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  • Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge Aug 21, 2014 10:04 AM
    “Dancing With the Stars” says two-time champion Julianne Hough is returning to the ballroom as a judge this season. She will preside alongside Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.

  • Bring on the screams: 5 MTV VMA boy band moments Aug 21, 2014 8:16 AM
    Get ready for another potential OMG boy band moment: 5 Seconds of Summer is about to make its debut on the MTV Video Music Awards. The Australian pop-punk-loving quartet of tousle-haired hunks (whose members don’t consider themselves a boy band) will make its debut Sunday on MTV’s over-the-top annual celebration. Boy bands have a long history of VMAs hysteria and much-hyped appearances. Will 5SOS be any different?

  • Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams Aug 20, 2014 5:57 PM
    Billy Crystal will pay tribute to Robin Williams, his longtime friend and fellow comedian, at next week’s Emmy Awards. Crystal will honor Williams as part of the traditional “in memoriam” segment for industry members who died during the past year, Emmy executive producer Don Mischer said in a statement Wednesday. Mischer said the memorial segment during Monday’s ceremony will include a performance from Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Williams was found dead in his Northern California home on Aug. 11. At last year’s Emmys, Williams honored his friend and mentor Jonathan Winters during the tribute segment. The Emmy Awards will be broadcast by NBC.

  • ‘Sid the Science Kid’ stage show to come to Genesee Aug 20, 2014 5:09 PM
    Tickets for "Sid the Science Kid Live!" on Sunday, Nov. 9, at Waukegan's Genesee Theatre go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22.

  • Movies, comic books, TV all share spotlight at Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont Aug 20, 2014 10:20 PM
    It's back, suburban pop-culture fans — the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, the four-day (Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 21-24) celebration of comic books, TV shows, movies, celebrities and more in Rosemont. This year's guests include "Arrow" star (and former Aurora resident) John Barrowman, comic-book writer Marv Wolfman and horror-film auteur John Carpenter.

  • ABC News reporter Elizabeth Vargas back in rehab Aug 18, 2014 7:37 AM
    ABC News reporter Elizabeth Vargas has returned to a recovery center to be treated for alcohol dependency, she and the network said Sunday. The “20/20” co-anchor said in an emailed statement that she checked into a treatment facility this weekend while on vacation. “As so many other recovering alcoholics know, overcoming the disease can be a long and incredibly difficult process,” Vargas said. “I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry.”

  • Agent gives Hollywood edgy look with ‘real’ people Aug 18, 2014 5:30 AM
    You couldn’t miss Hollywood talent agent Sid Levin’s office in the old days: It wasn’t much bigger than a closet and it was sometimes filled with burglars, bank robbers and gang members, all trying to break into the movies. These days you’ll find everyone from Gulf War veterans to a 15-time world arm-wrestling champion there, and they’re looking to be movie stars, too. Levin is the talent agent who represents the people who look like the rest of us.

  • Source: Craig Ferguson to launch new talk show Aug 18, 2014 12:17 PM
    Craig Ferguson is close to a deal to launch an early-evening talk show starting in fall 2015. The outgoing host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show” would introduce his half-hour syndicated series on stations in a slot just before prime time, according to a source with knowledge of the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity because that person wasn’t authorized to comment publicly.

  • NBC’s Brian Williams taking on new competition Aug 18, 2014 10:15 AM
    The television business can be humbling, even nearly 10 years after Brian Williams succeeded Brokaw as NBC “Nightly News” anchor. “When I started my competition was Dan (Rather) and Peter (Jennings),” Williams said. “That makes me feel old. That gets me on the treadmill every night after work. I am proud of what we’ve built here.” The biggest change in the job since Williams took over has been the immediacy of reporting the news and getting instant feedback on social media.

  • ‘Atlanta Exes’ members create own lane to fame Aug 18, 2014 5:45 AM
    Torrei Hart’s career took a back seat for years to raise two children, allowing her then-husband Kevin Hart to pursue his comedy career. The two ultimately ended an eight-year marriage with divorce in 2011. Now, she hopes it’s her time to shine. “It’s my time to come up,” said Torrei Hart, who along with five other women will star on the new reality series, “Atlanta Exes,” which premieres Monday night on VH1.

