Archive for July, 2013

'Dome' vs. 'H50' on Mondays: Is it all about the storylines?

July 30th, 2013

“Under the Dome,” CBS’ top summer replacement hit, has been green-lighted for a second season return next year.

If you’ve been watching  the drama, adapted from a Stephen King best-seller, you know it occupies the 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Mainland) slot on Monday nights. It’s the former puka occupied by “Hawaii Five-0,” which has been shuffled to 8 p.m. (9 p.m.) Fridays, where it will be anchored this fall.

So: Was it the bland, sometimes convoluted  storylines of “Five-0,”  that kept viewers away, to trigger the vacancy and the ultimate relocation?

It’s part of the TV game, where iffy shows can be moved by the network, to make way for a trial run by another show.

This has been the case for “Dome,” which has accumulated a robust following, in the very space and time where “Five-0’s” had been struggling.

“Dome,” however, will remain a summer series, with a 13-show arc airing in the summer of 2014, which suggests that this is prime summertime fare.

Of course, the mounting tension and the sci-fi element of a town suddenly isolated by a phenom — a hardtop that prevents insiders to move out, and outsiders to move in — is the stuff of King’s sense of drama and fantasy.

“Dome” has behind-the-scenes pedigree, too, since it's a project of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, CBS Television Studios and DreamWorks Television. That’s a solid block of creative talent behind the episodic cliff-hanger, where anything and everythingimgresunder-the-dome1 becomes possible.

“Dome” has emerged as the Eye Network’s most watched summer show since 2000’s “Big Brother” and is the top-rated new show since 2005’s “Fire Me Please.” The show is averaging 13.84 million viewers and a 3.5 rating among the desired adults in the 18 to 49 age range. When DVR numbers are factored, “Dome” jumps to 16.7 million total viewers and a 4.3 demo, a formidable record.

It doesn’t hurt, too, that CBS has shown reruns on Sundays.

“Dome’s” acting ensemble includes Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”), Natalie Martinez (“CSI: New York”), Britt Robertson (“Life Unexpected”), Rachelle Lefevre (“Twilight”) and Mike Vogel (“Bates Motel”).

Bradley Cooper here to start filming Cameron Crowe's 'Deep Tiki'

July 29th, 2013

Actor Bradley Cooper of “The Hangover” fame is in Hawaii with model-girlfriend Suki Waterhouse to begin filming Cameron Crowe’s set-in-the-islands “Deep Tiki” film.

Cooper, 38, who is the 2011 People magazine “Sexiest Man Alive,” arrived in Honolulu on Thursday, according to the Daily Mail.

The Canadian actor was been snuggling with Waterhouse, 20, a Londoner, for about six months. They met at the Elle Style Awards earlier in the year.

“Deep Tiki” has been a secretive project for Crowe, a writer-director known for such popular films as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Almost Famous,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Jerry McGuire,” “Elizabethtown,” so specifics on his latest project are scanty. For several years, the upcoming movie was dubbed “Untitled Cameron Crowe Project” because he’s been mum about its content.

Cooper apparently plays a military contract dispatched to Hawaii to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite.

The movie also features Danny McBride, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams.

Official start-of-shooting details, nor locations, have not been released.

Below,  actor Bradley Cooper,  and writer-director Cameron Crowe.


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'Five-0' facing new battle—about rights, not ratings

July 16th, 2013

Remember producer and talent agent George Litto?

He had been a fierce advocate to reboot “Hawaii Five-0” as a TV series or a film.

imgresGeorge Litto, left, is challenging "Five-0."

He also had represented “Five-0” creator Leonard Freeman during the initial run of the Jack Lord version of the CBS hit show, which ran from 1968 to 1980. One deal entitled Freeman to 50 per cent of the show’s profits, with Litto receiving 10 per cent.

After Leonard Freeman died in 1974, his widow, Rose Freeman, sought an amendment in the profit-sharing of the show.

Now Litto will be in the limelight as an old battle about rights and ownership of “Five-0” is challenged again in court. This might become the toughest off-screen drama the show faces during its fourth season filming. The show also has been challenged to come up with scripts and stories that would improve its faltering ratings and a new Friday (instead of Monday) timeslot, so new writers have been hired.

Litto filed a suit against CBS in January, 2013, alleging he was cut out from participating in the Alex O’Loughlin reboot, but the network prevailed.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, L.A. Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon has reconsidered the earlier ruling and decided to reverse course sua sponte, Latin for his own will.

