Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Indians in SLPL, says BCCI

The 12 Indian cricketers who wanted to participate in the Sri Lanka Premier League have been told by the BCCI to not play in the tournament. The directive comes after the players had asked the BCCI for No-Objection Certificates to play in the two-week long Twenty20 competition, starting on July 19. The SLPL will be run by a Singapore-based private company, Somerset Entertainment Ventures, which will issue the player contracts, something the Indian board believes could lead to complications for the players should disputes arise.
The decision, the BCCI said, was taken to protect the players from finding themselves in a tricky situation. "In the IPL the players are contracted by the BCCI, but the SLPL is offering contracts with the event management company," a BCCI official, who attended the tours and fixtures committee meeting on Saturday at which the decision was taken, said. "So, if there is any goof-up, Sri Lanka Cricket cannot be held accountable. As a result, the board [BCCI] would not like to take any chances."
Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Manoj Tiwary, Saurabh Tiwary, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Manish Pandey and Paul Valthaty, reportedly, are the 12 Indians who had shown interest in playing the SLPL. The BCCI had earlier stated it had no problems with the proposed league and that Indian players are free to take part, as long as there is no conflict with  international or domestic schedule.
The BCCI official also said the decision to prevent Indian participation in the league had nothing to do with the pressure applied by the SLC and the Sri Lankan Sports ministry in April and May to recall top Sri Lankan players participating in the IPL, ahead of Sri Lanka's England tour.
Reportedly, the SLC top brass were caught unawares by the Indian board's decision and called for an emergency committee meeting to discuss it. No SLC official was available for comment.
The SLPL will be played between July 19 and August 4 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Several foreign players including Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Shahid Afridi, Daniel Vettori, Kevin O'Brien and Herschelle Gibbs have already been signed for the tournament.

Pietersen shines after frustrating delays

Kevin Pietersen enlivened another heavily weather-disrupted day at the Rose Bowl with a positive 85 as England moved into the lead on 195 for 4. The hosts had quickly wrapped up Sri Lanka for 184, but their reply was a stop-start affair until the skies eventually cleared then Pietersen and Alastair Cook added 106 for the third wicket before Ian Bell added his own swift contribution.
It was a day of huge frustration for a good crowd as frequent showers moved across the ground, especially during the afternoon session. Their good humour began to abate when the umpires called tea in bright sunshine only for another heavy shower to delay the resumption of the final session. However, the prospect of Pietersen was enough to keep many in their seats during the rain and they were rewarded as England played positively until the close.
Pietersen had looked set for three figures - perhaps even before stumps - and the shot he played to edge Thisara Perera behind, which handed the bowler a notable maiden Test wicket, showed he wasn't in the mood to hold back. There was a hint of width from Perera as Pietersen threw his hands into a drive and his disappointment was clear, but after a hard-working 72 at Lord's this was a clear sign that his game is getting back to full working order.
He had come in with England wobbling on 14 for 2 as Sri Lanka's new-ball bowlers exploited conditions and was quickly into his stride with a straight drive that ricocheted off the stumps and beat mid-on. Further sweet drives followed and in the last over before lunch he made a statement by using his feet to Rangana Herath and drilling him through the covers.
There was more than a hint of the old Pietersen swagger returning and even his defensive shots carried an air of authority about them. Strangely he wasn't tested by left-arm spin again until the final half hour of the day by which time he was well past fifty, which had come from a swift 56 deliveries.
England's intent to make up for lost time was clear and 126 runs came in the 31-overs up to the close. Bell played his part, as he has so often of late, with a breezy innings filled with his usual fine timing. Sri Lanka's bowlers had begun reasonably impressively but struggled to maintain pressure as they have throughout the series while the fielding didn't offer great support.
Cook, meanwhile, picked up from where he's been for the last two series with an innings studded with crisp boundaries. There was even a touch of flamboyance when he pulled a boundary on one leg, while he rarely missed an opportunity to drive or cut. His fifty came from 92 balls, equalling the English record of six consecutive Test fifties, and there was a stunned silence when he skewed an outside edge to gully where Thilan Samaraweera held the catch at the second attempt. Shortly after the wicket the successful bowler, Dilhara Fernando, limped out of the action although he briefly returned to the field later in the session.
The contrast between Cook and his opener partner is fairly stark at the moment and Andrew Strauss's problems continued with another cheap dismissal against left-arm quick Chanaka Welegedara. This time it was an edge to slip, instead of lbw, as Strauss pushed outside off to a ball he could have left which meant three single-figure scores in a row and 26 runs in the series. The perils of the new ball is part of the lot of an opening batsman, but Strauss's lean run can't be brushed off forever especially now he only has one format to focus on.
Jonathan Trott also fell to the new ball when Suranga Lakmal switched to the unusual angle of a right-arm seamer around the wicket to a right hander and Trott played a loose drive. Whether it was a last-ditch gamble against Trott or a well-worked plan from stand-in captain Kumar Sangakkara it certainly had the desired effect for Sri Lanka. That, though, was the pinnacle of the visitors' day and if England make the most of a good forecast on Sunday it could be a battle to save the Test.

