<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - TV, movies, music and celebrity news]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/entertainment-news http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:48:09 -0500 Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:48:09 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ex-NBC Employee Says He Paid Women for Bill Cosby]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:51:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cosby.jpg

A former employee of NBC Entertainment has come forward to claim he regularly brought young women to Bill Cosby's dressing room and was asked to send money to multiple women over the years.

Frank Scotti, who says he worked as a facilities manager for the Brooklyn NBC Studio where "Cosby Show" was filmed, is the latest to go public with stories of Cosby’s past.

Scotti, 90, said it was once his job to guard the door after bringing young women to Cosby's dressing room. "I felt like a pimp,'' Scotti told "Today." "Every time he had somebody I had to watch, I had the girl stay there. I felt dirty."

Scotti also claims he was asked by the comedian to send money to various women, sometimes thousands of dollars a month. "All I know is that Bill Cosby told me that certain people, I want you to send this money out to them. He told me how much and I said fine and I went and got money orders, said Scotti. He said he never delivered the money but always sent it by mail, and never met the women to whom he sent money.

"I just felt, you know, he's not the person I thought he was,'' Scotti said of his decision to come forward.

One of the women whose name appears on several money orders Scotti showed "Today" says the gifts were purely "generosity" on the part of Cosby and were intended to help pay for her son’s boarding school.

“It is a shame that Dr. William Cosby’s generosity is being questioned and maligned," said Alva Chinn, a model and actress who appeared in several episodes of "The Cosby Show." “The source could have asked me first before releasing these money orders."

Scotti told the New York Daily News he eventually quit working with Cosby, "because of the girls."

Cosby has never been charged with a crime, but 18 women have now publicly accused the star of sexual assault or attempted assault.

In response to Scotti's allegations Cosby's attorney, Martin Singer, told NBC News, "It appears that his story is pure speculation so that he can get his 15 minutes of fame.''

"I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn't have to answer to innuendos,'' Cosby told Florida Today after receiving a standing ovation at a comedy show on Saturday. "People should fact-check." Cosby has always denied allegations of assault.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA["The Voice"]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:21:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NUP_164085_0112.jpg

Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Late at Night on NBC]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 08:39:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP24762024125.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Through the Years]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:09:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP831821451169.jpg Click through for images of the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade through the years.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cameron Diaz Mocks "Annie" on "SNL"]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:50:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-23+at+6.32.15+AM.png

Cameron Diaz hosted "Saturday Night Live" for the fourth time this weekend, poking fun at her upcoming musical film, "Annie."

The 2014 rendition of the classic musical stars African-American child actress Quvenzhane Wallis as the new "Little Orphan Annie." 

In "SNL's" spoof of the remake, Diaz portrayed Miss Hannigan, a mean-spirited manager of the orphanage, as she awaited the arrival of Jamie Foxx’s Daddy Warbucks (Jay Pharoah) who was planning to adopt Annie.

But Warbucks wasn't interested in meeting "white Annie" (Vanessa Bayer). He wanted to meet "black Annie," instead.  

"Black Annie" (Leslie Jones), an overgrown 43-year-old orphan, came in, saying: “I’m an orphan, I’m a veteran, I did a half a season in the WNBA."

Warbucks ended up changing his mind about the adoption, worried "black Annie" will take all of his money.

"Well, I’m not sure you’re the little orphan girl I’m looking for, Annie, but I am in need of a security guard," he said.

Black Annie agreed with a few requirements.

“Only thing is, I need my money up front, and I’m only working three days, and I have three kids that you’re probably going to have to adopt too,” she said.

The cold open scene channeled a "School House Rock!" segment that took a stab at President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.

Kenan Thompson's character, portraying a "Bill," broke into song to explain the lengthy process of a bill becoming a law to a student visiting the Capitol Hill. But while he was singing, Obama (Jay Pharoah) entered the scene and pushed the human-sized bill down the steps.

Obama explained to the student that "there's an easier way to get things done around here." That's when Bobby Moynihan walked in, dressed as an "Executive Order."

"Im an executive order and I pretty much just happen," said Moynihan's character while smoking a cigarette. "And that's it."

When Obama explained that his executive order was providing relief from deportation to five million undocumented immigrants, Moynihan's character was surprised, saying he should have read the document himself.

"Okay, go big or go home, huh?" Moynihan said.

"Weekend Update" also covered Obama's executive action.

"For more on this immigration story, bring it up to your grandfather at Thanksgiving," quipped co-anchor Colin Jost.

