Illegal Alien to Solve Crimes for FX

Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010 08:27 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Will Ferrell Tops List of Most Overpaid Stars
2. Metallica Rocks for the Military
3. FX Develops Series With Illegal Alien Sleuth
4. Are Heidi and Spencer Really Broke and Homeless?
5. Olbermann’s ‘Indefinite’ Suspension Ends
 

1. Will Ferrell Tops List of Most Overpaid Stars

Star power isn’t what it used to be.

Instead of banking on big-name stars, Hollywood studios rely increasingly on story franchises, special effects, and 3D to bring people into the movie theaters.

Forbes has even calculated which actors aren’t particularly good investments, in case entertainment executives need some ammunition during salary negotiations.

To arrive at its list of the most overpaid actors, Forbes started with the 36 highest earners and measured profits against salaries, using box-office figures from each star’s three most recent films (before to June 2010).

Topping the overpaid list for the second time is Will Ferrell, the man who ridiculed former President George W. Bush on Broadway.

The Ferrell flicks “Land of the Lost,” “Semi-Pro,” and “Step Brothers” earned only $3.35 for each dollar the actor was paid.

Other overpaid actors and their box-office revenues per salary dollar are Eddie Murphy at $4.45, Denzel Washington at $5.10, Seth Rogen at $6.75, Tom Cruise at $7.20, Drew Barrymore at $7.45, Matt Damon at $8.30, Vince Vaughn at $8.35, Adam Sandler at $8.45 and Jim Carrey at $8.60.


2. Metallica Rocks for the Military

Metallica recently rocked out for a good cause – the military.

The iconic heavy metal band, formed in the early 1980s by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

The group used its fame to salute and extend a helping hand to those who defend our freedom, performing in an airport hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., the Left Coast city that is home to videogame company Activision.

The event, which also kicked off Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” release, raised $1 million for The Call of Duty Endowment, a nonprofit organization that helps soldiers with the transition to civilian life and assists them in establishing jobs and careers.

Metallica and Activision worked together in 2009, when the metal band was featured in “Guitar Hero: Metallica.”

Activision CEO Robert Kotick said the company was honored “to pay tribute to the brave servicemen and women who have risked their lives at war only to return home to find their biggest challenge is searching for a job.”

Activision put its hiring practice where its mouth is. It pledged 1,000 jobs for currently unemployed soldiers.


3. FX Develops Series With Illegal Alien Sleuth

The FX cable channel is developing a new drama series with a unique protagonist: an illegal alien who is also a private eye.

Chap Taylor, whose credits include the Samuel L. Jackson-Ben Affleck movie “Changing Lanes,” will write the pilot episode, according to Deadline.

Taylor notes that the main character will utilize “an invisible network” of immigrants. He uses the logline “Traffic meets Chinatown” to describe the series.

“The theme is about helping the powerless in a corrupt society who can be from the immigrant or the Anglo community,” Taylor says.

He dismisses concerns that the new show will display the usual Hollywood stereotyping of Heartland Americans.

“It will not be a show about beastly white folks or saintly immigrants,” he says. “Like any good drama, we hope to make a show about people in extreme circumstances who have to make decisions. Some good, some bad, and some really ugly.”

Colombian-born film and television director Rodrigo Garcia will direct and executive produce the project.

It’s hard to imagine that the series, which makes a hero out of an individual who broke the law upon entering the country, will not glorify illegal immigration.

Taylor opines that “in Los Angeles and in the U.S., people’s lives are built on the labor of those immigrants.”

He adds: “Our job is to tell good stories as honestly as we possibly can. If everyone is mad at us, we’ve done our job.”


4. Are Heidi and Spencer Really Broke and Homeless?

Reality couple Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag are not exactly masters of media relations and apparently not of personal finances, either.

The two have now admitted that their reported split and divorce filing was a fake to obtain more media coverage.

“Divorcing was the only way to keep Heidi’s career going because everyone hated me so much,” Pratt told Life & Style magazine.

“Look at Sandra Bullock,” Pratt added. “Her divorce from Jesse James was the best thing to happen to her image.”

Montag has recently withdrawn the divorce filing from the courts.

Now Heidi and Spencer claim they’re broke and homeless, and they plan to seek federal bankruptcy protection.

They revealed that they have frittered away $10 million on Heidi’s multiple plastic surgery procedures, her pop singer foray, and their exorbitant Malibu mansion rent.

Montag now wishes she had not paid the big bucks for her infamous 10 cosmetic surgeries.

“I spent thousands on the procedures and after-care,” Heidi said. “I wish I didn’t waste so much money on it.”

The two were forced to move into a guest house at Pratt’s parents’ home after difficulties paying their monthly rent of $35,000.

According to the former “Hills” stars, they plan to file bankruptcy and seek unemployment compensation as well.

But could it all just be an attempt to pitch yet another reality show?

Few know, and unfortunately for the former reality stars, even fewer care.


5. Olbermann’s ‘Indefinite’ Suspension Ends

Lately MSNBC has been doing its best Donald Trump imitation.

It was only months ago that the network suspended David Shuster for taping a pilot at rival cable network CNN.

Then Donny Deutsch was shown the door for criticizing Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann, of course, recently was suspended himself . Sources at MSNBC told Politico that Olbermann’s sanction stemmed from his refusal to perform an on-camera mea culpa for a network ethics policy violation.

Olbermann had claimed that he was unaware that policy prohibited him from making campaign contributions.

Word on the street was that incoming Comcast management may not consider Olbermann worth his $7 million-plus annual salary, especially with the less costly Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell shows scoring respectably in the ratings.

After Olbermann slammed Fox News parent company News Corp. for donating to Republican-oriented organizations, he donated the maximum amount allowed ($2,400) to Kentucky’s losing Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. The donation to Grijalva occurred the same day the candidate appeared on Olbermann’s show.

A statement from NBC News declared that “anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

Impartial journalist? MSNBC’s programming approach has been and continues to be to appeal to the far left. It is an indisputable bastion of partiality.

Using “network policy” seems to have been just an excuse to get rid of Olbermann temporarily. His troubled past provides some insight into why MSNBC may have mixed feelings about the anchor.

In 1997, Olbermann received a two-week ESPN suspension for an unauthorized appearance on “The Daily Show” back when it was hosted by a former ESPN colleague, Craig Kilborn. Later that year, Olbermann abruptly left ESPN.

Olbermann also split from his MSNBC program called “The Big Show” in 1998, reportedly because he was upset over excessive coverage of the Monica Lewinsky story.

ESPN execs apparently still carried a grudge. In 2004, the sports network snubbed Olbermann from the guest lineup of its 25th anniversary SportsCenter “Reunion Week,” which saw Craig Kilborn and Charley Steiner return to the SportsCenter set.

Olbermann was fired from Fox Sports in 2001. He claims it was because he had reported on rumors that Rupert Murdoch was planning to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fox denies this was the reason.

In predictable fashion, MSNBC brought in another liberal, Chris Hayes, to fill in for Olbermann. Hayes appeared to be perfect for MSNBC since he was the editor of The Nation, a magazine that is slightly to the left of Mao’s little red book, and Hayes would likely have carried on the “Countdown” tradition.

But alas, it turns out that Hayes gave money to two Democratic campaigns in recent years.

Not to worry, other lefties were waiting with biased breath. But it turns out MSNBC won’t be needing them now that Olbermann has been beamed back behind the “Countdown” desk.

Phil Griffin, president of the cable network, said in a statement, “I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy.”

NBC announced that Olbermann’s “indefinite” suspension would end Nov. 9.

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