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Hooked on Holmes

Season three of Sherlock premiered on Sunday, January 19 at 9:58 p.m. ET on PBS, so, we thought it would be a cool idea to take a quick look at the history of Sherlock Holmes.

First of all, what do you think the number 254 has to do with Sherlock Holmes? No, it isn’t the number of cases that he has cracked, although he has solved many; but, instead, it’s the number of times that Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed on screen.

In fact, in 2012, Guinness World Records awarded Sherlock Holmes the world record for the most portrayed literary human character in film and TV.

The character of Sherlock Holmes was created in 1887 and since then, over 75 actors, such as Basil Rathbone who starred in fourteen Sherlock Holmes movies, Sir Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston, Peter O’Toole, Peter Cook, Benedict Cumberbatch (PBS series) and Robert Downey Jr. (2009 film Sherlock Holmes), have played the sleuth.

For someone who has been portrayed 254 different times, we wanted to delve in to what exactly makes this character so interesting, mysterious and popular.

The fictional detective sprouted from the mind of Scottish author and physician, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Basically, Holmes was a London-based “consulting detective” whose skill set and general abilities as a crime solver bordered on superhuman; or, maybe it was his incredible knack for logical reasoning that solved difficult cases.

Oh, and let’s not forget about good, old Dr. Watson, Holmes’ assistant and friend, who worked side-by-side with the detective to delve into mysteries and solve cases.

It’s evident to see that with 254 portrayals and counting that people are not only hooked on Holmes, but, it seems that people find the mystery genre enticing. Basically, Conan Doyle created the formula for this genre of classic English mystery. The formula usually involved a few predictable elements, like a “closed setting,” which could be an isolated house, for example; a corpse; a small group of people who are considered suspects; and, an investigating detective.

Next, each character involved in the storyline begins to think that the others are involved; thus, the suspense mounts and soon enough it comes to light that almost all of the suspected persons had the means, motive and the chance to commit the crime. More times than not, a narrator would reveal to the reader the clues and in the case of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson was the narrator. And, as always, the detective would put the pieces of the puzzle together long before anyone else could come up with a solution and would explain it to the “Watson” character, the loyal sidekick to the smart detective, at the end.

Now, writers continue to reinvent the wheel of the basic formula that was established by Conan Doyle to keep the original idea of the detective Sherlock Holmes fresh and more popular than ever. This leads us to the recent portrayals of Sherlock Holmes.

Currently, there are two shows on the air that are focused on this classic, as previously mentioned, Sherlock on PBS and Elementary on CBS, each of which offers their own depiction of the famous detective.

Both portrayals modernize the classic. For instance, Sherlock on PBS creates a modern-day version of the original Conan Doyle stories by allowing Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, to use technologies from this day and age to help him solve the crimes.

Additionally, Elementary modernizes the classic by transforming Dr. John Watson into Dr. Joan Watson, played by Lucy Liu, who works with Holmes (Johnny Lee Miller) to solve some of the NYPD’s crop of impossible cases.

Are you in the mood for a mystery? Tune in on Sunday’s at 9:58 p.m. ET on PBS for season three of Sherlock!

Copyright New Show Studios 2014



The Hills Were Alive Again with ‘The Sound of Music’

Usually, live musicals are performed on a big stage in front of a crowded theater. Well, that wasn’t the case in December 2013, when Carrie Underwood, alongside many other talented singers and actors, took to NBC’s airwaves for the TV production of The Sound of Music Live!

But, before this musical aired on live television and Underwood sang her heart out, there were some notable performances that took place. Let’s take a look at the live TV performances that led up to the most recent rendition of The Sound of Music.

Many agree that the first original televised musical was The Boys From Boise. This musical was broadcast by the DuMont Network on September 28, 1944. This production told the story of a troupe of showgirls that were stranded on an Idaho ranch.

But, during the years of early television, “spectaculars” were very popular and included as many stars and under-rehearsed production numbers as the networks could gather. In 1950, there was a short-lived NBC series called Musical Comedy Time that presented hour-long varieties of famous musicals.

In addition, there were also a few operas that were composed for early TV, which included Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, which aired on NBC in 1951. In 1953, Martinu’s The Marriage aired as well.

Also in 1953, the Ford Motor Company celebrated its 50th anniversary by sponsoring an all-star television spectacular, which included the likes of Ethel Merman and Mary Martin, who joined forces for a performance that was directed by Jerome Robbins and was transmitted live from the stage of Broadway’s immense Center Theatre.

