<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - TV, movies, music and celebrity news]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/entertainment-news http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sat, 20 Dec 2014 08:36:40 -0800 Sat, 20 Dec 2014 08:36:40 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Find the Perfect Present: Gift Guide 2014]]> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:28:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gift-guide-promo2.jpg
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<![CDATA[Stiller Reveals Hashtag the Panda on "Tonight"]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 07:34:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ben-Stiller-Jimmy-Fallon-Hashtag-Panda.jpg

Ben Stiller was upstaged twice Friday night on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" — first by a giant plush panda he once portrayed, and then by his successor in the panda suit.

Stiller visited Studio 6B talk up his upcoming movie, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," the third and final installment of a billion-dollar film franchise. But Stiller had another secret up his sleeve: He revealed himself as the man performing as Hashtag the Panda, the dancing panda who dashed his way across the stage at the beginning of the episode.

"You got some moves!" Fallon said, as a sweaty, winded Stiller took off the panda head.

But Stiller's alter ego was also his undoing, as the panda interrupted his interview with bouts of frenetic dancing.

"You know what, that's enough," griped Stiller. "Who do you got in there, anyway? Some poor intern in there, huh? Let him show his face so his parents can see him on TV. I wanna know who you got to replace me as hashtag.

Stiller removed the impostor panda's "head," revealing — spoiler alert — Chris Rock.

"Wow, Chris Rock," Stiller said. "You're Hashtag?"

"Look man, I got a movie out now too!" Rock said. "It's called 'Top 5.' Kids are gonna love it! Parents are gonna love it! North Koreans are gonna love it!"

"That's great, Chris," a miffed Stiller said. "But you ruined the interview."

"Well that's the only interview you're gonna see this weekend!" Rock quipped, before dancing off the set and into the studio hallway.

Also reappearing on "Tonight" were actress Brie Larson, who is appearing in the upcoming movie "The Gambler" opposite Mark Wahlberg, and comedian Damon Wayans, who performed a standup routine about being a new grandparent.



Photo Credit: NBC Universal
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<![CDATA[15 Hot Holiday Toys]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 07:42:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Gift-Triptych_edited-1.jpg

Reptiles, princesses and interactive robots are among the most talked about toys this holiday season. Check out the items kids are likely dreaming about as they draw up their wish lists.

Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll

Disney’s hit 2013 movie “Frozen” has inspired perhaps the most popular toy of the season, the Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll. “Frozen” is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, so it’s no wonder that the Elsa doll has sold out at many online retailers. Raise Elsa’s arms and she’ll sing the hit song “Let It Go.” Touch her snowflake necklace and it will light up as Elsa says 15 phrases from the film. Elsa can even speak and sing in English and Spanish.

Transformers Age of Extinction Chomp and Stomp Grimlock Figure

Another massively popular film franchise gave rise to the Transformers Age of Extinction Chomp and Stomp Grimlock Figure. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is the highest grossing film of 2014 worldwide. Kids are sure to dig this toy version of the Dinobots leader, which is the largest Dinobot toy ever created. The part-robot, part-dinosaur can transform in an instant and features battle sounds, pop-out weapons and light-up eyes.

Zoomer Dino

But Grimlock isn’t the only prehistoric reptilian roaring into the holiday season. Zoomer Dino does more than transform — he spins, dances, roars, and even burps and farts. But don’t let his temperament fool you. Dino won the 2014 Toy of the Year Award in the Innovative Toy of the Year category and uses True Balance technology to explore his owner’s house on two feet.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Stretch N Shout

Speaking of reptiles, kids will love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Stretch N Shout dolls, which are available as turtles Raphael and Leonardo. Coming on the heels of this year’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film, these flexible fighters let out battle cries and recreate sounds from the movie when their arms are stretched.

LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Attack

And that’s not the only Ninja Turtles toy worth checking out this holiday season. The LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Attack set features everything a fan of Leonardo, Raphael and the gang will need. Train and battle in all three stories of the Turtles’ lair with tons of weapons, gear, and of course, pizza.

My Little Pony Equestria Girls Collection

Another gang worth checking out this holiday season is the My Little Pony Equestria Girls Collection dolls. You can find Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy and the rest of the My Little Pony characters in this collection. They’ve all traveled through a magic mirror and have transformed into little girls. Collect them all and relive all the fun moments from the hit television series.

My Friend Cayla Doll

Another girl is tearing up the U.K. and is sure to be a hit over here in the United States too. The My Friend Cayla Doll is much more than a doll, she’s a friend that can chat about her favorite hobbies, tell stories, share recipes, play games and answer all sorts of fun questions. Simply download the free app for Android and iOS and connect Cayla to the Internet via Bluetooth. She uses speech-to-text technology to look up answers to all your kids’ questions.

MiP 2 Personal Robot

The MiP 2 Personal Robot is another interactive pal that could become your child's best robotic friend. MiP has 7 built-in play modes, but the fun is endless when you download this lively robot’s app for iOS and Android. It’ll play maze games, dance to songs and interact with its environment at the push of a button — all on two wheels!

Little Live Pets Bird Cage’s Friendly Frank

In a similar vein, the Little Live Pets Bird Cage’s Friendly Frank will interact with your kids just like a real parrot pal. If they talk with Frank and press the button on his chest, he’ll repeat what they say. And if he’s really happy, he’ll chirp or sing a little song. He’s always ready to explore the world, whether he’s traveling on a finger or in his portable cage.

