Saturday, October 29, 2011

Charlie Sheen sitcom 'Anger Management' lands at FX

The rock star from Mars has landed -- Charlie Sheen's new sitcom "Anger Management" will air on FX. The cable network said Thursday it has picked up the show -- loosely based on the 2003 movie -- for at least 10 episodes, starting next summer.

 Bruce Helford, who was behind "The Drew Carey Show," was previously announced as the showrunner; former Disney executive and longtime Sheen pal Joe Roth will be among the producers. "We think that Bruce Helford, Joe Roth and Charlie Sheen have come up with a wonderful, hilarious vehicle for Charlie's acting talents -- and a character we are very much looking forward to seeing him play," FX President John Landgraf said in a statement. 

 FX already airs repeats of Sheen's former sitcom, "Two and a Half Men." So the move to capture his new endeavor may make certain sense. But the network is taking a giant leap into the unknown. Sheen's endlessly publicized drug problems and chaotic family life, not to mention quicksilver personality, led to his firing from "Men" earlier this year. And if the first 10 episodes of "Anger Management" do well, FX will be on the hook for 90 more -- a model already employed for Tyler Perry sitcoms.

 Ninety episodes is a very, very long time to be handcuffed to anyone, let alone someone as unpredictable as Sheen. But maybe the actor has learned his lesson. (Yes, we know -- that's funny. Maybe we should write for "Anger Management.") What do you think? Will you watch Sheen's new show? Take our poll or sound off in the comments.

-- Scott Collins

Will you watch Charlie Sheen's new sitcom?

Fox's bringing back a new version of 'In Living Color'

Calling former "In Living Color" Fly Girl Jennifer Lopez. Your old series is coming back. The network is reviving "In Living Color," the edgy hit sketch comedy series that was one of the network's key early successes and helped launch the careers of Lopez, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans. 

An updated version of the series will air as two half-hour specials in the spring of 2012. The specials will be hosted and executive-produced by the show's original creator, Keenen Ivory Wayans, who will gather a new cast for the new installments. The original "In Living Color" aired from 1990 to 1994. Perhaps Jennifer Lopez, who was one of the original Fly Girls, will return to the reboot. — Greg Braxton

Friday, October 28, 2011

Google TV2, Now with Honeycomb & Android Market

It has been a long year for Google TV. The first (and only, so far) round of hardware started shipping in October 2010 and at the time, promised the Android Marketplace with its wealth of third party apps early in the next year. That clearly didn't happen, and it quickly became most notable for what it was being blocked from doing, like streaming video from TV providers like Hulu and various network TV websites. 

After various false starts and delays, Sony Google TV and Logitech Revue hardware will finally receive updates to Android 3.1 Honeycomb (congratulations Google, now where's Ice Cream Sandwich?) starting this weekend with Sony up first and Logitech "shortly thereafter." The biggest additions are the aforementioned apps, a new interface, and a refocused system for content discovery that starts with the new TV & Movies app .

As important as new hardware will be to determining the quality of Google TV's second chance, the situation there is still unchanged. While current partners Sony and Logitech remain on board as Samsung and Vizio wait in the wings, definitive word on ARM processors, new control interfaces, or additional manufacturers will have to wait until 2012. 

For now, the biggest question is if Google really can provide a new kind of content discovery experience that thrills viewers and reels in wary content partners; and more importantly, can they do it before efforts from familiar mobile competition like Microsoft and Apple take over the living room game? One thing is clear, as Mario and Rishi refer to the future as a marathon and not a sprint, whether or not Google is the most successful in changing our TV experience, we're sure they won't stop trying.

Galaxy Nexus releasing Early Nov U.K. & Late Nov in U.S.

The Galaxy Nexus might just be the most anticipated Android handset coming out before the end of the year.The Galaxy Nexus does now have a U.K. release date. According to an listing, the Galaxy Nexus will be released on Nov. 17. 

 The Galaxy Nexus smart phone is heading to Verizon sometime "later this year," the company said in a news release today. When exactly is later this year and how much will it cost? Verizon, Samsung and Google haven't said as of yet, but as soon as we get a solid release date and price, we'll let you know on the Technology blog. 

 The Galaxy Nexus, developed jointly by Samsung and Google, is be the first smart phone available that runs on Ice Cream Sandwich, Google's latest version of the Android operating system. And the new phone is to run a "pure" version of Android -- meaning no software additions or changes to the user interface from Samsung or Verizon, as most smart phones have. 

 Google and Samsung unveiled the new Galaxy Nexus and Android Ice Cream Sandwich in Hong Kong last week. The new phone features a 4.65-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, a 1.2-gigahertz dual-core processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear camera capable of shooting 1080p video and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front for video chatting.


