Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Media Man News Update: WWE, Wrestling, Gaming, Movies, Hollywood, Celebrities...

Media Man News Update: Wrestling News Media: Pro Wrestling News: WWE, Wrestling Legends: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Rock 'N' Roll Wrestling Connection...

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Charlie Sheen socially Raw on USA Network...

Social Media Ambassador for Raw’s historic 1,000 episode


WWE® (NYSE: WWE) announced Charlie Sheen, star of the highly anticipated FX comedy series “Anger Management,” as the Social Media Ambassador for Monday Night Raw’s historic 1000th episode live at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST July 23 on USA Network.

Sheen will tweet during Raw, providing up-to-the-minute commentary on the night’s action to his 7.5-million Twitter followers. Sheen has more than 12-million fans combined on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

WWE fans and Sheen followers can ask the actor questions during the broadcast via Twitter using the #SheenGetsRaw hashtag.

In “Anger Management,” Sheen stars as Charlie, a non-traditional therapist specializing in anger management. He has a successful private practice, holding sessions with his group of primary patients each week, as well as performing pro bono counseling for an inmate group at a state prison. Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla, Michael Arden and Noureen DeWulf co-star.

The series premiere of “Anger Management” starts Thursday, June 28 with the first two episodes airing at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

• WWE’s 1,000 episode of Raw on July 23 will debut a three-hour format.

• Follow Charlie Sheen on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @CharlieSheen.

• Follow WWE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @WWE.


WWE teams with ION for new Wednesday night show...

“WWE Main Event” debuts Oct. 3 on ION Television


WWE (NYSE: WWE) and ION Television announced a new weekly one-hour original series airing 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST on Wednesdays.

“WWE Main Event” will debut on Oct. 3 and feature WWE superstars and divas from the rosters of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown. The new show will be available in 100 million U.S. television households on ION Television, a top-rated general entertainment network that features a broad mix of critically acclaimed series, movies and original programming.

“ION Television is delighted to begin a new partnership with such a successful and well-recognized franchise as WWE,” Brandon Burgess, CEO, ION Media Networks, said in a release. “As a general entertainment network with a solid foundation, ‘WWE Main Event’ is a great addition to our lineup that features something for everyone. We look forward to introducing our ION audience to all of the excitement and drama WWE has to offer as well as welcoming a passionate new fan base to the network.”

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said: “WWE looks forward to this new partnership with ION Television. We are excited about producing this new television show, ‘WWE Main Event,’ and bringing our fans to ION Television every Wednesday.”

“WWE Main Event” will feature in-ring action and fit seamlessly in storylines from Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, making Wednesday night appointment viewing for fans. The new series will offer a big arena experience with live audiences like current WWE weekly programs. Check you cable, satellite or dish outlet for channel availability.

• WWE celebrates its amazing 1,000 episode of Raw at 8 p.m. Monday, July 23 on the USA Network. The show will debut Raw’s three-hour format.

• Visit www.wwe.com and www.iontelevision.com.


Roddy Piper Talks 1000th Raw, Cyndi Lauper, Rock & Wrestling...

In a WWE.com Exclusive, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper discussed his return to Raw along side pop singer Cyndi Lauper.

“Cyndi, oh, we have a long history. We weren’t always on the same side, but to be honest with you, it was a true pleasure,” said Piper.

Piper also addressed the comments he made on Raw in regards to the Rock & Wrestling being the saving grace of WWE.

“If it wasn’t for the Rock & Wrestling connection at that time being so big on TV — you know, they were all cheering [Hulk] Hogan and booing Piper — I don’t know if wrestling would have gotten the huge launching pad that it did,” Piper explained.

“It’s very surreal to think that you were apart of the beginnings of it but I was and I’m proud of it.”

Piper was also asked to address Raw’s 1000th episode which will be coming up, July 23rd.

“The fact that a wrestling program called Raw could be the longest running television show in the history of television, bar nobody — nobody can now say we’re not on the map,” stated Piper. “We’re for real. I have worked all my life to make that happen, along with a lot of other guys that have worked just as hard or harder.”


Brock Lesnar May Be At 1000th RAW...

As noted last week, Lesnar is advertised for RAW on August 13th, the Monday before SummerSlam. He is currently not advertised for any other shows before that.


Sid Vicious Returns To WWE RAW...

Sid Vicious thanked the fans for the ovation he received on RAW tonight, writing on his Twitter, "Thank you for the huge pop on #RAW! Much respect to all of my fans! #MasterAndRulerOfTheWorld ... Off for now. Love being backstage at #RAW. Tweet you tomorrow. Again, THANK YOU EVERYONE!"


Raw social media highest since April...

Monday's WWE Raw episode scored 186,954 in social media activity, which was the highest since April 23 for the episode leading into Extreme Rules hyping Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena. Raw was up 17 percent in social media activity compared to last week's show and topped the yearly average by 14 percent.

Raw still ranked #3 on cable TV, trailing "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" on VH1 and "Teen Wolf" on MTV. Raw has not taken the top spot on Monday nights since April 9. [ Data Source: Trendrr.TV ]


World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. : WWE® Names Casey Collins EVP of Consumer Products
06/26/2012


WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced the appointment of Casey Collins as Executive Vice President, Consumer Products. Collins will oversee WWE Global Licensing, Home Entertainment and Publishing. He will report directly to WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.

Prior to joining WWE, Collins was Executive Vice President, Global Licensing & Entertainment at MGA Entertainment, where he oversaw the entertainment, consumer products, retail development and promotions divisions. Before joining MGA Entertainment, Collins spent 10 years at Lucasfilm Ltd., where he was responsible for the management of Lucasfilm's domestic and international licensing and retail merchandise programs.

Collins also spent time as Director of Worldwide Licensing & Motorsports at World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW), where he built and managed WCW's worldwide consumer products program. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from Florida State University and did post graduate work at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Kenn Doane Alleges John Cena Had An Affair With A Married WWE Diva...

Kenn Doane, who appeared as Kenny of the Spirit Squad and Kenny Dykstra for WWE from 2006 to 2008, blames an affair between John Cena and Mickie James for ruining his relationship with the former Diva and costing him his job. Speaking to SEScoops.com on the ordeal, Doane reveals that Cena was having a second affair with a then-WWE Diva who was married to a man not involved with the professional wrestling industry.

Doane says he discovered James had been cheating on him with the Cenation leader when he caught her searching online rumors of her act of infidelity with the query "Mickie James dating John Cena."

"Upon confronting her about it, "She stared at [the computer] for like legit two minutes and I'm looking at her like "Did you forget how to read? Say something, WTF." She got up and ran into the other room crying saying she was sorry and she felt bad and admitted to it."

While recalling the matter, Doane says Cena was having an affair with a second WWE Diva.

"I don't have John's number so I call his diva 'road' girlfriend. I ask her if she knows anything about it and she says she had a feeling because John recently dumped her and she is over him now," Doane says.

Cena's sexual escapades were not solely limited to WWE Divas as he was simultaneously involved with 'ring rats'. Doane details, "Got one diva who is married to a guy outside of the business but she sleeps with Cena, then we got Cena who sleeps with rats (groupies, girls not in the biz, girls in the lobby waiting for an invite upstairs) and this married diva, and now my girlfriend."

Following weeks of inactivity stemming from the affair, Doane was transferred to the SmackDown brand on June 17, 2007, as part of the WWE Supplemental Draft. Doane reveals that the married Diva was transferred from Raw to SmackDown as well after being dumped by Cena.

"Following weeks I'm off TV and off the road until I get sent to SmackDown. Ironically, John's former Diva got sent too," Doane recalls. "So now we're on complete separate schedules and when there is a joint pay-per-view I'm off the road that day too and get flown in on a Monday for a Tuesday Smackdown. Yeah complete B.S. I get jobbed out then they take me off the road more and fire me."

Two WWE Divas transferred from Raw to SmackDown in the 2007 WWE Supplemental Draft—and the entire year—Torrie Wilson and Victoria. Wilson was in the process of divorcing Billy Kidman. Victoria has been married to a man not affiliated with the professional wrestling industry since 1998, matching Doane's claim.

On November 10, 2008, WWE announced Doane had been released from his contract. While discussing his termination with John Laurinaitis, he was informed that his decision to speak publicly on Cena and James' affair will determine whether WWE offers him employment again in the future.

"When Johnny Ace called me to fire me I asked him if this is why I'm getting fired," Doane recalls. "He told me we don't have anything for you and depending on whether you choose to discuss this issue will determine on if your allowed to come back in the future."

Doane ultimately concludes that he wants to be open and honest.

"Going forward I have no reason but to speak the truth and to make all this up would be absolutely insane. I'm not saying you have to believe anything I say but that is the truth," he says. "WWE portrays Cena as this big hero and savior to all of us but truth be told that is a character he plays much like me as a cheerleader. When watching wrestling, know you're watching a show and not real life situations or scenarios. We are basically live comic books brought to life and make short action movies for you to enjoy." (Wrestling INC)


The Amazing Spider-Man Video Game Now On Sale: Get 'The Amazing Spider-Man' for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS & Nintendo 3DS!...

If your spider-senses are tinglin’, it’s because "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game has web-slung its way onto retail store shelves today in North America, and will be available in Europe on June 29. From Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., and Marvel Entertainment, "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game serves as an epilogue story to this summer’s upcoming blockbuster feature film, heralding Spidey’s return to a free-roaming Manhattan as players take the role of a young Peter Parker discovering his newfound powers and super hero responsibilities. "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game is available on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, the Wii system from Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS handheld systems.

"Dee Brown and his team at Beenox have completely revamped 'The Amazing Spider-Man's' proprietary game engine to deliver a fresh, innovative gameplay experience for the fans," said David Oxford, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Activision Publishing, Inc. “With the adrenaline rush from just swinging through the city and the new zoomed-in camera angle opening up a whole new perspective in realistic detail, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' allows gamers to BE Spider-Man like never before.”

Go beyond Sony Picture Entertainment’s Columbia Pictures’ feature film and find out what happens next in "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game. Set against an original story crafted by Hollywood writer Seamus Kevin Fahey ("Spartacus: Vengeance," "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," "Battlestar Galactica") that picks up immediately after the events of the movie, "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game delivers a brand-new, immersive and cinematic adventure allowing fans to truly harness the power of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Players will experience numerous choices in navigation and combat with the debut of the innovative Web Rush gameplay mechanic, pushing Spider-Man’s abilities to the limit against classic Marvel villains that are re-imagined exclusively for the game, such as Scorpion, Felicia Hardy, Rhino, Iguana and more.

“'The Amazing Spider-Man' video game is the ultimate fan tribute to Spider-Man and Manhattan,” said Andreea Enache-Thune, SVP, Games & Digital Distribution, Marvel Entertainment. “We’re thrilled with all of the content and collectibles Activision and Beenox have packed into the game’s free-roaming Manhattan setting, and we can’t wait for fans to web-swing around the city and start saving the world.”

"The Amazing Spider-Man" video game also features fan-favorite talent, including "Evil Dead" and "Burn Notice's" Bruce Campbell taking the role of an “extreme action” reporter who provides death-defying challenges that only Spider-Man can accomplish. And for fans that pre-ordered the game from Amazon, Stan Lee himself is available as a playable character for the first time ever.

Developed by Beenox for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 system, Wii and Nintendo 3DS, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is rated “T” (Teen – content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older) by the ESRB. The Nintendo 3DS edition features several unique mini-games that use its touch-screen abilities, including the exclusive Vigilante Mode using StreetPass. Additionally, Beenox is working on a Windows PC version of the game planned to launch August 10, 2012, which will be available on Steam and integrated with Steam achievements. The Nintendo DS version of the game was created by developer Other Ocean, is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older – content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older) by the ESRB, and follows the exact same storyline in an entirely different platforming adventure.