Razor Crazy Cart

And if adventure is what your kids are after, the Razor Crazy Cart is the answer. This go-kart doesn’t just go forward, it goes backwards, sideways, diagonally and any direction in-between, all at speeds up to 12 mph. If that isn’t enough, riders can go into Crazy Cart mode and spin in rapid, 360 degree turns. It may be the most extreme toy of the holiday season.

Hot Wheels Street Hawk Remote Control Flying Car

If the ground isn’t enough, then take to the sky with the Hot Wheels Street Hawk Remote Control Flying Car. Although this car is made to tear up the streets, it performs best when it’s flying at heights of over 200 feet. It uses dual propellers spinning at over 35,000 RPMS to achieve this feat. Friends can team up with their Street Hawks and see who dominates the land and air.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2-in-1 Blaster

Kids can also face off with the Nerf N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2-in-1 Blaster. This Nerf gun on steroids fires darts, missiles or both at distances up to 90 feet away. A 10-dart clip ensures that the Blaster’s owner never runs out of ammunition. Anyone with inferior firepower is headed for defeat on the battlefield.

Disney Jr. Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart

Future physicians can come to the rescue with the Disney Jr. Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart. This mobile clinic has motion-activated sirens that light up and play the “Doc Mobile” song when little doctors are on call. Boo-boos are history when this cart rolls by with its EKG, otoscope, thermometer, bandage sticker dispenser, CB radio, gurney and more.

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch

Photographers-to-be should check out the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch. This touch screen watch has a camera enhanced with photo effects, video recorder, voice recorder, learning games, and all the watch staples like a timer and alarm clock. It’s the most fun way to teach your kids time. It’s also splash proof and features 50 clock face designs.

LeapFrog LeapTV Educational Active Video Game System

The LeapFrog LeapTV Educational Active Video Game System is another great educational toy that combines fun and learning. This console teaches reading, math, science and problem solving, and gets kids moving while they learn. Over 100 educator-approved games use body motion, pointer play and classic control to create an interactive and fun experience.

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<![CDATA[Jimmy Fallon Writes Thank You Notes]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 05:38:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fallon-Thank-You-Notes-19-Dec-2014-1080_1200x675_375375427849.jpg On Jimmy Fallon's thank you list: Christmas stockings, the office Secret Santa, and the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.]]> <![CDATA["The Voice"]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 05:41:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NUP_166038_1499.JPG

Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Late at Night on NBC]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 05:39:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP24762024125.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["Tonight Show": Ben Stiller is Hashtag the Panda]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 02:54:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ben-Stiller-Jimmy-Fallon-Hashtag-Panda.jpg Jimmy Fallon and Ben Stiller unmask Hashtag the Panda after the costumed dancer interrupts their discussion of Stiller's movie "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb."

Photo Credit: NBC Universal]]>
<![CDATA[Senator Plans "Interview" Screening]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:56:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/seth+rogen+mark+kirk.jpg

Sen. Mark Kirk said in a recent interview he hopes to have his first big re-election fundraiser at a screening of "The Interview," calling Sony Pictures' decision to cancel the film's Christmas Day premier "a terrible lesson to terrorists."

The Republican senator up for re-election in 2016 told WBEZ he was “pretty disappointed” with Sony’s decision to pull the film from theaters after threats from hackers.

“I would say that I’m going to be trying to hold the first big Kirk for Senate fundraiser at a screening of The Interview, so that everybody shows the North Koreans that you cannot edit what we want to see and do in the United States, under the First Amendment.”

He then tweeted, “With Sony’s surrender to North Korea, I plan to host a movie screening of @TheInterview.”

The FBI said Friday that North Korea was responsible for the hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment that exposed private employee information and corporate secrets, NBC News reported.

In the aftermath of the hacking, Sony pulled its planned Christmas Day release of "The Interview" when major movie theater chains dropped the film, citing security fears.

Kirk added in his interview Friday that he hopes the movie will be “a smash hit.”

“It was a terrible lesson to terrorists, to give them what they wanted — that we should, as Americans under the First Amendment, we should never have to ask North Korea for permission as to what movie we can — just think of a previous really good movie, that was 'Team America: World Police,' that was really funny about North Korea. And your birthright as an American citizen — you never have to ask the North Koreans for permission for what movie you can see. I hope that now all the media about this movie makes it a smash hit, and that we see many more movies like it, and teach the North Koreans a lesson about what Americans can and cannot do.”

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<![CDATA[What You'll Be Listening to in 2015]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:49:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2015-Music-Image.jpg

The year 2014 brought several memorable music moments on the hot 100 charts: Pharrell looked “Happy” in his enormous hat, Ariana Grande showed that delivering powerful vocals isn't a “Problem” for her, Katy Perry rode her “Dark Horse,” Iggy Azalea made a “Fancy” debut, Nicki Minaj unleashed her “Anaconda."

Next year’s lineup of music releases is so diverse that everyone should find something they like, from new material by Lil Wayne, to Fergie, Bjork, Britney Spears, Modest Mouse and more.

Here are some albums to look for next year. But stay alert — someone may pull a Beyonce and just drop new music without any advance warning.

Ludacris rolls out again. Although the Atlanta rapper has made numerous media appearances like the movie "Fast & Furious 6” and the ABC singing competition “Rising Star,” his last album was 2011's “Battle of the Sexes. Ludacris told Billboard in May that he plans on releasing a new album in 2015. To tide fans over until then, he has released a new EP.

