Local Blackout Lifted For 100th Indianapolis 500; Race Officially Sold Out

Indianapolis, IN - May 24, 2015 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500 (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

Indianapolis, IN – May 24, 2015 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500
(Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

There’s some good news today racing fans in Indiana.

It was announced today that the local TV blackout of the 100th Indianapolis 500 has officially been lifted.  ABC’s broadcast of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will now air live across America.  The announcement comes alongside this morning’s announcement that this year’s race is officially sold out.  It is the first time that the race has been completely sold out in its now 100 year history.

The lifting of the local blackout means that Indianapolis ABC affiliate WRTV-TV will have full coverage of the race.  Along with this, the station will also run its traditional re-broadcast of the race beginning at 7pm ET.  This year’s local broadcast marks only the third time that the race will have been broadcast live in Central Indiana and the first time since 1950.

2016 marks the 52nd consecutive year that ABC will broadcast the Indianapolis 500.  It first aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1965.  The first time that it aired live was in 1986.  Anyone not near a television during the race can still catch it live online via WatchESPN beginning at 11am ET.  The green flag is set to fly at 12:17pm ET.  More information on this year’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 is available online along with all of the latest auto racing news at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/racing

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

 

 

 

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PBS Releasing New Episodes of Secrets of the Dead, NOVA In July

PBS Distribution has new episodes of PBS’ Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on the way this summer.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

On Tuesday, July 5th PBS Distribution will release new episodes of Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on DVD.  Up first is Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb.  Everybody knows the story of Cleopatra and Marc Antony.  Her story has eve been made into a major motion picture starring legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor in the movie’s starring role.  For all that people know about Cleopatra (both fact and fiction) one thing still remains unknown—the actual place where she is buried.  This episode of Secrets of the Dead follows lawyer turned archaeologist Kathleen Martinez as she endeavors to find the famed queen’s final resting place.  What happens over the course of the program is quite intriguing to say the least.  This latest episode of Secrets of the Dead is a must have for any living room and classroom.  It will be available Tuesday, July 5th.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The second of PBS Distribution’s July 5th titles is NOVA: Vikings Unearthed.  It is not the first of PBS’ programs ever centered on the infamous Norsemen.  But it is just as interesting as the network’s previous offerings centered on the Vikings.  This episode of NOVA follows researchers as they examine what may be the first new North American Viking site to be uncovered in half a century.  The last site to be discovered was in Newfoundland in the 1960s.  Now researchers have found another site in Newfoundland that they believe may be another Viking settlement.  The researchers–space archaeologist Dr. Sarah Parcak (National Geographic Fellow, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and winner of the TED 2016 prize), archaeologist Douglas Bolender (University of Massachusetts, Boston), and historian Dan Snow—is joined by a number of other experts from around the globe as they excavate and examine the site at Point Rosee in southern Newfoundland.  Satellite imagery, CGI recreations, and more is used throughout the investigation.

The investigation of the site is just part of the program’s story.  Also included in this episode of NOVA is an examination of the Vikings’ history, from their expertise in sailing and trading to the myths surrounding their culture and more.  The program runs roughly one hour, counting opening and end credits.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online direct now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  Audiences can view a trailer for NOVA: Vikings Unearthed online now here.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

 

More information on these and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead and NOVA is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://pbs.org/secrets, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SecretsofTheDead, http://www.facebook.com/NOVAonline

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS, http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

 