For more information on "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game, please go to http://www.TheAmazingSpiderManGame.com, and be sure to check out the game’s Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/TheAmazingSpiderManGame (Marvel)


Social Gaming Supplier of the year!...

NextGen Gaming, the independent game studio of the recently formed NYX Gaming Group incorporating NYX Interactive and NextGen Gaming, celebrate landmark eGR B2B Award.


London, May 21st, 2012:

NextGen Gaming is the proud recipient of the inaugural eGR Magazine B2B Award for Social Gaming Supplier of the Year, presented at a lavish dinner event at London’s Wembley Stadium on 10th May 2012. Now in their third year, the awards celebrate the best service providers and B2B operators in the online gaming industry.

The judges recognized NextGen’s unique fully hosted social gaming application which provides Operators with all the tools required to run and operate a play for fun slot site on Facebook, with the Operator managing their marketing. Debuting at the turn of 2012, NextGen have now licensed multiple applications including Trophy Slots, Slots Villa and Slots Point. NextGen’s Social application is fully graphically configurable and offers a swift route to market for any Operator keen to explore the Social space with the finest, mature and proven Slots available anywhere online, including hit titles such as Doctor Love, Mad Mad Monkey and 2012’s Merlin’s Millions Superbet. The platform includes full access to operational back office and reporting of KPI’s, full player data ownership, the lobby, games, integrated Facebook credits and key social features such as leaderboards, levels and badges, gifting, bragging; everything an Operator needs to go Social.

“I’m delighted the judging panel recognized the pioneering and unique product NextGen Gaming have presented to the market in offering the only B2B solution featuring real gamblers games within Facebook” said Sales Director David Johnson, who received the award on behalf of NextGen.

“We’re seeing Operators take the view that Social Media is a crucial marketing tool allowing them to get an in-depth understanding of their player behavior in preparation for specific market sectors opening, drive down CPA costs and to monetize their players outside of the Social environment. Only NextGen Gaming provide the opportunity for Operators to market the same premium Slots in both the Social and real money wagering world.”

Johnson continued ”The award justifies NextGen’s efforts at continuing to provide the best in Slots content via whichever medium our partners’ desire, with titles now available across the Social, Mobile, App Store, Online & land based markets. All delivery variants stay true to NextGen’s core of providing advanced Slots technologies such as true reel bounce, multiple feature sets and rich, bespoke sounds, which offer players true gaming excitement. We look forward to the release of further NextGen Gaming titles across all platforms in the coming months.”

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International box office: Madagascar 3 stays in top spot...

For the third straight week, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted remained No. 1 around the world, according to The Hollywood Reporter, drawing $30.1 million from 44 territories for a total of $365.9 million. The animated comedy features the voices of Ben Stiller (Meet The Fockers), Chris
Rock (Grown Ups), and Sacha Baron Cohen (The Dictator), as Alex, Marty and Melman trying to get home to New York via a circus.

At No. 2, Snow White And The Huntsman drew $22.6 million in 60 territories, with its strongest earnings coming from France, Japan and Australia. The action fantasy takeoff of the fairy tale, costarring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, has a total of $261.7 million worldwide.

In third place, Pixar's animated Brave, a family-friendly tale about a warrior princess, debuted in 10 markets to earn $13.5 million. In Russia it took 42 percent of the market with $5.6 million, it came in second in Australia with $3.6 million, and in China it took $2.2 million for 17 percent of the market, featuring the voices of Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson.

Ranking fourth is Ridley Scott's Prometheus, taking $12.7 million from 61 territories. The sci-fi/action film has grossed more than $577.3 per date on the foreign circuit.

Finishing fifth was Men In Black III, which grabbed another $10.5 million from 75 markets, with Japan in the lead. Director Barry Sonnenfeld's sci-fi 3D comedy costars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin.

Notable films include the No. 1 film in the UK, The Five-Year Engagement, the romantic comedy costarring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, which collected $1.8 million; the No. 2 film in Mexico, Tim Burton's Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp for $2.6 million, and The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen, which debuted in France, pulling in $1.9 million.

Due to the Euro Cup, attendance in theaters is soft across Europe, with the box office seeing between 45% and 70% decreases. The games head into the finals this week and another slow weekend is ahead.


Former AFL star Ben Cousins guilty plea...

Former AFL star Ben Cousins has been fined a total of $800 for drug possession.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty to three charges after one of the charges was downgraded from intent to sell or supply methamphetamine to simple possession.

Cousins was fined $500 plus $66 costs for possession of 4.56 grams methamphetamine.

He was also fined $150 each for possession of one gram of cannabis and a smoking implement.

Perth Magistrate Steven Heath took into account Cousins' early guilty plea and the fact he had no prior drug convictions.

This was despite the Brownlow medallist's very public battle with drug addiction over the years.

Cousins' lawyer, Michael Tudori, said the former West Coast Eagles premiership-winning captain had made 'a huge error in his judgment' and was 'remorseful and regretful' for his actions.

He said his client wanted to apologise to the court, the public and Teen Challenge, the drug rehabilitation clinic in the south coastal town of Esperance where he was arrested at the airport with 4.56g of methamphetamine on March 27.


News Corp Expected To Announce Split Plans On Thursday...

The News Corp board will meet tomorrow to discuss the plan to separate its TV and film operations from the print ones, with advice from Goldman Sachs and Blair Effron of Centerview Partners. Assuming there’s no last-minute hitch, the arrangement will be made public on Thursday. Then the waiting game begins; it could take as long as a year for the split to actually take place. The thinking is that News Corp investors would receive shares in a new entity housing the publishing and education assets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and book publisher Harper Collins. Rupert Murdoch would continue to control about 40% of the votes at both companies and serve on each board as chairman. Decisions regarding management have yet to be firmed up, but I hear that Murdoch likely would remain CEO of entertainment-focused News Corp while someone else would run day-to-day affairs at the print company. Possibilities for that job include Dow Jones Managing Editor Robert Thompson, Dow Jones CEO Lex Fenwick, and News International CEO Tom Mockridge.

Investors blessed the deal Monday, sending News Corp shares up 8.3% to $21.76. Fitch Ratings, a debt analysis firm, said that the split would “have no impact” on the company’s ‘BBB+’ rating with a Stable Outlook. Other analysts also applauded. Lazard Capital Markets’ Barton Crockett said that the two entities would have a combined value of $26 a share, up $2 from his current price target for News Corp. Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson says the two stocks would be worth “at least” $24, up from his present $23 target. But Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger stuck with his $22 target. Half of News Corp’s value comes from its cable networks and “Even in optimistic scenarios, which we question due to audience erosion at (Fox News Channel) and cost pressures at FX, this segment alone is not enough to power the stock to attractive upside.” (Deadline.com)



E3 download: Six gaming trends to expect over next six months...

Gamers play Alien’s Colonial Marines from Sega on the third day of the E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles. Credit: Frederic Brown / Getty Images

It’s game over for this year’s E3 but what’s the final score?

We put the question to Yves Guillemot, the chief executive of Ubisoft Entertainment, a French company he co-founded in 1986 and guided to its current ranking as the world’s third-largest game publisher (after Activision-Blizzard and Electronic Arts) with franchises such as “Assassin’s Creed,” “Rayman Raving Rabbids,” and “Splinter Cell.”

From his perch in Montreuil-sous-Bois, an eastern suburb of Paris, Guillemot has built a reputation as an astute trend-spotter who was nimble in capitalizing on the Wii and DS craze then heard a hit in the dance-game craze and delivered “Just Dance,” a franchise that has sold more than 28 million copies.

Here are six major trends that will affect the games players will see in the coming months.

1) THE SECOND SCREEN: “Video games played on home television sets will increasingly incorporate another mobile screen,” Guillemot said.

Nintendo’s Wii U console, scheduled to launch later this year, will have a tablet controller toward the end of this year. The 6.2-inch touch screen will be used to display game information that’s not on the big TV screen.

A good example is Ubisoft’s “Zombiu,” which uses the Wii U GamePad touch screen as a way for players to access their inventory and pick locks or to use as a motion detector or minimap. A reviewer from Kotaku went so far as to say, “It’s the game that made me finally see the potential of the Wii U’s special second screen.”

Microsoft, with its SmartGlass software, will make use of existing touch screen devices, including iPads and smartphones. Users who download an application on the devices can turn their tablets or cellphones into a game controller or a screen that can display “companion content” for other forms of entertainment. Think team stats during a live sports game, or actor bios during a movie.

Sony has similar plans for its PlayStation Vita handheld game console.

2) NON-STOP GAMING: “The game doesn’t stop,” Guillemot said. “You’ll be able to pick up the game continuously, anytime and on multiple devices.”

Game developers are creating game “experiences” that let players check into their game from their cellphones, tablets, Web browsers or consoles. Players can configure their teams on a tablet, buy new uniforms on a cellphone and play a match on a console or computer. Progress in the game is saved in the “cloud,” so players can pick up where they left off, regardless of which device they last used.

3) SOCIAL GAMING: It’s not just for Facebook anymore. Game developers and console companies are building plenty of social hooks into their products, Guillemot said. Nintendo on Sunday announced Miiverse, a social network for players of its Wii U console. The Sims City, coming out in February 2013, will let players affect the outcome of neighboring cities operated by friends. Cultivating a crime-ridden, smog-filled city, for example, will boost the crime and pollution in their friends’ cities. The franchise, which had always been single player, will let players form alliances and trade resources – much like real cities.

4) ASYNCHRONOUS MULTIPLAYER GAMING: Having a social experience is great. But not everyone has the luxury of being able to play together at the same time – so-called “appointment gaming,” where guilds get together at a specific time, for example, to stage a raid.

So developers are cooking up ways to get players to interact without having to pick up their controllers at the same time, Guillemot said. A player can leave messages or a challenge for another gamer to pick up when they log in. Or, to complete quests, they can send help requests that friends can respond to at a later time.

This is a common staple in Facebook games, where players check in for a few minutes at a time, often not at the same time. Now, that feature will be increasingly built into other types of games, Guillemot said.

5) COMPANION GAMING: No, that doesn’t mean a “Women of Warcraft” dating site. It’s a term that was thrown around in great profusion at E3 this year and it refers to developers creating “side content” for major franchises.

One example is “Ghost Recon: Commander,” a social game released on Facebook at the same time Ubisoft released ”Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.” Progress in the Facebook game helped players unlock new weapons in the main console game, for example.

Developers can also explore separate story lines, say of a minor character, in mobile versions. Or configure a football team on an iPad app that they can later use to play in the console game. The idea is to have players engage in the game wherever they happen to be.

“We want you to be able to play on any screen that’s nearest to you,” Guillemot said.

Of course, the “companion content” has to be appropriate for the device, he cautioned. It may not be ideal, for example, to be playing a full-featured console game on a cellphone.

6) FREE GAMES: Game publishers are increasingly enamored with so-called “freemium games” that give players a limited version of the game for free, but charge for extras.

For players, that can be both good and bad. The nice thing is that people can get a taste of a game before they decide to spend money on it. How many times have you paid $60 for a game, 0nly to discover that you hate it once you’ve had a chance to play it for 15 minutes?

The downside, of course, is that players can wind up spending a lot more than $60 over time — paying 99 cents for a power-up here, $2 for a weapon there, and so on. For some, the price tag can add up to hundreds of dollars. This is why Nintendo has refused to pursue this model, referring to it as a “gotcha” scheme for players.

That said, if players can exercise some self-restraint in clicking the in-game “buy” button, the good news is that there will be more choices available to players than ever before. (L.A Times)


ION Preps Weekly WWE Wrestling Show...

ION Television has teamed with WWE for a new weekly one-hour original series. WWE Main Event will debut October 3 and air on Wednesday nights at 8 PM. It will feature WWE stars from the rosters of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, including in-ring action and storylines.