Co-anchor Michael Che talked about how Missouri Governor Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard ahead of the grand jury decision on whether to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"So spoiler alert, I guess we know what the verdict is," Che said. "Deploying the National Guard before the verdict is like your lawyer telling you to show up in something orange."

In a recurring sketch "Office Boss," Beck Bennet and his wife, Cameron Diaz invited co-workers over for dinner.

Bennet's character, a business executive trapped in the body of a baby, stumbled to the table and Diaz fed him while he sat in a high chair. The two even announced that they were having a baby of their own.

Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson performed "Uptown Funk" and "Feel Right" featuring Mystikal.

"SNL" will return on Dec. 6 with James Franco as host and musical guest Nicki Minaj.

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<![CDATA[Katherine Heigl Address "Difficult" Rumors]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:24:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AB062_Rumors_On_Being_Difficult_PR_1200x675_362949187838.jpg Katherine Heigl talks Rumors on Meredith Vieira]]> <![CDATA[Fallon Gets Angry Over Losing to Cera on "Tonight" ]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:10:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/459383268.jpg

Jimmy Fallon can't stand losing in a video game.

Fallon talked to Michael Cera about his new Broadway show, "This Is Our Youth," and mentioned how the actor and his castmates play video games during the day.

"Yeah, we play a lot of Mario Kart," Cera said.

Fallon explained that he set up "Mario Kart" in the "Tonight" dressing room before they taped Friday's show.

"I walked in, very nice and you weren't really making eye contact with me," Fallon said. 

"The reason I wasn't looking in your eyes is because I was getting a very weird vibe from you," recalled Cera. "You came in, [and] you went right to the celery."

"I went in and I grabbed a celery stick and you said, 'let's do this old man,'" said Fallon of Cera's challenge.

The two re-hashed the game, talking about which players and vehicles they used, and Fallon noted that he used a different player and vehicle than usual.

"Why'd you throw yourself off?" asked Cera.

"Because I wanted to be nice to the guest on my show!" Fallon yelled.

"When you play a game, you let someone win, and you beat me out there and then you beat me out here," he screamed, referring to "Catchphrase" game earlier in the show with Julianne Moore and Alan Cumming.

Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]]>
<![CDATA[Fallon, Cera Play "Catchphrase" on "Tonight"]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:55:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/4593832641.jpg Jimmy Fallon played "Catchphrase" on "The Tonight Show" with guests Michael Cera and Julianne Moore. Surprise guest Alan Cumming also took the stage to play the game.

Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]]>
<![CDATA[Leno's Jay-Walking Victory Lap]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:57:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP821910960974.jpg

During Jay Leno's boisterous appearance this month on "The Tonight Show," his first since leaving the late night staple in February, he took Jimmy Fallon's right hand. "Look at these hands, ladies and gentlemen – look," Leno told the audience. "That's like a puppy's paw!"

Leno's hand grab came during a conversation about working on “old-timey” cars, but perhaps the former longtime "Tonight Show" host also was taking a gentle swipe at the relative inexperience of his youthful successor.

Either way, Leno clearly relished being back in the TV spotlight, which is again shining on him, albeit without the fierce “Tonight Show” glare. His Fallon guest shot followed the news that he'll be back on the tube next year with “Jay Leno’s Garage,” a CNBC show that taps his auto obsession.

Meanwhile, Leno lends his voice "Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas," an animated special set to air on NBC Dec. 16. Two days later, he’s slated to be outgoing CBS "Late, Late Show" host Craig Ferguson's final guest – and some hope he’ll do the same when Letterman his friend-turned-rival-turned-frenemy takes his last "Late Show" bow next year.

But the biggest of the latest Leno headlines comes Sunday when PBS broadcasts the star-filled celebration of his Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Leno, not one to Jay-walk into the sunset, is in the midst of a seemingly endless victory lap.

Fancy accolades are at odds with Leno's Everyman persona, but not with the ferocious work ethic and drive that got him the "Tonight Show" job twice. Leno should be proud to take his victories where he can get them. He'll never be able to claim the influence and critical laurels of Letterman. But he beat him to “The Tonight Show” gig, beat him in the ratings for the better part of two decades and beat him to the Twain Prize (even if Letterman notched Kennedy Center Honors first).

Letterman didn’t attend Leno’s Twain ceremony, recorded in October, and neither, of course, did Conan O’Brien. Other funny peers paid Leno tribute, though, including Fallon, Chelsea Handler, Seth Meyers, Wanda Sykes and fellow NBC legend/car aficionado Jerry Seinfeld.

