TBS is getting deeper into the Tyler Perry business.
The cable network has ordered a new series by Perry, "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse," a dramedy based on his "Why Did I Get Married?" films. The series will mark the third series the writer-director has developed for TBS, which airs his "Meet the Browns" and "House of Payne" comedies.
"For Better or Worse" will focus on the roller-coaster relationship of married couple Marcus (Michael Jai White) and Angela (Tasha Smith), two characters from the movies. Perry said while his previous series were family-oriented, the new show would target young adults.
"House of Payne," which debuted in 2006, is about to wrap production.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Tyler Perry. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images
In barely six years in the spotlight, Tyler Perry has become a ubiquitous presence in American pop culture. He's produced and/or directed a dozen movies, written a bestselling book and developed the hit sitcoms "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns."
So when the multi-hyphenate media mogul stopped by "Conan" on Wednesday night to plug his latest movie, the awkwardly titled "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family," O'Brien seized the opportunity to poke a little fun at the prolific (and heavy-handed) filmmaker.
"The most powerful person at this network by far is Tyler Perry," O'Brien declared. "I mean, that guy can do whatever he wants on this channel, whenever he wants.... When he heard that we were launching this show, he decided to launch a new Tyler Perry program within our show, right here in our audience."
The spoof sitcom "Tyler Perry's Row 11," which first debuted back in December, follows the Hubbards, a hard-working African American family stuck -- quite literally -- in the 11th row of O'Brien's studio audience. In the latest installment, the Hubbards face eviction after Dad takes out a risky sub-prime mortgage in order to pay for an above-ground pool. That is, until a hero intervenes....
To find out what happens, watch the clip above -- just have your hankies at the ready.
Decked out in an impressive array of little blackmaternity dresses, Tina Fey has been on a grand tour of the nation's talk-show couches for the last two weeks to promote her new memoir, "Bossypants," and the upcoming 100th episode of "30 Rock." But, truthfully, all anyone wants to talk about is the baby she has on the way.
On Tuesday night, Fey sat down with her former 30 Rock (as in the building, not the show) neighbor, Conan O'Brien. He got right down to business.
"You've been all over the news lately. You're expecting your second child," O'Brien said. "You know it's weird, I've been through this twice, I have two kids. Going to the doctor, they have all this amazing equipment where they can almost show you too much of your child at an early stage."
"It's been five years since I had my first, and now they have all this new technology. They have 3-D ultrasound which is supposed to be like 'Yeah, I want to see it.' There's a reason this thing isn't see-through," Fey said, pointing to her belly. "'Cause that thing's not cooked yet. It's horrifying. You see the 3-D ultrasound and it's like, 'Oh, it's a larva monster.' It's upsetting. Did you have one?"
O'Brien, who got a 3-D ultrasound of his second child, recalled that it "looked like special effects from a monster movie."
"It's a chance to bond with the little horrifying Gollum insde you," Fey said.
The conversation was really just a prolonged way of setting up the punchline: An ultrasound image of Fey's gestating offspring. Let's just say, her "horror" seems pretty justified.
The House of Lopez was so full of love for Prince that George Lopez wore purple shoes. Prince, on the other hand, wore a suit of sparkly gold.
The popular musician, who rarely performs on talk shows, kicked off his 21-day concert residency in Los Angeles by dropping in on tonight's installment of TBS' "Lopez Tonight." The show airs at midnight.
The show, which has played host to many top musicians, turned to a party as Prince, backed by the New Power Generation and his former bandmate, percussionist Sheila E, drove the studio audience wild, debuting a new song, "Laydown" and a few of his classic hits, including "The Beautiful Ones."
Representatives for the show said about 2,500 people had requested tickets for the taping.
Lopez told Prince he felt honored that he had chosen the show to kick off his local stint, which begins tonight at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. Prince in turn praised Lopez for featuring a diversity of cultures on his show.
Future guests on "Lopez Tonight" include Anne Hathaway, Tyler Perry, and "Celebrity Apprentice" contestant Gary Busey.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Prince performing at 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Credit: Chris Pizello / Associated Press
Pee-wee Herman dropped by "Conan" last night on his water skis in a total blast from the past.
He apparently left the playhouse to visit Conan on Ash Wednesday to tell the story of Lent -- a time of sacrifice, turning away from temptation and, um, dreidel. And it all culminates in Easter, with a man-chick emerging from a giant egg.
This is the latest in a comeback tour for the star -- he's on Broadway, he'll be on HBO and he had a hilarious digital short with Andy Samberg on "Saturday Night Live" just a few months ago. (Also, the man portraying Pee-wee, Paul Reubens, did a wonderfully hilarious turn in the first season of "30 Rock," as Prince Gerhardt, the victim of centuries of royal inbreeding.)