Rita Ora finally delivers her sophomore album. Rita Ora has had number one singles in the U.K., though she hasn’t really impacted American radio. She was set to release an album this year, but she was unable to perform its lead single on television; the song’s producer (and Ora’s ex) Calvin Harris prevented her from singing it on television under contract. Ora is set to release an album in 2015 featuring Will.i.am, according to The Daily Record.

Meghan Trainor makes her official debut. Singer Meghan Trainor rose to prominence in 2014 with her commercially successful hit “All About That Bass.” She also released an EP with four songs, but has yet to release a proper studio album. That will change on Jan. 13 when she releases her full debut record entitled “Title.” It will include her latest Billboard Top 20 hit “Lips Are Moving,” her chart-topping hit “Bass” and nine other tracks.

Kelly Clarkson releases new original songs. “American Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson is due to release a new album featuring her powerful vocals. Her last studio album with completely new songs was “Stronger,” released in 2011. She released a Christmas album in 2013 called “Wrapped in Red,” but they were mostly covers. To be fair, the singer has been caring for her new daughter born this past July. Clarkson confirmed to a fan on Twitter that her new album will drop early 2015.

Fergie returns to the female hip-hop scene. After huge success with her 2006 debut solo album “The Duchess,” the former singer of The Black Eyed Peas is hoping to reclaim her position in the industry as a hit-maker. Fergie has released the lead single of her sophomore album to be released in 2015, a track entitled "L.A. Love (La La),” though it failed to match the success of her previous hits. But, she may reclaim her throne with an upcoming collaboration with Nicki Minaj, as she told HOT 97.

Ellie Goulding pairs up with Drake. British songstress Ellie Goulding has seen success in the U.S. with her 2011 single “Lights” as well as her 2013 single “Burn.” Next year, the singer is set to release her third full-length studio album, she told Digital Spy. She revealed to VIBE in September that she has collaborated with Drake, though it isn’t clear if it will end up on the new effort. Who knows, the singer may release music with one of the other famous women she has been spotted hanging with recently.

Lil Wayne gives a run for the Young Money. Rapper Lil Wayne released four singles in 2014 in support of his eleventh studio album “Tha Carter V,” which was originally set to drop in December. However, the rapper announced to fans on Twitter five days before it was set to be released that it would be released in 2015 due to issues with his label Cash Money. Nevertheless, Lil Wayne's manager told TMZ that the rapper will not be departing from his label.

Bjork collaborates with a young producer. The last time the music scene saw a Bjork album was 2011’s “Biophilia,” a work released with an app featuring visuals made in collaboration with French filmmaker Michel Gondry. Bjork is set to release new music in 2015 featuring collaborations with 24-year-old Venezuelan producer Arca. It isn't the first time Bjork's albums have featured unexpected guests. Her album "Volta" included production from R&B and hip-hop producer Timbaland.

Kendrick Lamar delivers the goods. Fans have been reeling since Kendrick Lamar released his critically acclaimed 2012 sophomore album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City." The rapper released the song “i” back in September as the lead single from his upcoming third album, though it doesn’t look like it will drop this year. However, the Compton rapper may give a better idea of when the album will hit the rap scene in his upcoming XXL cover story.

Britney Spears makes a return to the charts. Although the pop superstar released “Britney Jean” in 2013, Spears started a 2-year residency in Las Vegas shortly after it dropped. The “Work B****” singer didn’t heavily promote the album with media appearances. However, Spears may deliver with her upcoming 2015 album that is set to include one of the industries hottest new acts; Iggy Azalea told Ryan Seacrest that Spears’ new work will be preceded by a single featuring the rapper. 

Modest Mouse returns – but like actually this time. It was thought that Modest Mouse would put out a new album in 2014, but this isn't so. Although they put out a grab-bag EP in 2009, they haven’t released a full album of original tracks since 2007's "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.” However, the group is set to release a new album entitled “Strangers to Ourselves,” preceded by their new single “Lampshades on Fire.”


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<![CDATA[Obama Calls James Franco "James Flacco"]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:45:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP142017301395.jpg

Football on the mind?

President Obama mangled James Franco's name while talking about the hacking attack on Sony Entertainment Pictures that the FBI has formally accused North Korea's government of having launched.

Obama referred to "The Interview" star as "James Flacco" during his annual year-end news conference, a gaffe that didn't go unnoticed online as the president vowed a "proportional" response to the hack.

"They decided to have the state mount an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical move starring Seth Rogan and James Flacco," Obama said. "I love Seth and I love James, but the notion that that was a threat to them I think gives you some sense of the kind of regime we are talking about here."

Among those who took to Twitter to rib the president was Baltimore Raven Joe Flacco.

James Flacco also trended on Twitter shortly after the gaffe.

Check out more reaction below:



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[2014's Top Celebrity Hookups, Breakups, Baby Booms]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:19:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/456334040.jpg Check out the top celebrity hookups, breakups, and baby booms of 2014.

Photo Credit: GC Images]]>
<![CDATA[2014 Pop Culture Review]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 09:46:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2014-Review-Recovered.jpg

Just for fun, let's try to picture the year in pop culture, all in one image.

We might begin with a singer oddly named Adele Dazeem, belting "Let It Go" from Disney's "Frozen." Suddenly a friend would pour a bucket of ice water over her head. Adele would immediately tweet the moment on her new iPhone 6, hashtag #icebucketchallenge, while Ellen would pop out and take a group selfie that would #BreaktheInternet.

