Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Decoding the Entertainment News Headlines

It used to be that if you wanted to get anywhere in the entertainment business world, you had to learn Variety-speak, the industry shorthand that made the trade paper's headlines nigh incomprehensible to those who weren't in the know. The rise of the internet and entertainment news aggregators has rendered this mostly moot. However, figuring out what's going on in Hollywood now may require a different set of decoding skills. Scrolling through the Google News Entertainment section this morning, I noticed that it was almost totally swamped by fluff pieces, but most of them are actually tied to substantive news if you dig a little. Here are some examples:

Are you in on Super8Secret#? - Entertainment Tonight tells us there's a Twitter-centric sneak peek campaign for the new J.J. Abrams science-fiction movie "Super 8." Buy a ticket via Twitter and you may be able to see the film early on Thursday, get concession deals, and avoid the spoilers.

What's actually going on: Despite good early reviews and the cachet of having Steven Spielberg's name attached, the buzz on "Super 8" has been soft. Paramount is worried that Abrams keeping mum on the film's secrets may hurt its chances at the box office. The preview screenings are being rolled out to try and drum up some more chatter going into opening weekend. Oh, and chalk up another attempt to exploit the power of Twitter.

Watch Meredith Vieira's Highlights From Working on 'Today' - OK Magazine provides a little context for Meredith Vieira's last day on NBC's "Today" morning show, which she co-hosted for five years with Matt Lauer after the departure of Katie Couric in 2006.

What's actually going on: Coming right on the heels of Katie Couric's departure from the anchor chair at the CBS evening news, the networks' game of musical chairs with their news personalities continues. The real eyebrow raiser is that Vieira is leaving "Today" months before her contract was due to expire, which has set of a storm of speculation about why she's choosing to vacate the co-host chair now, and what her future plans will be.

Laurence Fishburne Leaving CSI - This one isn't fluff and seems pretty straightforward, right? Fishburne is going back to his feature film career after three seasons on "CSI," though apparently he'll still be a recurring character next year. So who's filling the leading man slot now?

What's actually going on: The writing has been on the wall for a while now that "CSI" is in its decline, and Fishburne's departure may signal that the end is near. "CSI" entered a ratings slide after William Peterson left, and CBS is moving the show to Wednesdays at 10PM for its twelfth season. There, it will go head to head with another aging crime drama that is losing its marquee leads next year, NBC's "Law & Order: SVU." Yeah, Wednesdays are going to be kinda sad.

Kardashians, Kardashians, Kardashians - In case you haven't heard, reality star Kim Kardashian is getting married. Today, the news broke that some guy in Diamond Bar claims to have been in a relationship with her. Kim K has sicced her lawyers on him. The world holds its breath.

What's actually going on: "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" begins Season 6 on June 12th. Any time you see an uptick in interviews or stories in the media about a particular celebrity, it's either because they have something new to promote, there's been a major life event like a wedding or a birth, or they've done something they're going to regret. The Kardashians seem to regularly manage all three at once. Kudos, ladies.

Eight Minutes of 'Green Lantern' hit the Internet - Promotional materials for the upcoming "Green Lantern" film, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly. With less than two weeks left to go, Warner Brothers is pulling out all the stops, including the eight clips linked in the article. Yeah, that's eight clips of roughly a minute each, not an eight-minute segment of the film.

What's actually going on: Warner Bros and DC have fallen far, far behind Marvel in the ongoing war of the superhero franchises, with Batman the only DC Comics character who has managed to successfully anchor multiple films. They're going to try to relaunch Superman again next year, but first second-stringer Green Lantern is up to bat to test the viability of building projects around lesser-known DC characters and even a possible "Justice League" movie. Expect a steady stream of "Green Lantern" stories to keep awareness high as the studio moves into the final phases of the film's marketing campaign. There's a lot riding on this one.

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