Ending the 16-year hunt for the infamous fugitive mobster
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Suspected Boston Irish mobster James "Whitey" Bulger moved to the top of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list after the death of Osama Bin Laden. Last week, the FBI tried a new tact and hit daytime television fans with a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) focused on Bulger's girlfriend, Catherine Greig. Thanks to the daytime campaign, the pair was caught in Santa Monica, California within days, on June 22, 2011!
After a 16-year international manhunt, the FBI has captured James "Whitey" Bulger, 81, the former Winter Hill Gang leader and Most Wanted Fugitive who inspired Jack Nicholson's character in "The Departed".
Bing: More on Whitey Bulger
Bulger had been on the run since he was indicted on racketeering charges in 1995. When members of the Winter Hill Gang learned he was an informant, they retaliated by showing the FBI 19 graves for which Bulger was allegedly responsible. The former Boston crime boss was added to the FBI's most wanted list in 1999 for those murders, as well as other crimes committed under his reign during the 1970s and 1980s.
The reward for Bulger's capture was recently raised to an unprecedented $2 million and after years of searching for Bulger, the FBI launched a new campaign Monday, June 20, 2011.
The plan was to blast daytime television with a 30-second PSA focused on Bulger's girlfriend, Catherine Grieg, 61, who has been on the run with him since the '90s. The spot would air in 14 television markets, "during shows that have a high percentage of female viewers in the same age group as 60-year-old Greig," In other words, during shows like "The View," "The Ellen Degeneres Show", "Live with Regis Kelly" and daytime soaps.
The spots featured Grieg's photo, characteristics, personality traits and plastic surgery history in hopes of reaching viewers who might spot her while visiting doctors, dentists or beauty professionals. There was a finder's fee of $100,000 promised for any tips that led to the apprehension of Grieg, in addition to that $2 million if any tip led to Bulger, himself.
"We were trying to reach a different audience to produce new leads in the case," said Special Agent Richard Teahan, leader of an FBI task force hunting Bulger. "We believed that locating Greig would lead us to Bulger. And that's exactly what happened."
It seems, however, that the tip that brought down the couple didn't necessarily come from a daytime fan. The call came from Los Angeles, which was not one of the markets targeted by the PSA. Therefore, it seems the caller caught some of the press around the campaign, rather than the PSA itself. The campaign hit news sites and the internet by Monday, with naysayers like "The Rachel Maddow Show" and "The O'Reilly Factor" suggesting spending all that money on an advertising shout out to daytime fans was either funny or just plain stupid.
The FBI -- and daytime fans -- are the one's laughing now! The campaign kicked off on Monday, June 20, 2011; the first spot hit daytime on Tuesday, June, 21, the tip came in Tuesday night and the FBI arrested Bulger and Greig on Wednesday, June 22. The couple's stash in their Santa Monica, CA home included over $800,000 in cash, more than 30 firearms and false identification. Not a bad week. While Bulger is back in Boston to face charges, Los Angeles detectives are hoping to question him about whether he is also the bank robber dubbed the "Geezer Bandit".
The FBI's swift win didn't give daytime a chance to prove itself in numbers, let alone as a respectable information pool. It does, however, go to show just how newsworthy the daytime market has become, with all the shakeups and soap cancelations of late.
With Bulger's capture, suspected investment swindler Semion Mogilevich now holds the top spot in the FBI's Most Wanted List. His banking and fraud crimes don't seem to fit the bill, but if the FBI needs them, daytime fans are always thrilled to help.
Here are seven things you need to know about yesterday's 'True Blood' season four premiere
The series heads into the home stretch with an emotional episode
This is the time when it happens. It's the episode that makes you realize how much you have come to love everyone in the town of Dillon, even the people that started out as slightly villainous, like Buddy Garrity, or buffoonish like Billy Riggins. The time spent with them over the years makes scenes like the one in front of the parole board incredibly emotional, particularly when they are uniting to help someone else who has been around since the beginning: Tim Riggins.
