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November 9, 2010

US TV: Jay Leno bested by Conan O\’Brien in late night ratings

US TV: Jay Leno bested by Conan O’Brien in late night ratings

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

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Television audience ratings for U.S. TV host Conan O’Brien‘s first TBS program Conan last night were higher than rival Jay Leno and his late night program on NBC, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. O’Brien’s ratings were also higher than CBS network’s David Letterman, as well as Comedy Central programs hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Conan O’Brien in 2007
Image: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service.

Monday marked O’Brien’s return to late night television after his departure as host of The Tonight Show on NBC following a dispute this year, in which Leno’s program The Jay Leno Show was canceled after poor ratings, and NBC reinstated Leno as host of The Tonight Show.

Cquote1.svg Conan O’Brien is enjoying a sweet, sweet victory in the ratings. Cquote2.svg

The Hollywood Reporter

O’Brien’s debut program featured guests including curator Arlene Wagner of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, actor Seth Rogen and actress Lea Michele. His guest schedule for Tuesday night’s program included actors Tom Hanks and Jack McBrayer, in addition to music from the group Soundgarden.

The premiere of Conan was watched by over 4.1 million viewers. Nielsen ratings data made public today showed that Leno’s program The Tonight Show was only watched by 3.5 million viewers, and Letterman’s Late Show was seen by 3.4 million people. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report were watched by 1.3 million and 1 million viewers, respectively.

O’Brien announced his move to TBS, a cable channel founded by Ted Turner and owned by Time Warner, in April.

O’Brien’s viewership trended towards younger people, with 2,451,000 individuals ranges from ages 18 to 34 – and 3,285,000 people in the 18 to 49 age demographic. Leno’s The Tonight Show, in comparison, only drew in 950,000 people in the same younger demographic breakdown.

In an analysis of O’Brien’s ratings win, Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times wrote, “the debut of ‘Conan,’ the new late-night show starring Conan O’Brien, got off to a strong start”. James Hibberd commented for The Hollywood Reporter, “Conan O’Brien is enjoying a sweet, sweet victory in the ratings.”



Related news

  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien leads in late night ratings” — Wikinews, January 17, 2010
  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien rejects NBC’s offer to switch his show’s time slot” — Wikinews, January 13, 2010

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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Conan O’Brien
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg The Tonight Show host and timeslot conflict

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May 20, 2010

YouTube, Facebook blocked in Pakistan

YouTube, Facebook blocked in Pakistan – Wikinews, the free news source

YouTube, Facebook blocked in Pakistan

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

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Pakistan
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The Pakistani government has blocked access to YouTube, the popular video-sharing website, citing “growing sacrilegious” content. The move comes after a Pakistani court ordered a temporary block of social networking site Facebook on Wednesday, when a row unfolded concerning a group on Facebook urging users on the popular social networking site to draw pictures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the government agency responsible for the operation and maintenance of Pakistani telecommunications, ordered all internet service providers to “completely shut-down” all access to Facebook and YouTube from the interior of Pakistan. According to a spokesman, the agency only did so after “all possible” options had been exhausted.

The spokesman, Khoram Ali Mehran, said that they were “just following the government’s instructions and the ruling of the Lahore High Court”, and that “if the government decides to unblock it, then that’s what we will do”.

The Facebook user who created the group, entitled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, said that she had got the idea for the group after watching an episode of South Park on the television channel Comedy Central, in which a line involving the Prophet had been ‘bleeped out’. The site was blocked the day before the event was scheduled to take place.

YouTube was blocked in Pakistan in 2008, when material deemed “offensive to Muslims” led to restrictions. Access to Wikipedia, Wikinews’ sister project, and Flickr, a photo sharing site, were also banned, on Thursday.

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January 21, 2010

TV host Conan O\’Brien accepts US$45 million settlement with NBC

TV host Conan O’Brien accepts US$45 million settlement with NBC

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Conan O’Brien in 2007
Image: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service.

