Zachary Levi visits New Orleans for Anthony Bourdain’s ‘The Getaway’ What did he miss?

Zachary Levi, center, played the title character in ‘Chuck,’ an NBC action-comedy. The actor visited New Orleans for ‘The Getaway,’ a travel show on the Esquire Network. (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC)

Zachary Levi donned a hipster hat for the New Orleans segment of “The Getaway,” the Esquire Network travel show produced by Anthony Bourdain. The show promises a lot with its online pitch: “Anyone can be a tourist, but to experience a city like a local takes a great guide … ‘The Getaway’ explores the world’s most amazing cities, guided by a revolving cast of travel-loving celebs.”

So where did the producers send Levi, who once starred as the title character in “Chuck,” the now-departed action-comedy spy show from NBC? The clips aren’t especially venturesome, featuring stops at Preservation Hall, Central Grocery, Cafe du Monde and other destinations within stumbling distance of Bourbon Street.

The show can be seen locally on the Dish Network and DIRECTV. Here’s a link to the Esquire Network “channel finder.”

For a preview, see the clips embedded below. When you’re done, give Bourdain and his production team some fresh ideas for the next visit. The comment stream is a perfect place to share your tips with them, with your New Orleans pals, and with visitors to the city.

Zachary Levi has a new podcast

Chuckaholics has learned Zachary Levi has started a podcast. It comes from his company The Nerd Machine. We have a page dedicated for the episodes that they produce.

You can find the podcast on Itunes and it is offered for free, but like we did for the intersect Project, we offer it here because not everyone has the capabilities to access Itunes and any other means of getting podcast.

We created a page for all the episodes that are released for your listening pleasure.  Click here for the page,

Nerd Machine Picking Favorites Podcast.

The Host of the Podcast
The hosts of Picking Favorites David Coleman. Zachary Levi, Razzle and Tyler Labine w/Adam Baldwin

It’s our way to support Zachary and his work. We only are promoting the podcast for entertainment purposes not for distribution in any way.

Moffat talks Series 8

Steven Moffat has been talking about the current series of Doctor Who, at a special Royal Television Society event in London.

The showrunner was appearing at the Doctor Who: Anatomy of a hit event alongside his fellow executive producer Brian Minchin, producer Nikki Wilson, director of Deep Breath Ben Wheatley and special effects producer Rob Mayor, to discuss how the twelfth Doctor emerged from script to screen.

Moffat said how the casting of Peter Capaldi had been inevitable as soon as the name was mentioned. We announced the actor to a nation who already knew.. He agreed that the casting of an older Doctor may have unsettled the audience that had grown up with David Tennant and Matt Smith in the role. We definitely ruffled their feathers by changing the actors. Shows don’t die when they change, they die when they are comfortable. If you’re watching it saying I’m appalled! Well then, you’re still watching it!

He said casting for Danny Pink had been very difficult because all the actors who auditioned had been so good. He said making Doctor Who is always difficult because each story is so different. The terrifying thing is you discover at the start of every new show that you’ve learnt nothing in making Doctor Who.

Steven Moffat said he felt no guilt about lying about the return of the Master at an event for the launch of Deep Breath. It would have ruined the surprise. Because the reveal was filmed outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London the actors mimed their lines and recorded the dialog later. To try to keep the secret the team even went to the trouble of recoding as scene where Missy identifies herself as a Random Access Neural Interface, hoping fans would pick up on the acronym and spread the word that the Rani was returning. Whenever I arrange skullduggery, no-one ever notices.

Moffat revealed he has tried the misdirection trick before, with similar success. When we did Day of the Doctor, we went to the trouble of having John Hurt’s character referred to as Omega throughout. Is nobody stealing scripts these days?

Moffat was asked about the killing of Osgood in the final episode, defending it as necessary. I was aware that the Master as a character gets cuddly very fast. If we’re going to bring her back, she’s got to kill someone in a. horrible way. Otherwise she becomes a slightly more naughty Doctor

Director Ben Wheatley said he was disappointed by the leaking of unfinished early episodes from Series 8 onto the internet as some fans first view of the new Doctor would be in an unfinished episode. The leaked version of Deep Breath was in Black and White. Steven Moffat admited, as a fan, he would have looked. I would have had to go and look. It would have ruined it for myself, but it was a new Doctor..

