HBO News Blog

News Update: CONCERT FOR VALOR; Three Eyed Raven; Bob Dylan & More

By Jef Dinsmore on Nov 17, 2014 to HBO News

news-logoThis writer found some little tidbits of HBO facts that you might like. They could have gotten stand alone posts, but it is just easier at this busy time to compile them in one post. Besides, we haven’t had a News Update in quite a while. If you like the type of items mentioned here then by all means type out that comment below. If we know you like them then we will make sure we keep them coming.



Did you catch the Veterans Day concert on the National Mall? It is on HBOGo if you haven’t but here is a bit of what you missed. The lawn of the Mall was packed, as expected, with families and veterans alike all there to honor the military service and sacrifice many offered for their country. It started with Jennifer Hudson adding her own style to “The Star Spangled Banner”. Here is a little clip courtesy of The Washington Post.

I truly dislike many performers attempt to make the National Anthem their own, but she does okay with it. Here is a quick rundown of the slate once Hudson got it underway. Hudson was joined by British hit Jessie J for a hit of “Titanium” by Sia. After them accompanied only by his acoustical guitar was Dave Grohl. The buzz seems to say he was a highlight with a rendition of Foo Fighter hit “My Hero.”

Up next was Bruce Springsteen, minus the E Street Band, who took  to the stage with  “Fortunate Son” with Grohl and The Zac Brown Band. Was this anti-war protest song appropriate? Well, this is America where freedom of speech reigns. They were followed by theConcertValor_Underwood Black Keys with their hits followed by Carrie Underwood who was joined by the choir associated with the Air Force Band called The Singing Sergeants (pictured).

The best set for this writer was the thrashing sounds from Metallica who are a favorite among the men and women of the service. Many were seen headbanging starting with “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and ending with “Enter Sandman.”  After them Springsteen got to return with some of his classics like a stylized “Born In the U.S.A.”  The concert wrapped up with Rhianna singing “Diamonds” and then shared the stage with Eminem. There are grumblings that his performance was the most controversial set. He was slinging swear words that many took as disrespectful of the main reason for the assembly. Again, we fought for that freedom of speech y’all. It is America the home of the free and the brave…mostly due to the service of our military forces.

Of course the event also had non-signing personalities raising up the praise and the event flowed well and looked good and sounded great. It is safe to say a good time was had by all. It is safe to say a good time was had by all. Sadly no official clips from the event have been released yet though YouTube does have footage shot from the crowd. Check them out.



Rating Numbers for some of HBO’s Latest Programming

HBOWatch does not always keep a sharp eye on rating numbers for HBO content. Hell, it seems that HBO doesn’t really pay all that much attention to them either. From time to time, however, statistics come to our attention and so we post them for those interested it those figures.

LAST WEEK TONIGHNewsroom_posterT WITH JOHN OLIVER just wrapped up its 24-episode run of its first season with a tally of 796,000 viewers. The more impressive statistic is that a viewership average over the entire season topped at 4 million. So, he is holding his own in the market of shows of the same ilk.

November 09 was a night for returning shows on HBO and numbers are in THE NEWSROOM had 1.2 million viewers for its final season premiere. That is down from Season two’s total of 2.2 million. People sticking with the channel went downhill after that. THE COMEBACK’s return had a calculated 300,000 and GETTING ON squeaked by a bit better with 309,000.

As for the miniseries OLIVE KITTERIDGE HBO states that 559,000 viewers watched the debut of the four-part miniseries at 9:00pm on 11.02. The 2011 miniseries MILDRED PIERCE with Kate Winslet took in 1.3 millon total viewers. This finding is not a slid indicator however for it is only a number for the debut of the first two installments.

Remember numbers are just numbers. You can extrapolate anything you want out of them. There could be a whole list of reasons for why a show got the numbers it did. What were they up against or what was their lead-in, for example are two strong factors to consider. I’ve linked to the source material so you can investigate further if interested.   


James Gandolfini Honored

We know we are bringing him up yet again, but he we was a vital part of the HBO empire and the New Jersey Hall of Fame was aware of that fact as NJHallofFamewell. Bet you didn’t even know it was a real institution did ya? Did you know Mr. G was a New Jersey native? Well both are true and on Thursday, November 13 the NJ Hall inducted Mr. Gandolfini and others into the Hall of Fame at an induction ceremony.

