Couric signs off CBS News

Couric signs off CBS News

CBS news anchor Katie Couric has said she'd like to have more room to showcase her personality in her next job.

Katie Couric has signed off as CBS Evening News anchor for the last time thanking viewers for "coming along with me on this incredible journey."

The first woman chosen to solely anchor a network evening newscast left on a high note Thursday night, interviewing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and leading the broadcast with an exclusive 60 Minutes investigation on new doping accusations against cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Her next destination is likely to be ABC, where she has talked with executives about doing a daytime talk show and some work at the news division. But she has made no announcement about her future plans.

After several years at No. 3 in the evening ratings behind NBC and ABC, the Tiffany network had high hopes in 2006 when it convinced Couric to leave NBC's Today show and take over the anchor role.

There was an initial burst of interest, but viewers rejected efforts at changing a news format that has lasted decades, and the broadcast slid back to third.

Couric's newscast won awards, and she drew attention with newsmaker interviews like a 2008 conversation with Sarah Palin, but it could never escape the cellar. The format also proved restrictive to Couric, who told former Today colleague Matt Lauer in an interview last month that "it might be nice to have a little more wiggle room for me to show a little more personality."
'Extraordinary privilege'

For her final newscast, she presented "five years in five minutes," with images flashing by of major stories she had covered and people she had interviewed — Presidents Bush and Obama, hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger, actor Clint Eastwood and baseball steroids user Alex Rodriguez and Palin.

"It's been an extraordinary privilege to sit in this chair and a real honour to work with so many talented people at CBS News," Couric said. Scott Pelley will replace her as the regular anchor, starting June 6.

While the broadcast offered a look back at Couric's tenure, it also gave a look ahead to some changes CBS News management has been seeking.

New CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes, has talked about better showcasing the news division's work, and Couric's last newscast led by previewing a report on Armstrong that Pelley will air on Sunday.

テーマ : Global Information
ジャンル : ニュース

'Family Guy' hurricane-themed crossover episodes postponed

'Family Guy' hurricane-themed crossover episodes postponed


This Sunday's planned crossover between "Family Guy," "The Cleveland Show" and "American Dad" has been postponed to next season, according to the New York Times.

The recent events in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and other parts of the southeastern U.S. are the reason for the last-minute postponement, the paper reports.

The episodes involve a hurricane that hits the fictional locales of Stoolbend, Quahog and Langley Falls, according to a description posted by the Fox network earlier this week.

Those towns, of course, are the locations of the Brown/Tubbs, Griffin and Smith families in the popular Sunday night animated series produced by Seth MacFarlane.

The 90-minute interconnected story was a major part of Fox's plans for May sweeps. Instead, the network will air reruns of all three series.

Do you think Fox made the right decision postponing these episodes until the fall (or possibly even later)?

テーマ : Global Information
ジャンル : ニュース

'Rio' tops 'Madea's Big Happy Family'

'Rio' tops 'Madea's Big Happy Family'


Easter went to the birds. Fox's animated adventure "Rio" led the box office for the second weekend in a row, earning $26.8 million according to studio estimates. That's a slim 32 percent drop for the G-rated film, which was produced for $90 million by Blue Sky Studios, of "Ice Age" fame. The tropical toon held up so well in part because most kids were out of school on Friday, giving the film a larger-than-normal start to the weekend. In just two weeks, "Rio," which features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as the world's last two blue macaws, has collected an impressive $81.3 million.

Trailing "Rio" by $1 million was "Madea's Big Happy Family" with $25.8 million. The PG-13 comedy marked Tyler Perry's tenth directing effort in six years, and was the multihyphenate's fourth-best debut, behind "Madea Goes to Jail" ($41 million), "Madea's Family Reunion" ($30 million), and "Why Did I Get Married Too?" ($29.3 million).

