Archive for March, 2013

CBS renews 'Five-0' for fourth year, fueled by TNT syndication deal

March 27th, 2013

Not surprisingly, CBS today (March 27) announced a bunch of season pick-ups for “Hawaii Five-0” and six other dramas, plus two comedies, three reality programs and two newsmagazine shows.
Even with disappointing ratings (“Hawaii Five-0” was No. 3, behind NBC’s “Revolution” and ABC’s “Castle” this past Monday), the Hawaii-filmed series will be back for season four, presumably to build up a catalog of shows for the 2010 TNT syndication deal that was earlier signed.
In the final Monday Nielsens, “Revolution” — returning after a hiatus — topped the key demos with 2.6, with 7.03 million viewers, followed by a demo tie of 2.1 shared by “Castle” (with 10.57 million viewers) and “Five-0” (8.61 viewers).
“Five-0” will go into repeats the next two weeks, with five more new episodes in season three, and while fans may cheer and applaud the homegrown favorite, the ratings/numbers must have producers and network execs in a quandary. What to do, with such tepid response, week after week? The show indeed faces challenges to deliver, the sooner the better.
Surely, the Eye Network has been somewhat cockeyed about the pickups. It needs “Five-0,” which is struggling under the 10 million viewers level each week and wavering in the 18 to 49 demographics, for the syndication agreement, but it rightfully extended the runs of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Person of Interest,” “Elementary,” “The Mentalist,” “Blue Bloods” and “The Good Wife” on the drama agenda. Yes, “NCIS,” the nation’s No. 1 drama, earlier was extended for another year, too.
The two comedies returning: “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike and Molly,” which join “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Band Theory” which earlier earned hearty approval.
Also returning: reality shows “The Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” and “Undercover Boss.” Plus news shows “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours,” both no-brainer renewals.
But on the comedy front, “Two and a Half Men” still is on the fence for its 11th season, but it likely will be green-lighted.
“CSI: New York” and “Rules of Engagement” are still awaiting pick-ups, along with “Golden Boy” (new this year) and “Vegas.” “CSI: NY” has lost viewers and ranking; “Vegas” is expensive to produce; and “Rules” has failed to rule, in demos and in viewership.
So here's a shout-out to “Five-0” for the pickup, but there’s precious little to cheer about — unless McGarrett and Company can clean house (dispose of unnecessary secondary characters), refocus (with tighter, brighter scripts and reclaim and polish the “Five-0” brand) and reemerge as a contender for the 2013-14 season.
We’ll be there. Aloha.

