As Jay Leno prepares to bid farewell to viewers of The Tonight Show, Tom Shales salutes the ‘haven of sentimentality’ that nourished the emotional goodbyes of the past kings of late night television.
Nearly everything that happens in television happened before—and now, thanks to technological evolution, will happen again. Jay Leno isn’t the first host of The Tonight Show to log more than one fond farewell to viewers. Jack Paar, who not so much hosted as owned the show from 1957 through 1962, did a wrenching farewell when he left Tonight, and then did another one three years later when he departed a prime-time weekly hour also on NBC.
Host Jay Leno during the "Stuff We Found Cleaning Up The Office" segment on February 5, 2014. (Chris Haston/NBC, via Getty)
Fifteen years or so ago, I had the opportunity to tell Jack, who had miraculously become a friend, that if he’d stayed on the program as long as his successor, Johnny Carson, “we’d still be in Vietnam.” I was teasing Paar because his brand of combative, sometimes convulsive television stirred up passions rather than cooling them down; he went from controversy to feud to controversy, taking viewers for an incomparably wild ride that no one has ever equaled.
With rumors of cancellation after NBC pulled it from its lineup, ‘Michael J. Fox Show’ creator Sam Laybourne sets the record straight, talks about ratings woes, and makes his pitch to save his show.
Big TV news broke Wednesday night that was both shocking and not surprising at all. The Michael J. Fox Show had been yanked from NBC’s Thursday night schedule, with no indication of when the seven episodes remaining in its first—and maybe only—season will air, according to Entertainment Weekly. Some people thought that meant the show was canceled, which isn’t the case just yet, though the writing does seem to be on the wall.
Eric Liebowitz/NBC, via Getty
It’s surprising news because of the huge buzz the show had coming into its debut this fall. NBC took the unprecedented step of giving it a full 22-episode order before a frame had been even shot, having so much faith in the return of Michael J. Fox to network comedy—an event that garnered its own amount of hype. The reviews of the pilot were positive. I loved it. The news is also not surprising, however, because ratings were so bad. Really bad. The show recently earned a terrible 0.6 adult demo rating and wasn’t featured in NBC’s promotion at the Television Critics Association press tour last month.
A delightful cast battles over a will and a stolen painting as a horde of pseudo-Nazis scour the mountains for fugitives. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ might be Wes Anderson’s best film.
This might just be Wes Anderson’s best film; it’s certainly his most thrilling. The cult director has bolstered the whimsical humor and trademark character studies with a raucous crime caper in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and it’s a riot.
Paul Schlase as "Igor," Tony Revolori as "Zero," Tilda Swinton as "Madame D." and Ralph Fiennes as "M. Gustave". (Martin Scali)
Set in the fictional European land of Zubrowka shortly before the Second World War, a delightful cast of characters battle it out over a disputed will and a stolen oil painting as a horde of pseudo-Nazis scour the mountains in search of fugitives.
Brothers Mark Waters (director, ‘Mean Girls’) and Daniel Waters (writer, ‘Heathers’) have teamed up on the fantasy-comedy ‘Vampire Academy,’ in theaters Friday. The two discuss their new film, their own cult classics, and more.
MARK WATERS: So brother Dan, you wrote every teenager’s mother’s favorite teen film, Heathers.
DANIEL WATERS: Yes, brother Mark, and you directed everyone’s favorite PG-13 Heathers rip-off, Mean Girls. I’m cool that I’m haute couture and you’re ready-to-wear…that I’m Joy Division and you’re New Order.
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Punk band Pussy Riot made an impassioned appearance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Wednesday alongside Madonna, Blondie and a very chill Lauryn Hill.
There were no balaclavas but there were plenty of blondes, including a certain Material Girl, on stage to celebrate the Russian punk band Pussy Riot at Amnesty International’s 'Bringing Human Rights Home’ concert last night at Brooklyn’s cavernous Barclays Center.
