Talk about must-see TV.  Last week’s pair of specials – “Carol Burnett: 90th Years of Laughter+Love”  on Wednesday on NBC and James Corden’s farewell in two segments dubbed “The Last Last Late Late Show with James Corden”  on CBS on Thursday —  were splendid spectacles for the armchair brigade.

And the ratings showed audiences approved, too. The Burnett blockbuster logged 7.6 million viewers in true prime-time, and the Corden finale drew 1.43 million viewers, over two segments, one in prime, the other in late night lane. Hope you saw these shows.

Carole Burnett, with Julie Andrews at the bash.

The wattage of stars assembling to pay homage to Burnett included such iconic celebs like Julie Andrews, Cher, Allison Janney, Susan Lucci, Kristen Wiig, Laura Dern, and Maya Rudolph, with additional notables in TV clips, largely from Burnett’s indelible and incredible shows that made her a TV queen. Many live vocalizing, too, from the likes of Katy Perry, Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenowith.
Vicki Lawrence, a surviving luminary from Burnett’s gallery of greats, was a standout. Cast greats Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and Tim Conway were remembered in numerous comedic sketches, each demonstrating keen timing…before bursting out in laughter.

Corden’s goodbye boasted a pair of powerhouse stars, Adele returning to the driver’s seat in a funny, impressive “Carpool Karaoke” rendering, which attracted 3.65 million viewers.

James Corden and Tom Cruise in”Hakuna Makata.”

Then Tom Cruise, not one to commonly get out of his comfort zone as a Hollywood biggie, was a good sport, joining Corden in a surprise cameo in “The Lion King,” and appeared in fuel regalia for the “Hakuna Makata” number, before a real audience at The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. Imagine the squeals of delight! ‘Twas also kinda a first, for a Broadway show, would accept this kind of intrusion, but certainly, it was win-win for Corden, Cruise and the Disney empire.

In the second segment, Harry Styles, in chic yellow pants and jacket, demonstrated his smooth style, offering “As It Was,” prompting social media buzz with more than 96,000 mentions and 932 million impressions.

Yep, ’twas TV at its best. …

One in, one out at DHT

Talk about confusing; Diamond Head Theatre has altered its 2023-24 season, in the midst of its campaign to get season subscribers to renew their subscriptions. The addition of one show and the exclusion of another has altered the lineup.

DHT will include Disney’s “Frozen,” and pegged it as a Hawaii premiere, beginning July 26.

That was the slot for “My Fair Lady,” and we erroneously said “Lady” was bumped in earlier reportage. But not so; it’s still aboard, moving up to a Dec. 1 premiere, replacing the previously-scheduled “Scrooge, the Stingiest Man in Town,” which has been yanked.

The rest of the season is intact: “Mamma Mia” bows Sept. 22, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” opens Feb. 2; “Kiss Me Kate,” arrives April 5; and “Tootsie,” premieres May 31.

With “Scrooge” erased from the agenda, it’ll be the second season in a row where DHT has no Christmas show.

DHT needs to update its season flier, without “Scrooge,” but with “Frozen,” and with “Lady” in its new position.

Also, a new season flyer should be issued to season ticket holders, perhaps with a new cover message from John Rampage, DHT artistic director. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


The mystery is confirmed, with the announcement that Chris Sanders — the only voice heard in Disney’s hit TV series and subsequent animated feature films — will continue to provide the words and sounds of Lilo’s sci-fi dog-like pet in the forthcoming “Lilo & Stitch” live-action movie.

Simply put, Stitch will be created by computer graphics, with genetically altered technology earlier embraced in the making of “The Lion King.” Not merely a dude in blue…but one with destructive power.

Thus, Sanders (pictured left)  will provide the voice and words for Lilo’s sci-fi dog-like alien.

As earlier announced, the Big Island’s Maia Kealoha, 6, has been cast as Lilo Pelekai, in her film debut.

The cast will include Sydney Agudong, 22,(pictured left), as Nani, Lilo’s sister. It’s also her big screen debut, though she has minor TV credits.

And Kahiai Machado (pictured left) will portray David Kawena, Lilo’s surfer friend, which was originally voiced by Jason Scott Lee in the original TV series. In this outing, David will emerge as Nani’s love interest.

Zach Galifianakis has been mentioned to portray Wendy Pleakly, a quirky Galactic Federation agent. Further, Billy Magnussen has been listed to be in the cast, though the role is unknown.

The new film will continue the exploits of Lilo and Stitch, extending their bond while still residing in Hawaii, and plagued by government agents and social workers, according to online reports.

The Dean Fleischer Camp is directing; the group has a background in comedy and is known for its “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.” The screenplay was written by Chris Kekaniokalani Bright and the production is being overseen by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich.

Though a release date is not yet firm, it’s likely to be on Disney+’s 2024 agenda. …

Tam among actors in ‘Earth Day’ concert

Jason Tam, Hawaii actor (“A Chorus Line,” “Jesus Christ Superstar”) will be among the participants in the second annual “Broadway Celebrates Earth Day” concert on Saturday (April 22) at Times Square.

