Friday, July 30, 2010

Back To School With Cheryl Hines & NBC...

School Pride, a new "alternative" reality series from Cheryl Hines, premieres on NBC later this fall, just after students all across the southland return to their classrooms. But today it was presented to television critics in Los Angeles at NBC's TCA day. My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture wasn't in attendance today but got to preview the show earlier in the month when visiting the "reveal" of one of the local schools the show renovated.

School Pride features a unique design and renovation team that travels around the country to offer second chances to schools that are experiencing tremendous budget cuts or other kinds of dilapidation. In many cases, this means restoring the arts programs; in some it means a fresh coat of paint, upgraded features, and utilizing new technology; but in all it means inspiring the kids, and the community in turn.

Hines shared with My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture that the show was born out of her idea to help before she even really knew what needed to be done or what she could offer. "Several years ago I was inspired to reach out to schools," she started during an interview at the "reveal" of LACES, one of the L.A. schools from the first season. "My first thought was to reach out to schools in other countries. And then my husband said, 'Well, what about our country?'

"I literally cold-called a principal at one of the elementary schools in Compton and said: 'How's your school? I don't know why I'm calling [but] I'm feeling the need to reach out and help a school, and is your school in need?' She said, 'Come down and let me really show you around.'..We hit it off immediately. We basically renovated the school-- she was principal of Carver Elementary-- and it had such an impact on the students and that community. I was moved by it. Their test scores went up; the property value around the school went up; it just made such a huge difference. And that's what sparked the show. We wanted to show the country how to do it."

That's just what Hines and her crew will be doing in places like Baton Rouge, Detroit, and Los Angeles again, at another charter school that the students there deemed "Enter prison" for how run down the building was but also the mentality within the walls. That particular school is actually Enterprise, where School Pride shot its pilot over a ten-day period. Hines explained that though "every school has it's own story to tell," that one in particular was special because "they feel like a track and field school. They're proud of that; but they didn't have a track or a field. But that's who they envision themselves being so we focus on different things at different schools...Every school has its own personality. And every school needs different things."

At Enterprise, one of those things that Hines was proud to announce the show gave the students was a reading room with new computers and comfortable seating areas so the kids could just relax. Involvement with that school grew out of the personal experience that she had with the Compton school district, having worked with Carver Elementary previously.

"I was close to the people that worked there, and I had already worked with them, so it was a nice fit for us," Hines stated, though she was quick to point out that the other six episodes of the first season featured schools that were selected by part of her production staff. "They look[ed] at schools that do really need help [but also] at schools that want to help themselves. That's a big element of the show: to inspire the community and the kid and the teachers to pitch in and help."

As an artist (actor) herself, Hines admitted she did fight to put the arts programs back in schools, so she was thrilled to get to work with LACES, where they are an arts magnet school, focusing on music, theater, and culinary arts. However, in keeping with the theme that each school will get the specific attention for which it calls, she is not allowing her personal feelings to cloud or create an agenda for the show.

"You know, when you have something to look forward to at school, you feel like you want to go to school; you have a better attitude; you try harder and you work harder. So I feel like this show; we definitely want to make sure that we're adding something that the kids will love. We want to make them feel proud of their school."

Hines continued: "The reaction from the parents—I mean, they literally have tears of joy because these parents know how much this is going to help their kids. One of the parents said 'This is going to make such a huge difference for these kids and how they learn.' Sometimes the kids come in, and it's cool and exciting, but then the parents come, and they see the bigger picture of how this is going to help them. Every parent wants what's best for their kids; it comes with the territory. But not every parent has the resources to give their kids everything. We have to watch out for each other!"

Be sure to watch Hines' handiwork on NBC every Friday this fall at 8 pm. And for the Spirit Team interviews, please click on over to my Examiner page as it gets closer to the season premiere.

Tales From a TCA Virgin...

This small-time blogger has finally hit it big! I may not have been accepted into the Television Critics' Association as a member, but starting Wednesday I began attending the 2010 Summer TCAs. Rubbing elbows with celebrities, random show swag, and parties, all without having to pay membership dues? Yes, please!

The TCAs are a week-long event that takes place at a hotel twice a year (usually in Pasadena but thankfully this time in Beverly Hills-- it's like they knew I was coming!). Each network has a day where they set up panels and parties for their new programming. Some of them even open some of their sets to the reporting "public," though admittedly those invitations have yet to be extended to the likes of me. Set visits took place on Tuesday, but I can't speak for what went on there since I started bright and early Wednesday morning with CBS-TV's day of shows.

