Monday, February 3, 2014

Women of Courage Lead CBS "Intelligence" in High Style and High Fashion!

There are four women in harm’s way tonight. Some are physically bound by constraints; others are constrained by rules and the dictates of men who theoretically possess all the power, literally, in the world. But the women have the last word, on a number of levels. Project Clockwork is in good hands.

 LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 07: Actresses Meghan Ory (L) and Marg Helgenberger arrive at CNET'S premiere party for the CBS television show 'Intelligence' during the 2014 International CES at the Tao Nightclub at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Scott Bakula Announced as Lead in new "NCIS: New Orleans" Procedural Spinoff

On Feb. 3, 2014, the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that actor Scott Bakula has been tapped to be the “Big Easy’s” version of NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the anxiously anticipated new spinoff of "NCIS," CBS-TV’s number one prime-time drama.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Actor Scott Bakula and Chelsea Field attend the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Take Time to Catch Up with CBS' "Intelligence"

It's definitely worth a second look. Here's a quick course in CBS's Intelligence 101 before tomorrow night's new episode. Have you seen the tension between actors Josh Holloway and Marg Helgenberger interacting as employee and boss? 

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 PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 15: Actors Marg Helgenberger (L) and Josh Holloway of the television show 'Intelligence' speak onstage during the CBS portion of the 2014 Winter TCA tour at the Langham Hotel on January 15, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Not Just for your Eyes Only: CBS' "Intelligence" Deserves a Strong Second Look

“Houston, we don’t have a problem anymore.” Patience is a virtue. CBS executives must have a lot of it, but as it turns out, they were right.

                                                 Photo by Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

This is the review of Episode 4 of "Intelligence," which turned me around completely. I am now very enthusiastic about this show. Click here to read the story on

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Best Part of the 2014 56th Grammy Awards -- Paul and Ringo

The Beatles reunion that was long anticipated and hoped for, but never confirmed until the night of the show, during the telecast of the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was Ringo Starr joining his old bandmate Sir Paul McCartney to perform Paul's composition "Queenie Eye." The rest of the Grammys was somewhat of a hot mess, with mash-ups between the no-class-ic-Robin Thicke and the truly classic rock band, Chicago. Nevertheless, the only redeeming feature of the night was The Beatles. It sounds like something an old-timer would say, but 50 years from now, no one will know or care who half of "this year's" winner are, what they've been doing or where they'll end up. The Beatles, Chicago, and bands of true class and character...are always worth seeing again. Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, and even dear young Taylor Swift, well, you'll just have to wait until 2064 to see who had staying power and who was a flash in the pan. Bruno Mars is the only guy who's got a flying chance of staying interesting to this year's teenagers and young (and mature) adults in the decades ahead. 

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Photos by Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images, Los Angeles California, Staples Center, Jan. 26, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rico Rodriguez of "Modern Family" Included in Acting Ensemble That Garners 4th SAG Award

About six years ago, actor Rico Rodriguez and his sister, actress Raini Rodriguez were just going to elementary school and life as any other youngsters. But Raini wanted to act and she signed up with talent scout Nikki Pederson, for training to enter an IMTA talent competition. Raini succeeded in her first competition and came to the attention of Los Angeles Agent/Manager Susan Osser. Osser told me three years ago that Raini and her whole family, including a very quiet younger brother, came to meet at her office. Osser spotted something special in young Rico as well, and immediately created "Team Rodriguez" around which to immerse and educate the children in acting classes in preparation for being sent out on interviews. About 1200 days later, Raini has debuted in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and had a great role in the Disney movie, "Prom" and a regular role on Disney's "Austin and Allie." Rico is in his fourth year with "Modern Family," playing Manny Delgado, son of Sofia Vergara's "Gloria Pritchett" and stepson to Ed O'Neill's "Jay Pritchett.
To learn more about Rico, read the story here.

 Photo by Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Jan. 18, 2014.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images, Los Angeles, Jan. 18, 2014.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: “Neil Sedaka: Rock’n’Roll Survivor” by Rich Podolsky

Writer Rich Podolsky has done it again. The book is “Neil Sedaka: Rock’n’Roll Survivor: The Inside Story of His Incredible Comeback,” released Sept. 9, 2013. In short, it’s a five-star winner. But it’s also a fast (and fun) history lesson in how rock music “got this way” and how it’s possible to soar, then crash and burn in popularity, and then rise up like the Phoenix, on wings of, well, Sir Elton John for one, and lyricist Phil Cody for another, and regain your spot among the stars in the rock and roll galaxy. That’s the book in a nutshell. But wait, there’s more!

For a few moments, Podolsky time-traveled backwards sufficient enough to pop his head back into New York’s Brill Building, to grab Sedaka by the shoulders, and then escort him into the 21st century, chatting and talking the entire trip, like two old friends who’ve known each other forever, and you, the reader, are the invisible visitor who gets to listen in without interrupting.