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The Rescue Bots Roll To The Rescue Again Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Factory is teaming up with Hasbro Studios once again this summer to release yet another installment of episodes from Discovery Family’s hit animated series Transformers Rescue Bots this summer.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, Jun 21st.  Levar Burton’s (Reading Rainbow, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Planet and the Planeteers) character Doc Greene gets the spotlight in most of the collection’s episodes.  Case in point “One For The Ages.”  This Season 2 episode sees Cody turned into an adult by Doc Greene’s stasis machine while Kade has to take over Griffin Rock Emergency while Chief Burns falls ill.  In Season 3’s “Too Many Kades” Doc Greene’s Imaging Chamber stars making clones of Kade.  Each one has its own personality.  This leads to its own share of problems for Cody and the Rescue Bots.  Meanwhile Kade learns a valuable lesson about teamwork when gas leak at the Natural Gas Reserve.  And in another Season 3 episode, “I have Heard The Robots Singing,” Doc Greene’s inventions cause even more chaos.  This time Doc Greene’s Tone-O-Tuner is the culprit.  Priscilla Pynch originally got her hands on it in one of her devious plots.  But when Huxley Prescott accidentally runs into it with his van, it leads to everyone in Griffin Rock singing everything that they say instead of just speaking.  Of course Doc Greene’s tech isn’t the only cause of problems for the people of Griffin Rock.  In “The Island of Misfit Tech” (obviously an homage to Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer’s Island of Misfit Toys) an out of control mechanical bull sends Cody and the Rescue Bots to the mysterious Island via the “Beam Box.”  Even Doc Greene isn’t sure who built the box.  As they explore the island, Cody and company discover that it is populated by the world’s most dangerous technology is stored.  “Space Bots” is another episode proving that Doc Greene isn’t always at the heart of the Rescue Bots’ adventures.  Though, Doc Greene himself is at the center of the episode as he and Graham have to be saved when an experiment with a space elevator called the Asgard goes horribly wrong.  It’s up to Cody and the Rescue Bots to save them.

The five episodes that are featured in Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech all feature the same theme.  They are lifted from the series’ second and third season.  The DVD will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 21st.  It will retail for MSRP of $14.93 but can be pre-ordered online now at the discounted price of $13.93 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-heroes-of-tech.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspickw.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Going Wild Again This Summer With New LPS Collection

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios/Discovery Family

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios/Discovery Family

Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios have teamed up once again to release another new collection of episodes from the former Discovery Family series Littlest Pet Shop.

Littlest Pet Shop: Making Friends will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, June 14th.  This latest collection features five more episodes from the former Discovery Family series. In this collection’s episodes, Russell challenges Sunil and Vinnie in a contest to entertain a new raccoon named Mr. VonFuzzlebut in “Sleeper.”  Things don’t exactly turn out as any of them had planned, of course.  And in the same episode Blythe’s furry friends face a threat from the outside when Fisher Bizkit sends his daughters to find out why Littlest Pet Shop is so successful.  Blythe learns an important lesson about friendship in “Why Can’t We Be Friends” as she tosses away her old friends upon meeting a new friend.  Meanwhile in the same episode Vinnie learns his own lesson about friendship when he befriends a spider even though Sunil, his original friend, is afraid of spiders.  And in “Room Enough” Blythe has to deal with a very curious kitten while deciding on how to re-organize her room.  These are just some of the stories presented in this latest collection.  There is also a special two-part episode included in the collection that features a guest appearance from one Heidi Klum (America’s Got Talent).

All five episodes included in Littlest Pet Shop: Making Friends follow the general theme of friendship.  They are each also lifted from the series’ third season.  Littlest Pet Shop: Making Friends will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 14th.  It will retail for MSRP of $14.93 but can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $13.93 now via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/littlest-pet-shop-making-friends.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For Maude: The Complete Fifth Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Bea Arthur is returning to TVs again this summer.  No, she’s not a zombie.  She is returning thanks to the people at Shout! Factory.

Shout! Factory will release the fifth season of the late, great actresses’ series Maude this summer.  Maude: The Complete Fifth Season will be released Tuesday, June 14th in stores and online.  Season Five is loaded with just as much heart and sharp humor as the series’ previous four seasons.  This time out, there are some interesting discussions on gender roles in “Feminine Fulfillment,” “The Election,” and “Mrs. Naugatuck’s Wedding.”  Rue McClanahan is forced to face her issues with funerals (and death in the bigger picture) in the season premiere “Vivian’s First Funeral.”  The issue of race is tackled in the season finale when Maude gets anew housekeeper in the aptly titled “The New Maid.”  These are just some of the storylines that will keep audiences entertained and engaged throughout Season Five’s twenty-four total episodes.  There are plenty more laughs to be had throughout that span including Walter battling with his own sexuality in “Arthur’s Worry,” Maude getting on a TV game show in “The Game Show” and some extended family troubles for Maude in “Maude’s Aunt.”

The laughs that are offered this season are just part of the season’s enjoyment.  There are guest appearances by Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman, Batman Returns), Nanette Fabray (One Day at a Time, The Hollywood Squares, The Bandwagon), Charles Lane (It’s A Wonderful Life, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington), Eugene Roche (Webster, Slaughterhouse-Five, When A Man Loves a Woman) and others.