The showrunner was asked about the audience reaction to Series eight, in particular perceived falling ratings. The figures are the same – they’re just the same, he said. If by ‘ratings’, you mean the number of people who watch the show… they are the same. The number of people who watch on Doctor Who on iPlayer has trebled. The way people watch it has changed but viewing figures have remained the same.. Brian Minchin also pointed out how well the show is doing globally now, for example the audience watching on BBC America is up 30 percent since Capaldi took over the role of the Doctor.

The team are now working on preparation for Series Nine, with Steven Moffat currently writing episode One. The list of writers has been decided but the details are secret for now.

A full set of pictures from the event is on the RTS Facebook page

Robin Williams: Autopsy Confirms Death by Suicide

Williams had antidepressants, caffeine and Parkinson’s drugs in his system

Robin Williams‘ death was ruled a suicide, Marin County officials confirmed on Friday. Autopsy results revealed Williams’ death was caused by asphyxia and hanging.

The actor died at 63 on Aug. 11 at his home in Tiburon, Calif. in Marin County. Toxicology reports reveal antidepressants, caffeine and levodopa, a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease, in his system. Williams had battled severe depression for years and had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, his widow, Susan, revealed after his death. He also had a “recent increase in paranoia,” according to a medical history authorities recorded at the scene.

The night before Williams died, he had placed several wristwatches in a sock and dropped them off with someone (whose name was redacted) because he was worried about the timepieces and “wanted to keep them safe,” according to the report. Then at 7:09 p.m. he called Susan to tell her he was picking up magazines for her at the bookstore.

When he returned home, Williams handed Susan the magazines and seemed “OK,” she told investigators. Then he was in and out of their bedroom, rummaging through their closet. He left with his iPad, and Susan said “she recalled thinking it was a good thing he grabbed it, because she assumed he was in a good mood and was going to take time to do some reading; he hadn’t read or watched TV in six months.” He left the bedroom around 10:30 p.m. — it would be the last time she saw him.

Twelve hours later, Susan believed her husband was still sleeping and left the house. At about 11:45 a.m. Aug. 11, Williams’ assistant grew concerned. He slipped a note under the door, then picked the lock. He found the comedian dressed in a long black T-shirt and belted black jeans hanging by a nylon belt in a closet door frame. The actor, who was being treated for severe depression, also had cuts on his wrist. He wasn’t wearing a ring or a watch.

Williams was found in an empty bedroom belonging to his stepson, who was away visiting his father. The actor slept in a separate bedroom because he was having a hard time sleeping and was “restless due to his Parkinson’s and anxiety issues,” and talked in his sleep, the investigator’s report says. The room had a bunk bed — the top bunk was neatly made — the bottom bunk crumpled and the bedding pulled down.

Near the body, investigators found personal items placed on a chair, including an iPad and two different kinds of anti-depressants: Mirtazapene and Seroquel. Police found an engraved pocketknife with a dried red substance that was later confirmed as Williams’ blood. Susan told investigators Williams often received gifts from his USO tours with the military, and that the knife was likely from her husband’s collection.

A pair of black sneakers were next to the chair. In the right shoe was a pair of black socks; in the left, the assumed case of the pocketknife. Williams’ iPhone and wallet were found in his pockets.

By the time police arrived, Williams was clearly dead, the report says. No efforts were made to revive him, and his death was declared at 12:02 p.m.

Despite a long and well-documented history of depression, Williams’ wife and assistant said he never expressed suicidal thoughts or behavior. His pill dispenser had been refilled the day before, but the medications remained undisturbed in their appointed daily slots, Sunday through Saturday. The investigator asked Susan if Robin had ever mentioned suicide “as a solution to a significant health issue.” After searching through Williams’ iPad, which was near his body, Investigator D. Harris found only web browsers open to information about medications. A sweep of his iPhone revealed no texts or messages that indicated he was suicidal.