Evan Agostini/Invision, via AP
Amnesty is in the business of decrying human-rights abuses around the world, and no recent victims of power have captured the global imagination more fervently, nor won more celebrity attention to their cause, than Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, who—along with band member Yekaterina Samutsevich—were found guilty of hooliganism and imprisoned in Russia’s harsh penal colonies for playing a “punk prayer” denouncing President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in February 2012.
Clay Aiken got a lot of votes on ‘American Idol,’ but whether this sweet-faced, liberal-leaning crooner can beat a GOP incumbent for Congress remains a mystery worth tuning in for.
Brace yourself, Claymates! Your beloved American Idol (runner-up) and Celebrity Apprentice (runner-up) has found his next great reality TV challenge: running for Congress in his home state of North Carolina. On February 5, the sweet-as-pie singer/actor/activist released an aim-for-the-tear-ducts announcement video that shares a bit about his not-so-idyllic pre-Idol days (dad was an abusive drunk; young Clay and his mom slept on a neighbor’s living room floor for eight months) by way of explaining why he now feels moved to challenge Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers. (In a nutshell: She screwed struggling North Carolinians by backing sequestration and the shutdown.)
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Aiken’s boyish charms notwithstanding, it promises to be an uphill fight. Post 2010, the once-purplish second district was redrawn to be solidly red. (Romney pulled 58 percent of the vote there in 2012.) If you think Simon Cowell can be brutal, just wait until the GOP starts slinging mud and lobbing bombs to protect one of its own in this southern enclave it’s worked so diligently to hold on to.
In this excerpt of the bestselling book ‘The Monuments Men,’ on which the film of the same name, directed by George Clooney and released Friday, is based, the platoon comes across four coffins containing the remains of Germany’s greatest leaders—and discover what they were intended for.
George Stout arrived at Bernterode on May 1, 1945. Just as fellow Monuments Man Walker Hancock had hinted in his phone call, the mine was in a rural area, with nothing to see but forests. Even the tiny village nearby had been evacuated by Nazi officials so that no one would know about the frantic activity at the mine. The only sight of civilization, if that’s what it could be called, was an internment camp for displaced persons, mostly French, Italian, and Soviet slave laborers who had worked in the mine. The mineshaft was deep, eighteen hundred feet, and the tunnels spread almost fifteen miles underground. The slave laborers had primarily been used to load and unload ammunition , since Bernterode was one of the largest munitions production sites in central Germany. The American ordnance crew that had explored it estimated the mine contained 400,000 tons of explosives. “It was a flogging or worse if you even carried a match into the mine,” one of the French laborers had told Walker Hancock.
Claudette Barius/Columbia Pictures
“The civilians were sent out six weeks ago,” Hancock commented to Stout as the two men took the long, slow, dark elevator ride to the bottom of the mine, “and the next day German soldiers started pouring in. They worked in complete secrecy. Two weeks later, the mine was sealed. It was April 2, George, the day we entered Siegen.”
‘One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories’ is an absurdist, scathingly funny literary collection from Ryan from ‘The Office.’ B.J. Novak on his surprisingly personal fictional debut.
Plenty of actors have written books lately, but none as original, smart or literary as B.J. Novak’s collection, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories. It’s a sign of his freshness that reviews, most with extravagant praise, have strained for comparisons. Woody Allen’s sketches? Sort of, in their comic philosophical questioning, but Novak can be far more narrative. David Sedaris? Novak is less autobiographical; his characters include “The Man Who Invented the Calendar.”
His stories are absurdist yet have a surprising emotional undercurrent; they are scathingly funny about pop-culture language and clichés; they have a strong sense of character that takes him to strange places, including the minds of the tortoise and the hare as they prepare for a rematch of their classic race. You can hear Novak’s distinctive voice as he describes the tortoise’s training regimen: “Simple diet, some walking around…He didn’t want to overthink it.”
