It’s a win for Scripps Spelling Bee Champ and Bill Murray

The 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, Zaila Avant-garde became the first African American winner on Thursday evening in the 96-year history of the competition . The competition was fierce but Zaila crushed it, celebrating the win with smiles and twirls under a burst of confetti as she received the winning trophy. In addition to … Continue reading “It’s a win for Scripps Spelling Bee Champ and Bill Murray”

Bill Murray’s brother, Caddyshack inspiration has died

Ed Murray, Bill Murray’s oldest brother and the inspiration for the film Caddyshack has died. Ed, the oldest of the Murray boys, was born in Evanston, Illinois, to Lucille, a mail-room clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, a lumber salesman. The family lived in Wilmette, Illinois. Murray and his eight siblings were raised in an Irish-Catholic family. Murray’s paternal grandfather … Continue reading “Bill Murray’s brother, Caddyshack inspiration has died”

Bill Murray on Kimmel is simply entertainment at its best

Bill Murray never lets us down. I mean literally, you cannot feel down when Bill is on his game, and last week on Jimmy Kimmel, dressed in a true fashion statement, straw hat and bright coral blazer, with what I’d guess to be an Alpaca or Pomeranian in his pocket, he did not disappoint. Clearly … Continue reading “Bill Murray on Kimmel is simply entertainment at its best”

Bill Murray, Guy Fieri have Nacho Average Showdown

In this kitchen, weighing in at god-knows-what, are Bill Murray and son Homer. In the other kitchen, weighing in at probably way more are Chef Guy Fieri and his son Hunter. Let’s… get… ready…. to…. build…. some…. nachoooooooooos. Welcome to the Nacho Average Showdown The comedian/actor and the Food Network personality and host, will food … Continue reading “Bill Murray, Guy Fieri have Nacho Average Showdown”

Bill Murray, Jens Jensen, One Show in the news

”The Bill Murray Experience” arrives on VOD platforms Dec. 19 The Bill Murray Experience documents the efforts of a recently unengaged and temporarily uninspired actress / filmmaker, Sadie Katz, as she attempts to procure “a magical chance encounter with her favorite actor and life guru, Bill Murray,” according to the film’s synopsis.   Featuring Joel … Continue reading “Bill Murray, Jens Jensen, One Show in the news”

Murray Bros. Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament

The 20th annual Murray Bros. Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament returns to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida on April 30 and May 1, 2020. Thanks to the commitment of Murray Brothers, the annual golf outing has evolved into one of the most talked-about charity golf tournaments in the country. The annual … Continue reading “Murray Bros. Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament”

How a trailblazing woman made Chicago the home of improv

Chicago’s greatest cultural export just might be improv theater, which was born at Jane Addams’ Hull House during the Great Depression and carried out into the world by the likes of Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert. While to most people improv might seem synonymous with comedy, the art form was devised … Continue reading “How a trailblazing woman made Chicago the home of improv”

The Chicago International Film Festival announces Opening Night film

The Chicago International Film Festival announced the opening night film at its Opening Night at the Drive-In presentation, and more highlights of the 57th edition, running October 13 – 24, 2021. This year, the Festival expands to venues across Chicago, including AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; and the Gene Siskel Film Center; … Continue reading “The Chicago International Film Festival announces Opening Night film”

Iconic Second City acquired by New York-based ZMC

This is no laughing matter. New York-based private equity firm ZMC announced today that it has acquired The Second City, the world’s premier brand in improvisation and sketch-based comedy entertainment and education. Founded in Chicago in 1959, The Second City is an iconic brand that has become the most influential and prolific comedy empire in the world. … Continue reading “Iconic Second City acquired by New York-based ZMC”

Chicago agency Highdive soars again in Super Bowl

Congratulations to Highdive for once again landing atop of USA Today’s Admeter. The agency’s two 60-second Super Bowl LV spots for Quicken’s Rocket Mortgage were ranked number one and two. In 2020, Highdive scored the number one spot with Jeep. The spot featured a recreation of the hit romcom, Groundhog Day, and brought back Bill … Continue reading “Chicago agency Highdive soars again in Super Bowl”

Jeep to air one spot during Super Bowl

Keeping their effort under wraps, Jeep announced it will debut one commercial during this Sunday’s (February 7, 2021) Big Game telecast. The spot will air in the second half of the game. Last year, the brand along with creative agency partner and Ad Age Small Agency of the Year Highdive, created the unforgettable, Emmy-nominated Groundhog … Continue reading “Jeep to air one spot during Super Bowl”

Steeves and Cutters on the making of before/during/after

While many people dream of assembling a Who’s Who list of premier talents to help them tell their personal story on the big screen, highly accomplished actor turned screenwriter and producer Finnerty Steeves (Orange is the New Black) has brilliantly brought this widely cherished dream to Technicolor reality with Steeves’ independent dramedy feature, before/during/after. On the heels … Continue reading “Steeves and Cutters on the making of before/during/after”

Think you know everything about Groundhog Day?