Networks began to see the worth and potential in airing musicals and as time continued, several musicals were adapted for television. For instance, in 1955, Mary Martin performed in the musical staging of Peter Pan that was broadcast live on NBC and included its Broadway cast and production crew. This show drew in millions of viewers and nationwide critical acclaim.

In the years that followed, musicals and TV adaptions of those performances were very prevalent on American television. Although this genre of television peaked in the 1950s, it wasn’t until the 1980s that PBS brought back live performances and stage musicals to their networks and the genre, in its entirety, got a boost from a few popular productions on ABC and CBS in the late 90s.

Recently, however, Carrie Underwood starred in The Sound of Music Live! that premiered on NBC in December 2013. Underwood starred as Maria and Stephen Moyer played Captain Von Trapp in the television adaption of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein 1959 Broadway musical.

The broadcast aired live from a warehouse in Long Island, which included seven working sets such as the Von Trapp House and the abbey. The entire show was shot once with no second takes and there wasn’t an audience on the set.

Although there were mixed reviews about the recent performance of the classic Broadway show and movie, it is certain that the hills came alive again with The Sound of Music Live!

Copyright New Show Studios 2014



Steve Allen: Revolutionizing the World of Late Night Talk Shows

It’s no surprise that the man with the middle name, “Valentine,” stole hearts everywhere when he became the first host of The Tonight Show.

Steve Valentine Patrick William Allen was born in New York, New York, on December 26, 1921.

Best known as the first host of The Tonight Show, Steve Allen has offered the world of entertainment much more, and we are going to take a look at his other various contributions!

In addition to being the first host of The Tonight Show, Allen also is an accomplished musician, composer actor and author, with many books, musical compositions and films that are credited to his name.

His career began in 1947, after the passing of his father, when he moved to Chicago, Illinois, and began to host a radio talk show for the Los Angeles CBS affiliate, in addition to making other frequent television appearances.

Those television appearances would prove to be vital in making a name for Allen in the TV industry. Allen first garnered national attention when he was a guest host on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.

By 1953, Allen created the The Tonight Show for a local TV station in New York. His work on The Tonight Show exhibited the innovation that was behind the idea of the television talk show.  The show infused elements of a talk show and variety show together. It didn’t take long before the show was taken by NBC and made into a national program in 1954.

Allen brought along clever monologues that were delivered in front of a piano; and, sometimes his remarks would be punctuated with riffs on the instrument. Additionally, unusual supporting characters and a wide range of guests helped form the foundation of late-night talk shows.

After two years on The Tonight Show, Allen left; however, he continued to host TV shows including The Steve Allen Show, I’ve Got a Secret and The New Steve Allen Show. He also was a regular panel guest on CBS’ What’s My Line? Furthermore, he continued to act and write books. In his lifetime, Allen wrote more than 50 books of different genres, including volumes of poetry, biblical analyses, social criticism and, with no surprise, humor.

The buck didn’t stop there; he also composed more than 5,000 pieces of music that included film scores and songs for the Broadway musical, Sophie. Allen also won the best jazz composition Grammy award in 1963, for his song, The Gravy Waltz.

Unfortunately, following a minor traffic accident, Allen went to his son’s house to take a nap and passed away in his sleep from an apparent heart attack on October 30, 2000.

Although the famous comedian and TV pioneer, Steve Allen, has been gone for 13 years, his contributions to the genre of television talk shows and the world of entertainment continues to live on to this day.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013



Bob Barker, Come on Down!

We can just hear it now, Rod Roddy‘s voice introducing Bob Barker as he walks onto the stage of the Price is Right as he did for nearly 35 years.

Before Bob Barker started his big career on the Price is Right, he came from humble beginnings. He was born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington’ and, at a very young age, his father passed away. He and his mother, Matilda, a teacher, then moved to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota.

After training to be a fighter pilot in the United States Naval Reserve, World War II ended before Barker was given an assignment for active duty. So, Barker decided to venture down another career path when he landed a job at a radio station in Florida that ultimately led to his move to California in 1950 in order to pursue a career in broadcasting. While at the station in California, he was given his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show, which was on the air for six years out of Burbank.

In 1956, Barker was hired to host a daytime television version of the long-running radio quiz show, Truth or Consequences, that, at the time, aired on NBC.

Before Barker’s stint on Truth or Consequences ended, he took a hosting job for another game show; The Price is Right, which first aired in 1950 on NBC and ABC, before finding its permanent home, at the time of Barker’s arrival in 1972, on CBS.

