NBC Possibly Rebooting ‘American Idol’

American Idol is one of the longest-running reality TV shows. It lasted for 15 seasons, produced a large number of spin-offs, and helped people achieve their dreams of becoming a rockstar. Now, not even a year after it ended, there are rumors it will be rebooted by NBC.

When American Idol debuted in 2002 it was a revolutionary idea. A TV show that’s a singing contest? If you win, you become a world renowned star?! If you have singing chops and aren’t camera shy, it could be your chance at fame. Also, the show is remembered for some of the less than stellar acts, like William Hung.

According to TheWrap, American Idol is being shopped around “aggressively” to other networks by its production company and NBC has the highest bid. NBC is already home to a similar singing competition, The Voice. If NBC does end up rebooting AI, the network will have the monopoly in singing competition shows.

American Idol Panel of Judges

During AI’s long many ordinary people have become household names like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, Phillip Phillips and the show’s host Ryan Seacrest. Even some of the contestants who didn’t win ended up getting noticed by other record companies and still making a name for themselves, like Clay Akin. Also, past contestants have gone on to win 13 Grammys, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award.

It’s a bit surprising that AI would be brought back to Television so soon. But, it seems that this might have been the plan all along. Series created Simon Fuller said last September:

“Thank you for bringing the show back in 2018, We can’t wait to make it.”

Perhaps Fuller and company just wanted to give the show a break after 14 years on TV. One big question is, though, if it returns will it be as popular as before? The Voice is now the top dog in singing shows, but if both shows are on the same channel, maybe they’ll share the top spot.

E3 Is Opening Its Doors To The Fans

E3, which actually stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo, is the Superbowl of the video game world. Every year developers celebrate what they love about the business by unveiling new games and hardware. The difference between the Superbowl and E3 though, is fans can go to the Superbowl, until now.

For years E3  was only open to the press, publishers, and developers. In the early 2000s, the event was open to the public but due the increasing popularity and limited space, the higher ups decided to limit who could come.  After ten or so years of E3 just being for people in the industry, regular fans will get the chance to go, with a high price of admission.

Photo from E3 2016

Some are wondering, is this a good idea? The yearly event is already very crowded with just the press alone. Should they add more people to the mix? Take a look at the two big comic book conventions, San Diego Comic Con and New York City Comic Con. I can speak from personal experience, the NYC Comic Con is extremely crowded. There were points where I couldn’t move forward because the aisles were jam packed.

The price of admission will be $250 and some might not think it will be worth it to pay that amount, then possibly wait in lines all day and not get into any press conferences because the max limit is reached. It’s even more expensive for someone who’s traveling. So, at the end of the day, the fan may not be getting their money’s worth.

There are many other video game conventions, like PAX East and PAX Prime, that let fans come and enjoy new games and tech. But, E3 has the popularity and lineage that makes it the most popular of them all. For some fans, any price of admission would be worth it as long as they go.

PS4 Firmware Update 4.50 Incoming

The PS4’s newest firmware update will bring a load of cool new features.

Firmware 4.50 adds stuff fans have been wanting for a long time. The most notable being  External Hard Drive support. After the update, the PS4 will support up to 8gb worth of external space, so it will be a very long time before you run out of space. Whichever external drive is chosen it should work seamlessly with the PS4 and players will be able to freely move content back and forth between drives.

Custom Wallpapers will are coming in the new firmware and players can use any screenshot they took with the Share button and use that as a well paper. This is a feature the Xbox One already has, but PlayStation owners will soon do it too.

The PlayStation Symbol

The Quick Menu, a feature implemented in the previous firmware brought the main screen of the system as a pop-up menu while a game is in progress. Firmware 4.50 touches the Quick Menu up a bit, adding the ability to join or create chat parties while a game is being played.

The Notification list will also be improved on. Currently, there are different notifications with different categories and with 4.50 that can be streamlined for easier use.

For PlayStation VR, 3D Blu-Rays will be compatible with the new firmware. This simply means 3D movies will be watchable with a VR headset. A simple update, but it could provide hours of entertainment if you don’t get motion sickness.

Lastly, posts on the Playstation Activity feed will be touched up, and players can add messages, screenshots, and gifs directly to the feed. This will be a great way for players to express themselves.

Firmware 4.50 is currently in beta with no release date stated. Sony said “soon”, so we can expect it within the coming weeks.

Nintendo President Shares New Switch Details

The Nintendo Switch is fast approaching and details about the online service has been revealed.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima stated the online service for the Switch will be yearly fee, with prices averaging from 2,000 to 3,000 yen. That would be around $17-$26 dollars here in the states. Nintendo has utilized online before with their past consoles, most recently the Wii U, but the Switch is the first one to offer an annual fee for the service.

“With paid [services], we will be able to fully commit to the customer.” Kimishima said.

The Nintendo Switch’s online service will be similar to PlayStation’s and Xbox’s in that it will offer free games every month as a thank you to subscribers and an incentive to new buyers. Nintendo will be launching a smartphone app coinciding with the Switch’s release, and the app will go hand-in-hand with the online component. President Kimishima also they have been “studying” how to add virtual reality to their new console.

“If we are able to resolve the issues with playing [VR] comfortably for long hours, we will support it in one form or another.” he said, but no date has been given as to when or if this will be implemented.