Rosie O'Donnell Embraces Controversy

Rosie O'Donnell isn't shying away from controversy on her new Oprah Winfrey Network talk show. Since the variety program's premiere on Oct. 10, O'Donnell has tackled topics from her renewed, menopausal sex drive to police brutality at the Occupy Wall Street protests. "I'm going to talk about things that matter as well as entertaining fun things. But we're not going to leave stuff out. 

We're going to talk about what's current – what's happening and what people are talking about in real life," O'Donnell said in an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday. O'Donnell's outspokenness about the Iraq War led to her abrupt exit on "The View," and her no-holds-barred attitude may have landed her a few high-profile enemies, but the comedian's new boss embraces her lack of filter. "Oprah is so supportive," said O'Donnell, 49. "She said, `Trust your instincts, go with your gut, you know what to do, trust yourself.' And that's what I've been doing."

 "The Rosie Show," a mash up of celebrity interviews, standup comedy, musical acts, games and reality TV, has garnered mixed reviews and lackluster ratings. But O'Donnell remains optimistic. "We're going slow and steady," she said. "It's a marathon, not a sprint. And it's Oprah Winfrey, so I would not bet against her. That's for sure."


Google+ Announces 2 Big Changes

Upstart social network Google+ on Thursday announced a few new features and introduced a change that users have been hankering after since the service launched over the summer. A "What's Hot" feature will help users find and interact with popular content shared within Google+. According to a post on the Official Google Blog, this new tool will give users a glimpse outside their Circles and into the larger world of Google+ posts created by the 40 million-strong (and growing) user base. 

 A video posted to the Google Blog explains that the new feature will appear within users' vertical timelines, letting them click horizontally through popular content that might not otherwise appear there. You can also view hot Google+ posts in their very own "What's Hot" timeline, similar to Twitter's Top Tweets feed highlighting the microblog's most retweeted posts.

Google+ also announced an analytics tool, "Google+ Ripples," which lets users track how people are engaging with Google+ posts. Another fun tool, called the "Google+ Creative Kit," adds easy editing tools for photos uploaded to the network. (Visit the Google Blog to read more about these new features.) And that's not all. One of users' most frequent complaints about the social network was that only personal Gmail accounts could be used to sign up for the service. This policy excluded any user who accessed Gmail via a Google Apps account. But no longer. As promised, Google+ has finally opened its doors to professionals, students and other Google Apps users. Note, however, that not all features of Google+ will work with Google Apps accounts, though Google promises it will "continue to add features" for Google Apps users. From a post on the Google Enterprise Blog announcing the integration: Starting now you can manually turn on Google+ for your organization. 

Once Google+ is turned on, your users will just need to sign up at to get started. For customers who use Google Apps for Business or the free version of Google Apps and who have chosen to automatically enable new services, Google+ will automatically become available to all of your users over the next several days.* A number of universities around the world using Google Apps to power their email networks have already made Google+ available to students and faculty. For a full list of these 20+ institutions, visit the Google Enterprise Blog, and check out what Google+ features are available to higher education accounts.

 For those who have already created a Google+ profile with a personal account, Google says there's a "migration tool" coming soon that will let Google+ users connect their existing Circles between their personal and Google Apps accounts. "We expect this migration option to be ready in a few weeks, so if you’d like, you can go ahead and get started with your Apps account today and merge your connections once the tool is available," writes Google+ product manager Ronald Ho. Google's social chief Vic Gundotra promised earlier this month at the Web 2.0 Expo that this change was imminent. He also promised several other changes were in the pipes already, some of which users have listed among Google+'s biggest shortcomings.

The Huffington Post   

Apple No Longer World's Smartphone Leader

Samsung Electronics Co overtook Apple Inc as the world's top smartphone maker in the July-September period with a 44 percent jump in shipments, and forecast strong sales in the current quarter in a clear warning to its rivals. Samsung only entered the smartphone market in earnest last year, but its sales have skyrocketed thanks to a sleek production system that rapidly brings new products to market. Apple introduced its first iPhone in 2007. "In the handset division, Samsung has no real rival models to challenge its products except for the iPhone 4S. Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the market in the fourth quarter," said Kim Hyun-joong, a fund manager at Midas Asset Management, which owns Samsung shares.

 Profits from the South Korean firm's telecoms division, announced on Friday, more than doubled from a year ago to a record 2.5 trillion won ($2.2 billion) and accounted for 60 percent of Samsung's total profit, offsetting a plunge in earnings from its bread-and-butter memory chips. Shipments of smartphones jumped 44 percent from the preceding quarter to 27.8 million units, up nearly four times from a year ago, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple's iPhone sales shrank by 16 percent to 17.1 million units in the third quarter. Samsung had 23.8 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, 9 points higher than Apple. Samsung's flagship Galaxy line of products is powered by Google's Android software. Apple sold fewer phones in the third quarter, missing street expectations for the first time in year, as customers held off buying iPhones until the October launch of the latest version.