  • Don Pardo, the voice of ‘SNL,’ dies at 96 Aug 19, 2014 12:32 AM
    Don Pardo, the durable television and radio announcer whose booming baritone became as much a part of the cultural landscape as the shows and products he touted, died Monday. He was 96. Pardo died peacefully at his home in Tucson, Arizona, where he moved after retiring from “Saturday Night Live,” said his daughter, Dona Pardo. Creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels asked him to continue with the show, so he flew back and forth to New York for many years. In recent years, he recorded his introductions from his Tucson home. Few recognized the face of Pardo, a handsome man with a strong chin and confident smile. But Pardo’s majestic delivery, with its swoops in pitch and pregnant pauses, graced newscasts, game shows and TV programs for more than 60 years. During the original version of “Jeopardy!,” his answers to the question, “Tell ’em what they’ve won, Don Pardo,” became a memorable part of the program. And he was an integral part of “Saturday Night Live” for almost four decades in his role heralding the cast’s names to kick off each show, which led former cast member Jimmy Fallon to comment later, “Nothing is like the moment when Don Pardo says your name.” During his career, Pardo’s resonant voice-over style was widely imitated and became the standard in the field. His was no ordinary voice and he guarded it closely, with cough drops always at the ready. “My voice is my Achilles’ heel,” Pardo said in a 1985 interview with The Associated Press. “When I get sick, it’s always my voice.” Dominick George Pardo was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, on Feb. 22, 1918, and grew up in Norwich, Connecticut. One of his first jobs was that of ticket-taker at a local movie theater; even then, his voice was commanding. “I’d go out there with a cape and say: ‘Standing room only in the mezzanine. Immediate seating in the balcony.”’ His father, Dominick, owned a small bakery and had wanted his son to join the business. But Pardo followed his own dream and, after graduating from Boston’s Emerson College in 1942, began his vocal career at radio station WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island. Two years later, he met a supervisor at NBC who hired the young Pardo immediately upon hearing his voice. He moved to NBC’s New York affiliate, and never left the network. Pardo made his mark right away, reading news dispatches on the radio filed from the front lines during World War II. After the war, he became an announcer for such shows as the “Arthur Murray Party,” “Colgate Comedy Hour” and “Your Show of Shows.” In 1954, he was brought in to announce “Winner Takes All,” beginning a long run in game shows. His voice was heard on the “The Price is Right” in its early years, and he was the announcer on the original “Jeopardy!” (1964-75), hosted by Art Fleming. Then in 1975, NBC launched “Saturday Night Live” with Pardo as its announcer, introducing him to a new generation of viewers with a voice as magnificent as ever — although, on opening night, he botched one of the credits. Instead of saying “The Not Ready for Prime Time Players,” Pardo introduced the show’s new comedy troupe as “The Not for Ready Prime Time Players.” But with a voice like his, any name sounded impressive. Aside from Season 7, when he was displaced, Pardo remained the “SNL” announcer for decades. He also introduced sportscaster Len Berman’s “Spanning the World” compilations of funny sports moments, a regular feature on the “Today” show. (“Tune in next time ... if there IS a next time.”) In between working on all these shows, Pardo often spent several hours a day in an NBC sound studio, letting viewers know before each break to a commercial that the last program was brought to them by a certain advertiser. As such, he was one of the last network “booth announcers” working a regular daily shift, a classic broadcasting duty that fell prey to the modern age of easily pre-recorded messages. And every weekday afternoon for several years in the 1980s, Pardo would quickly clad himself in a tie and blazer to step on camera long enough to announce the local New York station’s “Live at Five” newscast although Pardo’s vocal alchemy rendered it as “Liiiiiiive at Fiiiiiive!” Pardo retired from NBC in 2004. “But (‘SNL’ executive producer) Lorne Michaels called me soon after and asked if I would continue for three more weeks, so I did,” Pardo told the AP in 2010. “Then he called and asked if I would do five more, and so on. I never really left.” For several years, Pardo commuted from his retirement town of Tucson, Ariz., each week the show aired. He arrived to open the show in Rockefeller Center’s fabled Studio 8H, just as he had always done, then caught a returning flight. At the end of the show on Feb. 23, 2008, he was brought on camera to blow out the candles of a birthday cake in celebration of his 90th birthday. In later years, he recorded his introductions each week from home. During his career, Pardo appeared in several movies, mostly as himself or an announcer like himself, including “Radio Days,” Woody Allen’s celebration of the Golden Age of broadcasting, in which Pardo played a game show host. He also made a guest appearance on Frank Zappa’s 1978 album, “Zappa in New York,” and “Weird Al” Yankovic’s 1984 album, “In 3-D.” In 2009, he made a guest appearance on the NBC sitcom “30 Rock.” And his services were also retained for commercials. In a mid-1990s spot for long-distance provider MCI, he played host of the “AT&T True-False Quiz.” Pardo posed the question whether “every AT&T customer gets true savings.” A buzzer went off. “False!” he boomed. “Forty million save nothing.” In 2010 he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. Pardo is survived by five children.

