Top TV Shows For Last Week 12/25

2. The Mentalist CBS
3. Sunday Night Football: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants NBC
4. Two and a Half Men CBS
5. Criminal Minds CBS
6. CSI: Miami CBS
7. Without a Trace CBS
9. 60 Minutes CBS
10. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS
11. Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick NBC
12. Worst Week CBS
13. Cold Case CBS
14. Biggest Loser 6 NBC
15. How I Met Your Mother CBS
16. The Big Bang Theory CBS
17. Ghost Whisperer CBS
18. Eleventh Hour CBS
19. Million Dollar Password CBS
20. Football Night in America Part 3 NBC

AP’s Top Pop Culture Events For 2008

As reported everywhere on the Net, here’s what AP has to say about the Mr. Pop Culture’s favorite subject for 2008…


How can we begin without BRITNEY SPEARS still, amazingly, the most-searched term on Yahoo. A few days into 2008, she melts down spectacularly, ending up in a hospital after locking herself in a room with her young son. We don’t need Dr. Phil to tell us this girl needs help, though he does. Celeb magazines freely diagnose her as bipolar. (But more on Britney later.)

In politics, HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON has her first real pop-culture moment of the year when she chokes up talking to voters in a New Hampshire diner, a scene to be replayed endlessly on YouTube.

And true tragedy strikes when actor HEATH LEDGER dies of an accidental prescription drug overdose in a New York apartment, cutting short a brilliant career.


The Obama slogan “Yes We Can” ricochets across the Web in rapper and songwriter WILL.I.AM’s viral video hit, starring a host of celebrities. It’s not the only good news for Obama: His campaign raises a staggering $55 million this month, a success attributed to small donations gathered on the Internet.

And “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” spoofs the media’s fondness for Obama later, Clinton will refer to the skit in a real debate.

HOLLYWOOD WRITERS, meanwhile, end their 100-day strike. Days later, the OSCARS air to dismal ratings.


Politics continues to enthrall, and this time it’s New York Gov. ELIOT SPITZER who’s on everyone’s mind. The most striking visual: the ashen-faced misery of his wife, Silda, standing next to him at the podium as he resigns over a prostitution scandal. The blogosphere and the airwaves buzz with the question: Why did she stand by him? Would you?

Obama may be the Internet candidate, but here’s an Internet sensation he’d prefer disappear: video of his former pastor JEREMIAH WRIGHT, making incendiary comments that will give Obama a major political headache.


MILEY CYRUS is a genuine superstar at age 15, a role model to countless girls. So what’s the problem? A few pesky photos shot by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. They show the Disney princess, aka Hannah Montana of course, in a come-hither pose, with a bare back and shoulders. A rare bump in the road for this teen phenom.

In one of his many pop-culture moments, OBAMA displays true hip-hop cred, channeling Jay-Z with a “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” reference at a North Carolina rally. Mashups spread across the Web.


After four years and endless buildup, the “SEX AND THE CITY” gals return in a feature-length film. Will Carrie find happiness with Mr. Big? Yes, but even happier are the producers, after a $55.7 million opening weekend unprecedented for a chick flick. And this IS a chick flick. Men flock to root canal appointments.

HARRISON FORD returns as Indiana Jones at age 65! We doubt Hollywood would be so kind to a 65-year-old actress. And speaking of older women, they’re said to be behind the “American Idol” victory of 25-year-old DAVID COOK, who beats the baby-faced 17-year-old, DAVID ARCHULETA, breaking the hearts of countless tween girls.

Los Angeles street artist SHEPARD FAIREY creates his wildly popular poster of Obama, a red-white-and-blue hued image of the candidate gazing ahead, underlined by the word “HOPE.”


TIM RUSSERT dies at 58 of a sudden heart attack, after more than 16 years in one of the most influential jobs in TV news moderator of NBC’s “Meet The Press.” The death causes some baby boomers to start to wonder about their own health.

A computer-animated science fiction romance? Leave it to Pixar. After “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille” and “Cars,” another triumph for the studio comes in the form of “WALL-E,” a futuristic film about love between two robots.


Bonjour to the new JOLIE-PITT twins, who emerge in France, where parents ANGELINA JOLIE and BRAD PITT are hunkered down on their enormous estate. And BATMANIA reigns, thanks to LEDGER’S stunning (and posthumous) portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

BRITNEY and PARIS make their unwitting entrance into the campaign, fodder for McCain’s commercial mocking Obama as “the biggest celebrity in the world.” Hilton, though, gets the last laugh: The doe-eyed hotel heiress, lounging in a leopard-print swimsuit, offers up a much cleverer video riposte.