Attending on behalf of the posthumous honor was widowed Deborah Lin and the induction speech itself was by actor Vincent Curatola who played “Johnny Sacks” on THE SOPRANOS. They were accompanied by series creator David Chase, Tony,“Paulie Walnuts” Sirico, Aida “Janice Soprano” Turturro and Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore.

Also honored as New Jersey natives who have contributed greatly to society that night were NBC’s Brian Williams, former Governor James Florio, basketball great Patrick Ewing, chef Alice Waters, NFL operative Howard Katz, musical talents Dizzy Gillespie and The Shirelles, writer Dorothy Parker and activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Peter J. McGuire.

(Source: MStars)



Now HBOWatch has not been keeping track of all the beers being bottled by Brewery Ommergang, but the latest one caught this writer’s eye. This coming spring, it has been announced, the another beer in the GAME OF THRONES set will be for sale. It is called Three-Eyed Raven Saison Ale.


This latest brew is coming out in the spring of 2015 as a Saison Ale which is a classic French summer pale ale. Hmmm, who’d a thought, a pale ale matched with a black raven? Well, the following explanation from the brewery clears that up.

“It’s a raven, but then it becomes something else. So we tried to reflect some duality in the beer. A saison isn’t typically dark, but it’s a style you can do a lot with in terms of flavor, so our brewers put a new spin on it and made it a dark ale. We really wanted to reflect that duality of the show theme in the beer itself.”

It will join the list of GAME OF THRONES themed beverages like the Iron Throne Blonde Ale, Take the Black Stout and Fire, Blood Red Ale and the Valar Morghulis.  Plus, don’t forget, there is always the other HBO inspired beverage – Tru Blood.



We reported a bit ago that the PROJECT GREENLIGHT Nominees had been selected and from that crop of filmmakers a winner was chosen on 11.07.14. that lucky director is –



Here is the trailer for the winning DELICACY!



Bob Dylan On HBO?

Last up is about a HBO concept that never saw the light of day. It seems back in the 1990’s Larry Charles (writer for Seinfeld and director of Borat) got pitched a concept by folk troubadour Bob Dylan.  Apparently, Mr. Dylan upon bingeing on classic Jerry Lewis movies wanted to create a slapstick comedy starring himself.

Mr. Charles states –

“He brings out this very ornate beautiful box, like a sorcerer would, and he opens the box and dumps all these pieces of scrap paper People_BobDylanon the table…and yes, that is exactly what he does…every piece of scrap paper was a hotel stationary, little scraps from Norway and from Belgium and Brazil and places like that, and each little piece of paper had a line, like some kind of little line scribbled or a name scribbled, ‘Uncle Sweetheart,’ or a weird poetic line or an idea or whatever, and he was like ‘I don’t know what to do with all this,’…and for some reason I was able to go ‘oh y’know you can take this…this is a line, this is the character, and the character could say this line.’ And he said ‘you can do that?’ and it’s like ‘yeah, yeah you can do that’ because I realized that’s how he writes songs, he takes these scraps and he puts them together and makes his poetry out of that.”

So we say to Bob, ‘if you come to HBO with us, we’ll definitely sell the project because they won’t have the balls to say no to your face,’ and he agrees…. and he shows for the meeting at HBO in a black cowboy hat, a black floor length duster, black boots, he looks like Cat Ballou or something, he looks like a Western guy who’s carrying six guns.


“We stride down the hall at HBO, if you can imagine that scene, my hair is super long, beard down to my belly button in f*ckin’ pajamas and Bob Dylan is dressed like a cowboy from a movie. We go into the meeting and Chris Albrecht who was the president of HBO says ‘Bob, oh,  so great to meet you, look I have the original tickets from Woodstock’ and Bob goes ‘I didn’t play Woodstock’ and then he walks over to the other side of the office which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city and proceeds to have his back turned to us for the entire meeting.


“They bought the project, we go out to the elevator, Bob’s manager Jeff, my manager Gavin, me and Bob, the 3 of us are elated we actually sold the project and Bob says ‘I don’t want to do it anymore.’ He says ‘I don’t want to do it anymore, it’s too slapsticky.’ He’s like not into it, that’s over. The slapstick phase has officially ended. He’s not into it anymore.”

(Source: Business Insider)

Now that is a perfect little story to end on. Check back for more news about what happens at HBO.


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