But Leno, still active on the stand-up circuit, finds his greatest validation in getting laughs from the hoi polloi. Plenty of chuckles can be expected from the Twain Prize ceremony for a comedian who held on to a big late night TV audience like no other host since Johnny Carson.


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multimedia NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Movies to Be Thankful For]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:13:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/freebirds.jpg

Give thanks this holiday season for movies that remind us of what we love most about Thanskgiving: the coming together of families; how our own dysfunctional clan pales in comparison to the strangeness of others; and of course, turkey.

The following holiday-themed films offer something for all ages and tastes. So cut a slice of pumpkin pie, give thanks, and grab the remote.

"Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987)

Del (John Candy) turns to Neal (Steve Martin) and says, "There's no way on earth we're going to get out of here tonight. We'd have more luck playing pickup sticks with our butt-cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak." And so it goes in this epic comedy of errors from director/writer John Hughes about an impromptu duo's quest to return from a business trip in time for Thanksgiving dinner. A beloved classic with enough laugh-out-loud gags to temper the holiday schmaltz, "P,T and A" is a reminder to be thankful for the genius collaboration of Candy, Martin and Hughes, and that you already made it home to be on the couch watching a movie with family. (Available on Netflix, On Demand)

"The Ice Storm" (1997)

Set during Thanksgiving 1973 as a dangerous storm approaches New Canaan, Connecticut, this drama from Oscar-winning director Ang Lee features a stellar ensemble cast that includes Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci and Elijah Wood as two families struggling to come to terms with the changing political and social climates of the 1970s. Sexual experimentation, drugs and familial responsibilities are major themes in this insightful look at a period guaranteed to make you thankful for the current enlightened, if still sometimes confusing, state of modern society. (Netflix, Amazon Prime, On Demand)

"Free Birds" (2013)

For the younger members of the clan gathering for turkey day this bird's tale follows Reggie, a gobbler who goes from outcast to hero when he receives a presidential pardon and embarks on a time-traveling mission to try and turn Thanksgiving into a turkey-free holiday. Featuring the voices of Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler, George Takai and Woody Harrelson, this movie will have you giving thanks you decided to wait and watch it after the big meal. (Netflix, On Demand)

"Home for the Holidays" (1995)

Jodie Foster directs this darkly comic look at that fine line between loving and liking your family. Claudia (Holly Hunter) is apprehensive about her decision to return to her parents house for Thanksgiving. With good reason: she's just lost her job; her teenage daughter (who is not making the journey with her) has announced she plans to spend the holiday losing her virginity; her homosexual brother arrives with a new friend in tow; her brother also barely tolerates their prim younger sister and openly antagonizes their brother-in-law; and eccentric and boozy Aunt Gladys is also on the guest list. Also starring Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Geraldine Chaplin, Dylan McDermott, Cynthia Stevenson and Steve Guttenberg, "Home for the Holidays" will leave you thankful for your own dysfunctionally normal family. (DVD)

"Pocahontas" (1995)

Disney's first animated film to be based on actual events and people retells the story of Pocahontas, the daughter of an Algonquin chief who is betrothed to a member of her tribe but becomes enamored of European settler John Smith. Featuring the voices of Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers, Christian Bale, Linda Hunt and Billy Connelly, this fictionalized account has been given the Disney spin, but younger viewers will enjoy the Oscar-winning melodies, sweeping drama and give thanks for Grandmother Willow, the wise old talking tree. (Netflix, On Demand)

Photo Credit: Relativity
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<![CDATA[Jose Canseco Pranks Everyone with Finger Hoax]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:56:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP565783519558.jpg

Looks like Jose Canseco gave everyone the finger. 

The former Major League Baseball player took to Twitter at the end of October to announce that he had shot off his middle digit and had it reattached during surgery. Last week, Canseco claimed that the mangled finger fell off during a poker tournament because it had been “very loose” and “smelling really bad.” He also said he would be selling the thumb and gun that shot it off on eBay a few days later.

“Maybe I will make it a package the chrome 45 caliber Remington with the finger both for sale a package deal," he tweeted on Nov. 17.

But despite continuing to post on social media about the plan, Canseco reportedly will not be selling his appendage to the highest bidder—it was all just a prank.

When TMZ reporters followed up about the details of the unique eBay sale, Canseco finally admitted it was all a hoax, the site reported. He said he thought of the whole plan when he saw a fake finger in a Halloween store. 