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After a long night of negotiations, United States television personality and seven-month host of The Tonight Show Conan O’Brien and his network, NBC, have reached a deal that would buy out the contracts of O’Brien and his staff for US$45 million and reinstate Jay Leno as the show’s host starting March 1, O’Brien’s manager told media on Thursday. In this agreement, O’Brien will walk away with more than $33 million. The rest will be distributed to his staff of over 200 people as severance payments.

His manager went on to say that Friday will be O’Brien’s last night serving as host. O’Brien reportedly plans to have an official farewell show with Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell as guests, and with Canadian rock singer Neil Young as the closing musical performance.

As pertains to O’Brien’s next move, ABC has said that it is not interested in hiring him. Fox, on the other hand, which lacks a late-night talk show, expressed “appreciation” for O’Brien’s abilities—but for now nothing more. Comedy Central has also been mentioned as a possible new network home for O’Brien.

When asked about the issue by the Associated Press, a spokesman for O’Brien said he was currently “unavailable” to comment.



Related news

  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien leads in late night ratings” — Wikinews, January 17, 2010
  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien rejects NBC’s offer to switch his show’s time slot” — Wikinews, January 13, 2010

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March 25, 2009

Comedian Stephen Colbert wins NASA space station name contest

Comedian Stephen Colbert wins NASA space station name contest

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Culture and entertainment
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Comedian Stephen Colbert has topped a NASA poll to determine the name of an International Space Station module.
Image: Kelly Martin.

American comedian Stephen Colbert has won a NASA contest poll to determine the name for a new wing on the International Space Station.

After using his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report to call on fans to vote in the contest, the write-in name “Colbert” topped the poll with 230,539 votes.

NASA officials said they ultimately reserve the right to choose an appropriate name, but have said top vote-getters will receive “the most consideration”. The final decision will be made in April.

Almost 1.2 million total votes were cast in the contest, which ended Friday. “Colbert” received more than 40,000 more voters than the second place runner up, “Serenity”, which was one of the choices NASA put forward.

Colbert has mocked the NASA suggestion on The Colbert Report, saying, “Come on, Serenity? That’s not a space module, that’s a Glade plug-in.”

The contest rules say NASA has the right to choose a name “in accordance with the best interests of the agency.” The rules also say, “Such name may not necessarily be one which is on the list of voted-on candidate names.”

Other modules on the space station are named Unity, Harmony and Destiny.

NASA insiders have told Space.com if they choose not to name the module after the comedian, they may consider naming the station’s new $19 million toilet “Colbert” instead.

Colbert, who plays a narcissistic political pundit on his satirical show, has called on his fans (known as “The Colbert Nation”) to help have other things named after him in the past.

Among his other namesakes are Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, the mascot of the Saginaw Spirit junior ice hockey team in Michigan; Stephen Jr., a bald eagle born at the San Francisco Zoo; Aptostichus stephencolberti, a species of trapdoor spider; Air Colbert, a Virgin America airplane; and AmeriCone Dream, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor.



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March 21, 2009

Rock music church in Pennsylvania allowed concerts under court settlement

Rock music church in Pennsylvania allowed concerts under court settlement

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pennsylvania
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A Pennsylvania church that claims to worship through rock music may hold a limited number of concerts under a recent federal court settlement.

In the face of complaints from neighbors about noise and traffic problems, the Fayette County zoning department found in 2005 that the Church of Universal Love and Music was operating a music business instead of a church and must shut down.

William Pritts, founder of the Bullskin Township church, sued in 2006 under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, claiming the ruling infringed on his right to religious freedom.

A map of Bullskin Township of Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Image: Dtbohrer.

A 12-page court settlement filed in a Pittsburgh federal court allows Pritts to hold six concerts on Friday-through-Sunday weekends, and six additional events on six other Saturdays. However, the music must end by 11:00 p.m. local time on Fridays and Saturdays and 9:00 p.m. on Sundays.

