Dancers for the 2010 Tour Announced

The Top 7 will be go on Tour

The 40-city tour begins on September 19 in New Orleans and ends in Glendale, AZ on November 17. The production will feature this season’s most popular routines as well as original pieces created specifically for the nationwide tour. Tickets go on-sale July 30, 2010.

(See the 2010 SYTYCD Tour Dates.)

The dynamic dancer line-up includes a mix of Season 7 contestants: Adéchiké, Ashley, Billy, Jose, Kent, Lauren, Robert as well as All Stars, including, Ade, Allison, Courtney, Dominic and Kathryn. Also joining is Season 6 winner Russell.

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How to Upload Your National Dance Day Video

National Dance Day is almost here!  Are you ready?  Share your plans with us and show us your moves on Facebook!

1)  Go to the National Dance Day event page on Facebook.

NOTE: You must be logged in to your Facebook account.

2)  RSVP to attend the event.

3)  Below the description of the event, select Video.

4)     Upload your videos to our wall!

Have fun, be creative, and help inspire your fellow dancers!  As Nigel has said, “Prove that the ‘Power of Dance’ can MOVE an entire Country!”

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National Dance Day Being Recognized with Official Act of Congress

National Dance Day, a grassroots movement taking place on Saturday, July 31 that encourages the people of this nation to get up and move, is being recognized with an official act of Congress. Created by Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer and co-creator of the hit FOX series SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE and founder of the Dizzy Feet Foundation, the aim of National Dance Day is to promote health and self-esteem through the art form of dance.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a long-time proponent of healthy lifestyles, will introduce a National Dance Day resolution at a press conference on Saturday, July 31 in Washington, D.C., to promote dance education and physical fitness across the U.S.

In January, Congresswoman Norton introduced the Lifelong Improvements in Food and Exercise (LIFE) Act to promote exercise and diet changes. Norton’s LIFE bill directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be a lead agency in combating obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

“More than 30 percent of Americans are obese, and childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years,” said Norton. “Television shows such as SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE are not only entertaining but are also encouraging people to live a physically active lifestyle. Holding a National Dance Day in the nation’s capital is a terrific way to promote fitness and fight obesity.”

Additionally, Congresswoman Norton will host her own National Dance Day flash mob on the National Mall (between 3rd St & 4th St SW) from 1:00-5:00 PM featuring local dance enthusiasts, representatives from dance schools and organizations and former SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE finalists.

“National Dance Day does not ‘belong’ to any single corporation, television show or charity,” said Lythgoe. “It belongs to the people. It will be up to the individuals, corporations and charities of this country to come up with ways to take part – wherever they may be and whatever their motivation: whether it’s to lose weight, raise money for a nonprofit or just have fun. It is my hope that countless exciting dance ideas will come to fruition on National Dance Day, like the world’s longest conga line in Miami or the world’s longest kick line in front of Radio City Music Hall or scores of breakdancers taking over the Venice boardwalk. The sky is the limit.”

>> RSVP now on Facebook and share your videos, photos, or comments describing how you plan to celebrate the day!

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Ellen DeGeneres exits ‘American Idol’

As far as tryouts go, Ellen DeGeneres' audition wasn't a rousing success.

And now the talk-show host has told the producers of "American Idol" that she is leaving the show after one season as a judge. 

"It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more
than I bargained for," DeGeneres said in a statement from Fox." I also realized this season that while I love
discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me
to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings."

I doubt anyone will miss DeGeneres next season. Her comments were bland, innocuous and not particularly helpful to the contestants, given that she rarely offered perceptive critiques. Her specialty was making the contestants feel good about themselves and offering the occasional joke, and in that capacity, she was harmless and ultimately unnecessary.

I can't imagine what's going to transpire next season on "Idol." Simon Cowell, one of the main reasons for watching the show, will be gone; he exited this past season. Paula Abdul, she of the crazy but occasionally entertaining train wrecks, is long gone. Randy Jackson is an amiable but unexceptional judge, and though she softened her approach this past season, Kara DioGuardi has always felt like the odd woman out on the panel.

Could there be further judge shakeups? Will the producers finally realize that four judges is probably one judge too many? Will Nigel Lythgoe, a former producer who is rumored to be returning, install an all-new panel? And who will replace Simon? The speculation regarding the last question has been rampant, with dozens of names being thrown out every week.