What remains true, NBC Sports reports, is that the prankster did shoot off his finger but had it successfully reconnected with surgery.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Thai Cinema Chain Pulls "Mockingjay"]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:09:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Mockingjay.jpg

A cinema chain in Thailand's capital has canceled all screenings of the latest "The Hunger Games" movie after a student group planned a protest at a theater against the country's military coup. Activists said Wednesday that police pressured the theaters to halt the showings.

Opponents of the May military coup have adopted a three-finger salute from the movie series as a sign of defiance. The military-imposed government has banned the gesture, which symbolizes rebellion against totalitarian rule in the film series.

Protest against unjust rule runs throughout the "Hunger Games" franchise. The latest installment in the popular series focuses on the mechanics of rallying support for imminent revolution.

A group of anti-coup students from Bangkok's Thammasat University purchased about 100 tickets for an opening-day showing Thursday of the "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" at the Scala cinema and planned to attend together.

Ratthapol Supasopon, an organizer, said the group was informed by the theater management that the film's showings had been canceled.

"The theater told us they were uncomfortable and wanted to avoid any problems that may arise. They said they did not want to be involved in any politics," he said. "The police contacted them and pressured them not to let us hold the event."

An employee answering the phone at the Scala who declined to identify himself said the movie had been canceled at all theaters belonging to Bangkok's Apex chain. The film is still scheduled by some other cinema chains.

Lionsgate, "Mockingjay's" Hollywood production company, had no comment on the situation.

Initial protests against the May coup largely died out because of crackdowns on dissent by the army and police, but there has been a small upsurge in recent days.

On Wednesday, five university students were arrested in northeastern Thailand after giving the three-fingered salute during a speech by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the coup as army commander.

The students, wearing T-shirts saying "Don't Want a Coup," stood in front of Prayuth as he spoke on a stage in Khon Kaen, a stronghold of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in an earlier 2006 military coup.

Prayuth, who is usually prickly with critics, stopped his speech and smiled calmly when the students stood up. "Anyone else want to protest? Come quickly. Then I can continue with my speech," he said.

The students were taken to a police station and then an army camp, where they were questioned by soldiers, human rights lawyer Sasinan Thamnithinan said. She said they had not been charged.

Rights groups have criticized the government's tight limits on speech and the media. Last week, public broadcaster Thai PBS dismissed the host of a TV program after a visit by army officers who complained that the show's content was provocative. The government, which can shut the station under martial law, insists the officers merely expressed their concerns.

Several dozen Thai protesters and others carrying anti-coup banners and giving the three-finger salute attended the world premiere of "Mockingjay - Part 1" in London on Nov. 10.

In "The Hunger Games," the three-finger salute signifies thanks, admiration and good-bye to a loved one. Some Thai protesters say it also represents the French Revolution's values of liberty, equality and fraternity, while others say it means freedom, election and democracy.

Photo Credit: Lionsgate]]>
<![CDATA[8 Classic Christmas Commercials]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:28:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-21+at+9.14.49+AM.jpg

Each year the holiday season delivers a sleigh-full of new Christmas advertisements. But more often than not, the latest commercials soon fade into a distant memory like the appeal of last season's must-have toy.

But along with mistletoe, holly, eggnog and holiday ornaments, a few classic ads never fail to get people into the holiday spirit.

Here is a collection of some old favorites:

M&Ms Meet Santa

In a classic M&M’s commercial, the red and yellow "spokescandies" that haved appeared in many advertisements carry a bowl of the Mars chocolates. When they encounter Santa Claus next to a Christmas tree, the red M&M and St. Nick faint upon realizing that they both are real. 

Coca Cola Polar Bears

Coca Cola first presented polar bears to be used in many of its Christmastime campaigns in a pair of commercials that first aired in 1993. The first shows a polar bear showing off some smooth ice skating moves before falling. Santa arrives to give the poor polar bear a Coca Cola. Another shows the animals successfully dragging a Christmas tree up a mountain before enjoying bottles of the soft drink.

Scrooge Eats Cheerios

This Honey Nut Cheerios commercial uses the well-known Charles Dickens' tale “A Christmas Carol.” The cereal's cartoon mascot bee Buzz knocks on Ebenezer Scrooge’s door on Christmas, but the angry miser tells the cartoon to go away. However, the bee passes the Scrooge a bowl of cereal, which put a smile on his face.

Campbell's Soup Snowman

In this classic Campbell's soup commercial, a snowman eats a bowl of hot chicken noodle. The snow melts with each spoonful and it is revealed that the snowman is actually a young boy.

