Category: Television

Questlove says NBC clearing 'Fallon' songs after Bachmann flap

Questlove

Looks like NBC doesn’t have the same snarky sense of humor as Jimmy Fallon and the Roots.

The network is now vetting set lists from the “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” house band, The Roots, after a flap last month involving Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. When Bachmann appeared as a guest, the band performed a snippet of Fishbone’s 1985 track “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as the walk-on music that accompanied her.

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, bandleader Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson revealed he now has to clear each song with three different executives. He also isn’t allowed to bring up the Bachmann incident to his more than 1 million followers on Twitter.

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Buddy Holly all-star tribute concert to premiere on PBS on Dec. 3

Chris Isaak and Michelle Branch perform a Buddy Holly number at a tribute to the 1950s rock 'n' roller at the Music Box in Hollywood on Sept. 7.

This post has been updated. See below for details.

PBS will premiere “Buddy Holly: Listen To Me/The Ultimate Buddy Party” on Dec. 3 with performances of his songs by Stevie Nicks, Chris Isaak, Lyle Lovett, Graham Nash, Raul Malo, Paul Anka, Boz Scaggs and several others at a 75th birthday concert staged last month in Hollywood.

The 60-minute special captures 17 of Holly’s best-known songs along with a couple of obscurities from the Sept. 7 show at the Music Box in Hollywood, where Cobra Starship, Patrick Stump, Shawn Colvin and emcee-singer Peter Asher also gathered to celebrate Holly’s music. Others in attendance included Holly’s widow, Maria Elena Holly, and Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, who with his brother, Don, toured with Holly before his death at age 22 in a 1959 plane crash. He would have turned 75 on Sept. 7.

The event also incorporated taped messages from other high-profile Holly fans, including Ringo Starr, Keith Richards, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne and Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle.

Nicks sang “Not Fade Away” and “It’s So Easy”; Isaak and Michelle Branch dueted on “Heartbeat”; Nash, Scaggs and Asher teamed up for “Rave On”; Stump sang “Oh, Boy!”; and Malo handled the ballad “True Love Ways.” An all-star ensemble, also including guitarists James Burton and Albert Lee and a cameo vocal by Everly, finished the show with “That’ll Be the Day.”

A DVD from the concert will be available as a thank-you gift to PBS subscribers who pledge at a prescribed amount during the December fundraising drive. The concert was staged conjunction with the release of the second of two Holly tribute albums this year: "Listen to Me: Buddy Holly," which featured most of the same performers at the Music Box show. The other album, "Rave On Buddy Holly,"  featured another batch of Holly devotees, including Paul McCartney, Nick Lowe, Lou Reed, She & Him, Patti Smith and Cee Lo Green, offering new takes on his music.

Update, 5:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said a DVD of the concert would be issued next year. The DVD will be offered during pledge drive as a thank you to subscribers. 

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-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Michelle Branch and Chris Isaak sing Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat" at the Music Box in Hollywood in September. Credit: Lester Cohen / WireImage.

Zooey Deschanel's 'Star-Spangled Banner': Gallantly streaming

Zooey Deschanel at the World Series

Although she wasn't able to bless Game 4 of the World Series enough to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers, actor, singer and native Angeleno Zooey Deschanel offered a nice rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Sunday night's game in Arlington, Texas. Deschanel, whose musical duo with singer-guitarist M. Ward, She & Him, is releasing "A Very She & Him Christmas" on Monday, appeared on the Fox broadcast of the World Series to promote her new sitcom, "New Girl," a ratings winner for the network, which has further propelled Deschanel into the spotlight.

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VH1’s 'Rock Docs' to focus on Napster, 'TRL' and hip-hop's role in L.A. riots

Napster

VH1’s Emmy Award-winning “Rock Docs” series have targeted the glory days of MTV's "TRL," Napster and the relationship between hip-hop and the 1992 Los Angeles riots as the subjects of upcoming documentaries, the network announced Tuesday.

“The TRL Decade," slated for December, explores MTV seminal video countdown show, “Total Request Live.” During "TRL's" decade run it was the de facto launching pad for pop kings and queens. The hour-long doc features clips and interviews with creators, fans and artists who appeared on the show, including Good Charlotte, Kid Rock, N’SYNC, Mandy Moore, Nas and Pete Wentz. Former MTV VJs Carson Daly, Damien Fahey, Hilarie Burton, Vannessa Minnillo and La La Anthony are also interviewed.