There were about 60 different games featured on the show, each of which required the contestants to guess the price of various products. Not only was the show popular, but their catch-phrase, “Come on down!” was a hit that was shouted by the show’s original announcer, the late Johnny Olson.

In November of 1975, The Price is Right became the first hour-long game show in television history. By 1990, the show surpassed Truth or Consequences as the longest-running daytime game show in history.

Barker wasn’t just a popular daytime TV personality; in fact, in 1996, he played himself on the comedy film starring Adam Sandler, Happy Gilmore. Barker’s scene in the movie proved to be a memorable one, when he got into a brawl with Sandler at a celebrity golf tournament. That year, the famous scene won an award for Best Fight Sequence on the MTV Movie Awards.

In 1999, Barker was also honored when he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award.

Just as they say, all good things must come to an end, and in 2006 Barker announced that he was retiring as the host of The Price is Right. His last episode aired in June 2007.

For those who religiously tuned into the daytime game show every day, you might have noticed Barker’s involvement with animal rights through his plugs at the end of the show. Barker founded the DJ&T Foundation in 1995, which was an organization based out of Beverly Hills that continues to work to reduce the overpopulation of domestic animals by offering either free or inexpensive sterilization for cats and dogs.

Throughout his successful career, Barker can now add another milestone to his resume; today is his 90th birthday! As the special Pet Adoption Week comes to a close, Barker’s 90th birthday will be celebrated on today’s show!

Happy 90th birthday to Bob Barker, a person who was a welcomed guest in homes across America every day for nearly 35 years on The Price is Right!

Copyright New Show Studios 2013



Thirty-three Years Later: Who Shot J.R.?

This may be one of the most frequently asked questions in television history, even 33 years later: the question of “who shot J.R.?” is still well known in the entertainment industry. On November 21, 1980, audiences around the world, 350 million people to be exact, turned their television sets on to the popular primetime drama, Dallas, to find out who shot J.R. Ewing, the character that Dallas fans loved to hate.

Dallas was dubbed a “primetime soap opera” for its plot twists and dramatic tales and the CBS television network debuted the first five-episode pilot season of the series in 1978. The show continued for another 12 full-length seasons.

Throughout the 12 seasons, the relationship of two Texas oil families, the unlucky Barnes family and the rich and successful Ewing family, were the focus of the show and the character at the crux of the infamous question, “Who shot J.R.?” was J.R. Ewing, a greedy, manipulative, womanizer, played by Larry Hagman.

To refresh everyone’s memory, J.R. was shot on the season-ending episode that aired on March 21, 1980, and became, perhaps, one of television’s most memorable cliffhangers.

During the entire run of the series, J.R. gained a lot of enemies on the way and audiences everywhere were struggling to figure out who was responsible for his attempted murder.

After a contract dispute with Hagman was resolved and the Screen Actors Guild strike had concluded, the episode that revealed who in fact shot J.R. was aired. This episode became one of television’s most watched shows, and in the U.S. alone, 83 million people, a full 76 percent of all U.S. televisions, tuned in to Dallas that night.

For nearly eight months, the media went into a frenzy, reporting on speculations of “Who shot J.R.?” Finally, viewers everywhere got the answer to the question that they had been asking for months, and the answer was that Kristin Shepard, J.R.’s wife’s sister and his former mistress, in fact, shot J.R.

As if the shooting of J.R. wasn’t a big enough plot twist, the show’s writers decided to add another in September 1986. Viewers learned that the entire previous season, where main character Bobby Ewing died, was nothing more than a dream of Pam Ewing’s.  Bobby was originally killed off of the show when Patrick Duffy decided to leave the series. However, he later agreed to return to the show, and he was featured stepping out of the shower on the season-ending cliffhanger.

Although Dallas hasn’t been on the air in 22 years, the show remains in syndication around the world and the question of “who shot J.R.?” is still one of the most famous questions to ever be asked in television history.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013



Here’s a Story of an American TV Classic: The Brady Bunch

Believe it or not, 44 years ago to the day on September 26, The Brady Bunch aired its pilot episode.

The story began when Sherwood Schwartz (Gilligan’s Island) read in The Los Angeles Times that 30 percent of marriages in the United States had a child or children from a previous marriage. Schwartz then went straight to the drawing board to create a pilot script for a television series originally titled Mine and Yours. After further developing his TV show idea, Schwartz began to shop around with the “big three” television networks at the time, ABC, CBS and NBC. All of the networks liked the script; however, each network wanted to make changes before they would commit to filming the project.

