Week of March 15, 2011. A Complete Look At News, Pop Culture, Trends, Tech, Entertertainment, Music, TV Guide & More.

This Week In News, Pop Culture, Trends, Tech, Hollywood, TV Guide & More.

The Week of March 15, 2011

Compiled By Gary West @ mrpopculture.com and  www.mrpophistory.com


In The News –

Japan’s central bank pumped billions more into the financial system Tuesday to quell fears that the country’s banks could be overwhelmed by the impact of the massive earthquake and tsunami. Stocks slumped for a second day as a nuclear crisis escalated. Two cash injections totaling 8 trillion yen ($98 billion) came a day after the Bank of Japan fed a record 15 trillion yen ($184 billion) into money markets and eased monetary policy to support the economy in the aftermath of Friday’s 9.0 magnitude quake that has killed thousands. The injections have helped stabilize currency markets. But stock markets dived for a second day as investors unloaded assets amid escalating worries of a nuclear crisis.

Bahrain declared martial law on Tuesday as it struggles to quell an uprising by the island’s Shi’ite Muslim majority that has drawn in troops from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbor Saudi Arabia. The three-month state of emergency will hand wholesale power to Bahrain’s security forces, which are dominated by the country’s Sunni Muslim elite, stoking sectarian tensions in one of the Gulf’s most politically volatile nations.

Europe is considering “stress testing” its nuclear power stations to check they can cope with crises, while its energy chief on Tuesday even raised the prospect of a nuclear-free future. The developments mark a dramatic turnaround for a continent that had been considering a partial nuclear revival until this week, when Japan’s nuclear accident highlighted how quickly events can run out of control — and not only after an earthquake.

Moammar Gadhafi’s forces struck the rebellion’s heartland with airstrikes, missiles and artillery on Tuesday, trying for the first time to take back a city that serves as a crucial gateway for the band of fighters who threatened his four-decade hold on power. Rebels rushed to the front and sent up two rickety airplanes to bomb government ships, as mosques broadcast pleas for help defending the city. The pro-Gadhafi forces surprised rebels with attacks on two sides of the city of Ajdabiya, and the opposition was outgunned.

Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami. In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation had spread from the four stricken reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan’s northeastern coast. The region was shattered by Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world’s third-largest economy.

Australia advised its citizens in Japan on Wednesday to consider leaving Tokyo and earthquake-affected areas, joining a growing number of governments and businesses telling their people it may be safer elsewhere.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a travel advice update that Australians with no need to be in the area should think about leaving but added that the decision had nothing to do with the threat of nuclear contamination from a damaged nuclear power plant.

Producer prices surged in February at their fastest pace in 1-1/2 years, pointing to a build-up in inflation pressures from soaring food and energy costs. In another reminder on Wednesday of the headwinds facing the economy, the Commerce Department said groundbreaking activity for new homes posted the biggest drop in 27 years with permits for future building reaching a record low. The reports came a day after the Federal Reserve said it expected the upward inflation pressure from commodities to prove transitory but that it was keeping a watchful eye.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it plans to remove about 500 unapproved prescription cough, cold, and allergy medicines from pharmacy shelves.These drugs have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness, and they may be riskier to take than approved over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that treat these same conditions, agency officials explained. “This action is necessary to protect consumers from the potential risks posed by unapproved drugs, because we don’t know what’s in them, whether they work properly or how they are made,” Deborah M. Autor, director of the agency’s Office of Compliance at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said during a morning news conference.

Newspaper advertising in the U.S. has sunk to a 25-year low as marketing budgets followed readers to the Internet, where advertising is far cheaper than what publishers have been able to command in print. Advertisers spent $25.8 billion on newspapers’ print and digital editions last year, according to figures released Tuesday by the Newspaper Association of America. That’s the lowest amount since 1985 when total newspaper advertising stood at $25.2 billion. After adjusting for inflation, newspaper advertising now stands at about the same level as nearly 50 years ago. In 1962, newspaper advertising totaled $3.7 billion, which translates to about $26 billion today.

Japan tried high-pressure water cannons, fire trucks and even helicopters that dropped batches of seawater in increasingly frantic attempts Thursday to cool an overheated nuclear complex as U.S. officials warned the situation was deteriorating. The top U.S. nuclear regulatory official gave a far bleaker assessment of the crisis than the Japanese, and the U.S. ambassador warned U.S. citizens within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant on the northeast coast to leave the area or at least remain indoors.

U.S. life expectancy has hit another all-time high, rising above 78 years. The estimate of 78 years and 2 months is for a baby born in 2009, and comes from a preliminary report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 2.4 million people died in the United States in 2009 — roughly 36,000 fewer deaths than the year before.

Deaths were down for a range of causes, from heart disease to homicide, so experts don’t believe there’s one simple explanation for the increase in life expectancy. Better medical treatment, vaccination campaigns and public health measures against smoking are believed to be having an impact.

Libya declared an immediate cease-fire Friday, trying to fend off international military intervention after the U.N. authorized a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” to prevent the regime from striking its own people. A rebel spokesman said Moammar Gadhafi’s forces were still shelling two cities. The United States said a cease-fire announcement was insufficient, calling on the regime to pull back from eastern Libya, where the once-confident rebels this week found themselves facing an overpowering force using rockets, artillery, tanks, warplanes.

U.S. sales of Diet Coke overtook those of Pepsi-Cola for the first time in 2010, making the diet soda the No. 2 carbonated soft drink in the country behind Coca-Cola, industry data are expected to confirm Thursday. Occupying the top two rankings would mark a historic win for Coca-Cola) in its decades-old rivalry with PepsiCo Inc. which has seen its market share slip in recent years and is trying to retool its marketing. The two companies have fought over the past decade to win market share from one another as cola sales overall have dropped.

Moammar Gadhafi’s forces swept rebel fighters out of a key oil town and into the desert Sunday with searing waves of artillery fire and airstrikes, extending their rapid advance on the poorly equipped and loosely organized fighters. The United States, meanwhile, was sending its top diplomat to make contact with Gadhafi opponents in Paris, as it and other world powers considered trying to ground his air force with a no-fly zone that carries many of its own risks.

Anti-aircraft fire has erupted in the Libyan capital, with volleys of tracer fire arching into the air, marking the start of a second night of allied strikes on the country.

There is no immediate word on the targets in the new round of strikes. The heavy chatter of anti-aircraft defenses began soon after nightfall. The U.S. military says the first air assault by the U.S. and its allies the night before — including airstrikes by long-range bombers and a shower of Tomahawk cruise missiles — was successful, though it did not fully eliminate the threat from Libyan air defenses.

The largest full moon in more than 18 years – a so-called “supermoon” – did not disappoint eager skywatchers around the world Saturday when it rose, big and bright, into Earth’s night sky. The full moon of March was 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers) on Saturday, March 19 just 50 minutes after it hit its full phase, making it the biggest and brightest full moon since 1993. The “supermoon” phenomenon occurred because the moon was in its full phase and just 50 minutes past perigee – the point of its orbit that brings it closer to Earth.This year’s biggest full moon also gained notoriety after erroneous claims that it would spark waves of natural disasters around the world.

Leading Republican Sarah Palin toured Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Sunday as she began a two-day, private visit to Israel. She also planned on meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during her first trip to the Jewish state to discuss key issues facing the U.S. ally. Palin, a 2008 vice presidential candidate, is a potential White House contender in 2012 and a leading light in the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement.

The nuclear crisis in Japan, while severe, appears to be stabilizing and does not warrant any immediate changes in U.S. nuclear plants, a top U.S. nuclear official said Monday. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s executive director for operations, Bill Borchardt, said officials have “a high degree of confidence” that operations at the 104 nuclear reactors in 31 states are safe. He said inspectors at each of the plants have redoubled efforts to guard against any safety breaches.

Buyers emerged on Monday in U.S. stocks, enticed by the biggest proposed merger of the year, though crises in Japan, the Middle East and North Africa meant market volatility would continue. The bulls have held the upper hand for three days, as the S&P 500 has put together its best three-day run since early December. Dow component AT&T (T.N) rose 1.1 percent after the company announced plans to buy Deutsche Telekom’s (DTEGn.DE) T-Mobile USA and refocused investor attention on attractive company valuations.

