Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Harry Potter Posters

New Harry Potter Banners

Celebrities Team Up for Anti-Bullying Campaigns

In September, five teenage boys killed themselves after being physically or verbally (or both) assaulted for being gay. The suicides of Tyler Clementi, 18, Billy Lucas, 15, Asher Brown, 13, Justin Aaberg, 15, and Seth Walsh, 13, have brought national attention to the epidemic of bullying in American schools.

Now, a number of stars, many of whom have personal experience with anti-gay bullying, are speaking out in hopes of raising awareness and providing support to teens and young adults who are being victimized or who are having trouble dealing with their sexuality. The topic is also addressed in a cover story for this week's PEOPLE magazine and in a week-long series on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.

Most recently, 'Project Runway' mentor Tim Gunn spoke candidly about his own suicide attempt and his support for The Trevor Project, a national 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth. "I understand the desperation. I understand the despair," an emotional Gunn said with tears in his eyes. "And I understand how isolated you can feel ... It will get better. I promise."

Following Billy Lucas' death, well-known columnist and author Dan Savage launched the "It Gets Better" campaign – a series of user-created YouTube videos in which gay adults openly discuss the torment they incurred in high school and encourage GLBT youth to stick it out because "it gets better." Clementi's death has inspired an overwhelming response to the campaign, which has since been flooded with videos from men and women across the world sharing their stories.

"When a gay teenager commits suicide, it's because he can't picture a life for himself that's filled with joy and family and pleasure and is worth sticking around for," Savage told MTV a week after Clementi's death. "So I felt it was really important that, as gay adults, we show them that our lives are good and happy and healthy and that there's a life worth sticking around for after high school."

Savage's "It Gets Better" message has seemingly become the rallying cry around which a movement against anti-gay bullying has centered, with Anne Hathaway, Jenny McCarthy, Ian Somerhalder and Kristin Cavallari recording a PSA for The Trevor Project that uses the motto. 'Harry Potter' star Daniel Radcliffe also recently spoke to MTV about the importance of the Trevor Project.

TV stars Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris have also spoken out against anti-gay bullying. "This needs to be a wake up call to everyone ... One life lost in this senseless way is tragic; four lives lost is a crisis," DeGeneres said in an emotional message taped on the set of her daytime talk show. "My heart is breaking for their families, for their friends and for our society that continues to let this happen. These kids needed us, and we have an obligation to change this. We can't let intolerance and ignorance to take another kid's life."

Harris, who is openly gay and will welcome twins via surrogate with his partner of over six years, actor David Burtka, this fall, pleaded with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth to focus on their futures, which he sees as bright and full of possibility. "For the love of Pete, there's no need to harm yourself if something is going bad. You can act with strength, you can act with courage, you can act with class," Harris said in the MTV PSA. "Stand tall, be proud of who you are. This is a good time that we live in, and we're being granted more and more rights. And that's awesome, and it will continue in that direction. Yeah – be proud."

Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, 18, allegedly used a web cam in their dorm room to secretly stream a romantic encounter between Clementi and another man. Ravi's alleged behavior inspired disgust from conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly, who, when responding to analyst Gretchen Carlson's assertion on FOX News' 'The O'Reilly Factor' that Ravi and his accomplice, Molly Wei, 18, "are probably good kids who did an immensely stupid thing," said, "I don't believe that. I don't think you can be a good kid and plan that kind of stuff out in the cruel nature that they did ... I think they're bad kids. They're bad kids, and they should have been raised better."

Comedienne Sarah Silverman has inspired some controversy by positing that a national atmosphere of institutionalized homophobia, as exemplified by the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy as well as campaigns for constitutional amendments to ban civil marriage for same-sex couples, are at the heart of this epidemic.

And former NSYNC singer Lance Bass, who came out as gay on the cover of PEOPLE in 2006, surprised many when he admitted to having been a bully himself. "If people can look at me and see that I was one of those bullies that always made fun of gay people, and I had this huge secret, so there's always a bigger story than what you see."

What has been made abundantly clear -- regardless of personal opinions on the religious and/or moral implications of homosexuality -- is that there is a problem, and no child (no person) deserves to be harassed or made to feel worthless because of who they are. If you or someone you know is suffering in silence, encourage them to get help by visiting The Trevor Project or calling 866-4-U-TREVOR.