Call this the anti-celebrity month: Wary after that Britney-Paris spot, the DEMOCRATIC PARTY does its very best to de-emphasize the celeb factor at its convention in Denver. Meanwhile, McCain’s anti-celebrity campaign unveils its own, well, celebrity: the telegenic PALIN, who bursts onto the scene with a speech that galvanizes the GOP convention.

MADONNA turns 50! And the chiseled superstar is hardly alone. Also hitting the half-century mark this year: MICHAEL JACKSON, PRINCE, ELLEN DEGENERES, MICHELLE PFEIFFER, VIGGO MORTENSEN. Let’s imagine an amazing party at the royal palace in Monaco, where PRINCE ALBERT also hits the big 5-0, perhaps covered for CNN by CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR (yup, 50 too.)


“I can see Russia from my house!” FEY debuts her impersonation of PALIN on “Saturday Night Live.” Kudos to the “SNL” writers, but you can’t say Palin doesn’t give them plenty of material including verbatim chunks of her rambling exchanges with KATIE COURIC. The CBS anchor, long plagued by low ratings and high expectations, makes a welcome comeback.

Also making a comeback: the ’60s, with all that guilt-free smoking, thanks to “MAD MEN,” the evocative drama on cable’s AMC. “Mad Men” wins an Emmy this month, thrilling its small but hugely loyal audience.


Shall we just call it “HSM3″? And if you don’t know what that means, you probably won’t be seeing the movie. “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” the big-screen sequel to the two Disney TV movies, sings and dances its fresh-faced way to the top of the box office, thanks to the durable appeal of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and the other “HSM” alums.

“SNL” scores its highest ratings in 14 years when it snags the ultimate prize: Palin herself. The VP candidate proves a game cast member, obliging happily when Amy Poehler shouts out: “All the mavericks in the house, put your hands up!” ”

And JOE THE PLUMBER makes his debut, as a constant reference in the third presidential debate. Later, Joe, aka Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, 34, campaigns for McCain and Palin.


Yeah yeah, Obama is elected, but we’ll reserve the pop culture prize this month for OPRAH WINFREY. Weeping on the shoulder of a stranger at Obama’s victory rally, and gushing uncontrollably on her postelection show, the talk-show queen can surely claim a little credit for the triumph of her “favorite guy.” Maybe MOST celebrity endorsements don’t mean much, but this is Oprah. Two economists even claim she brought Obama a million votes in the primaries.


Any true pop culture story must end as we started: with BRITNEY for, after a year in which she seemed to reach the depths, this famously durable young woman is in the midst of an astonishing comeback, with “Circus,” her latest CD, reaching No.1 on the album charts, according to her label, Jive. At 27, she seems to be not only “the world’s pop princess,” as her manager says. She’s the world’s pop culture princess, too.

Associated Press

Another Way To Have It Your Way

Hamburger joints – ah – the sites, the smells: Hamburger’s cooking, french fries frying and oh…

New scent for … Burger King? Just in time for the festive season, the company has released its very own men’s body spray, Flame. Not recommended for vegetarians, Flame is being promoted as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broilled meat”. While the smell itself might not inspire confidence, the price will.

Flame is on sale for the credit crunch-busting sum of just $3.99, suggesting the Burger King promotions department has realized their contribution to the fragrance market might work best as a novelty stocking-filler.

Flame, a body spray for men, was launched this week online and in a selection of US stores – it is sadly not available in the UK, and now even has its own website, the appropriately named

The site proudly proclaims to prospective buyers: “The Whopper sandwich is America’s favorite burger,” before going on to extol the virtues of a perfume that smells like cooked meat.

They’ll Be More To Worship On American Idol

Changes for “American Idol” season 8 – Thirty-six hopefuls, up from 24, will be chosen for February’s semifinals, and wild-card picks — back for the first time since Season 3 — will let the judges put three singers into the top 12. Those changes, along with the addition of fourth judge, songwriter Kara DioGuardi (picture) and a second week of the Hollywood round, constitute Season 8 “tweaks” for Fox’s top-rated Idol, executive producer Ken Warwick says. “They’re not mega-changes. They are just little things to keep the whole format fresh and interesting.”