The new show provides WWE with a show on a broadcast network for the first time since Friday Night SmackDown left MyNetworkTV in September 2010 and gives the wrestling federation weekly programs on Monday (Monday Night Raw on USA), Wednesday (WWE Main Event on ION) and Friday (Friday Night SmackDown on Syfy). “As a general entertainment network with a solid foundation, WWE Main Event is a great addition to our lineup that features something for everyone,” ION Media Networks CEO Brandon Burgess said.


Telstra accused of tracking Next G internet use...

Telstra has been accused of tracking the internet use of its Next G mobile phone users and sending their internet history to a company in the United States.

One of the telco's customers discovered that when he visited a website using his Next G network in Australia, a server in the United States would visit the same address almost instantly.

Telstra says it is collecting the information for use in a new internet filter product, but internet users are outraged and are demanding the Australian Privacy Commissioner investigate.

The tracking was confirmed by Mark Newton, who up until late last year was one of the longest serving technical engineers at Australian internet company Internode.

When he saw rumours on a network administrator email list that Telstra was sending the URLs from Next G internet use to a company overseas, he set up a test.

"In real time, information about the URL that I was visiting was being sent offshore so that that offshore data centre could then make that second request," he said.

"It means if you go to abc.net.au on your Next G internet connection, both Telstra and the US company knows about it."

Mr Newton says he had no idea such information was going offshore.

"Australians should know when their private data is collected, what that data is going to be used for and who it is going to be disclosed to," he said.

He says he has emailed Telstra, asking why it is sending internet address data to a third party.

"Privacy protections in the United States are very, very minimal. There are almost no controls at all on what an American company can do with private data that’s been gathered from consumers," he said.

Privacy concerns

Users on the Australian broadband forum Whirlpool also want to know why the information is being sent, who it is being sent to, and why they were not told about it.

No one at Telstra was available for an interview, but in a statement the company admitted it was sending data overseas.

Telstra said it was building a database for one of its new products which will allow parents to block their children from accessing certain websites.

It is working with US company Netsweeper, which is building the database for the filter.

Telstra says the product will be "opt in", but Mr Newton says its current data collection strategy is not.

"It's being collected and then sent to the US company without anyone being told about it. And I have a problem with that. And I think anyone who has concerns about privacy should also," he said.

Western Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says he has asked Telstra to provide more details.

"Any item that's out there on the web has to have its unique address or it can't be found. And I don't want to overstate or overplay this because at the moment it's just really quite ambiguous as to what’s even occurring," he said.

"But, potentially, profiles can be built of people out of the places that they go and the things that they look at online, or the people that they're in contact with. These things are possible. These are live debates." (ABC News)


Jobs purge at The Star casino...

The Star casino has shed up to 100 key management staff in the wake of the Sid Vaikunta scandal as it desperately seeks to rebuild its tattered reputation -- and there are threats of more to come.

Rocked by a string of lurid allegations, Echo Entertainment Group, which runs the casino, has shown at least 70 management staff the door in Sydney, along with a number of staff who perform various strategic roles across the gambling group also being made redundant. Former chief financial officer Murray McCall is the biggest head to roll in the mammoth shake-up.

Friends of Mr McCall, who was poached by The Star from New Zealand casino group SkyCity in 2009, said he was stunned by the decision, especially considering he took the reins of the casino as acting managing director following Mr Vaikunta's dismissal.

Mr Vaikunta was sacked on February 2 after allegations of sexual harassment made against him by two staff members. He denies the allegations.

It is understood The Star has reported Mr McCall's departure to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Tough rules governing the casino's licence mean the authority must be notified within two weeks if a "special employee" has their position terminated. "Since the departure of the former Managing Director (Mr Vaikunta), there is no suggestion The Star has not been fully compliant with notification requirements in relation to special employees ceasing to have functions," an ILGA spokesman said.

Other staff who have been let go include event manager Alexandra Bull, who had been with the casino since 1997, and events and tournaments manager, Darka de Vries.

Casino insiders have been told the cull, which began with six senior staff removed on the day the failed musical An Officer and a Gentleman premiered in May, has not finished.

One source said the redundancies have been carried out across the board: "No one is safe; whether you are in gaming or marketing, your head is on the chopping block."

The purge comes after months of bad publicity and declining profits at The Star. The casino has issued two profit warnings this month. Turnover for 2012 is expected to be as low as $270 million, down from $347 million in 2011.

Government relations manager Brad Schmitt, who confirmed the bloodletting, said the redundancies were part of a plan to streamline the business by removing the duplication of roles caused by the company's demerger from Tabcorp. He maintained the

redundancies were planned long before the profit warnings with "numbers built up for the relaunch of The Star and busy Christmas period".

He also denied suggestions his position was at risk as The Star looked to mend its fractured relationship with the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, telling The Sunday Telegraph he had just received a pay rise.

Mr O'Farrell's former chief advisor, Peter Grimshaw, was accused of running a personal vendetta against The Star. (The Daily Telegraph)


Russell Crowe to play Rupert Murdoch in film...

Russell Crowe is reportedly in line to play Rupert Murdoch in a film.

The 'Gladiator' star is tipped to take on the role of the media mogul in a movie based on 'Good Times, Bad Times', the memoirs of former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans.

A source told the Daily Star newspaper: ''You have to be brave to play someone like Murdoch. Russell can do it.''

Colin Firth is believed to be up for the role as Harold, but no deals are yet in place.

Leon Lecash, creative director of what's it all about?, which is making the movie said: ''The film will be a drama, either for the big screen or television. It is very early days as the option deal with Harry was only just completed.

''No actors or even writers have been signed up yet.''

The film will focus on then-Prime Minister Lady Margaret Thatcher's dealings with the Australian tycoon.

Evidence is said to suggest she manipulated rules to facilitate the deal for Murdoch to buy The Times newspaper in 1981 in return for favourable publicity for her party.

Leon added to the Evening Standard newspaper: ''Murdoch went to Chequers to talk about the deal, which was never brought to the attention of the Monopolies Commission.

''Harry had suspicions that some intimate contacts were taking place between Murdoch and Thatcher, with late-night whisky drinking in Downing Street when Murdoch was let in by the back door. This type of stuff came to light recently when Sir Bernard Ingham's notes were released under the 30-year rule. Much of what Harry wrote about Murdoch when they fell out in 1983 is so prescient he has said he didn't know whether to laugh or cry.''


Casino Hires Robert De Niro as Celebrity Flack...

You talkin' to me?

A casino in South Korea hopes you'll be listening!

The Paradise Walker-Hill Casino in Seoul, South Korea, has announced that it has hired actor Robert De Niro to serve as a paid celebrity spokesman for the casino.

The casino, which is South Korea's oldest and is open to foreigners only--meaning no South Koreans are allowed in--is located in the Sheraton Walker-Hill Hotel, a luxury hotel in Seoul that is popular with tourists and foreign business people.

Large ads featuring De Niro plugging the casino have already begun appearing at Seoul's airport and other locations frequented by tourists.

In addition, the casino announced, television commercials with De Niro promoting the casino were filmed in New York City last month.

The TV spots will not air in the USA.

One of De Niro's most famous movie roles was in the film "Casino," in which he played Ace Rothstein, a character based on real-life mob associate and Stardust Casino executive Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal.

De Niro, like many other American celebrities, does not appear in any commercials or ads in the USA, but does appear in foreign advertising.

Several celebs in recent years, however, have flacked for casinos that advertised in the USA.

Among them are singer Kenny Rogers, whose hit song "The Gambler" permanently linked him to the pastime in the eyes of the American public.

For years, he has shilled for the Barona Casino, an Indian casino near San Diego.

And former professional wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura served as a celebrity spokesman for Bet U.S., an online sportsbook and casino based in Costa Rica.

In addition, baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson once briefly served as a paid celeb shill for an online casino, until Major League Baseball told him to nix the deal or be banned from baseball. (www.gambling911.com)


Marvel Entertainment Movies: Amazing Spider-Man, Thor 2, The Avengers Et Al Boost Popularity Of Marvel Slot Games...

The Media Man agency reports that Marvel themed online slot games across the network, and featured at partner, PartyCasino.com , are boosting the popularity of the superhero themed online slot games. Bwin.Party currently offers The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, with more expected to soon hit the popular gaming and entertainment website destination.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Investors welcome shake-up of media companies; Australian TV Ratings...

Media, Entertainment, Gaming, Casino and Hollywood News Report: Marvel Entertainment, WWE, Movies, James Bond...

Promotion: PartyCasino.com Marvel Slots - New players get up to $3000 sign up bonus



Profiles

Casinos Casino Gambling Live Dealer Slots Marvel Entertainment WWE Wrestling Celebrities Movies Hollywood Entertainment Australian Casinos Media Man

Investors welcome shake-up of media companies...

Investors and analysts have welcomed moves by Australia's two largest print media companies to restructure in response to declining newspaper revenues, warning the industry's outlook would remain uncertain for years.

Staff at Fairfax Media and News Limited have been left reeling by the announcements, which are expected to result in substantial job losses at both companies, but investors believe that neither was left with much choice. (The Australian)


Australian TV...

Top Rating Shows Tuesday 19th June 2012


1. The Block (Nine) - 1.408 million
2. Packed To The Rafters (Seven) - 1.371 million
3. Seven News (Seven) - 1.329 million
4. Nine News (Nine) - 1.254 million
5. Today Tonight (Seven) - 1.184 million
6. The Big Bang Theory (Nine) - 1.165 million
7. A Current Affair (Nine) 1.129 million
8. MasterChef (Ten) - 1.036 million
9. Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms (Ten) - 1.026 million
10. Home And Away (Seven) - 922,000
11. The Big Bang Theory (Nine) - 875,000
12. Once Upon A Time (Seven) - 869,000
13. ABC News (ABC) - 827,000
14. Being Lara Bingle (Ten) - 782,000
15. Pictures of You (Seven) - 746,000
Source: OzTam Ratings


Crown bouncers did not tell police of 'shut down' death...

It was four hours after Anthony Dunning was taken to hospital after being crash-tackled by a Crown casino bouncer when security staff sat down to review the closed circuit television footage of the incident, a court heard today.

Crown security guard Noel Griffiths told the Melbourne Magistrates Court the debrief was held at 3am and a second review at 7am.

The court has been told no casino staff informed police about what had happened to Dunning because casino protocol is not to report any incident unless a patron has died.

Dunning, 40, died four days later.

Six security guards - Matthew Lawson, 27, Quoc Tran, 34, Benjamin Vigo, 24, Cameron Sanderson, 40, Nicholas Levchenko, 26, and Jacques Fucile, 30 - have been charged after Dunning's death.
Lawson has been charged with manslaughter while the other five face assault charges.

Mr Griffiths told the committal hearing today he had seen Dunning lying face down on the gaming room floor being restrained by Sanderson and Vigo just before 11pm on Sunday 3 July last year.
Dunning's friend, Olivia Ferguson, was upset and crying.

Ms Ferguson and Mathew Anderson had gone to the casino after a day at the football.
Dunning, 40, had been asked to leave the casino because he was drunk and his friends had followed him.

Prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, had earlier told the court that as Dunning was moving towards the exit, Tran can be seen on the CCTV footage saying something to Lawson.

Ms Ferguson believed it was something insulting towards Dunning, so she slapped him.

"He immediately grabbed her around the neck and slung her violently to the ground," Mr Tinney said.

Mr Griffiths told the court today he was not a fan of "putting females to the floor".

Asked if what happened to Ms Ferguson was in accordance with casino security training procedures, he said: "In a perfect world, no."

Mr Anderson was also thrown to the floor and allegedly held by the throat before Lawson tackled Dunning around the legs and waist.

Lawson then got on top of Dunning, straddling him, and placed his arms around Dunning's head and neck.

Another Crown security guard, Amy Tobiasz, said the usual procedure to put someone on the ground was to grab them by the arms, push them down on to their knees and then lower them on to the floor.

