‘American Idol’ notes: Ryan Seacrest in Atlanta, Kelly Clarkson, Nick Fradiani

Connie Seacrest with her son Ryan at the SunTrust Park.

This was posted by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog on Thursday, September 21, 2017 

Ryan Seacrest earlier this month spent a couple of days in his hometown of Atlanta for a taped segment that aired Monday on “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”

While here, he visited his childhood home in Dunwoody, attended an Atlanta Braves game at SunTrust Park and spent time with kids at the radio studio he built at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Emory.

He led the Chop at the baseball game, cooked some eggs with his mom Connie, showed off his childhood bedroom where he pretended to be Casey Kasem as a child and mock-showed off his football trophy for attendance. He then spent time at Seacrest Studios talking to children and getting teary eyed.

Ryan Seacrest wearing the headset he used when he was a kid pretending to be doing AT40 countdowns. Now he does it for real!

Ryan Seacrest at Seacrest Studios at Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta with Wendy Threatt, program coordinator and former Star 94 jock.


Kelly Clarkson’s “Love So Soft” continues to climb the charts in its second week out.

It’s at No. 13 on Hot AC, up from 18 a week earlier. Nearly every Hot AC station is playing it now (113 out of 118). It also entered the top 40 at No. 32 with 166 of 216 stations spinning it.

Locally, Star 94 spun it 45 times; Q100 played it 23. So far, so good with Clarkson’s new, orme soulful sound on pop radio.

Clarkson also appeared on Wednesday’s “America’s Got Talent” finale singing “Stronger” with Kechi and Johns Creek singer Angelica Hale, who came in second. She then performed “Love So Soft.”

Nick Fradiani’s latest song is “I’ll Wait For You.”


According to Ad Age, “American Idol” is seeking $200,000 per 30-second ad, comparable to ‘The Voice.”

Back at the “Idol” peak, the show would cost $500,000 per 30-second ad but was down to around $200,000 by the end. In other words, ABC is hoping to garner comparable ratings to what Fox was getting by season 15.

Ad buyers say they have already purchased space for Sundays and Mondays.

ABC has not said when it was going to air the show but it’s likely the live shows will happen on Sunday nights to accommodate Ryan Seacrest’s bi-coastal existence. He can shoot the show on Sunday in Los Angeles and still make it to “Live with Kelly and Ryan” in New York Monday morning.

It’s possible they may have some Monday special audition episodes early on but I doubt ABC would commit to a results show once it goes live. If it airs Monday, it could compete with “The Voice,” which is a bad idea and helps nobody.

Clay Aiken Tweet of the week regarding liberal protesters going after… Nancy Pelosi?

No wonder progressives keep losing. 🙄 We can’t even protest the correct politicians. This is ridiculous. https://t.co/19Duw7o05b 🤦🏼‍♂️

— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) September 18, 2017

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Michael Carbonaro returns to Atlanta, this time the Fox Theatre

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 13: Michael Carbonaro attends the Turner Upfront 2015 at Madison Square Garden on May 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Turner)

This was posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Michael Carbonaro of truTV’s hidden-camera show ‘The Carbonaro Effect’ is returning to Atlanta for his latest magic show but at a bigger venue than last year’s Cobb Energy Centre. He has now moved up to the Fox Theater on Friday. (Tickets still available here.)

“I like to be upfront,” he said in an interview earlier this month. “It’s the same show. If you haven’t seen it, come see it. But if you did see it, come and bring new people!”

My talk with Carbonaro in 2016.

There are differences in each show because he includes audience participation, so things can change moment to moment. And since he shot 60 episodes over two seasons of his magic prank show “The Carbonaro Effect” in metro Atlanta, he plans to bring some past participants on stage.

“A lot of people who come to my stage show are die-hard fans and secretly wonder if maybe ‘The Carbonaro Effect’ is done with camera tricks and actors,” he said. “It’s not. They come and watch it happen live.”

He shot his most recent season in Chicago, which is set to air this fall. He said folks there are a little more emotional in how they react. “There was a politeness in Atlanta that I miss,” he said. “They’re often so kind, it sometimes gets in the way of the trick.”

Carbonaro is excited to do the Fox Theatre, across the street from the Georgian Terrace, where he did a couple of tricks in his very first episode in 2014. In one, he leaves his car with a valet, enters the hotel, then reappears in the trunk of the car. “People literally thought I had dug under the Georgian Terrace to do that trick!” he said.

He recently won the first ever David Copperfield Prize. Copperfield himself called Carbonaro to give him the great news. “I thought I was being pranked,” he said. “But it was real.” The award is a giant towering crystal piece of glass that is almost invisible from different angles.

And with Halloween around the corner, Carbonaro is planning a live-stream reading of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.

“I love Halloween!” he said. “How I got into magic was through special effects and horror. I wanted to be a makeup artist and I used to buy supplies from a magic shop.”

“Freddy Krueger was my ultimate hero,” he added. “I tried to imagine myself as a hybrid of David Copperfield and Freddy Krueger.”


