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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Terry Eagleton: "The Death of Criticism?"

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Back by Popular Demand: "Evil Dead: The Musical"

Fridays and Saturdays 1/6 - 1/28 at 8pm

$30 VIP Splatter Zone
$20 General Admission

$15 Vegas Local General Admission (Bring your NV ID to the box office when purchasing tickets to take advantage of this offer. This discount is not available for VIP Splatter Zone Tickets, it is not available online, and it cannot be applied to tickets already purchased. There is a limited number of seats available for this discount so it is recommended these be purchased prior to the performance date.)

"Grade: A" - Las Vegas Review Journal

"4 Stars" - Las Vegas Weekly

"Get the F@#k over to the Onyx and check out Evil Dead the Musical!" - David Hardy, Arts Vegas

"...It's as if the authors and director said, 'Let's do everything onstage that our drama teachers, ministers and parents said we must never do.' It's liberating." - Anthony Del Valle, Las Vegas Review Journal

"I would absolutely say Go See It." - LVTAPS

"A damn good time" - Garrett Estrada, The Rebel Yell

"A night filled with audience participation and discomfiture" - Molly O'Donnell, Las Vegas Weekly

"The best of Vegas's underground theater on display" - Dustin Hall,
You asked for it, so we're bringing EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL back for a limited 4 weekend run. That's 8 performances for you to get your "groovy" on! The show is returning with all the camp, all the excitement, all the energy you want, and with an expanded splatter zone!

For those who don't know, this hilarious live stage show takes all the elements of the cult classic horror films, Evil Dead 1, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness then combines them to make one of the craziest theatrical experiences of all time.

Five college students go to an abandoned cabin in the woods, and accidentally unleash an evil force that turns them all into demons. It's all up to Ash (a housewares employee, turned demon killing hero), and his trusty chainsaw to save the day. Blood flies. Limbs are dismembered. Demons are telling bad jokes... and all to music.

You don't need to be a fan of Evil Dead to love this show. You don't need to be a fan of horror to love this show. You don't even need to be a fan of musicals to love this show. As long as you like having fun... this show is for you.

Tickets are on sale now, and are selling fast. To purchase tickets online please visit:
or call 702-573-8335 to purchase by phone.

The Onyx Theatre
953 E. Sahara Ave
Las Vegas, Nevada 89104

The Otherside of the Intelectual Property Argument
The Stop Online Piracy Act will change the internet as we know it in an effort to censor and block the free flow of information.

Obamacare helping people NOW

Some of the best parts of the Affordable Care Act have become law. Now, insurance companies are required to spend 85% of what they take in on ACTUAL care. If they don't, they're required to send you a rebate check for the money that they didn't spend on your healthcare.
I have tried my best, albeit largely unsuccessfully because I live in a VERY red state, to promulgate that the impact of the Affordable Care Act is not going to have as big of an effect on the average American as its political opponents have claimed.

never a dull moment on the nyc subway

Show your talent! Share your Spark! 

Don't let life hold you back!
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."       ~ Albert Schweitzer

Fred Astaire - Puttin' On the Ritz (DVD Quality)

Will Oberman exit Current as he did MSNBC? Disney/ABC/ESPN go on-line and mobile. Netflix Rebound?

Photo: Keith Olbermann during his "Countdown" show on Current TV. Credit: Current.
From the LA Times Company Town. Click here for the latest industry news.

Here we go again. Commentator Keith Olbermann, who has a long history of clashing with his bosses, is at it again with his new employers at cable channel Current TV. Tensions heated up this week over the role Olbermann and his show, "Countdown," would play in the network's coverage of the presidential primary season. The fight is basically over what control Olbermann has over the 8 p.m. hour in which "Countdown" runs. Olbermann, who previously battled bosses at ESPN, MSNBC and Fox Sports, told the Hollywood Reporter that he was “not given a legitimate opportunity to host under acceptable conditions.” Not quite sure if that means Current was trying to change the green room coffee from Starbucks to Peet's, but whatever is going on, Olbermann is steaming. Additional coverage from the New York Times.

Sumner Redstone's not tweeting! It does not appear that any other media big shots are eager to follow News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch on Twitter and start tweeting random thoughts. Company Town checked with Viacom as to whether its chairman, Sumner Redstone, would be on the social networking site soon and the answer was no. Similar responses regarding Comcast's Brian Roberts, Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes, CBS' Leslie Moonves and Walt Disney Co.'s Bob Iger. Now it's time for me to create mock accounts for those folks and have some real fun! I'm kidding. Really.