Here's the digital short, which also features Anderson Cooper.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has been put on notice.
Last night, Stephen Colbert took to his Colbert Nation to rant against statements by Huckabee, now a Fox News Channel host, in a slew of recent radio appearances. Huckabee challenged Natalie Portman for getting pregnant out of wedlock, said President Obama grew up in Kenya and had an upbringing comparatively foreign to most Americans and compared gay marriage to, well, incest.
But it's not what Huckabee said in dropping these "huckabombs," Colbert said. It's that the Republican politician didn't say any of this on his show. (On "The Colbert Report," he said, Huckabee was a "steaming pile of reason.")
Colbert, however, did correct the governor on a couple points. He advised him to be careful when criticizing Portman's child because "that kid she's pregnant with is Luke Skywalker." And Colbert said Huckabee had a few facts wrong on the president's personal story.
"Obama didn't grow up in Kenya," Colbert said. "He was born in Kenya, before moving to Islamistan, where he then traveled back in time to plant his birth announcement in a Hawaiian newspaper."
Meanwhile, elsewhere in cable land, the Angry Birds became life-sized. Over on "Conan," Conan O'Brien welcomed his new Finnish online viewers with a tribute to one of their country's greatest contributions while dissing their enemy neighbors of Sweden. His stage was taken over by the Angry Birds game, bringing down Ikea furniture -- the symbol of Swedish engineering.
The Oscars are to take place Sunday night and in preparation for the big night, Andy Richter and Conan O'Brien have been acting out scenes from the films nominated for best picture.
Earlier this week, the duo -- with assistance from graphic designer Pierre Bernard -- performed a racy scene from "Black Swan." Naturally, the role of Nina, the lithesome ballerina played by Natalie Portman in the original, went to Richter; O'Brien played Thomas Leroy, her handsome and sensual director.
Wednesday night, it was "The Social Network," and O'Brien gave a bravura performance as both the Winklevoss brothers (members of the television academy, I hope you were watching.)
Finally, last night, it was time for "127 Hours," a riveting drama about Aron Ralston, a man who got his arm stuck underneath a boulder while hiking in a remote Utah park. As the boulder in question, Richter may have looked like a piece of "psychedelic French bread," but he stole the show. Watch for yourself above.
Which was your favorite of Andy's and Conan's Oscar performances? Do you wish they had acted out a scene from "The King's Speech" or "The Fighter" instead?
Monday night, Ed Helms stopped by "Conan" to promote his new movie, "Cedar Rapids," but one subject predominated the conversations: Helms' derriere. In the comedy, Helms plays an insurance salesman who heads to the titular Iowa city for a debauched convention. One scene calls for Helms' character to bare almost-all when a towel unexpectedly drops from his waist. Naturally, the nude scene was pressing on O'Brien's mind. "I couldn't help but notice that you expose your buttocks. Let's get this on the table," he said. Helms didn't miss a beat. "Let's get my buttocks on the table right away," he agreed.
For Helms, appearing in the buff was less humiliating than the legal wrangling over said nudity. The actor shared with the "Conan" audience his "nudity waiver"-- the contract which, as Helms put it, "delineates in legalese every nuance of your body which will be shown." Not surprisingly, the contract is both absurd and hilarious -- especially because it was, apparently, written by a lawyer with his or her own comedic aspirations (hint: the waiver includes a precise definition for the term "naughty bits.") At the risk of offending more delicate readers, we can't reprint too much of the interview here, but it's worth a watch.
Is Conan O'Brien a sex fiend? According to the always reliable Dr. Phil, the answer is yes. Tuesday night, the tough-talking self-help guru stopped by "Conan" to share some of the wisdom he's gleaned from 34 years of wedded bliss.
"You gotta keep the sizzle going," said Dr. Phil, who added that he's skeptical about the Valentine's Day tradition: "If you have to be reminded one day a year to romance your honey, you're in a lot of trouble the other 364." He said thinks that the holiday is a conspiracy "invented by FTD," which sounds about right -- but he forget to mention that "relationship experts" are in on it too.
Dr. Phil told O'Brien about the first date with his wife. "She's a real chow hound," he said, so he brought her two eclairs (Dr. Phil pronounces it "EEE-clairs"), one for that night, one for the following morning. "I know how to work women."
When O'Brien wondered if there was a way to tell if someone is romantic or "highly sexual," Dr. Phil asked to see his hand. "I want to see the eclairs first," O'Brien joked.