Golfer and notorious cheater Tiger Woods has taken another swing at dating, this time with 22-year-old Alyse Lahti Johnston.Woods, who was struck with heavy criticism last year after news broke of his numerous high profile extra-marital affairs, divorced Swedish model Elin Nordegren in August. In November 2009, Woods raised some eyebrows after he plowed his 2009 Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree at 2:30 a.m., leading many to speculate he’d gotten into an argument with then-wife Nordegren about his unfaithful behavior.

Technology –

They come not just for the balmy weather or the Tex-Mex food but for South by Southwest, a collection of conferences and festivals that’s considered one of the most influential happenings on the annual cultural calendar. Abbreviated as SXSW — and nicknamed “South by” by festival veterans — the 24-year-old conference kicks off Friday and runs through March 20. The three-headed event encompasses separate festivals for film, music and interactive technology and has helped launch everything from Twitter to Broken Social Scene.

It’s where hipster culture meets geek culture, and where internet entrepreneurs are treated like rock stars SXSW first kicked off in 1987 as the place where relatively unknown bands played gigs with hopes of attracting the attention of critics, talent scouts or big-time musicians seeking an opening act for their tours. Conference organizers integrated film and technology segments in 1994 as a “multimedia” event, and a year later, the separate South by Southwest Interactive was formed.

Nintendo 3DS, a glasses-free 3-D handheld video game system, arrives March 27 for $249.99.  Nintendo hopes it will make the strongest case yet for 3-D special effects affordability and relevance.

But calling it a gaming console may be the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public. Gaming, it turns out, might be among the least of the system’s capabilities. The device will also deliver an array of other fully-connected entertainment experiences, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime at the 2011 Game Developers Conference.  From 3-D movies to TV shows, digital music to augmented reality applications, the company is clearly assigning tremendous importance to non-gaming applications.

Though they won’t say it directly, Nintendo clearly plans to make the system a Trojan horse for the larger world of 3-D multimedia. This should scare the competition.

Recently, Google announced that the Android version of its Google Maps app now automatically routes users around traffic when providing directions. According to the Google Blog, Google Maps navigation previously “would choose whichever route was fastest, without taking current traffic conditions into account. It would also generate additional alternate directions, such as the shortest route or one that uses highways instead of side roads. “[Now], our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates. That means that navigation will automatically guide you along the best route given the current traffic conditions.”

Sports –

Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar has lost an eye after he was struck in the face by a line drive while watching a spring training game. Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday that doctors were unable to save Salazar’s left eye after the accident March 9. The former major league player is otherwise recovering from his injuries and expects to manage Lynchburg of the Class A Carolina League this season. The 54-year-old Salazar was standing against the railing on the top step of the dugout during a game between the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals when Brian McCann fouled a ball in his direction. Salazar was unable to get out of the way.

Entertainment news –

Comic Gilbert Gottfried will no longer be the voice of the Aflac duck — effective immediately. The insurance company fired Gottfried, 56, on Monday after he made a slew of jokes via Twitter about the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Ashton Kutcher, president of pop culture for the popchips snack food company, launched a search back in February for a vice president of pop culture. The gig sounded pretty good: For a salary of $50,000, the VP’s duties included working with popchips and Kutcher to create digital content, take part in popchips’ social media channels and serve as popchips’ on-location reporter at three culture events. And the winner has just been announced: It’s Diane Mizota. One of her biggest claims to fame is that she appeared in Austin Powers in Goldmember, along with Carrie Ann Inaba. She also is host of the GSN series Bingo.

Teen sensation Justin Bieber is immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London and New York. So, what does Justin think of his new wax figure? Plus, which stars’ wax figure would he like his wax figure to be next to?

Mel Gibson was booked and released at El Segundo Police Department on Wednesday night as part of his sentence for the misdemeanor battery case resulting from an alleged January 2010 incident with his then-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, Access Hollywood has confirmed.

Charlie Sheen’s “Torpedo of Truth” live tour will explode onto 12 more stages across the United States and into Canada, as reports surfaced on Thursday of sold-out shows at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. “Fastballs keep coming. 12 more shows on sale Sat.,” Sheen tweeted. The new shows for the tour, dubbed “Charlie Sheen’s Violent Torpedo of Truth Defeat Is Not an Option,” are also listed on sales website

Billy Ray Cyrus revealed he has withdrawn his request to divorce his wife, Tish. “I’ve dropped the divorce,” Billy Ray said on the show, which taped on Thursday. “I wanted to put my family back together.”

Jennifer Lopez’ new song, “Invading My Mind,” has invaded the Internet.

The American Idol judge’s new track has leaked online The song, from her upcoming Island Def Jam album “Love?,” follows “On the Floor,” which features Pitbull. “Invading My Mind” is all about Lopez, though, and is a high energy, super-dance-y track.

Wyclef Jean has been released from the hospital after being treated for a gunshot wound to his hand. Jean, 41, was shot in the hand after 11 p.m. Saturday in Delmas — a city just outside Port-au-Prince — according to Joe Mignon, the senior program director for Jean’s Yele Foundation. He offered no further details.

Music news –

Passing – Rapper and music producer Nate Dogg, a prominent figure in the world of hip-hop, has died at the age of 41, the Hollywood Reporter wrote Wednesday without giving a cause of death. Best known for his 1994 hit “Regulate,” Nate Dogg — a longtime friend and collaborator of rap legends Snoop Dogg and the late Tupac Shakur — died late Tuesday, the trade newspaper wrote. It quoted a tweet from Snoop Dogg lamenting the death of his friend. “We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986,” the rap megastar wrote on this Twitter microblog posting.

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Howard Stern shares details about the end of his 21-year marriage to first wife Alison. “My marriage ending blew my mind,” the Sirius radio star, 57, revealed. “I was upset that I failed and let down my family, my kids, my ex-wife. It was all very painful.”While no topic was off-limits for guests on his radio show, Stern admits he kept his own personal problems buried. But feeling like a “detached robot,” he started going to therapy. “I was totally neurotic…I knew things weren’t right, and I said, ‘Gee, where am I going to get some answers?’ I had never been a guy to turn to religion but then as my marriage was coming to an end, I needed help to explain it to my children and make sense of it all…Because once you are a divorced guy, being a father is a whole different thing.”

Passing – Country music pioneer Ferlin Husky has died at age 85. He sold more than 20 million records, mostly in the ’50s and early ’60s, with hits including “Wings of a Dove” and “gone.” (March 17)

Passing – British musician Jet Harris, who played bass guitar in Cliff Richard’s band The Shadows, has died aged 71, British media reported on Friday. Terence Harris, nicknamed “Jet” because he was one of the fastest runners in his school, was introduced to Richard in 1958, and his website credits him with coming up with the name The Shadows.”Jet was exactly what the Shadows and I needed — a backbone holding our sound together,” Richard said in a statement. “Jet, the bass player, will always be an integral part of British rock’n'roll history. Losing him is sad — but the great memories will stay with me. Rock on, Jet.” With The Shadows, Harris enjoyed a string of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s including “High Class Baby,” the chart-topping “Apache” and “Guitar Tango.” His last recording with the band was “Wonderful Land” in 1962, which also made it to number one in the British charts. After leaving the group, Harris teamed up with former Shadows bandmate Tony Meehan and again reached number one with “Diamonds” in 1963.

Bryan Adams is now enshrined in concrete. The Canadian singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist and producer got his Hollywood Walk of Fame star Monday in front of the Musicians Institute. His hits included “Cut Like a Knife,” “Summer of ’69,” “Run to You,” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.”