NBC Drops New Studios, choosing to build-out on Universal Lot. Plans to build a $750-million office and broadcast studio complex across the street from Universal Studios have been scrapped as NBCUniversal opts to keep its television operations on the famous lot.

NBCUniversal said Wednesday that it would create new studios for the Los Angeles bureaus of NBC News and Telemundo, and their local affiliates KNBC and KVEA, near the lot's Lankershim Boulevard entrance.

The 150,000-square-foot broadcast facility will be built in a building formerly used by Technicolor for production and offices, NBCUniversal said. The new facility should open by late 2013.

The broadcast center replaces earlier plans to house NBCUniversal's West Coast broadcast center at the former MetroStudios@Lankershim project atop the Universal City/Campo de Cahuenga Metro Rail station and later at Stage One on the Universal lot.

NBC was to be the anchor tenant of a 1.5-million-square-foot office and studio complex planned by Thomas Properties Group. In 2010, NBCUniversal said it would first build new studios inside Studio One, the former home of Conan O'Brien when he was hosting "The Tonight Show."

At that time, NBCUniversal said it still intended to be part of Thomas Properties' MetroStudios when the project was completed in 2014. On Wednesday, Los Angeles developer and landlord Thomas said the company would no longer pursue approval of its proposed project.

"While we are disappointed that the project is not in a position to proceed at this time due to the economic climate and its impact on the real estate market, we continue to have a strong working relationship with NBCUniversal," Chief Executive James A. Thomas said.

NBCUniversal paid Thomas Properties a $9-million breakup fee for backing out of the deal, according to a public filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The studio wasn't ready to announce who might move into Studio One, representative Cindy Gardner said. O'Brien's "Tonight Show" reign lasted seven months and ended in January 2010. The space originally built in 1962 for Jack Benny has been without a signature tenant since then.

The scrapping of the planned MetroStudios development does not affect NBCUniversal's plans for a $3-billion overhaul of Universal City known as the Evolution Plan, Gardner said. Thomas Properties will remain a real estate advisor to NBCUniversal.

Disney on the go. Walt Disney Co., parent of ABC and cable networks ESPN, Disney Channel and ABC Family, has struck a big deal with cable behemoth Comcast that will make Disney's channels available on computers and portable devices. The deal is the latest sign of the willingness of programmers to put their content on new platforms. The catch for consumers is that you still need a cable subscription if you want to watch ESPN on your iPad. After all, why would you pay to get something in one place if you could get it free somewhere else? Coverage and analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Variety.

Netflix surges. After a tough 2011, Netflix shares may be hot again. The stock's price jumped 11% on Wednesday after the company said its customers streamed more than 2 billion hours of content in the fourth quarter of last year. Media analyst Rich Greenfield said if Netflix were a TV network, it would be ranked 15th, ahead of CNN, FX and History. Of course, 10 years ago you probably could have calculated how much time people spent watching Blockbuster movies and come up with a similar figure. Would we have been impressed? More from the Los Angeles Times.

Stick to your own spot. Everyone wants to get an edge when it comes to advertising in the Super Bowl. General Motors apparently has been toying with putting its products in the commercials of other advertisers — say, maybe a GM truck pulling the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. That's right: product placement in a commercial. However, the plan would create a lot of headaches, as Advertising Age columnist Brian Steinberg notes, and may never get off the drawing board.

Left at the alter? "Bridesmaids" star Kristen Wiig is not up for any sequels to the summer smash, according to the Hollywood Reporter.  "We aren't working on that," Wiig said. If this is not a negotiating ploy for more cash, then I say good for her. Why ruin the original with a lame sequel that would just be raunchier without the charm of the original?

Payback time. Tom Freston, who was the key architect behind Viacom's MTV and rose to president of the media giant before being pushed out, is advising Vice, a media company that targets the same cool kids that MTV goes after. More on Vice's grand plans from Forbes.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The broadcast industry is gearing up for a Supreme Court showdown with the FCC over the regulatory agency's indecency rules. NBCUniversal is dropping plans to build a new complex.

-- Joe Flint and others

Media News

Oprah. Broadcast Standards go to US Supreme Court. Why Ads Geared for Women appear on Football.