Disney's 'Lion King' will roar again, for 8-weeks beginning Jan. 14

March 26th, 2013


Disney’s “The Lion King” is set to roar again in an eight-week run beginning next Jan. 14 at Blaisdell Concert Hall. Disney Theatricals officials and local leaders anticipate that Hawaii’s aloha for the iconic show will resonate again, meaning potential box office gold.
When the Tony Award-winning musical played an unprecedented 13-week run in the fall-winter of 2007, it attracted an audience of 180,000, generating $45 million in expenditures for every $1 spent here.
State and city leaders envision that the shorter run will still attract 120,000 with new and repeat customers and spending will reach $30 million in the same multiplying formula, making it a win-win for the producers and the locals.
“We really did make history,” said Jack Lucas, president of West Coast Entertainment, which partnered with Disney Theatricals in the Mouse House’s first theatrical venture in the 50th state. “All hands within the (Disney) room said yeah,” when the gross and attendance records were broken for the first visit.
So the partnership will continue in 2014, when “The Lion King” will occupy Blaisdell Concert Hall from Jan. 14 through March 9.
Ticket specifics are not yet announced, though group ticket sales will begin Thursday (March 28) via the Hawaii Opera Theatre box office. Those buying in groups of 10 or more will be offered first dibs on seats, down from groups of 20 in the first go-round. To order tickets at 10 per cent off single prices, call 593-9468.
Single ticket sales will begin this summer, but a date has not yet been set.
Now with “Lion King 2.0” looming, Mayor Kirk Caldwell anticipates another round of success. In addressing media and industry officials and workers, gathered with Gov. Neil Abercrombie at Washington Place, Caldwell embraced the musical’s “Circle of Life” theme song to punctuate our aloha state’s and the show’s differences that bonds the show with the residents. “It’s our differences that pull us together — we need each other to do well,” he said, embracing one of the underlying themes of the musical based on the animated film, where cultures clash, but togetherness ultimately unites.
“The Lion King,” often called the World’s No. 1 musical with 10 production companies touring worldwide, is one of two Disney endeavors on Broadway at the moment, with the closure earlier this month of “Mary Poppins,” which is on a national tour. “Newsies” is the other red-hot Disney hit at the moment — a good bet for a future Honolulu visit.
“The Lion King” now in its 16th year on the Great White Way and is the fifth longest-running musical on Broadway, following “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” “Chicago” and “Les Miserables.” In its 11th year of touring companies, 66 million have taken in the show, which currently is in residency at the Minskoff Theatre in New York.
The show earned six Tonys in 1998, including Best Musical, along with eight Drama Desk Awards in 1998 and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album in 1999.
Disney looked to Hawaii as a potential marketplace, after the initial TV and subsequent film success of the animated “Lilo & Stitch” show set in Hawaii and embracing Lilo’s “ohana means family — and family means no one gets left behind” concept in the early 2000s, where an alien (Stitch) should not feel excluded from an island family (Lilo).
To further emphasize the point, Jack Eldon, vice president of touring productions for Disney Theatricals, and Scott Hemerling, national press representative of Disney Theatricals, brought along “Lion King” ohana to perform — Syndee Winters, who is Nala, and Nteliseng Nkhela, who is Rafiki, who performed one of the tunes in the mega-musical, “Shadowlands,” which is about doing what is right for the family.
For John Fuhrman, events and services manager of Blaisdell, doing right for the “Lion King” will be to remove seats again, to create left and right aisles for the majestic animal arrival opening scene of the musical. “We’ll have to take out a couple of hundred seats,” said Fuhrman, which creates the pivotal attention-getting access to elephants and giraffes and other puppets created by director Julie Taymor, to assemble for the grand parade to the stage, just like in New York. The sound track features music by Elton John, Tim Rice and Lebo M and hits include “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” and “Hakuna Makata.”
Director Taylor also created and conceived puppets and masks, as well as costumes.
In its bid to support local families, the show’s opening night Jan. 14 will be expressly for Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii and military personnel and their families, with special $25 admission, said Lucas.
Can you feel the love a-building again?

Playing Jan. 14 through March 9
Blaisdell Concert Hall
Group sales (10 or more) begin Thursday (March 28) via the Hawaii Opera Theatre box office
Call 593-9468
Single ticket sales details will be announced later

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Some things stupid on the latest 'Hawaii Five-0'

March 26th, 2013


“This is so stupid,” Danno tells McGarrett, while having one of those quibbling bromantic carguments in the final moments of “Hawaii Five-0” Monday night (March 25).
The banter, however, was not in their Chevy, but in a chopper emblazoned with Kamekona’s mug and piloted by, yes, Kamekona. The shrimp wagon has gone airborne!
How stupid was that?
With his stupid comment, Danno Williams (Scott Caan) might have been critiquing the filmed-in-the-islands CBS episode, themed “Hoa Pili (Close Friends),” which had a lot to roll your eyes about and little finesse in execution.
Really, can Kamekona (Taylor Wily) easily secure a license to fly? C’mon ... a shrimp truck on terra firma is his gig. (Even stupider than making Michelle Borth a roller derby jammer, as in last week's episode).
No wonder Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) had a quizzical look throughout the wobbly episode. There was a dead shark, a dead body in the submerged shark cage, a boat torched by an arsonist, a torched home, a dysfunctional brotherly relationship, a questionable and unnecessary return of Leilani (Lindsay Price), the soul Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) once rescued (she gives him her phone number here, suggesting a “Call Me Maybe” incidence in the future). And whoa — communal acts of kindness (suspects and victims and the “Five-0” team united in kokua) to cap the curious episode?
Not all was bad; “Five-0” projects the best aerials week after week; Haleiwa and the North Shore looked exceptionally beautiful. And McG had a terrific kick-butt encounter, chasing and fighting, and knocking down barrels to halt a baddie.
But alas, two other carguments with Danno (yawn) ... Enough, already.
And what up with the closing tribute to “Magnum P.I.”? Mentions of TC and Rick and the bad theme-song rendering by the chopper passengers, including Dr. Max Bergman (Masi Oka)? Only thing missing were a Tom Selleck mustache and his classic aloha shirt. A strange homage that further reflects the lack of control or imagination by the writers; does “Five-0” aspire to be the updater of Hawaii-filmed shows and characters? Puzzling and shameful.
And did you catch the “Hal Lewis” name on a license midway through the episode; oops, a real-life person (the late radio deejay J. Akuhead Pupule) unintentionally resurrected?
With such an all-over-the-map and random perspective, no wonder “Five-0” wound up second to ABC’s “Castle,” which dealt with a murder with the victim winding up in an industrial cake mixer, with NBC’s back-from-the-hiatus “Revolution” in third place — with a stunning midseason premiere including the unexpected death of a regular — an indication that it’s ready to do battle and become a threat in the weeks ahead.
The Fast National overnight numbers (live and same-day DVR viewing) at 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Mainland):
ABC: "Castle" (10.7 million viewers, 6.8/11 18-to-49 demos and share).
CBS: "Hawaii Five-0" (8.2 million viewers, 5.2/8).
NBC: "Revolution" (7.25 million viewers, 4.3/7).
“Castle” also was the 18-49 leader in the hour, with a 2.7.