“There were no reflective devices or pornography near the body” the report says. The investigator says he “frankly asked” if Williams had any “history of autoerotic asphyxia. Mrs. Williams stated that he did not.” However, one person interviewed said Williams had worked on a movie years earlier in which his character’s son accidentally died by autoerotic asphyxiation. That person added that “the scene was very difficult and emotional for Williams” and he may have researched hanging during filming.

A search of Williams’ iPhone, iPad and home computer revealed no search histories for suicide or hanging. However, the investigator writes that he later watched the movie in question — the dark comedy World’s Greatest Dad — and said the character’s son was found “seated on the floor, learning forward with a ligature around the neck secured by a belt” — very similar to the scene of Williams’ death.

The Marin Sheriff’s Office previously drew criticism for releasing candid details about Williams’ death but said the disclosure was necessary under the California Public Records Act. The final autopsy report was originally scheduled to be released Sept. 30 but had been delayed twice.

Modern Age of Comics

The Modern Age of Comics is a name for the age of comics from the mid-80’s to present. In this age comic character were more psychologically complex and were darker. Creators were becoming more well known and independent comics started to become more popular.


The DC comic book maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths became the book that brought the Bronze Ageand the Modern Age together. This brought the end to The Flash series, Superman series and the Wonder Woman series.

Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, and Suspense

Before the Modern Age horror and science fiction comics were not in mainstream comics but in the modern age the comics code was changed so then they made more Horror and Science Fiction comics because they could do more with it that they could not do before. Alan Moore’s legendary Swamp Thing run and Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece Sandman were some of the comics of the age which had Horror and Science Fiction elements in it.

Makeovers and universe reboots

The impact of Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first example as Supergirl died in issue #7, and long-time Flash (Barry Allen) died in issue #8. Specifically. His death was highly shocking at the time. Marvel Comics’ Secret Wars would usher in a new change as well as Spider-Man would wear a black costume.

The interest in the speculator market of a new Spider-Man costume led to other changes for Marvel characters in the 1980s. Iron Man would have a silver and red armor. Captain America would be fired and would be reborn as the Captain, wearing a black outfit in issue 337 of the series. The Incredible Hulk would revert to his original Grey skin color. Issue 300 of the first Avengers series resulted in a new lineup including Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, of the Fantastic Four. Within the decade, Wolverine would switch to a brown and yellow costume, Thor would be replaced by Thunderstrike, Archangel would emerge as the X-Men’s Angel’s dark counterpart and many other Marvel characters would have complete image overhauls. The changes to Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine and most other Marvel characters would be undone in the early 1990s.

The 1990s would bring similar changes to the DC Universe, including the death of Superman in 1992 and the Knightfall storyline in Batman comics, during which Azrael became the new Batman.Wonder Woman lost a challenge and Diana was replaced by Artemis as the new Wonder Woman until her death in issue 100. Guy Gardner went from being a Green Lantern to drinking from a chalice in a cave and becoming Warrior. The only change that would last for more than ten years was when Hal Jordan became Parallax and killed off all the Green Lanterns, resulting in Kyle Rayner becoming the new Green Lantern in issue 50 of the second series.

In addition to individual character or franchise/family wide makeovers, Crisis on Infinite Earths ushered in a popular trend of “rebooting”, “remaking”, or seriously reimagining the publisher wide universes every 5–10 years on varying scales. This often resulted in origins being retold, histories being rewritten, and so forth. These reinventions could be on as large a scale as suddenly retconning seminal story points and rewriting character histories, or simply introducing and/or killing off/writing out various important and minor elements of a universe. Crisis on Infinite Earths resulted in several miniseries which explicitly retconned character histories, such as Batman: Year One, Superman: Man of Steel, and Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals. An example of a less ambitious scale of changes is Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, which did not explicitly retcon or retell Green Arrow’s history, but simply changed his setting and other elements of the present, leaving the past largely intact. This trend of publisher wide reinventions, which often consists of a new miniseries and various spinoff storylines in established books, continues today, with DC’s recent Infinite Crisis and the spinoff storylines – One Year Later, 52, and Countdown to Final Crisis – and Marvel’s House of M and Civil War storylines, the results of which are still being felt in the Marvel Universe.