 Samsung shares were up 1.6 percent by 0500 GMT (1 a.m. EDT), versus a 0.6 percent gain in the wider market. The world's biggest technology firm by revenue reported a 4.25 trillion won operating profit for the July-September quarter, broadly in line with its earlier estimate of 4.2 trillion won. That was down from 4.9 trillion won a year ago but up from 3.8 trillion won in the preceding quarter. Samsung said its fourth-quarter earnings could be better than the third, boosted by one-off gains from its $1.4 billion sale of its hard disk drive business to Seagate Technology. "I am cautiously optimistic on the fourth quarter outlook at this point," Robert Yi, head of Samsung's investor relations, told analysts. "Looking ahead into the fourth quarter, when industry demand is traditionally at its peak, Samsung expects sales of mobile devices to remain strong and flat-panel TV shipments to increase," the company added in an earnings statement. Apple, whose iPhone sales account for nearly half the firm's total sales, reported a 40 percent gross margin, or the percentage of sales left after subtracting the cost of goods sold. Samsung's phone division reported a 16.9 percent operating margin, which further takes account of marketing costs.

 Nevertheless, Samsung faces challenges as the new iPhone introduced earlier this month is notching up strong sales. Nokia is also fighting back with its first phones based on Microsoft's Windows software. And Sony Corp announced on Thursday it would take full ownership of its mobile venture, Sony Ericsson, in a bid to exploit its music and video library. Samsung on Thursday announced the launch of its Galaxy Note mobile device, adding to the flagship Galaxy lineup of products. The device, powered by Android, will square off against a series of new models released by Apple, Nokia and HTC Corp. The iPhone, introduced in 2007 with the touchscreen template now adopted by its rivals, is still the gold standard in the smartphone market. Samsung may not have come up with the concept, but it has adopted Apple's breakthrough smartphone idea perhaps better than any other handset maker. It tries to offer the Apple experience at a better price with better functionality. "Samsung's rise has been driven by a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution," said Alex Spektor at Strategy Analytics. "Samsung has demonstrated that it is possible, at least in the short term, to differentiate and grow by using the Android ecosystem." Q4 SEEN BETTER THAN Q3 Profits from Samsung's chip business more than halved to 1.59 trillion won, but the division held up well as its relatively high exposure to lucrative mobile chips helped the firm offset a sharp plunge in prices of commodity computer memory chips. 

 Samsung was the sole profitable firm among major global dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip makers in the third quarter. Second-ranked computer memory chip maker Hynix Semiconductor and Japan's Elpida Memory swung to deep losses as prices of DRAM chips used in PCs tumbled about 50 percent in the third quarter. Samsung's chip business is also benefiting from strong demand for mobile processor chips used in Apple's iPhone and iPad tablet as well as its own Galaxy smartphones. Samsung expected demand for PCs to remain weak in the fourth quarter because of weak seasonality, while demand for mobile devices and servers will be relatively strong. "I see some signs that chip prices have hit bottom as inventories are running out. However, we don't yet know when the industry is going to pick up since macroeconomic uncertainties overshadow the demand outlook," said Park Hyun, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities. Samsung's display business posted losses for a third consecutive quarter on weak demand for TVs and PCs. But losses narrowed from the previous quarter, helped by strong earnings from the OLED display, which is widely expected to replace LCD as the next-generation flat-screen in mobile devices and TVs. By Hyunjoo Jin

Monday, October 10, 2011

'Unprecedented' Ozone Hole Over Arctic

You’ve heard about holes in our ozone layer for decades now, with reports that ozone-eating chemicals have been collecting together and doing their damage above the Antarctic region, sparing Earth’s populated areas from raised UV exposure. Based on warnings that things could get worse, many of us have cut back on ozone depleting chemicals.

 Many of our air conditioners now use gases that are considered “friendlier” for the environment since these holes were found. So things are getting better way up there, right? Maybe not. For the very first time, a sizable hole has been discovered hanging out over the Arctic. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, our northernmost region’s upper atmosphere has lost ozone like never before during last winter. 

The Arctic is typically warmer than its icy southern cousin Antartica, whose temperatures stay much longer in the destructive “sweet spot” needed to enhance ozone depletion. In a report for the science journal Nature, co-author Gloria Manney said the 2010-2011 northern winter was cold enough, for long enough, for the Arctic region to lose 80% of its ozone layer, as measured 18-20 km above the Earth’s surface. This is similar to the loss typically seen in Antarctica, and according to Manney spells bad news for those living in northern lands.

