Thursday, April 28, 2016

WHO NEEDS TO READ AND WRITE WHEN YOU CAN DANCE AND SING?  Add Martin Short (Wilbur) and Derek Hough (Corny) to your NBC Hairspray cast.

Related: since when did it come to pass that People In The Know started calling him "Marty" all the time?
IT'S AFTER SIX. WHAT AM I, A [BLANK]?  In addition to the return of Pyramid (with Michael Strahan hosting) and a Steve Harvey-led Celebrity Family Feud, Sunday nights on ABC this summer will be capped off by a revival of The Match Game, hosted by Alec Baldwin (who, alternatively, could just be taking the Richard Dawson slot).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

YES WE MORE OR LESS AGREE:  Harvey Fierstein to play Edna Turnblad, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle in NBC's live Hairspray this December.

Look: Fierstein's Edna is a national treasure, and since not everyone got to see it on Broadway (ok: twice for me), yes, absolutely, sure. Right dramaturgical choice, and there are plenty of stars to bring in for the ratings (Velma, Corky, etc). Ms. Hudson absolutely being qualified to be one of them, though ... she's a little young for the role.

As long as they cast an actual plus-sized actress as Tracy, we should be fine.
LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION'S SPONSORED CONTENT RULES!  Given that SNL has enough difficulty bringing enough funny content to fill its timeslot most weeks, and already has entirely too many sketches that go on way too long, reducing the commercial content by 30% by removing two commercial breaks, as planned for next year, seems like a difficult endeavor.  They will also offer 6 "branded pods" a year, which will apparently be ad content masquerading as sketches (akin to sponsored content at someplace like Buzzfeed).
MORE THAN WORDS: Remember everything we hated about the last two years' worth of changes to the National Spelling Bee? They listened.
The bee will no longer have a second written spelling and vocabulary test that was used to help determine the finalists. The test was unpopular partly because spellers could be eliminated without getting a word wrong onstage. Kimble said that could confuse TV viewers, left to wonder why a favorite speller was suddenly gone.

This year, there will be up to 50 spellers competing on the last day, and all will be considered finalists. The morning rounds will continue until there are about 10 left. Then, the competition will pause before returning for the prime-time finale.

Finally, the bee will scrap use of a list of words from local and regional bees in the first onstage round. Last year, only four out of 283 spellers got words wrong in that round, prompting former speller Jacob Williamson to call the round "pointless." This year, words will be drawn from a list given spellers after they've qualified for the national bee. And words in the following round won't be given to spellers in advance.
And the (easier) Championship Word List is dead. Instead, per a new FAQ:
In previous Finals, Bee officials matched words to the mettle of spellers on a round-by-round basis except for the head-to-head portion of competition. During the head-to-head portion, the Bee offered only words from a special list of 25 words compiled specifically for head-to-head competition purposes — this in accordance with contest rules. For purposes of clarity, our definition of head-to head competition is any round of spelling involving three or fewer spellers.

In this year's Finals, Bee officials will match words to the mettle of spellers on a round-by-round basis, including the head-to-head portion — this in accordance with 2016 contest rules
(Gotta love the confirmation, long coming - at least to me - that such round-by-round calibration was occurring on the fly before.)

And so the competition will not end until there is one winner, unless: "If one champion fails to emerge at the conclusion of 25 consecutive rounds of competition involving three or fewer spellers, the remaining spellers in the competition will be declared co-champions."