To coincide with the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots in 1992, the network will premiere “Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots" in April. Told from the perspective of the rappers, musicians, police officers and victims who experienced the unrest, the documentary features Rodney King, Arsenio Hall, John Singleton, Too Short, Big Boi, KRS-One, Nas, Sir Jinx, DJ Yella and others.

Also premiering next year is "Downloaded," which focuses on the dawn of digital file sharing and the controversial rise of Napster. It features interviews with Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker.

VH1 also landed the network television rights for “Michael Jackson: This is It,” which will air Nov. 7, and “It Might Get Loud,” set to air in January.

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— Gerrick D. Kennedy
Twitter.com/GerrickKennedy

Photo: Napster cards are for sale at a Best Buy store in Culver City on Nov. 6, 2009. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times.

Showtime to produce Suge Knight documentary

Suge_knight
Controversial Death Row Records co-founder Marion "Suge" Knight Jr. is the focus of a documentary that will be produced by and broadcast on Showtime, the network announced Tuesday.

Tentively titled "Suge Knight," the film will be directed by Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day," "Brooklyn's Finest") and co-produced by Fuqua and Bradley J. Fischer ("Black Swan," "Shutter Island," "Zodiac").  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former Times reporter Chuck Philips is also one of the film's co-producers.

Showtime said the Knight film is the first in a series of documentaries for the network from "talented and prestigious filmmakers" that "will spotlight iconic and controversial figures."

“Suge Knight’s reputation and rise to power in the music business has become the stuff of legend, and he remains one of the entertainment industry’s most provocative and enduring myths,” Fischer said in a statement.  “But while his name elicits an immediate and powerful reaction from people around the world, very few can legitimately claim to know the man.  Antoine Fuqua and I are thrilled to be partnering with Showtime to tell this remarkable story and take audiences behind a curtain that most have been terrified to even approach.”

The documentary will have the volatile record executive's stamp of approval, and Knight's new music company, Black Kapital, will oversee the film’s soundtrack.

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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
twitter.com/GerrickKennedy

Photo: Suge Knight inside his Track Recording studio in 2002. Credit: Los Angeles Times

NBC's 'The Playboy Club' to release weekly music on iTunes

playboy_club_cast

NBC’s freshmen series "The Playboy Club” won't just feature sexy bunnies and soap opera drama -- the show will also be big on music. 

Each episode of the 1960s-era drama about  Hugh Hefner's iconic Playboy Club in Chicago will feature multiple performances, by both the show's cast -- mainly the club's 'bunny' hostesses -- and guest stars paying tribute to '60s music legends who once performed at the club.

In the vein of Fox’s hit musical “Glee,” the series will release the music on a weekly basis for purchase via iTunes. The show’s production company, 20th Century Fox Television, teamed with Verve Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, to release the tunes, the label announced on Monday. 

“The Playboy Club” premieres Monday and will feature performances of Frank Sinatra’s "Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)," by cast member Laura Benanti, and Ike & Tina Turner’s "Shake a Tail Feather,” courtesy of guest star Karen LeBlanc.

Colbie Caillat, “The Voice” winner Javier Colon, and Raphael Saadiq are all set to appear on the series performing the music of Lesley Gore, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, respectively. Tributes to Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra, James Brown and others are expected throughout the season. 

The Los Angeles-based production collective the Transcenders is producing the tracks for the show, and cast vocals are being helmed by singer Richard Marx in Chicago, where the series is filmed.

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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
twitter.com/gerrickkennedy

Photo: Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton and Leah Renee star in the new drama, ''The Playboy Club." Credit: Matt Dineerstein / NBC

Footage from Kanye West's unaired 'hip-hop Muppet show' leaks

Kanye_tv_show

Kanye West, television star? If the polarizing rapper had his way, he'd have added that to his mile-long resume, as seen in the footage from a failed attempt at a live-action puppet show.