Image Comics and creator rights disputes

In the mid-1980s, artist Jack Kirby, co-creator of many of Marvel’s most popular characters, came into dispute with Marvel over the disappearance of original pages of artwork from some of his most famous titles. Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and many other contemporary stars became vocal advocates for Kirby.

By the early 1990s, these events, as well as the influence of vocal proponents of independent publishing, helped to inspire a number of Marvel artists to form their own company, Image Comics, which would serve as a prominent example of creator-owned comics publishing. Marvel artists such as X-Men’s Jim Lee, The New Mutants/X-Force’s Rob Liefeld and Spider-Man’s Todd McFarlane were extremely popular and were idolized by younger readers in ways more common to professional athletes and rock musicians than comic book artists. Propelled by star power and upset that they did not own the popular characters they created for Marvel, several illustrators, including the above three formed Image Comics in 1992, an umbrella label under which several autonomous, creator-owned companies existed. Image properties, such as WildC.A.T.s, Gen¹³, Witchblade and especially McFarlane’s Spawn provided brisk competition for long-standing superheroes. Image in particular is singled out by some critics for contributing to the conditions which led to the speculator market crashing, as Image titles favored alternative covers, foil covers, and other “collectible” comics.

Many popular creators followed Image’s lead and attempted to use their star power to launch their own series; ones for which they would have licensing rights and editorial control. Chris Claremont, famous for his long run as the writer of Uncanny X-Men, created Sovereign Seven for DC; Joe Madureira, also made popular by Uncanny X-Men, launched Battle Chasers for WildStorm Productions; and Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross, and Brent Anderson created Astro City for Image.

Sony Considered Buying UK’s Channel 5, Called Owner “Worst Human Being On Earth”

In January 2014, Barclays approached Sony executives with the idea of buying British commercial television station Channel 5, owned by Richard Desmond. He is also the owner of newspapers Daily Star and Daily Express, magazines OK! and New!, and adult TV stations Television X and Red Hot TV. He is, certainly, a controversial figure.

According to Wikileaks, Sony received an NDA to sign under the codename “Project Eden”.

Sony executive Jon Fukunaga told fellow exec Leah Weil,

FYI.  This one would be a big deal if it goes.  Channel 5 is the UK broadcaster that Richard Desmond bought from RTL in about 3 years ago.

Weil replied,

Didn’t we look at it once before? And/or have an issue with desmond?

Are you thinking of staffing out of UK or here or combo?

To Fukunaga’s response

I don’t think we’ve looked at Five before.  We had some concerns about Desmond—Michael was concerned that after Desmond took over, he might try to renege on our existing deals so we spent a lot of time looking at what our potential remedies might be if that happened.  Problem never materialized.

I think practically, I’d have to staff out of London although it’s big enough that I think I’d need to be involved.  We’d definitely have to get outside counsel and talk to several firms.  Some possibilities are Olswang, Dentons, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, maybe Paul Weiss (David Lakdhir represented Discovery on their Chello bid).  If cost were the only driver, you’d go with Dentons—their rates are much lower and Lisa would help control costs.

Though not everyone fancied the idea. Chris Mansolillo said to Steve Mosko,

Steve, this just came in. Ch5 in the UK is potentially for sale.

It would be a big/strategic acquisition and likely we’d want to evaluate jointly across the SPT portfolio (networks, production, distribution).

Let us know if you think it’s worth pursuing.

Steve Mosko replied:

Good luck. Worst human being on earth.

But Steve was the bigger man. Writing to Michael Lynton,

Are you ok if we kick these tires…I’m  putting my personal feelings aside about him..

And Chris Mansolillo told Steve Mosko,

Our early view on valuation and what we would have to submit in the non-binding EOI is $850 to $900M for 100%.  Ultimately if we were to be successful at 51% ownership we would have to come up with approx $450M in cash assuming we’d find a partner for the remaining 49%.

But it was all for naught, Steve Mosko telling Michael Lynton

Fyi…We’ve dropped chasing channel 5 in the uk…..we can’t handle the deal on our own and we lose all the strategic value if we take on partners..Steve

As of May, Channel 5 was sold to Viacom.