Eden Gardens to host three internationals in 2011-12

The BCCI has awarded Kolkata three matches during India's home series against England and West Indies between October and December 2011. Eden Gardens will host a Twenty20 and an ODI against England as well as a Test against West Indies, the board announced after a meeting of its tour, programme and fixtures committee in Mumbai.
The news is a boost for the Cricket Association of Bengal, which was stripped of the marquee India-England fixture during the 2011 World Cup because Eden Gardens was not ready by the stipulated deadline. Kolkata eventually hosted three other World Cup games - Ireland v Holland, South Africa v Ireland and Zimbabwe v Kenya.
England are touring India to play five ODIs and one Twenty20. The other four one-dayers will be played in Mumbai, Mohali, Hyderabad and Delhi. Mumbai and Delhi are the venues for the remaining two Tests against West Indies.

Mithun to miss first Test, Munaf doubtful

Abhimanyu Mithun will not be available for the first West Indies-India Test that begins on June 20 in Jamaica, due to visa issues. He is expected to arrive in the Caribbean only on June 20. Mithun and Praveen Kumar - who is already in Jamaica, since he was a part of the limited-overs squad - were drafted into the Test squad as replacements for the injured Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth.
Adding to India's issues on the fast-bowling front, medium-pacer Munaf Patel, who missed the last two ODIs against West Indies, did not bowl during a training session on Friday, leading to speculation over his fitness and availability for the Test. Though Munaf did bowl during Saturday's training session, his stint lasted for about 10 deliveries.

Sherlock Star Cast in The Hobbit

Benedict Cumberbatch, despite being relatively unknown to American audiences a year ago, is quickly becoming a familiar face with audiences. He starred in the fantastic British series Sherlock, created by Doctor Who scribes Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, back in July 2010, and he's already started appearing on t-shirts along side his co-star, The Office's Martin Freeman, who plays Holmes' sidekick, Watson. Freeman, by the way, just happens to be starring in a little film calledThe Hobbit.
The Hobbit is the two-film prequel to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. It features the titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) on a quest with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and several dwarves to reclaim an ancient dwarven kingdom, which was conquered by the dragon Smaug. On the way, Bilbo will happen to meet a certain Gollum (Andy Serkis), who might possess the plot device that the Lord of the Rings hinges on.
But who will play the dragon Smaug? Why, Benedict Cumberbatch, of course. Well, he'll be providing for the motion capture for the dragon, at least, much like Andy Serkis did with Gollum (it involves dressing in blue spandex). Christopher Lee, who plays Saruman in the trilogy (and will reprise his role in The Hobbit), had previously expressed interest in voicing the dragon, but it seems that, for now, Cumberbatch will be providing the voice for the dragon as well.
Cumberbatch's voice will also be lent to the character known in The Hobbit has "The Necromancer." The Necromancer is better known as Sauron in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So, really, Cumberbatch will be playing the two great villains of the entire saga. The Necromancer is only briefly mentioned in The Hobbit, but he will apparently have a bigger role in the first film, subtitled An Unexpected Journey. Smaug will factor heavily in the second film, There and Back Again.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated for a December 14, 2012 release. Sherlock series 2 is slated to air in the UK in the fall.