Hot hits this week –

F**k You (Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

S&M – Rihanna

E.T. – Katy Perry fea. Kanye West

On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez fea. Pitbull

Grenade – Bruno Mars

F**kin Perfect

Till the World Ends – Britney Spears

Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) – Enrique Iglesias fea. Lidacris & DJ Frank E

Blow – Ke$ha

Look At Me Now –

Chris Brown fea. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes

Coming Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Firework – Katy Perry

Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) – Pitbull

Moment 4 Life – Nicki Minaj fea. Drake

I Need A Doctor – Dr. Dre fea. Eminem & Skylar Grey

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri

What The Hell – Avril Lavigne

More – Usher

Just Can’t Get Enough – The Black Eyed Peas

6 Foot 7 Foot – Lil Wayne fea. Cory Gunz

Landslide – Glee Cast fea. Gwyneth paltrow

Pretty Girl Rock- Keri Hilson

Rollin In The Deep – Adele

At the movies this week

Limitless (1st week $19 million)

Rango

Battle: Los Angeles

The Lincoln Lawyer (1st $13.4 million)

Paul – (1st week $13.1 million)

Red Riding Hood

The Adjustment Bureau

Mars Needs Moms

Beastly

Hall Pass

Gnomeo & Juliet

Hip Thursday night TV (TV Squad)

7PM

Discovery: ‘Out of the Wild: Venezuela’

7:45

IFC: ‘The Grid’

8:00

ABC: ‘Wipeout’
NBC: ‘Community’
FOX: ‘American Idol’
ESPN: ‘Winter X Games: Europe’
Nicktoons: ‘Dragon Ball Z Kai’

8:30

NBC: ‘Perfect Couples’

9:00

ABC: ‘Private Practice’
FOX: ‘Bones’
Discovery: ‘Man vs. Wild’
Bravo: ‘Kathy Griffin: 50 & Not Pregnant’
HGTV: ‘Selling New York’
Spike: ‘TNA Wrestling’

9:30

NBC: ‘Parks and Recreation’

10:00

NBC: ’30 Rock’
USA: ‘Fairly Legal’
FX: ‘Archer’
MTV: ‘Jersey Shore’
Food Network: ‘Ice Brigade’
HGTV: ‘House Hunters’
A&E: ‘Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force’ (two episodes)

10:30

NBC: ‘Outsourced’
HGTV: ‘House Hunters International’

Midnight

Cartoon Network: ‘Eagleheart’

Late-Night Talk Shows

11:00

PBS: ‘Charlie Rose’: Jonathan Schell on the future of nuclear power
TBS: ‘Conan’: Larry King, Shaun White, and Iron & Wine (repeat)
Comedy Central: ‘The Daily Show’: Howard Stern (repeat)
E!: ‘Chelsea Lately’: Rihanna (repeat)
BET: ‘The Mo’Nique Show’: Tisha Campbell-Martin, Keith David and Lloyd

11:30

Comedy Central: ‘The Colbert Report’: Dan Sinker (repeat)

11:35

ABC: ‘Nightline’: TBA
CBS: ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’: Tim McGraw, Shaq and Keri Hilson (repeat)
NBC: ‘The Tonight Show’: Rainn Wilson and Serj Tankian

Midnight

ABC: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live: Matthew McConaughey, Jena Malone and Young Dubliners
PBS: ‘Tavis Smiley’: Clive Davis and Lawrence Goldstone
TBS: ‘Lopez Tonight’: Cameron Diaz, Jason Priestley, Luke Perry and Greg Fitzsimmons (repeat)

12:35

CBS: ‘The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson’: Mila Kunis and Geechy Guy (repeat)
NBC: ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’: Howard Stern, Penn & Teller, and Leon Russell

1:35

NBC: ‘Last Call With Carson Daly’: Gale Ann Hurd, Mia Morett and Caitlin Moe

Top TV –

1. American Idol” (Wednesday) FOX
2. American Idol” (Thursday) FOX
3. The Mentalist CBS
4. NCIS: Los Angeles CBS
5. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS
6. NCIS CBS
7. The Big Bang Theory CBS
8. Glee FOX
9. CSI: Miami CBS
10. Undercover Boss CBS
11. Blue Bloods CBS
12. Secret Millionaire ABC
13. House FOX
14. Survivor: Redemption Island CBS
15. CSI: NY CBS
16. Bones FOX
17. 60 Minutes CBS
18. Two and a Half Men CBS
19. The Bachelor ABC
20. Harry’s Law NBC

This Week In History – Week Of January 1, 2011 – First Week Of The Year – A Complete Review.

This Week In History – Week of January 1, 2011 – From mrpopculture.com

The police investigation into a New Year’s church bombing that killed 21 people is focusing on a local group of Islamic hard-liners inspired by al-Qaida, Egyptian security officials said Sunday. The suicide attack in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria struck Coptic Christian worshippers as they were leaving midnight Mass Saturday about 30 minutes into the new year and also wounded about 100. Dozens returned to pray Sunday in the blood-spattered Saints Church, many of them sobbing, screaming in anger and slapping themselves in grief.

After a holiday season of relentless rain in Southern California, the 122nd Rose Parade was bathed Saturday in abundant sunshine.  Clear blue skies and chilly temperatures greeted hundreds of thousands of spectators who lined Colorado Boulevard to gawk at the New Year’s Day showcase of flowery floats, marching bands and equestrians.

First, New Year’s Eve fireworks were blamed in central Arkansas for making thousands of blackbirds confused, crashing into homes, cars and each other. Then 300 miles to the south in Louisiana, power lines likely killed about 450 birds, littering a highway near Baton Rouge. It’s almost certainly a coincidence the events happened within days of each other, Louisiana’s state wildlife veterinarian Jim LaCour said Tuesday. “I haven’t found anything to link the two at this point.”

Videos just coming to light show the crew of a Navy aircraft carrier got an eyeful on shipboard TV: Gay slurs, suggestive shower scenes and mimicked masturbation in clips made not by some sailor run amok but by the ship’s second-most powerful officer. The Navy said Sunday it will investigate the “clearly inappropriate” videos shown through the nuclear-powered ship’s closed-circuit television system as part of an onboard movie night. The star of the videos, made in 2006 and 2007, is Capt. Owen Honors, who now commands the USS Enterprise but was its executive officer — the second in command — when the videos were made.

Democrat Jerry Brown was sworn in Monday as California’s 39th governor, returning to the office he left 28 years ago but inheriting a much different and more troubled state than the one he led then.

A Rasmussen  survey finds says that only 21% of Likely U.S. Voters want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet as it does radio and television. Fifty-four percent (54%) are opposed to such regulation, and 25% are not sure.

The survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations on the Internet world. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly oppose FCC regulation of the Internet, while Democrats are more evenly divided. Those who use the Internet most are most opposed to FCC regulations.

Ending a two-week vacation, President Barack Obama is appealing to newly-empowered Republicans to resist jockeying for the White House in 2012 and work with him to get the economy growing and the jobless back to work. Facing anything but a political soft landing after his holiday stay in Hawaii, Obama told reporters en route to the capital Tuesday that he understands Republicans, who recaptured the House in last fall’s elections, “are going to play to their base for a certain period of time.”

Sales of General Motors cars and trucks rose 6.3 percent last year as a strong lineup of new models helped the company make a comeback from its 2009 bankruptcy. GM sold 2.2 million cars and trucks in 2010, nearly 131,000 more than the prior year, even though it got rid of four brands to focus on Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC.

A Texas man had his conviction overturned Tuesday for a rape and robbery he didn’t commit after serving 30 years in prison, more time than any other inmate subsequently exonerated by DNA evidence in his state. Cornelius Dupree Jr., 51, was formally cleared of the aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon conviction that had kept him behind bars from December 1979 until July of 2010. He served 30 years of his 75-year sentence before making parole in July. About a week later, DNA test results came back proving his innocence.

It’s official: Robert Gibbs is leaving his post as White House press secretary. Gibbs, one of President Obama’s most seasoned and trusted advisers, says that he will leave the podium in early February to lend outside assistance to the president’s re-election campaign. He broke the news to this staff at a meeting earlier this morning.

A new Congress convenes in Washington with prayer events, real and ceremonial swearing-in ceremonies and a formal transfer of the speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi to John Boehner, reflecting the change in party control over the House. The day will be a stream of pomp and pageantry along with hopeful, optimistic speeches about the future of the country and the decency and diligence of the American people

North Korea called Wednesday for “unconditional and early” talks with rival South Korea to put an end to months of tensions. Seoul quickly dismissed the offer as insincere and said it’s waiting for an apology for two deadly attacks blamed on Pyongyang.

After a nationwide frenzy for a life-changing chance to win a $380 million Mega Millions jackpot, the two winning tickets were sold in small Pacific Northwest towns just 125 miles apart. Shoppers at a Safeway supermarket in Ephrata spent Wednesday wondering who bought one of the winners at the store 130 miles east of Seattle, in the middle of Washington’s potato country. A stream of people were checking their tickets at the video department where lottery tickets are sold, then turning away disappointed.

