Monday, July 13, 2009

An I Screen news round-up

Now, usually, I don't post tidbits of TV news mainly because a) with rare exceptions, they're boring and b) by the time I post them, they're often old news. But today, a couple of interesting releases came across my desk, and they were intriguing enough that I felt the need to share them with you.
Let's start with the least surprising and work our way up:
NPH hosts Emmys: In the day's biggest example of "Well, duh!" news, CBS announced that Neil Patrick Harris will host the 61st Annual Primetime Emmys. Though I don't really watch Harris's sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," I do find him to be an engaging presence on talk shows, and he did do a good job hosting the Tonys (or so I heard. Someone who goes to the theater as seldom as I do has no business watching the Tonys. It would just be a perverse charade). Thus, Harris was kind of a natural for the Emmys, which could use someone of his natural wit and charm to spruce them up. The show airs Sept. 20. Nominations come out on Thursday.
FX gets animated: Now this is interesting. The basic cable network FX announced today that it would debut a new animated comedy, tentatively titled "Archer," in the fall. The show centers on the misadventures of a group of spies. Though it's done well with dramas, FX has a spotty track record with comedy, with "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" its only real score in the category. But FX's freewheeling sensibility is a good fit for animated comedy. The show comes from creator Adam Reed ("Frisky Dingo") and features the voices of, among others, Jessica Walter and Aisha Tyler. The 2-minute clip provided to press by FX was rough, but promising. So, fingers crossed.
Um, ok: Look, this next bit of news is so odd, I'm just going to paste in the press release. Enjoy.

“The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D on ICE”


Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” “30 Days”) is set to produce and direct The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D on Ice airing Thursday, January 14 on FOX. The documentary special will be the momentous conclusion to the “Best. 20 Years. Ever.,” a year-long global celebration of THE SIMPSONS that launched in January 2009 and culminates on the 20th anniversary of the series’ debut.

In The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D on Ice, Spurlock will examine the cultural phenomenon of THE SIMPSONS in his distinctive and innovative style. The special will document how the world sees THE SIMPSONS and how the Simpson family has seen the world for two decades.

“When they first called me about this, I thought it was a prank and I hung up,” said Spurlock. “And then my agent called back and said, ‘No, no, this is for real,’ at which point I fainted. Then when I woke up, I called everyone I knew because it was the coolest thing I could ever get to do in my career.”

Morgan Spurlock has built a career that spans film, television and web programming. His first feature-length documentary, “Super Size Me,” won the Documentary Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and was nominated for an Academy Award the following year. In 2005, Spurlock formed his Manhattan-based film, television and web production company, Warrior Poets, which is devoted to making socially significant and simultaneously entertaining work. Warrior Poets has produced the feature documentaries “The Third Wave,” “What Would Jesus Buy?” and “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?”

Now the longest-running comedy in television history, THE SIMPSONS immediately struck a chord with viewers across the country as it poked fun at itself and everything in its wake. With its subversive humor and delightful wit, the series has made an indelible imprint on American pop culture, and the family members have become television icons.

THE SIMPSONS is a Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean are the executive producers. Film Roman is the animation house.

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