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George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

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George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Katiedot on Sat Dec 10 2011, 07:27

Looks interesting. Don't think I ever saw the original though.

From deadline

George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

By MIKE FLEMING | Friday December 9, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and Smokehouse partners George Clooney and Grant Heslov will turn the story of 60s comedians Tom and Dicky Smothers into a feature film. They’ve optioned the David Bianculli book Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story Of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and they’ve set Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman to write the script. Clooney and Heslov will produce. It’s too early to determine whether or not Clooney will star or direct.

The show ran from 1967-69 on CBS, and the brothers, who famously squabbled on and off screen, were transformed by the period’s social upheaval. They went from squeaky clean comics to counterculture troublemakers. They were aided by a writing staff that included Steve Martin, and Rob Reiner and they were the first to introduce liberal hippie politics into the mainstream, as well as cutting edge rock acts like The Who, Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. All this earned them a spot on President Richard Nixon’s enemies list and ultimately got them fired by CBS.

Hecker and Sherman most recently scripted Atari, a Black List script about 27-year old rebel genius Nolan Bushnell, who created the video game industry and Atari, gave Steve Jobs a job, and paved the way for the computer age. Paramount and Appian Way are developing the project. Original Artists reps the scribes.

Clooney and Heslov are in the Oscar race with The Ides of March and Clooney is also in the Best Actor mix for The Descendants.

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by cindigirl on Sat Dec 10 2011, 15:35

Here's a video from a Smothers Brothers tv show featuring Jefferson Airplane rock band performing White Rabbit. Pretty freaky!

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Missa on Sat Dec 10 2011, 16:36

The Smothers Brothers' story is so interesting, I think it would make a great film. Might be a good one for George to start his pull back from acting to directing, since I'm not sure what part he'd play in this. Everyone involved with that show was in their late 20's-early 30's at the time. President Nixon is the only major player in the story who's an appropriate age for George to play - no, thank you. Shocked

My first thought is that this could be a fascinating mash-up of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck.


Last edited by Missa on Sat Dec 10 2011, 16:39; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added last line)

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by melbert on Sat Dec 10 2011, 23:23

I loved the Smother's Brothers show when I was growing up. The bantering between the two of them, their music, everything about the show. Yes, I'm showing my age again as I saw it in first run!! But, that was also close around the time of the variety shows - Sonny and Cher, The John Gary Show, Andy Williams, Ed Sullivan, etc. Now, that was good TV!!!

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by adgran on Sun Dec 11 2011, 13:32

I hope this is true. Smothers Brothers humor - love it! It could be a funny and yet bittersweet movie at the same time. Seems to be what George and Grant do best - they have a serious line that seems to take a back seat to the funny stuff. I'm concerned it wouldn't be very commerical - those who know and love the Smothers Brothers are aging rapidly. But if they could keep the budget low - like with Ides - they could still make money on the movie.

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Katiedot on Mon Dec 12 2011, 04:40

Missa wrote:My first thought is that this could be a fascinating mash-up of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck.
I love the sound of that!

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Cinderella on Tue Dec 13 2011, 01:16

I didn't watch the Smothers Brothers so I wouldn't know... I heard about them but don't know enough to give my opinion. -
But I will give my opinion about producing another political film... I'd probably do something different in between... I hope they are not doing it to get back in good graces with "whoever" because that would be a disaster. I like IOM because it is kind of neutral...
so tell me the story of the Smothers Brothers...

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Katiedot on Sat May 05 2012, 09:56

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Smothers likes that Clooney will make his movie

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 |

BY CHRIS SMITH/The Press Democrat

Tommy Smothers doesn’t know what to expect from a film on his and brother Dick’s hilarious but controversial and ultimately axed 1960s TV show, but the longtime Sonoma Valley resident does like who’s producing it.

George Clooney has embraced the challenge of making a movie of the 2009 book by David Bianculli, “Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”

“I don’t know much about it,” Tommy said from his home near Kenwood. But he said Clooney’s involvement gives him high hopes that it will focus on how CBS responded to the brothers’ commentaries on the Vietnam war and other issues by cancelling the show.

Tommy appreciated Clooney’s handling of late CBS News legend Edward R. Murrow’s stand against the blacklisting tactics of Joseph McCarthy in the 2005 film “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

Clooney appears to be looking at the Smothers Brothers project “from a wise point of view,” he said.