Arriving at the Beverly Hilton, reporters were greeted by show girls and slot machines for a Las Vegas themed breakfast buffet to honor one of the shows we would get to see previewed later that afternoon. The Defenders stars Jerry O'Connell (hot off his weekend of geeking out at Comic Con) and Jim Belushi as Vegas lawyers, and young Jurnee Smollett (who I knew and loved as Michelle's sassy friend Denise on Full House) is their ex-exotic dancer paralegal. I initially ran past the buffet line to claim a good seat in the ballroom because I didn't want to have to use my big lens, if I could avoid it, but of course I went back for bacon!

CBS generously scheduled lots of "writing breaks" for those of us who file and post stories as they break. Not a lot of spoilers were given out about the shows because it's just not that kind of event, but there was a bit of controversy. Questions from reporters during the Mike & Molly session leaned quite heavily (no pun intended) toward borderline-offensive remarks about the two leads' weight. For the record, the show is a "love story" about two "regular" people who just happen to meet at Overeaters Anonymous. Series star Billy Gardell tried to keep the atmosphere as light as possible and deflect some of the heat off of his co-star Melissa McCarthy, who got one really rude question about "wherever would they get her wardrobe?" Ew.

There was also some tension during the new daytime talk show panel because the questions skewed heavily about executive producer Sara Gilbert's personal life and even co-host Leah Remini's "religious" beliefs (she's a Scientologist). For a show that claimed nothing would be off-limits around their roundtable once they're on air, they got pretty defensive about those things. Still, it was pretty freakin' awesome to see Sharon Osbourne on stage just a few feet away (she claimed Ozzy had no idea she was even doing this show), and Julie Chen won me over when she referred to herself as "The Chen-Bot" and even did a robot voice.

Of course William Shatner had everyone in stitches when taking the stage to show off his new sitcom $#*! My Dad Says, which, for the record, is being called "Bleep" My Dad Says when the title is said audibly. He had some amazing quotables, including that he knows Tweets aren't really called twats (inadvertant Kathy Griffin shout-out!) and that he wishes the show were just called "Shit." Justin Halperin is my hero for managing to have a best selling book turn into a TV show. I hope to attend a set visit and pick his brain for how I may finagle the same.

The eye-candy (in addition to humor) was abundant, too, with Donnie Wahlberg representing Blue Bloods and both Alex O'Louglin and Scott Caan on stage for the Hawaii Five-0 reboot. Hawaii Five-0 also gave out leis and free ringtones prior to the panel, so they immediately won me over as my fave. I like free stuff, okay!?

Speaking of free stuff, right around the three o'clock "crash" moment, CBS replenished our energy with a Carvel ice cream offering: flying saucers, chocolate dipped cones, mini sundaes...and oh yeah, yogurt and granola for the health conscious. It perfectly hit the spot, even though the ballroom was kept at a temperature that would only suit penguins.

The CBS party (which combined CBS, CW, and Showtime stars in a smorgasboard of attractiveness) was hoppin' with a grilled cheese station, a chicken and waffles station, a mini pizza station, and a gelato bar. I barely ate since a few blogger friends and I had made a Sprinkles run in between the gap between the last presentation and the party-- one in which we probably should have been writing, but oh well. It was way more fun to eat cupcakes in the lobby of the hotel and watch as the stars arrived. Although, admittedly running into Maggie Q in the bathroom was a bit disconcerting after wolfing down Sprinkles. She doesn't look unhealthy, but she is really skinny, and even the harsh fluorescent light doesn't attack her skin the way it does mine. Self-esteem blow!

I admit I was kind of bummed that Matt LeBlanc wasn't there, as I have a long-standing goal in life to meet all of the Friends, but I got to check three other fangirl moments off my list: chatting with the original Sookie (McCarthy), chatting with a New Kid (Wahlberg), and meeting Michael C Hall, even if it was brief. Other notable moments included telling Sera Gamble I "followed" Jensen since he was on a soap (oy), Ed Westwick and his chest hair (and red boots!), finding out Julie Plec is just as pretty boy crazy as I am, and did I mention the chicken and waffles??

