Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jennifer Lopez inks $17.5 million dollar deal to return to 'American Idol'

It appears as though it's true! Jennifer Lopez will be returning to American Idol this season as a judge, inking a jaw-dropping $17.5 million dollar deal. Sources are saying the producers were trying to compete with The X Factor, where superstar Britney Spears is being paid $15 million to be a judge. Rumors had been flying about for a few months that Lopez would be returning to her post on Idol, with a potential $15 million dollar deal.

Lopez was paid $12 million for her first season of Idol in 2011, followed by a $3 million dollar raise to $15 million for her second season the following year. When it came time to negotiating a contract for a third season, Lopez asked for an additional $2 million dollar raise; the producers refused and she walked. It is unclear whether or not Steven Tyler's exit that same year was due to salary issues.

There are currently only two seats on the judging panel confirmed; Lopez will be joining country singer Keith Urban, who is the only judge returning from last season. The panel will reportedly return to its three-judge format with only one woman, as the producers would like to avoid the nasty cat fights that occurred between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj last season. Music producer Dr. Luke was rumored to be filling the final seat on the panel until conflicts with his recording label arose in late August. The Hollywood Reporter is now reporting that Harry Connick Jr. has signed on for the third seat. Longtime judge Randy Jackson, who announced his departure earlier this year, will be returning as a mentor. Auditions for the thirteenth season of American Idol will commence this fall, and look for it to premiere in January 2014.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Will Katherine's last wish cause problems on 'The Young and the Restless'?

                         Katherine Chancellor's loved ones await the news of her death

This week on The Young and the Restless, we learned that the matriarch of Genoa City, Katherine Chancellor, had died while on a worldwide trip with her husband Murphy (Michael Fairman). All of her loved ones received individual letters, and now, will her last wish shake up Genoa City forever? Kay's letters to Jill Abbott and Nikki Newman (Jess Walton and Melody Thomas Scott) were especially special, and it could send them down a path that may push them to their personal limit!

"Katherine has set in motion something Nikki has for many years tried to avoid," previews head writer Josh Griffith. "Now she's at a crossroads. Should she follow Katherine's advice or let it go?" While Nikki's mission seems quite serious, Jill's mission could be just as serious if not more! As we all know, Kay and Jill shared a very special relationship over the years. One of the longest rivalries in American soap opera history, Kay was believed to be Jill's biological mother for a few years before Jill found out she was apart of the Fenmore family. Jill's letter from Katherine was obviously sentimental, as she told her she was giving him everything she valued. Now could that mean the obvious, or something more meaningful? Jess Walton weighed in: "She's puzzled, but then she starts getting frustrated because it starts getting hard! Jill has a letter from Katherine that says, 'I want you to have everything I valued.' So Jill, of course, is feeling loved and valued and cocky, as Jill tends to do! Jill is truly grieving. She truly loved Katherine. But she can afford to be magnanimous with Nikki because of the words, 'I want you to have everything I valued!' All Jill sees is those words. But Jill is very frustrated, because she doesn't know how to get it!" 

Not only that, Kay left Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard, who was believed to be Jill's son) in charge of her company, Chancellor Industries. And because Katherine knew she was dying when she left on her trip, she knew Cane would be in charge after she was gone! Why would she have done this? To spite Jill, even from beyond the grave? I wouldn't put it past her! Walton states: "There really is a special love between Jill and Cane, but it is very complicated right now with him running Chancellor. She taught him the ropes in business, and that was her CEO seat, and it was taken away from her. She's torn between her passion for Chancellor Industries and her love for Cane. She's also shutting him out because he's too close to her heart, and her heart is wounded right now." Not only will Katherine's death cause trouble on the business front, head writer Griffith previews that there is a secret that will shock fans! He states: "She wants to leave them with a last thought and motivation about their lives. In Jill and Nikki's cases, she sets them both on revelatory journeys." Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fan faves return to 'The Young and the Restless'

Finally, there's some good news to report about The Young and the Restless! Several sources reported this morning that several former stars of Y&R are returning for Katherine Chancellor's (Jeanne Cooper) memorial service. Among those returning are Beau Kazer (Brock), Tricia Cast (Nina), Lauralee Bell (Christine), Patty Weaver (Gina), Adrienne Frantz (Amber) and Michael Damian (Danny). Damian will perform "That's When I'll Stop Loving You." The ceremony will be conducted by Father Todd Williams, the recurring character portrayed by Cooper's real-life son Corbin Bernsen. The only two characters aren't returning are Katherine's own son and granddaughter, Tucker and Mackenzie. But not everybody can return, right? 

Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps told TV Guide Magazine: "Katherine knew she was dying and made it clear she didn't want a sad event where everyone wore black and was miserable. She wanted a celebration and that's exactly what she's getting. And Katherine being Katherine, she will continue to orchestrate things from on high — just as she always did on earth." Phelps also previews that Katherine's death will trigger many upcoming stories for the fall, especially for her best friend Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott), "one that will haunt her character and pull in many players as we go into the fall. It's a real front-and-center story, the kind the fans have been asking for. Jill's letter sets up a mystery that will, at first, drive her absolutely crazy. Paul's letter from Katherine tells him to 'Follow his heart.' Christine also gets a letter but I can't talk about that one just yet. Victor's letter is also a big secret — but that's because he's not going to share it with anyone."