............................................. 18-49 demos...Share...Viewers (millions)
NBC's Revolution............ 2.6 ......... 7 .......... 7.03

ABC's Castle.................. 2.1 ......... 6 ......... 10.57

CBS's Hawaii Five-O........ 2.1 ......... 5 ......... 8.61

Besides the return of NBC’s “Revolution,” the evening included the relaunch of “The Voice” on NBC and the continuing saga of non-star “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC — all worthy lead-in shows for the hour. CBS’ slate of Monday comedies all featured new episodes — should have been a positive lead-in for “Five-0.”
Prediction: Though “Five-0” and CBS have a deal for syndication with TNT next year, the imminent issue is: Will the show now be struggling to maintain No. 2 in the time slot, or slip further into the No. 3 slot when “Revolution” finds its legs and make a bid to out-do No. 1 “Castle”? Could happen.
What’s your take?

Is 'Five-0' going to the dogs? Ratings suggest yes

March 19th, 2013


Dog Chapman makes an appearance on "Hawaii Five-0."

It couldn’t have been the worst combination of elements on Monday’s (March 18) episode of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.”
Consider the collision of forces that, gulp, sent Steve McGarrett & Company on a downward glide by Nielsen’s night's end:
First, Mama McG Doris — played by Christine Lahti — returned for yet more puzzling screen time and friction with McG, enacted, of course, by Alex O’Loughlin. What up here? Isn’t she moving on, to play the captain of the “Beverly Hills Cops” that CBS is rebooting, with Eddie Murphy?
Second, there was the peculiar but happily brief reality-show arrival of Dog Chapman and family, playing themselves (who else would portray ‘em?) and, yes, out on a chase. Who let the Dog in?
Third, roller derby — which may be on a slight uptick amid audience interest, but come on, that’s a flash from the past — with Catherine (Michelle Borth), dispatched to do undercover work? Where is the love she’s supposed to have with McG?
Kinda makes you wonder if “Five-0” wants to be “the biggest loser” of the Monday night derby.
The ratings said it all: ABC’s “Castle” was No. 1 at 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Mainland), with 11.2 million viewers and a 7.1/12 ranking for the 18 to 49 demographics, followed by “Five-0” with 8.75 million and a 5.6/9 demo, and NBC’s finale of “Deception” in third with 3.6 million and a 2.3/4 demo. “Castle” was the 18-49 leader with a 2.2.
These preliminary figures include the overnight tally plus same-day DVR viewing.
“Castle” posted its best audience of the season, fueled by the spring return of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” which woefully lacks real stars, don't you think? And whoa, the notable absence of the fabulous Maks (Maksim Chmerkovskiy) this year — he opted to skip “DWTS” this year, not surprisingly. Maybe "Five-0" can offer him a Dog-like cameo, in a dancing show.
On “Five-0,” there was the bounty hunter, in a curious encounter with McG.
“First time you beat us to a crime scene; what’s up, Dog?” McG asked.
“Hey Steve McGarrett. How ya doing?,” said Dog. “I was wondering when we’d run into ‘Five-0.’”
We were wondering why, why, why?
Was this a promo for the Dog’s upcoming CMT reality return next month in “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt”?
Since the episode was called “Na Ki’I (The Dolls),” the skating wahine took centerstage, the team included some real-life jammers and blockers with the Leahi Diamond Dolls. More molls than dolls, don’tcha think?
Anyway, the intrigue was the death of one of the skating dolls.
The big concern for “Five-0” and even “Castle” will be the return of season two of “Revolution” next Monday (March 15) on NBC. The episode, entitled “The Stand,” begins where season one ended: a chopper rises from afar, chasing the gang as bullets start flying; the targets run for shelter in a building, but the chopper fires away and the whole shebang goes up in fire and smoke. Whew!
There’s an intensity building on Monday night; maybe a new ratings war. And survival and longevity are at stake. With the shaky, disappointing performance and ratings of “Five-0” this year, I would hope that some kind of fierce defense and retort are being readied for the battle ahead.