Now let's get more serious. It's always a challenge to capture a year in pop culture, but we try nonetheless. Herewith, our annual, highly selective trip down memory lane:

JANUARY:

PHARRELL WILLIAMS has lots of reason to be happy this month. After a huge 2013, the producer-rapper-singer gets an Oscar nomination for "Happy" on the "Despicable Me 2" soundtrack. A week later, he wins four Grammys, including album and record of the year for producing the funk-electronic anthem "Get Lucky." Happy, Lucky ... the guy certainly picks apt song titles.

FEBRUARY:

The ground shifts in the late-night TV landscape: JIMMY FALLON takes over for JAY LENO and immediately establishes himself as the new king, with a younger, fresher vibe perfect for next-day YouTube viewing of bits like celebrity lip-syncing duels. Kicking off an eventful year in the tech world, FACEBOOK pays a massive $19 billion for WHATSAPP, the popular mobile messaging service favored by teenagers and young adults — who see Facebook as something better suited to their parents. At New York Fashion Week, emerging star LUPITA N'YONGO makes a front-row splash at Calvin Klein.

MARCH:

It's OSCAR time, and this year's show — the most-watched in a decade — gives us a slew of pop culture moments. Introducing IDINA MENZEL, JOHN TRAVOLTA mangles her name in epic fashion, creating a new star: "the one and only ADELE DAZEEM." Ever the Broadway trouper, Menzel doesn't miss a beat as she sings the girl-power anthem "Let It Go." N'YONGO completes her rapid ascent to superstardom with a supporting-actress trophy for "12 Years a Slave," also the year's best picture. And speaking of superstars, ELLEN DEGENERES takes that famous selfie with a gaggle of 'em, causing Twitter to crash for 20 minutes and beating the previous champion for retweets, a photo of BARACK and MICHELLE OBAMA. Time for a new phrase in Hollywood-speak: "CONSCIOUS UNCOUPLING," the term used by GWYNETH PALTROW to describe her enlightened split from CHRIS MARTIN. Oh, and OBAMA pitches his health plan to young people via an unusual platform: Zach Galifianakis' comic Web series "Between Two Ferns." Some conservative commentators call it undignified.

APRIL:

Yet more epic shifts in late-night: DAVID LETTERMAN announces he'll retire in 2015. His replacement is Comedy Central star STEPHEN COLBERT, adored by the younger demographic. Letterman quips: "I happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses." And now, we know you were getting antsy for KIMYE news, so here it is: KIM KARDASHIAN and soon-to-be hubby KANYE WEST make the prestigious cover of VOGUE, sparking existential angst among some fashionistas. Kardashian tweets that it's "a dream come true!!!"

MAY:

But the real dream comes when KIMYE ties the knot at a Renaissance fortress in Florence, Italy, following lavish pre-wedding festivities in France. ANGELINA JOLIE makes a splash as "Maleficent," giving us a new take on the Disney character that's now more superheroine than villainess. Also making a splash: LAVERNE COX, the openly transgender actress on "Orange is the New Black," featured on the cover of Time magazine.

JUNE:

Let's turn to sports: It's WORLD CUP time, and who says America doesn't love soccer? People are glued to their TVs, iPads, phones and other devices for the U.S. games, and a hero is born: TIM HOWARD, the U.S. goalie, who even in a 2-1 defeat to Belgium makes a record-setting 16 saves. He becomes a social media darling — on Wikipedia, he briefly becomes the Secretary of Defense, edging out Chuck Hagel. And he inspires an Internet meme naming all the "Things Tim Howard Could Save." (Example: The dinosaurs from extinction.)

JULY:

A collective "Awwwwww" ricochets 'round the world as Britain's mediagenic royal couple, WILLIAM and KATE, release photos of the equally mediagenic PRINCE GEORGE, upon his first birthday. Turns out his fashion choices — lots of blues, and bib overalls — prove as influential as his mom's. COX, meanwhile, is nominated for an Emmy — the first nomination for an openly transgender person. It's also time for the campy "SHARKNADO 2." A shark in the New York subway? No big deal. Manhattanites have seen rats that big.

AUGUST:

Whoever would have thought a lowly bucket of ice would become a pop culture phenom? Celebs and regular folks alike take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, generating many millions of dollars to fight the disease. Epic screams are heard, but the most entertainingly blood-curdling comes from OPRAH WINFREY. And what would August be without a wedding? BRANGELINA finally ties the knot, at a small ceremony on their French estate. A very sad note to the month: The death of ROBIN WILLIAMS, whose manic energy graced screens big and small, leaves a gaping hole in the cultural landscape.

SEPTEMBER:

Back to weddings — and in this year of celebrity knot-tying, nothing is bigger than the lavish Venice festivities surrounding the nuptials of the bachelor who said he'd never marry again, GEORGE CLOONEY, and British human rights lawyer AMAL ALAMUDDIN. Think traffic jams of paparazzi on gondolas. This isn't even the only Hollywood celebrity wedding in Italy this month — NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, next year's Oscar host, marries partner DAVID BURTKA. Big tech news: The new iPhone 6 arrives, with its larger screen and inevitable prestige factor. APPLE also unveils its smartwatch, bringing the features of an iPhone to one's arm, and Microsoft spends $2.5 billion for the company that created the hit game "Minecraft," popular on mobile phones. Sadly, the world loses deliciously tart-tongued JOAN RIVERS, a trailblazer for women in comedy.