NYPD Blue was fined for indecency
 From the LA Times Company Town blog, click here for industry news.
Photo: "NYPD Blue" stars Dennis Franz and Charlotte Ross. Credit: ABC

The broadcast industry will try next week to persuade the Supreme Court to tell the government to back off when it comes to regulating content. On Tuesday, the high court will hear arguments from News Corp.'s Fox and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC that the Federal Communications Commission's rules regarding indecent programming and the way they are enforced by the agency are both vague and unconstitutional.

The Fox and ABC cases have been working their way through the courts for years. In indecency cases, the FCC typically fines the TV stations that use the public airwaves to carry the networks' programming. However, many stations are owned by networks, which usually fight the fines on behalf of their affiliates.

ABC's case stems from a $1.4-million fine the FCC levied on the network and some of its affiliates in 2008 for a 2003 episode of the police drama "NYPD Blue," in which the buttocks of actress Charlotte Ross were visible to viewers. ABC fought the fine and, last January, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York threw it out.

Fox's fight grew out of incidents in 2002 and 2003, when Cher and Nicole Richie cursed during live awards shows. The curses were not bleeped. In 2004 the FCC ruled that Fox could be fined for indecency violations in cases when a vulgarity was broadcast during a live program. While the FCC never followed through with a fine, Fox has fought that ruling and -- as was the case with ABC -- the 2nd Circuit sided with the network.

The FCC then appealed both rulings to the Supreme Court, which tied the cases together. NBC and CBS are not parties to the case but are interveners and supporting Fox and ABC.

Arguing for ABC is Seth Waxman, a partner at WilmerHale and a former solicitor general during the Clinton administration. Fox's lawyer is Sidley & Austin's Carter Phillips. Both have argued before the Supreme Court dozens of times.

Carrying the ball for the FCC will be Solicitor General Don Verrilli. Interestingly, Verrilli has argued cases for the TV industry before the Supreme Court when he was in private practice and has a strong background in telecommunications and media law.

The networks ideally would like to see the indecency rules tossed. A more realistic scenario, according to one network executive watching the case, is that the FCC's methods of enforcing the rules will be called into question. If that happens, the likely result would be that the FCC would be asked to clarify its rules and be more transparent in how it enforces them.

That would be seen as a huge victory for the broadcasters because it would make it more difficult for the FCC to go after TV stations for airing racy material. Indecency rules do not apply to cable networks such as HBO or FX because they do not use the public airwaves to broadcast content.

Strange bedfellows. Football fans are getting a crash course in Broadway musicals. NBC has been hyping its new musical drama "Smash" during the network's football coverage. While the idea of promoting a show about the making of a Broadway play that is expected to skew toward women during a football game might seem like an odd mix, NBC's Sunday night NFL broadcast finished third for female viewers under the age of 50 this season. Of course, given how poorly the rest of NBC's lineup is doing, football is about the only place the network can reach a big audience with promotions.
Oprah Winfrey is back
Photo: Oprah Winfrey with Steven Tyler. Credit: George Burns. 

She's back. Oprah Winfrey's new weekly interview show "Oprah's Next Chapter" drew more than 1 million viewers in its Sunday night premiere on OWN, the cable network she and Discovery Communications launched last year. While the audience was much smaller than what Winfrey averaged in her daytime days, it was a bit of good news for OWN, which has struggled in the ratings and gone through lots of turmoil both on and off camera. Still, it was one night and one show and OWN has a long way to go before Discovery can even start to dream about making back the hundreds of millions it has pumped into the channel. More on the numbers from the Wall Street Journal.

No drama. It was a tough year for Los Angeles when it came to shooting television dramas. According to FilmL.A., which tracks production trends in the City of Angels, television production here fell 3% in 2012, primarily because fewer dramas are shot in Los Angeles. In the fourth quarter alone, there was a 30% drop in drama production in Los Angeles, compared with the same period in 2010. On the plus side, movie production here grew 6%. More on the production trends from the Los Angeles Times.

Waiting for the man. Relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are still waiting to hear from the Justice Dept. regarding its probe into whether News Corp.-owned tabloids orchestrated hacking into their phones. That accusation came from a rival British tabloid last summer in the midst of revelations of widespread phone hacking by News Corp.'s News of the World. The New York Times talked to several relatives who have suspicions and one who says News Corp.'s Sun paper had published words from a voicemail a victim had left on an answering machine. Unfortunately no more details -- including the name of the family or exactly what the Sun wrote -- are provided.

Getting smaller. Weinstein Co. is merging its production and acquisition departments into one unit. The move will result in two senior executives leaving the art house production company. The Wrap with more on who moves up and who moves out.

