"Being a part of a company like [Disney] comes with certain expectations. Not overtly, but there was a subtle vibe. We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude-photo scandal happened. We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown. We'd hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn't ever mess up. We didn't want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under. We were just kids. That's the reality. We were frightened little kids. So you got all this responsibility that's foisted upon you and you're expected to be perfect. … [But] being a part of the Disney thing for so long will make you not want to be this perfect little puppet forever. Eventually, I hit a limit and thought, Screw all this, I'm just going to show people who I am. I think that happened to a lot of us. Disney kids are spunky in some way, and I think that's why Disney hires them. 'Look, he jumped up on the table!' Five, six, 10 years later, they're like, "Oh! What do we do?" Come on, guys. You did this to yourselves. The first time I smoked weed was with Demi [Lovato] and Miley [Cyrus]. I must have been 17 or 18. They kept saying, 'Try it! Try it!' so I gave it a shot, and it was all right. … I was caught drinking when I was 16 or 17, and I thought the world was going to collapse."
—24-year-old Joe Jonas, in an extensive interview published at vulture.com about his and his brothers' rise to fame as the Jonas Brothers [vulture.com, 12/1/13]
One Direction made chart history last week by becoming the first group ever to have its first three albums debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. Midnight Memories sold 546,000 copies its first week. [billboard.com, 12/4/13 stats]
According to a new Nielsen study of consumer interaction with music, terrestrial radio is still the chief avenue by which people are discovering new songs, with 63% of U.S. music listeners giving that 19th-century invention the thumbs-up. Not that it's stopping them from also going all 21st-century with their tunes: 68% report that they have streamed music online in the past year, up 40% compared to the previous year. [usatoday.com, 11/7/13 stats]
"I grew up in Texas. My dad is in the oil business but he also did missionary work. In Texas if you don't go to church you're strange, in L.A. if you go to church you're crazy. That was something I had to learn. It's a choice. I should be able to believe in what I want to believe in and so should you. It shouldn't be an area of tension. It's interesting, a lot of times when you bring it up, it becomes as controversial, if not more, than bringing up politics."
—former Baywatch star Brooke Burns, who is now co-host of The Chase, a game show on GSN [foxnews.com, 12/2/13]
The History Channel, which scored a massive ratings hit with its Mark Burnett and Roma Downey-produced miniseries The Bible earlier this year, is finalizing details for a new spiritually themed series titled The Lost Years. Deadline.com staff writer Nellie Andreeva says of its focus, "I hear that The Lost Years was conceived in the horror genre, and it explores a theory about Jesus' origins as an exorcist." It is being produced by three horror-movie veterans: Eli Roth, Eric Newman and Scott Kosar, who collectively have been responsible for the likes of the Hostel franchise, The Last Exorcism, Dawn of the Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror. [deadline.com, 12/3/13]
When NBC aired Carrie Underwood and Co.'s rendition of The Sound of Music last Thursday, it was the first time in more than 50 years that a Broadway musical had been adapted and broadcast live on television. And some 18.5 million people tuned in to see it, the network's biggest Thursday-night audience since Frasier's final episode in 2004. "This staging of The Sound of Music was not perfect, or even really good, but, oh my, it was cozy, the television equivalent of singing 'My Favorite Things' while riding out a thunderstorm," wrote Slate's Willa Paskin. "Better this strange special event projecting sincerity and effort than another one of NBC's cynical, awful sitcoms that will never, ever have a moment as glorious as Audra McDonald singing 'Climb Every Mountain' even if it runs long enough to get a syndication deal." [slate.com, 11/6/13; usatoday.com, 11/6/13 stats]
Former South African president and civil rights icon Nelson Mandela passed away on Friday just hours before his daughter, Zindzi, was scheduled to see a screening of a new film chronicling his life, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. When asked if she wanted the event to be canceled, she said no because, according to Us Weekly film reporter Charles Thorp, "She believes it's an accurate portrayal." Verne Harris, the Director of Research and Archive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, worked with the moviemakers on the film, and he mostly agrees with that assessment. "I think it offers a powerful and authentic representation of Mr. Mandela's life and times," Harris told Fox News. "But it is not a documentary, so unavoidably the demands of poetic license results in occlusions, the collapsing of several events into one, etc." [foxnews.com, 12/7/13]
"Movies are about fantasy, but they have real-life impact. The lesson Hollywood should be teaching is to live responsibly, but too few in Hollywood live that way. Everything Hollywood does influences our culture."
—Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Institute, speaking about the untimely death of Paul Walker and the influence that his Fast & Furious movies have had. Walker died in a high-speed car accident last week. [foxnews.com, 12/4/13; eonline.com, 12/4/13]
You already knew iPads and other tablets were taking over the world. You've seen them being used at your doctor's office, your car repair shop and the nail salon. And they're being handed out to your kids at school. But now they're moving from the role of digital assistant to something quite different, literally replacing people altogether in service-oriented arenas. Oh, and as teachers and entertainers for babies too.
Applebee's (and possibly corporate sibling IHOP too) is planning to roll out 100,000 Intel-based tablets in 2014, allowing patrons to pay their bill digitally after touching their way to fresh drinks and more food. And Andrew Leonard of salon.com tells about recently being confronted by an army of iPads in the concourse at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. "Every single seat in the gate area came with its own iPad-equipped table," he writes. "A restaurant sprawling nearby continued the theme—no wait-staff visible, but an iPad in a cradle sitting upright in front of every chair. Facing a long layover, I knew I had to eat. But for a moment I was paralyzed. Any substantive distinction between the boarding area and restaurant had been annihilated and I didn't know where to turn."
Fisher Price, meanwhile, has released something the baby-products company calls the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat, which is equipped with an iPad case. [salon.com, 12/6/13; abcnews.go.com, 12/6/13; nhregister.com, 12/3/13]