But in all honesty, some of the best parts to TCAs are just getting to put faces to names with publicists who have been so gracious to allow me access to their shows, as well as to spend all day in a room with other writers, feeding off their energy and laughing with friends. Writing can be such a solitary thing, especially when one sits in her own apartment to do it (as I do). I admit that when I was a kid, I liked the introversion and the time to myself. I felt it granted me a much needed break after spending nine hours in school with kids I didn't particularly like (though I bumped into someone I knew from high school at CBS day, and that was quite a trip!). These days, though, I find the team environment really suits me.

Right after CBS was CW/Showtime day. Since CW only has two new fall shows, and SHO was bringing back old faves with new twists, they combined forces for a powerhouse day. It was also the day I had some one-on-one interviews scheduled (look for those soon!) so the stakes were a bit higher. As was the excitement.

Showtime only gave us a hot breakfast in terms of swag, but I guess quality programming is a gift within itself. They started the morning a bit late, but the cast of The Big C was a welcome fresh breath of air on a somewhat groggy morning. I even got to chat one on one with two of the writers, Darlene Hunt and Jenny Bicks, and that exclusive video will be edited and posted shortly. They are as quirky and funny as the material they create, and they really manage to breathe life into a fatal diagnosis! As I previously mentioned, I was a little unsure about how I would receive their show at first since I lost my mother to cancer a year ago Sunday. But the message in the show (to truly live your life doing what makes you happy in the now because we're all on borrowed time) was the message I took away from my mother's passing, and so far (after seeing the first three episodes), I feel the show helps to heal. It truly is, as Bicks and Hunt are promoting, the "perfect time" for such a candid comedy.

Next up was the cast of The Real L Word, with whom I wasn't familiar, but who were truly characters in the way only reality stars can be. I tried to pay attention, but admittedly I was squirming in my seat because Dexter was next, to be followed by Episodes. Michael C. Hall and Matt LeBlanc were going to be mere feet in front of me back-to-back, and I have loved them long time. Episodes, which has shot all seven episodes but not yet sent them to critics (or at least, me) for review looks super funny and even pokes jokes at LeBlanc's Friends fame. People call him Joey within the show and even walk up to him going 'How you doin?' I'm eager to read the first two episodes' scripts, which Showtime sent over with my Weeds* screener.

*The Weeds presentation was canceled a few weeks ago. Though stars mingled at the party, nothing official was shown/said.

During our very long lunch break (during which I stock-piled chocolate fudge cake), I also got to chat with a couple of the Dexter stars who are my personal faves. Those exclusive FlipVids will be edited and posted soon, too. Showtime was good to me, but now there's so much work still to do; so little time!!

Post lunch, Dawn Ostroff came out on stage for The CW presentation, which was louder and brighter (literally with audio and house lights levels bumped way up), probably to get reporters caught up in the spectacle. After all, when something is flashy, you're less likely to see there's not much meat on the bones.

Ostroff proved she doesn't watch many of her own shows when vaguely tip-toeing around questions about un-represented programs like Supernatural and Smallville. But Nikita star Maggie Q totally won me over, even if I was "iffy" on the pilot. She was so candid and animated on stage, and she didn't take any sh*t from dumb questions! And I have to say, some of the questions were really ridiculous, across the board! With all the scrutiny about who can even get into the TCAs (this was the first year I was allowed, for example, and NBC-Universal still rejected me from today's festivities. Boo; no Top Chef: Just Desserts samples for me!), they might want to consider screening/moderating questions.

During Hellcats, reporters started talking over each other again to get their questions asked. Sweet Aly Michalka actually listened to every one and answered the quieter, more respectful people first. Executive Producer Tom Welling was on stage with his leading ladies, and reporters managed to fight the urge to ask him Smallville questions. So I guess that shows improvement. Gossip Girl...not so much. Or I don't know; it was the last panel of the day, and I admit I was a bit checked out. I can see the show's appeal, but unfortunately it's still not for me.

There was no party on Thursday night since all three networks were present on Wednesday "opening" night, so I headed up during rush hour to write up full articles (in addition to all the live Tweeting I had already done) and resize photos. You can see all of my TCA photos exclusively on the My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture Facebook fan page.

While I do have today and tomorrow "off" from the TCAs, early next week brings ABC and Fox/FX festivities. And considering some of the programming I am most excited about (My Generation, No Ordinary Family, Better With You) comes from that first network, it is safe to say that may be the day most anticipated over all!

Stay tuned for those aforementioned interviews and detailed show coverage!

Weekly Examiner Round-Up...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

'The Big C' Is Just What The Doctor Ordered...