 Unlike with the ozone layer down south, the conditions causing the northern loss don’t tend to stay put, and “often shifts to lower latitudes, sometimes over densely populated regions.” If you are reading this in Alaska, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland or northern Russia, you might want to stop by your local grocer and stock up on the sunblock this winter.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Madonna To Perform At Super Bowl XLVI

Perhaps the world's biggest pop star, Madonna may be gearing up to perform on the world's biggest stage.
The multi-platinum artist will provide the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl XLVI, is reporting. The game, to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this February 5th, would mark her first Super Bowl appearance; she nearly took the stage in 1998 and 2000, but negotiations fell apart both times.
Since Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004, the NFL has stuck largely to older, classic rock performers. Paul McCartney followed up Jackson and co-star Justin Timberlake, with subsequent years featuring The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and then The Who. Last year, the game went back to a more contemporary act, hiring The Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Slash.
Presumably, those in charge of the show are expecting to get older, charitable Madonna, not Material Girl, cone bra Madonna, though it's hard to know just what they'll get. Quick tip to those decorating her dressing room: no hydrangeas.

'Ghost': Broadway Musical Coming In 2012

A musical based in the Patrick Swayze film "Ghost" will be haunting Broadway next year.
Producers said Monday that the show, which debuted in June in London, will begin previews in New York in March 2012. Casting for the Broadway run has not been announced yet.
"Ghost" has new songs by Grammy Award-winner Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. Stewart is half of the pop duo the Eurythmics, while Ballard helped put together Alanis Morisette's "Jagged Little Pill."
Oscar winner Bruce Joel Rubin has adapted his original screenplay for the stage. Tony Award winner Matthew Warchus will direct.
In the 1990 movie, Swayze played a ghost trying to communicate with his girlfriend – played by Demi Moore – through a fake psychic in the hope of saving her from his murderer.

Melissa McCarthy Rocks 'SNL'

Some "Saturday Night Live" hosts walk through the door with so much gravitas and chutzpah, that the job of the writers is to simply give them a premise and some scenery to chew and let them take it from there. Think Christopher Walken needing more cowbell.

On Saturday, Melissa McCarthy proved she had the fearlessness to make every scene she was in memorable. From sexually harassing Jason Sudeikis within an inch of his life, to repeatedly falling down the stairs as the Mae West-inspired Lulu Diamonds, McCarthy had the entire studio audience -- and probably most of America -- gasping for breath.

They're Baaaaaaaack 'Absolutely Fabulous' returns with Patsy and Edina

Ab Fab is back, darlings! The cult British series is returning early next year on BBC America and Logo with a trio of new specials. But you don’t have to wait that long to reunite with the boozy Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina (Jennifer Saunders): EW has the exclusive first look at how the fabulous duo are holding up in the new specials, which marks the first time they’ve reunited since the BBC America comedy Clatterford in 2006.
As you might imagine, despite a teensy-weensy bit of age, Patsy and Edina haven’t changed much at all, as the two exclusive photos we’ve nabbed are classic Ab Fab:

'Arrested Development' new TV Episodes & Movie Confirmed

"Arrested Development" is back. Looks like TV execs are finally willing to admit they've made a huge mistake.

 The cult classic television comedy about the travails of the rich, zany Bluth family, cancelled in 2006 after three seasons, will produce nine to ten new episodes and a movie, it was announced at The New Yorker Festival on Sunday. "It's true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early '13. VERY excited!" leading actor Jason Bateman tweeted.

 Smart and irreverent, the show also starred David Cross, Michael Cera, Portia De Rossi, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Walter. It was executive produced by Ron Howard, who also provided narration. Since its cancellation, the show has earned a fervent fan base, with constant speculation as to when -- or whether -- the show would be adapted into a movie. The cast, led by Bateman and Will Arnett, has frequently promised that a movie would be coming, though until now they've been unable to offer any specifics. As it turns out, that can be attributed to the difficulties of intellectual properties and broadcast rights.

 “We don’t completely own the property, there are business people involved and studios and that kind of thing," creator Mitch Hurwitz said on Sunday, as quoted by the NY Times. "Just creatively, I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by, there was so much more to the story. In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So in working on the screenplay, I found even if I just gave five minutes per character to that back story, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together.” As such, the plan is to have one episode explore each character as a lead-in to the film. 

 Just over two weeks ago, Bateman, who starred this summer's comedies, "Horrible Bosses" and "The Change-Up," told Entertainment Weekly that he was frustrated that he couldn't give more details, but assured a film would be forthcoming. In February, Hurwitz told Digital Spy that the process was underway, but couldn't say more. "I don't like to toy with the affections of our fans," he said. "They've been so supportive and we're so grateful, so I kind of hate to answer the question until I can say, 'Yep, we've shot it, it opens next week'. Otherwise it feels like we're toying with people and we do not mean to do that. It has just taken a while to get it going." In July, Jeffrey Tambor, who plays the show's patriarch, told The Huffington Post, "It's all going straight, everyone's on board, I know they're writing, and maybe next time this year we'll be having this conversation."