Hershey's Kisses Bells

Sometimes less is more. In this Hershey's Kisses commercial, a group of chocolates ring like bells and perform the holiday tune “We Wish You a Merry Christmas." One chocolate rings harder than the rest and has to wipe its “brow” with the narrow strip of paper on its top.

A Bedrock Christmas

As it turns out, even Bedrock celebrates Christmas. Santa Claus comes down a chimney and Fred Flinstone gives St. Nick a bowl of his Fruity Pebbles cereal. However, Barney Rubble also comes down the chimney to trick Fred into giving him a bowl. Although Fred isn’t fooled, he still gives Barney a bowl because “tis the season to be sharing,” as Santa says.

Oreo Cookies for Santa

In this commercial, a boy tries to stay up through the night to see Santa Claus and give him Oreo cookies and milk. He says to himself, “I’ll just take a little rest.” Santa stops by and begins eating the cookies with delight. But when the boy starts to wake, Santa disappears and the boy discovers the cookies are gone.

Michael Jordan Shoots Hoops With Santa

Santa Claus went head-to-head against Michael Jordan for a Nike commercial. The ad features some smooth moves from the basketball player. Although St. Nick delivers presents, he doesn’t seem to be gifted when it comes to the sport.

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<![CDATA["Late Night" Writers Give Seth Affirmations]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:29:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Meyers+Affirmation.jpg Seth Meyers asked the writers on “Late Night” to write affirmations for him again. Watch the clip to see what they really think about their boss!

Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]]>
<![CDATA[Fallon: "I've Got Good News and Good News"]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:46:48 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/No-Scrubs.jpg To counter all the bad news being reported, "The Tonight Show" asked NBC news anchors across the U.S. to read stories that make us happy.]]> <![CDATA[Musical Beers With Ruffalo on "Tonight"]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:04:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fallon+Musical+Beers.jpg It's every man for himself as Jimmy Fallon, Mark Ruffalo, Stephen Merchant, Steve Higgins and Tariq from "The Roots" compete in a tense game of Musical Beers, a game that puts an adult twist on musical chairs.

Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]]>
<![CDATA[Hungering for a Great "Mockingjay"]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:33:05 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SP1_D08_03267_Rc.jpg

Like its arrow-slinging protagonist Katniss Everdeen, "Catching Fire," last year's second chapter of "The Hunger Games" movie series, did more than just survive in a fierce, unforgiving field. The flick pulled off a Hollywood feat as rare a Hunger Games without a solo winner: The sequel far outshined the initial installment.

The first film based on the dystopian book trilogy about an annual competition pitting children from a dozen "districts" against one another in a televised fight to the death took aim at Reality TV, among other targets. But for all the action and drama, the 2012 box office hit largely missed the mark, falling flat and bloodless for considerable stretches.

"Catching Fire" lived up to its name as characters from the first film blazed to life, fueling a compelling story that ended with the oppressed nation of Panem on the verge of a revolution led by Katniss, a star for the ages. Now "Mockingjay — Part 1,” the first installment in the dual finale, arrives in theaters Friday, leaving us wondering which "Hunger Games" we're going to get.

The fate of "Mockingjay," on-screen and off, rests largely on the impressive shoulders of Katniss and her real-life alter ego, Jennifer Lawrence.

Like Katniss, Lawrence is eminently relatable in her civilian life (her eschewing of celebrity trappings and her Oscar night stumbles have endeared her to fans) and beloved for turning fierce when attacked (see Lawrence's strong rebuke to the those who posted hacked personal pictures of her and other stars). The actress is a symbol of Hollywood hope and celebrity sanity.

Katniss also is a powerful symbol to both the government forces that made her a star and the rebels who broke her out of the Hunger Games dome in "Catching Fire." But Katniss is far more than either side's Joan of Arc/martyr-in-waiting. As we saw from her flaming entrance in last year's chapter, she controls the fire.

The full flesh-and-blood realization of Katniss Everdeen is a tribute to the ability of Lawrence, at 24 a great, Oscar-winning actress who more than held her own against Robert DeNiro in "Silver Linings Playbook."  In "Mockingjay," she's again surrounded by top-notch "Hunger Game" players, including Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who filmed most of his scenes for the “Mockingjay” movies before his death in February.

As we saw with the initial "Hunger Games" entry, fine acting alone can't carry a film. Splitting the final chapter into two parts might follow the largely money-driven trend of milking lucrative book-inspired movie franchises ("Twilight," "Harry Potter," "The Hobbit”). But the gimmick doesn’t necessarily bode well for quality as we wait to see whether "Mockingjay — Part 1" leaves us hungering for or just plain hungry.