Once again, the majority of Perry's audience was older African-American women - "Big Happy Family" drew a crowd that was 81 percent African-American, 72 percent female, and 69 percent over the age of 25. And those fans turned out in big happy numbers, as the film posted the weekend's largest per-theater average ($11,254) for a wide release, and received a superb "A" rating from CinemaScore graders. The Lionsgate release was produced by Perry for only $25 million.

In third place was the PG-13 romantic drama "Water for Elephants," which opened to a solid $17.5 million. Fox's $40 million movie stars Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, and is based on Sara Gruen's bestselling novel. It attracted an audience that was 70 percent female, and earned an overall "A-" grade from CinemaScore moviegoers.

According to CinemaScore's exit polling, Witherspoon and Pattinson carried equal amounts of star power - 42 percent of the audience said the Oscar-winning actress was one of the reasons they attended the movie, while 43 percent said the same thing for the Twilight hunk.

Fourth and fifth place went to two holdovers, with one holding up much better than the other. The Easter Bunny comedy "Hop" took advantage of the holiday by jumping up 16 percent from last weekend for $12.5 million, and should cross the $100 million mark today. "Scream 4," however, couldn't avoid the horror-movie rule about second-weekend drops, as the R-rated film fell 62 percent for $7.2 million.

The weekend's third new wide release, Disneynature's "African Cats," opened somewhere between a meow and a roar with $6.4 million at 1,220 theaters. That's a better debut than last year's "Oceans" ($6.1 million), but worse than 2009's "Earth" ($8.8 million). CinemaScore participants gave the feline documentary an "A-" mark, with the minus likely coming from dog owners.

Also premiering in limited release was Morgan Spurlock's product-placement documentary "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," which secured a decent $135,000 from 18 theaters. And the foreign-language Oscar nominee Incendies took in $54,600 at three locations.

Check back next week as the car-fetish action flick "Fast Five" pops the lid off of the box office. Also opening: the high-school drama "Prom," the animated "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil," and the horror comedy "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night".

テーマ : World Cinema
ジャンル : 映画

Prince to play '21 Nite Stand' in Los Angeles

Prince to play '21 Nite Stand' in Los Angeles


Get ready for some purple precipitation, Los Angeles – Prince is headed your way.

The music legend has announced that he’s bringing his “Welcome 2 America Live” tour back to the West coast with a “21 Nite Stand” in L.A. at the Los Angeles Forum on April 14, 21 and 22.

Although special guests haven’t been announced, Prince has jammed with the likes of Cee Lo Green, Sheila E. and Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, so hopes are high for who he’ll team up with in L.A.

Better yet, Prince is aiming to keep costs low, with about 85 percent of tickets being sold for $25 – including service fees, according to a statement.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 12 at 10 a.m. PT on and, with more dates to be announced.

テーマ : Global Music
ジャンル : 音楽

Does 'American Idol' have lady problems?

Does 'American Idol' have lady problems?

American Idol

The elimination of front-runner Pia Toscano on "American Idol" has sent shockwaves through the audience

(CNN) -- It would be so easy to blame the teenage girls.

Check out the studio audience of "American Idol," and you will see throngs of them waving signs and screaming for their favorite contestants. They are the ones who rushed the stage Wednesday night after contestant Scotty McCreery sang an Elvis Presley song to hug him and tug on his clothes.

But were the teen female fans, with their faster-than-lightning voting fingers, to blame for the shockingly early ouster of front-runner Pia Toscano on Thursday night?


"The overwhelming skewing of the males lasting much longer than the females over the past couple of seasons is definitely there, and not just with the teen girls, but the older women who get really wrapped up in the show, too," said Jim Cantiello, who covers 'Idol' for MTV.

"A lot of fans and 'Idol' bloggers have done their own independent research and have noted that once texting became a big thing on 'Idol,' a lot of the females were going earlier."

The landscape is certainly looking bleak this season for the female contestants.

Of the five contestants voted off so far this season, all have been women: Ashthon Jones, Karen Rodriguez, Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia and Toscano [Casey Abrams received the lowest number of votes during the Top 11, but the judges used their one-per-season save to keep him on the show].

