Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oscar® Update: Producers named for telecast

With less than 150 days out from the 82nd Academy Awards telecast, Academy President Tom Sherak got the ball rolling by naming Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman producers of the ceremony.

This will be the first major Oscar show involvement for both men, Sherak said Tuesday.

Mechanic is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films and the former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Prior to Fox, he served in executive positions at the Walt Disney Company and Paramount. Mechanic’s producer credits include “Coraline” and “Dark Water” (2005).

“The last time I was on the show was as a dancer, and to come back as a producer is such an unbelievable honor,” Shankman was quoted in the press release.

Shankman’s name may sound familiar to musical and choreography buffs. His directorial credits include “Hairspray” (2007) and other projects he's working on include “Rock of Ages,” “Sinbad,” “Bob: The Musical” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” He also has been a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" since Season 3.

Set your calendars and countdown clocks for Sunday, March 7, 2010, Oscar Sunday. With Shankman on board, here's hoping we'll get more musical moments in March.

Photos courtesy John Shearer/ and Todd Wawrychuk / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Olympic host city chosen today

So as you're reading this, a host city may have already been selected. But even if that is the case, here are my thoughts and rankings.

Choosing the host city
Four years ago, on July 6, 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met in Singapore. My choice — and favorite at the time — Paris lost in the final round to London. Also losing to London: Moscow, New York and Madrid.

To determine a host city, once the final four have been decided, a candidate city must win a majority of the votes. According to IOC rules: "If there is no majority in the first round, the city with the fewest votes drops out of the running, and the members vote again for the remaining candidates. If two or more cities are tied for the lowest number of votes, a run-off election is held between them, with the city gaining the most votes going on to the next round."

For example, in 2005, London triumphed after four rounds with 54 votes from a possible 104 in the final round. So really, a candidate city can win outright but with four cities competing, the odds are slim.

The four competing cities: a pithy analysis
(in order of final presentations)
Pro: Most sponsors of the Olympics are American-based. Could help for revenue. President Obama and Oprah are in Copenhagen rallying support. Much better plan than NYC for 2012 bid.
Con: Money issues. Can Chicago afford the games?

Pro: Very economically conscious and good use of existing structures.
Con: The 2008 Games were in Beijing, which is in the same area as Tokyo. The country's population is not very enthused about the Games coming.

Rio de Janeiro
Pro: Never before have the Games been held in South America. Growing economic power and huge young population.
Con: Rio is already hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the crime rate there is pretty bad.

Pro: Good planning and use of existing structures. Highly supported by population.
Con: London is hosting the 2012 Games. Would the IOC award the Olympic

My thoughts
I want Chicago to win. I'm a Midwest kid and would love to see my favorite event (besides the Oscars) come so close to me. If Chicago does not win, I think Rio would be a good second choice. It's only an hour ahead of the Eastern time zone, which would help put more events "live in prime time." Let's see what happens…

Final report before the vote
The announcement of the Host City for the 2016 Games will be made during a 30-minute ceremony which will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Good luck, Chicago!

Caption: In spirit of the Olympics, here I am outside the Olympic Museum and park in Lausanne, Switzerland