“The church is very much looking forward to a long future of providing services to the community,” Gregory Koerner, Pritts’ attorney, told The Herald-Standard.

Koerner said events are already planned for May and June 2009.

Under the settlement the church must keep sound from the concerts below the ambient sound level at the property line. The agreement also prohibits the illegal use of drugs and alcohol, and nudity is also not allowed. Pritts will have to also hire an independent security staff to oversee the safety at the concerts and he will not be allowed to have any more than 600 automobiles parked on or near the property during the events.

The Church of Universal Love and Music gained national attend when a segment about its dispute with the county was featured on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show in 2003. During the segment, Pritts said, “God never said you can’t party on.”

The dispute started in 2001, when Pritts filed for a zoning exception to hold concerts at the Bullskin Township site. At the time, he was building an amphitheater stage, not a church, and neighbors and county officials grew concerned when Pritts said the concerts could attract up to 4,000 people, many of whom camp out overnight at the site. Concert attendance totals will have to be limited per the settlement, to no more than 1,500 people per event.

Fayette County officials said he only formed the church so he could charge admission under the guise of a “donation” after the county rejected his plans. Koerner insisted Pritts’ religious convictions are sincere. The county has been ordered to pay Pritts legal fees which total US$75,000.



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March 11, 2009

Feud between CNBC and The Daily Show continues to escalate

Feud between CNBC and The Daily Show continues to escalate

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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Jim Cramer, CNBC host of Mad Money, plans to appear on The Daily Show Thursday, in the midst of an escalating feud between Cramer and the Comedy Central show’s host, Jon Stewart.

Jim Cramer has been the only CNBC employee to publicly respond to Daily Show segments strongly criticizing the television business news channel’s financial coverage during the growing global recession, particularly focusing on specific remarks by made by Cramer.

Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, which has produced a number of strong critiques of CNBC’s news coverage in recent days.

The feud began on March 4, when The Daily Show aired an eight-minute clip lampooning CNBC. The comedy news show featured several clips of pundits, focusing particularly on predictions or reports by CNBC reporters that The Daily Show argued were overly optimistic or too strongly slanted in favor of the companies being discussed.

In one clip, a CNBC host reported Merrill Lynch said it would not need capital, which The Daily Show followed with a list of billions in bailout money the financial services firm has required since September. In another clip, Jim Cramer is shown allegedly affirming “Your money is safe in Bear Sterns”, followed by a Daily Show statement that the global investment bank went under six days later.

“If I’d only followed CNBC’s advice, I’d have a million dollars today,” Stewart said during the bit, “provided I’d started with a hundred million dollars.”

Although most CNBC reporters and executives declined to comment, Cramer defended himself in a column published Monday, claiming the clip was taken out of context. Cramer said he wasn’t talking about buying Bear Sterns stock, but simply reassuring a viewer that his liquidity held in Bear Sterns was safe.

“The absurdity astounds me,” Cramer said of the Daily Show bit. “The fact that I was right rankles me even more.”

Later that day, The Daily Show responded with another montage of clips, this time more specifically targeting Cramer.

“So Jim Cramer, I apologize,” Stewart said ironically, then promptly showcased video of Cramer suggesting the safety of Bear Stearns stock 5 days prior to the collapse of Bear Stearns on Mad Money’s Lighting Round. Provokingly, Jon Stewart then admitted, “He’s not saying literally ‘I’m asking you to buy Bear Stearns,’ for that you have to go back a full 7 weeks” this time showing video footage of Cramer on January 24, 2008, telling TheStreet.com TV viewers to specifically “buy Bear Stearns” stock 7 weeks before it collapsed.