Nintendo Switch’s Portable Functionality

Nintendo has also been dipping their feet in smartphone game territory. Super Mario Run was released last year and was met with lukewarm reception. That hasn’t stopped them though as an Animal Crossing game is on the horizon for the iPhone and Android. The Switch itself has had some mixed responses since its press conference last month. Customers are weary about the online structure, how you can only use the smartphone app to communicate to friends, and the rumor that after a month your free game is deleted.

None of these questions have been answered yet, and the release for the Switch is March 3rd.

Black Manta Has Been Cast For Aquaman

DC  has been chugging along with their Cinematic Universe, and the Aquaman man is almost up at bat.

Aquaman is the aptly named underwater hero of the DC universe and he’s also the King of Atlantis. He was introduced in Batman v. Superman and has his own solo film planned for 2018 with director James Wan. Now, Aquaman’s arch-nemesis Black Manta has been cast in the upcoming movie. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, hot off Netflix’s The Get Down, will be dawning the Blank Manta helmet.

Mateen and DC are currently in the negotiating process, but everything seems to be in the green and Mateen just wrapped on the Baywatch reboot film. Very early reports of Aquaman suggested another villain, Ocean Master would have been the antagonist of the movie but that was either false or has been reworked per DC’s course correction.

Black Manta

Black Manta himself has had several origin stories throughout comic history since he debuted in 1967. One origin states him has a tortured boy captured and abused by sailors, vowing revenge on all of what the ocean represents when he got older. Another origin has him as an autistic orphan in Arkham Asylum. No matter the origin, Black Manta always ends up in his signature combat armor. The armor provides him super strength, speed and the ability to breathe underwater. Also, it comes with lasers.

The DC Cinematic Universe has been struggling. Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad all did well at the box office but were less than desirable critically. Fans desperately hope Wonder Woman and Aquaman are well received. James Wan, the director of Insidious, The Conjuring and Furious 7 is taking the reigns of Aquaman and promises to mix horror with action. The terrifying creatures of the deep will be showcased as well as the action Black Manta will bring.

First Image of Oddworld: Soulstorm Revealed

Abe and the rest of the Oddworld gang are back in the sequel to New ‘n’ Tasty.

The first Oddworld: Soulstorm image dropped and it shows Abe in what seems to be a prison line-up, or possibly some internment camp. In the original Oddworld for Playstation 1, Abe realizes the world he lives, which is run by the RuptureFarms corporation, uses the inhabitants as food. After discovering the truth he tries to escape and rescues as many citizens as he could.

Oddworld is a puzzle game, with each stage having Abe trying to figure out an elaborate puzzle to advance to the next area. New ‘n’ Tasty, which was the first game to be released in years, brought the unique puzzle formula to the PS4 and Xbox One.

Oddworld: Soulstorm

Soulstorm aims to continue the themes of the previous games, lampooning capitalism, environmentalism, consumerism, and addiction. Making fun of these big themes is what attracted to people to the original game in the first place.

Judging by this image, it looks like Abe is either captured and sent to this prison camp. Maybe it’s RuptureFarms rising to power again, or possibly a new enemy. It could also be some kind of food processing plant since in the previous Oddworld’s  RuptureFarm’s was using Abe’s own species, the Mudokon’s as food and this prompted Abe to escape.

Scheduled for release this year, Soulstorm promises to up the ante of the previous games and force Abe in situations he’s never been in before. After taking a long break, Oddworld Inhabitants, the developer behind Soulstorm, has had quite some time to think of elaborate and clever puzzles for this latest entry. With creator Lorne Lanning promising a “deeper and darker story”  Soulstorm aims to be the best game in the series to date and give puzzle enthusiasts a worthy challenge.

DC’s The Flash Movie Script Getting Another Rewrite

It’s been a tough road for DC’s fastest man alive, The Flash.

The Flash himself will be debuting in Justice League later this year, but his own standalone film has hit a lot of bumps in the road. Originally, Seth Grahame-Smith was attached to direct the film a few years ago, but he dropped out citing “creative differences”. After months of trying to find a new director, DC landed on Rick Famuyiwa who was hot off the success of his film Dope.

Unfortunately, Famuyiwa dropped out a few months ago, too. He also cited “creative differences”. Since then the DC execs have been scrambling to find a suitable replacement. Now, it seems The Flash is going through some rewrites by King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Robin Hood: Origins scribe Joby Harold.  According to DC, they’re looking to take The Flash in a new direction from what they previously were trying to accomplish. At the beginning of this entire DC Cinematic Universe, the tone for each film was going to be dark and serious. Now with all of the backlash from Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman, and Geoff Johns becoming the head of DC Films, it’s a safe bet that they’re going to want to make The Flash more lighthearted.

Ezra Miller as The Flash

The cast is going to remain the same, with Ezra Miller still playing Barry Allen aka The Flash, Kiersey Clemons as Iris West and Billy Crudup as Henry Allen. On the smaller screen, The Flash TV show on the CW is doing remarkably well. The DC Films division could be trying to capitalize on that style and tone, even though the TV show and the film will not have any connection.

The original release date for the movie was March 16, 2018, but with all of behind the scenes changes, that could change. DC has been trying desperately to catch up with Marvel’s cinematic success. So much so that their films have felt rushed and cobbled together. DC could be trying some serious course correction, and fans are eagerly awaiting the results.

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