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Fringe: The Complete Third Season DVD and Blu-ray Cover and Details Revealed

Fringe's third season was probably the best of the 2010-2011 television season. While the show struggled for viewership with its move to Friday, critics and fans alike raved about just how wonderful the show had become. I was one of those who spent the entire season raving about how great the show was, and I still am. So whenFringe: The Complete Third Season hits DVD and Blu-ray on September 6 (such a long way away!), I'll be one of the first to rush out and grab a copy (I mean that metaphorically; I've already got it on pre-order).
But what will be a part of the set aside from the wonderfully awesome season? Well, first there's the matter of the cover, which, like its season two predecessor, is just a recycling of one of the season's main promotional posters. It's still my favorite DVD cover yet, simply because it's not usually what you expect from a DVD cover (given that the characters are all standing at different angles).
The six-disc set will feature a multitude of promising-sounding special features, including:
  • Duality of Worlds: Four featurettes exploring The Other You, Visualizing an Alternate World, A Machine of Destiny and The Psychology of Duality
  • Animating the “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” Episode
  • Constructing an Extrasensory Soundscape
  • BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE – Glimmer to the Other Side
  • Experience “Os” (Episode 316) in Selectable Maximum Episode Mode with Pop-Up Experience-Enhancing Commentaries and Featurettes
  • Commentary on “The Plateau” with Monica Owusu-Breen, Jeff Pinkner and Timothy Good
  • Commentary on “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” with Jay Worth, Luyen Vu, and Tanya Swerling
  • Unusual Side Effects: Gag Reel
  • Trailers
I'm really interested in seeing the one about animating "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide," because that episode was cool. How they did it and why, exactly, are still questions that garner speculation from the fanbase. I'm disappointed that the DVD set will only contain two commentaries, only one of which features executive producer Jeff Pinkner (and none featuring any actors). The gag reel will likely be funny, while "Duality of Worlds," "Constructing an Extrasensory Soundscape," and "Glimmer to the Other Side" sound interestingly titled, though I can only make guesses as to what they're about.

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Starz Picks Up Live Action Adaptation of 'Noir' Anime Series

Of all the reboots, spin-offs, and adaptations that TV has given us in recent years, I struggle to think of something that compares to Noir, reportedly picked up by Starz. Based on a 2001 Japanese anime series of the same name (how many live action anime adaptations are there?), the show will focus on two mysterious female assassins that join forces to battle a secret society and put the pieces of their connection together. Starz didn't release a premiere date for their newest pick-up, but I'd look for the show sometime midseason (January-March) or early next summer at the latest.

It'll be an interesting balancing act for Noir because you want to stay true to the source material while grounding the show in some sort of reality. Just from reading about the series online, it seems like it'll be like Nikita (dark pasts, two strong females, secret organizations, lots of stunts) meets Kick-Ass (graphic-ish violence) but with a darker tone. I'm glad the show was greenlit, mostly because TV can never have enough powerful, intense female roles and Noir has the potential to have a high body count to go along with some good character development.

Noir is the third Starz show currently in development, behind Boss (premiering in October) and Magic City (premiering in early 2012). It will be co-produced by frequent collaborators Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert (The Evil Dead, Xena: Warrior Princess, Spartacus: Blood and Sand).

Are you a fan of the anime series? How do you think a TV adaptation of an anime series will go? Who do you think should be cast?

