Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday, and we're clearing out the ODDS-n-ENDS


Black to receive SAG life achievent award
Shirley Temple Black will receive the Screen Actors Guild life achievement award at the union's annual ceremony in January, it was announced Monday.

Black, a child star who later became a diplomat, will get the union's most prestigious award during the 12th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 29. The honor recognizes both career achievement and humanitarian accomplishments.

"Her contributions to the entertainment industry are without precedent (and) her contributions to the world are nothing short of inspirational," SAG president Melissa Gilbert said. "She has lived the most remarkable life, as the brilliant performer the world came to know when she was just a child, to the dedicated public servant who has served her country both at home and abroad for 30 years. In everything she has done and accomplished, Shirley Temple Black has demonstrated uncommon grace, talent and determination, not to mention compassion and courage."

Fox breaks primetime pricing record
Heading into its fifth year, "American Idol," Fox's hit show, has set a new milestone for network TV: a record-high price tag for a 30-second commercial unit.

For the new fall season, the cost of a 30-second spot during the Wednesday installment of the program has surpassed the $700,000 mark. That's a first for any regularly scheduled primetime network series.

Sources with firsthand knowledge of the numbers confirmed that the average price for a 30-second unit in the program is $705,000, up about 7% from a year ago. For the second year in a row, the Tuesday and Wednesday editions of American Idol are the most expensive shows on network TV (the Tuesday installment of "Idol" is going for $660,000 per :30).

"Deservedly so," said Andy Donchin, executive vp/director of national broadcast at Carat, noting that they were the highest-rated shows of the 2004-05 season across most of the key metrics, including adults 18-49. EDITOR’S NOTE: I WOULD PAY 800 THOUSAND TO NEVER HEAR OR READ THE WORD ‘METRICS’ EVER AGAIN.

Sources said Cingular Wireless, Coca-Cola and Ford, last year's major "Idol" advertisers, have all renewed their sponsorships. The highest-priced new show is NBC's "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," sources said, with 30-second units pegged at $310,000.

Hello Dallas Comic Con & Sci-Fi Expo attendees,
Our next event will be held October 15 and 16 at the spacious Plano Convention Center and we are in full swing getting everything ready. Stop by the website today to check out the fantastic media guests (including Carrie Fisher, Kevin Sorbo, Jonathan Frakes, Adam Baldwin and many more)EDITOR’S NOTE: WOW! QUITE A LIST!!! scheduled to attend.

We also have an incredible lineup of comic artists and will host more than 100 exhibit tables loaded with great collectibles at this convention.

While visiting our website today, please take a quick second to vote for your favorite type of guest in a new customer poll on our front page. Your vote will help us to better develop future events!

Additional details can be found here:

We hope to see you at the show,
Ben Stevens

What: Dallas Comic Con 6.0
Where: Plano Center 2000 E Spring Creek Parkway Plano, TX
When: October 15 & 16 Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 12noon-5pm.

'War' invades home video on Nov. 22
With DreamWorks today announcing a Nov. 22 release date for the "War of the Worlds" DVD, the final landscape of the fourth-quarter home entertainment selling season is all but complete.

The announcement that the $231.8 million theatrical grosser would share the pre-Thanksgiving Tuesday with Warner Home Video's "The Polar Express" comes on the heels of two other big films dropping into the quarter.

Warner has set a Nov. 8 DVD release date for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which has grossed nearly $198 million in U.S. theaters, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has slotted the $151 million summer theatrical hit "Fantastic Four" into a Dec. 6 DVD release date EDITOR’S NOTE: CHARLIE AND DARTH ON THE SAME DAY? (AND ACTUALLY, I THINK JOHNNY DEPP’S WONKA IS THE SCARIER OF THE TWO PERFORMANCES).

Griffith to donate personal collection to UNC
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Andy Griffith will donate manuscripts, television and film footage and other memorabilia documenting his 55-year career to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. EDITOR’S NOTE: GO TARHEELS! (GRIFFITH SPOKE AT MY GRADUATION CEREMONY. OR WAIT…WAS IT CHARLES KURALT? ANOTHER FAMOUS ALUM. AND IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO….)

"I am proud of my connections to Carolina and pleased to know that some results from a lifetime of work on television, film, stage and recordings will have a permanent home in Chapel Hill," Griffith said in a statement Friday.

A native of Mount Airy, Griffith is best known for his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show."

Watch Four Hours Less Per Week Than in 2004
September 07, 2005

NEW YORK ( -- During the last year, America's hard-core game players have shifted four more hours of their weekly TV-watching time to online activities, according to a new survey by Ziff David Media Game Group.