When Fran Drescher said "cancer, schmancer," I laughed out-loud. When Samantha on Sex and the City sat with her three best girl friends, suggestively sucking on popsicles and gossiping after her round of chemo, I smiled. But that was all years before my own mother was diagnosed and then succumbed to the disease. Admittedly I lost my ability to treat it lightly after seeing what she went through. I didn't want to see depictions of it at all after seeing the horror of the reality. But Showtime's newest half-hour series The Big C has changed all that.

Laura Linney stars as Cathy in The Big C, a woman who has been given only one year to live after a melanoma diagnosis. She could opt for treatment, like chemo or an alternative form of radiation, but she has instead decided to just go all in for her final 365 days, including eating only desserts for her meals (a woman after my own heart). She has always loved her hair, after all, and cries even when she has to get it cut!

Cathy's decision to finally go about life saying and doing exactly whatever she feels like is freeing for her, and it lightens her up in a way that I personally think will help her to heal. After all, the show is quirky and clever and not a miniseries-- and it can't possibly go on without it's protagonist, so what are the odds she'll really perish after a year? Once one removes unnecessary stress from his or her life, anyway, he or she really gets to thrive, after all.

When my mother got sick, she seemed ready to just get her affairs in order. I asked her to try an alternative treatment, and she did, but I think we both knew it wouldn't do much but prolong the inevitable. And after seeing what she went through, I vowed to live my life doing whatever made me happy for the moment because your last moment could be a lot sooner than you may expect.

Seeing Cathy do the same may validate my decision but in a bittersweet way. Because for every smile or laugh or moment where she does something spontaneous, eye-brow raising or seemingly "out of character," there is the undercurrent that she's only doing it because she thinks she has nothing left to lose. Without her terminal diagnosis she probably never would have had the guts to go for this life-changing, life-affirming behavior. It's a case of "you need to die in order to truly learn to live," and it's unfortunate because most people who watch the show will marvel at her bravery and spirit but will still go about their regular mundane lives, fretting over which couch matches their living room color scheme better or an extra few pounds they may have put on.

I would challenge you all to tune into The Big C on August 16th (and every week following its premiere on Showtime) and then go out and do one thing that you might not normally have the nerve to do in honor of Cathy. But in all truth, I don't think you will need my challenge: you will feel energized into doing just that after watching the show all on your own. And it doesn't have to be anything big, like telling your boss to go screw himself or anything, but I guarantee it will be the perfect little shot of energy you need to revitalize your attitude on life!

Melissa McCarthy, Back on TV This Fall As a Leading Lady...

Melissa McCarthy may have a new sitcom on CBS-- Mike & Molly-- but she will always be the original Sookie (Gilmore Girls) to me!

The bubbly funny lady has always kept me laughing as Lorelai's accident-prone BFF or as Christina Applegate's dog-loving BFF (Samantha Who?), but in both of those roles she was something of a supporting character. Now she is finally breaking out as a lead as the titular "Molly," a woman with a wacky family who is starting on the adventure of a new relationship after meeting a cute guy at Overeaters' Anonymous. It's about damn time that she finally gets recognized for being able to carry a show!

My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture got to chat with McCarthy briefly at a CBS party celebrating their fall shows and stars. She is even sweeter and more bubbly in person!

McCarthy seemed just as excited as I was that she has this new role, but she did equate it to one from her past that we all know and love:

"Well, it’s awfully exciting, that’s for sure! I got so lucky with the last two shows—Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who?—I guess I kind of hope that they liked what I did and that they said ‘What about…what about that but a little more?’ I don’t know; this came along, and it certainly was a good fit. I love it. To me it’s reminiscent of both shows but maybe a little more Gilmore Girls. There were scenes about Gilmore Girls that were so funny but it also broke my heart at times, and I find that this one has that, which is my perfect combination."

McCarthy shared that before she read the script she wasn't sure about the sitcom format, but this really has ended up being the marrying of two loves for her:

"I was pregnant at the time, and I was like maybe I’ll take some time off. And I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do multi-camera because I don’t want to do the [hammy] ‘Oh, John!’ But a live audience I love. I’ve been with the Groundlings Theatre for about ten years, so for me it’s like ‘Oh my God, that’s what I spend my free time doing and what I love with all my heart!’ Now it’s my job! I’m waiting for someone to be like ‘Oh but you don’t get paid, though. That’s the one weird caveat'."