Stay out of the car. Director Alexander Payne, whose film "The Descendants" is expected to clean up at the Oscars, says the biggest pain-in-the-neck scenes to shoot are in a car or around a dinner table. "There are no new angles. They've all been done a thousand times, plus the mechanics of doing it are hideous," he told Variety.

Making history. FX and History Network were two of the hottest cable networks in 2011. Both saw their prime-time audiences climb by almost 20%. Among the cable news channels, Fox News is still No. 1, but its prime-time audience dropped 5% in 2010. MSNBC, which lost Keith Olbermann, and CNN both saw slight gains in prime time. Details from USA Today.

Not a good thing. The New York Post says Hallmark Channel is pulling the plug on lifestyle diva Martha Stewart's daily TV show because of low ratings and an expensive production budget.
NetflixxboxPhoto: The Netflix interface on Xbox 360. Credit: Netflix Inc
Netflix stock surged 11% on Wednesday, its biggest gain in almost a year, as investors were impressed by new data on streaming video usage.

The online movie and television subscription company said early Wednesday that its customers streamed more than 2 billion hours of content during the final three months of 2011. Analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG estimated that would make Netflix the No. 15 most watched television network, ahead of FX, History Network and CNN.

In the 21 million homes estimated to use Netflix's streaming video -- the company has not updated its subscription figures since Sept. 30 -- it is the second most watched network, behind only CBS, Greenfield said.

"The most relevant takeaway is that Netflix streaming usage is exploding and is far, far bigger than traditional media executives give it credit for," the analyst said.

Investors seemed impressed by the prospect of Netflix returning to a fast-paced growth path and taking share from traditional media companies after a tough 2011. The company lost 800,000 subscribers during the third quarter of last year and saw its stock plummet more than 75% from July to the end of the year, following an aborted attempt to separate DVD streaming into a separate brand called Qwikster and a price hike that infuriated many consumers.

The jump in Netflix's share price to $80.45 Tuesday was its largest one-day gain since Jan. 27 of 2010, according to Bloomberg.

Photo: Ginnifer Goodwin stars in ABC's new hit "Once Upon A Time." Credit: Chris Helcermanas-Benge / ABC.
Disney plays ball with Comcast NBC/Universal. Entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal allowing Comcast Corp. cable customers access to all of its popular channels — including ESPN, ABC, ABC Family and the Disney Channel — from portable devices and video-on-demand services.
The expansive deal, announced Wednesday, will allow Comcast's more than 22 million cable customers who sign up for its Xfinity service to watch the Disney channels live or on-demand either while they are in their homes or on the go via their tablets or other portable devices.

This is the first time that Comcast has agreed to pay for local retransmission of ABC-owned TV stations. For the last three years, broadcasters have been negotiating with cable companies to pay for signals that they previously provided for free.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The agreement also marks the first time that Disney has provided live streaming and earlier video-on-demand access to its stable of entertainment channels as well as sports juggernaut ESPN. Time Warner Cable customers have access to "Watch ESPN," the Disney-owned network's authenticated streaming service.

Disney and Comcast said that 70 services would be covered in the new long-term distribution agreement.

The networks and services covered by the agreement also include Disney Junior (a new 24-hour basic cable channel for preschoolers), Disney XD, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN 3D, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FullCourt and ESPN3. It also covers retransmission consent for seven ABC-owned broadcast television stations, among them WABC-TV New York and WLS-TV Chicago.

Philadelphia-based Comcast will provide its Xfinity TV customers with the suite of live Disney networks on an authenticated basis, meaning users must register to verify they are cable customers.
“Comcast was the first video provider to create technology that enabled us to deliver content to customers where and when they want it across any viewing experience,” Neil Smit, chief executive of Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

“We are very pleased to have reached this unprecedented and innovative, long-term agreement with Disney which embraces the future of entertainment and allows Comcast to continue to bring our vision of TV Everywhere to Xfinity customers whether at home or on the go," Smit said.

Comcast said that license fee schedules for services covered in the deal would be phased in.
Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks, added, “This landmark deal is a great example of what can be achieved when programmers and distributors collaborate and innovate together to meet the ever-evolving needs of consumers and enhance the viewing experience. "

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Netflix unveils its strategy for launching the drama "Lilyhammer."

-- Joe Flint and others...

Follow me on Twitter. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

 From the LA Times Company Town blog, click here for industry news.