OCTOBER:

More life cycle events: KATE MIDDLETON appears in public for the first time since announcing that she's expecting her second royal heir. As for Hollywood royalty, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, about to make a splash with the latest "Hunger Games" installment, speaks out on the hacking scandal that led to nude photos of her — intended for her boyfriend — being published on websites. "It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime," she says.

NOVEMBER:

Remember when Ellen's selfie sorta broke the Internet? Well, KIM KARDASHIAN (yes, her again), aiming to do the same, poses nude for Paper magazine, and the focus on her posterior leads to all sorts of talk about "the year of the booty." Kudos to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which tweets a photo of a strikingly similar figure from one of its 4000 B.C. statues, noting that they can "BreaktheInternet" too. TAYLOR SWIFT, meanwhile, takes a stand, asking SPOTIFY to stop streaming her music, and setting up an intriguing standoff between the industry's most popular artist and its top music streaming service. On a much more serious note, BILL COSBY, once America's most beloved TV dad, faces a cascade of allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted women decades ago. The comedian's planned return to television is shelved, and his career suffers perhaps irreparable damage.

DECEMBER:

Suddenly it's the only thing anyone in Hollywood is talking about: The devastating SONY hacking scandal. After several weeks of embarrassing disclosures in hacked emails, the focus turns sharply in mid-December to genuine fear, as hackers threaten violence and mayhem at theaters showing "The Interview," the Seth Rogen-James Franco film depicting the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Theater chains pull out, and Sony finally shelves the movie. The fallout is still developing, but it's clearly a sober ending to a dramatic year for the entertainment industry.


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<![CDATA[Fallon: Holiday Flip Cup with Amy Adams]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:51:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fallon+Amy+Adams.jpg Jimmy Fallon and Amy Adams go head-to-head in game of Flip Cup, but the "Big Eyes" actress struggles to get through this holiday edition of the classic drinking game.

Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fallon: "Tonight Show" #ChristmasFail]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:14:09 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fallon+Hashtags.png With Christmas around the corner, Jimmy Fallon asked viewers to submit tweets with the hashtag #ChristmasFail, recounting their experience of Christmas gone wrong. ]]> <![CDATA[Brooklyn Rapper Arrested in Sting]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:51:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/shmurda+walk+copy.jpg

The up-and-coming Brooklyn rapper who performs under the name Bobby Shmurda was part of a gang that allegedly sold drugs, dealt guns and committed violent crimes, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a news conference Thursday detailing the investigation that led to his arrest.

Ackquille Pollard, 20, was taken into custody with seven others shortly after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. Police recovered crack cocaine and three guns from a stairwell inside Quad Studio, Bratton said.

The Brooklyn-born Pollard is best known for the hit song "Hot Boy." He also put out a music video that popularized a dance craze called the "Shmoney dance," and reportedly signed a lucrative record deal with Epic Records. 

Pollard was stopped in a vehicle with another defendant, Nicolas McCoy, soon after leaving the studio Wednesday, prosecutors said, and there were two guns and a small amount of crack cocaine inside the car. There were other passengers in the car who are not named in the indictment but face separate criminal charges. 

Five other defendants named in the indictment were arrested at the same time elsewhere in the city, and two others are in custody outside the state, authorities said.

Pollard was arraigned on conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and weapons and drug charges Thursday. Twelve other defendants are named in the 69-count indictment, including Chad Marshall, another aspiring hip-hop artist known as Rowdy Rebel. 

Pollard pleaded not guilty in court Thursday. His attorney, Howard Greenberg, failed to convince a judge that his client should be released without bail because he was framed and had no reason to run.

"He is a legitimate entertainer,'' Greenberg said. "He is rich. He is busy. He is always on tour.''

Greenberg claimed Epic had agreed to help Pollard make his $2 million bail. A spokesman for the label declined to comment.

Bratton said Pollard was tweeting about a secret concert days before his arrest.

"I don't think he was aware that location is going to be state Supreme Court," Bratton said. 

Pollard did not comment to reporters as he was led from a Manhattan police station in handcuffs Wednesday night. 

G Stone Crips, or GS9, the gang Pollard was allegedly part of, is tied to the murder of a 19-year-old rival gang member on Feb. 8, 2013, and to gunshots fired outside New York and Miami nightclubs in recent months, according to Bratton. The investigation began after 24 shootings were traced to the gang since 2013.

Most of violence stemmed from an ongoing dispute between GS9 and members of rival street gangs, including the gang known as Folk Nation and the gang known as Brooklyn's Most Wanted, or BMW, according to prosecutors. 

The deadly February 2013 shooting inside a Brooklyn bodega capped a series of violent confrontations between GS9 and BMW, according to prosecutors. Pollard was at the scene of the shooting, they said. 

Pollard is also accused of firing a gun towards a crowd of people outside a Clarkson Avenue barber shop on June 2, shattering a glass storefront. Prosecutors said a recorded phone conversation between other GS9 members revealed that Pollard had fired the gun during an argument with his brother Javese Pollard, also an alleged GS9 member. 

Prosecutors said in another July 2014 incident, just before he performed at Barclays Center, Marshall and another defendant allegedly fired shots at rival gang members while driving on a street in Boerum Hill.

According to prosecutors, a distinctive system of code words and phrases allowed GS9 members to communicate with one another while hiding the nature of their communication from others. Among the code words for firearms were “tone” and “socks." “Crills” referred to narcotics, and “suntan” or “scoom” referred to shootings.