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multimedia NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

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<![CDATA[Mike Nichols: Humanity on a Cinematic Scale]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:38:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP050607019325.jpg

Mike Nichols understood and celebrated the power of everyday human experiences. As a director he crafted stories about love, heartbreak, death, grief, anger, humor and hope, placing them in the context of modern-day life and examining them under a microscope via the stage and screens both big and small.

The Hollywood legend, who was honored with Emmy, Tony, Grammy and Golden Globe Awards as well as a Best Director Oscar for "The Graduate," died Wednesday. He was 83.

A performer who ultimately found his career niche behind the camera, Nichols spent more than five decades cajoling award-winning performances out of a diverse company of actors that includes Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cher, Shirley MacLaine, Alan Arkin, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeffrey Wright, Robin Williams, Al Pacino, Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Anne Bancroft, Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, John Travolta, Kathy Bates and Larry Hagman.

Here, some of his most beloved screen outings:

"The Graduate" (1967)

Capturing the post-college malaise affecting his protagonist Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), Nichols used held a mirror up to middle-class America as it wrestled with the growing youthquake of the 1960s. Braddock's affair with the wife of a family friend (Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson utters the oft quoted famous question from the film: "Would like to seduce me?") and then subsequent relationship with her daughter was underscored perfectly with music by Simon & Garfunkel.

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966)

Real-life pair Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play a married couple whose seemingly pleasant academic life unravels over the course of one volatile and argument-filled evening at home. At times funny and horrific, the film peels back the emotional layers until the characters face their deepest fears and regrets. "Woolf" was awarded five Academy Awards including the Best Director win for Nichols.

"Working Girl" (1988)

Melanie Griffith plays Tess McGill, the titular character of this movie that explores the role of women in the workplace, class and interoffice relationships against the backdrop of Wall Street greed and ambition in the 1980s. Sigourney Weaver is the boss trying to keep our heroine down while Harrison Ford plays the man enamored of both McGill's beauty and brains.

"The Birdcage" (1996)

A broad comedy farce, this remake of the popular French musical "La Cage aux Folles" stars Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and Diane Weist as two disparate couples — one, a gay nightclub owner and his longtime partner who is also his headlining drag act, the other a right-wing Senator who founded the Coalition of Moral Order and his buttoned-up wife — who must come together for the sake of their soon-to-be-married children.

"Silkwood" (1983)

Nichols' first foray into strict drama was awarded five Oscars. A true story about a whistle-blower at a plutonium processing plant was also Nichols' first on-screen collaboration with Meryl Streep. The two Hollywood heavyweights would go on to team up three more times: "Heartburn" (1986), "Postcards From the Edge" (1990), "Angels in America" (2003) and the in-development HBO adaptation of Terrance McNally's play "Master Class," about legendary opera diva Maria Callas.

"Angels in America" (2003)

Nichols fashioned Tony Kushner's award-winning play about the advent of HIV/AIDS in New York City in the 1980s into powerful six hour, two-part miniseries featuring Streep and an all-star cast that would go on to win 11 Emmys and five Golden Globe Awards.

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<![CDATA[NBC Brings the Holiday Viewing Cheer]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:35:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NUP_165234_1792.JPG

From classic Holiday moments such as "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," the lighting of the tree during "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" and watching the beloved "It's a Wonderful Life," to getting cozy in front of new seasonal specials including "Peter Pan Live!" and "Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas," NBC is the place to be for family fun and holiday cheer in 2014.

Through the dawn of 2015 the network will feature holiday programming featuring stars Allison Williams, Jim Parsons, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Jason Alexander, Dennis Haysbert, Trisha Yearwood, Michael Bublé, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, Seth MacFarlane, Idina Menzel and Christopher Walken.

Walken stars as Captain Hook in one of the most highly-anticipated productions of the 2014 holiday season: "Peter Pan Live!" Williams tackles the titular role of the boy who never grew up in this live musical retelling of J.M. Barrie's children's tale.

Beginning with a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at "Peter Pan Live!" and ending with a cheer as we celebrate "New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly" live from Times Square, NBC has the holidays covered.

"The Making of Peter Pan Live!"