Dunning was later taken by ambulance to The Alfred hospital. He died in the intensive care unit four days later.

The hearing continues.


James Packer gives the nod to News's $2bn bid for Consolidated Media Holdings...

News Limited looks well positioned to push ahead with a $2 billion bid for James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings, after the competition regulator indicated it had an open mind on the deal and shareholders in Kerry Stokes's Seven Group questioned whether it had the balance sheet capacity to pull off a rival offer.

ConsMedia revealed yesterday that News had proposed to pay $3.50 a share in cash for the pay-TV holding company, which owns 50 per cent of Fox Sports Australia and 25 per cent of Foxtel, in a conditional, non-binding deal.


News Corp in $2 billion Australia pay-TV bid...

Packer cashes up

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp made a $2 billion takeover offer for Australia's Consolidated Media Holdings on Wednesday, boosting top shareholder and billionaire James Packer's warchest as he abandons media in favor of casinos.

Packer, who has built stakes in casinos in Australia, London, Macau and Las Vegas, indicated he would accept the offer in the absence of a higher bid for the pay-TV stakeholder, in which he holds 50.1 percent.


Comics film gives legend respect...

Many people put Marvel creator Stan Lee in the same ranks as Walt Disney and Jim Henson. This is exactly the reason William Lawrence Hess and Nikki Frakes decided to make a documentary about the comic book legend.

“When I met Stan, I began to realize how big the things he created and stories he told were,” Hess says during a recent phone interview. “I’m into history and with Stan, there’s a rich history in what he’s done. You can tell he’s one of the 20th-century creators that people look up to.”

The duo’s result was the documentary “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.” The film will screen at 9 tonight at the KiMo Theatre, 420 W. Central.

Lee will introduce the film and then sign autographs during the Albuquerque Comic Expo, which runs today through Sunday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The documentary took nearly four years to complete. Hess says production began at Comic Con in San Diego in July 2006.

“We shot about 40 hours of footage right before that,” he explains. “When the project was over, we had 480 hours of footage that we managed to fit into an hour and a half documentary.”

Hess says the editing was tiring, but what softened the blow of cutting so much content out was the ability to make bonus footage.

“Nikki worked really close with the editor in carving it down,” he says. “It was a big process to go through, but it worked out in our favor.”

Frakes says it was important to show the man behind the mask.

“He invited us into his house and we got to see what he’s like with his wife,” she says. “It was important that we captured that and tell the story of how he came to be this icon in the comic industry.”

The duo led a team that searched archives and interviewed people associated with Lee. One of the prized interviews was with “Captain America” co-creator Joe Simon, who died in December 2011.

“Joe was basically Stan’s boss six decades ago,” he says. “We wanted to get inside the inner workings of the comic book industry. There were plenty of heavy hitters that came along in the ’40s. This was a huge interview for us.”

Yet for both filmmakers, comics weren’t the first thing they read. Frakes didn’t read them, but says when she learned more about Lee’s story, she wanted to help tell it.

“A lot of people think that he’s an overnight success,” she says. “He’s overcome a lot in his life and managed to become this cultural icon. He’s worked hard to get to his status.”

Hess, who grew up in New Orleans, was introduced to “X-Men” comics and later the Saturday morning comics that Lee participated in.

“I can still hear him saying ‘Stay Tuned Because We’ll be Knee Deep in Danger’ before the commercial break,” he says. “I appreciate that he’s been able to make an impact like that on me.”


'Black Panther' movie rumour: Marvel Studios...

Entertainment Weekly’s inside sources at Marvel Studios advise the news report is no true, however studio representatives declined to comment on the hot rumour.

A news report from the movie website Latino Review by writer El Mayimbe stated Marvel Studios has committed to making one of its next projects a picture based on Black Panther, the leader of the fictional African nation and the character widely regarded as the first major black superhero.

Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney did not immediately comment on the rumor, which has circulated far and wide, causing a buz among comic book movie fans. But now inside sources at Marvel have told EW that it’s simply not true that Black Panther will be one of their next films.

Black Panther is not just a cool codename, it’s the title bestowed on the Wakandan king. In the comics, T’Challa, a Wakandan prince and warrior, passed the trials necessary to ascend to his nation’s throne, thus earning the mantle of Black Panther. Coincidentally, he also fell in love with Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. the weather-controlling Storm from X-Men, during his journeys, but don’t expect her to show up in any Marvel Studios film about him. She remains a part of X-Men mythology still owned by 20th Century Fox.

Black Panther first appeared in a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four, and the name only coincidentally mirrors that of the militant civil rights political party, created that same year. (He also fought as part of The Avengers, which could factor into any sequel for that blockbuster.)

If the look of the character recalls DC Comics’ Batman, the two characters actually have similarities beyond the costume. T’Challa’s superhuman powers are his acute senses of perception and strength, but he is also a brilliant scientist, and as heir to the throne of Wakanda he is every bit as wealthy as Bruce Wayne.

Wakanda was the site of an ancient meteor crash which scattered the element vibranium throughout the land. That fictional element, of course, is one of the rarest and strongest minerals on earth, and is used in the creation of Captain America’s shield. Black Panther’s prime nemesis is Ulysses Klaw, a physicist who murders T’Challa’s father to gain access to the precious vibranium deposits, which he uses to craft a weapon that can create solid objects out of sound waves.

Being the first mainstream black superhero, there were also political elements to Black Panther’s story. In the mid-1970s, comic book story arcs sent him to the American South, where he clashed with the Ku Klux Klan. Black Panther also ventured into an Apartheid-ruled South Africa depicted in the guise of a Marvel nation called Rudyarda.

The Black Panther script was revealed last January, with documentarian Mark Bailey (The Fence, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, and Pandemic: Facing AIDS) crafting the story — an unusual choice, but not if Marvel would like to add a dose of social commentary to the action hero’s story.

If Latino Review’s report proves to be true, the next big questions are who would star and who would direct.

In breaking the scoop, Mayimbe proposed Nate Parker, who got high marks from critics for Red Tails (even if the movie itself did not) and garnered lots of praise at Sundance for a powerful turn opposite Richard Gere in the Wall Street thriller Arbitrage.

Parker’s a solid choice, but The Wire‘s Idris Elba would also supply endless intensity for the character. Chiwetel Ejiofor has the kick-ass-professor vibe down, and Anthony Mackie, although a little slim physically, could build some muscle for the role. If we’re talking pure star power and charisma, Jamie Foxx could be a good choice, and will be riding high after Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained debuts this year.

Marvel Entertainment movie fans.. if the rumour turns out to be true it sure will be excelsior!


Chris Hemsworth talks ‘Thor 2,’ fighting Hulk, working with Anthony Hopkins...

From “Thor” to “Avengers” and back to “Thor 2,” Chris Hemsworth has made his mark on comic book movies. The Australian actor can now reflect on the projects and getting ready for the next chapter.

During an interview with Flicks and Bits, published on Monday, the “Snow White and the Huntsman” star recalled how director Kenneth Branagh made Thor and Asgard so related to the audience.

“He doesn’t earn his powers through the film, or begin as a normal man. Thor, he’s already a God. It’s quite the opposite, we have to break him down, build him back up. Kenneth Branagh just kept saying to me, “Lets make it truthful, lets make it real. It’s you talking to your brother or it’s you talking to your father, don’t try to play a God.“ The costumes, the sets, everything else around us did that for us. For us it was about simplifying it and humanizing it.”

Hemsworth confesses he hasn’t read the script for “Thor 2,” but offered his insight into what fans can expect.

“A lot of real locations, as opposed to green screen, a lot of great sets. I know that is certainly something they want to do with the sequel, ‘Thor 2.’ Make Asgard more liveable and more tangible.”

One of the highlights of “The Avengers” was the battle between Thor and Hulk. Hemsworth described the challenge of ‘pretending’ with the CGI Hulk.

“…they were like, “Throw yourself on the ground.” I was like, “I’m not doing too well in this fight!” (Laughs) It was rather painful, but then we have the nice big uppercut which I was thankful for. With that fight, a lot of the time it was me having to pretend….it was like being a kid in the backyard swinging a stick around.”

He added that he loved Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and Hulk.

“I loved what Mark Ruffallo did with The Hulk, he’s one of my favourite characters, watching what he did – and especially those sequences of Thor and Hulk fighting. Hulk backhanding Thor through the wall. Reading that, and on the page it said, “And Hulk smashes Thor and his big Norse face.” (Laughs).”

Anthony Hopkins will also return for “Thor 2” and the “Cabin in the Woods” star praised the legendary actor.

“He’s always been a big hero to me. With people like that you can’t help but absorb and learn from. There’s absolutely no ego with him, with him being someone everyone on set kind of wants to bow to (laughs). There was always advice if needed and there’s such appreciation for the business even how many films later, he’s been in the industry for this long, but he still loves making films. That’s infectious to be around.”

“Thor 2” will be second film in the new set of Marvel projects beginning next year. Hemsworth, Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba all return to lead the ensemble cast.

“Thor 2” opens on November 8, 2013.


Hugh Jackman to host free short film fest in NYC...

NEW YORK (AP) — Hugh Jackman wants anyone with a cell phone to get a chance to break in to show business.

The actor is hosting New York's first installment of Tropfest, billed as the world's largest short film festival. It's free and open to the public.

"Forget it, (if) you've got a mobile phone you can make a film, you can enter," Jackman said.

"It's a great way for me to support the arts and anybody who wants to can get involved."

A panel of celebrity judges including Rose Byrne, Judah Friedlander and Jennifer Westfeldt will pick best film, actor and actress on Saturday in Bryant Park.

The films showcased at Tropfest may be short (they must all be under seven minutes) but they've led to some impressive success stories. The idea for the FX series "Wilfred" starring Elijah Wood came from Tropfest. Sam Worthington of "Avatar" won Best Actor in 2000.

Jackman recently received a special Tony for his "contributions to the Broadway community" and "personal generosity of spirit." With Tropfest, he's reaching out to filmmakers.

"The movies are not judged on technical merit because that's one way to make film very elitist. It's not so much about that or the quality of the lens but more the strength of the idea and the concept," he said. "Previously it's people who may have been excluded or may not have the money but they have the talent and here they can show it."

The entries have been narrowed down to eight finalists — each required to have a Tropfest Signature Item. (The required item for New York's first Tropfest? A bagel.)

Tropfest, the brainchild of director John Polson, started 20 years ago in Australia and now draws more than 150,000 attendees each year. The winner for best film gets $20,000 from The Motion Picture Association and a week of meetings with studio execs, agents and managers.
Jackman says it's a no brainer for someone who wants to break into showbiz.

"When I first graduated from drama school I knew the statistics that 98 percent of actors were unemployed. I vowed to myself that every day I would do something for my career. I wasn't going to sit back. I was going to actively get out there and participate," he said. "Here is a way that anyone can contribute. There's no whining, 'But I'm a filmmaker it's so difficult, I can't get an agent.'" http://tropfest.com/ny/events/tropfest-ny


Another Hemsworth heads to Hollywood...

LOOK out world, the "other" Hemsworth is headed to Tinseltown.

Fresh from his turn as Shadow in Ten's Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms, the third (and oldest) Hemsworth brother, Luke, is preparing to give the acting business a serious tilt, telling Confidential he is about to head to Los Angeles where younger brothers Liam and Chris are currently dominating the film world.

But the 32-year-old father-of-three - who got his start on the kids series Saddle Club almost 10 years ago - is realistic about forging his own path.

"Do I have an unfair advantage? Uh, yes, no," he said with a laugh.

"We've all worked really, really hard.

"It does help. . . having two brothers in the industry already, to a degree. But you're still doing the same things. You're still learning lines and doing the same thing every day. Going to the same auditions as everyone else - you still have to get over the line yourself."

Even brother Chris admits it was Luke who entered the business first, with he and Liam following in his acting footsteps as Luke and wife Sam started a family.