The gang is mainly based at 95th Street and Clarkson Avenue in East Flatbush, Bratton said. The bust was made by the Brooklyn South Violence Reduction Task Force, which was formed this year. 

The case carries some "deeply disturbing themes: The gang members' enthrallment with guns, and a cavalier disregard for human life,'' Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said at a news conference.

The hip-hop artist's songs and videos were "almost like a real-life document of what they were doing on the street,'' added James Essig, head of the NYPD task force that made the arrests.

Greenberg told reporters he believes Pollard and the other defendants were targeted because "the government hates rap and hates rappers and hates lyrics." 

Pollack's video for "Hot Boy" was posted on YouTube in August has been viewed tens of millions of times, and Pollard performed the song for a national television audience in October on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." 

"My music is straight facts," Pollard recently told New York Magazine. "There are a lot of gangsters in my 'hood.'"

Pollard's criminal history included two arrests for gun and drug possession, authorities said.


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<![CDATA[The Final “Word” on "The Colbert Report"]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:03:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP763373860260.jpg

Stephen Colbert's scheduled guest for the final edition of "The Colbert Report" Thursday is his “colleague and lifelong friend,” known as "Grimmy” – as in the Grim Reaper.

That's a sign Colbert is ready to kill off the conservative blowhard character he embodied for the past nine years – 17 years counting the embryonic iteration that began as a "Daily Show" correspondent in 1997.

But there's nothing to be sad about: It’s time to give Colbert's bloviating alter ego a sendoff as big as his ego. Colbert, who created the character as a takeoff on Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, pulled off the amazing feat of becoming a bigger TV icon than the figure he satirized.

From the start, Colbert's run defied and exceeded expectations. As previously noted, he set the bar high on his first show on Oct. 17, 2005, when he introduced "The Word" segment and the concept of "truthiness" – something that feels or sounds true, but might not be.

Few would have guessed that Colbert could keep up the quality, especially considering his disadvantage compared to his Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart and other late night hosts who essentially play themselves as they play off the news of the day. Colbert dug in a level deeper, reacting to the news as, well, a reactionary rather than a straight-out joke teller.

Colbert took his act on the road early on, serving up his most daring moment in 2006 when he roasted then-President Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in the guise of a supporter. “I stand by this man, because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things, things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares,” Colbert said, with Bush just feet away.

Along with Stewart, Colbert blurred the lines of comedy and activism when they took to the Washington Mall for their 2010 “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” which wasn’t as much a parody of Glenn Brock's supposedly nonpolitical  “Restoring Honor” rally as a rebuttal.

Colbert bounded over lines when he testified – in character – before Congress in 2010 on the plight of migrant workers, and when he started his own PAC to protest the power of PACs.

But no matter what side of the Fox-MSNBC divide you sit on, it's difficult to argue with Colbert’s support of veterans, which, as previously noted, made him the Bob Hope of the era of comic irony. Colbert mounted a week of shows from Iraq in 2009, backing the troops while mocking the war through his hawk persona.

By making fun of self-styled patriots of the right, he became, in the eyes of fans, a patriot of the left whose quick-witted comedy proved his devotion to a nation worthy of his love and his parodist's critical and clever eye. Or, as he put it in the title of best-selling book, “I am America (And So Can You!)”.

Colbert's lived his shallow character so deeply, he could out-O'Reilly O'Reilly – his "Papa Bear" – in their face-to-face TV powwows. Their first meeting, in which O’Reilly suggested that just maybe some people were taking him too seriously, ended with a classic Colbert quip: “If you’re an act, then what am I?”

Colbert faces a new identity crisis as he gives up his character and replaces David Letterman on CBS's "Late Show" next year, presumably as himself. Grimmy might take away the version of Stephen Colbert that we've learned to laugh at and with over the last nine years. But we're left with stellar performer and satirist, who is ready for a new phase in which truth just might finally trump truthiness.

 

Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multimedia NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.



Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Craig Ferguson's Farewell to "Late, Late" Night]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:20:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/late+late+show.jpg

There's little doubt that David Letterman's influence is stamped, like an indelible Top 10 list, all over late night TV. The imprint of Letterman’s irreverent humor can be found in the playbooks of Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien, Chelsea Handler and Jimmy Kimmel, to name a few.

Less obvious — and less celebrated — is Letterman’s impact on Craig Ferguson, beyond giving him a shot on the Worldwide Pants-produced CBS "Late, Late Show." Ferguson, more than any current host — even O'Brien — embodies the ethos of using the 12:30 a.m. slot as a comedy laboratory, as Letterman did for 11 years on NBC before moving to CBS.

Ferguson ends his nearly decade-long run Friday night with a legacy as an under-the-radar innovator who put his own smart and fanciful mark on late, late night TV comedy.

The Scottish entertainer, best known previously to US audiences for playing the unctuous boss Mr. Wick on "The Drew Carey Show," gently mocked talk show conventions even as he embraced them.

He employed a snarky, robotic skeleton, Geoff Peterson (the quick-witted and rubber-voiced Josh Robert Thompson), as his sidekick. Ferguson’s monologues largely eschewed jokes in favor of stream-of-consciousness forays into whimsy, often involving studio audience members. He didn’t have a band — but he did have a dancing pantomime horse, a nod to his UK roots.