In any case, this whole judges' panel drama may just be be far more interesting than anything that occurs on the show next year, when the loss of the acerbic Cowell will surely be felt.

In any case, "DeGeneres out!"

 Fox's press release on her departure is below.

Ellen DeGeneres has decided to bow out from her role as a judge on AMERICAN IDOL next season.  DeGeneres served as a judge during the ninth season of IDOL, the No. 1 hit series on television.
 
“A couple months ago, I let FOX and the AMERICAN IDOL producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me,” said DeGeneres. “I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next.  It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for.   I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on IDOL and I am very grateful for the year I had.  I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.”
 
“We love Ellen and understand and support her decision to bow out of IDOL,” said Peter Rice, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Networks Group.  “We were fortunate to receive the humor, energy and love for talent that she brought to the show.”
 
“It was a joy to work with Ellen,” added Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “She brought an incredible spirit to IDOL and was a great new addition to the team.  While we’re saddened by her decision, we are very appreciative that she gave us ample notice so that we could work through it together.”
 
“I loved Ellen’s passion for the artists and her nurturing skills,” said IDOL creator and executive producer Simon Fuller.  “She brought honesty and optimism to our judging panel and I will miss her greatly.”
 
“We will miss Ellen, she has been the consummate professional throughout her time on the show, and she’ll always be part of the AMERICAN IDOL family,” added Cecile Frot-Coutaz, IDOL executive producer.

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Exclusive: ‘Game of Thrones’ lord is Dance

game of thrones Charles Dance has been cast as nobleman Tywin Lannister in HBO's upcoming epic "Game of Thrones." 

A wealthy lord and head of one of the most powerful clans in the realm, Tywin is one of the most memorable characters in the series of George R.R. Martin novels that begins with "Game of Thrones." Tywin is father of the despised Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and the calculating twins Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei (Lena Headey).

"Thrones," which arrives in 2011, is one of the most hotly anticipated shows on HBO's roster; its cast includes Headey, Sean Bean, Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Dinklage, Jason Momoa, Emilia Clarke, Aiden Gillen and Mark Addy. The drama recently began production in Northern Ireland. 

In his long career, Dance has starred in everything from "Plenty" to "Labyrinth" and in lavish miniseries such as "Bleak House" and "Jewel in the Crown." I can't speak for the rest of the fans of Martin's novels, but when his name surfaced as one of the casting rumors for the role of Tywin, he seemed perfect for the part, which requires charisma, a steely resolve and a commanding presence. 

For the full cast list for "Game of Thrones," look here. The rest of my stories on the HBO project and on Martin's books are here.

By the way, Martin has been discussing the "Thrones" actors (and one recent recasting) on his Not a Blog, and the "GoT" sites Westeros, Winter is Coming and Tower of the Hand have lots of news and fan discussions as well.

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What’s to come on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and what went awry in Season 5

–Posted by Maureen Ryan

"I hope no one will throw the word 'sitcommy' at us after Season 6."

HIMYM Those are the words of Craig Thomas, executive producer and co-creator of "How I Met Your Mother."

He and Carter Bays, his fellow executive producer and co-creator, gave a group interview to several TV writers and critics Wednesday evening at the Television Critics Association press tour. They talked about beginning the show's overall endgame and what's to come in Season 6 (and much of that information is at the end of this post).

And for almost an hour, Thomas and Bays talked about Season 5, which many critics, including myself, found uneven at best and, yes, broad and sitcommy at worst. In their view, their decision to experiment and not give the season an overall arc produced some of what they consider "HIMYM's" best episodes, such as "Girls Versus Suits" and "Doppelgangers," but they said they ultimately realized the season felt "rudderless."

In Season 5, "We set out to say, 'What if every episode, you hit the reset button at the end of the episode?'" Bays said. "…We had fun doing that, but I feel like that's not the show we wanted to do."

HIMYM "A certain kind of fan of the show felt like last season was less emotionally interesting, less interesting in the larger arc of 'Who's the mother?' but also less interesting in the sense of moving forward in these characters' lives," Thomas added. "I feel like we earned fans by exploring a lot of different rites of passage in people's lives, and last year I feel like we did a lot less of it."

Season 6 certainly sounds good on paper. For one thing, Bays and Thomas promise to fundamentally shake up the question of Ted's future wife — the mother of the show's title — in the show's Sept. 20 season premiere, which will see the return of guest star Rachel Bilson, who plays the unseen mother's roommate.