Michael Carbonaro Live!

7 p.m. Friday, September 22, 2017


Fox Theatre

660 Peachtree Street NE



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AT&T and DIRECTV subscribers may lose access to CBS46 & Peachtree TV in Atlanta

This was posted on Thursday, September 21, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Subscribers of AT&T and DIRECTV might lose access to Meredith-owned CBS46 (WGCL-TV) and Peachtree TV (WPCH-TV) tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 22, if the two sides can’t come to an agreement.

CBS46 and Peachtree TV have begun notifying viewers of this possibility today.

“WGCL/WPCH have been trying for months to get AT&T and DIRECTV to negotiate seriously,” said General Manager Mark Pimental in a statement. “Reaching a deal and preventing a blackout is our top priority.  We know the vital local news, emergency information, and top-rated sports and entertainment programming we provide are important to AT&T’s and DIRECTV’s customers, and we hope AT&T and DIRECTV will make it a priority to reach a deal too.”

Here’s AT&T and DIRECTV’s response:

First and foremost … we (AT&T/DirecTV) will not “drop” these stations.

We want to keep WGCL and WPCH in our Atlanta customers’ local lineups. Doing so requires permission from their owner, Meredith Corp., since FCC rules grant WGCL and WPCH exclusive control over whether either station remains available on either DIRECTV or U-verse. Meredith is currently threatening to block WGCL and WPCH from reaching our local customers’ homes unless Meredith receives a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over-the-air on channels 46 and 17 and, typically, at cbs.com or using the CBS app. Meredith has blocked its stations from reaching different providers’ customers before and also threatened to disconnect others.

We’d like to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably, and appreciate our Atlanta customers’ patience while we attempt just that.

Companies that own TV channels typically sign deals with carriers such as Xfinity and Charter every few years to allow them to carry their networks. This happens both locally and nationally. Occasionally, these disputes bubble out publicly, and both parties try to get customers to call in and complain.

It’s impossible to know which side is right or wrong from the outside. Usually, each side tries to pin the blame on the other in public statements for being greedy/unreasonable/uncaring to the customers. Typically after they resolve the issue, they shake hands and act like this never happened.

If a blackout happens Friday, AT&T and DIRECTV subscribers would not be able to watch shows such as “The Young & the Restless,” “The Talk” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” If it drags into Sunday, viewers would miss some NFL games (Steelers/Bears and Packers/Bengals) and the debut of “Star Trek: Discovery.” Monday includes the season premieres of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Kevin Can Wait” and “Scorpion” and the series debuts of “Young Sheldon” and “Me, Myself & I.” On Tuesday, “NCIS,” “Bull” and “NCIS: New Orleans” return. On Wednesday, the 35th season of “Survivor” and “Criminal Minds” come back, plus a new series “SEAL Team.”

Obviously, anyone can access these two channels locally via a proper antenna since they are broadcast networks.

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Casting call: Kevin Hart’s movie needs fast-food diners

Kevin Hart’s new movie “Night School” is filming in Atlanta and casting folks need extras for a fast-food scene.

Kevin apparently plays a guy working behind the McCounter somewhere as the casting notice is looking for folks who will be his customers.

Applicants should be 22 to 50 years old. Other specifications: ”  Asians, Hispanics, Indians, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Caucasians.” It films Sept. 27-29 and you need to be available all three dates.

Send three photos and your age, height/weight and contact info to Mhc2NightSchool@gmail.com with “3 Day Patron” in the subject line.

Kevin’s made some off-screen headlines lately:

Kevin Hart apologizes to wife, kids after cheating rumors

What Kevin Hart’s wife did after his confessional video

Kevin Hart’s ex-wife says his cheating wrecked their marriage


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Ecommerce Security: Fake Jquery Used as CC Scraper

Ecommerce Security: Fake Jquery Used as CC Scraper

In the last few months, we noticed an increase in attacks targeting ecommerce platforms aiming to steal credit card information. We saw a similar rise last year after the summer ended, and believe that trend will continue now that the holiday season is quickly approaching.

Most of these attacks are based on intercepting the communication between the online store and the payment gateway (the checkout process) in order to send valuable information to the attacker.

Continue reading Ecommerce Security: Fake Jquery Used as CC Scraper at Sucuri Blog.

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Who won ‘America’s Got Talent’?

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Live Finale Results” Episode 1224 — Pictured: Angelica Hale — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

This was posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Amazing 12-year-old ventriloquist singer Darci Lynne took the season 12 crown on “America’s Got Talent.”

Ten-year-old Johns Creek singing phenom Angelica Hale couldn’t fend off Lynne’s combination of humor, ventriloquism skills and charm. But Hale’s exceptional sweetness and vocal prowess helped her finish second.

And just think: classical singer Jackie Evancho – who was also 10 years old when she came on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010 – came in second season five and her career is still going strong seven years later.

Based on polls, Lynne was the consensus favorite to win. Only Hale had a remote shot at upsetting her. Bottom line: America loves a good ventriloquist. Season two winner and fellow ventriloquist/singer Terry Fator is considered the most successful Vegas act to come out of the show. They even got to perform together during the finale.