Amazing – All done on the Internet – In Ohio – homeless out of work announcer Ted Williams – get’s spotted on a street corner. He has a golden voice and demonstrates that on the video. A day later – he’s a guest over WNCI-FM Columbus and gets job offers – one from the Cleveland Cavaliers!

The nation’s economy added 103,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent last month, its lowest level in 19 months. But the job growth fell short of expectations based on a strengthening economy. And the drop in unemployment was partly because people stopped looking for work.

Sports –

Orange Bowl administrators, determined to make this week’s matchup between No. 5 Stanford and No. 12 Virginia Tech less entertaining, have decided to bar Stanford’s irreverent band from performing at halftime. The move comes after the band announced its show was entitled: “Recent Events in the Pro Sports World in Miami.” Apparently bowl officials were concerned that the band might mock LeBron James and hurt his feelings.

The United States plans to send 1,400 additional combat Marines to Afghanistan to try to hold on to recent but fragile security gains, only months before a planned U.S. drawdown, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Violence is at its worst in Afghanistan with record casualties on all sides of the conflict and with the insurgency spreading out of traditional strongholds in the south and east into once-peaceful areas in the north and west.

Technology –

The first portable devices announced for Verizon Wireless’ new, high-speed wireless data network are a smart phone and a tablet from Motorola, both designed to take advantage of network’s speed with cameras for videoconferencing. More devices for Verizon’s “4G” network, which went live for laptop modems in December, are expected to be announced Thursday by the CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

For the moment, Verizon has the fastest wireless network in the country, and it’s hoping to capitalize on it by selling data-hungry tablets and smart phones. There are unconfirmed reports that Verizon will also get to sell version of the iPhone, breaking AT&T Inc.’s

Last year, Electronic Arts made the golfing great share the cover of his bestselling game with Northern Irish rookie Rory McIlroy for the first time ever. This year, following the controversy away from the green and lackluster play on it, Woods has been dropped from the cover of the March 29th release of “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters” on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.

Entertainment news –

Passing – Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite, described by director Steven Spielberg as “the best actor in the world,” has died at age 64 after a long battle with cancer. A gritty and powerful actor, Postlethwaite was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1993 film “In The Name Of The Father.”

Country singer Shania Twain and businessman Frederic Thiebaud tied the knot Saturday in a New Year’s Day wedding in Puerto Rico. A message on Twain’s website says the couple were wed in Rincon with 40 close family and friends in attendance. Twain and Thiebaud announced their engagement last month.

An hour into a rapidly-deteriorating concert at the Congress Theater Saturday night, Chuck Berry slumped over an accompanist’s keyboard before being helped offstage. The 84-year-old rock and roll legend and a backing band of three Chicago musicians attempted to resume the show for a packed house about 15 minutes later, but Berry almost immediately was taken off again to be checked by paramedics who had been called to the scene.

Passing – 1970’s hitmaker Gerry Rafferty. He is best known for the 1978 song Baker Street but also had a huge hit in 1972 with Stuck in the Middle With You with his band Stealers Wheel.

Britney Spears reveals her album’s first single, “Hold It Against Me,” would officially be released next Tuesday, January 11.

Television news –

Bill O’Reilly will interview President Obama in a special set to air before the NFL championship. Black Eyed Peas will perform on the half-time show! The Fox News Channel host will interview Obama for sister network, Fox, as part of the network’s pregame coverage. This will be O’Reilly’s first time interviewing Obama since he was elected. Super Bowl XLV will air Sunday, Feb. 6 on Fox.

Oprah Winfrey says she’s “grateful that we weren’t embarrassed” during the much-anticipated first weekend that her new OWN network was on the air. For a network started from scratch, OWN delivered some impressive sampling on its Jan. 1 debut. At one point Saturday night, OWN was the third-ranked cable network behind ESPN and USA in the ratings. The challenge will be turning the curious into regular viewers. “I am grateful that the first phase of what we wanted to happen actually happened,” Winfrey told reporters on Thursday. “I’m grateful that we weren’t embarrassed. I’m grateful that people came.” Winfrey called her network’s programming “mind food” and said the intention is to bring positive energy into the homes of people who watch it.

Calif. – Piers Morgan says he’s spoiling for a prime-time fight with CNN’s rivals — and he’ll throw the first punch with Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey, who is promoting her new OWN cable network, will be the first interview subject when “Piers Morgan Tonight” launches on Jan. 17. The former British tabloid editor said Thursday he interviewed Winfrey for that debut this week in California. Morgan replaces Larry King, whose interview show ended after 25 years last month. He joins CNN at a low ebb, after a year in which Fox News Channel and MSNBC beat the original cable news network in the prime-time ratings.

MTV’s biggest premiere as a whopping 8.4 million people tuned in to the Season 3 premiere of “Jersey Shore,” which followed the gang back to Seaside Heights, N.J. Season 2, which was filmed in Miami, debuted in July to 5.3 million viewers.

Ted Williams, the 53-year-old homeless man with a “voice of gold,” has had an overwhelming week: After being plucked off the streets, he reunited with his mom after 10 years and has been fielding numerous job offers. A panhandler from Ohio, Williams became an Internet sensation earlier this week after the Columbus Dispatch posted a video of him. He has since appeared on NBC’s Today Wednesday and then again Thursday after he was reunited with his mom, Julia Williams. In the last week, the Brooklyn-born man has recorded a commercial for Kraft, voiced an MSNBC promo and is even being pursued by the Cleveland Cavaliers to do announcing work.

Hot Hits This Week –

Firework – Katy Perry

We R Who We R – Ke$ha

What’s My Name? – Rihanna fea. Drake

Raise Your Glass – P!nk

The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Black Eyed Peas

Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) – enrique Iglesias fea. Ludacris $ DJ Frank E

Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa

Just A Dream – Nelly

Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars

Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna

Bottoms Up – Trey Songz fea. Nicki Minaj

Like a G6 – Far’ East Movement fea. Cataracs & Dev

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher fea. Pitbull

No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame fea. Roscoe Dash & Wal

6 Foot 7 Foot  Lil Wayne fea. Cory Gunz

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner

Yeah 3X – Chris Brown

Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

F**k You (Forget You) – Ce Lo Green

Animal – Neon Trees

Coming Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Hip Monday Night TV (TV Squad)

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: ‘The Bachelor’* — (120 minutes)
CBS: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Rules of Engagement’
PBS: ‘Antiques Road Show’* — 15th season premiere
ABC Family: ‘Pretty Little Liars’*
Cartoon Network: ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Regular Show’ and ‘Robotomy’
ESPN: ‘Orange Bowl’ — 8:30 start for Stanford and Virginia Tech
OWN: ‘Enough Already! With Peter Walsh’
truTV: ‘Bait Car’ — 8:30 start
9:00 to 10:00
CBS: ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘Mike & Molly’
PBS: ‘American Experience’* — (90 minutes)
A&E: ‘Intervention’
ABC Family: ‘Greek’*
Discovery: ‘American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior: A Crew Divided’
Food Network: ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’*
Lifetime: ‘The Craiglist Killer’ — (120 minutes)
Oxygen: ‘The Bad Girls Club’
TLC: ‘Cake Boss: Next Great Baker’
TNT: ‘The Closer’**
Travel: ‘Dining With Death’
USA: ‘WWE Monday Night RAW’ — (120 minutes)
VH1: ‘My Big Friggin’ Wedding’

10:00 to 11:00
ABC: ‘Castle’
CBS: ‘Hawaii Five-O’
A&E: ‘Hoarders’
Bravo: ‘Tabatha’s Salon Takeover’
Food Network: ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’
HGTV: ‘Cash and Cari’
ID: Disappeared’*
MTV: ‘True Life’
NatGeo WILD: ‘Swamp Men’
OWN: ‘In the Bedroom With Dr. Laura Berman’*
Science Channel: ‘How the Universe Works’
TLC: ‘The Opener’*
TNT: ‘Men of a Certain Age’
truTV: ‘All Worked Up’ — Two episodes
VH1: ‘Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby’

11:00 to Midnight
Lifetime: ‘Craiglist Killer: The Phillip Markoff Story’
MTV: ‘Vice Guide to Everything’ — Two episodes

Unless otherwise noted, everyone is back with new episodes. But, if you’re not interested in live chat, IFC is airing reruns of ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ Monday to Thrusday nights at 11PM.

