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Hollywood’s Jack of All Trades: Ricky Gervais

Best known for his work as co-creator of the popular mockumentary television series, The Office, Ricky Gervais, a British comedian, actor, and producer, among many other titles, has made his mark on Hollywood and continues to blaze a trail.

Ricky Dene Gervais was born on June 25, 1961, in Reading, England. Gervais excelled in school and when it was time for college, he chose to study at University College London where he earned a degree in philosophy.

He had a love for music and he pursued his own musical ambitions as the lead singer of a new-wave rock group, Seona Dancing. The band’s most notable claim to fame was their 1985 minor hit single in the Philippines, “More to Lose”.

In 1997, after his stint as a musician, Gervais worked for the London radio station, Xfm. While employed by the station, he hired his future collaborator, Stephen Merchant, to be his assistant.  Gervais finally landed his own nightly program, but left soon after Xfm was purchased by another company.

As time progressed, Gervais landed some work which included writing scripts and appearing in comedy sketches for the BBC TV shows, Bruiser and Golden Years. However, the success of one television show in particular catapulted Gervais’ career and that was his regular role in the popular comedy series, The 11 O’Clock Show. 

Despite the show being short lived, Gervais and Merchant began working on a television show idea that would later become his first smash hit, The Office.

While working on their idea, Gervais pursued other business ventures such as his 2005 video podcast, The Ricky Gervais Show. This podcast became one of the internet’s most popular downloads. The show included humorous exploits of Gervais, Merchant and Karl Pilkington.

His work continued to pay off in 2005 when The Office finally premiered on NBC.

After five successful seasons, the success of The Office did not go unnoticed. The series earned countless nominations and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2006. In addition to the triumph of The Office, Gervais’ other show, the Extras, a behind-the-scenes comedy about Hollywood, won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2007.

Currently, Gervais is set to debut his Netflix series, Derek, on September 12 of this year.

Gervais will star in this series as the main character, a man working as a caretaker for the elderly.

Here is a sneak preview of his latest venture, Derek:

From his work on The Office to his new Netflix series, Derek, Ricky Gervais continues to play a major role in Hollywood. His talent as a writer, producer and actor continue to make Ricky Gervais a hot commodity in the entertainment industry.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/ricky-gervais-13628634

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Gervais

http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/08/06/ricky-gervais-derek-netflix/

Multimedia:

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/feb/02/ricky-gervais-interview-derek-comedy

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/10259853/Ricky-Gervais-to-make-a-David-Brent-film.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5WdxGRNG8&feature=youtu.be

The Secret’s Almost Out: Pretty Little Liars

The popular television show, Pretty Little Liars, has earned countless nominations and has won awards such as the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Cable TV Drama in 2012 and a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Show: Drama in 2013. In addition to these accolades, the series continues to be a hit with audiences everywhere.

The success of this TV show idea can be credited to the young-adult book series that the show is based on. The novels were written by Sara Shepard and were first published in 2006. Since then, the novels have repeatedly appeared on The New York Times Best Seller List.

The series follows the lives of four girls: Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, Spencer Hastings and Emily Fields. The idea that drives the plot line of this television show lies in the disappearance of the group’s leader, Alison DiLaurentis, when she was in eighth grade.

The plot thickens during the girls’ junior year of high school, when Alison’s body is found and the group begins receiving threatening messages from a person using the alias “A.”

Throughout the show, the girls continue to uncover more and more information about Alison’s disappearance, while simultaneously trying to discover who “A” actually is, all the while risking their own lives.

The television show is now in its fourth season and is quickly coming to a close with the midseason finale. Questions still loom and twists and turns continue to tease viewers as to the identity of the mysterious “A”.

Here is a little preview to hold you over until the midseason finale premiers on August 27 on ABC Family at 8/7c.

Viewers continue to be glued to their television screens, following the ever-changing storyline that leaves Pretty Little Liars fans on the edge of their seats from week to week. Although there are conspiracy theories swirling around about whom “A” actually is, only time will tell and reveal the secret that these girls have been keeping since day one.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Little_Liars

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1578873/awards

Multimedia:

http://thetvchick.com/abc-family/pretty-little-liars-gets-full-season-order/

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/pretty-little-liars-tv-show/images/33701704/title/season-4-photo

http://www.buddytv.com/articles/pretty-little-liars/video-pretty-little-liars-mid–50971.aspx

Hollywood Star: Kristen Wiig

On August 22, 1973 in Canandaigua, New York, American actress, Kristen Carroll Wiig was born. From the time she was a small child, Wiig says she had a quirky sense of humor.