Earlier in the finale, Angelica and Kechi did a trio with Kelly Clarkson on her hit song “Stronger.” Clarkson noted that the finalists all get the same amount of airtime on the show as the winner. (Then again, she did win.)

Fifth place was the dog act Sara and Hero, which is a bit of a shocker but proof that Simon Cowell’s push for the act early on was worthwhile. Fourth place was deaf singer Mandy Harvey. In third? Dance/light act Light Balance.

Amazingly, Evie Clair didn’t finish in the top five. There were too many good singers splitting votes.

Personally, I’m just glad stand-up comic Preacher Lawson didn’t make the top five. I never found him remotely funny. Manic, yes. Funny, no.

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Live Finale” — Pictured: Darci Lynne — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)


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After Reed’s office was slapped with ethics complaint, a memorable placard suddenly reappeared

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s placard targeting Atlanta City Council president Ceasar Mitchell. AJC/Scott Trubey

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office faces an ethics complaint alleging his administration misused city resources when he attacked a candidate for mayor during a press conference at City Hall.

The complaint, filed anonymously last week, said the press conference arranged by two city staffers aimed to “denounce” Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and said a placard and other materials he used at the event were “political and related to campaign issues, not city business.”

City Attorney Jeremy Berry said in a statement that the ethics complaint was “completely without merit.” And Reed had a not-so-subtle response of his own to the complaint.

Read the full story at MyAJC: Ethics complaint targets Reed’s attack of a mayoral candidate at press conference

Now showing in Atlanta City Hall …. #gapol #atlpol http://pic.twitter.com/3SbXcxKCw8

— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) September 20, 2017


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Atlanta mayor pleads for patience after Georgia Tech shooting

Mayor Kasim Reed talks with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial board. Kent D. Johnson/AJC file

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called for patience Wednesday as investigators probe the shooting death of a 21-year-old student who was killed in a confrontation with campus police.

The mayor said the city would not “pile on” as Georgia Tech grappled with the aftermath of Scout Schultz’s shooting death on Saturday and a vigil Monday that turned into a violent protest that injured a campus police officer.

“I’m a firm believer that the truth takes time, and I think the leadership of Georgia Tech deserves the time and space to analyze and reform on their own before individuals outside the institution weigh in on it,” Reed said.

He added: “Our police officers make split-section decisions and they’re human, and we need to review this through that lens.”

Authorities say Schultz wrote three suicide notes and then called 911 to report a suspicious person on campus. Four officers found Schultz on campus with a pocket knife and asked the student to drop the pocket knife.

In a video capturing the incident Schultz can be heard responding, “Shoot me!” to an officer’s command to drop the knife. Schultz was shot and killed after ignoring the officer’s commands to stand in place, moving slowly towards the four officers who surrounded the Lilburn native.

Records show the officer had not undergone crisis intervention training, which trains police on how to handle mentally ill suspects. Gov. Nathan Deal said he he’s hopeful more local police officer take the courses, which he said are mandatory for state officers but voluntary for local authorities.

“I hope that more of the local law enforcement officers will take advantage of the training, and I think they will,” he said. “We’ve been in a situation where we had requests we couldn’t accommodate under the old structure – now we can accommodate them.”

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‘Political Rewind’ replay: Two mayors and another health care debate

Today’s edition of GPB’s “Political Rewind” featured two Georgia mayors – a Republican from Sandy Springs and a Republican from Columbus. Among the topics:

— The decision by the State Election Board to hand several voter fraud cases involving the New Georgia Project, once headed up by state lawmaker Stacey Abrams, now a Democratic candidate for governor. Consensus: Abrams dodges a bullet.

— President Donald Trump at the United Nations.

— and the last-ditch Senate Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

If you couldn’t catch it live, click below to listen now:

Today’s panelists: Host Bill Nigut; Greg Bluestein, one of your AJC Insiders; Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

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Steak Shapiro off the Fan in recovery after surgery to remove vocal polyps

Stephen “Steak” Shapiro is part of the Fan. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

This was posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Stephen “Steak” Shapiro, normally heard on sports talk 93.7/680 The Fan from 9 a.m. to noon, has been off the radio airwaves on vocal rest for more than two weeks following vocal polyp removal surgery.

His co-host Sandra Golden has talked about it on air and on social media. His return date is uncertain.

Steak had some throat surgery to remove some nodules. He’s shut down for a few weeks! Get well soon! @steakshapiro @680TheFan #dontwhisper

— Sandra Golden (@sportsandra) September 7, 2017

The veteran sports talk show host, 51, has stayed low key the past 16 days. His Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds haven’t been updated since September 4.  He did not respond to inquiries via text and Messenger and his personal phone number bounced straight into voicemail.

Polyps are painless “bumps” that develop on  vocal cords and create raspiness. Shapiro has always had a naturally raspy voice, but Golden said he told her and fellow co-host Brian Finneran that his throat was bothering him last month.


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