Get Ready For The 5th Annual NY Comic Con!

Prepare your Zelda swords for battle, brush up on Klingon slang and braid your best Princess Leia buns — geekdom is officially taking over this weekend.

NYC's Comic Con is gathering the biggest and baddest comic book and sci-fi aficionados for a three day action-packed expo, Friday through Sunday at the Jacob K. Javits Center (655 W. 34th Street).

"It's like a huge nerd prom," says event organizer Lance Fensterman of ReedPOP, who started the annual event five years ago. "Geeks here are all about passion, dedication and excitement."

The NYC convention, which, unlike its movie-heavy San Diego counterpart, focuses on comic books and TV shows, has grown 50% this year. This weekend, expect more details from Steven Spielberg's upcoming TNT alien invasion series, "Falling Skies," among other juicy tidbits.

For a full list of guests and events log onto

- How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse (2:15-3:15 PM, Room 1A23) No need to fret when zombies attack after this informative seminar! Learn how to defend yourself from the undead with tips from the experts. "When the world abandons you, you'll be ready," they guarantee.

- DC Talent Search (2:15-3:15 PM, Room 1E02) Have what it takes to be the next Stan Lee? Join DC's editorial art director, Mark Chiarello as he explains what he's looking for in the next great comic book artist. Some guests will have their work reviewed.

- Adult Swim: Children's Hospital (4:30-5:30 PM, Room 1A06) Join the show's creative team Rob Corddry and Jon Stern, along with actors Rob Huebel, Nick Kroll, Lake Bell, and Erinn Hayes as they dish on the show about a group of doctors who struggle with their very healthy libidos.

- Robot Chicken (6:45-7:45 PM, IGN Theater) Meet Adult Swim's Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matt Senreich as they discuss the original series and give a sneak peek from the show's next season.

- The Onion News Network presents "Future: News From the Year 2137" (7:15-8:15 PM, Room 1A23) Only The Onion can project the news 127 years ahead with their state-of-the-art satellites.

- Meet and Greet with Stan Lee (2-2:30 PM, Marvel Booth #1843) As soon as the doors open Saturday, head on over to the Marvel Booth to receive a ticket that will allow you to meet the legendary Lee. You may be among the lucky few drawn at random.

- Young Justice Video Presentation and Q&A (3:45-4:45 PM, Room 1A14) Fans were given a first glimpse of the young ensemble of the upcoming Cartoon Network series in San Diego but now, more questions will be answered from producers Brand Vietti.

- Yoshiki and Stan Lee (6:30-7:30, Room 1A08) Missed Stan Lee at his meet and greet earlier in the day? No problem! He and Yoshiki will be representing pop culture from East and West.

- V Special Video Presentation and Cast/Producer Q&A (5:15-6:15 PM, IGN Theater) Meet the cast and crew of ABC's "V," now in its second season.

- Nikita Video Presentation and Q&A (10:30-11:30 AM, IGN Theater) Her looks do kill! "Nikita" stars Maggie Q and Shane West together with executive producer Craig Silverstein answer questions and present a special reel.

- The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (12:00-1:00 PM, Room 1A22) Join Lucasfilm executive editor J.W. Rinzler, author of The Making of Star Wars, as he discusses his latest books.

- MTV Present ‘Unbreakable: Ten Years Later' with M. Night Shyamalan (12:45-1:45 PM, IGN Theater) The director joins MTV News' Josh Horowitz to celebrate the 10th anniversary of comic book-to-film flick "Unbreakable."

- The Walking Dead on AMC (2:15-3:45 PM, IGN Theater) AMC will premiere the first few scenes from its highly anticipated series, "The Walking Dead," based on the comic book by Robert Kirkman. Cast and crew members will also be present.

- Kids Day: Kids' Costume Contest (3:30-4:00 PM, Variant Stage) Which tiny tike will take home the best costume award? See baby Luke Skywalkers battle it out with young Captain Americas.

Dora the Exploited?

The little girl who gave voice to the lovable "Dora the Explorer" cartoon character claims in a lawsuit that she was pressured into signing a dubious, complicated contract and then ripped off for millions of dollars.

Lawyers for Caitlin Sanchez, 14, of Fairview, N.J., charged that she and her parents were duped into signing an "unconscionable" contract that allowed producers of the Nickelodeon hit to exploit her.

