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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Enlists Titus Welliver to Reprise Role as Marvel One-Shots' Agent Blak

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is again dipping into Marvel’s deep bag of tricks, tapping Titus Welliver to reprise his role as Agent Blake, the character he played in the Marvel One-Shots Blu-ray featurette Item 47.

As first reported by Marvel.com, Welliver will guest-star in the freshman drama’s sixth episode, “FZZT,” which finds Coulson and his team hunting down an elusive killer after “floating bodies” start turning up.

Item 47 is a direct-to-video short film included in The Avengers‘ Blu-ray set and following the retrieval of a discarded Chitauri gun being used by a young couple (Jesse Bradford and Lizzy Caplan) to rob banks.

To date, S.H.I.E.L.D. has crossed over Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson as a series regular, had Cobie Smulders play Maria Hill in the premiere and scored a surprise cameo by Samuel L. Jackson (as badass boss man Nick Fury) in the Oct. 1 episode.

Welliver’s previous TV credits include The Good Wife, Lost, Sons of Anarchy and White Collar.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Thursday morning received a full-season order of 22 episodes.

Gather Around the 'Blue Bloods' Family Dinner Table

Food brings everyone together—and that’s certainly true for the cast of CBS’s Blue Bloods.

Each week on the popular police drama, the Reagan family—led by Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes—gather around a large dining table to discuss the issues playing out in the episode …. and eat. A lot. (But we’ll get to that later.)

Watch one episode and it’s clear: the Sunday supper is the heart of each show. “They’re the most fun to film because everyone is telling stories, laughing, sharing their points-of-view,” says Selleck. “It’s like a real family.”

The new season premieres on Friday, but here’s a taste of things you may not know about the Blue Bloods supper scenes:

1. The cast really likes being at the table together.

Selleck: “You can work on an ensemble series and you may not see a fellow cast mate for a month. But here, once a show, we get to have a family dinner, which we all look forward to. We all like each other and have become close, so it’s like catching up. Sometimes we get talking so much that it gets in the way of the work.”

Sami Gayle: “Before we sat down at the table today, Tom gave me his list of 10 movies that every actor should watch. He really wants to educate me about the great films of all time, which is amazing. Will [Estes] asked me for the list too, and we’re both going to watch them all.”

2. It takes a full day to film one scene.

Selleck: “It’s nice to spend time with the entire cast once an episode, but filming an eating scene is miserable. Well, the eating part is. You have to eat the same foods over and over again to get all the shots. We’ll probably spend eight hours shooting this scene.”

Wahlberg: “The first dinner scene we shot for the new season was really tough because I got off a plane from tour [with New Kids on the Block] and came straight to set. And that scene took over five hours. Between every camera take, I took a nap on the couch. They would literally wake me up a second before the camera started rolling and I would run and take a seat at the table. I was just delirious. I don’t know how I remembered one line.”

3. The food is real—and fake.

Jim Lillis (prop master): “We give them real food on camera, but we try to keep it mildly seasoned because they have to do so many takes. The Reagans are Irish-Catholic New Yorkers, and their menu reflects that. It’s usually a meat or chicken, always some version of potatoes and a vegetable, salad and rolls. I’m Irish-Catholic, and I was halfway through the first season before I realized I was serving my mother’s old menu.”

Wahlberg: “Someone asked me if we get drunk because we have a lot of wine during the dinner scene, but, sadly, it’s just grape juice. Sorry, guys. And ‘Scotch’ is iced tea. I think they give us decaffeinated or we’d be bouncing off the walls.”

4. Everyone has a signature move.

Gayle: “We have to look like we’re eating during every take so we’ve all figured out ways to pretend. Tom always butters his bread, so no one else can use that technique. Bridget [Moynahan] cuts her food a lot. I’ll cut my food, too, and drink water a lot.”

Amy Carlson: “I have my own tricks: Cut food and drink something. Once it become someone’s signature move, you can’t use it and you have to come with your own. Unless you’re Donnie, and then you just eat what’s put in front of you.”

5. There is one eating champion.

Gayle: “It’s the running joke that Donnie doesn’t stop eating. Even during rehearsals. They’ll tell us not to eat the food because we’re just going through the lines. But I’ll look up and see Donnie chewing on something.”

Wahlberg: “Tom just pretends eat, but I’m the only one who really eats. I literally ate 20 pounds of asparagus today. I try to only stick to vegetables, which leads to other problems. Fortunately, we wrapped a little early today so the problems will be personal problems, and won’t be affecting everyone else at the table.”

‘Blue Bloods’ airs on Fridays at 10 p.m. EST on CBS.

Usher and Mark Wahlberg among artists being sued for copyright infringement

Usher, Mark Wahlberg, Run D.M.C., and others are being sued for copyright infringement.

According to The Wrap, Twilight Records and Syl-Zel Music are suing a set of artists for their unauthorized sampling of the 1967 hit "Different Strokes" by Sylvester Thompson a.k.a. Syl Johnson.

The songs in question include Usher's "Call Me a Mack," Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" and "Fear of a Black Planet," Mark and Donnie Wahlberg's (Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch) "The Last Song on Side B," and Run D.M.C.'s "Naughty" and "Beats to the Rhyme."

A few music production companies, including Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, are also being sued.

The plaintiff's are seeking damages and profits, fees, costs, and punitive damages due to the defendants' use of the song, notes Project-Disco.org.

They are also seeking a permanent restraint on the song, stopping artists from sampling it in the future.

In 2011, Johnson also brought up a lawsuit against rappers Jay Z and Kanye West for their unauthorized use of the sample on their album Watch the Throne. The lawsuit was later settled.

Jenny McCarthy: I Deserve Great and Donnie Wahlberg Is Great

Donnie Wahlberg has the right stuff for Jenny McCarthy.

"If every relationship leads you to the next person and it leads you to what you want and what you don't want, I feel like I deserve great and he's great," The View cohost said Saturday while hosting a party at 1 OAK in Las Vegas.

The couple, who has been dating since early July, are still in the honeymoon phase.

"It's new," she said. "I took a year off [from dating] but I said if I meet someone who makes me stop that year off, it's someone who I need to pay attention to."

On Saturday, after McCarthy, 40, and Wahlberg, 44, took in the Boyz II Men concert at Mirage and dinner at Stack, they hit the club with several friends. In the club, the couple danced together, appeared blissfully happy, and seemed unaware of anyone else in the 16,000 square foot space.

At a VIP table above the deejay booth, McCarthy, donning a black long sleeved cocktail dress, sipped a few drinks and clung to her boyfriend and her sister. Aside from a reporter nearby, it was a rare moment of privacy for the best-selling author.

Titus Welliver To Topline Amazon Pilot 'Bosch'

Veteran character actor Titus Welliver is getting his due, landing his first series lead role. I’ve learned that the Lost and Sons Of Anarchy alum has been tapped to play the title character in Amazon’s first drama pilot Bosch, a police procedural based on Michael Connelly‘s novels about Harry Bosch (Welliver), a veteran police homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The pilot was written by Connelly and Treme co-creator Eric Overmeyer, who are executive producing with Fabrik’s Henrik Bastin and Mikkel Bondesen. Bosch has been at the center of or featured in 20 novels by Connelly over the past two decades.

Sighting

Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy at Augustino’s in Hoboken.

Jenny McCarthy Dishes About Posing for Playboy and Boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg to Wendy Williams

(Video) Jenny McCarthy has never been shy to dish about her past and present life. And her appearance on The Wendy Williams Show on Wednesday, Sept. 18 was no different!

The View cohost chatted about her new boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg, her decision to pose in Playboy and whether or not she ever hooked up with anyone on her hit MTV show Singled Out.

When host Wendy Williams brought up Wahlberg, the 40-year-old couldn't hide her excitement.

"He's so sweet," she said. "And handsome. And guess what? He has a job!"

So, are kids in the future for the couple?

The mom to son Evan made it crystal clear by stating that her uterus is "closed."

McCarthy let the real juicy gossip fly when Williams asked McCarthy if she ever hooked up with anyone during her Singled Out days on MTV.

"No, because I was 22 doing the show and dating a 45-year old, so I thought all of those kids were a little bit too young for me at the time," McCarthy revealed "Plus they were all drunk and stoned, who wants to date that?"

We were hoping for some better dirt!

McCarthy also admitted to Williams that she posed for Playboy just for the money.

"I posed, the first time to pay off my college debt which was $20,000," McCarthy said. "The second time was to buy my parents a new home and the third time was to pay for Evan's tuition."

And has McCarthy ever been in trouble with the law? Yes, for making illegal parking passes for freshmen students while she was in college.

Oh, Jenny!

Donnie Wahlberg talks more 'Boston's Finest'

(boston.com) Dorchester-bred triple threat Donnie Wahlberg spent most of Sunday morning in the North End, shooting scenes for the second season of “Boston’s Finest.” After he wrapped for the day, Wahlberg sat in his trailer on Cross Street and talked about what sets the reality series apart from others like it.

“We are the first show ever to go not only on the job with them but also into their lives to see what makes them tick, what drives them, what makes them want to do what they do,” said Wahlberg, who executive produces the reality series.

Wahlberg praised the Boston Police Department’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings, and said he is glad that people are more familiar with the everyday heroics performed by the first responders of this city.

“I mean, it took a tragic event obviously for people to sort of get an awareness,” he said. “But now that that’s happened and the world knows more of them, I think it’s going to do wonders for this show.”

Not only is Wahlberg at the helm in the editing room for “Boston’s Finest,” he’s also gearing up for the fourth-season premiere of the CBS police drama “Blue Bloods,” he and his brothers are preparing to open a second Wahlburgers restaurant, in Canada, and he just finished touring with the New Kids on the Block in August.

When he isn’t working — which is rare — he said he spends a lot of time with his two sons and hangs out with fellow workaholic and girlfriend, “The View” cohost Jenny McCarthy.

“As far as personal life, I just make time. I am sort of a workaholic, but it helps to be hanging out with one. It makes it a little easier,” Wahlberg said of his relationship with McCarthy. “I went on ‘The View’ so that was one way to hang out. Maybe I’ll get her on ‘Blue Bloods’ and hang out there, maybe we’ll do some talk shows together. We’ll figure it out.” .?.?. In other “Boston’s Finest” news, Terrique Chambers, who was featured on the TNT show, hosted the inaugural Autism Crossfit event to benefit Autism Speaks on Saturday night. He and his wife, Scherlaine, who are advocating for the cause on behalf of their son Jaylen, were supported at the event by Teamsters Local 25 and “Boston’s Finest” friends such as Manny Canudo, Sjye Robinson, Myles Lawton, Greg McCormick, Greg Eunis, Winston DeLeon, Julio Perez, Jenn Penton, Jenn Powers, Brian Albert, and Kevin Albert.

Jenny McCarthy on Donnie Wahlberg: 'He Brings Out the Best in Me'

(people.com) When Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg hooked up this summer, cynics dismissed the relationship as a summer fling.

But things seem to be getting serious for the celebrity couple – so much so that The View's newest co-host, 40, requested that her new beau be her very first guest on the show.

"He was booked to come on the show later to promote Blue Bloods, and I said, 'Can you just switch the date to be my first guest?' " she tells PEOPLE. "He makes me feel really comfortable and puts me at ease and he brings out the best in me. So I thought, 'Why not step out of your comfort zone, for me, and make me feel comfy on that day?' "

She says Wahlberg, 44, was more than happy to comply. "He said yes, so I was really grateful he did that."

Another sign things are getting serious? The New Kids on the Block band member has spent quality time with her son, Evan.

"They had their first meeting and it was incredible, it was perfect," she shares. "Evan loves to catch frogs, so my backyard has a big creek and they caught a few frogs and had some great, perfect amount of time together to get to know each other."

McCarthy says she has yet to meet Wahlberg's two sons, but she reveals that being single parents juggling demanding careers is part of their chemistry.

"Our work ethic, I would say, is a huge characteristic trait that makes me attracted to him. He understands my work schedule and he has his and I get it and we're both single parents and he's trying to juggle all of that while I am too. That's another huge point in his direction," she says.

Their busy lives means that they can't always be together, but she says they have learned to make the most of the time they have.

"It’s really, really tricky but we manage to do it," she says. "If it's only one hour at one o'clock in the morning then that's what we get and we make that one hour feel like a week."

Jenny McCarthy Debuts on The View, Boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg Is Her First Guest!

(Photo) No first day of work jitters here!

Today marked Jenny McCarthy's debut as a cohost on The View. And who better to take the edge off than her boyfriend, Donnie Wahlberg?

The New Kids on the Block crooner joined his leading lady up on the famous sofa, coming out with flowers and hugging all of the women on the panel. He even planted a special smooch for his leading lady.

And while he was actually on hand to promote his latest endeavor, the television show Blue Bloods, it certainly didn't hurt that he could support his gal pal while doing so.

Two birds, one stone!

It seems that McCarthy, despite having oodles of TV experience, was a ball of nerves before stepping out onto The View's set.

Just yesterday, she tweeted, "Thx for all my good luck comments about 2morrow I'm nervous & excited."

And she wasn't the only one who was stepping out of her comfort zone for the show.

Wahlberg addressed his NKOTB fans, who are known as Blockheads, and explained how unusual it is for him to be so public about his personal life.

"To all my BH's, I may be a bit of an extrovert (no way… really?), but I'm also very private. Your support meant a lot today."

The two made their first red carpet appearance together in August at a Dancing With the Stars charity event at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles, Ill.

They reportedly started dating earlier this summer, after Wahlberg appeared on her talk show, The Jenny McCarthy Show in March, according to Us Weekly.

Did you watch today's show? What did you think of McCarthy's first day on the job?!

Donnie Wahlberg handing out Wahlburgers in Toronto on Saturday

(Video) Fans of the Wahlberg brothers — Mark and Donnie, of course — can meet them in Toronto.

On Saturday, Donnie Wahlberg will host a street-side Burger Bash from 3 to 4 p.m. at the SoHo, where 200 fans will get a free Wahlburgers burger.

Donnie, a member of pop group NKOTB, is currently filming a new season of Blue Bloods.

Mark Wahlberg is hosting a gala event Monday night at the SoHo Metropolitan hotel to celebrate the news that Canada’s first Wahlburgers restaurant will open there early next year.

It’s invitation-only but fans can catch a glimpse of the actor as he arrives for the bash.

The two stars’ brother, executive chef Paul Wahlberg, will be on hand for both events.

Ed O'Neill Almost Didn't Get Cast in Modern Family-Find Out Why!

It's almost impossible to imagine Modern Family without one of its talented castmembers.

But turns out, Ed O'Neill, who plays Jay Pritchett on the ABC show, almost didn't get cast in the hit comedy.

"When I read it I thought, ‘Oh boy, this is pretty good,'" the 67-year-old actor recalls. "And I called my manager and he said, ‘Well, they're out to Craig T. Nelson.'"

"They couldn't really decide between Craig and Ed," casting director Jeff Greenberg adds. "They're both wonderful comic actors."

Despite Ed's obvious chemistry with his TV wife Sofia Vergara (who plays Gloria Pritchett), his impeccable comedic timing and his onscreen connection with the other Family members, the actor was not originally offered the role.

"[We] chose Craig T. Nelson," Greenberg says. "And so the first offer went out to Craig and we couldn't make a deal. He wanted to do it, but financially we were just too apart."

And after recognizing the huge potential of the show, O'Neill jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the project.

"About a week later, they called and said, ‘We're back to you,'" Ed says. "So I said, 'Make the deal.'"

This year, the actor received his third Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy series for his role on the award-winning show.

Safe to say joining America's favorite TV family was one of the actor's best decisions.

For even more scoop on the hit series, be sure to watch the Modern Family: E! Entertainment Special airing Sunday, September 8 at 9:00pm ET/PT. Then tune in for the fifth season premiere on ABC Wednesday, September 25 at 9PM ET/PT, and catch repeats when the show airs from the very beginning, on USA Tuesday, September 24th at 8:00pm ET/PT.

'Kill Bill' Star Michael Madsen -- Goes Deadly Viper Squad on Tax Liens

"Kill Bill" star Michael Madsen took a katana sword to $640,000 worth of lingering IRS bills -- and paid 'em off, TMZ has learned.

Two separate liens were filed against Madsen way back in 2008 ... for unpaid taxes in 2004 ($317,443.95) and unpaid taxes in 2006 ($327,099.47). Total damage: $644,543.42.

According to docs filed on August 8th both liens were paid off.

Good thing, otherwise Uncle Sam may have gone to plan B: the black mamba.

Wahlberg Brothers Announce Next Step in North American Expansion of Wahlburgers With Canadian Debut

www.wahlburgers.ca) Wahlburgers, the U.S.-based burger concept launched by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg and brothers, Mark and Donnie, will announce the next step in a North American expansion with the debut of its first Canadian location at Toronto's SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. Wahlburgers Canada is a collaboration of the Wahlbergs with Bruce Greenberg, President of Starwood Group; Michael Wekerle, Executive Chairman of Difference Capital and Henry Wu, President of Metropolitan Hotels. Inspired by their love for the burger and the casual comfort food of their Boston childhood, the Wahlberg brothers opened the original Wahlburgers in October 2011 as a chef-driven burger concept. The menu features fresh made-to-order burgers along with family favourite recipes using locally-sourced, house-made ingredients.

"My brothers and I are thrilled to announce the opening of our Canadian location at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel," said Paul Wahlberg, Executive Chef of Wahlburgers. "Having spent a lot of time in the city, we have a strong connection to Toronto and appreciate the vibrant food culture. The Toronto Wahlburgers location will help build on that by using local purveyors to bring our menu to life."

The Wahlburgers menu places emphasis on its use of locally sourced and house-made ingredients. The Toronto location will reflect the brand's philosophy of partnering with local food purveyors, as well as feature signature house-made ingredients such as Paul's original Wahl sauce.

Menu highlights include:

Donnie's Choice: "The BBQ Bacon Burger" topped with white cheddar cheese, bacon and avocado, finished with jalapenos and a house-made BBQ sauce.

Mark's Choice: "The Thanksgiving Burger" made with fresh ground and seasoned turkey dressed with Paul's orange cranberry sauce, homemade roasted butternut squash and stuffing.

Paul's Choice: The Wahlburgers original "Our Burger" made fresh to order with the restaurant's special blend of beef topped with government cheese (American cheese), dill pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion and finished with the signature Wahl sauce.

While burgers are the main focus, Wahlburgers offers a variety of sandwiches and salads to please the non-beef lover. Other specialties include a selection of house sides like mom's macaroni salad, sweet potato tots, fresh cut fries and onions rings, along with ice cream frappes and adult frappes, Paul's grown-up, alcohol-fortified version of the ice cream beverage.

Like its U.S. counterpart, Wahlburgers Canada, will showcase a sports bar, seated dining and quick service restaurant all under one roof, offering a family-friendly dining experience.

Wahlburgers will celebrate the announcement of its first Canadian location on Monday, September 9 with a "green carpet" event at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. Chef Paul Wahlberg, and brother Mark will attend the event along with family, friends and VIP guests.

Social Media Links: https://www.facebook.com/WahlburgersCA, @WahlburgersCA

Jenny McCarthy, Donnie Wahlberg Make First Red Carpet Couple Appearance

(Photo) Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg have officially gone public! The New Kids on the Block singer stepped out to support new girlfriend McCarthy as she hosted a Dancing with the Stars Charity Event on Saturday, Aug. 24. Us Weekly reported back in July that the two had started dating.

Matching in black, the new couple kept close while walking the red carpet together at Hotel Baker in St. Charles, Illinois. Wahlberg, 44, wore a tux while the TV personality stunned in a revealing low-cut dress.

The entertainers frequently tweeted each other before taking it to the next step, with Wahlberg even appearing as a guest on McCarthy's previous talk show, The Jenny McCarthy Show.

"Yes, they recently started dating and are having a lot of fun," a source told Us at the time. "They had a blast 4th of July hanging out with a bunch of their friends."

With a new relationship to enjoy, both McCarthy and Wahlberg will also be keeping busy with their careers in the upcoming months. Wahlberg's TV series Blue Bloods was renewed for Season 4 and the comedienne will be joining The View as a permanent co-host. Season 17 of The View premieres on ABC on Sept. 9.

Jenny McCarthy and Boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg Make First Red Carpet Appearance

(Photo) Jenny McCarthy is having one good summer.

After landing her new cohosting gig on The View, the funny gal and her new boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg took their romance public Saturday evening.

The duo stepped out at a Dancing with the Stars charity event that McCarthy hosted Saturday, posing on the red carpet with their arms around each other at Hotel Baker in St Charles, Ill.

The outing marked the couple's first red carpet appearance together.

McCarthy donned a low-cut, black gown for the occasion, while the New Kids on the Block crooner sported a matching black tux.

The couple reportedly started dating earlier this summer, after Wahlberg appeared on her talk show, The Jenny McCarthy Show in March, according to Us Weekly.

Jenny McCarthy Goes Underwear Shopping for Beau Donnie Wahlberg

Jenny McCarthy has proved that her relationship with Donnie Wahlberg is on and strong.

The new host of The View recently made a little trip to the Jockey store at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, where she swooped up some goodies for herself and her man.

McCarthy picked up Jockey Skimmies Slipshorts "in every color," a source tells PEOPLE, adding that she also snagged some undies for Wahlberg.

"While Jenny was shopping, she was reminiscing on her retail days at Bloomingdales in high school," the source says. "She also talked about how great Donnie is, and how she plans to split her time between her home in Chicago and New York City, where she films The View."

Crash (Official Lyric Video)

New Kids On The Block - Crash (Official Lyric Video): watch here.

WAHLBERGS WAR OVER JENNY McCARTHY

(nationalenquirer.com) HOLLYWOOD’s hottest brothers, Mark and Don­nie Wahlberg, are locking horns over Don­nie’s red-hot romance with blonde bombshell Jenny McCarthy.

As the relationship be­tween the former New Kids on the Block pop group member and the newly appointed “View” co-host heats up, a source says Mark – a reformed bad boy who’s now a de­vout Catholic and devoted family man – is trying to convince his older brother that Jenny’s nothing but bad news.

The outspoken TV per­sonality is well-known for posing nude for “Playboy,” using obscene language and writing books about sex. She even penned a best-seller questioning Ca­tholicism.

“When Mark learned Donnie was spending time with Jenny he quickly dismissed it as a fling,” ex­plained the source. “But now that they’re spending a lot of time together and seriously dating, Mark has let Donnie know that he doesn’t approve of the relationship.”

Sparks flew between Donnie, 44, and Jenny, 40, in late March when the “Blue Bloods” star made an innuendo-filled appear­ance on her racy VH1 talk show.

Since then, their rela­tionship has apparently been getting more serious by the day.

But Mark, 42, is trying to convince Donnie that sexpot Jenny isn’t the type of woman he should settle down with.

Mark had his share of trouble as a teen, including numerous ar­rests, drug addiction, vandalism and fighting. He even faced an attempted murder charge when he was 16 after he severely beat two Vietnamese men and served prison time for it.

But Mark has since turned his life around and attends Mass regu­larly. He married his longtime love, model Rhea Durham, in 2009 and the couple have four kids together.

“Mark has settled down and become a family man, and he’s constantly nagging happy-go-lucky Donnie to do the same,” added the source.

“But Donnie couldn’t be happier with his life, especially now that Jenny is in it. And he has no inten­tion of changing the way he lives just because Mark doesn’t like it.

“He’s fed up with listening to Mark preach about what a bad influence Jenny is. Now whenever Mark starts in, Donnie reminds him that he’s made a fortune on the big screen playing roles like a drug dealer or a porn star, so he’s in no position to judge anyone.”

Donnie Wahlberg Tweets Naked Pic, Shows Off Six-Pack and More

(Photo1, Photo2) Donnie Wahlberg is hangin' tough with the best of them in the shirtless twitpic department, his former underwear-model brother included.

The 43-year-old New Kid on the Block, no stranger to showing off his abs in concert, shared even more of himself than usual with fans last week when he offered up a photo of himself taken as he was about to get in the shower.

Note the strategically placed towel.

"Pre show shower time!" Wahlberg wrote before making the black-and-white shot part of the wallpaper on his Twitter page.

The Blue Bloods star has been on the road this summer as part of The Package Tour, featuring New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.

"Sometimes there are just no words. Tonights finale of #ThePackageTour was absolutely mind blowing! #ThankYou Indy and NKOTB fans everywhere!" he tweeted last night.

"No better feeling than knowing I gave every ounce of myself on that stage, every single night! You deserve no less!" he added Monday (along with a near-shirtless pic, of course).

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Can't stop THE WHISPER! The exclusive video premiere NOW only Live Nation!

Michael Madsen -- Ordered to Get Extra Help With Booze Problems

(Video) "Reservoir Dogs" star Michael Madsen has completed his 30-day stint at an intensive alcohol treatment facility, TMZ has learned -- but sometimes enough is just not enough ... because a judge ordered him to undergo even MORE treatment for good measure.

TMZ broke the story ... a judge ordered Michael to check into the in-patient rehab program last month, following his 2012 DUI bust when he was popped driving on PCH with a blood alcohol level over TWICE the legal limit (allegedly).

Michael was in court Monday -- to prove he'd completed his mandated 30 days -- but the judge wasn't convinced 30 days was enough.

The judge was definitely pleased with Madsen's progress, but still wanted the actor to go the extra mile ... ordering Madsen to enroll in an outpatient program to help stay on the straight and narrow.

One day at a time.

'Transformers 4' Adds Titus Welliver

Titus Welliver, who’s contributed well-received stints to series like ABC’s LOST, CBS’s The Good Wife, and FX’s Sons of Anarchy, has joined the cast of Michael Bay’s Transformers 4 in an unspecified role. He was most recently seen on the big screen in Ben Affleck’s Best Picture winner Argo and Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land. Production on the Paramount fourquel is underway with a cast that includes new franchise star Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Sophia Myles, TJ Miller, and Chinese stars Bingbing Li and Han Geng. Transformers 4 is slated for a June 27, 2014 release. Welliver is repped by Paradigm and Leverage Management.

'90s Mashup: Vanilla Ice Makes Surprise Appearance at NKOTB Concert

Two popular recording acts of the '90s came together for the first time this weekend.

Vanilla Ice made a surprise appearance at New Kids on the Block's Chicago show Friday at Allstate Arena.

Said NKOTB member Donnie Wahlberg before Ice made his appearance: "Ya'll wanna have a little more fun? Take the lights down low. Chi-town, give it up for Vanilla Ice!"

The rapper sang his massive 1990 hit "Ice Ice Baby" with some assist from the members of NKOTB and then segued into his hit cover/interpretation of "Play That Funky Music."

Ice -- aka Robert Van Winkle -- currently hosts a DIY Network home-improvement show titled The Vanilla Ice Project. During his appearance at the concert, he touted the new season, which debuts in October.

Before leaving, he said: "We finally share the stage together, fellas, after all these years. All the best, guys." He then took a "selfie" with the five members of NKOTB while still onstage.

NKOTB is currently touring the U.S. with fellow '90s-era groups 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men as part of "The Package Tour," which ends Aug. 4 in Indianapolis. (Video)

Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg Are Dating (Yes, Really)

In a coupling you only thought possible in a nostalgic 1990s-era dream, Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg are dating, PEOPLE has learned – even if they are taking things Step by Step.

Steamy sparks flew between them in late March when New Kids on the Block and Blue Bloods star Wahlberg, 43, made an innuendo-filled appearance on her self-titled VH1 talk show.

The duo provocatively sucked on red lollipops while McCarthy, 40, asked "Do you talk dirty while you're having sex?"

"I do," he replied.

"You do – but some guys do it wrong," she replied.

"Yeah, I don't do it wrong," he said seductively, as McCarthy looked as though she needed some air.

McCarthy referenced the red-hot appearance in a blog she posted in advance of the episode on Chicago Splash.

"Let’s just say we visually give 50 Shades of Grey a run for its money," she writes. "It gets steamy. I mean like really steamy. Being turned on by a guy is always fun but to have it legitimately happen to you on TV is to be turned back into a 12-year-old. By the time we get into the groundbreaking interview, my face turns fifty shades of RED."

In April – several weeks after Wahlberg's appearance, McCarthy told PEOPLE, "I'm hoping to meet some [eligible bachelors] on my talk show, after fellow talk show host Chelsea Handler suggested she book guests she would like to date.

At the time, McCarthy said she was still single, but looking.

"I miss the romance," she said. "I miss the cuddling.

How long the relationship will last is anyone's guess, especially because Wahlberg's schedule is about to get extra jam-packed.

On Friday night, he Tweeted "Heard #BlueBloods is on right now! Reminds me, I start shooting again in a week! While still touring! Thats when 3 hours of sleep becomes 1."

Wahlberg has two sons from his nine-year marriage to Kim Fey, which ended in divorce in 2008.

McCarthy has one son, Evan, from a previous relationship. She also famously dated Jim Carrey for five years, but that ended in 2010.

Jenny McCarthy, Donnie Wahlberg Are Dating: Pair Spends Fourth of July Together

The new couple on the block is none other than comedienne Jenny McCarthy and New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg, a source tells Us Weekly. The pair, who have frequently tweeted at one another via social media, are officially an item, the source confirms.

"Yes, they recently started dating and are having a lot of fun," another pal tells Us. "They had a blast 4th of July hanging out with a bunch of their friends." A rep for Wahlberg had no comment.

The couple spent the Fourth of July together and were spotted with pal (and fellow NKOTB member) Jonathan Knight and his boyfriend Harley.

Wahlberg, 43, appeared as a guest on McCarthy's talk show, The Jenny McCarthy Show, earlier this year in March, and the pair got cheeky discussing a wide range of topics, including what kind of pillow talk the boy bander is into.

"Do you talk dirty when you're having sex?" the 40-year-old talk show host asked Wahlberg, to which he chuckled and admitted, "I do."

"You do?" McCarthy said as the pair both sucked on bright red lollipops for the segment. "But you know, some guys do it wrong."

"Yeah, but I don't do it wrong," he said with a laugh.

"Thank you for being on the show," McCarthy tweeted at Wahlberg shortly afterward. "Looking forward to everyone watching us get to first base on TV."

McCarthy previously dated comedian Jim Carrey for more than five years before the pair pulled the plug on their relationship in 2010, and has one son Evan from a previous relationship.

Wahlberg has two children -- Xavier Alexander Wahlberg and Elijah Hendrix Walberg -- from his nine-year marriage to ex-wife Kim Fey. The pair divorced in 2008.

Judge to Michael Madsen -- You Need Serious Help With Your Booze Problem

"Reservoir Dogs" actor Michael Madsen has a really bad booze problem that needs immediate attention -- so says the judge in his DUI case ... who just ordered Madsen to check in to a live-in alcohol treatment facility.

Madsen appeared in court in Malibu today sporting a nasty black eye. It's unclear how he got the shiner ... but the actor has bigger problems.

The actor had been ordered to appear in court today after the judge revoked his probation stemming from his 2012 arrest ... when he was popped on PCH in a gleaming red hot rod with a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit (allegedly).

Madsen had struck a plea deal in the case, in which he agreed to attend AA classes -- but we're told he blew them off, so the judge revoked his probation.

Today ... the judge decided he needed some extra help with his alcohol problem ... and ordered him to enroll in a residential treatment facility for at least 30 days.

The judge ordered Madsen not to leave the facility without court approval -- and said the court would reevaluate the situation after the 30-day period based on a progress report from the facility.

Madsen was ordered to check in to the program within 72 hours.

On the scene: NKOTB, 98 Degrees, and Boyz II Men show Brooklyn their package (tour)

(ew.com) Yesterday may have been Father’s Day, but EW’s social media all-star Nika Vagner and I were the ones who received the greatest gift of all — a triple bill of boy-band hotness, courtesy of New Kids on the Block’s cheekily named The Package Tour, featuring 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.

We posted to EW’s Instagram and Vine accounts last night from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Now I’m here to deliver the in-depth report:

For starters, bands who have been in the biz for more than two decades take the stage promptly. The strains of “On Bended Knee” began to swell right at 7:30 p.m., signaling the beginning of a night of nostalgia-fueled ecstasy. As was only right for a group who sold millions singing babymaker jams, Boyz II Men put on a mostly laid-back set, with chart-toppers including “Water Runs Dry” and ”End of the Road,” an elegant a capella take on “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” (they’ve still got it!), and of course “I’ll Make Love to You.”

The last was accompanied by the passing out of roses, and though I was fortunately some distance from the fracas, I suspect blood was drawn by more than thorns alone. The group ended their set with an energetic performance of their breakout 1991 hit “Motownphilly” that included some serious Running Man action; when they sang of “Kickin’ it just for you,” oh yes, they were indeed kickin’ — and high.

98 Degrees stepped onto the stage next, accompanied by their name-checking song “Heat It Up” and some classic 1997 boy band moves (forceful reach out, jazz hand down!). Full disclosure: I was always more of a Jeff Timmons girl than a Nick Lachey fan, but the elder Lachey brother was in excellent voice and really turning on the charm offensive last night. The quartet played everything from their first single, “Invisible Man,” to tracks from their new album 2.0. Naturally, overshirts were removed halfway into the eight-song set — all the better to show off the matching tattoos. A particular highlight: The guys brought four very special ladies up to the central platform for a round-robin serenade of “I Do (Cherish You),” which they dedicated to “all the sexy married ladies.” These boys men know their audience.

But I shan’t delay any further. As a child of the ’80s, the night was all about NKOTB. Before the music revved up, the disembodied voice of Donnie Wahlberg asked the 18,000-plus attendees at the Barclays Center to join him in making a pledge that ended with, “I deserve this night. I earned this night. And together, we own this night.” It was a pretty elaborate lead-in to “We Own Tonight,” the lead track from NKOTB’s current album 10, but it was also an effective way to get the ladies a-screamin’ (and I do say “ladies” because I personally spotted about 15 men total last night).

The New Kids’ supersized, 19-track set was the most high-energy and the splashiest of the three acts. There were confetti and streamer cannons! Used multiple times! (Not to mention lasers, giant balloons, hydraulic platforms, and a rotating stage.) You didn’t have to be a 13-year-old to get into the spirit of the proceedings — though you might giggle like one when Joey, Jordan, Jon, Donnie, and Danny did their signature crotch thrusts. And, yes, there were a lot of crotch thrusts — and zero complaints.

All the greatest hits were present along tracks from 10 and their 2008 album, The Block. Naturally, Joey and Jordan got a lot of solo time (including a Joey’s signature ballad “Please Don’t Go Girl,” during which he stood atop an elevated platform, dropped to his knees, and ignited a teen-idol-worthy slew of shrieks from the house), but all the Kids got in on the action — a demonstration of the group’s evolution into a true ensemble through the years. Even Jon, who has openly struggled with anxiety, had a few solos; his general confidence last night was met with loud cheers, testifying to fans’ 25-years-strong support for these guys.

If you were looking for lust, though, you one needed look no farther than the glistening chest of Donnie Whalberg, gyrated to oldies like “Cover Girl” and newbies like “Remix (I Like The).” Always the flirt of the group, Donnie obviously taught baby brother Mark his swagger back in the day, and last night’s response to his still-not-old tricks showed that he was surely responsible for the sexual awakening of many a lady in attendance.

As the show wound down, one of the night’s biggest highlights came as Joey brought out his son Griffin out in celebration of Father’s Day. He asked, the 5-year-old, “Do you have a question?” And Griffin responded in song: “Remember when we said, ‘Girl, please don’t go’?” — the first lines of the New Kids’ 1990 hit “Tonight.” Li’l Mac then joined his dad and uncles in some choreography. Girls of 2026, watch yo’selves!

We collectively picked our ovaries off the floor in time for a jump-around to Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” It was one of many musical homages they rolled out during the two-hour act, including a mixed-bag mini-set covering the Jackson 5's “I’ll Be There,” George Michael’s “Faith,” and even “Hot in Herre” by Nelly.

As Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees had done, NKOTB paid special homage to Brooklyn, recalling that the last time they’d performed in the borough was in Coney Island to record the video for “Please Don’t Go Girl.” Later, Donnie told the crowd that he remembered “riding down from Beantown to New York, all crammed into one car — when girls in New York started chasing after that car in New York, we knew we’d made it.” Cue the singalong to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” maestro!

The night ended with the title track from the group’s 1988 breakout album Hangin’ Tough. Arms in mid-wave, I could practically taste the cherry Lip Smackers. As I boarded the train home, I took a picture for two thirtysomethings who were giddy from the show. “We’ve been to probably 20 New Kids shows,” one told me, “but this is the first one we’ve seen together.”

And that was the magic of the night: It’s safe to say the majority of last night’s concertgoers are swiftly moving toward an age where they won’t encounter many more firsts. Groups like NKOTB, 98 Degrees, and Boyz II Men keep those firsts flooding back — a gift that diehard fans will take in any Package.

The Package Tour continues through Aug. 4.

Paradigm Signs 'Modern Family's Ed O'Neill

Modern Family star Ed O’Neill has signed with Paradigm, joining his longtime agent Iris Grossman who moved from ICM Partners to Paradigm earlier this month. O’Neill, who is managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners, is the third major Grossman client to follow her from ICM to Paradigm joining Mandy Patinkin and Fraces Conroy. O’Neill stars as patriarch Jay Pritchett on ABC’s Emmy-winning comedy Modern Family, a role that has earned him two Emmy nominations. He is one of the highest-paid actors on TV as he also has ownership in the show. O’Neill’s previous series credits include Married… With Children, John From Cincinnati and The West Wing. In features and on stage, O’Neill has a decades-spanning affiliation with the Pulitzer-winning playwright David Mamet, appearing in his films The Spanish Prisoner, Spartan and Redbelt and stage productions of Lakeboat and Keep Your Pantheon.

Donnie Wahlberg not done with boy bands

Of all the New Kids on the Block, Donnie Wahlberg would seem the most likely to outgrow his '80s boy band once and for all.

After all, the 43-year-old singer has carved out more than a decent career as an actor - most recently as a detective on the CBS family cop drama Blue Bloods.

But Wahlberg says he's going to perform as a New Kid as long as his body will let him.

"I don't know how long I'll be able to do this dancing and singing and running around on stage so I might as well do it while I can," he says ahead of a run of Canadian tour dates with fellow boy bands 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men in tow.

"I pretty much have the routine down. I start shooting Blue Bloods in July. I eat donut after donut after donut up until January (then) I start getting in shape physically and mentally."

In fact, Wahlberg is front and centre musically this time around, featured prominently on NKOTB's new single, Remix (I Like The), from their new album, 10. This for no other reason than it fell in the range of his voice.

"I haven't really sung that loud rock n' roll sort of voice in a long time but I think the guys in the group knew it was logical for me to sing a lot of it," he says. "There's no real meaning behind it. I know sometimes people wonder if it's a changing of a guard, it's not."

Wahlberg also made news recently for an entirely different - and much more tragic - reason.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Wahlberg didn't shy away from expressing his emotions -- and support for his hometown. The attack did strike close to home -- NKOTB bandmate Joey McIntyre had finished the race just 10 minutes before the first bomb exploded.

"In the last few months I've discovered something different about Boston," Wahlberg told some of the survivors and first responders at last week's Boston Strong benefit, which saw New Kids joined by the likes of Aerosmith and James Taylor.

"Everyone can celebrate in times of glory ... but when something tragic happens, when something horrific happens, when something unspeakable happens, that's not only when cities come together, that's when families come together. And I think we've shown the world in the last few months, that we are not just one of the greatest cities on earth, we are one of the greatest families on the face of this Earth."

Wahlberg also produces the cop reality show, Boston's Finest, and co-owns the popular Boston hamburger restaurant, Wahlburgers, with his brothers - chef Paul and actor Mark. A pilot has been shot for a potential reality show.

"It's very possible the second (Wahlburgers) could be in Canada but it's a little too early to discuss," he says. "Mark and I both have a lot of friends north of the border. We do a lot of different things with them and we actually have Canadian partners in Wahlburgers."

Boston Strong: Donnie Wahlberg, Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett and More Stars Come Together for Concert

(Video) Boston is one strong, proud city.

Thursday night, the stars came out in full-force for Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration to support victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Among the celebrity participants were Donnie Wahlberg, James Taylor, Carole King, Jimmy Buffett, Jason Aldean, Dane Cook and Steven Wright.

"To say everyone is checking their ego at the door is a cliche, but it's true," said Wahlberg, per Boston.com. "To walk down the hallway and bump into Carole King and have her say ‘Thank you. Your city is so great...' There's no place for rock star attitudes tonight."

And yes, there was a New Kids on the Block reunion. Donnie teased, "We've cooked up a little melting pot of wonderfulness," adding, "The pot's still brewing."

Proceeds from the show, which are expected to exceed $1.5 million, will benefit The One Fund, which has raised more than $37 million for victims of the Boston bombing.

Favorite sons Aerosmith, NKOTB keep Boston Strong

Rock, pop, metal, country-punk, straight-up stand-up, radio standards and ... Margaritaville? Genres and generations may separate them, but the all-star lineup of Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration united Thursday night for the sake (and entertainment) of a healing Hub.

The event: Hometown heroes New Kids On the Block, Aerosmith, James Taylor, the J. Geils Band and Dropkick Murphys were joined by Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett, Carole King and others at TD Garden for a sold-out concert in support of the One Fund. The charitable effort for the Boston Marathon bombings has raised $37.6 million to aid survivors and victims' families.

"We are Boston Strong!": Matt Siegel, aka "Matty in the Morning" of local radio station Kiss 108, roused the packed room with his powerful opening statements. "This could be my proudest moment!" he crowed, praising the first responders, runners, cops and EMTs as each call for applause was met with a growing wave of cheers. The camera panned to Jeff Bauman, the young man who became the face of the marathon bombings when he lost both his legs in the April 15 blasts, before a moving opening reading by poet Richard Blanco.

More than a feeling: Quite possibly the most aptly chosen opener in the history of big-name benefits, Boston launched into a deafening take on The Star-Spangled Banner before plowing through the more revered hits of their catalog, including closer Foreplay/Long Time and, of course, the gravity-defying More Than A Feeling.

Comedy in canary: There's something to be said for the therapeutic powers of a good laugh, and Cambridge native Lenny Clarke (attired in neon-yellow trousers) cracked jokes that barely shied away from "too soon" territory, impersonating famed Watertown boat owner David Henneberry ("He's in my boat about a half a block away from where ya stopped lookin!'") and roasting Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Sincerity, unplugged: An acoustic rendition of jukebox staple More Than Words coaxed a rapt crowd into an arena-wide sing-along within two bars of Extreme making their Boston Strong entrance. The band favored bongos, handclaps and steel strings for their two-song set, complimenting the crowd on their singing and rallying skills.

Roses for the Garden: The J. Geils Band's Peter Wolf pranced onstage and his backup singers followed suit, as did a hip-shaking epidemic that spread from the front row to the bleachers. By the first chorus of Love Stinks, a bouquet of red long-stemmed roses appeared onstage, and Wolf flung them aimlessly into the first rows (after pulling two for his singers), much to his peers' delight.

Biggest disappointment? Though the J Geils Band elevated expectations with their brassed-and-sassed showdown of a performance, the stage cleared without a whisper of Centerfold.

"Let the world know we were here": Clad in a cowboy hat and met with the shrill screams of country-loving ladies in the audience, Jason Aldean brought a bit of love to Boston via Nashville twang. A couple of Boston shout-outs rendered him a local for the evening, a notion cemented as soon as Aldean admitted to being a huge Red Sox fan. Country rapping might be an acquired taste, but Aldean's ferocious take on Dirt Road Anthem garnered hands in the air, reaching out in applause and adoration.

A family to be proud of: Before bringing former New England Patriots offensive lineman (and marathon first responder) Joe Andruzzi onstage, Donnie Wahlberg, one of the event's key planners, touched on the emotional thread tying the evening together. "We've had many reasons to be proud throughout the years: We have the Red Sox, we have the Patriots, we have the Celtics, we have the Bruins. When something unspeakable happens ... we have shown we're not just one of the greatest cities on this earth; we're one of the greatest families on this earth."

Boston's banner boys: Dropkick Murphys, a last-minute addition to the lineup, put out an EP to support the One Fund and led off with one of its songs, the uncharacteristically solemn and emotional Don't Tear Us Apart. How the Garden didn't cave in from the riotous stomping throughout I'm Shipping Up to Boston is mystifying. NKOTB bolted to the stage to belt out the chorus to the new Bostonian anthem, embracing their brethren before transitioning to their own set.

The True Kids On the Block: The New Kids, attired in bedazzled Bruins jerseys, took hold of the Garden with the same tenacity they would've 25 years ago. (The "all that I needed, Boston!" change-up during the breakdown of (You Got It) The Right Stuff was a sweet touch, too.)

The best middle-school dance ever: Leave it to the NKOTB dreamboats to bring out the first big surprise of the night, an unexpected Bell Biv DeVoe cameo.

3:57: A revealing moment from New Kid Joey McIntyre, who ran the Boston Marathon this year: "I finished 3:57, 10 minutes before it happened, but I don't care where you were that day — it happened to all of us that day. It sounds like a cliche, but I'm telling you, love conquers hate every single time."

Second surprise in the NKOTB set: Boyz II Men were brought out for a tribute to those fatally wounded in the blasts, inviting the crowd to sing along on a touching performance of One Sweet Day by both groups.

From Stockbridge to Boston Strong: With Carole King on the piano and James Taylor perched with his guitar, a serenade starting with Sweet Baby James provided a welcome contrast to the boisterous introduction by sportscaster Chris Berman. So Far Away rightfully merited a standing ovation, as did the voluptuous harmonies of Shower the People. Their pairing on How Sweet It Is was vanilla at best, but the crowd seemed to love it.

Hardly wasting away: Though Parrotheads associate Jimmy Buffett with Hawaiian shirts and oasis-ready ditties, perfect tropical tidings, New Englanders embraced Buffett as one of their own. Beach balls were bouncing, choruses were called back as though they were written by the crowd itself and Buffett's broad smile was matched by the Garden's sunny disposition.

The Poop Emoji: Only Dane Cook can get away with posing as one if the popular illustrated iPhone characters and get a room full if deliriously tired people to laugh about it. Boston welcomed the mischievous Arlingtonian back to his home turf with open blue-and-gold-clad arms.

'Sweet Emotion': If Buffett was taking us on a coconut-scented mental escape to the coast of Mexico and Aldean brought redneck sensibilities to downtown Boston, Aerosmith ripped us back to reality and a lineup anchored by rock legends with the drop of their first downbeat. Conducting the crowd like a mike-wielding Mephistopheles, Steven Tyler traipsed the length of the stage, his telltale howl and serpentine moves hypnotizing both the laws of physics and logic at the same time. It's crazy to think that Tyler hasn't lost a shred of his showmanship skills in the decades he's been at it — but, hey, when a man dances like the devil, there's a good chance he made a good deal with him, too. And with Tyler, we can never be sure.

Shredded: A white piano was wheeled out for Dream On, and Joe Perry and Tyler did what they did best: stick to the metaphorical guns of their ax and pipes, shredding each part as close to the breaking point as they could get without shredding either.

Boston rockers play fundraiser for bomb victims

A succession of all-star bands from Aerosmith to Jimmy Buffet rocked a packed house at Boston's TD Garden on Thursday night in a mostly raucous fund-raiser for the victims of last month's marathon bombing.

Tickets priced between $35 and $285 sold out fast at the 17,500-seat venue, with net proceeds to be donated to The One Fund, a reserve established by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick that has so far received more than $37 million in donations to compensate victims of the April 15 bombing.

The music kicked off with a Jimi Hendrix-style distortion guitar version of the U.S. national anthem by rock band Boston that drew cheering fans out of their seats before lead singer Tommy DeCarlo told the crowd "Tonight we are all Boston."

Another Massachusetts band, Extreme, transformed the energy with a sing-along version of "More Than Words" - an acoustic love song - before the homegrown J. Geils Band unleashed a torrent of fast-paced R&B as lead man Peter Wolf strutted the stage in black leather and shades.

"We came up here to help out Boston, but also because these are some great bands," said Shelly Watson, who drove up from Rhode Island with her husband to see the show, which also included comedians and a short speech by Victoria McGrath, a young girl who was injured in the bombing.

Other acts included country star Jason Aldean, who despite not being from Massachusetts admitted to being a fan of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, New Kids on the Block, James Taylor and Aerosmith - which made a round-the-world detour from Singapore to make the show.

Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block won the decibel award when he took the microphone and yelled the word Boston repeatedly, drawing enthusiastic shrieks from the audience.

"We came here tonight to show the world how resilient we are," he said.

Fellow band mate Joey McIntyre displayed the marathon medal he earned on the day of the explosion before the group broke into a run of songs including "I'll Be Loving You" and "Step By Step."

Aerosmith closed the show with a bang with lead man Steven Tyler sporting an ankle-length cape and leopard-pattern shirt dancing with his microphone stand while singing rousing versions of "Sweet Emotion" and "Living on the Edge."

"How heavy does your heart feel after a night like this?" he asked the cheering crowd.

Concert organizers have declined to say yet how much money the concert will raise for The One Fund, but have said bands and venue employees were working for free.

Three people were killed and 264 injured, many losing their legs, by homemade pressure-cooker bombs that exploded at the finish line of the world-renowned Boston Marathon on April 15.

Kenneth Feinberg, a lawyer who specializes in mediation, was tapped by Menino and Patrick to run The One Fund. Feinberg has warned victims to lower their expectations of how much money the fund would be able to pay individual beneficiaries.

Boston bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen with roots in Russia's volatile northern Caucasus, was captured in a dramatic police manhunt days after the bombing. He was criminally charged and is being held in jail.

His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was also identified by the FBI as a suspect but he was killed in a gunfight with police. U.S. security officials have said they believe the brothers had Islamic militant sympathies.

'Truly Boston Strong' at show for marathon victims

The song "Come Together" their rallying cry, performers at a benefit concert for victims of the deadly Boston Marathon bombing had thousands of people cheering Thursday for a city that has pulled together to overcome adversity.

Veteran rockers Aerosmith helped close the 5 ½ hour Boston Strong Concert. After an energetic run through hits, such as "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion," they were joined on stage by 1990s boy band New Kids on the Block and other performers for the Beatles classic.

The Boston Strong Concert had residents jamming to songs from the Dropkick Murphys, Boston and other musical acts and even laughing at a joke about the capture of a bombing suspect.

The concert kicked off with the rock band Boston playing songs including its 1970s hit "More Than a Feeling."

"Tonight, we are all Boston," lead singer Tommy DeCarlo declared to a crowd of thousands of people, including victims and first responders, at the TD Garden.

"Boston got its heart broken ... but if they think they can keep us down, they can 'Dream On,' said frontman Steven Tyler before Aerosmith played their hit by that name.

The Dropkick Murphys, whose rousing rendition of "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" was a crowd favorite, were introduced by former New England Patriots player Joe Andruzzi, who was watching the April 15 marathon when the bombs went off and helped victims at the scene.

"When I looked around that day, the image that's in my mind is seeing more people run to the site than run away," Andruzzi said. "That is truly Boston Strong."

Concertgoer Harry Donovan said Boston residents weren't going to let "any violence, any hatred bring this town down."

"This city took a hit, there's no doubt, but Boston, like a lot of other cities, is resilient," said Donovan, of nearby Wellesley.

Bombing victim Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in one of the blasts and was led from the scene in a wheelchair, also attended and smiled on a massive television screen.

As the members of NKOTB took the stage to perform, member Joey McIntyre, who had finished running in the marathon 10 minutes before the bombs went off, choked up.

"I happened to be on a bench in Copley Plaza, Copley Square," McIntyre said, "but I don't care where you were that day, because this happened to all of us."

Surprise guests Boyz II Men joined NKOTB on stage for "One Sweet Day" in tribute to those who lost their lives in the attack.

Other acts taking part in the benefit show included country singer Jason Aldean and comedian Steven Wright. James Taylor performed "Sweet Baby James" with Carole King on piano.

More than once, the words "Boston Strong" were met with cheers and fist pumps from the energetic crowd.

"I love that phrase," enthused Boston comic Lenny Clarke, whose cathartic set featured a foul-mouthed, one-man reenactment of the capture of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. "You know what I don't love? 'Shelter in place.'"

Boston area residents were locked down, told to shelter in place, a few days after the bombing while authorities searched for Tsarnaev, who was found hiding in a boat in a backyard in suburban Watertown. Tsarnaev's older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had died after a shootout with police.

The suspects, ethnic Chechens from Russia, are accused of setting off two pressure cooker bombs packed with shrapnel near the marathon's finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Their mother has insisted they are innocent.

Concert proceeds will go to One Fund Boston, the compensation fund established by Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino to help bombing victims.

The amount of money raised by the concert won't be available until next week, a spokesman for the event's producer said. Ticket prices for the sold-out show ranged from $35 to close to $300.

It was a night of joy, tears, laughter and standing ovations, but co-organizer and NKOTB member Donnie Wahlberg said the artists on stage were not the true stars

"You deserve the credit," the Dorchester native told the crowd. "I think we've shown the world in the last few months what many in Boston have already known, that we are not just one of the greatest cities in the world, we are one of the greatest families in the world."

New Kids on the Block comes to the Nassau Coliseum

It's a year of milestones for New Kids on the Block.

They just released their 10th studio album, fittingly called "10" (The Block/Universal), and they are coming up on the 25th anniversary of the tour where they became arena headliners, when "Hangin' Tough" came out. It's a time they immortalized in their 2008 comeback hit "Summertime," when Joey McIntyre yells "Jones Beach! 1988!"

However, things are very different these days for NKOTB. For starters, they are very much in control of their own destinies now. "We grew up in the business," says Donnie Wahlberg, calling from the band's rehearsal space in Connecticut. "We've learned from the best and now all the guys are applying themselves today."

Wahlberg, who splits his time between music and acting, currently part of the cast of CBS' "Blue Bloods," says he has become the unofficial creative director for "The Package Tour," which stops at Nassau Coliseum Saturday. "I know what needs to go into a tour," he says, adding that all the other New Kids -- McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight and Danny Wood -- have input in the show. "I look at it like a movie. You have to open up strong. You have a surprise. Somewhere along the line it takes a turn, and you get to your next surprise. Then, you have to finish strong."

WHAT TO EXPECT "We'll definitely be tapping into '10' on this tour," says Wahlberg. "When we were doing the album, we were thinking of performance. A lot of the songs that we were choosing, that we were gravitating towards, felt like they were made for an arena."

THINKING OF BOSTON NKOTB was set to be part of last night's "Boston Strong" benefit concert with Aerosmith, James Taylor and other Boston artists, whose proceeds went to the One Fund Boston for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. McIntyre experienced the tragedy firsthand, finishing the marathon 11 minutes before the bombs went off. "It's hard to imagine what the energy will be like that night," Wahlberg says, a week before that show. "We have to be there for our hometown when they need us."

FANS FIRST Wahlberg says that even after the group has done successful arena tours alone and with the Backstreet Boys, there are still those who question whether "The Package Tour" will work. "Our first priority is to make our fans happy," he says. "Whether it's an album, a tour, a video, a cruise, our first goal is to satisfy our fans, not to prove the naysayers wrong. But proving the naysayers wrong is a really sweet cherry on top."

WHAT "The Package Tour" featuring New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees

WHEN|WHERE 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale

INFO $24.50-$94.50; 516-794-9300, nassaucoliseum.com

NKOTB on Boyz II Men

In 2011, when Boyz II Men popped up for a surprise performance in Orlando during the New Kids on the Block tour with the Backstreet Boys, the crowd went wild.

“[New Kid] Donnie Wahlberg told me that building was as loud as any building he’s ever heard,” says Nate Morris, on the phone from Las Vegas, where Boyz II Men have been performing a residency at the Mirage. Although the timing wasn’t right for them to join in on the boy band fun last time, when the Philly vocal trio got the call to be a part of “The Package” tour — which stops at the TD Garden Sunday and Monday — with NKOTB and the reunited 98 Degrees, they happily rearranged their schedule to make it happen. Once the tour is complete, Boyz II Men — Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Wanya Morris — will return to Las Vegas to pick up their residency and also continue work on a new album of original material that they hope to have out in 2014.

During a recent chat with the members of NKOTB, the ’80s-spawned group raved about the ’90s-launched Boyz and their vocal bona fides. “We feel privileged to be touring with them,” said Jordan Knight. When we asked both groups if they might be performing on stage together, Knight said they would try to cook something up, and Morris replied, “We’re singers, we’ll try anything!”

We polled the New Kids for their favorite Boyz II Men songs — and we’re guessing if a sing-off happens, it will come from this list.

1. Danny Wood: “Water Runs Dry”

2. Jordan Knight: “End of the Road”

3. Jonathan Knight: “On Bended Knee”

4. Joey McIntyre: “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”

5. Donnie Wahlberg: “Motownphilly”

New Kids on the Block unwrap the Package Tour

The New Kids on the Block cluster around a piano on the Orpheum Theatre stage.

It is late March and they are rehearsing the harmony parts for a new song they’ll be performing later in the evening at the release party for their new album, “10.”

The show is a miniature preview of sorts for their current arena tour, a boy band extravaganza — dubbed The Package — featuring openers Boyz II Men and the recently reunited 98 Degrees, which comes to the TD Garden Sunday and Monday. (NKOTB was also slated to participate in the Boston Strong benefit concert Thursday night at the arena.)

After soundcheck, hanging in a green room backstage, the five men — Donnie Wahlberg, 43; Jonathan Knight, 44; Jordan Knight, 43; Danny Wood, 44; and Joey McIntyre, 40 — display a different kind of harmony.

The Boston-bred quintet has an easygoing dynamic. Sometimes they apologize for interrupting each other, sometimes they excitedly finish each other’s sentences. The elder Knight often comes in for ribbing. Wahlberg is the emphatic leader, but mindful of giving the others time to speak. They are still counting their blessings and thanking their exceedingly loyal fan base that a reunion launched in 2008 only seems to be gaining momentum.

‘We try to find a happy balance between doing stuff that keeps it fun and exciting for us but honoring what we came from. That’s what people want to see.’

“Happy doesn’t do it for me,” says Wood, now a Florida resident, about the group’s current level of contentment. “Five years later to still be doing this and have a new record and the tour, and with Boyz II Men especially, it’s pretty awesome.”

When asked if they ever worry the other shoe will drop and the fans will stop coming, McIntyre admits with a laugh “[Expletive] yeah, every time you put a tour together. No question. We never take this for granted and that’s what makes it so sweet when you get the call: ‘Let’s do another Boston [show]’ and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, we keep getting chances!’?” (It is McIntyre who is simultaneously chagrined and proud to have coined the tour’s cheeky name.)

Many groups in their position would be satisfied at having reestablished themselves as a touring attraction and not bothered with releasing new music, especially since they all have other obligations, most notably Wahlberg’s commitment to the CBS cop drama “Blue Bloods.” McIntyre is also at work on a one-man show he hopes to take to Broadway.

But NKOTB is a fan-driven enterprise, and they decided to give the people what they claimed they wanted: new music.

New Kids on the Block.

“They wanted to get reinvigorated and so did we,” says Wahlberg of the fans, with whom the group held a series of “town hall meetings” last year. “The fans were like ‘Give me a new freaking album.’ And we need some new material to play in shows.”

They hired A&R pro Aimee Nadeau — an NKOTB superfan whom Wahlberg remembers sitting in front of his house in Braintree as a teen — to help them find songs. They then spent 13 weekends flying back and forth to LA (save for McIntyre, who lives there full-time) to record “10” — so named because it’s the group’s 10th release in the US. if you include the Christmas and hits compilations.

Produced by Danish songwriting-production team Deekay, the album combines a familiar mix of ballads and dance tracks, pushes the group in a slightly more mature direction, and features some of their strongest vocal performances to date.

“We used to call [producer] Lars [Jensen] the vocal Nazi because he would just be like, ‘OK, one more time. OK, two more just like that,’?” says Nadeau, who has done A&R work with everyone from Lady Gaga to Michael Bolton. “He would just keep exercising their voices and making them sing it over and over until they got the right take."

The album was preceded by the kicky single “Remix (I Like The)” which taps into the retro-soul sensibility of the last few years. In a fair world, that song and a few others would find a home behind Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake on pop radio but, Wahlberg says with a laugh, “The flip side of that is we had some of the biggest hits in history that, in a fair world, maybe shouldn’t have been. I’m just saying, some of our hits were a little dicey in the past, and it all balances out.”

Which is the watchword for the tour as well.

“We try to find a happy balance between doing stuff that keeps it fun and exciting for us but honoring what we came from,” says Wahlberg. “That’s what people want to see. It is what it is. I don’t like ‘The Right Stuff’ very much but there’s nothing I like doing more than performing it in concert; it’s incredible. When we go in the Boston Garden, we better do the hits and we better do them big or else people are going to throw rocks at us. We’re not going to get all artsy and just do a whole concert of new songs,” says Wahlberg. “They’d throw our dolls back at us,” adds Jordan with a laugh.

Concert For Boston

@Concert4Boston tonight! You can join the party by watching the livestream: here #Concert4Boston

2012-2013 TV Season Series Rankings 18-49

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73 CBS BLUE BLOODS 24 1.9/6

CBS 2013-14 Schedule

FRIDAY
8-9 PM – Undercover Boss
9-10 PM – Hawaii Five-0 (NT)
10-11 PM – Blue Bloods

Fans Want Wax Figures of New Kids on the Block at Madame Tussauds

(bostonmagazine.com) When a great figure or notable person comes along and inspires others, they are often later memorialized in the form of a statue or monument. And die-hard fans of Boston-bred New Kids on the Block think that same sentiment should hold true for their favorite boy band.

In a petition created on thepetitionsite.com, NKOTB uber-fan Amy Greenwald called on Madame Tussauds museum to immortalize the 1980s boy band with their very own wax statues. “This petition’s ultimate goal is to persuade your wax museum to induct New Kids on the Block,” Greenwald wrote. “We, the fans, are proud and strong. We stand united across the globe. We proudly request that New Kids on the Block be inducted into the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum as an honor, not only to them but to us as well.”

As of Monday, the petition to get the group “inducted” into the museums, which span worldwide and have locations in New York, Los Angeles, and London, has reached 806 signatures. Greenwald hopes to hit 5,000 by October.

The museum already has wax figures of more recent pop stars such as Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and most recently, British boy band One Direction, all based on their respective musical accomplishments, which is why the Blockhead believe the NKOTB deserve a spot, too. “New Kids on the Block became the foundation for other boy band acts such as NSync, Backstreet Boys, and One Direction. In their almost 30 years together, they have yet to be inducted into the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum,” wrote Greenwald, adding that the group has maintained a steady sell-out streak and has sold 80 million records worldwide—“and counting.”

“With millions of fans across the globe, known as Blockheads, their undying love, determination and unity has become contagious. Multi-generational fans have united with each other as well as New Kids on the Block and have become family,” she said.

Boston magazine reached out to officials from the wax museum who said “there are no prerequisites other than what the museum chooses to create,” but celebrities are not allowed to buy their way in, and it is up to the discretion of the museum. A spokesperson said they would look into whether or not the New Kids were on the radar.

According to the museum’s website, it takes up to 800 hours to create just one wax figure, which is done by a “small army” of sculptors, and more than 250 measurements of the actual person. If the NKOTB were to get inducted into Madame Tussauds, it would take them approximately 4,000 hours to create the wax replicas of Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, Jonathan Knight and Jordan Knight, based off of 1,250 measurements.

NKOTB fans have been known to go above and beyond for the group. In March, during a concert at the Orpheum Theater to promote their new album, “Blockheads” presented a full-page Billboard ad honoring the boys’ musical efforts over the last three decades, which brought NKOTB members to tears.

Members of the group will be in Boston later this month to perform alongside other big musical acts for the “Boston Strong” concert benefiting the victims impacted by the marathon bombings. The show was spearheaded by the NKOTB, and notable member Donnie Wahlberg, as a show of support for the group’s hometown.

Sons of Anarchy: Kim Dickens to (Ahem) 'Intersect' With [Spoiler] and [Spoiler]

Sons of Anarchy is pulling Kim Dickens back into the escort biz.

The TV vet — who played head whore Joanie Stubbs on HBO’s Deadwood — is joining the FX drama’s upcoming sixth season as seductive and maternal madame Colette Jane, TVLine has learned exclusively.

According to sources, her character’s ambition will intersect with professional companionators Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Nero (Jimmy Smits).

Dickens recently finished shooting the fourth and final season of HBO’s Treme. Her other credits include Friday Night Lights and Lost.

Production on SOA‘s sixth season begins next week.

TNT's 'Boston's Finest' Renewed For Second Season, Encores To Air On CNN

After the heroic display of the Boston PD in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings, it seemed difficult for TNT not to pick up a second season of docudrama Boston’s Finest. The unscripted series, which offers viewers an up-close and very personal look at the men and women of the Boston Police Department, has now been renewed, with reruns to air on sister network CNN, which has been branching out into entertainment. Boston’s Finest averaged 1.3 million viewers in Live+7 . That is in line with last year’s The Great Escape, which was canceled after one season as TNT is yet to launch a breakout reality series, with none of its previous efforts earning a second-season renewal. Boston’s Finest is executive-produced by Boston native Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods) and Seth Jarrett and Julie Insogna-Jarrett (Celebrity Ghost Stories) and comes to TNT from Jarrett and Insogna-Jarrett’s Jarrett Creative Group and Wahlberg’s Donnie D. Productions.

Wahlberg, Selleck key to Blue Bloods' success

(theprovince.com) At first glance, Blue Bloods doesn’t seem to have much to offer a Canadian TV audience. The reality, though, is that this third-year drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to law enforcement in New York City is one of Friday’s most-watched programs here.

More than 1.5 million viewers tuned in to a recent episode, placing Blue Bloods in the Top 15 that week. Blue Bloods consistently ranks among the Top 30 most-watched programs in any given week.

Part of the reason is that it’s both a cop show and a family saga, so it cuts across several generations and TV genres.

Another reason is that, with Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, Blue Bloods stars TV royalty and one of TV’s more appealing personalities. Selleck is a holdover from the age of hard-boiled TV detectives in the 1980s, when Magnum, P.I. was appointment television for countless households in a time when there was just a handful of channels.

Selleck is a star tailor-made for TV: charismatic but not threatening, a comforting presence in times of stress, with a natural, low-key way of putting the viewer at ease.

Wahlberg, on the other hand, is younger but not too young, and gives Blue Bloods a much-needed infusion of fresh blood, and energy. Wahlberg has long since outgrown his New Kids on the Block heyday, though.

Longtime TV followers are more apt to recognize him from his star turns in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and Graham Yost’s edgy, critically acclaimed 2003 crime drama Boomtown. Boomtown may have been cutting-edge, but it was never the crowd-pleaser Blue Bloods is. Bloods has clearly caught on with a mainstream audience, both here and in the U.S., where CBS recently picked it up for a fourth season in the fall.

This week’s episode, the last new episode before next week’s season finale, finds Wahlberg’s character, Det. Danny Reagan, facing a crisis of confidence after a young woman commits suicide. Reagan promised to help her in a past life, after her parents were murdered, and now he feels he betrayed a sacred trust. He has to atone.

His father, meanwhile, New York police commissioner and family patriarch Frank Reagan (Selleck), faces a crisis of his own after a gang war claims someone close to the family. In next week’s finale, the Reagans are determined to see that justice be done, even if it means breaking a few rules to get there.

And that sums up Blue Bloods’ success. The weekly stories are conventional by TV crime-show standards — honour killings, copycat crimes, the odd serial killer here and there, etc. — but the reason people watch is for the characters, and the actors who play them.

Blue Bloods won’t win many awards, if any. A weekly audience of 1.5 million viewers, though — and that on a night when relatively few people are watching TV to begin with — has to count for something. (CTV, CBS, 10 ET/PT, 8 MT)

Boston Strong: AN EVENING of Support and Celebration

Tickets On-Sale Monday, May 6 at 10:00 AM

TD Garden and Live Nation are proud to announce ‘Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration’ to be held at the TD Garden on Thursday, May 30, 2013. Net ticket proceeds of this historic concert will benefit The One Fund Boston, set up by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15.

‘Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration’ will feature (in alphabetical order) Aerosmith, Jason Aldean, Boston, Jimmy Buffett, Dane Cook, Extreme, Godsmack, The J. Geils Band, Carole King, New Kids on the Block, James Taylor, and Steven Wright. Additional artists will be announced.

“Live Nation and TD Garden have hosted thousands of concerts over the years, but none with such a sense of purpose as Boston Strong: A Concert of Support and Celebration.” said Don Law, President of Live Nation New England. “Boston is a city with strong roots, and homegrown artists reached out to us to see what could be done. We are proud to help solidify this huge concert line-up.”

“Like so many other proud Bostonians who have been extremely generous, we are honored to step up and do our part to help the victims and their families,” said Donnie Wahlberg, New Kids on the Block. “Hopefully this event will not only raise money, but spirits as well.”

“The One Fund event at the Garden this May 30th is destined to be a true Boston landmark. From the promoters to the sound & lights, to the performers and the Garden staff; everyone involved has responded from the heart in a spontaneous and simultaneous desire to be there, and to do what we can for the city we love. I am honored to be a part of it, and…I can’t wait” said James Taylor.

“The TD Garden, in partnership with Live Nation, is proud to play host to this historic event and raise significant funding and awareness for The One Fund Boston,” said Amy Latimer, TD Garden President. “This is an important community gathering to celebrate the amazing spirit of this city, Boston Strong.”

Tickets are priced from $35 to $285. Prices include all fees and service charges. Information on special sponsor tickets which will include commemorative items, reserved parking, and other items will be available on www.ticketmaster.com and www.livenation.com/vip.

Tickets will go on sale Monday, May 6 at 10:00 AM. Fans can purchase tickets at www.livenation.com, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000 or at TD Garden Box Office. In an effort to make sure all net proceeds from ticket sales go directly to The One Fund, all tickets will be sold through Ticketmaster’s paperless ticket delivery. Fans must have the credit card used to make the purchase and a valid, government-issued ID to gain entry. For more information on paperless ticketing, visit http://www.ticketmaster.com/paperless. For more information on the event, you may also go to www.aconcertforboston.org.

For more information on The One Fund Boston or to donate, visit. www.onefundboston.org. For more information on ‘Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration’, please visit www.TDGarden.com.

MIXTAPE FESTIVAL RETURNS TO HERSHEYPARK STADIUM

Following last year’s summer blow out, Mixtape Festival is returning for the second year, bringing some of music’s top acts to the world famous Hersheypark Stadium on Friday, July 26th and Saturday, July 27th. Presented by Live Nation and VH1, Mixtape Festival 2013 will feature platinum-selling marquee acts, icons and pop phenomenons over the course of the two-day festival. Artists this year include Train, New Kids OnThe Block, The Script, Jonas Brothers, OneRepublic, Rev Run & DJ Ruckus, Boyz II Men, Hanson and more. Plus fans can see TLC live – their only North American appearance!

“We are so thrilled to bring back the Mixtape Festival to Hershey,” said Geoff Gordon, Live Nation Philadelphia Regional President. “There’s an incredible lineup and tons of interactive and fun activities, all while being set at a world-class amusement park – it’s really a pop music lovers dream.”

Live Nation and VH1 are teaming up this year to present Mixtape Festival 2013. This collaboration will further solidify Mixtape Festival as a major pop show and serve as a means to enhance the experience with fan events, interactive exhibits, VIP Packages and so much more.

“VH1 is excited to partner with Live Nation for Mixtape Festival, the premiere pop music event of the summer,” said Rick Krim, EVP Music &Talent Relations, VH1. “It’s a stellar line-up of artists that make up a large part of VH1’s musical backbone. There is something for everyone and will make for a one-of-kind musical experience.”

Featuring exclusive fan events, interactive exhibits, food trucks, and celebrity & special guest appearances, this one-of-a-kind music festival is accessible, inclusive, and designed as a shared celebration of all things pop.

This year’s VIP ticketing packages are a great option for the ultimate pop music fan wanting to experience the best Mixtape Festival 2013 has to offer. VIP packages will include: the best seats in the house, meet and greets with their favorite Mixtape artists, a ‘Rock N Jock’ dodgeball game, exclusive VIP after party with performances by Benji Madden and Rev Run & DJ Ruckus, and so much more! VIP package details and options are available at mixtapefestival.com.

This will be an exciting year for many of the bands participating in the festival. Train is embarking on a huge tour this summer in support of their fifth album, California 37. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozanda “Chili” Thomas will be reuniting this year, marking TLC’s only North American reunion date. Jonas Brothers will also be celebrating a reunion tour this summer. And New Kids On The Block have just released 10, their brand new studio album which debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 chart.

“Mixtape was so much fun last year, the energy was there and the fans came out in droves to support.” said members of New Kids on the Block. “We can’t wait to do it all again this summer. The festival is just continuing to grow and grow, only in its second year and definitely stepping it up already. There will be tons of surprises and new additions that we can’t wait to be a part of.”

Single-day, two-day passes and VIP packages will go on sale Friday, May 10 at 10am and will be available at GIANT Center Box Office, MixtapeFestival.com, Ticketmaster.com, HersheyEntertainment.com, Ticketmaster outlets or by-phone at 800-745-3000. Two-day passes start at $50. American Express cardmembers will receive an exclusive presale beginning Friday, May 3 at 10am EST.

New Kids On The Block: Staying 'Together Forever'

(Video) In an exclusive interview, the Boston boy band reflects on the loyalty of its fans, while offering an impromptu Rick Astley cover to symbolize its future plans.

"We were very, very emotional. It went right to our hearts."

In an exclusive interview on April 4 at the iHeart Radio Theater presented by P.C. Richard & Son in New York, New Kids on the Block's Joey McIntyre beamed about the almost unprecedented occurrence of fans having bought an ad in Billboard magazine, congratulating the group on 25 years of making hits and welcoming it back with its new album, "10."

"We want to continue to have that special connection with our fans," McIntyre says.

The new set roars onto the Billboard 200 this week at No. 6 with 51,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking the group's sixth top 10 and its second-best weekly sum since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. 2008's "The Block," the quintet's first album of new material since 1994, arrived at No. 2 with 95,000.

The group first reached the top 10 with 1989's No. 1 "Hangin' Tough." "Merry, Merry Christmas" peaked at No. 9 that December, as New Kids mania blossomed, thanks to the start of a string of nine consecutive Billboard Hot 100 top 10s. They reigned again with "Step By Step" in 1990 and added the No. 7-peaking "NKOTBSB," a collaborative album with Backstreet Boys, in 2011.

New single "Remix (I Like The)" ushers in "10." The song rises to No. 38 this week on Adult Pop Songs, adding to their catalog of hits. Among them are the Hot 100 No. 1s "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "Hangin' Tough" in 1989 and "Step By Step" in 1990. (Members Jordan Knight and Danny Wood also reigned as co-writers on [current Billboard publisher] Tommy Page's 1990 topper "I'll Be Your Everything.")

"Jon (Knight) sneaks out of the hotel at 2 in the morning for Starbucks with fans," Donnie Wahlberg says. "Everyone in this group will put sleep aside to give more time to the fans, not just like on Twitter or in generic ways but in real, genuine ways.

"We built a relationship with fans. It's special. It's unlike any other group."

Donnie Wahlberg: NKOTB Star On Embracing Their 'Boy-Bandness,' Losing a Sister and TV Success

(music.aol.ca) Donnie Wahlberg's been making love.

The 43-year-old singer and actor is returning to his pop star past with New Kids on the Block's just-released record 10 and tells AOL Music that making the album was a labor of love unlike any other in the group's three-decade span.

"When we were young we were all about dating girls and having fun," he says. "It's like we've stopped having sex and started making love. That's where we're at as a group now -- this is what we do, we love what we do and we're in love with what we do... so it makes making love all the more special!

"I enjoy every aspect more now than as a kid -- performing, recording, touring. I feel more at ease and confident, which is saying a lot because it's a young man's game."

While they're no longer kids, Wahlberg says the band have finally embraced their "boy-bandness," returning to their roots and having more fun recording 10 than 2008's reunion record The Block.

Still, learning to appreciate what they have hasn't been easy. Following the mind-blowing success which saw them dominate the late-'80s/ early-'90s pop scene -- much like One Direction does today -- the Boston quintet were left directionless in their early 20s and stumped about their futures, having already experienced a lifetime's worth of ups and downs.

"It's like you're on a really fast train and assume it'll keep going but one day it stops," says Wahlberg. "If you're not prepared, it's difficult. The public has an opinion of who you are and may never accept you as anything else.

"It may not seem a big deal, but when you're twentysomething and been through one of the most exhilarating rides of most people's lifetimes, you think it's forever. So being faced with, 'What will I do for the next 70 years?' is daunting because it's not easy to be on the cover of every magazine, then take a job at McDonalds.

"It's scary and lots of kids don't survive that initial huge success. They end up broke or on drugs. It takes a lot of hard work and belief in one's self to get through that and find your next phase in life. But if you can find your way to what it is you can do next -- that you can love and be proud of -- it's more fulfilling the second time around."

More fulfilling indeed. At 25, lost and baffled about his future, little did Wahlberg realize that some of his greatest successes would lie another 20 years down the track.

In what's shaping up to be the year of Donnie, the father-of-two has helped lead his show "Blue Bloods" to record-breaking ratings, is getting a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame and filming reality show "Wahlburgers" alongside actor brothers Mark and chef Paul about their Boston area burger restaurant. NKOTB tour dates are selling out and 10 shot to number two on iTunes within hours of going on pre-order sale.

Then there's the project he's most proud of -- executive-producing "Boston's Finest." While the title may sound like a show about NKOTB, it's a reality series following the professional and personal lives of the Boston police department, a squad the Wahlberg siblings had many encounters with growing up.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK'S NEW ALBUM 10 CLINCHES TOP 10

Following last week’s television takeover, making appearances on The Today Show, The View, Kathie Lee & Hoda, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, E! News, OMG! Insider, VH1, Fuse and others, New Kids on the Block’s latest album 10 has secured a TOP TEN SPOT, debuting at #6 on Billboard’s Top 200, alongside impressive company such as Justin Timberlake, The Band Perry, and more. Having sold over 50,000 albums in a week, 10 also debuted in the top ten across the globe including top markets such as Australia, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Greece, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and Spain. The album also took the #1 iTunes spot in Sweden. The Pop supergroup, featuring Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jonathan Knight, is adding more album sales to their already impressive stats of over 80 million records sold worldwide and back-to-back international #1 songs.

In 2008, the band released The Block, which debuted as the #1 Pop Album in the country and #2 overall on the Billboard Top 200 chart. With the strong debut of 10, charting in the top 10, NKOTB has solidified their place in today’s music scene.

The album has been receiving rave reviews, “…puts to shame their contemporary counterparts,” hailed Associated Press, continuing, “this 12-track album separates the men from the boys in the musical arena. They sing with confidence…” Confidence that secured their place at the top of the charts.

Also announced earlier this year on their total takeover of The View, NKOTB revealed plans of a 2013 summer headlining tour. Very special guests, multi-platinum selling artists 98 Degrees, and Grammy Award winning Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time, will be opening for NKOTB on their tour, aptly titled THE PACKAGE TOUR. The tour kicks off on May 31st in Uncasville, CT and tickets can be purchased at www.ThePackage-Tour.com.

Purchase the new album on iTunes and please visit www.ThePackage-Tour.com or Ticketmaster.com for up to date information

Public Mobile Hosts Autograph Signing with New Kids On the Block

WHO: Join International Pop-Phenomenon, New Kids On the Block as they launch their newest album "10" available on Siren Music from Public Mobile.

WHAT: ET Canada's Rick Campanelli will host a live Q&A followed by an autograph session exclusively available through Public Mobile. This is a free event and anyone can attend. For a chance to meet the band and get their autographs visit a participating Public Mobile store or www.PublicMobile.ca to enter the contest. No purchase is necessary. For more information visit http://blog.publicmobile.ca.

WHERE: Pickering Town Centre

WHEN: Saturday, April 13th at 4pm

New Kids on the Block: No longer new or kids, but still having fun

(cbsnews.com) New Kids on the Block may have made headlines last week over Jonathan Knight's curious exit in the middle of the group's intimate iHeartRadio performance in New York. But watching the New Kids' sound check before that very same gig, one word came to mind: fun.

Throughout the group's rehearsal, the five former teen heartthrobs appeared to have the energy of teenagers despite having come off back-to-back TV appearances that week. The guys were smiling, laughing and goofing off. They truly seemed to be enjoying one another's company -- even after all of these years. Jonathan Knight was actually the first to crack a joke during an interview with CBSNews.com before the show, and his brother, Jordan Knight, talked about how NKOTB simply loves performing for fans.

"It's all about the fun. It's all about making people smile and making people happy," Jordan Knight said prior to the show at the iHeartRadio Theater Presented by P.C. Richard and Son, which streamed live at iHeart.com.

During the show, NKOTB performed favorites such as "Step by Step" and "Hangin' Tough," along with songs off its new album, "10," including the single, "Remix (I Like The)."

"It's cool to kind of have a thing -- after 25 years or more making music -- we kind of put our thing on it," Joey McIntyre said about the new album. "It's great. We're excited about it. We got a good bunch of songs that we're excited to share."

The New Kids will perform the new songs -- and their older hits -- on the "Package Tour" this summer with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees.

Introducing new songs to fans is a lot different than when the New Kids on the Block first burst on the scene in 1986.

"The world has changed. Social media changed [things]. A successful album back then was 15 million copies. A successful album now is like 300,000," said Donnie Wahlberg, who also stars in CBS' "Blue Bloods." "I mean it's just a different world. The life-cycle of a band seems shorter than ever -- and the ability to crack through. It seems like there's only room on the radio for like nine people for a couple of years and then a few of them disappear and a few of them take their place."

Somehow NKOTB has managed to not disappear. And although plenty of boy bands have come and gone, the New Kids on the Block haven't moved off the block -- yet.

NKOTB settles the boy band debate once and for all

New Kids on the Block officially settled the score on which groups qualify as boy bands in the 2013 Boy Band Summit with KTU's Paul the Web Guy. Hear NKOTB's thoughts on *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Hanson, Jonas Brothers and One Direction, and find out which song makes Donnie get up and dance!

Check out the LOL video.

CBS: NKOTB In Studio

Fresh 102.7's Kim Berk sits down to chat with Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood of New Kids On The Block: video.

On the scene: NKOTB take it step by step at Andy Cohen's 'Watch What Happens Live'

When Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen described the members of New Kids on the Block as the first boy band-turned-man band, he wasn’t kidding. Faster than you could say “Mazel!” the Beantown balladeers were talking about Joey McIntyre’s junk, and the adult conversation didn’t stop until the WWHL aftershow cameras clicked off.

Fresh off the release of their album 10, McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight were eager to take on everything Cohen had on tap. As is custom at the Bravo Clubhouse, this included cheekily named games with titles like “New Kids on the Jock” (yes, that was a bulge-identifying contest — which they nailed) and “Who Kids on the Block” — a kiss-and-tell, Newlywed Game-style lark during which we learned Danny has always done well with the ladies and that Joey is, very proudly, the quintet’s biggest Masshole.

Joey and Donnie, NKOTB’s two Hollywood-approved actors, were most chatty. Jordan was surprisingly serious, Danny enthusiastically tapped his feet to a clip of their latest single “Remix (I Like The)” but also piped in just enough to prove he’s the coolest cat of the five, and Jon was as endearingly quiet as ever, barely uttering a word before admitting during the aftershow that fan tattoos weirded him out. Donnie’s response? “I like the tattoos! Why is it cool to get a Mötley Crüe tattoo and not a New Kids [one]?”

That said, the fans‘ bodies weren’t what kept the WWHL crowd (read: nostalgia-tripping thirtysomethings and at least one tipsy mom) squeeing. Leave that to Donnie and Joey’s well-honed air humping and an after-aftershow dance party to Ginuwine’s “Pony,” a.k.a. the song the guys unanimously named their Magic Mike-style stripper anthem. When Joey promised he and fellow Package Tour mates Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees had made an “intergroup challenge to get in shape” so they could offer up maximum shirtlessness this summer… forget about it.

It seems NKOTB has hit the sweet spot of knowing exactly what the fans want and being delighted to give it to them. As Donnie said of getting pumped for a concert, “There’s nothing like walking on stage to 20,000 screaming women — if that doesn’t get you up, nothing will.” Somewhere between genuine and calculated, this hint of innuendo mixed with a sincere graciousness is exactly what’s given the group its longevity. ”Please Don’t Go Girl”? Unlikely.

At the end of the day, though, these five guys have been with each other more than anyone else for the greater part of three decades. Their brotherhood showed in their jokes about Joey’s huge… ummm… Package and their endless razzing of Danny for his choices in an after show round of Marry-Shag-Kill: Boy Band Edition. (Sorry, Lachey brothers!) They had each other’s backs and kept mum when a question about former hook-ups arose, though Joey later admitted he shared a kiss with Jon’s ex-girlfriend Tiffany many years before. Jon, who came out in 2011 and is in a committed relationship, was unfazed.

As the guys prepare for The Package Tour (a name Joey devised, naturally), their unflagging playfulness comes once again in handy. Fielding questions both serious (wives, families, and Jon’s desire to have kids) and silly (fashion disasters, current underwear preferences — boxer briefs for all but Joey, who said simply, “I’m free”), they continue to revel in the strange, decades-long journey of a boys-to-men band. Then again, with thousands of stops behind them and thousands yet to go, it probably didn’t hurt that tonight’s stayover came with a shot of bourbon and a pickle juice chaser.

Review: NKOTB's new album, '10,' plays the field

"10," the sixth album from New Kids on the Block, offers up the boy band brand of catchy pop adapted to modern tastes - easy, swaying hooks melded with unexpected Euro beats, sensitive lyrics and vague echoes of retro sounds.

But make no mistake, these guys are here to conquer your heart all over again, even going as far as to issue an Enrique Iglesias-doppelganger sounding tune, "The Whisper."

In a world where true pop romance is dead, this 12-track album separates the men from the boys in the musical arena. They sing with confidence on the touching ballad "Back to Life" (a wink to their phoenix-like rebirth?), issue a playful, energetic party invitation on the first single "Remix (I Like The)" and let emotion pour in "Miss You More."

Their swagger in "We Own the Night" puts to shame their contemporary counterparts who sing in only one direction. They may not set teenage hearts aflutter anymore, but they've got the rest of the market covered.

Watch What Happens Live

BRAVO MEDIA’S “WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE” HAS ALL “THE RIGHT STUFF” WHEN “NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK” STOPS BY THE CLUBHOUSE ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3 AT 11PM ET/PT

NEW YORK – March 28, 2013 – Bravo Media’s “Watch What Happens Live,” hosted by Andy Cohen, welcomes one of the most popular boy bands of the 80’s and 90’s when the New Kids On The Block are live in the clubhouse for their only late-night stop on Wednesday, April 3 at 11p.m. ET/PT. Cohen will take you “step by step” back in time through the groups very popular career.

Wednesday, April 3: New Kids on The Block (Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight and Jonathan Knight)

CBS Renews 'Elementary', 'Blue Bloods'

CBS kept the tradition of renewing most of its slate in one fell swoop. Demonstrating its signature stability, the network has picked up most of its current series for next season, with two major exceptions: veteran Criminal Minds, which is in the midst of renegotiations with the cast, and freshman Vegas, which will get a tryout on Friday later this spring. Renewed for next season are freshman drama Elementary; critical darling The Good Wife; comedies 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly; and drama procedurals NCIS: LA, Person Of Interest, The Mentalist, Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods. The nine join previously renewed The Big Bang Theory (part of a three-year pickup), How I Met Your Mother for a final season, and veterans NCIS and CSI, picked up when their stars Mark Harmon and Ted Danson, respectively, re-upped their contracts. Additionally, CBS said it continues negotiations with Warner Bros TV for another season of Two And A Half Men. Also picked up for next season are unscripted series The Amazing Race, Survivor and Undercover Boss and newsmagazines 60 Minutes and 48 Hours.

Not surprisingly, MIA from CBS’ early renewal list again is perennial bubble comedy Rules Of Engagement. With the series recently hitting the 100-episode mark, the deals for the main cast up and most of them off to do pilots, it seems highly unlikely that Rules would continue, though I hear a short final installment is a possibility. With the key players on Criminal Minds, including stars Thomas Gibson and Joe Mantegna, all embroiled in difficult negotiations as their contracts come up this season, CBS is playing it conservatively with no early renewal, though the crime drama is fully expected to return. As for Vegas, a lot will depend on how the series does in the Friday 9 PM slot this spring.

Donnie Wahlberg prefers '80s hair and almond milk

At 40-something, Donnie Wahlberg isn't exactly a new kid on the block, but that's OK. As the former boy band (man band?) gets ready to return to life on the road, Wahlberg reveals that he drinks almond milk to keep from bloating and snacks on Kashi bars to stay energetic. He also weighs in on arm wrestling with his brother, Mark, and whether, in another life, he'd be a Boston cop or a New York one. (Video)

Is Justin Bieber the Next Donnie Wahlberg? The NKOTB Singer Sounds Off

In just four years, Justin Bieber has gone from fielding innocuous questions about his haircut to denying that he's in desperate need of rehab. Bieber's grown up and into tabloid territory, with his recent troubles making some question whether he's just the latest teen star gone wild.

In what could have been his worst week ever, the 19-year-old pop star struggled with his breathing and fainted backstage at a London show, was taken to a hospital and then was caught on camera clashing with a paparazzo. Days earlier, he was booed by his beloved fans when he showed up late to a concert.

Those incidents come after photos of Bieber appearing to smoke marijuana hit the Web, and some headlines have suggested that the ultra-popular star is going through a famous Britney Spears-style meltdown.

Others suggest he's struggling with a more common condition: being a teenager. Donnie Wahlberg, who was just 14 when New Kids on the Block debuted on the music scene in the late 1980s to wild fan craze, said he remembers the pressure and hard times that came with being a teen celebrity.

"Justin Bieber's making mistakes that everyone makes and he's probably trying things and exploring things that most kids his age explore, but the problem is he's got 50 paparazzi chasing him around when he does it," 43-year-old Wahlberg said. "When we are 19 and 20, we think we can take on the world and we do forget that there is a lot of life left to live in front of us, and hopefully he'll get through these times and find his way into a long career and a healthy adulthood."

Bieber, his manager and his mother didn't respond to interview requests for this story. But the pressure was evident in the days following his collapse backstage at the O2 Arena, as the Grammy-nominated singer wrote on Instagram that he's sick of the "countless lies in the press" and that he would not be heading to rehab.

"I've accomplished more than I could've ever dreamed of, i'm 19 and it must be scary to some people to think that this is just the beginning," he wrote. "I'm a good person with a big heart. ... All this isn't easy. I get angry sometimes. I'm human. I'm gonna make mistakes."

Even mistakes seem like new territory for Bieber: Since breaking out at 15 he's seen five of his albums hit No. 1 on Billboard's 200 albums chart and nearly 20 songs crack the Top 40. He's had several world tours, launched a massively successful 3-D movie about his life and made deals that include his own dolls, nail polish and fragrances. He's got a social media presence that includes 52 million likes on Facebook and 36 million Twitter followers.

But does that leave any time to be a kid?

Nick Carter, considered the wildest of the Backstreet Boys, was also the group's youngest member when they began to dominate the music charts in the 1990s, and he recalls the days when he grew mad as an overworked teen who yearned for a normal life.

"I remember getting tired. I remember getting burned out and I'm like, 'Let me relax' and you have managers, and the record label ... and then before you know it, the artist gets resentful and starts to revolt against them and that's when you end up with a situation like what's going on," he said, referring to Bieber.

"In a lot of ways you're resentful and you're missing out with your friends, your childhood, you see all of your high school friends growing up ... and you're like, 'Oh, I got to go back on tour.'"

Vincent Herbert, the record executive who signed Lady Gaga and also discovered the teen R&B boy band Mindless Behavior and singer JoJo at 12, said that young singers need role models around them who are fit, and that there must be "time for music and time to be kids."

"I think sometimes young artists get to that (frustrated) point because they're young and it's a lot and it gets overwhelming. I don't think Justin Bieber is at that moment, I just think he had a bad week. That kid's a phenomenal artist, he's such a hardworking person, he's such a good kid," said Herbert.

But he acknowledges that for young artists, the pressure does sometimes lead to meltdowns: "No one's a machine - we're all human."

Spears became the poster child for that after she shaved her head and lost custody of her children, and more recently Demi Lovato checked into rehab because of an eating disorder and self-mutilation, though both have released successful music since. And many young members of Hollywood have been rebellious, used drugs and watched their careers falter, from Mackenzie Phillips to Corey Haim and Corey Feldman.

Carter said his bad attitude began to affect his business, and young singers must think twice about their actions even when they're at a breaking point. He says he's now working to rework those lost relationships.

"I probably messed up a particular movie I was going on an audition for because I showed up late and people looked at me like I was disrespecting them when really I was just out of my head," he said. "I've been for years right now scrounging and clawing and proving through my work and staying away from alcohol and trying to be the best person I can be to make up for all the things I've done, and that's been hard."

While Bieber, who was raised by a single mother in Canada, has held on to a pretty squeaky image, last year began to suggest some troubles: He vomited twice onstage during a concert in Glendale, Ariz., he was cited for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway and Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators questioned the singer after he reportedly scuffled with paparazzi who tried to photograph him and then-girlfriend Selena Gomez as they left a movie theater.

"What he's going through ultimately is just the passage of adulthood and to go through that with this kind of scrutiny - it's hard," said Bill Werde, the editorial director of Billboard. "He's going to have to decide if he wants that or not. He's going to have to decide if he can handle the sort of bad that comes with the good."

Both Carter and Wahlberg are reluctant to give advice to Bieber simply because when they were in his position, they wouldn't have listened.

"The facts are that he's going to do what he wants to do," Carter said. "What happened to me when I was that age was the same thing - it's power. Your parents are telling you, 'Please don't do this, please don't do that' and you're looking at them going, 'Who are you? I am me.'"

One Nation WORLD PREMIERE | NKOTB REMIX

One Nation WORLD PREMIERE | NKOTB REMIX: Video.

NKOTB Releases Teaser for New 'Remix (I Like The)' Video

NKOTB on Wednesday gave fans a look at its video for new single "Remix (I Like The)."

The band released a 30-second teaser for the video on Live Nation's website. The clip features the quintet -- Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan McIntyre, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood -- singing while decked out in suits and ties interspersed with scenes of a female dancing it up at a house party.

"She went from wallpaper to heartbreaker," McIntyre sings.

The full video will make its premiere at 9 a.m. Thursday at LiveNation.com.

NKOTB is releasing its 10th album, 10, on April 2, weeks before the group embarks on "The Package Tour" with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men. The tour, which consists of 47 shows, kicks off May 28 in Uncasville, Conn., and wraps up in Indianapolis on Aug. 4.

Watch the teaser here.

RECORD RELEASE EVENT

New Kids On The Block will celebrate their new album, “10” with a very special record release event at Orpheum Theater on March 30th in their Boston hometown, where it all began! Tickets to the event will go on pre-sale Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 10am EST and general on-sale Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 10am EST. You won't want to miss this very special exclusive hometown event. Tickets are extremely limited so be one of the lucky ones to get your hands on them while they are available! Visit www.nkotb.com for up to date information and further details.

'Boston's Finest': 'Blue Bloods' Donnie Wahlberg continues to be his family's 'good egg'

Friday nights on CBS, Donnie Wahlberg patrols the streets of Gotham as a member of the NYPD on the police drama "Blue Bloods." But the New Kids on the Block singer-turned-actor and producer has his roots in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, six square miles with a diverse population ranging from long-established descendants of many immigrant groups to newly arrived hipsters.

But starting Wednesday, Feb. 27, on TNT, Wahlberg returns home as executive producer of "Boston's Finest," an unscripted eight-episode series that follows the beat officers, detectives, SWAT, fugitive, special task forces and gang unit of the Boston Police Department -- which is not unfamiliar with the extended Wahlberg clan.

"That was one of my agendas with the show," Wahlberg tells Zap2it, "to get them to love my family, because they arrested half of them my whole childhood. I had very few [run-ins]; I was the good egg. The family name is in the police blotter; there are a lot of mug shots in the Boston Police Department files."

(He had at least one run-in, since a mug shot of Wahlberg was -- for a time -- the avatar for his Twitter account.)

"I hope to earn some of their respect," Wahlberg continues. "They certainly earned mine."

"Boston's Finest" will air right before TNT's critically acclaimed scripted police drama "Southland," which focuses on the LAPD. Wahlberg knows he has a high bar to clear.

"I'm doing a very realistic reality show," he says. "A, this is, to me, a very prestigious network to do a reality show for. It's a prestigious show to do. And B, if I'm going to enter this realm, I'm glad it was with this and not remaking the boy band or anything.

"From the outside looking in, to do the first reality show -- not a game show or stuff like that -- for a network like TNT, and for it to be a cop show ... only one person got that slot, and it was me. I've got to live up to a lot. I think of the other people who are producing shows who could have gotten that slot. I feel very fortunate."

As to whether playing a police officer on "Blue Bloods" informs how he's producing "Boston's Finest," Wahlberg says, "What it informs is just bottom-line stuff. I've played enough cops and been around enough cops to know what's important. When I first started playing cops and talked to cops, the thing they say is, the most important thing is to get home safe.

"It informs my storytelling, being on scripted shows. It helps me think as a storyteller when I'm shooting this. It's hard to find that through-line sometimes."

Apparently, when Wahlberg's camera crews hit the streets of Boston, the city was going through the exact opposite of a crime wave.

"We can't make the bad guys rob a 7-Eleven, right?" he says. "You get what they give. We literally drove around for a few weeks, going, 'This is great, the cops are awesome, but we have no crime' - which is good, because the city's crime statistics are spectacular.

"But the drama part gets a little dicey if you don't have any crime going down. Then crime jumped off, and it got better. But the personal stuff is really what makes it special, makes it different."

Unlike the iconic police departments of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, most Americans probably don't have a clear image of what sets the Boston PD apart.

"Right," Wahlberg says. "Well, when I met with Mayor Tom Menino, which was my first order of business, he gave me his blessing, but he said, 'I want this to be a good promotional vehicle. I want to show how good we are, and I want kids to see this and say, "I want to be a cop." '

"That became part of the mandate right there for me, because to get his blessing, he showed a lot of trust in me and the team I put together. I didn't want to let him down. From there, it became meeting the officers and the trust they gave me.

"Boston has its share of crime, but they've done a good job. The gangs were really, really bad; now they've been proactive, trying to keep these kids from doing it before they do it. Don't show up after someone's shot; show up before."

As for how the NYPD feels about him moonlighting with the home team, Wahlberg says, "They know I owed it to Boston. I've been hitting the stump for New York for the last three years, and I think Boston was getting a little fed up.

"New York said, 'Go ahead, the Giants won the Super Bowl; go do something for Boston, cheer their spirits up.' So they cut me some slack."

Donnie Wahlberg raps about NYC

Donnie Wahlberg raps about NYC: Video.

Kim Dickens In 'Second Sight'

Treme’s Kim Dickens has been cast opposite Jason Lee in Second Sight, CBS‘ drama pilot from Michael Cuesta and Carol Mendelsohn. Based on the 2000 British series, Second Sight is a gothic psychological thriller about Tanner (Lee), the lead detective with the New Orleans Police Department who is concealing a troublesome secret — he has an ocular disorder that causes him to have horrifying and visually stimulating anxiety dreams and hallucinations. Gersh-repped Dickens will play Sammy, a detective on the right-knit team. Cuesta is directing the pilot from a script he wrote with his brother Gerald. Michael Cuesta, Mendelsohn, Julie Weitz, Paula Milne and Nick Reed exec produce.

New Kids on the Block Deluxe- "10"

Limited edition collectable deluxe box set, with a unique serial number and certificate of authenticity. Box includes an exclusive piece of the "NKOTB" banner that hung over the Green Monster at Fenway Park on June 11, 2011.

Deluxe box set includes:"10" CD
"Live From Fenway Park" DVD featuring performances by New Kids on the Block- Available exclusively in the deluxe box set, will not be for sale separately.

48 page photo book including exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the making of the album

$64.99 Ordering information and more details will be made available shortly.

Due to the nature of the contents of the deluxe box set, supplies will be limited.

NKOTB: New Dates Announced - Preorder 10 on iTunes Feb 19th

May 28 Uncasville, CT at Mohegan Sun Arena
June 24 Louisville, KY at KFC Yum! Arena
July 2 Milwaukee, WI at Summerfest
July 10 Vancouver, BC at Rogers Arena
July 14 Phoenix, AZ at Jobing.com Arena
July 21 Kansas City, MO at Sprint Center
July 25 Manchester, NH at Verizon Wireless Arena
July 26 Atlantic City, NJ at Taj Mahal
August 1 Albany, NY at Times Union Center
August 2 Buffalo, NY at First Niagara Center
August 3 Columbus, OH at Schottenstein Center
August 4 Indianapolis, IN at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

The new album, 10, will be available for pre-order on iTunes on February 19th. Fans that preorder will receive an instant download of album cut We Own Tonight and will be treated to an exclusive bonus track, Block Party upon album release on April 2nd.

REMIX (I LIKE THE) LYRIC VIDEO

The official lyric video for Remix (I Like The) is here and playing now on VEVO!

New Kids On The Block 'Returned To Our Roots' For New Album

Step by step, the New Kids on the Block are inching closer to the release of their brand-new studio album, 10.

Fans have already gotten a taste of what the April 2 release will sound like, thanks to its lead throwback single, "Remix (I Like the)." And while it's not completely indicative of 10's groove from beginning to end, it certainly does give the right idea of what the guys have in mind.

"Sonically, ['Remix' is] sort of out there; it's more a fun song," Donnie Wahlberg told MTV News. "It's a little more retro [and] it kicks the doors open. We haven't put an album out in five years, so we wanted to come back with something that had a lot of energy and spirit and while it is sort of a unique sound to the album, what's not unique about it and what's consistent throughout the whole album is our passion and commitment to the song."

That means fans of the group's ear-catching harmonies just might fall in love with 10. "We really, really worked hard, every guy in the group vocally, and sort of returned to our roots," Wahlberg continued. "We're spilling our guts with our singing. We really went back to our vocal roots. Everybody sang and everybody's a part of it. It's more of a traditional vocal group record."

On Wednesday, the guys dropped the 11-song track list for the release. In addition to giving fans all new music in the coming months, NKOTB are also prepping to hit the road this summer on the Package Tour, which includes tourmates 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.

But on this tour, don't expect too much band crossover like when the guys toured with the Backstreet Boys.

"Boyz II Men have not done an arena tour," Wahlberg said. "98 Degrees is doing their first show together in 12 years, so it's a big deal. We're doing our first tour with just us [without Backstreet Boys] in three years, so we are going to put on our show, and they are going to put on theirs."

NKOTB '10' TRACKLISTING

We are now less than two months until the release of 10 and today we've got a peek at the track listing for you:

We Own Tonight
Remix (I Like The)
Take My Breath Away
Wasted On You
Fighting Gravity
Miss You More
The Whisper
Jealous (Blue)
Crash
Back To Life
Now Or Never Survive You

Don't forget, 10 comes out April 2nd (US, international dates may vary)!

LISTEN TO REMIX (I LIKE THE)!

REMIX (I LIKE THE)!: Listen Here.

Mark your calendars: REMIX (I LIKE THE) will be available exclusively on iTunes worldwide Monday, January 28th!

Boys' night out

The night before 98 Degrees, New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men announced an epic national tour, the ’90s boy bands celebrated at Sons of Essex. News of the tour yesterday sent 30-something females into a tizzy, but sources said the studly singers were mostly left alone. “It was a packed restaurant, but no one bothered them,” a source told us. The group including Nick Lachey and Donnie Wahlberg “ate, drank and listened to old school hip-hop.” NKOTB will headline the tour, starting May 31.

Walhberg: Boy band union is strong for summer tour

For Donnie Wahlberg it's not a matter of why now, rather "why not?"

The recording artist-turned-actor was referring to the news of a major tour with his New Kids on the Block, who'll be joined this summer on "The Package Tour" by 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.

"The state of the boy band union is strong," Wahlberg joked Tuesday. "Even though technically we're not really boy bands, but we're OK with that, so we'll accept it."

The three bands sold millions of records in the 1980s and '90s and helped usher in a wave of vocal groups that continues today.

The Boston-based NKOTB formed in 1984 and amassed ten Top 20 hits. They broke up in 1994 but got back together after a 14-year hiatus. Wahlberg said he feels the break coincided with the maturation of their fan base.

"They needed time to have families and husbands and children and get jobs and live their life," Wahlberg said.

But now he sees his band's music as a complement to the fans' adult lives.

"We created an outlet for them to feel good about themselves and tap into that youthfulness that had been put to bed for a long time ... you may be 40, but the euphoria of it makes you feel 14 all over again," Wahlberg said.

The band also announced a new single, "Remix (I Like The)," which will be released Jan. 28, and a new album, "10," which is out April 2.

That music will be a bit more mature than some of the band's previous material, member Joey McIntyre said.

"It is about the decisions that a grown man makes and goes through, as opposed to singing songs like 'Popsicle,'" he said.

Nathan Morris, one of the members of Boyz II Men, known since the early 1990s for such hits as "I'll Make Love to You" and "End of the Road," said the tour is going to be all about performing.

"If the boy band thing is attached, it's wonderful, but for all of us in here, we're ready to get out there and sing and perform," he said. "That's just what we do."

Though 98 Degrees is the youngest group on the bill, it has been apart the longest, 12 years.

"So we're excited to get back together and doing what we do," member Nick Lachey said. "We feel reinvigorated by our bond and by our group, so we're very excited by that."

Wahlberg, who stars as Detective Danny Reagan on the CBS television series "Blue Bloods," said the boy bands' tour, kicking off May 31 in Uncasville, Conn., and continuing into July with more than 30 dates, is going to be "great."

"You have three acts that have lots of records, lots of fans," he said. "Fans that are anxious to sing those records and anxious to sing other bands' records, too."

98 Degrees, Boyz II Men join New Kids on the Block tour

(Listen) Time to stash the mom jeans.

New Kids on the Block are delivering The Package tour this summer with the addition of 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men to the lineup. Donnie Wahlberg called into Ryan Seacrest's radio show this morning with the news.

"We'll have plenty of surprises! With all those egos in one building at the same time, you know there's going to be a lot of crazy and fun stuff going on," Walhberg told Seacrest. "We're going to pull out a lot of surprises every night ... pull in as many special guests as we can, and do as many fun things as we can."

NKOTB's new single, Remix (I Like The), will debut on Seacrest's show Friday and goes to iTunes Monday. Album 10 comes out April 2.

New Kids on the Block Hit the Road with 98 Degrees & Boyz II Men

The New Kids on the Block are back!

The band plans to bring some heat this summer when they hit the road for a brand new headlining tour – and they're bringing along a few famous friends: 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men will open all shows on the jaunt, which kicks off May 31 in Uncasville, Conn.

"It just seems like we are getting better and better," Joey McIntyre, 40, tells PEOPLE. "We're excited to get out there, rock out and have fun."

Along with the announcement of their tour, the multi-platinum selling group will release 10 – their first new album in over four years – on April 2.

"We have been doing this for almost 25 years," says McIntyre. "So it's important that the music and the lyrics speak to who we are as grown men – and the album reflects that."

But that doesn't mean fans won't see some familiar moves.

"There is a lot of nostalgia and we embrace that," says the singer. "But it always feels young and fresh. I guess that's one of the great things about being in the music business is that you never have to quite grow up."

THE PACKAGE TOUR - NEW MUSIC - ALBUM DUE APRIL '13!

Even though the New Year has just begun, New Kids on the Block fans already know they have a lot to look forward to in the coming months! As announced today on their total takeover of The View, NKOTB revealed plans of a 2013 summer headlining tour. Very special guests multi-platinum selling artists 98 Degrees and Grammy Award winning Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time, will be opening for NKOTB on their tour, aptly titled THE PACKAGE TOUR. This is the first tour for 98 Degrees in over 12 years! NKOTB surprised The View audience with a special reveal of 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men, giving fans a taste of THE PACKAGE TOUR when all bands performed a capella, sending the audience into a frenzy. The tour kicks off on May 31st in Uncasville, CT and tickets can be purchased starting February 2 on www.ticketmaster.com. American Express card members can get advance tickets beginning this Friday, January 25 at 10:00 AM (local time).

The multi-platinum selling New Kids on the Block also announced plans for new music. The group will release brand new album “10” on April 2nd with the first single “Remix (I Like The)” dropping on iTunes January 28th. The group has been quietly spending the past six months working hard, writing and recording the album.

Fans caught wind of these secret studio sessions and have been clamoring for information after rumors spread about the 2013 plans of new music and a possible tour. After announcing on The View, NKOTB, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men set out on a day long media blitz stopping by outlets like Access Hollywood, CNN, E!, ET, EXTRA, OMG! Insider, VH1 Big Morning Buzz, US Weekly and Rolling Stone. Social media has been a buzz ever since the official reveal with no signs of slowing down.

“Ladies, we’re coming for you,” said NKOTB member Donnie Wahlberg. “This is going to be the craziest year yet-the single, the album, the tour with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men … We can’t wait to give fans ‘The Package!’”

“We are really excited to get back on the road together and tour with our friends in NKOTB and Boyz II Men. Looking forward to playing our hits and trying out some of our new tracks too,” said 98 Degrees’ Nick Lachey.

“We couldn’t be more excited to join New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees on ‘The Package Tour.’ This summer is going to be fun and fans will not want to miss it,” said Shawn Stockman. Wanya Morris agreed saying, “This has been in the works for a while… ‘The Package’ is on its way, and we’re going to deliver.” Added Nate Morris, “We plan on bringing it, mark your calendars.”