None of this has been easy for any of the actors; Phelps says having Bernsen take part in the memorial "helped us feel like we had a piece of Jeanne there with us. After the filming of his last scene, Corbin made the most beautiful, heart-wrenching speech to the cast and crew about how much Y&R meant to his mother, and how she had worked there for 40 years and filled up that big soundstage in much the same way our new Chancellor Park now fills it up. There wasn't a dry eye anywhere." According to several sources, Katherine's memorial will air on September 3 and 4. Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Exclusive: Jennifer Lopez returning to 'American Idol'

Well, it looks like I may have a reason to watch American Idol again this season! Jennifer Lopez, who came on as a judge in 2011 and left after two seasons, will return as a judge after one season away. Her young beau, Casper Smart, told E! News that rumours of Lopez's return were true, after assuming Fox had already made the announcement. However, they declined to comment. Network President Kevin Reilly revealed at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that the network had approached Lopez in hopes of negotiating her return to Idol. "Jennifer has been a close part of the show all along…there have been discussions there," he said.
This is great news! I, for one, had thought the singing competition reality show had begun to go downhill last year, when Fox brought in Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj to the panel. The focus had shifted onto the judging panel, when it should've been on the contestants. Thus far, Lopez and Urban are the only two judges with a confirmed spot on the panel, as longtime judge Randy Jackson chose to leave to "focus on other business ventures". E! News also reports that a handful of Idol alums are up for spots on the judging panel, as well as Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Fergie. Look for the 13th season of American Idol to premiere in January 2014.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What on Earth is Happening Behind the Scenes at 'The Young and the Restless'?

Last Friday, entertainment website Highlight Hollywood reported that head writer of The Young and the  Restless, Josh Griffith, is on his way out at the top rated soap. Not only that, it appears that Jill Farren Phelps, Y&R executive producer, is pushing Sony Pictures Television and CBS to fire him. Insiders say that Griffith has been having a "complete meltdown", and due to Phelps urging Sony to fire him, they say he is thinking of moving on to a more "fulfilling" thing. The insider stated: "Josh [Griffith] was very uncaring and tacky when he did his interview with TV Guide soon after his former boss’s contract was not renewed, now it’s funny, he’s facing the same fate, and at the hands of the same woman, Jill Firing Phelps. He did not see it coming! Even though Josh is at work in the building today, he’s just a wreck. He’s previously had his door locked, and seemed as though he was having a breakdown, and Jill has been so uncaring, and telling everyone, she doesn’t time to coddle people, and she is pressuring Sony execs to fire Griffith.” 

With 15 days left in Griffith's contract, CBS insiders stated: "He no longer has Maria [Bell] to protect him.  He threw in on the side of the wrong lot definitely this time.  Jill is fed up, she’s taking the blame for all of the mess this show has turned into, and she is looking to do what she does best.  Make herself the good-guy with fans, and fire Josh, but the whole problem happens to be her as well.  The truth is, Sony knows she’s ill-placed as the executive producer at ‘Y&R,’ but they have no choice but to back her, so they are looking to make a major shakeup and hopefully take the focus off Jill, so that they can hopefully get viewers interested in these horrible storylines again.  None of these people know what to do.  They are all grasping at straws, it’s truly a snake-pit in this place now. Everyone is miserable and scared for their job. Jill’s planning more deaths and destruction, both on air and behind the scenes, if she has her way.” 

In addition, an actor from the series said that Sony knows it was a mistake to hire Phelps and take creative control away from the Bell family, who created The Young and the Restless. Well, it's not like Maria Arena Bell made Y&R the best. After her firing last year, viewers put their faith in Phelps and Griffith to put the top rated soap back in its place; character driven stories powered by great actors and great characters. Bell had basically ruined the dynamics of several characters and created several outlandish plots, including giving her crappy storylines way too much airtime. It's not like Griffith made Y&R a whole lot better; he introduces a constant string of newbies, gives them way too much airtime and uses Sharon Newman (Sharon Case) as a scapegoat (after promising to "rebuild" her character after she was royally assassinated by Bell). 

But it's hard for me to believe that these are all of Griffith's choices. My million dollar question is; has Phelps been influencing the horrible, boring storylines? Phelps was the one who cleaned house of half the cast last fall, and while everyone said it wasn't even her call, is it coincidental that she didn't work well with any of them in the past? It's not like Phelps has the best track record; she almost got General Hospital cancelled a few years back with crappy stories. The Highlight Hollywood report says CBS and Sony are in talks with new writers, could they be some of Phelps' former General Hospital writers? It all seems like one big conspiracy theory to me. Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sandra Oh to call it quits at 'Grey's Anatomy'

Sandra Oh, who has portrayed tough-skinned Dr. Cristina Yang on ABC's top medical drama, will be calling it quits at the series after the completion of its upcoming tenth season. After signing a two-year deal with the network in May 2012, Oh won't renew it this year and will leave to pursue other career opportunities. An emotional Oh spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, saying: "Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go. It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the Grey’s writers to think of why she’s going to go.”