The series finally received a 13-week commitment from ABC in 1968 and Schwartz hired film and TV director, John Rich, to direct the pilot episode. Show castings began to search for the six Brady children, the mother, father and housekeeper. After 264 interviews, the cast of the show was decided.

Carol (Florence Henderson) the mother of three daughters, would marry Mike Brady (Robert Reed), a widower and father of three young boys and the crux of the show would be focused on the blending of two families in their Los Angeles  home, which is managed by the housekeeper, Alice (Ann B. Davis).

The Brady kids added the classic element of the sibling rivalries between Greg (Barry Williams), Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Peter (Christopher Knight), Jan (Eve Plumb), Bobby (Mike Lookinland) and Cindy (Susan Olsen).

The show consisted of very light topics, with the whole first season revolving around the family adjusting to living under the same roof. As time went on, the light-hearted problems continued with sibling rivalries and typical adjustments during the pre-teen and teen stages of growing up.

After 177 episodes, ABC announced that they would be cancelling The Brady Bunch. The last episode aired on August 30, 1974.  From the time that the show ended, there were countless spin-offs, including a variety program in 1977, The Brady Bunch Hour, a TV movie in 1988, A Very Brady Christmas and the 1995 big-screen parody, The Brady Bunch Movie with a sequel the following year named, A Very Brady Sequel.

Although the sitcom has since become and American TV classic through syndication, it may seem surprising to some that in its entire network run, the show never broke the top ten ranks of the Nielsen ratings.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013





Fall TV Preview: The Crazy Ones

Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar and appearances from Brad Garrett, oh my! These are just a few of the big name stars cast in the new CBS TV show, The Crazy Ones, which will premiere on September 26, at 9 p.m. ET.

This new television show is a single-camera workplace comedy. As a matter of fact, in late July, we touched on this style of TV production that allows the show to be filmed in sequence, much like a stage play.

This TV show idea is based on advertising guru, Simon Roberts, played by Robin Williams.  Roberts’ unconventional tactics and off-the-wall behavior would indefinitely be cause for dismissal from a job; however, there’s a catch.  He is the boss and head of a powerful advertising agency with big brands as their clients.

The Roberts & Roberts agency is named after Simon Roberts and his daughter, Sidney, who is played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Both offer a classic father-daughter combo with opposite personalities. Sidney offers a more refined, organized and driven approach to her job, while Simon on the other hand, is eccentric, unorthodox and a lot to handle at times.

The show castings aren’t limited to just Williams and Gellar.  In fact, James Wolk (Political Animals, Lone Star and Mad Men) joins the cast as talented Zach Cropper; Hamish Linklater plays an art director, Andrew (The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Good Wife).

Additionally, for at least two episodes, Brad Garrett, best known for his time on Everybody Loves Raymond, will appear on the show.

The cast of The Crazy Ones is shaping up to be “crazy” good. Here is a sneak preview of the series to hold you over until the pilot episode airs Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013



An American Television Classic: Leave it to Beaver

On this day, 50 years ago, the last of the 234 episodes of Leave it to Beaver aired. From the time that the show first premiered on October 4, 1957 on CBS, it became an instant hit with viewers across America.

This weekly, half-hour sitcom was created by Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly. Originally, the show began as a pilot film, It’s a Small World, in 1957. Both Jerry Mathers and Barbara Billingsley appeared in the original pilot. Although, the concept of It’s a Small World did not impress the networks, when the show idea reemerged with some new cast members as Leave it to Beaver, the rest is history.

The show was set in the town of Mayfield and highlighted the ups and downs of the “nuclear family” at the time and featured the classic postwar American family, the Cleavers. The family included the quintessential housewife of the 1950s, June, father, Ward, and two sons, Wally and the main character, Theodore, otherwise known as “The Beaver.”

The original premise remained intact where both Wally and Beaver were left to their own devices to make heads or tails of the world around them. Through their naive perspectives, both usually found themselves in a predicament that usually resulted in a warm-hearted life lesson.

The authenticity of the rapport between the Cleaver family and the genuine dialogue filled with common slang and idioms of the era struck a chord with American viewers.

Although the show initially premiered on CBS, before season two, in the fall of 1958, the network dropped the series. Shortly thereafter, ABC picked up the show and continued to air the series for an additional five years.

