News Column

Philadelphia Daily News Howard Gensler column

May 30, 2013


May 30--REMEMBER Hanson, the boy band that was actual boys, who topped the charts with their harmonized, hook-laden "MMMBop"?

Believe it or not, the brothers have been a band for 21 years, and they're celebrating their coming-of-age with their own brand of beer.


Billboard magazine reported that the beer will debut this fall when Hanson is on tour to promote its new album, "Anthem" (due June 18).

Money from the pale ale and its related merchandise -- which is available at -- will be donated to the Red Cross to help out in storm-ravaged Oklahoma. Hanson is from Tulsa, and Mmmhops is being brewed by Oklahoma's Mustang Brewing.

"The tragedy hits close to home, especially since this community was among the first places our band performed together, including schools which were lost in the storm," Taylor Hanson said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the proceeds we can galvanize will play a lasting role in the recovery efforts."

Pakistan finds own 'Glee'

It's not often that Tattle sources Foreign Policy, but it isn't often that Foreign Policy writes about the Pakistani version of "Glee."

But, according to reporter Marya Hannun, often controversial "Glee" has struck a chord in Pakistan, which will launch "Taan," its own version of the show, this fall.

The show, set in a music academy in Lahore, will tackle its own Pakistan-specific problems, such as the love affair "between a Taliban extremist and a beautiful Christian girl." A story about a gay relationship -- homosexuality is illegal in Pakistan -- may also send ultra-conservatives running for the hills.

Think Sue Sylvester makes life tough? One of the "Taan" characters, Annie, lost her entire family in the 2009 attack on a Christian enclave in Gojra, an actual event in which seven people were burned alive.

Also ripped from the headlines, the story of Fariduddin, a Taliban member who wants to blow up the school until he learns to love music.

It would be fascinating if such an episode could air in censor-laden Pakistan. There's no way such an episode could air in America.


--The geeky G4 channel, formerly known as the Olivia Munn Channel, will become the Esquire Network in September.

Comcast/NBC Universal yesterday announced the re-branded channel's Sept. 23 launch date. It is the namesake of Esquire magazine and is aiming to draw a similar audience of upscale males.

NBC Universal and Hearst Magazines are the partners behind the Esquire Network, whose lineup will include original cooking and travel shows, a series about professional horse-race handicappers and another about American breweries. It also will air reruns, including "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Parks and Recreation."


--Panama's most famous performer, Ruben Blades, is joining the cast of a movie about its most famous boxer, Roberto Duran.

Filmmaker Jonathan Jakubowicz says Blades will take part in the film "Hands of Stone," scheduled for release next year.

"Hands" also stars Robert De Niro, Usher and Edgar Ramirez.

--Neil Patrick Harris has been tapped to emcee the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

It will mark the second time that the former "Doogie Howser," about to end his run on CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," has hosted the ceremony. He last anchored the event in 2009.

Harris is also hosting the upcoming Tony Awards ceremony, again, on June 9.

"What perfect timing," Harris said in a statement. "I'll just do the exact same script I'm about to use for the Tonys. 'And the Emmy for best revival of a musical goes to 'Breaking Bad!' See, told you it works."

--Larry King, who turns 80 this year, is returning to TV with a political talk show beginning next month.

The new program, "Politics With Larry King," will air on the RT America network, a global, English-language channel based in . . . Russia.

RT said it will also telecast "Larry King Now," which debuted online on Hulu and Ora.TV last summer.

Both programs will originate from Washington and LA. They will continue to stream on the Hulu and Ora.TV websites and on RT America will be the exclusive U.S. broadcaster for both programs.

--Joe Mendillo, of upstate New York, wants to erect a statue to Ed Wood, the Hollywood film director considered by some critics to be the worst of all time.

Wood was born in 1924 in Poughkeepsie. His low-budget, campy movies were universally panned, but have now achieved cult status. "Plan 9 from Outer Space" tops many lists as the worst film ever made. Wood died in 1978.

Johnny Depp portrayed the director in the 1994 film "Ed Wood."

--Amazon says it will start production on two new sitcoms and three new kids shows to air in late 2013 and beyond on its streaming service.

The shows were chosen from pilots previously aired on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.

The comedies include "Alpha House," created by Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, about four senators who rent a house together in Washington. "Betas" follows four friends and their new mobile social-networking app.

The trio of kids shows includes "Annebots," which centers on a young scientist and her robot helpers; "Creative Galaxy," an animated series; and "Tumbleaf," which is aimed at preschoolers.


-Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

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On Twitter: @DNTattle


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