West, along with pal and collaborator Rhymefest, pitched "Alligator Boots" back in 2008. The show would have featured absurdly dirty puppets in the vein of "Crank Yankers" doing "Saturday Night Live"-style sketches with celebrity hosts (West being the first) -- or as they put it, a "hip-hop Muppet show." In the footage that leaked online, West and company were filming portions of the would-be pilot.

Appropriately shot at the famous Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood, the leaked skits include a perverted Barry White-esque puppet singing a rather X-rated tune to Kim Kardashian (dressed as Princess Leia). There's also plenty of dirty gags, and even some puppet sex in the 10-minute behind-the-scenes video.

The show never got picked up, but West didn't seem to totally abandon the project, as he clearly revisited the electronic backbeat of the would-be theme song when it came time to craft his hit "Flashing Lights."

Check out the footage here, but fair warning: There is puppet nudity and dirty language.

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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

twitter.com/gerrickkennedy

Photo: Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Beary White in a screen shot from the "Alligator Boots" pilot.

Odd Future series 'Loiter Squad' picked up by Adult Swim

Odd_future

The crazy, typically unpredictable boys of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All are making the move to television with a live-action series that has been picked up by Adult Swim, the network announced Thursday.

“Loiter Squad,” a 15-minute series that will feature sketches, man on the street segments, pranks and, naturally, music from the buzzy L.A.-based hip-hop collective, will recall the style of MTV's hit series “Jackass.”

The show is being produced by the creative minds of “Jackass," Dickhouse Entertainment. Dickhouse, a production team consisting of "Jackass" stars Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine and director Spike Jonze, is also responsible for “Nitro Circus,” “Rob & Big,” “Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory” and “Wildboyz." Tremaine and Adult Swim's Nick Weidenfeld will serve as executive producers.
 
“Loiter Squad” is pegged for an early 2012 premiere.

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Photo: Odd Future members, from left,  Mike G.; Tyler, the Creator (green cap); Frank Ocean; Domo Genesis; M.C. Hodgy Beats (rear); Syd the Kyd; and Left Brain. Credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times

Lady Gaga Hollywood block party set for tonight despite near-riot

Lady Gaga Lady Gaga
 
Wednesday night’s near-riot on Hollywood Boulevard sparked by the cancellation of an impromptu block party surrounding the premiere of a film about the Electric Daisy Carnival isn’t stopping Lady Gaga and TV show host Jimmy Kimmel from going ahead with an outdoor bash of their own Thursday night in Hollywood.

A spokeswoman for the show said a section of Hawthorn Avenue behind the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!” studio will be closed while Lady Gaga performs on the outdoor stage used periodically for concert performances.

Gaga, who was a guest judge on Wednesday night's episode of ABC-TV's "So You Think You Can Dance," is scheduled to sing her new single, “You and I,” after she chats with Kimmel, who has previously closed streets in Hollywood for performances by Jay Z, Depeche Mode and Coldplay. Also slated for Thursday’s Kimmel show: “Cowboys & Aliens” co-star Harrison Ford.

Kimmel’s studio is next door to the El Capitan Theatre and virtually across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater, where fans showed up and clashed with police after getting word on Twitter of a block party outside the private, invitation-only "Electric Daisy" film screening Wednesday night. Two people were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism.

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Photo: Lady Gaga in Tokyo in June. Credit: Issei Kato / Reuters.

Sara Bareilles added to panel of judges on NBC’s ‘The Sing-Off’

Sara_b Sara Bareilles is set to join NBC’s a cappella competition, “The Sing-Off,” as the third celebrity judge, the network announced Thursday.

The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter (and Venice resident) will join Ben Folds and Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman when the third season of the competition premieres Sept. 19.

“A cappella music is very near and dear to my heart, and I have been a huge fan of the show from the beginning,” Bareilles said in a statement. “I love the opportunity to be a part of something that celebrates a genre of music that I just adore and believe in. I can't wait for it to start.”

“The Sing-Off,” hosted by Nick Lachey, searches for the best a cappella groups to perform chart-topping songs. The winner snags a recording contract with Sony Music and a cash prize of $100,000.

Bareilles is currently opening for Sugarland on its Incredible Machine Tour.

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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
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Photo: Sara Bareilles. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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