Every February 2 on Groundhog Day, North Americans wait with bated breath to discover if there will be six more weeks of winter or if there will be an early spring as foretold by Punxsutawney Phil when he emerges from his “den.” Since 1887 the large terrestrial rodent (as well as his predecessors) has been … Continue reading “Think you know everything about Groundhog Day?”

2020 in Review: Top Chicago advertising campaigns

It’s hard to remember back in February 2020, when the Kansas City Chiefs bested the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV and Parasite was winning Best Picture, no one was talking about COVID, the election and Black Lives Matter. We had no idea we were only a few weeks and months away from all … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Top Chicago advertising campaigns”

2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories

What a year, huh? 2020, which felt like a decade, will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst years ever. And who will argue? Certainly not the staff at Reel Chicago. This year, COVID forced productions to shut down. Then start back up. Then shut back down. Then start back up. It … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories”

Best of the Midwest goes to ‘Like a Girl’ from Leo Burnett

Best of the Midwest voted on by attendees as iconic ads are highlighted in benefit event for Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis food banks. The hors d’oeuvres were whatever you had on hand, the tinkling of cocktail glasses was done from afar and the applause was a bit muted, but that didn’t stop the Midwest advertising, … Continue reading “Best of the Midwest goes to ‘Like a Girl’ from Leo Burnett”

Chicago P.D., The Chi, Director & Producer dies

David Rodriguez, a director and producer for series such as TNT’s Animal Kingdom, Showtime’s The Chi and Starz’s Power, has died. He was 50. Rodriguez died on Oct. 29 from complications from a stroke. He is known for his work as a director, producer, and writer in a myriad of film and television shows. He … Continue reading “Chicago P.D., The Chi, Director & Producer dies”

‘Miss Information’ provides misinformation

The new web series Miss Information created by Ashton Swinford and directed by Nick Moore, launches weeks before the presidential election as it seeks to entertain and educate viewers on the bias, fake news, and bots that litter social media. The 5-episode web series is hosted by Miss Information, a former beauty pageant queen attempting … Continue reading “‘Miss Information’ provides misinformation”

What’s up doc? WTVP to air new Bugs Bunny special

Transcendence Broadcasting and PBS station WTVP/Peoria are taking a hard look at that “wascally wabbit.” On With The Show!, a look at the cultural impact of Bugs Bunny during the last 80 years will air this fall and next spring. “We’re very excited to be moving forward with WTVP Remote and pleased that we can … Continue reading “What’s up doc? WTVP to air new Bugs Bunny special”

Diving into Highdive and their Emmy nomination

Daring to break the traditional agency mold, Highdive is producing exciting work that pushes the envelope in new ways. Most recently, the Ad Age Small Agency of the Year partnered with Jeep to create a Super Bowl spot celebrating the 90’s classic Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray. The commercial resonated with audiences as it was … Continue reading “Diving into Highdive and their Emmy nomination”

Players Workshop offering free virtual classes

Players Workshop, the original school of improvisation in Chicago established in 1970, is offering free virtual workshops to teachers and furloughed or laid off workers to help them overcome some of the work challenges from the pandemic. Teachers will learn improvisation exercises they can use to engage and focus their students in virtual classrooms. Those looking for work will learn how to become a … Continue reading “Players Workshop offering free virtual classes”

ALG to represent John Belushi and Blues Brothers’ estate

ALG Brands has been tapped to represent the estate of John Belushi and the Blues Brothers for licensing and legacy opportunities. Announced by ALG COO Scott Austin, the branding firm will manage Mr. Belushi’s personality rights and will oversee the evolution of the Blues Brothers’ iconic intellectual property via brand collaborations, media projects, experiential events … Continue reading “ALG to represent John Belushi and Blues Brothers’ estate”