Please visit www.ThePackage-Tour.com or Ticketmaster.com for up to date information or join the discussion at #thepackagetour.

THE PACKAGE Tour Dates (As of January 22, 2013):
May 31 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
June 1 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
June 2 Boston, MA TD Garden
June 4 Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place
June 6 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
June 7 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
June 8 Auburn Hills, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
June 9 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
June 11 Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center
June 13 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
June 14 Washington DC Verizon Center
June 15 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
June 18 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
June 19 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
June 20 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
June 21 Orlando, FL Amway Center
June 22 Fort Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center
June 25 Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena
June 27 Houston, TX Toyota Center
June 28 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
June 29 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy
June 30 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
July 5 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center Arena
July 6 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
July 7 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
July 9 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
July 12 Rosemont, IL Allstate Arena
July 13 Minneapolis, MN Target Center

'Alphas' cancelled by Syfy after two seasons

After two seasons on Syfy, "Alphas" has been cancelled.

Several of the series' cast members reported the news on Twitter.

Ryan Cartwright was first, tweeting: "Unfortunately #Alphas is cancelled :( "

Co-stars Warren Christie and Azita Ghanizada followed:

Christie: "Like my buddy @RyanCartwright has reported, unfortunately #Alphas has been cancelled. Thanks for tuning in the last couple of years!!"

Ghanizada: "Sad to say that ALPHAS will not be returning. What an honor to get to play Rachel for 2years & to work w/ & for the MOST AMAZING PEOPLE EVER"

Syfy released the following statement: "Syfy has decided not to renew Alphas for a third season. We've been proud to present this entertaining, high-quality series for two seasons and to work with an incredible ensemble of talented actors, producers and creatives as well as our partners at BermanBraun Television. We'd like to thank the show's dedicated regular viewers for their tremendous support."

The series survived one seemingly close call with cancellation before. Following erroneous reports that "Alphas" had been cancelled after a single season, Syfy renewed the show -- about a team of crime-fighters with superhuman abilities -- for Season 2. The second season averaged 1.7 million viewers, down from an average of 2 million viewers for season one.

The cast also included David Strathairn, Malik Yoba, Laura Mennell and Erin Way.

New Kids On The Block Is BACK! Donnie Wahlberg Teases New Album AND Tour In 2013!

(perezhilton.com) While it was devastating to see the boy-band super-group NKOTBSB officially disband back in August, we've been DELIGHTED to see the Backstreet Boys reunite in their original form for all sorts of holiday goodness!

And NOW…it appears that New Kids On the Block will be doing very much the same on an even LARGER scale!

According to Donnie Wahlberg, you can expect to see him reunited with Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and Jordan and Jonathan Knight VERY soon!

We're talking END-OF-THE-MONTH soon, folks!

That's right!

Not only will they be announcing a brand new 2013 tour on January 22nd, but they will have a NEW SINGLE dropping around that time…AND an all-new album to compliment it by sometime in March!

OH! And for all you Beantown locals, the Massachusetts native also included this lovely gem:

“We’re going to try to play in and around Boston more than once.”

NICE!

We can HARDLY contain our excitement over all of this wonderful news!

You're still our #1 for a reason!

Keep on showing all of these new boy-bands how it's DONE, guys!

What do U think?? Are U excited for a new album from New Kids on the Block?!

Donnie Wahlberg talks 'Boston's Finest': 'I couldn't do 'Cops' in Boston'

It seems there are a few places that reality television cameras shouldn't be -- but given today's audience, and our voyeuristic hunger for access, it's no surprise that those places are few and far between. Donnie Wahlberg's new TNT reality series "Boston's Finest" allows viewers unprecedented access into the personal and professional lives of real police officers in Boston.

At the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Friday, Wahlberg told reporters that the show hits particularly close to home for him -- literally, some of the cops that the show follows live on his older brother's street. Wahlberg had a few reservations about bringing a reality TV show to Boston, because he didn't want it to seem like he wanted to make the city look bad. He joked that reality producers are swarming his hometown. "'We want a bunch of drunk ladies like 'Jersey Shore' but they all say clam chowda!'" he jokes. "I'm from Boston. I can't do a show that exploits Boston."

Don't expect a show like "Cops," which sensationalizes people in their lowest moments. "I would not be allowed back in the city if I simply tried to make a Boston version of 'Cops,'" he says, noting that while he respects that series, this is a different kind of show. "'Cops' is a long-running, successful show, but I can't make 'Cops' in the city that I live in."

"Boston's Finest" examines the lives of beat officers, detectives, SWAT, fugitive and special task forces, and the highly decorated Gang Unit in the Boston Police Department.

Unlike "Cops," "Boston's Finest" will also follow the officers -- who live in the same neighborhoods that they serve and protect -- home. We'll meet their families and loved ones. Wahlberg describes the officers as "quality human beings who do heroic things in a very heroic environment."

"They grew up in neighborhoods where they could easily be a bad guy or a good guy," he adds. He chose to produce this show -- his first as producer -- in the interest of highlighting good people who made the right choices.

Wahlberg's brother, Mark Wahlberg, is a prolific producer, but he was aware that he had to be a bit more discerning. "Mark has a little more latitude as a producer than I do. I have to be a little more careful with the stuff I do," he says. "The story that I want to tell is about the people that I know."

The series will be paired with scripted drama "Southland," and is set to premiere Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. EST.

Backstreet Boys & NKOTB -- Judge Dismisses $5 Million Brain Trauma Lawsuit

It's official: the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys can't be held responsible for brain trauma -- at least, according to a judge who dismissed the bands from a $5 million lawsuit filed by an injured stagehand ... TMZ has learned.

TMZ broke the story in July ... William Wesley Styron sued NKOTBSB for injuries he allegedly suffered when he fell through a hole in the stage prior to a 2011 concert.

Styron said he fractured his skull and suffered brain trauma from the fall ... and was looking for a cool $5 million from the bands and other parties who he held responsible.

NKOTBSB denied the allegations, claiming it wasn't their fault Styron didn't see the huge hole in front of him ... and it looks like a judge agreed ... ruling that responsibility for the fall lies with the production company who hired him -- not the bands themselves.

The judge promptly dismissed the case against NKOTBSB, finding they "owed no duty to plaintiff that was breached when he was injured."

Donnie Wahlberg hangin' tough on Blue Bloods

(o.canada.com) Donnie Wahlberg is a New Kid on the Block, but in musical name only. The singer/actor/abs-flasher has been in the public eye since the late ’80s, when he was known for being the tough guy in a not-so-tough boy band.

Fame’s bell curve took its toll, and for a good 10 years he was basically fodder for those Whatever Happened To? specials. But, after TV stints in Band of Brothers and Boomtown, the Boston boy landed on CBS’s cop drama Blue Bloods in 2010.

Slotted on Friday nights, where no one expects much in the way of ratings, Blue Bloods caught fire, averaging about 12 million U.S. viewers in its first two seasons. In Canada, the show airs on CTV and regularly lands in the Top 30.

Its initial success was enough to convince CBS to shift the show to a more competitive Wednesday time slot for a month-long trial in its first season, replacing the now-defunct Jim Belushi dramedy The Defenders.

Blue Bloods packed in a robust 12 million viewers there, but CBS decided to let its surprise cash cow graze in its original Friday night plot, where it has prospered ever since.

Wahlberg stars as Det. Danny Reagan, the hotheaded son of New York police commissioner Frank Reagan, played by the fantastically mustachioed Tom Selleck. The show offers a twist on standard police drama, playing up family ties and feel-good moments.

Blue Bloods’ dinner table scenes in particular are beautifully scripted, with a tone of spontaneous camaraderie — and sometimes tension — that evokes real-life family sit-downs.

On Friday’s repeat episode — The Life We Chose, originally broadcast in February — Danny takes the fore when an undercover cop and friend of the Reagan family is killed while on a case. Danny tirelessly pursues the killer, prompting his wife Linda (Amy Carlson) to fret about his emotional state.

It’s also a treat for those who miss Jennifer Esposito as Danny’s partner Jackie Curatola in newer episodes, ever since CBS let her go last month following a clash over her ability to work while dealing with her diagnosis of celiac disease.

Aside from Blue Bloods, Wahlberg’s comeback has extended to the musical arena, much to the joy of New Kids on the Block fans — including this writer, who may or may not have attended one of the group’s concerts with the Backstreet Boys last year.

True, Wahlberg has far to go before his television impact reaches that of his brother, Mark Wahlberg, whose executive-producer credits include HBO series Boardwalk Empire, Entourage and In Treatment. But for now, he’s doing pretty well just hangin’ tough. (Friday, CBS, 10 ET/PT, 11 MT)

Michael Madsen Charged with DUI for Flaming Hotrod Arrest

Michael Madsen's September joyride continues to be a drag ... cause the actor has just been charged with 2 counts of DUI stemming from his arrest ... TMZ has learned.

We broke the story ... The "Reservoir Dogs" star was popped while hotrodding around Malibu in his badass Pontiac GTO. According to cops, Madsen bombed his field sobriety test and blew .20 on the breathalyzer -- more than twice the legal limit.

At the time, Madsen's attorney Perry Wander insisted the breathalyzer was "flawed."

On Wednesday, the L.A. City Attorney filed 2 misdemeanor counts of DUI against Madsen -- one for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and another for driving with a BAC of .08 or higher.

If convicted on both counts, Madsen could face up to two years in jail ... but since it doesn't appear Michael has a prior DUI conviction, it's unlikely he'll serve any time behind bars.

Madsen's attorney tells TMZ ... "We intend to vigorously defend the charges."

The case is scheduled to go before the judge later this month.

Wahlberg hopes Jennifer Esposito is 'doing good'

Donnie Wahlberg hopes his "Blue Bloods" co-star Jennifer Esposito is OK, but has no idea when, or if, she's returning to the show.

CBS suspended the actress from the Tom Selleck-starring police drama, claiming she can't fulfill the full-time demands of the show. Esposito fired back on Twitter, accusing the network of "absolutely shameful behavior."

Esposito tweeted that she's been diagnosed with celiac disease and requires a reduced work schedule.

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat.

The network has said it hopes Esposito will be able to return.

For the time being, her role as Wahlberg's partner is being rotated by new characters played by Megan Ketch and Megan Goode.

When asked about the change, the actor deflected the question.

"Danny Reagan gets around. He likes girls a lot."

Wahlberg made the comments on the red carpet of the International Emmy Awards.

He said of Esposito: "She's a friend and I hope she's doing good. I love working with her, so we'll see what happens."

The Walking Dead Wants a Taste of a Modern Family Star

Just call it Modern Zombies. Or how about Married With Zombies.

The creator of The Walking Dead says he'd love to see Ed O'Neill pop up on the show.

"I'm a huge fan," Robert Kirkman recently told me. "I would just love to meet him. If I had to put him on The Walking Dead to do that, I totally would."

While Kirkman thinks O'Neill could play someone like The Governor, he hasn't approached him about a guest spot just yet. "I think he's more than busy on Modern Family right now," Kirkman said. "I wouldn't want to steal him away. He's too important to Modern Family."

O'Neill aside, Kirkman predicts TWD will stay away from stunt casting.

"I kind of don't Want to do any of that," he said. "You know, having someone like Johnny Depp on for a season would be kind of strange. It would be hard for the audience not to go, 'Oh, that's Johnny Depp.'"

Now it's your turn. Who do you think would be good on The Walking Dead and who should they play?

Wahlburgers sues former business manager for alleged 'improper conduct'

(boston.com) Running a restaurant isn’t as easy as it looks. Just ask Mark, Paul, and Donnie Wahlberg, owners of Wahlburgers.

The Wahlberg boys are suing the former business manager of their Hingham burger joint, claiming his “improper conduct, gross mismanagement, and breaches of duties” have all but stifled the restaurant’s expansion plans and could jeopardize its licenses and permits.

The suit, filed Oct. 25 in Suffolk County Superior Court, alleges that Edward St. Croix, who was the Wahlbergs’ business partner when Wahlburgers opened with great fanfare a year ago, did an “abysmal” job and “failed to meet even the most basic duties as business manager.”

St. Croix, who lives in Hull, could not be reached Friday. According to the lawsuit, he was removed as Wahlburgers business manager in June.

The restaurant, located in the Hingham Shipyard commercial complex, was conceived as a gourmet burger restaurant, capitalizing on the Wahlbergs’ name recognition: Mark, of course, is an A-list actor and producer, Donnie is a member of New Kids on the Block, and Paul is the chef and owner of Alma Nove, a restaurant also in the Hingham Shipyard.

The lawsuit doesn’t detail St. Croix’s business experience before being hired by the Wahlbergs, but states that he “represented himself as having had significant experience with the start-up and management of several business enterprises.” But the lawsuit claims he was “incompetent and unqualified” to handle issues related to bookkeeping, obtaining licenses and permits, and raising capital. The alleged lack of oversight led the restaurant to incur “substantial fees,” the lawsuit states, and made it “problematic” for Wahlburgers to file its taxes.

In addition, the suit alleges that St. Croix (inset) obtained investments in a “haphazard fashion” and diverted some of the money to another restaurant he was hoping to open. The Wahlbergs’ attorney, Christopher Litterio, declined to comment Friday, referring calls to a publicist in Los Angeles who did not return a call.

While St. Croix is no longer employed at Wahlburgers, company CEO Rick Vanzura, who was charged last July with operating under the influence, is still on the job. According to the Hingham District Court Clerk’s Office, Vanzura’s case is continued without a finding until next July.

Michael Madsen, Jennifer Beals Heads to The Mob Doctor

Michael Madsen has booked a two-episode arc on Fox's The Mob Doctor, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.

Madsen will play Russell King, a veteran criminal whose crimes require a certain flair and professional expertise. On the night of a big job, King has a flare-up of back pain and discovers he requires immediate surgery. We're guessing The Mob Doctor herself, Jordana Spiro's Grace Devlin, will be called on to help.

Madsen's character will first appear on this season's ninth episode.

In other Mob Doctor casting news, Jennifer Beals will also join the cast for "at least three episodes" beginning in late November. The former L Word star will play Celeste LaPree, a former call girl-turned-high-class madam who used to date Constantine Alexander (William Forsythe) before he went to prison. Celeste is now married to a mafia boss who runs Chicago's North Side, but, according to creator, Josh Berman, she may be more than meets the eye.

"We wrote the role of Celeste LaPree specifically with [Beals] in mind," Berman said. "She's gorgeous, empowered and strong. ... In a world of organized crime, dominated by men, Celeste LaPree has made a name for herself. Unbeknownst to those around her, she has a secret agenda that may change the face of organized crime in Chicago."

The Mob Doctor returns on Monday, Nov. 5 at 9/8c on Fox.

Michael Madsen joins "The Lost Tree"

Michael Madsen, Lacey Chabert, Scott Grimes and Clare Kramer will star alongside Thomas Ian Nicholas in Brian A. Metcalf's new horror/drama "The Lost Tree," the filmmakers announced on Tuesday.

Written, directed and produced by Metcalf, "The Lost Tree" revolves around a man, Noah (Nicholas), who is guilt-ridden following the death of his wife, Emma (Kramer). He travels to an isolated cabin in search of peace and isolation, but he soon learns his surroundings are dangerous.

Madsen is set to play the role of John, Noah's dad. Chabert will play Jenna, Noah's best friend and coworker, while Grimes takes on the role of Alan, a real estate agent.

Principal photography is slated to begin next month in Los Angeles.

"The Lost Tree" is a Red Compass Media, Inc. production. The producers are Nicholas, Metcalf and Ben Chan.

"We are honored that we've been able to assemble this outstanding cast to tell the story of "The Lost Tree," Metcalf and Nicholas said in a statement.

Donnie Wahlberg -- Hurricane Sandy FLOODED My Entire Apartment

Donnie Wahlberg's cereal bowl was floating across his kitchen last night ... after his apartment flooded due to Hurricane Sandy ... and he documented the entire situation on camera.

Wahlberg shot footage of himself sloshing his way through his flooded apartment ... a situation that became very common across the East Coast yesterday.

The New Kids on the Block member tweeted, "My entire building is under a foot of water. Awesome neighbors all banding together to help each other! Stay safe!"

A short time later, Wahlberg posted an update -- "Safe & Sound on Higher Ground! Don't worry about me. Material things are meaningless. Check in with those you know in the storm!"

Currently, an estimated 7 million people are still without electricity ... 168 people are stranded throughout NYC ... and at least 16 people have died as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Madsen released from hospital after Malibu arrest

Actor Michael Madsen was released from a hospital after being arrested for investigation of drunken driving on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, his attorney said Thursday.

Madsen, 54, best known for the Quentin Tarantino movies "Reservoir Dogs" and "Kill Bill," had complained of an undisclosed medical problem following his arrest Wednesday and has since been released, said lawyer Perry Wander.

Madsen was arrested after driving erratically in a red Pontiac GTO on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. In a preliminary test, he had a blood alcohol level of 0.21, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Wander said Madsen had been taking prescription drugs that could have resulted in a faulty sobriety test.

"Michael has been on prescription medication that easily could have made him look to be under the influence and caused him to fail the sobriety test," Wander said.

In March, Madsen was arrested at his Malibu home after what detectives said was a drunken fight with his teenage son, but prosecutors declined to file charges because of a lack of evidence.

Madsen has struggled with alcoholism and has been in and out of rehabilitation centers over the past several years, Wander said.

"His nemesis is white wine," Wander said. "Obviously he's going to have to utilize this experience to motivate him to get help. It's an ongoing battle."

Michael Madsen -- Busted for DUI in Badass Hot Rod

Michael Madsen's joyride on the California coast -- in an all-American classic sportscar -- ended abruptly when the actor was arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol level that was allegedly more than twice the legal limit ... TMZ has learned.

According to L.A. County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore ... a citizen first spotted Madsen driving erratically around 2:50PM PT and called cops.

We're told responding deputies witnessed Madsen weaving through traffic -- in a Pontiac GTO with a red flame paint job -- and when they pulled him over they smelled alcohol.

Whitmore tells TMZ Madsen was arrested on suspicion of DUI after he performed poorly on a field sobriety test.deputies gave him a field sobriety test.

Whtimore says Madsen submitted to a breathalyzer test after his arrest ... and blew .20. The legal limit in California is .08.

Madsen remains in custody on $15,000 bail.

New Kids On The Block Talk 'Open' Relationship With Backstreet Boys

If last week's inaugural MixTape Festival proved anything, it's that boy bands are back and here to stay. Mixing the old with the new, boy-band nostalgia reached new heights after the Wanted, 98 Degrees, New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys shared the stage for the first time.

But after the good news came the bad when supergroup NKOTBSB (New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys) closed out the festival, telling fans it may have been the last time two groups share a stage for quite some time.

But when MTV News caught up with New Kids on the Block, they said they weren't ruling out a possible get-together down the line. In fact, Jordan Knight said he hopes there will be "a long, long string of shows" with the Backstreet Boys.

"We had too much fun and we wish them the best," Joey McIntyre added. "Kevin [Richardson]'s coming back. I think they're working on a record. This door is wide open, our relationship is like a barn door. It's just blown to pieces."

"NKOTBSB, it's like another group," Donnie Wahlberg said. "Every now and again we say, 'Hey, New Kids was fun, let's go do NKOTBSB' because that's our other band."

Well, now that they are taking a time-out from NKOTBSB, New Kids are now focusing on releasing their own material, their first since 2008's The Block.

"We are actually walking into the studio as we speak," McIntyre said. "We're excited to make some new music and keep it fresh for us and the fans."

Wahlberg added, "Joe's on a songwriting frenzy."

Their last album, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 Charts, featured a host of collaborations including Lady Gaga, Ne-Yo and the Pussycat Dolls, but according to McIntyre, their latest effort is collaboration-free.

"No guests, no guests — that's the name of the album, no guests allowed. Except for our fans," McIntyre joked. "We really can't afford any guests," Wahlberg added, laughing. "We have a low budget."

All kidding aside, according to Knight, NKOTB will "for sure" have the album out in 2013.

Are you excited for a NKTOB album?

Michael Madsen to guest star on 'Blue Bloods'

Michael Madsen has signed up for a guest role on Blue Bloods.

The CBS cop drama - starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg - focuses on a family of New York police officers.

Reservoir Dogs star Madsen will play a criminal on the show, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Recently released from prison, his character John will swear vengeance on Danny Reagan (Wahlberg), the detective who sent him to jail years before.

Madsen is best known for his roles in such films as Kill Bill, Donnie Brasco, Free Willy and Sin City.

Earlier this year, he appeared on the UK's Celebrity Big Brother 9 - aired on Channel 5 - and recently featured in the music video for Justin Bieber's new single 'As Long As You Love Me'.

Madsen's Blue Bloods appearance will air on CBS on October 5.

O'Neill joins 'Modern Family' suit

Ed O'Neill has added his name to a lawsuit filed by five of his Modern Family co-stars against TV studio bosses on Tuesday in a dispute over their contracts.

Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell claim their current longterm deals with 20th Century Fox TV are in violation of California labour laws, which state personal service contracts can last no longer than seven years.

They are asking a judge to declare their prior agreements null and void, allowing them to renegotiate fresh contracts with increased salaries.

Co-star O'Neill was not part of the action, but on Thursday an amended complaint was filed.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, O'Neill wants his deal declared "illegal" because of the alleged labour law violation.

Due to the lawsuit filing, a cast table read-through was scrapped on Tuesday, but the stars are said to have reunited on Thursday for the postponed get-together.

New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters

New Book! New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters.

An intimate, all-access, backstage pass to everything New Kids on the Block, from their rise to fame in the 1980s to their fall from grace in the 1990s—and their triumphant comeback today.

Jordan, Jon, Joe, Donnie, and Danny. They set the bar for every boy band to come and changed the course of pop music forever. In the 1980s, for millions of young people around the world, they were gods. But behind the scenes, they were just kids. In this completely authorized biography of the band, the New Kids tell it all to rock author Nikki Van Noy.

From makeshift stages in Boston clubs to sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, through winning American Music Awards and selling 80 million records, the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) were a rite of passage and a touchstone of youthful memories. Scoring platinum albums, and with a series of sold-out international tours, NKOTB blazed through North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, leaving throngs of screaming teen and tween girls in their wake. Today, fans both old and new celebrate the band’s triumphant comeback. Nikki Van Noy talks directly to those loyal fans, as well as the band members, weaving their stories together in this no-holds-barred chronicle.

With frankness and honesty, each New Kid recalls nearly thirty years of experience with the group, both on and off the stage, from their first auditions in a run-down brownstone in Boston to the lackluster sales of their first album, and finally to their current status as a household name. Like a time machine, this book will take you right back—giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the New Kids like you’ve never seen them before.

Pre-order Here!

Wahlberg Tweets Shirtless New Kids on the Block Group Photo

(Photo) Is the early '90s kid in you squealing right now?

Tell your inner goddess to stop singing into a hairbrush while jumping on the bed, so you can fully appreciate this lovely shirtless photo Donnie Wahlberg tweeted earlier today.

The actor posted a twitpic of himself and the rest of the New Kids on the Block, posing shirtless in a locker room and showing off their manly muscles (well, most of them). And don't think we didn't notice that the only thing on them were some towels.

Oh, and those staches.

"After 3 months cultivating, countless insults, thousands of requests to shave the ?#stache?," Walhberg tweeted his defiance.

If saving the staches means more photos like this, then keep 'em!

Donnie Wahlberg picks up a film project

“Blue Bloods” actor and Dorchester-bred pop star Donnie Wahlberg will appear in a new movie in New York — assuming the project has funding. The New Kid on the Block has been cast in the movie “Home,” which will be filmed around Brooklyn by director Jono Oliver, who’s worked on “The Great Debaters,” “Margot at the Wedding,” and “Conviction.” “Home” is about a man who wants to move out of a group home and reconnect with his son. According to Oliver’s Kickstarter page, which aimed to get $100,000 from donors (he was up to more than $30,000 last we checked), other cast members include S. Epatha Merkerson, formerly of “Law & Order,” and James McDaniel, formerly of “NYPD: Blue.” Oliver must be a friend of Wahlberg’s; he also works on “Blue Bloods” as an assistant director.

Backstreet Boys & NKOTB -- Stagehand Sues Over Dangerous Man Hole

You're not the only one who thought last year's Backstreet Boys/New Kids on the Block tour was painful -- a stagehand claims he was nearly killed before a concert ... after falling through a hole ... and now, he's suing the bands.

William Wesley Styron filed the lawsuit in Tennessee, claiming he was hired to set up for the boy bands' show at Fedex Forum in Memphis on June 20th, 2011.

According to the lawsuit, Styron was going about his duties when he accidentally stepped into a hole in the stage ... and plummeted 13 feet to the ground ... fracturing his skull and causing "traumatic brain injury."

Styron claims he suffered a "loss of consciousness, seizures, and convulsions" during the accident before someone called 911 -- and he was rushed to the hospital.

According to the suit, it all could have been avoided -- but there was nothing in place to warn Styron about the stage's hazardous conditions ... no signs ... no cones ... nothing.

Styron says the accident cost him tons in medical bills -- and now he wants at least $5 MILLION.

NKOTBSB has already denied the allegations -- claiming the accident was Styron's fault for not looking where he was going.

Wahlberg Brothers, Paul, Mark and Donnie, Name New CEO to Lead Expansion of Wahlburgers

The Wahlberg brothers have named Rick Vanzura Chief Executive Officer of Wahlburgers to lead the expansion of this burger restaurant concept with its flagship location in Hingham, MA, just 15 miles south of Boston. Wahlburgers debuted last October following the successful launch in June 2010 of the brothers' first venture, Alma Nove, a fine dining waterfront restaurant named for their mother and nine siblings.

Formerly Executive Vice President and co-Chief Operating Officer of Panera, LLC, Vanzura will focus on growing the Wahlburgers brand with plans to open more nationwide beginning in the Boston area. "I'm extremely impressed by the Wahlbergs' commitment to build a world-class concept offering extraordinary food," said Vanzura. "This is not just another celebrity-driven restaurant. Paul is an exceptional chef, and his commitment to quality shows up in the restaurant every day."

According to Vanzura, Wahlburgers is a hometown Boston brand inspired by memories of the Wahlberg brothers' pre-celebrity days growing up in their Dorchester neighborhood. "We hope to share a little bit of our childhood times with our guests," explains Paul. "Our family has had some humble beginnings and some amazing success, but at Wahlburgers, it's all about the food."

"Mark and I are pleased to pair a proven executive like Rick with an outstanding chef like Paul to continue to develop Wahlburgers and grow our family business," said Donnie Wahlberg.

Wahlburgers menu features fresh ground beef burgers made from an exclusive blend of chuck, brisket and short rib, as well as turkey burgers, salmon burgers, all beef hot dogs, crispy fries, onion rings, tater tots, signature ice cream frappes, house made desserts and more. With full liquor service, Wahlburgers serves enticing adult frappes, cocktails and brews including the Wahlbrewski, unfiltered Pale Ale made by Harpoon especially for Wahlburgers.

Wahlburgers is located at 19 Shipyard Drive at the Launch at the Hingham Shipyard, in Hingham, MA. Lunch and dinner are served daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. For more information call 781-749-2110, or visit www.wahlburgers.com.

2013 Walk of Fame honorees named

Rick Baker, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, Olympia Dukakis, James Franco, Ron Howard and Helen Mirren will receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced.

Among the 24 honorees next year will also be TV favorites Simon Baker, Bryan Cranston, Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch, Katey Sagal and Matthew Perry.

From the recording industry, stars will be given to the Backstreet Boys, Jennifer Hudson, Jane's Addiction, Janis Joplin, New Kids on the Block, Usher, Thalia and Luther Vandross. Also receiving the five-pointed salute will be Penn & Teller, Steve Harvey and deejay Shotgun Tom Kelly.

Bad boy Michael Madsen shows his soft side

There's more than meets the eye with actor Michael Madsen, best known for playing cold-blooded killers in Quentin Tarantino films.

Speaking with The Associated Press at a ritzy Paris hotel, the silver screen baddie spoke of the "honor" of being chosen as the first president of the Champs-Elysees Film Festival — which celebrates French and American film.

In an interview, Madsen said he found it tough finishing "Reservoir Dogs" after becoming a father.

In an infamous scene he sliced off the ear of an actor, who adlibbed: "Don't kill me, I have kids." He says his response was "Oh my God! I can't do it."

Madsen also spoke out against children "wasting their time" surfing the Internet, and talked of his grief over the death of Dennis two years ago.

CBS' Fall Schedule: Two and a Half Men Shifts to Thursdays; The Mentalist to Sundays

Two and a Half Men is Thursday-bound.

CBS is moving the sitcom from its longtime Monday home to Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c, following Chuck Lorre's other hit comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Taking Men's place on Mondays at 9/8c is 2 Broke Girls, which will be preceded by new comedy Partners.

The Mentalist is also on the move, shifting into the Sundays-at-10 slot vacated by the canceled CSI: Miami. The Sherlock Homes update Elementary will get The Mentalist's old spot on Thursdays at 10/9c.

Fellow new dramas Vegas will air on Tuesdays at 10/9c, with Made in Jersey on Fridays at 9/8c, pushing CSI: NY up an hour.

Held for midseason: new shows Friend Me and Golden Boy, and new reality series The Job.

The network "hasn't made a decision" yet on Rules of Engagement, CBS said Monday.

Check out the full schedule:

MONDAY
8/7c: How I Met Your Mother
8:30/7:30c: Partners (New)
9/8c: 2 Broke Girls
9:30/8:30c: Mike & Molly
10/9c: Hawaii Five-0

TUESDAY
8/7c: NCIS
9/8c: NCIS: Los Angeles
10/9c: Vegas (New)

WEDNESDAY
8/7c: Survivor
9/8c: Criminal Minds
10/9c: CSI

THURSDAY
8/7c: The Big Bang Theory
8:30/7:30c: Two and a Half Men
9/8c: Person of Interest
10/9c: Elementary (New)

FRIDAY
8/7c: CSI: NY
9/8c: Made in Jersey (New)
10/9c: Blue Bloods

SATURDAY
8/7c: Crimetime Saturday
10/9c: 48 Hours Mystery

SUNDAY
7/6c: 60 Minutes
8/7c: The Amazing Race
9/8c: The Good Wife
10/9c: The Mentalist

TNT Orders Unscripted Series From Donnie Wahlberg and 'Extreme Makeover' Producer

TNT is expanding its foothold in the unscripted genre.

The cable network gave series orders Friday to reality projects from Blue Bloods' Donnie Wahlberg and the executive producer of Extreme Makeover and The Moment of Truth.

The first, Boston Blue (working title), hails from Blue Bloods' Wahlberg and is described as a procedural docudrama following the men and women of the Boston Police Department's Gang Unit. Jarrett Creative Group (Celebrity Ghost Stories), Julie Insogna-Jarrett and Seth Jarrett will executive produce alongside Wahlberg and his Donnie D. Productions. Boston, which will consist of eight episodes, will launch next year on TNT.

The second, 72 Hours, is an adventure series in which competing teams are dropped from a helicopter into the wilderness and given three days and a GPS to find a hidden suitcase full of cash as they battle the elements and rival teams to take home the prize. The eight-episode series hails from Lighthearted Entertainment (Extreme Makeover), with Howard Schultz (Extreme Makeover, The Moment of Truth) and Rob LaPlante (The Apprentice) on board as exec producers. Jeff Spangler (The Moment of Truth) will co-exec produce the series, which will launch next year.

"Boston Blue and 72 Hours are excellent fits for two of TNT's most important audience segments," said Michael Wright, president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. "With Boston Blue, we're looking to grab viewers who come to TNT for such blockbuster originals as The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles. And with 72 Hours, we're going after fans of TNT's action-packed dramas like Falling Skies and Leverage."?

The projects join The Great Escape, TNT's first reality competition series, as the network continues to bolster its original series offerings and shift to a year-round model.

Blue and Hours join recently greenlighted scripted series including David E. Kelley's Monday Mornings at the Turner-owned cabler.

Donnie Wahlberg: My Mother Wants Me To Compete In Dancing With The Stars

Donnie Wahlberg has revealed his mother has been encouraging him to compete in 'Dancing With The Stars'.

Donnie Wahlberg's mother wants him to compete in 'Dancing With The Stars'.

The New Kids On The Block singer - who is currently on a joint tour with his band and the Backstreet Boys - revealed his mum Alma Elaineis constantly encourages him to take part in the celebrity dance show because she thinks he has the potential to win it.

However, Donnie is worried his boyband background may give him an unfair advantage.

He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: ''My mother wants me to take part in 'Dancing With The Stars'. She's always telling me I should compete. Maybe I will but I don't know, I think I could do pretty well. I might have an unfair advantage though because of all of the dancing I've been doing on the recent NKOTBSB tour.''

Donnie, 42, has managed to find success in both music and acting and revealed he loved taking a break from his day job, on TV series 'Blue Bloods' to go on tour but always relishes getting back to acting.

He added: ''I've got the best of both worlds. When I get sick of acting, I can take a break and go back to New Kids and when I need a break from touring I go back to acting. It's perfect.''

Plymouth River School Rolls Out Red Carpet For Spring Fundraiser

Lights, Camera…Action! Plymouth River School in Hingham is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for their annual Spring PTO Fundraiser this Saturday.

This year’s event will be filled with glamour, glitz and a Hollywood theme and is one you won’t want to miss!

The event is for adults only and promises to be a chic evening, featuring Radio Riot, a live band from NYC, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. In order to make this a gold star evening, many of Hingham's finest restaurants have generously donated food including...Wahlburgers, Alma Nove, Burtons Grill, Caffe Tosca, Stars, Bare Cove Catering, and Nona's Ice Cream!

There will be a live auction hosted by Hingham’s own, Tom Hoffman. The live auction items would please any Hollywood star and include fabulous items such as:

A Culinary Opportunity – a cocktail party for 10 in your home hosted by Hingham resident and PRS Parent, Paul Wahlberg, Executive Chef at Alma Nove.

Breaking News – Opportunity for 6 pp to tour the Channel 4 newsroom with WBZ anchor and future PRS parent, Kerry Connolly and PRS Principal, Mr. Cormier.

Hang with the Stars in NYC – Amazing opportunity for 2pp to visit the set of the T.V. show Blue Bloods and meet Donnie Wahlberg & Tom Selleck!

Football Anyone – an autographed football helmet by NE Patriots Rob Gronkowski

Live from Channel 5 – a group of 10 pp will tour Channel 5 News and dine out in Boston.

Rally the Red Sox – get 4 tickets to a Red Sox game, be on the field for batting practice and visit the broadcast booth; what better way to celebrate the 100th year at Fenway!

The Plymouth River School’s event will take place at the historic South Shore Conservatory from 7 p.m. to midnight on May 5.

Included in the evening is a silent auction, featuring many magnificent donated items, gift certificates from local vendors and parents; and each class at Plymouth River School has donated a themed “class basket”. This year’s basket themes range from “A Staycation” to “A Wine Lover’s Delight”! That’s not all! There is also a raffle featuring two highly desired items: a 47 inch flat screen LED SMART TV and the all-new iPad 3! You may not take home an Oscar, but you could leave with an iPad or a brand new TV!

This is just a sampling of a few of the items that will make an appearance on the red carpet … many more will be premiered on May 5 so don’t miss out and get your tickets now.

All are welcome to experience the glitz and glamour of Hollywood with an unforgettable evening to benefit Plymouth River School PTO. All proceeds are tax deductible and will help raise funds for the Plymouth River School PTO. The PTO helps to maintain a strong, educational curriculum and support cultural enhancement programs that would otherwise not be possible for our children. Don’t miss this blockbuster event – it is guaranteed to be a night where anyone can be a star! Tickets are $50.00 per person.

NKOTBSB want another world tour

NKOTBSB want to do another world tour.

Although the supergroup - comprised of pop heavyweights New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys - are only on the UK leg of their series of concerts with dates still to come across Europe, Asia and Australia, they are enjoying themselves so much they would love to tour together again, after a well deserved break.

NKOTB's Donnie Wahlberg exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "After we finish up the European leg of the tour we head off to Asia and Australia and then we're going to take a much needed break. Backstreet Boys are going back into the studio after July 4 to make a new BSB record. This is a tour that we are all enjoying so much so if at any point down the road an opportunity arises for us to do this again then NKOTBSB will rise to the occasion again. We've all had fun doing this so who knows. This whole concept, it just works so we're there!"

The band's concert at London's The O2 arena on Sunday (29.04.12) will be streamed to cinemas across Europe by Myscreenevent.com using HD camera technology and they admitted they wish it wasn't live because they would love to be able to sneak in to some screens to see the fans reaction.

BSB's AJ McLean joked: "We're trying to figure out how we can skip the concert and go to the theatre instead. We might nominate one guy to miss the shows or maybe when one band is on stage the other band can sneak out to the cinema."

Fans can buy tickets for the live screening direct from the band's web and social media sites and from www.myscreenevent.com/NKOTBSB.

NKOTBSB: We're more refined on tour but there's a s***load of dancing

Boyband juggernauts New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys talk to Metro about going on the road, inter-band rivalry and why they won't be slowing down too much on tour.

‘There are eight million stories in every boy band… so there are about 16million in this one.’ Joey McIntyre flashes a pearly showbiz trouper smile, despite the fact he’s been up since dawn for a TV shoot. Even at 39, he has a sparkly youthfulness that hints at his past in US late-1980s/1990s boy band New Kids On The Block – McIntyre was just 12 when he joined the line-up.

On his left sits the similarly bright-eyed Howie Dorough, 38, an original member of the Backstreet Boys. Now both men feature in the nine-strong man band, NKOTBSB – with New Kids Jordan and Jon Knight, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood and Backstreet’s AJ McLean, Nick Carter and Brian Littrell. It’s a pop mash-up sparking an age of hysteria. ‘The first time this idea was mentioned, around 2008, New Kids were just returning, so I wasn’t that interested,’ says McIntyre. ‘Perspectives change so much in the music industry.’

Blockbuster pop is certainly not limited to teenyboppers any more. The New Kids’ smash reunion tour came more than a decade after the band’s exhausted implosion; it also echoed Take That’s romance with an older fanbase. Backstreet, meanwhile, never really split, although various members battled addictions (McLean, Carter) and one (Kevin Richardson) quit. ‘Doing this brings out the good and bad in you, depending on how cohesive you are as a team,’ says Dorough.

When NKOTBSB did get the collective go-ahead, it was unveiled with a flourish: at a New Kids’ 2010 show at Radio City Music Hall. ‘Backstreet were in New York too, so we thought it’d be an amazing surprise to get them onstage,’ grins McIntyre. ‘We did an acoustic set, beginning with (Backstreet’s 1999 hit) I Want It That Way – then the curtain went up and these four guys were standing there. The place just went mad – everyone knew how effing cool this was.’

It’s bizarre hearing this former teen fave using ‘salty’ language. What’s even more strange, though, is that both bands should gel so easily as showmen, release a collaborative compilation album and embark on a global tour. They might have shared commercial territory (and a big-time manager, Johnny Wright) but pop fans, like football supporters, are noted for their loyalty and partial to fierce rivalry.

‘Backstreet always credited New Kids as the first group of our style,’ says Dorough, nodding at his pop comrade. ‘When they decided to break, we took the torch and carried on. We were from two different eras but both groups always had some fans that crossover. If we did a show with N Sync, maybe that would clash.’

McIntyre adds: ‘Time Magazine called us the second biggest comeback of 2011 – behind Gabby Giffords,’ referring to the US politician who recovered from a near-fatal shooting. He’s clearly aware of how surreal this seems but also quite pleased. McIntyre seems confident about what makes NKOTBSB work. ‘From the get-go, we came together and made this one performance, so it’s like a rollercoaster,’ he says. ‘Each fanbase gets their group but then we trade off, so the energy never stops. At the end of the day, you gotta give a good show.’

New Kids’ members have used the ‘rollercoaster’ analogy before. Back in 1993, a shattered Danny Wood told Smash Hits: ‘It was going too fast. We were on a rollercoaster, we had to get off.’ In 2012, though, NKOTBSB seem fairly well-adjusted, good-humoured and up for the ride. As McIntyre points out: ‘What guy wouldn’t want to have a bunch of screaming girls in the audience? Everyone’s older, the pitch is not as piercing to the ears – there’s more of a husk to it. And being on the road is different now. There’s wives, kids and…’‘Lovers!’ interjects Dorough, laughing.

Boy bands generally play to type, so have roles shifted within NKOTBSB? ‘There’s similarity between different characters onstage,’ says McIntyre. ‘Donnie and AJ would play on being the ‘bad boys’; we’d all bust each others’ balls. But in a weird way, this also gave me permission to be my best. Before, you’d get so locked into your own group, thinking: “I gotta be more cute than sexy.” The more we allow each other space, the more we come back to the table.’

NKOTBSB’s combined multimillion-selling hit repertoire includes 1989 chart-topper You Got It (The Right Stuff) and 1997’s Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), and McIntyre promises they won’t be relaxing with ballads: ‘There’s a s***load of dancing in this show.’

Their aim, though, remains strictly mainstream. Dorough is already mulling over ‘a Vegas, Celine Dion kinda thing’, while McIntyre cites a classier tradition. ‘Boy bands come from that vocal revue history: The Temptations, The Four Tops,’ he says. ‘We’re really singing for our supper.’

Only now there’s a crucial difference. ‘When we were younger, we were running around like headless chickens,’ says McIntyre. ‘This time, it’s much more refined.’

The six-date British leg of NKOTBSB’s world tour starts tonight at the Liverpool Echo Arena. www.nkotbsb.com

New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys join forces

BETWEEN them they dominated the pop charts for three decades, selling more than 200 million records.

Now New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys have joined forces and the supergroup will return to the stage in Birmingham this month much to the delight of most girls who grew up in the 1990s.

The line-up features all of the original members except Kevin, all relishing the opportunity to wow their UK fans when the tour starts on April 20, arriving at the LG Arena on April 27.

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Howie Dorough, 39, from the Backstreet Boys, said: “We’ve had an unbelievably amazing time in Birmingham and all of the UK.

“We have such a great history with our friends who for whatever reason want to keep seeing us, so we keep coming with more music.”

Howie said the supergroup are looking forward to touring the UK, in particular experiencing the Birmingham’s nightlife.

“What I am looking forward to is going out, I always have a great time in Birmingham, you definitely have a great nightlife. I’m looking forward to the great food and beers.

“And I love the accent, it’s very cheeky, us Americans fall in love with the accent and unfortunately when we try to mimic it we sound like Dick Van Dyke.”

Although both massive during their heyday, the two groups never overlapped, with NKOTB disbanding when Backstreet were starting to make waves in the music industry.

Howie said there was no reluctance when it came to joining forces: “Not at all, Backstreet Boys have been going strong for almost 20 years, both groups have known each other throughout the years.

While the New Kids were doing their thing, we were seeing them on TV and much respect to them and their work.

NKOTBSB show to stream online

The Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block’s highly anticipated London show is set to stream live on the internet.

The pop groups have announced their April 29 concert at the 02 Arena will be broadcast across the globe on their Facebook pages.

It will cost $4.99 to watch the live stream. Livebeats, the company co-producing the event with ABC Entertainment, will provide the player in high definition.

Livebeats has provided live streams for bands in the past including Korn and Scooter as well as for the world premiere concert of Robin and RJ Gibb’s The Titanic Requiem.

The news comes after the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block revealed their plans to cast the show live on cinemas across Europe earlier this month.

Backstreet Boys member Howie D has said he “can’t wait” for fans to see the band’s new cinema cast.

“It’s so exciting to know that even though we weren’t able to bring our show to certain places in Europe our fans will still have the opportunity to experience it like they were there,” he exclaimed in a statement.

“We can’t wait for everyone to see the show!”

The event will be the shown in more than 300 cinemas in the UK & Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

Frank Volpe, who is coordinating the cinema cast, has said the pop groups were a joy to work with and hopes the event is a big hit.

“Working with New Kids on the Block and The Backstreet Boys is such a perfect opportunity to reach out to markets that already clearly enjoy the cinema experience and will highlight this ground-breaking development as a route all bands and artists will have the opportunity to embrace in the next ten years,” he said of the event.

Announcing Mixtape Festival 2012

MixTape Fest 2012, the major new music festival set to launch this summer, will celebrate the mainstream music scene from across the U.S. with headlinersNew Kids on the Block, Kelly Clarkson, The Wanted, The Fray and LL Cool J. Featuring two stages over two days, MixTape Fest 2012 will present platinum-selling marquee acts, icons and pop phenoms from the Pop Music genre for a weekend long action-packed festival set in the sweetest place on earth, the world famous Hersheypark. Festival organizers are also thrilled to announce that after their sold out arena tour in 2011 the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys will reunite onstage as NKOTBSB for their only North American performance together in 2012. This is currently their last scheduled joint appearance and can very well be the last chance to see this record setting hit filled super group perform together.

Tickets go on sale Friday, April 27th at 10am at www.mixtapefestival.com/tickets.

AMEX presale starts 10am Friday, April 20 to 10pm Thursday, April 26, 2012. Ticket package details listed HERE.

In a scene full of indie music festivals, MixTape Fest aims to fill the gap in the festival circuit for mainstream music lovers, offering them a festival experience of their own. In doing so, MixTape Fest will showcase popular acts including Kelly Clarkson, The Fray, LL Cool J, New Kids on the Block and highlight the ONLY North American appearance of NKOTBSB in 2012. Aiming to give fans and pop-culture lovers the biggest weekend dance party, MixTape Fest will offer attendees the ULTIMATE and most luxurious festival experience.

This one of a kind music festival will feature exclusive fan events, interactive exhibits, food trucks, celebrity & special guest appearances and even a spa oasis. Festival fans will be able to experience all the action from the multiple stages and performance areas in a way that is accessible, inclusive, and designed as a shared celebration of all things mainstream. Fans can keep the fun going late into the night at after parties attended and hosted by MixTape Festival Talent. DJ Pauly D will man the turntables and light up the after party on Night 1. Attendees can additionally take part in the VIP Luxury Experience offering many different perks and amenities throughout the festival. Check www.mixtapefestival.com/vip for all package and event details.

Festival producers Live Nation, promise to bring top notch entertainment and first class amenities for all attendees at the first ever MixTape Fest 2012, aiming to create a one of a kind festival experience for mainstream music lovers and pop culture fanatics.

In an effort to further the festival goer experience, MixTape has partnered with Shecky's to bring their “Girls Night Out” experience to Hersheypark Stadium. Shecky's Girls Night Out on Tour is the ultimate experience where girlfriends get together to discover, shop and score new products from emerging artisan designers while enjoying makeovers, manicures and other fun beauty services.

Geoff Gordon, President of Live Nation Philadelphia region says, “Hershey will host a celebration of pop culture beyond what anyone else has produced in the United States. The Summer Mixtape has it all -- from great artists like NKOTB, Kelly Clarkson, The Fray and Backstreet Boys to a fashion, food, beauty, and shopping village experience curated by Sheckys to VIP packages that will pamper fans to value-based pricing on general admission tickets. Hershey is such a great home for the Mixtape because fans from all major East Coast cities including New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC can easily access the town. And with a world class amusement park like Hersheypark serving as the backdrop, it will certainly make it a once in a lifetime experience for those attending.”

“It’s an honor for us to be a part of the inaugural year of MixTape. To share the stage with such mega artists as Kelly Clarkson, LL Cool J and The Fray is really exciting. With the artist selection, and all of the amenities and accommodations offered, this festival is raising the bar to the next level,” say New Kids on the Block. “We couldn’t think of a better way to spend our weekend than with our amazing fans, and there couldn’t be a better setting than such a fun filled festival with such an amazing bill of artists.”

NKOTBSB London Concert To Be Screened Live To Cinemas

Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block's April 29 concert will be streamed live to cinemas across Europe.

The NKOTBSB show at London's 02 arena will make history by being broadcast to over 300 screens by Myscreenevent.com using the state of the art Pan-European satellite feed, which will stream the concert to fans in high definition.

Frank Volpe - who is coordinating the cinema cast - said: ''Working with New Kids on the Block and The Backstreet Boys is such a perfect opportunity to reach out to markets that already clearly enjoy the cinema experience and will highlight this groundbreaking development as a route all bands and artists will have the opportunity to embrace in the next ten years.''

NKOTB's Joey McIntyre has previously revealed he is excited about bringing the NKOTBSB tour from the US to Europe but said his band will not be ''messing'' with any of Backstreet Boys' tracks.

He said: ''We're very excited about bringing the tour to Europe. It's going to be a blast.

''Rather than having one of us come on for an hour and then having the other group perform afterwards we've made it one big, exciting, rollercoaster of a show. We start the show together, we end the show together and then we trade off, a song here, a song there. Each group feeds off each other.

''But fans want to hear Backstreet Boys sing 'I Want It That Way', they want to hear us singing 'The Right Stuff'. We're not messing with the hits.''

From April 2 buy tickets direct from the band's web and social media sites and from www.myscreenevent.com/NKOTBSB.

Rapper Demands $1M From Former NKOTB Member

MC Spice, a rapper who co-wrote and produced a handful of hits for Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch in the early 1990s, says Donnie Wahlberg has never paid him royalties for songs that were used in TV shows like "Glee" and movies like "The Mighty Ducks."

Boston rapper Amir Quadeer Shakir, who records as MC Spice, says he co-wrote and produced "Good Vibrations," "Wildside," "Make Me Say Ooh," and "Gonna Have a Good Time," among other songs, for Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch, a rap group that featured a young Mark Wahlberg.

Shakir says in his complaint in federal court in Manhattan that Donnie Wahlberg, his publishing company, and Warner/Chappell Music have not paid him royalties for his work with Marky Mark.

Donnie Wahlberg, brother of Mark Wahlberg and former member of New Kids on the Block, later helped his younger brother Mark's hip-hop career with the Funky Bunch.

The songs MC Spice worked on have been used in TV shows like "Glee," and movies like "The Mighty Ducks," "Analyze This" and "Rock Star," according to the complaint.

Shakir seeks $500,000 in damages against Donnie Wahlberg and Donnie D. Publishing for breach of fiduciary duty and conversion, and another $500,000 against Warner Chappell for unjust enrichment.

The rapper is represented by Lita Rosario of Washington, D.C.

'Wahlburgers' to hit U.K.

Mark Warhberg's burger chain is heading to the U.K.

The actor and brothers, New Kids on the Block singer Donnie and chef Paul, launched Wahlburgers last year in their native Boston, Massachusetts, and the restaurant has become such a huge success, The Departed star is set to take his high-class burgers to Britain and Ireland.

He says, "We do higher-end burgers. Yesterday, we sold 1,300. It's run by my brother, Paul, who is a five-star chef. We're opening a bunch of them in Britain and Ireland this year."

And the movie star admits he is stunned by the success of the fast food chain - although he always knew food fans would love his chef brother's recipes.

He adds, "When I first mentioned the idea of Wahlburgers, people were like, 'Oh my God, that's a stupid idea.'

"What they don't realize is how talented my brother is. I would never risk putting my name out there in a way that would end up being bad. You can get people to show up because of the name but they are going to come back because they like the food.

"A successful burger place takes maybe $2,400 a day. A really successful one does $6,000. We're making $17,000 a day. There are lines queuing around the corner."

David Strathairn to join 'The Heiress' on Broadway

The Broadway production of "The Heiress" has found its father figure — David Strathairn.

Producers announced Thursday that the Emmy Award winner will star in the play opposite Jessica Chastain, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in "The Help."

"The Heiress" will open this fall at a theater to be announced. The play is based on the Henry James novel "Washington Square" and became an Academy Award-winning film.

It will be directed by playwright and director Moises Kaufman.

Strathairn was in "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "L.A. Confidential" and won an Emmy for best supporting actor in the HBO project, "Temple Grandin."

Michael Madsen Off the Hook In Child Endangerment Case

"Kill Bill" star Michael Madsen won't face any charges stemming from his child endangerment arrest last week -- this according to the L.A. County District Attorney.

A rep for the D.A.'s office tells TMZ, charges won't be filed due to insufficient evidence.

TMZ broke the story, Madsen was arrested at his Malibu home on Friday on suspicion of felony child endangerment after allegedly getting into a physical fight with his juvenile son ... who he found smoking pot in the house.

Cops responded to a call about a domestic dispute at Madsen's home -- and when they arrived, we're told they observed signs of injury on the boy. According to cops, Madsen also appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest.

His son did not require medical attention.

Madsen's attorney Perry Wander tells TMZ, "Michael is grateful that this unfortunate family incident is now closed and thanks those that thoroughly investigated this matter."

CBS renews 18 shows

While pilot season is in full swing, it's important for the networks to remember they have a whole bunch of shows already on the air. CBS, the top-rated network in prime time, did just that as they announced the return of 18 of their evening programs for the 2012-13 season.

In a statement, Nina Tassler head of CBS Entertainment says, "This large-scale renewal is testimony to the strength, stability and success of a deep and diverse roster of top-rated programming."

On the comedy side, the network renewed "2 Broke Girls" and "Mike & Molly." CBS had previously announced multi-year pickups of "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory."

As for dramas, CBS picked up "NCIS," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "Hawaii Five-0," "Criminal Minds," "CSI," "Person of Interest," "The Mentalist," "Blue Bloods" and "The Good Wife."

The network also renewed reality show "The Amazing Race" and "Undercover Boss" in addition to the previously picked up "Survivor." "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours" will also be back.

While "Two and a Half Men" didn't receive an immediate renewal, the network says they are in "preliminary discussions." This likely means that Ashton Kutcher wants more money. Also missing from this list is "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: New York."

Donnie Wahlberg talks Blue Bloods

It has been 28 years since Donnie Wahlberg burst into the bedrooms of teenagers around the world as part of boy-band pop sensations New Kids on the Block. Now, at 42 years old and the star of CBS cop drama Blue Bloods (airing Fridays at 10 p.m. on CTV), the Bostonian is known as much for his acting as his ability to make girls swoon to his treacly ballads and suggestive hip thrusts.

According to one of Wahlberg’s Blue Bloods castmates, he’s as popular as ever with his many female fans. “Everywhere we go, there’s like 15 to 20 to 30 girls out there waiting,” says Amy Carlson, who, along with the rest of the cast, was sitting for a round of interviews to promote the show at its New York set. Carlson plays the wife of Wahlberg’s character, hard-hitting detective and soft-hearted family man Danny Reagan. “We could be at a cemetery shooting in the rain and I’ll be like, ‘How did they find us?’”

Wahlberg, who alongside veteran actor Tom Selleck, leads the show, says he’s grateful for any support he gets and usually stops for photos with his fans: some in their teens, some in their 20s and others now all grown up. They find him through a website that lists the show’s shooting locations.

“Sometimes, literally, I’m leaving work and the fans will say ‘Okay, we’ll see you tomorrow!’” says Wahlberg. “And I’ll ask them, ‘Where am I shooting tomorrow?’ And they’ll tell me.”

Blue Bloods, the ninth-most watched show on Canadian television last year, is now in its second season and has been praised for combining exciting police drama with a sensitive look at life in a cop family. It focuses on the tight-knit Reagan clan, of which New York Police Department commissioner Frank Reagan (played by Selleck) is the patriarch.

Although he has played a lot of cop throughout his acting career, Wahlberg says the personal element depicted in Blue Bloods has taught him a lot more about police life. “When we watch Law & Order or shows like that, we don’t see the cops go home, we don’t see them with their families, we don’t know who they’re going home to and we don’t always value the importance of getting home.”

That nuance extends to Wahlberg’s character. Real-life police like that Danny isn’t afraid to break some rules in the pursuit of justice, Wahlberg says. “They don’t endorse what he does, but they understand and wish they could sometimes. He’s not bullying people for no reason; he’s pressing as hard as he can to get justice. A lot of cops would like to have that freedom.”

For Selleck, the character-driven story is key to Blue Bloods’ success, much as it was to his hit 1980s show Magnum P.I. “If you really think about Magnum, you know my shorts may be too short now and out of style, but it’s in 100 countries,” says Selleck, still sporting the thick moustache that helped make him famous. “It isn’t in 100 countries because of the plots. It’s in 100 countries because it’s a character-driven show and the problems, whether funny or serious — and they were both — are people problems. And people problems don’t change over generations.”

In that way, the two shows are alike. “Magnum still translates, and I think Blue Bloods translates and seems to be crossing borders because of the police work aspect, but certainly because of the family.”

Canadian actor Len Cariou, who plays Selleck’s father and retired police commissioner Henry Reagan, says the show also resonates with such a wide audience because of the familiarity of its family dynamics, exemplified by the Reagans’ weekly dinner ritual.

“A lot of people say, ‘Hell, I used to do this every Sunday,’” says the 72-year-old Winnipegger. “I did when I was a kid growing up. Sunday was the big meal, we all sat down to a family dinner. My father was a travelling salesman, so we only saw him on the weekend. It was pretty sacred time.”

In many modern families, the TV set has replaced the dinner table as the social gathering point, but in that way, too, Blue Bloods is bringing them together.

Michael Madsen ARRESTED IN MALIBU

"Kill Bill" star Michael Madsen was arrested in L.A. today on suspicion of felony child endangerment ... TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement tells us ... Madsen was arrested in Malibu at 3:55 PM PST ... and he was taken to a nearby Sheriff's Dept.

We're told police responded to a call about a family dispute at Madsen's Malibu home.

According to law enforcement -- Madsen had gotten into a physical fight with his juvenile son -- and when cops arrived, they observed several signs of injury on his son. We're told Madsen also appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest.

We're told his son did not require medical attention.

We're told Madsen was booked on a charge of child endangerment with cruelty to a child -- a felony.

He is currently being held on $100,000 bail.

Update: Madsen's attorney, Perry Wander, tells us "[Michael] found his son smoking pot and they got in an argument when he tried to take it away. It's a family matter and Michael asks that his families privacy be respected."

Blue Bloods' Donnie Wahlberg is Hangin' Tough

Taking a break between scenes, Blue Bloods' Donnie Wahlberg places two smartphones within easy reach. The onetime teen heartthrob is so connected to social media that instead of watching his hit cop show on Fridays at 10, he reads real-time Tweets to gauge what viewers like or don't. Happily for the actor who plays Det. Danny Reagan, the "likes" win — Blue Bloods and Wahlberg rule the night.

His fans are a large, loyal bunch. Long devoted to him from his boy-band days in New Kids on the Block (now reunited as NKOTB), they inundate the show's Brooklyn set with inspirational books, photo collages and vintage action figures. Many have even followed their hero to his CBS series. "Every day we're on a stage, [his fans] know where we're shooting," says Tom Selleck, who plays patriarch Frank Reagan. "They hang out all day. Donnie will go over and talk with them — he's good that way."

Fifteen years after he made the transition from music to acting, notwithstanding roles in such prestigious movies as The Sixth Sense and TV projects like Band of Brothers and Boomtown, the 42-year-old has the part he seems born to play. Chalk it up to good fortune. The show was casting in Toronto and Wahlberg just happened to be in Canada en route to a concert in Alaska when he got wind of the opportunity.

"We were having trouble finding an actor to play Danny," recalls exec producer Leonard Goldberg. "I looked at Donnie's reel and said, 'That's Danny Reagan!' He had the energy and the physicality. If Tom Selleck's police commissioner is the foundation of Blue Bloods, Donnie is the engine that drives the show. He brings such passion — and a little danger — to the police stories that it allows us to pause and do the family scenes that are the heart of our show. Without Donnie, it could become a little boring."

Wahlberg also nails the intimate interactions with both Jackie (Jennifer Esposito) — Danny's partner on the force — and wife Linda (Amy Carlson). Notes Goldberg, "We hear from viewers that their relationship is so real, and for the first time they're seeing what it's actually like to be married to a cop." Danny and Linda's marriage is one of the most solid TV relationships since Friday Night Lights' Taylors, a portrayal that Carlson wanted to emulate from Day 1. "Love is the basis of the relationship," says the actress. "Linda and Danny may drive each other crazy, but they are crazy about each other!"

Tonight's episode movingly combines the procedural with the show's family values when an undercover detective, who's a friend of the Reagan family, is killed in a drug bust — after Danny and Jackie arrive a minute too late. "Danny knows it easily could have been him," says Goldberg. "And he has to call Linda because she's the godmother of the dead cop's new baby, who's soon to be christened. It hits him on both sides."

The episode ties into what's become a common theme on Blue Bloods: "Everybody is confronted with the life that he or she has chosen," says Wahlberg. "Whether it's the bad guy, his drug-dealing mom or the cops whose lives are in danger." A divorced father of two, Wahlberg says he can relate: "I'm in New York and my kids live in L.A.; I'm lucky if I can catch a little Skype time with them, because this is the life I chose."

Humor is the weapon Wahlberg chooses to cope with the long hours and freeze-your-butt-off New York weather. "He works more hours than anyone on the show, and he's doing jokes at 2am with the same energy that he had when he started at 2 in the afternoon," says Goldberg.

That geniality doesn't surprise Wahlberg's uncle Archie, visiting the set one February day. "Donnie was the comedian in the family," he reveals. "He was great fun as a boy, a great kid, and he's now a nice man."

Wahlberg cops to being a cutup, dancing around the set and trying to make everyone laugh, even if the director has called for quiet. "Jennifer and I do everything in our power to keep the crew having a good time," he says. Despite his goofiness, no one should doubt his acting chops, Carlson cautions. "He's a prankster and he can get my goat, but I always have to be on my toes because he's so smart and so passionate."

The showbiz veteran also never forgets how far he's come as the eighth of nine poor kids (actor/producer Mark Wahlberg is his baby brother) from a tough Boston neighborhood. "I'd get punched if I'd talk about wanting to be an actor," he says. "I'm enough of a self-critic to keep it honest. There was a time when I was frustrated because I thought, my band is better than I'm given credit for and I can act as well. I have finally proven it, but it took 20 years. I probably wouldn't have been ready if everything was perfect years ago. Now when I'm out chasing bad guys, I pinch myself and say, 'This is outrageous! This is too good to be true.'"

Wahlberg's next step: directing an episode. "I have some homework to do first. I don't take the responsibility of directing Tom Selleck lightly. Tom is a formidable man. I want him to say, 'Hey, when are you going to do the next one?' as opposed to, 'Let's not try that experiment again,'" he says, imitating Selleck's sonorous voice. We'll bet on the kid from Boston.

Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS.

Gun play: Donnie Wahlberg & 'Blue Bloods' take serious look at crime aftershocks

Donnie Wahlberg was surprised when he got his first look at the script for this week’s episode of CBS’ “Blue Bloods” (Friday at 10 p.m. on WBZ, Ch. 4).

“There’s this very intense situation where (his character) Danny and his wife and kids come across a violent crime on the way home,” the Dorchester actor/singer said from the set in New York. “That was jarring enough, but then the episode takes a turn.”

Instead of Danny Reagan — the cop on the warpath doing things his way — viewers get an emotional look at how a police officer prepares his family for the potential of violence.

“It’s an inevitable moment for any cop who keeps a firearm in the house,” Wahlberg said. “He has to discuss it with his wife and kids — and for me, doing that scene was powerful.”

The episode, and the family element to the plot, left Wahlberg with a new “profound respect” for police officers.

“He has to slow down and take care of his children, who are very affected by this violent encounter,” Wahlberg said. “In doing so, he has to teach his kids and show them his gun. It really struck me — my initial reaction was, ‘I’m not sure I want to do this.’ But that’s Donnie speaking. I never dealt with guns. We didn’t have guns in the house when I was a child.”

Recently, his brother, actor Mark Wahlberg (“Contraband”), made some ill-considered remarks about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, leaving him red-faced and remorseful.

“I haven’t spoken to (Mark),” Wahlberg said just after the blowback from the quotes started to take hold. “But I think he said it all in his apology. It was in-appropriate. I don’t know the context of the quote or how the subject came up in the interview, but I’m concerned for him. He apologized, and I think he did the right thing in apologizing.”

Anyone curious about Wahlberg’s thoughts on how things are going on the set of “Blue Bloods,” opinions on certain episodes or even the possibility of a Patriots [team stats] Super Bowl win need only to check out the actor’s blazing Twitter account (@DonnieWahlberg).

“It’s something that didn’t exist in the music business in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” he said. “If I wanted to connect like I do now, I’d have to write 500,000 letters, get 500,000 stamps, send them out and wait for them all to come back. This stuff is instantaneous. I can see if someone is having a bad day and send them a smiley face and have an effect on them. It’s fun, but it’s also a very powerful thing.”

When does the 42-year-old actor finally stop tweeting? When the camera starts rolling.

“I tweet from the set,” he said, and then laughed. “Fans are waiting to see if I ‘twug’ (Twitter hug) them, and I’m just waiting for the director to say ‘action.’ ”

Most (and least) watched shows of fall

Now that we’re in rerun hell, it’s high time to take stock of what we liked (and loathed) from September to December. Below is a list of every network show and how many viewers each one averaged.

While these numbers aren’t a key piece of the puzzle for the broadcast nets when they are setting ad rates and deciding whether to renew a series, they definitely help to tell a story of a program’s true popularity.*

1. NCIS (CBS, 21.4 million)
2. Sunday NFL Football (NBC, 19.9)
3. Two and a Half Men (CBS, 18.9)
4. Dancing with the Stars (ABC, 18.5)
5. NCIS: LA (CBS, 17.4)
6. DWTS: Results (ABC, 16.65)
7. Big Bang Theory (CBS, 16.61)
8. Modern Family (ABC, 15.066)
9. NFL Pre-Kick (NBC, 15.063)
10. 60 Minutes (CBS, 14.67)
11. Mentalist (CBS, 14.6)
12. Criminal Minds (CBS, 14.4)
13. The OT (Fox, 14.0)
14. 2 Broke Girls (CBS, 13.6)
15. Mike & Molly (CBS, 13.56)
16. Unforgettable (CBS, 13.532)
17. Person of Interest (CBS, 13.531)
18. Hawaii 5-0 (CBS, 13.4)
19. CSI (CBS, 13.2)
20. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 13.1)
21. Blue Bloods (CBS, 12.9)
22. X Factor Wed (Fox, 12.5)
23. Survivor: South Pacific (CBS, 12.5)
24. X Factor Thurs (Fox, 12.3)
25. Castle (ABC, 12.2)
26. Once Upon a Time (ABC, 12.0)
27. Good Wife (CBS, 11.9)
28. How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 11.5)
29. Last Man Standing (ABC, 11.47)
30. Rules of Engagement (CBS, 11.45)
31. CSI: Miami (CBS, 11.42)
32. CSI: NY (CBS, 11.34)
33. Football Night in America 3 (NBC, 11.1)
34. Amazing Race 19 (CBS, 11.05)
35. Body of Proof (ABC, 11.03)
36. Desperate Housewives (ABC, 11.0)
37. Bones (Fox, 10.2)
38. New Girl (Fox, 10.0)
39. Terra Nova (Fox, 9.98)
40. Glee (Fox, 9.90)
41. Revenge (ABC, 9.8)
42. Middle (ABC, 9.82)
43. House (Fox, 9.7)
44. Law & Order: SVU (NBC, 9.1)
45. Suburgatory (ABC, 9.0)
46. Harry’s Law (NBC, 8.99)
47. Private Practice (ABC, 8.98)
48. How to be a Gentleman (CBS, 8.6 million)
49. A Gifted Man (CBS, 8.5)
50. Fear Factor (NBC, 8.5)
51. Pan Am (ABC, 8.2)
52. Simpsons (Fox, 7.77)
53. Happy Endings (ABC, 7.70)
54. Hell’s Kitchen Mon 9 (Fox, 7.4)
55. Hell’s Kitchen Mon 8 (Fox, 7.3)
56. Office (NBC, 7.29)
57. Family Guy (Fox, 7.26)
58. Parenthood (NBC, 7.1)
59. Grimm (NBC, 7.0)
60. Charlie’s Angels (ABC, 6.919)
61. Man Up (ABC, 6.915)
62. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC, 6.8)
63. Biggest Loser 12 (NBC, 6.7)
64. Raising Hope (Fox, 6.6)
65. Sat. Night College Football (ABC, 6.30)
66. Up All Night (NBC, 6.14)
67. Prime Suspect (NBC, 6.12)
68. I Hate My Teenage Daughter (Fox, 6.0)
69. Football Night in America 2 (NBC, 5.97)
70. Dateline Fri (NBC, 5.93)
71. American Dad (Fox, 5.7)
72. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC, 5.77)
73. 48 Hours Mystery (CBS, 5.75)
74. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 9 p.m. (ABC, 5.4)
75. Whitney (NBC, 5.3)
76. Playboy Club (NBC, 5.2)
77. Sing Off (NBC, 5.17)
78. Cleveland Show (Fox, 5.14)
79. 20/20 Friday (ABC, 5.10)
80. Cleveland Show Sunday 8:30 (Fox, 5.07)
81. You Deserve It (ABC, 5.03)
82. Crimetime Sat 9 p.m. (CBS, 4.5)
83. Middle Tuesday (ABC, 4.48)
84. Allen Gregory (Fox, 4.45)
85. Parks and Recreation (NBC (4.42)
86. SVU Saturday (NBC, 4.3)
87. Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, 4.29)
88. Prime Suspect Sat. (NBC, 4.26)
89. Sat. Football pregame (ABC, 4.22)
90. COPS Sat. 8:30 (Fox, 4.19)
91. Community (NBC, 4.18)
92. Fringe (Fox, 4.10)
93. Rock Center (NBC, 4.01)
94. Free Agents (NBC, 3.9)
95. Chuck (NBC, 3.888)
96. Suburgatory Tues. (ABC, 3.886)
97. COPS Sat. 8 p.m. (Fox, 3.77)
98. Up All Night 8:30 (NBC, 3.72)
99. Comedytime Sat. 1 (CBS, 3.6)
100. Harry’s Law Sat. (NBC, 3.5)
101. Comedytime Sat. 2 (CBS, 3.3)
102. Vampire Diaries (CW, 3.1)
103. Terra Nova Sat. (Fox, 2.5)
104. America’s Next Top Model 17 (CW, 2.37)
105. Secret Circle (CW, 2.34)
106. Supernatural (CW, 2.25)
107. Hart of Dixie (CW, 2.1)
108. Nikita (CW, 2.06)
109. Ringer (CW, 2.02)
…112. 90210 (CW, 1.7)
113. Gossip Girl (CW, 1.68)
114. Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 1.65)
…120. H8R (CW, 1.2)

*Note: Season averages include repeats. If a program (original or rerun) aired in a different time slot, it is listed separately. Rankings for NBC’s Sunday Night football is also broken up because each half-hour can command different ad rates.

Married.With Children Reunion? Modern Family's Ed O'Neil "Up for It"

Could a Married star be ready to renew his vows?

The once-beloved Bundy family has scattered across the primetime TV galaxy since the show went off the air, and we've been wishing that some cosmic force could bring them back together.

So....we were recently on the set of ABC's Modern Family and asked the former couch potato himself Ed O'Neil if a Married...with Children reunion is in the future. And you know what he said?

"I was up for it! I said, 'Yeah, I'd do it,'" O'Neil tells us with a smile. "It might be fun, but then everybody would have to be on board."

That might be a bit difficult considering the majority of this classic cast have moved onto other shows.

Christina Applegate has said goodbye to Kelly's crop tops and mini skirts and hello to sweatpants and stained shirts on NBC's new hit comedy Up All Night. And the once big-haired shopaholic Peggy (Katey Sagal) has been lending her voice as Leela on Fox's cartoon comedy Futurama for years. Oh, and lending her awesome-ness to Gemma, her Golden-Globe winning role on Sons of Anarchy.

There is only one person who seems to have a problem with a Bundy family reunion: Sofia Vergara, O'Neil's current TV wife. She had a moment of panic while we were blissfully imagining Al selling shoes again. "But then who is going to be Jay?!" she shouted.

Not to worry, Sophia! O'Neil has is pretty sure that he wont be leaving his Emmy award-winning show any time soon. "They keep talking about [a reunion], but I don't know. I don't think so," he regrettably admits.

Bummer. We'll just have to keep on dreaming of a day that will (cue the applause) bring Kelly, Peggy, Bud and Al back together again on the living room couch.

Would you like to see a Married…with Children reunion? Or should everyone stick to their current projects and let the past be the past?

NKOTBSB Australia

After a long long wait, NKOTBSB is excited to announce that they’re coming to Australia! NKOTBSB brings their epic tour for an exclusive engagement in May 2012. See below for dates and on sales! We can’t wait!

SAT 19-MAY Melbourne, AUS - Rod Laver
FAN CLUB PRESALES: Beginning WEDNESDAY, NOV 30th at 9am EDTbr>ON SALE 2pm THURSDAY, DEC 8

MON 21-MAY Adelaide, AUS - Ent Center
FAN CLUB PRESALES: Beginning WEDNESDAY, NOV 30th at 10am CDT
ON SALE 2pm THURSDAY, DEC 8

WED 23-MAY Brisbane, AUS - Brisbane Entertainment Centre
FAN CLUB PRESALES: Beginning WEDNESDAY, NOV 30th at 9am EST
ON SALE 2pm THURSDAY, DEC 8

SAT 26-MAY Sydney, AUS - Allphones Arena
FAN CLUB PRESALES: Beginning WEDNESDAY, NOV 30th at 10am EDT
ON SALE 2pm THURSDAY, DEC 8

NKOTB / Boys II Men New Years Eve Cancellation

Wow what a year for all of us.

It started by ringing in the New Year with Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark in Times Square and another sold out cruise that created memories that will last a lifetime. The US leg of the NKOTBSB tour played to a record 55 shows and over 600,000 people including the gig of our lives at Fenway Park that we got to share with all of you.

As you know, no New Kids event is complete without the chance to share it with our fans. On that note, after significant consideration, we have decided to cancel the New Years Eve event in New York City. The reason for this is while it’s apparent some of you could join us, a vast majority of you couldn’t due other obligations that you have on this holiday. We heard from so many of you that this date just couldn’t work. We’re sorry for any inconvience. It’s just so important to us that these events can be shared with all of you.

We’re so excited for the year ahead which will include our first trip back to Europe since 2009, additional NKOTBSB tour legs soon to be announced, another sold out cruise and additional NKOTB North American touring plans and very special events. We would be nothing without your love and support and appreciate your understanding on this needed change. Should anyone be unable to get out of any travel obligations, please send an email to nyetravel@nkotb.com and we will do our best to assist you.

We wish you the happiest of holidays. Spend it with your loved ones and we’ll see you in 2012!-NKOTB

Donnie Wahlberg helps feed success of 'Blue Bloods'

There are a number of theories on why "Blue Bloods" has been able to carve out such a substantial audience on Fridays, a night when viewers are hard to come by.

Some say the CBS series, now in its second season, is attracting an average of 13.6 million viewers because of its stellar cast, headed up by TV royalty Tom Selleck.

Some say it's the gritty, streets-of-New York crime stories.

The sentimental majority opinion holds that it's the show's weekly dinner scene, during which four generations of Reagans -- presided over by the patriarch (Len Cariou) -- bicker, spar and celebrate one another.

"That scene is the favorite of so many people," says "Blue Bloods" executive producer Leonard Goldberg. "Italian people, Jewish people, Greek people -- they all say the same thing: 'That's my family.'"

On this morning, as the cast runs through take after take at the long dinner table, one thing is abundantly clear: Donnie Wahlberg, who plays flinty NYPD detective Danny Reagan, can really put it away.

While the other actors are saying their lines, playing to the cameras, Wahlberg is shoveling in forkfuls of apple pie. With gusto.

There's a crew member devoted to refilling Wahlberg's plate every time the director yells "Cut!"

Afterward in his dressing room, Wahlberg notes, "In the very next scene, which we already shot last week, I eat another slice of pie. The whole show is going to be me eating pie."

When you grow up, as Wahlberg did, the eighth of nine children in a poor working-class family in Boston's hardscrabble Dorchester neighborhood, the prospect of all-you-can-eat never loses its appeal.

So how would Sunday dinner at the Wahlbergs differ from the atmosphere at the Reagans? "Wahlberg family dinner?" Donnie says with a snicker. "My old man would not be sitting at the table. He'd be sitting in the corner on a stool with a Schlitz in his hand, and if we started laughing, he'd be screaming at us to shut up.

"We'd be fighting over who got the last piece of chicken. There wouldn't be any pie. There wouldn't be any dessert at all."

It was show business that airlifted Wahlberg out of some grim prospects. At 14, when most of his friends were learning the finer points of boosting cars, Donnie became the charter member of the proto-boy band New Kids on the Block.

"I was very lucky," he says. "I was the only one who didn't go down that road. I loved to perform. I had aspirations."

Wahlberg's career has taken him from the acclaimed miniseries "Band of Brothers" to three of the "Saw" splatter films. He has acted alongside everyone from Tupac Shakur to Robert De Niro, James Franco and Mel Gibson.

No part has ever fit him as perfectly as "Blue Bloods'" intense Danny Reagan, an Iraq war vet who takes his jobs as a cop, husband and father very seriously.

"When he works on this show, he is Emmy material," says Amy Carlson, who plays his wife, Linda. "He lives this character in such a visceral way, it really resonates on the screen."

"Tom is the face of the show," says Bridget Moynihan, who plays Danny's sister, Erin, "but Donnie is the engine that keeps everything going."

Of course, you have to stoke an engine. "The whole cast, they're all really good actors, committed actors," says Selleck. "Donnie leads by example. You saw him at the dinner table. He eats a lot. He's got boundless energy."

Wahlberg is often asked whether he is envious of his younger brother, Mark, who has achieved enormous success as an actor and producer in Hollywood.

He maintains he's eternally grateful that he was able to give Mark's career a kick-start back when it seemed that the youngest of the Wahlbergs was destined to become the baddest seed in the clan.

"I always say I'd rather visit him in a 25,000-foot mansion than in a 10-foot prison cell," Wahlberg says.

Wahlberg brothers open up burger joint in Hingham

A couple of hometown boys are serving up a side of Hollywood at their new burger joint.

Mark and Donnie Wahlberg opened up their new burger joint "Wahlburgers" in Hingham last night where the grand opening felt more like a Hollywood premiere.

The Wahlberg brothers invited their mom, Alma Wahlberg and 200 other guests including Red Sox players David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis.

"It is a burger place and it's fun and you're gonna have a drink and you're gonna have some fries and a shake or a frappe. But we brought the government cheese with us just like we ate as kids and ya know. We’re bringing a little Dorchester with us" Donnie tells FOX25.

"Wahlburgers" is located in the Hingham Shipyard across from their Italian restaurant Alma Nove.

UK and Europe NKOTBSB Tour Dates Announced

FRI 20-APR Belfast, Ireland - Odyssey
  • SAT 21-APR Dublin, Ireland - O2
  • MON 23-APR Liverpool, UK - Echo Arena
  • TUE 24-APR Manchester, UK - MEN Arena
  • THU 26-APR - Newcastle, UK - Newcastle Arena
  • FRI 27-APR Birmingham, UK - LG Arena
  • SAT 28-APR London, UK - O2 Arena
  • TUE 1-MAY Rotterdam, Netherlands - Ahoy
  • WED 2-MAY Antwerp, Belgium - Sportspalais
  • SAT 5-MAY Stuttgart, Germany - Schleyerhalle Arena
  • SUN 6-MAY Leipzig, Germany - Arena
  • MON 7-MAY Berlin, Germany - O2 Arena
  • WED 9-MAY Hamburg, Germany - O2 World
  • THU 10-MAY Oberhausen, Germany - Kopi Arena
  • SAT 12-MAY Herning, Denmark - Jyske Bank Boxen
  • SUN 13-MAY Malmo, Sweden - Malmo Arena
  • MON 14-MAY Oslo, Norway - Oslo Spektrum

    CSI Taps Titus Welliver As New Villain

    Titus Welliver, always the villain...

    The 50-year-old actor has landed a multi-episode arc on CSI as John, an arrogant military contractor who goes toe-to-toe with Russell (Ted Danson), TVLine.com reports. As previously announced, Annabeth Gish has been cast as his wife, who's hiding a secret.

    Welliver is known for taking on villainous roles. On Lost, he played the mysterious and evil Man in Black. He portrayed one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on Supernatural, as well as an evil Irish mobster on Sons of Anarchy. He'll also return to The Good Wife as Peter's nemesis in the Nov. 6 episode.

    SYFY RENEWS ALPHAS FOR SECOND SEASON

    Syfy’s new super-powered original drama series Alphas, featuring a team of superhuman investigators, will be returning for a second season, it was announced today by Mark Stern, President, Original Content, Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. Syfy is ordering 13 episodes of the breakout scripted summer hit from series producers Universal Cable Productions and BermanBraun Television to air in 2012.

    “Alphas’ smart, innovative approach to a superhero franchise has clearly caught on with our audience,” said Stern. “From the first-rate writing to the outstanding cast lead by David Strathairn, we’re very proud of what was achieved in its first season and look forward to seeing this series fulfill even more of its creative potential in a second season.”

    Alphas debuted on July 11th and became Syfy’s most-watched original scripted series premiere in two years. To date, premiere episodes which air Monday nights at 10PM ET/PT have averaged 3.3 million total viewers (including all available Live +7 DVR data).

    Comparatively, in both key demos, Alphas has outperformed other new and returning scripted series this season including Teen Wolf, Rescue Me, Hawthorne and The Killing. Alphas also tops Memphis Beat in Adults 18-49.

    Alphas has scored impressive numbers with on demand viewers since its July launch averaging over 240,000 plays within 7 days per episode. Alphas is also Syfy’s most popular series in digital downloads.

    Alphas, airing Monday nights at 10PM ET/PT on Syfy, follows a clandestine group of ordinary people whose unique neurological condition equips them with extraordinary physical abilities. Led by preeminent neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen (Emmy Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn (Temple Grandin, Good Night, and Good Luck) and operating within the Defense Department, the team investigates cases involving other Alpha activity. The ensemble cast also stars Malik Yoba (New York Undercover, Why Did I Get Married?), Warren Christie (October Road), Azita Ghanizada (Castle), Ryan Cartwright (Bones) and Laura Mennell (Watchmen). Valerie Cruz is a recurring guest star.

    Notable guest stars this season include Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Rebecca Mader (Lost) on September 12th and John Pyper Ferguson (Caprica) on September 26th.

    Are Mark & Donnie Wahlberg Getting a Reality Show?

    We've seen Mark Wahlberg sing, dance, act and even model in his skivvies.

    So could reality TV be next for the A-lister formerly known as Marky Mark?

    Sure sounds like it...

    Wahlberg revealed earlier today that he and his brothers are thinking about shooting a reality series that would follow the opening of their new high-end burger joint, Wahlburger's.

    However, Mark isn't so keen to appear on the show.

    "Maybe I'll be the Charlie's Angels of reality TV," Wahlberg said at the Graduate to Go Studio launch at the L.A. Harbor Boys & Girls Club. "You'll hear my voice. But obviously it's something that we'd want to control in every aspect and produce and make sure that we were doing something really quality."

    And the restaurant business isn't the only venture on Wahlberg's mind.

    "We are interested at some point or another doing our own clothing line in the future," he said. "As well as a health and wellness business that will help people first and foremost feel good, exercise, eat right and then look good...Eighty-five percent of the population doesn't exercise and eat right, and you want to be able to push them in the direction of extending their lifespan and living healthy lives."

    Speaking of living well, Wahlberg hopes partnering with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens for today's launch of the Graduate to Go Studio will have a major impact on disadvantaged youth. "They just keep creating new ways for kids to want to stay in school and want to stay out of trouble," he said. "I just love what they do."

    Modern Family's Ed O'Neill Gets a Star as Sexy TV Wives Crack Jokes

    (Video) Love and marriage has done Ed O'Neill well over the years.

    The sitcom star received the 2,446th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today, and both his current wife and the spouse who was by his side for 10 years turned out to honor him in front of an adoring crowd.

    Oh, and we mean his wives from Modern Family and Married... With Children, obviously.

    "When I was in Colombia and I was a young, very beautiful girl, I would watch Married... With Children, with Ed with his hand in his pants, talking with this very sexy Antonio Banderas accent—because in Colombia it was dubbed into Spanish," joked Sofia Vergara, who plays the 65-year-old's awfully hot, young wife on Modern Family.

    "So he talked perfect Spanish, and there I was sitting, and I would never in a million years think that I was going to grow up to marry Al Bundy," she continued. "Never, even if somebody had paid me to believe that...But to marry Al Bundy has been one of the most joyful things in my whole life."

    It was O'Neill's first TV wife who kicked off the proceedings, however.

    "I want to tell Eddie, he's one lucky mo-fo," offered Katey Sagal, who played the insufferable and long-suffering Peg Bundy. "Here he's got these two beautiful women that he's had in his life, hopefully this one as long as he's had me," she added, gesturing toward Vergara. "And I'm sure he will."

    Then it was the man of the hour's turn to speak.

    "As I'm standing here, it's a bit emotional," O'Neill began, "I can't help thinking that somewhere in the world, at this moment in a hospital, a beautiful little baby girl is being born. And when she grows up she's going to be my next wife on TV, and I look forward to that day."

    But, more seriously, he added, "This is overwhelming. I want to thank the fans for being here. No fans, no show, no career."

    O'Neill's Walk of Fame star in front of shoe store

    Ed O'Neill's new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame would seem to be in an appropriate spot: in front of a DSW shoe store on Hollywood Boulevard.

    O'Neill used to play shoe salesman Al Bundy on the long-running sitcom "Married With Children."

    The Walk of Fame says the Emmy-nominated star of "Modern Family" will receive his sidewalk honor on Tuesday. The ceremony will feature his two TV wives, Sofia Vergara from "Modern," the current ABC hit, and Katey Sagal from "Married," which aired on Fox.

    The 65-year-old O'Neill recently told The Vindicator, his hometown newspaper in Youngstown, Ohio, that he almost turned down the Walk of Fame star because he thought it was "kind of weird." But his daughter helped him see it was a point of pride.

    Donnie and Mark Wahlberg Serve Up Fresh Meat

    They're the guys who own this establishment. You must be the other guy.

    Of all the business ideas Donnie and Mark Wahlberg have bandied about, this has to be the most inspired: The famed brothers have licensed the name Wahlburger from Rochester, N.Y.-based fast food chain Tom Wahl's to open their own burger joint in their hometown of Boston.

    We can imagine the menu already: Anyone for The Right Stuff patty melt? How about a Sixth Sense salad? Or maybe a Marky Mark milkshake?

    Per the Boston Herald, the New Kids on the Block singer and The Departed star, along with other brother and chef Paul Wahlberg, heard that Tom Wahl's had sold a product named the "Wahlburger."

    As it happened, the siblings, who already owned a bunch of eateries, were on the lookout to start a new venture. So they decided to plunk down an undisclosed amount to acquire the rights to the Wahlburger name for a brand-new 80-seat, 4,300-square-foot restaurant set to launch in the coming months in the Hingham Shipyard.

    Having just acquired a liquor license, Wahlburgers will also serve alcohol and has an outdoor patio area too.

    Talk about a Happening place.

    The Wahlbergs also plan to open a pizza joint as well.

    NKOTBSB releasing joint album

    New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys have captured the magic of their joint tour in the recording studio for a new collaborative album.

    The two boy bands teamed up earlier this year for their first single together, Don't Turn Out The Lights, before thrilling fans across North America with their summer NKOTBSB tour.

    They are now set to release a full project together under the same name this October.

    The upcoming disc combines hit songs from New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys' back catalogue for unique musical mash-ups.

    Strathairn revels in Syfy's 'Alphas' role

    David Strathairn, 62, brings a seriousness and sense of purpose to his roles. In Good Night, and Good Luck, he played newscaster Edward R. Murrow, a role that earned him a best-actor Academy Award nomination. He played J. Robert Oppenheimer in Day One, which won an Emmy. In The Whistleblower (out Aug. 5), which was inspired by a true story about human trafficking in postwar Bosnia, he plays a mysterious bureaucrat. And he just signed on to play Secretary of State William H. Seward in Lincoln, which Steven Spielberg will direct this fall.

    But in Alphas, the new series on Syfy (tonight, 10 p.m. ET/PT), Strathairn is a little more fanciful. He plays a neurologist and leader of a group of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Their job: solving crimes that have stumped the CIA, FBI and Pentagon.

    USA TODAY caught up with Strathairn during a break in his Alphas schedule. The time off gave Strathairn the opportunity to play handyman at his East Coast home, where he lives with his wife, Logan Goodman. They have two sons — one's an architect, and the other is a musician.

    Q: What project are you working on?

    A: Whenever I come home after being away for a while, I have to work my way through a to-do list. Right now I'm staining some new replacement railings. It's general maintenance.

    Q: Is there no Alpha whose specialty is home improvement, rather than enhanced strength, mind control or electro-magnetic manipulation?

    A: I think their skills transcend the mundane. Some have synesthesia or the power of suggestion. That was a departure point for (show creator) Zak Penn in writing Alphas. He wanted these abilities to be plausible and based in fact, although we may stretch the envelope a little bit in terms of how highly evolved they are.

    Q: Why did you decide to do a TV series?

    A: My curiosity was piqued. But making Alphas is a lot different from doing independent films. The time constraints force you to be on your game and make quick decisions. There are a lot of banana peels out there. It's exciting and challenging.

    Q: How do you choose your projects?

    A: I pick things that I'm going to learn from. That enhances the experience, especially if it's a story I feel people should know about. In many ways, film and TV is becoming a place where our history is being rewritten, revised, recognized or reflected. …The Whistleblower is a thriller, and it takes you on a ride. It's going to tell you a story that you may not ever have heard of, yet it's going to wake you up and might just catch you off guard.

    Q: Do you care how big your role is?

    A: If it's a vital part of the story, I don't care how big it is. In Hemingway & Gellhorn, I had a really small part as (writer) John Dos Passos. I hadn't really known about (war correspondent) Martha Gellhorn. She was groundbreaking in many ways. She smuggled herself onto a Red Cross plane to get to the D-Day invasion. These great women may be standing in the shadow of a man, in this case Hemingway's shadow. It's almost as if Hemingway ended up being in her shadow. … In Maladies, James Franco and Catherine Keener play brother/sister. It's about people who are oddities in the world. I play their neighbor, a lonely guy trapped in his own little world, but he loves these people because they're artists. He wishes he could have been an artist.

    Q: George Clooney directed you in Good Night, and Good Luck. What did you learn from him?

    A: If I were ever to direct a film, I'd go back to remembering what he did. I'm still amazed at how smooth and well-prepared he was. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it with a kind of grace that people might not have known he possessed. He's smart and charming and has a lot of influence. I'd take a page or 10 out of his book.

    Q: Before you began acting professionally, you went to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and then worked in the circus for a few months as part of a clown act. What did you learn?

    A: How to fall down without getting hurt. I also discovered that chimpanzees don't like clown faces and that elephants are pretty extraordinary creatures. Being in the circus was hard work. I was riding the rails and putting on shows five times a weekend. It was one of the more bizarre experiences of my life.

    Video: Stingy - Jordan Knight featuring Donnie Wahlberg

    Video: Stingy - Jordan Knight featuring Donnie Wahlberg

    NKOTB.com iPhone APP!

    You will now be able to access all the great features at nkotb.com from your iPhone! Introducing the new ground(ctrl) APP, now available exclusively at the iTunes store - CLICK HERE!! Best of all? It's FREE! We will continue to tweak and adjust features in the coming weeks/months, please enjoy! Driod, iPad and Blackberry coming soon! Get yours TODAY!

    Donnie Wahlberg Featured on Jordan Knight's 'Stingy' Single: Listen Here

    Amid the New Kids on the Block-Backstreet Boys extravaganza, Jordan Knight found time to re-record his single "Stingy," to include fellow New Kid Donnie Wahlberg.

    Los Angeles-based DJ and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest world-premiered "Stingy" today on KIIS FM.

    The single initially featured another singer on the track. He let fans aboard the 2011 NKOTB Cruise hear the single first between some yoga stretches on the lido deck of the ship.

    While aboard, Knight talked about how Wahlberg's feelings were hurt because he didn't initially ask him to be on the track, especially since the original singer sounded just like him.

    Wahlberg got what he wanted. And it's a good thing because everything is better when a Wahlberg is involved.

    Listen to "Stingy" here.

    However, some patience may be required. Earlier today, Wahlbert retweeted a fan's tweet that hinted that NKOTB fans may have jammed KIIS FM's website in hopes to get a listen.

    Donnie Wahlberg RT @Brendaza: @DonnieWahlberg oops! I think we did it again Ryan site is down!!! #stingy

    NKOTBSB bring spirited nostalgia to Philips Arena

    You know what’s even louder than the squeals of 15,000-plus 13-year-old girls?

    The shrieking of 15,000-plus 35-year-old women.

    At Wednesday’s NKOTBSB show – a boy band behemoth if there ever was one – the predominantly female audience howled, cried, clicked dozens of cell phone camera photos and joyfully wallowed in the 2 ½-hour nostalgia fiesta unfolding before them.

    These types of novelty packages are always a risky proposition. Will fans still care about their teenage crushes 20 years later? Are those teenage crushes in decent enough physical and vocal shape to endure a lengthy tour? Was the music just a forgettable snapshot of a few years in pop culture or is it authentic in spirit?

    The answers: Absolutely. Completely. Surprisingly so.

    A decade separates the insane peaks of success for ‘80s hunks New Kids on the Block (Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre and Donnie Wahlberg) and ‘90s heartthrobs Backstreet Boys (Georgia resident Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean and former member and non-tour participant Kevin Richardson). But, as evidenced at Philips Arena, the groups share a musical soul and a fan base that might squawk a little louder for one or the other, but is perfectly content in the presence of either.

    This joint outing, which has been on the road about a month now, is a study in seamlessness.

    With so many hits and personalities between the groups, it’s an impossibility to please everyone. But wow, did these guys try.

    The show is a zesty production stocked with fireworks, fog, flood lights, air-launched streamers, hydraulic lifts bookending the stage and a nearly floor-length catwalk, and those essential elements of any boy band performance – synchronized choreography, soaring harmonies and songs about love, heartbreak and innocent lust.

    Opening with a medley of NKOTB’s “Single” and BSB’s “The One,” with the melody of Coldplay “Viva La Vida” running beneath, the groups made it immediately apparent that the mission of the show would be, simply, to have fun.

    It was a challenge that this crowd met six songs into the set when NKOTB broke into those patented sideways kicks while standing behind five mic stands for “You Got It (The Right Stuff).” The surging response actually caused the cement stairs to quiver from the excited bouncing of fans.

    Every few songs, the groups would swap places on stage, with one team heading beneath the stage – where, Jordan Knight mentioned in a pre-show chat, he and the NKOTB guys are usually doing push-ups and weights while BSB performs.

    It was well-organized musical chairs and gave the groups time for ballad segments that truly showcased their durable vocals.

    Jordan Knight’s aching falsetto was as creamy as it was in 1989 as he sang their cover of The Delfonics’ “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind)” and McIntyre’s convincing pleading during “Please Don’t Go Girl” – capped with a run-and-slide move on the catwalk – reminded fans of his Broadway pedigree.

    Then it was BSB’s turn to woo the ladies, as the guys emerged in white suits to harmonize beautifully on “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” and “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” which found them plucking some “Georgia peaches” from the crowd and serenading them on bended knee.

    Throughout the show, some songs were dusted with slightly rougher edges provided by a tight four-piece band.

    Obviously, it would look ridiculous for the macho Wahlberg to croon “Cover Girl” with its bubblegum perkiness of old, so it received a dose a rock guitar that better suited his persona. (Fans of the bad boy must have loved when he shredded his black tank top, superhero-style, to showcase the Wahlberg family abs.)

    BSB, meanwhile, engaged in a spirited dance-off at the end of the still-lustrous “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),” which dovetailed into a snippet of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”

    As gratifying as the show was as sheer entertainment – and this combo crew seems to genuinely enjoy each other’s company – it was almost more heartening to see these guys, many of whom have dealt with substance abuse, health problems and other success-related issues, pull it together for one of the most entertaining tours of the summer.

    Opening the show was Jordin Sparks, the 2007 “American Idol” winner who is most definitely not that shy teen anymore. Now 21 with a Beyonce-worthy figure, which she highlighted in a short, black fringe dress, the powerhouse vocalist squeezed several hits into a 25-minute set.

    Performing against three vertical video panels, Sparks sang, with a track backing her, a string of tunes including “No Air,” “One Step At a Time” and “Tattoo,” sprinkled with snippets of songs from Pink and Jessie J. She wrapped her set with the new “I Am Woman,” a feisty empowerment anthem with multi-generational appeal.

    Emmys: 5 Supporting Drama Actors Who Deserve Acclaim

    Scott Bakula, Josh Charles, Michael Shannon, Michael Cudlitz and Donnie Wahlberg make ensemble acting its own art form, writes THR's Tim Appelo.

    Among the throng of contenders for the drama supporting actor Emmy are five guys tough enough to stand out from the pack. But tough isn't enough for Emmy, which demands emotion, and they supply it in spades. On the surface, their characters might seem simple. Two of them play lawless lawmen with good intentions but nasty habits. Two play characters on the right side of the law (mostly). The fifth plays a middle-ager who can't resist the laws of attraction, especially when it involves a woman half his age.

    But all five actors manage to handle their broad genre roles with subtlety and grace. And with last year's winner, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, ineligible this year, these five have -- and deserve -- a shot at hearing their names when nominations are announced July 14.

    Scott Bakula: Men of a Certain Age (TNT)
    Bakula (rhymes with "Dracula") plays an older version of Californication's womanizer hero but in a show with a heart as big as that of Friday Night Lights. Two decades ago, he earned a Golden Globe and four Emmy noms for Quantum Leap. "It used to kill me that I had to pick just one episode to submit," says Bakula. "Each one was so different. I always felt that the academy got it wrong. It should be about a body of work, not a single episode." It's even harder to pick Bakula's Emmy-entry episode for Men, in which he's a crony of lead Ray Romano and Andre Braugher. But Braugher got a supporting nom last year, and Bakula's sheepish, sometimes pathetic charm as Men's Terry Elliott could earn him a win this time around.

    Josh Charles: The Good Wife (CBS)
    Charles has been a winsome everyman in ensembles since his early showings as a teen actor in such films as John Waters' Hairspray and Peter Weir's Dead Poets Society. The underrated Aaron Sorkin dramedy Sports Night earned him a SAG nom; nowadays, as lawyer Will Gardner, the employer/would-be lover of Alicia (Julianna Margulies) on Good Wife, he throws off romantic sparks that could help her win a lead Emmy after last year's loss to Kyra Sedgwick. He's also the cynical flint to her steely morality. "Will's got so much success he's lost his way," says Charles. "He doesn't have time or the interest to do the right thing." Charles says he particularly loved Will's line: "Who do you know who's doing something for the right reason? After five minutes of questioning, we'll find the wrong reason." Emmy might find his sharp performance good reason for a nom.

    Michael Cudlitz: Southland (TNT)
    The show could be called Respect My Stripes or Get the F-- Out of My Car. That's a line of dialogue barked by Cudlitz's character, LAPD cop John Cooper, who is irritable partly because he's got a pill habit worse than Nurse Jackie. When a perp in his squad car asks sweaty Cooper if he's high, the cop gives him a "screen test" (slamming the brakes so the perp's face hits the screen between front and back seats). "John's become what disgusts him," says Cudlitz, who plans to submit episode 5 or 8, which both show Cooper at his rawest. That canny calculation could pass the Emmy screen test.

    Michael Shannon: Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
    As gangster Nucky Thompson's hulking, brooding Fed nemesis Nelson Van Alden, Shannon might get an Emmy nom to go with his Oscar nom for Revolutionary Road. "It's tricky because there's no episode where you're in the limelight -- that's the nature of being supporting. You're just looking for those moments that become kind of iconic," says Shannon. Fortunately, he's got them. So guiltily religious he whips himself, Van Alden also shoots and pummels witnesses. "He starts off as a goody two-shoes, and the audience is always waiting to see that fall apart." He plans to submit episode 11, where Van Alden drowns his partner while baptizing him, or episode 10, where he has his first drink at a speakeasy. "He really goes down the rabbit hole," says Shannon.

    Donnie Wahlberg: Blue Bloods (CBS)
    If anybody could follow in Tom Selleck's giant footsteps as a TV lawman of moral authority, it's 41-year-old New Kid on the Block Wahlberg. The clenched rectitude of his crumpled forehead rhymes with Selleck's, giving him a convincing family resemblance as Danny Reagan, the rebellious cop son of Selleck's police-commissioner character. Wahlberg plans to submit the episode "Silver Star," where his ex-Marine character hunts the rich, arrogant bastards who kill a homeless man in an alley. Just as 24's Jack Bauer was perfect for that era, Wahlberg nails the nation's post-crash resentments. Also, like his kid brother Mark, Wahlberg knows how to make family feelings feel real onscreen.

    NKOTBSB Reveal Tour Pranks Involving Nudity

    No tour is complete without some antics, and it seems that the men of NKOTBSB are not immune to pulling pranks. In fact, they seem quite into the idea of putting one another in uncomfortable situations.

    When MTV News caught up with New Kids Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood, as well as Backstreet Boys Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough backstage during their tour stop in New Jersey on Monday, the guys shared what they've been doing to one another to keep themselves entertained and keep their counterparts on their toes.

    "I was told night after night to look down during 'Hangin' Tough' cause there's a glass floor on part of the stage and I keep forgetting cause it really is one of the most special moments for me in the show," Donnie warmly recalled. "Well, I finally looked down and I saw Nick Carter's naked bum. He mooned me from below the stage. Very pale bum."

    Jealous and afraid you're missing out on something? Well, he added, "I think some people are high enough in the seats that if they thought to look down they could probably see it…"

    That's not the only time male nudity has happened whilst on the road. Howie shared, "They got us pretty good one time too…"

    Want to know how? Check out the video!

    Is 'Glee' In NKOTBSB's Future?

    After a full show dedicated to their pop contemporary Britney Spears, NKOTBSB's music (or their individual songs as New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys) seems like a perfect fit for "Glee." And considering that "Glee" star Matthew Morrison will be joining the boy-band supergroup on tour later this summer, perhaps now is the right time to get some of their classic pop tunes on the hit Fox show.

    "I think it would be probably flattering to be on 'Glee,' but there seems to be like a rush of pop stars who are just stumbling over themselves to be on 'Glee,' " New Kids' Donnie Wahlberg told MTV News backstage at the Izod Center before they took the stage later that night.

    He added that it would have to be the perfect scenario to make it all work out for the guys. "I think if we found a way, collectively, it would be wonderful. It would be a treat, an honor," he said. "It would be wonderful for a lot of our fans. I think we're so focused on the tour ... it would be a wonderful treat, but we're doing this."

    While the fate of their music on the show is open to debate, Backstreet Boys' Brian Littrell seemed pretty open to putting his acting chops to work instead. He even had a character in mind should a cameo scenario work itself out. "I'm a character. I'll play anybody," he said. "I'll play the shady-looking youth minister. Coming from the Bible Belt, it's creepy."

    Ed O'Neill turns down low-paying HBO offer

    HBO made Ed O'Neill he had to refuse.

    The "Modern Family" star said he was offered a mere $40,000 -- or union scale -- for six weeks' work on the cable channel's upcoming Phil Spector movie starring Al Pacino and Bette Midler.

    When he was given the quote, he was a little taken aback, he recounted in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

    "So I said, 'I thought you said $40,000 for six weeks' work,'" he recalled.

    Upon being told that was correct, O'Neill asked whether Pacino and Midler were working for scale.

    When HBO said they were not, O'Neill said, "Well, good luck," and the negotiations ended.

    "Of course I can't do it," he said in the interview. "But then you say 'Wait a minute, what the f---?' ... That lasts about three or four days. Then you say, 'Well, I'm going to Hawaii.' That happens all the time."

    The role, that of Spector's lawyer Bruce Cutler, went to Jeffrey Tambor. The "Larry Sanders Show" veteran's agent declined to comment when asked if Tambor was being paid scale.

    The untitled Spector project, from writer/director David Mamet, revolves around the relationship between the music producer (Pacino) and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden (Midler), who represented Spector during his first trial for the murder of an actress. After a mistrial, he was convicted following a second trial and is serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.

    An email seeking comment from an HBO publicist was not immediately answered.

    NKOTBSB on their blowout summer tour: Watch video interview

    The Backstreet Boys hold a special place in my heart, as they were the subjects of my very first EW cover story all the way back in 1998. In the 13 years since, I’ve crossed paths with them four more times, most recently for an interview with the four remaining BSB members and the five New Kids on the Block, who have joined forces for a summer arena tour and joint compilation album (which cracked the top 10 in its first week of release). Now that the NKOTBSB tour has begun, go to our Entertainment Weekly Facebook page and “like” us to unlock our bonus video footage of the nine guys at our EW photo shoot, where they discussed why the two groups gel so well, and which New Kids serve as “big brothers” to which Backstreet Boys.

    NKOTBSB Setlist - Chicago May 25, 2011

    Single / The One (Mash-up) – NKOTBSB
    Summertime – NKOTB
    The Call – BSB
    Dirty Dancing – NKOTB
    Bye Bye Love – BSB
    The Right Stuff – NKOTB
    Larger Than Life – NKOTBSB
    Blow Your Mind – NKOTB
    Valentine Girl – NKOTB
    If You Go Away – NKOTB
    Please Don’t Go Girl – NKOTB
    Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely – BSB
    10,000 Promises – BSB
    I’ll Never Break Your Heart – BSB
    Inconsolable – BSB
    Drowning – BSB
    Incomplete – BSB
    Step By Step – NKOTB
    Cover Girl – NKOTB
    My Favorite Girl – NKOTB
    Games – NKOTB
    Click Click Click – NKOTB
    Tonight – NKOTB
    Shape of My Heart – BSB
    As Long As You Love Me – BSB
    All I Have To Give – BSB
    If You Stay – BSB
    Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) –BSB
    I’ll Be Loving You Forever – NKOTB
    I Want It That Way – BSB
    Don’t Turn Out the Lights – NKOTBSB

    ENCORE
    Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – BSB
    Hangin’ Tough / We Will Rock You (Mash-up) – NKOTB
    Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) / Hangin’ Tough (Mash-up) - NKOTBSB

    Dancing With The Stars: Kirstie Alley Trying To Recruit Donnie Wahlberg?

    Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy made it to the finals on Dancing with the Stars. Kirstie is now taking that dancing experience and recruiting new celebrities for the show. Keep reading to see who she thinks should be on the next season of the show.

    Kirstie Alley took time away from rehearsals to tweet her brilliant idea of persuading New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg to be on the show. She tweeted, “u gotta rise and grind next season on DWTS…U would kill it!!!I’ll be watching…..;). Donnie responded to her idea, “I don’t know about that but I’d sure love to dance with you! Kick ass this week and bring that disco ball home!”

    While Donnie didn’t immediately jump on the Dancing bandwagon, he didn’t dismiss the idea either. His appearance on the show might be dictated by schedule, as he is not only currently touring but is also starring on the CBS drama, Blue Bloods. Donnie was seen performing on a results show this season with his band and the Backstreet Boys. His bandmate, Joey McIntyre, was part of the first season. Other boy banders on the show have also done really well. Joey Fatone of Nsync made it to the finals with partner Kym Johnson. Lance Bass also performed well on the show with partner Lacey Schwimmer.

    If Donnie does indeed sign up for the show, I’m hoping to see some of his ’80's boy band signature moves incorporated into the ballroom-especially those famous moves from “The Right Stuff!”

    New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys guilty pleasure it up on 'Dancing With the Stars'

    (Video) Put yo' hands in the air for NKOTBSB ON "DWTS"!

    In case you aren't cool like us and understand what all those letters mean, we'll spell it out for you: New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys on "Dancing With the Stars"!

    Seriously, nothing could have pleased our inner-tweens more than having these two groups come together to form a super-group. (OK, maybe if Justin Timberlake & Co. also joined in, but that's never going to happen. Dreams. Crushed.) What's more attractive than a group of middle-aged men reliving their glory days together? Nothing, that's what!

    The super group (NKOTBSB, duh!) appeared on "DWTS"' results show on Tuesday, Apr. 26, to perform their new single "Don't Turn Out the Lights" and to promote their "major" summer tour. Yes, summer tour. Yes, it's the best news ever. Oh, they were accompanied by professional dancers Tony Dovolani and Lacey Schwimmer.

    Fun fact: NKOTB's Joey McIntyre was the first celebrity to ever dance on "DWTS." Welcome back, Joey!

    P.S. We saw that you had to read NKOTSBSB off the stage to get it right, Tom Bergeron. We saw it!

    New Kid on the Block Finds New Kidney for Fan

    It's official ... Twitter saves lives -- in fact, Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block was able to help find a NEW KIDNEY for an extremely sick fan ... using nothing but the social networking site.

    It all started with a tweet from the fan's best friend who was trying to raise awareness about the girl's dire situation -- one of her kidneys was failing ... fast.

    Donnie retweeted the link to his 183,000 followers, asking for help ... prompting a barrage of phone calls to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where the girl -- named Bobbette Miller -- was being treated.

    According to the Boston Herald, the calls yielded SIX matches -- and Bobbette is now scheduled for a transplant in June.

    Ah, the power of 140 characters or less.

    Blue Bloods Parts Ways with Creators

    Blue Bloods creators and executive producers Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green have parted ways with the series, Deadline reports.

    The married writing team reportedly left over creative differences. According to Deadline, CBS wants to make the show more procedural and less character-driven.

    This is the second showrunner exit on the freshman series. Former Numb3rs executive producer Ken Sanzel left the show in August after reported differences with star Tom Selleck.

    Prior to Blue Bloods, Burgess and Green were executive producers on The Sopranos. Burgess won three Emmys and Green won one for their work on the HBO drama.