According to Wiig, her love for acting began when she was enrolled as an art student at the University of Arizona, where she took her first acting class.

“I don’t really like talking in front of groups of people. Through high school if ever I had to give a speech, I would try to get out of it or not go to school that day… But I took the class, and I liked it, and the teacher was really encouraging for me to keep doing it.”

 

Upon graduating from college, she decided that acting was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.  Like most aspiring actresses, Wiig packed up everything she owned and made her way to Los Angeles. While in LA, she worked as a main company member for the improv and sketch-comedy troupe, the Groundlings.

After a 2003 stint on Spike TV’s The Joe Schmo Show, a TV parody of reality television, Wiig got her big break two years later when she earned a spot on Saturday Night Live.

On SNL, she was known for playing unforgettable characters such as the Target clerk, Lawrence Welk’s singer, Doonese and many others.  For her work on the show, Wiig earned two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

In 2007, Wiig made a leap from television to the big-screen, when she played a passive-aggressive assistant in Knocked Up.

In addition to acting, in 2011, Wiig helped in the movie production of the box-office hit, Bridesmaids, by not only starring in the film, but also co-writing the script. Wiig played alongside SNL cast-mate Maya Rudolph and fellow Groundling Melissa McCarthy.

The film was such a success that it earned two Oscar nominations (Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay) and two Golden Globes nominations (Best Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical and Best Actress).

Wiig recently starred as the lead actress in the movie production, Girl Most Likely. The sky is the limit for Kristen Wiig and fans anxiously wait to see what this actress and comedian has in the works.

 

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/kristen-wiig-586136?page=1

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1325419/bio

http://www.newshowstudios.com/blog/category/big-screen-star/

Multimedia:

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/target-lady/n12211/

http://www.tvguide.com/news/kristen-wiig-anchorman2-1060393.aspx

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/bridesmaids/images/21958921/title/kristen-wiig-maid-dishonor-photo

 

Class Dismissed: Saved by the Bell

The TV Show, Saved by the Bell¸ first began as a pilot and was originally called, Good Morning, Miss Bliss.  The pilot for this show aired in 1987 and only a few of the original cast members of Saved by the Bell were featured in the show.

NBC initially passed on the original project of Good Morning, Miss Bliss and the TV show was picked up by the Disney Channel for 13 episodes in 1988.

In 1989, the TV show moved back to NBC, and soon became the network’s first live-action hit show since Land of the Lost in 1977.

On Sunday, August 20, 1989, the pilot episode of Saved by the Bell aired on NBC.  This American television sitcom was a retool of the Disney Channel series, Good Morning, Miss Bliss.

Saved by the Bell, was centered on a somewhat stereotypical group of friends that included Screech, a classic “geek”, sweethearts Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski, star athlete, A.C. Slater, Lisa Turtle, the eccentric fashion-lover and the straight-laced, Jessie Spano.

The series focused on this group of friends and their principal, Mr. Belding, as they made their way through four years of high school. The show was filled with light-hearted comedic situations and on some occasions, touching on serious, social issues such as drug use and driving under the influence.

During Saved by the Bell’s run on the air, many famous stars made guest appearances on different episodes. For instance, Leah Remini played Stacey Carosi, daughter of the Malibu Sands Beach Club owner, Leon Carosi, Soleil Moon Frye, played Screech’s love interest after he invented a lucrative idea for a new type of spaghetti sauce and Aaron Spelling’s daughter Tori Spelling, played Violet Bickerstaff, Screech’s girlfriend.

The show didn’t end when high school was over. In fact, in the third season, the entire cast spent their summer working at Malibu Sands, an exclusive beach club.

Despite this change of scenery from Bayside High, the show ended with a spin-off series, Saved by the Bell: The College Years. The sequel ran from September 14, 1993 to February 8, 1994.

Although the show only lasted one season, it was the only series of the franchise to air on primetime television rather than Saturday mornings. The show aired on Tuesday evenings on NBC.