Maude: The Complete Fifth Season will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 14th.  It will retail for MSRP of $26.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $22.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-five.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Every Family Will Enjoy Kate & Mim-Mim’s Latest DVD

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

Kate and her fuzzy bunny friend Mim-Mim are back on DVD.  A little more than two months after the release of its first American DVD Public Media Distribution has released the Disney Jr. series’ second DVD in the formm of Kate & Mim-Mim: Balloon Buddies.  This latest collection is an interesting new offering from Public Media Disribution.  It has its share of positives.  But it also has one negative in comparison to the series’ previous DVD collection Kate & Mim-Mim: Flight of the Flowers.  That will be discussed later.  Luckily its positives outweigh its negatives making it in the end another collection of episodes that will be welcome in any family’s home DVD library.

Kate & Mim-Mim: Balloon Buddies is officially available today.  The second official American compilation from Disney Jr.’s hit computer animated series, it is another welcome collection in any family’s home DVD library.  The stories that are presented within the collection’s episodes are at the center of the set’s presentation.  On the surface the stories are just fun, turn-off-your-brain pieces for audiences of all ages.  On another level they teach some important lessons.  Those lessons will be discussed later.  For the moment, the focus will be on the stories just as stories.  The set’s title episode presents a fun little story that sees Kate and her friends planning a balloon parade.  There are plenty of laughs for every family throughout the episode.  “Cloud Castle” is the set’s second episode.  This episode sees Kate and her friends create a cloud castle (that looks oddly like a bouncy castle) as Kate and her parents enjoy a day of cloud watching together.  Things aren’t perfect though for Kate and her friends.  That is because the cloud castle ends up floating away with Kate and company inside.  So it’s up to Kate to get everyone back down to the ground safely.  And in “Clean Sweep,” the set’s closer Kate and her friends have to stop Tach’s pile of inventions after thy “escape” from their container.  They “escape” because Tach didn’t properly clean them up.  This leads right into the story’s focus lesson, which will be discussed later.  Each of the stories featured within this set is entertaining in its own right.  That is because each one allows audiences of all ages to just turn off their brains and enjoy.  They also present situations that are relatively realistic for parents with small children.  That ability for audiences to relate to the stories and still be entertained makes the stories collectively one of the set’s most important elements.  While the stories are undeniably important to the overall presentation of Kate & Mim-Mim’s latest DVD it does have at least one con.  That con in question is the set’s episodes.

The stories that are featured in Kate & Mim-Mim’s latest DVD are undeniably important to the DVD’s presentation.  That is thanks to their ability to entertain audiences of all ages while being able to relate to those same audiences with their presented situations.  The stories do plenty to help the DVD’s presentation.  That goes without saying.  However the DVD isn’t perfect.  It does suffer from at least one glaring con.  That con is its featured episodes.  This time out only three episodes have been presented.  That is half of what was presented to audiences in Kate & Mim-Mim: Flight of the Flowers.  Figuring that the series now boasts two seasons worth of episodes, and each full half-hour presentation features two episode each, one can’t help but wonder why this collection only presents three episodes versus six.  It isn’t like there aren’t enough episodes to make up a larger collection.  Keeping that in mind, having only three episodes this time out is in fact a factor that cannot be ignored in this DVD’s presentation.  At least with that reduced number of episodes its price is roughly half that of its predecessor by at least half.  To that end, the reduced number of episodes is still a con.  But it isn’t so bad as to make this collection not worth the watch.  It makes that number a small dent in the DVD’s presentation, and the only dent for that matter.  The lessons that are presented within each episode’s story makes up for that dent.