"That trick that we've done for five years — 'Is this one the mother?' — we're going to put that trick to bed," Thomas said. "You're going to learn some stuff in Episode 1 that sort of ends that particular gimmick."

There will also be significant arcs for each character, and "by the end of the season, everyone's lives will change dramatically," Thomas said.

Thomas also made this vow: "Ted will be absolutely un-douchey this year."

Ted's douchiness wasn't the show's biggest problem in Season 5, however. Though the season had its moments, elements that had driven it in the past — emotionally compelling relationships, intricate or inventive stories, a sense of romantic possibility and a relatable sense of progress in the characters' lives — weren't consistently well executed.

And once Barney and Robin abruptly broke up a third of the way through the season, I kept watching for a while, thinking that a reason for the sudden breakup or a further emotional development would be coming on that front. When nothing more happened in that arena, despite my residual affection for the comedy, I drifted away.

Thomas and Bays said if they had to do it all over again, they'd have kept Barney and Robin together longer. Part of the problem was that the writers had penned a lot of episodes in advance. By the time they saw the chemistry that Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris had as Barney and Robin, they'd already put the couple on the path to a breakup.

 But the bigger problem was the interchangeable, standalone nature of most episodes.

"There wasn't accumulation of meaning from episode to episode last year, as much as we've done in the past," Thomas said. "And I think we write better when we're accumulating meaning and momentum and building a larger season."

"I think we were wrong" to play what he called "an improv game" with the season, Bays said. "We sort of ignored that part of us that are planners by nature, and it suffered structurally, I think."

Thomas noted that "our canary in the emotional coalmine is … Pam Fryman," who has directed almost every episode of the CBS comedy. After Thomas and Bays presented her with their outline for the 24-episode sixth season, she read it and declared that the show was "back."

"Just writing that [document] up got us kind of wistful and emotional," Bays said.

"This year there's going to be a lot more writing from real life" — from the writers' own lives, he added.

He and Thomas have also sketched out the ending of "HIMYM." They're not doing a "Lost" — they haven't set an end date for the show (and in case you're wondering, the cast is under contract through Season 8). But they said that the show is now entering its third and final act, and that when the last season comes, they will have a plan for it.

""We have a set ending but we don't have a set end time," Bays said.

Before then, in Season 6 they are going to "create a series of different questions that expand the [central] mystery a little bit," Thomas said.

[From here on out there will be more concrete information about what's to come in Season 6.]

"We're going to get some glimpses into the future that will actually alter the way we tell the story in a fundamental way," Bays said. "In Episode 1, we kind of begin a new framework for the show."

"The future is going to become even more a part of the present in the show," he added, a bit cryptically.

When it came to other elements of Season 6, Bays and Thomas were more forthcoming. Here are a few of the developments they have planned:

  • Barney will accept that his father is not Bob Barker and he will look for his real father. "If we do it right, Neil [Patrick Harris] will have a hard time picking his Emmy episode,"?Thomas said. Added Bays, "I think we can say that Barney's going to grow up this year in an entertaining way."
  • Marshall and Lily are going to try to have a baby. Bays and Thomas wouldn't say whether the married couple do get pregnant, but the show's creators noted that they had debated introducing a baby on the show for a long time. It's "Sitcom 101" not to introduce a baby into a comedy, as Bays noted, but they also don't want the show to have fake, small, sitcommy stakes.
  • Ted will not have a date every week in Season 6 ("Ted's tally is getting a little high," Thomas said). He will be commissioned to design Goliath National Bank building and thus he'll work with Barney and Marshall. "To make this new building he's designing, this really old, beautiful building has to be destroyed," Thomas said. Given how nostalgic Ted himself is, this isn't easy for him, especially when he meets a preservationist, who plays a significant role in the season; she is his "nemesis."
  • There will be a third installment in the Robin Sparkles saga; they're trying to get Alan Thicke back for it. It will relive the glory days of the tween-oriented, educational show that Robin Sparkles hosted in Canada — with her showbiz partner, Glitter. Thomas and Bays are writing a song for Sparkles and Glitter. "We talked about it being a safety warning about thin ice," Thomas said. 
  • There don't appear to be specific plans to get Robin and Barney back together, but Thomas said he thinks Barney does love her and Thomas doesn't feel as though the show is completely "done" with that relationship.
  • There will be more Web sites, possibly a Twitter feed and other social-media goodies this year.

