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By Matt Vensel | April 11, 2012
Will Ravens training camp -- and the Harbaugh brothers storyline -- be under HBO's spotlights this summer? FOXSports.com reported that HBO is interested in the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers for this year's season of “Hard Knocks,” its documentary-style training camp series. John coaches the Ravens and younger brother Jim coaches the 49ers -- a dynamic that would surely draw in viewers. But would the interest be mutual? “I am not aware of any request in regards to 'Hard Knocks,'” Ravens director of media relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday afternoon.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach and The Baltimore Sun | September 30, 2014
Worked into a lather by outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai's lack of gratitude to the United States, HBO's comically blustering John Oliver came up with the perfect revenge over the weekend. He read aloud negative Internet reviews of The Helmand, the Baltimore restaurant run by Karzai's brother, Qayum. The contretemps started when Hamid Karzai, in a farewell speech delivered last week, thanked many nations for helping Afghanistan and its people, but pointedly left out the United States or any mention of the 2,000 American casualties incurred during years of fighting in the region.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | January 11, 2014
A couple of hard-edged veteran cops are driving down a desolate Louisiana road after investigating a grisly crime scene in HBO's new Sunday-night drama, “True Detective.” They have been partners for three months but have spoken little about their personal lives. “Ask you something?” the older detective (Woody Harrelson) says. “You a Christian, yeah?” “No,” his partner (Matthew McConaughey) replies, looking out the passenger-side window at the barren landscape.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun | July 30, 2014
The long relationship between HBO and David Simon will continue with the Baltimore filmmaker co-writing and producing "Show Me a Hero," a six-hour miniseries, for the premium cable channel. Based on the non-fiction book of the same title by Lisa Belkin, the series that explores race relations in the 1980s and '90s in Yonkers, N.Y.,  will star Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener. Simon said in an email to The Sun that the miniseries will be filmed in Yonkers, because that's where the real-life events it covers took place.
FEATURES
By DAVID ZURAWIK and DAVID ZURAWIK,SUN TV CRITIC | March 14, 2006
ABC continued its Sunday-night dominance with Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, despite the competition offered by the return of The Sopranos. But the eagerly awaited opening episode of the celebrated mob drama appears to have cut into ABC's margin of victory a bit. Desperate Housewives, seen by 23.2 million viewers on average, drew an audience of 22.2 million Sunday in its first head-to-head match-up with The Sopranos. That's a drop of 4.3 percent. Among viewers 18 to 49 years old, the most important demographic to advertisers, Desperate Housewives was down about 10 percent from its average for the year.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2012
HBO renewed its two new Sunday-night comedies 'VEEP' and "Girls' for a second season, and that's great news for the Baltimore TV and film production community. HBO made the announcement Monday afternoon via Twitter: "We're happy to announce #Veep and #Girls have both been picked up for a second season. @GirlsHBO. " The second season order on "VEEP" is for 10 episodes, which should mean about $15 million to the local economy.   I predicted an announcement within days after seeing the premiere week ratings for "VEEP.
NEWS
By LAURA VOZZELLA | June 4, 2008
Handbags and the City, a designer purse store in Baltimore's Harbor East, is changing its name under threat of legal action from the HBO-show-turned-movie. In a few weeks, it will become Handbags in the City. Not since the art school formerly known as the Maryland Institute, College of Art morphed into Maryland Institute College of Art has so much Sturm und Drang wrought such a subtle name change. George Sakellaris opened his shop about two years ago near Whole Foods, selling the sort of pricey bags that might inspire Carrie , Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda to open same.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2014
HBO's "The Normal Heart" will do something to you that TV rarely does: rock you to your emotional roots. The power of this HBO movie starring Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons is such that you can forget about turning off the TV after the final credits roll and going to bed as you might with most made-for-TV movies. This one, adapted by Larry Kramer from his Tony Award-winning 1985 play, will keep you up for hours in an emotional churn thinking about life, love, loss, death and politics.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | June 10, 2013
One of the delights of summer is the HBO documentary series executive producer Sheila Nevins delivers. I have only seen the first two films this year, but I like them both. I love "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," which launches the series at 9 tonight. It's a look inside the feminist Russian art collective, its "Punk Prayer" protest in a Moscow cathedral and the trial that followed. The film reminded me as nothing else has in the last 40 some years what it felt like to be 18 years old in 1968 and hear the siren call of a cultural revolution.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and Baltimore Sun reporter | May 27, 2011
Maryland is no stranger to movies and TV, but with the filming of the HBO political drama "Game Change" here, our small state has taken on its toughest role ever -- Alaska. Yet production designer Michael Corenblith and set decorator Tiffany Zappulla weren't intimidated. Challenged to film a scene at the Alaska State Fair for the docudrama about the 2008 presidential election, they headed to Six Flags America near Bowie. They found a rollercoaster that looks just like the one up north and tracked down a 9-foot stuffed grizzly from an antiques store in Easton to evoke the vibe of a real Alaskan midway.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun | June 16, 2014
It took decades before serious documentaries about the civil rights struggle of the 1960s began to appear. But less than a year after some of the biggest victories in the fight for same-sex marriage, a social movement often compared to civil rights, compelling nonfiction films chronicling that history are already starting to arrive. I'm not certain whether such near-instant history will prove to be a good or bad thing, but it's sure to shape the way the fight for marriage equality and gay rights is perceived in future battlegrounds and by future generations.