The stories that are presented in Kate & Mim-Mim’s new DVD Balloon Buddies are plenty of reason for any family to add the DVD to their home DVD libraries.  This is the case even with the number of episodes in this collection being half that of the series’ previous DVD.  Keeping that in mind, the lessons that are presented in each of the stories add even more reason for families to add the collection to their home DVD libraries.  The lessons, much like the stories, easily reach audiences of all ages.  That is because they are lessons that apply in audiences’ everyday life.  The lesson at the heart of the set’s lead episode is one simply of problem solving.  When Kate wanted to make the perfect balloon for Mim-Mim she thought about what would be best for him and then had to figure out how to make said balloon.  The set’s second episode is much simpler in its lesson—using one’s imagination.  That is the lesson at the heart of the episode believe it or not.  It just encourages children to use their imaginations.  Now while this may not see like much on the surface, it is actually far more important than some might realize.   The use of imagination is an important part of every child’s development.  Thus this story’s lesson encourages that growth, again proving its importance.  “Clean Sweep” rounds out the set.  And its lesson is just as important as those presented in the previous episodes.  It teaches the lesson of cleaning up after one’s self and doing so responsibly for that matter.  This lesson is taught as Kate is trying to clean her room but didn’t necessarily do so the right way.  What parents will like here is that Kate’s mom doesn’t get mad at her for it.  Rather she encourages proper cleaning by telling her that she’ll help her and doing so with a positive, gentle tone.  Again, it doesn’t seem like much on the surface.  But in reality it is a hugely important lesson that audiences of all ages will appreciate.  The lesson is pressed home even more as Tach doesn’t properly clean up his inventions, leading them to “escape” their container and wreck havoc on Mimiloo.  Eventually it all explodes everywhere, leading Tach and the rest of Kate’s friends to have to clean things up again.  This time they do it right just like Kate did with her room.  It shows doubly the importance of keeping things clean and not just trying to do so through shortcuts.  Yet again, here is proof of the importance of the lessons featured in the set’s featured stories.  Together with the stories themselves, both elements work together to show once and for all why Balloon Buddies is another welcome Kate & Mim-Mim collection in any family’s home DVD library even with its minimal number of episodes.

Kate & Mim-Mim: Balloon Buddies is, much as with its predecessor, a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  That is thanks in part to the stories that are featured in the set’s episodes.  Audiences of all ages will enjoy the stories because they require so little thought.  They are just fun little turn-off-your-brain stories.  What’s more they are also accessible to said audiences.  That is because of their ability to reach audiences with their situations.  The lessons that are taught in each episode solidify the DVD’s presentation even more.  They work with the stories to keep audiences entertained and engaged.  Both elements do plenty to make this DVD welcome in any family’s home.  This is the case even with the set presenting half the episodes featured in the series’ previous DVD, Flight of the Flowers.  The set’s equally reduced price makes up for that reduced number of episodes.  Keeping that in mind, the collection in whole proves in the end to, again, be another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on Kate & Mim-Mim is available along with games, activities and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.disneyjunior.disney.com/kate-and-mim-mim

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KateandMimMim

 

 

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John Cena Tapped To Host 2016 ESPY Awards

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Champ. Is. HERE!  Or he will be.

WWE superstar and 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena has been announced as the host of the 2016 ESPY Awards.  The appointment marks the first time that Cena has ever served as emcee for the network’s annual awards program.  Cena was humble in discussing being named as this year’s emcee opting instead to discuss those who the program honors and its philanthropic roots.  “It is truly an honor to be named host of The 2016 ESPYS,” he said.  “Not only will the biggest names in sports and entertainment come together to recognize some of the most spectacular athletic performances of the year, but we’ll also raise funds for The V Foundation to further much-needed cancer research.”  ESPYS Executive Producer Maura Mandt noted Cena’s celebrity and the positive impact that he has in and out of the ring in discussing his appointment.  “John is not only a superstar athlete and entertainer, but also a motivational force who inspires fans across the globe,” she said.  “John approaches all of his endeavors with energy, enthusiasm and passion so we expect him to bring a new level of excitement to the night’s celebration.”

Along with being one of the top names in WWE today, Cena is also host and executive producer of FOX’s new reality competition series American Grit.  That is just one of his credits outside the ring.  He has also made appearances in the hit comedies Trainwreck and Sisters.  Along with all of that, Cena also works extensively with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  He is the foundation’s most requested wish granter and has more than lived up to expectations, having granted some 500 wishes.  He was recently recognized by the USO Metro as the recipient of the organization’s 2016 Legacy of Achievement Award.  As if all of this isn’t enough, Cena is also deeply involved in Susan G. Komen and its efforts to research and fight breast cancer.

The 2016 ESPN ESPY Awards will air live on ABC Wednesday, July 13th at 8pm ET from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.  It raises more than $1 million annual for The V Foundation, which was originally established by ESPN and Jim Valvano in order to promote cancer research.  Tickets for the ESPY Awards can be purchased online at AXS.com.  More information on The ESPY Awards is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/espys

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPYS

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.