The following day on March 10, Cramer responded again during a Tuesday appearance on the Today show, saying, “[Jon Stewart] is a comedian, and he’s decided to focus on some calls I made during a bull market. The guy is a comedian. Did I make a mistake? First of all, any time you recommend a stock and it goes down, you’ve made a mistake. Here’s a shocker: Almost every stock is down! Any stock you recommended is bad. You know, Warren Buffett, I could run tapes from him, he would look like a complete fool.”

The feud between The Daily Show and CNBC generated a significant amount of attention in the mainstream media. The Associated Press called the first Daily Show bit a “brutal takedown” of CNBC. Other publications, like New York magazine, defended CNBC, writing, “We doubt there’s a single news outlet that hasn’t made a misstatement regarding the economy in the past year.”

The Thursday Daily Show sketch ran the same day CNBC reporter Rick Santelli was scheduled to appear on the show, to discuss his vocal criticisms of President Barack Obama’s plans for dealing with foreclosures. Santelli cancelled the appearance, but Daily Show executives said the CNBC montage was not retaliatory and that they planned to show it before the cancellation was announced.



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March 27, 2008

South Park episodes available free online

South Park episodes available free online

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Trey Parker in 2007.
Image: ensceptico.

Episodes of the Colorado-based cartoon comedy television series South Park have been made available for free via streaming video on the website SouthParkStudios.com. Full-length episodes from the past 12 seasons of South Park can be seen on the site, as well as behind-the-scenes clips and information on upcoming episodes.

After new episodes of the program air on Comedy Central they will be added to the site for one week, but will then be unavailable for the next 30 days before being added to the site’s archives, due to contractual obligations. SouthParkStudios.com was relaunched with free streaming episodes on March 19, and as of Comedy Central’s announcement Tuesday the site had three million hits, two million video plays and one million full-episode streams. 168 of the series’ 169 episodes are currently available on the site.

The site is currently in a beta format and is ad supported, but visitors can watch an unlimited number of episodes. Streaming episodes are uncensored, and each episode will have between three and four advertisements. The website also has news, games, blogs and a feature where users can create South Park avatar characters in their likeness. Fans can also choose from 3,000 episode clips from the show to embed on their blogs or websites. The website was created by WPP agency Schematic, with Toyota and Virgin as launch sponsors.

Matt Stone in 2007.
Image: ensceptico.

SouthParkStudios.com launched this past summer with games and other media content, in a deal between South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker where their contract with Comedy Central was extended for three years and the cable television channel agreed to split online ad revenue 50-50. Matt Stone commented on the three-year contract to produce more episodes of the series: “Three more years of South Park will give us the opportunity to offend that many more people … And since Trey and I are in charge of the digital side of South Park, we can offend people on their cellphones, game consoles, and computers too. It’s all very exciting for us.”

Cquote1.svg We got really sick of having to download our own show illegally all the time, so we gave ourselves a legal alternative. Cquote2.svg

—Matt Stone and Trey Parker

Parker and Stone released a statement about the website: “We got really sick of having to download our own show illegally all the time, so we gave ourselves a legal alternative.” Parker and Stone don’t think that the move will affect DVD sales of past seasons, because fans will still want to own episodes in a “hard copy” format.

The website is managed by South Park Digital Studios LLC, a joint venture of Parker and Stone and Comedy Central. Anne Garefino, general manager of South Park Digital Studios stated: “One goal in moving forward is to make every episode of South Park available worldwide … Currently, full episodes are not available in the U.K., Australia and a few other foreign territories, but we’re not far off from making that happen. We have some contractual issues to sift through but we’re getting there.”

On the move to make the episodes available for free, Sam Thielman of Variety wrote: “It’s a good time for Parker and Stone to distance themselves from the YouTube community given Comedy Central parent Viacom’s protracted lawsuit against the Web-based video distrib, which features clips from the show.” Viacom is suing YouTube for US$1 billion in damages relating to video clips displayed on the video-sharing website. Richard Menta of MP3 Newswire wrote: “With all their content already out there Stone, Parker and Viacom realized offering South Park episodes online directly is a low risk proposition. They might as well draw some ad revenue from it.”