Ferguson’s bits — like his “Dear Aquaman” and “Michael Caine in Space” routines — provided light, goofy wee-hours fun. Always an affable interviewer, he showed some gravitas in his 2009 sit-down with South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, helping the show earn a Peabody Award for deftly mixing the serious and humor. (“I think you’re crazy,” a laughing Tutu affectionately told Ferguson.)  

But Ferguson was at his best when he was at his most personal. He let the show’s cameras follow him to his 2008 swearing in as a US citizen — signaling that sometimes when he declared, “It’s a great day for America!,” he wasn’t kidding. In 2006 and 2008, he transformed his openings into touching, emotional eulogies for his father and mother.

“I pride myself on being honest when I come out and do this,” Ferguson said of his monologue approach before sharing memories of his dad in 2006.

Ferguson’s finest week — when he took the show to his hometown of Cumbernauld, a suburb of Glasgow, in 2012 — also drew on his life. Instead of renting a studio, he variously set up in a pub, at his old school and in his childhood living room, taking guests like Mila Kunis, Rashida Jones and the much-missed Michael Duncan Clarke along for the ride.

Ferguson announced he was stepping down after CBS tapped Stephen Colbert as Letterman’s replacement. “The Late, Late Show” star expressed no public animus about being passed over — this, after all, was the host who welcomed Fallon to late night by waving to him, on-air, with a Mickey Mouse glove. Fallon returned the greeting.

Perhaps it’s just as well that Ferguson didn’t get the “Late Show” gig, and move into a far more scrutinized earlier post, like Letterman, O’Brien and Fallon before him. Even in an on-demand era where time slot doesn't matter like it used to, Craig Ferguson distinguished himself as an act made for the late, late shift.

Ferguson ended most of his 2,000-plus shows with a bit called “What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?” another gentle knock on TV conventions, specifically sitcoms that all-too-neatly wrap up with a lesson.

But there is a lesson — one that incoming host James Corden would be smart to heed — to be reaped from Craig Ferguson’s “Late, Late Show” stint: Be yourself, don’t be afraid to shake up the formula and search for laughs in unlikely places.

 

Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multimedia NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH "Unbroken" Trailer]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:11:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2432_D045_00202_RV2_CROP_S+%282%29.JPG From director Angelina Jolie, "Unbroken" is an epic drama that follows the incredible life of olympian and war hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini who survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII - only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. In theaters Dec. 25, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Robin Williams' Blockbuster Final Ride]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:49:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Robin-Williams-Night-at-the-Museum.jpg

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” which opens Friday, won’t be Robin Williams’ last, posthumous movie-house outing. He provided the voice of a talking dog in next year’s sci-fi comedy, “Absolutely Anything,” and it’s possible the drama, “Boulevard,” eventually will reach an audience beyond April’s Tribeca Film Festival. 

But it’s safe to say the third “Night at the Museum” movie will mark Williams’ final, in-the-flesh appearance in a big-budget, mass-market, holiday season comedy. More significantly, the film offers an opportunity for fans to say goodbye to the comic in the same way he first greeted us nearly 40 years ago: with laughter.

Some four months after Williams took his own life, many of us are still trying to reconcile how the great comic died with the force-of-nature legacy he forged as our fastest and one of our funniest sources of humor.

From “Mork & Mindy” to his stand-up routines to his movies, Williams seemingly joked his way through his demons with a rapid-fire, multi-personality style that made him a box office star and a figure beloved by many. His lofty spot in movie comedy history never dropped, even if the final years of his career didn’t maintain the heights scaled in the likes of “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Good Morning, Vietnam” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

The “Night at the Museum” franchise, which debuted in 2006, exposed Williams to a younger audience that perhaps knew him only from his vocal acrobatics as the genie in the animated “Aladdin.” He didn’t get top billing in “Museum” flicks – neither did the late Mickey Rooney, once the most popular film star in the world, who takes his final bow in the Ben Stiller comedy.

But there’s no such thing as small parts when it comes to movie giants. Williams returns for his third and last go-around in the pivotal role of Teddy Roosevelt, another larger-than-life figure and far from a museum piece.

“Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” which caps the film comedy series, offers the promise of a bittersweet, fresh burst of humor from Williams amid the lingering sadness from his tragic demise. Check out a preview as Williams charges onto the big screen for the last time, taking us for one final ride into his manic, comic world. 

Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multimedia NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.



Photo Credit: Fox]]>
<![CDATA[A Chilling "Interview"]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 05:52:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP403927102058.jpg

If someone ever makes a movie about the possible permanent freezing out of "The Interview" from theaters amid terror threats, an appropriate title would be "The Big Chill."

Sure, the name's been used before, but it fits: Sony Pictures' decision to cancel the Christmas release of the comedy about assassinating Kim Jung-un after major exhibitors balked represents a frigid, ill wind from the North that’s destined to linger in Hollywood and beyond for years to come.

The reaction to the terror threats that uprooted the James Franco-Seth Rogen comedy about the North Korean strongman presents a serious threat to filmmakers — and moviegoers.

Studios likely will steer even further away from movies that might offend — perhaps films with far more to say than escapist fluff from the affable duo who puffed their way through "Pineapple Express." Even more troubling, some moviemakers no doubt will censor themselves, knowing that edgy films risk a tepid reception from big studios, potentially impacting documentaries as much as popcorn flicks.

Left in the cold will be audiences, robbed of fare that might make them think, or in the case of "The Interview," make them laugh at the absurdity of a certain basketball-loving, dangerous dictator.