"Luke was actually acting before both Liam and I," the Thor megastar told us on the red carpet of Tuesday night's premiere of his new flick Snow White and the Huntsman. "Then he went and did other things. But he's getting back into acting now - and it's great."

Luke has already signed with the same management as his brothers - ROAR in the US - and said that he was currently planning his trip across the pond.

"We will go there eventually," he said.

"But at the moment it's about the kids and family."


The Amazing Spider-Man Reviews Are In: Critics Praise Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone...

Relationship between the two is praised by experts...


The first reviews are in for 'The Amazing Spider-Man'... and they're mostly positive.

Critics have been complementary of the film's focus on the relationship between Andrew Garfield's titular lead and Emma Stone's female lead Gwen.

Leading British film mag Empire said: "Graced with great performances from Garfield and Stone, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' is a rare comic-book flick that is better at examining relationships than superheroism."

Total Film praised English actor Garfield, saying: "A young buck made testy by grief, a rebel without a comb, Garfield nails all bases here, star DNA aglow. Starey eyes melting, he's winningly earnest; lithe of physique, he delivers in the dust-ups; blithely gatecrashing Gwen Stacy's bedroom, he gives good dreamboat."

The Daily Telegraph had nice words for Stone, too. They wrote: "On paper Gwen might be the love interest, but in many ways she's the main character, giving us a human perspective on the superhuman drama."

The Evening Standard were less impress, but did not pin the blame on the leading man. "[Webb] dispenses with much of the character and sass that always made this character fun," they claimed.

"It's not Garfield's fault: he is a convincingly troubled, inarticulate Peter Parker, a springily athletic Spider-Man, and has awesome hair. His greatest enemy is the script. That, and the rather wearisome 3D."

'The Amazing Spider-Man' is released later this month and premiered in London last night.


Pro Wrestling News...

Wrestling companies square off in Nashville, USA court...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lawyers for World Wrestling Entertainment have told a Nashville judge the company has not and will not use confidential information from rival Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The pledge came during a hearing last week over a lawsuit TNA filed last month against pro wrestling giant - WWE, claiming WWE had obtained secret contract details in an attempt to poach TNA's wrestlers.

Attorneys for WWE told Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle that the company has not contacted any of TNA's contracted personnel. The attorneys also said WWE has returned the only copies of the confidential information to TNA.

Lyle dissolved a May 24 temporary restraining order against WWE that had prohibited it from using the information to solicit TNA wrestlers, but she made no ruling on the merits of the case. Another hearing will be July 12.

TNA, based in Nashville, claimed in the suit that WWE apparently had already tried to hire away veteran wrestler Ric Flair. According to the court record, WWE lawyers said the company "has no intention of doing so."

TNA alleged that one of its former employees, Brian Wittenstein, went to work for WWE and provided his new employer with contract details. WWE said he was fired when he gave them the information.

A TNA suit against Wittenstein is still pending.

Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for Connecticut-based WWE, said Tuesday the company will file clarifying details with the court. He said the latest order "speaks for itself."

Dixie Carter, president of TNA, said in a statement Tuesday that the company "will vigorously protect TNA and its brand from damage at the hands of any and all sources, no matter who is involved." TNA was founded by wrestler Jeff Jarrett.


WWE Legal Letter To TNA Legal Counsel...

WWE Attorney Jerry McDevitt recently sent a letter to TNA legal counsel Erika Blonquist. The letter was filed with the court last week and can be read below:

First, and as I advised you orally on the phone during our recent conference call, WWE has not solicited Ric Flair to leave TNA and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has made no offer to Flair and has no intention of doing so.

Second, as I also advised you, WWE has not solicited any other current TNA talent to repudiate their contracts and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has no interest in current TNA talent.


The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. UK To Air On FX...

TUF: Australia vs. UK broadcasts on FX in Australia this fall

"The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. U.K." will air on FX in Australia in the fall as the latest installment of the reality series from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

UFC officials announced the news yesterday.

Tryouts for the upcoming season of "TUF" are currently underway, featuring fighters from both Australia and England. The coaches for the season have not yet been named, though an official announcement is expected soon.

"We're excited to be part of the FX family in Australia," UFC managing director for international development Marshall Zelaznik stated. "When the first series of 'The Ulimate Fighter' debuted in the United States seven years ago, it brought in millions of new fans who tuned in each and every week to watch their favorite fighters. I have no doubt that 'The Smashes' will do the same in Australia."

"The Smashes" is the title given to this season, referencing a cricket rivalry ("The Ashes") between the two countries.

While the season will air in Australia, no plans have been announced for those hoping to view in the U.S. Fans could watch "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" online earlier this year as it was taping in Brazil, but the season did not broadcast on national television until FUEL TV began airing episodes just recently.

Are you ready? Are you ready? Let's get it on!


JR's Blog...

Wednesday Blog..Heyman..Lesnar..HHH..Grilling Perfect Burger..Kane..JR'S @ wweshop.com..FIRST TAKE
Wed, 06/20/2012 - 11:06am — J.R.


Happy that you stopped by our site and encourage you to tell friends about it. Our Twitter account is growing rapidly and we are at over 450,000 followers @JRsBBQ and I personally invite you to join us. WWEShop has restocked their JR's inventory at this link http://www.wweshop.com/Category/JimRoss. Random thoughts about to be served....

The Monday Night Raw from Nassau Coliseum was a hit in the TV ratings. The HHH/Heyman business along with the Cena/Big Johnny content at the end of the night were big winners.

As a fan, I thought the segment involving 'The Game' and Paul Heyman was the most compelling thing on Raw.

Heyman is a natural born antagonist and when he speaks he isn't 'acting' but simply being himself. I've personally been in too many non televised arguments with Paul to know of what I speak. Heyman has 'it' and always has plus it's obvious that the native New Yorker hasn't lost a step in his self imposed, long sabbatical from the biz over the past several years.

Paul Heyman is the best, antagonist, promo talent in WWE hands down.

A few weeks ago when HHH had his physical encounter with Brock Lesnar, I 'felt' that any bout between the two would be special. Specifically after the 'Cerebral Assassin' (Great handle...wonder where that came from?) fired up on Lesnar for a brief but impactful interlude of hammering right hands. That exchange struck a chord with me and flipped the switch for my motor to engage.

IF Lesnar vs. HHH happens at Summerslam, and I hope that it will, it will be a stellar attraction that will be fresh and not too likely to ever happen again. The bell to bell of this potential main event really has my interest and I'm intrigued to see how this matter plays out between now and August 19.

I'm hoping that WWE uses some of the classic moments of Money in the Bank to help promote the PPV that will be held in July in Phoenix. There are so many great moments in MITB that can be utilized to help sell the PPV. MITB has been a solid concept and really has been a star launcher to a large sense over the years.

Love how some in main stream sports love to knock the genre of sports entertainment yet shows like ESPN's 'First Take' is nothing more than an elongated, promo segment between a villain manager, Skip Bayless, and his 'arch rival,' Stephen A Smith. The role of Mean Gene is played by Jay Crawford. Don't take this as a diss of the show as I'm a regular viewer but main stream sports entities generally do all they can to distance themselves from 'pro wrestling' even though they use regularly elements from the business in this programming.

When I got the Atlanta Falcons gig in 1992 the local media had an outcry especially some columnists in the newspaper. How could a major, sports franchise hire, of all people, a WRESTLING GUY to be a part of their broadcast team?

Another prime example of prejudicial, elitist horse manure from those that look down upon my profession because of what? That it's show business with an athletic backdrop?

I'm a broadcaster and feel supremely confident, perhaps defiant, that I can broadcast any sport with ample time to prepare so that the specifics of the sport become second nature and I can allow my instincts and 'feel of the game' influence how I handle the presentation.

Back to RAW, it was another stellar night for the veteran Kane who has seemingly been reborn over the past several weeks with his physical involvement with WWE Champion CM Punk and Daniel Bryan notwithstanding the big Red Machine's soap opera entanglement with the controversial Diva A.J.

Kane's physical performances have been outstanding as it appears that Punk and Bryan bring out the best in the big man who has recently demonstrated amazing athleticism for a 300+ pounder.

Kane's on going relationship with A.J. has been an intriguing element on Raw that has my interest.

I'm still of the mindset that A.J. has developed a main event level persona in one of WWE's better creative presentations in quite some time.

Obviously, steps are being taken to make the tag team scene in WWE more meaningful but that still won't be good enough for some keyboard warriors who will continue to squeal ala Ned Beatty in 'Deliverance' or the proverbial pig stuck under a gate. It will take time to rebuild something with little, current equity but I'm of the mindset that it can and will be done but that it will not happen over night.

Before I forget, I made some guy food a few nights ago ala beans akin to what was consumed around the camp fire on the cult, film classic 'Blazing Saddles.' I promised the recipe so here it is:

1 can of pork 'n beans drained..put drained beans in a sauce pan on low heat...add JR's All Purpose Seasoning to taste..add chopped sweet or purple onion to taste..add squirt of honey..add JR's Original BBQ Sauce and Chipotle Ketchup as in a drizzle of each..add chopped bell pepper of your choice equal to the amount of onion that you use. Allow to simmer until done but it's better if there is still a little 'crunch' to the onion and bell peppers. It's a quick, easy, inexpensive and healthy dish that's a great tag team partner with grilled main eventers.

Great to hear the feedback from many fans who have never heard the late, Gordon Solie's work to any extent and who have heard him on the WWE Home video release 'Best of Clash of the Champions.' Working with my broadcasting idol on the Flair-Funk I Quit Match was a bucket list thing for me but discerning fans need to remember that it was during the later stages of Gordon's career and that he was doing color and not play by play which does make a difference as it relates to timing, etc. As good as Gordon Solie was that infamous night, his earlier work was that of legend and established that a pro wrestling announcer didn't have to be an over the top baffoon to get the job done. Gordon took his work seriously and treated the business as were a legit sport even though the genre has always been about entertainment featuring amazing athletes.

Mike Tyson being a playable character in WWE13 is a significant development for THQ and WWE. Iron Mike's involvement in the video game should be an outstanding, new, unique feature as the Attitude Era is represented strongly on this upcoming game that I assume will be released this fall perhaps in October.

Just asking but could the new RAW/Smackdown GM be announced at the premier of the weekly three hour Monday Night Raws, episode 1000, in St. Louis on July 23? This isn't a 'spoiler' even though some knuckleheads will think it's such but merely a question. Doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Antonio Cromartie, professional NFL player w/ the New York Jets and reproducer extraordinaire, has many children (12??) and baby mama. Many as in he could be consider the 'Father of our Country' many. Soucrces say that Cro has so many kids that it takes him three days to celebrate Dad's Day. Funniest segment on a past HBO 'Hard Knocks' one of my favorite TV shows, was when Cromartie was naming his children and their ages.

My @okctunder are gravely ill in their quest to win a NBA Title this year as they are down 3 games to 1 against the nWo like Miami Heat. I'd love for OKC to get one win in Miami to bring the series back to Oklahoma for the final two games to add some drama to the NBA Championship and give the local favorites a chance to make Sooner State history. I know the odds are long but as long as there is time on the clock, so to speak, I'm not abandoning my team.

Our potential business relationship with @americansoda in the UK is evolving and we may have some positive news on that matter soon as it relates to them distributing JR's products in that part of the world. Stay tuned over the next 4-6 weeks.

Burger tips for the grill or kitchen...an 80/20 blend of ground beef generally works best as it relates to the meat but that 's your call. I never buy hamburger patties pre made. I always buy bulk meat and make my own patties. Season to taste with JR's All Purpose Seasoning, add a little JR's BBQ Sauce, a few drops of your favorite liquid smoke (I generally use hickory or mesquite) and you can even add finely chopped onion if you choose to blend together to comprise a great burger pattie. If you can, let them sit in the 'fridge, covered, overnight or for as long as you are able IE make the burgers in the morning and grill them in the afternoon. Allowing the burgers to sit and marinate before grilling makes a HUGE difference. Grill over medium heat as to not overcook or cause flames. Sometimes I also add little pieces of cheese to the patties to cook inside them. Grilling is a great hobby and don't be afraid to experiment but always pay attention to what you're doing and don't constantly open your grill or flip your burgers numerous times. I generally turn mine once or twice at the very most.