All along the way, Sedaka frankly shares with Podolsky some of the best up-close and personal stories about his incredible career comeback that makes for one of the most refreshing, and fascinating, reads of the fall. Who’s this book for? It’s for anyone who loves rock and roll and knows without explanation how “tra la la la la la” turned into Love (keeping you together), Laughter (in the rain) and how to go from Solitaire back to Rock Star, with a little help from some friends.

Neil Sedaka was born with the innate talent to sense exactly what it was that people needed to soothe and comfort their broken hearts. His melodies, harmonies, and gift of crafting songs has spanned five decades, plus, and yet, his life has been anything but easy. He started out with no chance in...well, you know, and he became a songwriting giant and eventual in-demand performer whose name was as well known as Connie Francis, Bobby Darin, and Cousin Brucie Morrow back in the grand old days of the 1960s.

You’d think that a decade of success would be “enough,” for anyone, but when the creative juices burn within you and won’t let you alone long enough to sleep, “that’s when the music took” Neil Sedaka to long for a comeback. But first he had to find the depths of anonymity and being overlooked and validate that life was, indeed, the pits. Still, he had his family. But for an artist, the lifeblood of existence comes from creating new work, finding it validated, accepted, and ultimately embraced by the same people who loved you first, then dumped you. Those are the ones you want back, bigger and better than before.

Neil Sedaka went through his “hungry years” alright. He was forgotten for quite a while in fact. But it’s the process of getting back up out from under the anvil of anonymity, and fighting back up the Billboard charts, while standing atop the shoulders of two men, one who was personally moved and influenced by his music and another, who really had not been much of a fan before. Pretty cool for a comeback formula, eh? Podolsky’s story reads fast, you can’t wait for the next chapter, and the next, and you appreciate the storytelling skill that Podolsky has for giving you Neil’s story in Neil’s words.

The entire comeback story is framed importantly between two impressive bookends: the Foreword by Sir Elton John, and the Afterword by Phil Cody. The Brit and the Aussie are the secret ingredients to the hitmaking machine of Elton’s Rocket Records, and Cody’s brilliant lyrics.

Songs of love, songs of romance, songs of break-up, make-up and back again kept flowing all through the 1960s, in large part due to finding a team of similarly gifted songwriters who crammed like sardines into cubicles in the Brill Building while Don Kirshner and Al Nevins tried to keep enough paper in the printer to send out the sheet music.

Podolsky’s Sedaka bio is the natural follow-up to his excellent book, “Don Kirshner: The Man With the Golden Ear,” published in 2012. Podolsky’s take on Sedaka’s story views him as something like Phoenix, rising from the ashes of being forgotten, cast aside and entirely inconsequential save as a fill-in-the-blank on the New York Times crossword puzzle to a present-day still-in-demand, lucky-to-get-him singer.

You just have to read the book to hear the theme music running through your head because you know you are going to want to know everything about this exciting tale. Phil Cody is a name well-known to every liner-note-loving reader, rock historian and music-trivia fiend. If you need a little help, think “Laughter in the Rain,” which launched Neil’s comeback path.

Then there’s “Solitaire,” which was a big hit for The Carpenters, but, with Sedaka’s wise entry as a guest mentor in the second season of “American Idol,” “Solitaire” became such a signature song for Clay Aiken, that Neil actually presented Aiken with a framed copy of the sheet music and told him that the song was now officially “his.” Now any true Sedaka fan knows all the Cody lyrics to “The Immigrant” and admit it, you choke up when you hear it. You know you do.

“Wild Phil” Cody rides again when you hear “Bad Blood,” the duet sung by Neil Sedaka and Sir Elton John, and then another endearing duet on “Should’ve Never Let You Go,” with Neil and his daughter, Dara Sedaka. Don’t forget that singing runs in the family—the late Eydie Gorme and Neil are cousins, and Dara can well stand tall on her own song stylings. It was indeed a prolific collaboration for Sedaka’s comeback to connect with Phil Cody and it produced the same “magic” in music that had been ever as much a part of Neil’s collaboration with the late genius, Howard (Howie) Greenfield.

There’s a special kind of magic where Neil Sedaka, and his music, are concerned. In reading Podolsky’s book, you start calling Mr. Sedaka “Neil” when you talk of him to others, you feel like you were right there with him and you’ve been where he was then, and you were transported to where he is now, and you are refreshed. The invisible curtain that separates “knowing” and “being known,” one music lover to another, is lifted, quite expertly by Rich Podolsky. The journey of the book flies by, a fast 242 pages all gone too soon, and when you’re done, you sit there and smile at where you’ve been, who you’ve seen, and how you feel now that you know. Indeed, it is because “that’s where the music takes me.” Bravo and kudos to Podolsky, and for Mr. Sedaka, another standing “O” because you so richly deserve it.

To get your copy of this book, click here.

This review was originally posted on