    Burgess and Green courted controversy when Blue Bloods was credited as "from the executive producers of The Sopranos." Shortly after CBS picked up the series in May 2010, HBO sent a cease-and-desist letter to CBS requesting that the network stop using the Sopranos credit, according to New York Magazine's Vulture.

    Despite the behind-the-scenes differences, Blue Bloods has been a winner for CBS. Airing Fridays at 10/9c, the series has averaged 12.3 million viewers.

    CBS is currently on the lookout for a new showrunner for Blue Bloods.

    A network rep could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Over 250k Votes Cast In "Help Make The Album"...

    The votes are in and the fans have spoken, picking their all-time favorite tracks by New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys for NKOTBSB, the ultimate pop collaborative album for the ages, coming Tuesday, May 24 from Legacy Recordings.

    Help Make The Album, a ten-day campaign launched on March 14, invited fans to vote for their favorite New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys songs for inclusion on NKOTBSB, the impending collection of classic tracks and new recordings.

    In a ten-day online voting frenzy, devoted fans from 52 countries around the world cast more than a quarter of a million votes for the tunes they most wanted on the NKOTBSB dream compendium. And the Fans Top 5 tracks for each of the bands are:

    New Kids On The Block
    Step By Step
    You Got It (The Right Stuff)
    Please Don't Go Girl
    Hangin' Tough
    I'll Be Loving You (Forever)

    Backstreet Boys
    I Want It That Way
    Everybody (Backstreet's Back)
    As Long As You Love Me
    Larger Than Life
    Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)

    In addition to being invited to vote for their favorite tracks, fans were encouraged to pre-order the NKOTBSB album to have their names added to the exclusive poster to be included in the package.

    When the voting closed on March 24, well over a quarter million votes had been in cast in a ten-day whirlwind, with an impressive 25% of voters pre-ordering the album.

    Alongside the fan-selected Top 5 New Kids On The Block songs and Top 5 Backstreet Boys tracks, NKOTBSB will premiere the first newly recorded songs from the combined superboyband including "All In My Head" and the sizzling first single "Don't Turn Out The Lights (D.T.O.T.L.)" featuring lead vocals from all of the members of NKOTBSB. An early internet leak of D.T.O.T.L. spread like wildfire across the Internet's blogosphere in advance of the single's official unveiling on Ryan Seacrest's radio program Tuesday, April 5.

    In addition to the new NKOTBSB recordings and the fan-approved classic New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys tracks, NKOTBSB debuts a newly recorded mash-up of smash hits from both groups a la their electrifying first televised performance as an on-stage collective on the 2010 AMAs.

    Out in time for the impending NKOTBSB national summer tour, the NKOTBSB album package includes an exclusive tour poster, personalized messages from each band member and brand-new never-before-seen photos from the collaboration.

    * * * * *
    NKOTBSB - The Album
    1. Step By Step - New Kids On The Block
    2. I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys
    3. You Got It (The Right Stuff) - New Kids On The Block
    4. Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys
    5. Please Don't Go Girl - New Kids On The Block
    6. As Long As You Love Me - Backstreet Boys
    7. Hangin' Tough - New Kids On The Block
    8. Larger Than Life - Backstreet Boys
    9. I'll Be Loving You (Forever) - New Kids On The Block
    10. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) - Backstreet Boys
    11. All In My Head - NKOTBSB
    12. Don't Turn Out The Lights (D.T.O.T.L.) - NKOTBSB
    13. NKOTBSB Mash Up

    NKOTBSB debut duet hits all the right notes

    The Beatles and Stones never collaborated. Neither did Michael Jackson and Prince. But any lamentation over coulda-shoulda pop music summits were hushed this week with the release of the (Squeal! Gasp! Titter!) New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys debut duet.

    Cruel jabs at receding hairlines and 40-year-olds still popping and locking aside, club-thumping testosteronefest “Don’t Turn Out the Lights” has a nice contemporary feel - beats, synths and a decent breakdown bridge. Like something Dr. Luke or Max Martin would produce (it’s actually produced by Eman and written by Claude Kelly). Like something that has a legit shot at climbing the Billboard 100.

    You’d have to be a boy bandologist to tell exactly who is singing what. But does it matter? Does anyone care if it’s Joey McIntyre or Nick Carter crooning “I was on fire for you/We could get it back again?” Aren’t they kind of interchangeable? It’s just a jumble of aging-but-sexy studs ready to take on Fenway and the TD Garden in June (sorry, both dates are already sold out).

    Final verdict: 32-year-old mothers of three from Weymouth have found their summer jam.

    Single to Premiere on Ryan Seacrest tomorrow!

    Tune in to Ryan Seacrest tomorrow (April 5) morning at 7:45am PDT for an exclusive interview with NKOTBSB and world premiere of their first single, Don't Turn Out The Lights! Listen online here: http://ryan.kiisfm.com/main.html

    #CBSTweetWeek

    To participate in #CBSTweetWeek, fans can either follow on Twitter or log onto CBS.com/Tweet_Week at the scheduled start times. Fans participating via Twitter should use the respective show's hash tag and talent's Twitter handle when submitting questions.

    Friday, April 8 at 10pmET/9pmCT
    BLUE BLOODS star @DonnieWahlberg - #BlueBloods

    Another LAST NKOTBSB Date Added

    The last NKOTBSB that will be announced for the US and Canada is Memphis, TN!

    Monday, June 20th
    Memphis, TN
    FedEx Forum
    BN Full Service presale on Tuesday, March 29th at 5pm CST
    BN Premium presale on Tuesday, March 29th at 5:30pm CST
    AMEX presale on Wednesday, March 30th at 10am CST
    ON SALE on Friday, April 1st at 10am CST

    Wahlberg: Mom's A Huge Selleck Fan

    U.S. actor Donnie Wahlberg says his mother is thrilled he's working with Tom Selleck on the CBS police drama "Blue Bloods."

    Selleck plays the commissioner of the New York Police Department on the show while Wahlberg plays his son, an NYPD detective.

    "My mother was a huge 'Magnum, P.I.' fan and she's in heaven right now," Wahlberg told reporters in a recent telephone conference call. "She's watching the show and I could call her at 4 in the morning to get her take on the show and she'll get right up and go, 'Oh, my God. I loved when you made Tom laugh!' She's in her glory. And, of course, I remember 'Magnum' and stuff. 'Three Men and a Baby' was one of my favorite movies."

    In addition to admiring his work, Wahlberg said he also has tremendous regard for the way Selleck has maintained his decades-long career.

    "I've seen him do different interviews and do different things and I've gained a lot of respect for him over the years and never more than I have for him now," the New Kids on the Block singer said. "To see how far he's come and the level of success he's had and to see the grace he shows every day on set, it's something one can only aspire to. ... That's the kind of life I try to live."

    Asked what his relationship with the police was like when he was a kid, Wahlberg joked, "When I was in Boston growing up, I pretty much knew all cops in my neighborhood because they had arrested my brothers."

    "I had seen (the police around.) They knew me and I knew them," added Wahlberg, who was one of nine siblings, including bad boy-turned-celebrated-actor-producer Mark Wahlberg. "We knew a lot of cops anyway. When you grow up in a city like Boston, a lot of kids become criminals or cops. I never really had a bad take on cops other than I hate when there's one behind me on the highway. I generally feel like I just robbed a bank even though I did nothing (wrong.)"

    He went on to say his respect for people who work in law-enforcement has only grown through the years, noting, "99 out of 100 guys and women are out there trying to do the very best they can in very scary, very dangerous circumstances."

    The show, which debuted last fall, airs on CBS Friday nights.

    Celebrity Poker Tournament

    On Saturday, April 2, 2011, the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation will be hosting a Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Tewksbury Country Club. This event, hosted by Donnie Wahlberg, will benefit the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation in its Annual “Send a Kid to Camp” Fundraiser. All people wishing to enjoy a night of Poker should come & play. You do not have to be an experienced poker player to participate.

    With a $25,000 prize pool, which includes everything from a seat at a Major National Poker Tournament to Courtside Seats at a Celtics Game and many more, has something to tempt almost anyone into testing their skill at the tables.

    Exactly which Celebrity players to expect at the event is a well kept secret, but neither the Celtics nor Bruins have games scheduled for April 2 and that could mean some pretty exciting guests.

    Tickets for players are $250 and for non-players are $100. All checks should be made payable to the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at the Tewksbury Country Club, but last year's event sold out, so act fast!

    Registration begins at 3:00 p.m. Tournament begins at 4:00 p.m.

    Syfy launches 'Alphas' in July, develops a ton of unscripted shows

    Syfy will launch its new sort-of superhero series "Alphas" in the summer, and it's developing a boatload of unscripted shows (along with a few scripted ones) for the coming year.

    Also? One of the channel's upcoming Saturday-night B-movies is called "Jersey Shore Shark Attack."

    The cable channel made the announcements Tuesday (March 22) at upfront presentation in New York. On the scripted side of the ledger, "Alphas" -- starring David Strathairn as the leader of a team of people whose "brain anomalies" give them special mental and physical abilities -- will premiere in July along with three returning shows: "Warehouse 13," "Eureka" and "Haven."

    Syfy is also still developing "Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome" (although there's nothing new to report) and three comedy projects. One is "Three Inches," about a guy who has the ability to move any object with his mind ... up to a distance of three inches. The show was originally conceived as an hour-long series, but since "Alphas" played in somewhat similar territory, Syfy rejiggered it as a half-hour comedy.

    Another comedy project, "Me and Lee," has also gone through the development mill. It began life as a 2007 FOX pilot starring Jamie Kennedy as a guy who meets "Six Million Dollar Man" Lee Majors, who's been experimenting with his own form of bionics. Kennedy's no longer attached, but Majors is. The third comedy is called "In the Dark," and it's a goof on the many ghost-hunting shows currently on TV that follows a team of third-rate paranormal investigators on their various missions.

    Syfy will also premiere the movie "Neverland," starring Keira Knightley as the voice of Tinkerbell and Charlie Rowe ("Never Let Me Go," "Pirate Radio") as Peter Pan, in December.

    The channel will also roll out three new unscripted series in the coming months. "Haunted Collector" (about a family that tracks down and collects supposedly possessed items) debuts in June, "Legend Quest" (a sort of real-life "Da Vinci Code") in July and "Paranormal Witness" (exactly what the title says) in December. Among the 10 -- yes, 10 -- reality projects in development are "Culture Shock With Tommy Lee," a travel show in which the rock-'n'-roller investigated secret societies around the world; "Monster Man," about creature creator Cleve Hall; "Dinner With Deepak" (Chopra, that is); and "Hi Tech Hoaxes," a prank show with movie-quality special effects.

    And, yes, "Jersey Shore Shark Attack." Other Saturday movie titles we like: "Bigfoot," starring Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce; "Gretl," with Shannen Doherty as the fairy-tale character, all grown up; and the self-explanatory "Zombie Apocalypse."

    Donnie Wahlberg Talks About Brother Mark's Career

    "Blue Bloods" cop Donnie Wahlberg, who moonlights with NKOTB, has one career achievement and it has nothing to do with his years of being a star of stage and screen.

    "Helping my brother Mark's career," he tells the Improper Bostonian's Jonathan Soroff in the mag's "Bar Foods" issue that hit the street yesterday. "When I think about the alternatives . . . I actually get chills thinking about what might've been if I hadn't put him in a recording studio all those years ago."

    Yes, Donnie is the man responsible for Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, the hip-hop group that launched his juvenile delinquent kid bro into the celebrity stratosphere of fame, fortune and Oscar nominations.

    "I can't help but to imagine I'd be visiting him in a prison somewhere," said "The Fighter" star's not-even-a-little-Blue-Blood(ed) bro.

    When asked by Soroff if the Brothers Wahlberg have plans to make a movie together, Donnie said, "No idea. But maybe someday, I hope."

    So, does that mean Donnie's people have to call Mark's people???

    NKOTBSB ALBUM COMING!! YOU CHOOSE!!

    HELP MAKE THE ALBUM! 10 Fan Faves + Brand New NKOTBSB Recordings Album coming 5/24

    We’re excited to kick off a brand new campaign that truly calls upon ALL of our fans to participate! We’re letting you decide what songs should be on the NKOTBSB album!

    Here’s how it works: Pick your Top 5 favorite songs from each band and if you don’t see one of your favorites on the list, you can write it in. We’ll take the Top 5 most voted songs from each group to create the NKOTBSB album! Voting ends at 11:59pm ET March 24th, 2011, so hurry up and cast your votes! Share this with your friends ‘cause we want to be sure none of our fans miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

    As an added bonus, if you pre-order your copy of the album now, you’ll have a chance to get your name included in the package! Space is limited, so be sure to act now. Offer ends 11:59pm ET March 24, 2011.

    NKOTBSB Final North American Date Announced

    Alright everyone, this is it!! The FINAL North American NKOTBSB date that we will announce is Uncasville, CT on May 30th. There will be no more US/Canada dates announced, so be sure to get your tickets to this once in a lifetime event if you haven't already done so!

    Monday, May 30th
    Uncasville, CT
    Mohegan Sun
    AMEX presale TBD
    BN Full Service presale Wednesday, March 16th at 1:00pm EST
    BN Premium presale Wednesday, March 16th at 1:30pm EST
    Onsale Friday, March 18th at 10:00am EST

    NKOTBSB: 2 More Shows Added!

    Wednesday, May 25th
    Rosemont, IL
    All State Arena
    Fan club presales: Thursday, Feb 24th at 1pm CST
    AMEX presale: Friday, Feb 25th at 10am CST
    On Sale Saturday, March 5th at 10am CST

    Monday, June 13th
    East Rutherford, NJ
    Izod Center
    Fan club presales: Thursday, February 24th at 1pm EST
    AMEX presale: Friday, February 25th at 10am EST
    On Sale Saturday, March 5th at 10am EST

    How Mad Was Selena Gomez at Donnie Wahlberg After Justin Bieber Dig?

    According to Page Six, Lea Michele was not the diva to watch behind the scenes during last Sunday's Grammy Awards.

    It was reported that Selena Gomez was cursing mad backstage, complaining to her makeup artist and assistant after her copresenter Donnie Wahlberg intentionally glanced at her while saying Justin Bieber's name.

    Sources inside tell us that "the glance" certainly wasn't scripted, so did our favorite Disney darling really lose her cool?

    "Absolutely not true," a rep for Gomez tells us. "Selena didn't even give it a second thought."

    If any of you fear that the wholesome Disney star has picked up a few key phrases in Hollywood, Team Gomez disputes the angry report even more.

    "The story is inaccurate on every level, as her make-up artist and assistant weren't even at the Grammys."

    Glad to hear the gal is way to busy being Justin's baby, baby, baby, ohh to worry about petty drama.

    But what we really want to know is if Miley Cyrus kept her cool?

    No, not because she's jealous of Selena's Bieber Fever, but 'cause after Seth Rogen's pretty hilarious joke about getting high with her backstage, Miles was never seen back in the audience.

    Unwelcome stare

    Justin Bieber's gal pal, Selena Gomez, had choice words for Donnie Wahlberg backstage at the Grammy Awards, for pointedly looking at her when he mentioned Bieber's name as they presented an award on Sunday. Gomez merely rolled her eyes for the audience, but we hear she stormed off backstage and "cursed up a storm" about Wahlberg's unscripted gesture. "He went one way and she went the other," a witness said. "She whined to her makeup artist and assistant, 'How could he do that to me on camera?' " A rep for Gomez didn't get back to us.

    Madsen in 29 films to ease debt

    Actor Michael Madsen is working extra hard to solve his money worries - he’s set to release a staggering 29 movies this year.

    The Reservoir Dogs star is listed as having a role in almost 30 films due to hit screens in 2011, including Black Gold, Loosies, Eldorado, 513, Garbage, Men Don’t Lie, Road Raiders, and The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.

    In many of the movies, Madsen takes the lead role.

    And the huge haul is good news for the actor’s finances - he’s been hit with a string of cash woes in recent years, filing for bankruptcy in 2009 and reportedly owing thousands of dollars in personal loans from Hollywood pals.

    Donnie Wahlberg Ready to Throw the "Party of a Lifetime" on Tour

    After months of pounding the pavement as Detective Danny Reagan on Blue Bloods, is Donnie Wahlberg ready for New Kids on the Block's summer tour with the Backstreet Boys? The answer is a resounding yes.

    TV Guide Network's Chris Harrison caught up with the singer-actor to talk about returning to the stage. "We're just going to put all the greatest fans in the world in one arena every night and just have the party of a lifetime," Wahlberg tells Harrison. "Doing arenas again and being with my buddies and sharing the time on stage together — there's really nothing like that."

    Watch the full interview here.

    NKOTBSB: 7 More Shows Added!

    Thu, May 26 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
    Sat, May 28 Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena
    Sun, May 29 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena
    Thu, August 4, Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place
    Fri, August 5, Montreal, QC Bell Centre
    Sat, August 6 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
    Sun, August 7 London, ON John Labatt Centre

    Grammy Red Carpet Quotes

    "I stay up, 72 hours, I bang on doors. You don't bang on my door on the cruise; I bang on fans' doors all night. We party on the deck all night."—Donnie Wahlberg on the good times that will be had on the upcoming NKOTB cruise

    NKOTBSB: 5 More Shows Added!

    Thu, May 26 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
    FAN CLUB PRESALE 3PM EST FEB 7 / AMEX PRESALE 10AM EST FEB 8 / ON SALE FEB 11

    Sat, May 28 Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena
    FAN CLUB PRESALE 2PM EST FEB 7 / AMEX PRESALE 10AM EST FEB 8 / ON SALE FEB 12

    Sun, May 29 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena
    FAN CLUB PRESALE 4PM EST FEB 7 / AMEX PRESALE 10AM EST FEB 8 / ON SALE FEB 11

    Sat, August 6 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
    FAN CLUB PRESALE 3PM EST FEB 9 / AMEX PRESALE TBD / ON SALE FEB 11

    Sun, August 7 London, ON John Labatt Centre
    FAN CLUB PRESALE 4PM EST FEB 9 / AMEX PRESALE TBD / ON SALE FEB 11

    How Did You Get Your SAG Card?

    "I got my SAG card for the movie Ransom. I had no idea what it was for. It was one of the first things I heard from my agent: 'You got the job, now go get your SAG card.'"— Donnie Wahlberg, Blue Bloods

    New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys To Play Fenway Park

    Guess who will be leading off at Fenway Park this summer?

    New Kids On The Block will be part of a double bill at Fenway in June.

    They’ll be performing with the Backstreet Boys.

    Donnie Wahlberg confirmed it on CBS’s “Early Show” Wednesday morning.

    He was in Boston for the official announcement Wednesday afternoon.

    According to Donnie Wahlberg’s Twitter account, the concert will be June 11.

    One of Wahlberg’s updates was, “If there was one show ever… One show… That any member of NKOTB would crawl across the country on all fours to play… Its FENWAY!”

    “This is a tremendous honor for us. As a group of South Boston kids we never thought we would get an opportunity like this. Our dreams are coming true,” Wahlberg said at the news conference announcing the concert. “And one of the best parts is that we get to share this moment with our friends the Backstreet Boys.”

    Tickets for the show will go on sale to the public on February 5 at 10 a.m. at etix.com and LiveNation.com or by calling 800-514-3849. There will be presale tickets available to members of NKOTB’s fan club and American Express card holders on Thursday and Friday of this week, respectively.

    The NKOTBSB concert tour had previously been scheduled to play at Nassau Coliseum on June 11, but because of this newly announced concert the one on Long Island has been rescheduled to July 31.

    The tour starts June 2 at Mohegan Sun Arena. The groups are scheduled to play a sold out show at TD Garden on June 4. The tour also added shows in the New York area; Chicago; Grand Rapids, MI; Buffalo, NY; Baltimore; and several stops in Canada.

    The two groups combined have sold more than 200-million albums.

    New Kids and Backstreet Boys to rock Fenway

    New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg knew he was overwhelmed and overcome — and a little emotional. “What’s the word?” he asked bandmate Joey McIntyre.

    “Farklempt,” said Joe.

    “That’s it,” said Donnie. “Farklempt.”

    Which sums it up for the five guys from Boston, who will get to live out all their fanboy fantasies when they take the stage at Fenway Park [map] on June 6 with the Backstreet Boys. Donnie, Joey, Jordan and Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood along with BSB Howie Dorough and Brian Littrell were at the baseball shrine yesterday to make it official: NKOTBSB will be the 11th summer show at Fenway since concerts came back to the ballyard in 2003.

    Red Sox [team stats] COO Sam Kennedy, introducing the former boy banders, said the ball club was “proud to add nine new players to the lineup” — a quip McIntyre took straight to heart!

    “During the dark ages of the Evil Empire before 2004, it was 2003 and I had just gotten married,” Joey recalled. “After that Game 7 in New York, I was in the fetal position like all of Red Sox Nation, moaning and my wife said to me ‘You’re not on the team! You’re not a Red Sox!’ Well, honey, I’m a Boston Red Sox now!”

    Dorough and Littrell, who didn’t have the hometown thing going for them, were also a bit farklempt at the prospect of playing in the historic park.

    “I played baseball for 13 years as a child and I think every little boy in America on a Little League field somewhere dreams to play at this park,” Littrell said. “Little did we know we’d be singing our way here but we made it, Mom, we made it!”

    BTW, BSB Nick Carter was a no-show at yesterday’s dog-and-pony show. Ditto for A.J. McLean who is completing his third stint in rehab.

    “He’s good, he’s good,” Littrell said. “Just talked to him last night ... he’s got one more week, he’s been there three weeks. He’s doing very, very well. Sounded very excited ... he’s working on bettering himself so he can better all of us sitting up here.”

    The concert announcement drew a Larger Than Life crowd to Fenway yesterday and do we even have to tell you that it was mostly female?

    “We’ve never been able to assemble all the women from the front office like this before,” Kennedy joked at the start of the press conference.

    And the man-banders showed their fans they’ve got The Right Stuff for the summer concert, singing a few bars of “Sweet Caroline” for the crowd – which they will, of course, be performing on June 6.

    As for their new handle, NKOTBSB, Wahlberg said it was the result of some “real creativity.”

    “NKOTB was sort of our nickname and BSB was sort of theirs. And here’s the clever part – we decided to share one B!”

    NKOTBSB at Fenway

    New Kids on the Block made it official today. The Boston-bred boy band will be strutting their stuff in centerfield this summer when they join Backstreet Boys for one night, and maybe more, at friendly Fenway. Wearing Red Sox jerseys and joking that they're now official members of the Olde Towne Team, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and Jordan and Jonathan Knight confirmed what's been rumored for awhile: Following in the footsteps of the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, the Police, Dave Matthews, and Aerosmith, among others, NKOTBSB will perform at Fenway June 11. (The ballpark has permits for a show June 12, too, and the boys bands have a sold-out show at TD Garden June 4.) "We've been walking around downstairs just sort of overwhelmed," said Wahlberg, who took a break from filming his TV show "Blue Bloods" in New York to be at today's Fenway press conference. "I'm kind of starstruck to meet Larry (Lucchino). I was looking for Theo (Epstein), but I couldn't find him." Joining NKOTB were Backstreet Boys Howie Dorough and Brian Littrell, who said it'll be an "honor and a thrill" to perform at Fenway with the New Kids. "Every little boy on a field somewhere dreams about playing at this park," said Littrell. "Mom, we made it!" (He added that his Backstreet bandmate A.J. McLean, who recently checked himself into rehab, is doing well.) The Fenway show is part of longer tour for the two bands, and there seems to be genuine camaraderie between the crews. Huddled in a suite overlooking the snow-covered field after today's announcement, the bands promised a no-holds-barred spectacle this summer. "We're going to pull out all the stops," said Donnie. While New Kids have played to packed stadiums all over the world, Joey Mac said it'll be a special treat to play at fabled Fenway. Is he intimidated that some of the biggest bands in the music business have played there? "A bunch of nobodies," he said with a smile.

    NKOTBSB - FENWAY PARK!

    After weeks of speculation, New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys joined the legendary Green Monster today at historic Fenway Park to announce a special once in a lifetime performance at the legendary Boston ballpark on Saturday, June 11th. The superstar groups join the exclusive ranks of musical greats Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews Band, Phish and Aerosmith who have all performed on the field of the world famous ballpark. Fenway tickets go on sale to the public on Saturday, February 5th at 10am EST at etix.com and LiveNation.com or by calling 800-514-3849 TICKETS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE AT THE FENWAY PARK TICKET OFFICE. Block Nation presale will begin on Thursday, January 27th at 10am EST. AMEX presale will begin on Friday, January 28th at 10am EST.

    “This is a tremendous honor for us. As a group of South Boston kids we never thought we would get an opportunity like this. Our dreams are coming true,” said New Kids’ Donnie Wahlberg. “And one of the best parts is that we get to share this moment with our friends the Backstreet Boys.”

    “We are all so grateful and excited to have this opportunity. It’s a once in a lifetime moment. And to get to experience this with our Boston friends NKOTB puts it on a whole other level.” Added the members of Backstreet Boys.

    In order to accommodate this prestigious once in a lifetime event, NKOTBSB have moved their Nassau Coliseum show, originally scheduled for Saturday, June 11th to Sunday, July 31st. All June 11th tickets will be honored at the July 31st show or full refunds will be available at the point of purchase if necessary.

    The Fenway announcement is part of the highly anticipated NKOTBSB tour, produced by Live Nation, set to begin on June 2nd with sold out shows opening night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville and Boston’s own TD Garden, as well as, sold out shows in Philadelphia, Toronto, New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Los Angeles. With the continued and insatiable fan demand, the unstoppable phenomenon that is the NKOTBSB will add a slew of new dates to their tour including a third New York area show, a third Chicago area show and additional stops in Grand Rapids, MI; Buffalo, NY; Baltimore, MD; Ottawa, ON; Montreal, QC; Hamilton and London, ON. Further information concerning these shows, including dates and venues, to be announced shortly.

    The announcement of the Fenway Park show and the upcoming announcement of even more new tour dates will bring the historic NKOTBSB tour to over 50 stops, giving fans across North America more chances to catch their favorite groups on one stage. Further ticket and tour information for all dates is available at NKOTBSB.com, etix.com and LiveNation.com.

    "We are very pleased that we are able to bring together New Kids On The Block, The Backstreet Boys and their New England fans at Fenway Park. This will be an unforgettable night for us all,” said Dave Marsden, Vice President of Booking for Live Nation New England.

    NKOTBSB’s Fenway Park announcement comes just after their epic performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011.” NKOTBSB sent thousands of screaming and dancing fans into a fan frenzy. With throngs of fans in the middle of Times Square singing along to their smash hit singles, and millions more tuning in from home, New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys once again reaffirmed their place in pop culture proving why their ticket is the hottest ticket of the summer.

    NKOTBSB first shocked and delighted fans when they took the stage together for a medley at the sold out NKOTB Radio City Music Hall show. The two groups wowed audiences again in their first joint televised performance at the American Music Awards this past November. The performers had the audience on their feet when they unleashed hit after hit including Backstreet’s “I Want It That Way” and NKOTB’s “Hangin’ Tough,” sending the crowd into rip-roaring applause.

    With over 200 million albums sold between both bands, and smash hit after smash hit, these two pop sensations have dominated the music scene for over three decades. Aiming to please, these guys are giving concert goers and diehard fans everywhere the ultimate “night out” experience.

    For more information please visit www.nkotbsb.com.

    Video: NKOTBSB @ FENWAY PARK - JUNE 11, 2011

    Video: NKOTBSB @ FENWAY PARK - JUNE 11, 2011

    Donnie Wahlberg Opens Up About New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys Tour

    Donnie Wahlberg is a busy man. He's deep in the midst of the meticulous planning for the massive New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys summer tour, but he's also got a full-time job portraying Detective Daniel Reagan on the CBS police drama Blue Bloods. "We just filmed a dinner scene and I ate about four pounds of that veal thing, osso bucco," he says. "I feel a little sick."

    It's a 24/7 schedule few people would welcome, but Wahlberg says he thrives on it. "I don't sleep very much," he says. "I really like to work though. I feel like a kid in a candy store."

    Things will get even crazier in April when he goes into production rehearsal with his fellow New Kids and the Backstreet Boys for their tour. In a tough economic climate, the tour has been a gigantic success: Sixteen shows were just added to the itinerary, bringing the grand total to 41. "There were naysayers when the New Kids first re-formed in 2008 and there were naysayers for this," Wahlberg says. "It's sort of vindicating after years of people thinking we were sort of a flash in the pan."

    The idea of the two boy bands teaming up was first floated a year ago when somebody suggested that the Backstreet Boys might open up some New Kids shows. "I just thought that was ridiculous," says Wahlberg. "I didn't want to even insult them with that offer. That's a co-headlining show."

    Last summer, the Backstreet Boys were the surprise guest at the New Kids' Radio City Music Hall show when they came onstage to sing "I Want It That Way." "It caused such a stir and we really got along with those guys," says Wahlberg. "We said 'hey, let's look into a co-headlining show.'"

    At preview performances during the American Music Awards and New Year's Rocking Eve the two groups performed their hits together, but Wahlberg says that won't always be the case during the tour. "Backstreet Boys fans don't want to hear the New Kids singing all of their hits," he says. "Just like our fans don't want to hear the Backstreet Boys singing all of our hits. I think we'll pick our spots when we want to work together onstage. We'll do some big numbers together, and a few surprises."

    Wahlberg is tight-lipped about what those surprises might be, but he does have his eye on the possibility of a duet with A.J. McLean. "I could see him and me rocking out or sitting down with a couple of acoustic guitars and doing something like 'Wanted Dead or Alive' by Bon Jovi," he says. "I like the kid and we get along great." (McLean is currently in rehab for the third time; he has said he wanted to go in before the tour started.)

    Kevin Richardson left the Backstreet Boys in 2006, though he has returned for the occasional special appearance. "He made his choice and that's the Backstreet Boys' situation to deal with," says Wahlberg. "If they wanted him back it wouldn't be a problem for us. Whatever he decides is up to him. As much as we're two bands teaming up, we're still two separate bands and their business is still ultimately their business."

    Early on there were rumors that Boyz II Men were going to join the tour, but Wahlberg shoots those down. "That's not happening at this point," he says. "We're definitely planning a lot of surprises and we're in discussions with different people. We're all fans of Boyz II Men, but the momentum was so strong with these two bands after Radio City that this was just the way it had to be."

    Though two of the three biggest boy bands of the past few decades are touring together, there are no indications that 'NSync are planning a reunion. Does Donnie think that Justin Timberlake will ever return to his boy band — and possibly one day tour with the New Kids? "That's up to those guys, and quite frankly it's probably up to Justin Timberlake," he says. "If that's something he decides to do, then he'll do it. It really has no bearing on us. I just have one goal right now: Make this tour as great as it can be and make every person that bought a ticket go home happy."

    Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block Reveal New Year's Resolutions

    The Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block ended 2010 on a high note with a rollicking New Year's Eve mashup of their greatest hits in Times Square. But the guys still see room for improvement in 2011.

    "I want to act more like an adult," New Kid Joey McIntyre, 38, who will welcome his third child in May, told PEOPLE about his New Year's resolutions.

    "Being in a rock 'n' roll and pop world, it's very easy to act like a kid. So, my resolution is to really act like an adult. It's a personal inventory that I'm trying to take."

    Backstreet Boys Nick Carter, 30, and Brian Littrell, 35, will be turning over new leaves of their own. Carter's resolutions? "Not to talk so much on the phone, and no texting while driving," he says. "And I just want to stay fit."

    And Littrell? "To read more books and try to make better music."

    The two bands have been rubbing elbows ever since the Backstreet Boys made a surprise appearance at a NKOTB show at Radio City Music Hall last summer. Now, they have a whole North American tour planned together for summer 2011.

    "We haven't really explored everything about each other. We're taking it slow and just being gentle with each other," McIntyre says jokingly. "We get along really well. These are the best group of guys. We have a lot of shared experiences, and when we get together, it's an amazing way to make a living."

    Asked which New Kid is most like which Backstreet Boy, New Kid Donnie Wahlberg, 41, replied: "You'd think it's Joe and Nick who are the same and Donnie and A.J. [McLean, 32] are the tough ones. But if you are in the band, you know that every person is more than what they are perceived."

    Wahlberg adds: "A.J. is not the bad boy. He's a sweetheart. And Joe's not the young one. He's wise beyond his years. There's multi layers to everyone, which makes us all different, and that makes it great."

    HAPPY 2011! NKOTBSB SHOWS ADDED!

    By overwhelming demand and hot on the heels of their Rockin' Eve performance, NKOTBSB continue their march across North America, announce additional shows in 2011 in July & August.

    Happy New Year!

    Vancouver, BC #2
    Edmonton, AB
    Calgary, AB
    Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
    Kansas City, MO
    Tulsa, OK
    St Louis, MO
    Louisville, KY
    Orlando, FL
    Greensboro, NC
    Columbus, OH
    Indianapolis, IN
    Cleveland, OH
    Atlantic City, NJ
    Hershey, PA
    San Antonio, TX

    Information regarding venues, dates and pre/on-sale times/dates will be announced shortly!

    On New Year's Eve, Times Square feels like the United Nations

    There really is no place like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. People come from all over the country, even all over the world, to be part of the celebration. With the midnight ball drop still many hours away, tens of thousands of revelers have already filled Times Square.

    Jennifer Dudley drove overnight from Detroit with four of her friends to get a front row seat.

    “Why? Because we love the guys. We support them. They give us love so we love them back.”

    “The guys” in question are New Kids on the Block. The Kids may not be so new anymore, and at 30 years old neither is Jennifer, but they are performing in Times Square tonight along with their one time boy-band rivals The Backstreet Boys.

    Dudley has been obsessed with NKOTB since she was 8 years old. She is partial to Donnie Wahlberg. Her homemade sign reads “Donnie-Kiss me at Midnight please!”

    Their group calls themselves Team Betty. None of the five women have been to Times Square for New Year’s Eve before, but they often travel to see “the guys.” Earlier this year they even went on a New Kids on the Block Caribbean cruise.

    Her teammate, Christy Sims, 35, is hoping to make a New Year’s Eve love connection.

    “My husband is New Kid Jonathan Knight, he just doesn’t know it yet.”

    Not everyone here is a NKOTB fan. Victoria D’amico, 35, came all the way from Vancouver to be a part of the big celebration. She took a red-eye flight and arrived at 3 am.

    “Vancouver is like snoozeville compared to Times Square. Now I know what all the excitement is about.”

    She is even making a love connection of her own, strolling arm-in-arm with Terry Manning, a man she call’s her “redneck boyfriend.” He is sporting a camouflage Harley Davidson baseball cap. She’s wearing an elegant red top coat and high heels.

    In another environment they may seem an odd couple, but not in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

    “I’ve been watching it on TV since I was a little girl. Now I’m finally here. This is a memory in the making.”

    Polly Isran is strolling through the crowd with a group of friends. She came from Chicago to watch the ball drop, but won’t actually be watching it along with crowd.

    “My friend has an apartment at Times Square right at 47th and Broadway. Were going to watch it on TV."

    She eyes my CNN ID badge before saying that there are two things that make watching it on TV better than watching in person.

    “The bathroom is key, plus we can watch Anderson Cooper.”

    Blue Bloods Moves to Wednesday Nights

    Two of CBS' freshman series, Blue Bloods and The Defenders, are trading prime-time real estate next month.

    CBS announced Tuesday that Blue Bloods will air Wednesdays at 10/9c for one month beginning Jan. 19. To make room, The Defenders will then permanently move to Fridays at 8/7c starting Feb. 4, two weeks after the series finale of Medium.

    The swap makes sense for CBS. The network's five new shows are the top-rated new series of the TV season, and Blue Bloods has shown surprising strength on Fridays, where it is averaging 12.3 million viewers. As the lead-out to CBS' veteran hits Survivor and Criminal Minds, The Defenders' average of 10 million viewers is less impressive. Whether or not The Defenders will be a strong enough lead-in for CSI: NY at 9/8c remains to be seen.

    Following Blue Bloods' month-long trial, CBS will use the Wednesday timeslot to launch the spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, premiering Feb. 16. That move pairs the spinoff with the flagship series, which CBS did successfully with NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.

    According to Deadline, the network has also reduced the first-season episode order for both The Defenders and $#*! My Dad Says, its two lowest-rated freshman series, in order to make room for its midseason series Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, Chaos and Mad Love.

    $#*! My Dad Says will be replaced by Rules of Engagement, which moves into the post-The Big Bang Theory time period beginning Feb. 24. Taking the place of Rules is the new comedy Mad Love, which will air on Mondays at 8:30/7:30c after How I Met Your Mother starting Feb. 21.

    The action drama Chaos will premiere on Friday, April 1 at 8/7c, following the season finale of The Defenders.

    Here's the schedule:Wednesday8-9 p.m. — Live to Dance (beginning Jan. 19) ... Survivor: Redemption Island (beginning Feb. 16)
    9-10 p.m. — Criminal Minds
    10-11 p.m. — Blue Bloods (beginning Jan. 19) ... Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (beginning Feb. 16)

    Friday
    8-9 p.m. — The Defenders (beginning Feb. 4) ... Chaos (beginning April 1)
    9-11 p.m. — CSI:NY
    10-11 p.m. — Blue Bloods (beginning Feb. 11)

    New Kids, Backstreet Boys mash up to close 2011

    New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys are bringing their '90s boy-band magic to Dick Clark's annual New Year's Eve TV special.

    Producers say the two groups are mashing up to close out 2011 on the ABC special.

    The two bands, who have melded their monikers to become NKOTBSB, performed together live for the first time on the Dick Clark-produced American Music Awards last month. The supergroup plans to tour North America together next summer.

    "The NKOTBSB just keeps snowballing ... and nothing is as exciting as Times Square's New Year's countdown," the Backstreet Boys said Thursday.

    "The excitement of this is just a glimpse of what our upcoming tour will be," the five members of New Kids on the Block added.

    Pop singers Ke$ha and Taio Cruz are also set to perform from New York's Times Square on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011," which begins at 10 p.m. EST on Dec. 31 and ends around 2 a.m. on Jan. 1.

    Other performers include Jennifer Hudson, Willow Smith, Ne-Yo, Avril Lavigne and Train.

    NKOTBSB & NYE!

    New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys will perform together live from Times Square on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011,” on Friday, December 31 on the ABC Television Network. They join previously announced acts Ke$ha and Taio Cruz in Times Square as well as Los Angeles-based performers including Jennifer Hudson, Willow Smith, Ne-Yo, Avril Lavigne, Drake, Jason Derulo, La Roux, Mike Posner, Natasha Bedingfield, Far East Movement and Train.

    Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest will host the specials from New York beginning at 10 p.m. ET on Friday December 31st on the ABC Television Network and will be joined by Times Square Correspondent Jenny McCarthy. Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas returns to host the Los Angeles party portions of the specials.

    The bi-coastal celebration will include three and one-half hours of special performances and reports on New Year’s celebrations from around the globe, as well as the American tradition of Dick Clark counting down to midnight from Times Square in New York City.

    The festivities will kick off with “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011” from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET, featuring the only live performances from New York’s Times Square as well as multiple performances from the Los Angeles celebration.

    During “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011, Part 1” (11:30 p.m. - 1:08 a.m., ET), in addition to reporting on the final minutes of 2010 and the traditional Times Square countdown to midnight, the show will feature music performances from both Los Angeles and Times Square in New York.

    Wrapping the night’s activities will be “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011, Part 2” (1:08-2:11 a.m., ET), when musical acts will continue the party into the early hours of the New Year with additional performances from Los Angeles.

    "We couldn't think of a better way to kick of the New Year than with our friends BSB at New Year's Rockin' Eve. Performing together on one stage in the middle of Times Square is epic. And it's all possible because of our fans. They're excited, we're excited and the heat they keep putting on us is what allows us to be a part of these monumental events. The excitement of this is just a glimpse of what our upcoming tour will be." -- NKOTB

    "The NKOTBSB just keeps snowballing, getting bigger and better everyday. And nothing is as exciting as Times Square's New Year's countdown. We never dreamed we would be performing for New Year's Rockin' Eve in the middle of it for the millions of people there and all over the world. Just proves that anything is possible thanks to all of our fans." --BSB

    Madsen hit with movie lawsuit

    Michael Madsen has been hit with a lawsuit from director Douglas Green over allegations the actor pulled out of a new movie.

    Green claims the Reservoir Dogs star had agreed to a role in his project Vigilante and accepted an initial $20,000 fee.

    The director alleges Madsen demanded a further $20,000 before filming began but walked away from the movie when Green refused.

    Green has filed legal papers against Madsen for breach of contract and he's demanding more than $100,000 in damages, according to TMZ.com.

    The actor's representative tells the website Madsen is planning to file a counter-suit because he was allegedly never paid the balance of money owed to him.

    2011 Golden Globes nominations

    The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards show will air at 8 p.m. ET Sunday, Jan. 16 on NBC with host Ricky Gervais.

    Best Miniseries or Made-for-Television Movie:
    "Carlos"
    "The Pacific"
    "Pillars of the Earth"
    "Temple Grandin"
    "You Don't Know Jack"

    Best Supporting Actor (Television):
    Scott Caan, "Hawaii Five-0"
    Chris Colfer, "Glee"
    Chris Noth, "The Good Wife"
    Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"
    David Strathairn, "Temple Grandin"

    Wahlberg pulling double duty

    Donnie Wahlberg will be working overtime in the run-up to his summer tour with boyband New Kids On The Block, because he refuses to take a break from his acting gig on new crime series Blue Bloods.

    The singer/actor, 41, stars as Detective Danny Reagan on the cop show and the programme, which premiered in September, has proved to be a critical success.

    Wahlberg admits he's keen to focus more on his screen career as he grows older - so he will be working double duty as he juggles his TV responsibilities with rehearsals for his band's upcoming joint concerts with the Backstreet Boys.

    He tells TV Guide magazine, "I made a strategic choice when I decided to do Blue Bloods to shift the balance to acting.

    "(So) I'll wrap Blue Bloods at 8pm, then go to a studio to start preparing the (NKOTB) show till 3 or 4am. I want to do it all now, while I still can!"

    Ed O'Neill: I Never Said Jane Lynch Didn't Deserve Her Emmy

    It's all good in the show-biz hood today, now that this whole Ed O'Neill vs. Jane Lynch story has turned out to be bunk. According to a now-deleted story posted on the TV Guide Canada website, the Modern Family star allegedly said that Glee's Jane Lynch didn't deserve her Emmy trophy, in part because Sue Sylvester was a one-note character.

    For her part, Lynch handled the backbiting with class, telling our own Ted Casablanca, "Let it go, that's what we're doing," but as it turns out, the whole thing was just a big fat misunderstanding:

    Lo and behold, TV Guide Canada totally misquoted O'Neill, and the publication has since posted a retraction and apology on their site.

    Initial reports had O'Neill saying, "I don't think [Jane Lynch] should have gotten the Emmy for that part," but the actual quote is this: "I'm one of Jane Lynch's biggest fans. I love Jane Lynch. She is a genius. But at the same time I said 'Sophia could win' because...and I've only seen Glee a couple of—I've only seen Glee once. But I thought Jane's role is rather one-dimensional. It's kind of strident. It's always kind of the same. I've seen her be much better. So I thought 'Sofia's funnier,' and I think she is in these two comparative roles. Anyway, Jane won. But I was hoping that Sofia would."

    O'Neill also shared a statement with EW.com clearing the air: "I absolutely never said, nor do I believe that Jane—whom I think is an enormous talent—was undeserving of the award. I reached out to her yesterday to ensure she knew I'd been misquoted but I wanted to clear this up publicly as well."

    Group hug!

    Syfy Picks Up Alphas

    Syfy has picked up Alphas, a drama starring David Strathairn, TVGuide.com has confirmed.

    The network has ordered 11 episodes of the project, in addition to the pilot, which revolves around a team of ordinary citizens with extraordinary mental abilities. Known as Alphas, they tackle cases that the CIA, FBI and Pentagon are unable to solve. Strathairn, 61, plays Dr. Leigh Rosen, the eccentric Alphas leader willing to bend the rules for his objectives and the team.

    Jack Bender (Lost) directed the 90-minute pilot from executive producers Zak Penn (Fantastic Four) and Michael Karnow. The series is slated to debut in summer 2011.

    Ed O'Neill: Glee's Jane Lynch Shouldn't Have Won the Emmy

    Modern Family's Ed O'Neill doesn't think Jane Lynch deserved to win the Emmy for her role in Glee, and doesn't mind saying so.

    "I love Jane, honestly I do," O'Neill told TV Guide Canada. "I'm dying to star in one of Christopher Guest's movies alongside her, but I don't think she should have gotten the Emmy for that part. [Sue Sylvester] is just a one-note character."

    The 64-year-old actor suggested instead that Sofia Vergara, his on-screen wife, should have won the Emmy for supporting actress.

    "Sofia is just so, so funny. I don't think people realize how hilarious she is. She's so sharp with her wit, it's amazing," he said.

    At the 2010 Emmys, Modern Family won for best comedy over Glee. The show also won awards for supporting actor (Eric Stonestreet) and writing for a comedy series (Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd).

    Do you think Sue Sylvester is a "one-note character"?

    Donnie Wahlberg to narrate series about Celtics

    Actor and Celtics fan Donnie Wahlberg will narrate a documentary-style series about the NBA team.

    The Boston native will provide the voice-overs for the five episodes of "The Association: Boston Celtics." It premieres Dec. 3 on ESPN and airs monthly.

    The New Kids on the Block singer currently appears in the hit CBS series "Blue Bloods."

    The first season of "The Association" last year followed Boston's rival, the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Behind the Scenes with Blue Bloods

    Gather 'round the dinner table with the Reagan family as TV Guide Magazine takes you behind the scenes during our exclusive photo shoot with the cast of Blue Bloods. Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes discuss New York City cops, their relationships with each other and working with Tom Selleck. Check out the exclusive video here!

    NKOTBSB Tour Dates

    Thu, June 2, 2011 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun
    Fri, June 3, 2011 Washington, DC Verizon Center
    Sat, June 4, 2011Boston, MA TD Garden
    Sun, June 5, 2011 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
    Tue, June 7, 2011 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
    Wed, June 8, 2011 Toronto, CAN Air Canada Center
    Thu, June 9, 2011 Toronto, CAN Air Canada Center
    Sat, June 11, 2011 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
    Sun, June 12, 2011 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
    Wed, June 15, 2011Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center
    Thu, June 16, 2011 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
    Fri, June 17, 2011 Chicago, IL United Center
    Sat, June 18, 2011 Chicago, IL United Center
    Tue, June 21, 2011 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
    Wed, June 22, 2011 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
    Fri, June 24, 2011 Lafayette, LA Cajundome
    Sat, June 25, 201 Houston, TX Toyota Center
    Sun, June 26, 2011 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
    Thu, June 30, 2011 Phoenix, AZ US Airways Center
    Fri, July 1, 2011 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
    Sat, July 2, 2011 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
    Sun, July 3, 2011 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
    Fri, July 8, 2011 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
    Sat, July 9, 2011 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena

    AMAs: Justin Bieber Wins Awards, Boy Bands Win Hearts

    Justin Bieber goes four-for-four at Sunday night's American Music Awards, but the true takeaway was that New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys put on a combined performance to end the show and indeed show Bieber how to rock it, 90s style.

    Starting with Bieber, he won entertainer of the year, breakthrough artist of the year, favorite pop/rock male and favorite pop/rock album for My World 2.0. "I come from the smallest town in the world, of like 30,000 people; I never thought this was possible," he gushed, before paying tribute to the late King of Pop. "I want to thank Michael Jackson, because without Michael Jackson none of us would be here."

    But nothing was going to stop the joint juggernaut that we are hereby all obliged to acknowledge as NKOTBSB. The boybands, who have teamed up in more ways than one as they will be embarking on a joint tour next summer, performed a medley for the ages. Backstreet Boys chipped in with "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)", "I Want It That Way", and "Larger Than Life" whereas New Kids offered up "Step By Step", and "You Got It (The Right Stuff.)" (sadly, there was no room for NKOTB's finest moment, "Games.")

    Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter said he's honored to share a stage with his musical forefathers. "We appreciate and respect everything that these guys have done for the music industry, and now it's just great to be together. I think that's what's awesome."

    You know what's awesome, Nick? Your teaming up with NKOTB is the modern equivalent of Messrs. McCartney and Jagger deciding that there might be interest in The Beatles and Rolling Stones doing something similar. Except NKOTBSB can bring dance routines and way better hairlines into this particular equation. NewsFeed, along with the rest of the enraptured world (that includes you, Bieber) will hold onto its hat and declare that the boy band is well and truly dead, replaced by the man band. Resistance, as always, is futile.

    Video: NKOTBSB at the AMAs

    Video: NKOTBSB at the AMAs

    Vignettes from the American Music Awards

    HEART THROBS: Before the collaboration between Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block closed out the show, celebrities on the red carpet were reminiscing beforehand about their teen idols. Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry picked New Kids as her favorite, while Gavin Rossdale said he favored Patti Smith in his youth. Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli were among Michael Buble's favorites.

    "I love Liza, and I'm not gay," said Buble. "I just love her."

    Who did the teen idols idolized? Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block said posters of Leif Garret and Sean Cassidy graced the walls of his house when he was younger.

    "That was my sister's wall, actually," he admitted

    Donnie Wahlberg: Bloods Brother

    As the Blue Bloods cop most likely to shove a perp's head in a toilet, Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) makes it hard to tell which side of the law he's on. "He's a gray guy," says Wahlberg. "Is anyone really good or bad?" Though Danny exercises a little flexibility with constitutional rights, he's always a stand-up older brother to the youngest Reagan, Jamie (Will Estes), who recently joined the force. "It's sort of like the younger sibling that doesn't quite belong in the family business," Wahlberg says, comparing them to Sonny and Michael Corleone of The Godfather. "Danny wants Jamie to be careful and smart."

    And in this week's episode, they'll have to be both. After a suspect dies, Danny must close a case to keep Internal Affairs off Jamie's back. "You'll see Danny giving Jamie a hard time, but you'll come to understand it's more complicated," Wahlberg hints.

    It's a part made for Wahlberg, who has become a go-to guy for tough cops with roles on Boomtown and Rizzoli & Isles. And, of course, he's always been a big brother, famously launching the career of sibling "Marky" Mark back when they were kids. But he refuses to take credit for his Oscar-nominated brother's success. "Like all family members, we hope to establish ourselves in our own right, and Mark has clearly done that," Wahlberg says. "I helped him out early on, and thank God, because I'd rather visit him in Beverly Hills than prison. That's not fun." Spoken like a true big brother.

    People's Choice Awards 2011 Nominees

    Winners will be revealed during the live broadcast of the PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS 2011 at the Nokia Theater, L.A. Live on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 (9:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Tickets to the awards show are now available for fans to purchase through Ticketmaster. Voting begins today at http://www.peopleschoice.com for the finalists in all 44 categories and will end on Dec. 7, 2010, except for "Favorite New TV Drama" and "Favorite New TV Comedy," which will remain open for voting until the night of show.

    FAVORITE NEW TV DRAMA
    Blue Bloods
    Chase
    Detroit 1-8-7
    Hawaii Five-0
    Hellcats
    Law & Order: Los Angeles
    Nikita
    The Defenders
    The Event

    LIVE Q&A with NKOTB and BSB

    Tune in for a live Q&A with New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, Monday November 8, 2010, 5:30pm PST. LIVE from Burbank, CA. www.ustream.tv/nkotbsb

    It's Official: New Kids On The Block & Backstreet Boys To Launch Concert Tour

    You've heard the rumors, but now Ryan Seacreast can exclusively confirm that the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys are indeed hitting the road together! The concert tour will kick off in Summer 2011 and will span the United States.

    P>All nine boys will get together for the first time this Monday, November 8 for an exclusive in studio interview with Ryan to talk about making preparations for the upcoming tour, and we will have your first chance at tickets!

    You first opportunity to see Donnie, Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Danny, Brian, AJ, Howie and Nick perform live together will be November 21st on the American Music Awards on ABC. (www.nkotbsb.com)

    Blue Bloods' Donnie Wahlberg: What Makes Danny Tick?

    As a proud Bostonian, Donnie Wahlberg knows he's going to get flak for what he's about to say.

    "It's awesome being a New York cop!" the Blue Bloods star tells TVGuide.com. "Everyone at home is going to kill me for this, but New York cops are the best. To work so closely with them and to get to play one, it's a great, great feeling. Nothing is better than walking through the streets of New York. We did a huge scene outside a few weeks ago and there's hundreds of New Yorkers watching. This guy riding a bike goes, 'Way to go, Wahlberg!' He had a Yankees hat on. It's like, 'Wow!' What a great feeling. Keep the Emmys, give me more of that."

    Wahlberg will get to hear more street praise, as the CBS series has been picked up for a full season thanks to strong ratings on a night that didn't seem to be so prime anymore: Fridays. But what on the surface seems like a death sentence was actually very shrewd scheduling for what is not only a cop procedural, but a family drama, too.

    "I think Friday night really works for us. CBS does well on Fridays," Wahlberg says. "A lot of Tom [Selleck]'s core fans are going to be around Fridays and a lot of my core fans have families and husbands now. Who better to be watching the show? I think it's a different world anyway. I know when I was younger, Friday nights were my favorite nights to watch TV. You won't believe me if I told you, but I watched CBS when I was a kid. I was a Dukes of Hazzards guy. I watched Magnum, [P.I.]. Don't tell Tom!"

    It's the family hook that has viewers, well, hooked on the Reagans, a multigenerational clan deeply rooted in law enforcement in the Big Apple, Wahlberg says.

    Besides, it's the family's famous Sunday night dinner scenes that first caught his attention. "The dinner scene in the pilot — I can't even tell you. I just pictured my sister and me sitting across the table and arguing with each other," he says. "I think that was the moment I was seduced. ... But the great thing is that, as the show goes on, dinner's no longer the only time we intersect. Now we cross paths more on the job."

    On Friday's episode, Wahlberg's character, passionate and hot-headed detective Danny, and his partner, Detective Jackie Curatola (Jennifer Esposito), investigate the deaths of three teens, who overdosed on a new street drug. They're helped by his younger brother and rookie cop, Jamie (Will Estes). Danny hands out some tough love to little brother when Jamie's inexperience gets the better of him during a interrogation. It's instances like these, Wahlberg says, that could affect Jamie's decision as to whether or not to take up the FBI's offer to probe the Blue Templar, the NYPD's rogue group of cops that their late brother Joe and — as we learned three weeks ago — Danny were (are?) part of.

    "Obviously his instinct is to say no. This is his family here. But now he's regular beat cop and what happens to him could influence him as to whether or not he's going to do this," Wahlberg says. "He sees things, he starts to ask questions, and like everyone else, he's curious."

    Well, not everyone.

    Though he thinks the secret society is a "fun" storyline, Wahlberg, 41, has no interest in asking or learning where producers are planning to go with it. "If there's one way I've changed as an actor, it's that I used to want to know the answer to everything. 'Tell me what's going to happen in Season 20.' Well, how about we get through Episode 6 first?" he says with a laugh. "That's really where I'm at. I'm dialed into what's now. I trust in what they're doing and what my character is."

    Danny is a cop, obviously. But he's also a son, brother, grandson, husband, father, uncle and Iraq War veteran — things that don't make him easily describable, Wahlberg says. But if there's one aspect of a rule-bender — if not rule-breaker — that the singer-turned-actor finds most fascinating is his relationship with his father, police Commissioner Frank (Selleck). Living and working in the shadow of a powerful parent is pressure-filled enough, but Wahlberg believes there's more to it.

    "Danny also probably thinks he has [Frank's] power from time to time. He doesn't want anyone to think that and when he thinks they think he's taking advantage of that power, he probably resents that and further resents his dad," Wahlberg says. "It's so convoluted that — why try to define it? ... I kind of reserve the right to figure it out what makes him tick as I go. We've dived into their relationship a bit already and you know there's more to come."

    With a full season secured, Wahlberg, who also played a cop on NBC's critically acclaimed but short-lived Boomtown, is solely focused on Blue Bloods until the spring, putting New Kids on the Block tour plans on hold until the summer. And after that? Hopefully, more Danny Reagan.

    "We'll see. I don't want to get too far ahead," he says, laughing.

    Brady, Patriots come to Waltham Boys & Girls Club

    Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and several other Patriots joined former New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg to help build a new playground at the Waltham Boys & Girls Club on Exchange Street Tuesday.

    The playground was built by KaBOOM!, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving play spaces for children, and United HealthCare. The new playground will serve 275 children every day at the club.

    New Kid in the Big Apple

    Wahlberg ignores the hype for CBS’ ‘Blue Bloods’

    Donnie Wahlberg was acquainted with the police who worked the Dorchester neighborhood where he grew up.

    After all, he said, most of them had arrested his brothers.

    “They knew me, I knew them,” the New Kids on the Block singer, actor and producer told the Herald during a recent telephone interview while taking a break from shooting his new CBS drama “Blue Bloods” (Friday nights at 10 on WBZ, Ch. 4).

    “We knew a lot of cops, anyway. When you grow up in a city like Boston, where I grew up, a lot of kids became criminals or cops.”

    Wahlberg’s onscreen persona is among the latter - Danny Reagan, a detective from a family of New York City crime-fighters. Tom Selleck is patriarch and police Chief Frank Reagan, Bridget Moynahan is Erin Reagan-Boyle and Will Estes plays the youngest, Jamie Reagan.

    Moynahan and her former boyfriend, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, have a son together; Wahlberg’s divorce from his wife was recently finalized in California. The two cast members have bonded over their family situations.

    (Video)

    “Bridget and I have a very, very great relationship,” Wahlberg said. “While she’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, it’s a very trusting, brotherly-sisterly kind of relationship. We’re both single parents. We talk about all kinds of stuff offcamera, and we help each other a lot offcamera, and it flows very naturally onscreen when we work together.”

    The New York City-set cop drama is shot on-location in the Big Apple - something Wahlberg says adds immensely to the production.

    “We’re shooting right now in a building I live in that was built in 1885,” Wahlberg said. “I’m looking out the window at the Williamsburg Bridge and there’s a cool breeze coming in the window. I feel lucky every day.”

    A recent day of shooting found the “Blue Bloods” crew setting up shop underneath the Manhattan Bridge. Between shots, construction workers shouted praise down at the actors, and at Wahlberg in particular.

    “For a Bostonian, we live in the shadow of New York,” the 41-year-old actor said. “And to be acknowledged by New Yorkers is really the greatest feeling.”

    Whatever the secret element - the writing, the ensemble cast, the location - the show is working and handily dominates Friday nights. Which prompts the obvious question: Can it be sustained?

    “If I think about it, it only adds pressure,” Wahlberg said. “I try not to think about it, because the reality is, I control none of that. The more the cast follows the ups and downs of the ratings, the more the pressure builds around the set.” (On Friday, CBS announced it had given a full-season order to “Blue Bloods.”)

    “It’s tricky,” he said. “The pressure never goes away. We treat every episode very importantly. I don’t take days off and my cast mates are the same way. I come to play every day - it’s like a concert every day, or a movie every day or a new challenge every day. I want to do the best I can every day.”

    CBS picks up all five of its freshman shows

    CBS has given full-season orders to all five of its new fall series, marking a rare instance of a network picking up its entire freshmen class.

    "Hawaii Five-0," "Blue Bloods," "Mike & Molly," "The Defenders" and "$#*! My Dad Says" all got the good news Thursday (Oct. 21). And considering they're the five most-watched new shows of the season, the pickups aren't that big a surprise.

    "Everything has clicked so far this year -- from development in January, to scheduling in May, to production over the summer, to marketing and publicity in the fall," CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler says. "It's all testimony to the executives in our halls who remain restless for more success and the amazing creative talent on our sets who continue to deliver the goods."

    "Hawaii Five-0" is the top-rated new series of the year, averaging 14.15 million viewers and a 4.1 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic (including live-plus-7 ratings for the first couple weeks of the season). It was also been the most-DVR'd show on TV for the first couple weeks of the season, adding better than 3 million viewers for each of its first two episodes.

    The other four shows draw between 11.3 million ("The Defenders" and "$#*! My Dad Says") and 12.7 million ("Blue Bloods") viewers per week.

    CBS' decision to pick up all five of its new shows gives the network the high-class problem of where to place its midseason shows. The Eye has two dramas ("Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" and "Chaos") and one comedy ("Mad Love") on deck for midseason.

    Blue Bloods' Donnie Wahlberg Discusses Latest Episode "Officer Down"

    In Friday night's episode of Blue Bloods entitled, "Officer Down," Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) orders the entire NYPD to track down a killer of a police officer who was shot and killed during a diamond heist. Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) delves into the investigation to track down the killer by doing whatever it takes.

    Earlier this week, Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg took the time to talk to the press about the upcoming "Officer Down" episode. Wahlberg also discussed what attracted him to the role of Danny Reagan, the relationships between himself and the cast members, and the pressure of being on a successful series.

    In "Officer Down," Wahlberg's character is absolutely driven to find out who killed the off-duty cop. He discussed the struggle of playing his character Danny Reagan in this week's episode, as well as respecting the text of the script.

    "Sometimes the writer and the story have [their] own purpose and that’s to get from point A to point Z, in an entertaining and dramatic way with information and keep the audience informed. Playing Danny, I looked at every single person connected to the case as a cop killer. There’s an element of truth to that. I think that if an officer does go down in the real world, everyone associated with it is involved with the cop being killed. I think that raises the stakes for everything. For example, in an early scene in the episode where there’s an electrician guy being interrogated, to me he was in cahoots with those guys. Danny’s take is that they’re all guilty, and they’re all involved, therefore they’re all cop killers," Wahlberg said.

    Wahlberg said the challenge was bringing that spirit into every scene, even if the script didn't suggest exactly what his character was feeling. He wanted to respect the text in the script along with respecting his character in how Danny would react in this cop killer situation. He wanted to make sure that it was coming across that Danny was "doing everything he can to see that justice is being done in his eyes."

    Wahlberg continued to explain, "Danny’s want for justice is bigger than he understands. I don’t think he knows really what’s pushing him. I don’t know if Donnie knows what’s pushing Danny at this point, there’s a lot still to be discovered with these characters. There’s a lot of curiosity as to what happened to Danny’s brother (Joe Reagan) in the show. He was killed in the line of duty investigating the Blue Templar, which Danny may be a part of. There’s a lot of mystery to that."

    Wahlberg spoke about the freedom that he has as actor with his role of Danny Reagan where he said that his favorite days on set are the ones where even if he's being guided by the script, that he's still able to make discoveries about his character and try things that are free and off-the-cuff.

    "Today on the set, I did kind of a quasi-Colombo moment. It was really fun and it didn’t feel false, it felt like within the realm of Danny. It’s what attracted to this role. This part, besides the fact that I love the cast and I love Tom, and I loved the pilot’s script, I really loved the freedom that this character presented to me as an actor."

    He continued to talk about his character at length, including how his character may view Selleck's character and how he didn't want to research into the background of the two characters in favor of learning new things with each new episode

    "He’s [Danny] a very experienced guy who marches to the beat of his own drum, but he is the son of a very powerful man. That’s the part I really wanted to explore a lot. With each scene that Danny has for example with Frank, what’s it's like to be a son of a powerful man who’s sort of following in his footsteps, but trying to be your own man. I’m sure there’s gratitude. I’m sure there’s times where he takes full advantage of his relationship with his dad. And I’m sure there’s times where he resents that relationship tremendously and thinks it’s a burden or gives him privilege that he shouldn’t have or hasn’t earned."

    Wahlberg continued: "There’s so much in that relationship that I didn’t want to research, I wanted to discover with each episode. I wanted to try a different take. The reality is there’s no one answer. I’m not playing a guy who simply resents a dad or simply worships his dad. I’m playing a guy who runs the full gamut of everything in between both of those scenarios. Each scene offers me a chance to play a different color or a different shade of that."

    Wahlberg said that he feels that the family aspect of Blue Bloods is working for the audience, which is also is something that works for the cast. When he initally read the family scene in the pilot, he could picture being across the table from his own sister saying his lines to her.

    "When something resonates like that so truthfully it definitely creates an attraction. I knew when I did that dinner scene, I knew I was going to have a good time doing it. I knew it would [be] tense, I knew it would be fun, and I knew it would be live. When you’re doing television, it’s a grind and you’re working five days a week and for me personally, I looked for something that’s gonna make me feel alive. My character has a lot of freedom, which makes me feel alive. The family scenes have a lot truth in them and that makes me feel alive. I think to feel alive a few days a week during episodic television, it’s a gift to feel that sort of electricity and I get to feel it more than most."

    Wahlberg discussed his relationships with his Blue Bloods cast mates Bridget Moynahan (Erin Reagan-Boyle), Will Estes (Jamie Reagan), and Selleck. He said that he and Moynahan have a very good brotherly/sisterly relationship, which translates well on screen when they work together. With Estes, he feels like he can see see part of himself in him.

    "Sometimes when I look at Will, it’s like looking at myself 10 years ago on Boomtown. I see him wanting to explore certain elements of his character’s story the way I did on Boomtown. I remember walking around after the first 11 episodes going, ‘When are we going to talk about my suicidal wife?’ and carrying that with me into every scene that I did, and I see Will doing that. Like an older brother, I’m able to identify it, see it, recognize it and sometimes help and encourage it depending on what the situation calls for," he said.

    “When I was Will’s age, I wanted every single part of my character’s story to come out like in the very first episode after the pilot. In every subsequent script I would say, ‘Man, when are we going to get to it?’ The reality is with age and with experience comes a little bit more patience. Of course, I want to get to it, but I’m not desperate to get to it. In a perfect world, Will has a couple of seasons to explore all of this stuff. You run out of material after awhile in TV. The more we can come up with good stuff like Friday’s episode, ‘Officer Down’ and not have to go there quite yet, the more we can save that for when it’s the right time and it’s really needed."

    The actor stated: "Obviously, I want to go into a lot of stuff that’s going on with a lot of these characters. Not just Danny, I want to know what’s going on with Will, and I want to see whether or not he’s going to investigate the Blue Templar. I’m very curious and obviously that will have implications for my character. I want to see how it all goes. Fortunately things are going great and hopefully we’ll get a chance to explore a lot of that stuff. It’s definitely what we all want, the writers and the cast.”

    Wahlberg said that Selleck is like the dad to the cast. As much as Selleck knows that Wahlberg likes to have fun on set, he also knows that he's there to get work done. He said it was like Frank putting up with Danny sticking people's heads in toilets was like Selleck putting up with him tweeting to fans to watch the show in between takes on the set.

    He went on to say about Selleck that he was encouraged by his humility after being so successful, and that is something he is continually trying to attain in his own life.

    Wahlberg says that he tries not think about the pressure about being on a new show that has been so successful right out the gate. Currently, Blue Bloods is the number two new drama of the fall season. It has been number one for the past two Friday nights, as well as being number one with viewers and the show's targeted demographics.

    "If I think about it, it only adds pressure, so I just try to not to think about it, because reality is, I control none of that. I just control what I do. For actors, for anybody dealing with numbers or polls; the more you look, the more pressure you put on yourself. If you get 20 million viewers on day one, if you look at the numbers on day two and they’re down to 19 million, you suddenly start going, ‘What happened?’ The reality is that [we have] a couple million more viewers than anybody thought we would get and that’s good news. What we do on set and what we talk about is really how to control what we can control and finding the right mix about what works for our audience and identifying who they are, and servicing what they want and also servicing our characters as best we can."

    Blue Bloods' latest episode, "Officer Down" airs this Friday, October 15 at 10 p.m. on CBS.

    'Blue Bloods' feeds Wahlberg's hunger for a relatable TV role

    A good meal was the way to Donnie Wahlberg's heart.

    It wasn't a fancy, candlelight deal. It wasn't even a real meal. It was the dinner scene in the pilot of the new CBS drama Blue Bloods (tonight, 10 ET/PT).

    The take-no-prisoners dining-room camaraderie of the fictional Reagans — a family deeply rooted in New York law enforcement — rang true to his own upbringing in a large family of Irish-Catholic heritage.

    "I really felt so close to that dinner scene, it was shocking. I think that part made (the role) irresistible," says Wahlberg, who plays intense, rule-breaking NYPD Detective Danny Reagan.

    "Sometimes, I read scripts and imagine myself as a character, and I imagine people's faces. I never envisioned an actress playing my sister in the dinner scene. I always envisioned my sister."

    The family angle of Blue Bloods, the season's No. 2 new show (12.6 million viewers), was one of the main attractions for the actor, who is the father of two sons in real life and in the show. The multigenerational clan features a current and former police commissioner, an assistant district attorney and a rookie officer.

    Wahlberg, 41, finds the relationship between Danny and his father, Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), compelling. Danny respects his father but doesn't want to and won't be able to follow in his footsteps as commissioner because of such moves as shoving a suspected kidnapper's head into a toilet.

    "With Danny, I zeroed in on exploring what it is like to live in the shadow of a very powerful dad. There are times when that's a curse. There are times when that's an asset," he says.

    Blue Bloods creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green saw a perfect fit when they watched Wahlberg's acting clips.

    "He just had the energy of this character. There's something of the Corleones in this family. They're the Kennedys but also the Corleones. Sonny, the hothead, is sort of like Danny," while rookie officer Jamie (Will Estes) shares traits with Michael, Green says. Wahlberg "drives the show, in the cases, with his dynamism."

    Wahlberg has often played cops —Boomtown, The Kill Point— and didn't want to be in a show that was strictly a procedural. "The irony is the Wahlberg boys (he and brother Mark) are always playing cops. Nobody confused us for cops when we were kids," he jokes, referring to their rough-and-tumble youth in Boston.

    "In very procedural shows, your hands are sort of tied. The line says, 'You are under arrest,' and that's the line. With this show, it's not like I'm an insane patient running the asylum, but they've definitely given me the freedom to bring as much spirit to Danny as possible," he says.

    In tonight's episode, "Officer Down," Wahlberg's Danny busts through accepted boundaries again as the NYPD tracks a cop killer. Frank has a different approach, which leads to a conflict with his father (Len Cariou), who crosses the line by getting involved in the investigation. Danny's sister, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), often offers legal points.

    "It's one of those episodes where you see the Reagans working toward a common goal, but all doing it their own way. That's the show I enjoy making," Wahlberg says.

    He also enjoys performing again with his first big showbiz success, New Kids on the Block.

    "I spent the last 10 years or so working hard to build respectability as an actor. New Kids needed my full attention for the last 2½ years.

    "Part of the choice to do this show is putting acting first a little bit, but New Kids is going to stay part of my career," he says. "I don't know that I can be dancing and singing when I'm 60. I hope to be acting when I'm 60."

    Wahlberg hasn't figured out his TV father

    Tom Selleck has ventured back to series TV on CBS' "Blue Bloods," in which he plays the patriarch of a family of New York cops. Donnie Wahlberg portrays his son, who often disagrees with his father.

    "Some things play differently than I had anticipated," Wahlberg said.

    "And sometimes — you know, Tom's demeanor sometimes in the scenes, the way he plays them, I'm never really quite sure what he's thinking when I watch him, you know. He seems to be a very straightforward, honorable man and policeman, but he seems to be aware of a lot more than he lets on about. And I find that stuff to be interesting."

    Actor-singer Donnie Wahlberg and wife of nearly 9 years finalize divorce in California

    Donnie Wahlberg is the new single kid on the block.

    Court records in Simi Valley, Calif., show the actor-singer and his wife of nearly nine years finalized their divorce on Sept. 28.

    The pair each filed for divorce on the same day in August 2008 and reached an out-of-court settlement in the case, which was handled at a Ventura County courthouse about 38 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

    They have two sons, were married in 1999 and separated in early 2008.

    Wahlberg was a member of the boy band New Kids on the Block, which was intensely popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s and have reunited in recent years.

    The 41-year-old is also an actor, appearing in series such as "Band of Brothers" and the new police drama "Blue Bloods."

    New Kids on the Block Launch Cures for Kids Fund at Mass. Eye and Ear

    Joey McIntyre and The New Kids on the Block will lend their voices to launch the new Cures for Kids Fund at Mass. Eye and Ear during Sense-ation!, a gala being held Oct. 13 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. The group will entertain as part of the evening’s festivities.

    Born in Massachusetts, Joey McIntyre is returning to Boston because he is passionate about the research Mass. Eye and Ear is doing to help children. Joey’s son Rhys was born with hearing loss. The Cures for Kids Fund will help Mass. Eye and Ear conduct research to find new cures – from genetic therapy for inherited eye diseases to new surgical techniques for pediatric facial paralysis – and to support the innovation of specialists and staff who offer compassionate care to the most vulnerable patients and their families. Mass. Eye and Ear researchers developed the first newborn hearing screener that enabled babies to be screened for hearing loss before leaving the hospital nursery. Today newborn hearing screening is mandated in most states to help identify children with hearing loss to allow for early intervention.

    “The Cures for Kids Fund will help Mass. Eye and Ear conduct research to find new cures for blindness, deafness and other severe conditions, and to support some of the world’s best patient care professionals as they treat the most vulnerable patients,” said Wyc Grousbeck, Mass. Eye and Ear Chairman of the Board and Sense-ation! Co-chair. “Mass. Eye and Ear has been leading the way since 1824 – and hopes to be a leader far into the future.”

    There are still a few tickets left for Sense-ation! Click here to purchase a ticket to attend the Sense-ation! gala or to make a donation to support Mass. Eye and Ear's Cures for Kids Fund.

    Ranked by U.S. News & World Report magazine as one of the top five hospitals in each of its specialties, Mass. Eye and Ear is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. www.MassEyeAndEar.org.

    TV Ratings: 'Blue Bloods' nabs big premiere on CBS

    Fast National ratings for Friday, Sept. 24, 2010

    "CSI: NY" with new lead Sela Ward and "Blue Bloods," the new cop drama starring Tom Selleck, both brought in big Friday night numbers, letting CBS cruise to a sizable win over second place NBC.

    CBS' overall average was 9.7 million viewers with a 6.2 rating/12 share in households. NBC was next in second with 6.5 million, 4.5/8. ABC was a third with 3.99 million, 2.7/5, despite showing mostly reruns. FOX came in fourth at 3 million, 1.9/4 and the CW's Friday debuts were fifth with 2.8 million, 1.7/3.

    The adults 18-49 title also went to CBS, which scored a 1.8 rating in the demographic. NBC was next with 1.4 and then the CW was third with a 1.2. ABC (1.1) and FOX (0.8) round out the networks.

    Friday hour by hour:
    8 p.m.
    NBC: "Dateline: NBC" premiere (6.5 million, 4.5/9)
    CBS: "Medium" premiere (6.1 million viewers, 4.0/8 households)
    ABC: "Modern Family" rerun (4.2 million, 2.6/5)/"Better With You" rerun (3.1 million, 2.1/4)
    FOX: "Human Target" rerun (3.1 million, 2.0/4)
    The CW: "Smallville" premiere (2.9 million, 1.7/3)
    18-49 leader: "Dateline: NBC" and "Medium" (1.4)

    9 p.m.
    CBS: "CSI: NY" premiere (10.3 million, 6.5/12)
    NBC: "Dateline: NBC" (7.9 million, 5.4/10)
    ABC: "The Whole Truth" rerun (2.9 million, 2.0/4)
    FOX: "The Good Guys" premiere (2.9 million, 1.7/3)
    The CW: "Supernatural" premiere (2.8 million, 1.7/3)
    18-49 leader: "CSI: NY" (2.0)

    10 p.m.
    CBS: "Blue Bloods" series premiere (12.7 million, 7.9/15)
    ABC: "20/20" premiere (5.9 million, 4.1/8)
    NBC: "Outlaw" (4.9 million, 3.4/7)
    18-49 leader: "Blue Bloods" (2.2)

    'Blue Bloods': Donnie Wahlberg is the hot-head of the police family

    "Blue Bloods" is the newest cop drama on TV, debuting Friday (Sept. 24) on CBS. It stars Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, the Chief of Police in New York City, and Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes as his three children. The two sons are cops, the daughter is an Assistant DA.

    We enjoyed the premiere. The tension between Danny (Wahlberg) and Erin (Moynahan), him a hot-head cop who does things his own way, which may not always be on the right side of the law, and her a lawyer whose job it is to uphold the law, creates an interesting family dynamic.

    But the real storyline we're interested in is the dead son Joe, another cop who was supposedly killed in the line of duty, and his involvement with an investigation into the Blue Templars, a secret society within the NYPD. Youngest Reagan child Jamie (Estes) is approached to take over Joe's investigation, which is what actually got Joe killed. We're intrigued to see where that investigation goes, especially since brother Danny has a Templars pin in his safe.

    What did you think of the premiere? Will you be tuning in Friday nights?

    Blue Bloods: It's A Family Affair

    It felt like a warm family dinner at the Paley Center for Media's Blue Bloods event in New York City on September 22 — all hugs, smiles and mutual appreciation from actors Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Tom Selleck, who play the Reagans, TV's newest clan of New York City cops.

    "I joke a lot about Tom being like my dad," laughed Wahlberg. "And when I'm carrying on too much in between sets or making too many bloopers, he gives me the evil eye just like my dad!"

    "They all look up to Tom," said executive producer Leonard Goldberg. "Somebody asked Donnie, 'Why'd you do this show?' and he said, 'Two reasons: Tom. Selleck.'"

    "We're really bonded," Selleck said his new cast. "We all like each other, and that doesn't always happen in a series."

    Bridget Moynihan, who plays the family's only daughter, agrees. "Tom and I have a nice father/daughter vibe on- and off-screen, and Donnie and I worked together before, so we already have the brother/sister dynamic," she said, giggling as Wahlberg jumped the velvet rope, grabbed a reporter's microphone and started to interview the youngest Reagan, Will Estes.

    Creators Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess compared it all to another great television family they worked with: "The Sopranos was anti-heroes and these are heroes, but it's similar in that it just gelled. It felt good then, and this one feels the same," said Green.

    Wahlberg, hoping for some overlap between his real and work families, had a casting suggestion as to who should play the deceased Reagan brother (in a flashback, of course). "I'm not sure if he'll appear, but I hope so because I have another actor in my family named Bob who played a role in The Departed with Mark [Wahlberg]. Or maybe Mark will come in and do a three-episode arc or something as the brother!"

    Though a guest spot by a movie star can only help a new show, the star power, acclaimed writers and seemingly real affection among this ensemble makes it seem like Blue Bloods could become a weekly family event audiences will look forward to. "Nothing's a sure thing in television," said CBS president Les Moonves, "but this is pretty good."

    Blue Bloods premieres Sept. 25, 10/9c, CBS

    'Blue Bloods' review: Arresting family drama

    CBS' new drama "Blue Bloods" could go one of two ways: It could become a cop show whose main characters all happen to be related, or it could become a show about a family whose members all happen to work in law enforcement.

    Either one would still boast a strong cast led by Tom Selleck, Bridget Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg, and either one would be watchable. But based on what we saw in Friday's (Sept. 24) series premiere, we're pulling for the family element to be at least on equal footing with the crime stories.

    The show was created by former "Sopranos" writers and producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, who know their way around a family dynamic. But it's also on CBS, which knows its way around a crime procedural. What we're hoping can happen is a melding of those two things similar to what has happened on "The Good Wife," where the two co-exist and often complement one another.

    Enough about what might be there, though. What is there in the premiere of "Blue Bloods" is the aforementioned cast, which also includes Will Estes ("Reunion," "American Dreams") and Len Cariou ("Damages"), and some sharply written and acted scenes between the family members. Those more than make up for a pretty standard-issue case in the premiere.

    Selleck plays New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, a former rank-and-file cop who now runs the department. Elder son Danny (Wahlberg) is a detective, and younger son Jamie (Estes) has just graduated from the academy -- after giving up Harvard Law School to wear a badge. Their sister, Erin (Moynahan) is an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. The premiere puts Erin and Danny at odds when he gets a little overzealous in questioning the lead suspect in a young girl's abduction -- both on the job and at Sunday dinner.

    The family's dinner conversation is one of the better moments of the pilot, with competing agendas all around and Grandpa Henry (Cariou) tossing in a verbal grenade that sends everybody running from the table. The competing interests of cops and prosecutors could be a source of great material for the show, and Moynahan and Wahlberg play well off one another as equally hard-headed siblings.

    Jamie also quickly gets involved in what feels like the setup for an ongoing story involving corruption in the department, which given his family ties could be a source of conflict. And as Frank, Selleck is as commanding a presence as you'd expect; he's an extremely economical actor, and he's able to say a lot without talking very much.

    The premiere's weak point, frankly, is the case Danny and his partner (Flex Alexander) are investigating. It's nothing you haven't seen a dozen times previously on "Law & Order: SVU," and when the focus is solely on the investigation, the dialogue feels a little clunkier than in the rest of the show. That may be simply because it's a series pilot and things will smooth out once the show gets rolling; whatever the reason, it needs to even out.

    With two veteran crime dramas in front of it -- "Medium" at 8 p.m. ET and "CSI: NY" at 9 -- "Blue Bloods" will probably do just fine in the ratings. We hope it can live up to its creative potential too.

    Hangin' tough

    From boy band to leading man, Donnie Wahlberg joins the force of ‘Blue Bloods’

    When it comes to summer vacation reports, Donnie Wahlberg has got a pretty good one, though his summer wasn’t much of a vacation. In June he was finishing up the most recent leg of the New Kids on the Block reunion tour, performing duets with the Backstreet Boys. By the end of July he was stuffing bad guys’ heads in toilets and hanging with “Magnum, P.I.’"

    The singer-actor concedes that it’s a good time to be Donnie Wahlberg, as he joins the pedigreed cast and crew of the new CBS family-of-cops drama, “Blue Bloods.’’ Created by veteran TV producer Leonard Goldberg (“Charlie’s Angels,’’ “Family’’) and executive produced by Emmy-winning “Sopranos’’ scribes Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, the series premieres tonight at 10 on Channel 4.

    “Blue Bloods’’ chronicles the intertwined lives of the Reagan clan. The family is anchored by New York police commissioner Frank (Tom Selleck) and includes his detective son Danny (Wahlberg), Harvard Law-educated younger son Jamie (Will Estes), and assistant district attorney daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan). Various extended family members, including retired police chief grandfather (Len Cariou), round out the cast.

    “When Tom Selleck says ‘I’m excited to work with you,’ it’s kind of like, Wow, dude you’re Magnum. I get to play your son? Are you crazy? I’d have done it for free,’’ says Wahlberg, hanging in the lobby of a Beverly Hills hotel. He adds with a chuckle, “I told them that after.’’

    Luckily, Green and Burgess are happy to be paying him.

    “We looked and looked to fill this part,’’ says Green of a character so dedicated to justice that he occasionally crosses the line into Jack Bauer territory. (See: bad guys’ heads in toilets.) “I couldn’t even think of who we wanted, and we saw his reel and that was it. It was magic.’’

    “I was a big fan of ‘Band of Brothers,’ ’’ says Selleck of Wahlberg’s work in the Emmy-winning HBO military series. After the producers offered him a peek at that same demo reel and he saw Wahlberg’s varied roles in everything from “The Sixth Sense’’ to the “Saw’’ franchise, Selleck says “his range just blew me away.’’

    This isn’t the Dorchester native’s first or even fifth time wearing the badge onscreen, having memorably played cops in both the acclaimed 2002 series “Boomtown’’ and more recently in guest spots on TNT’s Boston-set series “Rizzoli & Isles.’’

    “I told myself a year ago I wouldn’t play any more cops for awhile,’’ says Wahlberg. “But the reality is this is just too good of a situation to not take a shot at it.’’

    Plus, it gave him an opportunity to reunite with Moynahan, with whom he had clicked when they shot a Boston-set pilot called “Bunker Hill’’ that never made it to air. “I went into instant ‘Recruit Bridget Moynahan!’ mode when I signed on,’’ says Wahlberg.

    “I was flirting with the show and he just called me up and did a full-court press,’’ says Moynahan with a laugh. Given the presence of Selleck, Green, and Burgess, and the promise of the dramatic family elements, she adds, “It’s not like he really had to twist my arm too hard.’’

    (Moynahan, a native Bay Stater, can’t promise her character won’t be seen in New York sports team gear, but says, “I can guarantee you Donnie will never have a Yankees hat on his head. I think he’s actually taken a smaller trailer just to make sure he had that in his contract.’’)

    While “Blue Bloods’’ will devote most of its screen time to the given case of the week, Green says no one involved wants the show to be pigeonholed as a procedural. “We promised the network to have a case that you solve every week [and] to have a family drama that hopefully has something to do with this case.’’

    It’s the repercussions of what happens when the personal, professional, and political collide at that dining room table — where four generations of Reagans gather weekly for Sunday dinner — that are most interesting to Wahlberg, who knows from growing up in a big Catholic family that shared similar interests and drive.

    “With a lot of the characters I’ve played, I want to know a lot about them and I want to know what the writer thinks: Is he guy A, B, or C?’’ Wahlberg says. “With this character, I didn’t really want to lock in on that. I’m playing a guy whose dad is the police commissioner for the city and he’s a cop. Is he resentful of that? Is he proud? Is he embarrassed? The truth is he’s probably all of them, depending on the day, depending on the circumstances, depending on his mood.’’

    For Wahlberg, “Blue Bloods’’ also signals a transition in his own professional trajectory.

    “I wanted to shift the balance back in my life a little bit,’’ he says of the time spent dedicated to the 2008 resurrection of Boston’s biggest boy band. “I put New Kids at the forefront of my life for three years and I put acting second. I think for the long-term preservation of New Kids, it’s best for acting to dominate my time and let New Kids fit in the gaps.’’

    Not that there are many gaps to fill. If “Blue Bloods’’ is a hit, Wahlberg will shoot the show in New York for the next eight months and then head straight back out on a New Kids tour next summer, all while promoting “The Zookeeper,’’ an all-star live action-animation hybrid — featuring the voice talents of Adam Sandler and Sylvester Stallone — in which he plays the title role.

    “Some people live to play and some people work to play, and I live to work,’’ Wahlberg says. “Just give me a few weekends in Boston and let me catch a few Celtics games and I’m happy.’’

    Blue Bloods: A Cop Show - And a Family Drama

    It's easy to look at CBS' newest cop drama, Blue Bloods, and assume it's just the latest entry in the network's long line of police procedurals. It's easy, but wrong.

    The series, which focuses on a family of New York cops, will certainly deliver the case-of-the week storytelling that has made CBS the No. 1 network. But it's the family drama that inspired veteran producer Leonard Goldberg to bring this story to television.

    "I thought about two kinds of shows I always loved doing: police shows and family shows, and I thought, 'No one's ever done one that combined both, so maybe this is the time,'" Goldberg tells TVGuide.com, adding that Norman Rockwell's famous Thanksgiving painting provided a second bit of inspiration.

    "Every week we would have a family dinner scene after church," Goldberg says. "I thought that would be kind of the cornerstone of the family side of our show."

    To bring the family to life, Goldberg sought out Emmy-winning husband-and-wife writing team Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, best known for writing about a family on the other side of the law on The Sopranos.

    "We were looking to get on the other side," Green says. "Not that these characters don't have flaws, but they are basically strong, good, honorable people who are trying to do the right thing and make an honorable world. Frank Reagan is keeping his city safe and that's what his children are doing, and that's what his father did."

    Goldberg had only one actor in mind to play Frank, the police commissioner and patriarch of the family. "Very rarely in television or movies do you say, 'There's only one guy who can play this,' and actually get him," Goldberg says. "We told CBS that if we didn't have Tom Selleck, we didn't know who the second choice would be. Unless you have an iconic figure like Tom Selleck playing Frank Reagan, it's not really going to work. You have to have that kind of man with that stature, that physical presence, that gravitas."

    Frank's father (Len Cariou) was a former police commissioner. His eldest son, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), is a respected detective, who sometimes goes outside the lines for justice. His daughter, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), is a single mom and assistant district attorney. And his youngest son, Jamie (Will Estes) is a law school grad who decided to join the force after his other brother, Joe, was killed on duty.

    "We have every generation to work with," Green says. "There is just so much history there and so much richness that the stories are just endless. It's a great gift to a writer."

    But again unlike other procedurals, there is a mystery element that provides a constant undercurrent to the show. We'll only say that there are conflicting stories about how Joe died, and Jamie is called upon to sniff around for answers behind his family's back.

    "This is a huge decision for him and it's going to take him a bit to decide whether or not he wants to do it," Goldberg says. "On the one hand, he's shocked to learn that his brother didn't die as they were all told. On the other, he's always shared everything with his father. It's a huge thing and he's going to wrestle with it. He's probably going to be feeling his way around the edges of this before he makes his decision."

    Goldberg says the mystery will run throughout at least the first season, though it won't be dealt with every week. But even if it's resolved, the show will continue to explore those extra layers, Green says.

    "I think the note that it provides — that kind of link to a world larger than just the police department that includes political intrigue and criminal intrigue in a larger sense — will always be something that we'll want to play to some extent," she says.

    And although there are early hints that some of the Reagans might be mixed up in whatever it is Jamie's investigating, Goldberg insists that these characters are not antiheroes.

    "You should be very trusting of them," Goldberg says. "In fact, we hope when you've seen a show or two you'll wish that Frank Reagan was the head of the police in your town. You'd be very safe at night. They're human beings; they have flaws, and we'll be exploring that. But essentially, they are the good guys."

    Blue Bloods premieres Friday at 10/9c on CBS.

    First-rate 'Blue Bloods' mixes family drama, crime-fighting

    Not all children are little, you know.

    Built with the CBS audience in mind, Blue Bloods is a show for sandwich-aged adults who see themselves as both kids and parents, and who understand what it means to be drawn into the family business. Here the family business just happens to be one of TV's all-time favorites: crime-fighting, with each member of New York's Reagan family involved in law enforcement in one way or another.

    An adult show requires an adult cast, and CBS has gathered a great one. At the center is a TV star of the first order: Tom Selleck as New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, a job once held by his father (Broadway legend Len Cariou). His son, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a well-respected if difficult detective; his daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan) is an assistant D.A.; and his youngest son Jamie (Will Estes) is a law school graduate who has just become a police officer. There was another cop son as well, but he was killed on the job, a tragedy with continuing ramifications.

    As usual on such shows, there's also a crime to be solved, which in the premiere involves the kidnapping of a small girl. Danny works it with his partner (guest star Flex Alexander) and then passes it along to Erin — having done something along the way that makes her job more difficult.

    In between the law-and-order case work, we meet Jamie's training officer (Nick Turturro, the second NYPD Blueveteran to return to the beat this week) and a possible love interest for Frank (Rescue Me's Andrea Roth, a late but welcome addition to the cast). And we spend time with the extended Reagan clan at a family dinner that is one of the show's best scenes.

    If you sense a bit of The Good Wife in this mix of family drama and procedural plotting, it's no accident: Anything CBS does that works, CBS does again. Bloods is a more male-centric mix, with a broader focus, a bigger family and a concept that encompasses both cop work and trial work.

    In a more troubling act of copying, Bloods also has a darker running story that corresponds to Peter's Good Wife legal woes and is built around that mysterious Reagan death. It looks to be the kind of story those who like tangled conspiracies will treasure — and those who don't, and would rather be allowed to make it through one hour of TV without one, won't.

    Yet either way, the plot is unlikely to interfere with the real draw of Bloods, which is watching a terrific, mature, extremely well-chosen cast interact. Selleck perfectly embodies paternal gravity, Estes is ideal as the idealist, Moynahan captures all of Erin's ambivalence and intelligence; and Wahlberg is instantly at ease as a blue-collar guy who loves his job and his family in equal measure. You buy into them as a family, and that's what Bloods requires to work.

    And if it works best for adults, well, who do you think is watching network TV at 10 on a Friday night?

    Blue Bloods
    * * * out of four
    CBS, Friday, 10 p.m. ET/PT

    The Thin Family Line: A Dynasty of City Cops

    Six years ago, Edward Conlon, a New York City police officer who had been writing about his beat under a pseudonym for The New Yorker, published an acclaimed memoir about his experiences in law enforcement called “Blue Blood.” Mr. Conlon comes from a long line of cops and joined the family profession even though he had gone to Harvard.

    On Friday, a show about a long line of New York cops with a scion who joins the family profession despite having gone to Harvard begins on CBS. The network says there is no relationship to the book whatsoever though the series is called “Blue Bloods.” Apparently the similarity of subject and title is merely a coincidence.

    That fishy account may not endear intellectual-property lawyers to the show, but for those reluctant to dismiss it out of protest “Blue Bloods” has an old-fashioned appeal both as drama in the vein of a workingman’s “Dynasty” and as splashy procedural. The Reagans of “Blue Bloods” are a sprawling Irish family who gather for Sunday roasts and extend through the five boroughs. Panning shots of New York, from Uptown Manhattan to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn to Staten Island, fill the opening sequence and tell us we will travel all over the class spectrum, landing on multiple iterations of the Gotham accent. (Here the Staten Island inflection sounds distinctly Boston.)

    The Reagan patriarch, Frank, is played by Tom Selleck with such an easy authority that we’re reminded how much we’ve missed him. Frank isn’t merely the managerial papa bear of his brood; he is the city’s police chief and one who has arrived where he is without a lot of political glad-handing. Warning him about a potentially controversial decision, the mayor puts it to him bluntly: “I don’t have to tell you. You don’t have a lot of friends in high places to back you up.”

    Frank may not have friends in high places, but he has some press friends in horizontal ones. “Blue Bloods” is part of a long list of popular entertainments in which journalists sleep with their sources so routinely that they are professionally analogous to groupies on the trail of ZZ Top. A widower, Frank has kept his bed warm with a blond reporter who shows up at news conferences to give him the full Bob Woodward. Seemingly undeterred about the kind of explosion this might cause on the cover of The New York Post (as it surely would in life), Frank and his lady friend hit the town at night, no obscuring fun-house glasses in evidence.

    The show’s fundamental misunderstanding of the news media does not end there, no sirree. You know you are watching dark-ages TV when the blogosphere is made out to be some kind of passing novelty, like the ShamWow. Confronting Frank about “blog allegations” that his department works harder at solving murder cases among the wealthy of the East Side than among minorities in poorer neighborhoods, a reporter is admonished by Frank: “Miguel, you’re a professional journalist. You really want to give credence to any amateur blogger with a laptop?” Citizen journalism? Hooey!

    “Blue Bloods,” though, addresses other issues, police brutality among them, more cogently. And it offers a potentially compelling narrative arc in the story line of the family’s youngest son, Jamie (Will Estes), who is asked to go undercover unbeknown to his father to investigate malfeasance in the department. Forget the Irish. “Blue Bloods” dangles before us the possibility that it might go mythically Greek.

    BLUE BLOODS

    CBS, Friday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.

    Created and written by Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green; directed by Michael Cuesta; Leonard Golberg, Mr. Burgess and Ms. Green, executive producers. Produced by CBS Television Studios.

    WITH: Tom Selleck (Frank Reagan), Donnie Wahlberg (Danny Reagan), Bridget Moynahan (Erin Reagan-Boyle), Will Estes (Jamie Reagan) and Len Cariou (Henry Reagan).

    Wahlberg: 'Blue Bloods' a treat

    Donnie Wahlberg has been on the receiving end of a lot of second-party messages from fans through the years.

    But now that he’s working with Tom Selleck on the new series Blue Bloods, Wahlberg finds himself in the unaccustomed role of message conduit for Mr. Magnum P.I.

    “Having done the music and acting, I bump into so many people who say, ‘Oh my God, my sister loved you,’ ” said the 41-year-old Wahlberg, who first became famous as a member of New Kids on the Block. “Someone always has a message from someone for me.

    “But now that I’m working with Tom, everyone has a message for Tom. They say to me, ‘Oh my God, my mom loves Tom. Please tell Tom my mom loves him.’

    “It’s awesome. It’s such a treat to be in that position. I’m not getting hit with messages every day, I’m getting to deliver a few.” Wahlberg plays one of Selleck’s sons on Blue Bloods, which debuts Friday, Sept. 24 on CBS and CTV.

    The series best can be described as a family drama mixed with a procedural. Think CSI meets Brothers & Sisters.

    Blue Bloods centres on a multi-generational family of cops in New York, led by police commissioner Frank Reagan (Selleck). Frank’s eldest son Danny (Wahlberg) is a seasoned detective and Iraqi war veteran who on occasion crosses the line in his zeal to solve cases.

    Blue Bloods also stars Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes and Len Cariou.

    “We don’t know how (Danny) feels about his dad being his boss, essentially,” Wahlberg said of his character. “Does he resent it? Does he use it to his advantage? I don’t think it’s clear.

    “In life, when we walk into a room and people pre-judge us, we feel differently about it, depending on the day of the week.” Wahlberg called upon his own experience to illustrate the point.

    “On the one hand, I can walk into a room and everyone’s excited that I’m a member of New Kids on the Block, and I say, ‘Oh, okay, cool,’ ” Wahlberg said. “But on the other hand, I might also resent it. ‘Oh, they only like me because I’m in New Kids on the Block.’ It’s not cut and dried, especially in a situation like this.

    “People whose parents have been really successful before them, sometimes they’re proud, sometimes they’re really resentful, and most times they’re a little bit of both.”

    Wahlberg, who had acclaimed TV roles on Band of Brothers and Boomtown, said the Reagan clan on Blue Bloods “feels like a real family” to him. In fact, it feels so much like a real family that the Reagans even remind Wahlberg of his own upbringing in Boston.

    “(Selleck) has a gaze that reminds me of my dad,” Wahlberg said. “At the dinner table, I could always take it to a certain point before my dad would whack me in the side of the head, and Tom has that.

    “I’m always worried that I’m going to improvise one too many lines and Tom’s going to, in character, say, ‘Knock it off, son.’ And off-camera, he’s going to go, ‘All right, Wahlberg, settle down.’ ”

    Donnie Wahlberg grows up from New Kids on the Block to CBS' 'Blue Bloods'

    Donnie Wahlberg was shooting a scene for CBS' "Blue Bloods" in Washington Square Park a few weeks back and a woman walked through the shot.

    At the time, he was dressed like a detective. His badge was showing and he was approaching a "suspect" in a car. He told the woman to step back, like any cop would.

    "The cameras are rolling, and she says, 'I'm going to walk down this sidewalk if I want to. It's a free country,'" Wahlberg says, laughing. "She didn't care. I've been around enough New York cops to know that's exactly what would happen.

    "That's New York," the Boston- bred actor adds. "You can't get that anywhere else."

    That's why "Blue Bloods," which will air Fridays at 10 starting next week, is shooting here.

    The show revolves around a family of New York cops, headed by Frank Reagan, the New York police commissioner, played by Tom Selleck. Also in the cast and guest cast are Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Amy Carlson, Len Cariou and Nick Turturro.

    For Wahlberg, "Blue Bloods" is a return to acting after a 2-1/2-year hiatus to re-form and tour with New Kids on the Block.

    "My appreciation level for acting is at a high now," he says.

    Wahlberg broke into acting in 1996, though it was a two-minute part in the 1999 film "The Sixth Sense" that changed everything. That part proved to many he was more than just a singer, and roles escalated from there. He earned rave reviews for HBO's "Band of Brothers" and starred in "Boomtown," "The Kill Point" and a collection of other films.

    Along the way, he's grown as an actor, he says.

    "I'm definitely more relaxed and more trusting in the process and the team," he says. "If I do my preparation, I know my stuff, and I'm open to what happens, I know things are going to be okay. When I was younger - even on 'Boomtown' - I was much more focused, and focused on hyper-detail. At times, I missed out on opportunities."

    It wasn't always that way. He admits it took a while to get comfortable, and credits some helpful advice from Al Pacino, who pulled him aside on the set of "Righteous Kill."

    "We just started talking about acting," Wahlberg recalls. "I said, 'I wish I wasn't so intense.' He said, 'You have to be intense when you have to and let it go the rest of the time.' It was the most incredible moment."

    It was big, he says, because Pacino understood where Wahlberg was creatively at the time.

    "It really told me I was on the right track as an actor," he says.

    Now his place is the streets of New York, playing a detective in "Blue Bloods," joking with his counterparts about the Yankees and his beloved Red Sox, and being accepted by passersby.

    "If we get good ratings, if we win awards, if we do anything with any level of success," he says, "it will pale in comparison to walking through the streets and hearing a real New Yorker say, 'Hey, Donnie, way to go!'"

    Winners! 2010 Emmy Awards

    Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: David Strathairn, Temple Grandin

    Video: Donnie Wahlberg on Blue Bloods

    Video: Donnie Wahlberg on Blue Bloods

    New Kids and Backstreet Boys Manning Up for Joint Tour?!

    Backstreet's back! And going on the road with New Kids on the Block!

    The hip-to-be-square manbands are close to signing a deal with Live Nation Entertainment for a joint U.S. tour in 2011, perhaps as early as March, E! News has exclusively learned.

    A source close to the negotiations describes the proposed tour as an Expendables-meets-boy band experience, referring to the action blockbuster starring many beefy stars of yore.

    "The idea is to recreate the boy band phenomenon," says the source. "It will be the ultimate ladies' night out."

    Not that this would be the first time that Backstreet Boys and NKOTB have shared the spotlight.

    Backstreet, which is down to a quartet since the 2006 exit of eldest member Kevin Richardson, joined New Kids onstage in June at Radio City Music Hall for a big group "jam" on Backstreet's "I Want It That Way."

    "As for TONIGHT'S Concert... BACKSTREET BOYS got my respect forever!" Donnie Wahlberg tweeted afterward.

    Indeed, that's where the idea of a joint tour began to jell, our source recalls.

    "The response was amazing," the source says. "It was a great night of music."

    We hear that Live Nation is currently searching for a third band to join the tour, with Boyz II Men being at the top of the list, and that, even though New Kids and Backstreet have different management, representatives from both camps have already begun talking about recording a single together prior to a tour.

    A Live Nation rep declined to comment.

    New Kids on the Block to Sell 2,600 Tickets to Carnival Cruise Concert

    On Friday morning, Nichole Newerth plans to be in front of her computer eagerly waiting to buy tickets.

    No, she's not some star-crazed teenager but a 36-year-old mother of three looking to go on a four-day Caribbean cruise with the '80s boy band New Kids on the Block.

    "It's a lot of fun for mommies who need to cut loose," Newerth said. "I know, it sounds crazy."

    Forget filling stadiums and concert halls. These days, some bands are finding a second act on the high seas.

    The Backstreet Boys, Sammy Hagar, Boyz II Men and Rick Springfield all have upcoming cruises where they play to a boat full of adorning fans.

    But it's not just about the concerts. The musicians also lead limbo competitions, bingo games, belly flop contests and join in karaoke at the bar.

    "You think you're going on this cruise and you're never going to see them, but they're out everywhere," said Newerth, who has been on two New Kids on the Block cruises and plans to go on the band's third voyage in May.

    On the first cruise two years ago, she got a hug from Donnie Wahlberg before leaving port. Then last year, she was sitting in the hot tub on the deck.

    "I turn around and there's Jon [Knight] standing right behind me," Newerth said. "He stuck his hand in and said, 'How's the water ladies?' And I said, 'Climb in, we'll make room.'"

    New Kids on the Block Cruise

    Hal Roseman, president of Rose Tours, is organizing the New Kids cruise and several others. He charters ships from Carnival and other cruise lines. Carnival operates the ship, food and normal cruise activities. His staff adds in the concert and band-related events.

    Typically, 1,500 to 2,000 fans go on a cruise. But since the New Kids last year sold out the entire ship in a matter of hours -- "the fastest selling cruise in history," Roseman said -- this year they got a bigger boat.

    Roseman said the 2,600 fans expected on the May cruise will be 95 percent female, with the average age being 32. (Backstreet Boys also get a mostly-female crowd, about 26. Rick Springfield gets a few more men -- about 30 percent -- and brings in a crowd with an average age around 42.)

    You get out on that cruise ship and it's you and all these women who you might not have a lot in common with if you met them on the street," Newerth said. "But all these women love them as much as you do and it's just, I don't know."

    Newerth was then at a loss for words before saying: "You always have this image that they're going to stop and talk to the prettiest or the skinniest. But they stop and talk to everyone."

    So does she have a favorite New Kid?

    "Donnie but I was a Jordan [Knight] girl growing up," Newerth said. "I go back and forth. I kind of like them all. But if you have all five of them in front of me, I would choose Donnie."

    She quickly added: "I am 36, and I know what I said."

    Ian Drew, senior music editor at Us Weekly magazine, said some acts, like John Mayer, have done the cruises for the novelty of it. Other lesser-known names take part in large VH1 cruises hoping to make a name for themselves.

    As for New Kids, Drew said: "They still have the rabid fans who will show up to anything. They have these fans that just won't die and will fill up the cruise ship very easily."

    Fans Cruise With Their Favorite Bands

    Sure, New Kids might not be selling tons of records these days, but they have sold out some big venues recently, Drew said. Plus a band-themed cruise means big money for the group.

    The premium for a trip like this is about $500 more than a regular cruise, Rose said.

    "It is very profitable," Drew said. "And they cut into a share of the profit. They aren't just a regular cruise ship entertainer."

    Rose said the added price is worth it for the fans.

    "People are looking for more than a regular cruise experience. They are looking to get close and personal with the entertainer," he said. "We're offering entertainment that they can't normally get on a regular cruise and they're getting more than they could get from a regular concert."

    Sixthman is another company that does music-themed cruises with Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line. Acts include Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mayer, the Barenaked Ladies and the VH1 cruise.

    The company has seen the market for such cruises grow. Last year, they had 7, this year 11.

    On a typical cruise, Sixthman brings about 15 to 20 full-time employees, five production assistants, 15 to 25 production staff and sometimes a security crew of five to 20.

    Vance Gulliksen, a spokesman for Carnival, said his company loves the cruises. First of all, the bands sell out ships. But second fans fall in love with cruising and come back for their own vacations.

    Newerth is one of those people.

    "I had never been on a cruise until I went on a New Kids cruise," she said. "Now, I'm hooked on it."

    Another New Kids on the Block cruise in the works

    It's been such a hit, they're doing it again.

    In the wake of sell-out trips in 2009 and 2010, New Kids on the Block has announced yet another cruise-with-the-band voyage for 2011.

    Tickets for the 1980s pop music band's four-night "NKOTB Cruise 2011" will go on sale to the general public on Aug. 13 beginning at 3:00 pm EST.

    The voyage will take place on the 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny, a bigger ship than in the past, and it'll last a day longer than the first two NKOTB voyages. The trip will kick of May 12, 2011 in Miami and include stops in Nassau and Half Moon Cay, a private island in the Bahamas.

    New Kids on the Block used its 2009 voyage to kick off the band's North America reunion tour, and it sold out almost immediately. It was so popular that on the day the cruise was first advertised on NKOTB.com, the site's server crashed.

    More than 2,000 mostly female fans of New Kids on the Block (six out of seven were women, according to Carnival) booked the first voyage.

    Like the first two cruises, the third annual NKOTB sailing will include lots of chances for participants to interact with the band. Full details have yet to be announced. More information soon will be available at nkotb.com.

    'Sopranos' producers sing a different tune with 'Blue Bloods'

    Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green were formerly writers and producers on the crime family drama "The Sopranos." But with their new show, "Blue Bloods," they've gone straight.

    With "Blue Bloods," which stars Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, Burgess and Green are exploring the lives and dynamics of multiple generations of a New York City police family. Selleck plays a police commissioner, and Wahlberg is a detective.

    "We did the antihero thing for all those years," said Green. "But now we're interested in looking at what a hero is like in today's world. We wanted to look at a different morality."

    She added that they also wanted to develop a show that would combine a family drama with a police procedural: "We had never really seen those two melded together."

    Both Selleck and Wahlberg said the family element was a key element that attracted them to the show. And both stars said they were pleased that the series would actually be shooting in New York.

    "That was essential for me," Selleck said. "It's hard to argue that it's not a better series because it was shot in New York."

    Selleck, who said he had been resistant to committing to a weekly drama following his long run on "Magnum P.I.," said he was also drawn by the ensemble nature of the show, so he won't have to shoulder the main responsibility for the show.

    He added that he was continuing with the popular "Jesse Stone" TV movie series: "I made it very clear that I wanted to keep doing those."

    2010 Emmy Nominations

    Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie
    • Michael Gambon, Emma
    • Patrick Stewart, Hamlet
    • Jonathan Pryce, Return to Cranford
    • David Strathairn, Temple Grandin
    • John Goodman, You Don't Know Jack

    David Strathairn to Headline Syfy's Alphas

    David Strathairn will star in Syfy's new pilot Alphas, the network announced Tuesday.

    Alphas focuses on a team of ordinary citizens with extraordinary mental abilities who tackle cases that the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have been unable to solve. Strathairn, 61, will play Dr. Leigh Rosen, the eccentric Alphas leader who is willing to bend the rules for his objectives and team.

    "We're honored to have an actor of David's versatility, caliber and renown join Alphas," Mark Stern, Syfy's executive vice president of original programming, said in a statement. "With his incredible range of work in theater, feature films and television, he is the perfect choice to play the complex and nuanced Dr. Rosen."

    Strathairn earned a best-actor Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Edward R. Murrow in 2005's Good Night, and Good Luck. His other credits include The River Wild, The Firm, L.A. Confidential, The Bourne Ultimatum and the HBO movie Temple Grandin. He most recently guest-starred in an episode of House.

    Lost director Jack Bender will helm the 90-minute pilot of Alphas.

    NKOTB+BSB on ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT! TUNE IN!

    Tune in Alert – Monday, June 21, 2010

    TUNE-IN! CATCH THE EXCLUSIVE BEHIND THE SCENES COVERAGE OF NKOTB & BACKSTREET BOYS AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL

    TONIGHT, JUNE 21ST ON ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT! Entertainment Tonight airs at 7pm on CBS.