The flap, at first blush, invites comparisons to the protests against Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 1988 and Monty Python's "Life of Brian" in 1979. But those films, which affronted some religious sensibilities, spurred demonstrations and boycott threats — not cyber attacks or vows of widespread physical attacks on moviegoers.

"The Interview" mess is unspooling more like as an extension of the violence waged over cartoon images of the Prophet Muhammad, which inspired a memorable "South Park" two-part episode in 2010 that lambasted censorship even while ultimately bowing to it. Comedy Central bleeped and obscured any references to Muhammad, helping “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker make their point. The duo, it’s worth noting, created the bawdy 2004 puppet flick “Team America: World Police,” which mercilessly mocked Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, with a minimum of controversy.

Censorship, self-imposed or otherwise, isn’t the hallmark of a democratic society. In this age of exported terror, the threats sparked by “The Interview” prompted understandable concerns, if unfortunate actions, by movie exhibitors and Sony, which now has a much bigger problem on its corporate hands than an embarrassing and potentially financially harmful computer hacking and leaking. Major filmmakers could wind up taking projects to other studios. 

Rob Lowe, who appears in “The Interview,” likened Hollywood in a tweet Wednesday to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister whose appeasement policy toward Nazi Germany proved one of the last century's major disasters. Lowe’s passion-driven hyperbole aside, Sony’s at least temporary shuttering of “The Interview” opens the door to more cranks and real terror mongers now emboldened to target movies and media they don’t like with threats.

The studio could just suck up its losses and give audiences a present by simply putting "The Interview" online on Christmas Day — foiling the film's foes and making a defiant statement in the face of intimidation. There also would be some poetic justice in Sony responding to a leak with a leak of its own.

Giving away “The Interview” would ensure a wide audience gets to see a movie that, under other circumstances, might have just faded away as another goofy comedy. Either way, "The Interview," is destined to become the symbol of an insidious chilling effect that won’t blow over anytime soon. 

 

Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multimedia NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[McCartney, Fallon Do Beatles Impressions]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 07:56:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/460607608.jpg Paul McCartney talks to Jimmy Fallon about Ringo Starr finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and what he thinks of "The Tonight Shows” host Beatles impressions.

Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" Trailer]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:08:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/night-at-the-museum-secret-of-the-tomb-NATM3-185R_rgb.jpg "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" is in theaters December 19, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Ya Burnt!: Secret Santas, Rudolph, Santacon]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 03:12:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Meyers+Ya+Burnt+Part+1.png Seth Meyers has a bone to pick with secret santas, egg nog, Santacon and more in this Holiday edition of "Late Night" Ya Burnt! ]]> <![CDATA["Tonight Show" Dictionary: Snail Mail, Prison]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 03:02:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fallon+Tonight+Show+Dictionary.png Jimmy Fallon takes a look at the latest definitions added to existing words in the dictionary.]]> <![CDATA[Aniston, Hart Set for First People Magazine Awards]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:14:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/aniston_722x406_2198340808.jpg

Just in time for the Holidays People and NBC are joining forces to give pop culture fans a big Hollywood A-lister-packed gift in the from of the first ever People Magazine Awards.

The two hour special event will be hosted by "America's Got Talent" emcee Nick Cannon. "It's People Magazine, the most iconic magazine of our culture," said Cannon. "To be a part of it, to be the host, I am truly excited. We're going to have fun with this."

Airing Thursday, December 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC, the live show will celebrate the best in celebrity and entertainment, and feature appearances by Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Bridges, Billy Eichner, Josh Gad, Josh Groban, Diane Guerrero, Ryan Guzman, Jon Hamm, Kevin Hart, Kate Hudson, Mindy Kaling, Michael Keaton, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Messina, Chloë Grace Moretz, Kate Upton, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Sean Hayes, Karlie Kloss, John Krasinski, Lisa Kudrow, Elisabeth Moss and Ryan Phillippe.

"Voice" coaches Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams and Adam Levine (with Maroon 5) are set to perform alongside Aussie pop punk band 5 Seconds of Summer. 

The Hero of the Year Award will be presented to Nora Sandigo, the legal guardian of more than 800 American children of undocumented immigrants. Should a parent be deported, Sandigo steps in to arrange care for the child or children they leave behind. In many cases she cares for them herself, temporarily.

Readers and viewers had their chance to get in on the excitement by voting for the Best People Cover of the Year. By tweeting their pick with the hashtag #PEOPLEMagazineAwards, participants got to weigh in on whether little Prince George, the wedding of Amal Alamuddin to George Clooney or Chris Hemswoth's Sexiest Man Alive cover is the best of 2014.

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<![CDATA[Vanessa Bayer's Gives Drake "Sound Advice"]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:10:56 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Meyers+Vanessa+Bayer+Drake.jpg Vanessa Bayer talks to Seth Meyers about her webseries "Sound Advice," in which she plays a media coach who give successful people condescending career tips.

Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fallon: Christoph Waltz Explains Krampus]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:21:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fallon+Christoph+Waltz+Explains+Krampus.jpg Christoph Waltz and Jimmy Fallon discuss the differences between Austrian and U.S. holiday traditions, including the Elf on a Shelf and Krampus.

Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fallon and Timberlake Sing "Jumper" at Summer Camp]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:09:56 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fallon+Camp+Winnipesauke.jpg Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake are bff’s at summer camp, where they play truth or dare and sing "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind.

Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]]>