This hourlong special will go behind the scenes to give viewers an inside look at the incredible teamwork it takes to create the event “Peter Pan Live” (Thursday, Dec. 4, 8 p.m.). Watch Allison Williams learn to fly and Christopher Walken practice his sword fighting as he prepares to play the villainous Captain Hook. From casting to costume design, this is an all-access pass to whet viewers’ appetites for all things “Peter Pan Live!” Wednesday, Nov. 26 (8-9 p.m. ET)

"SNL Thanksgiving"

An hilarious compilation of the best Thanksgiving-themed clips from 40 years of the iconic late-night series “Saturday Night Live.” Wednesday, Nov. 26 (9-11 p.m. ET)

"Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade"

Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie of "Today" will host one of the biggest spectacles of the holiday season as more than 8,000 participants make their through the streets of New York City. Celebrities participating include Lucy Hale, Nick Jonas, Idina Menzel and Meghan Trainor. The parade will include high-stepping numbers from this season’s Tony Award-winning best musical "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," Sting’s "The Last Ship," "On the Town" and "Side Show," as well as a sneak peek at NBC’s "Peter Pan Live!" Thursday, Nov. 27 (9 a.m.-noon ET)

"The National Dog Show Presented by Purina"

Hosted by award-winning actor, author and Broadway star John O’Hurley ("Seinfeld," "Dancing with the Stars") and expert analyst David Frei, an AKC-licensed judge and host of USA Network’s "The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show," the 13th annual "National Dog Show" showcases the best of America's purebred canines. Thursday, Nov. 27 (noon-2 p.m. ET)

"Christmas in Rockefeller Center"

The arrival of the holidays wouldn’t be complete without a dazzling display of musical talent and the lighting of the famous Christmas tree. Hosted by "Today" show anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales, this year's star-studded lineup includes Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper, Seth MacFarlane and will feature Sara Bareilles, Idina Menzel, Pentatonix, LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood. Wednesday, Dec. 3 (8-9 p.m. ET)

"SNL Christmas"

The funniest Christmas-themed clips from 40 years of the iconic late-night series “Saturday Night Live.” Wednesday, Dec. 3 (9-11 p.m. ET)

"Peter Pan Live!"

The classic Broadway musical about a boy who refuses to grow up, "Peter Pan Live!" stars Allison Williams as Peter and Oscar winner Christopher Walken as the villainous Captain Hook. Thursday, Dec. 4 (8-11 p.m. ET)

"How Murray Saved Christmas"

From four-time Emmy-winning writer and executive producer Mike Reiss ("The Simpsons"), "How Murray Saved Christmas" is based on Reiss’ best-selling children’s book of the same name and is written entirely in rhymed verse. The musical centers on cranky deli owner Murray Weiner (Jerry Stiller), who is forced to fill in for Santa (Kevin Michael Richardson) one Christmas and, with the help of Edison Elf (Sean Hayes), does a weirdly wonderful job. The special also stars the voice talents of Dennis Haysbert, Jason Alexander and John Ratzenberger. Friday, Dec. 5 (8-9 p.m. ET)

"It’s a Wonderful Life"

The NBC annual tradition continues as the iconic 1946 film once again returns to primetime. Directed by Frank Capra, "It’s a Wonderful Life" stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, who contemplates suicide before a guardian angel intervenes and allows him to see all that is right in his world. Saturday, Dec. 6 (8-11 p.m. ET) and Wednesday, Dec. 24 (8-11 p.m. ET)

"Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas"

Starring four-time Emmy Award winner Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") as Buddy, this original stop-motion hourlong animated special is based on the popular film "Elf" and the hit Broadway show "Elf: The Musical." Santa narrates the story of Buddy’s travels to New York City to meet the father he never knew he had. Along the way his unrelenting cheer transforms the lives of everyone he meets and opens his father’s eyes to the magic of Christmas. With nine new songs, the special features a voice cast including Mark Hamill, Ed Asner, Fred Armisen, Jay Leno, Matt Lauer and Gilbert Gottfried. Tuesday, Dec. 16 (8-9 p.m. ET)

"Michael Bublé’s Christmas in New York"

Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Bublé celebrates the season with his fourth annual special. Special guests join Bublé at the storied Radio City Music Hall in New York City for an hourlong celebration of his favorite holiday songs. Wednesday, Dec. 17 (8-9 p.m. ET)

"The Sing-Off"

A two-hour holiday special of the popular musical competition series showcases six new groups who compete for a prize of $50,000. Returning judges Jewel and Shawn Stockman will be joined by Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, while Nick Lachey once again hosts. Wednesday, Dec. 17 (9-11 p.m. ET)

"One Direction: The TV Special"