    ***PLEASE CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS***

    Backstreet Boys Make the New Kids Fans Scream

    Boy band fans got a tuneful surprise Saturday night at New York's Radio City Music Hall when the Backstreet Boys made a surprise appearance at the New Kids on the Block concert.

    "You get two for the price of one tonight," Nick Carter told the screaming crowd.

    The New Kids on the Block – Joey McIntyre, 37, Donnie Wahlberg, 40, Danny Wood, 41, and brothers Jordan, 40, and Jonathan Knight, 41 – were sitting in front of a white curtain bantering when they launched into the Backstreet Boys's 1999 hit "I Want It That Way," an hour into the concert.

    As the audience began to sing, the curtain lifted, revealing the Backstreet Boys – Brian Littrell, 35, Nick Carter, 30, A.J. McLean, 32, and Howie Dorough, 36, who finished out the song.

    Cue the deafening screams!

    After the big reveal, the musicians embraced on stage, and both groups continued singing. Then the New Kids ceded the stage to the Backstreet Boys, who performed another number.

    "I want to thank those guys right there," a gracious Littrell said. "They are our mentors. We've been fans of theirs for a long, long time."

    After performing their 2002 song "Shape of My Heart" while perched on stools, the Boys left the stage with some protest – "Bring them back," screamed some fans! – only to reappear at the finale when the NKOTB performed "Hangin' Tough."

    At the end of the show, all took a bow and jumped off the steps on the stage as green and white confetti and streamers rained down from the ceiling.

    Tell us: Should the two bands go on tour together?

    Vincent Gallo, Michael Madsen join "Loosies"

    Vincent Gallo and Michael Madsen are attached to star in the indie feature "Loosies."

    They join Peter Facinelli ("Nurse Jackie," "Twilight"), who also wrote the screenplay. The story line follows a New York City pickpocket who is confronted by a pregnant woman with whom he had a one-night stand.

    Gallo recently starred in Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro." Madsen recently starred in "The Killing Jar" and "Hell Ride."

    Snoop, Donnie Wahlberg Place $20K Bet on NBA Finals Outcome

    Though the NBA Finals currently rest at 3-2 in Boston's favor, legendary L.A. rapper Snoop Dogg has issued a public challenge to Boston Celtics fans -- put up or shut up.

    The Doggfather has been going back and forth via Twitter with Boston Celtics fan and New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg for the past week, but in a recent video, he upped the stakes, challenging Wahlberg to bet $20,000 on the outcome of the NBA finals, to be donated to a charity of the winner's choosing.

    "What it do, Big Snoop Dogg, Lakers fan #1. Wahlberg what it do? Y'all want that bet? Let's get it crackin'," Snoop said. "20 Gs to your favorite charity, Lakers beat the Celtics, that's what it do!"

    In response, Wahlberg saw Snoop's challenge and raised him one Radio City Music Hall humiliation, daring him to settle the bet onstage at Radio City during NKOTB's performance there, later this week. "I'll pay for the flight, rooms & expense. The loser steps on stage in the other [team's] jersey to hand over the check!" wrote Wahlberg.

    Game 6 of the NBA Finals takes place on Tuesday, June 15 at 9PM EST, in Los Angeles.

    Live Review: NKOTB at Rama

    It was once more around The Block - and then some - at Casino Rama on Thursday night as ‘80s Boston boy band, New Kids On The Block, performed in front of hysterical, screaming female fans during the first of two sold-out shows.

    And even for the most cynical, like those who remember their lacklustre performance at the MuchMusic Video Awards a couple of years ago, NKOTB proved to be no old men on the curb.

    It probably helps that since releasing their first album in 14 years, 2008’s The Block, brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joe(y) McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood - now all in their late ‘30s, early ‘40s - have been on the road non-stop, beginning with the first night of their reunion tour at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre in September 2008.

    “It feels good to be back north of the border again,” said Wahlberg, wearing his trademark baseball hat.

    After a running countdown, the five singer-dancers opened the 90-minute show with The Blocks’ "Lights Camera Action," with a blinding white light backdrop that initially showed them in silhouette.

    Dressed in various shades of black, grey, silver and white with plenty of sparkling bling, and backed by a drummer, bassist, keyboardist, turntablist, it felt like the New Kids’ heyday all over again especially with the loudest response for such oldies as "Right Stuff," "Tonight" - which saw them wander into the audience to high-five excited fans fans - "Step By Step," and "Hangin’ Tough."

    “We need Danny and Joey” requested Wahlberg of the two members who got held up in the crowd. From that frenzied moment, the fivesome attempted to take it down a notch to no avail.

    “You don’t mind if we slow it down,” said Jordan Knight during an acoustic set of ballads - "I’ll Be Loving You," "If You Go Away," "Please Don’t Go Girl" - that saw the five men sit down with their musicians on acoustic guitars.

    “We just want to take our time and tell you how much we appreciate you and love you.”

    But when McIntyre hit a big note down on his knees during "Please Don’t Go Girl," even Jordan commented: “Joe, you got them riled up.”

    “That first night we got back together, that first show in Toronto, we’ll never forget it,” said McIntyre. “It’s good to be back in Toronto. I know we’re an hour or so outside of Toronto, but we can call it Toronto.”

    Added Wahlberg; “You got me emotional now Joe. That first night of our reunion in Toronto, in all of my years of performing, that’s one of my favourite nights.”

    As a group, they then performed The Block’s "Single," leading up to more inspired solo turns, before finishing up the show as a quintet on "Full Service" and "Summertime" - both from The Block - the ballad "Close to You," and "Step By Step" and "Hangin’ Tough" with a bit of "We Will Rock You" thrown into the mix.

    A shirtless McIntyre, dressed in a black tuxedo jacket with tails, wowed the crowd - and recalled the best Chippendales dancer ever - as he performed The Eurythmics’ "Sweet Dreams" and "Twisted."

    He was followed by Jordan Knight, who came out to do "Never Let U Go" mashed up with P.M. Dawn’s "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss" while Wahlberg rapped, before Wahlberg’s solo outings on "I Got It" and "Cover Girl."

    “I love you Canada,” said Wahlberg, who eventually held up the Canadian flag and held it close to his heart.

    “And if you make me love you anymore I’m going to have to get some sort of passport and become a Canadian citizen.”

    ----------------------------------------------------

    3 out of 5 stars

    SET LIST:
    Lights Camera Action
    One Song
    Danger
    Favourite Girl
    Right Stuff
    Click Click Click
    Dirty Dancing
    Tonight
    I’ll Be Loving You
    If You Go Away
    Please Don’t Go Girl
    Single
    Sweet Dreams/Twisted - Joe(y)
    Never Let U Go/Set Adrift On Memory Bliss - Jordan
    I Got It/Cover Girl - Donnie
    Full Service
    Summertime
    Close To You
    Step By Step
    Hangin’ Tough/We Will Rock You

    Donnie Wahlberg says NKOTB are hangin' tough for grown-up fans

    If Justin Bieber were to stop recording music in a couple of years, and then 20 years after that mount a comeback, he would be wise to listen to the words of Donnie Wahlberg.

    Wahlberg is one-fifth of New Kids on the Block, the group that was two decades ago the Most Important Band in the World, if that title were determined solely by teen and pre-teen girls. Their albums topped the charts, they sold out arenas, and they sold lunch boxes and pencil cases by the millions. They would, like Bieber, be a daily trending topic on Twitter if such a thing existed in 1989.

    But, when the group reformed in 2008, it had been ages since they graced the cover of Teen Beat. Would anyone come see them sing?

    “We were financing the reunion ourselves. We were taking all the gambles,” Wahlberg says over the phone from his home in Boston during a break from a tour that brings the group to Southern Ontario this weekend. “Our gambles were based on the hope that our fans who were now age 30 to 40 would come back. But we kind of forgot that when we were really successful the first time around we had a lot of five-, six- and seven-, eight-year-old fans. Those fans are now 23, 24, 25. And suddenly we realized we underestimated the scope of our audience.”

    Plus, he says, the audience seems to finally have crossed gender lines.

    “Guys who hated us in high school are now married to the women who loved us in high school, and they can’t refuse going to see our concert anymore.”

    Wahlberg says the reunion, which included a lengthy tour in 2008 to support a new album, and a much smaller tour this spring, has been a revelation.

    “We meet fans all the time who say, ‘I was too young to see your concert, and then you went away, and now I can come to the show.’ You see these gorgeous young women walk into the show, and you think they must be there with their mom and they are, like, ‘No, I’m a huge fan.’ It’s pretty cool.”

    Though the other New Kids -- Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood -- pursued various projects during the time the group “went away,” Wahlberg carved out the busiest career, with acting credits including The Sixth Sense, the Saw films and Band of Brothers. He acknowledges that boy bands became far more accepted in the post New Kids-era, but says he doesn’t regret clearing the way for the likes of *NSYNC et al.

    “Was it a surprise to me to see Backstreet Boys on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine? It was, because Rolling Stone was the rock ’n’ roll Bible, and we were voted worst band, worst tour, worst singers, worst everything during our career,” he says. “So it was ironic to see Backstreet Boys on there, but that’s how things change. MTV used to boycott our videos and now it’s all teenagers screaming and yelling and carrying on the way they used to ridicule our fans for doing. Was I bitter about it? No. Not at all. I think one day MTV woke up and said, ‘We’re turning all these young girls away, we better start playing what they like.’ ”

    He seems sanguine about never getting the critical acceptance that others have received since.

    “There’s always going to be somebody who paves the way, and who gets sort of beat up for what they are doing, and years later it becomes the norm,” he says.

    “Look at MC Hammer. He was a ‘pop rapper,’ and he caught a huge backlash. And pretty much everyone now is a pop rapper. Puff Daddy is a street-smart MC Hammer, if you’re going to be honest about it.”

    The tour includes their old hits, he says, but also the new songs they wrote since reforming, and Wahlberg says the audience likes it that way.

    “They can listen to Hangin’ Tough only so many times, as 30-year-old women, before they get sick of it."

    New Kids on the Block play Casino Rama on June 10 and 11, and Caesars Windsor on June 12.

    MEET DONNIE WAHLBERG FOR CHARITY!

    Enter to win a chance to meet Donnie Wahlberg! You and a guest will receive tickets to the June 19th show along with a chance to meet the group. For as little as $10 you could win tickets to the show, airfare and accommodations. Proceeds from the raffle benefit Journey Forward, a non profit facility working to better the lives of those with spinal cord injuries. Enter here.

    New Kids party like old times

    Some of the New Kids on the Block partied like it was 1988 at Shrine at the MGM Grand in Foxwoods after their concert there the other night. Witnesses said Donnie Wahlberg and Joey McIntyre danced and drank the hardest of the crew, and got on the microphone for 20 minutes to perform songs from their latest album. McIntyre, in town without his wife, also had fun chatting up female fans. Bandmate Jordan Knight was more reserved. He drank water all night, but enjoyed an oversized cake presented to him for his 40th birthday.

    Madsen 'detained in hospital' after booze binge

    Troubled actor Michael Madsen has sparked fresh concerns for his health after he was reportedly hospitalized following a nine-day booze binge in Britain.

    The Reservoir Dogs star was staying at the Penventon Park Hotel in Cornwall, England while filming his latest movie, and left staff at the establishment shocked with his wild behaviour.

    According to Britain's The Sun, Madsen drank two bottles of wine for breakfast, before embarking on a mammoth boozing and pill-taking session.

    He was reportedly taken to the nearby Royal Cornwall Hospital after he was found unconscious at the entrance of the hotel earlier this month. Worried medics registered him as a "high-risk" patient and place him under "suicide watch", according to the newspaper.

    A source tells the publication, "He was held under the Common Law rules on mental health. If he had attempted to leave he would have been sectioned. He was a high-risk patient and was on suicide watch."

    A worker at the hotel adds, "Staff were shocked by the amount of booze he put away - it was like he was on a non-stop bender. He was mixing his drinks with pills, but no one knew what they were for. He angered some guests by urinating in the car park."

    It is believed Madsen was released from hospital earlier this week and returned to the U.S. on Friday.

    In 2008, Madsen's rep dismissed rumours the star had been put under a mental health hold at a Los Angeles hospital, after relatives grew concerned over his "crazy behaviour". The spokesperson put that incident down to exhaustion and food poisoning.

    CBS Fridays - Fall 2010

    8:00-9:00 PM - MEDIUM
    9:00-10:00 PM - CSI: NY
    10:00-11:00 PM - BLUE BLOODS

    BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is the New York Chief of Police and patriarch of the Reagan brood, which he heads as diplomatically as he does the force, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry (Len Cariou), during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), a seasoned detective, family man and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie (Will Estes) is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family's "golden boy." However, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop, a career change seemingly supported by his beautiful girlfriend, Sydney Davenport (Dylan Moore), a first year lawyer. Jamie's life takes an abrupt turn, however, when he's asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family's legacy. Emmy Award winners Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green and Leonard Goldberg are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.

    Maria Menounos's Adventures with Justin Bieber and NKOTB

    Access Hollywood correspondent Maria Menounos spends most of her time reporting on entertainment news and chatting with celebrities. So she bear-hugged the opportunity to wrestle in a six diva match in October as part of a past WWE guest-hosting gig. (You can see it here.) The 31-year-old says the experience inspired her to take on more immersive, adventurous experiences. And so Maria's Madcap Adventure Series was born. Airing this week during Access, her Adventure segments include dancing with New Kids on the Block, singing with Justin Bieber, and impersonating Dolly Parton in Las Vegas. She even got to do play-by-play for her beloved Boston Celtics. Menounos spoke to TVGuide.com about a few of her adventures.

    Recording with Justin Bieber: He's a good little guy, very helpful and a good coach. I had a lot of fun with him. He has this cool swagger about him and he's super cute — he's a good one.

    Performing as Dolly Parton: That was terrifying. I have a very large fear of being on stage. It makes no sense because I'm not shy, I'm on TV all the time, but when I'm on a stage I just shut down. The first time I actually talked myself out of it was when I was doing Dolly. I remember being backstage and I was starting to get scared. I said, "Maria, you're not going to get any better or any worse in 30 seconds." I was alone on stage and let it go and had fun. I practiced as much as I could and did my best and it ended up working out in the end. It was really hard, the hardest of anything I've ever done.

    Dancing with NKOTB: They were trying to teach me the "Right Stuff" dance. I know I can nail it in my living room, but in front of them I was embarrassing. Funny story: my parents and I used to clean clubs all over Boston. There was this main club we cleaned called the channel, and obviously it's not a real glamorous job but it all paid off when the New Kids on the Block came through to perform. I got to meet them and take pictures with them. Fast forward to two years ago. When they made their comeback I was interviewing them and I broke out all my pictures, all the memorabilia, the poems I had written, how I was going to marry Jonathan.

    Doing color commentary on the Celtics: I'm a diehard Celtics fan and Boston has had wonderful announcers. I'm so used to their voices and to do it with them, who are so amazing, and to do it in my home town, with my favorite team ever, was very intimidating. I knew if I stunk, they were going to let me know. It was nerve-wracking but the thing is, I knew the players inside and out. I had no problem on the Boston side, but when you're commentating you have to do the other side too. So the day before, my friend was doing flash cards with me for the Nets. All my Twitter followers really look forward to watching with me because I live tweet during the game and I've been a crazy fan for years.

    CBS picks up 'Hawaii Five-0' remake, more

    CBS will try to please Alex O'Loughlin fans once more.

    The network has reportedly picked up the remake of "Hawaii Five-O," in which O'Loughlin stars and at least three other new series for the fall, says The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed blog.

    O'Loughlin previously starred in CBS' one season and done series "Moonlight" and "Three Rivers."

    Joining "Five-O" would be Tom Selleck's legal drama "Defenders," the family cop drama "Blue Bloods" and new Chuck Lorre comedy "Mike & Molly."

    Selleck has a history with CBS as well, starring in the popular "Jesse Stone" movies.

    CBS will officially announce its fall lineup at the network upfronts in New York on Wednesday, May 19.

    Donnie Wahlberg bosses around Angie Harmon in TNT drama

    Donnie Wahlberg has booked a two-episode arc on Rizzoli & Isles, TNT’s forthcoming drama series starring Law & Order’s Angie Harmon and NCIS‘ Sasha Alexander.

    The ex-Boomtown thesp will play Sgt. Joey Grant, a childhood friend of Harmon’s Boston homicide detective who’s now working as her boss. “Their relationship is equal parts attraction and loathing,” says a TNT source.

    Slated to premiere in July, Rizzoli & Isles centers on the friendship between crime-solving friends Jane Rizzoli (Harmon) and medical examiner Maura Isles (Alexander).

    Sopranos vet Lorraine Bracco costars as Harmon’s mother.

    Veteran 'Wire,' 'ER' screenwriter David Mills dies

    An HBO spokesman says David Mills, a veteran television writer who worked on "ER" and "The Wire," has died in New Orleans. HBO spokesman Diego Aldana says Mills died Tuesday night but didn't know the cause of death. Mills also wrote for "The Corner" and "Homicide: Life on the Street" among other shows. He is co-writer and co-executive producer of the new HBO series "Treme." The drama is set to premiere April 11. The series is set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and is being filmed in the city.

    In Plain Sight Returns!

    U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) has lots on her mind: Barely healed from her shooting in last season’s In Plain Sight finale, the headstrong witness protection program agent returns gunning for the perp that left her near death.

    “The search is complicated,” says McCormack, “because though Mary saw the shooter, she just can’t see his face in her head.” Then there’s the troubled son of a client (Donnie Wahlberg) to deal with and—thorniest of all—doubts about her impending marriage to hunky fiancé Raphael (Cristián de la Fuente). (Hmmm, could she have feelings for her smitten partner Marshall, played by Fred Weller?)

    Expect more angst ahead with the upcoming arrival of Raph’s outspoken aunt (Rita Moreno), a meddling supervisor from Washington (Allison Janney) and a visiting FBI agent (Steven Weber) who’s turned on by the sexiest Fed in Albuquerque. With the arrival of new show runner John McNamara, there’ll be a few other tweaks, too, such as tunes by musician Liz Phair, Sight’s new composer, “an edgy, cooler feel” overall and less screen time for some of the supporting characters, including Mary’s mom, Jinx (Lesley Ann Warren).

    Still, the core of the series remains intact, says McCormack: “We’ll keep the same theme of Mary excelling at her professional life and struggling in her personal life.”

    Wahlberg Protection Program

    When the writers of USA Network’s “In Plain Sight” needed a Boston guy to throw into the Witness Protection Program, they needed to look no further than Donnie Wahlberg.

    The Dorchester homey guest stars on Wednesday’s season premiere as a Hub truck hijacker who is hiding out in New Mexico with his teenage son and new family.

    “There are certain times when fame and success have become challenging and hiding out has seemed really appealing to me,” said Wahlberg, who spent last week in Toronto filming the CBS cop show “Reagan’s Law” with Tom Brady [stats]’s baby mama No. 1, Bridget Moynahan.

    I’ve traveled to some real obscure towns and thought what it would be like to set up shop here and disappear. But I’d eventually go stir crazy and miss all that I take for granted.”

    Like Twitter, we assume!

    Usually, when Donnie’s in a new town, he sends out Tweets to meet his obsessively devoted New Kids fans - whom he calls “soldiers” - to get a feel for the locals.

    But to get into character for his witness protection gig, Donnie said he flew to New Mexico - where the Mary McCormack-Frederick Weller drama films - a week early and “laid low.”

    “Living life on the run and living with a false identity is a hard thing to do,” he said. “Fugitives sometimes turn themselves in because they can’t live with the pressure.”

    As for playing a Boston underworld figure, that wasn’t too hard to master.

    “There’s always someone to draw on, someone you pluck off the street - a friend, a cousin, an uncle,” said Wahlberg. “It’s the worst thing in the world to get it wrong because there’s that added pressure to get it right. If you stink it up as a Boston guy, I will get a lot of flack when I come home!”

    BTW, Wahlberg’s Charlestown cop drama, “Bunker Hill,” which also starred Moynahan, “turned out great,” he said.

    “It just sort of didn’t fit timing-wise for TNT,” said Donnie. “So it was rebuild it or try something else.” Hence, “Reagan’s Law.”

    So now that Donnie’s spending lots of time on the tube, what programs does he TiVo?

    “I’m a big reality TV guy,” he laughed. “I don’t know why I like trainwreck TV - ‘Bad Girls Club,’ ‘Tool Academy’ and ‘Jersey Shore.’ But I also like ‘The Dog Whisperer,’ ‘Iron Chef’ and ‘Chopped.’ ”

    (Coincidentally, in his ‘In Plain Sight’ episode, his character owns a diner that is known for its popovers.)

    “I tend to gravitate to reality TV to turn off my brain,” he told the Track. “I work a lot - you know I work 22 or 23 hours a day - and I need to be able to tune out with ‘Tool Academy.’ ”

    Donnie said he was also a fan of “The Shield,” which starred Andover homey Michael Chiklis as a cop working on the edge, and “The Sopranos” cast because they weren’t “typical Hollywood leading men. They were regular guys.”

    COMING HOME ON PALLADIA!

    New Kids On The Block: Coming Home Premiers on Palladia-HD Saturday, 3/27 at 9pm. After 15 years, The New Kids On The Block make a triumphant return. Coming Home takes you behind the scenes as the group tours, plays sold out arenas and performs to more than a million fans. Coming Home also captures NKOTB at their dynamic live shows as they perform songs from the group’s 2008 release, “The Block,” as well as other fan favorites, including “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Step by Step”, “Hangin’ Tough,” and more!

    Palladia-HD is the state-of-the-art, high definition channel that showcases the biggest LIVE concerts, performances, festivals, and more from today’s BIGGEST artists. The channel’s predominantly LIVE performances create a truly enhanced musical experience-the sense that you are there. Palladia is your all-access pass to the hottest music programming ever seen-ever heard-on television. That means all genres-pop, rock, hip hop, country and more-in every way.

    Check local listings!

    REAGAN'S LAW (CBS)

    REAGAN'S LAW (CBS) - Donnie Wahlberg ("Runaway") and Len Cariou ("Damages") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about the Reagans, a multigenerational family of cops in New York City. Cariou will play Patrick Reagan, the clan's patriarch and the former chief of police. Wahlberg then is set as Brian Reagan ("a burdened man in a rumpled suit"), a detective still haunted by his experiences in Iraq. Michael Cuesta is helming the CBS Television Studios-based hour from a script by Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green.

    Michael Madsen Heads to 24

    When you need a bad-ass, who better to call than Michael Madsen, who has played that role so well in such films as Reservoir Dogs, Thelma & Louise, Kill Bill and Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (er…scratch that last one)? Now, the much sought-after 52-year-old has been cast on Fox’s 24 as Jim Ricker, a character sources describe to me as an ex-military guy from Jack Bauer’s past. Meaning, of course, a bad-ass.

    Ricker will pop up as the clock ticks toward the final hours of Day Eight, which is looking more and more like Jack’s last day on TV before he heads to the movies.

    Strathairn lands lead role

    David Strathairn has landed a lead role in ABC's drama pilot "Matadors," which centers on two long-feuding families. One populates the Chicago district attorney's office, and the other manages the city's most influential private law firm.

    Strathairn, who most recently co-starred in the HBO telefilm "Temple Grandin," will play the patriarch of the family that works in the state attorney's office.

    ACCESS HOLLYWOOD

    Tune-in on Saturday 2/6 for Access Hollywood’s coverage of NKOTB’s new DVD. Their weekend show airs in NYC on Saturday from 7-7:30 p.m. on NBC. **Please Check Local Listings**

    New Kids On The Block Call The Roots 'Gentlemen' After 'Jimmy Fallon' Gig

    When New Kids on the Block stopped by "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" on Monday night, they couldn't help but notice one thing about the show's house band: The Roots are perfect gentlemen.

    "They're on it. It was pretty painless, pretty easy," Donnie Wahlberg told MTV News backstage at the show, where the guys were promoting their DVD, "Coming Home," which dropped Tuesday (February 2).

    "They're all gentlemen too," Joey McIntyre added.

    "This is the first time we've ever performed with the Roots, and we're very happy about performing with them," Jordan Knight said about their gig with the band. "We rehearsed earlier. They're quick, and they're gentlemen."

    The New Kids performed a medley of their fan favorites on the show, including "Tonight," "Dirty Dancing," "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," "Please Don't Go Girl" and "Step by Step," with the Roots backing them up. "We're gonna do a medley of songs — some of the old stuff and throw a new song in there too," Danny Wood explained. "This is basically to let everyone know we have our DVD coming out."

    In addition to the DVD, the guys also just announced a mini-tour this summer, but their priorities on Monday we're all about Fallon's show. "Honestly, it's very cool to be at 30 Rock and performing on the 'Late Show With Jimmy Fallon,' " McIntyre said.

    They might have been biased because of their appearance on the show, but is Fallon NKOTB's favorite late-night host? "Absolutely, of course. All the Jimmys," McIntyre joked about Fallon and Kimmel. "I'm still mourning Conan, but that's OK. He'll be back."

    The New Kids Visit the OK! Block

    It’s not every day that the heartthrobs of the past and present come together, but here at OK!’s NYC offices, we were lucky enough to be visited by some of the most sigh-inducing, pulse-quickening celebs America has ever seen — both from 20 years ago and today — the New Kids on the Block.

    NKOTB — otherwise known as Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood — made the time last week to sit down with the whole OK! family and chat about their new concert CD, Coming Home, their return to NYC in June at Radio City Music Hall, the Jersey Shore and more. And of course, being the gentlemen that they are, they gracefully posed for tons of pics with all their OK! staff fans!

    Have any celebrity fans turn up the live shows?

    Jordan: Oh yes. Carrie Underwood’s a big fan our ours. Kelly Clarkson. All the American Idols.

    Who’s your favorite person on Jersey Shore?

    Donnie and Jordan: DJ Pauly!

    What are some of the things you’ve got going right now through Twitter and Facebook?

    Donnie: Connecting with our fans first and foremost. We gather information from them and when they want something they tell us and we can respond to their needs and wants immediately. Haiti is a perfect example. We can promote causes like planetohaiti.org right now and we can also promote a record, a project, something that were interested in.

    Joey: They know about stuff before we do.

    What are some of the craziest fan moments you’ve had over the years?

    Jordan: It might have been in Korea. We were checking in at an airport and some fans caught wind of where we were going to be and a whole bunch of fans turned up while we were checking in at the ticket counter. It got so crazy that we had to jump over the counter and get onto the conveyor belt that takes your luggage down and underneath. We ended up underneath with all this luggage stacked up. Nearly got a stamp on our heads.

    How was touring with Lady Gaga?

    Donnie: She just had a spirit. It’s fun to watch Lady Gaga and RedOne, who produced a lot of her stuff and we also work with. It’s fun to see someone start before anyone really knows who they are. She was always creative and always ticking. She was very down to earth. She co-wrote a couple of songs on our album and she did a duet on On The Block as well. She was just a great girl and now shes a great girl who’s famous.

    Jon: I’ll never forget the first day I met her. I didn’t even know who she was and the president of our record company brought her over to a rehearsal. She walked in the room and I thought, “Who is that?” I just assumed she was famous already. She just had that aura about her. I think that shes always had it in her.

    Was anything off-limits on the live DVD anything that didn’t make the edit?

    Donnie: There’s a segment on the DVD that’s about the cruise. It shows Danny and I, going from cabin to cabin visiting the fans, and there was a girl on there who was in the shower when we came inside the room! It was really funny. I made a note to get a snippet of it in and we didn’t do it. I kinda kicked myself when I watched it last night. Her girlfriend let us in the cabin and was like, “Oh my god, my friend loves you guys. “The friend let us in the bathroom and the girl peeked round the curtain and was like, “Oh my God!” But we ended up chatting for about 10 minutes. Ill get the clip and leak it on YouTube.com. I want it to be seen!

    Who’s single right now?

    Donnie: Well, there are two married guys in the group and three unmarried guys in the group.

    Any more new material in the works?

    Jordan: Not in the works, but the door is wide open.

    Donnie: We’ve got a few things going on, so when the smoke clears a little bit, it’ll be fun to see what happens.

    NKOTB 2010 Tour Dates

    The New Kids on the Block are at it again. After selling out a special show at Radio City Music Hall in just minutes, the Kids announce a second Radio City Music Hall show, and add on a string of dates across the country.

    NKOTB promises to give fans another exciting year with the announcement of these special shows being just the beginning. NKOTB will release Coming Home, a special live DVD, on February 2, 2010 which gives fans a true glimpse at what it took to achieve one of the most successful and momentous musical reunions in history. After storming onto the Pop Culture scene again in 2008, the group has continued to entertain and excite, and promises more huge announcements to come.

    “We’ve let our fans dictate this whole ride,” said Donnie Wahlberg. “They’ve been the ones to guide us through this whole journey. They want more, we’ll give them more, and we’ll enjoy every moment along the way.”

    The NKOTB fans’ support is unwavering. The fans continue to want more and NKOTB will continue to oblige! After the smash success of the first NKOTB cruise, the band arranged for another ship to set sail in 2010. The tickets went on sale and were sold out within minutes making it the fastest cruise charter sell out of all time. The Boston boys then announced a special hometown House of Blues appearance supporting Toys for Tots. This too sold out within minutes and raised over $60,000 for Toys for Tots. The NKOTB phenomenon continues to remain strong.

    The band has also teamed with I Love All Access to provide a variety of fan ticket packages for the show, including premium seats, meet and greets, photo ops, parties and more.

    For more information please visit www.nkotb.com

    CURRENT LIST OF SHOW DATES
    SAT 8-May Las Vegas, NV The Pearl Concert Theater, ON-SALE FEB 6 - ONLY WEST COAST PLAY
    FRI 21-May Mashantucket, CT MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods, ON-SALE FEB 12
    FRI 28-May Atlantic City, NJ The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Event Ctr, ON-SALE FEB 13
    FRI 4-JUN Hammond, IN The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, ON-SALE FEB 12
    THU 10-JUN Orillian, ON Casino Rama Entertainment Ctr, ON-SALE FEB 16
    FRI 11-JUN Orillian, ON Casino Rama Entertainment Ctr, ON-SALE FEB 16
    FRI 18-JUN New York, NY Radio City Music Hall, ON-SALE NOW
    SAT 19-JUN New York, NY Radio City Music Hall, ON-SALE NOW

    Madsen facing more money woes

    Actor Michael Madsen is facing more money problems - he's been hit with a lawsuit from a California company which alleges he failed to pay for the upkeep of his swimming pool.

    Papers filed at a small claims court accuse the Reservoir Dogs star of owing $6,809.88 to a Malibu, California pool company for work carried out between November 2008 and January 2010, according to TMZ.com.

    It's the latest in a long line of financial woes for Madsen, who filed for bankruptcy last June. He is said to owe thousands of dollars in personal loans to Hollywood pals Pierce Brosnan and Quentin Tarantino, and was recently sued by the landlord of his Malibu, California home after allegedly failing to pay his rent.

    NKOTB add 2nd RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL SHOW ANNOUNCED

    By OVERWHELMING demand, NKOTB announce a 2nd RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL SHOW - June 19, 2010!!!

    Presale begins: NOW for AMEX cardholders, General on-sale 11 AM EST Jan 30

    CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS!

    ABC Picks Up Wednesday Comedies for Second Season

    ABC has given an early second-season pickup to freshman comedies Modern Family, Cougar Town and The Middle, network president Steve McPherson said Tuesday.

    "It really, creatively, was just a wonderful fall; hats off to my comedy team. ... It really was quite a challenge," McPherson said.

    Modern Family, which stars Ed O'Neill and Julie Bowen, has been the most-watched new comedy this season and earned a Golden Globe nomination. Courteney Cox also earned a Globe nod for her role in Cougar Town, which is the No. 2 new comedy of the season.

    The Middle, starring Patricia Heaton, hit a ratings high among adults 18-to-49 during its Jan. 6 airing. All three shows received quick, full-season orders after their strong starts, while the Kelsey Grammer vehicle Hank was canceled after only five episodes.

    A&E Biography - Jan 16

    The Wahlberg Brothers Saturday, January 16 7:00am ET Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg were the youngest of nine children. Donnie was the first to shoot to fame with the popular boy band "New Kids on the Block." Later, Donnie began an acting career in such films as Ransom and The Sixth Sense. His younger brother Mark began his career as a rapper with the moniker "Marky Mark" along with his group "The Funky Bunch." Mark's breakout hit as an actor came in the film, Boogie Nights, and he was later nominated for an Academy Award for his work in The Departed. He has since expanded his resume to include Executive Producer of among other projects, the cult hit, Entourage.

    NKOTB BRING THE HOLIDAY CHEER TO BOSTON!

    New Kids on the Block brought the holiday cheer to a sold out crowd at Boston’s House of Blues during a special holiday show this past weekend to benefit great Boston’s Toys for Tots. The Boston boys sold out their show within minutes, and with all net proceeds from the event going directly to Toys for Tots, the group raised over 60k instantly. In addition to the monetary donations that poured in, fans filled FIVE plus truckloads of brand new toys to support the charity.

    “We’ve said it before, but we can never say it enough, we have the most amazing fans in the world. It is their generosity and dedication that made this all possible,” said Donnie Wahlberg. “Thanks to them, we are able to do what we do and help to give back. 5 truckloads of brand new toys went to Toys for Tots last night!!! The trucks were brimming! It was truly the most incredible sight.”

    “Santa who? The New Kids bring more toys than that guy!” exclaimed Sergeant Clint T Schibner of Greater Boston Toys for Tots. Going on, the Sergeant said, “We are absolutely amazed at the sincerity and generosity the New Kids have not only shown Toys for Tots, but more importantly the less fortunate children of the Boston area…their hometown! Marines pride themselves on taking care of their own. The New Kids can take pride in knowing their contribution, as well as their fans’ contributions, will affect the lives of tens of thousands of children in the communities where they grew up, thus, taking care of their own.”

    Promising a fun night full of surprises, the group did not disappoint. NKOTB showed some fan appreciation performing hit after hit including classic NKOTB holiday songs that haven’t been performed live in over 15 years! The New Kids pulled out all the stops even bringing local legends Johnny Gill and Ricky Bell from New Edition on stage to sing their joint song “Full Service” from New Kids’ recent album, “The Block.” The Boston boys even debuted their brand new song, “Coming Home” which fans received as a free download when the pre-ordered the band’s upcoming DVD of the same name. Adding more local flavor, NKOTB invited local businessman Ernie Boch to open and even play with them on select songs with his band Ernie and the Automatics. With non-stop action and surprise after surprise, lucky NKOTB fans were certainly treated to a one of a kind evening.

    SET LIST:
    One Song
    Step by Step
    Single
    Coming Home - First Ever Live Performance
    Dirty Dancing
    Full Service - w/ Johnny Gill and Ricky Bell of New Edition
    Merry Christmas Intro
    Funky Funky Christmas
    Last Night I Saw Santa
    Chestnuts Roasting
    Oh Holy Night
    This One’s for the Children
    Toys for Tots Check Presentation
    Tonight
    Right Stuff
    Hangin’ Tough

    For more information please visit www.nkotb.com.

    COMING HOME MUSIC VIDEO

    COMING HOME MUSIC VIDEO: Watch it here!

    NKOTB 'Didn't Want the Reunion to End'

    (Video) Didn't get a chance to see the New Kids on the Block on tour? Now you can have Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jonathan Knight in your living room when the group releases its concert DVD on Feb. 2.

    From early rehearsals to inside the recording studio, NKOTB's Coming Home DVD is "bringing you back to the very first moment of the reunion step by step until today," Donnie Wahlberg tells PEOPLE. "It's kind of like a yearbook – only from a 15 year high school reunion."

    The DVD includes the singers' performance of classics like "Step by Step" – and unseen footage from the groups fan cruise to the Bahamas, where Wahlberg and Wood surprised fans in their cabins. Wahlberg has a soft spot for replaying the fan footage, saying, "the emotion from the fans, in every arena throughout the tour, was so intense," he says. "It gives me chills every time I watch it."

    Get ready for more chills, Donnie. The reunion party will continue in 2010 when the boys hit the high seas again on a sold-cruise in May. And there will be ten golden keys hidden in the deluxe and super deluxe DVD box sets that will grant lucky fans two tickets to any future NKOTB concert.

    Says Wahlberg: "We hope to find new ways to give our fans no less as we move forward."

    COMING HOME DVD!

    NKOTB “Coming Home” on DVD today at http://www.NKOTB.com. Get it now and own a piece of history!

    After 15 years, THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK made a triumphant return to the world’s stage. Coming Home, the DVD, will take you along the group’s process and their many journeys as they toured the globe playing over 140 sold out arena concerts and performing to a million plus fans. “Coming Home” also captures NKOTB and their dynamic live performances as they perform songs from the group’s 2008 release, “The Block,” as well as other fan favorites from their extensive hits catalog. Highlights include the singles “Summertime,” “Single,” “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Step by Step, “Hangin’ Tough,” and more! Plus each DELUXE DVD comes with an un-released song “Coming Home” at the time of purchase.

    “Coming Home,” the new DELUXE DVD from NKOTB comes packed with never-before-seen footage, extremely rare items and additional goodies:

    - Over 90 minutes never-before-seen footage.
    - 6 Live performances filmed during the group’s world tour.
    - Chance to receive 1 of 5 Golden Keys. The Golden Key provides LIFETIME tickets for you and a guest to official NKOTB shows anywhere in the world for 2010 and beyond.*
    - EXTREMELY LIMITED edition authentic wardrobe swatch from Full Service tour outfits (yes, its REALLY from the guy’s ACTUAL wardrobe). OWN A PIECE OF HISTORY!
    - Limited edition NKOTB dog tag.
    - Inside peek at NKOTB life on the road.
    - Special Moments with the fans.
    - Behind the scenes.
    - Deluxe booklet with additional artwork.

    …AND the unreleased track “Coming Home” delivered digitally at time of purchase.

    PRE-ORDER YOURS TODAY @ http://www.NKOTBDVD.com**

    *Certain rules and restrictions apply. Keys are inserted into packaging at random
    **Shipping early February 2010

    Twitter "Twayola" Is NKOTB's New Payola For Radio Stations!

    Remember the days, when record companies use to slip a radio station a few extra hundred bucks to promote their favorite artist's latest record? The term, "payola" derived from that practice. Today, those pay-offs are being replaced by a new 21st century social media updated version.

    Donnie Wahlberg and the New Kids on the Block put a new spin on that old formula. They alerted their fan base to accept a challenge to tweet the call letters of radio stations that would play Wahlberg's new single, "I Got it," also featuring Aubrey O'Day.

    When any of the NKOTB band members send a shout-out (or tweet-out in this case) to their fans, affectionately called the "Blockheads," their fan base always rises to the occasion to do whatever bidding may be asked of them.

    Back in April, I covered Jordan Knight's one-word tweet of "tink" that exploded onto the Twitterverse into a global frenzy of tens of thousands fans tweeting this word even though they had no idea what the word meant. Knight kept its meaning secret for over a week before he ran a contest for fans to determine the derivation of the word. Subsequently, "Tink before you tweet," became an inside joke for Blockheads worldwide, and t-shirts and other merchandise was sold online to support NKOTB's charity.

    Fans can download the MP3 of Donnie's single which is packaged with Wahlberg's other cut called "Rise n Grind". Proceeds from these purchases go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and their continued fight against breast cancer.

    Ed O'Neill returns with 'Modern Family'

    Okay, Ed O'Neill, we have a question for you: Why do the TV characters you play always have so much trouble with women?

    "Because everybody does, don't they!" said O'Neill, sparking laughter.

    True, but you seem to take the hit for all heterosexual males.

    "That's right," O'Neill said. "I just think there's a lot of comedy in there."

    Indeed, there's a lot of comedy in O'Neill's new series Modern Family, which debuts tonight on ABC and Citytv.

    O'Neill, of course, forever will be remembered as Al Bundy, the lead character in the long-running sitcom Married ... with Children. O'Neill plays a patriarch again in Modern Family, but structurally speaking, O'Neill's new clan is far more complex than the Bundys ever were.

    Modern Family focuses on three distinct family units: A traditional mom and dad with three kids; a same-sex couple that has just adopted a baby; and an older man married to a much younger woman, both of whom are on their second marriages. The younger woman has brought her sensitive 11-year-old son from her first marriage into the mix.

    As you might have guessed, O'Neill plays Jay, a.k.a., the older man.

    "For me, it's very funny that this guy obviously wasn't very good at his first marriage, and that was an American woman who he never could figure out," said O'Neill, 63. "Now he is with this Colombian woman, for obvious reasons when he met her. But now he's trying to figure out this woman, which is like, good luck. So he really is in over his head."

    Jay's hot young Colombian wife, Gloria, is played by the curvaceous Sofia Vergara -- or maybe that should be Sofia Viagra. Gloria's son Manny is played by Rico Rodriguez.

    "With the kid, Manny, that's a big problem, because Jay already has a gay adult son," O'Neill said. "Jay doesn't want Manny to have the same problems that maybe his son did when he was in school. He's trying to shield Manny and often makes the wrong call, says the wrong things, because he's not really good at being a father.

    "Jay is trying, but obviously he's not going to win any fatherhood awards."

    Hey, neither did Al Bundy, and that show ran for more than a decade.

    When O'Neill referred to Jay already having a gay adult son, that actually is the hook to Modern Family: Those three distinct family units we mentioned previously are connected and form an extended family.

    ABC initially asked critics not to reveal that part when the Modern Family pilot was screened last June, but the network subsequently changed its strategy, going so far as to confirm the wider clan in public promo clips for the show.

    The thinking, we imagine, was that the acknowledgement of a wider connection makes the ensemble show more attractive and easy to wrap your brain around heading into it.

    By the way, O'Neill said he still catches Married ... with Children reruns on TV from time to time.

    "I channel-surf like most people," O'Neill said. "I have my favourite episodes. If it's one I like, I'll watch it. I don't watch them all."

    O'Neill's daughter on Married ... with Children was played by Christina Applegate, who until earlier this year had a sitcom on ABC, too.

    "Of course, I called Christina to congratulate her that I'd be on the same network," O'Neill said. "And then they cancelled her show."

    Well, hopefully the funny and edgy Modern Family will stick around a little longer than Samantha Who? did.

    Finally, ABC gives us a 'Modern Family' we can relate to

    It's about time.

    After years in the comedy wilderness, much of it spent in a futile attempt to clone NBC's snarkier, more ironic sitcom style, ABC is finally returning to its family roots — and in gloriously funny fashion. You get The Middle next week and Cougar Town later tonight, both terrific sitcoms. But the best of the bunch, and the best new series of the fall, comes first.

    Modern Family, created by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, smartly updates ABC's Home Improvement/Roseanne tradition for a new TV generation. True, the shooting style borrows the faux-documentary approach made popular by a rival, The Office. But the down-to-earth tone of this good-natured comedy, and its bighearted embrace of its characters, harks back to ABC and Disney at their comedy peak.

    Times, however, have changed, and families have changed with them. The show does pivot on a sitcom-familiar home mix, a mom and dad (Julie Bowen and Ty Burell) who take a comedically different approach to raising their two kids. But Mom has an extended family, and they're the "modern" part of the title: Her father (Ed O'Neill) has just married a hot young single mother from Colombia (Sofia Vergara), and her brother (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his partner (Eric Stonestreet) have just adopted a Vietnamese baby girl.

    That gives Modern Family a lot of territory to cover, but it also gives it a lot of room in which to play — and tonight's pilot takes full advantage of that gift. Each family member is treated with respect, but each is also tweaked and given some funny business to play, from O'Neill's sitcom-pro chagrin at his stepson's romantic notions, to Bowen and Burell's method of dealing with a misused BB gun, to Ferguson's flustered reactions to Stonestreet's flamboyance.

    Like the best sitcoms, Modern Family also varies its comic approach. There are moments of wry observational humor any family will recognize. (When the sister offers to "explain" their father's comment, her brother says: "That's not what Dad's saying. That's what you're saying, and it's insulting in a whole different way.") But there are also outsized moments that are laugh-out-loud funny without violating the laws of possibility.

    Mockumentaries can quickly become cold and distancing, and that's a pitfall Modern Family will have to work to avoid. But if it can fulfill its promise, it could just be the show ABC needs to spark a sitcom renaissance.

    Time will provide the answer. But let's hope that answer is yes.

    Modern Family
    * * * 1/2 out of four
    ABC, Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET/PT

    Sighting

    DONNIE Wahlberg, of New Kids on the Block fame, celebrating his 40th birthday at Mohegan Sun with 1,000 screaming fans

    Donnie Still "Hangin' Tough" at 40

    Warning: This might make you feel old. Donnie Wahlberg, the brooding bad boy of the New Kids on the Block, is turning the big 4-0.

    Now that you've recovered from that, the good news for all of his screaming teenie-bopper-turned-soccer-mom fans is that he's holding a birthday bash right here in Connecticut.

    Wahlberg is throwing his official 40th birthday celebration at Mohegan Sun on Tuesday Aug. 25th.

    Donnie Wahlberg skyrocketed to superstardom in the late '80s with his NKOTB bandmates, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood.

    Wahlberg has moved on to acting and movie producing. He's had roles in the critically-acclaimed TV series Band of Brothers, as well as feature films like Righteous Kill, Ransom and The Sixth Sense.

    So does Donnie still have the "Right Stuff?" Fans can go "Step by Step" to the Mohegan Sun's Ultra 88 Night Club to check him out. The party gets underway Tuesday Aug. 25th at 9 p.m.

    Sighting

    DONNIE Wahlberg, of New Kids on the Block fame, celebrating his 40th birthday at Mohegan Sun with 1,000 screaming fans

    Donnie Still "Hangin' Tough" at 40

    Warning: This might make you feel old. Donnie Wahlberg, the brooding bad boy of the New Kids on the Block, is turning the big 4-0.

    Now that you've recovered from that, the good news for all of his screaming teenie-bopper-turned-soccer-mom fans is that he's holding a birthday bash right here in Connecticut.

    Wahlberg is throwing his official 40th birthday celebration at Mohegan Sun on Tuesday Aug. 25th.

    Donnie Wahlberg skyrocketed to superstardom in the late '80s with his NKOTB bandmates, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood.

    Wahlberg has moved on to acting and movie producing. He's had roles in the critically-acclaimed TV series Band of Brothers, as well as feature films like Righteous Kill, Ransom and The Sixth Sense.

    So does Donnie still have the "Right Stuff?" Fans can go "Step by Step" to the Mohegan Sun's Ultra 88 Night Club to check him out. The party gets underway Tuesday Aug. 25th at 9 p.m.

    DONNIE WAHLBERG IN ZOOKEEPER!

    Donnie Wahlberg has joined the cast of MGM’s laffer “The Zookeeper” alongside Kevin James and Rosario Dawson.

    Story centers around a zookeeper who decides to quit his job to find love, but the animals in his charge break their code of silence to teach him how to pursue the woman of his dreams. Frank Coraci is directing from the screenplay by James, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Rock Reuben and Nick Bakay.

    Wahlberg most recently appeared in “Righteous Kill” with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

    FX calls up Elmore Leonard's "Lawman"

    "Lawman" is a go at FX.

    The cable network has picked up the pilot -- previously known as the untitled Elmore Leonard project or "Fire in the Hole" -- for a 13-episode series.

    Written by Graham Yost, "Lawman" is based on the Leonard character Raylan Givens, featured in his short story "Fire in the Hole."

    Timothy Olyphant stars as U.S. Marshal Givens, a modern-day 19th-century-style lawman enforcing his brand of justice in a way that puts a target on his back with criminals and places him at odds with his bosses in the marshal service.

    "Lawman," produced by Sony Pictures TV and FX Prods., is scheduled for a spring 2010 premiere.

    Williams Feels Some Emmy Love

    First, there's the the good news for Vanessa Williams. She's earned an Emmy nomination for role on Ugly Betty. "When you get acknowledged for doing what you love it doesn't get better than this," she says of the honor.

    But with the good news comes some homework. Now, she has one week to pick an episode upon which the final Emmy voting will be done. Apparently that selection won't be too hard. "I'll be submitting the season finale, which had a little bit of everything—a little reminiscing with Marc over all the shenanigans we've gotten into over the years and a little drama with remembering Connor. I'm happy to be in the game."

    Williams received congratulatory calls from co-stars Becki Newton, Michael Urie and the show's costumer, Patricia Field, who also received a nomination for her outrageous designs. "The joke is we'll all wear turbans to the Emmys. We'll see if this happens."

    WIlliams says it was "bittersweet" that the show and co-star America Ferrera were left off the nominations this year. The cast reunited just the day before the Emmy announcements to begin shooting the new season. The first episode finds her character tracking down MIA Connor. "I love working with him because he can really go toe to toe with Wilhelmina." Next up in August: Williams hosts the Daytime Emmy Awards.

    2009 Primetime Emmy Nominations

    The Emmys will air live on CBS, Sunday, September 20 with How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris as host.

    Supporting Actress, Comedy
    Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
    Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
    Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
    Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
    Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
    Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds

    'Tin Man' gets his air date in Canada

    Tin Man — a modern sci-fi version of The Wizard of Oz starring Zooey Deschanel — finally has a Canadian air date. The three-part mini-series will air on three consecutive nights, starting Saturday, Aug. 1, on Space.

    Tin Man has been rusting on the shelves at CTV (which owns Space) for quite a while. The six-hour project first aired on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States in December 2007, and it was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards in 2008, winning one.

    Besides Deschanel, who plays D.G. (the Dorothy character), Tin Man also stars Alan Cumming, Callum Keith Rennie, Neal McDonough, Richard Dreyfuss and Canadian Kathleen Robertson.

    DONNIE WAHLBERG IN ZOOKEEPER!

    Donnie Wahlberg has joined the cast of MGM’s laffer “The Zookeeper” alongside Kevin James and Rosario Dawson.

    Story centers around a zookeeper who decides to quit his job to find love, but the animals in his charge break their code of silence to teach him how to pursue the woman of his dreams. Frank Coraci is directing from the screenplay by James, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Rock Reuben and Nick Bakay.

    Wahlberg most recently appeared in “Righteous Kill” with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

    LIVE WEB STREAM BRINGS FULL SERVICE INTO YOUR HOMES!

    THE MASSIVE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK FULL SERVICE TOUR HEADS TO FANS’ LIVING ROOMS ACROSS THE GLOBE

    LIVE WEB STREAM ON iCLIPS.NET LETS FANS VIEW WITH THE LIVE EVENT AND VIDEO ON DEMAND FOR JUST $12.99

    After fans flooded their Twitters, blogs, and the NKOTB website with requests, NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK announced today they will be streaming their July 17th Dallas, Texas “Full Service” concert LIVE on iCLIPS.net. Following the live show, fans around the world will be able to view the concert ON DEMAND for 24 hours. The On Demand footage will be available within approximately one hour after the live broadcast.

    The live feed is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems that have Flash 9 or 10 installed. It is also recommended that the user has at least a 768 kbps high speed internet connection. The event will go on sale Monday, July 13th at 1:00pm EST/12:00pm CST for only $12.99. The page to purchase the event will be located at www.iClips.net/newkidsontheblock and/or www.iClips.net/NKOTB.

    “We are so excited about this event! We are so proud of this tour and by sending it out through the web. We have a chance to perform for ALL of our fans, the world over, many of whom we cannot reach in person” says Donnie Wahlberg.

    “To work with a legendary group of artists like the New Kids on the Block gives everyone at iClips a tremendous thrill. We are extremely excited about presenting this live concert experience to the legions of New Kids on the Blocks fans around the world” says Nate Parienti of iCLIPS.

    The shows have featured a varied set list including classics such as, “Hangin Tough,” “Step by Step,” and “Right Stuff,” mixed with the newer tunes like, “Single” and “Summertime” from their brand new album, THE BLOCK. As the New York Post described, “the encore of 1990’s ‘Step By Step’ and the 1989 tune ‘Hangin’ Tough’ were gasoline on the concert fire.” and the OC Register exclaimed, “they put on a stellar show that kept the crowd on its feet for two hours.” “Not only do the New Kids sound better than they ever did, they also look like they’re having even more fun than they did 20 years ago,” lauded Newsday.

    BACKGROUND: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK sold more than 80 million albums worldwide — including back-to-back international #1 songs, 1988’s Hangin’ Tough and 1990’s Step By Step — and a series of crossover smash R&B, pop hits like “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Cover Girl,” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” “Hangin’ Tough,” “I’ll Be Loving You,” “Step By Step” and “Tonight.” The group shattered concert box office records playing an estimated 200 concerts a year, in sold out stadiums throughout the world. They still hold many of these records to date. They were Forbes highest paid entertainers of 1990, beating out Michael Jackson and Madonna. The band boasted an extensive and highly profitable merchandise line which included everything from lunch boxes and sleeping bags to comic books, marbles and dolls.

    About iClips: iClips Network, L.L.C. is a web based platform built with the mission of creating engaging entertainment and relevant video content distributed via the www.iClips.net portal along with a network of distribution partners. iClips currently produces original video content, partners with other content producers, and produces live-streamed events, concerts, music festivals, and series from music venues. iClips ranks among the leading providers of live streaming media.

    More Information at www.nkotb.com / http://www.iclips.net/livefaq.php

    NKOTB TWEETDECK!

    The NKOTB TweetDeck was created because YOU requested it!

    DOWNLOAD YOUR CUSTOM NKOTB TweetDeck HERE!

    The customization includes:
    NKOTB logo in top right that links out to nkotb.com
    NKOTB background
    Column featuring tweets from NKOTB and individual member’s accounts
    “Oh Baby” from “Right Stuff” plays when an update is received!

    Tweetdeck is the #1 desktop application for Twitter and Facebook allowing you to tweet and share photos or web links, follow conversations and topics in real-time, update Facebook status and view friends’ status updates.

    Donnie Wahlberg On Michael Jackson's 'Chain Of Influence'

    New Kids on the Block probably wouldn't have existed without The Jackson 5, and that is a statement that New Kid Donnie Wahlberg won't argue against. The Jackson 5, in many respects, laid the groundwork for bands like New Edition, NKOTB, the Backstreet Boys and 'NSYNC.

    "Michael Jackson was the first musical artist that I looked up to, aspired to be like," Wahlberg said. "He was the first person to ever really inspire me to dream to what's bigger than what was in front of me."

    He explained that there's a clear line drawn from the Jackson 5 to the New Kids on the Block. "There's an obvious chain of influence there," he said. "There's always someone who sets the bar. ... Michael Jackson was a child and he was a superstar. Rather than kids across America and across the world looking at adults performing, they were looking at someone like them performing. You could become like Michael Jackson ... suddenly the whole playing field changed."

    He continued that "from the Jackson 5's influence on New Kids on the Block, his personal influence on me to his personal influence on other members on the group" has been substantial. According to Wahlberg, It's been equally substantial on a number of other artists making music today. "I defy anyone to find an artist today who's out there making music who's not somehow influenced by Michael Jackson," he said. "There's no artist today who wasn't impacted by Michael Jackson. It's his swagger."

    Broke Madsen owes celebrity pals

    Michael Madsen’s financial woes continue to worsen - the movie tough guy owes thousands of dollars to Hollywood pals Pierce Brosnan and Quentin Tarantino.

    The star filed for bankruptcy earlier this month and the legal papers reveal he is heavily in debt to both stars.

    The papers, obtained by TMZ.com, state Madsen owes $25,000 in personal loans to the actor, and $1 million to his Reservoir Dogs director, Tarantino.

    The website reports Madsen is nearly $4 million in debt overall, which is barely covered by his monthly income of $3,392.

    New Kids on the Block sue copycats

    New Kids on the Block have filed a lawsuit against a production company - accusing bosses of using the band's name for another all-male group.

    The 1990s teen idols, who reunited in 2008, filed papers against SM Productions, a company which provides DJs for events in California.

    According to TMZ.com, the band's lawyers allege the company tried to form a new group - also entitled New Kids On The Block - in a bid to record music with them and pass it off as made by the original boy band.

    The lawsuit also claims the company attempted to register the name, as well as the group's record artwork on album Hangin' Tough, with the U.S Patents and Trademark Office.

    The details of the claim are not known as WENN goes to press.

    NKOTB Full Service Tour Set List

    Set List:
    Close To You (montage of pictures)
    Full Service
    Summertime (remix)
    My Favorite Girl
    The Right Stuff
    Didn't I Blow Your Mind
    Valentine Girl
    Please Don't Go Girl
    Dirty Dancing
    No More Games
    If You Go Away
    Stare At You
    Single
    Sexify My Love
    Twisted Video
    Stay With Me Baby
    Give It To You
    Popsicle
    5 Brothers & A Million Sisters
    Tonight
    Click Click Click
    I'll Be Loving You Forever
    One Song
    Step By Step
    Hangin' Tough

    CNN BEHIND THE SCENES W NKOTB

    The New Kids on the Block are back on the road. CNN.com’s Reggie Aqui gets an inside look. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO!

    Cruising Tips from New Kids on the Block

    When the New Kids on the Block boarded a ship for the Bahamas on Friday, they were joined by 2,000 excited fans for a three-night cruise. "I don't know what we were thinking," jokes Donnie Wahlberg. "We have nowhere to run if it gets out of hand."

    Sitting on the Promenade Deck before the ship departed from Miami, all five New Kids – Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and Donnie – shared their aquatic rules with PEOPLE.

    Manscaping Is a Must

    There's nothing wrong with a bit of personal grooming. While four of the New Kids said they prefer to be natural, Danny Wood admits to a bit of shaving and tweezing. "Yeah, I manscape," he says. "You've got to look good in a swimsuit. I live down here and I'm always at the beach, so it's kind of a must for me."

    No Speedos or Mankinis

    When asked which one of them packed a speedo, the other four members shout "Danny!" But Danny says his swimsuit won't be that revealing: "John Mayer may get away with a mankini, but the rest of us can't."

    "What's a mankini?" Donnie asks.

    "It's like a speedo with suspenders, but all one piece," explains Joey.

    Keep Your Friends Close

    If the ship were sinking and there weren't enough seats in the lifeboat, who would go down with the ship? "I'd give up my seat for these guys," says Wahlberg. "I'd do it in a heartbeat."

    "I don't have kids," argues Jonathan, "so you can have my seat."

    "I'd like to think I'd do that," says Joey, "but I have a little baby at home. So maybe I'd be the one to step all over everyone else to get in the boat."

    Have a Plan for Being Shipwrecked

    If the ship sets ground on the shore of an uncharted desert isle, the New Kids would all step into various Gilligan's Island-inspired roles.

    "Jon would be the professor," says Danny. "He could build the huts. And Joey would be Mr. Howell, dressed up in a dinner jacket."

    The rest of the guys think they're more like the Skipper, except for Jordan who admits, "I never watched Gilligan's Island enough to know what you're talking about."

    "None of us are Gilligans," says Danny. "There are a couple of Gilligans in the Backstreet Boys, though."

    "The problem is that there are no Gingers or Mary Anns," says Joey. "We've definitely got to have them on the island."

    The three-day cruise, which is full of 2,000 Gingers and Mary Anns, by the way, concludes Monday. After the New Kids disembark, they'll return home to prepare for the kickoff of their summer tour, beginning in Atlanta on May 28.

    New Kids hangin' tough on cruise

    The little girls who made the New Kids on the Block a boy band sensation in the late 1980s and early 1990s are all grown up and now they've got disposable income.

    So what better way to show their love for Jordan, Jonathan, Joey, Donnie and Danny than spending three days with them on a Caribbean cruise?

    About 2,100 women, most in their 20s and 30s, paid more US$1,000 each for a sold-out, three-day Carnival Cruise Lines trip that left Miami for the Bahamas on Friday. The voyage kicks off the band's summer concert tour, where they'll dust off hits like "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step" along with songs from their 2008 album.

    Fans squealed and giggled as they boarded the boat, angling for a glimpse of the New Kids. Some wore buttons and T-shirts with their favourite band members' names and photos. Others kissed cardboard cutouts.

    The band will perform twice during the trip, allowing half the passengers to come one night and the other half the next. Other events include meet and greets and photo ops.

    Concert cruises provide a nice bump for Carnival, which recently lowered its earnings forecast because it's had to slash prices to maintain its bookings. John Mayer and Lynyrd Skynyrd have done recent cruises and an upcoming voyage is Elvis-themed. Barenaked Ladies took its fifth "Ships & Dips" cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line in February.

    Fans like the concert cruises because they're "a more intimate experience than you would have in a typical stadium or concert venue," said Cherie Weinstein, Carnival's vice president for business development.

    New Kids cruiser Shannon Wright, 32, of Syracuse, N.Y., was hoping to get up close and personal with her favourite New Kid, Donnie - as in Wahlberg, older brother of Mark Wahlberg, who started out as rapper Marky Mark and is now a respectable film actor - but said she'd probably faint when she did.

    She might get the chance if she aces a poker tournament on the cruise itinerary for Sunday - the winners play Wahlberg at midnight.

    Wright says her husband is "a little jealous of Donnie, but otherwise he's OK with it." She just got over seeing the group in concert a month ago, and now she's got them cornered on a boat.

    Emily Vance of Dayton, Ohio, took the cruise with her mother, Debbie Kingham, and friend Jenny Duncan. They wore matching black tour-branded tank tops and gushed about their favourite member - also Wahlberg, who was known as the "bad boy" of the group.

    Kingham and Vance remembered their first concert in July 1990. When Vance went to their reunion concert this October, she cried.

    Vance and Duncan said their husbands think they're crazy, but they don't care.

    "We're the only ones who understand," Duncan said.

    After 20 years, band members say it's flattering to still have screaming women at their feet.

    The confined spaces of a boat make it harder to get away from obsessed fans, but they said they want to spend time with people who are still loyal.

    In between jokes about wearing Speedos on deck and making the entire boat breakfast, band members talked Friday about why they decided to continue performing.

    "Our fans have come out since Day One, and we've just tried to answer the call," said Joey McIntyre, at 36 the youngest member of the group. "It had to be fun and it had do be challenging, or we wouldn't have done it."

    The New Kids "Full Service" summer tour begins June 4 in Atlanta.

    NKOTB ANNOUNCE AUSTRALIAN TOUR!

    VIP PACKAGES AVAILABLE AT I LOVE ALL ACCESS!

    PUBLIC ON-SALE MAY 28 @ 9AM

    CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS!

    Sat 1-Aug-09 Perth Burswood Dome
    Mon 3-Aug-09 Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre
    Tue 4-Aug-09 Melbourne Rod Laver Arena
    Thu 6-Aug-09 Newcastle Newcastle Entertainment Centre
    Sat 8-Aug-09 Brisbane Brisbane Ent Centre
    Mon 10-Aug-09 Sydney Acer Arena
    Sat 15-Aug-09 Wollongong Wollongong Entertainment Centre

    NKOTB TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT

    Due to unforeseen production delays, the summer New Kids On The Block tour has made necessary changes to the tour dates and venues. The new tour schedule is listed below. If you have questions regarding your specific show, please contact your local venue who can issue refunds if necessary or provide more information.

    5/28 MOVED to June 4th Atlanta, GA Lakewood Amphitheatre

    CANCELED Birmingham, AL Verizon Wireless
    CANCELED Tampa, FL Ford Amphitheatre
    CANCELED West Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheater
    CANCELED Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amph
    CANCELED Raleigh, NC Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion

    THU 6/4/09 Atlanta, GA Lakewood Amphitheatre
    FRI 6/5/09 Virginia Beach, VA Verizon Wireless
    SAT 6/6/09 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
    SUN 6/7/09 Washington, D.C. Patriots Center
    WED 6/10/09 Scranton, PA Toyota Pavilion
    THU 6/11/09 Pittsburgh, PA Post Gazette Pavilion
    FRI 6/12/09 Wantagh, NY Jones Beach
    SAT 6/13/09 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
    SUN 6/14/09 Buffalo, NY Darien Lake PAC
    TUE 6/16/09 Saratoga Springs, NYSPAC
    THU 6/18/09 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun
    FRI 6/19/09 Boston, MA Comcast Center
    SAT 6/20/09 Montreal, QC VFEST
    SUN 6/21/09 Toronto, ON Molson Amphitheatre
    TUE 6/23/09 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center
    THU 6/25/09 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Ctr.
    FRI 6/26/09 Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amph
    SAT 6/27/09 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
    SUN 6/28/09 Indianapolis, IN Verizon Amphitheater
    WED 7/1/09 St. Louis, MO Verizon Wireless
    THU 7/2/09 Memphis, TN Mud Island
    FRI 7/3/09 Wichita, KS Hartman Arena
    TUE 7/7/09 Seattle, WA White River Amphitheatre
    THU 7/9/09 San Francisco, CA Concord at the Sleep Train Pavillion
    FRI 7/10/09 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless
    SAT 7/11/09 Las Vegas, NV The Pearl
    SUN 7/12/09 Phoenix, AZ Cricket Pavilion
    WED 7/15/09 Denver, CO Fiddlers Green Amph
    FRI 7/17/09 Dallas, TX Superpages.com Center
    SAT 7/18/09 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

    New Kids On The Block, Jabbawockeez Rock 'Today' Show

    Donnie Wahlberg calls boy-band/dance crew collaboration a 'no-brainer.'

    They may be two decades into their career as pop's preeminent boy band, but New Kids on the Block showed the Jabbawockeez, the masked season-one winners of "America's Best Dance Crew," that even veterans of the music industry can still shimmy their way into the hearts of women everywhere.

    Pumping out their classic "Hangin' Tough" NKOTB shared the stage with tourmates the Jabbawockeez for their Friday (May 8) appearance on the "Today" show. It's a collaboration that New Kid Donnie Wahlberg revealed was a long time in the making.

    "We've actually been fans of Jabbawockeez since 'America's Best Dance Crew,' " he told MTV News at the groups' "Today" show rehearsal on Thursday. "We had explored working with the Jabbawockeez for [our first 'Today'] appearance. This is like a week after they won the finals on 'America's Best Dance Crew.' We couldn't make the schedules work."

    But after some hustling, both groups finally made it happen. "We kept looking into it, and suddenly, after eight or nine months, their agents called us," Wahlberg said. "For us it was a no-brainer. It was good mixing of [fan] exposure."

    On "Today," the New Kids also brought out their older favorite "Call It What You Want," as well as their newer single "Dirty Dancing." The two groups will be hitting the road for NKOTB's summer tour, beginning on May 15 in Miami.

    New comedy `Modern Family' set for ABC next season

    ABC says it has picked up a mockumentary-style comedy about family life for next season.

    The network said Thursday it has ordered 13 episodes of "Modern Family," starring Ty Burrell, Ed O'Neill and Julie Bowen. The announcement comes two weeks before ABC and other networks unveil their schedules for the 2009-10 season.

    ABC's early word on "Modern Family" is a sign that the show has solid network support and that comedy may be in for a rebound on TV.

    Celebrities band together for docu on democracy

    The History cable channel is teaming with education organization The People Speak for a dramatic documentary focused on the concept of democracy and starring a host of celebrity talent.

    Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Viggo Mortensen, David Strathairn, Marisa Tomei and others will lend performances chronicling key moments in U.S. history. Damon will appear in a vignette about John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," Tomei will play factory worker Harriet Hanson Robinson, and Eddie Vedder will read Bob Dylan's "Masters of War."

    The network will air a two-hour special, "The People Speak," during the fourth quarter of next year and release at least 24 short segments through 2010 for online and video-on-demand distribution.

    Damon and Brolin also are on board as executive producers, as is historian and social critic Howard Zinn, on whose work the documentary is based.

    New Kids on the Block Announce Summer Tour Dates

    If you missed them the first time around, now's your chance to catch the New Kids on the Block live on stage. The group is launching the Full Service Tour, which kicks off May 28 in Atlanta. Starting April 3, tickets and VIP packages – which will include backstage BBQs with the guys – will be available. (Special $10 lawn seats will also be available for a limited time.)

    Joining the tour are America's Best Dance Crew winners JabbawockeeZ, as well as other surprise guests. "Full service! You want it, you're gonna get it," member Donnie Walhberg says in the band's vlog.

    Dates for the Full Service Tour are below. There are also still a limited number of cabins available for their cruise, which sets sail from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas on May 15.

    Dates for NKOTB's Full Service Tour:
    May 28: Atlanta (Lakewood Amphitheatre)
    May 29: Birmingham, Ala. (Verizon Wireless Music Center)
    May 30: Tampa, Fla. (Ford Amphitheater)
    May 31: West Palm Beach, Fla. (Cruzan Amphitheater)
    June 2: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)
    June 3: Raleigh, N.C. (Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion)
    June 5: Virginia Beach, Va. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)
    June 6: Camden, N.J. (Susquehanna Bank Center)
    June 7: Washington, D.C. (Nissan Pavilion)
    June 10: Scranton, Pa. (Toyota Pavilion)
    June 11: Pittsburgh (Post-Gazette Pavilion)
    June 12: Wantagh, N.Y. (Nikon at Jones Beach Theater)
    June 13: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)
    June 14: Buffalo, N.Y. (Darien Lake Performing Arts Center)
    June 16: Saratoga, N.Y. (Saratoga Performing Arts Center)
    June 18: Uncasville, Conn. (Mohegan Sun)
    June 19: Boston (Comcast Center)
    June 21: Toronto (Molson Amphitheatre)
    June 23: Cleveland (Blossom Music Center)
    June 25: Detroit (DTE Energy Music Center)
    June 26: Chicago (First Midwest Bank Amphitheater)
    June 27: Cincinnati ( Riverbend Music Center)
    June 28: INDIANAPOLIS (Verizon Amphitheater)
    July 1: St. Louis (Verizon Wireless)
    July 2: Memphis, Tenn. (Mud Island Ampitheater)
    July 3: Wichita, Kans. (Hartman Arena)
    July 7: Seattle (White River Amphitheatre)
    July 9: San Francisco (Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord)
    July 10: Irvine, Calif. (Verizon Wireless Ampitheater)
    July 11: Las Vegas (The Pearl)
    July 12: Phoenix (Cricket Wireless Pavilion)
    July 15: Denver (Fiddler's Green)
    July 17: Dallas (Superpages.com Center)
    July 18: Houston (Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion)

    Live Review: NKOTB in London, Ont.

    No kiddin', the most famous Red Sox/Bruins/Celtics fans in pop music were partying in Team Canada jerseys at the John Labatt Centre last night.

    Before proving those jerseys are perfect when it comes to singing Hangin' Tough, the New Kids on The Block had partied with 5,600 fans.

    Those fans were overwhelmingly female. Girls and women of almost every age screamed, cheered and danced as the U.S. pop vocal group known as NKOTB swore its allegiance to "all the ladies" in house and Canada -- their new-found home away from home.

    "Just crossing the border into Canada was so exciting. It felt like home," NKOTB's bad boy Donnie Wahlberg said early in the night.

    Home is Boston, where the screams and singalongs are the loudest. Would the fans in the downtown London arena respond to Wahlberg's urging that they be as loud in London as they were on much earlier stops in the True North like Toronto and Vancouver?

    "I don't have to try because you're already louder," Wahlberg said.

    That didn't mean that the New Kids weren't willing to try extra hard as their comeback tour continued. The Kids arrived and departed on a stage elevator surrounded by cold blasts of icy "cryo." Leave the cheesy fire of "pyro" to the hair bands, eh?

    Fifteen years after breaking up and burning out, the New Kids -- Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight -- are revisiting their glory days of pop/ R&B hits including Please Don't Go Girl, I'll Be Loving You (Forever) and You Got It (The Right Stuff).

    Last night, thousands of girls and women were happy to revisit them, too. McIntyre and Jordan Knight have the sweet-sounding vocal duties, perfect for their cover of the Delfonics' Didn't I Blow Your Mind? It arrived early in the set and proved the group can still sing and dance at the same time. So did a terrific Step By Step during the encore.

    The best dancing was from Jabbawockeez, a mime/dance group that opened to big cheers.

    Sometimes, the sound was dismal. Dirty Dancing was almost impossible to hear properly. Not that any of the fans were objecting because that song causes a lot of butt shaking and Michael Jackson-like body language from the New Kids.

    The fans were busy lofting cellphones in a galaxy of little lights to greet their heroes. They also lofted signs, which expressed their devotion even if the spelling was off. "Plz hug me," said one. "D-Y-N-N-I-E," said another in a salute to Wahlberg before it changed into a greeting for "D-A-N-N-Y."

    The concert ran more than two hours with such distractions as a Pussycat Doll on screen to duet on a new song, Grown Man, and a Boston Celtics star on the big screen to urge the fans to get loud at encore time.

    "Any more gifts you want to drape me with?" he asked as he beamed from three or four new caps to go with his Red Sox logo chapeau of the moment. Wahlberg switched caps almost as often as Cher changed costumes in her two farewell performances at the downtown London arena. In fact, the New Kids almost kept up with the diva when it came to costumes. Gold jacket for McIntyre. Silver lame' for the whole group. Faux Rat Pack hats and jackets. Shoes of every type.

    They also made a fine trip to the back of the arena for a tiny, circular stage, giving fans in that area close up looks at Single and Tonight. There was a piano on that tiny stage, but it was only so Wahlberg could deliver more pep talks and McIntyre could hit some sweet notes on separate trips to its top.

    Sure, there was some padding. A whole sequence about a stop-action photo image on the big screen was just embarrassingly slow and forced. Jordan Knight had a fan -- the electric type -- blowing the shirt right off his torso during a silly ballad.

    A heartfelt salute to fallen heroes and friends -- including images of Frank Sinatra, Heath Ledger and James Brown as well as family members -- was undercut by the band's pounding music.

    But every time things faltered, the older and wiser Kids seemed to pick them. A strange, sexy number called Twisted had one of the group's backup dancers slinky in faux leather and McIntyre apparently channelling Ledger as the Joker.

    Wahlberg injected a little more "O Canada" into Cover Girl. "I'm not leaving Canada until I find one," he vowed. Well, maybe that wasn't strictly true. But you can't blame an older New Kid for trying.

    NKOTB CANADIAN FANS! CONTEST!

    Hey Canadian Fans – you could win a Trip To See NKOTB Live In Concert on April 14th in Victoria, BC!

    Here’s how to enter: head to www.youtube.com/nkotbdirtydancing and make a video for the group’s latest single “Dirty Dancing” and if your video is chosen, you win! Contest closes March 28, 2009. Visit www.youtube.com/nkotbdirtydancing for full details.

    NKOTB on VH1 2/28/09

    Check out NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK on VH1’s Top 20 Countdown Show and catch the broadcast premiere of the new video for “2 IN THE MORNING” airs Saturday, 02/28 @ 9am

    Repeats: Sunday 03/01 @ 8am, Tuesday 03/03 @ 9am - CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS!

    "TWO IN THE MORNING" VIDEO PREMIERE!

    NKOTB: "TWO IN THE MORNING" VIDEO PREMIERE! Watch it here!

    Behind the Scenes of NKOTB's New Video

    A hot girl. A green screen. And loads of hair product. That all adds up to one thing: Another New Kids on the Block music video. In this exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at the group's new video for "2 in the Morning," Danny Wood takes you into a "pretty creepy old house" in the Pacific Palisades where he joined Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Jordan and Jonathan Knight for their latest project. While the video follows the narrative of a feuding couple, don't expect one of the boys to bust out their acting chops. Jokes McIntyre: "We hired big-time actors to do that for us."

    The video premieres on Feb. 23 on AOL but to give the guys an advance review, call the group's new number (617) 830-1100 (Boston area code of course!) and "we'll hit you back," says McIntyre. "We'll call you when we're kicking back, onstage on tour, from the ocean, who knows?"

    Ed O'Neill Is a 'Family' Man

    Ed O'Neill will be "Married" again in a comedy pilot at ABC.

    The "Married ... with Children" star, who has worked mostly in dramas since the FOX series ended its 10-year run in 1997, has signed on to the Alphabet's pilot "An American Family." Sofia Vergara ("The Knights of Prosperity") and Eric Stonestreet ( "CSI") have also joined the show.

    Elsewhere, NBC has ordered a comedy pilot called "State of Romance," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    "An American Family" is a documentary-style comedy that follows three families. O'Neill will play the head of one of them, a 60-year-old man married to woman half his age (Vergara). It will also feature a traditional family and a gay couple (Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who have just adopted a baby.

    O'Neill co-starred in HBO's "John From Cincinnati" in 2007 and appeared in David Mamet's "Redbelt." His other credits include a recurring part on "The West Wing" and ABC's 2003 "Dragnet" remake.

    Vergara will next be seen in "Madea Goes to Jail," which hits theaters later this month. Stonestreet has guested on numerous shows, including "NCIS," "The Mentalist" and " Pushing Daisies."

    NBC's "State of Romance" comes from writers Barbara Wallace and Thomas R. Wolfe ("Nurses," "Murphy Brown"). The show is described as a present-day take on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" that's set in Chicago.

    HBO's 'Treme,' 'Empire' Add to Casts

    A pair of high-profile HBO pilots -- "The Wire" creator David Simon's New Orleans drama "Treme" and the Martin Scorsese-helmed "Boardwalk Empire" -- have added to their casts.

    Steve Zahn is in talks to play one of the lead roles in "Treme," which looks at post-Katrina New Orleans through the eyes of the city's community of musicians. Kim Dickens ("Deadwood") has also signed on to the cast, which already includes Khandi Alexander ( "CSI: Miami") and "Wire" alumni Wendell Pierce (a New Orleans native) and Clarke Peters.

    "Boardwalk Empire," meanwhile, has added British actor Stephen Graham to its ensemble, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    "Treme" would be Zahn's first regular role in a TV series. The "Out of Sight" and "Perfect Getaway" star would play a DJ and musician who's a proud native of the Crescent City. Dickens, who's currently on NBC's " Friday Night Lights," will play a chef who has an on-and-off with Zahn's character.

    "Boardwalk Empire" is about the rise of Atlantic City in the early 20th century and centers on a liquor distributor played by Steve Buscemi. Graham will play a young Al Capone, who's working as muscle for a Chicago gangster and strikes up a friendship with one of Buscemi's lieutenants (Michael Pitt).

    Graham, who co-starred in "Gangs of New York," plays another famous criminal, Baby Face Nelson, in Michael Mann's summer movie "Public Enemies."

    NKOTB: 2 More Dates

    Wed 3/18/09
    Richmond, VA
    Richmond Coliseum
    ON SALE: 10am Friday Feb. 6th

    Thu 4/16/09
    Fresno, CA
    Save Mart Center
    ON SALE: 10am Saturday Feb. 28th

    NEW KIDS HELP RAISE CHARITY FUNDS WITH WAHLBERG PORTRAIT

    Reunited boyband NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK have sparked a bidding war online after putting a self portrait up for auction - all in the name of charity. Singer Donnie Wahlberg drew caricatures of the five-piece backstage at their O2 Arena concert in London last Saturday (24Jan09) and got all members of the band to sign it.

    Wahlberg then donated the artwork, and the marker pen he used to create it, to the No Surrender Charitable Trust, a British organisation that provides support to young adult cancer sufferers.

    And the 1990s teen idols have proved they're still hot property with fans - bidding on the A3-sized picture had reached $1,505 (£1,060) by Friday (30Jan09).

    The black pen used by Wahlberg, which the auctioneers state "has been kissed and rubbed all over the body of Donny Wallberg", is also attracting big bucks - bidding stands at $362 (£255) with five days to go.

    The winning buyers will also receive a video blog of Wahlberg creating the artwork on CD to prove its authenticity.

    The 11-day auctions will close next Wednesday (04Feb09).

    Watch video on Donnie drawing it here!

    You can go here: nosurrender.org to bid on the picture and the marker.

    NEW KIDS TO COPY OUTKAST?

    Reformed pop stars NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK are considering following in OUTKAST's footsteps by releasing their solo material under the boyband's name.

    OutKast are known for their unusual recording style and their 2003 album Speakerboxxx broke musical boundaries with both members, Big Boi and Andre 3000, creating solo efforts and then releasing both albums on the same record.

    And now New Kids On The Block are considering following suit, as they would all like an exciting new project to work on.

    Singer Joey MCIntyre says, "We all want to make more music - my creative juices are flowing. Donnie was talking about solo albums and putting them out together like OutKast. Whatever it is that we do after the tour has to be exciting for us. We're not going to hire a bunch of producers to write songs and we simply sing them."

    NKOTB Live Autographs

    What you get from Live Autographs and New Kids on the Block

    A unique video message from all the New Kids, where you tell your favorite New Kid what to say just to you

    A totally cool piece of New Kid memorabilia, picked by you and signed by all the New Kids on the Block

    Visit: http://nkotb.liveautographs.com/

    New Kids April Tour Dates

    Thu 4/2/09 Moline, IA - iWireless Center
    Fri 4/3/09 Columbus, OH - Nationwide Center
    Sat 4/4/09 Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena
    Sun 4/5/09 Champaign, IL - Assembly Hall
    Mon 4/6/09 Des Moines, IA - Wells Fargo Arena
    Tue 4/7/09 Green Bay, WI - Resch Center
    Thu 4/9/09 Winnipeg, MB - MTS Center
    Sat 4/11/09 Saskatoon, SK - Credit Union Centre
    Mon 4/13/09 Kelowna, BC - Prospera Place
    Tue 4/14/09 Victoria, BC - Sav-On Memorial Center
    Thu 4/16/09 Reno, NV - Reno Events Center
    Fri 4/17/09 Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
    Sat 4/18/09 Los Angeles, CA - Palladium

    New Kids Announce Spring Tour Dates

    March 07, 09 Hidalgo, TX USA - Borderfest
    March 09, 09 Tulsa, OK USA - BOK Center
    March 10, 09 Bossier City, LA USA - Century Tel Center
    March 12, 09 Ft. Myers, FL USA - Germain Arena
    March 13, 09 Orlando, FL USA - Amway Arena
    March 16, 09 Nashville, TN USA - Sommet Center
    March 17, 09 Greenville, SC USA - Bi-Lo Center
    March 19, 09 Baltimore, MD USA - 1st Mariner Arena
    March 20, 09 Hershey, PA USA - Giant Center
    March 22, 09 Erie, PA USA - Erie Civic Center
    March 24, 09 State College, PA USA - Bryce Jordan Center
    March 24, 09 Portland, ME USA - Cumberland Country Civic Center
    March 26, 09 Syracuse, NY USA - OnCenter
    March 28, 09 Niagara Falls, NY USA - Seneca Niagara Casino
    March 29, 09 London, ON CA - John Labbatt Center
    March 30, 09 Ottawa, ON CA - Scotiabank Arena
    March 31, 09 Manchester, NH USA - Verizon Arena

    New Kids Announce Plans to Perform - on a Cruise!

    Call them New Kids on the Boat. In this exclusive video for People.com, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Jonathan and Jordan Knight announce their plans to hit the high seas for a concert cruise from May 15-18.

    Traveling from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to the Bahamas, NKOTB will entertain fans on board with special performances and meet and greets. Jokes McIntyre: "We're not going to be drinking pina coladas, we'll be serving them!"

    Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Jan. 14. For more information, check out nkotb.com.

    We Hear...

    That the shooting schedule for Donnie Wahlberg’s TNT pilot, “Bunker Hill,” is up in the air for now. Word is, the production wasn’t aware that it’s verboten to shoot inside a working police station. But the BPD is working to find some decomissioned cop shops to accommodate the crew. Do stay tuned.

    Boston Music Awards are a private affair

    It wasn’t MTV’s VMAs, but our own BMAs, where the New Kids on the Block won big.

    Last night at the 21st Boston Music Awards at the Roxy, New Kids Donnie Wahlberg and Jordan Knight picked up the boy band’s National Act of the Year award. After a crack about not winning a Grammy when Milli Vanilli did, Wahlberg said: “We’d rather have this than a Grammy any day.”

    It was cool. The 30-something women became screaming tweens instantly. But it was the only VMA-ish moment of the night.

    Breaking from the typical public ceremonies at the Orpheum, this year’s BMAs were a private event at the Tremont Street clubs for nominees and industry types. (A few $150 VIP tickets were sold to the public to benefit the Music Drives Us Foundation.) Seemingly the idea behind the local showcase is to, well, showcase locals. But with local fans shut out, the event became a vaguely rocking, appropriately awkward holiday social.

    Without the spotlight-stealing, not-as-exciting-as-we’d-hoped Extreme reunion and Bobby Brown cameo from last year, this was all about locals cramming their best into 20-minute sets.

    Many complained about the plug being pulled on the Underbar DJs Baltimoroder and Red Foxx before the 9:30 p.m. awards announcements - who wants to shake it at 7:30 after one cosmo? But the BMAs got in a few nice early performances.

    Downstairs at the Pearl, College Band of the Year Bearstronaut rocked hard to a tiny crowd at 7:15. With an indie rock take on California AM gold, Drug Rug, Best Song of the Year nominee, got a great response from a growing audience. Then Hip-Hop nominee Big Digits alienated half the packed dance floor and got the other half grooving with some geeky hip-hop.

    Upstairs at the Roxy, Outstanding Folk Artist Miss Tess didn’t do folk, but a set of dressed-up, low-down jazz. Coming off a win at this year’s BCN Rock and Roll Rumble, Girls Guns and Glory nabbed both Outstanding Americana Act and Local Act of the Year - and with Ward Hayden’s wicked high and lonesome voice, put a sweet set.

    Like the show, the crowd was an odd mix: slinky cocktail dresses and stilettos next to the Central Square chic of ratty sweaters and skinny jeans. But, like at any good holiday party, the awkwardness melted with a few drinks. And despite its best efforts to bomb - the 30-minute, rapid-fire awards ceremony was clumsy and still excruciatingly long - the BMAs were loose and fun. Sure, they didn’t do much to publicize local music and the place was clearing out by 11, but a boozed-up winter ball beats a broken-down B-list parade of past Boston rockers any day.

    New Kids to celebrate New Year's in Vegas

    Two New Kids on the Block will ring in the new year in Las Vegas.

    The Light Group announced today that 39-year-old former teen idols Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood will welcome 2009 at Jet nightclub.

    The two will later rejoin bandmates Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight and Jonathan Knight on their tour later in the month.

    The last scheduled NKOTB performance in 2008 will be in Monterrey, Mexico, on Dec. 4. The tour will resume in Manchester, England, on Jan. 16.

    In addition to the appearance of Wahlberg and Wood, organizers said New Kids fans at Jet on New Year’s will be treated to “a special NKOTB-edition video set by acclaimed DVDJ Roonie G.”

    Admission to the New Kids New Year’s bash is $150 per person, including a hosted bar from 10 p.m. to midnight.

    Table reservations are also available, with a two-bottle minimum per table. Prices start at $800 and include a “complimentary” bottle of White Star champagne.

    Donnie Wahlberg nearly crashed due to exhaustion

    New Kids On The Block star Donnie Wahlberg nearly died after falling asleep at the wheel of his car.

    The 39-year-old singer - who revealed he is "exhausted" after reuniting with the 90s band for a staggering 49 concerts - briefly closed his eyes while he was driving home following a performance last week.

    He said: "I nearly crashed my car last week after the show. I was driving from San Diego to Los Angeles and I had been on the road for three hours. I was so tired that my eyes kept closing. Then I fell asleep at the wheel and it was raining.

    "I was like, 'Whoa', and I have been quiet ever since. I'm so tired."

    Donnie isn't the only member of the band to be feeling the pressure of the lengthy tour.

    Jordan Knight has revealed the group have employed massage therapists to help them stay relaxed during their gruelling schedule.

    He added to Britain's Daily Star newspaper: "We have got masseuses as you have got to take care of yourselves!"

    New Kids on the Block still have the right stuff

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
    WHEN: Saturday night
    WHERE: Tacoma Dome

    After a 15-year hiatus from the road, New Kids on the Block still have the right stuff.

    The pioneering boy band that stole the hearts of young, female fans with romantic ballads and heart-pumping R&B songs nearly two decades ago brought awed looks, grins, tears and even panting and screaming from a predominantly female audience Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.

    With attendance at about 12,000, the Dome was far short of its full capacity of 23,000. But it was a loud, enthusiastic crowd energized by dozens of "ohmygod" moments.

    It had been nearly 20 years since the group rocked the Puyallup Fair grandstand in its first big Northwest show -- in September 1989. Some in the audience Saturday were too young to have been there, even as infants.

    The evening began with a colorful but overwrought opening set by New York's geographically challenged Lady Gaga (she kept yelling, "Hello, Seattle!") and a classy, powerful show by English singer Natasha Bedingfield (who sang "Pieces of Your Heart" and her recent hit single "Unwritten").

    New Kids on the Block opened with the new song "Single" (from the current album "The Block") accompanied by plumes of stage fog. Concertgoers, cheering, screaming, waving and swaying back and forth, held up their lighted cell phones.

    Throughout the show, fans were all-too-eager to participate in sing-alongs and other crowd-participation drills.

    The Boston-based band -- Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood (who entertained the audience with his break-dancing) and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight -- looked great in an ever-changing array of clothing and accessories in the beautifully choreographed show.

    Wahlberg also sported multi-colored Red Sox caps, one of many Boston sports references in the colorful, high-powered concert.

    The show packed a huge emotional punch for fans, though it occasionally bogged down with a surfeit of heavy-hearted ballads. Providing eye candy were a giant LED screen, two smaller hanging video screens and a multi-level stage that featured an Erector-set upper deck accessible by stairs. Accompanying the band were four musicians and a crew of dancers.

    The opening sequence, with all members lined up in front of microphone stands, included "My Favorite Girl," "(You Got It) The Right Stuff," a pyrotechnics-enhanced "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" (with everyone wearing fedoras and sport jackets) and the plaintive "Please Don't Go Girl."

    After another new song, the tepid "Grown Man," Wahlberg hollered "Tacoma!" at the top of his lungs for the delirious, foot-stomping crowd.

    Jordan Knight and McIntyre traded vocals on the melancholy "If You Go Away," which featured images of beloved celebrities and family members who have passed on -- from Frank Sinatra, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. to Wahlberg's father and Wood's mother.

    One of the show's more interesting, up-close-and-personal segments was a trio of songs -- "2 in the Morning," "Dirty Dancing" and "Tonight" -- performed from a circular, rotating satellite stage in the middle of the main floor. In a heartfelt moment, Wood dedicated "Tonight" to his late mother, who died of breast cancer nine years ago, and asked fans to join the fight for a cure via the band's Web site.

    New Kids on the Block returned to the main stage for an explosive version of "Twisted" (with four female dancers), followed by "Baby, I Believe in You," "Give It To You," "Stay the Same" and "Cover Girl," which Wahlberg introduced to squealing fans by saying, "I need a friend. In fact, I need a female friend."

    The final segment featured all five members in white outfits, singing the gushy "I'll Be Loving You," followed by the sexy "Click Click Click" and the wistful single, "Summertime," which closed the main set. Too bad they didn't complete the winter wonderland theme with "Funky, Funky Christmas."

    The band's encore featured the spirited "Step by Step" (accompanied by a hail of sparks) and "Hangin' Tough," interjected with "We Will Rock You" in a loud, Fourth of July finish.

    It was an impressive comeback for a group that once played stadiums, such as the Kingdome in 1990. Whether the group will continue to evolve and mature with its audience remains to be seen. Could they become New Men on the Block?

    Concert review: New Kids on the Block

    WHO: The New Kids on the Block, or NKOTB as they'd like to be known these days, were at GM Place on Friday, Nov. 21.

    SET LIST: The Kids kicked off their show with “Boyfriend”. It didn’t take much more than that to get a lively crowd on their feet. Much of the set list had songs with “girl” in them: “My Favourite Girl”, “Valentine Girl”, and “Cover Girl”. At concert end, girls were en route home from GM Place with “Step by Step” and “Hangin’ Tough” still dancing in their ears.

    THE CROWD: Being a 37-year-old red-blooded male, I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. Was I going to be one of the only 30-somethings in the crowd, surrounded by teenyboppers who never got to see the Kids the first time around? Not at all. Most of the crowd seemed to be women in their 20s and 30s, clearly old fans. Many had cold beers in their hands – something I realized they probably weren’t able to do legally back in them days.

    THE BAND: Oh, it was the original five, all right, a few years older. They did seem a little slower than before, but there was a genuine energy in these boys. No pot bellies either – they were in great shape, and it showed particularly when Jordan cranked out “Baby I Believe in You”, his shirt unbuttoned and wind blowing up at him, a performance that has sent tingles up millions of women’s spines during all these years. Danny showed off his breakdancing skills and didn’t even slip a disc. Donnie wowed the crowd with his noisy sermons and didn’t cough once. These guys weren’t old has-beens clinging to some dried-out fountain of youth; they were on their game the entire evening.

    THE HIGHLIGHT: Donnie nearly blew the roof off GM Place when he had the gall to suggest that the fans in Toronto were louder than in Vancouver. My eardrums are still stinging as I write this.

    CULTURE CLASH: I’m no Kids pedigree, myself. The first time I saw them was in a video on Muchmusic, sometime in the mid-eighties, with baby-faced Joey leading the way and the other four members backing him up. My first thought? “New Kids on the Block? What a dorky name.” My second thought? “They look like dorks.” My third thought? “I wonder what video’s coming next.” I was about Metallica and Billy Idol at the time, and that anti-social teenager would have been mortified to see me on my feet in 2008 actually enjoying this show.

    ALL IN ALL: A thoroughly, unashamedly enjoyable performance. It was a moment where a good crowd allowed themselves to have fun, and the performers on stage enjoyed themselves as well. It was all a little silly, but it was a genuine kind of silly. And that’s what made it worthwhile.

    HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU, KIDS: Before the Kids took the stage, fans were encouraged to send a text message that would appear on a big TV screen high above our heads. Many were of the expected kind: “I LOVE YOU JORDAN! XOXOXO”, “MARRY ME JORDAN!” and other standard expressions of true love for the most popular (and easily the most charismatic) Kid, Jordan Knight. One gave me a chuckle: “I think I paid for your house with all the stuff I bought!” But the one that stuck in my head was this one: “I don’t remember being this calm the last time NKOTB were in town. I guess we’re not 12 any more.” I’m sure whoever sent that message changed their mind as soon as the Kids took the stage. Those boys made us all feel young again.

    New Kids on the Block blast back to the past in Vancouver

    At GM Place on Friday, November 21

    When I got the call to review New Kids on the Block, I thought, “Hmmm....spend the night watching an aging boy band cash in on former prefabbed fame and a shite new single?” Sign me up!

    See, there was a dark period during my adolescence that I’m not very proud of. I loved New Kids on the Block in Grade 8 (...and maybe part of Grade 9 and 10 as well)—it was my way of rebelling against my rock ‘n’ roll family. And like so many NKOTB fans at the time, I had a total wide-on for Jordan Knight. I think it was the way he always let one strap of his baggy overalls suggestively slip off his shoulder, revealing an underdeveloped and ineffectual bicep. In other words, he was a chicken hawk’s wet dream. And what self-respecting pubescent girl wouldn’t find that sexy.

    Suffice to say, I was more than a little excited to see how the ’80s popsters were adjusting to middle age. Well, I’m happy to report that Knight still hasn’t figured out how to properly fasten his clothing. For his solo turn in the spotlight, he didn’t bother doing up a single button on his designer dress shirt. Below him, a giant fan blew the blouse-y fabric up and away from his pasty white chest while he vogued in different seductive poses. The 14-year-old me would have melted in a pool of hormonally challenged ecstasy. The 36-year-old me burst out laughing. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the man is a comic genius. That was about halfway through the funniest concert I’ve ever seen.

    Jordan et al kicked off their (unintentionally) campy extravaganza with “Single”, a hit from their 2008 comeback album, The Block. My niece was ecstatic and so were all the other attendees born after the Boston quintet called it quits ’94. Thankfully, they followed this generational divider with “You Got it (The Right Stuff)” and all the moms and gay hairdressers couldn’t have been happier. During the “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” bit, they busted out all the same side-kick moves that wowed so MuchMusic addicts 20 years ago. Disappointingly though, they didn’t break out into any synchronized chair dancing— odd, considering the group played such a huge role in bringing furniture-friendly choreography to the forefront of video-making.

    It was also interesting to see that, even after two decades, the NKOTB dynamic hadn’t changed much. The three main heartthrobs (Knight, the baby-faced Joey McIntyre, and Donnie Wahlberg) got all the screams and spotlight solos and the two horse-faced guys (whose names you never remember) were just as irrelevant as they were back in the day.

    On the subject of Donnie, he’s still trying to rock the bad-boy thing with his slightly askew Beantown ball-cap. (Note to D-man: you might look a little more “dangerous” if you eased up on all those sparkly embellishments on your pants.)

    Predictably, New Kids on the Block left us “Hanging Tough”. They also left us fully satiated on the retro front. I probably don’t have to see another boy band reunion ever again. You know what they say: funny once.

    New Kids in the black

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK With: Natasha Bedingfield and Lady Gaga
    When: Tuesday night
    Where: Rexall Place

    EDMONTON - If you squeezed your eyes shut and listened to Jordan Knight's falsetto over the screams of 9,800 (mostly female) spectators, you'd have almost have believed Rexall Place travelled back in time on Tuesday night.

    Boy band New Kids on the Block officially expired 15 years ago, but Edmonton paid no mind to that best-before date, guzzling down the Boston fivesome from the second they step-by-stepped on stage. Ooh baby.

    It was mainly 30-something women at this nostalgic show, former infatuees from the days when NKOTB was the right stuff in manufactured pop music.

    But judging by the blood-curdling din, the cult-like fist-pumping and the surprising frenzy when the band did a number on a revolving stage in the middle of the main floor, NKOTB has still got more than a hint of that Hangin' Tough hot factor.

    OK, so there's more than a hint of cheese, too. It's surreal -- even embarrassing -- to watch a troupe of nearly 40-year-old men harmonizing songs like My Favourite Girl whilst clutching their crotches in sync. There were some mocking shrieks from men ("I love you, Joey!") and some catty laughs. But cheese is good for you, and the bulk of the audience response was legit.

    Clearly, there's still money to be made from passionate, loyal fans.

    "People outside this building just don't understand the relationship we have!" Donnie screamed, and the house screamed right back. "But back then, they thought you were just crazy teenagers!"

    After reuniting earlier this year, the Older Kids released an album and headed out on tour, knowing their equally Older Fans would pay for another taste. They opened the Edmonton show with 2008 single, aptly named Single, then quickly rewound to the classics.

    "Edmonton, is this really happening? Is this really for real?" Joey McIntyre asked. "Really? Boy oh boy. More like ... woman oh woman. There's some pretty girls in Edmonton. It's a little distracting!"

    Joey's voice had aged as well as we'd hoped, but hearts still throbbed as he dropped to his knees and crooned Please Don't Go, Girl. Jordan and his dimples were just as darling, brother Jonathan Knight just as wallflowery, and Danny Wood just as simian. Donnie Wahlberg, ever the bad boy, wound up the house with his repeated ED-MON-TON calls and naughty inquiry: "How's my butt look tonight?"

    Opening the show was Italian-American electro-popster Lady Gaga, whose killer video effects matched her killer legs as she performed Beautiful Dirty Rich and Just Dance. Brit pop singer Natasha Bedingfield followed, but her cutesypoo look and adorably hoarse voice couldn't compensate for mediocre music. Bedingfield may have that Kylie sex appeal but the soulmate-sunshine-love-me-please nonsense made us want to run out for a quick beer.

    And OK, let's face it: NKOTB don't have the same magic they had back in the day. But the crowd's fervour seemed to say, can't we pretend, just for tonight? Yes, we can. New Kids fans may be a little older, a little thicker around the middle, but 15 years and 15 pounds can't dim that infatuated sparkle in their eyes.

    And that, as much as the boy band itself, is wicked entertainment.

    Back on the ol' block

    Seems those soccer moms never McIntyre of enormously popular boy bands

    It’s hard to imagine who would possibly want to attend a New Kids on the Block concert 15 years after they called it quits.

    Come on: they’re all pushing 40, one of them shortly from the other side (Jonathan turns 40 next week).

    They’re at the age where they’re asking their doctors for prostate exams. They were superstars when Justin Timberlake was in kindergarten. Their songs represent a flash in the pan, a moment in time, a bygone age.

    Same for their new stuff. What is that old saying? That when one grows up, one puts childish things – and Joey McIntyre posters – away?

    Obviously this doesn’t apply to fans of New Kids on the Block, which shall henceforth be known as NKOTB to fit the age of acronyms.

    Who comes to a NKOTB show in 2008? Soccer moms -– that’s who.

    Rexall Place was filled with soccer moms last night, 9,800 strong, plus the odd husband/boyfriend in tow.

    I’m pretty sure the guy with the “Lamb of God” T-shirt didn’t have a Donnie Wahlberg poster on his bedroom wall when he was 14.

    His wife did, though. I’ll go with you to Metallica, you come with me to NKOTB, OK, honey?

    Fifteen years and two other enormously popular other boy bands later, waves of slightly lower-pitched cheers greeted the Kids’ every move on stage last night. Not a single cliché was spared, from plenty of gooshy, heartfelt, on-my-knees romantic ballads to the fizzy dance numbers with artfully flipped hats, to sincere proclamations that Edmonton – not all those other cities – had the best crowd and the best looking women on the entire planet.

    All that, plus fireworks, dazzling lights, impeccable choreography and one hit after another presented with the slickest concert production money can buy. Bonus points for a lack of lip-syncing, who cares about the odd off-pitch note?

    The old favourites especially sent the ladies into a tizzy. Coming early, You Got It (The Right Stuff) provided a powerful jolt of nostalgia, followed up the gooey ballad Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind). And they did.

    The soccer moms cheered the opener led by Joey McIntyre (the cute one), they cheered the rabble-rousing Donnie Wahlberg (the tough one), they especially cheered when Jordan Knight (the, um, other cute one) hit a flurry of high notes for the first time, in My Favorite Girl, recorded way back in 1989.

    Material from this year’s successful comeback album, The Block, likewise leaves nothing to chance:

    Songs like Dirty Dancing, Full Service, Stare At You and my personal favourite, Sexify My Love.

    No guesswork here. Like they say: Know your target market.

    Mixed with the cheers were gales of laughter. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t keep a straight face when Joey or one of the other lads made googly eyes at the cameras, bedroom eyes projected onto enormous video screens.

    But were the women laughing at the ridiculous spectacle of a guy in his late 30s acting like a lovesick teenager – or were they laughing at their own unexpected reaction?

    It was hilarious and entertaining. It’s not so unexpected, I guess. Many of the soccer moms were ready for these “men on the block.” They wanted to relive their youth. Who doesn’t?

    Some came dressed in full ’80s regalia, lined up 100 deep at the merch booth for overpriced NKOTB T-shirts, a memento of an unforgettable time to witness the comeback of the original boy band, the boy band to which all others owe a huge debt.

    Will they go away again? Will this madness blow over? I don’t think so.

    As long as women dig mature guys, NKOTB will have a job to do.

    The great thing about pop superstars with lots of money is that they often bring along opening acts you’d never see anywhere else: In this case British pop queen Natasha Bedingfield, who sang her ass off, and Lady Gaga, who showed off hers.

    No quibble with Natasha, whose serviceable pop songs provide the perfect flash in the pan for our times. She is, as I mention, one hell of a singer.

    First up was a lively euro-dance act – or whatever the hell they’re calling it – called Lady Gaga.

    This was more of a soft-core porn movie in concert, with plenty of bump and grind with a quartet of male dancers. Again, who exactly is she being sexy for in an arena full of women?

    It’s all so terribly confusing.

    SOUNDCHECK

    Main Event: New Kids on the Block

    In the Seats: 9,800 in Rexall

    : Note Perfect: You know why women dig mature guys? They're experienced.

    Rating: 4 out of 5

    Resurgent New Kids on the Block bring reunion tour to Sunrise

    One can imagine the crooners who made up New Kids on The Block grumbling at the sight of their replacements.

    "That's our bit!" would not have been an out-of-bounds reaction to Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync -- the next couple of funky, five-piece Caucasian boy bands to rule the world after New Kids were decomissioned.

    So it might be extra-satisfying for the reunited Kids to be coming back right now, 15 years later, because they face no real competition. ( Jonas Brothers, who are basically Weezer for grade-schoolers, don't count. They're a guitar band.) Sure, Backstreet's back, but nothing like before. And 'N Sync might have to wait for a stall-out of Justin Timberlake's torrid solo career.

    The boy-band field is wide open, even to these guys in their 30s.

    Nobody would call them "boyish" today, but in concert at BankAtlantic Center on Saturday night, New Kids on the Block still knew the songs and the dance steps that endeared them to a nation of pre-teen girls. Their two-hour set also included standout tracks from from a bona-fide hit new album, The Block. Far from banking just on nostalgia, New Kids are bidding for relevancy.

    What helped their cause was the lively mix of styles in their set. The New Kids' music ranged from old-school electro-pop of My Favorite Girl and the P-Funk bass stylings of You Got It (The Right Stuff) to the state-of-the-art edits of Grown Man -- which was, in essence, New Kids borrowing back from Justin Timberlake years after 'N Sync had borrowed from them.

    There were teary ballads, r&b-rap hybrids, dance-rock throwdowns and enough pop variety to keep the band and the crowd engaged.

    Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre and Donnie Wahlberg went about their singing and footwork on Saturday with an air of resolve. They weren't joyless, but for much of the evening there was a determined, nose-to-the-grindstone feel to the performance. They were serious about entertaining, and they had an avid crowd of 10,000 encouraging them all the way.

    They loosened up toward the end of the set, poking fun at the poses that each Kid struck for a video freeze frame of the final note of Click Click Click. "John's kind of a stoic," McIntyre quipped.

    Stoicism is not a quality one associates with boy bands, but it must have taken some to sit on the sidelines for 15 years and then believe that people would notice a comeback.

    New Kids on the Block and the women in their lives

    Talk about your target audience. At last night's New Kids on the Block concert in Sunrise, starring the original five of an original boy band (New Edition came first), the ratio of women to men in the crowd of 10,000-plus was as one-sided as I've ever seen at a live show. If there were even 500 fellas in the seats, I'd be stunned.

    The gender disparity was so great, the BankAtlantic Center reassigned two men's rooms to women and posted staffers outside the remaining men's rooms to guard against incursions.

    Of the Kids, the band's designated bad-boy, Donnie Wahlberg, had the most fun with the girl-powered turnout. He said New Kids were one-night "replacements" for any beaus who stayed away, and he joked that any man who did attend with a ladyfriend was owed a debt of gratitude - payable "when you get back home."

    Part of me cringes at the whole faux-romantic tableaux that New Kids and their ilk aim at girls and grown women. It has the nuance of a romance novel, or Saturday night on Cinemax, and seems to proceed from the same assumptions about What Women Want.

    On the other hand, to condemn bodice-rippers and boy-pop is to be clueless about the purpose of entertainment. And it would be sexist to assume the women in Saturday's audience had no sense of proportion about the spectacle. In this culture, especially, escapism is everyone's pleasure, whatever form it takes. We're all free to indulge a couple of hours of illusion and magical thinking, be amused by it, and resume our complicated lives.

    p.s. New Kids' opener Natasha Bedingfield, fresh off the plane from England with her band, made a strong case for America's continued affections. She's already crossed the pond with one hit, and seems poised to keep the latest British Invasion rolling with her new CD. Among the current crop of Brits, she's halfway between Leona Lewis' Mariah-like power balladry and Duffy's dance-flavored retro pop. To all that, Bedingfield adds a dose of rock-star ambition: She closed with Unwritten, the kind of writ-large arena hymn that wouldn't sound at all wrong coming from U2.

    New Kids on the Block: Still the right stuff

    In New Kids on the Block's 15-year break from Tiger Beat nation, a few things have changed.

    The pretty boys of early '90s pop have trimmed the rattails and retired the acid wash. They've sprouted muscles, thrusty groins and naughty mouths.

    Their fans, once boppy 'tweens in scrunchies and leggings, are now career women and moms. They have pregnant bellies, cleavage and husbands holding down the bar. They've swapped Kool-Aid for Cosmo.

    But some things never change.

    The five Boston-bred popsters performed to a frenzied crowd of women at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum on Sunday. The boys proved they can still fill an arena, still wail a high C to the last row.

    The fans, decked in souvenir buttons and their old shirts, proved they can still scream with the fervor of a thousand silly kiddies. One hardcore New Kids soldier even heaved a bra on stage.

    "Is this really happening?" shouted Joey McIntyre, the group's blue-eyed tenor with arguably the strongest pipes.

    He was right. For fans who slow danced to Please Don't Go, Girl at the eighth grade dance, who drooled on New Kids pillowcases, who lived in their black bomber jackets from the 1989 Hangin' Tough tour, it was surreal.

    Performing a mix of old hits and new songs from their album, The Block, the New Kids filled the stage with a thoroughly entertaining, glittery spectacle. This time around, they stepped up the sexual innuendo to satiate their grown fans — hip thrusts timed with fireworks, anyone?

    Opening new song Single caused piercing shrieks. But that was beans compared with the cries when heartthrob Jordan Knight wailed falsetto on the 1990 tune, My Favorite Girl, or when the guys flexed their old-school dance moves during megahit You Got It (The Right Stuff).

    There were awkward moments. Shy guy Jonathan Knight looked like he'd rather be home watching West Wing than popping his booty under floodlights. A weird video tribute to people who have died (Aaliyah, James Brown, Heath Ledger) gave the guys time to get to the middle of the venue where they danced on a round platform in a sea of fans.

    They brought the energy right back, flirting with women on the sexy 2 In the Morning. They ended the night with a blissful mix of giddy classics Step By Step and Hangin' Tough. The loyal Boston sports fans even briefly donned Tampa Bay Lightning jerseys.