After starting out as Good Morning, Miss Bliss to enduring both high school and college as well as a Wedding in Las Vegas, the Saved by the Bell era ended on May 22, 1993 after filming 86 episodes over four seasons.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

Sources:

http://sbtb.net/History/GMMB.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_action

http://www.tbs.com/stories/story/0,,31782,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saved_by_the_Bell:_The_College_Years

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Saved_by_the_Bell_episodes

http://www.metacritic.com/tv/saved-by-the-bell/season-4/details

http://mentalfloss.com/article/26060/10-stars-who-appeared-saved-bell

http://www.newshowstudios.com/blog/index.php?s=aaron+spelling&Submit=Search

Multimedia:

http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2012/07/zack-attack-good-morning-miss-bliss.html

http://ronireports.com/2012/11/08/what-ever-happened-to-the-cast-of-saved-by-the-bell/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3RFPNzF32I

Award Winning TV Show: Homeland

The Emmy Awards are right around the corner and Showtime’s Homeland is no stranger to the limelight, having already won six Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series.

This year, the award-winning show has again been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series and is up against shows such as Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, House of Cards and Mad Men.

Perhaps what has made the American drama-thriller television series such a success is the incredible acting ability of lead actress Claire Danes, who plays Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency officer with bipolar disorder.

The plot line is centered on Mathison, who has come to believe that Nicholas Brody, a United States Marine Corps sniper played by Damian Lewis, has been “turned” by the enemy, after being held as a prisoner of war by al-Qaeda and now, poses a threat to the United States.

The show focuses on the intricate relationship between CIA officer Carrie Mathison and Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, as they make their way through lies, suspicion and desire to outwit the other.

Homeland was developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa and is based on the Israeli series, Hatufim, which, in English, is translated into Prisoners of War and was created by Gideon Raff.

According to Neilson, after the series won a surprise Emmy in 2012, the season two premiere attracted 1.7 million viewers for Showtime.

Season three of the series is set to premiere on Showtime on September 29, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Here is a sneak peek of what’s to come during the upcoming season:

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeland_(TV_series)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Gansa

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/01/entertainment/la-et-st-showtimes-homeland-season-2-premiere-gets-emmy-ratings-bump-20121001

Multimedia:

http://www.dartbeat.com/2013/02/28/tube-talk-project-spring-break-five-shows-to-start-watching/homeland-showtime/

http://www.spoilersguide.com/homeland/spoilers-casts-and-showrunners-drop-hot-storylines-in-season-2-will-they-pull-the-plug-on-brody/attachment/homeland-groupp-4_3_r560/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXOUIsu-E0Q

 

Catfish: The TV Show

Going online in search of a partner is very common these days. Dating sites such as Match.com, eHarmony and various others help to connect people. However, there are people that go searching on their own; and, for some, it does not end as they would expect.

Catfish, which started as a movie and has now transformed into a popular show on MTV, sheds a light on cyber relationships and how sometimes, the people behind the computer monitor aren’t who they seem.

So where did the idea for this concept originate? For starters, as stated on the Dr. Phil show, a catfish is a person who creates a fake personal profile on a social media website and pretends to be someone they are not in the hopes of luring people into a romantic relationship.

In 2007, Nev Schulman, a New York City photographer, was involved in an online relationship with “Megan,” who he believed was the woman of his dreams. However, as time went on, the truth came out and she was revealed to be “Angela.”

From this experience in Nev’s life came the idea to create a television show based on the scenario where people in online relationships are sometimes duped into believing they are talking to someone completely different than the actual person they are connecting with and these connections sometimes last for years. This docudrama television series premiered on MTV in 2012 and the show has continued to be a hit. 

During season one, the show averaged 2.4 million viewers and rose to 2.8 million after Manti Te’o, a star football player for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, was involved in a “catfish” controversy of his own.

On June 25, season two of the series premiered. This season features people who have gotten engaged to their online loves without ever meeting them. In addition, it focuses on relationships that have been going on for more than a decade. The episodes reveal if the participants are being catfished or if the person on the other side of the computer is real.

MTV will air a midseason reunion and take a look back at the relationships that have been aired thus far. This show has remained relevant in the world that we live in today, because everyone is constantly connected by technology, mainly by social media. Although the digital world has expanded many people’s horizons, this same digital world has complicated many relationships. This is where Catfish comes into play, showing the world the ugly side of internet dating and technology.

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

 Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/catfish-movie-tale-twisted-cyber-romance/story?id=11817470

http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/720

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catfish:_The_TV_Show

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/mtvs-catfish-season-2-trailer-560781

http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/goingthroughchannels/2013/06/tuesday-june-25-2013-catfish-the-tv-show/

Media:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMA4x7aXJT0&feature=youtu.be

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catfish_(film)

http://www.mtv.com/shows/catfish/series.jhtml

What to Watch: Face Off

Special effects, especially make-up design, are an integral part of the success of television shows and movies. For instance, could you imagine The Walking Dead without the eerily real-looking zombies? This type of special effect transforms an actor into a storied character and plays an important role in making the show or film come together.

