Counter-Programming

We previously reported that The Undefeated, an emo band I used to go see in high school a documentary about Sarah Palin painting her as an underdog who fought against the system to rise to prominence in Alaska (and then, of course, to the national political stage), would be released in primary states leading up to the election. However, it looks like if you live in Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Atlanta, Orange County, Phoenix, Houston, Indianapolis or Kansas City (the good one), you’ll get your chance to see it as well. According to Politico, filmmaker Steve Bannon has signed with AMC Theaters to get the doc on the big screen in select cities July 15th. That makes it counter-programming for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Salvation Boulevard and the new Winnie The Pooh movie. Bannon told NPR that he sees people responding to the film as a Rocky style narrative. He also mentioned that his method is in the same vein as Michael Moore, calling the documentarian a “master of the craft” and saying that he was still learning it. The former Goldman Sachs employee might be newer to filmmaking, but he’s definitely chosen a compelling figure to focus on. No matter how you feel about the politician, she knows how to get a crowd gathered.

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For years now NBC has laid dormant in fourth place behind CBS, ABC and FOX. The decline was slow and gradual, but once it became the butt of every Leno/Conan joke and started showing in the networks programming, it became clear that NBC was in a bad place. Then a glimmer of hope shined through, after years of mismanagement at the hands of Jeff Zucker, the network president was kicked out by new parent company Comcast who took over the majority share of NBCUniversal from General Electric this past year. The new bosses first move? Hire people that won’t just seal the cracks in the wall, but instead will take a sledgehammer to the house and build a new one from the ground up. The result? The hiring of former Showtime president Robert Greenblatt. Greenblatt is the man responsible for shows like Weeds, Dexter and Nurse Jackie. So for the first time in years, it looks like NBC has someone behind the wheel who has mastered the art of precision driving. And that bring us today and the recently announced fall 2011-2012 schedule. A schedule that is a… re-tooling to put it lightly. As new Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert said at the upfront on Monday, the schedule is “a little less reinvention of the wheel and a lot more Broadcasting 101″ which is probably the best way to describe it. Because what it appears is that the fourth place network is finally embracing the two words they have avoided for years “counter-programming.”

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Jaws didn’t mean to do it, but Summer has become the biggest business in movie-making. This summer, we’re getting a new batch of movies that the studios are hoping to be gigantic, but thankfully for us, they fit into 6 handy categories. Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius have worked tirelessly (except for five or ten naps) in order to break these movies down and present them to you. What will you be watching this summer? What excites you the most? What do you have the highest hopes for? These films all have the potential to bust blocks, but will it be your block they’re busting? Here they are, the six types of films coming out in the following months.

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