Behind the scenes of the Jeep ‘Groundhog Day’ spot

Chicago-based Highdive Advertising reinvigorated an existential pop sensation through Groundhog Day, a commercial that became a classic before it even premiered during yesterday’s Super Bowl. In a fast-forward recreation of the identically-named 1993 film, the 60-second spot stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a weatherman caught in a kink of the space-time continuum. In scene … Continue reading “Behind the scenes of the Jeep ‘Groundhog Day’ spot”

The venerable Players Workshop is reborn

Chicago institution that helped train Bill Murray, Bonnie Hunt, David Mamet, Amy Sedaris reopens “for people from all walks of life” after 15-year break Players Workshop, the original Chicago school of improvisation founded in 1970, is reopening its doors just in time for a 50th anniversary celebration next year. New owner Jeff Rogers, actor, creative … Continue reading “The venerable Players Workshop is reborn”

‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ premiere

Members of the Evans Scholars Foundation join hundreds of viewers for the golf-centric film’s Windy City debut More than 200 supporters of the Evans Scholars Foundation visited AMC River East in downtown Chicago on Thursday, May 30, for the Chicago premiere of Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk. Hailed as the most thorough feature-length documentary on … Continue reading “‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ premiere”

Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box

A cornucopia of classic genre screenings, premieres, and events to take place at Chicago’s iconic Music Box Theatre.     From June 21st through June 28th, a cornucopia of genre screenings and events will take place at the Music Box Theatre for its second annual Cinepocalypse. The film festival grinds together a gory cocktail of … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box”

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Beginning June 5th, the Millennium Park Summer Film series will enhance the Tuesday night screenings that have become one of Chicago’s most beloved outdoor traditions. According to a press release issued by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the movies will be “programmed in collaboration with a local independent film festival … Continue reading “Millennium Park Summer Film Series”

Erv Dahl “nails” Rodney Dangerfield in new Lampoon film

Chicago performer Erv Dahl plays Rodney Dangerfield in the recently released Netflix movie, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, about the rise and fall of National Lampoon magazine. In addition to recreating the facial twitches and hand gestures that helped bring fame to the man who gets no respect, Dahl “nails Rodney Dangerfield’s voice,” according to … Continue reading “Erv Dahl “nails” Rodney Dangerfield in new Lampoon film”

Ch. 11 to air Superbowl winning “’85 Bears” doc 9/7

Thirty years ago last January, the 1985 Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was carried off the New Orleans Superdome turf after the Bears demolished the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX on Jan. 26, 1986.

Now a feature-length doc brings that memorable victory back to life. “’85 Bears: The Greatest Team in Pro Football History” will premiere in for Chicago audiences Wednesday, Sept. 7 on WTTW/11 at 8 p.m.

Optimus trailers win 5 out of 9 Camp Kuleshov awards

The affectionate trailer for “Shark Song,” a fictional feel-good story created by The Whitehouse’s assistant editor Caleb Hepler, was the grand prize winner at the 10th annual AICE trailer editing competition.

Nine winners were announced at a party and awards show at the Bottom Lounge’s Volcano Room Thursday, Nov. 10.  Of these, five were assistant editors who won for Camp Kuleshov and four non-assistants, who work at AICE member companies and won for the Tent City division contest.

Of the nine winners, five were Optimus talents.

Second City training pioneer Jo Forsberg dies at 90

Chicago improv legend Josephine Raciti Forsberg passed away at age 90 on Oct. 3. Forsberg was present at the birth of what became the Second City, working with its earliest predecessor, the Playwrights Theatre Club.

She taught workshops with Viola Spolin; produced and directed the Children’s Theatre at the Second City for decades; and also taught at the Players Workshop, a forerunner of the current Second City Training Center.
 

O&M’s Diedrich hits a home run with “Ballhawks” doc

Mike Diedrich was videotaping outside a Cubs-Pirates game in 2004 when there were two home runs in the first inning.  “There were four or five ballhawks out there,” Diedrich says.

“They got each home run because they were in position.  When you heard the crack of the bat, they took four or five steps toward where the ball was going to land.  They looked like Major League players tracking a fly ball.”

Local 476 electsTom Glynn as union president

LOCAL 476’S ELECTION OF OFFICERS retained Mark Hogan as business agent of the 800-member union for a second term, and voted in three new officers, president Tom Glynn, who replaces Dick Oakes. Bradley Mattys, recording secretary, replacing Dennis de la Mata and Patrick McGee a new executive board member.

Hogan said more than 50% of the membership voted, returning 407 ballots out of 760 mailed in October to members eligible to vote. Ballots were counted Dec. 14.

The new officers will serve a three-year term.