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September 13, 2007

Jon Stewart to host 80th Academy Awards

Jon Stewart to host 80th Academy Awards – Wikinews, the free news source

Jon Stewart to host 80th Academy Awards

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Jon Stewart last hosted the Oscars in 2006.
Image: Martin Monroe..

Jon Stewart is to return as host of the Academy Awards. It will be the second time he has hosted the awards, having first done it in 2006. The 80th Academy Awards ceremony will be presented at the Kodak Theatre on February 24, 2008.

When Stewart last presented the Oscars, he received mixed reviews. Tom Shales called him, “a sad and pale shadow of great hosts gone by.” However, Roger Ebert called his performance a “home run”. The 2006 awards performed poorly in terms of ratings. It attracted 38.9 million viewers, compared to 39.9 million last year when it was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and 42.1 million when hosted by Chris Rock in 2005.

However, the producer for the Oscars, Gil Cates, said that, “He is smart, quick, funny, and loves movies. What else could one ask for?” Stewart is said to be thrilled to be asked to host the awards again, “Because third time’s the charm.”

Stewart is most famous as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.



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June 23, 2006

FOX to produce new \’Futurama\’ episodes

FOX to produce new ‘Futurama’ episodes – Wikinews, the free news source

FOX to produce new ‘Futurama’ episodes

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Friday, June 23, 2006

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20th Century Fox will produce at least 13 new episodes of the animated series Futurama, scheduled to air on Comedy Central in 2008. Futurama, an animation from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, was canceled by FOX in 2003.

Comedy Central has recently acquired the rights to the back catalogue of 72 Futurama episodes and any eventual new episodes.

“We are thrilled that Matt Groening and 20th Century Fox Television have decided to produce new episodes of ‘Futurama’ and that Comedy Central will be the first to air them,” announces Comedy Central senior vice president for programming David Bernath.

Voice actors Billy West (Fry, Professor Farnsworth), Katey Sagal (Leela) and John DiMaggio (Bender) are all contracted to return.

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April 29, 2006

Comedians lampoon Bush at White House Correspondents\’ Dinner

Comedians lampoon Bush at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

On Saturday, April, 29, 2006, US President George Bush appeared alongside impersonator Steve Bridges to deliver a self-lampooning comedy act at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. The annual event is well known for its evening lineup of fun-filled theatrics, attended by politicians and people from the media and entertainment industries. In his double-act with Bridges, Bush sent up his reputation for delivering nonsense lines and making verbal gaffes (for which the word ‘Bushism’ has been coined).

Bush talked about spreading his agenda “globally and around the world, as well as internationally”, whilst Bridges, who delivered many of the more cutting lines, said, “How come I can’t have dinner with the 36 percent of the people who like me?” The President’s pronunciation of the word “nuclear” and Dick Cheney’s hunting accident were also mocked.

The primary source for edgy political humor that Saturday night, however, occurred when rising star of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert, assumed the helm as critic. With the President sitting visibly within several feet, Colbert warmed up the act by sarcastically admiring the president for thinking “with his gut, and not the head”.

Colbert’s character, which shares his name, is a based on right-wing news channel personalities. “Fox News gives you both sides of the story — the president’s side and the vice president’s side,” he said. Colbert’s jabs at the president and his administration, usually made from the Comedy Central studio in Manhattan, garnered nervous laughter from the Washington D.C. audience. Although visibly red-faced, Bush sat quietly as Colbert continued to dig deeper into what bloggers and pundits are now considering to be the unfriendliest presidential roast in WHCA history.

Colbert didn’t spare the White House correspondents, either:

But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: the president makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know – fiction!

– Stephen Colbert, White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner

Since the event, which was held at the Washington Hilton on Saturday night, the full 25 minute video and transcript have been circulating extensively via the Internet.

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