But this is apparently a changed Tim Riggins from the soulful self-sacrificing hero who went to jail in place of his big brother. He's grown understandably bitter and resentful of Billy, who has been on the outside, enjoying his family life and coaching football. That this was obvious to Billy, who worked himself into a nervous fit about speaking at the hearing, just made it more painful. The good news of Tim's release is overshadowed by the strained relationship, and it is too bad there are only three episodes left to explore it.
That the parole hearing was only one of several tear inducing set pieces just goes to show how strong "Don't Go" was overall. Sure, Buddy's sneaky "tribute" to Coach, with the parade of Lions players pouring out their "impromptu" gratitude (as Levi remarks "Impromptu means unplanned but….") was meant to manipulative, but those young men do respect and love their coach, and Eric knows sincere feelings when he hears them. Maybe he did spring the decision to stay in Texas a bit suddenly (and publically) to the ever-patient Tami, but she does love and support him, and also realizes how important this community is to their family. Vince may have been temporarily blinded by his father's delusions of football grandeur, but when he pledges to earn his quarterback jersey back, and then humbly tells Eric "I don't know when I'd be without you" he is a shining example of why Coach is so important to these kids, and to this town. And, most importantly, to all of us.
- Buddy's words to the parole board, a combination of good old boy salesmanship and heartfelt pleading, may have been Brad Leland's finest moment on the show. As I mentioned above, he's come a long way from the unctuous and overbearing Panther booster that we first met.
- I guess Luke's parents' protectiveness of their precious son didn't include working with him to think about college or make any kind of plans for the future. Farming isn't anything to be ashamed of, but isn't it better to go to school to learn about that too?
- The only reason the words TIM RIGGINS!!! do not appear throughout this piece is because there is sure to be more of him in future episodes. Still, TIM RIGGINS!!!
- "He needs a father, not an agent." Go Regina! I would totally watch a spin-off of her and Jess being awesome together.
- Hey you guys! Hastings Ruckle likes football!
In order to help kids help the planet
Disney will donate nearly $1 million globally through "Disney's Friends for Change," a multiplatform pro-social initiative, and the new "Disney Friends for Change Games" that helps kids help the planet and their communities. Over 30 Disney Channel and Disney XD stars from around the globe will compete in "Disney Friends for Change Games," a series of fun physical challenges inspired by everyday "green" acts. Four teams will play on behalf of a global charity -- Fauna and Flora International, World Wildlife Fund, Ocean Conservancy and UNICEF. For five weeks beginning Friday. June 24, Disney Channel will present "Disney Friends for Change Games" in interstitials during its Friday, Saturday and Sunday primetime original series programming, and Disney XD will present a special episode from the games Monday nights beginning June 27, at 9:30 p.m., ET/PT.
The Games will culminate with a special half-hour episode Sunday, July 31 on Disney Channel.
18-year-old actress and Hollywood Records recording artist Bridgit Mendler ("Good Luck Charlie," "Lemonade Mouth") co-wrote and performed the new Disney's Friends for Change anthem, "We Can Change The World," a buoyant pop/rock song to be released globally starting Friday, June 10.
All proceeds from the song will go towards environmental charities through Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
Reports say the Emmy-winning actor is in talks to sign on as the Dunder-Mifflin boss
Forget the drinking: No one stands up Matt Lauer!
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Lindsay Lohan was back in court after failing an alcohol test, but day timers are clicking their tongues at LiLo for other reasons. It seems Matt Lauer flew to all the way to the West Coast to catch up with La Lohan on Tuesday and the diva left him hanging!
"Some of you may have heard that I was actually with Lindsay on Tuesday afternoon at her home in Los Angeles," Lauer said on "Today" June 23, 2011. "We were supposed to sit down for an interview to talk about her current situation and her plans for the future. At the last minute, Lindsay and her people did express concern about the timing of the interview and it was canceled. I think we're learning more this morning about the reasons for their concerns."