McCarthy is having a ball working with her on-screen other half, Billy Gardell:

"He is the sweetest guy and a great big mix of things. He’s this big, loud guy who comes in and is like [attempting to bellow] 'Hey, how ya doin'?" And he’s a complete marshmallow! You know, he has this background in stand-up comedy and he's just such a funny, funny guy."

McCarthy said it was easy to find the chemistry with Gardell:

"We looked at each other, and he was like ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ And I was like ‘Okay, let’s get a show!’ And literally we felt completely relaxed."

McCarthy admitted it is still up in the air how fast this couple will move in their relationship, but she has a theory and a preference!

"I don’t know what the pacing is but to us and to the writers it’s a basic story of a love story. That’s the whole base of the show, and there are so many great awkward things…when you start dating somebody. Even if you like them! You don’t know what to do with your hands; you don’t know what to say; all of the things that converge that ‘How am I that geeky??’ I hope they will [take their time with telling the story]. I think they will; the writers know there’s a lot to be gained at that. And I would love to see a couple not be too TV-timing where they’re like ‘We met and now we’re living together!’ That’s not how it works!"

Look for Mike & Molly on CBS this fall!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Woof Wednesday #63...

Other than the fact that I just think Madison has the cutest face ever in this photo, this is, in part, meant to be a teaser "hint" for my next Wii with the Stars segment. It's kind of hard to gauge who the person would be from this, right? Well, look at the dark, black backdrop and the fact that Madison is shaggy and has almost wolf-like hair in this photo but still has deep, expression-filled eyes. Stumped? You'll have to check back here to find out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Liz Tigelaar Talks The Incredible Expanding Cast of 'Life Unexpected'...

Apparently I just use all of the Life Unexpected people as my guinea pigs now! Back when I decided I wanted to start a new video column called Wii with the Stars (and I know it's been awhile, but another one is coming soon, I promise!), I used Kristoffer Polaha (Baze) as the test subject, so to speak. He came and played Wii and put up with my dog climbing in his lap, and it was a success! And now I have armed myself with a Flip camera (mostly because it was completely customizable, and I felt the need to have a piece of equipment with my logo on it) and made Liz Tigelaar my first interview in that format.

Since Life Unexpected won't be represented at the TCAs this week, My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture managed to snag a few minutes with Tigelaar before she-- and star Shiri Appleby-- took the stage at the Writers Junction in Santa Monica over the weekend. Of course I wanted to know all about season two of her hit show, but I did ask about her involvement in and endorsement of the Writer's Junction, as well. It's a great resource for any scribe in L.A.! For what she had to say about that, or for details from her time on stage, head over to my Examiner page.

Onto Life Unexpected! When Polaha came to play Wii, he gave us the awesome exclusive of debuting part of the song he wrote-- in character-- for Lux that he spilled he hoped would make it onto the show. When asked about this Tigelaar laughed and said that she still didn't know if it ever would, which is code for "I have written that scene yet." But she knows how much you all liked it, so don't rule it out completely!

Tigelaar has her hands full writing for all of the great, rich characters she introduced in season one and will finally be able to expand upon, as well as some new additions whose casting notices have sent fan sites and Twitter all abuzz. Hear in her own words* what Tigelaar has to say about "new meat" Arielle Kebbel, Emma Caulfield, and Shaun Sipos:

But just because there is so much amazing new blood on the show doesn't mean old recurring favorites will be forgotten. Tigelaar also teased who will be back, if the premiere will jump forward in time, and if the series will ever consider flashing back to show us Cate and Baze's early days of...courtship?

Be sure to tune into Life Unexpected only on The CW when it returns for season two on September 14th. Set your DVR season pass now!

*And yes, I did purposefully edit around my voice asking the questions in this video. Also, I apologize for the shakiness of the video. I tend to nod vigorously and talk with my hands, and I'm still adjusting to the fact that I have to actually hold the camera steady...

The Hottie Awards: Model Edition...

Between the Reality TV Edition, in which I found myself leaving out contestants on shows like Make Me A Supermodel, and the brief mention I made of one in particular during the Music Edition, I realized I absolutely had to include a category for male models. They are unsung heroes of pop culture many times, as we see their faces (and their abs) in magazines, on billboards, and even in commercials, but we don't often know their names. I'm not assuming I'm about to introduce you to anyone new today, but I think these guys we ogle but don't often get to hear from deserve note (and more notice), too.