Get your TiVos ready. A comprehensive guide to watching the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Sochi Winter Olympics begin Thursday and there’s one question on everyone’s minds: When does the figure skating start?
Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters, via Landov
In case you’re among the many who just want to see women in bedazzled leotards do triple lutzes, or maybe you’re just interested in the U.S. vs. Russia hockey match up or the snowboarding finals, we’ve narrowed down the glut of Olympics coverage to the ones you want to see—and where and when to see them.
The pop star with a voice of an angel may have hotboxed an airplane. And he may have been the gateway drug for Selena Gomez.
For normal people, an underage arrest for a DUI incurred while drag racing expensive cars on the streets of Miami would be understood as a turning point; a time to re-examine one's life choices, and attempt to regain a semblance of sanity. But Justin Bieber is not a normal person—he's a pop star with the voice of an angel, goddammit, and if he wants to have more pot in his bloodstream than actual blood, than that's his own prerogative! Following his January 23 Miami arrest, Bieber has been drag racing down the road to recovery, crashing into scandal after scandal. It's been a wild ride.
An angry Justin Bieber has to be "restrained" by his body guard to keep him from attacking the photographers waiting outside his hotel this morning in London, England on March 8, 2013. (FameFlynet)
It's looking like Bieber's next big tour will be of various courthouses around the world. Only a week after he was arrested for intoxicated drag racing in Miami, Bieber was charged in Toronto with assaulting a limo driver. The alleged assault took place on December 30, when Bieber and six other revelers were picked up from a nightclub in an early morning limo. Reports indicate that one of the passengers, supposedly the baby-faced, under-aged Canadian crooner himself, hit the limo diver on the back of the head several times over the course of the drive. The attacker, who may or may not have been Justin Bieber (but probably was, according to these new charges) fled the scene of the crime. Biebs is set to appear in court on March 10—of course, given his penchant for destructive driving, he'll probably have to take another limousine to get there.
The prolific actor, who stars as Private Preston Savitz in this week’s ‘Monuments Men,’ is also a successful children’s book author.
Where did you grow up?
Well, I was born in Chicago. My family moved there in about 1898 or so, escaped from some pogrom in Russia, got there, and eventually set up a chain of movie theaters. I got hooked on movies as a little kid and never really got over it. I love Chicago and I go back whenever I can.
Is there a film that you remember seeing, an earliest one that you really loved and made you want to be in the film industry?
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis was quite a character. He sported hair curlers in the dugout, took handfuls of amphetamines before games, and pitched a no-hitter on LSD. He was also, in his own unique way, a torchbearer for racial equality.
He was, in the immortal words of Pulp Fiction’s Jules Winnfield, “a mushroom-cloud-layin’ motherf—ker.” His style was pure Youngblood Priest, a mélange of gold rings, colorful polyester suits, and hair-curlers, cruising in the front seat of a big, shiny Cadillac with a vanity plate that said, “DOCK.” His attitude was bold, intimidating batters with his menacing glare and violent gum chewing, and planting verbal dynamite in the belly of institutional racism. According to filmmaker David O. Russell, he even served as the inspiration for American Hustle’s hotheaded-yet-sartorially fresh FBI agent Richie DiMaso, played by Bradley Cooper.
Meet Dock Ellis.
After 35 bitter years with her starving artist husband Ushio, Noriko Shinohara is in the spotlight for her Oscar-nominated documentary Cutie and the Boxer, which follows their chaotic marriage.
In 1972, a 19-year-old art student named Noriko left Tokyo for New York and wandered into a SoHo studio, where she met 41-year-old artist Ushio Shinohara. The morning after they first had sex, he asked if he could borrow rent money. She wrote him a check.
Artist Noriko Shinohara attends the "Cutie And The Boxer" New York Premiere during the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2013 in New York City. (RADIUS-TWC)
Six months later, she was in love, pregnant, and, as her furious parents cut her off, destitute. It was not the beginning of a fairy tale.
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