Lauer was referring to Lohan's most recent day in court, which came because she failed an alcohol test. While she ultimately was returned to house arrest, she was given a scolding (for whatever that's worth!) and told not to have any more parties.
"Don't give people reason to hate you. Don't do stupid things that fly in the spirit of the court's order," Judge Stephanie Sautner told Lohan. "You know I sentenced you to jail. You know I didn't sentence you to house arrest, and what do you do? You have barbecues at your house so your neighbors are writing letters about you."
While Lauer pointed to Lohan's current troubles as the probable reason for her cancelation, industry buzz is still offering various reasons, ranging from Lohan's demand for money to her refusal to do more than a 15-minute interview, so the rest of the NBC gossip shows could have their own fresh Lohan tidbits.
MSN TV is curious to see whether Lohan reschedules with Lauer, which depends as much on her interest as it does on whether Lauer is willing to make another trip West.
"Days" casting sets up Carly's exit strategy
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
With Chrystal Chappell's Carly heading to rehab and then off the Salem canvas, Sydney Penny (ex-Julia, "All My Children") and cutie Cody Longo ("Make it or Break it", "Fame") are heading to "Days of our Lives" this summer.
"NBC daytime fans! I'll be appearing in 'Days of our Lives' at the end of August for a few weeks," Penny posted on her Facebook page. "We're already shooting the episodes now - great cast and crew. I love being back at NBC -- the commissary makes the best tuna salad sandwich in Hollywood."
The Daytime Emmy nom was at NBC during her stints on the soaps "Santa Barbara" (1992-93) and "Sunset Beach" (1999), but she most recently wowed fans with her 2005-2008 return as Julia Santos Keefer on "All My Children." The daytime fave also did time in Pine Valley in the 1990s, clocked in at "The Bold and The Beautiful" from 2003-2005 and played young Meggie in the soaptastic mini-series "Thornbirds".
This will be Penny's first run on "Days of our Lives," however. She's set to play Dr. Norman, the doctor in charge of the rehab center where Carly ends up as a patient, according to TV Guide. While most news outlets are reporting a seven-day stint, according to Penny's post, her visit will last a few weeks. That's good news, since the seven day gig made it sound like Carly ditches or finishes rehab after a week!
Before Carly leaves the canvas for good, "Days" fans can also expect a mother/son reunion. Cody Longo has been tapped to step in as Carly's son, Nicolas Alamain. No word on Longo's first airdate or whether he'll leave town with Carly or stick around.
Penny is expected to arrive on canvas August 30.
"Days of Our Lives" airs weekdays on NBC.
Vera returns to Pine Valley before the lights go out
Special to MSN TV
Award-winning actress Carol Burnett will return to "All My Children" for one last run as Verla Grubbs. Burnett will air in a few episodes with Susan Lucci (Erica Kane) and Jill Larson (Opal Cortlandt) this September, 2011, before the show goes dark. "All My Children" airs weekdays on ABC.
"It is our honor and pleasure to welcome back Carol Burnett to Pine Valley," said Julie Hanan Carruthers, Executive Producer of "All My Children." "Verla Grubbs is a beloved member of the 'All My Children' family and we look forward to reprising her character.
A long time "All My Children" fan, Burnett first visited Pine Valley in 1983 as the long-lost daughter of Langley Wallingford (Louis Edmonds), a role written just for her saw her. Burnett shared the daytime screen with several legendary players, including Eileen Herlie (Myrtle Fargate), Ruth Warrick (Phoebe Wallingford) and Academy Award-winner Elizabeth Taylor. Burnett returned to Pine Valley for the show's 25th and 35th anniversaries and also stepped in to host the 25th Anniversary primetime special.
Burnett is set to bring Verla Grubbs back to town for a few episodes in September. As previously reported, Eva La Rue and Josh Duhamel will also make final returns.
"All My Children" airs weekdays on ABC.