a full season on Monday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. in Season 3 in 2011. However, the show was head-to-head against staunchly established competition: How I Met Your Mother and Two and A Half Men on CBS, and Dancing with the Stars on ABC, so that the 2011 ratings were less than stellar.

By showing that viewers care, the petition should light a fire under NBC execs to possibly bring the show back in December 2012.

The Sing-Off is hosted by the dashing Nick Lachey, and judged by the ever intelligent panel of Dr. Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, and Sara Bareilles.

I want to issue a huge congratulations to the wonderful grass roots campaign to #SaveTheSingOff. I especially want to acknowledge Dan St. John for his ceaseless promotion on both twitter and facebook.

Well done, Dan! Well done!