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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Andy Kaufman on Dating Game, Santa Claus question

Christmas Tree Tax was Republican False Attack...and here is why

Lawmakers Fight Over Perceived Christmas Tree Tax

Christmas tree growers are frustrated that politics are delaying a marketing campaign to promote real trees over artificial. Following four years of work to get it passed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the industry-sponsored real Christmas tree campaign in November. But conservatives quickly branded it as "President Obama's Christmas tree tax," and the program was delayed within days of its approval. There are 18 other commodities — like pork and eggs — with similar generic advertising programs. They show anywhere from a two-to-one to a 10-to-one return on investment.

Click read more below to read a transcript of the report.

More stars in the heaven and earth...
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) has captured the beauty of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 253. The new portrait is probably the most detailed wide-field view of this object and its surroundings ever taken.

Undoing the Blacklist, NFL financial hits, Novella comes to Nick, Art Houses Fade to Black

ESPN, which aired Monday's match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, has seen its NFL ratings fall this season.
From the LA Times Company Town here for industry news... 

Fumble! ESPN, which currently pays more than $1 billion a season to the National Football League, has seen ratings for its "Monday Night Football" tumble by 10% from last season. Does this mean there is a limit to even the NFL's power? No, but it does mean that ESPN has not exactly had the best games this year. And unlike NBC, ESPN does not have an option to swap out less appealing games for more competitive matches. A look at ESPN's NFL numbers from MarketWatch.

Star stuck. Viacom's Nickelodeon is partnering with Sony Television and Televisa on "Reach for a Star," an American version of the Mexican telenovela “Alcanzar Una Estrella.” The show, which is expected to be unveiled at next month's National Assn. of Television Program Executives convention in Miami, will air on Nick-at-Nite, the evening block of programming aimed at teens and families. Nick has announced that it's post 9 PM Eastern Slot will begin to shift to women and the parents of young families. No word on late night.

Fade out. The number of art house movie theaters that feature independent movies is dwindling both in Los Angeles and around the country. Part of the reason for that is the bigger, more upscale theater chains are now playing the kinds of movies that one used to find only in independent cinemas. More on the challenges of owning an indie theater from the Los Angeles Times.

Trumbo writers guild blacklist roman holiday
Blacklisted no more...Screen Credit Restored. Calling it a "gift of justice for the holiday," the Writers Guild of America, West has restored Dalton Trumbo's screenplay credit to "Roman Holiday."
The iconic 1953 movie, in which Audrey Hepburn plays a cloistered princess who falls for an American journalist in Rome played by Gregory Peck, was co-written by guild writers Trumbo and his friend Ian McLellan Hunter.

But Trumbo never got a credit for his work on the film because he was blacklisted as part of the Hollywood 10 after refusing to give testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities about communist influence in the industry. He was cited for contempt of Congress and imprisoned.
To continue writing, he had to falsely accuse colleagues of "anti-Americanism" or write using fronts or pseudonyms.

Before McLellan Hunter was himself blacklisted, he volunteered to act as Trumbo's "front," accepting payments for "Roman Holiday" and other films and then secretly passing the money to Dalton, according to the guild.

Dalton's son, the late screenwriter Chris Trumbo, joined with his friend Tim Hunter Jr. -- the son of McLelllan Hunter -- to petition the guild to restore Trumbo's credit for "Roman Holiday."

After investigating the matter, the guild's board, which had given a story credit to Trumbo in 1991, voted to posthumously give Trumbo a full screenplay credit for "Roman Holiday," sharing the honor with McLellan and John Dighton.

"It's not in our power to erase the mistakes or the suffering of the past,'' WGA, West President Chris Keyser said in a statement. "But we can make amends, we can pledge not to fall prey again to the dangerous power of fear or to the impulse to censor, even if that pledge is only a hope. And, in the end, we can give credit where credit is due."

The story of how the sons of the famous screenwriters worked behind the scenes to get Trumbo credit is told in the January edition of the guild's "Written By" magazine.

Was it worth it? A man who illegally uploaded and distributed 20th Century Fox's movie "X-Men Orgins: Wolverine" was sentenced to a year in the slammer. When he gets out, he will be heavily supervised for a year with restrictions on computer use. Wonder if there are pirated copies of HBO's prison drama "Oz" available in the big house. More from the Associated Press.

Free flights on PAN AM.  Sony Pictures Television is offering free flights on Pan Am.
The first nine episodes of the ABC drama "Pan Am," which Sony produces for the network, are being made available free on Apple's iTunes starting Tuesday.

The unusual move to give the show away is part of Sony's efforts to generate some heat for the struggling "Pan Am" at a time when most of the networks are in rerun mode. "Pan Am," which stars Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie, is described by the studio as being about four stewardesses who "traverse the globe encountering romance, intrigue and adventure every time their cutting-edge 707 hits the tarmac." Critics were mixed on the show with many saying it lacked depth.

The plot thickens. Last week, Tom Rutledge abruptly resigned as chief operating officer of Cablevision Systems Corp., the New York-based cable operator. On Monday, he resurfaced as chief executive of St. Louis-based operator Charter, which has some systems in Southern California. The mystery is whether Rutledge left Cablevision for the new job or Charter snatched him up right after he quit. Rutledge is one of the most respected media executives around and Wall Street is punishing Cablevision stock for losing him and not coming clean on what led to his exit. Coverage from the Wall Street Journal.

Laughs take work too. Director-producer Judd Apatow says comedies don't get a fair shake from critics during awards season. "Most people think a really intense devastating sad movie about a tragic subject is more difficult to make than 'Blazing Saddles.' And the truth is, it's just as hard to make Blazing Saddles,' " he told Variety.

A movie company that doesn't make movies. It's been a year since new ownership took over once-famed indie movie house Miramax and the new owners have hundreds of projects in development. And in development is exactly where they will stay. The Wrap looks at how Miramax has become all about exploiting its library of movies on various platforms and not, for now anyway, making films.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan doesn't love "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." A look at the partnership between Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson on the new movie "Tintin."

--Joe Flint

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Photo: ESPN, which aired Monday's match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, has seen its NFL ratings fall this season. Credit: Karl Walter / Getty Images