"I've never seen as convoluted and inscrutable contact as I've seen here," Caitlin's lawyer, John Balestriere, told the Daily News on Wednesday night.

Balestriere said Caitlin was cheated out of "millions, perhaps tens of millions."

In addition to not being compensated for hundreds of hours of recording sessions, Caitlin was forced to fly around the country promoting the show for a "meager travel stipend of $40 a day," the suit charges.

Caitlin and her parents, Hilda and Kevin Sanchez, filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, naming Nickelodeon, MTV Networks and Viacom International as defendants.

She became the voice of the wildly popular, kid-friendly Latina character Dora in 2007, when she was 12, and promised $5,115 per episode and compensation in residuals and merchandising.

"Defendants used Caitlin, unjustly enriching themselves of millions of dollars in profits from the series and branded products, which Caitlin preformed and promoted," the suit claims.

He said they tried to work out a resolution, but talks were called off when Nickelodeon and Viacom began negotiating in bad faith.

The suit charges Caitlin and her parents where pressured by Nickelodeon and her own agent - Jason Bercy of the Cunningham Escott Selvin Doherty Talent Agency - into signing a 14-page contract without the aid of a lawyer.

Bercy, who is not named as a defendant in the suit, gave the Sanchez family 22 minutes to review the contract, threatening that if they didn't sign Nickelodeon would "pass on Caitlin for the part of Dora," the suit claims.

When Caitlin's parents later complained about the pay, Bercy threatened them, saying, Nickelodeon "will fire her if she pushes too much," the suit charges.

"I have no comment right now," said Bercy when reached last night at his Marlboro, N.J., home.

Michael Fricklas, executive vice president and general counsel for Viacom, scoffed at the lawsuit.

"We knew this was coming," Fricklas said. "It is completely without merit."

Discovery Kids becomes The Hub.

New York viewers will have another children's programming option starting Sunday when Discovery Kids becomes The Hub.

The new network, a partnership between Discovery and Hasbro, will launch Sunday at 10 a.m. It will feature a mix of new and old animated and live-action shows.

"There's a lot of competition, more than I've ever confronted in my career, more than I've ever experienced," says Hub president Margaret Loesch.

Indeed, Loesch has been around kids shows for years, and was head of Fox Broadcasting's kids programming when it had "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" and "Bobby's World."

The Hub, which will be carried on Time Warner Cable's Ch. 22, Cablevision's Ch. 120 and Verizon FiOs' Ch. 259, enters a market already dominated by Nickelodeon, which has fierce competition from the Disney Channel. Each of those networks, as well as the Cartoon Network, has offshoots. There's also PBS Kids.

"Kids are loyal, but they're quick to try other things," Loesch says.

Sunday's lineup will be a Hub sampler. Among the new series will be "Family Game Night," a game show airing at 7 p.m. hosted by Todd Newton that incorporates contests built around familiar board games, and "My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic," a new animated series based on that toy line. There also will be reruns of shows such as "Men in Black" and "Strawberry Shortcake."

Down the road, the network will add original shows, such as "R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series"; "Transformers Prime," a new series in the "Transformers" family, and "Dan Vs.," an animated show about a guy who thinks the world is out to get him.

"It's going to be very nostalgic for those helicopter parents who hover over their kids and monitor what they're watching," says audience guru Brad Adgate, senior vice president at Horizon Media. "To kids, it's new programming, and to parents, it's nostalgic. That's a very, very savvy move."

Loesch says the network is not "one giant commercial for Hasbro" and that the programming slate is broad. The network will not air Hasbro commercials during or around Hasbro-related programming.

Loesch noted that most successful kids shows these days have merchandise in the marketplace. "Despite what everybody says, this isn't about selling toys," she says. "It's about building a multibillion-dollar asset. Hasbro's vision is about becoming a multimedia company. They know they can't succeed, and we can't succeed, if all we do is set out to promote toy shows."

The Hub is launching with modest audience expectations. The last time Discovery Kids was rated, an average of 240,000 homes tuned in.

"It's going to take a while. It's not going to happen overnight, but down the road, there's a place for them," Adgate says.

"I have no expectation that we're going to be beating the competition," Loesch says. "But we don't have to be beating them to be successful."