Though he might be a leery of a movie based on “The Comedy Hour” were someone other than Clooney at the helm, Tommy said he’s all the more optimistic about the project because of the excellence ”The Descendants.”

“I loved it. It was probably the best thing he’s ever done,” he said.

Tommy, 75, said it’s also serendipity that Clooney should now be setting out to make a film about his and his brother’s show because not long ago he, Tommy, was invited on three occasions to come to L.A. and read a script for possible part in “The Descendants.”

He respectfully declined. “I’m retired,” he said.

Though he didn’t try out for “The Descendants,” he’d certainly venture to a theater to see what Clooney does with him and his story in a movie based on “Dangerously Funny.”

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by melbert on Sat May 05 2012, 17:12

I hope that George reaches out to Tommy for his input.

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by janieb on Sat May 05 2012, 19:19

I grew up in Sonoma County and met the Smothers Brothers on a few occasions. Very nice guys and I think it would be a great project for George!

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by cindigirl on Sat May 05 2012, 19:44

Smothers Brothers show video live with Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit. If you're into psychodelic you'll enjoy.

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by melbert on Sat May 05 2012, 21:07

LOVE it!!!! Thanks CindiGirl! Groovy!!!!!

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by cindigirl on Sat May 05 2012, 21:15

You're welcome mel. They don't make music today like in the 70's. At least then a song had a strory to tell, not repeating the same words over and over like today. IMO

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Michelle meyers on Sat May 05 2012, 21:32

Niiiceee

I have a few pics of me in a 70's outfit from trying out for a movie.
Sounds like a promising project

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Astras on Sat May 05 2012, 21:43

I grew up with the Smothers Brothers, although I was too young to be aware of what went on politically with CBS; and the demise of the show. G will do an excellent job of shedding some light on it. I could see him playing a small role in the film as a studio exec or someone pivotal behind the scenes. I'm so very curious as to whom he might cast as Tommy and Dick.

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

Post by Katiedot on Thu Mar 06 2014, 07:34

Found by Henway, not sure this means the project is progressing though:

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TV critic David Bianculli still a breath of 'Fresh Air'

Mar. 5, 2014

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- Terry Gross laughs as soon as television critic David Bianculli's Cherry Hill home is mentioned. So does Danny Miller, longtime producer of Fresh Air, the National Public Radio show hosted by Gross, where Bianculli contributes and routinely guest-hosts. "His house is like this great pop culture museum. You can see his enthusiasm in his house," says Miller.

The giggles of Gross and Miller turn skeptical - faster, louder - when they hear Bianculli has talked about organizing the space where he's lived since 1987, perhaps as a prelude to selling and moving to Philadelphia, nearer to WHYY, where the radio show is based.

"I don't think that is going to happen," says Gross of what would be a Herculean task.

Their skepticism is understandable: His house is like a randomly organized Blockbuster store frozen in time, where every elevated flat space is crammed with books, CDs and videotapes.

The pool table has disappeared in piles of packages and projects, much like the dining room table. Bianculli, 60, insists that's a good thing, cutting down on possible distractions from writing.

An unused treadmill - "Shut up!" the blocky Bianculli responds good-naturedly at its mention - is obscured by a pile of boxes. A manic mix of TV show CDs fills the boxes: Gilmore Girls, Ponderosa, Superman and The Mickey Mouse Club.

Desks throughout the house are so overflowing that the kitchen table has been pressed into service for his must-do-now writing for the college classroom and the radio.

"Just finding out what's not findable is tricky," he admits.

Asked how he juggles his duties - writer, academic, radio personality and Internet publisher - amid the welter, Bianculli, 60, breaks into a broad grin.

"I'm still looking for an answer. It's triage. I wake up and deal with it," he says.

Watching for the rest of us

Bianculli's been dealing with finding an answer to deadlines, detritus and overlapping duties for a long time, paid to watch TV for a living for nearly 40 years. His career began while still in college, earning $5 for a story on the premiere of a new show named Saturday Night Live.

"I've seen a shameful amount of TV," Bianculli says without a hint of remorse.

The TV critic has contributed pieces about the medium to Fresh Air for nearly 30 years, more recently guest-hosting regularly.

He also is a professor of television and film at Rowan University, and the founder and editor of the website TV Worth Watching, which he began the day he walked away from daily newspaper journalism, disenchanted.

"I was there at the last glory period. I had a great ride," he says of his newspapering days.