'In the Heights' blends rap with barrio rhythms

March 7th, 2013

Here’s a theater tip — secure tickets for Saint Louis Center for the Arts’ Hawaii premiere of “In the Heights,” directed by Kyle Kakuno and choreographed by Ramon Del Barrio playing this and next weekend (through March16) at Mamiya Theatre. You won't regret it.
High schoolers are in the cast, and they bring terrific voices and awesome salsa moves to the inspiring Tony-winning endeavor about family, neighborhood, culture and the zeal to succeed.
Oh, and this one adds hip-hop and rap — along with rich textures of Latin and salsa. In short, this is a street party with a lot to applaud.
The central character is Usnavi (the source of the name is the US Navy, so watch for its telling), who operates a bodega in a Washington Heights barrio in New York City facing redevelopment.
Usnavi dispenses coffee along with wisdom, leadership and chatter, serving as kind of a junior mayor, as introduces and exposes the nature of life in the tenements and sidewalks of the barrio.
Call him the voice of the immigrants, set to the intoxicating rhythms of Latino culture in the Broadway template.
The Usnavi role, created and originally enacted by composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, requires a charismatic figure who can quickly establish audience contact in this mulit-cultural soap opera. (He and his show won Tony awards in 2008).
As Usnavi, Patrick O’Toole is spot-on. He’s a helluva rapper who sets the tone and temperament of community pride; he leaves most of the heavy-duty singing to the rest of the cast. And his rap in the show’s opening title song handily defines and introduces the character and community where there is a lot of stress amid a mounting mess.
His loyalty and respect for his abuela (grandmother) Claudia (Monalyn Aparra) is shared by the residents, and we learn a lot about him and his character.
He has a crush on Vanessa (Kaena Kekoa), who works in a beauty parlor, and she dreams of excaping the confines of the barrio — much like the Jeffersons of the old TV series, did — movin’ on up from the ’hood.
The underlying message of the show is that hope and goals can be achieved; the quest for making the impossible is possible. In this case, exiting the barrio is a recurring dream; a return to the Dominican Republic, where opportunity and satisfaction await, is the destination. Or the Bronx of the Village.
There are everyday folks, with mundane issues: Nina (Kiloni Ramo), a neighborhood girl who returns from Sanford to her barrio community, albeit with some new challenges; her romantic ties to a non-Latino, Benny (Poasa Aga), who works for her parents Kevin and Camila, (Kai Hohman and Malia Lane), who operate a gypsy cab company; Sonny (Brian Jay Regala), Usnavi’s cousin who constantly gives him tips on how to woo his secret love; Daniela (Kiana Lum), a beauty parlor owner forced out of the barrio and heading to the Bronx because of expected redevelopment; Piraguero, the piragua guy, who operates a shave-ice type cart.
Miranda’s score is abundant and awesome, which includes power ballads as well as the raps, and the Latino tempos engage a lot of full-cast dancing. Indeed, the footwork and zest here are as spectacular as the gym dancing by the feuding families in the classic “West Side Story,” which, of course, similarly explored the vagaries and challenges of community loyalties.
Kudos director Kakuno and choreographer Del Barrio, who ignite the actors and dancers and elevate the high-water mark of student-cast musicals at Mamiya Theatre. You may not sing or hum the tunes from “In the Heights” as you exit the theater, but you certainly will buzz about the level of professionalism and the element of accomplishment in the team effort, both off and on stage.

When: 7:30 p.m. March 7, 8 and 9, 2 p.m. March 10, and 7:30 p.m. March 14, 15 and 16
Where: Mamiya Theatre, Saint Louis School
Tickets: $22 adults, $18 students, seniors and military, at 739-4896,

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