  • Horrors! Des Plaines native goes for filmmaking revenge Aug 19, 2014 3:19 PM
    Michael Ojeda found the perfect secluded motel he’d been looking for. He asked the clerk if he could stay in the corner room. “Oh, I should tell you that the room you want,” the clerk said, “someone was murdered in it last year.” “Perfect,” Ojeda said. “I’ll take it!” That’s how this Des Plaines native wrote the horror film “Savaged,” which is premiering at Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival this week in Rosemont.

  • Guiltless pleasure: TV's image improves, along with its programming Aug 17, 2014 5:30 AM
    For years, polls uncovered a certain shameful attitude toward watching television. But attitudes have changed, and binging on your favorite shows is no longer considered a "guilty" pleasure — thanks to both better programming and the ability to watch what you want when you want it.

  • DVD previews: ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ ‘Quiet Ones’ Aug 16, 2014 5:45 AM
    “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a strenuously chipper but nonetheless saggy, baggy and mostly ho-hum addition to the Spider-Man canon. It swings onto DVD Aug. 19.

  • International racing fans eager for Arlington Million today Aug 16, 2014 4:01 AM
    As the suburbs gear up for the 32nd annual running of the Arlington Million at Arlington International on Saturday, for the first time viewers will be tuning in all over the world. The biggest day in Illinois racing is also a big day in Europe, home to 12 of the horses who will race in Saturday’s four major races. “This is great news for the fans back at home,” said Alistair Donald, director of the International Racing Bureau.

  • Chuck Todd taking over NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Aug 15, 2014 7:09 AM
    Embattled “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory is leaving NBC News and Chuck Todd will replace him on the venerable Sunday morning public affairs program, NBC said Thursday. Todd begins his new role on Sept. 7. He remains as NBC News’ political director, but will relinquish his duties as Chief White House correspondent and anchor of MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” He has been a frequent guest on “Meet the Press” as a political analyst.

  • Big question about Robin Williams’ death: Why? Aug 13, 2014 10:53 AM
    Although police have now revealed that Robin Williams died by suicide, the Oscar-winning actor’s fans, friends and even family continue to struggle to understand why someone who spread so much joy throughout the world could find so little in his own life that he decided to stop living. Williams, who made no secret of his decades-long struggles with depression and substance abuse, died Monday, authorities said.

  • Smokey Robinson, Long Island Medium coming to Genesee Aug 13, 2014 6:34 PM
    R&B singer Smokey Robinson and Theresa Caputo, the star of TLC's hit show, “Long Island Medium,” will both appear at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan this fall. Motown legend Robinson performs in concert Friday, Oct. 3, while Caputo will return to the area Saturday, Oct. 25, to communicate with the dead before a live audience at the Genesee.

  • ‘Nashville’ goes live in new season premiere Aug 12, 2014 11:27 AM
    Actor Charles Esten has more at stake in the new season of the ABC drama “Nashville” than resolving the cliffhanger that left his character, singer-songwriter Deacon Claybourne, in the midst of a lyricist love triangle. During the live season-three premiere, Esten will perform a song he co-wrote with Grammy-nominated country singer Deana Carter, “I Know How to Love You Now.”

  • Screen, stage actress Lauren Bacall dies at 89 Aug 12, 2014 8:09 PM
    Lauren Bacall, a bewitching actress whose husky voice and smoldering onscreen chemistry with her husband Humphrey Bogart made her a defining movie star of the 1940s and who decades later won Tony Awards in the Broadway musicals “Applause” and “Woman of the Year,” has died at 89.

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