Johnny Knoxville Plans ABC Family Comedy

For a Disney part-owned network such as ABC, the list of people to recruit for creating a ‘family’ TV show would have Jackass creator/presenter Johnny Knoxville even further down the list than he would normally be for the genre, but it appears as though he has been this week.

jackass_johnnyUnder the terms of a new ’2-year first-look deal’ with ABC Studios, Knoxville, most recently featured as a voice actor for “Leonardo” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (but pictured here taking a hit from an exploding inflatable on 2010 release Jackass 3D, the most recent direct release of the popular stunt/prank franchise), will be developing a scripted comedy show for ABC.

Even more surprisingly, the format will be a ‘based on my life experiences’ approach, but perhaps slightly less stressfully for ‘concerned parent groups’, it will be geared towards the actor’s ‘unique southern upbringing’ in childhood.

Whilst not acting on the project, Knoxville will be the narrator of the series, as well as being an executive producer through his Hello Junior! brand.

Following on from his most recent created production in the form of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, will Johnny Knoxville’s presumably fine family portrayal be one that is seen as ‘fit to air’ on network television? Alternatively, ‘moral guardians’ of television are still far too strict, and things like this should be shown prime-time on a regular basis:

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Amplifon Introduce Sounds of the Street View

When visiting Google Street View and choosing desirable locations to view, users will often like to try and fully immerse themselves in the image, attempting to ignore anything outside their computer screen to imagine for a small moment that they are there.

sounds_of_street_view_amplifonFor the hardcore viewer that likes three specific locations in particular, that realism may be taken up a notch, with the introduction of third-party ‘audio support’ on the ground-level map browser via hearing aid specialists Amplifon.

The Italian company have developed a set of ‘stereophonic sounds’ that were recorded in their chosen locations (Balboa Park in San Diego (USA), Hapuna Beach on Big Island (Hawaii, USA), and Place du Palais in Monaco) and displayed them with the corresponding images through their website.

Speaking of the ‘ambient noise’ (which includes people talking, bells, and waves, amongst other sounds that dynamically change volume based on where in the area the user ‘is’), Amplifon said of the new service: “Utilising the Web Audio API platform, sounds are designated as though they were ordinary Google Maps markers, but instead of an image and information being assigned to the marker, a sound is instead.”

Potentially an idea for Google themselves to incorporate, will Amplifon’s proposal for an even more immersive experience pave the way to more and more add-ons until the mapping industry turns one step short of teleportation?

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Amazon Transgender Original Series Given Premiere Date

Whilst Netflix continue creating, releasing, and promoting their range of original content, one of their closest streaming rivals Amazon are doing likewise, with Amazon Instant Video announcing a release date for their latest project that is less than a month away.

transparent_titleSet to launch as a full 10-episode series as of 26 September, new comedy series Transparent , created by Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under), will look to break further boundaries in the entertainment industry with a lead character that is transgender.

That character, played by Jeffrey Tambor, will be the focus of the show in which his family react to and live their lives following the father’s revelation of being a transgender person. ‘Fellow cast members are set to include Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Duplass, and Judith Light as regulars, and Carrie Brownstein, Melora Hardin, and Rob Huebel in recurring roles.

Speaking of Transparent’s upcoming inagural season, Soloway stated: “I am beyond excited to share Transparent with the world through Amazon. They’ve been so supportive through this incredible process. Artistically, it’s been a dream come true. I absolutely got to make the show I wanted to make.”

Set to premiere initially to both US and UK audiences, Transparent was first confirmed for its first season in March by Amazon separate from their more common Amazon Studios ‘viewer pilot’ process, so while there have been no test audiences to trial the concept with, will this comedy become a successful and barrier-knocking format? At least the length alone should mean the subject matter is treated more delicately than other shows have managed:

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Ricky Gervais Makes Netflix Superfan Commercial

While his cannot technically be considered to be in the Netflix original category, English comedian Ricky Gervais is still ingrained enough in the online streamer’s realm of exclusive programming in the USA (through 2-season Channel 4 sitcom Derek) to be asked to be the focal point of a new commercial for them.

ricky_gervais_netflixFollowing hot in the hoof footsteps of esteemed 90′s actor BoJack Horseman, Gervais’ spot for the service sees him audition for roles on leading Netflix programming including House of Cards, Lilyhammer, and Orange is the New Black.

