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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Broadway Gives Thanks with Annual Macy’s Parade


The name Macy’s is almost synonymous with Thanksgiving, as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has kicked off the holiday season since 1924. Over 3 million people watch the parade along its route, which now begins at Central Park West and 77th Street and ends at Macy’s, and another 50 million watch on television. Some of the main attractions are the signature giant balloons, but another reason audiences tune in is to see the Broadway performances.

The tradition of Broadway at the Macy’s parade dates back to 1934 with a balloon of actor/composer Eddie Cantor—the only balloon of a person to ever appear in the parade. He was at Macy’s waiting to see the balloon as it arrived, which also set precedent for celebrity appearances at the event.
“It really wasn’t until the ’70s that what you know as the Broadway performances at Macy’s really began,” says William Schermerhorn, VP/Creative Director of Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group. Before that, Broadway actors did appear in the parade, but mostly on floats, and it wasn’t an annual tradition. For example, in 1950, when Boris Karloff starred in Peter Pan, he appeared on a pirate ship float as Captain Hook. When Judy Holliday was in Bells Are Ringing, she also appeared on a float. But since 1974, at least three shows have performed each year in front of the department store. “Macy’s is a very strong supporter of Broadway,” Schermerhorn says.

Click on "read more" below to continue reading to here to go to Broadway Direct.

Give Nevada Day is today!

Familure Faces haunt JJ Abrams "Alcatraz", Cloony's Soccer, Can Google's Music store unseat iTunes?





New warden. Fox's "Alcatraz" hasn't even premiered yet and there's already a new executive producer on the J.J. Abrams drama about ... well it's too complicated to explain here but it involves Alcatraz inmates and time travel. At least I think that's what it is about. According to Deadline Hollywood writer Nellie Andreeva, Elizabeth Sarnoff is out as co-creator and executive producer. She is being replaced by Jennifer Johnson and Daniel Pyne. Johnson had worked on Abrams' "Lost" and Pyne is a feature writer.
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Goal! Time Warner Cable has snagged the Galaxy soccer team for its new West Coast regional sports channel. It is the second franchise the channel has landed, the first being the Lakers, which will leave Fox starting in 2012. The Galaxy didn't come cheap. Time Warner Cable's 10 year-deal averages out to $5.1 million per season. That's far more than Fox Sports West was paying. Time Warner Cable is also expected to make a run for the Dodgers. More on the agreement from the Los Angeles Times.

Cable over the Internet: Everyone wants in on the action. Sony Corp. is toying with the idea of using its PlayStation consoles as a cable box of sorts that can deliver channels via broadband. The challenge will be for Sony to get favorable deals from programmers that make such a venture worthwhile. Dish Network has also been mulling over a similar Internet play. Details from the Wall Street Journal.

Google's new tune. Search engine giant Google officially launched its assault on Apple's iTunes with the debut of its Google Music service. The digital music store was unveiled in Los Angeles yesterday after a year-long push to sign up the major labels. On board are Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music and Merlin Network. However, the white whale for Google remains Warner Music Group, which has a catalog that represents some 20% of the world's music library. The two are haggling over price. A look at Google's push and what it means for iTunes and other competitors from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

Meet the new boss. Warner Bros. TV Group President Bruce Rosenblum was elected chairman of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Wednesday night. Rosenblum, one of the most powerful executives in the television business, beat the lesser-known Nancy Bradley Wiard, a producer who also had served as the academy's vice chairman. The biggest headache for Rosenblum is this new job will be overseeing the annual prime-time Emmy Awards. There has been tensions between broadcast networks and pay cable channels over what categories get recognized during the show. More on the election from Variety.

How did he know? Sony Pictures has ended its association with acclaimed director and producer James L. Brooks ("Broadcast News," "Terms of Endearment"), whose Gracie Films has been based at the studio for two decades. The move comes after last year's flop "How Do You Know" starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson. Brooks' deal at Sony actually ended in September, but word is only creeping out now. Details from the Hollywood Reporter.

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On a roll. At the start of the new TV season, not much attention was paid to ABC. The network had a weird strategy of staggering the launch of its new programs throughout the fall and there was little buzz around any of its comedies or dramas. But ABC quietly has found some momentum. While "Charlie's Angels" flopped and "Pan Am" is struggling to maintain a safe altitude, new comedy "Suburgatory" is showing strength and dramas "Revenge" and "Once Upon a Time" are delivering bigger numbers than expected. A look at ABC's fall results from TV Guide.

Capital Starz. John Malone's Liberty Media is known for complex transactions and financial structures, often aimed at limiting tax liabilities. On Thursday, Liberty announced it was doing away with its tracking stock for its Starz pay TV company and will convert each share of Liberty Starz common stock into 0.88129 shares of Liberty Capital, which is parent of the Atlanta Braves and holds investments in SiriusXM, Live Nation and Barnes & Noble, and minority equity investments in Viacom and Time Warner. This should for now end speculation that Liberty was thinking of selling Starz. Details from Forbes.

Ahoy matey. The House Judiciary Committee debated a new bill to fight piracy that has big support from Hollywood and is opposed by much of Silicon Valley, including Google. However, lawmakers seemed to be on Hollywood's side. National Journal quotes Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee ranking member Rep. Marvin Watt (D-N.C.) as saying “the obstinate opposition since the day [the bill was introduced] is really about the bottom line.”

Growing Gersh. The Gersh Agency has snagged Roy Ashton from Creative Artists Agency and made him a partner and head of its Television Literature Department, according to Deadline Hollywood reporter Nellie Andreeva. Gersh, "which is very strong in TV on the talent side, has now made beefing up its TV lit roster a priority," wrote Andreeva.


New morning. CBS unveiled its new lineup for "The Early Show," the network's long-suffering morning program. Joining the on-air team are Charlie Rose and Gayle King. Chris Licht, who used to produce MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, will executive produce the new version of "The Early Show," which will even get a new name ("The Morning Fix" is taken so don't even think about it). CBS' strategy is to try to be a little more serious than NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America." There will be less lifestyle and gossip stories and more hard news and politics. More on the latest version of "The Early Show" from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.



Lots of bite. The latest "Twilight" movie "Breaking Dawn" is expected to have as fanatical a following overseas as it does here. Variety looks at the franchise's track record abroad and what "Breaking Dawn" is expected to rake in.

New digs. United Talent Agency is moving to the old Hilton Hotels headquarters near Beverly Hills City Hall. The new space is pretty big and UTA is going to spend millions sprucing up, including putting in a screening room, per the Los Angeles Times.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "The Descendants." A review of a new Howard Cosell biography.

-- Joe Flint



Follow me on Twitter. I can't be bought. Twitter.com/JBFlint

Photo: George Clooney in a scene from "The Descendants." Credit: Fox Searchlight