JR's products are NOT available in any stores except Norman, Oklahoma Homeland stores and unfortunately we do not expect to be in retail stores any time soon. WWEShop has many packages featuring our products, some with personally signed swag, available online at http://www.wwweshop.com/Category/JimRoss.

Sad that some fans feel that any wrestling TV show can essentially solve all their ills simply by going to a TV14 rating and bringing back "blood." If these are young fans thinking this asinine theory, it makes one sort of wonder about the future.

Be Well everyone and come back to see us soon.

Boomer Sooner!

J.R.


James Bond turns 50...

James Bond turns 50 this year but you'd never know it by looking at him. Despite hundreds of skirmishes with the world's scariest villains, not to mention a diet heavy on shaken-not-stirred martinis, the man in the Aston Martin still cuts a dashing figure.

In October, it will have been five decades since 007 -- in the form of Sean Connery -- first sauntered onto movie screens in "Dr. No." And he's still going strong. The Bond movies are not only the longest continuously running series in cinema history but also the most successful, with more than $5 billion in box-office receipts. Take that, George Lucas.

Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play the world-saving spy, will step into Bond's shoes once again on Oct. 26 with "Skyfall," the 23rd film in the series. Also this October, MGM will celebrate 007's birthday with a 22-disc Blu-ray set that finally makes all of the movies available in high definition.

The movies, which will be presented in 35 mm prints, include "Goldfinger" (June 17), "GoldenEye" (June 26), "The Spy Who Loved Me" (July 2), "Dr. No" (July 10), "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (July 16), "Live and Let Die" (July 24) and "From Russia With Love" (July 30).

The Bond film franchise began in 1962 with "Dr. No." It was not only a worldwide smash but also turned out to be a big influence on popular culture. Think "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," "Our Man Flint," "Get Smart" and "Mission: Impossible."

So where did the idea come from? Ian Fleming, of course. A former journalist and British Naval intelligence officer, he conceived of the book series in 1952 while vacationing in Jamaica in a holiday home he called Goldeneye.

James Bond made his first appearance in "Casino Royale," which was published in 1953. Thirteen more Bond books by Fleming followed.

Since the release of "Dr. No," we have never gone more than five or six years without a new Bond flick. Connery played him five times 1962-1967 and then again in 1971 and 1983. In between, there was a one-off appearance by George Lazenby. In 1973, Roger Moore took over for seven outings.

Next came Timothy Dalton for two films beginning in 1987. Pierce Brosnan got the job in 1995 for four features. The latest Bond is Craig, who has played him in series re-boot "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace" and the upcoming "Skyfall."

Did we mention that Bond also enjoys a good game of poker and baccarat and often the stakes have been life or death. Would you like to play with Bond? That's what we thought.

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Packer likely to pour money into gaming...

James Packer may use money from selling his pay TV interests to make a takeover play for casinos operator Echo Entertainment Group or other plans in the gaming sector.

Media giant News Ltd on Wednesday made a $1.97 billion takeover bid for Mr Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings, which owns 25 per cent of pay TV service Foxtel and 50 per cent of Fox Sports.

Mr Packer is executive chairman of Cons Media's largest shareholder, Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), which holds a stake in Cons Media of just over 50 per cent.

The multi-billionaire, who is also chairman of casinos operator Crown Ltd, has been steadily dumping his media interests to focus on gaming.

But if Mr Packer pursues Echo, he will have to overcome regulatory limits on the amount of shares in Echo that any one shareholder is allowed to hold.

That limit is currently 10 per cent, which Packer's rival casino outfit Crown already holds.

Mr Packer said CPH considered News Ltd's offer price of $3.50 per Cons Media share to be fair and would support the proposal, which was subject to regulatory approvals, in the absence of a superior cash offer.

Fat Prophets analyst Greg Fraser said it appeared Mr Packer was looking to build up funds to make a bid for Echo.

"It does increase the speculation that once CPH is out of Cons Media that it is indeed building some sort of war chest," he said.

"Does that signal that he (Mr Packer) is confident that he will get that 10 per cent shareholder limit lifted?"

Mr Fraser said it was still to be made clear where another major shareholder in Echo, Asian gaming giant Genting, stood.

It appeared the two were aligned but that could not been taken for granted, he said.

City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said the News Ltd offer for Cons Media had come at a convenient time when Mr Packer was looking at recycling capital into higher-growth areas such as the casinos business, which were capital intensive.

Mr Stokes' Seven Group Holdings owns 24.4 per cent of Cons Media.

Seven said it would review the News Ltd proposal and was considering its options.

However, Mr Esho said he did not think Mr Packer would necessarily move to take over Echo.

He said that between them, Crown and Genting already held just under 20 per cent of Echo, which was enough to block a takeover by anybody else and still influence the Echo board.

It also gave them "skin in the game" to benefit from any business that Echo takes away from their own respective operations.

"And they don't have to pay any (takeover) premium, deal with regulators - go through all the headaches," Mr Esho said.

"Together, Genting and Crown have got what they want, so far out of Echo.

"So I think any cash will be recycled elsewhere, but that's just purely speculation."

Shares in Echo were four cents higher at $4.29 at 1500 AEST on Wednesday. (AAP)


Investors welcome shake-up of media companies...

Investors and analysts have welcomed moves by Australia's two largest print media companies to restructure in response to declining newspaper revenues, warning the industry's outlook would remain uncertain for years.

Staff at Fairfax Media and News Limited have been left reeling by the announcements, which are expected to result in substantial job losses at both companies, but investors believe that neither was left with much choice. (The Australian)


Australian TV...

Top Rating Shows Tuesday 19th June 2012


1. The Block (Nine) - 1.408 million
2. Packed To The Rafters (Seven) - 1.371 million
3. Seven News (Seven) - 1.329 million
4. Nine News (Nine) - 1.254 million
5. Today Tonight (Seven) - 1.184 million
6. The Big Bang Theory (Nine) - 1.165 million
7. A Current Affair (Nine) 1.129 million
8. MasterChef (Ten) - 1.036 million
9. Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms (Ten) - 1.026 million
10. Home And Away (Seven) - 922,000
11. The Big Bang Theory (Nine) - 875,000
12. Once Upon A Time (Seven) - 869,000
13. ABC News (ABC) - 827,000
14. Being Lara Bingle (Ten) - 782,000
15. Pictures of You (Seven) - 746,000
Source: OzTam Ratings


Crown bouncers did not tell police of 'shut down' death...

It was four hours after Anthony Dunning was taken to hospital after being crash-tackled by a Crown casino bouncer when security staff sat down to review the closed circuit television footage of the incident, a court heard today.

Crown security guard Noel Griffiths told the Melbourne Magistrates Court the debrief was held at 3am and a second review at 7am.

The court has been told no casino staff informed police about what had happened to Dunning because casino protocol is not to report any incident unless a patron has died.

Dunning, 40, died four days later.

Six security guards - Matthew Lawson, 27, Quoc Tran, 34, Benjamin Vigo, 24, Cameron Sanderson, 40, Nicholas Levchenko, 26, and Jacques Fucile, 30 - have been charged after Dunning's death.
Lawson has been charged with manslaughter while the other five face assault charges.

Mr Griffiths told the committal hearing today he had seen Dunning lying face down on the gaming room floor being restrained by Sanderson and Vigo just before 11pm on Sunday 3 July last year.
Dunning's friend, Olivia Ferguson, was upset and crying.

Ms Ferguson and Mathew Anderson had gone to the casino after a day at the football.
Dunning, 40, had been asked to leave the casino because he was drunk and his friends had followed him.

Prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, had earlier told the court that as Dunning was moving towards the exit, Tran can be seen on the CCTV footage saying something to Lawson.

Ms Ferguson believed it was something insulting towards Dunning, so she slapped him.

"He immediately grabbed her around the neck and slung her violently to the ground," Mr Tinney said.

Mr Griffiths told the court today he was not a fan of "putting females to the floor".

Asked if what happened to Ms Ferguson was in accordance with casino security training procedures, he said: "In a perfect world, no."

Mr Anderson was also thrown to the floor and allegedly held by the throat before Lawson tackled Dunning around the legs and waist.

Lawson then got on top of Dunning, straddling him, and placed his arms around Dunning's head and neck.

Another Crown security guard, Amy Tobiasz, said the usual procedure to put someone on the ground was to grab them by the arms, push them down on to their knees and then lower them on to the floor.

Dunning was later taken by ambulance to The Alfred hospital. He died in the intensive care unit four days later.

The hearing continues.


James Packer gives the nod to News's $2bn bid for Consolidated Media Holdings...

News Limited looks well positioned to push ahead with a $2 billion bid for James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings, after the competition regulator indicated it had an open mind on the deal and shareholders in Kerry Stokes's Seven Group questioned whether it had the balance sheet capacity to pull off a rival offer.

ConsMedia revealed yesterday that News had proposed to pay $3.50 a share in cash for the pay-TV holding company, which owns 50 per cent of Fox Sports Australia and 25 per cent of Foxtel, in a conditional, non-binding deal.


News Corp in $2 billion Australia pay-TV bid...

Packer cashes up

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp made a $2 billion takeover offer for Australia's Consolidated Media Holdings on Wednesday, boosting top shareholder and billionaire James Packer's warchest as he abandons media in favor of casinos.

Packer, who has built stakes in casinos in Australia, London, Macau and Las Vegas, indicated he would accept the offer in the absence of a higher bid for the pay-TV stakeholder, in which he holds 50.1 percent.


Comics film gives legend respect...

Many people put Marvel creator Stan Lee in the same ranks as Walt Disney and Jim Henson. This is exactly the reason William Lawrence Hess and Nikki Frakes decided to make a documentary about the comic book legend.

“When I met Stan, I began to realize how big the things he created and stories he told were,” Hess says during a recent phone interview. “I’m into history and with Stan, there’s a rich history in what he’s done. You can tell he’s one of the 20th-century creators that people look up to.”

The duo’s result was the documentary “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.” The film will screen at 9 tonight at the KiMo Theatre, 420 W. Central.

Lee will introduce the film and then sign autographs during the Albuquerque Comic Expo, which runs today through Sunday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The documentary took nearly four years to complete. Hess says production began at Comic Con in San Diego in July 2006.

“We shot about 40 hours of footage right before that,” he explains. “When the project was over, we had 480 hours of footage that we managed to fit into an hour and a half documentary.”

Hess says the editing was tiring, but what softened the blow of cutting so much content out was the ability to make bonus footage.

“Nikki worked really close with the editor in carving it down,” he says. “It was a big process to go through, but it worked out in our favor.”

Frakes says it was important to show the man behind the mask.

“He invited us into his house and we got to see what he’s like with his wife,” she says. “It was important that we captured that and tell the story of how he came to be this icon in the comic industry.”

The duo led a team that searched archives and interviewed people associated with Lee. One of the prized interviews was with “Captain America” co-creator Joe Simon, who died in December 2011.

“Joe was basically Stan’s boss six decades ago,” he says. “We wanted to get inside the inner workings of the comic book industry. There were plenty of heavy hitters that came along in the ’40s. This was a huge interview for us.”

Yet for both filmmakers, comics weren’t the first thing they read. Frakes didn’t read them, but says when she learned more about Lee’s story, she wanted to help tell it.

“A lot of people think that he’s an overnight success,” she says. “He’s overcome a lot in his life and managed to become this cultural icon. He’s worked hard to get to his status.”