It is clear, though, that he is out of place in these shows (the attacks on his accent not quite as justified), and fortunately he also realises, ending with the tagline “…maybe I’m better off just watching.”

An official video description of the advert summarises: “Ever been so engrossed in a show that you just want to be in it? Ricky Gervais knows the feeling. Start your one month free trial and get sucked into the entertainment of today featuring award-winning original shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Derek and Lilyhammer only on Netflix. Start your free trial at”

While Netflix is growing fast enough for many people to know about what they have the chance to see, will this cross-over commercial help make more of those people aware a little quicker? Below is the trailer in full, complete with the obligatory ‘outtakes’ video:

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Friends Fans In New York Have Central Perk

Perhaps in the mould of Secret Cinema but without the ‘secret’ or ‘cinema’ parts, a tribute to former hit sitcom Friends is emerging in less than a month in New York City (USA).

central_perk_friendsFans of the show, or just passers-by, will be able to drop in on a pop-up store version of ‘Central Perk’, a coffee shop that was a favourite hangout of the characters in the 10-season NBC show. Based in the Manhattan area of the city, the month-long run of the shop (from 17 September – 18 October) is being designed in part of celebrations for the 20th anniversary Friends‘ premiere in 1994 (on 22 September), the start of a run that lasted through to 2004, 236 episodes later.

The Central Perk store as with most of these things will act mainly as a memorabilia stop, with the area taking the form of a recreated set that also incorporates museum-style prop displays and cast pictures, complete with the less-protected orange couch that is claimed to be the authentic piece used notably on the show, with the show’s development studio Warner Bros. encouraging that pictures be taken there.

Meanwhile, Eight O’ Clock Coffee, one of the sponsors of the event, are offering a ‘limited-edition special blend’ created to celebrate the show’s 20 years, one of many cups that will be served for free, with even more promotions and special events designed for 29 September, American National Coffee Day.

With big luck for fans of the show, that coffee might be served by actor James Michael Tyler (who played barista “Gunther” in the show), set to make a number of special guest appearances throughout the month, along with weekly musical performances at the venue including original song ‘Smelly Cat’. Additional show-based services at the store will include giveaways and contests, with Friends box sets and coffee packs amongst prizes to be won, and ‘Friends-themed merchandise’ for sale.

Located at 199 Lafayette Street, SoHo, Manhattan, the city’s latest attraction will have plenty of visitors for the free drinks alone, but will it help to continue to pave the way for immersive production-based experiences?

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EA Plan For Billion-Dollar DLC Income

With yesterday marking the start of ‘Madden season’ (while the NFL season it relates to remains around a week away), EA Sports, and parent company Electronic Arts as a whole, will naturally be pleased at the annual injection of funds coming in from one of their regular gaming series, though they predict that they will have made plenty more even after popular titles have hit their peak in sales popularity.

ea_logoCompany spokesman John Reseburg, speaking to Bloomberg, suggested that EA have a target set for how much money they could make from downloadable content (DLC) over the coming year.

In an announcement that is sure to generate ire from customers for the principle as well as the amount, Reseburg claimed that EA are aiming to have generate ‘at least $1 billion’ revenue from additional content across all games, not that it stops free content from emerging from time to time, as recently demonstrated by EA Sports’ new UFC franchise, though on the flip side of that EA Sports’ various trading card-style Ultimate Team ‘services’ generated a total of $380m across the past year.

He noted that the new Madden NFL 15 game, released on Tuesday (26 August) in the USA and more niche-ly in Europe on Friday (29 August) is set to be a ‘major contributor’ to overall 2014 income for the company. And while the many detractors of DLC complain that it is unpopular with the market as a whole, Reseburg notes a statistic that extra content purchased in the Madden NFL series has grown 350% from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014, though whether such figures occur as a result of ‘force’ or from a good-quality overall product (both leading to an ambiguous ‘wanting more from the game’) is up for debate.

Of course, the topic leads to all the usual topics being brought up for discussion, such as: “Shouldn’t the price of the disc cover everything on it?” “Paid-for DLC would never happen to a TV show or movie.” “Additional content should mean ‘additional’, not ‘coded content unlocked’.” “What is the next step they might take in the industry?” “Are they going to DLC-lock the Super Bowl on Madden?” What does the Super Bowl on Madden look like?

And at least the makers of these videos will be happy somewhat that EA are currently at least being clear about their intentions:

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