Dr. Phil examined O'Brien's hands and concluded, "Yep, you're definitely a trollop." O'Brien's third finger is longer than his pointer finger which, Dr. Phil explained to his host, "means you are highly sexualized, you're more likely to have a lot of sexual partners, you're also more likely to cheat. It's growing as we speak."
Dr. Phil's somewhat absurd explanation was that O'Brien had probably been born in a "testosterone storm." This meant he ought to "be a breeder." Not surprisingly, O'Brien was skeptical. "This all sounds like very sound medical wisdom," he said sarcastically.
"It's very sound medical advice," Dr. Phil reassured him. "There will be fights over this before these people are out of the audience today." Let's hope he's wrong.
So, what did you think? Any other trollops out there?
Anytime two talk-show hosts sit down together on TV, there's going to be a "Jetsons Meet the Flintstones" feeling to it. And so it was on last night's episode of "Conan," where Craig Ferguson stopped by to say hello and tout his upcoming stand-up special.
"So the Scotsman and the Celtic Tampon are together again," O'Brien mused.
"Finally, they wouldn't let me do the show for years when you were on that other network," said Ferguson, who, in the midst of last year's heated "Tonight Show" battle, repeatedly expressed his disdain for the executives at NBC.
Ferguson had some big news to discuss: Last week, he became a father for the second time. ("I...I had sex!" Ferguson boasted.) It was a joyful occasion, but not without a few--shall we say--messier moments.
"They don't tell you about the what else happens when the baby is born," said Ferguson. "You know what I'm talking about. You were there."
"It's quite...stunning, the creation of life," O'Brien responded, sounding less than rhapsodic about the experience.
"It's a beautiful thing, Conan O'Brien."
"No, it's not. It's really not."
"It's nice when it's all cleaned up," Ferguson said, punctuating his sentence with the perfectly suggestive sip of a mug. He then joked about the long friendship between the two. "We used to make out before you went all 'straight' and everything," he said, even proposing a nickname to rival "The Celtic Tampon." "I'll be the Caledonian fresh press-on towel." (That's Brit-speak for "pad," in case you hadn't figured it out.)
For all the acrimony of late-night television, it's nice to see a little camaraderie between peers -- period jokes and all.
You may recall that Jay Leno took back his old "Tonight Show" perch on NBC from Conan O'Brien last year. O'Brien started a rival show on TBS. Since then, Leno has settled into a big lead over O'Brien in total viewers as well as a very narrow lead among adults ages 18 to 49, the demographic most advertisers care about.
But that's only counting people who watch the programs live. And it just so happens that O'Brien's fans are big-time DVR users.
Once playback is factored in, O'Brien takes the No. 1 spot in 18-49. During November and December, O'Brien averaged 1.4 million viewers ages 18 to 49, compared with 1.3 million for Leno, 1.1 million for CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" and 1 million for Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
O'Brien has an even bigger lead among adults 18 to 34, with an average of 930,000 viewers. Runner-up Jon Stewart had only 574,000.
As TBS noted in a release late Tuesday, "'Conan' receives a far bigger lift from time-shifted viewing than broadcast shows, which is a reflection of the young fan base that O'Brien attracts."
The median age of the "Conan" viewer is 33. It's 42 for "Daily Show" and 52 for ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Letterman and Leno attract the oldest viewers among late-night talk shows: Each has a median age of 56.
According to Jack Black, he and Conan O'Brien are like "two rock stars passing in the night." The pair had run into one another on tour over the summer, at the Bonnaroo festival, Black with his group Tenacious D and O'Brien with his own band. Last night they collided on stage during "Conan," when Black started mocking Conan's musical pedigree.
"You actually play music and stuff?" he asked. "You're not a real band -- my band is like a legit band," he said.
"We went on a 32-city tour," O'Brien insisted. "And we rocked people's faces off -- their faces came off."
O'Brien's band is more of a "hobby," Black said, while his is a "passion." O'Brien feigned incredulity. "I rock way, way, way harder than you," said Black, chuckling maniacally.
And so they dueled. First with nunchucks, and then, more successfully, in a "guitar-off," as recommended by O'Brien's sidekick Andy Richter. Black strapped on a sunburnt acoustic and Conan, a matching Gibson electric. The two traded licks, O'Brien awkwardly towering over his counterpart, both in height and sound.
When O'Brien's bluesy soloing got to be too much, his squealing distortion overpowering Black's rhythm guitar, a frustrated Black pulled back the curtain and revealed Slash, the guitar god himself, playing in place of O'Brien. The host had been cheating, but the gag was a big hit.