11:00
‘Charlie Rose’ (PBS): TBA
‘The Mo’Nique Show’ (BET): TBA
‘The Daily Show’ (Comedy Central): TBA
‘Chelsea Lately’ (E!): TBA
‘Conan’ (TBS): Zach Levi; performance by Christina Aguilera (repeat)

11:30
‘Late Show With David Letterman’ (CBS): Paul Abdul
‘The Tonight Show’ (NBC): Ron Howard; Nicole ”Snooki” Polizzi
‘The Colbert Report’ (Comedy Central): TBA

Midnight
‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (ABC): Patricia Heaton; reality-TV personality Brad Womack; performance by Josh Groban
‘Tavis Smiley’ (PBS): Robert Duvall
‘Lopez Tonight’ (TBS): Janet Jackson; performance by Rooney (repeat)

12:30
‘The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson’ (CBS): Lisa Kudrow; actor Matt Braunger
‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC): Gwyneth Paltrow; animal handler Jeff Musial; performance by Best Coast

1:30
‘Last Call With Carson Daly’ (NBC): Johnny Knoxville; composer Nathan Barr; performance by OFF! (repeat)

At the movies –

Little Fockers

True Grit

TRON: Legacy

Yogi Bear

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Deawn Treader

Tangled

The Fighter

Gulliver’s Travels

Black Swan

The King’s Speech

The Tourist

How Do You Know

Mr. Pop Culture Report – Let’s Review Last Week… December 15-21 2010. The World’s Largest And Best This Week In Review Place.

From the Mr. Pop Culture database – the largest of its kind:

Week of December 15-21 2010 – The week in news, pop culture, trends…

Police investigating a possible serial killer have determined that four decomposed bodies found recently along a remote New York beach are all women. The four bodies were systematically dumped, perhaps over a period of 18 months or longer, along a desolate, wind-swept stretch of highway that on sunny summer days transports thousands to the white sands of Jones Beach, police said.

LAS VEGAS — Waving a gun, a motorcycle helmet-wearing bandit ordered wide-eyed gamblers and dealers back from a Bellagio craps table, and quickly stashed at least $1.5 million in casino chips into a bag. As he fled, casino security had a choice: Let the armed robber escape, or get into a dangerous shootout.In the end, the bandit casually jogged out of the posh resort — every step captured by surveillance cameras, and broadcast later around the world. He disappeared into the neon light of the Las Vegas Strip.

India – Firefighters searched a gutted garment factory  for more possible victims of a devastating fire that trapped workers and forced some to jump to their deaths. At least 29 fatalities were reported. No more bodies were immediately found, said Nilufar Yasmine, a fire department official.

Consumer prices increased slightly last month as food and energy costs ticked up, but there was little sign of widespread inflation. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in November, less than the previous month’s rise of 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said Wednesday. In the past year, prices have moved up only 1.1 percent.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a mosque in southeastern Iran on Wednesday, killing at least 39 people, including a newborn baby, at a Shiite mourning ceremony, state media reported. The attack, which also injured 90 people, took place outside the Imam Hussein Mosque in the port city of Chahbahar, near the border with Pakistan, the official IRNA news agency said.

Oops!  Mr. Pop Photo – Mick Jagger From 1964 Wearing A WMCA (radio) ) Goodguy Sweatshirt. Now back to the week of December 15-21, 2010…

For the second time this year the House voted to dismantle the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, giving the Senate a final shot in the waning days of this Congress at changing a law requiring thousands of uniformed gays to hide their sexual identity. The strong 250-175 House vote Wednesday propels the issue to the Senate, where supporters of repeal say they have the votes but perhaps not the time to get the bill to the floor. It could be the last chance for some time to legislatively end the 1993 law that forbids recruiters from asking about sexual orientation and troops from acknowledging that they are gay.

In a reach across party lines the Senate overwhelmingly passed sweeping legislation Wednesday to prevent a Jan. 1 income tax increase for millions and renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. The 81-19 roll call cleared the way for a suspenseful vote in the House on Thursday, where rebellious liberals announced plans to try and stiffen an estate tax provision they oppose as too generous to the rich.

President Barack Obama told war-weary Americans on Thursday that enough progress was being made in Afghanistan to begin withdrawing U.S. troops in July, even as he faces growing doubts about his war strategy. Obama, under pressure to show results after criticizing his predecessor George W. Bush for neglecting the war, insisted that U.S.-led forces were scoring gains against the Taliban and al Qaeda but warned they were fragile and reversible.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been named Time’s “Person of the Year” for 2010, joining the ranks of winners that include heads of state and rock stars as the person the magazine believes most influenced events of the past year. At 26, Zuckerberg is the youngest “Person of the Year” since the first one chosen, Charles Lindbergh; he was 25 when he was named in 1927, Time said Wednesday. Zuckerberg beat out Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II by just two weeks: She was 26 when she was named in 1952.

The founder of WikiLeaks said Friday he fears that the United States is preparing to indict him, but insisted that the secret-spilling site would continue its work despite what he claims is a dirty tricks campaign. Assange spoke from snowbound Ellingham Hall, a supporter’s 10-bedroom country mansion where he is confined on bail as he fights Sweden’s attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.

President Barack Obama signed into law a huge, holiday-season tax bill extending cuts for all Americans on Friday, saluting a new spirit of political compromise as Republicans applauded and liberals seethed. The benefits range from tax cuts for millionaires and the middle class to longer-term help for the jobless.

The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session Sunday amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and a North Korean warning of a “catastrophe” if South Korea goes ahead with a live-fire drill. Russia called for the meeting, and Moscow wants the U.N.’s most powerful body to adopt a statement calling on North Korea and South Korea “to exercise maximum restraint” and urging immediate diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions.

Pakistan’s top spy agency denied Saturday that it helped unmask the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad, dismissing speculation it was retaliating for a U.S. lawsuit linking the Pakistani intelligence chief to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

The latest in a series of powerful storm systems is bearing down on California, pelting mountain areas with heavy rain, snow and high winds, prompting evacuations and leaving thousands without power. Virtually the entire state has been affected by the storms.

An explosive device was found Tuesday under a subway-car seat in Rome and bomb-disposal experts were examining whether it was an attempted Christmas season terror attack, officials said. The ANSA news agency said the device was in a package that had wires, pipes and explosive powder.

There have been growing concerns in Europe about holiday season attacks following a suicide bombing in Sweden and official fears of an assault on a European city modeled on the deadly shooting spree in Mumbai, India.

Moon eclipse – The 3 1/2 hour celestial spectacle was visible from North and Central America where skies were clear. Portions of Europe and Asia only caught part of the show.

Secrets about Apple Inc.’s iPhone were among insider trading tips that led to the arrests Thursday of three employees at public companies and a sales executive at a California expert-networking firm, authorities said as they boosted to six the number of arrests in a wide-ranging Wall Street insider trading probe.

Steve Jobs action figures that got so much press last month has sold online for $2,500. The SJ Action Figure, you may recall, was hand-painted doll that sold for $99 until Apple) complained to M.I.C Gadget — its Chinese manufacturer — that the toy constituted an unauthorized use of a person’s name or likeness and threatened to sue under California Civil Code Section 3344. Only 300 were made.

Nielsen Study – In the U.S., 33% of young mobile users have smartphones. Italy had the highest smartphone penetration among youth (47%), and India had the lowest (10%). One surprise: Most young U.S. smartphone users (55%) are female. In every other country studied, most young smartphone users are male.

The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a proposed new framework for protecting consumers’ privacy online. The plan centers around a “Privacy Bill of Rights” that would encourage better transparency about data collection online, according to the Commerce Department’s report on its policy recommendations. It would promote “informed consent” for consumers through simple notices that clearly state what personal information will be collected and what will be done with it.

New York Gov. David Paterson contradicted his staff, the Yankees and common sense when he falsely claimed he always intended to pay for five tickets to the first game of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium, a state commission said in assessing him a $62,125 fine.

In a report from The Environmental Working Group  indicats that millions of Americans are regularly drinking hexavalent chromium, made famous in the film “Erin Brockovich” as a carcinogen, through their tap water. The group tested water from 35 U.S. cities and found that samples from 31 cities contained hexavalent chromium. The highest concentrations were found in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu; and Riverside, Calif. The substance had been a widely used industrial chemical for decades and has evidently leached into the groundwater in many areas.