The Top Ten Hotties of the Modeling World (which, I'm pretty sure, is redundant!)

10. Jon Kortajarena. I knew him as "that Guess guy" but he's oh, so much more! Not only has he rocked three-piece suits and swimsuits for the likes of Versace and Armani, he fills out Diesel jeans nicely, too. And if his thick head of hair, lean build, and soulful but seriously intense eyes aren't enough, he was also ranked in the top ten successful male models on Forbes' 2009 list. In an industry where female models usually make the most money, that's pretty hot. But I'd like him even if he wasn't rich!

9. Jeff Pickel. He's been in this business for twenty years but has never quite become a household name, even if you undoubtedly recognize his face and physique from countless campaigns. The guy does the "rough around the edges" look really, really well, but he's a big softie at heart and can often be seen in the early hours of the morning news appearing with Adopt-A-Pets in order to give deserving animals their forever homes. That is something nice to wake up to, let me tell ya!

8. Gabriel Aubry. He was named one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People (so how could I not include him?) after successful campaigns for designers I normally don't like because they're too preppy (Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, DKNY, for example). However, he wore his prep with a little stubble which was just street enough for me! And maybe it's because he's foreign, but he makes stubble look elegant! I don't know what's wrong with Halle Berry that she no longer wants him; I'll take him!!

7. Gilles Marini. He may have gone on to be a successful actor of both big and small screen, but he got his start as a model and early acting gigs came to him for his looks when his accent was too strong to really understand. More than any other model working in recent years, I believe he has the market cornered on "exotic."

6. Ryan Barry. I first found him through the NoH8 campaign. I was browsing the celebrity shots and mistook his for Brandon Beemer's. When I saw the name printed under the photo, I wanted to find out more about who this hottie was! Turns out: an underwear model! And you can't put together a list of the hottest fashion models without throwing in at least one underwear model, right? I mean, it kinds of says it all right in the title. You can't not be hot and be an underwear model. But oh yeah, he has nice eyes, too.

5. Brett Novek. This kid reminded me of Jason Cook when I first saw him on America's Most Smartest Model. Years later, I finally got to interview him as he was promoting a new Showtime project, and I got excited that he was attempting to cross over from modeling into acting, so I tapped him as the lead in a pilot on which I started working. But that's neither here nor there. He is tan and toned and his eyes and teeth seem almost iridescent because of it. But he's still young and excited by the work, too, and that's a pretty attractive quality right there!

4. David Gandy. He's British, so he has the accent going for him, though as a print model I'm not sure any of his fans have ever actually heard him speak. I know I haven't, and it doesn't even matter. His campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana and 7 for All Mankind more than speak for themselves! He is tall, dark, and handsome and (maybe it's the European thing) comes across as much more worldly than his numerical age would suggest.

3. Marcus Schenkenberg. He is one of few guys I have thought looked good with long hair, and he definitely paved the way for the Josh Holloways of the world to be gruff and scruffy! Something in his eyes always hinted at a mystery, a controversy, or at least a complication. He seemed to create a character that women would want to try to figure out. Cheesy romance novel covers featured Fabio; the quality ones featured Marcus!

2. Jonathan Waud. He didn't win his season of Make Me A Supermodel but he should have. And he did get a lucrative underwear campaign out of the competition, so I guess that will have to do. Hmm...I guess a good chunk of the models I know are ones I've seen on TV. Oh well; still counts! Anyway this guy is ripped, for sure, but he is a sweetheart, too, who adores and dotes on his wife and son. It is hotter to watch him with pride in his eyes as he takes his son to the park (he posted videos on his blog; I'm not a complete stalker!) than to see him strip down for a steamy campaign. But I wouldn't turn down a chance to see that in person either!

1. Tyson Beckford. I used to follow him around a supermarket in New Jersey just to see the hotness up close and personal and know that it really, truly could exist outside of airbrushing and special lighting. I honestly can't decide if he looks better in a sleek suit or shirtless, showing off his bare skin but for his tattoos. What I really find hot about this guy is that he has parlayed looking good into a life-long career from working print, runway, and hosting a reality show where he attempts to find and train the next supermodel. He is a businessman, and having brains in that hot head of his makes him the clear number one!

Oh man, I'd hate to be the poor saps who have to follow this category!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Like 'Life Unexpected'? Help A Fellow Fan With A Very Special Project...