Thus, CBS now faces a possible trial in January that  could reduce the profits for the network and perhaps enable Litto to collect millions in damages.

For decades, Freeman’s estate and CBS have huddled and argued about rights to and control of the “Five-0” franchise.

Rose Freeman and Litto had united to combat CBS for more than a decade, before the reboot was finalized. When the network decided to jumpstart the new “Five-0” in 2010, it apparently finalized a deal with Rose Freeman without Litto’s assent, reducing her backend profits to 10 per cent and eliminated the no-production-average accounting, according to the trade publication. In exchange, CBS boosted the upfront episodic fee to $30,000 per episode. She died on March 4, 2012.

Litto’s attorney, Henry Gradstein, has tried for months to get the judge to reconsider and rehear the case. The challenge has gained momentum this month.

When the reboot was in preproduction phase, Rose Freeman’s lawyer Michael Plonsker, questioned that a deal with her camp had not been made and returned a $250,000 advance check that CBS had sent; he also declared, months before the show premiered, that if the show was produced, the network would be committing copyright infringement.

Litto had been perceived as a third-party beneficiary by CBS and he is challenging the network that it proceeded to do the reboot knowing Litto had rights as a party with the Freeman camp.

The show apparently faces no threat of cancellation. If Litto prevails, the network would have to adjust payment of fees — less up front and more I backend fees, a move that judge Alarcon accepts.

CBS has not commented on this development.

Catingub uncorks his Hawaii Pops to suit a wide palate of taste

July 15th, 2013

Maestro Matt Catingub will launch the premiere season of Hawaii Pops, the state’s first independent pop music agenda, Sept. 24 at the Hawaii Convention Center Ballroom.  The season of Orchestra Series luminaries will be uncorked with country singer Jo Dee Messina and wind up in the spring with the jazz of Al Jarreau.


In-between, there will be a parade of music-makers to suit a wide palate of pop tastes.

Further, a related “Live at Lewers” series will assemble three shows in an intimate setting at the Halekulani featuring the likes of singer Jack Jones and local favorite Robert Cazimero.

Matt Catingub, left, is maestro of the Hawaii Pops

“This is an exciting season, showcasing award-winning artists an a varety of music styles,” said Catingub in a statement. “There’s something for everyone, and each concert is an event.”

The full slate of orchestral dinner-dance-concerts, most on Saturdays with one Sunday date, begins at 8 p.m.:

imgres-1Jo Dee Messina, left, kicks off the Hawaii Pops

• Sept. 14 — Jo Dee Messina, country music sensation, in the premiere dinner-dance-concert event.

• Oct. 20 — “The Songs of Bond...James Bond,” a themed dinner-dance-concert, featuring Sheena Easton with appearances by guest artists including Nathan Aweau and Cathy Foy. The Hawaii International Film Festival is participating; hence, the movie focus.

• Dec. 21 — A holiday event, featuring singer Amy Hanaiali’i and the Diamond Head Theatre Shooting Stars, with special appearances by Jim Nabors and Emma Veary, two beloved Island favorites.

• Jan. 25 — The Music and Artists of Hawaii, with award-winning singer and kumu hula Keali’i Reichel.

• March 15 — “Driven to Dance,” with pop icon Taylor Dayne, in an evening of high-energy vibes.

imgres-2Al Jarreau, left, performs in the Pops finale.

• May 31 — The season’s finale, with jazz legend Al Jarreau.

The smaller Lewers Lounge sessions will be held on select Fridays and Saturdays, with sets at 8 and 10 p.m., at the Halekulani:

• Nov. 15 and 16 — Jack Jones, “the singer’s singer.”

• Feb. 21 and 22 — Robert Cazimero and the Great American Songbook.

• April 8 and 19 — Tierney Sutton, jazz songstress.

Catingub is a prolific composer-musician-maestro who previously was pops conductor of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and has been an advocate of live concerts and a booster of Island talent over the decades he has conducted in Honolulu.

The orchestra series will feature theater-style seating at tables of 10, and cocktail tables of six, with prices at $35 for individual theater seating, $60 at a cocktail table, and $75 per person at tables of 10.  Table purchases are $750 for 10, $360 for cocktail tables for six.

Admission for the Lewers series will not be announced till Sept. 1.

Reservations: or Honolulu Box Office at, or by phone at 550-8457.