Federal regulators adopted new rules Tuesday to keep the companies that control the Internet’s pipelines from restricting what their customers do online or blocking competing services, including online calling applications and Web video. The vote by the Federal Communications Commission was 3-2 and quickly came under attack from the commission’s two Republicans, who said the rules would discourage investments in broadband. Prominent Republicans in Congress vowed to work to overturn them.

Republican-leaning states will gain at least a half dozen House seats thanks to the 2010 census, which found the nation’s population growing more slowly than in past decades but still shifting to the South and West. The Census Bureau announced Tuesday that the nation’s population on April 1 was 308,745,538, up from 281.4 million a decade ago. The growth rate for the past decade was 9.7 percent, the lowest since the Great Depression. The nation’s population grew by 13.2 percent from 1990 to 2000. Michigan was the only state to lose population during the past decade. Nevada, with a 35 percent increase, was the fastest-growing state.

The State Department is ordering most of its personnel to leave Ivory Coast because of what officials are calling a deteriorating political and security situation and growing anti-Western sentiment. A disputed presidential election has led to deadly violence in Ivory Coast and threats of international sanctions if President Laurent Gbagbo refuses to relinquish power.

Sports – The Yankees Wanted Him – But the Phillies Got Him Instead! The The Philadelphia Phillies agreed to terms late Monday night with Cliff Lee, the prized left-hander who pitched for them in the 2009 World Series, according to a baseball executive told of the deal. The executive was granted anonymity so he could speak freely about a contract that was not completed.  The contract is believed to be for five years and $120 million (or $24 million a year) with a vesting option for a sixth year based on innings pitched. The baseball executive said the Yankees initially offered Lee six years for $138 million (or $23 million a year), then extended the offer to seven years at $148 million.

Entertainment news –

Passing – Director, writer and producer Blake Edwards, who made more than 40 films including the classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the “Pink Panther” comedies, has died from complications of pneumonia at age 88. A spokesman for his wife, Julie Andrews, said Edwards died Wednesday night at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, with Andrews and immediate family members by his side.

Vince and wife Kyla Weber welcomed daughter Locklyn Kyla Vaughn into their family on Saturday in Chicago, a rep for the “Wedding Crashers” star has confirmed.

While the top two searches of the year went to the oil spill debacle in the Gulf of Mexico and the World Cup in South Africa, Miley Cyrus earned the honors of the Year’s Most Searched Person on Yahoo! Miley was a fixture on the cyber scene this past year, with the ending of her long-running Disney show, “Hannah Montana,” her on-again off-again relationship with now ex-boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, her provocative dance moves in an Adam Shankman video, her parents’ highly-publicized split and the most recent video leak of her holding a bong smoking what was reported to be the herb Salvia. Following Miley on the list of most searched celebrities was reality queen,Kim Kardashian. The “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” star was quite busy in 2010, earning her a spot at the top of The Daily Beast’s “Highest Paid Reality TV Stars” list. On Yahoo!’s Most Searched list, she was #4 overall.

At 88-years-old, actress Betty White had a year that would have been remarkable at any age. For her influence on entertainment and culture in 2010, AP members voted her Entertainer of the Year.

Music  news -Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, he announced on his website. “Any club that has Chuck Berry and Little Richard and The Everly Brothers is a club that I want to be a part of,” the 69-year-old “Sweet Caroline” singer said in a statement. “I think it’s great. I’m happy that they recognized me and my work.” Artists are eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first single or album, although Diamond began recording in the 1960s.

Garth Brook’s offer to perform a benefit concert for Tennessee flood  Victims has become nine sold-out concerts beginning on Thursday night, and the music star said he was overwhelmed by the response. Brooks, the all-time best-selling star in country music, will raise at least $4 million for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for the nine concerts over six days. Merchandise sales could raise another $1 million. Brooks announced in October that he would do one show in Nashville to benefit the foundation. When tickets went on sale November 3, he sold out nine shows in four hours.

Troubled rapper DMX was sentenced to one year in prison by an Arizona judge on Thursday after admitting he violated his probation by drinking alcohol, court officials said. The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was on probation for attempted aggravated assault and using a fake name to avoid paying a $7,500 hospital bill.

Arizona Superior Court Commissioner Christine Mulleneaux said DMX would receive credit for 113 days already served in prison while he awaiting trial.

It’s a sad day for Parisian “little monsters” after Lady Gaga’s concert in Paris has been canceled due to complications arising from a severe storm. The princess of pop took to Twitter early Sunday morning to vent her frustration, Tweeting, “All 28 of my trucks for the Monsterball [tour] were detained by the French government going on over 26 hrs, 2 of my employees were arrested trying to get into Paris so we could perform.

Kanye West has been named MTV’s Man of the Year.
The rapper won the honor for his “compelling” comeback story after starting the year as a villain, thanks to his infamous mic-swipe from Taylor Swift, and ending it as a “hero.”

After a self-imposed hiatus, West started his comeback in May, releasing “Power.” Two months later, he joined Twitter, unleashing infinitely entertaining stream of consciousness in 140-character bursts. By the fall, he wowed fans with his performances on the MTV VIdeo Music Awards and Saturday Night Live; directed a short film, Runaway; released his album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; made amends with George W.Bush  – but in a tiff with Matt Lauer.

Shania Twain and Nestle business executive Frederic Thiebaud are engaged. He’s her ex-best friend’s former husband!

Television news –

Larry King’s Last CNN SHow – More than 2.2 million tuned in to watch King’s final CNN show on Thursday night. That may not sound like a huge number, but it was up more than 100% compared to the previous night. King even beat Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, the perennial 9 p.m. cable news, for total tune-in. Hannity was watched by 2.1 million. But Hannity did beat King among news’ target demographic of 25-54 year olds (543,000 vs. 530,000).

Passing – Steve Landesberg – best known as Detective Sgt. Arthur Dietrich on the long-running 1970s cop comedy “Barney Miller.” He was 65.

The much-touted “Sing Off” finale finale didn’t exactly reach fortissimo, but it helped NBC win the night with its 2.7 ratings among 18-to-49-year-olds. The two-hour show averaged 8 million-plus viewers, but was down 18 percent in the demo from the previous Monday. The premiere of Perfect Couples, which followed it at 10/9c, attracted just a 1.9 in 18-49.

At the movies this week in 2010 –

TRON: Legacy (1st week $44.026 million)

Yogi Bear (1st week $16.411 million)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Fighter

Tangled

The Tourist

Black Swan

How Do You Know (1st week $7.484 million)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – part 1

Unstoppable

Burlesque

Due Date

Love & Other Drugs

Hit Hits This Week –

Firework – Katy Perry

Raise Your Glass – P!nk

Grenade – Bruno Mars

We R Who We R – Ke$ha

Only Girl (in the World) – Rihanna

The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Black Eyed Peas

Just Tthe Way Your Are – Bruno Mars

Bottoms Up – Trey Songz fea. Nicki Minaj

Just a Dream – Nelly

Like a G6 – Far East Movement fea. Cataracs & Dev

Black and Yello – Wiz Khalifa

Dynamite  Taio Cruz

Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) – Enrique Iglesias fea. Ludacris & DJ Frank E

No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame fea. Roscoe & Wal

That’s All She Wrote – T.J. fea. Eminem

Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner

Animal  – Neon Trees

F**k You ( Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

Secrets – One Republic

Coming  Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Top Video Games –

Wii Sports

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (PC)

Wii Sports Resort

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Kinect  Adventures (X360)

Call of Duty: Black Ops (X360, PS3)

Just Dance Wii

Mario Kart DS

Donkey Kong Country Returns Wii

Top TV  -

NFL Football: Philadelphia at Dallas NBC
2. Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick NBC
3. 60 Minutes CBS
4. Criminal Minds CBS
5. Two and a Half Men CBS
6. The Mentalist CBS
7. Barbara Walters Special ABC
8. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS
9. Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People ABC
10. Survivor: Nicaragua CBS
11. Amazing Race 17 CBS
12. The Big Bang Theory CBS
13. Football Night in America NBC
14. NCIS CBS
15. Desperate Housewives ABC
16. Undercover Boss CBS
17. Modern Family ABC
18. Glee FOX
19. Mike & Molly CBS
20. The Defenders CBS

Hip Wednesday Night TV (Dec. 15) (TV Squad)

8:00 to 9:00
CBS: ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’
FOX: ‘Human Target’
NBC: ‘The Sing-Off’ — (120 minutes)
PBS: ‘Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’ — Featuring guests Natalie Cole and David McCullough
ABC Family: ‘Disney Prep & Landing’
DIY: ‘Cool Tools’ — Two episodes
G4: ‘American Ninja Warrior’
NatGeo: ‘Lockdown’
TLC: ‘My Skin is Killing Me’
VH1: ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock’s Greatest Groupies’

The rest of the schedule and the late night talk shows after the jump.