That leaves only two females in the Top 8 and six males.

Richard Rushfield, author of "American Idol: The Untold Story," said the show absolutely has a strong female base of fans.

"Every piece of evidence says that the 'Idol' electorate is overwhelmingly female, and women don't seem to vote for women on 'American Idol," he said. "This season has been enormous, but it's been the case every year for about four years now that the 'Idol' voting has turned into this sort of popularity contest of your favorite cute boy."

Adedapo addressed that phenomena after she and Megia were cut last week during a double elimination resulting from the judges using their save the week before for contestant Abrams.

"When it comes down to it, the reality is that more than 50 percent of the audience is little teenage girls, and once they get a crush, we're done," Adedapo told The Hollywood Reporter.

It's hard to nail down how females factored into the voting because of the veil of secrecy that covers the competition.

Fox steadfastly refuses to release voting figures, though host Ryan Seacrest will often trumpet the total millions of votes received overall in a given week.

Brian Mansfield, who blogs about the show for USA Today, said Seacrest's silence this week on the totals led him to believe that the voting totals were down and when that occurs "weird things can happen."

Mansfield said he doesn't buy into the lack of women voting for Toscano as the reason for her shocking exit, which elicited boos from the audience and a social-networking explosion of disbelief. He said he believes it is more complex than simply a lack of girl power.

"As I think back to what my readers typically said about Pia, I saw a lot of respect for her, but I didn't necessarily see a lot love for her," Mansfield said. "I think everybody pretty much assumed that she would be in the Top 3, but most of them had another favorite."

Cantiello, Rushfield and Mansfield all pointed out the judges are also culpable in Toscano being sent home as they praised her stellar singing voice each week without hammering home her lack of stage presence until it was too late.

Mansfield said the lack of judge Simon Cowell -- who went to start "Idol" competitor "The X Factor" -- also left a void in terms of a strong opinion that fans could choose to even embrace or reject in their voting.

"The judges this year are taking a completely different approach in that they are trying to nurture everybody and give that constructive criticism that a lot of the hard-core viewers of the show have said that they wanted," Mansfield said.

"The problem is that the judges' real function historically is that they don't do a whole lot for the performers; they are there to be a guide to the voters, and that's not the new function that this new panel is taking."

Glenn Gamboa has been covering "Idol" for Newsday since the show began 10 seasons ago and said Toscano's strength -- an amazing set of pipes and poise -- may have also been her downfall.

"She kind of projected the air of 'I'm really good and I'm going to be fine,' " Gamboa said. "People were like, 'OK, then I am going to vote for someone else who I think is in trouble.' "

While the theories as to why abound, one thing is for sure: So much buzz over the shocker might be a good thing for the competition seeking to return to the astronomical ratings of yesteryear.

Writing for Forbes, Cover Awards editorial director Mark Pasetsky said, "While 'American Idol' appears to have lost one of its top contestants of the season, Pia Toscano, the reality show certainly won't lose out in the ratings department thanks to all of the attention her departure is receiving in the Twitterverse."

iReporter shocked by 'Idol' results

Even two former "Idol" contestants who were themselves victims of early elimination expressed disbelief.

"I can not believe they just eliminated Pia! ReAlly..????," Tweeted Jennifer Hudson whose seventh-place finish the third season still has fans crying foul. "Long as she walked away with that voice she will be alright !! Just hate to see talent like that go!"

Rocker Chris Daughtry finished fourth in season five despite being favored to win and Tweeted "What the crap!!?? I thought Pia was THE best singer on the show this year!"

MTV's Cantiello said Toscano's departure could go either way in the ratings with fans tuning in and voting to ensure their favorite stays or some deciding that since the "best singer" is gone there's no need.

Still, the show was a wonder this week in terms of buzz, Cantiello said.

" 'Idol' needed a big moment," he said. "I think the Casey Abrams save was a good kick-start, and this is just going to make it all the more interesting."

テーマ : Global Information
ジャンル : ニュース

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