Hess, who grew up in New Orleans, was introduced to “X-Men” comics and later the Saturday morning comics that Lee participated in.

“I can still hear him saying ‘Stay Tuned Because We’ll be Knee Deep in Danger’ before the commercial break,” he says. “I appreciate that he’s been able to make an impact like that on me.”


'Black Panther' movie rumour: Marvel Studios...

Entertainment Weekly’s inside sources at Marvel Studios advise the news report is no true, however studio representatives declined to comment on the hot rumour.

A news report from the movie website Latino Review by writer El Mayimbe stated Marvel Studios has committed to making one of its next projects a picture based on Black Panther, the leader of the fictional African nation and the character widely regarded as the first major black superhero.

Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney did not immediately comment on the rumor, which has circulated far and wide, causing a buz among comic book movie fans. But now inside sources at Marvel have told EW that it’s simply not true that Black Panther will be one of their next films.

Black Panther is not just a cool codename, it’s the title bestowed on the Wakandan king. In the comics, T’Challa, a Wakandan prince and warrior, passed the trials necessary to ascend to his nation’s throne, thus earning the mantle of Black Panther. Coincidentally, he also fell in love with Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. the weather-controlling Storm from X-Men, during his journeys, but don’t expect her to show up in any Marvel Studios film about him. She remains a part of X-Men mythology still owned by 20th Century Fox.

Black Panther first appeared in a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four, and the name only coincidentally mirrors that of the militant civil rights political party, created that same year. (He also fought as part of The Avengers, which could factor into any sequel for that blockbuster.)

If the look of the character recalls DC Comics’ Batman, the two characters actually have similarities beyond the costume. T’Challa’s superhuman powers are his acute senses of perception and strength, but he is also a brilliant scientist, and as heir to the throne of Wakanda he is every bit as wealthy as Bruce Wayne.

Wakanda was the site of an ancient meteor crash which scattered the element vibranium throughout the land. That fictional element, of course, is one of the rarest and strongest minerals on earth, and is used in the creation of Captain America’s shield. Black Panther’s prime nemesis is Ulysses Klaw, a physicist who murders T’Challa’s father to gain access to the precious vibranium deposits, which he uses to craft a weapon that can create solid objects out of sound waves.

Being the first mainstream black superhero, there were also political elements to Black Panther’s story. In the mid-1970s, comic book story arcs sent him to the American South, where he clashed with the Ku Klux Klan. Black Panther also ventured into an Apartheid-ruled South Africa depicted in the guise of a Marvel nation called Rudyarda.

The Black Panther script was revealed last January, with documentarian Mark Bailey (The Fence, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, and Pandemic: Facing AIDS) crafting the story — an unusual choice, but not if Marvel would like to add a dose of social commentary to the action hero’s story.

If Latino Review’s report proves to be true, the next big questions are who would star and who would direct.

In breaking the scoop, Mayimbe proposed Nate Parker, who got high marks from critics for Red Tails (even if the movie itself did not) and garnered lots of praise at Sundance for a powerful turn opposite Richard Gere in the Wall Street thriller Arbitrage.

Parker’s a solid choice, but The Wire‘s Idris Elba would also supply endless intensity for the character. Chiwetel Ejiofor has the kick-ass-professor vibe down, and Anthony Mackie, although a little slim physically, could build some muscle for the role. If we’re talking pure star power and charisma, Jamie Foxx could be a good choice, and will be riding high after Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained debuts this year.

Marvel Entertainment movie fans.. if the rumour turns out to be true it sure will be excelsior!


Chris Hemsworth talks ‘Thor 2,’ fighting Hulk, working with Anthony Hopkins...

From “Thor” to “Avengers” and back to “Thor 2,” Chris Hemsworth has made his mark on comic book movies. The Australian actor can now reflect on the projects and getting ready for the next chapter.

During an interview with Flicks and Bits, published on Monday, the “Snow White and the Huntsman” star recalled how director Kenneth Branagh made Thor and Asgard so related to the audience.

“He doesn’t earn his powers through the film, or begin as a normal man. Thor, he’s already a God. It’s quite the opposite, we have to break him down, build him back up. Kenneth Branagh just kept saying to me, “Lets make it truthful, lets make it real. It’s you talking to your brother or it’s you talking to your father, don’t try to play a God.“ The costumes, the sets, everything else around us did that for us. For us it was about simplifying it and humanizing it.”

Hemsworth confesses he hasn’t read the script for “Thor 2,” but offered his insight into what fans can expect.

“A lot of real locations, as opposed to green screen, a lot of great sets. I know that is certainly something they want to do with the sequel, ‘Thor 2.’ Make Asgard more liveable and more tangible.”

One of the highlights of “The Avengers” was the battle between Thor and Hulk. Hemsworth described the challenge of ‘pretending’ with the CGI Hulk.

“…they were like, “Throw yourself on the ground.” I was like, “I’m not doing too well in this fight!” (Laughs) It was rather painful, but then we have the nice big uppercut which I was thankful for. With that fight, a lot of the time it was me having to pretend….it was like being a kid in the backyard swinging a stick around.”

He added that he loved Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and Hulk.

“I loved what Mark Ruffallo did with The Hulk, he’s one of my favourite characters, watching what he did – and especially those sequences of Thor and Hulk fighting. Hulk backhanding Thor through the wall. Reading that, and on the page it said, “And Hulk smashes Thor and his big Norse face.” (Laughs).”

Anthony Hopkins will also return for “Thor 2” and the “Cabin in the Woods” star praised the legendary actor.

“He’s always been a big hero to me. With people like that you can’t help but absorb and learn from. There’s absolutely no ego with him, with him being someone everyone on set kind of wants to bow to (laughs). There was always advice if needed and there’s such appreciation for the business even how many films later, he’s been in the industry for this long, but he still loves making films. That’s infectious to be around.”

“Thor 2” will be second film in the new set of Marvel projects beginning next year. Hemsworth, Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba all return to lead the ensemble cast.

“Thor 2” opens on November 8, 2013.


Hugh Jackman to host free short film fest in NYC...

NEW YORK (AP) — Hugh Jackman wants anyone with a cell phone to get a chance to break in to show business.

The actor is hosting New York's first installment of Tropfest, billed as the world's largest short film festival. It's free and open to the public.

"Forget it, (if) you've got a mobile phone you can make a film, you can enter," Jackman said.

"It's a great way for me to support the arts and anybody who wants to can get involved."

A panel of celebrity judges including Rose Byrne, Judah Friedlander and Jennifer Westfeldt will pick best film, actor and actress on Saturday in Bryant Park.

The films showcased at Tropfest may be short (they must all be under seven minutes) but they've led to some impressive success stories. The idea for the FX series "Wilfred" starring Elijah Wood came from Tropfest. Sam Worthington of "Avatar" won Best Actor in 2000.

Jackman recently received a special Tony for his "contributions to the Broadway community" and "personal generosity of spirit." With Tropfest, he's reaching out to filmmakers.

"The movies are not judged on technical merit because that's one way to make film very elitist. It's not so much about that or the quality of the lens but more the strength of the idea and the concept," he said. "Previously it's people who may have been excluded or may not have the money but they have the talent and here they can show it."

The entries have been narrowed down to eight finalists — each required to have a Tropfest Signature Item. (The required item for New York's first Tropfest? A bagel.)

Tropfest, the brainchild of director John Polson, started 20 years ago in Australia and now draws more than 150,000 attendees each year. The winner for best film gets $20,000 from The Motion Picture Association and a week of meetings with studio execs, agents and managers.
Jackman says it's a no brainer for someone who wants to break into showbiz.

"When I first graduated from drama school I knew the statistics that 98 percent of actors were unemployed. I vowed to myself that every day I would do something for my career. I wasn't going to sit back. I was going to actively get out there and participate," he said. "Here is a way that anyone can contribute. There's no whining, 'But I'm a filmmaker it's so difficult, I can't get an agent.'" http://tropfest.com/ny/events/tropfest-ny


Another Hemsworth heads to Hollywood...

LOOK out world, the "other" Hemsworth is headed to Tinseltown.

Fresh from his turn as Shadow in Ten's Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms, the third (and oldest) Hemsworth brother, Luke, is preparing to give the acting business a serious tilt, telling Confidential he is about to head to Los Angeles where younger brothers Liam and Chris are currently dominating the film world.

But the 32-year-old father-of-three - who got his start on the kids series Saddle Club almost 10 years ago - is realistic about forging his own path.

"Do I have an unfair advantage? Uh, yes, no," he said with a laugh.

"We've all worked really, really hard.

"It does help. . . having two brothers in the industry already, to a degree. But you're still doing the same things. You're still learning lines and doing the same thing every day. Going to the same auditions as everyone else - you still have to get over the line yourself."

Even brother Chris admits it was Luke who entered the business first, with he and Liam following in his acting footsteps as Luke and wife Sam started a family.

"Luke was actually acting before both Liam and I," the Thor megastar told us on the red carpet of Tuesday night's premiere of his new flick Snow White and the Huntsman. "Then he went and did other things. But he's getting back into acting now - and it's great."

Luke has already signed with the same management as his brothers - ROAR in the US - and said that he was currently planning his trip across the pond.

"We will go there eventually," he said.

"But at the moment it's about the kids and family."


The Amazing Spider-Man Reviews Are In: Critics Praise Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone...

Relationship between the two is praised by experts...


The first reviews are in for 'The Amazing Spider-Man'... and they're mostly positive.

Critics have been complementary of the film's focus on the relationship between Andrew Garfield's titular lead and Emma Stone's female lead Gwen.

Leading British film mag Empire said: "Graced with great performances from Garfield and Stone, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' is a rare comic-book flick that is better at examining relationships than superheroism."

Total Film praised English actor Garfield, saying: "A young buck made testy by grief, a rebel without a comb, Garfield nails all bases here, star DNA aglow. Starey eyes melting, he's winningly earnest; lithe of physique, he delivers in the dust-ups; blithely gatecrashing Gwen Stacy's bedroom, he gives good dreamboat."

The Daily Telegraph had nice words for Stone, too. They wrote: "On paper Gwen might be the love interest, but in many ways she's the main character, giving us a human perspective on the superhuman drama."

The Evening Standard were less impress, but did not pin the blame on the leading man. "[Webb] dispenses with much of the character and sass that always made this character fun," they claimed.

"It's not Garfield's fault: he is a convincingly troubled, inarticulate Peter Parker, a springily athletic Spider-Man, and has awesome hair. His greatest enemy is the script. That, and the rather wearisome 3D."

'The Amazing Spider-Man' is released later this month and premiered in London last night.


Pro Wrestling News...

Wrestling companies square off in Nashville, USA court...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lawyers for World Wrestling Entertainment have told a Nashville judge the company has not and will not use confidential information from rival Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The pledge came during a hearing last week over a lawsuit TNA filed last month against pro wrestling giant - WWE, claiming WWE had obtained secret contract details in an attempt to poach TNA's wrestlers.

Attorneys for WWE told Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle that the company has not contacted any of TNA's contracted personnel. The attorneys also said WWE has returned the only copies of the confidential information to TNA.

Lyle dissolved a May 24 temporary restraining order against WWE that had prohibited it from using the information to solicit TNA wrestlers, but she made no ruling on the merits of the case. Another hearing will be July 12.

TNA, based in Nashville, claimed in the suit that WWE apparently had already tried to hire away veteran wrestler Ric Flair. According to the court record, WWE lawyers said the company "has no intention of doing so."

TNA alleged that one of its former employees, Brian Wittenstein, went to work for WWE and provided his new employer with contract details. WWE said he was fired when he gave them the information.

A TNA suit against Wittenstein is still pending.

Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for Connecticut-based WWE, said Tuesday the company will file clarifying details with the court. He said the latest order "speaks for itself."

Dixie Carter, president of TNA, said in a statement Tuesday that the company "will vigorously protect TNA and its brand from damage at the hands of any and all sources, no matter who is involved." TNA was founded by wrestler Jeff Jarrett.