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Castle: Panel Confirmed At 2011 Comic-Con

Castle fans, the news we have all been waiting for has been confirmed. The cast of our favorite show will be returning to San Diego Comic-Con on July 24th. According to actor Jon Huertas, the panel will be held at 11:45 on the last day of the Con. I admit I am so incredibly psyched for this panel and I will be there to bring some great scoop about season 4.

The actor will also be hosting another panel during the Con:

"Yo we're doing our San Diego Comic-Con Panel July 24th at 11:45 - Make your plans! Also I'm moderating the comicon Military Panel July 22nd!", he announced on Twitter a few minutes ago.

Last year, the Castle panel was quite a hit with the fans and it is no surprise that they are returning this year. Also, let's not forget that Disney and Marvel will lauch a comic book in September based on one of Richard Castle's character, Derrick Storm.

There is still no confirmation if the entire cast will be present, but check back here for updates.

Are you guys as excited as I am?

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American Idol Announces Season 11 Audition Dates

They may have just finished cleaning up the massive amounts of confetti that rained down on Scotty McCreery as he became the 10th American Idol, but that's not stopping American Idol from moving on the its next season already. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the reality juggernaut has announced the audition sites for its 11th season, which ends up being seven cities over a couple of months.

The show may not technically have a third judge right now (Jennifer Lopez hasn't re-signed yet after her one year contract expired), but the judges don't see the contestants until a bit later in the competition after the tens of thousands of initial auditioners are narrowed down to the good, the bad, and the delusional.

If you can't wait for season 11 of Idol (the online reaction to season 10 was mixed at best, but the show's ratings held pretty steady without Simon Cowell), the tour kicks off July 6th in West Valley City, Utah, running for 45 dates, and within a couple of months of its September wrap-up, we should be getting albums from some of your favorite finalists.

Listed below are the audition dates and the sites they'll be held at. Be sure to hit the comments below and let me know how ready you are for more Idol, if you (or someone you know) will be auditioning (you have to be 15-28 years old and eligible to work in the United States), or what you want to see from season 11.

June 28th: St. Louis, MO (Scottrade Center)
July 2nd: Portland, OR (Rose Garden)
July 8th: San Diego, CA (Petco Park)
July 15th: Pittsburgh, PA (Heinz Field)
July 22nd: Charleston, SC (North Charleston Coliseum)
July 29th: Denver, CO (INVESCO Field at Mile High)
August 26th: Houston, TX (Reliant Park)

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20th Century Fox Television Announces Comic-Con 2011 Line Up

Comic-Con is right around the corner and the panel schedule is slowly starting to take shape. I don't know about you guys, but I am so incredibly psyched for this year's Con because it will be my very first time there. So, you know, dream come true and all that.

Clarissa has just posted the HBO line up, which will feature the highly successful Game of Thrones series and veteran vampire drama True Blood. Twentieth Century Fox Television, however, has just announced which of their shows are going to be in San Diego in July and we have a grand total of 13 (yes, you read that right. Thirteen!) new and returning shows scheduled to attend the biggest pop culture event in the world.

Check out the complete list of shows and their respective panel dates:

* Bones (David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, exec producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan, plus cast members of The Finder)
* Bob’s Burgers (exec producers Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive, voice talent Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal)

* Terra Nova (exec producers Rene Echevarria and Brannon Braga, cast member Stephen Lang)
* Futurama (exec producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, voice talent Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche)
* The Simpsons (series creator Matt Groening, showrunner Al Jean, producers Rob Lazebnik, Matt Warburton, Mike Anderson and Tom Gammill)
* Family Guy (exec producers Mark Hentemann, Steve Callaghan and Kara Vallow, voice talent Alex Borstein, Seth Green and Adam West)
* American Dad (exec producers Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman and Kara Vallow, voice talent Wendy Schaal, Scott Grimes, Rachael MacFarlane and Bradley Baker)

* Glee (exec producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuk, cast members yet to be specified)
* Allen Gregory (series creator/star Jonah Hill, showrunner David Goodman, exec producers Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul, other voice talent)
* The Cleveland Show (panelists include Mike Henry, Sanaa Lathan, Kevin Michael Richardson, Reagan Gomez, Rich Appel and Kara Vallow)

Source: TV Line

Game of Thrones Spoiler - What About Drogo?