In any event, they say the goal this year is to get the laughs, at least some of the time, from fraught emotional places.

The show "should be able to make you cry," Thomas said. "The laughs are deeper when it's from that place."

By the way, Alan Sepinwall has an abridged transcript of the conversation here.

Sponsored Link: Amazon's How I Met Your Mother Store

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Video preview of ‘Sons of Anarchy’s’ new season and intel from ‘SOA’s’ creator

Posted by Maureen Ryan

The Season 3 premiere of “Sons of Anarchy,” which FX recently sent out to critics, contains the most winning dance routine of the year. Take that, “Glee”!

OK, obviously, I’m kidding. When “SOA” returns Sept. 7, we Charming addicts will get what we want: Emotionally charged storytelling, intense action, strong but flawed characters and the start of a whole new world of pain for Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original (a.k.a. SAMCRO).

I’m in Los Angeles at the annual Television Critics Association summer press tour, at which networks present panels on their new and returning shows, and FX will offer a “Sons” panel next week.

But since the network also sent out the first new “Sons” clip of the season, I thought I’d take this chance to offer up a few more remarks from creator Kurt Sutter, who I spoke to on the show’s set in May. Those remarks are below, just after this clip (in which Piney has the best line, in my humble opinion):

As Sutter noted at the show’s recent Comic-Con panel (which Alan Sepinwall wrote about here), any problems between club leader Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) have been put on the back burner as Season 3 begins. The search for Jax’s son, Abel, who has been kidnapped by an Irish adversary, occupies the club leadership and other conflicts don’t matter at this point.

The show is “expanding on that last moment where Jack sort of collapses in his arms, at the end of season 2,” Sutter said in the May interview. “That’s sort of the jumping-off point for their relationship” when the show returns.

“None of those fractures, none of those wounds go away, but ultimately they move to a back burner and they, where they scab over to a certain extent because, you know, there are bigger tasks at hand,” added Sutter, who’s already thinking about where that conflict within the club will ultimately take the show.

“If you play the reality of our seasons, it’s you know, like a month,” Sutter said. “And I have an idea for the end of this season that we’re going to end in such a way that will really allow me to almost reboot the entire series for Season 4.”
 
But before we get there, the club and the show will take a long trip to Belfast, as detailed in the earlier “Sons of Anarchy” Season 3 story. Several episodes will be set there, Titus Welliver will be back for eight episodes playing Belfast hard guy Jimmy O, and Paula Malcolmson (a Belfast native) will play Maureen, the matriarch of the Sons of Anarchy charter in that city.

A lot of spinter revolutionary groups such as the show’s fictional “True IRA” “just sort of became gangsters,” as Sutter noted. This season, SAMCRO’s Irish contact, Jimmy O (Titus Welliver), is contending with a local priest played by James Cosmo; they are locked in a battle that is reminiscent of the Jax-Clay conflict in Charming.

In addition to the Irish connection, what will come to the fore this season are revelations about John Teller’s past, and the strong leadership of Clay, who seems to function best when the club is under siege.

“It was really important for me to show Clay as a strong leader this season,” Sutter said. “We’ve seen Clay make a lot of missteps, they were [not necessarily] bad decisions, but based on circumstance they ended up being missteps. And it was really important for me this season to see Clay as a strong leader. Like, you understand why this guy is the president of the club and why he’s feared, why he’s revered, and why he is who he is. [I wanted to] have him really be a father figure and be a strong leader.”

For more on where the new season will go and Season 3 guest stars (who include Taryn Manning as Cherry, Hal Holbrook as Gemma’s dad, James Cosmo as the Irish priest and Kenneth Johnson as Kozik), click here and here.

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Exclusive: ‘Battlestar Galactica’ sets up a Young Adama spinoff

–Posted by Maureen Ryan

Those who’ve been hoping for a new chapter of the “Battlestar Galactica” story may get their wish.

An online series called “Blood & Chrome” is in the works, one that would follow the experiences of a young William “Husker” Adama in the first Cylon War.

According to Mark Stern, Syfy’s executive vice president of original programming and the co-head of original content for Universal Cable Productions, “Battlestar Galactica” and “Caprica” co-executive producer Michael Taylor will write the the script for the new venture.

battlestar galactica “Blood & Chrome” is “about a young man’s initiation into war: both the realities of war as fought by soldiers on the ground (and in Battlestars and Vipers), and the somewhat less real version portrayed in the media,” according to Taylor.

