Thursday, December 25, 2008

MTV Orders More Reality Shows, Avoids Music

Photo: Gries/Getty

MTV has heard your calls to put the Music back into Music Television, and it now has your answer: 16 new reality shows that have nothing to do with music. With the death of TRL, FNMTV remains the last vestige of original music programming on the station. The new crop of non-music shows shifts into a category MTV lovingly calls “aspirational, enterprising and empowering.” For instance: a student-shot series filmed at the University of Wisconsin called College Life, a daredevil program called Nitro Circus, the Donald Trump-produced Charm School-esque Girls of Hedsor Hall and a show about the founders of, ingeniously titled The College Humor Show.

“These new series reflect Generation ‘Why Not?’ — living, working and playing on their own terms, ‘adventure capitalists’ if you will, pursuing a variety of thrill-seeking, 2.0, express-yourself enterprises,” says MTV entertainment president Brian Graden. Everyone from Justin Timberlake to Kanye West have made public pleas for MTV to return to their music video ways, but the recent schedule announcements show those cries have landed on deaf ears. Should MTV even be allowed to put on the Video Music Awards anymore? It seems kind of superfluous, like if ESPN handed out Academy Awards.

Of the new reality shows announced, only Daddy’s Girls has anything to do with music, and that’s only because it stars the daughters of Run-DMC’s Reverend Run. Thankfully, MTV has outsourced all its music videos to their video site MTV Music, but that doesn’t mean we forgive them for making the world suffer through the upcoming Bromance.

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Disney jumps ship on next 'Narnia'

By Borys Kit

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" will have to sail without Disney.

While declining to elaborate, Disney and Walden Media confirmed Tuesday that for budgetary and logistical reasons the Burbank-based studio is not exercising its option to co-produce and co-finance the next "Narnia" movie with Walden.

The third entry in the series, based on the classic books by C.S. Lewis, was in preproduction and set for a spring shoot for a planned May 2010 release. The development puts the participation of the talent attached in doubt. Michael Apted was on board to direct a script by Steven Knight. The key players of the second installment, "Prince Caspian" -- Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell -- were to return for the third film.

Walden has a strong relationship with the Lewis estate and will shop "Treader" in hopes of finding a new partner. The most likely candidate at this stage is Fox, which markets and distributes Walden fare under the Fox Walden banner.

Any partnership on a "Narnia" movie will require a substantial investment. "Caspian," which filmed in the Czech Republic, Mexico and New Zealand, cost $200 million. The first film, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," was shot mostly in New Zealand for $180 million.

It is rare for a studio to pull out of a planned trilogy in midstream, but the number-crunching showed a franchise on a downward trend. "Lion" roared to $292 million domestically and another $453 million internationally in 2005. This year, "Prince Caspian" grossed a healthy $141 million in North America and another $278 million internationally, but that was well off the "Lion" take.

Further challenging "Treader" may be a waning of the pricey children's fantasy genre. When the "Harry Potter" series topped the book charts and then filled movie theaters, studios began snapping up fantasy manuscripts as quickly as they could. When "The Lord of the Rings" showed it was possible for adults to enjoy the fare as well -- and produced the boxoffice results to prove it -- Hollywood's fascination with the genre intensified.

But no other fantasy adventure films have shown that kind of boxoffice punch. Earlier this year, Warners and New Line hoped they were launching a franchise with "The Golden Compass," but the adaptation of the Philip Pullman trilogy tanked domestically.

The film grossed just $70 million domestically and the co-production partners declined to go forward with a second installment despite the fact the film did take in more than $300 million overseas.

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Michael Jackson forced to prove Billie Jean was not his lover

By Daily Telegraph reporter

Michael Jackson is being sued for $1bn by a woman claiming to be the mother of his youngest son, according to reports.
It is not the first time Michael Jackson has faced maternity claims. Photo: EPA

Billie Jean Jackson claims to be secretly married to the reclusive popstar and says she gave birth to Prince Michael II.

She now wants joint custody of the six-year-old and regular visits.

Billie Jean said she filed the suit at LA Superior Court "because she is always arrested at the home of her husband, Michael J Jackson".

She is demanding a payout of around £700 million, visitation rights at weekends and a say in the boy's education, the paper claims.

Jackson has never identified Prince Michael's mother but said he was born to a surrogate using artificial insemination.

It is not the first time he has faced maternity claims.

British woman Nona Paris Lola Jackson has lost several lawsuits since 2006 after claiming to be the mother of all three of his children.

Jackson has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.

In 2002, Jackson was strongly criticised for dangling the boy, who is nicknamed Blanket, over a hotel balcony while he was showing him off to fans waiting below.

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Biographer: Jackson needs lung transplant

US pop icon Michael Jackson waves to his fans as he leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse after being acquitted of all charges in his child molestation trial in Santa Maria, CA on June 13, 2005. A jury cleared Jackson of child sex abuse and other charges that could have seen him jailed for more than 18 years at the end of a sensational 14 week trial.  (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen)
US pop icon Michael Jackson waves to his fans as he leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse after being acquitted of all charges in his child molestation trial in Santa Maria, CA on June 13, 2005. A jury cleared Jackson of child sex abuse and other charges that could have seen him jailed for more than 18 years at the end of a sensational 14 week trial. (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen)

The author of an upcoming biography about Michael Jackson says the fading U.S. pop star needs a lung transplant.

Britain's The Sun newspaper quoted Canadian scribe Ian Halperin as saying the eccentric, 50-year-old "Thriller" singer suffers from the rare genetic disorder Alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency, which means he lacks a certain protein that protects his lungs.

"He needs a lung transplant, but may be too weak to go through with it. He also has emphysema and chronic gastrointestinal bleeding, which his doctors have had a lot of trouble stopping," Halperin told The Sun.

"It's the bleeding that's the most problematic part. It could kill him. ... He can barely speak. The vision in his left eye is 95 percent gone. For years, Michael has been working with his doctors to make sure it doesn't progress. He has been on many medications that have stabilized him."

Jermaine Jackson confirmed his brother Michael is ill to the newspaper.

"He's not doing so well right now. This isn't a good time," Jermaine Jackson said.

Halperin is a former winner of the Rolling Stone magazine award for investigative journalism, the author or co-author of five books, a regular correspondent for Court TV and an occasional contributor to "60 Minutes 2," his biography on the Simon & Schuster Web site said.

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