With 1.8 million people tuning in to the premiere of season four, it is safe to assume that viewers can’t wait for season five of SyFy’s Face Off to kick off on Tuesday, August 13 at 9/8c.

This competition/elimination series spotlights the world of special effects make-up artists, as well as the innovation and imagination that let these creative contestants produce remarkable pieces of living art.

The basis of the show is to incorporate effects make-up with a wide range of skill sets that include prosthetics, 3D design, sculpting, eye enhancers, casting and molding, into different challenges each week.

McKenzie Westmore returns as host and is accompanied by a panel of experts and celebrity judges that includes Ve Neill (Matilda, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Mrs. Doubtfire and Pirates of the Caribbean), Glenn Hetrick (Buffy, Angel, X-Files, Freaky Links, Babylon 5 and Roswell) Neville Page (Star Trek, Avatar, Planet of the Apes, The Witch and the Wardrobe and The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Westmore (recipient of 42 Emmy nominations and winner of nine statuettes for his artistry) who critique the contestants’ finished products.

This year, the winning artist will receive $100,000, a 2013 Fiat and a V.I.P. visit to a Kryolan Professional Make-Up Lab, which is the series’ official make-up sponsor.

Here is a preview of what is to come during season five of Face Off:

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

Sources:

http://www.syfy.com/faceoff

http://popstyle.ew.com/2013/07/10/newcomers-to-battle-returning-contestants-on-season-5-of-syfys-face-off-exclusive/

http://www.cosmicbooknews.com/content/syfy-face-season-4-premiere-scores-almost-2-million-viewers

Media:

http://www.syfy.com/videos/Face%20Off

http://www.sliceofscifi.com/2011/01/27/syfys-face-off-fan-challenge/

http://www.redesignrevolution.com/we-recap-syfy-face-off-episode-405-two-heads-are-better-than-one/

New on TV: Low Winter Sun

On Sunday, August 11, AMC will premiere the pilot episode of its new drama-series, Low Winter Sun. This contemporary series of deception, murder, corruption and revenge blurs the lines between cops and criminals.

The series begins when a Detroit detective murders a fellow cop. This murder seems to be the perfect crime; however, this violent act turns the detective’s life upside down and pulls him right into the middle of the Detroit underworld.

Low Winter Sun is based on the award-winning 2006 British mini-series of the same name.  Season one will consist of 10, one-hour episodes and will star Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Zero Dark Thirty), and Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Jericho, Snatch).

Since the series is filmed and set in Detroit, more than 1000 people filled the seats in the Michigan Theater on Monday, July 30, to get a sneak peek of the pilot episode.

At the viewing, the actors of the series, as well as the executive producer, Chris Mundy, offered their opinion and insight on the show and its characters.

Mundy said, “I always thought of (‘Low Winter Sun’) as a story about second chances, and what someone’s willing to do to get a second chance.”

Here’s a sneak preview of the new AMC series, Low Winter Sun:

Copyright New Show Studios 2013

Resources:

http://www.amctv.com/shows/low-winter-sun/about

http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/low-winter-sun-sneak-preview-michigan-theater-amc-detroit/

Multimedia:

http://www.amctv.com/low-winter-sun/videos/a-look-at-the-new-series-low-winter-sun

http://television.mxdwn.com/news/amc-promotes-low-winter-sun/

http://seriesnews.biz/low-winter-sun-season-1-promo/

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

 

Resources:

http://movies.yahoo.com/person/melissa-mccarthy/biography.html

http://www.biography.com/people/melissa-mccarthy-20871661

http://www.starpulse.com/Actresses/McCarthy,_Melissa/Biography/

Pictures:

http://alisonpresley.com/2013/02/the-confidence-of-sheer-ignorance/

http://www.deadline.com/2011/09/next-for-emmy-winner-melissa-mccarthy-co-creating-comedy-series-for-cbs/

http://www.nycfilmcritic.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Rose-Byrne-Melissa-McCarthy-Maya-Rudolph-Wendi-McLendon-Covey-Kristen-Wiig-and-Ellie-Kemper-in-Bridesmaids-Movie-2011.jpg