    The whole thing left fans sweaty, tipsy, lusty and thoroughly reminded of a simple time in life when their biggest problem was whether your mom would get you the right New Kids stuff for Christmas.

    Whatever their magic formula, it's back. The New Kids say it best in their new song, Summertime — "It's been a few years and I can't deny, the thought of you still makes me crazy."

    HIGHWAY HIJINX

    THE New Kids on the Block are regressing on their world tour. The two single "kids," Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood, have had a stripper pole installed in their bus while the band is on tour. An insider said, "They're living it up big time." A rep for the duo said, "Just for laughs, they do have a Carmen Electra stripper pole that was given to them as a tour gift from their publicists. It's all in good fun. It came with an instructional video so they can follow all safety procedures."

    Review: New Kids deliver old, new hits

    A reunion 15 years in the making stopped in Charlotte Thursday night.

    The New Kids on the Block delivered a solid two-hour set full of hits from the late '80s and early '90s while mixing in a few new songs off their 2008 album, “The Block.”

    For loyal fans who have followed Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan and Jon Knight, Joe McIntyre and Danny Wood since their peak, they weren't disappointed.

    The first half of the show was vintage NKOTB – the guys standing in a row, mike stands in hand, every lyric choreographed (and, no, Jon still can't dance. But he sure does try).

    They kicked things off with a bang, quickly running through “Single” (2008), “My Favorite Girl” (1988) and “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” (1988), without pausing. Credit must also be given to their four-piece band, who packed a lot of sound into the arena and never left the stage.

    The show's second half allowed the guys to move a bit more freely on stage and interact with the audience, each other and four female backup dancers.

    Despite 15 years apart, the guys still mix together well while showing off their own personalities: Donnie's swagger, Jon's shyness, Danny's b-boy skills, Jordan's goofiness and Joe's flair for the dramatic.

    And, while the guys may hover around 40, they can still hit the high notes as both Joe and Jordan proved on “Please Don't Go Girl” and “I'll Be Loving You (Forever).”

    (Joe also gave an impressive performance of “Stay the Same,” a hit single from his 1999 solo album.)

    Their ages may be catching up to them though – the second half of the show dragged a bit as the group took long breaks between songs. The energy of the crowd seemed to decrease during these pauses, but it didn't take much to get the overwhelmingly female audience screaming again.

    Jordan's open-shirted performance of “I Believe in You” certainly got the crowd's attention – the 38-year-old has the body of a 21-year-old.

    But the biggest ovations of the night were saved for the group's original hits: “Step by Step” and “Hangin' Tough,” performed during a rousing encore that included fireworks and streamers.

    The New Kids – now men – were back, and the audience was thrilled to reminisce with them.

    Reunited New Kids Are Having A Ball

    "I'm not too happy to be talking to anyone from Tampa."

    New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg is doing this particular interview under protest. He and his crew hail from Beantown, and their beloved Red Sox have all too recently been dispensed from the American League Championship Series by the Tampa Bay Rays.

    "I'm not mad; I'm disappointed," Wahlberg says, sounding not entirely convincing, before offering his support for the Rays over the Phillies in the World Series.

    Wahlberg, of course, hasn't called to banter about baseball. He's on the line to talk up the reunion tour of New Kids on the Block, the proto-boy band that reigned over a teen and tween audience in the late '80s and early '90s.

    The quintet - also including brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood - topped the charts with hits such as "Hangin' Tough," "I'll be Loving You (Forever)" and "Step by Step" before disbanding in 1994.

    Wahlberg, like his former-rapper brother Mark (Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch), turned to acting. He was featured on TV series such as "Boomtown" and "Band of Brothers," in TV movies such as a remake of "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" and in films such as "The Sixth Sense" and the "Saw" series.

    Along the way, New Kids on the Block reunions were floated, but never came to pass.

    Why now?

    "Because it was motivated internally," Wahlberg replies. "All the other attempts were made by other people who didn't really take into consideration who we were or what our goals and wants were. It was all about making money first."

    The reunion required a full-time commitment, Wahlberg says.

    "I've been a maniac about it," Wahlberg says. "We needed to make this happen soon to hold all the people and all the pieces together.

    "Any time to sit back and reconsider was not a good thing," Wahlberg continues. "If I sat around for a month doing nothing, if I did the demos and had no deal, I might get offered a part in a big movie and there'd be a temptation to take it."

    Wahlberg also notes the difference age makes.

    "My work ethic compared to before is so different," says Wahlberg, 39. "Maybe when I was 19, I was capable of working hard, but I was also interested in playing hard."

    Wahlberg's focus, and that of his band mates, resulted in "The Block," the New Kids' first album in 14 years, released in September, as well as a tour that Wahlberg says has shown him how wide the band's audience was.

    "The range of fans who came back is broader than we anticipated," Wahlberg says. "My estimate for a successful tour would have been fans from age 30 to 40. That still would have been a good tour. But we're getting fans from 24 to 50."

    ON TOUR
    New Kids on the Block
    WITH: Natasha Bedingfield and Lady Gaga
    WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
    WHERE: The Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa; (813) 301-2500
    COST: $37.75, $57.75 and $77.75

    Caught in the Act!

    They're just nice guys! The New Kids on the Block – Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight, Danny Wood and Donnie Wahlberg – greeting fans, signing autographs and snapping pictures outside their Chicago hotel. The group stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel during their Windy City tour stop, and were equally sweet with the hotel staff. Another sweet spot, according to a source: The guys also loved the mini-bars in their rooms and snacked on candy during their stay.

    New Kids' music returns '80s babies to past

    I heart Joe. If you visit my childhood home, you can find that exact sentence carved into the wood frame next to my bedroom window.

    This "Joe" was no plumber, but he did have a great set of pipes.

    "Joe" was part of the New Kids on the Block, my generation's boy band of choice. Yes, you could say I was a big fan -- and it looks like I have some of it left in me.

    Back in 1991, I would come home from school, grab a soda, plant myself in front of the TV and try to catch a glimpse of what I called "my future husband."

    Now, I come home from work, pour a glass of wine, open my laptop and laugh that I once truly believed I would marry Joe McIntyre.

    I first saw him live when NKOTB's tour stopped in Birmingham. But the real memories are of my New Kids on the Block obsession. At 13ish years old, that's exactly what it was.

    And I wasn't the only one. Hundreds of thousands of fans are pouring into arenas across the country -- and world -- to see what the not-so-new kids have to offer.

    Their concerts are selling out, and some fans are going to more than one show.

    It's not your typical boyband tweeners attending. Instead, it's people - girls - just like me. It's fans from the '80s and '90s who want to see what the boys are bringing back to the block.

    I'm headed to Atlanta on Wednesday to sing "Hangin' Tough" with other crazy '80s babies just like me.

    I might even crimp my hair.

    It's probably not the best financial decision to spend my money on tickets and drive to Atlanta, but I just couldn't help myself. I even considered selling my tickets, but then I heard "Step by Step" on the radio, and that same bubbly, child-on-Christmas-morning feeling came rushing over me again.

    There's something transcendent about music. You can hear one song, and it can take you back to such a special time in your life, a memory or your first, innocent childhood crush. That's what this concert will be for me. I can't consciously admit I'm a huge fan of their new music, but I was a million years ago.

    And with the stresses I deal with every day, if this lady -- in the back half of her 20s -- can feel what she felt before she entered the real world, then I'll see you in Atlanta.

    I'm going to go dust off my old scrunchies, my leg warmers and my slap bracelet.

    I've got a first crush to impress.

    New Kids on the Block are back, to the delight of their older but still screaming female fans

    What is the price of reliving your early teen years?

    For Kim Carlton and Alexis Lomen, it's $375 each. That buys the 31-year-old BFFs from St. Paul, Minn., a chance to meet their childhood idols, the New Kids on the Block, and sit near the stage when they come to town.

    "I'm so excited to finally get my Donnie hug," gushed Carlton, referring to New Kids leader Donnie Wahlberg.

    "Having an outlet for that stupid energy you have when you're 13 is kind of important," said Lomen, who is blogging with her pal about their trips to five New Kids reunion concerts at www.projectnkotb.com. "I guess you carry that with you for the rest of your life."

    Thanks to devoted thirtysomething fans like Kim and Alexis, New Kids have become the unlikely pop-music comeback of the year. Their new album, "The Block," debuted at No. 2 last month, selling 139,000 copies, and their tour of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe is the hottest-selling reunion since the Police in 2007.

    "The tour is going amazing, really. It's like a time warp," said Jordan Knight, 38, once known as the cute New Kid. (Now he's the handsome one.) "It's almost the same. We're all a little older, a little wiser and we pace ourselves a little more. But it feels exactly the same."

    At the height of NKOTB's popularity, a New York critic said that New Kids were selling sincerity, and sincere about selling it. From 1988 through 1990, the Boston quintet issued two studio albums, a Christmas CD and a remix album, which together sold more than 70 million copies worldwide and featured eight top 10 singles including "Step by Step" and "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)." They were the top-grossing show-biz act of 1990.

    So what are NKOTB selling now?

    "It's sincerity, it's love for what we do, it's nostalgia," Knight said before going onstage in Sacramento. "And we're selling good old-fashioned entertainment. Not too many gimmicks and special effects. We're five creative guys. We're not over the hill; we're in our prime. You're going to see a show that brings you back in time and is up to date. It is now and is cool and is hip."

    There has been talk of a New Kids reunion ever since their 1994 breakup.

    "MTV tried to put us back together, VH1 tried to put us back together, different record companies, different promoters," Knight said. "Everyone heard talk of it because they were trying to get us back together. (But) not 'til a year and a half ago, we all five didn't start talking about it. We weren't going to sell out for somebody else just because they're flashing an idea in front of us and saying 'You guys can make so much money.'"

    Conceived by R&B producer Maurice Starr as a white version of the black vocal group New Edition, New Kids started in 1986 as mere teenagers, playing bubble-gum ballads and derivative R&B with rap touches. In 1994, after the ill-fated "Face the Music" album, they pulled the plug. Still, New Kids became the prototype for such boy bands as Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync.

    Unquestionably, the key man for this year's reunion is Wahlberg, who has become a successful actor (though not as successful as younger brother Mark). Executive producer of "The Block," he co-wrote nine of the 13 tracks on the CD, which features such famous guests as the Pussycat Dolls, Akon, Ne-Yo and New Edition and A-list producers Timbaland and Polow Da Don. New Kids also hired a new manager - Irving Azoff, who works with the Eagles, Guns 'N Roses and Neil Diamond, not boy bands.

    One of the concerns about the reunion is Jonathan Knight's attitude toward performing. During NKOTB's heyday, he reportedly suffered from panic attacks.

    "He's doing amazing," Jordan said of his older brother. "He's moved beyond it, to tell you the truth. It's quite natural to get nervous before a show. I would say it's almost a non-issue. All we need Jon to do - and I even tell him this - is just get onstage and look good. That's not a slap in the face; he looks like a fricking model."

    Jordan is not sure where New Kids fit in today's pop world.

    "I hope to think we're making our marks," he said. "Before, it was kind of like we did it, we faded away, we left a mark but maybe it was a flash in the pan. Now, by doing this, it's really branding us as the real deal. That's why I'm glad we came back, to prove to the world that we're the real deal and to prove to the fans that they weren't crazy for believing in us and liking us."

    That's music to the ears of eternal Blockheads like Lomen and Carlton.

    LIFE AFTER NKOTB

    OK, Jordan Knight admits that he did "The Surreal Life" in 2001 because he was bored and looking for a career boost. "Looking back, for me, it wasn't smart," he said. "I'm not that type of personality." Here's what each of the New Kids has done since their 1994 breakup - embarrassing or not.

    DONNIE WAHLBERG: Although he produced the 1991 hit "Good Vibrations" for his brother Marky Mark and solo albums for ex-bandmates Joey McIntyre and Jordan Knight, he has mostly pursued acting, earning respect in more than 20 feature films ("Ransom," "The Sixth Sense") and several TV series and movies ("Boomtown," "Band of Brothers," "Runaway").

    JOEY MCINTYRE: The youngest and most versatile New Kid, he has appeared on Broadway ("Wicked"), in films ("The Fantasticks") and on TV ("Boston Public," "Dancing With the Stars"). He also released four solo albums, scoring a top 10 single, "Stay the Same," from 1999 debut; 2006's "Talk to Me" is a collection of covers.

    JORDAN KNIGHT: A 1999 solo album yielded the top 10 hit "Give It to You." He offered the embarrassing indie project "Jordan Knight Sings New Kids on the Block," a 2004 one-man remix CD, and 2006's "Love Songs," including a duet with Deborah Gibson. Desperate to keep his name out there, Knight was on VH1's third season of "The Surreal Life" and a judge on "American Juniors," an "American Idol" spinoff.

    JONATHAN KNIGHT: On "Oprah," he revealed that he suffered panic attacks and was clinically depressed after NKOTB disbanded. He became a real estate developer in Massachusetts.

    DANNY WOOD: He released little-noticed solo albums in 1999 (as D-Fuse), 2003 and 2007. The tattooed, muscle-bound Wood has acted in a few movies, including "Tequila Express.

    JORDAN KNIGHT LOVES THE '90S

    From "Hangin' Tough" to "Dancing With the Stars," New Kids on the Block have been part of pop culture in three decades. We asked reality-show veteran Jordan Knight to vote for his favorites in a smackdown of 1990s pop forces.

    -Backstreet Boys vs. 'N Sync: Justin Timberlake and the boys because "they were more like the New Kids. They leaned more urban and they were more fun."

    -Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera: Britney is "sexier, she's funner and she can act really well."

    -"Fresh Prince of Bel Air" vs. "In Living Color": Sorry Will Smith, but the Wayans brothers, Fly Girls and crew were a "phenomenal cast."

    -"Wayne's World" vs. "Dumb and Dumber": "I'm a big Jim Carrey fan."

    -"Seinfeld" vs. "Friends": Jerry and friends win "because it's more goofy or slapstick."

    -"Beverly Hills 90210" vs. "Party of Five": His preferred number is "Five" because of its cast.

    -MC Hammer vs. Vanilla Ice: It's Hammer time. "Vanilla Ice had only one hit, and it's hard to get into someone who has only one hit because you don't know what they're about."

    -Mark McGwire vs. Sammy Sosa: "Neither. I don't trust either one of them."

    -Notorious B.I.G. vs. 2 Pac: The Massachusetts native votes East Coast because he likes Biggie's voice better.

    -Chicago Bulls vs. Dallas Cowboys: "The Bulls for sure, for sure. I was nuts over them. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen."

    Review: New Kids reunion a scream

    Women in their 30s flocked to the Xcel Center on Tuesday where they frolicked like teenagers for the first-ever reunion of the '80s boy band. Uh oh oh oh.

    Back in 1988, they were high on sugary bubble gum and wore oversize, homemade T-shirts with slogans like "Jordan, you got the Right Stuff!" On Tuesday night, they were buzzing on Bacardi rum coolers and wore slinky, designer T-shirts that boasted messages such as "MILF."

    Oh, how the times have changed for New Kids on the Block fans, who finally got to see a reunion by the former teen idol quintet at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center -- and this time they got to drive themselves. Some of them hopefully sought a ride home, though.

    Half the fun of Tuesday's concert was the crowd-watching. The Boston-reared boy band's first tour in 14 years drew a surprisingly large audience of 13,000. Not surprisingly, about 95 percent were women in their 30s, many of whom treated it like a chance to revisit their youth without the watchful eye of Mom and Dad.

    They screamed at the top of their lungs for every wardrobe change or all the vaguely sexier dance moves. They danced/grinded in the aisles like they were at a sweaty nightclub instead of a chilly hockey arena. And, yep, they drank.

    "This is your night, so enjoy it," instructed opening singer Natasha Bedingfield, 26, who is too young to have been in on the NKOTB craze but clearly knew what it was all about.

    The New Kids themselves, now in their late 30s, definitely still understand it.

    They strutted out in zig-zagging unison before a glitzy backdrop dancing to the opening tune, "Single," from their new album, "The Block." Where the record tries too hard to update their sound with Ne-Yo-style vocal effects and Rated PG-13 lyrics (gasp!), the two-hour concert was more the classic NKOTB. Same b-boy-meets-Fred Astaire dancing. Same hand-waving "uh-oh-oh-oh" singalongs. Even the same side-tilted hats. The higher hairlines under the caps was about all that has changed.

    New Kids on the Block music doesn't sound dated

    Has anybody seen Bobby Rydell, Leif Garrett, the Bay City Rollers or 98 Degrees lately?

    Few things in the music business are as dependably dead as a washed-up teen idol. Oddly, there were several thousand screaming adult women at the Bradley Center Wednesday night who never got the bulletin.

    On some level, the New Kids on the Block are back, and a surprising number of 30-something women are delighted to renew an old puppy love.

    The evening began with a statement of renewal in glowing orange letters across the darkened hall: “15 years ago they walked away. Tonight, the Block is back.”

    And so they are. Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood have kept their side of the fantasy bargain. They haven’t gained 60 pounds or gone bald. They are fit, buff, and Jordan can still pull off the falsetto. The core of the show is the old hits like “Please Don’t Go Girl,” “Cover Girl” and the Delfonics remake “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).”

    But there’s a new album, too — “The Block.” The new stuff is less an update of the classic Motown/Jackson Five template and more contemporary urban in approach. Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls showed up on tape to help out on “Grown Man.” Lyrically, the new stuff is a little edgier, a little more overtly sexual, but just a little. . . . The New Kids are still about romance. Nudging 40, the New Kids on the Block are a seeming contradiction in terms — a boy band for adult women.

    Seeing them after all these years, a few things are apparent. If they built upon the model of the Temptations and Jackson 5, the New Kids were in turn also the template for the boy band craze of the ’90s. The music — and this is probably still more about nostalgia than music — holds up better than you might think.

    One of the quirks of popular music is that “serious” rock music often doesn’t age as well as pop fluff. Think of George Harrison and Ringo Starr. At the beginning of their solo careers, Harrison was much praised for the Hari Krishna rock of “All Things Must Pass,” while Ringo got passing nods for amiable party songs like “It Don’t Come Easy” and “The No No Song.” Nearly 40 years later, the Eastern mysticism of Harrison’s music feels dated and very ’60s, while the “No No Song” is still a good laugh.

    In the same way, stuff like “Cover Girl” still feels like fluffy fun just like other ’80s artifacts like Culture Club. By boy band standards, that’s a pretty good legacy.

    All Grown Up, Fans See New Kids On The Block

    A lot of men sat at home Tuesday night, waiting for wives or girlfriends to get done re-living a blast from the past. The men that once made up New Kids on the Block took the stage in St. Paul. About one hundred women packed into Shamrock's Bar in St. Paul for a pre-party before the concert. This time around, alcohol was part of the party. "It's the New Kids special tonight, but it couldn't get any better for a night like tonight," one fan said. Alexis Lomen and Kim Carlton have traveled the country watching New Kids concerts. "We have been to Boston. We've been Chicago. Tonight we're in St. Paul ... tomorrow we're going to Milwaukee, and we're going to L.A. around Thanksgiving," Carlton explained. The ladies launched Project N.K.O.T.B. online when the kids announced they'd be back. Tuesday, these best friends paid more than $300 to be with them before the show. It was a night of new memories watching boys become men. "It's been an amazing ride and I can only say the best part of it is I get to do it with her," Lomen said, hugging Carlton.

    Michael Madsen Not Mad, Just Sick and Tired

    Contrary to what you may have heard, Mr. Blonde did not go berserk.

    Michael Madsen was not hospitalized Monday on a 5150 hold—the situation Britney Spears found herself in when she was deemed a danger to herself or others after being wheeled off to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in January—as reported Wednesday by TMZ.com, a rep for the veteran character actor tells E! News.

    "Madsen just got off a plane from overseas after a grueling work schedule. He was suffering from food poisoning and extreme exhaustion and basically collapsed," rep Liza Anderson said.

    "He is resting now with his family by his side."

    A rep for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also told E! that the office had no record of deputies hauling Madsen away to the hospital after getting a worried call from his family, as TMZ previously reported.

    "We don't have any info on it," the officer said. "Even if we did, we don't discuss medical issues."

    Not that the idea of such a thing going down is entirely farfetched.

    Madsen was hospitalized in London in June after police, responding to a call about a disturbance, found him screaming at a female companion in his West End hotel room. After being forcibly restrained, Madsen was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for cuts and bruises. He was never arrested in connection with the incident.

    But exhaustion sounds about right, too. According to Madsen's IMDb.com page, he has nearly 30 projects in the pipeline.

    Highest Grossing Concerts This Year

    Elton John’s two-night appearance at the MTS Centre last month was the third-highest-grossing concert stand in the world so far this year.

    According to Billboard magazine, Sir Elton’s concerts here Sept. 19 and 20 grossed $3,450,775 in ticket sales, behind only the Austin City Limits Music Festival and a three-night stand by Leonard Cohen in Dublin, Ireland.

    The Austin festival — held Sept. 26-28 and featuring Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Beck and others — took in $11,767,838 in revenues.

    Leonard Cohen grossed $6,171,090 from three shows June 13-15 in Dublin.

    Rounding out the top 10 were:

    4. Ozzfest (Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Serj Tankian, Hellyeah, Jonathan Davis, Cavalera Conspiracy, Shadows Fall, Apocalyptica, In This Moment), Frisco, Texas, Aug. 9, $3,335,362.

    5. Elton John, Halifax, Sept. 26-27, $3,204,635.

    6. Neil Diamond, Hollywood, Calif., Oct. 1-2, $2,854,920.

    7. Elton John, St. John’s, Nfld., Oct. 2-3, $2,150,517.

    8. Leonard Cohen, London, England, July 17, $1,915,769 .

    9. Leonard Cohen, Copenhagen, July 5, $1,905,089.

    10. New Kids On The Block, Boston, Sept. 26, 28, $1,783,505.

    Live Review: New Kids on the Block in Glendale, AZ

    It's one thing for teenagers to lose their voices screaming over the Jonas Brothers. But at Monday's (10/13) New Kids on the Block concert at Glendale, AZ's Jobing.com Arena, 30-something and 40-something women clad in sparkly homemade New Kids on the Block T-shirts waved signs proposing marriage, and others decked out in '90s-era gear deafened nearby fans whenever the five men merely showed their faces.

    During the two-hour show, fans, celebrating the return of New Kids on the Block after a 15-year hiatus, ate up every electric-slide-like, choreographed move, solo performance and group numbers by Jordan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood and Joey McIntyre during the two-hour show.

    The show kicked off with a video featuring a slow-rolling ticker that read: "15 years ago they walked away. Tonight The Block is back. Are you ready?" The audience, primarily made up of women, took that as a cue to scream even louder, as the video segued into "Single." But nothing compared to the hysteria-inducing "Oh-oh oh-oh-oh" that emanated from the five men early in the show. As soon as they started singing the first verse of "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," the room ignited--literally and figuratively. Fireworks exploded over the stage, cell phones provided light from the audience, and the crowd jumped and punched their fists in the air.

    A baseball cap-topped Wahlberg yelled, "Hey Phoenix. Are you ready to sing this song?" which was a silly question, considering that the crowd sang every word to every song--without prompting. "Please Don't Go Girl," complete with McIntyre dropping to his knees to sing, was an audience favorite, as was "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)."

    Some of the highlights of the show were actually the newer tracks. The beat-heavy "Grown Man," from NKTOB's latest album, "The Block," featured Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger on vocals via a pre-recorded performance on the video screen. The group snuck to a revolving stage in the middle of the arena for performances of "Dirty Dancing" and "2 in the Morning," with McIntyre on piano.

    The two-hour concert culminated with a one-two punch of "Step by Step" and "Hangin' Tough"--a phrase that seems fitting for the reconstituted group.

    During her brief opening set, Tammy Chynn, a blonde, Jamaican version of Rihanna, offered dance floor-ready anthems, kicking off with her hit "Frozen," which features Akon on the radio version. Chynn has the pipes, the pop sensibility and sex appeal to rise above the crop of females trying to climb the pop charts.

    English songbird Natasha Bedingfield followed Chynn with a captivating, headline-worthy set. Her show began with "Piece of Your Heart" and quickly segued into "These Words," during which she soared to new heights with her wide-ranging vocals.

    "I'm very excited to be here tonight because New Kids on the Block are back," Bedingfield said. "It's very exciting and worthy of celebrating so be free."

    She used that as an introduction to a few bars of "Unwritten" but subsequently led a confused audience into "Angel," her latest single. (She rectified the matter by closing with "Unwritten," the theme song to "The Hills.") "Pocketful of Sunshine" was dead on, and she sang "Love Like This" without the annoying effects on her vocals.

    Bedingfield called the fervent fans loyal for waiting for New Kids on the Block to reform after 15 years.

    "That deserves a song written about it," she said with a smile.

    Grown up New Kids woo fans

    The New Kids on the Block concert at Glendale's Jobing.com Arena Monday night felt like millions of women's fantasies coming to life for more than two hours.

    From the precious, sweet, grade-school fantasies left over from the band's original late-'80s to early-'90s heyday to the more sexually graphic ones inspired by their recent videos, Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre and Jonathan and Jordan Knight delivered.

    Fifteen years since their last tour, the new and improved men showed themselves to be consummate entertainers and polished singers as they powered through all their old hits and the best tracks off their new album, The Block.

    But they also proved to be convincing actors, filling their songs with swoon-worthy moments of sincerity, inspiring unexpected moments of intimacy among so many people in such a big space. The show managed to be slick and kitschy at the same time - a pleasure that should have felt guilty but just felt good instead.

    But first, a note about the crowd: The arena was not sold out. The top tier was blacked out with curtains and stretches of empty seats dotted the lower levels. But it felt, and sounded, plenty full. When men are almost totally removed from an audience, the full deafening capacity of women's lungs can truly be appreciated.

    Girls and women ranging in age from first kiss to first mortgage dressed in a range of looks from the typically provocative club wear to looks referencing the first tours, with women in leg warmers, side ponytails and old New Kids Ts from grade school, worn to establish "street cred" perhaps.

    Other women made their own Ts with heat-transfer photos of the boys, airbrushed statements emblazoned across busts reading "I heart Danny" in pink and black letters. Others wore those old dinner-plate-sized buttons.

    To open the show, the audience could text messages to enter into an immediate drawing to be moved to the front row or to be taken backstage after the show for a meet and greet. They appeared on screens adjacent to the stage.

    Favorites included: "Phoenix Fire Department loves NKOTB," and "I saw you at Nassau Coliseum when I was in 3rd grade. I'm of legal age now, we should hang out!!!"

    Another woman just proposed marriage.

    The show opened with the Ne-Yo-assisted new track Single in which the men, all in various states of GQ-style dress clothes, promise to be everyone's boyfriend until the end of the song, which is exactly what the crowd showed up for.

    This rolled into a falsetto-rich rendition of My Favorite Girl by Jordan and then they focused on old hits for a while. The Right Stuff incited hysterical shrieking that went unabated for more than two hours. Didn't I (Blow Your Mind), then Please Don't Go Girl ratcheted up the mania.

    In the 15 years since the last tour, Joey apparently memorized countless hours of James Brown concert footage. During Please Don't Go Girl he sang, "Don't take your love," dropping to his knees, pleading, pounding his chest, contorting his face in the agony of an abandoned man. Then he crumpled into a ball on the last note. If the front row could have climbed over security to comfort him, they would have.

    Then it was back to the new album, The Block, for a video duet with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and the song Grown Man, during which the men sing, "I'm-a give you some grown man." Women screamed and swooned as though the men were promising whatever that might mean on a stack of Bibles.

    During this song, amid the casual stepping and five-part soul harmonies, it felt good to see a group of middle-aged white men not doing their best Chris Brown impression. These were grown men, looking fit, talking smooth and promising to get a little kinky (Twisted) and a little sensual (Click Click Click) in a way that's slightly more believable and compelling coming from a 30-something than from a teen. The dance moves throughout the show were retro, winkingly cheesy steps, slo-mo walking, shoulder shrugs, snaps, belt-buckle grabs, and a few stand-out breakdance moments from Danny.

    At one point, Donnie, always in a crystal-adorned Boston cap, opened his arms and yelled "Phoeeeeeeeeenix!"

    The crowd screamed as he surveyed the room, raising his arms, and the decibel level.

    "You are this close to being the loudest crowd we've heard so far," he said. There was more shrieking. Louder.

    "I guess 15 years was a long enough wait for you." Then he commented that he didn't know what to say to such a hysterical crowd, that typically he has to hype the crowd. So he just stood here laughing, then launched into Games (The Kids Get Hard Mix), which really, with all that rapping, doesn't hold up, "Cos we're five bad brothers from the Beantown." Ew. This was the show's only misstep.

    On the island stage in the middle of the floor, the men stood around a black Baby Grand and Joey talked about how, when the band announced this tour, he knew all the women in the crowd called their old friends, one they hadn't maybe talked to in years.

    "You said you'd get together and go to the show and now you're gonna scream and cry and hold each other, and we feel that," he said.

    Then the band played the hit Tonight, the evening's seemingly millionth sing-along, "Fan mail from everywhere, showed us how you cared, didn't it girl? La la la la...."

    Back on the main stage, Danny and Jon played the clowns, exhorting the crowd to dance to Lady GaGa's single Let's Dance, as they videoed the arena. With that, the two turned several thousand women into their own personal go-go dancers, playing on the fantasies of many, one can assume.

    Then Joey, Jordan and Donnie commanded the stage for their own solo-project singles, some of which felt indulgent, particularly Joey's choir-backed Stay the Same. Jordan proved himself, however, with a performance that must have sated about a million unspoken fantasies, when he took to the stage wearing an unbuttoned white shirt and black slacks. A floor fan blew his shirt away to reveal Harlequin Romance-cover-worthy washboard abs and sculpted pecs. He looked like a Chippendale's dancer, except instead of talking about sex, he sang "Baby, I believe in you."

    Clips from this section of the concert have gone viral on the Internet. It's that compelling.

    They closed with the big single Summertime and encored with Hanging Tough, and it was everything I could have hoped for when I was in the fifth grade.

    British singer Natasha Bedingfield opened the show with a video introduction that informed the crowd it was her song, Unwritten, that served as the theme music to the MTV reality show The Hills, and that the singer was "taking America by storm." After watching her perform, one can only assume "by storm" means, she is, in fact, in America, singing unremarkable pop that sounds like songs written for commercials soon to be on TV, perhaps for gum or feminine hygiene products. Her hits, Pocket Full of Sunshine , Unwritten and Angel, drew cheers, but other attempts at sing-alongs were met with the kind of awkward, near-silence only found in a cavernous arena. She talked a lot about how "special" and "exciting" it was that the New Kids on the Block were back, and those references to the band drew her biggest cheers.

    Set list: New Kids on the Block at Staples Center

    They sobbed, squealed, swooned and screamed — in short, the ladies went absolutely bananas last night at Staples Center, where the reunited New Kids on the Block made their first local appearance in 15 years. And Jordan, Joey, Donnie, Danny and Jonathan did not disappoint, turning in a two-hour performance stuffed full of their hits (replete with choreography from yesteryear), seven of 13 tracks from their new album (The Block) and even some solo fare from Jordan Knight and Joey McIntyre. The merch booths were emptied, the shrieking excitement was deafening (especially when the group surfaced on a small rotating riser in the center of the arena) — and surely no long-patient fans came away disappointed.

    New Kids on the Block, Staples Center, Oct. 8, 2008

    Main set: Single / My Favorite Girl / You Got It (The Right Stuff) / Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) / Please Don’t Go Girl / Grown Man / Games / If You Go Away / 2 in the Morning / Dirty Dancing / Tonight / Twisted / Baby, I Believe in You / Give It to You / Stay the Same / Cover Girl / I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) / Click, Click, Click / Summertime

    First encore: Step by Step

    Second encore: Hangin’ Tough > We Will Rock You

    Natasha Bedingfield: Piece of Your Heart / These Words (I Love You, I Love You) / Angel / Pocket Full of Sunshine / Put Your Arms Around Me / Unwritten

    New Kids have the right stuff at Staples Center

    Has it really been 15 years since we last saw New Kids on the Block perform? Last night's show at Staples Center in Los Angeles makes it feel like time hadn't passed at all.

    Bridging that gap, the five kids – er, grown men – from Boston still know how to make girls feel special by making it seem as if they're singing only to them. Bringing out most of the hits and even dusting off some of that old choreography, they put on a stellar show that kept the crowd on its feet for two hours.

    Fans were rabid at the merch booths, which pre-show were already running low on swag, especially $10 key chains, $25 lockets, $15 lanyards and the ultimate retro items, $10 oversized buttons with each New Kid's face on them.

    Before the guys came out the giant screen behind the stage flashed the question: "Are you ready?" The very nearly sold-out venue, filled with women who seemed to outnumber men 1 to 1 million, roared back in response: "YES!!!"

    These fans had waited a long time – by the looks of some in attendance, a little too long. Women were sporting original T-shirts from the '80s and early '90s, florescent hats with New Kids logos – some even went so far as to bust out the crimper and split their ends just to relive the moment. (They get another chance to see the group Nov. 26 at Nokia Theatre.)

    And when the lights dimmed, the ladies went bananas, tears started streaming down the faces of some, while others were panting-screaming over and over again, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" The glow of hundreds of cell phones and cameras could be seen fixed on the stage.

    The moment finally arrived: Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight rose up from a fog and flowed right into "Single" from their new album, "The Block."

    With the catalog these guys have, you would have thought that they might have pleased such a long-patient crowd with something a little more recognizable. But they could have been singing "The Hokey Pokey" and women wouldn't have cared – the screams, shrieks and sobbing was deafening.

    Looking good for guys in their late '30s and early '40s, they can still move in sync – wonder if it's like riding a bike, you just never forget how. Jordan got the most screams when he was singled out during songs – and, yes, he can still hit those high-high notes. Little Joey is all grown up now and the ladies swooned over him.

    Donnie, the group's designated bad boy, has definitely worked off the pounds he gained doing all those "Saw" horror flicks. He must have taken a cue from his brother and gone on the Marky Mark abs-of-steel diet.

    Danny kept the crowd pumped and served more as hype man with his occasional breakdancing. And Jonathan, well, he was there. He dutifully kept up his shy-and-silent persona he created in the '80s, never stepping out to do any solo parts, the camera never singling him out, unless by accident.

    "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," along with its original swinging leg dance, had the crowd jumping, and if there were more room in the aisles they surely would have mimicked the moves. When Joey got down on his knees and pleaded during "Please Don't Go Girl," the ladies melted to the floor. His vocals are far more mature now, but who could forget the first time they heard the pre-puberty vocals of a 14-year-old McIntyre belting out that romantic track.

    Extending that romantic theme, they then revived their cover of the Delfonics' "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)." Later, in typical cheesy New Kids fashion, Jordan ripped open his white button-down shirt, letting it blow freely in the wind to reveal quite the six-pack as he belted out "Baby, I Believe in You."

    Being from Boston, the New Kids have never hid their love for the Celtics and the Red Sox (Wahlberg sported a bedazzled cap throughout the show), but these guys were brave to bring their Beantown trash talk to Dodgerland – and to actually sport full-on Celtics gear in the Lakers' house during their final number. That's almost sacrilegious.

    The crowd danced through a whopping seven of 13 new songs from the group's latest album, including "Grown Man," featuring a pre-recorded appearance by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger revamping the bridge of Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools." Midway into the performance the group disappeared for a bit then reemerged on a raised and rotating platform in the center of the venue to do "2 in the Morning," "Tonight" and "Dirty Dancing" (which boasts the lamest lyric ever: "Ooh, she's like, 'Baby, I'm like Swayze'").

    While on the platform McIntyre addressed the crowd: "Is this really happening right now? Is this the (bleeping) best thing ever?" Girls in the crowd looked at each other bewildered: Did little Joey just drop an F-bomb? "Sometimes you gotta use bad words – I got excited." He dropped another one soon after, but added, "I promise I won't swear again. Two F-bombs is enough for me in one night."

    For as exciting as it was to see them again, this was still an overlong show, with the crowd forced to endure not only so many new tracks but also solo hits from Jordan ("Give It to You") and Joey ("Stay the Same"). Of course the guys encored with their most popular tracks, complete with all the bells and whistles – grand choreography, fan participation, even some pyrotechnics. This wasn't a disappointed crowd, not by a long shot.

    English pop singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield delivered an entertaining set – that girl can sing. She told the crowd: "I'm excited to be playing Staples Center. It's always been a dream of mine." (Really?)

    The crowd loved her, though. She turned in a quick six-song set, including her hits "These Words (I Love You, I Love You)," "Pocket Full of Sunshine" and a new single, "Angel." Ovaries throughout the venue rocked simultaneously during "Unwritten," the girl-anthem and theme song to MTV's "The Hills." Estrogen was in the air – and who knows, this is L.A., maybe a dramatic episode of "The Hills" was being filmed right then. Oh, to be Audrina and LC.

    Newcomer Lady Gaga (who appears on "Big Girl Now" from NKTOB's new album) put on an act that might have impressed some ditzy girls at a posh 'n' trendy ultra lounge but here it was clear she was just filler. She crawled around the stage (and all over her dancers) in shimmery silver panties that she constantly picked at to keep in place. She's nothing we haven't seen before; a way less erotic Peaches is what comes to mind. Just another oversexed pop tart in heels.

    Yet, before performing her international chart-topper "Just Dance," the title track from her debut disc (to be issued stateside Oct. 28), she insisted, loudly, "I'm not leaving the United States until it's No. 1." Probably won't need to get that passport out anytime soon, Ms. Gaga.

    Concert review: New Kids please with familiar steps

    Someone once said that as long as there are teenage girls, so will there be boy bands.

    And, as long as there are 30-something women nostalgic for their youth, so will there be boy band reunions.

    Nearly 15 years after they called it quits, the members of New Kids on the Block rocked the past Thursday night, playing to a two-thirds capacity crowd at Arco Arena.

    There were fireworks and screaming fans. A woman fainted, bras were thrown, and wandering through the crowd, one poor guy sported a "My Wife Made Me Go See NKOTB" shirt.

    Through it all, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and brothers Jordan and Jon Knight sang and danced their way through a set that clocked in at just over two hours.

    At its best, the show was brisk, fun and filled with cheeky nods to yesterday. At its worst, however, the night felt overly rehearsed and, at times, downright silly.

    Really, is it appropriate for men in their late 30s to perform the same choreographed dance numbers they were working at the dawn of '90s?

    Not that anyone seemed to mind. From the first opening notes of "Single" as the members of NKOTB emerged from a purple haze of smoke, the crowd went crazy.

    And that was just a track from their latest CD, "The Block." The hysteria shot off the charts when they launched into "(You Got It) The Right Stuff," complete with those famous shuffling dance slide steps.

    Ah, the right stuff indeed.

    Running down hits such as "I'll Be Lovin' You (Forever)," "Cover Girl" and "Baby I Believe in You," the group moved neatly in sync and sounded just as good as it did back when stonewashed denim was still acceptable and we'd never even heard of the Internet.

    Never mind that these boys-to-men felt a little too slick at times. As the group worked its way through meticulously practiced moves and trite stage banter, there were very few moments that seemed genuinely spontaneous. Seriously, how many cities do you think Donnie Wahlberg has praised as "the best"?

    Be honest with yourselves now, ladies.

    And never mind that the group went through almost as many costume changes as it did songs or that at one point, Wahlberg slung a white electric guitar around his waist but never once touched it.

    Never mind that when they busted out the new song "Grown Man," the Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger joined them in song -- from a video screen.

    Tacky? Sure. Throw in a perilously long mix of ballads that seemed to pull the set down into a yawn-fest and there's serious potential for trouble.

    But, lucky for the New Kids, their classic blend of neo-soul and funk still holds up well. And, lucky for everyone, they didn't try to dress up that sound with too much modernity. Even the new tracks, tricked out with fresh Timbaland-styled beats didn't make it feel as though the group was trying to be anything other than what it always was: fun, sweet and ready to be adored.

    Or, as Donnie, Joey, Danny, Jordan and Jon put it best: "Who gives a damn about what critics say / said we wouldn't last / said our time will pass / said it was a flash / but we're still kicking ass."

    Word.

    Live: New Kids on the Block

    Donnie Wahlberg, of the recently reunited boy band juggernaut New Kids on the Block, had some unexpected words of defiance toward the end of his group's sold-out show at Staples Center on Wednesday.

    "You know what people are saying now; it's the same thing they said 20 years ago," Wahlberg said. "They said you were too young to know what good music was, too young to have good taste. They said we were just five crazy guys from Boston. Well, who's crazy now?"

    Wahlberg might have had a point. Admitting to New Kids fandom in 2008 may be a journey to the heart of darkness for even the most seasoned poptimist or winking hipster. But Donnie, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight and Joey McIntyre's mission wasn't to disown or even revise their history as contrived tween dreamboats of the late Reagan era. It was a call to wash oneself of shame for enjoying them -- a kind of baptism to absolve the sin of "knowing better."

    By and large, the fans seemed to be well-adjusted 25- to 35-year-old women (and a few sheepish boyfriends) who weren't kidding in the '80s and weren't kidding now about their affection for New Kids. The quintet, gently aged into natty suits and fedoras but still unafraid to pop a few buttons at big choruses, rewarded them with two hours of irresistibly hokey arena balladry and hip-hop seasoned dance-pop beamed straight to the central cortex of your inner 10-year-old girl, regardless of your actual sex.

    The night's centerpiece was the bevy of top-then hits that made a New Kids lunchbox as much of a cultural staple for '80s babies as trickle-down economics was for their parents, songs including "Cover Girl" and "You've Got It (The Right Stuff)."

    If the purpose of pop is to please the most people in the most immediate way possible, then one underestimates the New Kids' skills at his or her own peril. My Bloody Valentine might have been L.A.'s loudest concert of the season, but the Staples Center crowd's reaction to an encore of "Step by Step" would have made that band's guitarist Kevin Shields plug his ears.

    The Kids' adjustment to a modern pop climate was even more surprising than the wild enthusiasm that greeted their big-gun hits. The group's comeback album this year, “The Block,” drops them firmly among Akon and Ne-Yo (both of whom guest on the album) in the school of upbeat R&B. Club-leaning tracks like "Single" and pleading makeup laments like "2 in the Morning" are wholly contemporary and master-crafted teen pop, and the Kids strutted and swooned with the same uncynical zeal as their fans as they performed the songs.

    McIntyre even dropped a couple of f-bombs in a monologue that had the Kids lounging around a piano in the middle of the arena floor. A parent with children in tow might have been a bit offended, and on those terms, the Kids made their antecedents in Jonas Brothers look wholesome by comparison. Who'd have expected that in 2008?

    The Kids would say that you did, back when you bought that lunchbox.

    'Biggest fan' appears with band on TV

    Marion resident Angie Luzadder received the biggest surprise of her life when she was selected to appear on the Rachael Ray show to compete for the honor of being named the biggest fan of New Kids on the Block. An even bigger surprise for Luzadder was being selected by the studio audience as the biggest fan of the early ’90s boy band and winning a trip to see them in concert in Los Angeles.

    The episode airs at 9 a.m. today on channels 8 and 15. Band members Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Jordan Knight joined Luzadder on the show, which was taped Sept 4.

    “I’ve been a huge New Kids on the Block fan since 1989,” Luzadder said proudly.

    She entered the nationwide contest and explained why she was the biggest fan of the singing group. She also sent along a photo of herself when she was 14 years old, surrounded by her NKOTB memorabilia.

    Luzadder wrote about her experiences as a fan, saying how she and her friends used to travel to concerts to see the group. One time, she said she snuck onto the floor of the band’s hotel room in Indianapolis and took a spoon and a ketchup bottle from their room service tray outside the door. At one concert, Luzadder ran up to the stage afterward and took a bottle of water that was left by Knight.

    Luzadder said for her the group is like the Beatles.

    “I eat, breathe and sleep New Kids on the Block,” she said.

    She has collected other merchandise, including pillows, comforters, posters and dolls, all of which she has kept over the years.

    Rachael Ray producers called her during Labor Day weekend, seeking more information. The show called back again later, telling her she was one of three fans who were invited to be on the show.

    The show asked Luzadder to send all of her NKOTB merchandise to New York City — adding up to more than $600 in shipping costs. During the show, she wore all of her memorabilia, including several buttons, and competed against two other women. One woman was from Kentucky and the other was from New York.

    The studio audience chose her as the biggest fan, and she was rewarded with an all-expenses paid trip to see the band in concert in Los Angeles.

    During the taping of the show, Knight gave Luzadder the bottle of water he was drinking after he found out airport security officials made her dump out the bottle she took from the stage 13 years ago.

    Luzadder said she had met the group in 1994 at an autograph signing, but during the taping was the first time she was able to have a picture taken with them.

    “It was a really nice trip,” Luzadder said. “It was just a wonderful experience.”

    Luzadder’s friend, Kim Cretsinger, paid her way to New York to go with Luzadder to the show.

    “She called me at the last minute, so it was a whirlwind for me to get ready,” said Cretsinger, a Jonesboro resident. “I’ve loved New Kids on the Block since I was 12, 13 or 14 maybe,” she said.

    Cretsinger said she also entered the contest. She was happy Luzadder won.

    “I was so excited,” she said. “It was amazing. It was so funny. She was just so excited. She has loved them for so long.”

    New Kids on the Block delight a sold-out crowd

    Mohegan Sun Arena was the epicenter of the thunderous din heard throughout southern New England on Tuesday night as the New Kids on the Block reunion tour touched down at the Connecticut casino.

    The concrete moved underfoot as the five friends, 15 years removed from the height of their fame, opened with "Single" to the screaming delight of the sold-out crowd.

    The New Kids, led by Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, and Joey McIntyre, and complimented by Danny Wood and Jonathan Knight, were always more talented than "boy band" critics wanted to admit. They are better now than ever.

    Jordan Knight hit the high notes, and both he and McIntyre showcased enough vocal prowess to make one wonder why solo singing careers never took off. Wahlberg was a more refined tough guy, with his bejeweled "B" baseball cap signifying his hometown and athletic allegiance.

    The songs were what they have always been, R&B based love songs with enough of a beat to allow for a well-choreographed dance routine. They took themselves seriously enough to get through the routines and genuinely seemed to enjoy the process and the reaction.

    It is the delivery that has matured. No longer do the denizens of the group seem forced and somewhat unsure when snapping off a dance move. Now, even the least graceful among them has aged gracefully and steps with an air of confidence and style.

    The dust had barely settled from the opening when the group popped up "You Got it (The Right Stuff)" and sent the audience into a frenzy once again.

    The men donned jackets, ties and fedoras for "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," and McIntyre turned up the heartthrob quotient with "Please Don't Go Girl." They were joined via video by Nicole Sherzinger of Pussycat Dolls for "Grown Man."

    Wood showed his retro-break dancing skills, crab-crawling backwards across the stage during one dance interlude and then followed his cohorts to the back of the arena where they set up on a rotating mini-stage to sing "2 in the Morning" and "Dirty Dancing."

    Jordan Knight, McIntyre and Wahlberg each had a chance to solo, with Wahlberg throwing out "Cover Girl" while wearing - if not actually playing - an electric guitar.

    He introduced the new song "Click, Click, Click" as the song that inspired the reunion, and the group closed out the show with "Summertime." The encore included "Step by Step" and "Hanging Tough," with a measure of the Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" thrown in for street-cred.

    It was a legitimate, high energy performance for more than two hours. If you were ever a fan, this is a must-see show. The New Kids on the Block return to Mohegan Sun for an encore performance on Nov. 8. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster.

    Ormond, Strathairn, O'Hara join Grandin biopic

    Julia Ormond, David Strathairn and Catherine O'Hara have joined the cast of a feature film about Temple Grandin, author of "Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior."

    Claire Danes stars as Grandin, one of the leading speakers on autism, whose firsthand experience with the disorder led to her becoming an advocate for new treatments as well as a top expert in the field of humane livestock handling.

    Ormond is set to play Grandin's mother, and Strathairn takes the role of her university science teacher. O'Hara will play her aunt.

    Merritt Johnson and Christopher Monger wrote the screenplay. Mick Jackson is directing the HBO project.

    Ormond next appears in Steven Soderbergh's "Guerrilla," with Benicio Del Toro, and David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Strathairn has finished filming the horror thriller "The Uninvited," with Elizabeth Banks. O'Hara next will be heard doing voice work in "Where the Wild Things Are."

    Back Stage - and Onstage - with New Kids

    "There's nothing like walking to a stage with your boys," says New Kids on the Block singer Joey McIntyre, who reunited with Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood for the group's first tour in almost 15 years last month. To give fans a taste of the backstage preparation – and onstage excitement! – PEOPLE has a peek of the fivesome as they get revved up for their first show together in Toronto on Sept. 18.

    "We do a little prayer before the show with the crew, the band and the dancers," McIntyre told PEOPLE. "Then we have a little huddle." Adds Jordan: "We hang out together and get psyched up with the fans so by the time we hit the stage everybody is excited."

    No one is more excited than the singers themselves. "The real fun of putting a tour together is sharing it with the crowd and going through it together," says Donnie. "It's very rewarding."

    For more on New Kids on the Block on tour, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands Friday. (Watch video here.)

    Live Review: New Kids on the Block at TD Banknorth Garden

    Thousands of people woke Sunday morning as calm, collected adults. And yet a funny thing happened on the way to the TD Banknorth Garden that night. By 9 p.m., many of those unsuspecting people (mostly women in their late twenties and early thirties) had undergone a mass regression the like of which Bostonist has never before experienced. Mature members of society were reduced to shrieking, swooning schoolgirls.

    The New Kids on the Block's second Garden appearance in three nights served as a clown car DeLorean. Fourteen years after Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Joe McIntyre last took a group curtain call, the men's highly-hyped hometown reunion shows returned a generation of adults to its earlier Blockhead form.

    What's more, the response, involuntary as it was (Bostonist underwent the transformation ourselves, screams and all), was actually warranted. What could have been a simple feel-good throwback event was instead a polished show infused with moments of giddiness - a lovefest between four guys from Dorchester, one JP product and a screaming hometown crowd.

    Shrieks within the Garden reached ear-piercing levels as the lights dimmed shortly after 9 p.m. and a video vamp with a style straight out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was projected onto screens. "15 years ago...they walked away...Tonight...they're back...Are you ready?...It's time."

    Rising to the stage in front of a glowing NKOTB emblem, the band dove into their newest radio release, the aptly titled "Single," with the dapper McIntyre modifying lyrics to tell thousands of willing ladies that "for the next couple of hours, baby, I'm gonna be your boyfriend."

    The play on words was appreciated, but the band didn't hit their stride until they wrapped up the obligatory single, kicked off the suave gentlemen moves and plunged, sneakers-first, into the time warp. If "Single" opened the NKOTB show, it was old favorites "My Favorite Girl" and "The Right Stuff" that allowed the band to shake off the years and really kick off a New Kids on the Block event. Throughout over the course of the night, the group would do their new material (catchy, even if seemingly intended for slightly younger artists) service, but seemed to relish the screams of recognition each older tune or dance move (including, yes, the Right Stuff Shuffle) prompted.

    The Kids still have it, even if the hard work is more apparent than it was in 1990. There were more slides than kicks on Sunday night, but the Knights, Wahlberg, Wood and McIntyre wisely acknowledged the age factor. Rather than recreating the experience from when CDs were new and the Internet had yet to be invented, the group was sly, even cheeky in its references: a careful selection of vintage dance moves and, in a particularly bright move, the reemergence of McIntyre's famous smiley jacket during a mini-set at a small second stage.

    Multimedia use especially favored the Boston crowd. Regularly displaying Boston-centric sights and symbols, screens around and behind the stage projected video especially familiar to the Garden before encore closer "Hangin' Tough" - the Celtics' pre-game video footage, KG scream and all (diehard fan Wahlberg clearly had his hands in the show production).

    Jumping up and down in their customized Celtics jerseys at what was the end of both the song and the night, the men didn't look like the husbands and fathers the New Kids on the Block have become. Instead they were the cute, goofy boys that Boston girls fell for in the bubblegum days of old.

    Clearly, some things never change.

    New Kids On The Block through the years

    1986: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

    Almost every song on their debut album sounded like a page off a Teen Beat magazine fun fact sheet.

    'I'm Donnie, lovable Leo,' Wahlberg cooed harmlessly on I Wanna Be Loved By You. Who would've guessed that five years later, he would be charged with trying to start a fire in a hotel room?

    Music-wise, this was bubblegum pop at its best - heavily synthesised beats and catchy, rhyming lyrics.

    The album bombed, but it ended up being definitive because it gave the boys their final group name. Before its release, they were called the horrible-sounding Nynuk.

    1988: HANGIN' TOUGH

    With an album cover shot in an underground subway, and their jeans ripped, they tried to make their transition from a kid-friendly to a streetwise image.

    'If you try to keep us down, we're gonna come right back,' they bragged gang-style on the title track.

    While the soppier numbers such as Please Don't Go Girl and I'll Be Loving You (Forever) betrayed the group's manufactured pop sensibilities, this was their breakthrough album.

    It sold 12 million copies worldwide, spawned five Top 10 hits and won two American Music Awards.

    1989: MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS

    THIS holiday offering was filled with remakes of carols such as Little Drummer Boy and White Christmas.

    A handful of the tunes were, in my opinion, some of the best ballads the group had done, such as I'll Be Missing You Come Christmas and I Still Believe In Santa Claus. But, as the album's release was so rushed (barely a year after the previous album), it seemed as if they were greedily trying to cash in on its massive popularity.

    Besides, holiday albums are best left to artistes sitting in the 'adult contemporary' section.

    1990: STEP BY STEP

    RELYING heavily on Starr's contributions, this album was filled with seamless, identical pop ditties.

    But the cracks were starting to appear.

    In an attempt to make the group seem versatile, the producers pulled in random genres - reggae (Stay With Me Baby), changing ska tempos (Tonight), funk (Games) and just outright silly (Happy Birthday).

    The result was a rather messy piece of work, a sign that the group was spending more time signing autographs than in the studios making a decent album.

    Step By Step still made multi-platinum, but the third single failed to even crack the Top 50.

    1994: FACE THE MUSIC

    Overexposure and accusations of lip-syncing - the public backlash started. To appear more adult, the boys shortened their name to NKOTB, booted out Starr and grew out their facial hair for the album cover.

    With Wahlberg and Wood's creative input, the songs had a tougher, more macho rap and R&B style. But it seemed that they were trying to overcompensate for years of toothache-inducing tunes. Besides, no amount of drum machines could hide Knight's annoying falsettos.

    The album peaked at a dismal No. 37 on Billboard and one year later, NKOTB split.

    2008: THE BLOCK

    Now, NKOTB has nothing to lose. If this works, the group gets another shot at fame. If not, it can still sit pretty on those royalties from keychains and pillowcases.

    The Block is sleek, chic, technically sound, and boasts the requisite line-up of hot guest artistes (Lady GaGa, Ne-Yo, Akon, The Pussycat Dolls). Tracks such as Sexify My Love and Single hit you instantly.

    But it certainly does not sound like an album from a group with such experience. Perhaps that was the aim - to carve out a whole new generation of Blockheads.

    Me? I'm more excited that Bros might be reuniting.

    An old fan reconnects with the New Kids

    I have good taste in music. I swear on my stack of Van Morrison, Rufus Wainwright and Beck.

    But I have a confession to make. I recently dropped an obscene amount of money on a ticket to see New Kids on the Block, the early-'90s boy band mounting a comeback tour this year on the backs of thousands of nostalgic suckers like me.

    And my sister.

    And three friends who have suggested we have T-shirts made. (These $100-a-pop tickets are hard-won; the first show we tried for sold out in minutes.)

    We are in our 30s, and this time, we don't have to save baby-sitting money or beg mom to drive us to the concert in her station wagon. We are professional women with interesting lives. And we are screaming like little girls over Joey McIntyre. (He's the cute one, still.)

    Make no mistake - our Nov. 5 pilgrimage to the Wachovia Center is not about the songwriting.

    With gems like "You got the right stuff, baby, love the way you turn me on/ You got the right stuff, baby, you're the reason why I sing this song," how could it be?

    It's about the best parts of being 12 and 13 and 14 again, when we were on the cusp of something exciting and so newly thrilled about pop music that we actually manufactured tears while in the same room with an artist we adored.

    These days, the singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne really speaks to me, but I'm pretty sure I won't start bawling when I see him in concert.

    Amy, my sister, whose well-worn cassette copy of Hangin' Tough I stole more times than I care to count, will be seven months pregnant at the concert. She suggests we roll our jeans and tease our hair.

    OK, so this isn't about the music at all.

    Though the greatest-hits CD is on heavy rotation on my iPod, I have passed on purchasing The Block, the group's new release, which has garnered some not-terrible early reviews.

    It's mostly because when I was 12, I was sure that love would sound exactly like my favorite New Kid Jordan Knight warbling "If You Go Away."

    New Kids was my first concert - it was my middle-school best friend, Shelby Friedman and me, 13, in the nosebleed seats of the Spectrum. Shelby fell into hysterics when Joey pointed at her handmade "I Love You Joey" sign and smiled.

    Surely that was a sign that they were destined to be together, right?

    I tracked down Shelby in Charlotte, N.C., where she's Shelby Greenberg now, an audiologist with a little girl, and very excited to see the band when they hit her area.

    "It was my first concert, and the best one yet," she said of our 1991 experience.

    Shelby said she feels "like a dork" over the Joey incident, the T-shirts, buttons, collectible cards and posters. But does the flame still burn?

    "It's a shame that we are both married with kids, or he would be in trouble now that we are adults," she said.

    Elayne Rapping, a professor of American Studies and pop culture expert at the University of Buffalo, said there's a reason the New Kids are touring, Beverly Hills 90210 is back, and Transformers is a hit at the movie theater.

    "They're not reviving Frank Sinatra," Rapping said. "They're revisiting stuff that appeals to people in the 18-to-49 age range."

    This particular reunion tour isn't surprising for two reasons, Rapping said. First, nostalgia sells, and second, we like to see those we idolized in our youth age like the rest of us.

    We want to see how 90210's Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) fares as a single mom, for instance. We can relate to that.

    I find it comforting that the New Kids are no longer perfect pretty boys. They're all pushing 40 now. Jon is a real estate agent. Donny's got a teenager of his own, a musical kid who thinks his dad is lame.

    I can imagine the guys who once donned matching outfits and executed synchronized dance moves taking out the garbage and grousing about property taxes, like I do. Boring, comforting stuff.

    Lest you think I am totally blinded by warm adolescent memories, I have turned a somewhat critical eye toward a few things, such as: Why did Jordan constantly sing in that falsetto? Why did he humiliate himself by going on The Surreal Life? What was with the awkward, stiff rap phase, the ridiculous insistence on calling themselves "NKOTB"?

    But still, my friend Elisa and I exchange e-mails about whether we'd marry a New Kid if he asked us. Elisa, happily married, going to the concert with me, says no. I say yes.

    Surely my boyfriend wouldn't deny me the joy of crossing out one of the items on my adolescent to-do list.

    For reunited New Kids on the Block, comeback trail leads to The Q

    New Kids on the Block went their separate ways in 1994. Now they're back with a new album, "The Block," and a tour. Jordan Knight, 38, gave us a call this week from aboard the group's bus.

    Q: How does it feel to be together again? Is there a sense of deja vu, or does it feel different?

    A: We're feeling both new and nostalgic. And I think the crowd is also getting that same vibe.

    We are reliving memories, but we're also doing new songs and doing new things onstage.

    Q: Who comes to the shows?

    A: Definitely lots and lots of old fans. . . . Also younger fans [who] have seen our videos and stuff on VH1 and MTV and heard the stuff on the radio.

    And old fans who are married now, their husband and their brothers are coming. Before it was very uncool for a male to come to our show. Now, people are more mature and grown-up, where they don't have to be as cool, really. They can say, "Hey, I like the guys. Whatever. I'm going to the show."

    Q: Presumably, your individual musical tastes have changed over the years. How did you find common ground when recording the new album?

    A: We knew what worked for us in the past, and that was pop music that leans R&B and urban. . . . We just stuck with what worked.

    Q: Is it fair to say you couldn't have done songs like "Grown Man" or "Sexify My Love" 15 years ago?

    A: That's probably safe to say. We couldn't use some of the lyrics that we're using now. And rightly so, I think.

    We were young. We weren't as mature, obviously, as we are now. . . . We were just figuring out sexuality ourselves.

    To sing it to a younger audience, that wouldn't be good. We knew that. We knew the age group that we were singing to, and we were cognizant of that, and respectful.

    Now, we're just naturally singing about where we're at it in life and where we believe our fans are at in life.

    Q: When NKOTB had its heyday around 1990, the U.S. was in a recession. Now you're back and the country is once again in the midst of a financial crisis. Coincidence?

    A: I think it's a coincidence. It may not be, but I don't have that wide view of things.

    New Kids do good in recessions. It's a joke that we throw around. Another joke is that we're trying to do our best to kick-start the economy by going out here and touring and getting money flowing around. . . . That's our part in trying to solve this problem.

    New Men on the Block

    Nostalgia is a funny thing.

    The passage of time can make things that seemed so crucial, so important or so egregious at the time seem less so.

    Bands and artists who were once so uncool (even when ridiculously popular) can gain hip, hipster or kitsch cache when aging fans reminisce about simpler times in their lives.

    Case in point.

    The New Kids on the Block are back with a new album called The Block and a new tour — their first in 15 years — that will stop Friday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

    The group — Joey McIntyre, Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood and ''bad boy'' Donnie Wahlberg — have grown from fresh-faced teens to near 40-year-old men, husbands and fathers (four of the five have children). They have watched their boy-band mantle — or their ''block'' as they jokingly refer to it — occupied by successors such as N*Sync, the Backstreet Boys and now the Jonas Brothers.

    But the New Kids aren't just back to cash in on fans' desire to relive the obsessions of youth. The group wants to establish itself as adults making music for adults. In other words, they are now ''New Men on the Block.''

    The New Kids story began with Maurice Starr, a Svengali- like musical entrepreneur who took four black kids from a bad Boston neighborhood and turned them into New Edition. After that group's break with Starr, the managerrealized that if he followed the same formula with white faces, his returns would likely grow exponentially.

    In 1984, he found 16-year-old Donnie Wahlberg in Dorchester, Mass., who corralled most of the other members from his circle of friends. The early version of the group briefly included Wahlberg's younger brother Mark wholater introduced himself to the world as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

    Eventually, bright-eyed 12-year-old Joey McIntyre was located and rounded out the group's ''classic'' lineup.

    From that starting point, Starr, who is also a songwriter, followed his New Edition template replacing teen-oriented R&B tunes with mainstream pop songs designed to give tween-aged girls someone on which to unleash their hormonal screeches and an impressive plethora of merchandise that their parents could purchase.

    Starr got the group a record deal with Columbia and the group's self-titled 1986 debut didn't fare well at first, but Starr kept the group on the road performingeverywhere. The group's second album, Hanging Tough, found the New Kids trying to shed the bubble gum tag and featured the hits Please Don't Go Girl, You Got It (The Right Stuff), the No. 1 single, I'll Be Loving You (Forever), and the still laughably awful title track.

    The album went on to sell more than 8 million copies domestically and established the group as a teen phenomenon. The streak continued with the slightly less successful but still quintuple-platinum-selling Step By Step which contained the chart-topping title track and the top 10 hit Tonight.

    By the dawn of the '90s, the New Kids had become an object of derision with allegations of lip-synched live shows (which they deny), a fan base that was growing up, and an embarrassing amount of marketing and merchandising which Disney has since made standard operating procedure with kid-aimed artists such as the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. Additionally, the aging group oozed a laughable corniness that along with the proliferation of hair metal would help open the door to the navel gazing and dour sounds of the grunge '90s.

    In 1994, the same year unhappy grunge king Kurt Cobain decided it was better to burn out than fade away, the group broke with Starr, changed its name to NKOTB and released the R&B flavored Face the Music, featuring a cover photo of the now young men on the block looking stone-faced and pensive. But their time had passed and they broke up not long after.

    After the breakupLike his brother, Wahlberg, now 39, left music to begin a successful acting career and is now acting as the group's manager. Jonathan Knight, 39, who endured panic attacks during the band's heyday, became a successful real estate mogul.

    McIntyre, 35, went solo and has built a small but loyal base of fans. He released an album, Talk to Me in 2006.

    Danny Wood, 39, tried joining other groups — D-Fuse and D-Wood — but eventually went solo releasing Coming Home in 2007. Jordan Knight, 38, has had some success, releasing a self-titled album in 1999 that sold gold on the strength of the single Give It to You.

    The Block probably won't pad NKOTB's 70 million-plus record sales total much, but it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The tour, which opened a few weeks ago in Canada, has brought the man band back in front of its audience, members of whom can now afford to buy their own concert tickets.

    If the album's purpose is to establish NKOTB in 2008 as grown men with the accompanying needs and desires, it is successful. The music is a pastiche of current contemporary R&B/pop trends. Throughout the baker's dozen tracks, several of which were co-written by group members, the songs revel in carnality.

    Click Click Click finds the men so enamored with their paramour that they feel compelled to take pictures (''bounce for me, bounce for me, my camera loves you,'' they sing). Keeping with the voyeuristic nature of the 21st Century, on Light, Camera, Action they trade their camera for a video recorder (''you turn on the lights, I'll set up the camera, let's get to the action'') over a generic thumping groove.

    Guests on album

    Current R&B singer/songwriter Ne-Yo lends the group his recent song Single and appears on the track lending it the sound of a really well-recorded karaoke version. The single Summertime is awash in synths and the staccato singing style prevalent in so much of ''blazing hip-hop and R&B,'' while Sexify My Love is as corny as its title suggests.

    Other guests include the Pussycat Dolls (which means singer Nicole Scherzinger) and R&B hitmaker Akon. On Full Service, the group teams up with New Edition (minus Bobby Brown) to bring the '80s boy-band revolution full circle.

    Overall, The Block with its de rigeur autotuned vocals, spare grooves, club jams and ballads is as generic and workmanlike a contemporary R&B album as any on the market. But it serves its purpose by placing NKOTB in the here and now and giving them new material to perform every night for the thousands of screaming fans awaiting their chance to hold up their ''I'm legal now'' and ''Donny, I had a crush on you back then, and I've got a crush on you now. Let me backstage!!!,'' (two signs observed during their Canadian run) during The Right Stuff.

    The group members admit they've missed each other and the spotlight and the love from the audience. But they have also come to appreciate being able to engage their adult fans in real conversations and not worrying about being torn to pieces.

    Whether New Kids on the Block can turn this tour down memory lane into a revitalized and continuing career remains to be seen, and the group has yet to state any definite plans. If the New Kids do decide to keep it going, it will take a more definitive musical statement than the trend-hopping The Block. Nostalgia can put a nice rosy glow on one's memories, but that warm fuzzy feeling eventually wears off. Many fans will put their Hanging Tough cassette tapes back in their closets (though perhaps not buried as deep as they previously were) and fill their MP3 players with new songs and get on with their lives.

    Join the New Kids On The Block to Fight For a Cure

    The New Kids on the Block are doing their part to fight for a cure during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And it’s an issue that hits close to home for the band. After singer Danny Wood’s mother Elizabeth “Betty” Wood passed away after a battle with the disease, Danny and the other New Kids knew they wanted to do something to honor her memory and also benefit their fans. “A lot of the women coming to the shows need to be aware of early detection. They’re in that age from 25-35 where they need to get their first exams,” Danny tells PEOPLE. “That was the problem for my mother. By the time she found out, it was too late — and I don’t want that to happen to anyone else when it could be prevented.” To help support the cause and keep the memory of Elizabeth Wood alive, the band is selling limited-edition NKOTB tanks featuring the Breast Cancer pink ribbon, $35, with all proceeds supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Danny, who chose the charity says, “They’re the best foundation I’ve worked with. I’ve done their races in the past and I know it’s something my mom would have wanted.” Click here to purchase one of the tanks and help in the fight for a cure.

    NKOTB VH1 BEHIND THE MUSIC RE-AIRINGS!

    If you missed the VH1 New Kids On The Block Behind The Music Special Event, you still have a chance to watch, airings below, check local listings for times in your area, only on VH1:

    1:00am- Oct 1st
    11:00pm- Oct 1st
    3:00pm- Oct 3rd
    11:00am- Oct 4th
    3:00am- Oct 6th
    1:30am- Oct 8th
    3:00pm- Oct 9th

    New Kids on the Block play old hits for fans at Borgata

    Those five New Kids on the Block during the late 1980s evolved into some pretty smart men 20 years later.

    With all the original members - Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight in tow - the quintet came on stage Saturday at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa singing a song with the lines, "You don't gotta be alone, I'll be your boyfriend."

    For the more than 2,000 women crammed into the Event Center, that's all they needed to hear to let their dreams and fantasies fly as the New Kids' invitation was greeted with loud screaming.

    They started their North American tour Sept. 18 in Toronto. Their show at Borgata was only the eighth concert of the tour. During their live show, they concentrated on songs from their greatest-hits collection and new material from their first CD in 14 years, titled "The Block," which was released earlier this month.

    The crowd was 99 percent female and ranged in age from women in their 20s to those in their 40s.

    Even in their heyday in the late '80s and early '90s , the predecessors to Backstreet Boys and N' Sync were not the best singers or dancers, nor did they sing the best songs, but this reunited version sure can put on an entertaining show.

    They achieved a great sounding concert with only bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. They performed on a bi-level stage with four female dancers.

    The five guys were laughing and smiling on stage as they recreated their old-school choreography to one of their biggest '80s hits "(You Got It) The Right Stuff." Jordan Knight's voice held up remarkably well over the years as he sang the song "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)."

    After about the first seven songs, Wahlberg addressed the enthusiastic crowd while the other members were off stage.

    "You are already louder than the crowd at the Izod Center, and you are three or four times smaller. I wonder if you can get close to the level of loudness we had in Boston," Wahlberg said, producing even more screaming.

    "Somebody out there forgot about you. They thought you were a bunch of crazy teenagers that didn't know nothing. Well, look at us now," said Wahlberg, who added he would remember this show because it was such an intimate venue.

    The New Kids will be playing mostly arenas holding more than 10,000 people on this tour.

    This was the quintet's first appearance in this resort town since August 1989 when they performed at the now-defunct 3,800-seat Bally's Grandstand Under the Stars with another successful teen pop act of that time, Tiffany.

    Extremely popular with preteen and teen girls during the '80s, fans of the group are now mothers in their 30s and 40s, and some brought their daughters to the show.

    Originally created by Maurice Starr in 1984 as a white counterpart act to then-popular R&B and pop act New Edition, which included Bobby Brown, New Kids on the Block toured the world and sold 70 million records during their initial recording career from 1986 to 1994.

    They perform Nov. 5 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and are set to return Nov. 7 to the Borgata with opening act Natasha Bedingfield.

    New Kids create frenzy in Boston

    Don’t call it a comeback. This was a resurrection of biblical proportions.

    Last night the New Kids on the Block returned to Boston after a decade and a half away with the first of two sold-out TD Banknorth Garden shows - the second is tomorrow. It was a wicked homecoming that raced with the beating hearts and raging hormones of thousands of teenage girls. Only this wasn’t “The Hills” crowd, but 20- and 30-somethings weened on “90210.”

    Boston’s fab five had the bravado to begin their show with a Hollywood-style preview. Especially because it was like Jerry Bruckheimer presents NKOTB: “15 years ago they walked away,” flashed across the screen. “Tonight the Block is back. Are you ready?”

    It was a rhetorical question.

    With lights flashing, and camera phones clicking, the New Kids rose up to shrieks of pleasure and launched into their new single, “Single.” And for two hours the insanity didn’t stop.

    Joey McIntyre took a solo, they screamed. Danny Wood break danced, they cheered. Jordan Knight smiled, they squealed. Donnie Wahlberg rapped (sort of), 13,000 women had acute psychotic episodes. Even Jordan, who managed to remain almost anonymous under a score of spotlights, got them giddy.

    The new songs had them grooving - often because tunes like “Twisted” and “Click Click Click” actually have better grooves than the old stuff. But it was the classics (note, this term is being used very loosely) that tore the place up.

    “(You Got It) The Right Stuff,” which is probably the Kids’ best tune (again, best is being used loosely), was better than Doc Brown’s flux capacitor at bringing the army of woman 20 years back in time. “My Favorite Girl” took them back to their bedrooms with their NKOTB lunch boxes, sheets and buttons (well, actually they brought the buttons with them). And “Didnt I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” was another rhetorical question.

    And the encore? “Step By Step” and “Hangin’ Tough” (in Celtics [team stats] jerseys with Paul Pierce [stats] and the NBA championship trophy) were like the second coming of, um, the New Kids - sure the groups vocals were totally off, but did you see that footwork? Like, totally awesome.

    There were flaws. Joey missed a couple big notes, Danny can’t much sing at all and, oh, their whole catalog is a tsunami of Cheez Whiz! And things have changed, mostly for the better. The band now has three frontmen in Donnie, Jordan and Joey (who all did solo songs). Their dancing has improved. And everyone, fans and New Kids, are better looking with those awkward years behind them. Now let’s just put away those dinner-plate-sized pins for a while, shall we?

    Still Kids, just more polished

    The New Kids on the Block may be old enough to have fathered the Jonas Brothers, but members of the recently-reunited Boston boy band, who played to a sold-out crowd of 13,360 at the TD Banknorth Garden last night, proved that they can sing in harmony and kick their legs from side-to-side with as much energy and charm as they did 15 years ago.

    Taking themselves just seriously enough, the now 35- to 39-year-old Kids, who sold more than 70 million albums before they called it quits in 1994, energetically danced and sang through two hours of new material and now 20-year-old classics like "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)." There were costume changes, unbuttoned shirts, frequent nods to the Celtics, and talk of the years spent rehearsing in Jordan and Jonathan Knight's basement.

    Ringleader Donnie Wahlberg, who sported a cap with a sparkling "B" for much of the night, fought tears as he told the crowd he was at a loss for words for the "appropriate thing to say to this beautiful city."

    The Garden was more than ready for Wahlberg's love-in. Many of the fans, who were mostly women between the ages of 28 and 40, came to the show in 20-year-old T-shirts and buttons, and held signs that said things like "Before there was Justin there was Jordan," and "Donnie and Jordan in '08."

    The crowd took well to tracks from the new album "The Block," specifically "Single," "Click Click Click," and "Summertime," but they got out of their seats, arms in the air, for the classics.

    "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" produced prolonged high-pitched screams, and Joey McIntyre's ballad "Please Don't Go Girl" had a few female fans re-pledging their love, screaming, "I'll marry you Joey," despite the fact that they were wearing wedding rings.

    But the show was more than just nostalgia. As it turns out, the Kids are surprisingly polished. At 38, Jordan Knight still has a crisp falsetto, and Joey Mac's voice is sexier 20 years past puberty.

    Unlike other reunion tours (the Police included), NKOTB performed like a group that re-entered the scene for more than just a padding for retirement. The men giggled and grinned. They did the Roger Rabbit. They showered the crowd with countless "thank you"s.

    Usually during a Garden encore, at least some of the concert crowd makes an early run for the exits, but almost no one left during "Hangin' Tough," which had the men doing the New Kids dance in Celtics jerseys. The song ended with Wahlberg welcoming Paul Pierce to the stage to show off the C's shiny, gold championship trophy.

    Opening the show with a short set was R&B singer Colby O'Donis, followed by happy popster Natasha Bedingfield, who performed radio singles such as "Pocketful of Sunshine" and "Unwritten."

    Bedingfield looked very Debbie Harry with tight pants and a new-wave hairdo, but she didn't have the vocal chops or the stage presence to fill the Garden. The British singer did tell the crowd that Boston is one of the best cities in the United States and that it certainly has the best basketball team in the world.

    It seems the New Kids have taught her something.

    Kids talk: Donnie Wahlberg's split, Jordan Knight's fright

    As the members of New Kids on the Block pull into town tomorrow for the first of two sold-out hometown performances, there is all kinds of behind-the-scenes intrigue involving Donnie, Joey, Danny, Jordan and Jonathan.

    First off, there’s newly-filed-for-divorce Donnie, who announced his split with wife, Kim, just as NKOTB embarked on the tour.

    Donnie claims he’s single, but our spies say he hooked up with Danity Kane lead singer Aubrey O’Day back in June - after he and Kim reportedly separated but before they filed for divorce. And the New York tabs said the two looked “cozy” at the premiere of Donnie’s new flick, “Righteous Kill,” last week.

    But Wahlberg took pains to advertise his availibility at a gig in Jersey the other night. Saying he’d like to “address a few rumors,” Wahlberg put on a black baseball cap that said “Single” - to the delight of the ever-faithful NKOTB faithful.

    Perhaps the Aubrey thing was just a fling and he won’t be Loving her (Forever). Because Diddy’s protege was supposed to be in town this weekend to do a gig at The Estate. Which would have put her in rather close proximity to Donnie, who’s at the Garden.

    However, we’re told that Ms. O’Day abruptly pulled the plug on her appearance yesterday and rescheduled it for Oct. 11 - when the New Kids will be 2,500 miles away in Las Vegas. Discuss . . .

    Then there’s Jonathan Knight, who we hear may be suffering a recurrence of those panic attacks that ended his first NKOTB go-round.

    You may recall that Jonathan dropped out of the group back in 1994 because he couldn’t cope with the New Kids’ massive success. Knight told People that the unrelenting spotlight, the out-of-control crowds and relentless touring schedule caused him to suffer debilitating anxiety attacks.

    After NKOTB broke up he retreated to a farm in Essex, Mass., and went into the real-estate biz. Knight lived under the radar until the reunion - which, we’re told, he thought would be a small little “for old times’ sake” kind of thing.

    “He didn’t think it would be this big,” said our snitch. “None of the guys really did.”

    A source close to the band denies that Jonathan is having issues, saying all was “fine” during the Canadian leg of the tour last week.

    “You are correct about their expectations though,” said the band source. “I don’t think anyone thought it would be THIS big. They are thrilled . . .”

    Sunday night VH1 will do its first-ever “Behind The Music” live special from the Garden, hosted by Medford homegal Maria Menounos of “Access Hollywood” fame.

    BTW, a limited number of tickets to the Boston shows became available yesterday. Go to the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office, www.livenation.com or call 866-448-7849.

    Lucky Donnie Wahlberg

    New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg got up close and personal with Lucky, the Celtics mascot and the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the Celts first USI Shamrock Classic golf tournament yesterday at Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton.

    Celtics Glen Davis, Eddie House, Leon Powe, rookies Patrick O’Bryant and Bill Walker, Coach Doc Rivers, owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca teed off with legends M.L. Carr, Bob Cousy, Jo Jo White and John Havlicek to raise some dough for the team’s kids charities.

    Kids stuff

    Torrential downpours, a presidential debate and a worldwide economic meltdown? Who cares? New Kids on the Block are back in Boston.

    All was right in the world inside the walls of TD Banknorth Garden last night, where thousands of crazed, mostly grown women decked out in oversized pins, painter’s hats and vintage T-shirts came to see their favorite boy band.

    “This is a dream come true,” squealed Kristie Mittelmark, 29, of Brookline, who with seven of her friends and co-workers bought presale tickets last summer when she first found out the New Kids were getting back together.

    “It’s just about being young, being a goofball and seeing Donnie.”

    It was a whacked-out wave of womanly worship, with more screaming by adult females than at any maternity ward in Boston. But that’s the hold Joey, Donnie, Jonathan, Danny and Jordan have over the crowd, who fell in love with the fresh-faced teenagers back in the ’80s. And like with all first loves, these ladies have a hard time letting go.

    “We were obsessed with them when we were kids and all went to their concert at Great Woods back in the ’80s,” said Eleicea Brandolini, 31, of Quincy.

    Brandolini and her four fellow elementary school teachers left the school kids behind yesterday afternoon to see the New Kids at night, and wore silk, sequins and skirts, all in the hopes of getting backstage to see their idols.

    “We just want to feel young again,” said Renee Anastos, 30, of Quincy.

    Immaturity was on deck from the start, with fans texting the boys via Jumbotron before the concert with messages like “Baby I am single single!” and “Danny I had a crush on you back then and I have a crush on you now, Let me backstage!”

    Foolish fun was one of the reasons a foursome from Seattle left a total of three husbands and six kids and took the red eye Thursday to see New Kids perform in their hometown.

    “We saw them every chance we got back in the ’80s and would try to sneak into their hotels, the whole thing,” said Stacy Howard, 31, a public relations director for the Salvation Army. “Maybe they’ll remember us. We brought the rain.”

    LiveDaily Interview: Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block

    After New Kids on the Block [ tickets ]'s 14-year hiatus, Donnie Wahlberg said he was surprised by the chemistry that remained between the group and its fans.

    "It's pretty intense between us and the fans," the soft-spoken Wahlberg said during an interview with LiveDaily. "That's the part that's sort of shocking everyone. The emotional kicker is the bond between us and the fans."

    He's also flattered that fans will spend their hard-earned cash and free time with New Kids on the Block, which recently released the album "The Block." In turn, the act--which also includes Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight and Danny Wood-- has "set out to give them everything they could hope for with this show--the old, the new, the balance of both.

    "It's not dull," Wahlberg added. "It's not overly self-indulgent. It's a very unselfish show, to be honest with you. That was our goal: To give people their money's worth. I think that's what you can expect--to get just that and more. We could say, 'Hey, we're going to give you value. We're going to give you two hours. We're going to kick ass. We're going to do every song we can imagine. We're going to do every dance step that you remember and tons of new dance steps. We're going to work our asses off. And we're going to give you the money's worth.' The thing you could never plan for was this unity that's happening in the building."

    Wahlberg took the time to talk to LiveDaily about his group's return to the stage, why "Summertime" was the perfect first single and why creativity is a mystery.

    LiveDaily: How's the tour going?

    Donnie Wahlberg: It's coming along.

    Is it better than you thought it would be?

    I think the reaction from the crowds and from the fans is more than I could have imagined it could be. In terms of the work itself, I would hope it would be the best set we could do and nothing less. There's always two ways to answer these questions. I think the fan reaction has been mind boggling at times, how amazing it's been and consistent and intense. As far as the work itself, it's a whole 'nother thing. The creative process is what it is. People say, like, 'How does it feel to be doing it again?' I'm part of a creative process. Being part of a creative process is always fun and exciting. It's always exciting and very satisfying. It's not like, 'How does it feel to be sleeping with your ex-wife?' or a girlfriend from high school again after 20 years. It's not like that. It's like, 'How does it feel to be creative again?' It feels the same way it always feels when you're creative--it feels incredible.

    It must also feel good to be back out on the stage after taking such a long break.

    It's just a creative process. The fans and their reaction is the part that you can't expect. That can only surprise you. Does it feel great to be on stage again? I always feel like I'm on stage. Even if I'm acting, I'm somewhat on a stage. But it's so much about where you are. It's about what you're doing. When I'm on stage, I'm being creative and performing, and if I'm on a movie set, I'm doing the same thing. That feeling is always a very satisfying and rewarding feeling.

    Was it hard to put your movie career on hold for New Kids on the Block?

    Um, was it difficult? No. It wasn't difficult because the goals were to make music, to make new music, to make an album. I was feeling very passionate about writing songs and being creative in a different way than acting for a little while. I think certain changes taking place in my life certainly probably lit that fire. If it was just a reunion of doing old songs and the same old stuff, yeah, I would not have put my career on hold for that. I don't go backward in life. I go forward. In order to work with the New Kids, it had to be in a way that was going to create forward momentum for me. Or be a new challenge as opposed to an old challenge, or trying to reignite an old flame. The central part of it was putting the album together. The fact that we were making new music, it really drove me to really want to take part in it and not only take part in it, but be in the forefront of it.

    Why is now the right time for a New Kids on the Block reunion?

    I can't answer that question. I can't answer that. I could try. You make a choice and you put your energy out there and people react or not. For the five guys, why was it time? I think you'd have to ask each guy individually. For me, had it not worked, I'm sure a lot of people would have said, 'What the hell were you thinking Donnie?' But I believed it would work. I believed we could put a great album together and put a great tour together. I think we had the maturity to not worry about the things we can't control. You can spend 11 months, 12 months saying, 'What if no one comes? What if no one comes? What if the fans don't react?' If we make a great album, and they don't react well, then we made a great album and we can feel good about that. That's kind of the approach that I take as an actor. I just do my best work. I can't control what happens with the movie once it's done. It's the same thing with this. I focused on the things I could control and didn't worry. I did all the work, the research, and different things I could do to ensure the greatest success. I didn't sit around with my fingers crossed. I definitely took initiative and did things to sort of fire up the buzz about the group and stuff. At the same time, I didn't lose sleep over the things that were out of the New Kids' control. I lost sleep making music.

    What was the songwriting process like for "The Block"?

    It depended on the situation. What happened mostly was that [producer] Nazri, the young kid who wrote "Click Click Click," which was the first song that really kind of lit the spark in me, him and I became really close and we started writing a lot together. As different producers were coming around wanting to work with the group, I would screen them out to see if they had the right energy for the project and then, usually, I would invite Nazri and he and I would write together with the producers. At times different guys in the group would come along. Other times, there was just me. I think the difference in the songwriting process this time for me more than any time in the past was that, in the past, I was always very isolated. I was in Boston, in my studio, in my workspace with my team. I would control songs from the ground up. This time, I was much more of a collaborator. I would meet with a producer who I really liked. They would start building a track with me. We would start throwing ideas around and just write a song that way. It was much more open for me. I think probably, again, my acting career has really helped me so much [with] doing [New Kids] over again. My work ethic is much greater because of my acting career, and applying my work ethic now to the energy and creativity that I already had--it's almost like I'm a kid in a candy store in the music business. You put me with talented producers [and], with my work ethic, we're going to get great s--- done. I won't sleep until it's right. That's how I am as an actor. It's the same with the tour: I'll never sleep until my creative juices are completely drained. I got the answer to the mystery I'm trying to figure out--which, every day in the creative world, there's always a new mystery. I think, as an actor, I've had to be much more collaborative with writers, screenwriters, directors and stuff like that. I've sort of applied a lot of that into my songwriting this time. It made me a better songwriter, for sure.

    Had you been writing songs during the break?

    No, not at all. There hadn't been much to write about.

    How did you choose "Summertime" as the first single?

    It was a matter of time, circumstance and other factors. The song really spoke to the New Kids' sensibilities. There was a lot of trying something, a real departure from what the New Kids did. Like, something really different, 'Let's shock the world.' At the same time, when you take those chances, you run the risk of alienating your core fans. I think the most important thing for us to establish was our desire to bring back our core fans. We don't want to alienate the people who made us who we were in the first place. We want to give them the option of coming back to the table. The song was sort of about them. It was springtime, summertime was coming along. Thematically and time-wise, it just made a lot of sense.

    How do you feel "The Block" fits in with your catalog?

    I think it's the perfect next chapter. I think our last album, "Face the Music," was a little too much of a departure at times from the traditional New Kids' sound. I think we did a better job this time of balancing the different musical sensibilities in the group with the tried and true New Kids sound. There's a lot of great melodies and harmonies and simple pop melodies. But I think we brought in the other elements--hip-hop and R&B--much better without bogging it down. It's a much more unselfish album. Music really comes from an unselfish place. There's songs that some people think are very sexual. But they're really celebrations of women, in a lot of cases. Even the song "Sexify My Love," it's not really as just sex-based as it sounds. It's about taking on a relationship that's been building to the next step. It's not like, 'Hey, let's have sex on the first date.' It's saying, 'Hey we've been seeing each other for awhile and we really love each other, maybe it's time to go to that next step.' That's kind of rare these days, for anyone to wait until the second or third date. It's almost unheard of. This song is about doing it after already falling in love with someone.

    What's next? Have you started thinking about another album?

    We're five dates into a 50-stop tour and I can tell you the only thing on my mind is stop No. 6. I'll be honest with you: I do plan things long range, but, right now, getting the tour up and running has been such a priority and the focal point in my life, I haven't really begun to explore the options yet. Probably by show No. 7, I'll be ready to start exploring what the future holds.

    NEW KIDS (are back) ON THE BLOCK

    In a ringtone world speeding by so fast, maybe we need a cassette group to make it slow down a little.

    That where the New Kids on the Block come in.

    "We're like comfort food," said New Kids member Joey McIntyre. "There are certain things that bring you comfort, and people latch onto that. Things go by so fast, and the fact that we have such a history and connection with our fans, we can share that with them, and bringing something new is even more exciting."

    The Boston vocal group — founded by music impresario Maurice Starr in 1984 — is in the midst of a comeback, and, surprise, it's going very well. There's an upcoming North America arena tour, which is a far cry from the clubs the guys hit during their mid-'90s NKOTB downfall. A new album, "The Block," is a critical hit, proving to be a work more of conviction than confection. It debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's pop chart with 95,000 CDs sold.

    "We had a stage, but we also wanted to make music that we're proud of and make an album that we're excited about," McIntyre said. "Luckily our fans are back, too, and they keep thanking us, but we thank them for coming back. If they didn't come back, this would be a really fast story — we're willing to take that risk, but we're glad they showed up."

    Paul "Cubby" Bryant, morning jock for New York City's WKTU, said that excitement is high for the reunion tour.

    "If they did it 10 years ago, people would be making fun of them," Bryant said. "The music cycle has spun around enough and enough time has passed — 10 years isn't as fun — so that there's a wow factor."

    In show business, timing is everything.

    "It's the right amount of time," member Danny Wood said. "We had been away from the business, and we got back together for the right reasons — not for someone else's idea. We got back together because of the music. Donnie (Wahlberg) played me a song called "Click Click Click,' and I loved it, and that's how it started out."

    "The Block," sultry and a bit saucy R&B, is more adult-contemporary than pop. Yet, the album features several very notable figures from today's charts, including Ne-Yo, Akon, the Pussycat Dolls and producers Timbaland and Teddy Riley.

    Old pals New Edition are also featured on the track "Full Service."

    "We didn't try to push, and we didn't try to pull, and we weren't begging people to work with us," McIntyre said. "We just wanted people who were excited about it."

    "We worked hard to make music on our own before we went to Interscope (Records). We wanted to have our own direction, and once we did that people knew what we were up to, they could feel it and put a sound to what we were doing."

    The Kids, childhood friends from several Boston neighborhoods, were formed by Starr as a white counterpart to New Edition, which he also shepherded to superstardom. The group — also brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight — went on to sell more than 70 million records and set the table for the boy-group boom of the late '90s.

    The group's North American tour began last week in Toronto, and "New Kids on the Block: A Behind the Music Special Event," premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday on VH1.

    "The second time around is definitely sweeter," Wood said.

    Building Block: Author Rose tells story of New Kids' 'Rise'

    Great boy bands come with great svengalis. The Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync had swindler Lou Pearlman; the Jackson 5 had father/taskmaster Joe Jackson; and New Edition and New Kids on the Block had Maurice Starr, a Roxbury-based musical genius and entrepreneur.

    Starr invented the modern boy band in the mid-’80s, when he applied his New Edition r & b formula to five white teens from Boston. Starr was the man behind New Kids - who return as grown men to play the TD Banknorth Garden Friday and on Sunday - but Tony Rose was the man behind Starr. OK, not quite behind, but next to.

    Rose secured Starr’s first major label record deal and later recorded early New Kids material at his Boston studio. Both Rose and Starr parted ways with the New Kids before the group disbanded in 1994.

    Retired from the music business, Rose is now an Arizona-based publisher and author. He spoke with the Herald about his new book, “Before the Legend: The Rise of New Kids on the Block and . . . a Guy Named Maurice Starr.”

    Herald: Obviously the book capitalizes on the New Kids reunion, but it’s clear from what you write that you really wanted to tell Starr’s back story.

    Rose: Yes, it’s in the moment. But it’s also a history of the black Boston music scene that came out of Roxbury. New Edition, Maurice, all of us. It was a great time. A lot of girls, a lot of money going around, a lot of records were being made.

    When did Maurice realize he could create a white New Edition?

    New Edition was basically a younger version of (Starr’s) first band with his brothers. He always wanted to replicate what the Jackson 5 had. And he did in New Edition. (Sings) “Candy Girl.” “A-B-C.” You hear that similarity? (laughs) With the New Kids his template was more the Osmonds, with Joey (McIntyre) being his Donny.

    Were there any problems with Maurice crossing the racial divide from black r & b to white pop?

    In 1988 or ’89, Maurice and I were standing on Lansdowne Street outside a club and Gov. Dukakis showed up and almost knocked Maurice down. He and his staff were trying to get through to meet the New Kids. Maurice was right there, ready to shake his hand, but nobody knew it was Maurice behind the band. It just couldn’t be this guy. Before anybody had a chance to make a negative noise about black and white issues, it was already done. The records were selling, the video was on MTV and the band was about to be big all over the world.

    Do you see Maurice’s influence in the reunited, now grownup New Kids?

    Sure. When you go to the Maurice Starr school of music you learn how to sing and dance and be a gentleman. It’s “Yes, sir. No, sir” with shoes shined and clothes clean. You were trained heavily. I saw the New Kids on the “Today” show with Ne-Yo. When it was time for Ne-Yo to talk they stepped back and were respectful. That’s Maurice’s doing.

    Is Maurice done or will we ever see another boy band project?

    Oh, it’s coming. For a while Maurice (who left Boston in 1993 and now lives in Florida) went into gospel in Atlanta, but he’s coming back into the pop world with a new band called the Heartbeat Boys. Don’t worry. He’ll be back.

    New Kids on the Block, with Natasha Bedingfield, at the TD Banknorth Garden, Friday and Sunday. Tickets: $35-$75; 617-931-2000.

    New Kids back on the block

    They were the Nineties' biggest boy band, topping the charts worldwide and selling millions. Now New Kids on the Block have reformed - and they've just released a new album.

    When Take That chose to call it a day in 1996 pop fans and the media mourned the loss of one of the most famous boy bands to have graced Top Of The Pops.

    It was a different story when in 1994 the boy band who started it all, New Kids On The Block – comprised of Joey, Donny, Danny, Jordan and Jonathan – decided to do the same. As Joey states: "We just sort of walked away. And at that point, we weren't exactly going to hold a press conference because no-one really cared."

    The downfall of New Kids On The Block's career wasn't strongly documented at the time, but with hindsight makes quite the Hollywood blockbuster.

    Five teenage friends from a rough area in Boston formed a pop group and soon became a global phenomenon. Selling 70 million albums was just the start. Teen girls had to have the badges, lunch boxes, mugs, watches, annuals and T-shirts – the group were no longer just a boy band but a brand.

    However as quickly as they'd established themselves as constant chart-toppers, the public lost interest and the industry that had pronounced them a pop success story no longer wanted anything to do with them.

    Now looking for the Hollywood ending, the five have decided to reform. This time it seems the public definitely does care.

    Donny Wahlberg (brother of Mark) has arguably gone on to enjoy the greatest success since leaving the music industry, as an actor. So it's surprising that it was his idea for the group to reform.

    He says: "I heard this particular song and it sounded right. I was near to Jordan in Boston while I was working on a film in Connecticut. I was going through a lot in my personal life and music just seemed like a good idea.

    "The song sounded good for the group and the guys reacted in the same way. I said, 'Okay then let's record it'. One song led to another, which led to another, which led to an addiction.

    "Once I started writing, spending time in the studio and getting back into the music business again, I couldn't really turn it off, it had been fomenting for the last 15 years, it became a 20-hour-a-day obsession."

    The other four were just as enthusiastic, albeit with an air of caution. Jonathan says: "Back in the day it was directed by people who wanted to capitalise on us and they didn't really take into account the longevity or integrity of the group."

    Jordan agrees and adds: "Yeah we made that mistake, we were only youngsters and unfortunately we signed one piece of paper and boom we gave away the sign-off and our managers went a little crazy. It commercialised us a little too much, but what are you going to do? This time the buck stops with us."

    This time around they have decided to try to do as much in-house as possible. Danny says: "Donny took on a manager's role and that was easier as he's in the group and always has our best interests in mind. Everyone brought their own life experiences from the past 15 years to it and it's made it a lot easier."

    The fact they didn't reform for 14 years is as much down to what was going on with their individual lives as a lack of good offers. Donny says: "At some point nobody wanted to do it and sometimes individual members didn't. But of the possibilities I've heard of, I wouldn't have participated anyway because I was doing my own stuff as most of the other members were doing too. Plus they weren't real opportunities, they were fake, there was nothing attractive about them – only money and money doesn't drive me."

    As for what the other members did with the 14-year gap, Jordan, Joey and Danny decided to launch solo careers, all releasing material, but Jonathan decided to step out of the limelight altogether and concentrate on building a real estate business.

    Jonathan still doesn't seem totally at ease with the showbiz lifestyle. While he's friendly, his privacy is very important to him. It's therefore unfortunate for him that aside from talk of Donny's divorce, it's been his private life – in particular questions over his sexuality – which has been the focus of gossip websites for the past couple of months.

    While other members would be able to brush it off, he admits it does affect him. He says: "I wasn't anticipating that. Nowadays it's crazy, I was watching YouTube the other night and there I was, having a conversation with this girl at The Today Show – I didn't even realise she was filming, but it was all there on video tape and then up on a website.

    "You never know who's watching and that part of it bothers me because it's like Big Brother's watching over you."

    It's not just the media coverage that has changed since the 'Kids were last in the charts, they've also seen themselves change from teenagers with no commitments, to having to juggle families and careers. They're not going to pretend they're still 18.

    Joey says: "It's not like we're trying to re-create every move from the past, we're taking everything that we've got now. We've lived and done a lot of great things and we're pulling all of that experience into this now as grown men and concentrating on putting on a great show and album."

    New Kids On The Block's album The Block is out now.

    Kids find love on reunion tour

    Donnie Wahlberg might look and act tough, but he’s a softie underneath.

    The resident bad boy of New Kids on the Block said he has cried tears of joy while performing for thousands of screaming fans on the reunited band’s arena tour, which began in Canada last week.

    “We’ve had old banners being held up, new banners being held up, people singing the old songs, partying with the new songs, bras thrown onstage with women flashing us,” Wahlberg said by phone from Toronto. “Husbands holding their wives and singing along to the songs with their wives in their arms ... I don’t like to overblow the significance of anything, we’re a pop group after all, but there’s something really magical that’s happening every night. I’ve been moved onstage on more than one occasion.”

    That admission coming from Wahlberg — known for his macho posturing and hip-hop swagger — might surprise the New Kids’ hardcore devotees, who wouldn’t expect him to weep and then talk openly about it. But Wahlberg said he’s matured over the years. Right now, he feels validated by the resurgent fandemonium — after all, it’s been a lifetime since the band last performed to crowds like this.

    “I’m not some guy that is desperate, you know?” said Wahlberg, an actor whose film credits include “Righteous Kill,” “The Sixth Sense” and the gory “Saw” flicks. “I didn’t, like, need to go and do this to make money and stuff like that. I got a good career. I got plenty of things going on in my life. It’s not like I needed this to bail me out of any mess or anything. It’s just right. It just felt right. We did it for the right reasons and the reward is to share this with the fans and to see that they’re so dialed in.”

    Fourteen years after disbanding amid dwindling popularity and burnout, the New Kids — Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight — are reclaiming some of the magic from their heyday in the late 1980s and early ’90s, when they made teenage girls swoon on a regular basis.

    One of the most successful boy bands ever, the New Kids were the prototype for hysteria-inducing groups like the Backstreet Boys, ’N Sync and the Jonas Brothers. Millions of young girls obsessed over the New Kids, persuading their parents to buy them concert tickets, pillowcases, notebooks, lunch boxes, dolls and on and on.

    Some of those girls, now in their 20s and 30s, have held on to that merch — and still harbor fond memories of brash Donnie, pretty boy Joey, chiseled Danny and the hair-gelled Knight siblings.

    But they’re no longer kids. In the years between ’94 and ’08, the men — now in their 30s — have experienced marriages, divorces, children, and hit-or-miss solo careers. Wahlberg has had a well-received detour into acting. McIntyre had high-profile stints on Broadway in “Wicked” on Broadway and on TV in “Dancing With the Stars.” Jonathan Knight, who has suffered from crippling panic disorder, chucked showbiz to work in the real estate business. Jordan has pursued a solo career.

    The reunion began a year ago after Wahlberg heard music for the song “Click Click Click” and sent it around to the other guys. That song became the first of 13 tracks on “The Block.”

    “It just so happened that the timing was good for all the guys and there were different things going on in our lives that made it work,” said Wahlberg, who recently split from wife Kim. “I mean, I’m going through a breakup of my marriage. I lost my dad. I had a lot to talk about. A lot of emotional stuff that I was going through that really fueled me to want to keep working late hours into the night."

    The band retains a retro vibe on the album with pop songs like “Summertime” and “2 In The Morning,” but gains an updated sound. Among the album’s collaborators are Ne-Yo, Akon and the Pussycat Dolls. Since its Sept. 2 release, “The Block” has sold about 139,000 copies. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 top albums chart before sliding down the chart.

    On their nationwide tour, which includes stops at TD BankNorth Garden in Boston Friday and Sunday, the group’s setlist is a mix of material from “The Block” and past hits including “Please Don’t Go Girl,” “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” and “You Got It (The Right Stuff).” While the tour is likely to be a cash cow for the group, Wahlberg said they didn’t do it for the money.

    “We’ve been asked to do this many times and, quite frankly, I didn’t have any interest in doing it any other time because it was never for the right reasons,” he said. “It was always, ‘Hey, how about you go out with the guys and you scoop up all this money and, you know, we’ll do a TV special and a tour and you guys can go and rack up all this money.’ ... Anybody who’s gonna make that pitch to me? They don’t know me, they don’t understand me and what makes me tick. I don’t live for money.”

    Wood admitted that reclaiming the spotlight has been one of the major benefits of the reunion.

    “I went to this restaurant that I always go to, and they comped me dinner,” said Wood, who lives in Miami. “The manager’s like, ‘Thank you for coming. We’re glad you came in here.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, I come in here all the time.’ ... I know some of the waiters and waitresses, but they just didn’t realize until we got back together that I was in the group. So it’s kinda cool. .. I’ll take it, you know.”

    TNT Eyes Pair of Cop Shows

    TNT, which has ordered three pilots in recent weeks, is closing in on greenlighting two more projects.

    One of them, in fact, has already received the go-ahead: "Bunker Hill" will star Donnie Wahlberg as a Bostonian who returns from covert government duty abroad and goes to work as a police officer on the streets of his old Bunker Hill neighborhood.

    Wahlberg ("The Kill Point," "Boomtown") will also serve as an exec producer, according to The Hollywood Reporter, along with writer Walon Green ("Law & Order") and Jon Avnet ("The Starter Wife," "88 Minutes"), who will direct the pilot. Avnet and Wahlberg previously worked together on NBC's "Boomtown" and the feature "Righteous Kill."

    The cable network is also close to ordering a pilot from superproducer Jerry Bruckheimer about detectives in Los Angeles and the temptations they face when they work undercover. Bruckheimer will exec produce with writer Doug Jung ("Big Love") and Danny Cannon, an executive producer and frequent director on Bruckhemier's "CSI" franchise on whose idea the show is based.

    The two pilots join the Ray Romano dramedy "Men of a Certain Age," medical drama "Time Heals" and the crime/family saga "Night and Day" in TNT's development hopper, in addition to two more shows, "Leverage" and "Trust Me," launching in the next few months. All are part of the network's goal to offer three full nights of original programming by 2010.

    Aubrey O'Day: "No Comment" on Donnie Wahlberg Rumors

    Is there a romance between Danity Kane singer Aubrey O'Day and New Kids on the Block's Donnie Wahlberg?

    "No comment!" O'Day told Usmagazine.com at Declare Yourself's "Domino Effect" Hollywood Event at L.A.'s Green Door on Thursday.

    "Who started that rumor?" she asked. "He is a gorgeous guy and he is a very dear friend of mine."

    The Boston Herald reported the 24-year-old and Wahlberg, 39, "hooked up" in June.

    Wahlberg - currently on a reunion tour - has two sons, ages 15 and 7, with his ex-wife, whom he split from in August.

    In July, O'Day slammed a report that she was with Ashley Parker Angel.

    New Kids hit puberty and discover sex and R&B

    The New Kids on the Block have been "Hangin' Tough" for 14 years, but now they're back and better than ever with all "The Right Stuff."

    Even though the teeny-bopper fans of Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood are now career women and soccer moms, the boys' appearance and music on their reunion disk, "The Block," (released Sept. 2, 2008) now appeals to a new audience entirely.

    With their "GQ" suits and their contemporary R&B sound, the band is truer to their style now than when they were pounding out the hits in the early '90s.

    The boys finally ventured into the world of hip-pop just as they said they always wanted to do but never had the chance. And even though their second single, "Single," featuring Ne-Yo should really be called "Ne-Yo featuring McIntyre with an occasional rap by Wahlberg," the song has an urban freshness to it that anyone can and will groove to in the club.

    Another prominent theme of this album seems to be "strictly sexy" now that the boys have, ahem, matured. This sultry smoothness undoubtedly came from the influence of the album's producers: Ne-yo (Rihanna), Red One (Brandy) and Akon (Colby O'Donis).

    The only ballad on the album, "Stare at You," positions Jordan Knight's high falsetto to be utilized in a way that will remind late '90s R&B/soul fans of singer, D'Angelo. That's the form of burning candles burning and rising temperatures type of sexy listeners can handle.

    But then, on "Full Service" (magically featuring other '90s boy band rival, New Edition) and "Lights, Camera, Action," the Kids compare their love-making qualities to car services and movie productions, singing, "You can hit the lights / I'll set up the camera / Let's get to the action."

    And the sexual innuendos only get worse from there.

    On the club-banging T-pain inspired dance track, "Dirty Dancing," the Kids boast about how they "Wasn't tryin' to be dirty / Wasn't feelin' flirty / 'Til this shorty started grinding on me."

    Guess after all that grinding is over, they want this anonymous girl to "Sexify My Love," but not too much because Wahlberg's "Really gotta concentrate / 'Bout how I'm gonna consummate." Yes, he did just go there.

    And as their voices blend together, and you can't tell which Kid is being more sexual than the other, they start to give fans a reason to be slightly grossed out by their ages.

    On the electro-R&B influenced "Big Girl Now" featuring Lady GaGa, the Kids reminisce about a relationship that couldn't happen back in the day because the girl was too young.

    But now, "To be a big girl/ You've got to prove it," and the younger GaGa's intense vocals seem more ready and willing than ever to show them how.

    But if younger fans were wondering what it is that they need to do to grab the Kid's attention, The Pussycat Dolls and Teddy Riley answer that question on the '60s do-wop tune "Grown Man" when the Dolls ask the Kids, "Do you like my body?" The Kids respond with, "Girl you know I do / I'm a give you some grown man." Whatever that means. On second thought, maybe you don't want to know what that entails.

    But despite all those sexually frustrated lyrics from five men pushing 40, the album is one P. Diddy dance party with a little Paris Hilton slutty-ness on the side. The new R&B genre suits them, and it's a shame that their first overtly pop-tastic single "Summertime" was a ploy to get old and new fans alike to jump on the New Kids bandwagon.

    But that wasn't necessary. The Block is back, and they're bringing their party-pumping new beats to fans "Step By Step.

    Not So New, but Generating Shrieks Still

    How did the vocal cords hold up? That was the most important question hanging in the air at the Izod Center here on Tuesday night. Time can be unkind to the body, especially when its parts have gone unexercised, and after 15 years there was no telling how those delicate instruments had fared.

    No, the concern wasn’t for the five men onstage — they sounded fine — but for the thousands of youngish women in the audience (who outnumbered men in the crowd by a ratio of several dozen to one). It had been ages since they screamed for New Kids on the Block; would they have enough in them to prove their continued loyalty?

    As if there were really any doubt. The sea of shrieks began promptly when the house lights went down, though it didn’t reach a true fever pitch until three songs in, when the New Kids delivered the five syllables that will haunt them for decades to come: “Oh! Oh! Oh-oh-oh!”

    As the overgrown boy-banders, all on the north side of 35, eased into “You’ve Got It (the Right Stuff),” they formed a line at center stage, redeploying the side to side kicks from the song’s video 20 years before.

    Collective memory is about specifics, after all, and here, at the first American stop on the New Kids on the Block reunion tour, no detail was left unexploited.

    Earlier this month the group released “The Block” (Interscope), an excellent example of album as pretense. Though it made its debut at No. 2 on the Billboard album chart, it was useful mostly as an attention grabber, a short con (album royalties) setting up for the long con (concert tickets, merchandise).

    The fans were primed — many wore vintage New Kids T-shirts, and many others had homemade ones (one of the best: a 1991 mugshot of Donnie Wahlberg with the caption “The Original Bad Boy”) — gleefully showing their age. Strangely, though, the New Kids did not show theirs. They were, by and large, limber and convincing.

    All the old charms were there: the soft theatricality of Joey McIntyre, the appealing smugness of Mr. Wahlberg and the largely undiminished thrills of Jordan Knight’s falsetto, especially on “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” and “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).”

    As ever, Danny Wood and Jonathan Knight, Jordan’s brother, colored in at the margins, though Jonathan often looked as if he were recalling the steps from a particularly dusty, and unpleasant, section of his memory.

    For a group touring primarily on the strength of nostalgia, New Kids on the Block have conspicuously few hits, maybe a dozen at best (intense ones, but still). So their most significant accomplishment on Tuesday was that they managed to keep an entire arena of fans standing for two hours, even through several costume changes; a curiously morbid video montage of artists and friends who have died since the group was last popular; songs from the solo albums of Jordan Knight and Mr. McIntyre; and many more elongating tactics.