Someone has to get those brands on the screen;
in Chicago the go-to man is George Simkowski

Stories of the little-known business of product placement were spotlighted on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable in the person of Chicago’s George Simkowski of Let’s Go Hollywood.

Placement pioneer Simkowski got into the business years back when he was ad manager of Webcor phonographs and tape recorders, and an MGM producer called to use a tape recorder as a prop.

“And I said, ?what’s a prop?'” he recalls.

‘Maya’ continues Pearle Vision’s strategy to showcase Small Moments

Pearle Vision has launched their latest installment in the award-winning Small Moments campaign, a cinematic mini-movie titled “Maya,” in which a young Indian girl goes from feeling like an outsider to a more confident young woman with the help of a Pearle Vision eye care expert.   “Maya” continues Pearle Vision’s strategy to showcase the … Continue reading “‘Maya’ continues Pearle Vision’s strategy to showcase Small Moments”

Mophonics, Energy BBDO & ATKPLN launch Claritin spot

Mophonics Music and Sound, in partnership with Energy BBDO, has created a lovable original song for Claritin’s “The Outsideologist Project”—a new online program designed to get kids outside 1 more hour per week. The original composition, “Unboring Starts with U,” written and performed by in-house Mophonics composer and ACD Casey Gibson, teaches kids weird facts … Continue reading “Mophonics, Energy BBDO & ATKPLN launch Claritin spot”

2020 in Review: Remembering Who Left Us

Whether you stay in Chicago to make your mark or leave to make your impact felt somewhere else, you are still Chicago. 100%. It’s a badge of honor anyone from the city, that is second to none, wears proudly. When you win, we cheer for you. And when we lose you, we cry and hug … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Remembering Who Left Us”

2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List

Congratulations to our friends and advertisers who have received nominations for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy. The 62nd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will broadcast virtually in November. Regions covered by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter include Chicago, Illinois; Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois; Rockford, Illinois; South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana; Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin. Here is the complete list … Continue reading “2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List”

The 2019 Black Harvest Film Festival

The Gene Siskel Film Center’s 25th annual celebration of African Americans and the African diaspora August 3-29 The Gene Siskel Film Center celebrates the stories, dreams, history, and legacy of African Americans and the African diaspora in the 25th edition of the annual Black Harvest Film Festival. In addition to 50-plus film screenings, there will … Continue reading “The 2019 Black Harvest Film Festival”

Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless”

Aside from Macy and “Roseanne’s” Laurie Metcalf, Chicago connections went ignored: nothing for “The Chi,” “Empire,” and Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” series   Frank Gallagher is the worst father on TV, but for Two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy, the shiftless dad is pure gold. The talented actor scored his fifth Emmy nomination for his work … Continue reading “Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless””

BETC Paris dominates 2017 Mobius Awards

BETC Paris earned Best of Show nods in two categories of the 2017 Mobius Awards, which were announced on February 1. Founded in 1971, the Mobius Awards is an annual culmination of a review by a jury that spans the globe. Among the academic, entertainment and marketing professionals who judged 2017 submissions is Leo Burnett-Chicago … Continue reading “BETC Paris dominates 2017 Mobius Awards”

Clorox business returns to FCB after 20 year absence

IT’S A WELCOME HOMECOMING for the massive Clorox portfolio of brands, globally, which has moved back to FCB after a 20 year run with DDB, following an account review that began last December.

The account spent $269 million on measured media on its main brand in 2015.

The household product giant ended its 71-year relationship with FCB’s San Francisco office in 1996 when it consolidated its business at DDB. It was billing $71 million at that time.

17 Non-broadcasting entries vie for 2011 Emmy Awards

Come November’s 2011 Emmy Awards ceremonies, a very large number of broadcasting persons and entities among scores of contenders, will take home a coveted Emmy statuette as winners in 27 Outstanding Achievement categories.

Of those 27 categories, 15 will honor achievements in programming, commercials and crafts produced by 17 local and regional production companies other than broadcasters, as shown below. 

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

GONE WITHOUT A TRACE? Just a year ago this month Brooke English and Lee Litis with great flourish announced their Dreamation Studio was moving into a huge Buffalo Grove facility to produce massive amounts of animated features and TV with an anticipated staff of 100.

In November 2004 they also staged the wildly successful Cineme animation film festival with bigger plans for 2005. It looked like they were here to stay.

Now it appears Dreamation and Cineme are in the wind. No phone numbers anywhere. Thinking the partners returned to L.A.