The actress openly admits her decision doesn't feel real yet. She says she first started thinking about leaving last May, when all the original stars inked new deals. “I’ve gone through a lot of therapy over this,” she says through tears. “I started thinking about it because I had to prepare myself. I gave myself two years to emotionally let go. At the end of last season, Shonda took me aside and said, ‘What are your thoughts?’ I said, ‘I’m ready.’” Oh informed her fellow co-stars of her upcoming exit at the table read for the show's 200th episode. "I seriously think I need that much support over processing it over this next year for me to be able to leave fully and leave in a way that I feel like Cristina deserves,” she says, noting that series creator Shonda Rhimes has supported her every step of the way. “For the first time, at least for my character, you actually have an endpoint, which in series television you never or very rarely have.”

In her 10-year run with the series, Oh's character Cristina has certainly been the experiment of the writers' exploitation of controversial subjects, such as abortion and PTSD. As there is currently no word how the character will exit, it is definitely sad to see her go. But we have to respect Oh for her hard decision to leave. The tenth season of Grey's Anatomy premieres with a two-hour special on Thursday, September 26 on ABC. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Curious Case of the Blogger on 'The Young and the Restless'

For months, Y&R viewers have been wondering who has been torturing Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John) and his family on a trashy blog site. Ever since Mishael Morgan made her debut as Hilary Curtis in June, we've been wondering what she's really after while working for Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard). As  Neil edges closer to the truth, Hilary has been looking more mysterious and more mysterious. Could she be the one behind this blogger mystery?

The blogger storyline, which has been progressively dragged out since May, has been subject to criticism, but I have been thoroughly enjoying it! But it would be somewhat disappointing if Hilary is revealed as the mystery person, just as disappointing as the revelation that Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott) was the murderer of Diane Jenkins (Maura West) last year. It is also disappointing that Rose Turner, a woman linked to Neil and Leslie (Angell Conwell), wasn't revealed to be alive. A ball was dropped on that one. But once the real blogger comes out of hiding, whether it's Hilary or not, it will certainly open up a can of stories for the future! Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

'We're The Millers': Great actors with an unfortunate script

It's no secret that We're The Millers isn't going to become a timeless classic. Despite its crappy premise, the impeccably funny performances of the actors somehow make everything flow. Jason Sudeikis stars as a minor league drug dealer who is left broke after a robbery. He is neighbors with Rose the stripper (Jennifer Aniston) and awkward teenager Kenny (Will Poulter). He enlists their help along with Casey (Emma Roberts), a teenage runaway, to become his fake family so he can smuggle tons and tons of marijuana over the Mexico border. What they don't know is they're being followed by the rightful owners of the weed and they could get killed!

I know what we're all thinking; just another negative review waiting to happen. But like I said, the amazingly funny performances of its all-star cast makes you wonder one main thing; if they had all these great actors on hand, why not give them a better script to work with? Jennifer Aniston is not the type to play a stripper, but she made it work, same with Sudeikis, Poulter and Roberts. So c'mon, why not give them a better plot? I'm not afraid to go on record saying I quite enjoyed We're The Millers, a movie that I was so prepared to say it would be stupid. Yes of course, there were stupid jokes and a lot of eye-rolls, but the end result was a lot of laughs and a surprisingly enjoyable movie.

Friday, August 2, 2013

2013-14 Television Season Preview: Many Promises Ahead

The 2013-14 television season seems to be withholding many promises! There are many new series that have the potential to become smash hits. ABC is shaking up the Sunday night drama lineup with Betrayal, a serial about two married people committing adultery. Personally, it seems to me that ABC is trying to recreate the dynamic it once had with Desperate Housewives on that night. Catch Betrayal when it debuts on Sunday, September 29. 

CBS is also spicing up its Monday night comedy lineup. Mom stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney as daughter and mother, one recovering from alcoholism. With comedic talents like Faris and Janney, the series seems like a hit waiting to happen. Mom debuts Monday, September 23. The following week on September 30, CBS debuts another new comedy, We are Men, about the lives of divorced men. If its scripts permit it to become a hit, then it will, but otherwise I expect it to flop. 

Over on Tuesday night on ABC, the network is debuting The Goldbergs about a family in the 1980s. I don't see it doing well, but we'll have to see! CBS is also expanding its Thursday night comedy lineup. The Crazy Ones, starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, hits television screens on Thursday, September 26. Starring as father and daughter, Williams is an unpredictable genius and Gellar is his daughter, who is stern and determined. The two will hopefully have the chemistry we all hope they will have. On October 3, CBS will also debut The Millers, starring Will Arnett and Beau Bridges about a family dealing with divorce. Over on NBC, Michael J. Fox is getting his own sitcom; The Michael J. Fox Show, about a man who retires early due to Parkinson's disease. Based on his own life, Fox is also a producer for the show. Catch its premiere right after The Crazy Ones

Unlike last season, the season ahead holds many promises. Catch all these new series and many more when they premiere this fall.