    But keeping up was tough. At one point, during “Games,” Mr. Wood decided to show off a few breaking moves in an interlude that was easily the most physically demanding spell of the night. (Most of the choreography was gentle, presumably out of deference to aging bodies.)

    When he finished, he gave way to Jordan Knight, who began a searing version of “If You Go Away.” A few moments later, on the huge video screen that hung over the stage, Mr. Wood could be seen behind Mr. Knight, sitting on the stairs at center stage, visibly winded.

    The New Kids on the Block tour continues on Friday at the TD BankNorth Garden in Boston and on Saturday at the Borgata Hotel & Casino Event Center in Atlantic City; nkotb.com.

    New Kids on the Block Return to U.S. Stage For First Time in 15 Years

    New Kids on the Block returned to the stage for their first U.S. Show in 15 years at East Rutherford, New Jersey’s IZOD Center. A sold-out crowd of legal drinking-age women, many sporting t-shirts with “MILF” written across the back) greeted them with the same sort of fervor the New Kids enjoyed during their heyday. Though the boys stepped out to massive applause, that wasn’t good enough for Donnie Wahlberg. “15 years and that’s the best you can do?” Wahlberg joked, provoking the audience into hysterics.

    Later in the night, Joey McIntyre told Rock Daily, “Canada was a warm-up — a good place to get the kinks out. Our hometown is here, in the Northeast. These are the fans who help take the show to another level.”

    The group covered the expected hits, including “Right Stuff,” “Cover Girl” and “I’ll be Lovin’ You” along with tracks off their recently-released comeback album The Block. McIntyre provided a fluid solo performance of “Stay the Same,” while Jordan Knight screeched through a falsetto version of “Give it to You.”

    In one of the more sentimental moments of the show, a montage of musicians and stars who have passed away since the group’s last show accompanied “If You Go Away,” with images of Kurt Cobain, Frank Sinatra, Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Aaliyah, Heath Ledger and Wahlberg’s father and Wood’s mother.

    With multiple outfit changes throughout the evening, the guys ended the show wearing Boston Celtics jerseys emblazoned with their last names, while performing “Hangin’ Tough.” Fluorescent strips of confetti fell to the ground to the delight of every screaming fan still living in 1990.

    Set List:
    “Single”
    “My Favorite Girl”
    “(You Got It) The Right Stuff”
    “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)”
    “Valentine Girl”
    “Please Don’t Go Girl”
    “Grown Man” (With Nicole Scherzinger)
    “Games”
    “If You Go Away”
    “2 In the Morning”
    “Dirty Dancing”
    “Tonight”
    “Twisted”
    “Baby I Believe in You”
    “Give It To You” (Jordan solo)
    “Stay the Same” (Joey solo)
    “Cover Girl”
    “I’ll Be Lovin’ You (Forever)”
    “Click, Click, Click”
    “Summertime”
    Encore
    “Step By Step”
    “Hangin’ Tough”

    Review: New Kids on the Block make strong comeback

    Go ahead. Call it a comeback.

    When the New Kids on the Block called it quits in 1994, brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood seemed to be running on fumes, still coasting on their frenzied success in the late '80s. That's what makes the group's current resurgence - the No. 2 album "The Block" out earlier this month and the current sold-out tour that stopped at Nassau Coliseum last night - all the more surprising.

    Not only do the New Kids sound better than they ever did, they also look like they're having even more fun than they did 20 years ago.

    "You don't know how good it feels to be in this building tonight," said Wahlberg. "Long Island has always been a special place for us."

    They managed to fold in six new songs from "The Block," including the dramatic opener "Single" and "Click Click Click," which set the reunion in motion, as well as solo turns for Jordan Knight, McIntyre and Wahlberg. But even some of the classics got a new twist. They threw nods to the Jackson 5 and The Time into "The Right Stuff" and they played up the freestyle dance vibe in "My Favorite Girl."

    And some things never change, like the way McIntyre brings down the house on "Please Don't Go Girl" or Wahlberg's hip-hop plea for positivity in "No More Games" or the frenzy that comes with the Beatlesque "Tonight."

    Openers Natasha Bedingfield and Colby O'Donis, who both have big radio hits to their names, showed how pop-friendliness doesn't necessarily translate into stellar performances. Not even Bedingfield's chart-topping anthem "Unwritten," recast as some electric guitar epic, could rouse much of the crowd.

    But the New Kids had no problem commanding screams for whatever they did, showing how well their songs have stood the test of time.

    New Kids on the Block soak up love on reunion tour

    Donnie Wahlberg might look and act tough, but he's a softie underneath.

    The resident bad boy of New Kids on the Block said he has cried tears of joy while performing for thousands of screaming fans on the reunited band's arena tour, which began in Canada last week.

    "We've had old banners being held up, new banners being held up, people singing the old songs, partying with the new songs, bras thrown onstage with women flashing us," Wahlberg said by phone from Toronto. "Husbands holding their wives and singing along to the songs with their wives in their arms ... I don't like to overblow the significance of anything, we're a pop group after all, but there's something really magical that's happening every night. I've been moved onstage on more than one occasion."

    That admission coming from Wahlberg — known for his macho posturing and hip-hop swagger — might surprise the New Kids' hardcore devotees, who wouldn't expect him to weep and then talk openly about it. But Wahlberg said he's matured over the years. Right now, he feels validated by the resurgent fandemonium — after all, it's been a lifetime since the band last performed to crowds like this.

    "I'm not some guy that is desperate, you know?" said Wahlberg, an actor whose film credits include "Righteous Kill," "The Sixth Sense" and the gory "Saw" flicks. "I didn't, like, need to go and do this to make money and stuff like that. I got a good career. I got plenty of things going on in my life. It's not like I needed this to bail me out of any mess or anything. It's just right. It just felt right. We did it for the right reasons and the reward is to share this with the fans and to see that they're so dialed in."

    Fourteen years after disbanding amid dwindling popularity and burnout, the New Kids — Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight — are reclaiming some of the magic from their heyday in the late 1980s and early '90s, when they made teenage girls swoon on a regular basis.

    One of the most successful boy bands ever, the New Kids were the prototype for hysteria-inducing groups like the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync and the Jonas Brothers. Millions of young girls obsessed over the New Kids, persuading their parents to buy them concert tickets, pillowcases, notebooks, lunch boxes, dolls and on and on.

    Some of those girls, now in their twenties and thirties, have held on to that merch — and still harbor fond memories of brash Donnie, pretty boy Joey, chiseled Danny and the hair-gelled Knight siblings.

    But they're no longer kids. In the years between '94 and '08, the men — now in their 30s — have experienced marriages, divorces, children, and hit-or-miss solo careers. Wahlberg has had a well-received detour into acting. McIntyre had high-profile stints on Broadway in "Wicked" on Broadway and on TV in "Dancing With the Stars." Jonathan Knight, who has suffered from crippling panic disorder, chucked showbiz to work in the real estate business. Jordan has pursued a solo career.

    The reunion began a year ago after Wahlberg heard music for the song "Click Click Click" and sent it around to the other guys. That song became the first of 13 tracks on "The Block."

    "It just so happened that the timing was good for all the guys and there were different things going on in our lives that made it work," said Wahlberg, who recently split from wife Kim. "I mean, I'm going through a breakup of my marriage. I lost my dad. I had a lot to talk about. A lot of emotional stuff that I was going through that really fueled me to want to keep working late hours into the night."

    The band retains a retro vibe on the album with pop songs like "Summertime" and "2 In The Morning," but gains an updated sound. Among the album's collaborators are Ne-Yo, Akon and the Pussycat Dolls. Since its Sept. 2 release, "The Block" has sold about 139,000 copies. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 top albums chart before sliding down the chart.

    On their nationwide tour, the group's setlist is a mix of material from "The Block" and past hits including "Please Don't Go Girl," "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)." While the tour is likely to be a cash cow for the group, Wahlberg said they didn't do it for the money.

    "We've been asked to do this many times and, quite frankly, I didn't have any interest in doing it any other time because it was never for the right reasons," he said. "It was always, `Hey, how about you go out with the guys and you scoop up all this money and, you know, we'll do a TV special and a tour and you guys can go and rack up all this money.' ... Anybody who's gonna make that pitch to me? They don't know me, they don't understand me and what makes me tick. I don't live for money."

    Wood admitted that reclaiming the spotlight has been one of the major benefits of the reunion.

    "I went to this restaurant that I always go to, and they comped me dinner," said Wood, who lives in Miami. "The manager's like, `Thank you for coming. We're glad you came in here.' And I'm like, `Dude, I come in here all the time.' ... I know some of the waiters and waitresses, but they just didn't realize until we got back together that I was in the group. So it's kinda cool. .. I'll take it, you know."

    That goes for McIntyre, too, who half-jokingly remarked he was abusing the services of their assistant Zach.

    "I checked myself like a couple weeks ago," he said. "I'm having him do all these little things. Like, back in the day we joked about how we wouldn't even turn the light switch on our own. There was someone to do everything for you."

    The tight bond between McIntyre and company was clear earlier this month during an interview at The Associated Press headquarters in Manhattan. The group (sans Wahlberg, who spoke to the AP later) talked about maturing from boys to men — which involved diaper duty for four out of five guys — and cracked themselves up in the process.

    When asked about advice for the young Jonas Brothers — who are beating the New Kids on the charts — they yelled jokingly, "Get off our block!"

    New Kids on the Block talk careers

    The real preview of tonight's New Kids on the Block show at Nassau Coliseum is in the paper today, but the guys had some extra stuff to say about work when we chatted after their recent appearance on "The View."

    What's the main thing that's changed with the group since the last tour in 1994?

    Donnie Wahlberg: What hasn’t changed? On a personal level, I think we’ve all developed a work ethic while we were away. When we were a group before, there were five of us, so there was always someone to lean on. When you go off on your own, it’s just you. Whether it’s Jon sellling condos or Jordan doing a solo album and performing onstage. When you’re alone, if you fail when it’s just you, you fail. I think our individual work ethics have improved tremendously.

    Jordan Knight: A lot of people when they interview us, they think we stopped when the New Kids stopped. Maybe none of us achieved the frenzy that the New Kids created but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t out there learning and growing. I think each of us had our best growth while we were all away. We’re each bringing that growth to the table so the group is that much stronger today than it was back in the day.

    What should fans expect at the show?

    Jonathan Knight: They should be prepared to get it all – it’s going to be an eargasm, eyegasm, orgasm, you name it. It’s exciting. We’re really pulling out all the stops and we’ve done a good job mixing the old with new, the fast with slow. The decades of influences we have to draw on. We can go all the way back to Frank Sinatra and Al Jolson, the Motown sound and Philly soul and even the sounds. And we can even incorporate today. We can borrow stuff from Chris Brown and incorporate it with stuff we borrowed from The Osmonds. We have years and years of experience that we can draw on. We’ll mix it up. Sometimes we’ll spice them up a little bit, but we don’t want to make it too different. To really change it would be a downer for them.

    Joey McIntyre (yelling from across the room): I just read your review. You just tanked your whole career, man. You said our album was good.

    [I didn't get the chance to answer, but it's OK, Joey. "The Block" is good. And, obviously, my career has been in the tank for years.]

    OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

    Support the Susan G. Komen fight for the cure! Purchase this limited edition NKOTB Tank, and we will donate a portion of the proceeds to the continued fight against breast cancer. Buy yours today at the online store HERE. (www.rememberbetty.org)

    NKOTB AMSTERDAM SHOW

    Tue 2/3/09
    Amsterdam
    Heineken Music Hall
    ON SALE: Saturday Sept. 27th

    Comeback Kids feel the love

    New Kids on the Block - At Air Canada Centre - In Toronto on Friday

    Just like that, New Kids on the Block is some sort of fresh again. The Boston boy band, whose five members took their toys and went their separate ways 14 years ago, is new with an album and an ambitious North American tour to hawk it. The thing is, the disc is mostly amiss: The Block is a slick, ham-handed homage to current urban music fashions, stocked with guest appearances and plagued by Auto-Tune vocal manipulations that render the Kids as disguised players in their own inevitable reappearance. On the concert stage, these guys - average age of 38 - can't hide, though. Do they have the right pop-music stuff, or do we write them off?

    The Band

    As it could only be, the comeback of NKOTB features the original cast. A movie-style trailer - and this is a blockbuster, make no mistake - precedes the singers, who arrive amid plumes of white smoke on a rising platform at the back of the stage. Donnie Wahlberg (a movie actor of some note - Saw III and IV, as well as the brother of film star Mark Wahlberg) breaks rank first, rapping unconvincingly to Single, off the new album. On My Favourite Girl, Jordan Knight reveals an agile falsetto as the group studiously manages its Temptations-style choreography. Four female dancers embellish the sleekly brisk eighties hit You Got It (The Right Stuff). The Kids depart momentarily, returning in suits and fedoras for the smooth Philly soul of Didn't I (Blow Your Mind), to which an audience can only fawningly nod in the affirmative.

    The Demand

    The concert is the second of an astonishing total of three in Toronto; after a Montreal show on Saturday, the troupe finished off its tour-starting mini-residency here last night. The fans are pink tour-shirt wearers at the turn of their thirties who don't need Wahlberg's constant crowd-baiting to demonstrate their love. Sample text messages publicized on the jumbo screen pre-show include "I'm legal now," and "Donny, I had a crush on you back then, and I've got a crush on you now. Let me backstage!!!," and "I feel like a giddy 15-year-old girl." Okay, I admit it, I sent that last one.

    Boy to Man

    Although the Kids are all in shape, some have aged better than others.

    Joey McIntyre sings fine and is cuddly enough to justifiably still call himself "Joey," but the muscle-faced Danny Wood is reduced to a single break-dancing exhibition. Little-used Jonathan Knight (brother of Jordan) is as much a stage prop as the piano the Kids share a small secondary stage with on the chipper, pretentiously Penny Lane-style Tonight. Back at the main stage, Jordan Knight's solo turn on Baby, I Believe in You was a deliciously over-the-top sight: His wind-blown white button-down shirt was half teen-dream and half Chippendale hokum, an arousing mix for the 30-going-on-13 crowd.

    Encore Hangin' Tough, a hip-hop Joan Jett thing, saw the Kids garbed in Boston Celtics basketball-wear, arrested in their adolescence.

    All in all, it's a polished mixed message, one that's as entertaining and nostalgically silly as the texted notes on the video screen.

    "Welland girls still love you," one of them read, a message from fans from a small town about 25 kilometres southwest of Niagara Falls. And why shouldn't they?

    New Kids on the Block play Edmonton, Nov. 18; Calgary, Nov. 19; and Vancouver, Nov. 21.

    Boyz to men: The (not so) New - Kids on the Block

    It normally starts with a chant, followed by squeals, which quickly build up into a euphoric chorus of screams, claps and occasional foot-stomping. At HMV on London's Oxford Street, hundreds of New Kids on the Block fans are in fine form, even if most of them are in their late twenties and early thirties. One buxom woman, squeezed up against a security barrier, is wearing a white vest emblazoned with the name "Donnie" and proudly waving a banner that reads: "I heart you Donnie – mwah".

    Another fan from Baltimore, Maryland, tells me she hung out with Joey in their hotel bar the previous night and apologised for stalking him at his Boston house 15 years ago. "He was so sweet," she gushes. "But Jordan? He just doesn't know how to act." The discussion turns to our favourite songs and stories of hopping into taxis to chase the Kids back in the day. The chanting kicks off again. "We want New Kids! We want New Kids!"

    The hysteria is mild, but still impressive. Many of these woman have travelled from all over the country and beyond (a few are from New Zealand). Some camped outside the shop the night before. A few have dragged along their kids, who look pretty confused by the fuss.

    But any fan worth their limited-edition NKOTB lunch-box knows this gig is a big deal. It's been 14 years since the world's biggest boy-band split, disappearing into the haze of the Nineties until Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, Take That and others stole their thunder a few years later. But nothing could beat the New Kids – 80 million records sold, countless No 1 hits, hundreds of well-executed arena shows and a shameless array of merchandise.

    When Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jon Knight finally take to the stage for this much-anticipated appearance, they're ready to party like it's 1989. "London, how ya doing?" asks Donnie, who at 39 quickly works his playboy persona by grabbing hands and laying kisses on anyone within reach. Cue screams, claps and foot-stomping. Their four-song set, which includes the oldies "Step by Step" and "Tonight", is a reminder that they're no longer boys, but grown men clinging on to former glories thanks to careful choreography that doesn't require backflips and the impressive vocals of Jordan and Joey. And they're still after the hearts of their lady fans. Asked what was the weirdest thing they ever had to sign, Donnie smiles wryly. "Does ass count?" Cue screams.

    Strangely, the hype doesn't follow them back to their hotel a few hours later. Either the word hasn't got out where they're staying, or their groupies have gone back to work. Whatever the case, the group are back to their casual selves. Donnie greets me with a handshake and a kiss. A muscle-bound Danny is all smiles, while the strikingly handsome Joey is still quite hyper. Jon's disappeared, and Jordan is just hanging around.

    Two Kids join me in a booth: Donnie is slouched to my right, Danny comfortably close to my left. I ask Donnie if he's ever had the surreal experience of meeting a childhood idol he never thought he'd meet. "No," he smiles steadily, "but I've slept with a woman I never thought I'd meet." Oh, Donnie. "He's just worked with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro for his new film," Danny quickly offers, as Jordan and Joey take a seat. Someone's missing. "Jon's probably having a cigarette," Joey suggests.

    A quick glance, and it's clear that they've aged well. Everyone has kids except Jon. Jordan and Joey are married. Danny is divorced, along with a newly single Donnie, who practically bristles at the mention of the word.

    A reunion had been rumoured for years, but it was thought that Jon, who's made a mint selling houses, wasn't up for it. He left the group because he suffered from panic attacks caused by years in the limelight. This afternoon, however, he's cheerful, but leaves the other four to bask in the attention.

    Put on the spot about his decision to rejoin the group, he chooses his words carefully: "There was a part of me that missed it. I thought long and hard before I said I would do it. In the past, I never held out... I know in 1999 we were asked to present an award at a TV show and I was like, 'Why bother? There's nothing in it for me.' It wasn't a big deal. But I love these guys and I knew what it was like before. It just seemed the right time for me to jump back in."

    Still, the timing is contentious. With a number of high-profile reunion albums and tours boosting the music industry, it wouldn't be unseemly for the boys to cash in. Donnie's become the most successful New Kid to date, having built a Hollywood career almost as lucrative as his younger brother Mark's. Joey has had some success in acting, while Jordan and Danny dabbled in reality TV. Jon sold houses.

    But the suggestion that they jumped on the reunion bandwagon annoys Donnie. It was his idea for the group to reform last year after hearing a demo he thought would suit them. "I think [the idea] that we'd do a reunion just because someone else did is very discouraging to me. It wouldn't guide my personal choice. If I'm going to be part of something that's going to be compared to Take That or someone else, that would just be a negative on my list. It has no bearing on why we're doing this."

    But they are doing it well. On their new album The Block, they've roped in the star power of Akon, Ne-Yo and the Pussycat Dolls to unveil a new sound that could fit in today's musical landscape – but cringe-worthy song titles like "Sexify My Love", and Donnie's insistence on rapping, border on parody. It's hard to work out if they're trying to appeal to their old fans or to their kids' schoolfriends.

    "We didn't do the album trying to make it for any age group," Danny says. "If you set out to reach certain people... The people you're trying to reach, they might think it's fake; people who've always been your fans may not appreciate it," adds Donnie, who served as one of the album's executive producers. "You have to make the music for yourself first and make the music that you feel good about. Then everyone else will like it as well."

    But their live shows are expected to deliver. When they announced their reunion tour in the US, tickets sold out within minutes. And the boys head to these shores in January. As for future albums, they snigger at the suggestion that they'll follow The Block with more records. Surely they would? "The idea is to keep the door open," Joey explains. "The idea that we can come back, in whatever manifestation; I think that's cool. We can come back and people will expect something good from us."

    New Kids on the Block were put together by Maurice "The General" Starr – a Berry Gordon-esque Svengali who'd made a sensation out of R&B teen hitmakers New Edition and hoped to emulate that success with white kids to rival The Osmonds. He met Donnie in summer 1984 in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Donnie helped him to find the others: Danny was his best friend, Jordan and Jon friends from school. Donnie's younger brother Mark was a member in the early days, but left to be reborn as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Joey replaced original member Jamie Kelly because, as Donnie explains, "He wasn't good – he had no talent. He was just any other white guy crazy enough to get on stage with us."

    The boys are proud of their early rise to fame. "To find five kids who were willing to stick it out and go through that impossible journey... When you think about the odds of us ever accomplishing anything on that level, and then the challenges that faced us... we could have woke up any morning and just walked. We could have just gone off and got a girlfriend and gone and had babies and had a life. And you couldn't find guys doing what we did," says Donnie. "You would have to scour the whole country to find 100 white guys doing what we were doing, to audition for the group." Danny chips in: "There was no Disney factory in Orlando, churning out boy bands back then."

    They admit things got murkier when their careers peaked in 1989, after hits like "The Right Stuff" and "Hangin' Tough". They've never told tales of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, but they've never denied they weren't as clean-cut as they appeared to be. "Stadium tours were the end of the innocence, but it was the beginning of the marketing of the innocence," says Donnie, knowingly. "It was just a bad time." "Godawful!" adds Jordan. "Everything just got away from us... It just got pinker and yellower..." ("More fluorescent," says Danny.) "And we were getting older," Jordan continues. "What you start having was a lot of fractures. It was a fractured group. It was just so big..."

    Donnie tries to be diplomatic. "It stopped being about anything but work. We probably tried to take our talent to the limit and tried to define who we were individually but we also tried to do whatever we could to stay connected to reality somehow, so it became posses on the road, different personalities, everybody pushing to find their own voice. Then you have to come together and do commercials for every name brand in the world. Everything was starting to go down for the wrong reasons." "And there were 70,000 people out there that wanted a piece of you," adds Joey. "So you just start going into a little protective cocoon. You don't get to laugh and have fun like you used to."

    By 1994, they were seeking independence. They changed their name to NKOTB and returned with the Starr-less album Face the Music, a much edgier offering. It tanked. "At a better time in our career, it probably would have worked," Jordan says. "We got so big and we were jammed down so many people's throats that people were gonna reject us regardless."

    Their biggest challenge now will be to ensure they don't go down in history as the biggest boyband that tried and failed again. "If you play your cards right, and you are true and you are honest and you do good work and you believe in yourself, you can come back," Joey says. "And here we are. What other boy band is like us? There's no other boy band like us from our era."

    "When I look at New Kids, I refuse to let that be the definition of my life," Donnie admits. "There's more to life than New Kids but at the same time, there are no rules. Today, we're defining who we are and we're defining how we'll be remembered, and that's fun. I'd rather have it be in our hands than anyone else's."

    NKOTB MEXICO SHOWS ANNOUNCED

    Sun 11/30/08
    Guadalajara, MX
    Auditorio Metropolitano
    ON SALE: 11am Wed. Sept. 29

    Tue 12/2/08
    Mexico City, MX
    Auditorio Nacional
    ON SALE: 11am Wed. Sept. 29

    Wed 12/4/08
    Monterrey, MX
    Arena Monterrey
    ON SALE: 10am Wed. Sept. 29

    New Kids aren't an inch out of step

    "Is this really happening right now?" asked Joey McIntyre, on stage in front of 12,800 screaming fans, last night at the Bell Centre. "The memories come flooding back. Many many memories, so many memories."

    You can call 2008 the year boy-bands returned. Not that the genre or phenomenon is back in style - the groups themselves, whom we assumed were safely buried in the ignoble annals of pop history.

    Last month, it was the Backstreet Boys. Last night, the clock got turned back even further. New Kids On the Block, whose last album (before their recently-released comeback The Block) came out in 1994, filled the house and, yes, it's true, put on a good show.

    Not to a new generation of teeny boppers - to an old one. Women in their 20s and 30s were lined up at the merch tables. They cheered in the stands, like the little girls they once were, reliving the good old days, and songs.

    And there were five guys on stage only too ready to oblige. Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, and Jordan and Jonathan Knight are all well into their 30s by now. But they got the old band back together, and have been practicing.

    They started with a new song, Single, rising as a pack on an elevated platform at the back of the stage. Shuffling, sliding and stepping as one, their moves were surprisingly tight.

    Nostalgia was unleashed with the second and third numbers of the night, My Favorite Girl and You Got It (The Right Stuff), off the band's 1988 album Hangin' Tough.

    The tracks' retro feel were left intact, including the new jack swing dance beats and tinny synth sounds. The guys' moves were inspired - kicks and spins were executed with enthusiasm and precision.

    They slowed things down with Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time), and Valentine Girl, followed by another from '88, Please Don't Go Girl.

    Backed by a four-piece band, and with female backup singers and dancers in tow, the "Kids" were slick, managing a delicate balance between not taking themselves too seriously and taking the show itself totally seriously.

    When Wahlberg called out to the room - "Montréa-a-a-a-al!!!" - the shrieking reply was very nearly deafening. The entire crowd was on its feet, grinning ear to ear.

    Wahlberg, it should be noted, exuded an easy confidence and charisma all night. As for his bandmates, Wood showed impressive breakdancing moves, and Jordan Knight has a particularly strong voice.

    And the hits, they kept on coming: Tonight, Baby I Believe In You, Cover Girl, I'll Be Loving You, and the encore one-two punch, Step By Step and Hangin' Tough. Several new songs were slipped in along the way, and they all went over well. Truth be told, on this night, these guys could do no wrong.

    British soul-pop starlet Natasha Bedingfield drew a warm reception in the opening slot.

    Concert Review: New Kids on the Block, ACC, Toronto

    How long has it been since the boys, ahem I mean men, of New Kids on the Block had a concert?

    Exhibit A: A woman outside ran into someone she knew on the street.

    "What are you up to?' he asked.

    "Going to see New Kids," she said, as the guy gave her a quizzical look.

    "I'm an old fan," she explained. Yeah, literally.

    Exhibit B: The woman next to me had just given birth a mere two weeks ago.

    Exhibit C: Women flocked the souvenir stands inside since their old t-shirts no longer fit because, as one explained, we've gone through puberty since then.

    Yes, the fans of New Kids have grown up and are now around the age the Kids were when they were on top of the world.

    However, from the level of screaming and the fact that not only was the ACC packed, the women (and the handful of guys dragged to the show) did not sit down for the entire two-plus hour set Friday night at the ACC in Toronto.

    It was a trip down memory lane for all of these women, and the New Kids brought it and then some. I had never gone to a New Kids concert as a kid (my parents felt it was a waste of money) so I had waited for this moment ever since I was nine years old.

    There's no easy way to describe the rush in that room when the five guys from Boston came onto the stage and brought everything they had. They sang, they danced, they shouted right back to the crowd. And the show was a show: fireworks, streamers, the whole shebang.

    The Kids sang a few of their new songs as well as the old classics. And the girls, ahem I mean women, in the crowd loved every second of it.

    "It's been 15 years...and you look great!" Donnie said to the crowd.

    We could say the same of you.

    Fans hang tough with New Kids on the Block as aging boy band revisits sugary hits

    The screams were ear-splitting when The New Kids on the Block launched their reunion tour in front of a largely female audience Friday.

    The Boston-bred quintet kicked off their nostalgic-drenched show at Toronto's Air Canada Centre with their new song, "Single", each member striding along to female shrieks as they crossed the multi-level stage.

    For many in the audience, the aging boy band appeared to still have "the right stuff," blending R&B-tinged pop with familiar choreographed moves, coordinating outfits and plenty of cheese.

    Now pushing middle-age, it's been roughly 20 years since Joey, Donnie, Jordan, Jonathan and Danny helped define a sugary pop era with monster hits such as "Step By Step" and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)".

    But the passage of time seemed to mean little to the group's ardent female fans, many of whom appeared to be in their late 20s and 30s and some accompanied by kids of their own.

    Friday's show was the second of a three-night stand at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, with the final show set for Sunday.

    The New Kids on the Block head to Montreal on Saturday and visit Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in mid-to-late November.

    NKOTB's Danny Wood: 'Opening Night Was Amazing'

    The wait is over.

    The New Kids on the Block hit the stage at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Thursday night for their first show in over 14 years – and Danny Wood says it felt good.

    "Opening night of the tour was beyond anything I can describe," Wood tells PEOPLE. "If there is anything that can surpass living a dream, it is right now. NKOTB!"

    The screaming fans at the sold-out show sure seemed to agree that the Kids still have the right stuff.

    During one memorable moment, a fan threw her bra at Joey McIntyre. Stunned, McIntyre threw it back to her from the stage.

    "They were all pretty speechless," an eyewitness tells PEOPLE.

    Donnie Wahlberg thanked fans for their loyalty during their two-hour set of classics and songs off their new album, The Block, like "Summertime."

    "All you little girls ... grew up to be fine young women," said Wahlberg.

    Backstage after the show, "Donnie said he was just so grateful for the love of the fans," said the observer. "And Joey said, 'Now that was fun!

    Local Critic Praises NKOTB

    Toronto Sun music critic Ashante Infantry praised the group's performance.

    "The boys are back in fine form, straddling the line between the puppy-love pushers they used be, and the damn near 40-year-old-men they've become," she wrote.

    "McIntyre and Jordan Knight's falsettos are ever compelling," Infantry added, "as is Wahlberg's tenor and rhymes."

    After three more shows in Canada, NKOTB will return to the States, where they'll play the Bell Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Sept. 23.

    The U.S. leg of their sold-out tour ends in Los Angeles on Nov. 26.

    After a 14-year hiatus, boy band is still hanging tough, wowing fans at first of three T.O. shows

    Nobody does cool better than Donnie Wahlberg, with his working-class Boston sensibility and ever-present baseball cap; but there he was on the opening night of New Kids on the Block's reunion tour acting like an insecure lover.

    "I can't hear you, Toronto. I don't know who feels better: you or me? I look good, too? Toronto, how you feeling?" queried the quintet's spokesperson, again and again during the first half of the concert.

    Asked every which way but straight on, what he really wanted to know from the audience was: Do you still love us? Did we do good? Are you getting your $39.50-$75 worth?

    Yes. Yes. A resounding yes!

    After a 14-year hiatus, the boys are back in fine form, straddling the line between the puppy love pushers they used be, and the damn near 40-year-old-men they've become.

    The two-hour show was more sedate than their raunchy new album, The Block, augured. There was no grinding on the four female dancers; only one choreographed crotch grab; and Joey McIntyre didn't seem to know what to do with the black bra that was tossed at him (he threw it back into the crowd).

    Just as well since the audience, brimming with 20- to 40-year-old women, also included numerous preteen daughters and sons they brought along.

    "All you little girls that grew up to be fine young women. Woo! You look good, too," was Wahlberg's tasteful acknowledgment of his heartthrob past and present.

    The ensemble took the stage after a fair half-hour set by U.K. singer Natasha Bedingfield and forgoing clichéd memory lane video footage in favour of clichéd walking through backstage hallways video footage.

    They rose from beneath the stage clad in all black with hints of pink singing "Single," one of the better tracks from The Block, and showing off slick choreography, with lots of slow-mo and hip-hop accents. Throughout the night they alternated new tunes with older hits such as "My Favourite Girl" and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)."

    McIntyre and Jordan Knight's falsettos are ever compelling; as is Wahlberg's tenor and rhymes. Jonathan Knight gave awesome backup and Wood did a really neat breakdance routine.

    They performed on a spare two-level stage, with the musicians partially hidden.

    One downside of the show had to do with staging: why weren't the dancers or musicians utilized between segments in lieu of leaving the stage dark and quiet for more than a minute during transitions?

    On the upside was a thrilling moment when the group made their way to the floor seats and performed a handful of songs on a circular rotating stage with McIntyre and Jordan Knight taking turns on piano.

    Another faux pas was the solo showcases by Knight, McIntyre and Wahlberg toward the end. There were some cheers, but that was just Canadian charity and beer.

    Wahlberg has said it himself: the magic of NKOTB is in the group. That's what sold more than 71 million records and that's why there are enough fans in Toronto for another Air Canada Centre show tonight and one on Sunday.

    They should stick to what they do best.

    Older Kids go round the block again

    New Kids On The Block will perform at the Bell Centre Sept. 20 with special guest Natasha Bedingfield. For more information, go to www.nkotb.com.

    Just over a year ago, being part of a boy band was considered to be the dorkiest gig in pop.

    Unless your name was Justin Timberlake, the mid-2000s was a cruel time for those who rode the boy-band boom of the late '90s.

    The Backstreet Boys and Hanson struggled to launch comebacks and found it hard to buck the lame-o stigma of having been a part of the dreaded preteen pop trend.

    Jordan Knight, a former member of New Kids On The Block -- whose late '80s breakthrough set the template for the modern boy band -- was a cast member on humiliating reality series The Surreal Life, featuring washed up celebs.

    Members of *NSYNC wanted to reunite in 2006 but their dream was nixed by bandmate Timberlake who had made the rare transition to a successful solo career. When MTV asked him why he didn't want to take part in a reunion, Timberlake's dismissive reply was telling. "What we did doesn't work now," he said.

    Even the latest bubble gum sensation The Jonas Brothers felt the hard times. In early 2007 they lost their deal with Columbia Records after their debut disc failed to sell 100,000 units.

    But today those Disney darlings are on top of the pop world. Their latest disc A Little Bit Longer debuted at No. 1 on the charts and it's expected to be one of the year's top-selling CDs.

    All of a sudden it feels like the tides are shifting. Boy bands are back and that resurgence isn't limited to new cutie-pies like the Jonas Brothers.

    The Backstreet Boys are on an arena tour. The Oklahoma pop-rock trio Hanson have made a respectable comeback as indie artists and are also touring Canada.

    Even the long gone New Kids On The Block are touring again, with dates this fall in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

    For the first time in a long time, being in a boy band isn't looking all that bad. Even so, most of the pretty lads who are lumped into that category bristle at the classification.

    The Backstreet Boys remain the top-selling boy group of all time, having sold more than 100 million CDs around the world, and remain the epitome of the boy band. And yet, even they're not entirely comfortable with that cursed label.

    "We got our start in Europe and they had a lot of (boy bands) over there. We kind of got lumped into that pile," says Backstreeter Howie Dorough, 35. "We grew up listening to Boyz II Men and The Eagles and we didn't even know what a boy band was. They said, 'Well, boy bands are pretty boys, maybe one of them can sing, and they have (choreographed dance moves).' We saw them and they looked like a bunch of pansies. We thought 'We don't want this boy band title.' But it followed us when we came back to the United States."

    The Oklahoma pop-rock brothers trio Hanson were even more offended at being lumped in with the boy band fad when their breakout single MMMBop hit the top of the charts in 1997. They played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. "I don't think the boy band title was in any way accurate for us," says Isaac Hanson, 27. "In almost every case when you're talking about boy bands (they're formed) as a contrived thing by some outside source. . . . Our process was very organic."

    As for the wholesome Jonas Brothers, they're already uneasy with the label. In a recent Rolling Stone cover story, 15-year-old Nick Jonas fantasizes about recording a rock album under an alias.

    But things are looking up for boy bands.

    "We've gone through all the ups and down. . . . (but) we're still making music for our fans," says the Backstreet Boys' Dorough. "We're still touring around the world . . . and selling out arenas. We've definitely made a mark and I feel like we've proven a lot of the critics wrong."

    "(The New Kids On The Block) are all great guys and I'm glad to see they're coming back," he says. "And The Jonas Brothers, they're reminiscent of what I remember when we first started out with the young audiences and all that hysteria.

    "I feel there's room for all of us out there."

    NKOTB Setlist- Toronto Sept 18, 2008

    1. Single
    2. Favorite Girl
    3. The Right Stuff
    4. Didn't I Blow Your Mind/Valentine Girl Medley
    5. Please Don't Go Girl
    6. Grown Man
    7. No More Games
    8. If You Go Away
    9. 2 In The Morning
    10. Tonight
    11. Twisted
    12. Baby I Believe In You
    13. Give It To You (Jordan solo)
    14. Stay The Same (Joey Solo)
    15. Cover Girl (Donnie Solo)
    16. I'll Be Loving You Forever
    17. Click Click Click
    18. Summertime
    19. Step By Step
    Encore:
    20. Hangin' Tough/We Will Rock You

    Concert Review: New Kids On The Block - Air Canada Centre, Toronto - September 18, 2008

    It took them 14 years to get back together and the rust was somewhat apparent.

    But a Boston-based quintet that started the boy band factory were still able to get by with some old hits and a few new songs that didn't do quite so badly.

    New Kids On The Block returned to the minds and hearts of those same teenage girls now in their late twenties, thirties and beyond for their world tour launch last night at the Air Canada Centre, the first of three shows at the venue in the next few days.

    The group -- Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg and Joey McIntyre -- were out of the spotlight for 14 years but decided that now was a great time to cash in, er, reunite entirely for creative and artistic purposes.

    New Kids On The Block (or NKOTB to fans) made their Canadian return earlier this year at the MuchMusic Video Awards, performing a medley of hits as well as the single Summertime. The rather lackluster performance was loved by fans and passively ignored by critics.

    Fortunately the group managed to make a good middle portion out of a roughly 100-minute set that was strangely paced and, particularly during the second half, almost a three-man show in McIntrye, Wahlberg and Jordan Knight.

    Beginning with a hokey montage that looked like some film trailer, the band emerged from high above a multi-level, sparse-looking stage with Single from the new studio album The Block.

    And from that moment on, the shrill screams pent up for 15 years by the predominantly female crowd were let loose repeatedly and primarily for Wahlberg and McIntyre.

    With Wahlberg mentioning Toronto in the opening song, the group looked a bit nervous as each made sure they hit their spots and did their rather rudimentary dance steps NSYNC, oops, in sync.

    The pacing of the show was rather strange as the group left the stage three times during the first handful of songs, leaving some lulls with only a limp musical interlude to hold the fans over.

    Following My Favourite Girl from 1988's Hangin' Tough album, New Kids On The Block opted for one of the big hits in You Got It (The Right Stuff) which had the venue buzzing as four female backing dancers came onstage.

    "What's up Toronto?" Wahlberg asked. "I didn't hear you. What's up Toronto?"

    Well, for the first half the fans stood and sang and screamed and screamed. And screamed some more when Jordan Knight went into Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) as Danny Wood had a brief lead vocal.

    But there were obvious gaffes that should've been taken care of well before opening night. The song Grown Man for instance features The Pussycat Dolls and Teddy Riley on the album, but the band could've used a female singer on stage to do portions instead of resorting to a video image on the large screen behind them.

    Halfway through, the band opted for a small (and I do mean small) stage at the back of the venue's floor for Dirty Dancing and the Beatles-esque Tonight which went over quite well. Yet the five members seemed more concerned at times with not falling off the rotating stage than enjoying the moment.

    This brief set should've kicked things into another gear but this is where the wheels seemed to fall off a bit, especially when Danny Wood (who did some break-dancing) and Jonathan Knight were absent for a rather sizable chunk of songs while Wahlberg, McIntyre and Jordan Knight went to work.

    Jordan Knight also rekindled the band's heyday during Baby, I Believe In You as a fan blew his unbuttoned shirt around the same way he performed ages ago.

    Finally all five returned dressed in white for I'll Be Loving You (Forever) prior to Wahlberg appearing to choke up about the song Click Click Click which started the "reformation."

    By the evening's homestretch, which featured Summertime and Step By Step, the band seemed happy as much as relieved that night one was over.

    Sadly they still looked a bit like new kids on the block.

    New Kids are back on the old block

    When Take That chose to call it a day in 1996 pop fans and the media mourned the loss of one of the most famous boy bands to have graced Top Of The Pops.

    It was a different story when in 1994 the boy band who started it all, New Kids On The Block – comprised of Joey, Donny, Danny, Jordan and Jonathan – decided to do the same. As Joey states: “We just sort of walked away. And at that point, we weren’t exactly going to hold a press conference because no one really cared.”

    The downfall of New Kids On The Block’s career wasn’t strongly documented at the time, but with hindsight makes quite the Hollywood blockbuster.

    Five teenage friends from a rough area in Boston formed a pop group and soon became a global phenomenon. Selling 70 million albums was just the start. Teen girls had to have the badges, lunch boxes, mugs, watches, annuals and T-shirts – the group were no longer just a boy band but a brand.

    However as quickly as they’d established themselves as constant chart-toppers, the public lost interest and the industry that had pronounced them a pop success story no longer wanted anything to do with them. Now looking for the Hollywood ending, the five have decided to reform. This time it seems the public definitely does care.

    A new album, The Block, is out now and a tour will bring the band to Birmingham NIA on January 17 next year.

    Donny Wahlberg (brother of Mark) has arguably gone on to enjoy the greatest success since leaving the music industry, as an actor. So it’s surprising that it was his idea for the group to reform.

    He says: “I heard this particular song and it sounded right. I was near to Jordan in Boston while I was working on a film in Connecticut. I was going through a lot in my personal life and music just seemed like a good idea. The song sounded good for the group and the guys reacted in the same way. I said, ‘Okay then let’s record it’. One song led to another, which led to another, which led to an addiction.

    “Once I started writing, spending time in the studio and getting back into the music business again, I couldn’t really turn it off, it became a 20-hour-a-day obsession.”

    The other four were just as enthusiastic, albeit with an air of caution. Jonathan says: “Back in the day it was directed by people who wanted to capitalise on us and they didn’t really take into account the longevity or integrity of the group.”

    Jordan adds: “Yeah we made that mistake, we were only youngsters and unfortunately we signed one piece of paper and boom we gave away the sign-off and our managers went a little crazy. It commercialised us a little too much, but what are you going to do? This time the buck stops with us.”

    This time around they have decided to try to do as much in-house as possible. Danny says: “Donny took on a manager’s role and that was easier as he’s in the group and always has our interests in mind. Everyone brought their own life experiences from the past 15 years to it and it’s made it a lot easier.”

    Ticket Info

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK January 17, 2009: NIA, Birmingham Tickets: 0844 338 8000.

    Blocking the New Kids

    New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, enough to mount a reunion arena tour launching this weekend in Toronto and Montreal, only the fact remains that those original songs weren’t very good. When their airplay fortunes peaked in 1990 with the ultra-cynical “Step By Step,” Donnie Wahlberg was sporting a Public Enemy T-shirt in the video, as if he wished he were trading verses with Flavor Flav. At least Steven Page felt their pain, channeling it into the Barenaked Ladies tune “New Kid (On the Block),” the voice of a 23-year-old feeling trapped in the boy band closet for the sake of a lunch box.

    When the quintet tried their first comeback, two years after stumbling, the ballad “If You Go Away” was stealthily credited to “NKOTB.” The album that followed in 1994, Face the Music, contemplated the prospect of a long-haul — yet the only audience left were high school girls feeling nostalgic for sixth grade.

    A determination to bring new and improved material to the stage resulted in a new New Kids disc, The Block, whose reviews overlook one indisputable truth — never before has a group that started in their teens made an album in their mid-to-late-30s that is better than all the stuff they became known for in the first place.

    And no shortage of credits for the effort are given due to a 32-year-old Toronto native, Adam Messinger.

    “Back then I think they were more focused on how many girls they were going to meet backstage than anything going on in the recording studio,” he says. “I’m sure their parents encouraged them to stick with it and do what they were told, in order to make money. And it must have been really exciting for a while, but no one was ever thinking those songs would be considered an artistic statement.

    “They approached this new album as their shot to rewrite the New Kids legacy.”

    The vision was shaped after Wahlberg’s discovery of a song by Nasri Atweh, which fell into his hands through a channel of music attorneys. Nasri had spent the past few years trying to find his niche as a recording artist beyond the confines of a Canadian industry none too friendly to nuanced rhythmic pop.

    Messinger had been collaborating with Nasri in Toronto, and the two relocated separately to Los Angeles. When it was determined that Nasri’s “Click Click Click” (see below) would be a perfect opener for the NKOTB comeback, they were summoned together to the studio.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7hbZp2N4C0

    Growing up as a musical prodigy in North York, the New Kids on the Block were the last group Messinger was likely to listen to. What he felt early on, however, was a craving to interpret his own cultural zeitgeist.

    “I was being taught songs on the piano that were 200 years old or more,” he says, “but I wanted to play the soundtracks of Ghostbusters and Footloose.” While enrolled in the Claude Watson School for the Arts from age 10, adding other instruments to his repertoire, Messinger started playing Guns N’ Roses and Led Zeppelin covers in teen bands that were essentially the opposite of NKOTB.

    When he made it to the jazz program at York University, prog-rock became his sideline obsession, exercised in a series of battle-of-the-bands competitions around town. A band he played bass for, OPM (“Other People’s Mothers”) described themselves as a hybrid of Faith No More, Alice in Chains and the Beatles when they came in second place in the Q107 Homegrown contest in 1997.

    Winning a few different rounds of studio time, though, supplied Messinger with the realization that the software coming on the market at the time allowed him to be more efficient by recording entirely on his own — and maybe even help him earn a few quick bucks.

    The big break involved working with a company that offered custom cover versions, with lyrics re-written to commemorate a special occasion. “These were Britney Spears and Shania Twain songs in honour of weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays,” he explains. “So, like, ‘Mambo No. 5’ became ‘Mambo No. 35’”

    Then along came a few production credits Messinger could attach his name to, trading up from a capella group Cadence and Christian rap-rocker Manafest to Ivana Santilli and The Nylons. More networking led to writing, producing and playing on the album by the 2006 Canadian Idol winner, Eva Avila. All the while, his pal Nasri was still trying to figure out how to position himself as something better than a minor-league CanCon carbon-copy of Justin Timberlake.

    “You would see a major label in Toronto trying to break somebody like Shawn Desman,” says Messinger, “and they couldn’t succeed. The songs could even be the same calibre as an American, but there’s one-tenth the population — and one-tenth the budget.”

    To take a genuine run at this genre, then, Messinger did the most sensible thing anyone could do with their Canadian Idol paycheque: a relocation to Hollywood.

    “The adverse effect of being able to distribute your own music on the internet is that it’s made it impossible to get noticed in certain circles,” he says. “For what I was trying to do, even the smallest amount of face-time makes a big difference.”

    And once the self-started New Kids project was taken on by power broker Jimmy Iovine of Interscope Records, the affiliations started accelerating for Messinger. By virtue of his work on The Block — where his most common credit is the somewhat ambiguous “vocal producer” — his resumé now extends to the younger generation of chart-topping guest stars featured on the album, including the current drive to get Top 40 airplay for the new single, “Single,” featuring a sixth New Kid: Ne-Yo.

    Calculated collaborations aside, it genuinely sounds like the three NKOTB vocalists — 39-year-old Donnie Wahlberg, 38-year-old Jordan Knight and 35-year-old Joey McIntyre — were determined to shape this revived act as a reflection of their own personalities, even if no guy in their age bracket would voluntarily watch them dust off their old dance routines on the reunion tour.

    “Their life experience obviously factors into the dynamic,” says Messinger. “But there was some tension, too. Joey and Jordan had tried doing their own separate things for a while, and yet Donnie took on a leadership role — he’s the one who drove the ship and called the shots, even if he eventually let them have their say.

    “The most impressive thing is that they stuck to it, because they didn’t know that anyone would even be interested in hearing the album once it was out there.”

    The Block debuted at the top of the Canadian album chart last week — and it entered at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, behind Young Jeezy. The pre-album single, “Summertime,” similarly fared better on the airwaves around here. Not a blockbuster, but enough to make the New Kids contemporary contenders.

    Concurrent with its release, Messinger and Nasri Atweh had a tune placed on the recent album by High School Musical starlet Vanessa Hudgens, which put them in the company of the wave of thirtysomething names commissioned for every would-be Radio Disney staple of the past decade: Antonina Armato, Cathy Dennis, Kara DioGuardi, “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and, the most influential of the bunch, Max Martin.

    These two dudes from Toronto will also contribute to forthcoming albums by chanteuse Marina Chello, a female group originally assembled on the German version of Popstars dubbled No Angels, and the psychologically complex tweenybopper icon JoJo.

    However, the most intriguing assignment they received to date will take a bit longer to surface. Can they really help reinvent the image of Michael Bolton?

    “He’s the most well-preserved 55-year-old I’ve ever met,” says Messinger. “And he beckoned me — I was hounded in the middle of the night to work with him.

    “Really, it was just a matter of gaining enough experience to be considered the right guy who could help bring some quote-unquote musicality to the project. And he knows who his market is — all he needs to do is make a phone call to get on Oprah or The View, except he also wants to make sure that it’s packaged right.”

    Between the former chart fixtures seeking a comeback, and pipeline of prefab acts, Messinger is positioned to be part of the supply chain for a while yet. They hope to get Nasri’s solo career off the ground, eventually, although Bolton reminded them that he also spent a few years in the background, writing hits for other people, until the timing was right to headline as himself.

    But how many would-be hit records can one man help create without wondering if those ideas haven’t previously been written?

    “It’s a very fine line,” he says, “because the challenge usually involves incorporating an element that sounds instantly familiar.

    “And yet, it also can’t sound like something that anyone has ever heard before.”

    Time was right for revival

    Can you really be a new kid on the block 22 years after being a New Kid On The Block?

    Most in their right mind would say no, but just don't tell that to Jordan Knight and his four band mates making up the Boston-based boy band.

    Make that man band.

    And going by the fact the group have three shows coming up at Toronto's Air Canada Centre including their reunion tour launch Thursday, fans are still madly in love with the group 14 years since releasing their previous studio album.

    Knight says it just felt like it was time for the band --Knight, his brother Jon Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Joe McIntyre and Danny Wood -- to reunite.

    "It's been up in the air and it's been talked about for a long time between us five," Knight says from London during a British promotional tour. "There's always been times when it just didn't feel right to other members and sometimes it didn't feel right to me. This time it felt right to everybody.

    "I think for me, enough time has passed since the New Kids went away and I think curiosity and enough longing for it has built up."

    The group, who were the forerunner of bands such as NSYNC, 98 Degrees and (who can forget) O-Town, basically stopped as an entity following 1994's Face The Music while some members went on to rather forgettable solo careers.

    But earlier this year, the group began working on new material, resulting in the recently released studio effort The Block.

    "When we first went into the studio, we didn't know for sure if we could do a reunion tour, if it would be successful, if we could sell tickets, if we could sell enough tickets to sellout," Knight says. "First and foremost, we wanted to lead this whole thing by doing music. And in order to do music, we had to make sure that we gelled in the studio. So the first thing that we did was go into the studio.

    "We didn't want to look too far ahead, we just wanted to take it one step at a time. So we went into the studio and we gelled right away. Me, Donnie and Joe were in the studio and we just smashed it, we saw eye to eye and it was obvious that we could definitely do a whole album."

    That album, The Block, features guest appearances by Ne-Yo, Lady GaGa and Akon, also includes two songs co-written with Canadian singer-producer Nasri Atweh.

    The album also was preceded by the single Summertime which the group debuted at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto in June.

    "It was cool because we know how big MuchMusic is in Canada," Knight says of the performance. "It was like going on the MTV Music Awards pretty much and it was the first time we performed on that kind of TV show in maybe 15 or 16 years. So it was special to do it for Canada and to share the same stage with all the other artists on there, Rihanna included."

    Knight says New Kids On The Block have been rehearsing a lot for the tour and are trying to ensure "that people are going to get their money's worth."

    He also says the set list will be approximately split between songs off The Block and older favourites.

    Yet when asked if the tour could be seen by some as nothing more than a cash grab, Knight is quick to reply.

    "If we were doing it just for the money, we would cut out all the extra work that we needed to do and we'd go straight for the cash which is not the case," he says. "The case is that we're talented guys and we take pride in what we do and we have great fans that have followed up since we were younger and we would never take advantage of them like that.

    "We hold precious what we've done in the past and what we're going to do in the future and we want to keep the New Kids legacy going. We wouldn't sell it out for a quick dollar."

    Although New Kids On The Block have most of 2008 and the early portion of 2009 already mapped out, Knight isn't sure what will happen after touring behind The Block concludes.

    "We could do another album in a year and a half or a year, who knows?" he says. "It's going to be a decision that us five make together alone. And I don't know, to even talk about it before even us five have talked about it, I wouldn't want to do that."

    New Kids return with a more mature sound

    If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s, chances are you will like one of the big three shows this week.

    The New Kids on the Block had a strong chart run from 1988-1990, with six certified gold singles, two platinum singles, and more than 16 million albums sold. Today, most of the band members are turning 40, so the group's name really should be changed, like when the Young Rascals became The Rascals in the 1960s.

    All five original members are on board for a new album (“The Block,” released on Sept. 2) and a tour which brings them to the Izod Center, 50 State Route 120, off the New Jersey Turnpike in East Rutherford, on Tuesday night (and the Borgata Event Center in Atlantic City Sept. 27). Vocalists Donnie Wahlberg, Joe McIntyre, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight and Jon Knight were accused of lip-synching when performing live during their heyday (or singing along to vocalists who did not appear on stage), but those days are gone.

    At this show, expect to hear the No. 1 chart hits “Step by Step,” “I'll Be Loving You (Forever),” and “Hangin' Tough,” along with the No. 2 single “Cover Girl” and the No. 3 smash “You Got It (The Right Stuff).” Mix in some songs from the new album like “Grown Man,” “Full Service,” “Single” and “Put it On My Tab” and you have a solid set list.

    And if you are wondering if this late-1980s band can still be relevant today, check out the guests Ne-Yo, Akon, Pussycat Dolls and New Edition on the CD. The collaboration with these hit makers resulted in a more mature album that crosses over from club music to hip-hop and contemporary R&B sounds.

    Opening the show at the Izod Center is British singer Natasha Bedingfield, who hit it big in 2005 with the No. 5 single “Unwritten” and the No. 17 song “These Words.” She will probably perform some of the songs from her debut pop CD, like “Peace of Me” or “Stumble,” but should concentrate on introducing material from last year's disc “Pocketful of Sunshine.” The new CD leans more toward dance/pop, R&B and ballads with the tunes “Happy,” “Put Your Arms Around Me,” “Say it Again” and “Not Givin' Up.”

    Show time is 8 p.m.

    Tickets: $36.50 to $74.50. Information: 856-338-9000.

    NKOTB PARIS SHOW ANNOUNCED!

    Wed 2/4/09
    Paris, FR
    Olympia
    ON SALE: Friday Sept. 26th

    New Kids On The Block To Reissue Their Christmas Album

    With the New Kids On The Block reunion back in full swing and proving pretty popular, the band will reissue their Christmas album 'Merry, Merry Christmas' in time for the festive season.

    The album was first released on September 19 in 1989, but will now be readily available again on October 14 (the first issue is long out of print).

    In addition to the original tracklisting, six new songs will fill-out the expanded reissue. The new tracks were written, or co-written by New Kids manager and producer Maurice Starr.

    This month saw the release of comeback album The Block - their first new material in 14 years.

    The older kids on the block...

    “WE’RE still young, we’re still hot!”

    So says Joey McIntyre of early 90’s American boyband New Kids on the Block.

    He’s talking of the group’s decision to reform and hit the road again. They’ll be stopping off at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena on January 28. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

    Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood are back together for the first time in nearly a decade and have had great reviews in the US for their new album The Block, featuring new single Summertime.

    It came about when Wahlberg was in New York for a costume fitting for the upcoming film Righteous Kill, which stars two of his greatest heroes, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, as well as 50 Cent.

    Finding himself just around the block, Wahlberg visited the office of his longtime entertainment lawyer, Jaimie Roberts, who handed him a demo tape of a young singer-songwriter named Nazaree.

    Since the days of New Kids and his time producing hits in the early 90s for his brother Mark as Markey Mark and The Funky Bunch, Wahlberg has been handed a mountain of demos in his time and he took the offering with no expectations.

    But in the months that followed, he and the other Kids collaborated closely with Nazaree, who turned out to be a New Kids fan since childhood.

    Things gelled and the result was a new album that blends the melodic soul of vintage New Kids with a contemporary, hip hop feel.

    In the late 80s and early 90s, New Kids on the Block became a phenomenon, selling more than 80 million albums.

    They had a series of hits including You Got It (The Right Stuff), Cover Girl, Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), Hangin’ Tough, I’ll Be Loving You, Step By Step and Tonight.

    They also sold countless concert tickets, T-shirts and even lunchboxes to primarily female children around the world.

    The wait has been a long one, but it’s nearly over.

    Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 9.30am for New Kids on the Block’s January 28 gig in Newcastle.

    New Kids on the Block awaken '80s nostalgia

    For many, all that remained was a box of stuff.

    Packed in perfectly preserved time capsule bedrooms or shuttered in corners of parents' basements, the pins, shirts, posters and other memorabilia from the New Kids on the Block's original heyday 15 years ago fondly remind fans of a seemingly bygone era.

    But this week, many of those caged memories have been set free in anticipation of the reunited group's astonishing three Toronto shows in town, starting tonight, kicking off their world tour.

    "I have t-shirts. I have all their old CDs and tapes, original tapes. Coffee mugs, and buttons, and the little deck of playing cards," says Leah Jones, 26, a music-store manager in Bracebridge.

    "I was actually surprised that I held onto it as long as I did, but as soon as I heard they were reuniting I pulled it out and started wearing my t-shirts again. Oh yeah."

    Jones figures she's spent $1,500 on tickets for all three shows (she even got V.I.P. passes for one of the concerts), including accommodations in Toronto.

    She describes herself as a hardcore fan – in high school (after the Kids' heyday), she was the only student who still had all their CDs in her car.

    "I remain a huge fan, and always have.... It was the first concert that I ever went to and I think that's what hooked me, seeing them live," she says.

    Nostalgia, she suggests, must have something to do with the surprising amount of buzz around the group's reunion.

    "We're all old now and saddled with families and kids, and I think that hearing the old music and even the new music takes you back to when you were younger and boy bands were good," she says.

    While Jones has clearly been waiting for this moment, there are others who are surprised at how excited they've become for the group's comeback.

    "I told my mom, and she was like, `Are you kidding? What are they going to sing?' I'm like, don't worry, they're going to sing everything. I'm going to enjoy it. It's just a totally girly thing," says 29-year-old Rina Arya, who works in financial services.

    Arya is going to the show with three girlfriends, but says she was piqued when one of her male friends expressed interest – because he wanted to scope out girls, she says – and that got her thinking and remembering how much of a totally obsessed NKOTB fan she was back in the day.

    While Arya saw the group at Exhibition Place during their first wave of popularity, for some these shows are a chance to fulfil something they missed out on in the 1980s and 1990s.

    "One of my other girlfriends said that she wanted to go only because when she was a kid her parents said `no, you're not going, it's too expensive,'" she says.

    "And now she's older and she's making money, it's like an unfulfilled dream of hers. I can see that. So I think it might be a little of completing that childhood fantasy for her."

    While there are countless fans who are excited at seeing the group, the resurgence in popularity is something that concert industry analysts find surprising.

    "Well, New Kids is really kind of strange, because that was an act at its height that was probably as big as any artist ever, but the flameout was pretty severe. In the space of about two years, they went from playing gigantic stadiums to playing nightclubs and not even selling those out, and at that point they broke up," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, an industry trade magazine and website.

    "The thing is, with most of the teen acts, once they break up, you're not going to see them again. Like N Sync; I don't think Justin Timberlake will ever be persuaded to go back there."

    Bongiovanni marvels at the scope of the New Kids tour, playing only large stadiums over an ambitious roster of dates. While he hasn't seen any advanced sales figures, he says he gets the feeling there is enough interest to warrant the venue choices.

    "The thing about acts that appeal to a preteen audience is that those kids have a very short attention span, and they'll move from one hero to another fairly quickly, which almost means that New Kids on the Block are establishing a new audience today, or they have managed to re-attract the interest of kids who once were hardcore fans," he says.

    The Kids' latest hot-selling singles could be an indicator of that phenomenon. Traditionally, the most successful touring acts are older baby boomer acts – Bongiovanni cites Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen and Rush as examples – and the New Kids' success could be a sign that the "echo boomer" is flexing its music muscle and, like the older generation, hoping to relive something from their past.

    As well, for the first half of this year, the most successful touring act was another act that peaked in the 1980s and '90s, Bon Jovi, who played a whopping five consecutive shows at the Air Canada Centre. Like the New Kids, they skew to a heavily female audience.

    Could this all be a Toronto Effect? Pop reunion tours seem to do exceptionally well here, which would help explain why the New Kids are hangin' tough here for three straight nights. Similarly, the Spice Girls performed four sold-out dates here earlier this year, before cancelling many remaining dates on their tour due to lack of sales. The New Kids sold out their first show in minutes, and have added two shows in Toronto, while the rest of the tour has only single dates.

    "All markets have their own idiosyncrasies," explains Bongiovanni. "But the one thing I've heard this past year about Canada in general is that (the concert) business is much stronger in Canada than it is down here in the States.

    "I don't know what it says about the economy, whether it's better, but certainly, you're supporting live music at an impressive rate. And Toronto is one of the great music cities of the world."

    New Kids (are back) on the Block

    In a ringtone world speeding by so fast, maybe we need a cassette group to make it slow down a little.

    That where the New Kids on the Block come in.

    "We're like comfort food," said New Kids member Joey McIntyre. "There are certain things that bring you comfort and people latch onto that. Things go by so fast and the fact that we have such a history and connection with our fans, we can share that with them and bringing something new is even more exciting."

    The Boston vocal group — founded by music impresario Maurice Starr in 1984 — is in the midst of a comeback, and, surprise, it's going very well. There's an upcoming North America arena tour, which is a far cry from the clubs the guys hit during their mid-'90s NKOTB downfall. A new album, "The Block," is a critical hit, proving to be a work more of conviction than confection. It debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's pop chart last week with 95,000 CDs sold.

    "We had a stage but we also wanted to make music that we're proud of and make an album that we're excited about," McIntyre said. "Luckily our fans are back, too, and they keep thanking us but we thank them for coming back. If they didn't come back this would be a really fast story — we're willing to take that risk but we're glad they showed up."

    Paul Cubby Bryant, morning jock for New York City's WKTU, said that excitement is high for the reunion tour.

    "If they did it 10 years ago, people would be making fun of them," Bryant said. "The music cycle has spun around enough and enough time has passed — 10 years isn't as fun — so that there's a wow factor."

    In show business, timing is everything.

    "It's the right amount of time," member Danny Wood said. "We had been away from the business and we got back together for the right reasons — not for someone else's idea. We got back together because of the music. Donnie (Wahlberg) played me a song called "Click Click Click' and I loved and that's how it started out."

    "The Block," sultry and a bit saucy R&B, is more adult-contemporary than pop. Yet, the album features several very notable figures from today's charts, including Ne-Yo, Akon, the Pussycat Dolls and producers Timbaland and Teddy Riley. Old pals New Edition are also featured on the track "Full Service."

    "We didn't try to push and we didn't try to pull and we weren't begging people to work with us," McIntyre said. "We just wanted people who were excited about it."

    "We worked hard to make music on our own before we went to Interscope (Records). We wanted to have our own direction and once we did that people knew what we were up to, they could feel it and put a sound to what we were doing."

    The Kids, childhood friends from several Boston neighborhoods, were formed by Starr as a white counterpart to New Edition, which he also shepherded to superstardom. The group — also brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight — went on to sell more than 70 million records and set the table for the boy-group boom of the late '90s.

    The group's North American tour began yesterday in Toronto and "New Kids on the Block: A Behind the Music Special Event," premieres 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28 on VH1.

    "The second time around is definitely sweeter," Wood said. "It means more because I'm going to be able to share it with my kids. They've been wondering what I used to do and they've seen the old videos but now they're going to come home from school and I have "The View' on TiVo and we'll watch that. It's satisfying to share it with the kids."

    New Kids On The Block unsure of future

    Can you really be a new kid on the block 22 years after being a New Kid On The Block?

    Most in their right mind would say no, but just don't tell that to Jordan Knight and his four band mates making up the Boston-based boy band.

    Make that man band.

    And going by the fact the group have three shows coming up at the Air Canada Centre -- their reunion tour launch tonight, one tomorrow and the third Sunday -- fans are still madly in love with the group 14 years after they released their last studio album.

    Knight says it just felt like it was time for the band --Knight, his brother Jon Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Joe McIntyre and Danny Wood -- to reunite.

    "It's been up in the air and it's been talked about for a long time between us five," Knight says from London during a British promotional tour. "There's always been times when it just didn't feel right to other members and sometimes it didn't feel right to me. This time it felt right to everybody.

    "I think for me, enough time has passed since the New Kids went away and I think curiosity and enough longing for it has built up."

    The group, who were the forerunner of bands such as NSYNC, 98 Degrees and (who can forget) O-Town, basically ended as an entity following 1994's Face the Music while some members went on to rather forgettable solo careers.

    But earlier this year, the group began working on new material, resulting in the recently released studio effort The Block.

    "When we first went into the studio, we didn't know for sure if we could do a reunion tour, if it would be successful, if we could sell tickets, if we could sell enough tickets to sell out," Knight says. "First and foremost, we wanted to lead this whole thing by doing music. And in order to do music, we had to make sure that we gelled in the studio. So the first thing that we did was go into the studio.

    "We didn't want to look too far ahead, we just wanted to take it one step at a time. So we went into the studio and we gelled right away. Me, Donnie and Joe were in the studio and we just smashed it, we saw eye to eye and it was obvious that we could definitely do a whole album."

    That album, The Block, features guest appearances by Ne-Yo, Lady GaGa and Akon, and also includes two songs co-written with Canadian singer-producer Nasri Atweh.

    The album also was preceded by the single Summertime, which the group debuted at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto in June.

    "It was cool because we know how big MuchMusic is in Canada," Knight says of the performance. "It was like going on the MTV Music Awards pretty much and it was the first time we performed on that kind of TV show in maybe 15 or 16 years. So it was special to do it for Canada and to share the same stage with all the other artists on there, Rihanna included."

    Knight says New Kids On The Block have been rehearsing a lot for the tour and are trying to ensure "that people are going to get their money's worth." He also says the set list will be approximately split between songs off The Block and older favourites.

    Yet when asked if the tour could be seen by some as nothing more than a cash grab, Knight is quick to reply.

    "If we were doing it just for the money, we would cut out all the extra work that we needed to do and we'd go straight for the cash which is not the case," he says. "The case is that we're talented guys and we take pride in what we do and we have great fans that have followed us since we were younger and we would never take advantage of them like that.

    "We hold precious what we've done in the past and what we're going to do in the future and we want to keep the New Kids legacy going. We wouldn't sell it out for a quick dollar."

    The group unsure of what the future holds

    Although New Kids On The Block have most of 2008 and the early portion of 2009 already mapped out, Jordan Knight isn't sure what will happen after touring behind The Block concludes.

    "We could do another album in a year and a half or a year, who knows?" he says. "It's going to be a decision that us five make together alone.

    "And I don't know, to even talk about it before even us five have talked about it, I wouldn't want to do that."

    Knight also says while there have been reports of a war of words between the band and NSYNC, he isn't involved any verbal attacks.

    "Not me personally, no," he says.

    "They don't cross my mind too often. Not in a bad way, you know what I mean."

    Yet for all of the venom and vitriol spewed at the band from some music fans and critics alike, none of the New Kids On The Block have been injured on stage like Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was earlier this month at Toronto's Virgin Festival.

    "Fans have gotten on stage and gotten to us but they were trying to get a kiss or a hug," he says.

    "It wasn't to the point that we were physically hurt."

    NKOTB GERMAN DATES ANNOUNCED!

    Sat 1/31/09
    Frankfurt, DE
    Jahrhunderthalle
    ON SALE: Friday 10am Sept. 19th

    Thu 2/5/09
    Dusseldorf, DE
    Phillipshalle
    ON SALE: Friday 10 am Sept. 19th

    TICKETS HERE

    New Kids not slowing with age

    Back in their heyday, the New Kids on the Block were known for some pretty athletic moves. The 1991 video for their monster single "Step by Step" featured band members leaping over drum kits, pumping iron and showcasing extremely flashy footwork.

    Seventeen years later, the "kids" have become middle-aged men as they prepare to kick off a North American reunion tour Thursday in Toronto.

    But Danny Wood, 39, insists he and his musical cohorts are in tip-top shape and that age has not slowed them down one bit.

    "Why is that so hard to believe?" he asked during a recent telephone interview from London. "Three years ago I ran the Miami marathon. You can grow older, but age is really a matter of perception."

    "(In the past), we ran around the stage like we were rabbits with uncontrolled energy. Now, we control the energy and it makes us better performers."

    Wood - who once dated actress Halle Berry - said he and bandmates Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Donnie Wahlberg are "having fun" and "laughing" during a comeback bid that began in May with an appearance on the "Today" show. That was followed by a lacklustre performance at the MuchMusic Video Awards in June.

    They've since honed their dance steps and released a new album, "The Block," featuring the likes of Ne-Yo, Akon and Pussycat Dolls producer/singer Teddy Riley.

    Buoyed by the single "Summertime," it entered the Billboard chart last week at No. 2.

    The mid-life reunion tour (which hits Montreal on Saturday and Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in November) is perhaps an unlikely second go-round for a band that rose to international heights largely on the youthful good looks of its members - especially poster boys Jordan Knight and McIntyre.

    Wood says the timing was finally right to get the New Kids on the Block back together. However, he dismisses suggestions that the band was influenced by the recent resurrection of another popular '90s act, the Spice Girls.

    "We weren't even discussing doing a tour. We wanted to make a great record first," he said.

    "We didn't look at the Spice Girls and say 'Oh we gotta do that.' Our thing is completely different. It was just time for us. We did this based on music first."

    The New Kids on the Block formed in Boston in the 1980s, with producer Maurice Starr hoping to repeat the success he'd had with teen group New Edition.

    With their sugary brand of pop and choreographed moves, the New Kids generated hits including "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)" and ultimately sold some 71 million records. They were widely acknowledged to have paved the way for subsequent boy bands including 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.

    When they split in 1994 amid dwindling popularity, the band members went on to a variety of different careers. Wahlberg pursued acting, Jonathan Knight became a real estate developer, while Wood, Jordan Knight and McIntyre each released solo projects.

    While they are all excited about the new record, Wood says the band is well aware that fans coming to the reunion shows expect to hear the old hits.

    "There's no way we would do this, you know, and not give the fans what they've been waiting for," he said.

    "People have gone to concerts like that and I've heard people say 'Well, this person didn't sing this hit or that hit.' We don't want to be that group ... especially after 14 years. We don't want to be the group that didn't play 'Hangin' Tough' or 'You Got It (The Right Stuff)' or something."

    Toronto, Wood said, was chosen as the launch point for the North American leg of the tour because of the fan reaction there.

    "Pretty much it's the only city that we're doing three shows in. The demand was there and the fans wanted it. They kind of dictated the start of the tour being there and the three shows."

    The only downside to the tour, Wood said, is that he misses his own children (most of the New Kids now have kids of their own).

    Still, he's enjoying the ride, adding that he's in the best shape of his life.

    Boasted the singer: "Fans are definitely going to see us do things we never did before."

    Aging New Kids on the Block set for Toronto relaunch

    During New Kids on the Block's 14-year hiatus, Donnie Wahlberg was the primary holdout.

    The iconic Boston-bred boy band had sold more than 70 million albums and realized No. 1 hits "Hangin' Tough," "Step By Step" and "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)," but Wahlberg had since eked out a respectable acting career and refused to revisit it.

    "I never took part in anything to do with the New Kids: (documentary series) True Hollywood Story, interviews, you name it," said Wahlberg in a phone interview from London where the group – which included brothers Jordon and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood – was promoting its new album, The Block, and the world tour that kicks off in Toronto on Thursday.

    "I knew as long as I didn't participate that the group being intact was still protected.

    "If we just started showing up at every little request for the group, then there's no magic in the group being together."

    Fortunately, when Wahlberg, inspired by a demo track by an unknown Canadian songwriter, lobbed the reunion card, there was little resistance from his erstwhile bandmates.

    "Maybe the fact that it was me was like `Sh--! if he's doing it, it's a good time to do it, because he's probably the one who would least do it,'" he surmised.

    Wahlberg, 39, put his money and his talents where his mouth was, funding The Block and much to his own surprise, co-writing most of its songs.

    "I was one of the three main vocalists the first time around and I didn't anticipate taking that role on again," he explained. "I was just financing the album. I really wasn't going to sing that much at all.

    "But once I sang my first part, that was kind of it: I just wanted to do it a lot. It became a lot of fun. Same with writing: I hadn't really expected to write much and then I wrote a song, wrote another song and next thing you know, I just was writing with everyone."

    On the strength of lead singles "Single" and "Summertime," The Block entered Billboard's decisive album chart at No. 2 last week.

    Wahlberg says his film career sharpened his musical skills.

    "My approach in the (vocal) booth was different. I approached it more with the things I learned as an actor: to be more prepared, but also to not be so rigid."

    Outside of the shower, Wahlberg said he hadn't sung much since the quintet's 1994 split but didn't find slipping back into form difficult.

    "On tour we'll see what happens. I don't know how my voice is going to hold up, but I'm singing now, I'm singing live and I'm having a great time doing it.

    "We were one of many groups that were accused in the early '90s and the late '80s of not singing live in our shows, which is not true. We sang live in most of our shows. I think in our first two tours we probably used backing tapes and stuff, but after that we went completely live and we will this tour."

    Despite appearances, Wahlberg said it would be a mistake to regard him as the ensemble's commander.

    "I would never say I'm the leader, or I have most responsibility, or the most say-so. The group knows that if I take the forefront in something my best interest will always be in the group's best interest. ...

    "A lot of stuff with the album may have come from me, but I am smart enough to know that without all five guys there's no New Kids. I may be special in my own right and individuals may be special in their own right, but collectively is what makes us really special."

    The band members are all pushing 40, most are fathers, but the L.A. rehearsals have been rigorous and Wahlberg said tour attendees can expect the same energy and exactness that has characterized NKOTB since it was founded by producer Maurice Starr in 1984.

    "We will do a lot of choreography, we will have great lighting, great special effects and some great moments, but we're showmen first of all ... so we will rely on ourselves more than any gimmicks."

    THE GTA LINKS

    The GTA's connection to the New Kids on the Block reunion is far more significant than being the kick-off site of their world tour: Donnie Wahlberg credits the genesis of the quintet's relaunch to the song "Click Click Click" written by Scarborough's Nasri Atweh, who has also co-written four other tunes on the group's new disc.

    "He had gone down to New York to try and make it as a songwriter and an artist, and he passed the song on to a music attorney who just happened to be the New Kids' old music attorney," Wahlberg explained.

    Wahlberg happened by the lawyer's office on a lunch break while shooting Righteous Kill with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and was handed an envelope with the CD in it.

    "He said `I haven't heard it, but give it a listen; this kid's supposed to be a good songwriter.'"

    Wahlberg did listen, about a week later. "I had no expectations at all; I certainly wasn't looking for a song for the New Kids; and I heard it and I was instantly taken by it.

    "It struck me immediately: if the New Kids were ever going to do a song together, this would be the kind of song we need to do. I played it for Joey and Jordan, and they agreed. And then I pulled out my cheque book and we got to work."

    Famous names on Mass. unclaimed property list

    New Kids on the Block, your check is ready.

    The recently reunited band, former Red Sox player Nomar Garciaparra and celebrity chef Todd English are among 40,000 people, businesses and charities on Massachusetts' latest list of owners of abandoned property.

    The list maintained by State Treasurer Tim Cahill's office includes bank and brokerage accounts and other assets that have been untouched for three years.

    The treasurer's office says $800 in unclaimed stock and a $27 check are waiting for New Kids.

    Garciaparra, who now plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers, can claim an uncashed check worth $121.40.

    English has $1,239 in unclaimed assets.

    The latest list has a combined total of $17 million in unclaimed assets, including six accounts worth more than $100,000 each.

    VH1-NKOTB ULTIMATE FAN BLOG CONTEST!

    By now, New Kids fans know that VH1 is giving away tix to a handful of the group’s fall shows. They’ve had lots of great responses to their “Ultimate Fan” contest. People have sent in photos and stories about why they’re the most rad NKOTB lovers ever. No one has been more impressed than the guys themselves. Last week, they stopped by VH1’s NYC offices and checked out a few of the entries. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

    NKOTB GERMAN DATES ANNOUNCED

    Sat 1/31/09
    Frankfurt, DE
    Zenith
    ON SALE: Friday Sept. 19th

    Thu 2/5/09
    Dusseldorf, DE
    Phillipshalle
    ON SALE: Friday Sept. 19th

    Ordinary cop movie is no "Righteous" thrill

    Hollywood can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

    Director Jon Avnet's police procedural "Righteous Kill" not only marks the first real teaming of screen icons Robert De Niro and Al Pacino (in their third film together) but it's also not the wreck some were fearing following this year's calamitous Avnet-Pacino melodrama "88 Minutes."

    If it's also not the operatic crime thriller of the previous Bob & Al effort, Michael Mann's "Heat," the new film still gives De Niro a good role, sidekick Pacino an adequate one and looks slick. What seems like a million "Law & Order" episodes may have taken a bit of the luster off this genre, but the star duo should deliver, if not stellar, then OK box office after it opens in theaters on Friday via Overture Films.

    In his second feature script, Russell Gewirtz ("Inside Man") sets up a standard NYPD tale of veteran partners on the force, one of whom (De Niro's Turk) is starting to get ideas about avenging innocent victims when the courts get it wrong. His partner, Rooster (a restrained Pacino), is not thrilled about this new direction, but cop loyalty trumps all. One of their prime suspects is nightclub owner Spider (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson), though he's offscreen for the bulk of the film. More threatening is the younger cop team of Detectives Riley (Donnie Wahlberg) and Perez (John Leguizamo) who increasingly suspect that De Niro may be the notorious Poetry Killer, a serial murderer who leaves crude rhyming couplets with his corpses.

    Brian Dennehy has the nothing role of the gruff lieutenant, longtime De Niro pal Barry Primus has even less to do as a police psychiatrist, and Melissa Leo (who gave the female performance of the year to date in "Frozen River"), is wasted in one scene. As forensic crime scene investigator Karen Corelli, and De Niro's girlfriend, Carla Gugino has a lot of screen time (some of it discussing her penchant for "rough sex") but seems too glamorous for the part. MTV's skateboarder Rob Dyrdek ("Rob & Big") has a cameo.

    Avnet always has seemed more successful as a producer ("Risky Business," "Men Don't Leave," TV's recent hit miniseries "The Starter Wife," among many others) than as director ("Fried Green Tomatoes," "Up Close & Personal"). Here he delivers an ordinary cop picture boosted by two charismatic superstars but hindered by its dearth of surprises. For once, the frequently moving camera (cinematography by Denis Lenoir) works to keep things lively -- helpful when much of your cast roster is in the AARP range. Other technical credits are fine, which they should be with 13 credited producers.

    De Niro and Pacino eye killing at box office

    A week after the box office sank to its lowest level in five years, sales should rebound significantly this weekend with five wide openers, including a thriller starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

    "Righteous Kill," a rare pairing of the longtime A-listers, is a consensus favorite -- though no sure shot -- to top the weekend with an opening in the mid- to high-teen millions. The cop thriller, directed by Jon Avnet, comes from Overture Films, the indie studio behind the arthouse hit "The Visitor."

    "We targeted the older male audience, and it looks like they're going to come," Overture marketing chief Peter Adee said. "From the tracking, it looks like the younger males are going to come as well."

    Women could be another matter, given the presence of more female-friendly openers among the competition. Overture executives hope the usual appeal of Pacino and De Niro with older women will prompt a late surge in date-night support for "Kill."

    The most obvious first choice for women -- Picturehouse's remake of the comedy "The Women" -- looks unlikely to vie for an upper rung in the weekend rankings. "Women" is a swan-song release for Picturehouse, which Warner Bros. is shuttering as the studio largely abandons the specialty-film business.

    The likeliest competitor "Kill" will have to fend off for the session's crown appears to be the Coen brothers' comedy "Burn After Reading" from Focus Features and Working Title. Prerelease tracking indicates an opening in the mid-teen millions or higher, which would give Focus its biggest opening.

    The first-weekend tally for "Burn" will depend on critical praise more than any of the other new releases. Early reviews have been mostly positive but hardly raves for the filmmakers' first release since their best picture Oscar winner "No Country for Old Men."

    Tyler Perry's "The Family That Preys" from Lionsgate is a notable wild card in this weekend's mix of wide openers. Tracking indicates that a robust moviegoing weekend could see "Family" opening near the $21.4 million bow by Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" in October.

    Yet on the low end of prerelease projections, "Family" would ring up just $15 million or so. So far the casting of Kathy Bates -- the first major-role white actor in a Perry pic -- doesn't seem to be broadening interest in the release beyond the filmmaker's usual base of support with urban demos.

    Elsewhere this weekend, Slowhand Releasing unspools the patriotic documentary "Proud American" in a barely wide bow of about 750 playdates.

    Just added to the release calendar two weeks ago, prospects appear limited to the low-single-digit millions for the maiden theatrical voyage of writer-director Fred Ashman.

    'Righteous Kill' just feels wrong

    Righteous Kill is an overwrought police thriller that feels like a second-rate episode of Law & Order.

    Its major distinction: the presence of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Sure, those big-screen powerhouses are a draw, but you need a gripping story, too. (Because they work so closely, perhaps a one-name moniker is called for, á la Brangelina: De Cino? Paniro?)

    Kill has a few decent lines of dialogue, which Paniro deftly deliver, but the pace lags and the story of a vigilante killer in New York City lacks the requisite suspense.

    Thanks to flaws in the judicial system, a child murderer, a pedophile priest and a drug-dealing gangster are among more than a dozen criminals freed to roam the streets. A self-styled avenging angel decides to kill the evildoers before they can inflict more harm. The killer likes to let police in on his motives, so he leaves behind a hackneyed poem.

    Pacino and De Niro, 30-year NYPD partners, are on the case. And so is a younger, hungrier and better-educated pair of cops (John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg).

    Suspicions eventually turn to the force, and scenes of Paniro talking to NYPD shrinks or going before an investigative board attempt to provide atmosphere to what's really just a by-the-book psychological thriller.

    By the time the movie reaches its protracted conclusion, it feels like a slog. Pacino has a few funny lines, as does Leguizamo, but not nearly enough to save the film from collapsing under the weight of its own self-righteous tedium.

    Righteous Kill
    * 1/2 (out of four)
    Stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg, 50 Cent
    Director: Jon Avnet
    Distributor: Overture Films
    Rating: R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use
    Running time:1 hour, 40 minutes
    Opens Friday nationwide

    NKOTB MORE EUROPEAN DATES ANNOUNCED

    Tue 1/20/09
    Belfast, UK Belfast Odyssey
    ON SALE: Thursday Sept. 18th

    Wed 1/21/09
    Dublin, IE
    Dublin The Point
    ON SALE: Thursday Sept. 18th

    NKOTB FAN PHOTOS WANTED!

    CALLING ALL BLOCKHEADS! NKOTB WANTS YOUR OLD SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHS WITH DONNIE, JOE, JORDAN, DANNY AND JON! Submit your favorite old school NKOTB pix with YOU and NKOTB HERE and be eligible for inclusion in the 2008 NKOTB WORLD TOUR! Hurry, the window to send photos is limited! *Only photos submitted via the official fan pix email address (nkotbfanpix@gmail.com) will be eligible for consideration.

    BY SENDING PHOTOS, YOU AGREE TO OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

    YOU MUST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT W YOUR EMAIL:

    *AGREE TO TERMS AND CONDITIONS*

    Terms & Conditions - PLEASE READ

    For good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, I hereby grant to New Kids on the Block and its authorized agents (hereinafter referred to as “NKOTB”) the universal and perpetual right and license to use my actual likeness, photograph and other personal identification in connection with the photo I have submitted to the Photo Contest (“Contest”) and in all distribution, marketing, promotion and advertising thereof from the results of my participation in the Contest, along with any and all ancillary rights associated therewith, in any and all other media of any nature whatsoever, whether now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe in perpetuity, including but not limited to inclusion in NKOTB’s upcoming tour program (the “Rights”).

    I hereby release NKOTB from all liability and obligations to me of any and all nature whatsoever arising out of or in connection with the exercise of the Rights granted above, including, without limitation, from any liability for libel, defamation, violation of my rights of privacy, publicity, infringement of copyright or any other right and expense respecting this Release and the Rights granted. I agree that I shall be entitled to no compensation as a result of the exercise of the Rights granted herein and that you may rely upon this Release in preparing and exploiting any results of the Contest, through all media now known or hereafter devised.

    I warrant to You that I have full, complete and unrestricted right and authority to enter into this Release, and I am over eighteen years of age. I waive my equitable remedies that may be available to me for a breach of this Release by You and understand that my sole and exclusive remedy for a breach by You of this Release shall be an action to recover monetary damages, if any.

    I understand that you shall have no obligations to produce, distribute or otherwise exploit the results of the Contest in the NKOTB tour program, and that if used, all creative decisions regarding the use of the my photo shall be at Your sole discretion. Accordingly, without limitation, the Rights may be fictionalized, simulated and/or otherwise modified.

    This agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California applicable to the agreements fully made and performed therein. The provisions of this agreement shall be binding on me and my heirs, executors and administrators. I have read and understand the above consent and release prior to its execution and have been informed that I have the right to consult with counsel, and am fully familiar with the contents hereof.

    THE BLOCK's BIG DEBUT!

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK THE BLOCK DEBUTS AS #1 POP ALBUM

    THEIR FIRST NEW MUSIC IN ALMOST 15 YEARS DEBUTS AT #2 OVERALL ON BILLBOARD TOP 200

    Pop supergroup, New Kids on the Block, make their comeback debut as the #1 Pop Album in the country with The Block, their first album together in almost 15 years. Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jonathan Knight, who as a group have sold over 80 million albums worldwide, are now back at the top of Billboard’s coveted Top 200 Chart at #2 overall.

    After huge performances on “The Today Show” and “The View” and rave reviews from People Magazine and the LA Times, the group officially secured their place at the Top of Pop with their remarkable ranks as #1 Pop Album and #2 Album overall.

    The reunion of all five members of the famed 90s group continues to ignite fan frenzies nationwide. Loyal fans turned up in droves from all over to follow the group across the country on their album promo tour. The group was enthusiastically embraced by large crowds of screaming fans at all performances, interviews and signings. Throngs of fans in Boston lined up for nearly three days, braving harsh weather, just to see the guys for their hometown signing. A phenomenal fan base has always been one of the cornerstones of the group’s success.

    The Deluxe Edition of the album holds the #1 spot on iTunes Album Pop Charts and #5 on the iTunes overall chart with their new single, “Single” featuring Ne-Yo already jumping into the top forty on the iTunes Pop Singles Chart. “Single” officially debuted at #140 on Billboard Singles Chart with a 114% sales increase from last week. The group’s first single, the hit mellow jam “Summertime,” is a top 20 single that has sold over half a million copies. The New Kids on the Block Greatest Hits album saw a 98% increase in sales this week as well.

    The album also features collaborations with some of the biggest names in pop music, including, “Grown Man” (with The Pussycat Dolls and uber-producer Teddy Riley), “Put It on My Tab” (with Akon), “Big Girl Now” (with NY dance-pop diva Lady GaGa) and the much-buzzed about “Full Service” (with fellow supergroup New Edition).

    The group will further support their album with a World Tour that kicks off in Toronto on September 18, 2008. The tour is being produced by Live Nation.

    Fans are encouraged to sign up for more information at www.nkotb.com. The band has also teamed with I Love All Access to provide a variety of VIP ticket packages for the tour, including premium seats, meet and greets, photo ops, parties and more. For more information and a full listing of show dates and venues please visit www.nkotb.com.

    Young Jeezy, New Kids lead U.S. album chart

    Rapper Young Jeezy claimed his second No. 1 album on the U.S. pop chart on Wednesday, while the newly reunited New Kids On The Block entered at No. 2 with their first release in 14 years.

    Young Jeezy's "The Recession" moved 260,000 copies during the week ended September 7, according to Nielsen SoundScan, a hefty drop from the 352,000-unit start for his previous No. 1, 2006's "The Inspiration."

    The New Kids' "The Block" followed far behind with 95,000 copies. The boy band's last studio effort, 1994's "Face the Music," bowed at No. 37 with 27,000. "The Block" is the band's biggest chart debut since "Step by Step" started at No. 1 in 1990. The new album was led by the single "Summertime," which peaked at No. 36 on the Hot 100.

    Last week's runner-up, rapper the Game's "LAX" slipped to No. 3 with 89,000. Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" was No. 4 with 79,000, also down one place.

    After barely beating out "LAX" on top last week, Slipknot's Roadrunner album "All Hope Is Gone" slid to No. 5 with 75,000. The soundtrack to "Mamma Mia!" fell two to No. 7 with 56,000.

    Christian rock band Underoath landed at No. 8 with "Lost in the Sound of Separation," which sold 56,000 copies. The sextet's last studio set, 2006's "Define the Great Line," arrived at No. 2 with 98,000.

    Another Christian act, Chris Tomlin, entered at No. 9 with "Hello Love," which sold 52,000 copies, his best charting and sales week yet. Rapper Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" fell four to No. 10 with 47,000.

    Former Beach Boy Brian Wilson's "That Lucky Old Sun" debuted at No. 21 with 21,000 copies. It's Wilson's first new studio album since 2004's "Gettin' in Over My Head," which debuted at No. 11 with half the number of copies.

    Later that year, he issued the long-unfinished album "Smile," originally intended for release by the Beach Boys in the mid-1960s. It debuted at No. 13 with 65,000 copies, the best performer of Wilson's spotty solo releases. His chart span now stands at almost 46 years, dating back to the debut of the Beach Boys' "Surfin' Safari" in November 1962.

    Other debuts included former Day26 member Donnie Klang's solo debut "Just a Rolling Stone" at No. 19; Hollywood Undead's "Swan Songs" at No. 22; actor Terrence Howard's recording debut "Shine Through It" at No. 31; and the iTunes exclusive soundtrack to the Internet film-musical "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," starring Neil Patrick Harris, at No. 39.

    Overall sales dropped 5.6% from the previous week to 6.75 million units, and were down 8.2% from the same week last year.

    New Kids Can't Block the Jeezy

    Thanks to Young Jeezy, the New Kids on the Block have encounted a recession more frightening than the one claiming their hairlines.

    The comeback-minded quintet was thwarted in its attempt to reclaim pop glory by Jeezy's The Recession. The latter made its way around the block to No. 1, selling over 260,000 copies for the week ended Sunday, per Nielsen SoundScan.

    NKOTB, meanwhile, sold 95,000 copies of The Block, the band's first new album in 14 years, to open at No. 2.

    Born in South Carolina and raised in George, Jeezy made his national debut just over three years ago as a member of Boyz N Da Hood, the so-called NWA of the South. The much-hyped group managed a No. 5 bow with its debut in June 2005, but the following month, Jeezy's solo debut opened at No. 2. He then topped the charts a year later with The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102.

    As for NKOTB, they previously topped the charts with 1988's Hangin' Tough and 1990's Step by Step, but their star power had already faded by 1994 when Face the Music managed a career-low peak at No. 37 peak. The group kicks off its reunion tour next week in Toronto.

    While not enough to topple Jeezy, the Kids' tireless promotion of The Block did help bump their Greatest Hits album 24 spots to No. 30, with 15,000 copies.

    A pair of Christian music artists scored the week's other Top 10 bows: Sunshine State metalheads Underoath sold 56,000 copies of Lost in the Sound of Separation at No. 8, while Chris Tomlin sold a career-high 52,000 copies of Hello Love at No. 9

    Other notable debuts included Day26 alumnus Donnie Klang at No. 19 with Just a Rolling Stone, Brian Wilson's That Lucky Old Sun at No. 21, Hollywood Undead's Swan Songs at No. 22, and Hustle & Flow/Iron Man star Terrence Howard at No. 31 with Shine Through It.

    Meanwhile, on the Digital Tracks chart, Pink's "So What" overpowered T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" at No. 1, selling 197,000 copies to the rapper's 145,000. "So What" should enjoy even bigger sales in the week to come thanks to Pink's powerhouse performance at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.

    Overall, album sales were down 6 percent from last week and 8 percent compared to the same week in 2007, when High School Musical 2 registered its fourth week at No. 1.

    Metallica is set to release Death Magnetic on Friday, and though it only has the weekend to sell copies, expect the group's first album in five years to dominate next week's Billboard 200.

    Here's a recap of the Top 10:
    The Recession, Young Jeezy
    The Block, New Kids on the Block
    LAX, The Game
    Rock N Roll Jesus, Kid Rock
    All Hope Is Gone, Slipknot
    A Little Bit Longer, Jonas Brothers
    Mamma Mia! soundtrack, various
    Lost in the Sound of Separation, Underoath
    Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, Solange
    Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne

    New Kids return to No. 1 in Canada

    They may have a few grey hairs, but the New Kids on the Block made like it was the late '80s all over again.

    The reunited Boston popsters returned to the top of the charts, scoring their first No. 1 album in nearly 20 years.

    Their fifth album, "The Block" -- their first since 1994's "Face the Music" -- debuted at No. 1 with sales of 9,000 copies, according to figures compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

    NKOTB last hit No. 1 with "Step by Step" in 1990.

    The "Mamma Mia" soundtrack (8,000) rebounded one spot to No. 2, Coldplay's "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends" (7,500) came up two to No. 3, Slipknot slipped from No. 1 to No. 4, and The Game's "LAX" dropped three to No. 5.

    The second best debut of the week went to rapper Young Jeezy, with his effort "Recession," which clocked in at No. 6.

    Rounding out the top 10 was Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" at No. 7, the Jonas Brothers' "A Little Bit Longer" at No. 8, the French tribute disc "Felix Leclerc 2008" at No. 9, and "NOW 13" at No. 10.

    Other notable debuts included Underoath's "Lost in the Sound of Separation" at No. 15, Brian Wilson's "That Lucky Old Sun" at No. 36, "Total Dance 2008" at No. 38, and "Dr. Horrible's Singalong" soundtrack at No. 45.

    In the U.S., Young Jeezy hit the top spot, followed by NKOTB in second, the Game in third, Kid Rock in fourth, and Slipknot in fifth.

    NKOTB on AOL SESSIONS

    NKOTB perform live exclusively for AOL SESSIONS!

    WATCH THE PERFORMANCE HERE!

    WATCH THE Q&A HERE!

    New Kids return to charts

    The New Kids on the Block are wrestling. This is not archival footage from the late '80s or early '90s of the teen-pop heartthrobs as frisky youngsters airing on a TV screen. This is the freshly reunited group of fully grown men live and in person ... putting one another in headlocks.

    It isn't entirely clear if they are mugging for the photographer snapping a few shots backstage at the annual Kiss 108 summer concert or just, you know, wrestling, like men who've known one another since grade school are prone to do.

    ``When we found out we were going to do (the Kiss concert), I was just tickled pink. Because there's just so much history here for us,'' Joey McIntyre says during an early morning group interview after the body slams have subsided.

    Indeed, the quintet played the hometown radio show several times during its ``Hangin' Tough'' heyday, back when the superstars hawked lunch boxes, set young girls swooning, and sold 70 million albums. The New Kids were slated to return to the show before the members amicably parted ways in 1994 as exhausted and rich 20-somethings eager to explore life beyond synchronized choreography.

    ``We felt like if we did that show, it was going to open up another whole chapter and we just decided to close it there,'' says McIntyre, who's still babyfaced at 35 and takes pains to point out that only he is tickled pink and that Danny Wood would never use such a phrase. Wood, who at 39 has morphed into the group's most muscle-bound and tattooed member, laughs and shakes his head in agreement. ``The best thing for me,'' pipes up Jordan Knight, retaining his resident dreamboat status at 38, ``is that my son's going to be able to come and see what his daddy does onstage in our hometown.''

    Knight's son isn't the only one curious about NKOTB version 2.0. Since announcing its reunion on the ``Today'' show this spring, the group has booked a sold-out arena tour and watched its comeback single, the breezy ``Summertime,'' hit the Top 40.

    Last week, the quintet released ``The Block,'' its first album of new material since 1994's ill-fated ``Face the Music.'' The second single - a silky, ultra-contemporary club jam called ``Single'' featuring hotshot songwriter-performer Ne-Yo - began its chart ascent (at No. 86) last week.

    Clad in muted blacks and grays - later they will change into sharp black suits and, eventually, Celtics jerseys for the show - the men sit on a couch backstage, completely at ease both with one another and back in the center of the maelstrom. When McIntyre reports that there have been no big arguments since the reunion began nearly a year ago, Jonathan Knight immediately barks playfully ``Shut up!'' (It's one of the very rare instances in which the 39-year-old ``quiet one'' voluntarily speaks during the interview, although he, like the others, does much nodding and laughing.)

    Even though a successful reunion required all five members, the unspoken leader of the newly reformed group is clearly Donnie Wahlberg. Wahlberg was the chief contributing songwriter on ``The Block,'' financed the start of its recording and was the driving force after years of being the primary holdout.

    Some have wondered why Wahlberg would choose this moment to return to the fold when his acting resume has blossomed to include roles in such critically acclaimed big and small-screen projects as ``Band of Brothers,'' ``Boomtown,'' the upcoming film ``Righteous Kill'' with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and the commercially successful ``Saw'' franchise. Wahlberg, who exudes a funny combination of round-the-way earnestness and rebel bluster, is not a fan of this line of questioning.

    ``If people think that I'm that smart and that talented and that great, why would you then turn around and discredit what I did before?'' he asks with a touch of exasperation detectable behind his shades. ``It's not like I have a chip on my shoulder, but it probably did fuel me a little bit. In other words, I didn't gloat. I never felt like, `Yeah, right on, I'm great and the New Kids aren't.' It was more like I'm that same guy from the New Kids. And if you think I'm a hard worker and really talented now, why would you think I was a complete idiot at the age of 21?''

    Everyone cracks up at this, even Wahlberg, remembering the easily documented idiocy of his youth. ``In some ways I was,'' he says with a wry smile. ``But I still had the same instincts and drive and passion, and part of me does want to show that to people. That this is not a mistaken footnote in my career, it's a big part of it and it means a lot to me. And I'd like to redefine this for a lot of people, what the New Kids was.''

    Wahlberg's passion was not lost on the heavy-hitters the group enlisted to relaunch the brand, including the management company of industry veteran Irving Azoff (Eagles, Christina Aguilera), producers like Timbaland and Polow Da Don and Interscope Records. (Wahlberg, in fact, gave the label its first million-seller as the songwriter-producer behind his brother's group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. ``A little ditty called `Good Vibrations,' maybe you've heard of it,'' jokes McIntyre.)

    ``We're still young and we're still very in touch with what's going on music-wise,'' says Jordan Knight, who also released a solo album with the label. ``So we wanted to be teamed up with a company that's at the top of their game and who has a radio staff and a promotions staff and knows what they're doing.''

    ``We're investing a lot in this: time, energy, and resources,'' says Martin Kierszenbaum, president of A&R for Interscope. ``There's a lot of things to do in this world. And we wouldn't be doing that if we didn't believe in them long-term.''

    Kierszenbaum was particularly impressed with Wahlberg's business acumen and songwriting. ``He had a great sense for melody and he would pick great collaborators,'' he says of ``Block'' co-writers and producers including Akon, Nelly, Teddy Riley, RedOne and longtime group friend Eman Kiriakou.

    ``Anybody who scoffed or wasn't really interested we didn't really try to twist their arms. We just said, `OK, we'll go on to something else because we believe in it,''' says Wahlberg. And the members say there was plenty of scoffing, from producers to choreographers to even bodyguards who didn't want to be associated with the credibility-challenged former boy band.

    ``Yeah, there was some snickering, but the more people got exposed to them, the snickers were going away,'' says Kierszenbaum, a guilt-free New Kids fan. ``And there's a lot less snickering now, now that Madison Square Garden is sold out.''

    ``There's always the possibility that someone who has had that lightning success will capture interest with a reunion,'' says Geoff Mayfield, director of charts and senior analyst at Billboard magazine. He expects ``The Block'' to score well out of the gate. ``It's not going to ship a Lil Wayne number, but it's going to ship a respectable number for today's marketplace. And that puts them in good shape to at least debut top 10, probably top five if they have the kind of sell-through that I think they're going to.'' But in order for the band to avoid the slide that most reuniting acts face, Mayfield says, ``It's got to connect and if someone thinks you're just doing something just to do it, it won't work.''

    So far it's working for fans Alexis Lomen and Kim Carlton, both 31, of St. Paul, Minn. The pair has been comically documenting their excitement about the New Kids reunion on the blog Project NKOTB. They plan to attend at least four shows on the tour and were in the throng of nearly 8,000 who mobbed a recent appearance by the guys at a Best Buy in the Mall of America.

    They agree that ``Summertime'' was a little too cutesy and retro for 2008: ``I was happy to hear new music, but I was like, really, can we do something a little more progressive?'' Carlton says with a laugh. But they give the thumbs-up to the sleeker ``Single'' and think it bodes well for the album as a whole. ``If they're trying to get a broader audience than what their fanbase was the first time around, I think that's probably the way to do it,'' says Carlton.

    Although they giggle about their ``dorkaliciousness,'' neither woman feels any shame about their resurfacing New Kids love. ``They were such an important part of our lives in that time period that I've never been embarrassed about it,'' says Lomen, who as an Emerson student in the mid-'90s went on a guided tour of the guys' homes and Wahlberg's favorite Stop & Shop thanks to a local friend. ``I never felt the need to justify something that was important to me.''

    That pride, says Wahlberg, is the ultimate goal for him and his band. ``It would be nice when this is all said and done if we could look back at this second incarnation and say, `That was cool, that was a great album, and a great tour,''' Wahlberg says. ``And it would be nice if the fans could do that, too, and say, `You know what? We weren't dumb kids after all. We really invested our time and our love and our energy into something that was worth it.'''

    New Album on the Block, Daughters Lock Up Your Mothers

    Everyday at 6:56pm I step off the Gold Line at the Highland Park station and see my wife waiting for me with our 2 year old son in the minivan, of course. The stress of the day washed away from a relaxing train ride from Hollywood, and there's nothing better than to see my family once again. However, this past week has introduced me to someone I had heard about in stories of the past and thought only existed within the confines of archived footage from 1989. Yes, I'm referring to the recent album release from the reunited ultimate boy band, New Kids on the Block.

    The curiously titled album, The Block, was release September 2nd, and I feel time has stood still since then. Now, when the train slips away towards Pasadena, and the sound of cell phone conversation and ice cream carts is drowned out by the booming and vicious club bass echoing between avenues 58 and 59. This is not your mother's New Kids' record. It is not what I remember from my 8th grade dances. It is an audio assault on our wives, the mothers of our children, and a whole new generation of teenie boppers. And to be honest with you, I kind of dig it.

    Now, I'm the last guy on this planet that would be into this music. Scratch that. John McCain would be the last guy, but I'm on that short list. As I get older the years seem to stack on top of each other like so many used cd's from Amoeba, erasing the stubborn refusal to accept things beyond my personal vision of what is good. Marriage has a way of speeding up this process. Does this album have the lyrical content of Dylan? Uh, no. Will it have an impact on the world like Sgt. Peppers or Dark Side? Only time will tell, but I'm going say not a chance. But I can tell you that Jimmy Iovine at Interscope has a formula that seems to work.

    Iovine, known for producing artists like Bruce Springsteen, U2, Tom Petty, Patti Smith, The Pretenders, and Donnie Wahlberg's bro when he was Marky Mark, came together with Wahlberg and Interscope A&R head Martin Kierszenbaum to executive produce The Block. Kierszenbaum had producing credits with Sting, Keane, and most recently, Feist. The product of their collaboration is a grown up mix of club beats, guest vocalists, and a couple of those "I'm singing only to you, girl" tracks. The theme of the album, I guess you could say, is something like "remember when you were 14 and wanted to kiss us, well now we're going to have sex." Songs like "Big Girl Now" featuring Lady Gaga, "Grown Man" featuring The Pussycat Dolls and Teddy Riley, and "Sexify My Love" adhere to this theme.

    Most of the songs were co-written by Wahlberg, who has become Hollywood's go-to guy when you need a troubled detective in your movie (Saw II, III, and IV, Dead Silence, Righteous Kill), including the first single, "Summertime", released earlier this year. As far as a "New Kids" sound goes, this is probably the closest you'll hear on the album, with a basic verse, chorus, bridge structure. Not a club track, but I guess you can dance to it. My son does, but it's the same dance when Curious George comes on.

    "Click Click Click", most likely the next single, starts the album out pretty smooth, reintroducing some talented voices out of Boston known as Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan, and Jonathan. It's either about taking a mental picture of someone and how they are at one particular moment, or taking naked pictures. Maybe it's a little of both. The photography motif continues later in the album with "Lights, Camera, Action". This one is more straight forward, looking to make tonight a Hilton night.

    If you're a fan from way back and looking to be wooed, they do make the valiant effort with "Stare at You", "Don't Cry" and "2 in the Morning". The latter was co-written by LA's own Emanuel "Eman" Kiriakou, who has produced a boat load of American Idol winners and losers. He's an old friend of Joey McIntyer's, and played acoustic on his album One Too Many: Live From New York. I was officially dragged to see to two of them play at the Knitting Factory about 5 years ago. Even the bouncer knew I must have been married or in a very serious relationship, as I was one of about two guys there. The set, however, was really good. Just Joey and Eman, a mic and guitar, and a bottle of whiskey on stage. I spoke with Eman after the show, and he seemed to be a guy who just likes playing music with his friend, so he got his chance here on this album again.

    Have I been converted? Not really, but I have a new appreciation for the guys. They could have monkeyed around on this record, dumped a bunch of digital garbage, and still gone platinum because of their worldwide appeal. Instead, it sounds like they actually tried to make a hit record, as if nobody knew who they were. I always applaud effort. Now for me, I've got another month (at least) of club life mama, super fan #1,643,897, picking me up at the station. She's off to see the "Kids" at Staples Center on October 8th. They come back again to Staples on November 26th, in case once wasn't enough. Until then, I guess I'll just be hangin' tough. Ugh, did I just write that?

    Donnie Wahlberg NKOTB Reunion 'Very Therapeutic'

    New Kids on the Block's Donnie Wahlberg says the boy band's first album and tour in nearly 15 years have been restorative for him at a difficult time in his personal life.

    "It's been very healthy, very therapeutic," Wahlberg said at the opening of a Newbury Comics store in his hometown of Boston on Saturday. "Our music has been there for me and for my bandmates."

    Wahlberg wrote the ballad "2 in the Morning" about a disintegrating marriage for the new album The Block. The singer an his wife, Kim Fey, both filed for divorce in Los Angeles last month. The couple have two sons, Xavier, 15 and Elijah, 7.

    New Kids will kick off their tour on Sept. 18 in Toronto, playing both old and new music, including "Single," already a radio hit.

    "I'm someone who doesn't get down very often and when I get down I don't stay down very long," says Wahlberg, who will be back in Boston later in the month for two sold out shows.

    NKOTB on GERMAN TV

    The New Kids will be appearing on the following German TV shows this week - remember to check your listings!

    Friday Sep 12th
    Sat 1 - fruehstuecksfernsehen
    (Live morning tv show)
    On at 8:12am and 9:45am

    Saturday Sep 13th
    RTL guiness show
    8:15pm

    Strathairn and Alda "Howl" for Ginsberg movie

    Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn and Paul Rudd are attached to join the beatnik biopic "Howl."

    The 1950s-era feature focuses on the obscenity trial that sought to censor Allen Ginsberg's groundbreaking book-length poem. "Spider-Man" villain James Franco will play Ginsberg.

    Among the real-life characters featured in the film are Judge Clayton Horn (Alda), prosecution witness Professor David Kirk (Daniels), radio personality and prosecution witness Gail Potter (Parker), prosecuting attorney Ralph McIntosh (Strathairn) and literary critic and defense witness Luther Nichols (Rudd).

    "Howl" marks the feature directing debut of documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who were approached by the Allen Ginsberg Trust to make a film commemorating the 50th anniversary of "Howl."

    "Fifty years later, Ginsberg's vision is as relevant as the year he wrote it," Friedman said. "It resonates with issues of free speech, government censorship, militaristic empire building, fear-mongering, sexual conformity and the co-opting of religion."

    Graphic novelist and Ginsberg collaborator Eric Drooker will create an animated reimagining of "Howl" (in segments Epstein described as "a Beat Fantasia"), and Carter Burwell will write the original score.

    Epstein and Friedman produced and directed "Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt," and Epstein directed "The Times of Harvey Milk," both Oscar-winning documentaries.

    New Kids know their way around the block

    Let's start with the obvious: New Kids on the Block are neither new nor kids. But if their name is now a misnomer, the singers point out, they're in good company.

    "You don't think of the Beach Boys as boys, right?" says Jordan Knight, 38, sitting with his bandmates in a hotel suite after wrapping a promotional appearance. "Are the Eagles flying around?"

    "Garbage isn't garbage," says Danny Wood, 39.

    NKOTB, as the group also was known to its predominantly preadolescent fans back in its late '80s/early '90s heyday, also includes Knight's brother Jonathan and Donnie Wahlberg, both 39, and Joey McIntyre, 35. Collectively, they have nine children, including three teenagers. Wahlberg's 7-year-old son, Elijah, makes a cameo appearance on The Block, New Kids' first album in nearly 15 years.

    Other guests on Block include an earlier boy band, New Edition, Akon and the Pussycat Dolls. Ne-Yo shares vocals on new single Single, one of several thumping, suggestive tracks definitely not aimed at today's tween set. Previous single Summertime has sold more than half a million copies.

    "There had been many conversations" about a reunion through the years, says Wahlberg, who has pursued an acting career. (He appears with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and 50 Cent in Righteous Kill, which opens Friday.) "But it was usually someone else wanting us to get back together for their own motives."