Bianculli's at work on his fourth book, tentatively titled The Best Television Ever Made.

He's wondering how many books - and more precisely book contracts - he has left in him.

"Books are like babies. It's great to have given birth, but the process is nothing but a pain. I do book writing rarely; usually in 18-hour bursts on the weekends. It is like writing the world's largest term paper," he says.

Though he hasn't written for a paper in more than six years, Bianculli is still essentially a newspaper writer - with stints at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and New York's Post and Daily News. The writing speed and discipline he honed cranking it out for daily papers is now reflexively applied to whatever writing task at hand.

"I'm an old fart. I grew up reading books and newspapers and I like writing for books and newspapers," he explains. "I write for myself."

Mission control

The desktop screen of Bianculli's basement iMac computer, where he works on his books, has dozens and dozens of files tightly lined up across the screen, like so many domino tiles ready to fall. Bianculli has them arrayed on his desktop because he wants to at least see the files if he can't actually touch them.

"I'm like the old man of the Internet. I don't trust technology. I have Luddited my way through the past 20 years," says the man who still has a bank of analog TVs in his basement, where he simultaneously watched every news channel during the attacks of 9/11.

His technology is more current upstairs, in the living room. A plump recliner faces a giant flat-screen. The TV table to the chair's right holds 10 separate remotes, plus two flashlights. Up on the roof there are three satellite dishes and a huge conventional antennae.

Bianculli looks at ease in the recliner, mission control for his real job: watching TV before analyzing it.

While not an apologist for television, he's tweaked some pop culture writers for their "laughable ignorance" of television, including one who claimed, "Everybody watches (TV), but no one really likes it."

Bianculli scathingly responded to that comment in the introduction of one of his earlier books:

"That's the comment of someone who writes about TV a lot more than he watches it - or, at least, of someone who watches all the wrong things â?¦ I'm not saying all TV is good; the majority of it isn't. I'm arguing that the best of TV is very good indeed, and that the idea of indiscriminately ridiculing or avoiding the medium of television displays no more intelligence than denouncing all movies as fluff or holding a 'Don't Open a Book Day.'"

'Forensic criticism'

That approach leads to both the name of his website and its method, which focuses exclusively on good and great TV - no Kardashians, no Honey Boo Boo.

It also explains his "forensic criticism" of television, based on the "evolutionary DNA" of new shows that bridge, build and borrow from their antecedents.

To understand Bianculli's approach to what truly matters in television, consider some of the shows that most influenced him in his youth: The Bullwinkle Show, The Muppet Show, Saturday Night Live, The Great American Dream Machine, and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

As different as these shows are, what ties them together is a feel and appreciation for language, wit and cleverness, along with deep-seated irreverence, a bit of anarchy and a tendency to poke authority.

That desire to provide context and explain television history, plus a promise of complete access with no conditions, led to his most recently published book, Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

The book details the comedy duo's meteoric rise and fall at CBS, their show's influence on music, culture and politics, and the lasting legacy they created through the many careers they kickstarted.

While Bianculli's not ready to quit any of his day jobs, the 2009 Smothers Brothers book is under option for a film adaptation by George Clooney's production company. While few optioned works actually make it to screen, the fact that Clooney's company filmed Good Night, and Good Luck, the story of radio-to-TV pioneer Edward R. Murrow, has Bianculli feeling optimistic.

"It's an honor that (Clooney) read it and saw enough in it," to consider making a movie, says Bianculli.


Taking TV seriously

Bianculli began at the NPR show by happenstance, just as the show was transitioning from a local show to national.

The national launch coincided with a strike at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was then working. Bianculli got invited to contribute TV pieces as something of a fill-in for the void left by the strike-bound Inquirer. He's never left Fresh Air and his role has expanded, with him guest-hosting regularly.

"We've always thought of TV as something integral for Fresh Air,'' says Miller, the show's producer. "We wanted to cover television as seriously as we do books and movies.

"He has a really good eye for trends and what will be important," says Miller, mentioning that reality TV and the rise of cable were two of the trends Bianculli wrote about early. "And he has abundant enthusiasm for that handful of shows that are truly great."

With that kind of review, perhaps Bianculli's plan to declutter his house, sell it, and move nearer to WHYY will happen after all.

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Re: George Clooney And Sony Pictures Plan Feature On TV’s The Smothers Brothers

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