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Lucky you live Hawaii: Good advice for 'Five-0' crew

July 11th, 2013’ “Hawaii Five-0” has landed at the Hawaii  Film Studios, on the slopes of Diamond Head, where it will occupy studio space for the next season. Or longer, if the pick-up gods are in favor.

Daniel Dae Kim, center, owns property in Hawaii; Scott Caan, left, and Alex O'Loughlin, right,  don't.

The site once was home of the original Jack Lord “Five-0” filming headquarters.

And that’s good news.

That prime location had been occupied by ABC since the early and prolonged success of “Lost.” Subsequent ABC shows have not fared as well, so the studio and sound stages were vacated and became available for “Five-0” executive producer Peter Lenkov and his stable of actors, led by Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett).

Now, hopefully, some of the magic dust that blessed the prototype production will fall upon the team of actors, writers, directors, producers and techies involved in the reboot.

For “Five-0,” it’s season four — and a new night, Friday, for the viewership.

The new show has stuck to tradition, offering Hawaii fans the first peek of each season’s opener, so this year’s preview will be on Sept. 26 at a “Sunset on the Beach” launch, a night before the official season lift-off, Sept. 27.

It’s been a challenging and tough three years to get to No. 4. Prime achievement: Landing that TNT syndication deal, which finally begins in 2014. Major goal now:  Rebuild the viewership, reexamine the story arcs, restore the faith that greeted the show in season one.

In media accounts welcoming back the show this year, some valid and pertinent questions have not been asked. Maybe they were, but the queries were dodged.  Coverage mostly has been about welcoming ’em back.

So let me pose some. I’ve been told by knowledgeable sources that show creators view me as a foe, not a friend. For the record, I long have favored and applauded the efforts of TV and film projects that land on our shores, from the first “Five-0” produced entirely in Hawaii to everything that followed, including “Lost,” CBS’ “Magnum P.I.” and “Jake and the Fatman,” and nearly everything else that has come down the pike, from “Baywatch” to “Island Sons.”

But I have been particularly critical in this blog, offering friendly (not fiendly) observations, on how to make our local favorite more local and welcoming. In case you hadn’t noticed, season three, in particular, has been dangerous and perilous, with the quality and vision of the detective-in-paradise storytelling becoming limp and lacking.

The media cheerleaders avoid the inevitable in their coverage — the sagging ratings, the inferior scripts, the questionable story arcs, the confusing back stories — elements that have saddled “Five-0.”

While one interviewer (Billy V., on KINE  and Hawaii News Now ) this week asked producer Lenkov why he doesn’t live here (the answer was it’s too expensive), most others don’t ask what inquiring minds want to know: why don’t more actors become one of us, by investing in property, spending spare time amid the populace, showing they care about and love the islands, spend their leisure time at places we do.

For the record: Billy V. is hired by CBS to emcee the season’s beachfront launch, and has been an on-camera actor, so he may be a skosh leary of asking the obvious which might be deemed offensive.

Immersion, however, enhances credibility and boosts sincerity. It’s part of the unwritten acceptance policy. Live and love where you work and the rest follows.

It’s laudable that a few actors like Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly)  and his “Lost” cohort, Josh Holloway, bought property here. In recent times, most of the cast(s) live in rentals or hotels and disappear and head home (Australia, Canada, Los Angeles) during brief hiatus. There’s not a lot of bonding in our island lifestyle.

In comparison, during the original “Five-0” era, which ran from 1968 to 1980, all the major cast members — Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong and Zulu called Hawaii home, with Zulu and Fong (Kam Fong Chun was his full name) bona fide residents hurled into national stardom.

Ditto, Tom Selleck and Larry Manetti of “Magnum,” Richard Chamberlain of “Island Sons,” and so on. These are credentials of loyalty you can’t buy; you earn a reputation by your action and behavior. These actors all frequented restaurants and supermarkets we did; you’d see them at local visiting shows and occasional movies, and they were, in many instances, a part of the fabric of the community.

We know what happened when Scott Caan (Danny Williams) denounced Hawaii living this past season. So we know (despite the apology) his heart and soul aren’t here. Why hate the hand that feeds you?

With three seasons down and a fourth in production, wouldn’t you think that more of the “Five-0” crew might take the cue from the likes of  Kim to settle down here and hope for four more seasons of filming?  That would be the start of restoring some of the chasm that seems to exist? The way you glide from malihini to kamaaina begins with actually living here.

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