    Wahlberg and McIntryre did speak last year about the possibility of a New Kids tour. The latter had just wrapped a Dancing With the Stars tour. Then Wahlberg heard some material by Nazaree, a young songwriter featured on Block, and "it really triggered something in me."

    Jonathan saved a text message he received from McIntyre after the five started working together again. "It said, 'Are we really doing this?' " Jonathan recalls. "It was so surreal in the beginning."

    Blender editor in chief Joe Levy says Block "is pitched adult, but it also has a very light, cute sound. It's (unclear) where this music should be played, on adult-contemporary radio or Disney radio."

    But the group, which launches a tour Sept. 23 in East Rutherford, N.J., "may do better on T-shirt sales than album sales. It's an opportunity for a generation that grew up with New Kids to get back with its first crush."

    The band members concede, happily, that their fan base is heavy on former tweenyboppers, now in their 20s and 30s.

    At the peak of New Kids' fame, "these were 12-year-old girls, so we couldn't do anything with them then," McIntyre quips. "Now they're gorgeous women, but I'm married, so I still can't do anything. It's a tough spot to be in. But, as Jordan says, we're all single on stage."

    Wahlberg grins. "I'm polygamous on stage. I'm Hugh Hefner on stage."

    Don't be deceived by their cheeky frat-boy humor: These longtime friends have endured their share of grown-up drama since they last toured together in 1994. Wahlberg and wife Kim Fey filed for divorce in August; Wood is also divorced.

    Still, their transition from boys to men was less traumatic than that of other teen stars. "We all grew up in Boston, in a working-class town," Wood says. "Our families kept us grounded."

    Wood is wary of comparisons to latter-day boy bands such as the Jonas Brothers: "I think the only similarity is the hysteria." But Jordan allows that encountering fame as a bunch of guys looking out for each other may have given them an advantage over "some of the young girls" who have rocketed to fame since their last outing.

    "There's something to be said about being with people who are going through the same exact thing as you," Jordan says. "Because we were friends before we got famous, we always knew who the person next to us was."

    They needed a break, though — "and a lot of fans did," Wahlberg says. "They went their own way as well, and that's great. We're selling a lot more tickets now than we did in '94, and that's great, too."

    NKOTB UK DATES ANNOUNCED

    Fri 1/16/09
    Manchester, UK
    MEN ARENA
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    Sat 1/17/09
    Birmingham, UK
    Birmingham NIA
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    Sun 1/18/09
    Glasgow, UK
    Glasgow SECC Hall
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    Fri 1/23/09
    Nottingham, UK
    Nottingham Arena
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    Sat 1/24/09
    London, UK
    London 02 Arena
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    Tue 1/27/09
    Sheffield, UK
    Sheffield Arena
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    Wed 1/28/09
    Newcastle, UK
    Newcastle Arena
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    Thu 1/29/09Cardiff, UK
    Cardiff Intl. Arena
    ON SALE 9:30am Friday Sept. 19th

    NKOTB DELUXE CD BONUS CONTENT - PLEASE READ

    Hey NKOTB Fans…if you purchased the deluxe album version of The Block (blue cover) please note there is a typo in the instructions to access your bonus content. Please go to the web site www.nkotb.com/deluxecdbonus fill out the form, wait for prompt & then insert your CD into the computer. Our apologies for any inconvenience!

    VH1 TOP 20 PREMIERE of NEW KIDS "SINGLE"

    Don’t miss THE VH1 TOP 20 PREMIERE of NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK with NE-YO “SINGLE” _____ Airs Saturday, 9/6 @ 9am ET/PT on VH1 Repeats: Sunday, 9/7 @ 8am & Tuesday, 9/9 @ 9am.

    Billboard CD review

    ARTIST: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
    ALBUM: THE BLOCK (INTERSCOPE)
    The New Kids' comeback album contains songs like "Grown Man," "Big Girl Now" and "Put It on My Tab," designed to deliver the message that they're no longer the fresh-faced tweens on your pre-algebra notebook. But when one of them sings, "Let's try every position," on "Sexify My Love," it's hard not to smirkify your face. Sure, the New Kids deserve a shot at a reunion as much as anyone. But unless you're holding the album cover you'd have no way of knowing who these singers are, so completely have the Kids been filtered through the Usher Machine. Most of "The Block" is a reasonable enough approximation of faceless club pop, complete with standard-issue guest stars (the Pussycat Dolls, Timbaland) and out-of-left-field rap bridges. When the Kids hit the road this fall, songs from "The Block" will do little more than provide nostalgia-craving fans a chance to check their BlackBerrys.

    People's Top 5 Daytime TV Moments

    NKOTB on People's Top 5 Daytime TV Moments

    Party Poopers

    THE New Kids on the Block reunion sounds more like a second breakup. At the release party for NKOTB's album "The Block," at Marquee, the group wasn't missing just original member Mark Wahlberg. Jordan Knight ditched the event, claiming he was sick, and Donnie Wahlberg showed up an hour late. One insider told us that while band members Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood posed for red- carpet photos and enjoyed the party, Donnie "insisted on sitting at his own table away from his fellow band members, and refused to take photos with anyone."

    CHAT LIVE WITH NKOTB FRI SEP 5

    Chat Live with New Kids On The Blcok : ZVIP Zone Chat Room this Friday, September 5th at 12:30pm on Z100.com! CLICK HERE!

    Wahlberg gets nervous pitching to DeNiro in softball

    Actor and singer Donnie Wahlberg, who was part of the boy band New Kids On The Block, says he got nervous when he had to pitch to acting legend Robert DeNiro while shooting a softball match scene for a film.

    According to contactmusic.com, Wahlberg had to pitch for a scene in the movie "Righteous Kill" but he was scared he would hit DeNiro.

    Wahlberg said: "(The director) Jon Avnet told me I'm gonna be pitching in the softball game. I said, 'Yeah, no problem'. He said, 'Donnie, you better be able to throw strikes in that softball game.' I said, 'Don't worry, I'll throw strikes.'

    "But when it's actually time to pitch, Robert De Niro steps into the batter's box and it's no big deal, but when they said 'action' it occurred to me that if this pitch is inside I'm gonna hit Robert De Niro! And that's gonna be a problem. But if it's outside I'm gonna have Jon Avnet screaming at me in front of the whole crew."

    Wahlberg added: "I got nervous in that moment. I felt like a baseball pitcher trying to throw the last strike at the World Series. I had to go with protecting Bob (De Niro), so I threw the pitch about six feet outside the box.

    "Before the ball had even landed in (co-star) John Leguizamo's glove, I heard Avnet screaming over the megaphone, 'Donnie you idiot, I told you to throw a strike? Why didn't you throw a strike?' What are you gonna do? I'd rather have Jon yell at me than hit Bob De Niro in the head."

    New Kids On The Block hope new album has right stuff

    Hit '80s boy band New Kids On The Block are no longer kids, but all five men are hoping they still have the "right stuff" after reuniting and releasing their first album in 14 years this week.

    The New Kids were still teenagers when they released their debut self-titled album in 1986. They sold more than 70 million albums, with hits including "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "I'll Be Loving You," before breaking up in the mid-1990s.

    But Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood say the lucrative reunions of groups like The Police, The Spice Girls and Take That had nothing to do with their own decision to get back together.

    "It had absolutely no bearing, whether it was The Police or the Spice Girls," McIntyre, 35, told Reuters in an interview as he sat on a couch alongside Wood and the Knight brothers. "It was just the right timing for us."

    "We had to feel confident and good about what we were doing," he said. "When we went into the studio there weren't expectations for a tour or an album. It was just like, 'let's see what we got."'

    What they got was their fifth studio album, "The Block," which was released in the United States on Tuesday. The first single off the album, "Summertime," peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after it was released in May.

    "Lyrically it's very reflective of who we are now," McIntyre said. "We're grown men in relationships, complicated relationships, there's ups and downs and we're all in different places in our lives."

    "There's also stuff that's just really fun and really dance driven and really club driven," he said.

    For "The Block," the group worked with artists including Timbaland, Akon, Ne-Yo, Lady GaGa and the Pussycat Dolls.

    "We're a group who are more entertainers, we pride ourselves on doing a good stage show," said Jordan Knight, 38. "I think that kind of entertainment goes in waves and we are ... seeing that kind of wave kind of hit again."

    In an early review of the album, The Los Angeles Times said there was a "surprising strength in most of the material" and that "believe it or not, they've got the right stuff."

    New Kids On The Block kick off a North American tour this month in Toronto and are planning to tour Europe early in January. But can fans expect more from the reformed boy band?

    "The door is open for the future, it's definitely wide open," said Wood, 39. "We will all sit down and talk and see where we are at that point."

    New Kids Gear up for AOL SESSIONS!

    New Kids on the Block are coming back to the pop world with their new album, 'The Block' -- their first since splitting 14 years ago. All five original Kids -- Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight -- previewed their reunion tour by filming an intimate performance in front of a lucky group of screaming fans for AOL Music Sessions. "It feels like old times for sure," Jordan Knight admits, while Danny Wood says, "It's like Christmas every day."

    The boys are all grown up, but their stage prep rituals remain the same as they hang out together, warm up their vocals, deal with Jonathan Knight's tardiness and try to leave wardrobe fights "to the Spice Girls." Watch behind the scenes footage with New Kids on the Block now, and return for the premiere of the exclusive AOL Music Sessions performance on September 10.

    NKOTB VIDEO BLOG PT 3 - CRUNCHY KEVIN!

    VIDEO BLOG PT 3 - CRUNCHY KEVIN!

    New Kids Promise 'Big Show' On Fall Tour

    Joey McIntyre promises New Kids On The Block fans will see "a big show" when the group hits the road next month to promote "The Block," its first set of new material in 14 years.

    "This is, I think, a classy show, and we want to make it a world class show," McIntyre tells Billboard.com. But, he adds, "there's not gonna be any Ferris wheels or ... trapezes, not too many tricks. We're sticking to the basics. We're working with great lighting and sound and video, but as a stage, I think, it's simple. It's us and we believe it's gonna come from us whether people are entertained."

    McIntyre says audiences will "definitely hear all their old favorite songs" as well as material from "The Block," including the singles "Summertime" and "Single," with McIntyre covering Ne-Yo's parts on the latter. NKOTB will be joined by four dancers, but he also points out that fans "know us as dancers, too, and we're dancing our asses off. We're not pulling out stools and sitting down and singing our hits. We're not jumping around like we used to but we're dancing up a storm and we still feel like the five hardest-working kids in show business."

    NKOTB has finished rehearsals for the moment to allow the group to do interviews and make appearances to promote "The Block," which comes out today (Sept. 2). The group reconvenes around Sept. 15 in Toronto for three days of tech rehearsals before the tour starts on Sept. 18 at the Air Canada Centre.

    McIntyre says NKOTB will play a month of dates in Europe in 2009 and is also eyeballing Asia, Australia and New Zealand, with early rumors about more North American dates next summer. "We just want to keep everything in front of us instead of too far ahead of us," he explains.

    He's equally cautious about the long-term prospects for the NKOTB reunion. "We really don't know," McIntyre notes. "The challenge is, how do you keep it fresh and how do you keep it new? I guess we could tour every two years and make a new album, but it's not gonna be stock. We want to push the envelope and do something that challenges us and is new to us. But first the question this time around was 'Can they come back?,' and I think we have. Now it's like, 'What are they gonna do next?' and ... we'll see."

    NKOTB reunite on 'The Block'

    "The Block" - New Kids on the Block (Interscope)

    They're far from new, no longer boys, but New Kids on the Block have definitely been around the block since making tween girls scream with joy in the late '80s and early '90s before breaking up in 1994.

    Baby-faced Joey McIntyre gained fans on TV's "Dancing with the Stars" in 2005. Mark Wahlberg's older brother Donnie has sustained a successful acting career. Four out of the five guys, all pushing 40, have kids.

    "The Block," the pop-R&B's group's reunion album, comes 20 years after 1988's "Hangin' Tough" went multiplatinum. The guys, including Danny Wood and brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight, look handsomely rugged now, a sure draw for old-time female fans, now in their mid 20s to 30s.

    Songs such as "2 In the Morning" and "Summertime" have an undeniable retro groove: "I think about you in the summertime, and all the good times we had, baby," the guys reminisce in unison on "Summertime," an upbeat, head-bopping tune. "2 In The Morning" makes a questionably cheesy reference to TV's "Grey's Anatomy," but is the kind of late-night R&B soul made for couples in need of some soothing.

    The album's myriad producers and writers, including Bryan-Michael Cox, Emmanuel Kiriakou, RedOne, Fernando and Nazaree, layer on the sleekness. NKOTB are back, boys to men.

    "Click Click Click," a breathy slow jam riding on handclaps and vocal trills, takes a page from the Justin Timberlake handbook. Timberlake's former boy band 'N Sync may have climbed the mountain NKOTB built, but the reunited quintet now looks to the anointed Timberlake for guidance.

    There are throwaway songs (i.e. the lyrically cliche "Sexify My Love" and "Twisted"), and appearances by Ne-Yo and Akon don't necessarily boost NKOTB's cred. But "Full Service," while run through the synth ringer, effectively features NKOTB forefathers New Edition crooning along to a bouncy rhythm.

    Check out this track: "Grown Man," a melding of old-school and new featuring the Pussycat Dolls and producer/singer Teddy Riley, is a catchy, swaggering number, with the Dolls adding a musical twist on Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools." "I'm gonna give you some grown man," the guys boast behind loose drum beats.

    NKOTB MYSPACE.COM - FEATURED ICON!

    MYSPACE.COM - FEATURED ICON! A behind the scenes look making the reunion! WATCH IT HERE!

    NKOTB 'SINGLE' VIDEO

    WATCH IT HERE! (USA Only)

    Donnie Wahlberg Gives a Peek at Making NKOTB's New Album

    Ever wonder what it’s like to spend a night with Donnie Wahlberg? Here’s an inside peek at an all-night New Kids on the Block recording session as Donnie and the guys work on two tracks – "Big Girl Now" and "2 in the morning" – off their new album, The Block, to be released Tuesday. Two things that are made clear in the video: A) Donnie can’t detach himself from his BlackBerry and B) The guys loved being back in the studio to record their first album in 14 years. Though Donnie called that particular night “a beast,” he later credits his fellow bandmates for making it "a fun night. It worked out incredible." You be the judge.

    NKOTB VIDEO BLOG PT 2 - A MILLION HUGS!

    Donnie wants a MILLION HUGS!

    NKOTB & CNN

    Please Tune In! CNN will air their main NKOTB feature on CNN Headline News!

    Air dates/times:
    Sunday, August 31st on CNN Channel 10
    Please check local listings across the country for air times

    Please note that this piece will also hit the following platforms:

    Friday, August 29:
    Shorter version goes out to CNN affiliates on the PopLife feed

    Saturday, August 30:
    Longer version posts to CNN.com

    Sunday, August 31:
    Longer version airs on CNN Headline News

    Monday, September 1:
    Longer version airs on CNN.com Live

    Saturday-Sunday, September 6-7:
    Longer version translated into Spanish and airs on CNN en Espanol

    The piece also becomes available to:
    CNN International, CNN Radio, CNN Airport

    NKOTB VIDEO BLOG FROM REHEARSAL! Part 1!

    NKOTB VIDEO BLOG FROM REHEARSAL! Part 1! - watch here!

    E! NEWS SPECIAL! NKOTB!

    The E! News Special: New Kids on the Block will premiere on Saturday Aug 30 @ 10:30am, with currently scheduled re-airings on 8/31 @ 10am, 9/1 @ 7:30pm, and 9/2 @ 8:30 & 12:30pm. CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR AIRINGS!

    NKOTB 4 SONG STREAM IS LIVE!

    The New Kids On The Block 4-song stream is now live across 70 radio stations!

    VH1-NKOTB ULTIMATE FAN BLOG CONTEST!

    Calling all New Kids on the Block fans! Beginning today, VH1.com is accepting submissions in the “New Kids on the Block Ultimate Fan Contest,” where four winners will be chosen to attend a New Kids on the Block concert and meet with the band in one of four cities – Boston, Las Vegas, New York or Seattle – this fall. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

    NKOTB RINGTONES - 'THE BLOCK' PREVIEW @ AT&T!

    Dying to hear the new album? Preview clips from “The Block” and purchase any and all Ringtones from the album EARLY and ONLY at AT&T!

    NKOTB IN STORE AT HMV LONDON - UK!

    New Kids on the Block will perform live at the HMV Store on Oxford St, London on September 8th at 1PM! After, they will answer fan questions and sign copies of their CD “The Block”.

    The address is:
    HMV
    150 Oxford Street
    London, W1D1DJ

    THE OFFICIAL UK NKOTB SITE is giving away 3 pairs of tickets. Register to win!

    Donnie Wahlberg Says Life Insurance is a No-Brainer, Encourages Americans to Assess Their Needs

    This September, singer, actor and producer Donnie Wahlberg will urge millions of Americans to make sure their financial plans have the "right stuff." When he's not touring the country with the reunited New Kids on the Block, Wahlberg will serve as the front man for national Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM), sharing his personal story to encourage Americans to examine their need for life insurance.

    Wahlberg understands the difference life insurance can make when tragedy happens. His sister, Debbie, died at the age of 44 with a 16-year-old son and no life insurance. Fortunately, Wahlberg's nephew was taken care of thanks to a strong, extended family support system and famous uncles with the wherewithal to meet his needs. But many families would not be so fortunate. Wahlberg understands that without life insurance, many families leave themselves open to serious financial hardship.

    "My sister was taken away from us too soon. She was a young woman who had her whole life ahead of her, but like so many people, she didn't think about the 'what ifs,'" says Wahlberg. "With an upcoming album and tour, as well as a new movie, it may seem like I don't have a worry in the world, but I realize it could all be over tomorrow. When it was time for me to sit down with my advisor and set up my own financial plan, life insurance was a no-brainer. If something were to happen to me, I want to know that my loved ones will be taken care of financially. Life insurance guarantees that."

    During September, Wahlberg plans to share his story through public appearances and interviews with newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations around the country. A video message from Wahlberg can be seen on LIFE's website at www.lifehappens.org during the campaign.

    "Donnie understands first-hand how not owning life insurance can leave loved ones financially vulnerable in the event of a tragedy, but just as important, the peace of mind it provides to those who've purchased it," says Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. "The vast majority of Americans understand the need for life insurance, yet a startling 68 million adult Americans have no coverage at all. We are hopeful that Donnie's involvement this September will motivate Americans to take a short break from their busy lives to determine if they're among the millions who lack adequate life insurance protection."

    Throughout Life Insurance Awareness Month, a wealth of information about life insurance will be available for consumers from the LIFE Foundation and more than 100 insurance companies and other industry groups supporting the campaign.

    For consumers interested in evaluating their life insurance needs, LIFE suggests taking it "step by step" and offers the following three tips to get you started:

    1. Determine if you need life insurance -- If someone would suffer financially when you die, you need life insurance. For most adult Americans, that is the case.

    2. Evaluate how much life insurance you need -- Ask yourself, how much money your loved ones would need in your absence to maintain their standard of living and fund future plans? The difference between that amount and your existing income and assets offers a good guide for how much life insurance you need. For a quick estimate of your needs, check out the interactive insurance needs calculator on LIFE's website at www.lifehappens.org/howmuch.

    3. Get professional help -- The process may seem simple enough, but calculating your needs can get complicated and this is one math assignment you don't want to get wrong. For a comprehensive needs analysis, meet with a qualified insurance professional. You can also look into your coverage options at work. Many employers provide their employees with life insurance or give them the opportunity to buy or increase coverage at favorable rates. To find an agent in your area, visit LIFE's agent search engine at www.lifehappens.org/agentlocator.

    NKOTB: LONG ISLAND/NY IN-STORE ADDED 9/3/08!

    LONG ISLAND, NY
    September 3rd at 7pm
    Wal-Mart
    2465 Hempstead Turnpike
    East Meadow, NY 11554
    (516) 579-6769

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK WILL BE SIGNING COPIES OF THE CD “THE BLOCK” (LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE)

    Donnie Wahlberg, Wife Divorcing

    Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Donnie Wahlberg's marriage doesn't have "The Right Stuff."

    The actor-singer-producer and his wife Kim Fey filed for divorce on Wednesday, Aug. 13 in Los Angeles and Ventura County, Calif., reports People.

    Fey cited irreconcilable differences in her petition. She's seeking sole legal and physical custody of their sons Alexander Xavier, 15, and Elijah Hendrix, 7, allowing Wahlberg visitation rights.

    She's also seeking spousal support and attorney's fees.

    The couple, both 39, tied the knot in August 1999 and separated this January.

    Wahlberg's TV credits include "Band of Brothers," "Boomtown" and the short-lived "Runaway." On the big screen, he's known for "The Sixth Sense" and the "Saw" horror franchise. He appears alongside Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in the upcoming "Righteous Kill," in theaters on Sept. 12.

    He recently reunited with his fellow New Kids on the Block boy band members Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre and Jordan Knight. They're touring worldwide this fall.

    Donnie Wahlberg Headed for Divorce

    Call him New Kid on the chopping block.

    Donnie Wahlberg's wife of more than eight years, Kim Fey Wahlberg, has filed for divorce from the comeback-minded boy bander, citing the ever popular irreconcilable differences.

    The missus filed the divorce papers in Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 13, but the couple have apparently been living separate lives for much longer, with the court papers indicating they have been estranged since January.

    "I can confirm that the couple are divorcing," Wahlberg's publicist told E! News. "They have been separated for almost a year but remain close friends."

    The 39-year-old Kim is seeking sole physical and legal custody of their two sons, 15-year-old Xavier and 7-year-old Elijah, allowing for visitation rights for the New Kidder.

    She is also seeking spousal support and attorney's fees from Wahlberg.

    The duo tied the knot back in August 1999 and, if nothing else, his newly single status should make the throngs of screaming fans a bit more palatable.

    Wahlberg, along with bandmates Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jonathan Knight are releasing their first album together in almost 15 years, The Block, on Sept. 2. They kick off their sold-out tour in support of the album Sept. 18 in Toronto.

    Donnie Wahlberg and His Wife File for Divorce<

    Donnie Wahlberg and his wife, Kim Fey, both filed for divorce on Aug. 13, court documents in Los Angeles and Ventura County, Calif. show.

    Citing irreconcilable differences, Fey is seeking sole physical and legal custody of their two sons – Xavier, 15 and Elijah, 7 – with visitation rights for Wahlberg.

    Fey, 39, is also seeking spousal support and attorney's fees from the New Kids on the Block singer, also 39. It wasn't immediately clear what terms Wahlberg is seeking.

    The estranged couple were married in August 1999 and separated in January.

    A rep for Wahlberg told PEOPLE, "The couple has been separated for some time now and remain friends."

    Donnie Wahlberg, wife file for divorce

    Donnie Wahlberg and his wife are calling it quits after nearly nine years of marriage.

    Wahlberg and his wife, Kim Fey Wahlberg, each filed for divorce last Wednesday in separate counties in the Los Angeles area, court records show.

    Kim Wahlberg cited "irreconcilable differences" in her filings in Los Angeles Superior Court. Donnie Wahlberg's petition was filed in Ventura County.

    The couple were married in August 1999 and separated earlier this year.

    The move comes as Wahlberg, 39, prepares to tour with a reunited New Kids on the Block and appears on the big screen in "Righteous Kill," which will be released on Sept. 12.

    The former couple have two sons, ages 15 and seven.

    New Kids Perform For Wal-Mart

    New Kids on the Block are featured on Walmart's "Soundcheck" . It includes a performance of "Summertime" , "Click Click Click" and an interview. Click here to watch it.

    Joel Madden: Nicole's a New Kids on the Block Fan!

    Nicole Richie may be blissfully in love with her musician beau, Good Charlotte lead vocalist Joel Madden, but romance aside, the star's musical tastes veer more toward the late '80s and early '90s, Madden has revealed.

    In an interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada, airing Thursday and conducted recently at Toronto's Ultra Supper Club before Madden, 29, kicked off a deejay set, the rocker said, Richie, 26, "likes a lot of old stuff."

    "She'd probably like to hear a lot of fun stuff like New Kids on the Block or Bell Biv DeVoe or something like that," he said. "She likes to have fun and listen to that stuff."

    As for their 7-month-old daughter Harlow, Madden said she hasn't yet fine-tuned her musical tastes. "It really doesn't matter right now. I'll play her lullabies at home."

    He added, "I'm a cool dad. I can still go out and rock and roll a bit and hang out and deejay, but I'm definitely all about my family. Family first."

    As for the question on everyone's mind – When are he and Richie getting married? – Madden said, "Right now we're happy and everything is great. I'm moving at our own pace. We kind of do things our own style. So we're happy."

    MEET THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

    CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF “THE BLOCK” AND MEET THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK AT THESE LOCATIONS!

    LOS ANGELES, CA
    August 28th at 7pm
    Best Buy
    1501 N Victory Pl
    Burbank, CA 91502
    (818) 845-5121

    PRE-PURCHASE THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK CD “THE BLOCK” AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL PASS TO ATTEND THE AUTOGRAPH SIGNING! (LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE) PRE-SALE BEGINS AT 10AM ON 8/28 AT THIS LOCATION ONLY

    NEW YORK CITY, NY
    September 2nd at 6:30pm ** THE BLOCK RELEASE DAY**
    Best Buy
    529 5th Ave # A
    New York, NY 10017
    (212) 808-0309

    PURCHASE THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK CD “THE BLOCK” AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL PASS TO ATTEND THE AUTOGRAPH SIGNING! (LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE) PASS DISTRIBUTION BEGINS AT 10AM ON 9/2 AT THIS LOCATION ONLY

    BOSTON, MA
    September 6th at 1pm
    Newbury Comics ** GRAND OPENING**
    Faneuil Hall Marketplace
    North Market Building
    Boston, MA 02109
    (617) 248-9992

    PURCHASE THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK CD “THE BLOCK” AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL PASS TO ATTEND THE AUTOGRAPH SIGNING! (LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE) PASS DISTRIBUTION BEGINS AT 8AM ON 9/6 AT THIS LOCATION ONLY

    THE BLOCK - OFFICIAL TRACK LISTING!

    New Kids On The Block: The Block - Standard Version (Digital & Physical)

    1. Click Click Click
    2. Single (with Ne-Yo)
    3. Big Girl Now (featuring Lady Gaga)
    4. Summertime
    5. 2 In The Morning
    6. Grown Man (featuring Pussycat Dolls and Teddy Riley)
    7. Dirty Dancing
    8. Sexify My Love
    9. Twisted
    10. Full Service (featuring New Edition)
    11. Lights, Camera, Action
    12. Put It on My Tab (featuring Akon)
    13. Stare at You

    NKOTB on The Today Show (NBC) Again

    MONDAY, SEPT. 1- 7:00 a.m. ET- New Kids on the Block and Ne-Yo

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK Venue Change/Nov. 26/LA

    Please note that the date on Nov. 26th has been moved from the Staples Center to the Nokia Theater in order to resolve an LA Clippers home game scheduling conflict. All tickets purchased for the Staples Center will be honored at the Nokia Theater. Please stand by for more details. See the below note from the LA Clippers.

    “We want to give a big thank you to the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK for being true LA sports fans. The group was asked to move a scheduled concert date from the Staples Center to the Nokia Theater to resolve an LA CLIPPERS home game scheduling conflict. The guys graciously agreed to help the LA Clippers. We look forward to their sold-out show at the Staples Center on October 8th and their new show at the Nokia Theater on Nov. 26.”

    'SINGLE' now playing on NKOTB myspace page

    Listen here! NKOTB & NE-YO!

    FIRST LISTEN: NKOTB and Ne-Yo Team Up on a New Song

    New Kids on the Block and R&B star and producer Ne-Yo have recorded a new song together – and People.com has the first listen of the track. The song, titled "Single," will be available on iTunes Aug. 12, and also appears on NKOTB's upcoming album The Block, due out Sept. 2.

    Listen to the Song Here.

    It's not the first time the boy band has teamed up with another artist for their upcoming CD. They recorded "Full Service" with New Edition, and collaborated with the Pussycat Dolls on "Grown Man."

    SUMMERTIME FIRST LOOK @ TRL TODAY!

    SUMMERTIME FIRST LOOK @ TRL TODAY! (July 30) - TRL’s FIRST LOOK at NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK “Summertime” airs Today @ 3pm ET/PT on MTV! TUNE IN!

    New Kids On The Block Not Recording with Madonna, Michael Jackson

    New Kids On The Block are still in the studio and hangin' tough. And as Donnie Wahlberg writes on the group's blog, they're dispelling rumors.

    "We are NOT recording with Michael Jackson and/or Madonna," Wahlberg writes. "We never claimed to be, either. Good fun reading about [it] though!"

    Wahlberg also says the recording of their album is going "great" and that he can't wait until the band members can announce who they did collaborate with.

    NKOTB's current hit, "Summertime," is at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100. The tour kicks off Sept. 18 in Toronto.

    NKOTB: EXCLUSIVE BEST BUY GRAND OPENING PERFORMANCE AND AUTOGRAPH SIGNING

    EXCLUSIVE BEST BUY GRAND OPENING PERFORMANCE AND AUTOGRAPH SIGNING!
    FRIDAY, AUGUST 8th at 5:30PM., ROTUNDA AT MALL OF AMERICA

    Autograph session immediately follows a live performance. Reserve a place in the autograph line by pre-ordering the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK CD “THE BLOCK” at Best Buy Mall of America (Mall of America location only). Pre-order “The Block” for $9.99, starting at 10:00 A.M Friday, August 8th at Best Buy. Limited edition autograph wristbands will be issued with pre-orders on a first come first serve basis. Quantites are limited.* Mall of America parental escort policy applies.**

    *Autograph passes only available with pre-orders placed at Best Buy Mall of America location. Consumer must present receipt at Best Buy Mall of America to pick up pre-ordered CD between 9/2/08 and 9/6/08.

    **Mall of America Parental Escort Policy: On Friday and Saturday evenings, youth under 16 must be accompanied by and adult 21 years or older from 4:00 p.m. until close. One adult may supervise up to 10 youth. Anyone 21 years or younger should be prepared to show current valid ID with proof of age during parental escort hours.

    NKOTB: SACRAMENTO AND 2nd MOHEGAN SUN SHOWS ANNOUNCED!

    October 9, 2008
    ARCO ARENA
    Sacramento, CA
    ON SALE 12pm Friday July 18

    November 8, 2008
    MOHEGAN SUN EVENT CENTER
    Uncasville, CT
    ON SALE 10am Saturday July 26th

    NKOTB: TUNE IN! ACCESS HOLLYWOOD 7/4/08

    Access Hollywood will re-air NKOTB behind the scenes and video at the end of the episode!

    Air dates/times: July 4th @ 7:30 PM on NBC 4 in New York and Los Angeles - Please check local listings across the country

    New Kids on the Block & New Edition Record Together

    Just when you thought the New Kids on the Block reunion couldn't get any sweeter, word comes that the guys are recording a song with another favorite boy band: New Edition.

    "Donnie Wahlberg had this idea for a few months, since New Kids had the idea of getting back together really," says producer Nadir "RedOne" Khawat, who worked on the song. "Donnie's been looking for that one track for all of them and I think we found it."

    Last week, just days after New Edition took home the Golden Note Award at the 21st annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul awards in Beverly Hills, the group (minus Bobby Brown) went into an L.A. studio to record with the New Kids. The ensemble track, titled "Full Service," will appear on NKOTB's not-yet-titled upcoming album.

    The song was written by Wahlberg, Khawat, and New York disco diva Lady GaGa. "It sounds very universal and melodic and has both sides in it: The R&B, which is New Edition and the pop side for New Kids," says Khawat. "It's very uplifting. Right away you start feeling good and every part feels natural to each one of the guys."

    So what was it like being with all of them in the studio? "It went really smoothly," says Khawat, adding that they munched on sushi in the studio and the guys prayed together before recording. "There were no egos or attitudes. It felt like they'd been friends forever."

    In a recent chat with PEOPLE, New Edition frontman Tresvant addressed the rumors that the two bands have been feuding for years. "The thing people were going back and forth with was we'd been doing what we were doing for the longest [but] we couldn't get cartoons and things that the white guys were getting. It was like, 'wow,' " he said. "But the guys themselves, we have mad love."

    NKOTB RAFFLE - German/EU/UK Fans!

    YOU have the chance to win to stand in front of a movie camera with NKOTB

    Til Schweiger desperately wanted Jordan, Danny, Jon, Joey and Donnie to become a part of his new movie “1? Knights — In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde” (Movie in theatres on HollyEve 2008). A big wish, NKOTB were happy to make it come true for him. In a guestrole the band will be performing in a midevil club. YOU have the chance to be standing in front of the movie-cameras, too. Be there when NKOTB film their performance, heating up the audience in the club, because we raffle off one supernumerary role in the movie for this scene. Click here to apply for the role on www.n-k-o-t-b.de.

    NKOTB: 2ND ATLANTIC CITY SHOW ANNOUNCED

    BORGATA HOTEL AND CASINO EVENT CENTER
    NOVEMBER 7, 2008
    ATLANTIC CITY, NJ
    PUBLIC ON-SALE 7/5 @ 10AM LOCAL TIME

    NKOTB: ALBUQUERQUE SHOW ANNOUNCED

    OCTOBER 14, 2008
    TINGLEY ARNEA
    ALBUQUERQUE, NM
    PUBLIC ON-SALE JULY 18 @ 10AM LOCAL TIME!

    NKOTB: CHARLOTTE SHOW ANNOUNCED

    TIME WARNER CABLE ARENA (BOBCATS ARENA)
    OCTOBER 30, 2008 - CHARLOTTE, NC
    TICKETS ON-SALE JULY 18 @ 10AM LOCAL TIME

    No Longer Hangin' Tough

    Toronto Blue Jay's pitcher A.J. Burnett switched his warmup music back to Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People" after using "Hangin' Tough" by New Kids On The Block in recent starts. "I'm done with New Kids," said Burnett.

    NKOTB: PROVIDENCE SHOW ANNOUNCED!

    NOVEMBER 06, 2008
    DUNKIN’ DONUTS CENTER
    PROVIDENCE, RI
    GENERAL ON SALE: 6/27 @ 10AM EDT

    NKOTB: 2ND LOS ANGELES SHOW ADDED!

    NOVEMBER 26, 2008
    STAPLES CENTER
    LOS ANGELES, CA

    AMEX PRE SALE: 6/16 @ 10AM PDT
    GENERAL ON SALE: 6/23 @ 10AM PDT

    NKOTB Summertime for Canadian Fans

    NKOTB Summertime for Canadian Fans: Watch it here!

    Venue change/new date / SUMMERTIME DIGITAL RELEASE FOR INTERNATIONAL

    *San Diego is now 11/25 @ COX ARENA, on sale 6/14 10a (pre sale 6/11 10a)
    *New Orleans has been added, 10/18, NEW ORLEANS ARENA, on sale 6/21 10a
    *All other shows are ON SALE NOW!

    SUMMERTIME’s digital release internationally is Monday - we service around the world to radio next week. Some markets (only the UK for now) have gone earlier (this week.) Australia will go June 30th.

    Mr. Blonde's London Meltdown

    Say it ain't so. Mr. Blonde has gone mental?

    Michael Madsen, best known for playing the sadistic, ear-averse jewel thief in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, was forcibly hospitalized on Sunday after apparently going berserk and screaming at a woman in a London hotel.

    According to U.K. media reports, the staff at the posh Dorchester called police after receiving complaints from guests about a disturbance coming from Madsen's room in the West End hotel.

    Officers found the 49-year-old thespian "screaming and shouting" at a female companion. When Madsen refused to calm down, cops forcibly restrained him and he was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was treated for cuts and bruises before being discharged. He was not arrested.

    The Hollywood tough guy, in London after wrapping work on the film The Big I Am, checked into the Dorchester on Saturday with a woman described as his wife and their 5-year-old daughter.

    Madsen has been married to De Anna Morgan, his third wife, since 1996, and the couple have three children together (he has two from a previous marriage).

    The actor is most often known for roles as big-screen heavies in such films as Donnie Brasco, Mulholland Falls, Kill Bill and Sin City. Other notable credits include Thelma & Louise, Wyatt Earp, Free Willy, Species and Die Another Day.

    Madsen's rep, Liza Anderson, said she was aware of an incident but declined to comment.

    New Kids join MMVA lineup

    The '90s boy band New Kids on the Block are the latest addition to the celebrity lineup set for this weekend's MuchMusic Video Awards.

    The pop quintet is preparing to release a new album and is gearing up for a reunion tour roughly 15 years after breaking up.

    The boys join MMVA performers that also include Rihanna, Kardinal Offishall with Akon and the dance crew JabbaWockeeZ.

    Presenters include Mel C of the Spice Girls, Rainn Wilson of "The Office," "Gossip Girl"'s Chace Crawford and gossip blogger Perez Hilton.

    The bash airs June 15 from MuchMusic's streetside studio on Toronto's trendy Queen Street. Leading nominees include Hedley, Belly and IllScarlett.

    NKOTB: Summertime

    Watch New Kids On The Block 'Summertime' Video (USA only) here!

    Reunited New Kids On The Block ignite passions

    On the set of NBC's "Today" show, fans screeched the names of their favorites: "Joey!" "Jordan!" "Donnie!"

    The New Kids on the Block are trying their hand at a comeback. So far, all signs say go. Sixty hours before the "Today" show concert even started, and despite the rain, fans started lining up outside the studios at Rockefeller Plaza, hoping to catch a glimpse of the former teen idols.

    By the time the boy-band-turned-man-band took to a wet and slippery stage, the crowd had swelled to several thousand; mostly casually dressed women in their 20s and 30s who wept, sang along lustily and held doll-size versions of the band members aloft.

    "The 'Today' show turned out to be a 90-minute infomercial for the band," says Jared Paul of AGP, the New Kids' manager.

    In the wake of the May 16 taping, the band's single "Summertime" debuted at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 before sliding to No. 83 the following week.

    Obviously, a connection is still being made with fans of group -- five Boston boys who exploded in the late '80s and ruled the charts into the early '90s. "Hangin' Tough" was certified platinum eight times over, and "Step by Step" went triple platinum. The band also had three No. 1 singles, and its members' faces were slapped on everything from lunchboxes to sleeping bags. By 1994, however, the New Kids' star had waned, and after their "Face the Music" album sold poorly, shifting only 138,000 copies, the boys called it quits.

    In the intervening 14 years, the five members dabbled in solo albums, acting and real estate, and kept in touch as friends.

    The decision to make 2008 their comeback year was based mostly on timing, according to Jordan Knight. "We were finally in a place where we could create the space in our lives to make music and go back on the road," he says.

    According to Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg was the driving force behind the initial reunion plans. "Donnie got us all together to work on a song called 'Click Click Click,' and something, well, clicked," he says. "We all started to get really excited."

    The New Kids' currently untitled album will reach stores on September 8. Among the target demos are teen girls, who were mere infants when the band was first breaking.

    The band will launch a North American tour on September 18 in Toronto, and initial dates are sold out, according to Live Nation senior VP of touring Brad Wavra.

    Part Two: Behind the Scenes at the New Kids' Video

    What music video is complete without bikini-clad women dancing? In the final chapter of New Kids on the Block's backstage video – seen on PEOPLE.com exclusively thanks to Interscope Records – the reunited boy band gets dressed up to get down on the tiki-club set in Malibu before working their dance and doo-wop skills in front of a green screen. Once the director wraps filming, Donnie tells the camera: "What started off as a goofy little concept on the BlackBerry at 2 in the morning might turn out to be a video after all!" You be the judge. Tune in to VH1 on June 8 at 2 p.m. to see the entire "Summertime" video.

    Part Two: Behind the Scenes at the New Kids' Video

    You already saw the first clip – helicopter and all – and heard the concept for the reunited boy band's new video, "Summertime." Now, see more behind-the-scenes footage as the backstage video, provided exclusively to PEOPLE.com by Interscope Records, continues. In part two, you'll report to the Malibu and Topanga Canyon sets where Danny gets a text while he's running through the woods summoning him to meet up with the band.

    Win NKOTB Tickets

    Win Tickets To New Kids on The Block (US Residents only): Click here

    Behind the Scenes at the New Kids' Upcoming Video

    Summer just got a little hotter: The debut of the New Kids on the Block's music video for their single "Summertime" is set to be released June 8 on VH1, but thanks to Interscope Records, PEOPLE.com scored an exclusive sneak peek of Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg and Jordan and Jonathan Knight filming along the Southern California coastline. There are new dance moves, helicopter rides, Donnie running on the beach a la Baywatch – and that's only the first installment! Come back for more behind-the-scenes footage on Wednesday and Friday.

    NKOTB: 3rd TORONTO SHOW ADDED

    3rd TORONTO SHOW ADDED! (ON SALE NOW!)

    JUST ADDED! - September 18, 2008 Toronto, Canada, ON SALE NOW

    NKOTB: 'SUMMERTIME' VIDEO WORLD PREMIERE!

    Stay tuned for the ‘SUMMERTIME’ VIDEO WORLD PREMIERE this weekend, ONLY on VH1 and VH1.com! Check local listings for information.

    Saturday, June 7 - SNEAK PEAK @ VH1 TOP 20 COUNTDOWN
    Sunday, June 8 - VIDEO WORLD PREMIERE @ 2 PM on VH1 and online @ VH1.com

    New Kids On The Block Are Reuniting 'For The Right Reasons'

    Unless you are a glacier or a giant sequoia, 15 years is a long time. In the music business, it's a very long time. In the teen-pop world, it's an eternity. And the past 15 years have been a time of such dramatic, fundamental change in the music industry that today the "biz" looks like a different "biz" altogether.

    "Wait! Do they even have 'charts' anymore?" chimes in Donnie Wahlberg. "No, it's 'we put our song into a computer bank. And you can go download it onto your — your not Walkman." (Now that's more like it!)

    Yes, much has changed since 1993, the last time the NKOTB performed together, and until recently few would have taken the bet that we would have ever seen the quintet at it again. But sure enough, in only nine months, it's gone from Wahlberg discovering a song ("Click Click Click" — on his birthday, actually) that he figured might be the right one for a reunion, to the guys finishing up a full album, beginning preparations for a fall tour — and making comeback appearances on the "Today" show and at two radio station concerts, in New Jersey and Boston.

    Backstage at the Jersey show — Z-100's "Zootopia" concert — the new New Kids seem excited, gratified and humbled by the frenzied reaction to their return from many now 30-something fans. They seem to be in something of a zone.

    "Everything is just really flowing," says Joe McIntyre, who always, along with Jordan, was one of the two strongest singers in the group. "I feel like we're in a good place, and we're doing it for the right reasons and we're having a good time."

    The right reasons. That, in a nutshell, is why an NKOTB reunion is happening now, when one might least expect it, when seemingly few people — OK, actually quite a few people — were clamoring for it, and in the absence of any demonstrable boy-band wave like we saw in the late 1990s and early '00s. Heaven knows, plenty of people — outside parties, including the MTV Video Music Awards and VH1 — tried to make it happen in the past. Pleas were made, checks were no doubt waved, but Wahlberg — ever the heart, soul, conscience and mouthpiece of the New Kids — says he wasn't interested. "Every attempt in the past ... they weren't real. They were for other people's agendas, you know? It was always to serve someone else."

    Not one to hold back, he continues, "You know it was 'Backstreet's huge, 'NSYNC's huge ... why don't you guys reunite on the MTV Awards?' And that's what our old record company [Columbia Records] wanted. Well, why don't you just put us in the studio and finance an album and let's see if that'll work? As opposed to throwing us onstage and seeing if we get cheered or booed. You know what I mean? It was to serve their agenda. It didn't matter. If Chris Rock ripped us up and it turned into a disaster that we reunited on the MTV Awards, what was our record company gonna do the next morning? What would they do? They'd be like 'Bye, guys! Enjoy your flight home.' And I personally was not gonna put myself in that position, or us in that position."

    That kind of self-respect, Wahlberg says, was not always there, but was borne of having pulled himself up in the mid-'90s, post-New Kids, and having fashioned a career as a respected Hollywood actor ("The Sixth Sense," "Band of Brothers," "Ransom"). He didn't "need" to do a reunion but says he never closed himself off to it, if it went down the "right way." "And for me it was never gonna be 'Let's go onstage and let's go on tour and scoop up all the money that's out there.' It was gonna be about, 'Let's make a record.' "

    As for that record, tracks reportedly include "Click Click Click," "Looking Like Danger," "Big Boy/Big Girl" and, of course, "Summertime." While the single is nostalgic, evoking memories of 1988, the guys seem intent on focusing on the here and now.

    Jordan says they're looking forward to busting out vintage hits on the fall tour, though some will be reworked: "We've performed those songs so many times that we want to give 'em a slight twist, not to get so far off where it's unrecognizable, because we don't want fans to not have that feeling they had when they were young. We want to re-create that for them."

    When it comes to their place in the pubescent pop pantheon, having paved the way for the boy bands that followed, Danny Wood says he's proud that New Kids left their "little stamp" on the music business. But he adds that he does not envy the 24/7 microscope of TMZ Nation that the Mileys, Britneys and Jonases of today must contend with.

    "The way the Internet is, there's all the sites that are always trying to get dirt on everyone, so they got it a lot different than we did. That's the part that's a little unfair, because you're walking on eggshells these days."

    Wahlberg concurs and knows that teen idol status ain't all roses. "I can relate to somebody being put in a fishbowl and sort of being told by the world who they are, what they are, and wanting to not be that. You know, and fighting for that autonomy. I know what that's like, you know, so I can relate to it on many levels."

    That does not, however, mean he would presume to give them advice. Donnie says that back in the day, he wasn't really interested in advice from his predecessors like Donny Osmond and wouldn't dole it out today. Or if he ever did, he would do it in private.

    "I'm not gonna do it walking down the red carpet for 'Entertainment Tonight.' Like, 'What do you got to say to Britney?' You know, I'll say it to Britney, I'm not gonna say it to you. You know what I mean? I'll talk to her. It's just false. Sure, I probably could give a lot of people advice. But it's like all of this: It's gonna be for the right reason and in the right way."

    Seasoned wisdom from a onetime — and future — New Kid.

    Inside New Kids on the Block's Invitation-Only Show

    They've already performed on television but before the New Kids on the Block hit the road for their big tour, the grown-up boy band rehearsed for an invite-only crowd at West Hollywood's House of Blues. PEOPLE.com has an exclusive look inside the packed club during the band's May 13 dress rehearsal. Check out the footage, and catch the group performing a medley of hits including "Step By Step" and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)."

    NKOTB are top debut at 57

    After a three-week break, rapper Lil Wayne returned to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Thursday with his first No. 1 single "Lollipop" featuring late songwriter Static Major.

    It's the longest chart-topping hiatus since Usher's "U Got It Bad" went four weeks between No. 1 stints in January 2002. "Lollipop" was also No. 1 for a fourth week on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs tally.

    Lil Wayne, a.k.a. Dwayne Carter, is expected to release his sixth studio album, "Tha Carter III," next month. Static Major, a.k.a. Stephen Garrett, died suddenly in February, a few weeks before the song's release, aged 33. A posthumous album, "Suppertime," is in the works.

    Meanwhile, British singer Leona Lewis' former chart-topper "Bleeding Love" was No. 2 for a second week, while last week's champ, R&B star Rihanna's "Take a Bow," slipped to No. 3.

    Usher's "Love in This Club" featuring Young Jeezy rose one to No. 4, trading places with Jordin Sparks' "No Air" featuring Chris Brown.

    Ray J & Yung Berg's "Sexy Can I" held at No. 6, and Madonna's "4 Minutes" featuring Justin Timberlake at No. 7. Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful of Sunshine" rose one to No 9. 8, trading places with Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body." Danity Kane's "Damaged" was steady at No. 10.

    The top debut came from the reunited New Kids On The Block with "Summertime" at No. 57.

    Donnie Wahlberg: Fans Are 'Best Part' of New Kids Reunion

    It's New Kids fever all over again! Between their Today show performance last week – for which some of the thousands of fans in attendance camped out for 48 hours – and concerts in New York and Boston, the boys are most definitely back.

    "I am so happy to finally be able to perform for the fans," Donnie Wahlberg wrote on the NKOTB site. "It's really the best way to repay all of you for all of the love you show us." To prepare for the recent shows, he says, the band has been rehearsing for six to eight hours a day, working out, plus shooting a video and cutting more songs for their album.

    "Looking back on all the shows," Donnie blogs, "I'd have to say that overall things went pretty freak'n awesome!!!!!!!"

    But the guys are still hard at work. "Today I'm going to finish editing the video for 'Summertime' before I head to the studio with Joey [McIntyre] and Jordan [Knight] to cut a new song," writes Donnie. "I can't wait for you guys to see the video, it's a lot of fun."

    Hitting the road will be, too: "I can't wait," Donnie writes. "Seeing [fans] at the shows, autograph signings, or even meeting you in the streets is really the best part of all of this . . . I'm so grateful to all of you."

    NKOTB: 2 MORE SHOWS/VENUE CHANGE

    November 10 - St. Louis MO @ SCOTTRADE CENTER
    November 12 - Omaha NE @ QUEST CENTER
    The show in Phoenix on October 13th has been moved to the JOBING.COM Arena.

    New Kids on the Block's Message in a Bottle

    Hint Water celebrated the 20th anniversary of the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK by creating a limited edition tribute bottle. The souvenir drinks were passed out to fans this a.m., who were waiting for the reunited boy band to perform in concert on the plaza for "Today."

    Top 10 Hot Pop Songs May 13, 2008

    These are the hottest 10 pop songs of the week as determined by About Top 40. This chart is compiled consulting data from various music industry charts and sources. It is intended to indicate the hottest rising hits. Recordings that have reached the top 10 of the Billboard Pop 100 chart are disqualified from this chart.

    1. Chris Brown - "Forever"
    2. Rihanna - "Take a Bow"
    3. Colby O'Donis featuring Akon - "What You Got"
    4. New Kids on the Block - "Summertime"
    5. Mariah Carey - "Bye Bye"
    6. Duffy - "Mercy"
    7. Jesse McCartney - "Leavin'"
    8. 2 Pistols featuring T-Pain & Tay Dizm - "She Got It"
    9. 3 Doors Down - "It's Not My Time"
    10. David Guetta & Chris Willis - "Love Is Gone"

    NKOTB ANNOUNCE NEW SHOWS

    Fri 9/19 Toronto, ON Air Canada Center
    Sat 9/20 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
    Sun 9/21 Toronto, ON Air Canada Center
    Tue 9/23 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
    Wed 9/24 Uniondale, NY Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
    Fri 9/26 Boston, MA TD Banknorth Garden
    Sat 9/27 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Hotel and Casino Event Center
    Sun 9/28 Boston, MA TD Banknorth Garden
    Tue 9/30 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun
    Thu 10/2 Washington DC Verizon Center
    Fri 10/3 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
    Sat 10/4 Chicago, IL Allstate Arena
    Wed 10/8 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
    Fri 10/10 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
    Sat 10/11 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay
    Mon 10/13 Phoenix, AZ US Airways Center
    Thu 10/16 Houston, TX Toyota Center
    Fri 10/17 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
    Sun 10/19 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
    Tue 10/21 Minneapolis, MN Xcel Energy Center
    Wed 10/22 Milwaukee, WI Bradley Center
    Fri 10/24 Chicago, IL Allstate Arena
    Sat 10/25 Detroit, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
    Mon 10/27 New York City, NY Madison Square Garden
    Wed 10/29 Atlanta, GA Gwinnett Center
    Sat 11/1 Ft. Lauderdale, FL BankAtlantic Center
    Sun 11/2 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
    Wed 11/5 Philadelphia, PA Spectrum
    Tue 11/11 Kansas City, KS Sprint Center
    Fri 11/14 Denver, CO Broomfield Event Center
    Sat 11/15 Salt Lake City, UT E Center
    Mon 11/17 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
    Fri 11/21 Vancouver, BC General Motors Place
    Sat 11/22 Seattle, WA Tacoma Dome
    Sun 11/23 Portland, OR Rose Garden Arena
    Wed 11/26 San Diego, CA San Diego Sports Arena

    Watch New Kids on the Block Perform on the Today Show

    For the New Kids on the Block, it was just like old times.

    Even at 8 a.m. in the pouring rain, shrieking fans – some of whom camped out since Wednesday – packed the Today courtyard to see the reunited group hit the stage for the first time since 1994.

    The turnout of over 3,000 strong was one of the biggest in the history of the Today show's concert series.

    "We could get very weepy right now and sappy, because we absolutely have the greatest fans in the world," said Joey McIntyre, after host Matt Lauer mentioned the people who had been waiting 48 hours for them. "It's amazing."

    As for the weather, Donnie Wahlberg joked, "It's a little bit like Al Roker in a hurricane here," as he, McIntyre, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jonathan Knight got soaked in the downpour.

    The band sang a medley of their hits, like "Step by Step" and "Hangin' Tough" before launching into their new single, "Summertime".

    The dedicated bunch that had been waiting so long for a glimpse of their idols got an unexpected treat Wednesday and Thursday nights: Jonathan Knight stopped by to visit them!

    Up next for the Kids? Shows in East Rutherford, N.J., and Boston on Saturday and Sunday, and then prepping for their big North American tour this fall.

    Video 1, Video 2, Video 3

    A vintage Donnie button... just $17.50

    Hey, you New Kids on the Block fanatic: That giant Jordan Knight pin you’ve kept for 20 years has the right stuff - on eBay.

    Yeah, the NKOTB reunion tour is hot, but those vintage T-shirts, buttons and painter’s hats featuring the fivesome? Totally on fire thanks to 30-somethings so drunk on Boston-boy-band nostalgia they’re coughing up $31 for a bunch of old Teen Beats with Joey McIntyre’s mug on the cover.

    “I made $1,200 so far,” said 35-year-old Jen Stanley, who had the prescience to rummage through her parents’ attic when NKTOB announced their reunion on the “Today” show April 4. The stay-at- home mother of three auctioned off everything from T-shirts to Tiger Beat on eBay for more than a grand - and she’s not even half done.

    “You know, I did it to get some extra cash in the house,” said Stanley, who as a teenager used to drive from her childhood home in Billerica to the Wahlbergs house in Dorchester to get a glimpse of Donnie.

    “Right now it’s magazines that sell the best,” she said. “I got $128 for a set of 20.”

    New Kids concert tickets were being auctioned for hundreds of dollars on eBay this week, but smaller, stranger items were drawing higher-than-expected bids yesterday: $36 for a set of 5 New Kids dolls, $17.50 for a 6-inch-diameter pin of Donnie Wahlberg circa 1990, $26 for a set of three VHS tapes of the New Kids, $56 for a block of 10 magazines and $6.50 for a fanny pack featuring all five Kids’ faces.

    Steve Higgins, owner of The Outer Limits, a collectibles store in Waltham, doesn’t get it.

    “There’s not a lot of interest here,” he said, adding that he has a few NKOTB dolls and games that are “more of a conversation piece, not a serious collectible. But I think they will be eventually.”

    Stacy Wilbur, 28, who scored 11th row tickets to the NKOTB concert at TD Banknorth Garden Sept. 26, said she’d have to really dig to find her New Kids collection. And even if she did, she’d never sell it.

    “I’m a pack rat,” she said.

    Stanley admits that selling off her coveted collection of all things Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Donnie and Danny tugs at her inner teeny-bopper heart.

    “God, selling off my prized Jordan T-shirt just about broke my heart,” she said.

    And she can’t even use the money to buy tickets to the concert.

    “I just spent $83 to fill up my gas tank,” she said. “The money is coming in handy in other ways.”

    New Kids on the Block make concert comeback

    Eighties boyband New Kids on the Block performed their first concert in 14 years to legions of screaming fans who camped outside for two days awaiting their comeback on Friday's Today show.

    The five-piece performed a medley of their 1990s hits on the show - announced during a reunion appearance on the morning TV program last month.

    They mused of their hiatus, "It's eerie. It's almost like the last 15 years didn't happen because it's so effortless. It's very humbling."

    "We could get very weepy right now and sappy... The friendship is still there and it really made it worth all of us suspending what we were doing with the rest of our lives to come together and do this one more time."

    But the bandmates - who are all now in their mid-to-late thirties - admit coming together since their teen stardom proved to be a challenge: "It's like riding a mountain bike. The recording was easier. Then we started dance rehearsals - that took a few days for all of us to get acclimated. We're being tested though, today is a test of our determination."

    The NKOTB reunion comes 20 years after the release of the group's album Hangin' Tough, which became one of the biggest hits of the late 1980s and early 1990s, helping them to amass 70 million album sales during their career.

    The pop group will begin their reunion tour in September when it kicks off in Toronto, Canada.

    A new album is set for release this autumn.

    New Kids rise again

    Once upon a time the New Kids on the Block were, like, a totally awesome pop phenomenon.

    Wait, back up and scratch that.

    The New Kids on the Block are, like, a totally awesome pop phenomenon.

    Those issues of Tiger Beat you treasured may be older than Miley Cyrus, but that hasn’t stopped Jordan, Jonathan, Joey, Danny and Donnie from becoming as big as Hannah Montana all over again.

    This morning the New Kids perform for the first time publicly in 14 years on the “Today” show. Sunday they play the sold-out Kiss-108 Concert at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield.

    And on Sept. 26 and 28, Boston’s fab five plan to perform before a potential 40,000 fans at two (yes, two!) TD Banknorth Garden shows.

    It’s insanity. All over again. And Jordan Knight knows it.

    “Honestly, I thought we might be singing at the Orpheum,” said Knight on a break from rehearsing with the New Kids in Los Angeles. “I didn’t know what would happen with this thing. So to be playing two nights at the Garden is amazing.”

    A humble Knight says the guys aren’t taking this reunion and shocking resurgence lightly. The former Hub heartthrobs - or current heartthrobs, if you’re into Kids in their late 30s - are putting in long hours re-perfecting those “Step By Step” steps.

    While the five have always stayed in contact with each other, the New Kids ended poorly last time. After their ’94 album “Face the Music” stiffed and the group was demoted from arenas to clubs, the boys called it quits right before a scheduled June Kiss-108 Concert performance.

    Now fathers and B-list actors, suburbanites and wannabe reality TV stars, the five are getting back to what they do best: singing, dancing and charming girls. Or what they did best.This isn’t the first time a New Kid has wanted to get back into fighting shape and reunite. In the past decade, each of the members has considered returning to the block. But it took the right timing for it to work (read: all five experienced simultaneous career stalls).

    Or to take the less cynical view: They needed the right song.

    Early last year, Knight went to a Celtics game with Donnie Wahlberg and the two got to talking about finding the right music. A few months later, Wahlberg rang Knight with news.

    “He told me he had a song that was hot,” said Knight. “That same day, the same day he first listened to it, he drove over to my house and made me listen to it in his car. He told me, ‘Man, this could be the song that kicks it off.’ ”

    The song was Canadian r & b singer Nasri’s “Click Click Click.”

    “It really appealed to what the New Kids were about,” said Knight. “It was mature, It was sexy. It wasn’t too pop or too r & b, but right in the middle. If anyone was to say, ‘You guys are getting back together? I don’t see how that could possibly be.’ I could go, ‘Oh, yeah?’ Boom! And play them this song.”

    “Click Click Click” led to more songs, including current single “Summertime,” and an album release slated to coincide with their September tour.

    If you’re getting acid wash flashbacks, remember: There’s one key difference between 1989 and now. The New Kids are mounting their comeback without former svengali Maurice Starr, who also created Boston’s New Edition.

    Knight says the group and Starr parted amicably and he still talks to Starr every once in a while (“Hey, he came to my wedding,” Knight said). But no one in the group has heard from the now Florida-based Starr since getting back together.

    “I do know what’d he say though,” said Knight with a laugh. “He’d tell me, ‘Hey, J, I got an opening act for you.’ ”

    Old fans line up around the block for New Kids reunion

    Hundreds of women were hangin' tough Thursday, eagerly waiting in line outside the "Today" show studios to catch the New Kids on the Block reunion.

    The aging fans - who were screaming teenagers during the boy band's heyday - filled an entire city block near Rockefeller Center to see the group's concert Friday, their first in 14 years.

    "It's every little girl's - and now old girl's - dream come true," said Victoria Wolff, 29, who drove from Toronto to claim the first spot, arriving at 9 a.m. Wednesday. "New Kids fans are crazy, loyal and determined."

    New Kids - brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood - were a pop sensation from the mid-'80s until breaking up in 1994.

    They sold more than 70 million albums and paved the way for other boy bands. The "Today" concert kicks off a new album and tour for the band - whose members are now in their mid-to-late 30s.

    "They are my first love," said Stacy Loverdige, 30, of Baltimore.

    Hundreds watch New Kids comeback

    Reunited boy band New Kids on the Block have performed together for the first time in 15 years.

    Hundreds of fans watched the group sing a medley of their hits, including Right Stuff and Hangin' Tough, at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York.

    Joey McIntyre said: "I think the story is the fans more than anything and that's what makes us feel so good."

    The band also sang their new single Summertime during their performance for TV network NBC's Today programme.

    'Brotherhood'

    Some fans had been waiting for 48 hours so they were able to get the best view of the group - brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and McIntyre - on stage.

    Karen Alexander, 29, travelled from Virginia to see them.

    "It was absolutely amazing. New Kids are back. The singing, the dancing, they are going to take over the world," she said.

    Radio 1 Newsbeat's Sima Kotecha, who was there, said: "You could hardly hear yourself speak because the screaming was so loud.

    "The atmosphere was buzzing and it was surprising to see so many people out even though it was cold and raining."

    Wahlberg was the one who suggested the group get back together, but he told the crowd he did not want to "take credit for it".

    He said: "If we weren't getting along, if we couldn't record in the studio together and honestly if the fans didn't want it, it may not have happened.

    "We found a great record, we recorded it and the brotherhood was still there."

    Wood compared the experience of reuniting like "riding a bike".

    The group are releasing Summertime ahead of a North American tour which starts in September.

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK at NYSE TODAY

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK will visit the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, May 15 to celebrate the band’s reunion tour and the release of their new single Summertime. In honor of this special occasion, the original band members Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jordan and Jonathan Knight will ring The Closing Bell. Watch the video here!

    TNT, Donnie Wahlberg Know 'Code'

    TNT has lined up several heavy hitters -- George Clooney, Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Avnet and "24" co-creator Joel Surnow -- for its next generation of original series.

    They're all developing projects for the cable network, which staged its upfront presentation (along with sister networks TBS and truTV) Wednesday in the midst of the broadcast networks' annual pitches to advertisers. TNT's goal is to become a prime-time force in the next few years, offering all original programming three nights a week.

    To that end, the network unveiled a sizable list of new projects, including one that Wahlberg ("Boomtown," Spike TV's "The Kill Point") will likely star in (he's also executive producing). "Morse Code" is about a war hero who returns to his hometown of Boston to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    "Law & Order" veteran Walon Green is writing the pilot and will also exec produce, as will director Jon Avnet ("The Starter Wife," "88 Minutes").

    Among the other TNT projects in development are "Delta Blues," about a Memphis cop/Elvis impersonator that Clooney and partner Grant Heslov are exec producing; the Surnow project, which follows the life and career of an ATF agent; and a family drama from "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Aliens in America" scribe Rob Ulin.

    The new projects follow on the heels of three series pickups TNT has made in recent months: "Leverage," which stars Timothy Hutton; "Truth in Advertising," with Tom Cavanagh and Eric McCormack; and the Steven Bochco legal show "Raising the Bar."

    TBS, meanwhile, has ordered 26 more episodes of its sitcom "House of Payne" and is working on a single-camera comedy that will star and be written by William H. Macy and a sketch-comedy show from Jerry Zucker ("Airplane!," "The Naked Gun"). The channel is also developing a handful of late-night shows, including one called "Top Ten" that puts comedians in competition with one another. It comes from "Daily Show" co-creator Madeleine Smithberg.

    New Kids are back, and so are fans' childhoods

    As I look back on my life, I realize there was a time before the New Kids on the Block, and there was a time after. Their high-energy, late ‘80s/early ‘90s dance moves, their feathered hair-dos, their shoulder-padded blazers — it all entered my consciousness like a bolt from the blue. I turned around one day and all my friends at the Sheehan School in Westwood, Mass., were wearing New Kids pins and New Kids shirts.

    My friend Nikki Delaney had New Kids sheets and New Kids bedspread. She laid her little head down on a pillowcase adorned with all five of their faces. Her older sister took her to a concert (they had to leave because it was too noisy and Nikki began crying.) She also had a Joey doll and someone gave her a poster signed by him.

    “It said, ‘To Nikki from Joey,’” she recalled. “It was the greatest thing in my life.”

    I think I was a little late to the Kids because my parents didn’t get cable. The only chance I had of glimpsing the videos was going to my Nana’s or hanging out with the kids next door. But sure enough, by 1988, I was in full swing of the Jordan, Joey, Donnie, Danny and Jonathan mania.

    Now, 20 years later, they are back. The Kids — er, men — are launching a tour with Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. They have a new single called “Summertime,” and on Friday are performing on TODAY.

    Mass(achusetts) mania

    The New Kids on the Block took Westwood, a small Boston suburb, by storm. It helped that they were hometown boys. Bad boy Donnie Wahlberg and jockish Danny Wood grew up in the grizzled Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. Front-man Jordan Knight and his brother Jonathan were born in Worcester, Mass. The baby, Joey (who is now 36!) grew up in Jamaica Plain. To the kids of Westwood, these guys were bigger than Aerosmith, bigger than Bobby Brown — even bigger than the Red Sox!

    My former classmate James Nasman was a mellower sort of New Kids fan. He liked Donnie, who he described as “the closest thing to a badass that group had.” James roller skated to “Please Don’t Go Girl,” and liked to rock out to “Step by Step.” But most of all, James, now a researcher at Children’s Hospital in Boston, recalls the New Kids “mass hysteria” which overtook our elementary school.

    In all probability, 26-year-old Betsy Narciso was one of those girls. She was the first person who came to mind when I learned the New Kids on the Block were getting back together. Betsy and I attended the same after-school program. I distinctly recall sitting with Betsy on a picnic table. She wore a black bowl hat, a denim vest and definitely a giant New Kids on the Block button. Come to think of it — I remember singing the songs with her! Betsy took being a New Kids fan seriously.

    “I believe I had a New Kids on the Block birthday party,” she told me recently. “I had the dolls. I had all the pins. I had all the tapes. I had T-shirts. I know I didn’t have the bedding. I know at one point I had a backpack. That’s all I can remember that I had.”

    Rise and fall of the Kids

    Girls like Betsy helped make the man behind the super group very wealthy. Producer Maurice Starr created Bobby Brown’s original group “New Edition,” and thought he might find even more success if he replaced the black kids with white ones.

    The New Kids on the Block released their self-titled debut in 1986 to little fanfare. The “mass hysteria” James referred to began in 1988 with their second album “Hangin' Tough,” which included songs like “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Cover Girl,” “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “I’ll Be Loving You Forever.” They recorded a successful Christmas album and then moved on to the more mature “Step by Step,” named for its first single which also features the oddly Beatle-esque “Tonight.”

    By 1994 gangster rap and grunge relegated the Kids into cheesy artifacts of the previous decade. Their attempt to become harder and hipper by changing their name to NKOTB failed with the fourth album, “Face the Music.”

    “I think it went down hill from there,” Nikki said.

    Thus, the Kids went their separate ways. Jordan kept singing and scored a huge hit in 1999 with his suggestive song “Give it to You.” Joey starred on “Boston Legal,” competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and had a few hits of his own. Jonathan Knight left show business to become a real estate developer. Danny Wood formed an independent record label and recorded a few solo albums. Donnie followed his Oscar-nominated brother Mark (aka Marky Mark) into acting, starring in “Sixth Sense” and HBO’s acclaimed miniseries “Band of Brothers.” Fine accomplishments to be sure, but none of the New Kids received the same adulation and adoration apart as they did together.

    ‘It’s like your childhood is back’

    My friend Brent Stackhouse got a chance to watch the phenomenon up close when he lived in the same Boston apartment building as Jordan Knight. Each Monday, young Brent left his apartment to attend his guitar lessons. Every week while he made his way to the building’s lobby, the elevator stopped at the 18th floor and Jordan Knight, accompanied by two large bodyguards, got on. Even at age 12, Brent, who now works in finance, couldn’t help but be embarrassed. Here he was a kid “with a bowl cut, braces and (wearing a) baha,” carrying a 3/4 size acoustic guitar in front of a bona fide rock star.

    “I just wanted to die. If I could have found my way into the wood paneling, I would have,” said Brent, 27. “He would never say anything. They would stop talking when they got on the elevator.”

    Brent’s presence in the building might have made life more difficult for the New Kid. On his 13th birthday he and a friend were with their mothers on the elevator, on their way to see the musical “Forever Plaid.” Sure enough, they stopped on the 18th floor. Jordan and his entourage got on.

    “So we go down the elevator and the elevator door opens and 15 of our friends are down there waiting for us — he blanched,” Brent said. “I’m sure he thought all those 13 year olds were there for him.”

    Now those 13 year-olds are in their late 20s and early 30s. Many of them, like Betsy and Nikki are excited to relive the hysteria. Tickets for their upcoming Boston concert are about to go on sale and Betsy has her credit card ready. She’s trying to gather the same group of friends she saw the New Kids with in 1990.

    “It’s like your childhood is back!” she said. “We can be kids again with alcohol this time. It was such an unbelievable phenomenon — mass following. They had a cartoon on Saturday morning. To see them come back and see them 20 years later — it’s fun!”

    The only question now is: Can they take it beyond the nostalgia aspect? Will their music still top charts in 2008? Brent Stackhouse is not sure if it matters.

    “They already made it,” he said. “All we can do is analyze their legacy.”

    New Kid 'Not Excited' About Show With Cyrus

    It appears that '80s New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg isn't a big fan of his modern counterparts.

    In a video posted on celebrity site TMZ.com, Wahlberg was asked by paparazzi about his thoughts about an upcoming show with Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.

    "I'm not excited, but I'm ready," Wahlberg said with a smile.

    Also asked if he's seen Cyrus' controversial Vanity Fair photos, Wahlberg said, "I don't look at 15-year-old girls' pictures."

    The New Kids, Cyrus and Jonas Brothers will share the stage at the Zootopia music festival Saturday in East Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday.

    The group, consisting of Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood, recently announced a new album and reunion tour after 20 years apart.

    New Kids On The Block MP3 Album/Ticket Package!

    Get tickets to see New Kids On The Block and add the New Kids On The Block MP3 Album/Ticket Package to your order!

    CLICK HERE

    With your purchase, you will get an instant bonus MP3 now; their new single “Summertime.” PLUS, as an ADDED BONUS, the album will come with an additional audio program; “The Making Of The Album” an interview with the group talking about each song.

    The code for the MP3 album will be delivered by Sept 9 to the email address you supply so please be sure to enter a valid email address.

    *Offer Valid for US Markets and Residents Only**

    NKOTB: ADD MOHEGAN SUN ARENA

    When: 9.30.08
    Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
    On Sale: 5/17/08 @ 10 AM EDT

    NKOTB: 2ND BOSTON SHOW ADDED

    when: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
    where: TD BANKNORTH GARDEN
    ON SALE - MAY 12th, 10 AM EST at LIVENATION.
    FOR VIP TICKET PACKAGES, CLICK HERE

    NEW SINGLE ‘SUMMERTIME’ AVAILABLE MAY 13 @ iTUNES AND DIGITAL OUTLETS!

    CATCH THE GUYS ON THE TODAY SHOW, MAY 16. CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR TIMES.

    Older New Kids Seek Hot Girl 'On the Urban Tip' For New Video

    OMG, have you heard the new NKOTB song online?? You know the Blockheads are so totes freaking about it! Also, they’re going to sing the song live on the “Today” show in their first performance in 15 years — stop it, you’re killing us!

    We bet that’s the song Joey, Mark Wahlberg’s brother, Whoever, and Whoever are getting ready to shoot a new music video for! Hurry up — submissions are due tomorrow, and the audition’s this Wednesday! (Enough exclamation points, people?)

    Full ad after the jump.

    New Kids on the Block

    Music Video, No Union Affiliation Posted: 5/5/2008

    Union Status No Union Affiliation

    Rate varies — see below

    Submissions Due By 5/6/2008

    Audition Dates: Wed May 7

    Shoot/Performance Dates: Friday May 9th (Please submit ASAP)

    Role:
    LEAD GIRL / No Union Affiliation / Lead / Female / All Ethnicities / 18-24
    Female. 18-24. Beautiful. Somewhat on the urban tip, white girls, some ethnic mixes, maybe asian, black, latina, can move well or dance ( even better )

    Rate: $ 500 + 20%

    NKOTB: As Organic as Your Strawberries

    The New Kids on the Block may have paved the way for more contemporary boy bands—think 'N Sync or the Backstreet Boys—but don't go labeling them as a manufactured group.

    "I went to school with Danny, Jon and Jordan since first grade," Donnie Wahlberg told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM morning show while promoting their new single "Summertime." (Hear it here!)

    "It was very organic...There was definitely no big machine or anything. The machine—that’s one of the misconceptions of the group. Because of the later boy bands that came. People churning out these boy bands."

    But no hard feelings for 'N Sync, as Jon admitted to having a little place for the band in his heart:

    "I’ve always been partial to ‘N Sync, personally. But you know, I’m a softie."

    Listen to the new single "Summertime," and then let us know what you think!

    'Summertime' from New Kids on the Block

    They've called their new single "Summertime" and the tune is, well, appropriately sunny. The New Kids on the Block will officially release the synth-heavy anthem on May 13, but PEOPLE.com has a first taste. Sweet and bright, the song finds the guys getting nostalgic, singing, "I think of you in the summertime / and all the good times we had, baby."

    Listen to the new single here.

    Summertime NKs song link from Z100

    From Gia (at Yahoo's OfficialJordanKnightGroup) Okay here's the link: www.z100.com/main.html

    NKOTB reunion tour coming to Canada

    The '90s boy band New Kids On The Block are taking their reunion tour to Canada this September.

    The pop quintet says they'll be bringing hits such as "You Got It, (The Right Stuff)" and "Step By Step" - as well as new music - to cities including Montreal and Toronto.

    A limited tour schedule has been posted on their webpage, with more dates expected to be announced.

    Tickets for Montreal's show Sept. 20 go on sale Saturday while tickets for Toronto's show Sept. 21 go on sale next Monday.

    A new single, called "Summertime," is set for release next week, and a new album is expected in the fall.

    Since disbanding in 1994, members Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood each released solo albums while Donnie Wahlberg turned to acting and Jonathan Knight became a real estate developer.

    New Kids On The Block will make their first public performance in 15 years with an appearance on the "Today" show on May 16.

    NKOTB visit Ryan Seacrest Monday 5/5

    KIIS (102.7FM) Los Angeles…New Kids On The Block drop by Ryan Seacrest’s E Studio Monday May 5th @ 6:30AM…5750 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    New Kids Take on the World, Step by Step

    If early '90s nostalgia is what you're hankering for, this group's got "The Right Stuff."

    New Kids on the Block, the original arena-filling boy band, announced Wednesday that they'll be kicking off a world tour Sept. 20 in Montreal. (Only a handful of North American dates have made the itinerary so far, but we're figuring the locales that aren't in the mood for "Hangin' Tough" are few and far between.)

    And for those of you who are a little wary of shelling out hard-earned cash for a live glimpse at the newly reunited quintet (whose combined ages will be 191 by the time their tour launches), you can check out their moves May 16 when NKOTB performs live on Today—their first time taking the stage together in 15 years.

    Jordan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jon Knight and Joey McIntyre are also working on a new album with a collective eye on a fall release date, and a fresh single is slated to drop May 13.

    NKOTB Tour Dates

    Sat 9/20/08 Montreal, Quebec Bell Centre
    Sun 9/21/08 Toronto, ON Air Canada Center
    Tue 9/23/08 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
    Wed 9/24/08 Uniondale, NY Nassau VETERANS MEMORIAL Coliseum
    Fri 9/26/08 Boston, MA TD Banknorth Garden
    Sat 9/27/08 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Hotel and Casino Event Center
    Sat 10/4/08 Chicago, IL Allstate Arena

    The 80s Strike Back: NKOTB Returns!

    Have you heard the 411? New Kids on the Block are, like, totally getting back together, you guys!

    The boy band (technically "man band" at this stage of the game) announced the reunion of all five members - Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood - on NBC's "The Today Show" on Apr. 4.

    The announcement comes after months of speculation where it had been rumored that the Kids were back in the studio, a claim that Wood stated on his MySpace (yes, Danny Wood has a MySpace) that "there has been no talk of."

    People Magazine then called his bluff and posted an exclusive story on its website in January that the reunion would indeed happen and that an announcement was imminent. It was around this time that their website, nkotb.com, suddenly came back to life as well.

    NKOTB will return to "The Today Show" on May 16 to perform as part of the morning show's summer concert series; it will be their first performance together since the band's breakup in 1994.

    Despite the long break, Wahlberg stated, "The fan response to this has been incredible."

    They also announced that there would be a new CD out soon, which they have been recording since last August, and that the group would be going on a reunion tour this coming fall, performing both new songs and the old favorites.

    "We've got some new material," Wahlberg said on the Today Show. "We're going to dance, we're going to sing, we're going to do it all."

    NKOTB debuted in 1986 with a failed self-titled album but found fame two years later with 1988's "Hangin' Tough." That album spawned a number of hits, including the title track, "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "Cover Girl."

    The band sold millions of albums worldwide and played to sold-out arenas at home and abroad. They also made millions in NKOTB merchandise, from t-shirts to bed sheets to dolls. (Don't try to be all "too cool for school" - everyone owned something with their faces on it at some point.)

    So where have the Kids been all these years?

    The brothers Knight went in completely different directions after NKOTB. Jon went into real estate, while Jordan launched a solo career in the late 1990s.

    His self-titled 1999 album included a Top 10 hit, "Give It to You," which went platinum. He also opened up for 'N Sync on their tour that year and appeared on VH1's "The Surreal Life" in 2004.

    McIntyre also released a solo album in 1999 called "Stay the Same," and had a Top 10 hit with the title track. He also appeared on a reality series - CBS' "Dancing with the Stars" in 2006.

    Wood became a producer and formed a record label in Boston.

    Wahlberg has had the most success since his NKOTB days, launching a successful acting career like his brother, Mark (formerly Marky Mark; as of press time, there has been no word yet on if his Funky Bunch will also be reuniting).

    Wahlberg had parts in "Ransom" and "The Sixth Sense," as well as starring roles in two short-lived television series, "Boomtown" and "Runaway" and HBO's World War II miniseries "Band of Brothers."

    New Kids set first performance in 14 years

    The reunited New Kids On The Block's first gig in 14 years will take place May 17 at New York radio station Z100's annual Zootopia concert.

    The event at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., will also feature Miley Cyrus, Jordin Sparks, the Jonas Brothers, OneRepublic, Simple Plan, Sara Bareilles, Gavin DeGraw and Ferras.

    Behind The Scenes With The New Kids: Watch here!

    NKOTB to HEADLINE Z100/NY ZOOTOPIA

    This just in…New Kids on the Block will headline Z100/NY Zootopia, May 17, 2008 at The Izod Center, 50 State Route 120, East Rutherford, NJ 07073.

    Tickets go on-sale to Z100 ZVIPs only on Friday, April 11th at 4pm. To sign-up, log on to Z100, Keyword: ZVIP. For more information CLICK HERE.

    New Kids Set for Nationwide Block Party

    They may not be new and they're definitely not kids, but they're heading back to the block.

    The New Kids on the Block—aka Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jonathan Knight—are out to prove they've still got the right stuff, confirming on the Today show Friday they're set to reunite and hit the road for the first time in 14 years.

    The quintet, a prototypical boy band from Boston who sold more than 70 million albums and provided the template for 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, announced they would be embarking on a nationwide tour this fall following the release of a new album.

    "Long live the Block!" McIntyre shouted upon the group's revelation, doing his part to rile up the already overhyped crowd.

    "It is better than Christmas," trumpetetd Jonathan Knight.

    Once the man band was unveiled—with a drumroll and from behind a red-velvet curtain set up outdoors—Wahlberg wasted no time in getting down to the business of the announcement.

    "We started recording in August," he said. "Really, it was music that brought us back."

    Wahlberg also noted that the reunion announcement, which has been in the ether for months, was something the group wasn't planning on confirming so early on, but felt they needed to after word began to leak out in January.

    "We really weren't going to announce this yet," he said, adding that the boys-no-more band ultimately decided to confirm the rumors for their fans' sake.

    "The fans got a little excited, but they got a little unsure, so we thought we better come out and let them know it's official. We hope to tour in the fall—we're already setting up limited dates."

    The undeniably aged entertainers, reunited 22 years after first forming and 20 years after the release of their debut album, Hanging Tough, are apparently more than willing to embrace their status as the elder statesmen of teenybop pop. (Jonathan Knight's the eldest, at 39; Wahlberg and Wood are both 38; Jordan Knight is 37; and McIntyre is the baby, at 35.)

    Asked what they had in store for long-suffering fans on their new album, McIntyre teased, "Three things: the economy, health care and job security."

    "We've got some new material," Wahlberg said. "We're going to dance, we're going to sing, we're going to do it all."

    Not deterred by the inevitable litany of late-night jokes that will come in the wake of a group of thirtysomething men reuniting as a boy band, Wood put fans' NKOTB-loving minds at ease by clarifying that the group would not be changing its name to more closely reflect the passing of time.

    "We're all kids at heart, so it's not going to change," he said.

    Before retiring from center stage, the group also made one more eardrum-shattering announcement. The group's first live show in 14 years, before the launch of their tour, will take place May 16 on the Today show as part of the morning program's summer concert series.

    Watch the video here: 1, 2

    'Blueberry Nights': Dark and gooey

    My Blueberry Nights is a film about people stuck, even mired, in their heartbreaks. But the movie doesn't need to feel similarly inert in order to convey this message.

    Often ponderous, sometimes pretentious and mostly clichéd, this contrived meditation on longing and loss feels like a missed opportunity.

    The English-language feature debut of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai (In the Mood for Love) is beautifully shot at times, with its neon colors and moody, dreamy style. Other times his photography is off-putting and self-consciously arty. (For instance, the blueberry pie that serves as a key symbol in the story looks lurid and frighteningly unappetizing.)

    The narrative falls flat and the characters have little dimension. The dialogue, co-written by Wong and screenwriter Lawrence Block, often sounds awkward. Characters make pronouncements rather than observations.

    We meet Elizabeth — played naturally but a bit dully by singer Norah Jones — just as she learns she has been cheated on and dumped. Undone, she latches on to the diner where her beloved was spotted with another woman. The diner owner, affably played by Jude Law, identifies all his customers by their meal orders. She goes to the diner to leave a set of her ex's keys, and from there, a formulaic device involving a jar of keys kicks in.

    Her breakup leads Elizabeth to move nomadically across the USA, taking a series of waitress jobs and avoiding entanglements in an effort to escape her emotional pain. Along the way she meets a lovelorn alcoholic cop (David Strathairn) and his free-spirited wife (Rachel Weisz). It's hard to imagine either of these talented actors giving less-than-impressive performances, but somehow they manage, thanks mostly to the banal dialogue they are forced to speak.

    Elizabeth's next stop is Nevada, where she meets a manipulative compulsive gambler (Natalie Portman). That story line goes nowhere — slowly and dully.

    It would seem we are meant to glean that in her journey Elizabeth faces down her own heartbreak and empathically absorbs the troubles of those she meets.

    Somehow through this, she overcomes her loneliness and learns to love and trust again. But none of this really comes through on the screen.

    Mostly, My Blueberry Nights is irritating and plodding, saved only slightly by Law's lively performance.

    My Blueberry Nights
    * * (out of four)
    Stars: Norah Jones, Jude Law, David Straithairn, Rachel Weisz
    Director: Wong Kar Wai
    Distributor: The Weinstein Co.
    Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, including violence, drinking and smoking
    Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes
    Opens Friday in select cities

    NBC: New Kids on the Block to reunite

    They’re no longer kids, and the block they’ll be on is actually Rockefeller Plaza. But for the first time in 14 years, The New Kids On The Block will be reunited Friday on TODAY.

    The band will return to TODAY on May 16 to perform their first live concert since 1994 as part of TODAY’s summer concert series on the Plaza.

    The reunion comes 22 years after the band was formed in Boston and 20 years after the debut of their breakthrough album, “Hanging Tough,” rocketed Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and Jordan and Jonathan Knight to stardom. Over the next six years, they sold more than 70 million albums and made hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Wahlberg said he was persuaded to get back together with his former bandmates — Joey McIntyre, brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood — when they decided to record new music. Wahlberg said he wrote 80 percent of the new material with McIntyre and Jordan Knight.

    “I had no interest going out on a nostalgia tour and singing the same material,” said Wahlberg, 38.

    But he added: “We absolutely will do the old songs for sure.”

    Producer Maurice Starr formed the group in Boston in the 1980s, hoping to recreate the success he had with another teen group from Boston, New Edition.

    At the height of their popularity, New Kids sold out world tours, marketed millions of dollars in merchandise and spawned a Saturday morning cartoon.

    No longer boys and with their music fallen out of favor, the group disbanded in 1994 and its members scattered off to separate careers. Jonathan Knight went into real estate, his brother Jordan continued a solo singing career and had a platinum single, “Give It to You.”

    McIntyre also went solo and got into acting, landing a regular role on “Boston Public” and taking a turn on “Dancing with the Stars.”

    Wood went back to Boston, started a record label, and continued to sing. Wahlberg became an actor, a career path that had been blazed by his brother Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg.

    '80s boy band New Kids on the Block plans to reunite but no longer kids

    They may be pushing 40 but the New Kids are returning to the block.

    The boy band New Kids on the Block, which sold 70 million albums in the 1980s and early '90s, has reunited and plans to release a new album and go on tour. The reunion comes 20 years after the release of the group's multiplatinum album, "Hanging Tough."

    "The fan response to this has been incredible," band member Donnie Wahlberg told the Boston Herald.

    Wahlberg said he was persuaded to get back together with his former bandmates - Joey McIntyre, brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood - when they decided to record new music. Wahlberg said he wrote 80 per cent of the new material with McIntyre and Jordan Knight.

    "I had no interest going out on a nostalgia tour and singing the same material," said Wahlberg, 38.

    But he added: "We absolutely will do the old songs for sure."

    Producer Maurice Starr formed the group in Boston in the 1980s, hoping to recreate the success he had with another teen group from Boston, New Edition.

    At the height of their popularity, New Kids sold out world tours, marketed millions of dollars in merchandise and spawned a Saturday morning cartoon.

    The group disbanded in 1994. Wahlberg has acted on television and in movies, while Jordan Knight, McIntyre and Wood released solo albums. Jonathan Knight became a real estate developer.

    New Kids on the Block to Appear on Today Show

    Looks like the Today show's got the right stuff: All five original New Kids on the Block members – Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight – will appear together in the morning show's courtyard on April 4, a source tells PEOPLE.

    After months of speculation, PEOPLE confirmed in January that the band is reuniting – just in time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their mega-hit album Hangin' Tough. The group also recently updated its Web site, nkotb.com.

    The boy band, which made legions of tweens swoon in the early '90s, selling more than 50 million albums, became a worldwide phenomenon before calling it quits in 1994. Since then, the oldest "Kid," Jonathan Knight, 39, retreated back to Boston to become a real estate developer. Former members Wahlberg, 38, and McIntyre, 35, have seen acting success, while Wood, 38, has worked as a music producer and Jordan Knight, 37, has continued to record.

    HBO Exits '12 Miles of Bad Road'

    HBO has decided not to travel down "12 Miles of Bad Road."

    The cable network has decided not to go forward with the series, which completed only part of its initial 10-episode order because of the writers' strike and is now seeking a new home, the showbiz trade papers report. The show stars Lily Tomlin as a wealthy Dallas real estate agent and matriarch of a large family.

    HBO greenlit the series in early 2007 under the auspices of entertainment president Carolyn Strauss, who stepped down over the weekend. Executive producers Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason ("Designing Women") managed to complete six episodes before the strike, but the network decided not to resume production after scribes returned to work.

    Now the show's fate is up in the air. The Thomasons have been shopping the show to other networks; the trades say Lifetime is among those who have expressed an interest, but no deal has been made.

    In addition to Tomlin, "12 Miles of Bad Road" features Gary Cole ("The West Wing," "Office Space"), Kim Dickens ("Deadwood"), Mary Kay Place ("Big Love"), Katherine LaNasa ("Love Monkey") and David Andrews ("JAG").

    New Kids Return

    THE New Kids on the Block reunion is much further along than the group would care to admit. Although the early-'90s boy-band sensations aren't ready yet to announce they're preparing for a comeback, a source says Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre and Jonathan Knight have been secretly working with legendary music manager Irving Azoff. "They've been going to a studio in Orlando and recording the album. It's just about done," says our source.

    New Kids On The Block Preview a New Song

    There's a new ballad on the block.

    Nearly 14 years after breaking up, the '90s boy band New Kids On The Block are back with a new ballad on their official Web site.

    The song (its name isn't revealed) plays over a promotional video for the band that says the Kids once had it all – a $1 billion in album sales, millions of fans, with music that "influenced a generation" – but then "walked away from it all."

    The video next teases a comeback, asking: "Are you ready?"

    The song, a source says, was recorded by all five Kids last November in Orlando.

    Elisabeth Hasselbeck Shows Her Passion for New Kids On The Block

    The ladies of The View are hangin' tough. Following PEOPLE's exclusive news over the weekend that New Kids on the Block are planning a comeback, the morning chatterers couldn't help but get excited. For your viewing pleasure, we present PEOPLE.com readers with Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd's rendition of an NKOTB classic. Enjoy! Watch the video

    New Kids: Back on the Block?

    They may no longer be new. They may no longer be kids. But NKOTB are out to prove they still have the right stuff.

    New Kids on the Block, the prototypical boy band of the 1980s and early '90s that preceded the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync on the pop charts and in the pages of Tiger Beat, are reportedly on track to reunite.

    The band's official Website, www.nkotb.com, is, after a long period of dormancy, once again up and running and imploring fans to keep hanging tough for a forthcoming announcement. That announcement, per People, is that Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood will be making like the Spice Girls and relaunching their once chart-dominating act.

    There's no word yet, however, on whether the group's resurrection will include a tour, a greatest-hits album or the release of any new material.

    Their site simply teases that an undoubtedly earth-shattering development is in the works, with a fuzzy television set flickering on and off on different photos of the group in their heyday.

    "They rose from the streets of Boston," the site touts. "To become the biggest band in the world. They influenced a generation. They sold over 70 million albums and grossed more than one billion dollars. Five multiplatinum albums, 10 top 10 singles, five number one singles. Then they walked away from it all. Millions of fans around the world await their return. Are you ready?"

    The group eventually called it quits in 1994, after logging megasuccess with hits like "Hangin' Tough," "Step by Step," "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and the ever-lampooned "You Got It (The Right Stuff)."

    Despite attempts by MTV to reunite the group in the past decade, the move has consistently been vetoed by one or more members of the quintet.

    As it is, the "boy band" has almost certainly aged out of the High School Musical demographic and will likely rely on the support of their former, now grown, fanbase (and their kids) to power the second coming of NKOTB.

    Since splitting more than a decade ago, each member of the fivesome has achieved some degree of solo success, both inside and outside the world of entertainment.

    The youngest and possibly most recognizable member of NKOTB, the perpetually fresh-faced Joey McIntyre, is now 35 years old and best known these days for appearing on Dancing with the Stars and in a brief 2003 stint on Boston Public.

    Donnie "brother of Mark" Wahlberg is 38 and has arguably been the most successful in Hollywood since the split, starring in HBO's Emmy-winning Band of Brothers and NBC's now defunct Boomtown and appearing in such films as The Sixth Sense and Saws II and IV.

    Onetime frontman Jordan Knight, 37, continues to record solo, most notably the minor 1999 hit "Give It to You," which was briefly a staple in the MTV rotation. Brother Jonathan, the oldest New Kid at nearly 40, is a real-estate developer, while Donny Wood, 38, has bided his time as a music producer.

    New Kids On The Block Stage Comeback

    After months of speculation and rumor, the Kids are coming back. A well-placed source tells PEOPLE exclusively that New Kids On The Block are indeed getting back together.

    The band's Web site, www.nkotb.com, which had been dormant, is now back up and running in anticipation of the official announcement, which the source says will be made in the next few weeks.

    The site currently features a television graphic with a fuzzy, flickering photos of NKOTB in their heyday, and a link inviting fans to sign up for info.

    The boy band, which made legions of tweens swoon in the early '90s, selling more than 50 million albums, became a worldwide phenomenon before calling it quits in 1994.

    Eighteen years later, they're still "Hangin' Tough." The oldest "Kid," Jonathan Knight, now a real estate developer, will turn 40 later this year. Since the band's demise, former members Donnie Wahlberg, 38, and Joey McIntyre, 35, have seen acting success, while Danny Wood, 38, has worked as a music producer and Knight's brother, Jordan, 37, has continued to record.

    David Milch Cops HBO Pilot

    David Milch is staying with HBO, and returning to the type of show that first won him acclaim, for his next project.

    The cable network has ordered a pilot for "Last of the Ninth," a cop show set in the "Serpico" days of the New York Police Department in 1972. It's Milch's third straight collaboration with HBO, following "Deadwood" and "John from Cincinnati."

    "It is about an older detective's mentoring of a young detective returned from Vietnam in a department fiscally crippled, under attack by revolutionaries, and which has been brought by allegations of systemic corruption into public disrepute," Milch tells The Hollywood Reporter.

    Former NYPD detective Bill Clark and Milch co-wrote "Last of the Ninth" before the writers' strike began and will serve as executive producers of the pilot. Clark wrote numerous episodes of "NYPD Blue," which Milch co-created; both men won Emmys for writing on the series.

    Milch began his TV career on the game-changing cop show "Hill Street Blues" and in 1983 won the first of his four Emmys for writing an episode of the show. He also created the short-lived CBS series "Big Apple" and was an executive producer of "Brooklyn South."

    Ad spotlights local sports stars

    Look for Bruins legend Bobby Orr to join Sox players Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, and Curt Schilling in a new 30-second commercial for Reebok about hometown heroes that will air tonight during the World Series. Former New Kid Donnie Wahlberg narrates the ad, which also includes Patriots hotshots Laurence Maroney and Ben Watson, and BC legend Doug Flutie. Speaking of Wahlberg, he and brother Bob were supposed to be guests of Reebok at Fenway for Game 2. While Bob made it, flight delays from LA kept Donnie from heading to the park.

    We Hear...

    THAT Cate Blanchett, Ellen Burstyn, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, David Strathairn, Elaine Stritch and Dianne Wiest will star in Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli's Oct. 27 theatrical production of "Right You Are" at the Guggenheim Museum.

    Madsen sues former talent agent

    Mr. Blonde's not very happy with his former talent agent.

    Michael Madsen, who had his breakout role on "Reservoir Dogs," filed a $10 million lawsuit against Innovative Artists on Wednesday, claiming that the agency is trying to collect on commissions for work procured and negotiated after he severed ties with the firm four years ago.

    The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also alleges that Madsen's contract with Innovative was changed from a one-year term to a three-year term without his knowledge.

    Calls to Innovative for comment were not returned.

    Madsen signed with Innovative in April 2002 and terminated his contract in January 2003, claiming the agency failed to obtain bona fide employment offers in eight consecutive months. Pursuant to his contract, Madsen was allowed to get out of the agreement, according to the lawsuit.

    Two years later, Innovative filed a petition with the California Labor Commissioner claiming that Madsen owed commissions. The complaint was sent to arbitration, though Madsen claims his former attorney in the case did not get his approval to do so.

    Madsen's lawsuit asks the court to halt that arbitration and to find that he owes no commissions to Innovative. He seeks $5 million in general damages and another $5 million in punitive damages.

    Premier Hollywood Actors to Star in Cinematic Story of Turok

    Prominent actors will star as the major characters appearing throughout Turok, the upcoming story-driven, sci-fi first person shooter game from Touchstone. Timothy Olyphant, Powers Boothe, Ron Perlman, William Fichtner and Donnie Wahlberg are among the actors who recorded voices of characters in the game, which will be released on February 5, 2008, for the Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system.

    Turok is an epic, story-driven first person shooter set on a dark, mysterious planet in the future. The player will take on the role of Joseph Turok, a former black ops commando, now part of an elite special forces squad, known as Whiskey Company, which is on a mission to take down Roland Kane and his army, the Mendel-Gruman Corporation. As Whiskey Company's ship approaches the planet inhabited by Mendel-Gruman, the ship is shot down. Turok is stranded on the planet and must locate other crash survivors while confronting Mendel-Gruman soldiers and a variety of dinosaurs and other ravenous creatures.

    The realism of Turok and his team's terrifying circumstance is conveyed through the distinguished voice talent. Gregory Norman Cruz provides the voice of Joseph Turok and the other members of Whiskey Company are: Timothy Olyphant (as Cowboy), Ron Perlman (Slade), Donnie Wahlberg (Shepard), William Fichtner (Logan), Mark Rolston (Cole), Chris Judge (Jericho), Lombardo Boyar (Gonzales), Gideon Emery (Reese), Josh Gomez (Parker), Jon Curry (Foster), Jason Harris (Carter) and Steve Van Wormer (Henderson).

    Powers Boothe is the voice of the villain, Roland Kane, an escaped war criminal and Turok's former mentor. Sean Donnellan voices Grimes, Kane's mysterious, elusive henchman and part of Mendel-Gruman.

    "The actors who lent their voices to Turok are a testament to both the magnitude of the project and the interest of top-notch talent," said Josh Holmes, vice president and general manager of Propaganda Games, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based developer. "The characters in the story are paramount to the experience and we have assembled an outstanding cast to assure high quality performances across the board."

    Turok is rated M for Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

    For more information about Turok, log on to www.turok.com.

    Filming becoming county's reality show

    Actor Donnie Wahlberg strolled out of the Trump Parc sales office yesterday like he lived there.

    Wahlberg was filming a scene outside the Broad Street building for the eighth major motion picture shot in Stamford this summer.

    The "Band of Brothers" star casually lit a cigarette and ducked into an unmarked New York City police cruiser, a prop from the film "Righteous Kill," which stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino as New York police detectives and is being shot in lower Fairfield County.

    "Stamford's got everything you need for it to look like a big city, but the people are a little more small-townish," Wahlberg said. "They're a little more appreciative."

    Filming took place at the sales office of Trump Parc, a soon-to-be luxury condominium tower that, at 34 stories, will be Stamford's tallest structure. It is being built by developers Louis Cappelli and Thomas Rich under the Donald Trump brand. Construction began in May.

    A model condominium was used for indoor filming, during which De Niro and Pacino examine a crime scene with a dead body.

    De Niro and Pacino play veteran partners hunting a dangerous vigilante who may be a police officer. It is the second time the actors have shared the silver screen. They played opposite each other in 1995's "Heat," and starred in "The Godfather II," though they did not share a scene in that film.

    Filming of "Righteous Kill" began earlier this month and will continue until the end of next month.

    For outdoor scenes, the streets of Bridgeport have doubled for New York. De Niro and Pacino also filmed several scenes in the police station and state Superior Court house in Norwalk. They will complete remaining shots there this week.

    Before the film crew went inside the Trump building yesterday, two prop NYPD cruisers were parked outside. Wahlberg parked the unmarked Crown Victoria between the cruisers and walked by some extras into the building. The actor repeated the moves, take after take, as onlookers gathered.

    "It's sort of brought an air of excitement to the building," said Roger Parker, executive sales manager of Trump Parc.

    To create the illusion of being in New York, the city's skyline will be digitally imposed onto the windows of the model condominium, film producer Rob Cowan said.

    Connecticut's year-old tax credit program for film production companies was the primary motive for filming in the state, Cowan said. But that's all the state offered, he said.

    "The tax situation is helpful financially, but there's not a big infrastructure in Connecticut, so it's been a little difficult," he said. "We've been bringing everything in from New York. All of our crew is from New York."

    Cowan said director Jon Avet wanted a high-end apartment for the scene and looked in Norwalk before locations scouts found Trump Parc had a model unit ideal for filming.

    "Righteous Kill" is slated for release next year.

    'Righteous Kill' shoots throughout the area

    Out there . . . Actors Al Pacino and Donnie Wahlberg were in Milford this week filming "Righteous Kill." Shooting also is taking place in Norwalk, at Harding High School in Bridgeport, McKinley School in Fairfield and at a private home on Orange Street in New Haven. The drama also stars Robert De Niro; rapper 50 Cent, a Farmington resident, and Martin Scorsese.

    "Gone Baby Gone" among top crime movies of decade

    Ben Affleck seemed like a promising young actor when he starred in "Chasing Amy" a decade ago. A year later, he and Matt Damon won an Oscar for their screenplay for "Good Will Hunting."

    But since then, Affleck has been better known for his offscreen romances than for his screen performances, which have been pretty universally derided. So a lot of people will be surprised by his directorial debut, "Gone Baby Gone," though if you caught the glint of intelligence he showed in such movies as "Going All the Way" and "Boiler Room," his achievement here might seem less startling.

    Affleck, who also wrote the screenplay with Aaron Stockard, was smart to begin with a novel by Dennis Lehane ("Mystic River"). Like that story, which was made into an award-winning movie by Clint Eastwood, this one takes place in a working-class neighborhood of Boston and centers on the disappearance of a child. Because this film is as uncompromising as "Mystic River," and since the cast is not quite as star-studded, it faces an uphill battle at the box office. But it's going to be remembered as one of the best crime movies of this decade.

    Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) is a private investigator who works with his girlfriend (Michelle Monaghan) in a tight-knit Boston neighborhood. They are asked by distraught relatives to help the police locate a missing 4-year-old girl. The search leads to druggies, crime bosses, pedophiles and compromised cops.

    The plot is complicated and loaded with twists, but the writers do a fine job of keeping the action lucid. The script boasts a good deal of mordant humor, along with an underlying mood of melancholy. Perhaps what is most impressive is the complex moral vision that permeates the script. When Patrick gives vent to anger and disgust and shoots a pedophile, the cops applaud him, but he is tormented by the killing. That's a sign that the film isn't going to rely on pat moral judgments.

    "Gone" also contains a rich gallery of vivid characters, brought to life by an excellent cast. This is one case where nepotism pays off because Affleck's brother Casey gives the strongest performance of his career. He creates a memorable character -- a baby-faced detective who is constantly being mocked for his youthful appearance (a cop tells him to go back to his "Harry Potter" book) but proves to be tougher and smarter than he looks. Actually, it's neither brains nor brawn that makes Patrick a good detective; his chief strength is perseverance, a bullheaded refusal to give up the chase.

    Monaghan demonstrates an easy rapport with Casey Affleck. Ed Harris is superb as a cynical cop, and Harris' wife Amy Madigan has a choice cameo as the kidnapped girl's aunt. Morgan Freeman has a small but crucial role as the chief of police and lends an air of gravitas to his few scenes. All of the lowlife supporting characters are sharply etched, and there's an outstanding turn by Amy Ryan as the kidnapped girl's fun-loving, irresponsible mother.

    As director Affleck gets strong support from the moody, dark-tinged cinematography of two-time Oscar winner John Toll, William Goldenberg's astute editing and Harry Gregson-Williams' evocative score. Sharon Seymour's production design also plays a role in building the sense of a community, which ultimately has a great deal to do with the film's denouement.

    Viewers will argue about Patrick's decision in the final reel and debate whether he acted in the best interests of the kidnapped child. He is motivated by loyalty to the community where he grew up, and the film neither endorses nor criticizes his judgment. The understated, open-ended final scene allows us to sort out the moral implications for ourselves. It's a tribute to this thoughtful, deeply poignant, splendidly executed film that we replay the conclusion in our minds long after the lights come on.

    Cast:
    Patrick Kenzie: Casey Affleck
    Angie Gennaro: Michelle Monaghan
    Jack Doyle: Morgan Freeman
    Detective Remy Broussard: Ed Harris
    Helene McCready: Amy Ryan
    Lionel McCready: Titus Welliver
    Beatrice McCready: Amy Madigan
    Detective O'Malley: Robert Wahlberg
    Poole: John Ashton
    Amanda McCready: Madeline O'Brien

    Director: Ben Affleck; Screenwriters: Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard; Based on the book by: Dennis Lehane; Producers: Alan Ladd Jr., Dan Rissner, Sean Bailey; Executive producer: David Crockett; Director of photography: John Toll; Production designer: Sharon Seymour; Music: Harry Gregson-Williams; Co-producer: Chay Carter; Costume designer: Alix Friedberg; Editor: William Goldenberg.

    Final 'Kill Point' ratings

    Ratings for the finale of Spike TV's Pittsburgh-filmed series "The Kill Point" are out and the news is pretty good. The two-hour episode, which dispatched Mr. Wolf (John Leguizamo) to meet his maker while another robber (Frank Grillo) escaped to Canada, was watched by 1.7 million viewers, up from 1.5 million viewers the week before.

    Better yet for the show's chances of renewal, "Kill Point" ended with its highest young male demo ratings yet.

    Overall, the series averaged 1.8 million viewers during its run, improving Spike's performance in the time period by 65 percent in household ratings and 59 percent among male viewers ages 18-34.

    No official word on a renewal for season two, but it remains a likely possibility.

    HBO drama surfs the season's final wave

    "The end is near," says John from Cincinnati.

    That's what he's been saying since the HBO drama "John From Cincinnati" began, though with scant supporting evidence. John isn't big on details.

    Even so, he's been proved right. At least, one way. "John From Cincinnati" will conclude its 10-episode run Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT. The end for sure is near.

    What will the end bring? Maybe some answers about the Yost surfing family and other eccentrics in Imperial Beach, Calif., during a very peculiar few days. (Series stars include Rebecca De Mornay, Bruce Greenwood, Brian Van Holt, Luke Perry, Ed O'Neill, Greyson Fletcher and Austin Nichols as John.)

    Maybe there will be an explanation for why, these days, long-ago surfing great Mitch Yost sometimes rises several inches off the ground.

    And maybe an accounting for how Mitch's teenage grandson, Shaun, seemed to breathe life back into a dead pet bird -- and how, with Shaun left paralyzed and brain-dead from a surfing accident, the bird was able to restore him to life and full health.

    Maybe the end will, at last, shed light on the mysterious stranger known up to now as John -- just who he really is and where he's from (don't bet on Cincinnati).

    John seems to be the cause of all the miraculous, befuddling goings-on. He seems divinely touched, the sort of guy whose savagely inflicted stab wounds healed right away. He also seems to be mentally challenged, or an idiot savant, with his choirboy wholesomeness.

    "You'll know to say something but you won't know what it means," an exasperated local presses him. "You want to do something and you'll do it -- but you won't understand what you did."

    Why should he? As John says with his rote delivery, "Some things I know and some things I don't."

    Ditto for viewers, who should know better than to count on a tidy resolution when the season (or the series?) meets its imminent end.

    Co-created by David Milch, "John From Cincinnati" echoes his earlier HBO series, "Deadwood," a 19th-century Western teeming with elliptical, thorny storytelling and f-word-studded lyricism.

    As on "Deadwood," whose scramble for wealth was framed as a model of America's, "John" also addresses the profit motive, though in contemporary terms. It asks: Should the pristine passion of surfing (as personified by young Shaun) be corrupted by corporate sponsorships and other moneymaking deals?

    "That's flipping your fins for an audience," seethes Mitch, who doesn't want his grandson selling out.

    OK. Money is the root of all evil. Fair enough.

    But if that's true, why is the divinely inspired John packing a platinum credit card with no upper limit? "Deadwood" preached the civilizing impact of the free-enterprise system, even on a wild-and-woolly mining town. Why, on "John," must a similar entrepreneurial spirit be at war with spiritualism?

    What's up with all that mystic mumbo-jumbo? How come Mitch goes up in the air?

    Some things I know and some things I don't. One thing I know: "John From Cincinnati" has been a confounding exercise for me as a viewer. It's a series too murky and withholding for its own good -- or that of many would-be fans.

    And yet ... I, for one, have kept returning. However confusing "John" may be (until now, anyway, before the revelation that may or may not come), it compels me to stop scratching my head long enough for a round of applause.

    Applause for its originality. For its brass. For the music of its raunchy dialogue (sorry, nothing quotable here).

    And, most of all, for its collection of characters. No, they aren't the equal of those who populated "Deadwood" -- not as novel, rich or outrageous. But the people of "John From Cincinnati" share with one another a trait whose pervasiveness has me maddeningly fixated: They, with almost no exception, are quite mad.

    "John" has reveled in madness of many stripes and many colors.

    There's Butchie, the drugged-out former surfer king and Shaun's derelict dad. Cissy, Butchie's sexy mother, who has swallowed too much LSD and has a hair-trigger temper to show for it.

    There's Dr. Smith, who is thrown for a loop (and abandons his hospital job) after witnessing Shaun's resurrection. Barry, an epileptic who, along with his seizures, gets visions (including the lottery number that made him a fortune).

    There's Bill, a paranoid retired cop with a delusional streak who talks philosophy with his pet birds.

    And there are plenty more in this seaside asylum.

    "I wanna go back to normal," Shaun told his father in a recent episode.

    "The hand that you were dealt ain't going anywhere," Butchie scoffed. "Or mine ... your gram's ... gramps' ... your mom's. Or anybody else's."

    Sure, they may be blessed with redemption in the final episode (though, God, I hope not). Or, instead, Butchie might be right: They ain't going anywhere, least of all within shouting distance of normal.

    Some things I know and some things I don't. I don't know what "John From Cincinnati" is about. But I do know there's a madness to its method. Madness -- not family or the surfing culture -- is what binds these characters, however punishing for them and challenging for me.