WWE Legal Letter To TNA Legal Counsel...

WWE Attorney Jerry McDevitt recently sent a letter to TNA legal counsel Erika Blonquist. The letter was filed with the court last week and can be read below:

First, and as I advised you orally on the phone during our recent conference call, WWE has not solicited Ric Flair to leave TNA and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has made no offer to Flair and has no intention of doing so.

Second, as I also advised you, WWE has not solicited any other current TNA talent to repudiate their contracts and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has no interest in current TNA talent.


The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. UK To Air On FX...

TUF: Australia vs. UK broadcasts on FX in Australia this fall

"The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. U.K." will air on FX in Australia in the fall as the latest installment of the reality series from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

UFC officials announced the news yesterday.

Tryouts for the upcoming season of "TUF" are currently underway, featuring fighters from both Australia and England. The coaches for the season have not yet been named, though an official announcement is expected soon.

"We're excited to be part of the FX family in Australia," UFC managing director for international development Marshall Zelaznik stated. "When the first series of 'The Ulimate Fighter' debuted in the United States seven years ago, it brought in millions of new fans who tuned in each and every week to watch their favorite fighters. I have no doubt that 'The Smashes' will do the same in Australia."

"The Smashes" is the title given to this season, referencing a cricket rivalry ("The Ashes") between the two countries.

While the season will air in Australia, no plans have been announced for those hoping to view in the U.S. Fans could watch "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" online earlier this year as it was taping in Brazil, but the season did not broadcast on national television until FUEL TV began airing episodes just recently.

Are you ready? Are you ready? Let's get it on!


JR's Blog...

Wednesday Blog..Heyman..Lesnar..HHH..Grilling Perfect Burger..Kane..JR'S @ wweshop.com..FIRST TAKE
Wed, 06/20/2012 - 11:06am — J.R.


Happy that you stopped by our site and encourage you to tell friends about it. Our Twitter account is growing rapidly and we are at over 450,000 followers @JRsBBQ and I personally invite you to join us. WWEShop has restocked their JR's inventory at this link http://www.wweshop.com/Category/JimRoss. Random thoughts about to be served....

The Monday Night Raw from Nassau Coliseum was a hit in the TV ratings. The HHH/Heyman business along with the Cena/Big Johnny content at the end of the night were big winners.

As a fan, I thought the segment involving 'The Game' and Paul Heyman was the most compelling thing on Raw.

Heyman is a natural born antagonist and when he speaks he isn't 'acting' but simply being himself. I've personally been in too many non televised arguments with Paul to know of what I speak. Heyman has 'it' and always has plus it's obvious that the native New Yorker hasn't lost a step in his self imposed, long sabbatical from the biz over the past several years.

Paul Heyman is the best, antagonist, promo talent in WWE hands down.

A few weeks ago when HHH had his physical encounter with Brock Lesnar, I 'felt' that any bout between the two would be special. Specifically after the 'Cerebral Assassin' (Great handle...wonder where that came from?) fired up on Lesnar for a brief but impactful interlude of hammering right hands. That exchange struck a chord with me and flipped the switch for my motor to engage.

IF Lesnar vs. HHH happens at Summerslam, and I hope that it will, it will be a stellar attraction that will be fresh and not too likely to ever happen again. The bell to bell of this potential main event really has my interest and I'm intrigued to see how this matter plays out between now and August 19.

I'm hoping that WWE uses some of the classic moments of Money in the Bank to help promote the PPV that will be held in July in Phoenix. There are so many great moments in MITB that can be utilized to help sell the PPV. MITB has been a solid concept and really has been a star launcher to a large sense over the years.

Love how some in main stream sports love to knock the genre of sports entertainment yet shows like ESPN's 'First Take' is nothing more than an elongated, promo segment between a villain manager, Skip Bayless, and his 'arch rival,' Stephen A Smith. The role of Mean Gene is played by Jay Crawford. Don't take this as a diss of the show as I'm a regular viewer but main stream sports entities generally do all they can to distance themselves from 'pro wrestling' even though they use regularly elements from the business in this programming.

When I got the Atlanta Falcons gig in 1992 the local media had an outcry especially some columnists in the newspaper. How could a major, sports franchise hire, of all people, a WRESTLING GUY to be a part of their broadcast team?

Another prime example of prejudicial, elitist horse manure from those that look down upon my profession because of what? That it's show business with an athletic backdrop?

I'm a broadcaster and feel supremely confident, perhaps defiant, that I can broadcast any sport with ample time to prepare so that the specifics of the sport become second nature and I can allow my instincts and 'feel of the game' influence how I handle the presentation.

Back to RAW, it was another stellar night for the veteran Kane who has seemingly been reborn over the past several weeks with his physical involvement with WWE Champion CM Punk and Daniel Bryan notwithstanding the big Red Machine's soap opera entanglement with the controversial Diva A.J.

Kane's physical performances have been outstanding as it appears that Punk and Bryan bring out the best in the big man who has recently demonstrated amazing athleticism for a 300+ pounder.

Kane's on going relationship with A.J. has been an intriguing element on Raw that has my interest.

I'm still of the mindset that A.J. has developed a main event level persona in one of WWE's better creative presentations in quite some time.

Obviously, steps are being taken to make the tag team scene in WWE more meaningful but that still won't be good enough for some keyboard warriors who will continue to squeal ala Ned Beatty in 'Deliverance' or the proverbial pig stuck under a gate. It will take time to rebuild something with little, current equity but I'm of the mindset that it can and will be done but that it will not happen over night.

Before I forget, I made some guy food a few nights ago ala beans akin to what was consumed around the camp fire on the cult, film classic 'Blazing Saddles.' I promised the recipe so here it is:

1 can of pork 'n beans drained..put drained beans in a sauce pan on low heat...add JR's All Purpose Seasoning to taste..add chopped sweet or purple onion to taste..add squirt of honey..add JR's Original BBQ Sauce and Chipotle Ketchup as in a drizzle of each..add chopped bell pepper of your choice equal to the amount of onion that you use. Allow to simmer until done but it's better if there is still a little 'crunch' to the onion and bell peppers. It's a quick, easy, inexpensive and healthy dish that's a great tag team partner with grilled main eventers.

Great to hear the feedback from many fans who have never heard the late, Gordon Solie's work to any extent and who have heard him on the WWE Home video release 'Best of Clash of the Champions.' Working with my broadcasting idol on the Flair-Funk I Quit Match was a bucket list thing for me but discerning fans need to remember that it was during the later stages of Gordon's career and that he was doing color and not play by play which does make a difference as it relates to timing, etc. As good as Gordon Solie was that infamous night, his earlier work was that of legend and established that a pro wrestling announcer didn't have to be an over the top baffoon to get the job done. Gordon took his work seriously and treated the business as were a legit sport even though the genre has always been about entertainment featuring amazing athletes.

Mike Tyson being a playable character in WWE13 is a significant development for THQ and WWE. Iron Mike's involvement in the video game should be an outstanding, new, unique feature as the Attitude Era is represented strongly on this upcoming game that I assume will be released this fall perhaps in October.

Just asking but could the new RAW/Smackdown GM be announced at the premier of the weekly three hour Monday Night Raws, episode 1000, in St. Louis on July 23? This isn't a 'spoiler' even though some knuckleheads will think it's such but merely a question. Doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Antonio Cromartie, professional NFL player w/ the New York Jets and reproducer extraordinaire, has many children (12??) and baby mama. Many as in he could be consider the 'Father of our Country' many. Soucrces say that Cro has so many kids that it takes him three days to celebrate Dad's Day. Funniest segment on a past HBO 'Hard Knocks' one of my favorite TV shows, was when Cromartie was naming his children and their ages.

My @okctunder are gravely ill in their quest to win a NBA Title this year as they are down 3 games to 1 against the nWo like Miami Heat. I'd love for OKC to get one win in Miami to bring the series back to Oklahoma for the final two games to add some drama to the NBA Championship and give the local favorites a chance to make Sooner State history. I know the odds are long but as long as there is time on the clock, so to speak, I'm not abandoning my team.

Our potential business relationship with @americansoda in the UK is evolving and we may have some positive news on that matter soon as it relates to them distributing JR's products in that part of the world. Stay tuned over the next 4-6 weeks.

Burger tips for the grill or kitchen...an 80/20 blend of ground beef generally works best as it relates to the meat but that 's your call. I never buy hamburger patties pre made. I always buy bulk meat and make my own patties. Season to taste with JR's All Purpose Seasoning, add a little JR's BBQ Sauce, a few drops of your favorite liquid smoke (I generally use hickory or mesquite) and you can even add finely chopped onion if you choose to blend together to comprise a great burger pattie. If you can, let them sit in the 'fridge, covered, overnight or for as long as you are able IE make the burgers in the morning and grill them in the afternoon. Allowing the burgers to sit and marinate before grilling makes a HUGE difference. Grill over medium heat as to not overcook or cause flames. Sometimes I also add little pieces of cheese to the patties to cook inside them. Grilling is a great hobby and don't be afraid to experiment but always pay attention to what you're doing and don't constantly open your grill or flip your burgers numerous times. I generally turn mine once or twice at the very most.

JR's products are NOT available in any stores except Norman, Oklahoma Homeland stores and unfortunately we do not expect to be in retail stores any time soon. WWEShop has many packages featuring our products, some with personally signed swag, available online at http://www.wwweshop.com/Category/JimRoss.

Sad that some fans feel that any wrestling TV show can essentially solve all their ills simply by going to a TV14 rating and bringing back "blood." If these are young fans thinking this asinine theory, it makes one sort of wonder about the future.

Be Well everyone and come back to see us soon.

Boomer Sooner!

J.R.


James Bond turns 50...

James Bond turns 50 this year but you'd never know it by looking at him. Despite hundreds of skirmishes with the world's scariest villains, not to mention a diet heavy on shaken-not-stirred martinis, the man in the Aston Martin still cuts a dashing figure.

In October, it will have been five decades since 007 -- in the form of Sean Connery -- first sauntered onto movie screens in "Dr. No." And he's still going strong. The Bond movies are not only the longest continuously running series in cinema history but also the most successful, with more than $5 billion in box-office receipts. Take that, George Lucas.

Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play the world-saving spy, will step into Bond's shoes once again on Oct. 26 with "Skyfall," the 23rd film in the series. Also this October, MGM will celebrate 007's birthday with a 22-disc Blu-ray set that finally makes all of the movies available in high definition.

The movies, which will be presented in 35 mm prints, include "Goldfinger" (June 17), "GoldenEye" (June 26), "The Spy Who Loved Me" (July 2), "Dr. No" (July 10), "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (July 16), "Live and Let Die" (July 24) and "From Russia With Love" (July 30).

The Bond film franchise began in 1962 with "Dr. No." It was not only a worldwide smash but also turned out to be a big influence on popular culture. Think "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," "Our Man Flint," "Get Smart" and "Mission: Impossible."

So where did the idea come from? Ian Fleming, of course. A former journalist and British Naval intelligence officer, he conceived of the book series in 1952 while vacationing in Jamaica in a holiday home he called Goldeneye.

James Bond made his first appearance in "Casino Royale," which was published in 1953. Thirteen more Bond books by Fleming followed.

Since the release of "Dr. No," we have never gone more than five or six years without a new Bond flick. Connery played him five times 1962-1967 and then again in 1971 and 1983. In between, there was a one-off appearance by George Lazenby. In 1973, Roger Moore took over for seven outings.

Next came Timothy Dalton for two films beginning in 1987. Pierce Brosnan got the job in 1995 for four features. The latest Bond is Craig, who has played him in series re-boot "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace" and the upcoming "Skyfall."

Did we mention that Bond also enjoys a good game of poker and baccarat and often the stakes have been life or death. Would you like to play with Bond? That's what we thought.

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