The study, "Digital Gaming in America," also reports that the number of hard-core game-playing households increased by 900,000 from 18.9 million to 19.8 million over the same year's time.

76 million game households There are 76.2 million game-playing households in the U.S. in 2005 -- up 11.4% from 67.5 million in 2004. The importance of hard-core gamers in this overall universe is underscored by the study's finding that they account for 56% of the industry's revenue.

The survey by the Ziff Davis group, which publishes game magazines, analyzed the behavior of hard-core and general digital game players. A hard-core player is defined as a video gamer or PC gamer who bought four or more games in the last six months and who plays 10 or more hours of games a week. (Video gamers play on stand-alone console devices such as Microsoft's Xbox or Sony's PlayStation; PC gamers play games on their personal computers.)

The findings also confirm previous reports that the demographics of the overall game-playing public continues to broaden to include large numbers of women and adults. Among video-game players overall, 61% are male, as are 57% of PC gamers. Among hard-core gamers, 65% of video gamers and 68% of PC gamers are male. EDITOR’S NOTE: IT’S STILL MORE MEN THAN WOMEN, BUT THIS IS AN IMPRESSIVE NUMBER OF WOMEN GAMING.

Older hard-core PC gamersOver one-third (34%) of hard-core PC gamers are 35 and older. EDITOR’S NOTE: AND OLDER FOLKS! The mean age of this core group is 31. Core video-gamers are younger. Forty percent are 19 and under. But 29% are 35 and older. The mean age is 27.

The population of so-called enthusiast gamers mirrors the general population more than you might think,” explained Scott McCarty, president of the media game group at the magazine publisher. “It makes perfect sense when you think about the evolution of the Internet. It’s really been in the last generation or two where games have been part of the experience of the household. So now you have people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have video games in the household and their kids are playing -- so they play.”

TV-watching habits Hard-core video gamers watched 18 hours of TV per week in 2005, down from 22 hours per week last year. However, hard-core players watch more TV than general gamers, the study said. General gamers watched 16 hours of TV per week in 2005 -- a drop of two hours since 2004. EDITOR’S NOTE: WELL, THERE ARE ONLY 24 HOURS IN A DAY.

Gamers also have many and varied interests, Mr. McCarthy pointed out. Listing their favorite leisure activities, 79% of hard-core video gamers said they spend time with family.EDITOR’S NOTE: SO DO THE OTHER 21% NOT HAVE FAMILY, OR ARE THEY IGNORING THEIR FAMILIES TO SPEND TIME GAMING? Some 72% eat out in restaurants; 70% watch videos; 69% go to the movies; and 67% spend time with friends -- not playing games.

Hard-core video gamers went to an average of four movies in the last two months, and 85% of them rented DVD movies.

'Just like the rest of us' “One of the misperceptions is that these guys sit in the basement and play games all the time,” he said. “They are involved in lots of activities just like the rest of us.” EDITOR’S NOTE: ALBEIT WITH A KIND OF PERMANENT GLASSY STARE.

The study surveyed 1,500 people, chosen as representative of the U.S. population.

The hills are alive with the sound of film fans
Guardian Unlimited

Salzburg tourism officials are considering building a museum devoted to the film The Sound of Music.

Discussions are under way to create a centre about the Von Trapp family, whose story was told in the 1965 Hollywood classic about a family singing troupe fleeing from the Nazis.

"Around 300,000 people visit Salzburg each year simply because of the movie," said Wilfried Haslauer, the Salzburg deputy governor. "I believe therefore it would be good - and also most necessary - to create such a centre." EDITOR’S NOTE: FRANKLY, I’M SURPRISED IT HAS TAKEN THEM THIS LONG.

The film chronicles the adventures of Baron Von Trapp, his seven children and Maria, the governess, played by Julie Andrews, who becomes wife and mother to the family before they flee Austria. The film won five Oscars and earned Andrews a nomination for best actress.

Tourism surveys show that three out of four Americans come to Salzburg, the former home of the real-life Von Trapp family, because of the musical.

Once in Salzburg, many tourists ignore composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the city's most famous native, to take tours of sites featured in the movie and participate in sing-alongs of famous melodies from the film. EDITOR’S NOTE: OH DEAR. SHAME AND EMBARASSMENT. (IS IT TOO LATE TO BE BORN A CANADIAN?)

Julie Andrews as Maria in the 1965 film The Sound of Music

MUSICAL QUIZ:,5952,402519,00.html



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