    Madness is the series' unifying force, at the core of its convoluted message.

    "Ultimatum" a natural Bourne box office killer

    "The Bourne Ultimatum," the culminating film of the trilogy begun five years ago with "The Bourne Identity," gets under way with a burst of nervous energy and extreme urgency and never lets up.

    It's a 114-minute chase film, dashing through streets and rooftops of any number of international urban sprawls with Matt Damon's redoubtable Jason Bourne hot on the trail of -- himself. That might be the genius of the series: A James Bond-like character who can escape any pickle and thwart any villain, but all in a quest for his own identity. Jason is not out to save the world -- though he might do that -- he'd just like to know his real name.

    Director Paul Greengrass, who only made the astonishing "United 93" in the interim, returns for his second "Bourne" film (after 2004's "The Bourne Supremacy") to bring the roller coaster ride to an end in a dead heat where all the plot points and (surviving) characters of the three films converge. Audiences will eat it up: This is a postmillennial spy-action movie pitched to a large international audience. You hardly need subtitles.

    The cool thing about this movie is that the real revenge is not against bad guys in the CIA, but against the high-tech world that maddens mere mortals. Your mobile phone drops calls? Your car needs towing after a parking-lot fender-bender? Well, Jason can switch phones and patch into the world from trains, subways, stairwells and undergrounds. Any car he steals leaps up sharp inclines, plunges off of roofs or smashes into other vehicles until reduced to smoldering metal yet can still outrace any car on the block.

    And his body! Blow it up with a bomb, expose it to brutal hand-to-hand combat or throw it into the East River, and it gets up with a few manly scratches.

    Yes, there are a few plot holes. But few are likely to care. A smart cast of veteran actors gives the film just enough emotional heft to carry you through the silliness. Damon has definitely made Bourne his own. For all his physical dexterity and killing instincts, Damon brings a Hamlet-like quality to the CIA-trained assassin suffering from a five-year spell of amnesia who can never quite tell who his friends are, or rather, which of his enemies might be a true friend.

    Joan Allen returns as the CIA investigator who has slowly come to see that Jason might be the real deal. And Julia Stiles as an in-over-her-head agent again shows up for no credible reason other than the producers want her back. (They're right.)

    Newcomers include a flinty and increasingly antsy David Strathairn as a head of a black-ops program that has its real-life model in all the extralegal programs sponsored by the current administration. At one point, he declares "you can't make this stuff up," and you know the filmmakers are nodding toward today's Washington.

    Scott Glenn appears as a law-ignoring CIA director, though he might remind you more of the current attorney general, and Albert Finney crops up toward at the end as a Dr. Mengele figure behind a behavior-mod program that created any number of Jason Bournes.

    The movie swings through Moscow (filched from the previous film); Paris; Turin, Italy; London; Madrid; Tangiers, Morocco; and New York as Jason hones in on who did this to him. (That's another thing -- he never has to endure airport security checks!)

    A fatigue factor sets in somewhere; it might vary from person to person. Yet the sharp intelligence behind the screenplay by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi (though other hands reportedly contributed) gives the plot, salvaged from the Robert Ludlum Cold War spy novel, a genuine buoyancy. The film is trying to get at something, no matter how crudely, about corruption within the American espionage system, with its secret reliance on renditions and torture in the name of freedom. This might not be the best way to illustrate the problem with credibility-stretchers at every turn. But then again, how many people look at documentaries?

    Greengrass stages terrific stunts and chases through crowded streets, buildings and rooftops. Cinematographer Oliver Wood and editor Christopher Rouse gives the film its lightning speed and jagged edges with a close, hand-held camera and quick edits while John Powell's score pulsates pure adrenaline.

    Cast:
    Jason Bourne: Matt Damon
    Nicky Parsons: Julia Stiles
    Noah Vosen: David Strathairn
    Ezra Kramer: Scott Glenn
    Sam Ross: Paddy Considine
    Paz: Edgar Romeriz
    Pamela: Joan Allen
    Dr. Hirsch: Albert Finney

    Director: Paul Greengrass; Screenwriters: Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, George Nolfi; Screen story: Tony Gilroy; Based on the novel by: Robert Ludlum; Producers: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Paul L. Sandberg; Executive producers: Jeffrey M. Weiner, Henry Morrison, Doug Liman; Director of photography: Oliver Wood; Production designer: Peter Wenham; Costume designer: Shay Cunliffe; Music: John Powell; Editor: Christopher Rouse.

    Wahlberg gets to the 'Point' Hostage negotiation ain't easy

    When Donnie Wahlberg needed some information for his new role as a hostage negotiator in Spike TV's "The Kill Point," he went to one of the best: Jack Cambria, chief of the NYPD's Hostage Negotiation Unit.

    "Jack is, from what everyone says, the top hostage negotiator in the country," Wahlberg told the Daily News. "I spent an afternoon with him and got a sense of his commitment and his passion, and a clear understanding of what was important for the job.

    "I was able to take that and apply it to the script at every turn. To say, 'Wait a minute here, this is inappropriate.' 'Well, how do you know it's inappropriate?' Because Jack Cambria told me so!"

    As hostage negotiator Horst Cali, Wahlberg is called in to deal with Mr. Wolf, played by John Leguizamo, after he and a small pact of Iraq military veterans attempted to rob a bank but end up taking over a dozen people hostage.

    "You'd be surprised at how infrequently my character uses a weapon in the show," Wahlberg said. "That's one of the things I really liked about it, he doesn't have to use a gun. More words. He goes from bullets to blab."

    The first hour of the eight-hour series premieres tomorrow at 9 p.m.

    While Wahlberg met with Cambria, some of the other actors, including Leguizamo, met with experienced soldiers to help them better understand where their characters were coming from.

    "The whole Iraq angle is really tough because these guys, these soldiers, in reality, are over there giving their lives for us," said Wahlberg. "And if they come home with their lives and limbs intact, there's still a lot of damage done. Is this show an accurate representation of that? I don't know. I think these guys [in the show] made a bad choice and didn't manage themselves well. But I do think a lot of soldiers are let down after the war."

    It's a heavy role for a guy who started out in the New Kids on the Block, won raves in "Band of Brothers" and, most recently, earned critical acclaim for his role in ABC's "Path to 9/11."

    "I'm playing a character I haven't yet played," said Wahlberg of his "Kill Point" role. "Somebody whose job is to save lives, and he does it with words and tact, and tactic and patience, and an ability to improvise and think of the fly. I'm not just showing up and riding a bicycle for the one-thousandth time."

    Spike's aiming higher with 'The Kill Point'

    As a network known for ultimate fighting and plentiful babes, Spike TV is taking on a loftier pursuit — drama — but making sure to add such male-oriented ingredients as guns, hostages and mano a mano swagger.

    The Kill Point, an eight-hour miniseries (first two hours, Sunday, 9 ET/PT), centers on a tense standoff as a group of Iraq veterans turned robbers take hostages in a Pittsburgh bank, trying to figure out some way to evade the police who surround them.

    Upcoming hours will feature plot twists and character revelations that should help distinguish Kill Point in a hostage genre featuring such classics as Dog Day Afternoon and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, says Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown), who plays police negotiator Horst Cali.

    "It's going to keep turning in ways you don't expect," says Wahlberg, who goes head to head with John Leguizamo (ER, Carlito's Way) as the troubled head robber, "Mr. Wolf."

    The twists come quickly. Wolf plays for sympathy before the news cameras, stripping down to show war wounds as he talks about how combat soldiers were poorly served. One hostage is the daughter of the richest man in Pittsburgh, whose scheming could interfere with police efforts. And the one robber who escapes rounds up more of Wolf's combat troops, with a domestic urban assault in mind.

    "There's a lot of layers, man. It's brilliantly and systematically planned," Leguizamo says.

    His character is complex, too, he says. Wolf, whom he describes as an anti-hero, "is not a murderer. He's not a crook. These guys made a bad choice, and he's got to protect his men somehow."

    Leguizamo says Kill Point isn't trying to stereotype returning soldiers or their behavior. "They're good guys but they made a bad call, and they happen to have (post-traumatic stress disorder) and they happen to be against the war."

    Wahlberg, who acted with Leguizamo in 1998's Body Count, relished their scenes together. "There's a scene in one of the last episodes where we go five minutes without a word. We cut out every line of the dialogue and reshaped the whole thing," he says. "It's guaranteed to be one of the best moments of the whole show."

    Spike hopes the two well-regarded actors, along with writer James DeMonaco (The Negotiator) and director Steve Shill (The Tudors, Rome), will help the cable network establish a reputation for quality drama, an accomplishment that has helped others — think FX and The Shield— take off.

    "It says a lot about the brand that we're able to attract that level of talent. Actors and creators see an opportunity," Spike general manager Kevin Kay says.

    Spike also is launching a reality show, Murder (July 31, 10 ET/PT), in which regular people, guided by homicide detectives, investigate crime scenes a la CSI. And the network is developing an unscripted comedy, The Factory, as it tries to broaden its prime time beyond ultimate fighting (UFC), films and CSI reruns.

    Taut twists and turns keep hostage drama on "Point"

    Looking for action and suspense? You can bank on this hostage drama.

    Some of what's in "The Kill Point" looks familiar, but there are enough new twists to keep this eight-hour series feeling fresh and suspenseful. At the same time, casting John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg to play characters on opposite ends of a botched bank robbery turns this series into a riveting game of chess, with hostages as real-life pawns.

    The setup is straightforward. Leguizamo plays Mr. Wolf, the leader of a sextet of bank robbers with a careful plan for a daring daytime heist. But these aren't career criminals. They're former servicemen led by their former military platoon commander, fed up with the raw deal he got after long and painful years of serving his country.

    When the police arrive a tad earlier than expected, Wolf and four of his men retreat to the bank, where a couple dozen employees and customers become hostages.

    ABC introduced a series last fall, "The Nine," about hostages who survived a bank holdup, but "Kill Point" has more in common with Fox's "24." It doesn't flash backward or forward. It stays in the present, pretty much in real time, as move follows countermove and both sides try to bluff and threaten their way to victory.

    Vastly outnumbered by a SWAT team, sharpshooters, the FBI and half the cops in Pittsburgh, Wolf and his men would be doomed if not for the hostages. Capt. Horst Cali (Wahlberg), a wily and successful negotiator, is determined to end the situation without making corpses of them.

    A few of the hostage characters seem to show up just about every time there's a botched bank robbery. There's the brave old guy with a bad heart, the spunky and hot-looking girl with the rich daddy, the panicky bank manager and, of course, the woman in shock. On the other hand, except for Cali's wife, who isn't seen in the two-hour premiere, there isn't a pregnant woman in the series.

    The beauty of Todd Harthan's script is in its subtle complexity. He makes Wolf and his crew vaguely sympathetic but not so much that you root for them. On the other side, Cali is caught in a bureaucratic vise, hampered by the egos of the rich and powerful. Wahlberg and Leguizamo flex their acting muscles in nearly every scene, and director Steve Shill finds the right angle to keep the story taut.

    After the two-hour premiere, "Kill Point" will play out in one-hour increments.

    Cast:
    Mr. Wolf: John Leguizamo
    Capt. Horst Cali: Donnie Wahlberg
    Mr. Rabbit: Jeremy Davidson
    Mr. Mouse: Leo Fitzpatrick
    Mr. Pig: Frank Grillo
    Mr. Cat: J.D. Williams
    Lt. Connie Reubens: Michael Hyatt
    Deputy Chief Abrami: Mike McGlone
    Ashley Beck: Christine Evangelista
    Abe Shelton: Geoffry Cantor

    Executive producers: James DeMonaco, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman; Co-executive producer/director: Steve Shill; Supervising producer/teleplay: Todd Harthan; Producer: Tim Iacofano; Co-producer: Bill Hill; Director of photography: Albert Dunk; Production designer: Paul Peters; Casting: Avy Kaufman, Donna Belajac.

    John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg Square Off in Spike TV's New Original Scripted

    Emmy Award-winning actor and Golden Globe nominee John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg star in Spike TV's new original scripted series, "The Kill Point," an eight-hour event focusing on two men as they square off during a bank heist gone horribly wrong and the hostage negotiations that ensue. Produced by Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) in association with Mandeville, "The Kill Point" premieres on Spike TV with a two-hour event beginning Sunday, July 22 at 9:00-PM ET/PT with limited commercial interruption.

    John Leguizamo is "Mr. Wolf," the leader of a small group of military veterans who set out to rob a major bank in Pittsburgh. When things go awry, they're forced to take more than a dozen hostages from all walks of life, including a wealthy and powerful businessman's daughter. Suddenly, "Mr. Wolf" finds himself battling the police, the hostages and members of his own team while at the same time, fighting his own personal demons from the Iraq war and from his own war at home. Will he be sharp enough to hold it all together or lose control of the situation? And will he find redemption before it's too late -- and does he even care to?

    On the opposite side of the perimeter is "Horst Cali," the Pittsburgh Police Department Hostage Negotiator, played by Donnie Wahlberg, who must go toe-to-toe with "Mr. Wolf." "Cali" must use his wit and negotiating skills, while managing his own personal issues, to manipulate the situation and convince Wolf to free the hostages before the FBI takes control, or worse.

    With time of the essence and the uncertainty of the unfolding events, both men need to remain resourceful and collected or risk losing lives. "The Kill Point" reveals how the hostage takers leverage their situation and how the negotiator tries to unravel their plans. Which man will blink? Who will outsmart the other? Who will survive? It's a dangerous game of chess played out with human lives at stake.

    Peter Appel ("NYPD Blue"), Dana Ashbrook ("Deadwood"), Geoffrey Cantor ("Law & Order"), Steve Cirbus ("Law & Order"), Jeremy Davidson ("Cold Case"), Christine Evangelista ("Law & Order"), Jennifer Ferrin ("Rescue Me"), Leo Fitzpatrick ("The Wire"), Frank Grillo ("Prison Break"), Michael Hogan ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent"), Michael Hyatt ("The Wire"), Wayne Kasserman ("Law & Order: SVU"), Mike McGlone ("The Brothers McMullen"), Susie Misner ("Rescue Me"), JD Williams ("The Wire") and Michael K. Williams ("The Wire") and special guest star Tobin Bell ("SAW") round out the cast of "The Kill Point."

    Spiketv.com has created original short form broadband episodes to coincide with "The Kill Point." The broadband episodes were developed and shot exclusively for spiketv.com. The webisodes will feature "The Kill Point" character Deke, a military vet involved in the bank heist who escapes and immobilizes forces on the outside in order to mount a campaign to save his brothers-in-arms trapped in the bank. In between the on-air episodes, spiketv.com will premiere a web original and offer the viewer a glimpse into the back story of "The Kill Point" taking the online viewer into Deke's world to see how he commandeers his crew, weapons and gear. The broadband episodes will also delve deeper into Deke's character to illustrate how he plans his escape and the effects the Iraq War had on him with some graphic flashbacks.

    Additionally, High Definition episodes of "The Kill Point" will be available exclusively for downloaded via Xbox LIVE Marketplace, home to more than 1,500 hours of premium entertainment content. Xbox will also offer the standard definition episodes as will iTunes. "The Kill Point" downloads will be available after its on air debut on both xBox, iTunes and Amazon.

    Wahlberg talks about shedding the boy band label, playing a cop in Pittsburgh

    Fifteen years ago, Donnie Wahlberg was performing in front of thousands of screaming, prepubescent girls. Last Friday, he was repeating the same five minutes of dialogue for several hours in front of an audience of a few dozen.

    "There's nothing like being on stage in front of 50,000 people, and it's just mass hysteria," Donnie said while on the Lawrenceville set of "The Kill Point," a Spike TV series set in Pittsburgh. But the 37-year-old New Kid on the Block-turned-actor said he prefers his thespian side, which gives him a "different kind of rush" than the screaming throngs of fans.

    Tomorrow, Donnie will take his metaphorical bow as "The Kill Point" wraps four months of filming. Donnie plays hostage negotiator Horst Cali opposite John Leguizamo, the bank heist leader in the series set to premiere July 22.

    It's not the first time Donnie has played an authority figure. His credits include Detective Eric Matthews in "Saw II" and "III"; Det. Joel Stevens in the critically acclaimed "Boomtown" TV series; and Det. Jim Lipton in "Dead Silence," the horror film released earlier this year.

    It's an interesting turn for the supposed "bad boy" of the New Kids on the Block.

    "Well, it didn't take much to be the bad boy in that group," said Donnie, who was known to curse during performances and in 1991 had a run-in with the law after allegedly trying to set fire to a hotel room with a Molotov cocktail. The arson charges were dropped after he agreed to do public service announcements.

    Donnie attributes his former antics to being young and rebellious in an industry that seemed manipulative. "It's more of a hustle in the music business," he said. "The whole industry is designed to take care of the artist last."

    It's one of the reasons Donnie transitioned to professional acting, he said, although he acted some in grade school, as well. Donnie is often overshadowed by his younger brother and Academy Award-nominated actor, Mark Wahlberg. It's even been suggested the eccentric older brother character in the HBO series "Entourage," produced by Mark, is based on Donnie. But he's no Johnny Drama, he says.

    "If you believe that, you believe Mark is anything like Adrian Grenier," he said, referring to the actor who plays pretty-boy Vincent Chase in the series. "I've never been part of Mark's entourage. On the contrary, he was part of my entourage."

    Donnie said he sometimes watches "Entourage" and likes the character, but it is, in fact, based on a guy named Johnny Drama, rumored to be their cousin. Plus, Donnie's not out of work. The former musician has kept a steady string of roles since the mid-90s and is in negotiations for a movie deal.

    "It is with two of the greatest actors ever. I'm really excited about it," Donnie said, declining to give more details because it hasn't become official yet. And if Spike TV picks up a second season of "The Kill Point," Donnie could be back to the "Steel City," taking on a different criminal in the TV series.

    "I'd love to stay working in Pittsburgh, that's for sure," he said. "I grew up in Boston, very blue collar. You get the same kind of vibe here.

    "It's just real people here. It's a working class city. I feel at home here, even though I hate the Steelers."

    Letting that little piece of blasphemy slide, we wonder what sights Donnie has managed to see between filming.

    "I find I don't enjoy a place when I see too much. I don't like to feel obligated to see the sights," he said, explaining he hasn't done the "typical touristy things" like the Warhol museum. So what's Donnie been doing with his limited free time?

    Hitting up the local eateries, it seems. Wahlberg revealed his top spots include Tessaro's in Bloomfield, the new Big Mama's House of Soul in the Strip District and Harp & Fiddle, also in the Strip.

    "When I go to a new city, I just try to blend in," he said. "I go to the local pub, the local convenience store."

    Strathairn joins horror remake "Two Sisters"

    David Strathairn has signed on to star in the horror remake "A Tale of Two Sisters."

    Elizabeth Banks already has joined the DreamWorks project, which is based on Kim Jee-Woon's 2003 Korean thriller of the same name.

    Strathairn will play a concerned father of two girls who return home after spending time in a mental institution. Once there, they are forced to deal with their stepmother's (Banks) obsessive and unbalanced ways as well as an interfering ghost.

    Brothers Thomas and Charles Guard will direct "Sisters," which is scheduled to start filming next month in Shreveport, La.

    Strathairn's upcoming films include "The Bourne Ultimatum," "The Spiderwick Chronicles" and "My Blueberry Nights," which recently screened at Cannes. He was nominated for a best actor Oscar for 2005's "Good Night, and Good Luck.

    `Deadwood' producer rides a new wave

    During a break in production, actor Austin Nichols tells the crew about his previous night's carousing in nearby San Diego.

    Veteran producer David Milch shakes his head and tells his young star, "It isn't easy, Austin. If it was, everybody would be a degenerate."

    Milch has had his fill of degenerates. His previous series, the HBO hit Western "Deadwood," was loaded with 'em — to viewers' delight — and his latest project for the network, "John From Cincinnati," is equally full of noxious characters. Some are humorous, some bite first, and some are innocent. All get a shot at redemption.

    Debuting on Sunday (10 p.m. EDT), "John" also stars Rebecca De Mornay, Bruce Greenwood, Brian Van Holt, Luke Perry, Ed O'Neill, Grayson Fletcher and a gaggle of "Deadwood" company players.

    The series centers around the Yosts, a dysfunctional, Imperial Beach surfing family who are joined by an unusual character, the squeaky clean John (Nichols), who sticks out like a sore thumb in this family of sore thumbs.

    John doesn't know who he is, where he came from, or why he's there, but wherever he goes, those around him begin to experience miraculous changes in their lives.

    For those only familiar with "Deadwood," "John" might seem like an unusual next step for creator Milch.

    "As if a Western would be a natural for someone with my background," the former Yale professor and "NYPD Blue" producer tells The Associated Press. "But if you look at the Gem Saloon in `Deadwood,' the people there are a dysfunctional family, so there are tremendous similarities."

    Milch originally had addressed HBO's interest in doing a series about a surfing family by bringing to the table an idea set in New York City — "John From Elsewhere and His Friend Tex," about a junkie and street hustler also visited by an unusual character.

    The producer combined the two concepts with the help of novelist and screenwriter Kem Nunn, whose most recent book, "Tijuana Straits," takes place mostly in Imperial Beach, a gritty seaside town just north of the Mexican border. "Kem sort of invented surfer noir," notes Nichols.

    For Milch, the connection to the sea doesn't focus quite as much on the dysfunctionality of the Yosts and their surfing heritage as it does on the effects of long-playing family issues repeatedly returning to haunt the clan.

    "It's the recognition that what happened 25 years ago is still having an effect, and how the family has adapted to those extraordinary events in a way that was absolutely necessary if it was going to survive at all. It's like waves that are still playing themselves out."

    Then along comes John, whose presence isn't particularly understood — least of all by John himself — until unusual things start to happen, both blatant and not so obvious. "I still don't know who he is," says De Mornay. "That hasn't been revealed to us actors, and I'm not entirely sure if David even knows yet."

    What Milch does know is that John is a "monad," an entity that, when captured, opens one's vision to the universe.

    John will often repeat back nasty-isms yelled at him by the family junkie, Butchie Yost (Van Holt), but in as plain a manner as vanilla pudding. "He gives them back their own behavior, purged of inauthenticity and cruelty," Milch explains.

    "He'll say the same words, even though he doesn't understand them, but with the hurtfulness taken out of them."

    Nichols' portrayal of John is like that of a "Ken" doll — perfectly groomed and perfectly plain. "When he first appears, Butchie, like the others, just thinks he's a moron," Van Holt explains.

    Adds Nichols, "He looks like he came out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I sort of modeled him after Bronson Pinchot in `Perfect Strangers' and Peter Sellers in `Being There.'"

    Much of the series is filmed on location in Imperial Beach, with plenty of sleaze to go around. Van Holt's Butchie lives in the run-down, drug-infested Snug Harbor Motel, whose exteriors are filmed at the town's real downbeat Snug Harbor.

    "I've never quite been anywhere quite like this place. It's kind of creepy," notes pro surfer Keala Kennelly, who hung up her championship surfboard to act in the series.

    Oddly enough, the interior sets for the show can be found 170 miles to the north, at historic Melody Ranch Studios in Santa Clarita, the former home of "Deadwood.

    The crew still refers to the Melody building housing the Snug Harbor's filthy motel rooms as "The Gem Stage." And just a short stroll away is the now-deserted "Deadwood" main street, filled not long ago with hundreds of "prospectors" in Western garb.

    "It's a ghost town now," says O'Neill of his occasional visits to the street.

    The writing for the series focuses on difficult subject matter for the actors. Feature film actress De Mornay, acting in her first television series as the rough-and-tumble family matriarch, Cissy, notes, "It was a very scary act of faith, taking on this role, because David has a scary mind! But unlike that famous Jack Nicholson line, David can handle the truth, even if it's ugly or traumatizing."

    Adds Van Holt, "It comes down to just having what I call `Faith In Dave.' He says, `You're going to have to trust me. Just let go, trust and surrender.'"

    "Goodfellas" scribe beached in A&E crime saga

    "Kings of South Beach" proves that we still haven't quite moved on from the sleek but shallow essence established in "Miami Vice."

    It's a shimmering A&E made-for-TV movie that has the kind of quality pedigree you would expect to deliver far more than it does. It's written and produced by "GoodFellas" and "Casino" scribe Nicholas Pileggi and stars Donnie Wahlberg and a buffed-up Jason Gedrick, who starred together on the late, lamented NBC cop show "Boomtown."

    Unfortunately, this flick is far more interested in hot bods than an arresting story, content to do a re-enactment of the 1990s nightclub scene complete with mood lighting and soft-focus camera work. All that really interrupts the disco flow is an occasional fistfight and angry exchange. Oh Martin Scorsese, where art thou?

    A crime tale based loosely on fact, the film purports to chronicle the nosedive of Chris Troiano (Gedrick), the guy who singlehandedly turned South Beach into a nightlife mecca during the '90s. He lured the Madonnas and Versaces and Kate Mosses to his establishments and thus glammed up the region. Pileggi's teleplay charts Troiano's downward spiral as linked to some past problems catching up to both he and his best pal Andy Burnett (Wahlberg). Not that it's all that easy to understand the depth of their issues as they try to compete with what becomes relentless disco beat of drunken revelers and rhythm-fueled eroticism.

    This is what you do when you fund yourself bogged down with a weak script: You pack the screen with sexy bodies and distracting imagery in long, flowing interludes that you hope will mask your dramatic shortcomings. Director Tim Hunter clearly got that memo, and it is to his credit that he crafts a film that flows as seamlessly as "Kings" does. It doesn't pack a powerful punch or feature characters with much depth, but it is skillful enough in packaging the trappings that it keeps your eyes well occupied. Director of photography Patrick Cady and production designer Marc Greville-Masson likewise look to have put in long hours turning the movie into something that's at least interesting to look at, if not necessary listen to.

    Wahlberg and Gedrick are charismatic, solid performers who simply don't have enough to work with here, obliging them to deliver cardboard portrayals of guys who frankly aren't all that likable. Is it worth two hours of our time to see Troiano lock horns with mobsters, models and moochers? No. He's depicted as something of a flashy thug himself, so there goes any sympathy. Whom, or what, are we supposed to root for? Invariably, the arrival of the closing credits.

    Cast:
    Andy Burnett: Donnie Wahlberg
    Chris Troiano: Jason Gedrick
    Olivia Palacios: Nadine Velazquez
    Manny Jones: Sean Poolman
    Lt. Houlton: Frank John Hughes
    Danny Hayes: Juan Pablo Gamboa
    Enrique: Ricardo A. Chavira
    Michelle Rose: Arianne Sommer
    Carlos: Calo Rodriguez
    Lt. Jim Hawke: Brian Goodman
    Allie Boy: Steven Bauer

    Executive producers: Sonny Grosso, Larry Jacobson, Clay Kahler, Van Vandegrift; Producers: Nicholas Pileggi, Kip Konwiser; Co-producer: Keith Johnson; Teleplay: Nicholas Pileggi; Director: Tim Hunter; Director of photography: Patrick Cady; Production designer: Marc Greville-Masson; Costume designer: Ana C. "Anita" Ramirez; Art director: Mailara Santana; Editor: Sunny Hodge; Composer: Rob Mounsey; Casting: Christina Avis Krauss, Zoraida Sanjurjo Lopez, Karen Torres.

    Endquote

    "ONE day I put [my cellphone] on the counter, took out a hammer, and smashed it. I don't e-mail, either. I still write letters to people" - Michael Madsen in Maxim

    HBO Commits to Long-Term 'Treatment'

    HBO is entering "Treatment," and it's going to be there for a while.

    The pay-cable network has picked up the half-hour drama "In Treatment," which stars Gabriel Byrne as a therapist who's highly competent with his own patients but an utter mess when he sees a shrink. Instead of a typical 13-episode commitment, though, HBO has ordered 40 episodes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    That's on top of the five shows the network had already greenlit and treated as an extended pilot, bringing the total to 45.

    Additionally, HBO has ordered the hour-long comedy "12 Miles of Bad Road," which stars Lily Tomlin as the head of a wealthy Texas family. Its episode order hasn't been nailed down yet, the HR says.

    "In Treatment," based on an Israeli series of the same name, also stars Dianne Wiest ("Law & Order," "Bullets Over Broadway"), Blair Underwood ("Old Christine"), Embeth Davidtz ("Bridget Jones's Diary") and Melissa George ("Alias"). The Israeli show's creator, Hagai Levi, is executive producing with Mark Wahlberg ("Entourage"), Stephen Levinson and Rodrigo Garcia ("Six Feet Under"), who will serve as showrunner.

    "Bad Road" comes from Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason ("Designing Women"). Its ensemble cast includes Gary Cole ("The West Wing," "Talladega Nights"), Kim Dickens ("Deadwood"), Katherine LaNasa ("Justice"), Mary Kay Place ("Big Love") and Ivana Milicevic ("Love Monkey").

    Wahlberg Enters 'Kill Pit'

    Former "Boomtown" star Donnie Wahlberg, lately (and briefly) seen on The CW's "Runaway," will move to cable for his next series job.

    Wahlberg will star in Spike TV's limited-run show "The Kill Pit," opposite John Leguizamo. The show has also signed director Steve Shill, a veteran of "Deadwood," "The Wire" and "Law & Order: SVU," to helm the first four hours.

    "Donnie is an incredibly versatile actor with a tremendous amount of soul," says Pancho Mansfield, head of original programming of Spike TV. "He is a great addition to the show, and we know that his character will resonate with our male viewers."

    "The Kill Pit" centers on a bank robbery planned and executed by a group of Iraq war veterans. Things go sideways, as you might expect, setting up a standoff between the robbers, a dozen or so hostages and a negotiator on the outside. The eight-hour series, written by James DeMonaco ("The Negotiator," "Assault on Precinct 13"), is scheduled to premiere in the summer.

    Wahlberg will next appear in the A&E movie "Kings of South Beach," which airs in March. Other recent credits include ABC's "Path to 9/11," "Annapolis" and "Saw II."

    Halloween

    Mark Wahlberg: "Donnie and I dressed in my sister's ballet outfits."

    Top 10 Movies - Oct 27 to 39

    1. Saw III, $34.3 million
    2. The Departed, $9.8 million
    3. The Prestige, $9.6 million
    4. Flags of Our Fathers, $6.4 million
    5. Open Season, $6.1 million
    6. Flicka, $5 million
    7. Man of the Year, $4.7 million
    8. The Grudge 2, $3.3 million
    9. Marie Antoinette, $2.9 million
    10. Running with Scissors, $2.6 million

    'Cincinnati' on HBO's Itinerary

    "Deadwood" may be done as a series, but HBO will still have a David Milch show on its schedule next year.

    The premium-cable network has picked up "John from Cincinnati," a mystery/family drama centered on a legendary surfing clan. HBO ordered 12 episodes of the show after seeing a rough cut of the pilot, which was co-written by Milch and "surf noir" author Kem Nunn.

    Production on the series is scheduled to begin later this fall, with summer 2007 as the target premiere date, the showbiz trade papers report.

    The story focuses on the Yost family -- former surfing champion Mitch (Bruce Greenwood, "Capote"), wife Cissy (Rebecca De Mornay, "The Practice"), their drug-addicted son Butchie (Brian Van Holt, "Threshold") and Butchie's son, Shaun (Greyson Fletcher) -- in Imperial Beach, Calif., a seaside town near the U.S.-Mexico border. The arrival of the title character (Austin Nichols, "Deadwood"), a mysterious young man seeking surfing lessons, shakes up the family's unhappy life.

    "John from Cincinnati" also stars Matt Winston ("Teachers"), Ed O'Neill (Milch's "Big Apple," "Married ... with Children") and Luis Guzman ("Luis").

    Meanwhile, Milch also says he's at work on the script for the first of two "Deadwood" movies that will wrap up the story of the late-1870s mining town. He hopes to bring most of the cast back for the films.

    "Runaway" lost in shuffle as CW axes first drama

    "Runaway" has run aground.

    The CW drama has been axed after four airings. The series, which revolved around a family that goes on the lam after the father is wrongly accused of murder, bowed late last month to weak numbers in the Monday 9 p.m. slot behind "7th Heaven."CW shifted "Heaven" and "Runaway" from Monday to Sunday last week, but the change didn't help "Runaway," which averaged 1.8 million viewers in its last airing. CW has pulled the show and will fill the Sunday 9 p.m. slot with repeats for the time being.

    "Runaway" joins the CBS drama "Smith" as one of the first casualities of the new television season, and it has the distinction of being the first cancellation by the network born out of the fusion of UPN and WB Network. CW fielded only two new series in its first fall slate, "Runaway" and the comedy "The Game."

    'Runaway' star Wahlberg wants to lighten up character load

    Donnie Wahlberg is tired. He's taken the red-eye from Los Angeles for publicity appearances here for his new CW series "Runaway," which meant no nap, straight from the airport to the morning shows and on to an afternoon packed with more interviews.

    But that's not why he's tired.

    "I am drawn to characters that carry the weight of the world on their shoulders," he said. "I live in that state constantly. It's just who I am. It's the fabric of me."

    That finely tuned, resolute side is apparent in "Runaway" (8 p.m. Mondays) where Wahlberg stars as Paul Rader, a husband and father tormented by a crime he didn't commit and living life on the lam.

    Shades of "The Fugitive" are apparent as Paul, a lawyer, works to clear his name while avoiding law enforcement. All the while, his family -- wife Lily (Leslie Hope) and their three children, teenagers Hannah and Henry (Sarah Ramos and Dustin Milligan) and 8-year-old Tommy (Nathan Gamble) -- struggle to adjust to a new, parsimonious life.

    It's the kind of part that arouses the angst of childhood.

    "I've always been the caretaker," said Wahlberg. The eighth of nine children, Wahlberg grew up in Dorchester, a hardscrabble, insular working-class enclave in Boston with a large population of Irish immigrants.

    Sometimes, he said, it was hard not to get lost among so many brothers and sisters.

    "But I wouldn't change it for the world," he said. "I may have gotten an extra chicken wing if there weren't so many of us and that would have been pretty cool. But I wouldn't change it."

    His stint as a teen pinup in New Kids on the Block propelled him out of obscurity and a hand-to-mouth existence. After he left the group, he worked with his brother Mark, writing and arranging for the Funky Bunch.

    But Wahlberg, now a father of two boys, ages 13 and 5, still feels the tug of provenance.

    "I have a deep connection to my mother's pain," he said.

    Wahlberg's mother and several of his siblings still live in the Boston area. His parents divorced when he was still in elementary school.

    "I'm the caretaker," he continued. "I'm the caretaker all the way through."

    So playing that role on screen is something he's ready to put away for a while. "I'm tired of carrying the weight," he admitted.

    Wahlberg has played a series of tough guys (in the films "Ransom" and "Bullet") and deadly serious chaps (in Steven Spielberg's "Band of Brothers" and ABC's recent "Path to 9-11"). It was his transformation for a small but pivotal part in "The Sixth Sense," for which he dropped 40 pounds, that earned him respect as an actor. But after so many years playing in the dark, he's ready for a little light.

    "I found myself on camera carrying the weight of a thousand worlds on my shoulders. And it's okay! I can do it. I can carry the load on this one," he said. "But after this show ('Runaway'), I will only seek out comedic roles for the next five years. I've already promised myself that. I'm going to make a change. I need to smile more."

    Hutton, Strathairn at Woodstock festival

    Actors Timothy Hutton and David Strathairn will talk about their craft at the five-day Woodstock Film Festival, which starts Wednesday.

    The seventh annual festival takes place in and around the famous Catskills artists' colony and features a mix of films, panels and — since it's Woodstock — music.

    Featured films include the Truman Capote biopic "Infamous," "Off the Black," starring Nick Nolte, and "Shut Up and Sing," which chronicles the furor surrounding the Dixie Chicks after an anti-Bush comment by singer Natalie Maines in 2003.

    "Shut Up and Sing" was directed by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple, who will receive this year's Maverick Award during a ceremony Saturday night.

    Hutton ("Kidnapped" on NBC) and Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck") will participate in a panel with Mary Stuart Masterson ("Fried Green Tomatoes") and Griffin Dunne ("After Hours") on Sunday, the last day of the festival.

    The regional festival, which provides a showcase for independent films, has benefited from Woodstock's artsy cachet and its proximity to New York City, about 90 miles south. Many of the celebrities who have appeared at the festival have homes in the Hudson Valley or in the Catskill Mountains.

    Co-founder Meira Blaustein said the number of film submissions jumped by about a fifth to over 2,000 as the festival gained more notice in the industry. But she said the festival will not stray from its mission to showcase independent films.

    "We don't really want to become huge," she said, "we just want to become very good."

    Screenings will be held in Woodstock and three other Hudson Valley towns: Hunter, Rhinebeck and Rosendale.

    CW Flips Sunday, Monday Lineups

    Just as the country was getting used to finding The CW on their remotes, the fledgling network has stirred up the schedule by flip-flopping its Sunday and Monday night programming.

    Beginning Monday, Oct. 9, the odd drama pairing of "7th Heaven" and "Runaway" will be replaced by the comedy block consisting of "Everybody Hates Chris," "All of Us," "Girlfriends" and the new series "The Game," about a med school student (Tia Mowry) who follows her boyfriend to San Diego when he gets drafted for the city's NFL team.

    The comedy lineup will be up against CBS' comedies that night beginning with "How I Met Your Mother" and ending with "The New Adventures of Old Christine." The other three networks have a combination of reality programming and dramas.

    The CW comedies made their season premieres this past Sunday, Oct. 1 and averaged a 1.6/3 share for the night and a 1.1 among adults 18-49.

    On the following Sunday the 15th, the "America's Next Top Model" encore will kick off the night, followed by "7th Heaven" and the freshman drama "Runaway."

    "7th Heaven," which was resurrected for its 11th season," and "Runaway," a thriller about a family hiding out under assumed names, premiered on Monday, Sept. 25. While some fans of "7th Heaven" tuned in for its return, giving the show a 2.9/5 rating for the night, viewers lost interest with "Runaway," which struggled with a 1.5/2. Similar numbers emerged this past Monday.

    Strathairn Joins The Bourne Ultimatum

    "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third installment of the hit action series, began shooting this week in Tangier, but it is still without a worthy nemesis for its amnesiac spy hero, Jason Bourne.

    With the clock ticking, an offer has gone out to Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal to take on the role, though negotiations have not yet begun. Bernal, whose credits include "Amores Perros," "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "The Motorcycle Diaries," is currently in theaters with Michel Gondry's whimsical comedy-drama "The Science of Sleep."

    Matt Damon reprises his title role, and Joan Allen and Julia Stiles are also back, as is Paul Greengrass, who directed the 2004 sequel "The Bourne Supremacy." David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck") is new to the cast.

    The story centers on Bourne uncovering mysteries of his past, which puts him in the cross-hairs of a superkiller. In addition to Tangier, shooting locations include Madrid, Paris, New York, London and Riga.

    While it is unusual for a major production to begin filming without having cast a central role, it is not without precedent. Last year, the James Bond movie "Casino Royale" kicked off its production without either an opponent for 007 or a leading lady.

    Donnie Wahlberg Takes a Chance with Runaway

    Can CW's first original series shoulder the burden of being... the CW's first original series? Premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET, Runaway presents Donnie Wahlberg (Band of Brothers, The Path to 9/11) as Paul Rader, a successful attorney who, when framed for a horrific crime, goes on the run with his wife (24's Leslie Hope) and three kids (including American Dreams' Sarah Ramos), juggling false identities all the while. As the series starts, the clan is sidling up to a small Iowa town, hoping for a breather. (As if.) TVGuide.com spoke to Wahlberg about the special circumstances facing Runaway.

    TVGuide.com: Obviously you were on Boomtown, and a few TV shows before that. Were you frequently courted for series-regular gigs before Runaway?
    Donnie Wahlberg: I've always had an affinity for television. I guess somehow because of my music days, it kinda felt "structured."

    TVGuide.com: Were you a fan of serialized fare such as 24 before Runaway came knocking?
    Wahlberg: I'm a fan of good projects and good people being involved in them. I did a show [2001's Big Apple] with David Milch, and with something like that, you almost don't even read the script. It's David Milch, so you know it's going to be a journey and you know it's going to be a wonderful experience. Boomtown [which aired for a little over a season] was, to me, the biggest no-brainer in history. But you can't guess. When we were doing Boomtown, everybody wanted "procedural, procedural, procedural," and now there are like six shows coming on this year that are Rashomon-style and are very much like Boomtown. If they kept Boomtown on halfway through the second season it would still be doing well today. That's the reality, and I bet you NBC would take those ratings right now in a heartbeat.

    TVGuide.com: Did the fact that the new CW network was hosting Runaway play into your decision at all? Did you consider that a plus or a minus for its prospects?
    Wahlberg: I had to definitely weigh it out, because there could be pluses and minuses. On the one hand, I figured that with the CW being a new network and not doing many new shows, they're going to give us a shot. That's a positive. On the other hand, the CW and the WB have a lot of baggage, and I've worked hard to build a body of work as an actor that represented me well. I could very easily see somebody saying, "Oh, yeah, the former boy-band guy is on a show on the CW," and overlook the past 10 years of work that I've done. I've worked on established networks and that can be very frustrating. Very frustrating. The CW is a new network, yeah, but....

    TVGuide.com: They might be little more hands-off.
    Wahlberg: Exactly. Sometimes you've just got to take a shot. And when you have a man with the track record of [Runaway executive producer] Darren Star [Sex and the City, Melrose Place] sitting across from you imploring you to do his show, telling you that he shares the vision that you have and that he wants to do anything he can to make you happy, you put some stock in that.

    TVGuide.com: Now, most simply said, your Runaway character was framed for the murder of a colleague....
    Wahlberg: A snooping colleague who started to poke around and uncover things that she wasn't supposed to about a client that they were representing. When people found out about it, they had her eliminated, and by default my character had to be eliminated, too.

    TVGuide.com: So now he's caught in one of serialized television's Massive Evil Conspiracies.
    Wahlberg: Yeah.

    TVGuide.com: Is he going to be a mainstay at the small-town Iowa greasy spoon he gets hired at, or is he going to bop around from job to job?
    Wahlberg: Well, I think he'll set up shop in the greasy spoon for a while. I think it's inevitable the family is going to have to move [from Iowa] at some point. The reality is we're likely to stay put for the first season, stay comfortable as long as we can, and if we went to a second season we would probably have to move.

    TVGuide.com: That could provide opportunities, though, that you don't normally get with a show. Transplanting into a new location with new supporting characters....
    Wahlberg: It could work. Again, it's all a crapshoot in television. If I had my wish before we started shooting, I would say that by Week 4 we should be on the go. But having seen the pilot, there's something to be said for the simplicity of the show.

    TVGuide.com: Right. If we are to connect with these family members, we need to see them connecting with the same people for a bit.
    Wahlberg: Yeah, making the show too big is where the danger lies. To me, there's also a danger in making it too teencentric. Hopefully, the network's not going to be too pushy about that and will let this sort of be a new type of show for the network. At least that's what I was promised. [Laughs]

    TVGuide.com: Yeah, TV Guide's own Matt Roush said that for this show to reach its potential, it needs to avoid that temptation to be teencentric.
    Wahlberg: But at the same time, the teen's story lines are valid. It's like, "Do you want to see these teenagers go to a prom, or do you want to see them try to exist under the special pressures that they're faced with?" Even as an adult, I'm interested in how they deal with those circumstances. Not so much dating and drinking beer for the first time.

    TVGuide.com: When I spoke to Leslie [Hope], she seemed very happy with her "husband."
    Wahlberg: That's good, because I'm very happy with my on-screen wife. She's really spectacular, on camera and off. I feel very lucky to work with her.

    TVGuide.com: You've done the procedural thing, she's done the serialized thriller.... You're both in familiar territory.
    Wahlberg: Beyond that, our sensibilities are very similar. Sometimes if I get a little skeptical about something, she can shed light on it, offering a different point of view. She's someone I can trust to be really honest.

    TVGuide.com: What can you tell me about Kings of South Beach?
    Wahlberg: That's a movie for A&E that I did with Jason Gedrick of Boomtown, based on the true story of this kid who became like the founder of the South Beach nightclub craze. He had this dark background from New York City, but went from street kid to being The Man.

    TVGuide.com: And Saw III, I understand you're not in it. Was that your decision not to reprise your Saw II role, or...?
    Wahlberg: [Cryptically] I don't know that I'm not in it....

    Familiar crime mystery adds family twist and runs with it

    If the new CW had more shows like Runaway, people might be more interested in the new CW.

    Not that Runaway is a great show — it's one of those midlevel, decently entertaining dramas you're most inclined to watch when nothing else in the time slot excites you. But it does have two top-level stars in Donnie Wahlberg and Leslie Hope and an intriguing, easily grasped family-on-the-run premise. And it's new, a welcome rarity on a network otherwise mostly devoted to recycling and resurrecting.

    Wahlberg is Paul Rader, a successful lawyer but not-so-successful family man who goes on the run when he's accused of murdering a young female attorney. Unlike The Fugitive, however, he takes his family with him.

    As the show opens, he's off to small-town Iowa with his wife, Lily (Hope), and their three children: Henry (Dustin Milligan), Hannah (Sarah Ramos) and Tommy (Nathan Gamble). The plan is to hide out there until Paul can figure out who is trying to frame him.

    The premise certainly gives the writers multiple story lines to explore. There's the mystery, as Paul travels in the coming weeks from Iowa to Chicago to Washington, tracking down clues to the case. There's the domestic drama, as Paul and Lily try to reunite a family that had grown used to living separate lives. And finally, there's the typically WB-ish teen drama, as the two older children, Henry and Hannah, adjust to a new high school and new adolescent romantic entanglements.

    The problem is that all three shows and all five stars are not created equal. Wahlberg and Hope are by far the show's best assets, and they drive the most interesting plots. Indeed, the strain that life on the run puts on them as parents provides the show with its most intriguing dilemmas: How do you get medicine for your son without medical records? What do you do if a foolish act threatens to put your child into the legal system and onto the FBI's radar?

    The weakest story, as you might expect, is the too-familiar teen-angst drama. The good news, though, is that the high school story may not be as awful as the premiere would lead you to believe. Milligan's Henry, in particular, is unendurable tonight, but the character does become less whiny and self-centered as the show progresses.

    The tossup is the mystery, which would seem to be awfully hard to sustain over the long haul. Can Paul really spend year after year trying to crack the case? As for his family, the longer they stay in one place, the less suspense the series can generate; but do you really want to see those kids yanked from high school to high school?

    Too much of that, and the Raders won't be the only ones running away.

    New CW drama unlikely to be "Runaway" hit

    In "The Fugitive," only one person was on the lam, running to avoid capture for a crime he didn't commit while tracking the real criminal. In "Runaway," you have a whole family trying to evade the long arm of the law.

    That they do so practically despite themselves cracks the foundation on which the series was built. At times, things veer so far off center that running from the feds seems like a distraction from the more important story of teen romance and angst, just another annoyance like a sudden zit or a dropped call.

    Technically, the feds are after only Dad, Paul Rader (Donnie Wahlberg), a successful lawyer who jumped bail rather than face overwhelming circumstantial evidence in a murder trial. The wife and three kids are along for the ride because, as we learn late in the pilot episode, whoever framed Dad is threatening them as well.

    There's another new series, "Six Degrees," in which a character running for her life seeks anonymity in New York. In "Runaway," the Rader family takes the exact opposite tack, hiding from the law in a small Iowa town. Which strategy works better? We'll find out by who gets captured last. Or canceled first.

    Intuitively, it would seem that prying small-town eyes would focus long and hard on these strangers with no identification. Mom (Leslie Hope) gets around all that by telling everyone they were caught off guard by Hurricane Katrina, an explanation that works much better for her than it did for FEMA.

    Although it's the father who's in the biggest pickle, this is the new youth-oriented CW (indeed, this is the very first new CW series), and creator-writer Chad Hodge keeps closer tabs on the two teens in the family: sullen and angry Henry (Dustin Milligan) and sweetly sociable Hannah (Sarah Ramos).

    That, in turn, considerably dilutes the suspense from any story about people trying to escape authorities. While Mom and Dad weigh every word and gesture, Junior is busy using traceable anytime minutes to call the squeeze he left behind. Sis, meanwhile, is concentrating on looking hot for her new social circle. Danger? What danger?

    The Toronto area stands in nicely for Iowa, and director Peter Markle is skillful at juggling flashbacks with real time, as well as finding some interesting angles. Wahlberg and Hope show some emotional range, with their expressive faces perhaps the most palpable indication of danger throughout the pilot. The show will get a boost from its "7th Heaven" lead-in, but if NBC's "Heroes" catches on in the same time period, the only option for the Rader family will be surrender.

    Cast:
    Paul Rader: Donnie Wahlberg
    Lily Rader: Leslie Hope
    Henry Rader: Dustin Milligan
    Hannah Rader: Sarah Ramos
    Tommy Rader: Nathan Gamble
    Gina Bennett: Susan Floyd
    Agent Huntley: Karen LeBlanc

    Executive producers: Darren Star, Ed Zuckerman; Co-executive producers: Chad Hodge, Susie Fitzgerald, Dana Baratta; Producers: John E. Pogue, Luke Schelhaas, Abram Hatch, Lynn Raynor; Director: Peter Markle; Creator-teleplay: Chad Hodge; Director of photography: Ron Stannett; Production designer: Ian Brock; Editor: Scott Vickrey; Set designer: Ian Wheatley; Casting: Susan Forrest, Sharon Forrest.

    We Hear...

    THAT Carl Bernstein, who co-authored "All the President's Men," makes his stage debut Monday in a reading of his story to benefit the Naked Angels theater troupe. Bernstein, playing his old Washington Post boss, Harry Rosenfeld, will be joined by Billy Crudup, Blythe Danner, Gina Gershon, Sam Waterston and David Strathairn.

    Did ABC's 9/11 Take the Right Path?

    Marking the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks, ABC premieres its much-talked-about miniseries The Path to 9/11 tonight at 8 pm/ET. Here, in two different Q&As conducted before and then in the midst of last week's uproar over the project's content, Donnie Wahlberg weighs in on what he calls "a painful walk through hindsight."

    TV Guide: How apprehensive were you of this project?
    Donnie Wahlberg: I wasn't. What drew me to it was that it's not about the day. [We] don't need to show what people have already seen a million times already. It's based on the 9/11 Commission [Report, which covered] the events from the '93 World Trade Center bombing to 9/11. The building-up of Al Qaeda, the infrastructural problems of the U.S. government... [everything] that went into us not being ready for the biggest attack that ever occurred on American soil.

    TV Guide: Did you learn things you wish you didn't know?
    Wahlberg: It's stuff I'm actually glad I know now. I cringed when I heard a lot of it, but at the same time I think it will be very informative for people. When they see these things, they may cringe as well. A simple decision like [this or that] could have changed the course of history.

    TV Guide: And you're playing a real person, as opposed to a composite?
    Wahlberg: Yeah, I play a CIA field agent working with an Afghani enemy of the Taliban and Bin Laden.

    TV Guide: Did you get to meet the agent?
    Wahlberg: No one will ever know who he is, but I have spoken to him, yes.

    Immediately after the controversy surrounding The Path to 9/11's content, TVGuide.com spoke with Wahlberg about the criticisms of the miniseries from such central figures as Richard Clarke and Madeleine Albright.

    TVGuide.com: What do you think of the brouhaha that's going on now? You had to know that this project could be a hot potato.
    Wahlberg: I didn't think it was a hot potato. I think there's a stink being made because certain people aren't happy with the way they're being portrayed, but the reality is that in most cases, the producers took a gentle hand with this stuff. The writers and the producers and the director tried to use as much integrity as possible. This isn't an attempt to slight anyone or short anyone. The real problem is its hindsight. Look at Kenneth Lay; there were probably tons of businessmen having dinner with him up until like a week before the Enron mess was uncovered, and all those people are probably looking at themselves saying, "Damn. What an idiot I am." I've seen people watch The Path to 9/11 and say, when my character gets word that they can't [kill] Bin Laden, "Why didn't your character do it anyway?" It's obvious that anyone who sees themselves portrayed in it is going to feel sensitive about it. But the reality is, these events took place way before 9/11, pre-U.S.S. Cole, before any of this stuff. We have to look at the other side of it — if the people in question had made the decision to get Bin Laden, what would have happened then? For people to be not committed to do [that] is understandable, at that point in time. Look at things now: [President] George Bush, in his mind, thinks he's doing everything he can to keep Americans safe from terrorism, but he's being questioned at every turn. Everything's different in hindsight. The brouhaha is based in hindsight. How many people died on 9/11? How many innocent lives were lost? Somebody made a mistake, many parts of our government made a mistake, and we can't ignore it.

    Donnie Wahlberg's exciting new CW thriller, Runaway starts Sept. 25.

    ABC drama looks at new age of terrorism

    "The Path to 9/11" will break your heart. It will leave you unnerved, even more than before. And angrier than ever. A five-hour miniseries that dramatizes a decade's worth of events leading up to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this film is plenty gripping. It doesn't forgo artistry for polemics.

    Even so, it drives home, step by step, a message any viewer can understand: The people in charge of keeping you safe failed the nation monumentally. Systemically. Shamefully. And continue to, five years after what should have been a terribly sufficient wake-up call.

    Then "The Path to 9/11" leaves the viewer with a chilling coda: a recap of the "report card" issued last December by the 9/11 Commission, which accused the government of failing to protect the nation against another attack, and assigned failing grades in five areas, with a dozen Ds and just one A (actually, A-minus).

    That might be the more valuable focus of your concern as clashing voices from the blogosphere embrace or decry "The Path to 9/11" as a right-wing portrayal that slams President Clinton more than George W. Bush.

    Whatever its flaws may or may not be, "The Path to 9/11" makes clear there's ample blame to go around. But for those who are game to take a break from finger-pointing, it also displays, with awful power, the larger truth that unites nearly everyone — yet still is given short shrift by policy makers.

    Airing commercial-free on ABC Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. EDT (with a 9/11-related followup from ABC News at 10 p.m. Monday), the miniseries claims to draw from a number of sources, including the 2004 report of the 9/11 Commission, which was established to investigate government missteps that led to the attacks.

    The scope of "The Path to 9/11" is vast, with 247 speaking roles, a $40 million budget and more than 300 sets (including a seven-story-high base of the World Trade Center), according to the director, Dennis Cunningham ("To End All Wars"), who said he shot 550 hours of film for the project.

    If the miniseries has a star, it's Harvey Keitel. He plays FBI counter-terrorism expert John O'Neill, whose dogged efforts to contain the al-Qaida threat were rebuffed by those above him, and who, upon retiring at age 49 to be director of security for the World Trade Center, died two weeks later at the hands of the people he had worked so hard to defeat.

    Other familiar actors include Patricia Heaton as Barbara Bodine, Ambassador to Yemen; Donnie Wahlberg as a key undercover CIA agent, and Penny Johnson Jerald ("24") as Condoleezza Rice.

    Playing Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism czar to four presidents, Stephen Root ("News Radio") gets one of the film's most stirring speeches during a high-level meeting in Washington. Referring to the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 that killed six, he declares, "We have to imagine ourselves on a future day when we have failed to act and hundreds of Americans lay dead. We have to do something now."

    But "no" and "that's the best we can do" are all-too-typical replies heard in the film when anyone proposes heightened efforts.

    In a posting on ThinkProgress.org this week, Clarke disputed another scene that had Clinton officials refusing to give the go-ahead to American agents in Afghanistan who were in position to capture Osama bin Laden — then abruptly hanging up the phone on them.

    It's a shocking occurrence. Presumably Clarke, now an ABC News consultant, will have a chance to reiterate his argument that it never happened when he appears Monday on ABC News' "9/11/06: Where Things Stand."

    Perhaps another guest, Thomas Kean (the former Republican governor of New Jersey, who was chairman of the 9/11 Commission and served as senior consultant for "The Path to 9/11") will defend the film's evenhandedness. Never mind how talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has interpreted the film for his listeners as demonstrating that, in the Clinton era, "we didn't do diddly-squat," while the Bush administration was subsequently "caught up and sort of hamstrung by the existing procedures" and "hasn't had a chance to change them."

    ABC responded to the brewing controversy Tuesday only by saying that its miniseries is "a dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a variety of sources, including the 9/11 Commission report, other published materials and from personal interviews."

    The statement also noted how the events that led to 9/11 "originally sparked great debate, so it's not surprising that a movie surrounding those events has revived the debate."

    But is this really debate, or does it verge on the partisan infighting that routinely disregards the vital issues themselves?

    Cunningham said the film's mission is to spark more than talk.

    "We are hoping our show will be a call to action," he said, "so that people are provoked to call their representatives and say, `We need to do different, we need to do more.'"

    Likewise, former 9/11 Commission chairman Kean spoke hopefully of the huge audience the film could reach, far surpassing those who read the commission's report.

    "If they understand the events, they can understand the recommendations," Kean said, "and we can have the wind behind us in moving this Congress to get more serious in doing some of the things we have to do."

    It beats quarreling about a TV film.

    O'Neill, Van Holt surf to "John"

    Ed O'Neill and Brian Van Holt have joined the cast of the HBO drama pilot "John From Cincinnati."

    The story revolves around the dysfunctional Yost family of Imperial Beach, Calif., led by patriarch Mitch (Bruce Greenwood), whose life is disrupted by the arrival of the dim but wealthy John (Austin Nichols) from Cincinnati, who has come to take surfing lessons.

    O'Neill will play Bill, a friend of the Yost family and a former Marine. Van Holt will play Mitch's son Butchie.

    "John" reunites O'Neill with series creator David Milch; O'Neill starred on "Big Apple," Milch's short-lived 2001 cop drama for CBS.

    Best known for his role as Al Bundy on "Married... With Children," O'Neill most recently appeared in a recurring role on NBC's "The West Wing," playing Gov. Eric Baker.

    Van Holt's recent credits include CBS' sci-fi drama "Threshold" and the feature "House of Wax."

    CW, MSN team on sneak previews

    The CW Network is partnering with MSN to premiere episodes from four of its fall-season primetime series online and before their broadcast debuts.

    Premiere episodes from "America's Next Top Model," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Supernatural" and the new drama from "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star, "Runaway," will be offered free and without commercial interruption on msn.com for one week before their on-air broadcast.

    The first hour of "Model" will be available beginning September 13 until its official launch September 20, while "Runaway" will debut online September 18, the second-season opener of "Supernatural" on September 21 and "Everybody Hates Chris" premiering on the site September 24.

    They join previously launched series on MSN, Fox's "Prison Break" and "Vanished."

    THE PATH TO 9/11 MINISERIES SYNOPSIS

    Airing Sunday, September 10 (8:00-11:00 p.m. ET) and Monday, September 11 (8:00-10:02 p.m. [approx.], ET)

    Note: This dramatization is based on The 9/11 Commission Report and other published sources and personal interviews. Composite and representative characters and incidents, and time compression have been used for dramatic purposes. Due to subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. These programs carry a TV-14,V parental guideline.

    NIGHT ONE:September 11, 2001. Teams of terrorist hijackers board four American airliners and take control of the cockpits. Passengers and flight controllers quickly learn something is terribly wrong...

    February 1993. On a similarly ordinary day, New York is stunned by a deadly bombing at the World Trade Center. The discovery of a traceable van part at the site leads to the arrest of one of the conspirators, and he is linked to a mosque led by the Blind Sheikh, a radical cleric. A valuable FBI informant helps bring down the cleric and his cell. A manhunt for elusive WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef ensues, and he narrowly escapes capture in Pakistan, where he is linked to the attempted assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Yousef travels to the Philippines, where he tests an innovative small bomb that kills a flight passenger and comes close to bringing down the plane as well. He's almost captured again when a fire at his bomb-making lab exposes to Manila police his plot involving the simultaneous bombings of a dozen airliners.

    Yousef is finally brought down when an informant in Pakistan tips off a team of agents working in coordination with FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill. Yousef's trail leads them to a rebel named Usama bin Laden.

    In 1998 journalist John Miller's interview with bin Laden is broadcast, and O'Neill and others in Washington are alarmed by the al Qaeda leader's fatwa against the U.S. CIA field agent "Kirk" contacts bin Laden's primary opposition, General Massoud of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, and they concoct a plan to capture bin Laden and bring him to the U.S. to face justice. The plan is never approved for action, but the simultaneous bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa push the Administration to respond with an ineffective missile strike that some think merely elevates bin Laden's stature in the Muslim world. Arrests of al Qaeda operatives at the Canadian-U.S. border and in New York on the eve of the millennium provide further evidence that Muslim extremists are bringing their holy war to America.

    NIGHT TWO:The October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole sends O'Neill and his team to Yemen, where he runs afoul of the U.S. Ambassador, who tries to have O'Neill recalled to the States. The investigation in Yemen stalls, but the White House, confident bin Laden is behind the attack, continues to debate how to stop him.

    In 2001 counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke's warnings about bin Laden are downplayed, as is an FBI agent's warning to his superiors that some suspicious individuals are learning to fly jet aircraft. O'Neill butts heads with the CIA over their lack of shared information, and while intelligence agencies squabble, al Qaeda terrorists, under the radar, continue with their hijacking plot.

    O'Neill, his career stalled by an incident wherein he lost his laptop, and tired of the bureaucracy, retires from the FBI in August and takes over security at the WTC. Shortly thereafter, the Northern Alliance's Massoud, who had pressed the U.S. for assistance against the Taliban and warned that bin Laden might strike, is assassinated by al Qaeda agents. Two days later comes September 11, and O'Neill dies bravely, along with thousands of others, in an attack by the enemy he had devoted his career to thwarting.

    In the aftermath, the 9/11 Commission is formed to study the events leading up to that fateful day and to form recommendations to confront the threat of terrorism.


    CAST:

    HARVEY KEITEL, as John O'Neill
    Sporting a Brooklyn accent and bulldog features, Harvey Keitel first gained recognition with a series of gritty roles in the early films of Martin Scorsese, and he was for a long time cast as one lowlife thug after another. His career experienced a renaissance in the 1990s, when roles in such films as Thelma & Louise, Bad Lieutenant and The Piano demonstrated his versatility and his willingness to let it all hang out (literally) in the service of an authentic characterization.

    A product of Brooklyn, where he was born on May 13, 1939, Keitel grew up as something of a delinquent. At the age of 16, his truancy was put to an end when he was sent to Lebanon with the Marine Corps. Upon his return, he sold shoes and nurtured an interest in acting. He studied the craft with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler and began appearing in off-off-Broadway productions. When he was 26, fate struck in the form of a casting ad placed by Scorsese, at that time a fledgling student director at New York University; Keitel's response to the ad began a collaboration that would last for years and produce some of the more memorable moments in film history. Keitel and Scorsese made their onscreen feature debuts with Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1968), in which the former played the latter's alter ego. Five years later, they collaborated on Mean Streets; that and their subsequent collaborations of the '70s, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) and Taxi Driver (1976), were some of the decade's most memorable films. Unfortunately, despite these achievements, Keitel's career suffered a great blow when he lost the lead in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now to Martin Sheen. He spent much of the '80s appearing in obscure and/or forgettable films, save for Scorsese's controversial The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and by the time he was cast in Thelma & Louise in 1991, he was in a career slump.

    1991 and 1992 marked a turning point in Keitel's career: his role in Thelma and Louise as a sympathetic detective -- much like his role in that same year's Mortal Thoughts -- helped him break through the stereotypes surrounding him, and his Oscar nomination for his portrayal of gangster Mickey Cohen in Bugsy (1991) put him back in the forefront. Keitel's work in 1992's Bad Lieutenant, Reservoir Dogs and Sister Act further established him as an actor of previously unappreciated versatility, and in 1993 he proved this versatility when he starred in Jane Campion's exotic art drama The Piano, in which he famously appeared in the nude as Holly Hunter's lover.

    Keitel continued to demonstrate his ability to play both hard-boiled gangsters and rough-edged nice guys throughout the rest of the decade, turning in one solid performance after another in such films as Pulp Fiction (1994), Clockers (1995) and Copland (1997). One of his most memorable characterizations, cigar shop owner Auggie Wren, came from his collaboration with Paul Auster on Smoke and Blue in the Face (both 1995); he also worked with Auster on his 1998 romantic drama Lulu on the Bridge. In 1999, Keitel could be seen in variety of films, notably Tony Bui's Three Seasons, in which he played an American soldier searching for his lost daughter in Vietnam, and Jane Campion's Holy Smoke, in which he played a man sent to deprogram Kate Winslet of the teachings she received while part of a religious cult. In more recent years Keitel has starred in Tim Blake Nelson's The Grey Zone, Brett Ratner's Red Dragon (2002), National Treasure (2004) with Nicolas Cage, Be Cool, starring Jon Travolta and Uma Thurman, and Shadows in the Sun with French director Brad Mirman.

    STEPHEN ROOT, as Richard Clarke
    Stephen Root entertains television and film audiences not only in front of the cameras, but behind them as well. Root's first big breakthrough came as the eccentric station owner Jimmy James on the series News Radio. He went onto la the role of the put-upon Milton Waddams in the Twentieth Century Fox film, Office Space, with Jennifer Aniston, released in 1999.

    His other notable feature film credits include Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, the Coen Brothers feature O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Jersey Girl, Surviving Christmas, Raising Genius, Bicentennial Man and Crocodile Dundee.

    In addition Root has worked extensively as a voice actor. He plays Hank Hill's next-door neighbor Bill and Hank's boss Mr. Strickland on the Emmy winning hit animated television series. King of the Hill, Dick on the Fox animated series American Dad, Bubbles the fish in the Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and the hilariously menacing Rhino in Twentieth Century Fox's Ice Age and Ice Age: The Meltdown.

    His extensive guest-starring credits on television series include The West Wing, Frasier, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Just Shoot Me, DAG, Seinfeld, Chicago Hope, Christy, Cybill, Sweet Justice, Roseanne, Night Court, Murphy Brown, Northern Exposure and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    DONNIE WAHLBERG, as "Kirk," a CIA operative
    From his roots as a member of the extremely successful boy band New Kids on the Block with younger brother Mark Wahlberg, Donnie Wahlberg was born to entertain. His big screen debut came as a "tough guy" thug in the Mickey Rourke urban outing Bullet. That same year he appeared in director Ron Howard's thriller Ransom as part of a gang of kidnappers who nab Mel Gibson's son.

    One of Wahlberg's most powerful performances is also one of his briefest. Seen in the opening sequence, he is nearly unrecognizable portraying a deranged former patient of psychiatrist Bruce Willis whose sudden explosion into unfathomable violence sets up the clever twists and turns that turned M. Night Shyamalan's classic psychological thriller The Sixth Sense into a critically-acclaimed box office hit.

    Wahlberg then went on to play a major role as a WWII paratrooper in the critically-hailed ten-part epic Band of Brothers, which won six Emmy awards. This television role directly led to his casting as a gritty L.A. detective in the dramatic series Boomtown, an acclaimed series on NBC. He is also cast in the upcoming TV series Runaway.

    Since then Wahlberg has appeared in a number of other films such as Triggermen, Saw II and Annapolis.

    BARCLAY HOPE, as John Miller
    Barclay Hope is a veteran television actor whose numerous credits include film, television and stage. He has appeared in the television series Hidden Room, The Hitchhiker, Top Cops and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He guest-starred in the series Goosebumps, Forever Knight, Knightwatch and Doc, and had a recurring role on Street Legal. His series credits also include The New Twilight Zone, as well as Taking the Falls, E.N.G and Ready or Not.

    He played Peter Axon in all four seasons of the Canadian television series, Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal from 1996-2000, narrated by Dan Aykroyd. His television movie credits include Strange Justice (1999), starring Lou Gossett Jr., Dead Silence (1997), with James Garner, Disney's Garbage to Gridiron, with Tony Danza, Danielle Steel's Remembrance, The Facts of Life Reunion movie, Mary Higgins Clark's You Belong to Me (2001) and Atom Egoyan's Gross Misconduct, among many others.

    He also performed the lead role in TV movie The Long Road Home (1989), and was an executive producer of and appeared in the short film The Wagner (1998). One of his most recent production ventures was the production of Birthday Cake, a short film he produced and which screened at many different film festivals, debuting at the Palm Springs Film Festival in 2000.

    PATRICA HEATON, as Ambassador Bodine
    Heaton is best known for her Emmy-award winning role as Debra on the long running CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. uing her nine years as the female lead opposite comedian Ray Romano, she was nominated for an 1999 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and won the l998-99 Viewers for Quality Television Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Award.

    Heaton's other television career began in 1992 when she portrayed the producer/daughter in he television series Room for Two. Her additional television credits include a starring role in the series Someone Like Me, a regular role in CBS's Women of the House, and a recurring role on thirtysomething. Heaton also starred in the highly rated CBS television movie Miracle in the Woods with Della Reese.

    Her feature film credits include Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Beethoven, The New Age and Space Jam.

    SHAUN TOUB, as Emad Salem
    Shaun Toub catapulted to fame after playing the role of Farhad in the Oscar-winning feature, Crash. He has appeared in over 100 television episodes including: Seinfeld, The Sopranos, E.R., Just Shoot me, Nash Bridges, Jag, The Bold and the Beautiful, Lois & Clark, Married with Children and several movies made for television and original HBO films. Additionally he is noted for his memorable performances in feature films such as Bad Boys, Broken Arrow and Executive Decision.

    AMY MADIGAN, as Patricia Carver
    An award-winning actress, Amy Madigan has appeared in numerous feature films, TV movies and television series over the past twenty years. In 2000 Madigan scored an acting coup in her husband Ed Harris' award-winning Pollock, in which she played art patroness Peggy Guggenheim. She was also seen in Shot in the Heart and The Laramie Project, both for HBO, and Showtime's Just a Dream, an original telefilm directed by Danny Glover.

    Pollock marked the fourth time that Madigan has collaborated with Ed Harris. In addition to co-starring in TNT's highly acclaimed adaptation of Zane Gray's novel Riders of the Purple Sage, she starred opposite him in Robert Benton's Academy Award-winning Places in the Heart and in Louis Malle's Alamo Bay.

    In 1986 Madigan received an Oscar nomination for her performance opposite Gene Hackman in Twice in a Lifetime. The actress received an IFP West Spirit Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Erin Dignam's Loved, which co-starred Robin Wright Penn, William Hurt and Sean Penn. Madigan's performance in the telefilm, Roe vs. Wade, co-starring Holly Hunter, won her a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy(r) Nomination for Best Actress. She received two Cable Ace Awards for Best Actress, on for Robert Altman's production of The Laundromat, and again for Lifetime's And Then There Was One. Other Film Credits include Female Perversions, The Dark Half, Uncle Buck, Field of Dreams, Prince of Pennsylvania, Nowhere to Hide, Streets of Fire and Love Letter.

    Additional television credits include In The Name of the People, Having Our Say, the ensemble comedy With Friends Like These, produced by Penny Marshall, HBO's A Bright Shining Lie, Lucky Day, The Revolt of Mother and The Day After.

    NABIL ELOUAHABI, as Ramzi Yousef
    Born in London to Moroccan parents, Nabil Elouhabi is a 31-year-old film, theater and television actor. Elouhabi studied theater and drama at the Royal Halloway University, which he left early in order to act as much as possible. Some of Elouhabi's notable film appearances include his roles in Ali G IndaHouse, The Sum of All Fears and In This World (a 2004 Bafta winner). He most recently appeared in the film The Boat People. Some of Elouhabi's distinguished theater performances include Crossing Jerusalem, Sparkleshark and Bad Company. In addition, he has made many television appearances and was a regular on the BBC series Eastenders.

    MIDO HAMADA, as Massoud
    German-Egyptian actor Mido Hamada has worked in television, film and theater. He gained his training at The Oxford School of Drama and now lives n ondon. Hamada has recently finished shooting the film The Situation in which he plays Zaid, an Iraqi photographer. He has also made appearances in British television series such as 2056, Feel the Force and Hannibal. Some of Hamada's notable theater performances include his roles as Fortinbras in Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, and Marco in A View from the Bridge.

    WILLIAM SADLER, as Neil Herman
    While he is perhaps best recognized for his roles in such films as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Die Hard 2, William Sadler has left indelible impressions in a host of other films, including Bill Condon's Kinsey with Liam Neeson, Rush, Trespass, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, Disturbing Behavior, Hard to Kill, Witness Protection, The Hot Spot, Rocket Man and The Battle of Shaker Heights. Sadler will soon appear as the loving but flawed father of Keri Russell in the upcoming film August Rush.

    Sadler will also appear on the upcoming one-hour ABC drama Traveller. Previously he starred in the critically acclaimed Fox series Wonder Falls, WB's Roswell, C.S.I., Third Watch and Law & Order Criminal Intent. Sadler has also guest starred in numerous TV comedies, including Murphy Brown, Roseanne, Newhart, Dear John and the HBO series Assaulted Nuts with Emma Thompson.

    PRASSANA PUWANARAJAH, as Ishtiak
    This project marks Prassana Puwanarajah's acting debut. Puwanarajah is a medical school graduate who plans to pursue both acting and medicine.

    DAN LAURIA, as George Tenet
    Dan Lauria has appeared as a guest star in over seventy television episodic programs. He has a score of film credits which include Stakeout and Another Stakeout, both with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez, the commercial blockbuster Independence Day and, most recently, Big Momma Two with Martin Lawrence. However Lauria is most recognized as the Dad on the highly acclaimed, Emmy-winning ABC television show, The Wonder Years.

    Lauria is a very similar face to the off-off, off and regional theatre scene, having performed, written or directed over fifty professional productions. Just recently he starred in the Long Wharf theatre production of Willy Holtzman's controversial play, Hearts. Before that he was in the Coconut Grove production of Arthur Miller's, The Price, with the great Jack Klugman. He performed with Charles Durning in the Westwood Country Playhouse production of Jason Milligan's Men in Suits and toured with his former television co-star, Fred Savage, in the play Wendell and Ben, marking Savage's professional stage debut.

    Lauria most recently performed The Guys by Ann Nelson, both in New York City and on the road. The Guys is a tribute to the brave firemen who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on 9/11, and it's a play that Lauria is honored to be a part of. This was followed by Mark St. Germaine's new play, Ears on a Beatle, Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies, Lee Blessing's The Winning Streak and Daniel Sullivan's Christmas classic comedy Inspecting Carol.

    MICHAEL MURPHY, as William Cohen
    For over 35 years, Michael Murphy has performed in film, television and in the theatre. He has had major roles in many award-winning pictures, and has worked with some of the most respected filmmakers of his generation. They include Robert Altman, Woody Allen, Paul Mazursky, Peter Weir, Tim Burton, Oliver Stone, Elia Kazan, Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Ritt, Robert Aldrich, Orson Welles and Paul Thomas Anderson.

    Murphy has worked in over one hundred television productions, including Tanner '88, the Emmy Award-winning Robert-Altman and Gary Trudeau cult series, Silver City, directed by John Sayles, Heights, directed by James Ivory, Magnolia (SAG nomination for Best Ensemble), Kansas City, Batman Returns, Salvador, The Year of Living Dangerously, Manhattan, The Front, An Unmarried Woman, Nashville, What's Up Doc?, Brewster McCloud and M*A*S*H*.

    Most recently Murphy had a recurring role on the series Tilt for ESPN, and appeared in the summer blockbuster XMEN3.

    SHIRLEY DOUGLAS, as Madeline Albright
    Shirley Douglas is an experienced theatre, film and television actress. She was last seen on stage with her son, Kiefer Sutherland, at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the National Arts Centre in The Glass

    Menagerie, and on Canadian television in the series Wind at My Back, shown on CBC. Douglas was the recipient of the 2000 Gemini Award for Best Featured Actress in a Drama for the film Shadow Lake, and was recently seen in the Vagina Monologues in Toronto.

    PENNY JOHNSON JERALD, as Condoleezza Rice
    Born in Baltimore on March 14, 1961, Jerald always dreamt of being an actor. When her high school teacher discouraged her from going into acting, she strengthened her resolve. She got into Julliard School for the Arts and later graduated from there. Her big break came as the titular character in the made-for-TV movie, The Files on Jill Hatch.

    She soon began making guest star appearances on shows such as T.J. Hooker and Paper Chase, and landed a role on the daytime soap General Hospital. Supporting roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The Larry Sanders Show followed and kept her into the national eye. She later landed a guest starring appearance on ER.

    However Jerald's most recent role as master manipulator Sherry Palmer on 24 is the one that has brought her the most recognition. Her stint as the diabolical wife of President David Palmer allowed her to exhibit great range, showing ruthlessness one moment and kindness in the next.

    Actor Wahlberg praises Moroccans

    Since returning from filming ABC's Path to 9/11 in Morocco, US actor Donnie Wahlberg has praised its Muslim population for its response to the film crew.

    The Los Angeles Daily News said the actor, who plays a CIA operative in the pre-September 11 terror attack film, was pleasantly surprised by the lack of animosity among the citizens of the North African country.

    "The best thing I got out of it was working in a post-9/11 world with predominantly Muslim people," Wahlberg said.

    "To see the camaraderie and friendship and bonds that were formed between the Americans over there and the Muslim people working on the project from all over the world was very powerful and very beautiful. I wish more people could see that," he said.

    The 36-year-old actor also said his experiences in Morocco helped him see the truth and the humanity behind what most people receive from the media in their normally busy lives, the Daily News said.

    The newspaper said that Path to 9/11 will air over two nights on ABC on September 10 and 11.

    'Runaway' melds '24,' '7th Heaven'

    The show: Runaway
    The premiere: Sept. 25, 9 ET/PT, CW

    The concept: A man wrongly convicted of murder goes on the lam with his family while trying to prove his innocence.

    The challenge: Giving a new network a jump-start.

    A man in a troubled marriage is wrongly convicted of murder. With his wife and three kids in tow, he goes on the lam, and the family assumes new identities and takes refuge in small-town Iowa, where they hide as he seeks to find the true killer and exonerate himself.

    That's the setup of Runaway, one of just two new shows that will usher in the CW network. Due Sept. 25 (9 ET/PT) as a Monday companion to 7th Heaven, the show is a hybrid: The family drama gussied up as a thriller.

    "I wanted to find a way to marry the two," says 29-year-old creator Chad Hodge (Tru Calling). "We can tell those same stories but with a twist. It's a family drama with the screws tightened."

    Why? "There's not just one man running around trying to prove himself or go from town to town to town," says Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown), who plays imperiled Paul Rader. "There are five different people who are trying to survive in this situation. And so there's a wealth of stories to be had in that because each person has their own dilemma." Leslie Hope (24) plays Rader's wife, Lily.

    Like many other series this fall, Runaway is serialized, and weekly episodes slowly unravel the murder mystery. But identifying the real killer won't solve Rader's problems: "Just when he thinks he has solved this case, something turns and there's another huge reason why he has to stay on the run," says Hodge, who was inspired by the real case of a fugitive family and his own father's jailing for a white-collar crime.

    The show pairs executive producers Darren Star, known for family soaps such as Beverly Hills, 90210, with Ed Zuckerman, who tackles the criminal elements from his years on Law & Order.

    "It's about a family under these trying circumstances," says Star, which is "familiar turf for me, but the suspense elements are something I haven't been involved with. There are more interesting thematic and character developments in this show."

    CW president Dawn Ostroff doubts "a plain family show these days could launch and sustain the way it could a few years ago. This is something that makes people feel like there's an urgency to watching, a ticking clock. They need something to be driving them." At least until another ticking clock, 24, returns in January.

    Wahlberg aiming for 'Runaway' hit

    Donnie Wahlberg will return to series TV for the first time since "Boomtown" in the new CW series "Runaway."

    The drama, which premieres Sept. 25 at 9 p.m., follows the perilous life of a family on the lam after Wahlberg's character, the married father of three and a successful lawyer, is wrongly accused of killing a comely young associate at his law firm.

    Wahlberg said he relates to his character's circumstances on a visceral level.

    "Growing up sort of in the street," he said, "growing up around dangerous circumstances, it's not hard for me to imagine what it would be like to live this way."

    Wahlberg, who is married with two young children, grew up in the rough inner-city Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. He escaped that gritty life as a member of the wildly popular '80s boy band New Kids on the Block.

    Elsewhere, "Girlfriends" creator Mara Brock Ali said her new series, CW's "The Game," is not about race. But the comedy, about the women in the lives of professional athletes, will not skirt race issues either.

    The Sunday night series stars Coby Bell, Pooch Hall and Hosea Chanchez as celebrity football players. Tia Mowry plays a girlfriend and Brittany Daniel, who is tall, blond and white, plays the wife of African-American Bell's character.

    "I wanted people to know we're not afraid of the more provocative areas that everyday people are dealing with," said Brock Ali.

    The show also explores another staple of pro sports, the "mama manager," with the casting of Wendy Raquel Robinson, who plays the overbearing mother and micromanager of Chanchez's up-and-coming quarterback.

    "The 'mama manager' is another stereotype," said Brock Ali. "That image is out there and for me not to represent it would be false."

    Academy of Motion Picture Arts, Sciences invites 120 new members

    Jake Gyllenhaal, Werner Herzog, Dolly Parton and Dakota Fanning are among the Hollywood heavyweights who received one of the industry's most exclusive invitations Wednesday.

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invited them to join its ranks.

    The Academy — which votes on the Oscars — extended membership invitations to 120 actors, directors, producers, animators, cinematographers, musicians, writers, editors and other industry professionals to fill vacancies in the organization created by retirement or death, Academy President Sid Ganis said.

    Candidates are considered by committees from the Academy's 14 branches.

    Among the 2006 invitees are eight Oscar winners and 39 nominees, including Rachel Weisz, Terrence Howard, Felicity Huffman, Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, David Strathairn, Crash producer Cathy Shulman and co-writer Bobby Moresco and Pride and Prejudice composer Dario Marianelli.

    The new members will be welcomed into the Academy at a private reception Sept. 20 at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills.

    ABC Sets 9/11 Miniseries for Fifth Anniversary

    ABC's "The Path to 9/11" miniseries will premiere as a two-night event coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    After a lengthy development and production process and extensive scheduling speculation, the network announced on Thursday (June 23) that the six-hour telefilm will begin on Sunday, Sept. 10, running from 8-11 p.m. ET. The conclusion will occupy primetime on Monday, Sept. 11.

    Directed by David L. Cunningham, the miniseries focuses on the events leading up to the terrorist attacks and features an ensemble cast led by Harvey Keitel, Donnie Wahlberg and Patricia Heaton.

    In the fall of 2004, ABC and NBC announced dueling 9/11 miniseries projects. Initially, NBC appeared to be ahead of the game thanks to the presence of screenwriter Graham Yost and the involvement of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment. NBC's film stalled and never made it to air.

    The CW Fall Schedule

    Runaway (Drama, Mondays 9pm)
    Premise: A man wrongfully accused of murder packs up his family and moves them to Iowa under assumed names. Things become dangerous, though, when both the law and the real killer begin sniffing around.

    Stars: Donnie Wahlberg ("Boomtown"), Leslie Hope ("24"), Dustin Milligan ("The Butterfly Effect 2"), Sarah Ramos ("American Dreams"), Nathan Gamble, Susan Floyd, Karen LeBlanc

    Studio: Sony Pictures Television

    Producers: Darren Star ("Sex and the City"), Ed Zuckerman ("Law & Order")

    Strathairn in program for "Challenger"

    Oscar nominee David Strathairn is set to star in "Challenger," a drama about a Nobel laureate's investigation into the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle.

    Philip Kaufman, who explored the U.S. space program in 1983's "The Right Stuff," will direct the project for independent producer Media 8 Entertainment Inc. .

    Strathairn, who received an Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of newsman Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night, and Good Luck," will play Richard Feynman. The noted physicist, whose probe was motivated in part by his participation in the Manhattan Project, sought to ensure that there was no institutional cover-up of the negligence that led to the Challenger tragedy.

    New CW schedules two rookies, "Everwood" axed

    The CW network will look like the sum of its parts when the successor of the soon-to-be-defunct UPN and WB launches in the fall with a mix of holdovers and just two new offerings.

    UPN's "Veronica Mars" and the WB's "One Tree Hill" made the cut at the CW, but the WB's family drama "Everwood" did not.

    CW's pickups, in addition to new drama "Runaway" and "Girlfriends" spinoff "The Game," include the soap "Palm Springs," which was given a midseason order Tuesday.

    Also moving to the new network are UPN comedies "Girlfriends," "Everybody Hates Chris" and "All of Us," and WB dramas "Smallville," "Supernatural" and "Gilmore Girls," with veteran "7th Heaven" expected to join the group pending the completion of new deals with the cast.

    On the reality side, UPN's hit "America's Next Top Model" and WB's "Beauty and the Geek" are rumored for a possible pairing on the schedule, with Wednesday considered a logical place.

    "Chris," brainchild of comedian Chris Rock; "All of Us," from another famous actor, Will Smith; "Girlfriends," from Kelsey Grammer's production company; and "The Game" could form a Monday comedy block that has been a staple on UPN.

    Also looking compatible are "Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars," and "7th Heaven" and "Runaway."

    "Runaway" stars Donnie Wahlberg as a father who goes on the run with his family after he is wrongly convicted of murder. "The Game" revolves around women in the lives of professional football players. "Palm Springs," from "Dawson's Creek" creator Kevin Williamson, is an ensemble soap set in the California desert city.

    "Ballroom Dancing" an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser

    "Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School" is a film for anyone who has ever longed to revisit a childhood sweetheart.

    Although that's not exactly what happens, the Sundance '05 entry is an elegiac journey to a sweeter, more civilized place in the heart. Predictable and decidedly old-fashioned in its sensibility, the film is likely to win over audiences if not critics.

    The story is a fairy tale of sorts, the kind that happens when you meet someone unexpectedly who changes your life. Frank Keane (Robert Carlyle), a baker, is a lost soul going through life on automatic pilot. He is consumed by his wife's unexplained suicide; his closet is still full of her clothes, and he greets her ashes every morning.

    On a delivery run one day in his circa-1960s truck, he happens upon a car wreck. The man inside, Steve Mills (John Goodman), is crushed behind the wheel. To keep him alive, Frank gets him to talk about his life. Steve was on his way to a rendezvous with his childhood girlfriend, whom he hasn't seen in 40 years but has sworn to meet at the Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, the place they first met as kids, on the fifth day of the fifth month of the fifth year of the new millennium.

    As Steve relates his life story between gasps and Frank reveals some of his own experience, the wheel of fate turns. To be sure it's oiled by a heavy dose of syrup, but it is hard to resist a dying man's wish. Steve wants Frank to keep his appointment and go to the school to meet his girlfriend Lisa in his place. Unfortunately, she's a no-show. But Frank stays for class anyway and the magic of dance starts to take effect.

    As dispensed by Marienne Hotchkiss (Mary Steenburgen), evoking the ghost of her dead mother, Marilyn, it's a spell she says can release the deepest hidden feelings and color your life magenta (yes, she says that) if you are prepared to accept the responsibilities. And, of course, there's a girl (Marisa Tomei) there to help the process along.

    Naturally, there are some bumps on the road to love -- an irate step-brother (Donnie Wahlberg) who punches out Frank -- and a few hidden secrets, but nothing that would constitute a surprise. Director Randall Miller, who expanded the material from a short he made 15 years ago, tends to go for the easy surface feelings rather than tapping the deeper stuff. Carlyle is light on his feet and easy on the eyes, but Goodman is the closest thing to a big country ham onscreen this year.

    The adventures of these people, including Frank's men's group, who eventually turn up at the dance class, could be the stuff of a TV sitcom. But holding disbelief in check and cynicism at bay, one can almost follow Marienne Hotchkiss in her stunning blue-sequined gown slit up one leg as she evokes the mood and manners of the '50s. Guiding her class through the lindy hop or the merengue, Steenburgen has a grace and lightness of touch the rest of the film could have benefited from.

    Cast:
    Frank Keane: Robert Carlyle
    Meredith Morrison: Marisa Tomei
    Steve Mills: John Goodman
    Marienne Hotchkiss: Mary Steenburgen
    Randall Ipswich: Donnie Wahlberg
    Blake Rische: Ernie Hudson
    Rafael Horowitz: David Paymer
    Lisa Gobar: Camryn Manheim
    Gabe DiFranco: Adam Arkin
    Tina: Sonya Braga
    Samson: Elden Henson
    Matthew Smith: Miguel Sandoval
    Booth: Danny DeVito

    Director-editor: Randall Miller; screenwriters: Randall Miller, Jody Savin; producers: Randall Miller, Jody Savin, Morris Ruskin, Eileen Craft; executive producers: Art Klein, Ronald Savin, Eduardo Castro; director of photography: Jonathan Sela; production designer: Dawn Synder; music: Mark Adler; costume designer: Kathryn Morrison.

    Madsen, Williamson hitting streets with 'Vice' squad

    "Kill Bill" alumni Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah have signed on to star in the indie cop thriller "Vice."

    The story revolves around a group of conflicted police officers who become suspects when drugs go missing. Also on board are Mykelti Williamson and Mark Boone Junior.

    Written and directed by Raul Sanchez Inglis ("The Falling"), the film is scheduled to start shooting early next month in Vancouver.

    Madsen was recently in theaters with "Sin City," and Hannah with "Silver City." Williamson appeared in "After the Sunset," while Boone's "Lonesome Jim" opened in theaters on Friday.

    O'Neill, Baranski wedded to CBS sitcom pilot

    Sitcom veterans Ed O'Neill and Christine Baranski have joined an untitled family comedy at CBS.

    The project revolves around a young couple who moves to the woman's hometown and has to deal with her complicated extended family. O'Neill and Baranski will play the woman's parents.

    O'Neill, best known for his role as Al Bundy in "Married ... With Children," most recently had a recurring role on NBC's "The West Wing." Baranski won an Emmy for her supporting role in "Cybill," and received a nomination for a guest turn in "Frasier."

    McG recruits Strathairn for football pic

    Oscar nominee David Strathairn is going from the television studio to the football field.

    The "Good Night, and Good Luck" star is joining Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox in director McG's untitled Marshall University football project for Warner Bros. Pictures.

    The movie revolves around the events following the 1970 plane crash that killed members of the West Virginia-based Marshall football team, along with most of its coaching staff, sports commentators and many of its local boosters.

    Strathairn will play Marshall University president Dedmon, who is profoundly affected by the loss of the team.

    A March shoot in West Virginia is being planned. McG's credits include "Charlie's Angels" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

    Strathairn's performance as Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night" has nabbed him an Academy Award nomination as well as nominations for a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

    The actor also is on board "Fracture," a New Line thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins.

    List of Academy Award Nominations

    List of the 78th annual Oscar nominations announced Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif., by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

    1. Best Picture: "Brokeback Mountain,""Capote,""Crash,""Good Night, and Good Luck,""Munich."

    2. Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"; Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"; Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"; Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line"; David Strathairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck."

    3. Actress: Judi Dench, "Mrs. Henderson Presents"; Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"; Keira Knightley, "Pride & Prejudice"; Charlize Theron, "North Country"; Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line."

    4. Supporting Actor: George Clooney, "Syriana"; Matt Dillon, "Crash"; Paul Giamatti, "Cinderella Man"; Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain"; William Hurt, "A History of Violence."

    5. Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "Junebug"; Catherine Keener, "Capote"; Frances McDormand, "North Country"; Rachel Weisz, "The Constant Gardener"; Michelle Williams, "Brokeback Mountain."

    6. Director: Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"; Bennett Miller, "Capote"; Paul Haggis, "Crash"; George Clooney, "Good Night, and Good Luck"; Steven Spielberg, "Munich."

    7. Foreign Film: "Don't Tell," Italy; "Joyeux Noel," France; "Paradise Now," Palestine; "Sophie Scholl - The Final Days," Germany; "Tsotsi," South Africa.

    8. Adapted Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, "Brokeback Mountain"; Dan Futterman, "Capote"; Jeffrey Caine, "The Constant Gardener"; Josh Olson, "A History of Violence"; Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, "Munich."

    9. Original Screenplay: Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, "Crash"; George Clooney and Grant Heslov, "Good Night, and Good Luck"; Woody Allen, "Match Point"; Noah Baumbach, "The Squid and the Whale"; Stephen Gaghan, "Syriana."

    10. Animated Feature Film: "Howl's Moving Castle"; "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride"; "Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit."

    11. Art Direction: "Good Night, and Good Luck,""Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,""King Kong,""Memoirs of a Geisha,""Pride & Prejudice."

    12. Cinematography: "Batman Begins,""Brokeback Mountain,""Good Night, and Good Luck,""Memoirs of a Geisha,""The New World."

    13. Sound Mixing: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,""King Kong,""Memoirs of a Geisha,""Walk the Line,""War of the Worlds."

    14. Sound Editing: "King Kong,""Memoirs of a Geisha,""War of the Worlds."

    15. Original Score: "Brokeback Mountain," Gustavo Santaolalla; "The Constant Gardener," Alberto Iglesias; "Memoirs of a Geisha," John Williams; "Munich," John Williams; "Pride & Prejudice," Dario Marianelli.

    16. Original Song: "In the Deep" from "Crash," Kathleen "Bird" York and Michael Becker; "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" from "Hustle & Flow," Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard; "Travelin' Thru" from "Transamerica," Dolly Parton.

    17. Costume: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,""Memoirs of a Geisha,""Mrs. Henderson Presents,""Pride & Prejudice,""Walk the Line."

    18. Documentary Feature: "Darwin's Nightmare,""Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,""March of the Penguins,""Murderball,""Street Fight."

    19. Documentary (short subject): "The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club,""God Sleeps in Rwanda,""The Mushroom Club,""A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin."

    20. Film Editing: "Cinderella Man,""The Constant Gardener,""Crash,""Munich,""Walk the Line."

    21. Makeup: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,""Cinderella Man,""Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith."

    22. Animated Short Film: "Badgered,""The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation,""The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello,""9,""One Man Band."

    23. Live Action Short Film: "Ausreisser (The Runaway),""Cashback,""The Last Farm,""Our Time Is Up,""Six Shooter."

    24. Visual Effects: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,""King Kong,""War of the Worlds."

    25. Honorary Award (Oscar statuette): Robert Altman.

    26. The Gordon E. Sawyer award (Oscar statuette): Gary Demos.

    Oscar nominee Strathairn in deal for "Fracture"

    David Strathairn, the newly Oscar-nominated star of "Good Night, and Good Luck," will join Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins in the thriller "Fracture."

    The New Line project follows an assistant district attorney (Gosling) who plays a cat-and-mouse game with a man (Hopkins) who tried to kill his wife but was set free on a series of technicalities. Strathairn plays the district attorney. Gregory Hoblit ("Primal Fear") will direct.

    Strathairn's starring turn as Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night" earned him an Oscar nomination Tuesday. He was also nominated for a BAFTA award, a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award and a SAG Award.

    Golden Globe Winners

    The 63rd annual Golden Globes will aired Monday, Jan. 16 2006

    Best Picture - Drama
    "Brokeback Mountain"- Winner
    "The Constant Gardener"
    "Good Night, and Good Luck"
    "A History of Violence"
    "Match Point"

    Best Actor - Drama
    Russell Crowe, "Cinderella Man"
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"- Winner
    Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"
    Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"
    David Straithairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck"

    Screen Actors Guild Awards

    The 12th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will air Sunday, Jan. 29 on TNT and TBS.

    Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture

    "Brokeback Mountain"
    "Capote"
    "Good Night, and Good Luck"
    "Crash"
    "Hustle & Flow"

    Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

    Russell Crowe, "Cinderella Man"
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"
    Joaquin Phoenex "Walk the Line"
    Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"
    David Straithairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck"

    Prisoner of love: 'Saw II' DVD due February 14

    A gruesome horror pic will join the sea of romantic comedy DVDs due out on Valentine's Day.

    Making its DVD debut on February 14 is "Saw II," the sequel starring Donnie Wahlberg that grossed more than $83 million in theaters.

    The follow-up to the 2004 shocker "Saw," the film once again finds the villainous "Jigsaw" imprisoning his hapless victims in a booby-trapped shelter. This time, they must find a way out before they inhale too much of a deadly nerve gas and die.

    Critics Choice Nominees

    A pair of critically praised independent movies, "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crash," led the list of nominees for the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, giving them an early boost in this year's Oscars race.

    Gay love story "Brokeback Mountain" earned nominations in eight categories including best film, best director for Ang Lee and best actor for Heath Ledger. "Crash," which deals with race and class issues, landed nominations in six groups, including best film, best director for Paul Haggis and best acting ensemble.

    Another independent, "Capote," detailing the early career of author Truman Capote, and two major studio releases, "Walk the Line," a love story about singers Johnny Cash and June Carter, and boxing film "Cinderella Man," had four nominations each, including best film for all three movies.

    Winners of Critics Choice Awards are chosen by 200 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association who work at radio, television and other media outlets across the United States.

    This year's nominations come amid a week of critics' awards and other honors, including Tuesday's nominations for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globe Awards, that annually help narrow the list of Oscar contenders.

    The Oscars are the U.S. film industry's top awards and will be given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on March 5. Critics Choice winners are named on January 9.

    "Brokeback Mountain," is off to a good start, having nabbed the title of 2005's best film from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association late on Saturday.

    The other five movies on the Critics Choice list of 10 best film nominees are thriller "The Constant Gardener," George Clooney-directed "Good Night, and Good Luck," Steven Spielberg's "Munich," period drama "Memoirs of a Geisha" and big-budget thriller "King Kong."

    Notably absent were director David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence," which was the Los Angeles film critics' runner-up to "Brokeback Mountain," and oil and politics drama "Syriana."

    Other Oscar hopefuls that failed to make the list were "The New World," Woody Allen's "Match Point" and "Mrs. Henderson Presents."

    Joining Lee and Haggis among best director nominees were Clooney for "Good Night," Spielberg with "Munich," Peter Jackson for "King Kong" and Ron Howard with "Cinderella Man."

    Best actor nominees with Ledger include Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Capote," Joaquin Phoenix in "Walk the Line," David Strathairn in "Good Night," Russell Crowe for "Cinderella Man" and Terrence Howard in "Hustle & Flow."

    Finally, best actress nominees were Reese Witherspoon for "Walk the Line," Dame Judi Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents," Joan Allen with "The Upside of Anger," Felicity Huffman for "Transamerica," Keira Knightley in "Pride & Prejudice" and Charlize Theron for "North Country."

    Tidbit

    Nonsmoker David Strathairn smoked 50 cigarettes a day for his "Good Night, and Good Luck" Edward R. Murrow role. He says: "I tried all different kinds of tobacco to see which would be the least crippling and ended up with pipe tobacco. It burns less harshly. Also smells better."

    'Saw II' zaps 'Zorro' at U.S. box office

    A sadistic serial killer named Jigsaw carved up Zorro at the Halloween box office in North America as moviegoers opted for the gruesome thrills of "Saw II" over the light comedy of "The Legend of Zorro."

    According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, "Saw II" sold $30.5 million worth of tickets in its first three days since October 28, well above industry expectations of a bow in the $20 million range. Its little-heralded predecessor kicked off with $18 million a year ago on its way to $55 million.

    "The Legend of Zorro," reuniting Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in a sequel to the 1998 breakthrough "The Mask of Zorro," followed at No. 2 with $16.5 million in its first three days. The previous film started with $22 million and finished with $94 million.

    Two other films entered the fray, with modest results. "Prime," a comedy starring Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep, opened at No. 3 with $6.4 million, and "The Weather Man," starring Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine, charted at No. 6 with $4.2 million.

    Last weekend's champion, the videogame-inspired sci-fi thriller "Doom," collapsed to No. 7 with $4.1 million, taking the 10-day haul for the $60 million film to $22.9 million.

    Rounding out the top five were the equine fable "Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story," with $6.3 million at No. 4 in its second weekend; and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" at No. 5 with $4.4 million in its fourth.

    "Saw II" stars Donnie Wahlberg as a corrupt cop who must work with a cancer-ridden killer to free a group of people, including the cop's son, from a grisly death in a booby-trapped house. The R-rated film was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who co-wrote the script with Leigh Whannell, the writer and co-star of the original. It was released by Lions Gate Films, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

    CRITICAL CHAGRIN

    To the chagrin of critics, "The Legend of Zorro" turns Banderas' swashbuckler into a family man having issues with his wife (Zeta-Jones) and son (Adrian Alonso). As with the first film, it was directed by Martin Campbell.

    While its bow fell short of its predecessor's, distributor Columbia Pictures was focused more on the international picture. The film, capitalizing on All Saints' day in Europe and Latin America and establishing a three-week buffer before " Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," opened in 50 countries, and totaled $27 million. The comparable figure for the previous film in the same countries was $22.3 million.

    The new film was No. 1 in 40 countries, and its best scores were in France, Britain and Spain. Columbia is a unit of Sony.

    "Prime" stars Thurman as a woman who falls in love with the son (Bryan Greenberg) of her therapist (Streep). It played mostly to older women, a demographic that failed to support such recent entries as "North Country" and "In Her Shoes." Along with "Doom, "Prime" was released by distributor Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC Universal, which is controlled by General Electric

    "The Weather Man" stars Cage as a TV meteorologist in Chicago. Distributor Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom, described the $20 million melodrama as "a labor of love" for the actor and director, Gore Verbinski.

    "Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story" was released by DreamWorks LLC, which is closely held. "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" was released by DreamWorks Animation SKG.

    2 New Wahlberg Interviews

    Donnie Wahlberg: The Cop at the Heart of Saw 2
    http://www.teenhollywood.com/d.asp?r=109904&cat=1035

    Eyes.net: Donnie Wahlberg
    http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_10.27.05/film/interview.html

    DONNIE WAHLBERG UNIMPRESSED WITH BROTHER'S SHOW

    Former NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK heart-throb DONNIE WAHLBERG hates his brother MARK WAHLBERG's hit TV show ENTOURAGE, labelling the adult drama "like a Disney show".

    BOOGIE NIGHTS hunk Mark is executive producer of the HBO show, which follows a Hollywood actor and his entourage and is loosely based on his Hollywood lifestyle.

    Older brother Donnie, who stars in horror sequel SAW II, believes the glossy entourage on the show are too clean-cut compared to real-life Tinseltown hangers-on.

    Donnie says, "I personally don't like Entourage, because I know the real guys.

    "To see those guys, it's like a Disney show. It really is toned down. These guys are nuts. They are."

    Donnie is keen to clear up rumours the JOHNNY DRAMA character - the fading star and older brother of lead character VINCE CHASE - is based on himself.

    He explains, "There is a real Johnny Drama and it's not me.

    "I wouldn't feel bad about it because the guy loosely based on Mark is so horrible. It's nothing like Mark."

    Donnie darko: Wahlberg jumps for horror role in `Saw II'

    Why would Donnie Wahlberg, the Hub homey who gained acting cred in ``Band of Brothers'' and ``Boomtown,'' choose a role in the gore-fest ``Saw II''?

    ``I never thought I'd do a horror movie, but with `Saw II' I considered all the possibilities,'' Wahlberg, 36, told the Herald last week. ``It could be huge at the end of the day. But on the other side I've always been conscientious with my choices. So I wrestled a lot.''

    It came down to three factors:

    ``First, could we make this as good as or better than the first? I had to believe that to do it.

    '`Secondly, would it appease the hard-core fans? If you alienate them, you're screwed. It would be like `Blair Witch 2.'

    ``And three, would I have a good time? I just wanted to do something fun and not feel stressed out. Do something my son Xavier, who's 12, could brag to his friends about. I can't tell you how many times I've turned down a video game being turned into a movie or a remake of a horror movie and he'll come and say after seeing it on DVD, `Dad, did you see that movie? It was awesome.' Now with Halloween after the opening weekend on `Saw II' I'll be the coolest dad.''

    `Saw II'' finds Wahlberg as Detective Eric Mathews in a tense showdown with the notorious serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), whose fiendishly sadistic scenarios made ``Saw'' a sleeper hit worldwide. This time as the police helplessly watch a video hookup, they see Jigsaw's eight captives slowly poisoned with nerve gas. One of them is Detective Mathews' son.

    Despite the over-the-top violence of the ``Saw'' movies, Wahlberg said, ``There's a real thing going on that a lot of people can relate to.''

    He was touched by a father's plight in the first movie. ``A family man was locked in that bathroom - and a wife and children were on the other end of the phone. He was trapped, incapable of going to help them. That touches anyone. As a dad, I'm thinking I'd have cut my leg off in two seconds to go save my wife and kid. That's what pulls me in emotionally.

    ``It's the same thing with the second one. Any parent would be, `Can I sit there and talk to this guy knowing what he's doing to my son? What would I do in this predicament?' That's what makes the `Saw' franchise better than the horror movies out there. `Saw,' if anything, had a lot of guts - and I don't mean that literally.''

    Wahlberg On Carson Daly's Talk Show

    Nov 2- Last Call (Donnie Wahlberg, NBC)

    'Saw II' delivers the Twisted goods in gory style

    Jigsaw, the serial killer with a particularly imaginative bent, is back in this sequel to last year's sleeper horror hit. Attempting to resurrect the sort of gory, hard-core horror film that has been eclipsed in recent years by the plethora of tamer, PG-13 releases, Lions Gate and the all too aptly named Twisted Pictures clearly have a new franchise on their hands. Halloween grosses should be monstrous, with plenty of video business to follow.

    The killer himself takes a far more prominent role in this edition, and as played by the superb Tobin Bell he's quite a memorable creation. Soft-voiced and physically frail because of the cancer ravaging his body, the diabolical Jigsaw is determined to make people appreciate their lives, mainly by dispatching them in the most ingenious of ways.

    The first victim, bloodily disposed of even before the opening credits roll, tries unsuccessfully to gouge out his own eye in order to retrieve a key that has been surgically implanted.

    Caught early on in the proceedings by burned-out (is there any other kind?) detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) and his gorgeous partner (Dina Meyer, reprising her role from the original), Jigsaw taunts them with a live video feed of his latest would-be victims, a group of eight hapless characters that happens to include Matthews' young son. Locked in a dilapidated house filled with traps that include a pit filled with dirty syringes and a container lined with razor-sharp blades, they attempt to escape by deciphering their captor's twisted clues. As might be expected, the group, which also includes a macho hothead (Franky G) and one of Jigsaw's previous victims (Shawnee Smith), don't exactly prove harmonious in their interactions.

    Although their plot structure and characterizations are pedestrian, co-screenwriters Darren Lynn Bousman (who also directed) and Leigh Whannell deliver a series of reasonably clever and horrific set pieces. If the machinations don't quite have the startling impact of those in the original, they also far outshine the pedestrian mayhem on display in the current horror glut. And though the villainous central character looks barely healthy enough to make it into the inevitable next installment, the basic concept is elastic enough to provide for an endless series of "Saw" follow-ups.

    Cast: Detective Eric Matthews: Donnie Wahlberg; Amanda: Shawnee Smith; Jigsaw: Tobin Bell; Xavier: Franky G; Jonas: Glenn Plummer; Kerry: Dina Meyer; Addison: Emmanuelle Vaugier; Laura: Beverly Mitchell; Daniel: Erik Knudsen.

    Director: Darren Lynn Bousman; Screenwriters: Darren Lynn Bousman, Leigh Whannell; Producers: Mark Burg, Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules; Executive producers: Peter Block, Jason Constantine, Stacy Testro, James Wan, Leigh Whannell; Co-producer: Daniel J. Heffner; Director of photography: David Armstrong; Editor: Kevin Greutert; Production designer: David Hackl; Costume designer: Alex Kavanaugh.

    Wahlberg Signs Up For New Show

    Former NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK heart-throb DONNIE WAHLBERG has signed up to star in a TV show loosely based on his life. Singer-turned-actor Wahlberg, older brother of MARK WAHLBERG, will chronicle his upbringing and music career in the series, which is expected to hit US screens next year (06). He says, "(The show will be about me) growing up in Boston in the '80s and being bused to a predominantly black neighbourhood from (age) seven 'til high school. "(Those years were) the greatest blessing that ever happened in my life. A lot of kids older than me heard what their parents were saying, and it was a problem for them to go to school in a black neighbourhood, but I was young, and I didn't care. "I got to school and had fun with my friends, and most of them were black. So (the show) goes back to my roots and how being exposed to all those different ingredients shaped me."

    Wahlberg On Much Music (Canada)

    Donnie Wahlberg & Lyriq Bent Wednesday October 19 5pm ET – MOD

    Strathairn Gives Better 'Luck' to Murrow

    Growing up in rural Northern California, David Strathairn says that he had very few tangible memories of CBS News icon Edward R. Murrow, but he still understood what the legend meant.

    "He was the one-and-only at that time," Strathairn reflects. "He was the Oracle of Delphi."

    Best known for his collaborations with his Williams College classmate John Sayles, Strathairn's performance as Murrow in George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck" could bring acclaim at the expense of the veteran character actor's relative anonymity. Strathairn, who looks and talks like he should be lecturing at a university, already won a special acting prize at the Venice Film Festival and is expected to hear Oscar buzz as the fall progresses.

    Although the humble actor tries to reduce his work to the level of "feeble channeling," he takes pride in the kind of preparation that led him to research Murrow's entire life, not just the limited section -- his public and on-air battles with Sen. Joseph McCarthy -- depicted in the film. He watched many hours of Murrow footage trying to find the man's look, his voice and his mannerisms.

    "I was trying to mimic certain body positions, with the help of the cinematographer," he explains. "You have the footage there, you can say, 'Well, he held his head this way ... it was a replication. It obviously was not an embodiment, but it's an ... the world 'affectation' has a different connotation to it, but what I was trying to do was affect his manner."

    In several lengthy scenes recreating Murrow's famous "See it Now" telecasts, Strathairn had to deliver lengthy monologues taken verbatim from the journalist's own words, intimate sequences staged between the actor and the camera. To make matters even more unnerving, Strathairn's director removed his only crutch.

    "Murrow read it, he read his stuff, so I had that ace in the hole, that if I fro