Look At News And Pop Culture Dec 8-Dec14 2008

Mr. Pop Culture expands and now includes the last full week in news and pop culture. Now updated each week. Here’s a look at the week of December 8, 2008. To be published on

Media conglomerate Tribune Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection. The owner of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Cubs and other properties has $13 billion in debt. Severe reductions in advertising this year because of the recession has put pressure on the company. Most of its debt comes from the complex transaction in which the company was taken private by real estate mogul Sam Zell last year. Although the next major principal payment isn’t due until June, analysts say Tribune has been in danger of missing lender-imposed financial targets.

A military fighter jet slams into a San Diego neighborhood Monday, killing four people and destroying two houses as the plane burst into flames. The pilot of the F/A-18D Hornet jet ejected safely before the crash, according to a statement from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The arrest this week of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich revealed alleged conspiracy and bribery schemes so brazen that veteran investigators and prosecutors could barely contain their revulsion.”The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In breathtaking detail, the criminal complaint describes the efforts of the Democratic governor and his chief of staff John Harris, who also was arrested, to “sell the U.S. Senate seat” once held by President-elect Barack Obama for a high-paying job, promises of campaign funds, a Cabinet post or ambassadorship or corporate-board seats for Blagojevich’s wife, Patricia.

The British press reports that British troops will begin pulling out of Iraq in March and be largely gone by July.

Households, hit by declining net worth, have cut back on their debt levels for the first time on record as loans remain scarce.

The Federal Reserve releases its latest quarterly look at consumer and business finances showing that households reduced their debt levels 0.8% at an annual rate in the July-September period, the first drop on records that go back more than 50 years.

The decline in household debt levels is evidence of the severe credit squeeze that is occurring as banks, saddled by billions of dollars of losses in mortgage debt, have tightened lending standards and made it harder for people to get loans.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office temporarily because his arrest on federal corruption charges makes him unfit to serve. The aide who was arrested with the governor on corruption charges, John Harris, dropped off a letter of resignation Friday and won’t return to the office, his lawyer, Terry Ekl, said.

President George W. Bush makes a farewell visit to Iraq, a place that defines his presidency for better or worse, just 37 days before he hands the war off to a successor who has pledged to end it.

David Gregory is named permanent host of “Meet the Press.” The NBC newsman is best known for his touchy exchanges with President Bush — who nicknamed him Stretch — and with administration press secretaries since being named the network’s chief White House correspondent in 2001.

Jay Leno, expected to hand the “Tonight” show reins to Conan O’Brien in May, will stay with NBC and get his own prime time talk show. The new show will be similar to the Tonight Show format but with more elaborate sketches and taped segments. And though giving Leno a prime-time slot protects O’Brien from competing directly with him on another network, it risks draining audience and top-notch guest bookings from the future Tonight host.

Paula Abdul says the Fox network and American Idol producers knew Paula Goodspeed had stalked her, and allowed the woman to audition for the show anyway. “I said this girl is a stalker of mine and please do not let her in,” Abdul said Monday during an interview with Barbara Walters on her Sirius XM radio show. Ms. Godspeed, a former “American Idol” contestant, was found dead of an apparent suicide in a car near Abdul’s home last month.

Michael Jackson’s glove is going on the auction block. The white glove, which inspired countless copycats, quips and Halloween costumes after it was unveiled in the 1983 video for Jackson’s hit Billie Jean, will be part of a five-day auction in April. Jackson is also unloading the grandiose gates that once led to his Neverland Ranch, along with more than 2,000 other personal items.

Passing – Van Johnson, whose boy-next-door wholesomeness made him a popular Hollywood star in the ’40s and ’50s with such films as 30 Seconds over Tokyo,A Guy Named Joe and The Caine Mutiny, dies of natural causes. He was 92.

At the movies –

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Four Christmases


Quantum of Solace

Nothing Like the Holidays

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa


Transporter 3

Actor Macaulay Culkin’s Sister Is Killed

older sister Dakota has died after she was hit by a car in West Los Angeles. She was walking when she stepped off a curb and was struck by the vehicle. She was taken to UCLA Medical Center where she died on Wednesday. The 29-year-old recently worked as an art production assistant on the 2009 thriller “Lost Soul.” Police are investigating the accident and no arrests have been made so far.

Jay Leno Staying At NBC And His Time Will Be Prime

Everyone thought Leno was leaving NBC in May. Split. Gone. NBC says no, not only is he staying, he’s getting a prime time talkshow slot. No more timeshifting TiVo to see Leno.

