Friday, November 21, 2014

Preview: Cats The Musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats is Broadway's 2nd-Longest-Running Musical for a Reason

On Broadway these days, Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals are as hard to find as a cheap seat this weekend at It's Only a Play. Andrew's big, over-the-top productions like Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita had their time and place - in the 1980s and 1990s when his shows were racking up grosses on Broadway and the West End that are still the envy of live theater producers everywhere.

While times have changed and theatergoers' tastes have too, Andrew's best musicals - if you allow them to be the gaudy, too-much productions that they've always been - can be about the funnest time you're going to have sitting in a theater. (As long as it's not Bombay Dreams. Yikes.)

Preview: Eat: The Story Of Food

Nat Geo Kicks Off a Three-Night Exploration of the Food We Eat

So much of the food people eat is little more than a blur of colors zipping by as it's shoved it in our mouths, often with little concern for where it came from, the ingredients inside it or what'll do to us. But if everyone slows down long enough to think about food, it's not merely a nutritious morsel that helps keep us alive, it's the very foundation of human existence.

That's the premise of Eat: The Story of Food (National Geographic Channel, 9pm) - a three-night, six-hour event that examines food and its impact on human history.

The series takes a look at how food changed the course of human evolution from the first time a caveman dropped a piece of meat on fire -- "Ooh, barbecue" -- to the time humans learned how to deep-sea fish, and in process save humans from extinction, to our current obsession with being entertained by food.

Eat kicks off Friday night with Food Revolutionaries at 9pm and Carnivores at 10pm.

Review: Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued

An At-Times Fascinating Look at Bringing Dylan's Half-Century-Old Lyrics to Life

Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued (Showtime, 9pm) - Built around producer T Bone Burnett’s effort to produce an album based on lyrics Bob Dylan wrote nearly 50 years ago, the project explores different approaches to songwriting, but as structured by director Sam Jones, suffers from an absence of Dylan’s presence, both then and now. Keep reading.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

News: Man In The Middle

CBS Ices Jerry O'Connell's Daytime Talk Show

Man in the Middle will not make it to broadcast syndication in fall 2015, despite CBS Television Distribution already clearing the morning panel talk show fronted by Jerry O’Connell on numerous stations around the country, according to several sources.

CTD has been pitching Man in the Middle to station groups for months. The show has been well received by stations, some of whom say Jerry O’Connell — who has guest co-hosted shows like ABC’s The View — is an energetic, talented and likeable host. Keep reading.

Live Streaming: The President's Address On Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama Tackles Immigration Reform

In a historic move tonight at 8pm Eastern, President Barack Obama will act on his own to transform the lives of millions of undocumented residents of the United States. And, yet, TV's coverage of the news will be, at best, dismal.

That may be due to the president's planned immigration reforms being wildly unpopular in some quarters, including among many people here and around the world who've been waiting in line as they're supposed to become Americans. Or it may be because of the drumming the Democrats got in this month's elections. Or it may be that the president is acting on his own, without Congress - always controversial in a country founded on three branches of government.

Whatever the reason, TV may not be the best place to hear President Obama outline his plan to give millions of people living here legal status. However, the White House will stream the speech live at 8pm Eastern on WhiteHouse.Gov/Live.

News: Mike Nichols

Angels In America Director Mike Nichols Has Died


Mike Nichols accomplished so much over his six-decade show business career, winning an Emmy Award, a Grammy, an Oscar and Broadway's Tony Award, that it's nearly impossible to put those achievements into words.

But a few of his most memorable accomplishments speak volumes, notably HBO's 2003 miniseries Angels In America about the unimaginably horrible early years of the AIDS epidemic. And, going all the way back to 1967, he directed the classic movie The Graduate.

Nichols, 83, the husband of ABC News' Diane Sawyer, died on Wednesday. Below is a letter from ABC News president James Goldston about the life and death of Mike Nichols.

(Watch Good Morning America anchors remembering Mike Nichols here.)

I am writing with the very sad news that Diane's husband, the incomparable Mike Nichols, passed away suddenly on Wednesday evening. He was 83.

In a triumphant career that spanned over six decades, Mike created some of the most iconic works of American film, television and theater-an astonishing canon ranging from The Graduate, Working Girl, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff to Closer, Charlie Wilson's War, Annie, Spamalot, The Birdcage, and Angels in America. He was a true visionary, winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer and comic and was one of a tiny few to win the EGOT-an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.

Preview: Ivory Tower

Has College Run Its Course?

If you're a student, have kids who will one day be college students or at any point in your life were a college student or contemplated becoming one, you've wondered if the tens of thousands of dollars it costs to attend college is worth it.

That feeling has gotten stronger in recent years as too-many-to-count technology entrepreneurs and celebrities have made gobs of money with nary a BA to their name, just as the student loan debt drowning America's working stiffs has topped $1.2 trillion.

Tonight at 9pm, CNN Films' Ivory Tower from director Andrew Rossi takes a closer look at college and whether or not the cost of tuition pays off for students.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Preview: Renovate To Rent

Home Makeover TV's Other Dashing Duo

If home remodeling shows aren't your thing, perhaps a couple of cute guys wielding sledgehammers is.

At least that seems to be the thinking on home makeover shows like HGTV's Property Brothers with twins Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott remodeling and selling homes. And on HGTV's Kitchen Cousins, cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri stand around looking good while fixing up rundown houses.

These days, there are a few reasons to find DIY Network. One is Rehab Addict with Nicole Curtis where she takes soon-to-be-knocked-down homes and turns them into gems. And the long-running Renovation Realities is a thoroughly watchable show, this one with a cute couple trying to reno their own home.

Preview: The Getaway

Chuck's Zachary Levi Hangs Out in New Orleans

Everyone has their favorite travel destination, whether its Paris for its museums and cuisine or Los Angeles for its beaches and boobs. For others, its New Orleans where the spice of gumbo mixed with impromptu street parties attracts visitors who, once bitten by that bug, come back year after year. That's where Chuck actor Zachary Levi is hanging out tonight on Anthony Bourdain's The Getaway (Esquire Network, 9pm).

Preview: Invasion Of The Killer Whales

Killer Whales are Taking Over Polar Bear Hunting Grounds

Whatever is causing ice to melt faster in the Arctic than it has in the past, it's creating a major shift in the the food chain. No ice, no hunting for the bears, which survive in part by hunting for animals underneath the ice covering the Arctic Ocean.

As that ice melts, or fails to form, it's leaving polar bears stranded on the land, according to tonight's Nature episode Invasion of the Killer Whales (PBS, 8pm). That's given an opportunity for killer whales to move in for the kill.