9:00 to 10:00
CBS: ‘Criminal Minds’
FOX: ‘Hell’s Kitchen’**
PBS: ‘Paris: The Luminous Years’ — (120 minutes)
A&E: ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ — 9:30 start
BBC America: ‘I’d Do Anything’ — (120 minutes)
CNBC: ‘Behind the Counter: The Untold Story of Franchising’
Discovery: ‘MythBusters’
DisneyXD: ‘Naruto: Shippuden’
DIY: ’10 Grand in Your Hand’
G4: ‘American Ninja Warrior’
History: ‘Third Reich: The Fall’ — (120 minutes)
ID: ‘The Will: Family Secrets Revealed’
NatGeo: ‘Border Wars’
Science Channel: ‘Oddities’
TLC: ‘Untold Stories of the E.R.’
Travel: ‘Man v. Food: Carnivore Chronicles’
Showtime: ‘Inside the NFL’
USA: ‘Psych’

10:00 to 11:00
CBS: ‘The Defenders’
A&E: ‘Storage Wars’ — Two episodes
Bio: ‘Biography’ — Former husband to Sandra Bullock, Jesse James
Bravo: ‘Top Chef: All-Stars’
Cooking Channel: ‘Bitchin’ Kitchen’
DIY: ‘Holiday Wrap-Up’ and ‘Disaster House’
E!: ‘E! Investigates’ — The real-life military wives
G4: ‘American Ninja Warrior’
HBO: ’24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic’
ID: ‘Hookers: Saved on the Strip’
MTV: ‘Challenge: Cutthroat’**
NatGeo: ‘Wild Justice’
NatGeo WILD: ‘Python vs. Gator’
Spike: ’1000 Ways to Die’ and ‘MANswers’
TBS: ‘Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns’ — Two episodes
TLC: ‘The Boy With Bloody Tears’
Travel: ‘Pasta Paradise’
truTV: ‘Full Throttle Saloon’
USA: ‘Psych’


11:00
‘Charlie Rose’ (PBS): TBA, though the cast and director of ‘Blue Valentine’ may appear since they were pushed back last night due to a tribute to the late Richard Holbrooke
‘Watch What Happens: Live’ (Bravo): Phaedra Parks and Atlanta housewife Apollo Nida
‘The Mo’Nique Show’ (BET): Shante Broadus; Aldis Hodge; Anjela Johnson; Anoop Desai, LPA
‘The Daily Show’ (Comedy Central): Paul Rudd
‘Chelsea Lately’ (E!): Ciara
‘Conan’ (TBS): Amy Adams; Roger Waters; performance by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes

11:30
‘Late Show With David Letterman’ (CBS): Matt Damon; performance by Florence & the Machine
‘The Tonight Show’ (NBC): Jason Segel; ‘Top Gear’ hosts Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood
‘The Colbert Report’ (Comedy Central): Laird Hamilton

Midnight
‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (ABC): Jeff Bridges; performance by Diddy
‘Tavis Smiley’ (PBS): Kevin Spacey; Amy Adams
‘Lopez Tonight’ (TBS): Mila Kunis; Dr. Drew Pinsky; Chrisette Michele

12:30
‘The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson’ (CBS): Seth Green; magician Jamy Ian Swiss; performance by Ruth Gerson
‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC): Paul Rudd; Jon Lovitz; performance by Aloe Blacc

1:30
‘Last Call With Carson Daly’ (NBC): Adam Carolla; actor Casey Pieretti; performance by School of Seven Bells

Hip Saturday Night TV (Dec 18)  (TV Squad)

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: ‘I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown!’
FOX: ‘Cops’
Disney Channel: ‘Fish Hooks’ — 8:30 start
Univision: ‘Sabado Gigante’ — (180 minutes)
CNN: ‘A Soldier’s Story’
Discovery: ‘Ten Commandments of the Mafia’
Food Network: ‘A McConaughey and Fieri Feast’
Hallmark Channel: ‘Battle of the Bulbs’ — (120 minutes) Daniel Stern and Matt Fewer star as feuding neighbors who compete in the annual Christmas lighting contest
HGTV: ‘Color Splash’
History: ‘The Naturalized’ — (120 minutes)
Style: ‘How Do I Look?’**

9:00 to 10:00
FOX: ‘America’s Most Wanted’
NBC: ‘WWE Tribute to the Troops’
Bio: ‘Celebrity Ghost Stories’
CNBC: ‘The Suze Orman Show’
Discovery: ‘I (Almost) Got Away With It’
Disney Channel: ‘Fish Hooks’ — Two episodes
DIY: ‘Renovation Realities’
ESPN: ‘New Orleans Bowl’ — Ohio vs. Troy
Food Network: ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’
Style: ‘Lucky’s 10 Biggest Obsessions Ever’
We: ‘Downsized’

10:00 to 11:00
Animal Planet: ‘Pit Bulls and Parolees’
BBC America: ‘The Graham Norton Show’ — Barry Manilow; Katherine Jenkins; KT Tunstall
CNBC: ‘Til Debt Do Us Part’
Cooking Channel: ‘Two Fat Ladies’ — Two episodes
Discovery: ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’
HBO: ‘Ricky Gervais: Out of England 2 – The Stand-Up Special’
MSNBC: ‘Lockup: Raw’
Style: ‘The Dish Salutes 2010′s Craziest Moments’
We: ‘Downsized’**

‘Saturday Night Live’ — Host Jeff Bridges with musical guests Eminem and Lil Wayne

Mr. Pop Culture Report – May 19

Miley Cyrus may sing about how she “Can’t Be Tamed” in her new single, but it looks like the producers of “Dancing With the Stars” ” think that actually can. Miley, who is set to perform the song on Tuesday’s “Dancing,” has been warned by producers to keep things G-rated.  The report comes a week after Miley was filmed giving one of her “Last Song” producers a lap dance. The recent release of the “Can’t Be Tamed,” in which a highly sexualized Miley dances in a birdcage (see video below), also caused controversy.

FOX is changing the “American Idol” ” format after it sagged in the ratings (dropping 9% in young viewership) giving a push to “Glee” and focusing on comedy heading into the next television season. In response to viewer requests for more performances, Fox will increase the Tuesday night competition show from an hour to 90 minutes. The Wednesday results show will be chopped in half to 30 minutes, Fox executives said. Despite the ratings slide, “American Idol” continues as the nation’s most popular TV show.

William Shatner will star in his first sitcom. CBS has given the green light to a show, “Bleep My Dad Says,” on which the son of Shatner’s character has more than a million followers to a Twitter account where he writes down his father’s musings.

Hot Hits This Week -

OMG – Usher fea. will.i.am

Not Afraid – Eminem

Airplanes – B.o.B. fea. Eminem & Haley Williams

Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars

Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris

Hey, Soul Sister – Train

Rude Boy – Rihanna

Your Live Is My Drug – Ke$ha

Mr. Pop Culture Report – May 3

Warren Buffet said he is seeing real signs of improvement in the economy, especially in manufacturing, though it will take another year for a sustainable housing recovery to take hold.

Apple Inc. reports it is has sold 1 million of its new iPad tablet computers in the month after its launch, meaning it’s been selling more than twice as fast as the iPhone did when it was new. Apple said it reached the milestone this week, when the new 3G model of the iPad was delivered to its first buyers. That model can access AT&T’s cellular broadband network. The first models had only Wi-Fi access.

William Shatner  - commander the Starship Enterprise on TV’s “Star Trek,” but can he command his native land of Canada? Some die-hard fans think so – they want the original Capt. James T. Kirk to lead Canada as Governor General. The Shatner believers have launched a Facebook campaign calling for Shatner, a native of Montreal, to be appointed to a real five-year mission as the ceremonial Governor General of Canada. As of Wednesday, nearly 41,000 people were supporting the bid.