The show, to premiere next fall, is expected to be announced today after the network closed a deal with the host late Monday, according to two NBC executives with knowledge of the agreement.

It achieves two objectives: preventing Leno from landing at ABC, Fox or Sony, which were expected to woo the host when his contract expires next year, and patching the network’s woeful prime-time schedule, down 13% this fall to a distant fourth place.

The new show will be similar to the Tonight Show format but with more elaborate sketches and taped segments. And though giving Leno a prime-time slot protects O’Brien from competing directly with him on another network, it risks draining audience and top-notch guest bookings from the future Tonight host.

1960′s Hitmaker Dennis Yost Passes

Dennis Yost, lead singer of the 1960s group the Classics IV, has died in an Ohio hospital. He was 65.

Yost died Sunday at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton, about 30 miles northwest of Cincinnati. He died of respiratory failure, said hospital spokeswoman Marielou Vierling.

The Classics IV’s hits included “Spooky,” “Stormy” and “Traces of Love.”

Yost had been in nursing homes since suffering a brain injury sustained in a 2005 fall, said the singer’s friend and biographer Joe Glickman.

The Classics IV got their start in Jacksonville, Fla., where Yost, a native of Detroit, was raised, Glickman said. Their hit recordings were produced in Atlanta under the supervision of producer Buddy Buie and Bill Lowery, founder of Lowery Music Inc.

The group performed together for about five years.


Gary Coleman In Trouble Again

SALT LAKE CITY – Gary Coleman has pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a September incident at a bowling alley.

The 40-year-old former star of “Diff’rent Strokes” was ordered to pay a $100 fine in a Payson court Tuesday. He also pleaded no contest to a reckless driving charge, which will be waived if he doesn’t have any other violations within a year.

According to court documents, Coleman, his wife and his bodyguard were going bowling in Payson, about 96 kilometres south of Salt Lake City, when bystander Colt Rushton took a few photos of Coleman with his cell phone camera and took a few more of Coleman’s truck in the parking lot.

Rushton’s lawyer says Coleman’s wife took Rushton’s cell phone, a scuffle ensued and then Coleman ran into Rushton with his truck as he was backing out of the parking lot.

Bill Drake – An Architech of Top-40 Radio Dies

He was one of the most influential radio programmers in pop culture history. So much has been written about Bill Drake – and you can find it on the web.

Drake’s “Boss Radio” format – kept the personality in radio, but tightened it. In Drake’s format – when you heard a radio station jingle, you always knew there was another song to follow. This was unlike station’s such as WLS (Chicago), where a jingle was inserted between talk, commercials and music. Drake’s format perfected the art of talking up a record – to hit the vocal over an intro. Although this was being done occasionally – with Bill Drake – it was expected. His stations were usually #1, but believe or not – some cities did not embrace the Drake formatics – cities such as Chicago and New York – which were used to high personality stations such as WMCA and WCFL.

Some stations, such as WFIL Philadelphia – were smart enough to borrow from Drake’s formatics, while adding their own flavor.

Here’s an excerpt from Ken Levine’s blog… RIP Bill Drake.

For any kid who grew up in the 60s, radio was a huge part of their life. It’s not like today. Back then if you were a teenager, radio was your constant companion. You had a favorite station, knew all the disc jockeys, could sing their jingles. It was a shared experience.

And one station revolutionized top 40. KHJ Los Angeles became “Boss Radio” in April of 1965. Its streamlined approach and exciting presentation captured the imagination of an entire generation. Within several years there were “Boss Radio” clones in every market in the country.

Bill Drake, along with Ron Jacobs (both pictured right), created that format.

Bill Drake became not only the most influential man in broadcasting but the music industry as well. Getting a record on KHJ could make a career. There by the grace of Bill Drake go the Doors, Byrds, Mamas & Papas, Sonny & Cher, and a hundred other 60s rock icons who might otherwise be making Blizzards at Dairy Queen today.

He was also a literal giant. Probably 6’8” with a deep commanding voice. If God did station liners that’s who He’d sound like. And Bill was rarely seen (also like God). In those heydays when he was the czar of the industry he’d camp out high in the hills in his Bel Air mansion and communicate via hotlines. It was the Zeus management style.

He later created automated music formats that ruled the nation’s FM dial for most of the 70s.