Back before The CW had even decided the fate of its freshman drama Life Unexpected, one very special fan named Steph, who goes by LUX_fans online, started working a project that showed her devotion to the show and the talent behind it, whether its network recognized it or not.

Asking fans across the globe to contribute, Steph began putting together a "Thank You" video to show creator Liz Tigelaar for birthing the characters to and with which so many have related and fallen in love. She wanted Tigelaar to know that even if the network didn't opt to pick up the show for a second season, it had already resonated very deeply with many, and each person who connected with LUX' characters or world in some way were now Tigelaar fans for life.

But as it turns out, we don't have to go anywhere any time soon. Life Unexpected is returning for a second season in September, and Steph is harder at work than ever gathering materials from fans to finish the video by its premiere date. Keep on reading to hear why Steph feels Tigelaar (and this show in general) is so worthy of adoration and admiration, as well as how you can be a part of her very special video project!

What attracted you to Life Unexpected in the first place? And what keeps you watching?
- "I was interested in finding a new show to watch. I happened to have seen one of the previews & thought it looked cute. Then when I saw that it was being compared to Gilmore Girls, I set the date in my calendar. The whole story line just seemed different in a good way and something that I could potentially really enjoy. However, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. The story lines, the "realness", the characters...It all makes for a fabulous show."

What does the show, and the characters Liz has created, mean to you on a personal level?
- "I see myself as a mix of Lux & Cate, mostly Cate. So watching them on TV go through some of the stuff I have gone through, it makes me feel like I'm not alone. The characters, as well as the show, are so "real" & relatable. I just love it."

Did you follow Liz (or any of the actors)'s careers prior to Life Unexpected?
- "I had seen Shiri [Appleby, Cate] in Roswell and absolutely loved her. She is such a fantastic actress and has amazing chemistry with anyone she is with. After that, I saw a lot of her movies. I just love her work. I saw Britt [Robertson, Lux] first in Dan In Real Life not realizing who she was at the time but I thought she was adorable. When I really found out who she was, was after The Tenth Circle (one of my favorite movies). She was so fantastic in that movie. Blew me away. I had also seen Kerr [Smith, Ryan] in Dawson's Creek (obviously) & in Charmed as well. I was a HUGE Charmed fan, so let's leave it at that."

Why did you choose to get involved in the online fandom, such as creating vids, Facebook groups, and a special Twitter?
- "After the first episode, I was completely blown away & went absolutely nuts on my personal twitter (which I still use regularly). I ended up losing followers due to my over-obsessive tweets. I, then, decided to just casually make a "fan twitter" for just Life Unexpected so that I could tweet it up as much as I pleased & chat with other LUX fans. What started off as just 30-40 followers, started to grow more and more. I kept gaining followers & a "fan" base. From that, I made a Youtube & a Facebook to spread more over the internet. The Youtube started as just playlists to organize all the LUX-related videos out there. I had made videos in the past, so I decided to make some Life Unexpected ones, which could also be found on that Youtube account. Things just keep getting bigger and better. I'm absolutely loving it. It's such a great experience. Especially since I want to work in TV when I graduate."

Tell me a little bit about the special 'Thank You' video project. Why did you decide to do it and why do you hope fans will take part?
- "It actually started when I saw all the fans advocating for a second season. After the second season was announced, I thought about how happy Liz must be and how much she deserves it. Which led me to the idea of some sort of "thank you" project. I wanted the fans involved as well to show how much she is loved & appreciated."

What do you hope the 'Thank You' video project does for Liz and/or the show?
- "My biggest wish is that Liz knows how much she is appreciated. She deserves it."

What are the requirements for the videos, should fans want to send them in now?'
- "The sooner, the better! I have to eventually finish the video, so I can't be receiving them three months from now. My hope is to have the DVD finished and shipped off to Liz by the start of season two. The DVD will have chapters/"scenes". The main one being the edited montage of pictures, videos, and clips from the videos people are sending in. The other chapters will be the individual full videos that are sent in, as well as a chapter with the pictures set to music. Each video should be no longer than one minute (give or take a few seconds). Begin the video with "Hey Liz, it's (insert name here)." I need that for part of the main video. Then go on to explain what you are thankful for, wish her luck/congratulate her on season two, etc. If you know her personally, you could talk about a personal experience or something like that. Other than that, just say anything you would like to say to her. And most of all, have fun with it! :) "

If you have more specific questions or want to inquire about where to send a video of your own, feel free to get in touch with Steph directly through her Twitter or Facebook.