When Khal Drogo fell off his horse in the episode "Baelor," things were looking pretty grim, right? His wound, which he gained from being badass and walking into the sickle of an attacker, had grown infected, despite the efforts of the captive maegi. To keep Drogo alive, we witnessed that maegi doing some magical things alone in the tent with Drogo. But when Daenerys started to go into labor, Ser Jorah Mormont saw no choice but to carry Daenerys into the tent as well, against the maegi's explicit instructions. But what happens next? In a storyline that will likely take up a good portion of the season finale, "Fire and Blood," we'll get the resolution. But first things first: will Drogo survive?

No, Drogo will become the fourth main character of the series to die, after Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd), Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), and Ned Stark (Sean Bean). He'll never leave that tent, though he won't die by the maegi's hand. Sad, right? Of course it is -- but it's a great catalyst for what happens next.

At the funeral, we'll see the death of one major character. But in what will likely be the season's cliffhanger, Daenerys will become even more powerful than she already is. It'll probably be a scene to bring back those in doubt after Ned Stark's death. Reading the scene was awesome, but watching the scene should be breathtaking.

Game of Thrones will air its season finale, "Fire and Blood," Sunday, June 19 on HBO.

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LOST Star Rebecca Mader Shows Off Her Sexy Fringe Love

As Charlotte Lewis, she won Daniel Faraday's heart on LOST's mysterious Island. Now she's trying to win the hearts of the producers of FOX's sci-fi series Fringe. Friday night, Mader sent a tweet directed to executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, featuring the caption "Ready when you are boys!!!" The image featured Mader looking rather fetching wearing a Fringe t-shirt and a Fringe Division baseball cap.

Now, while most 'sexy' photos sent on Twitter usually end with a resignation from Congress, this one should be doing nothing but getting Mader more love. "I need you on #Fringe permanently," replied one of Mader's followers, which Mader retweeted.

It didn't take Pinkner very long to respond. "Uh, that sound you hear? That BOOM...? That's my brain exploding!" Even Fringe composer Chris Tilton was intrigued: "Can you come over here and help inspire music for Fringe?" he tweeted to her.

Is Mader trying to go for a stint on Fringe? I certainly wouldn't mind seeing her in a guest or even recurring role. In addition to her role on LOST, we've recently seen Mader in roles on No Ordinary Family and Law & Order: Los Angeles. She's recently been slated for a guest role on Covert Affairs. Here's hoping that this tweet will convince Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman to get her a role in Fringe's upcoming fourth season.

Fringe will return for a fourth season in September.

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Game of Thrones and True Blood Coming to Comic Con 2011

Well, this is good news. HBO's True Blood will be making a return appearance at Comic Con, while Game of Thrones will be having its first ever panel at the San Diego convention. And Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin will even be moderating the panel for his show, which I'm sure will thrill the fans.

The network has even released the official list of actors, as well as the panel moderators:

GAME OF THRONES – Thursday, July 21
Special Guest Moderator – George R.R. Martin
David Benioff
D.B. Weiss
Emilia Clarke
Peter Dinklage
Kit Harington
Jason Momoa
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

TRUE BLOOD – Friday, July 22
Moderator – Entertainment Weekly’s Tim Stack
Alan Ball
Anna Paquin
Stephen Moyer
Sam Trammell
Ryan Kwanten
Rutina Wesley
Kevin Alejandro
Kristin Bauer van Straten
Nelsan Ellis
Joe Manganiello
Deborah Ann Woll

True Blood's new season starts on June 26, while Game of Thrones' season 1 finale will be airing on June 19

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