From Universal Studios Orlando, this musical special offers TV viewers a rare inside look at the wildly popular band, and its members: Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. Tuesday, Dec. 23 (8-9 p.m. ET)

"WWE Tribute to the Troops"

A tribute to the men and women who serve our country, WWE brings together the best of sports entertainment and pop culture with superstars and divas celebrity appearances, as well as performances from music’s most popular acts. Saturday, Dec. 27 (8-9 p.m. ET)

"New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly"

“The Voice” host will celebrate the arrival of 2015 from Times Square with an array of musical guests. Wednesday, Dec. 31 (10-11 p.m. ET and 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET)

Photo Credit: Nino Munoz/NBC
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<![CDATA[Meyers: "Where Are They Now?"]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:15:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Meyers+Where+are+they+now.png Seth Meyers gives updates on where tonight’s “Late Night” are following the taping of the show. Kiera Knightley downed 74 Jammin’ Jalapeño wings in under 5 minutes at Buffalo Wild Wings and musical guests St. Lucia retired in St. Thomas. ]]> <![CDATA[Fallon: Jon Stewart Gave "The Roots" Their TV Debut on MTV]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:33:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Fallon+Jon+Stewart.jpg Jon Stewart stopped by "The Tonight Show," and talked to Jimmy Fallon about working with Steve Higgins, "The Roots," and much of the "Tonight Show" staff in the '90s.

Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]]>
<![CDATA[Your Photos: The Rockefeller Tree Through The Years]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:01:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*231/4660e918e1674725a7ba6d43ec4e283f.jpg It's beginning to look a lot like a NYC Christmas! Your photos in front of the iconic Rockefeller Center tree.

Photo Credit: Robyn Roth-Moise @RobynNYC]]>
<![CDATA[Sexiest Man Alive Through the Years]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:18:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP158836934880.jpg People Magazine has named Chris Hemsworth the Sexiest Man Alive for 2014. Check out past winners here.

Photo Credit: John Shearer/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA["Tonight Show" Obama Expressions: "Sup Girl?"]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:19:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fallon+Obama+Xpressions.png Jimmy Fallon explains the meaning behind President Obama's lesser-known facial expressions like the “Photobama” and “Sup Girl?"]]> <![CDATA[Cecily Strong to Headline WH Correspondents' Dinner]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 09:40:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/455776192.jpg

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Cecily Strong will headline the annual White House Correspondent’s Association dinner on April 25, the group’s president announced in an email Wednesday.

“Her political humor is sly and edgy, and it comes with a Chicago accent,” WHCD President Christi Parsons said.

Strong, who joined "SNL" in 2012, will be the fourth woman to serve as guest-comedian in the event's 82-year history.

The 30-year-old comedian was a co-anchor of "SNL's" "Weekend Update" segment and is known for her character, “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party."

She has a connection to the news world too. Her father, Bill Strong, was the former Associated Press bureau chief at the Illinois Statehouse.

This year's dinner was headlined by "The Soup" host and actor Joel McHale.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Jonas Brothers' Texas Home Listed for $3.2M]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:13:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jonas-Bros-House.jpg

You can live like the Jonas Brothers, if you have $3.2 million.

The JoBros are leaving Westlake, Texas and have listed their 7,360-square-foot home on Wisteria Way according to CultureMap Dallas.

Ebby Halliday's Lott Group has the listing according to the website. The home was originally priced at $3.4 million.

The Tuscan-inspired home is on the edge of the Vaquero golf course and features six bedrooms, six and a half baths, three living areas, two dining areas, a music room, a media room and a game room.

Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle put their home in the posh Vaquero development on the market in 2012.

They were asking for $2.2 million for the three bedroom, 3 and a half bath home.

Photo Credit: Ebby Halliday/Shoot 2 Sell & Invision for Huawei
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<![CDATA[Eco-Friendly Gifts ]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:50:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jetson_Bike.jpg Check out these green gifts for your eco-conscious loved one. Whether it's a repurposed wooden picture frame or jewelery, get them something they will love without hurting the environment.]]> <![CDATA[Perfect Pop Culture Gifts]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:51:49 -0500 mug set, featuring song titles from Beyonce's latest album, “Flawless” and “I Woke Up Like This.” Price: $25.00]]> mug set, featuring song titles from Beyonce's latest album, “Flawless” and “I Woke Up Like This.” Price: $25.00]]> http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BeyonceMugs.jpg This holiday season, give your friends and family gifts inspired by 2014 hottest movies, TV shows and artists.

Photo Credit: Etsy.com]]>