FEATURES
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | May 30, 2014
As I watched HBO's new film "The Normal Heart" this weekend, sharp memories kept flashing through my mind of emaciated young people wracked with sores and dying before my eyes. They are memories I shouldn't have, memories most gay men my age thankfully lack. I was born in 1985 - the same year as the premier of Larry Kramer's Tony Award-winning play on the start of the AIDS epidemic in New York City's gay community, which "The Normal Heart" was adapted from. Thanks to a host of drugs now available to HIV-positive people in the United States, I count myself among a generation of American gay men who never had to watch thousands of our peers rapidly deteriorate from perfect health to death's doorstep because of a monstrous, unnamed disease.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2014
HBO's "The Normal Heart" will do something to you that TV rarely does: rock you to your emotional roots. The power of this HBO movie starring Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons is such that you can forget about turning off the TV after the final credits roll and going to bed as you might with most made-for-TV movies. This one, adapted by Larry Kramer from his Tony Award-winning 1985 play, will keep you up for hours in an emotional churn thinking about life, love, loss, death and politics.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 22, 2014
(UPDATE 2: Netflix exec thinks budget differences between Maryland and "House of Cards" are "over-comeable. " (UPDATE: HBO confirms "Veep" will be returning to Baltimore to film Season 4.) HBO today announced that it is renewing "Veep" for a fourth season and will return to Baltimore to produce it. The political satire starring Julia-Louis Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer has filmed the last three seasons in Baltimore. "HBO has had a long history of shooting long form projects in Baltimore dating back to 'The Corner,'" a spokeswoman for the show said earlier this month when asked about a return.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 4, 2014
Standing in a pile of construction rubble on a cold and dirty location set at the Lord Baltimore Hotel here in January, I didn't know what to expect from Season 3 of HBO's "Veep. " Everyone in the cast and crew, including star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, seemed to be suffering from a chest-busting virus that was signaled by the most awful-sounding cough. Grim doesn't start to describe the mood as they prepped for the filming of a scene featuring a make-believe employment conference. Director Chris Addington suddenly found himself after a post-lunch conversation with Louis-Dreyfus confronted with the need for a serious rewrite of the scene he was about to shoot.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | March 5, 2014
HBO's Martin Luther King miniseries is going to have a strong Baltimore flavor with David Simon confirming Wednesday that he will be involved in the project based on the books of Baltimore author Taylor Branch. Deadline.com first reported Simon's involvement in the project as speculation today, with Mike Fleming Jr. writing , "I'm hearing that David Simon , the architect of the HBO series The Wire, Homicide and most recently Treme , will spearhead the HBO six-hour miniseries adaptation of America: In The King Years , based on the celebrated book trilogy by Pulitzer Prize-winner Taylor Branch.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 29, 2012
I have been watching the backlash against HBO's groundbreaking comedy "Girls" the last couple of weeks, and much of it looks to be coming from writers and wannabe critics who might just be jealous of Lena Dunham's success. Racism is a complicated and powerful word that should be used carefully and responsibly by people who have some sense of the real social history of that word and what it represents in American history.  Unfortunately, many people writing about television and popular culture these days are neither careful and responsible nor educated in the social history of anything.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | July 5, 2013
For a while last year, I started to worry about liking Aaron Sorkin's “The Newsroom” so much. Most of my colleagues didn't like it - not that being out of sync with the herd ever bothered me greatly. It usually turned out that I did better work outside the herd, the farther the better. And by the end of the season, some critics even started coming around on the HBO drama. What worried me was being so in tune with Sorkin's vision. I once did an interview with him in his office on the Warner Bros.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | January 27, 2014
Documentaries were supposed to be a dying genre -- and living proof that we were becoming dumber as a nation. Reality TV is cheaper and easier to make. And who has time for lengthy, in-depth explorations of anything any more in the age of Twitter? Docs were dead, the conventional wisdom decreed, another victim of our rats-on-LSD attention spans. But everywhere you look these days, it seems as if there's another documentary premiering. And some filmmakers believe that's the result of a change in audience attitudes toward the troubled state of American life today.
FEATURES
By Michael Gold and The Baltimore Sun | January 16, 2014
"Looking," HBO's newest half-hour comedy, is a show about gay men, but that doesn't make it a gay show. Which is not to say the series (which premieres Sunday at 10:30 p.m.) doesn't have gay sexuality at its center. Its central characters are three out men living in San Francisco, the long-reigning epicenter of LGBT culture. And these guys - - video-game designer Patrick, artist's assistant Augustin and longtime waiter Dom - - are hardly shy about their sexual desires. The show's opening moments depict what may be TV's most stunningly awkward "helping hand.
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