December 9, 2011 |
Israel's hottest new TV show may be making many viewers feel guilty. But they can't stop watching it. It's a "Real Housewives" reality-based knockoff about six rich, materialistic women bouncing from personal training sessions in their mansions to Botox appointments to champagne-fueled shopping binges, dishing dirt about one another and generally reveling in their own fabulousness. Hardly scandalous stuff to American TV viewers. But in the land of the kibbutz - a nation founded on egalitarian ideals, where lawmakers still wear jeans in the Knesset, or parliament, and the flaunting of wealth was once considered taboo - this unapologetic celebration of the lifestyles of the rich and Israeli is hitting a raw nerve.
October 25, 2011 |
McDonald's McRib is back. The barbecue sauce-slathered, tangy pork sandwich that launched more fan sites than many rock stars has once again started showing up in McDonald's restaurants nationwide. The last time the McRib made a limited-time appearance — in fall 2010 after being sporadically available for 16 years — customers went whole hog, driving McDonald's U.S. sales up 4.8% in a month. And it's likely to again be a hit, at least among the McRib faithful that made the sandwich — which has no actual ribs — a cult favorite.
September 9, 2011 |
One of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" has just described how she agrees with Bravo's decision to air the show in the aftermath of the suicide of Russell Armstrong, husband of one of the housewives, when Anderson Cooper breaks in with a query. "I've been touched by suicide. My brother committed suicide when he was 23 and I was 21," Cooper said, citing his well-known personal history. "The question is: Is reality television the best forum to bring it up?" As viewers of his prime-time CNN program "Anderson Cooper 360" will quickly recognize, the moment is vintage Cooper: a journalistic interrogative cloaked in emotional and even personal garb.
September 6, 2011
A roundup of entertainment headlines for Tuesday: "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' " Season 2 premiere features tearful conversations about Russell Armstrong's suicide. ( Los Angeles Times ) Survival TV puts its stars in dangerous situations, including drinking urine and cauterizing wounds with gunpowder. ( Los Angeles Times ) "The Help" beats out movie theater newcomers "The Debt" and "Apollo 18" at the box office. ( Los Angeles Times ) "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" makes quite an impression at the Venice Film Festival.
September 2, 2011 |
Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director for Los Angeles County's beleaguered child welfare agency, carries two cellphones in his pocket. One BlackBerry tethers him to his county job, where he is responsible for the mental health needs of nearly 20,000 foster children. The second — kept in a plastic case adorned with images of dollar bills — is reserved for his Beverly Hills-based private psychiatric practice, where his patients have included Paris Hilton, and for scheduling appearances on television interview and reality shows.
August 19, 2011 |
The only truly surprising thing about this week's "TV Reality Star Commits Suicide" headlines is that they haven't appeared sooner. The death of Russell Armstrong, who appeared with his wife, Taylor, and their 5-year-old daughter, Kennedy, on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," has given the world of situational reality TV pause. Like a number of those participating in the endlessly self-spawning franchise, the Armstrongs were unstable both maritally and financially. Not surprisingly, the pressures of the show, which, according to friends, demanded that they play up their problems rather than try to solve them, did not improve things.
August 17, 2011 |
On Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise, a main character is affluence. It takes many forms: private planes, posh mansions, thousand-dollar shopping sprees. And it seemed Russell Armstrong and his wife, Taylor, who appeared on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," had been living up to the lifestyle. Last season, Taylor threw a $60,000 party for their then-4-year-old daughter, frequently conferred with a private stylist and devoted much of her free time to philanthropy. On Monday night, Russell Armstrong, 47, was found dead in an apparent suicide, and facts began to emerge Tuesday that raise questions about how the program presented the couple and whether the resulting glare of publicity played any role in his death.
August 16, 2011 |
Fans of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” are still absorbing the news that Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of “housewife” Taylor Armstrong, hanged himself Monday night in an apparent suicide. The 47-year-old Armstrong had moved out of the couple's home several months ago after it became clear that the six-year marriage could not be saved, and Taylor Armstrong filed for divorce last month. This post has been corrected. See the note at bottom for details. Authorities are investigating the circumstances of Armstrong's death.
June 21, 2011
A roundup of entertainment headlines for Tuesday: Roger Ebert sent out a tweet criticizing "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, who died in a car crash, saying Dunn was drinking and driving. Perez Hilton and Bam Margera got upset with Ebert. ( Huffington Post ) "Mad Men" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" were the big winners at the first Critics' Choice TV Awards. ( Los Angeles Times ) Keith Olbermann is back on TV, and get this -- he's still indignant! ( Los Angeles Times )
June 19, 2011
SUNDAY Former daytime diva Oprah Winfrey — remember her? — and game-show gurus Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek are singled out for special honors at "The 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards," and everyone's favorite actor-narrator is feted at "The AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Morgan Freeman. " (CBS, 8 p.m.; TV Land 9 p.m.) What is it with Steven Spielberg? Does he actually want aliens to attack the Earth? That's the premise of the new sci-fi series "Falling Skies," executive-produced by the filmmaker and debuting with a two-hour episode.