“Blood & Chrome” would consist of nine or 10 episodes of nine or 10 minutes each, and it would make use of cutting-edge digital technology and special effects to depict the Cylon War. If it is greenlit to production, it will be filmed using green screens and virtual sets, not unlike Syfy’s “Sanctuary” or James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Before “Battlestar Galactica” ended, high-tech scans were made of all the show’s sets, so that the special-effects team will be able to re-create them (possibly even in 3D).

“I’ve seen the virtual, 3D version of CIC [‘Battlestar’s’ Combat Information Center] and it’s pretty damn cool,” Taylor said. “And yet the movie isn’t confined to Galactica. Far from it. It’s a story that will take us to new corners of the ‘Battlestar’ world (or worlds), and yet it aims to be a very contemporary war movie in a lot of ways. I would say I’m thinking as much of Afghanistan and Iraq–the reality of ‘Hurt Locker,’ Sebastian Junger’s ‘Restrepo,’ and similar movies–as I am about about the largely implied past of ‘Battlestar.'”

Though Taylor said he’ll strive for the kind of emotional engagement that was the hallmark of “Battlestar,” which ended in 2009, expect lots of of cliffhangers and visceral suspense as well. “We’re not going to be shying away from R-rated blood and guts and
sex,” Taylor noted. “Because this is initially meant to air online, we pretty much have
no restrictions in that department.”

It’s not known yet if “Blood & Chrome” would star Nico Cortez, the actor cast as young Adama in “Razor,” a previous “Battlestar Galactica” movie. There may be one other character from “Razor” in the new online series, but it would feature a mostly new cast.

If “Blood & Chrome” is successful, it could be the first a series of similar projects, and if it’s judged very successful, it could even act as a backdoor pilot for a TV show set in that war-torn “BSG” era.

Speaking of the Cylon War, “Caprica,” a Syfy drama that depicts events leading up to that conflagration, visited Comic-Con over the weekend. Audio of the panel and a brief panel report are below.

Caprica Comic-Con panel

Judging by the Season 1.5 clip shown at the start of the show’s panel, when “Caprica” returns in January, it will have a lot more action, narrative tension and drive. The show, which was disappointingly uneven in its first set of episodes despite its strong cast, certainly needed all those things.

Now that “Caprica’s” world and characters have been established, the show’s challenge is to “create situations and dramatic milieu as intense and riveting as what we did on ‘Battlestar,'” executive producer David Eick said at the Comic-Con panel. That’s the goal for the second half of the first season and for the second season, if the show gets one.

In Season 1.5, James Marsters will return as terrorist Barnabus Greeley, Scott Porter will be back as polygamist Nestor Willow and John Pyper-Ferguson will return as Tomas Vergis, a business rival of tech titan Daniel Graystone.

Barnabus is “looking out on a society that’s eating itself alive as far as he’s concerned. …. He’s disgusted,” said Marsters, who was on the panel (and who, by the way, confirmed that he’ll reprise his role as Brainiac in the 200th episode of “Smallville”).

“Caprica” will also return to New Cap City, a virtual game that was effectively showcased in Season 1’s most compelling episode, “There Is Another Sky.” That hour found Tamara, a character who was dead in the real world, trapped in a videogame in which she found she had special powers.

Virtual worlds like New Cap City will be important as the show moves forward, as will the robots that Daniel Graystone created in the wake of his family’s personal trauma. Creating a slave class of robots will have serious consequences for Caprical going forward.

And in the second half of the season, viewers will see many more iterations of Zoe, the young woman who was instrumental in the creation of the Cylons. When it comes to what Zoe does in the second half of the season, “I don’t think you’re expecting what’s going to happen,” actress Alessandra Torresani said at the panel. 

Will “Caprica” get a second season? Ronald D. Moore, “Caprica” co-creator and executive producer, said on the panel that he “firmly believes” it will. That decision will be made in coming weeks by Syfy executives.

One last tidbit related to the “Battlestar” world: Taylor is also developing a potential Syfy pilot for Scott Stuber’s Stuber Productions. It’s tentatively called “The Watchers,” and it deals in the kind of contemporary social and political issues that “Battlestar” frequently explored.

It’s set in the world of corporate espionage, and the characters at the center of the drama worry about the power they’ve been given to spy on the lives of ordinary citizens — yet having such power also allows them to do good as well.

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