Passing – Lynn Redgrave  who became a 1960s sensation as the freethinking title character of “Georgy Girl ” and later dramatized her troubled past in such one-woman stage performances as “Shakespeare for My Father” and “Nightingale,” has died. She was 67.

Hot hits this week in 2010 –

Rude Boy – Rihanna

Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars

Hey, Soul Sister – Train

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

OMG – Usher fea. will.i.am

Airplanes B.o.B. fea. Hayley Williams of Paramore

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1977 –

President Carter says the U.S. welfare system is “worse than we thought” and should be scrapped. He proposed a new system of jobs for those who can work and a guaranteed income for those who cannot.

First Lady Rosalynn Carter gives a box lunch on the south lawn of the White House for president Carter’s staff. The President attended, put his foot up on a piano bench and listened to live Dixieland jazz.

Wholesale prices, an indicator of prices consumers eventually pay, soar 1.1% in April – the third big monthly increase in a row.

Census Bureau reports – America’s population of 216 million is growing older as the median age of the population jumped from 27.9 years in 1970 to 29.0 in 1976.

Communities may not prohibit display of “For sale” signs on private property, the Supreme Court rules.

In a 90-minute David Frost interview – Richard Nixon in his first public comment on Watergate since resigning on Aug. 9, 1974, admits that he failed to meet his responsibility to enforce the nation’s laws during the Watergate coverup. And he admitted, he had not told the truth to the American people at the height of the Watergate scandal. “I let down my friends. O let down the country. I let down our system of government and the dreams of all those young people that ought to get into government, but think it’s too corrupt… I let the American people down, and I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life,” Nixon told Frost.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – April 21

Actor and director Leonard Nimoy (79) has announced plans to retire from acting after 60 years in the movie business. The “Star Trek” icon began his acting career in the early 1950s and rose to international stardom as Mr. Spock in the sci-fi series. He says, “I’ve been doing this professionally for 60 years. I love the idea of going out on a positive note. I’ve had a great, great time.”

Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars

Rude Boy – Rihanna

Hey, Soul Sister – Train

In My Head – Jason Derulo

Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Telephone – Lady Gaga fea. Beyonce

Rocker Courtney Love is changing her name to Courtney Michelle – and that’s that. The 45-year-old, born Courtney Michelle Harrison, also added that she is “sick” of talking about her late husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. “I am not his spokesperson on Earth,” she said. “I don’t know what he’d be like now, he could be into society girls, he could be into fat girls, he could be homosexual. We don’t know, he died at 27.”

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1970 –

Phil Esposito scores a three-goal hat trick against Tony Esposito, his younger brother to lead Boston to a 6-3 victory over Chicago in the opening game of their best-of-seven Stanley Cup Eastern Division final playoff series.

Pitcher Tom Seaver drives in three runs with a single and a two-run double to score his first victory of the Season as the Mets defeat the St. Louis 6-4.

Music news – Three British pop singers are picking up $9.6 million on tours of the Untied States. Tom Jones, currently regarded as the world’s highest paid male singer, is on a four-month U.S. tour. He’ll make $4.8 million. Engelbert Humperdinck is set for a nine-month tour and will share $4.8 million with British songstress Lulu.

Entertainment News

Sock-It-To-Me girl Judy Carne makes her Broadway debut in “The Boy Friend” at the Ambassador Theater.

Mrl Pop Culture Report – April 6

Airline Trend - Spirit Airlines will charge as much as $45 each way for a carry-on bag, adding a fee that bigger airlines have yet to try. The charge will apply to bags in the overhead bin. Personal items that fit under the seat will still be free. The new charge is $45 if paid at the gate, and $30 if paid in advance and begins Aug. 1. Spirit says a new fare reduction means most customers won’t really pay more to fly. It says having fewer carry-on bags will help empty the plane faster. Spirit also charges to check luggage.

More Ipad - Users who rushed to snap up Apple’s iPad are complaining within days of the slate computer’s highly anticipated release that they’re having trouble connecting it to the Internet. On Apple’s technical support Web site, there were 11 pages of comments Tuesday morning on a post saying Wi-Fi connections were weak or kept cutting out.

“Add me to the list with problems! I’m very disappointed that there’s no solution either,” one user wrote. “Does anyone think this can be fixed with an update, or should I just get a refund while there’s time?”

Hot Hits this week in 2010 –

Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars

Rude Boy – Rihanna

Telephone – Lady Gaga fea. Beyonce

Hey, Soul Sister – Train

Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

BedRock – Young Money fea. Lloyd

Mr. Pop Culture Report – March 27

Likely His Final Public Appearance - Dennis Hopper was on hand as his star was dedicated on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. His lawyer and doctor told the judge overseeing his divorce this week that Hopper is dying of prostate cancer, but the 73-year-old actor was smiling broadly during the ceremony. “I just want to thank you,” Hopper told the crowd surrounding him. “That’s all I can do.” “Easy Rider” co-star Jack Nicholson stood behind Hopper as Hollywood star number 2,403 was revealed with Hopper’s name in front of the Egyptian Theater. Other stars on hand included director David Lynch and singers Johnny Mathis and Dwight Yoakam.

8 Is Enough For 24 - Fox confirmed today that after eight seasons, 24 will air its series finale on May 24. Star Kiefer Sutherland said that producing a ninth season for another network like NBC was not an option because he and executive producer Howard Gordon were ready to call it quits.

Hot Hits This Week In 2010 –

Rude Boy – Rihanna, Need You Now – Lady Antebellum,Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars,Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris; Imma Be – The Black Eyed Peas, Telephone – Lady Gaga fea. Beyonce, BedRock – Young Money fea. Lloyd and Hey, Soul Sister -  Train

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1977 -

Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets flown by KLM and Pan Am collide and burn on a foggy airport runway in the Canary Islands, killing as many as 583 persons. It’s the worst disaster ever in aviation history.

Margaret Trudeau – 28-year-old wife of Canada’s prime minister is working on a free-lance basis for People magazine as a photographer.

Music news –

Andrew Gold, the foremost member of Linda Ronstad’s band, playing guitar and keyboards, is now a solo artist and is working on his second album. He says he’ll miss being part of the Ronstadt band. “I’ve had a great time with her and the guys. I’m sorry to see that end. I’m also sorry to see that financial security end. Being on my own is a bit scar financially.” Will Gold have a hit in his future?

Actress Diana Hyland, who stars in the brand new “Eight is Enough” series, dies after a brief illness. The show just premiered on ABC-TV. Here she is with co-star Dick Van Patten.

Muhammad Ali will provide the voice for a cartoon character based on him in “I Am The Greatest” – a new NBC Saturday morning cartoon to debut in September.

Hot Pop Culture – March 7 – Mr Pop Culture Report

Conan O’Brien is reportedly planning a live tour and it should kick-off in April. Per his exit agreement with NBC, the comedian cannot return to TV until September.

Pop songwriter producer Mikkel Eriksen and partner Tor Erik Hermansen (AKA Stargate), who provide a ton of pop hits, are in NY working with Rihanna, and getting ready to do some work for Beyonce. 

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s trip down the rabbit hole drew huge crowds, as “Alice in Wonderland” earned a whopping $116.3 million in its opening weekend — a record for a 3-D film. The surprisingly huge total easily surpassed all other films in release and gave Walt Disney Studios an even bigger opening than that of the hugely popular 3-D film “Avatar.” It also marked the biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel.

Brad Paisley is recovering after he tripped on stage and took a tumble during a concert in South Carolina.Spokeswoman Darlene Bieber said in a news release that the country star was singing his encore finale – “Alcohol” – when he fell Saturday night, but he got back up and finished his show. He was checked out at a Charleston hospital and released early Sunday morning.Paisley was left with only some bad bruises, but he wrote on his Twitter page that he “hit hard. And I mean freaking hard.”

Long Island – Millions of cable subscribers faced the prospect of Oscar night without the Academy Awards broadcast Sunday after ABC’s parent company switched off its WABC-TV signal to Cablevision customers and the two companies blasted each other for failing to reach a deal in a dispute over fees. In dueling statements dispatched early Sunday, the two companies traded blame for the stalemate ahead of one of the most-watched nights of television. “Cablevision has once again betrayed its subscribers,” said Charissa Gilmore, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disne Co. and ABC Television Group, in a statement. “Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year, and now customers aren’t getting what they pay for … again.”