ABC aired the final Leave it to Beaver episode on September 12, 1963 and a week later, the series entered rerun syndication where it continues to flourish.

In 1985, with most of the original cast on board, a new spin-off series, The New Leave it to Beaver, premiered and remained on the air until 1989. The second round of Leave it to Beaver was not held in high regard, leaving the original television show as the crowd favorite across America.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013



Big Screen Star: Melissa McCarthy

You’ve seen her in Gilmore Girls, Bridesmaids and recently The Heat, but before  making her big break in Hollywood, this famous actress’ roots can be traced back to Plainfield, Illinois, where she was born on  August 26, 1970.

Melissa Ann McCarthy has been linked to Hollywood from a young age, when her cousin, Jenny McCarthy, provided her with her first television appearance in 1997. She had a guest spot on the short-lived sketch comedy series, “The Jenny McCarthy Show” on MTV.

After finishing school in Illinois, McCarthy, like most hopeful actresses, made the move from her small town to New York City to begin her career as a stand-up comedian. Once in New York, McCarthy made a name for herself in the comedy circuit while studying dramatic acting at The Actors Studio.

McCarthy kept her hand on the comedic pulse as she eventually migrated to the west coast to perform with the famous Groundlings Troupe in Los Angeles. She spent nine years as a main-stage member and made numerous television appearances along the way.

After “paying her dues,” her big break came in 2000 when she was cast as Sookie St. James, the clumsy chef and Lorelai Gilmore’s best friend on the WB hit show, Gilmore Girls.

From that point, McCarthy’s career soared and she has yet to look back. The exposure that she gained from her stint on the Gilmore Girls earned her roles in the psychological thriller, The Nines, and as the socially awkward friend of Christina Applegate in the series, Samantha Who?

Since 2010, McCarthy has played a fourth-grade teacher on the CBS hit sitcom, Mike & Molly. Through this role, she earned her first Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

The following year, she starred in Bridesmaids, alongside former Groundling, Kristen Wiig. This performance as Megan, the sister of the groom, earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as a Screen Actor’s Guild Award and Critics’ Choice Movie Award.

This year, McCarthy teamed up with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Sandra Bullock, in the comedy, The Heat.

Aside from her growing career, she also has a growing family.  McCarthy is married to former Groundling Theatre member, Ben Falcone, and is a mother to two young girls.

McCarthy’s career continues to soar and fans eagerly await her next project.


Copyright New Show Studios 2013




I Love Lucy and the Dawn of the Multi-Camera Production

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are one of Hollywood’s original power couples, but they did more than just entertain viewers; they revolutionized the way television shows are produced today.

From the first episode of I Love Lucy that aired on CBS on October 15, 1951, Ball and Arnaz made history.  However, behind the scenes, the location for production hung in the balance. The couple was adamant about keeping the production of their show in their hometown of Los Angeles.

And, that is where the plot thickens. In order for the show to continue to be filmed in Los Angeles, the couple had to take salary cuts. In return for their salary concessions, CBS agreed that Ball and Arnaz would own the shows after they were broadcast.

This big move led to the creation of Desilu Productions, one of the most powerful independent companies on television at the time.

Most importantly, Desi Arnaz, with the help of cinematographer, Karl Freund, continued with a style of filming that had barely been used before. The technique was called multi-camera video production, which used three motion picture cameras instead of one.

“Well, I know that nobody has done it up to now, but I figured that if there was anybody in the world who could do it, it would be Karl Freund,” said Arnaz at the time.

Although multi-camera production revolutionized how some television shows were filmed and are still filmed today, shows such as Arrested Development, The Office, Modern Family, New Girl, 30 Rock and Glee still use the more cinematic single-camera style.

So what is the difference between the single-camera style and multi-camera video production? The latter type of production allows for a show to be filmed continuously and in sequence, much like a stage play. In addition, the multi-camera style usually has a live audience or laugh track, while single-camera shows dispense with the stage metaphor and have no laugh track.

The usage of the multi-camera setup seemed to be losing steam until recently when popular sitcoms, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men began to use this style of production.

“I love multi-camera sitcoms,” said Scott Sedita, an acting coach and author of the book “The Eight Characters of Comedy: Guide to Sitcom Acting and Writing.” “I want to know when the joke is coming. It’s easier and more fun to watch.”

Although it seems like multi-camera sitcoms are making a resurgence, critics believe that the challenge still lies ahead to make these types of sitcoms more relevant today.



Copyright New Show Studios 2013

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