The Broadway Green Alliance, in partnership with the Times Square Alliance, are co-hosting.

The event will be staged from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets. If you happen to be New York, local boy Tam (pictured right) will appear in the morning program.

 Seth Rudestsky and James Wesley will host the concert. …

Broadway grosses, for week ending April 16

So “The Phantom of the Opera,” which closed April 16 after a 35 year run, left the building (the Majestic Theatre), taking along $3.739 million in its adieu.

The tally might’ve reached $4 million, because the finale included a lot of comps and likely a star-studded crowd eager to see the chandelier crash for the final time.

Here are the top seven shows, for the week ending April 16, with figures provided by The Broadway League:

1 — “The Phantom of the Opera,” $3.739 million.

2 — “The Lion King,” $2.825 million.

3 — “Wicked,” $2.251 million.

4– “Hamilton,” $2.040 million.

5 — “Sweeney Todd,” $1.789 million.

6 — “Funny Girl,” $1.762 million.

7 — “Aladdin,” $1.761 million. …

Here’s the complete list:

And that’s Show Biz. …


Expectations were high, when  “Magnum P.I.” aired in a new time slot on a new network this past Sunday (Feb. 19), but audience response was disappointing.

“Magnum” moved to NBC  on Sundays, with a double-dose two-episode launch. The Peacock network rescued the island-based show which ran for four seasons on CBS … then abruptly cancelled the show.

Simply stated, the highly-anticipated “Magnum” debut on NBC  drew lower-than-expected ratings.

 The first of two episodes drew 3.8 million viewers and a 0.3 rating in the demo.

 The second logged 3.2 million viewers and a 0.3 rating.

The slightly good news? The second episode won the 9 p.m. hour. So numbers matter.

You remember, Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks) were smooching like young lovers, at the finale of season four last year.

Magnum and Higgins still are very much together during season five, sharing an intimate shower, hugging, and engaged in lovey-dovey banter while cruising on Magnum’s signature red Ferrari or settled in their Windward Oahu estate.

But mum’s the word, so far, so the chat’s not out of the bag yet. Their relationship is still hush-hush.

Hernandez remains one of the show’s producers, so he’s likely in the driver’s seat to help steer the storytelling. How and when he and Higgins will come clean will be an ongoing sideshow.

Perdita Weeks (Higgins) and Jay Hernandez (Magnum) go under cover in season five of “Magnum P.I.”

For now, they’re clearly an “item,” and it’s a big secret.

The question now is, they’re harboring an awkward shibai (Japanese for “lies” or, bull)  and they’re afraid or confused about how and when they tell their colleagues that they’re in a relationship.

After all, both are investigators and professional and devoted to their jobs. A romantic alliance is not an easy task, no different from any office affair. Lips are sealed. Period. But gossip will emerge.

Alone, they share affection but are treading slowly and it makes sense that the episode when the revelation is made will highlight the fifth season.

Meanwhile, there’s a new sweetness in their unexpected relationship. Magnum and Higgins have a new normal with extreme pressure to only display their feelings privately. When they’re a coosome twosome.

There was a warm aw-shucks moment when he surprised her with dinner in the wine cellar.

They demonstrate their commitment to their jobs,  and  they go undercover to play lifesavers to  help solve a mystery of a drowning death.

There are potential conflicts, challenges and changes to complicate their new roles as partners in life and in work

Immediately, Rick (Zachary Knighton) moves into the guest house, without earlier informing Higgins, and he’s a potential third wheel distraction  (four, if Rick’s new infant daughter is included).

Higgins is often the thinker and the smart one in the equation, confessing there would be issues if Rick is on the premises.

So there’s a period of adjustment in the immediate future.

Further, there are other red flags:

Michael Rady
  • The uncertainty of the fare of Timothy  Det. Gordon Katsumoto (Tim Kang), a police honcho in the four seasons. He has a successor, however temporary, in season five, so yep, he’ll soon do his soul-searching to decide his fate.
    • The presence and purpose of Katsumoto’s replacement, Det. Chris Childs (Michael Rady), is somewhat shady with valid concerns: Is he a loyal peer or potential  foe of Magnum and Higgins?
  • The return of Jin Jeong (Bobby Lee), a comedic character now involved in offering $5,000 to purchase the innards of a storage slot, is a convenient diversion from the romance.
Bobby Lee

So: how will Rick (Zachary Knighton), Theodore TC Calvin (Stephen Hill) and “Kumu” Tuileta (Amy Hill) discover the under-wraps romance between Magnum and Higgins?

My bet’s on Kumu, who seems to know a lot of things a lot of times. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


What’s better than one crossover TV show? How about a three-way networking?

The online buzz, confirmed by recent CBS promos, is that the first-ever three-way crossover is set involving the three remaining “NCIS” shows  in the procedural’s stable on Jan. 2, dominating prime time from 7 to 10 p.m. that evening.

The three-hour-long block will assemble teams from the three shows who will unite in Washington, DC, to celebrate a FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) professor, who trained members from each squad. On the eve of the celebration, the prof is discovered dead of an apparent suicide and his former students immediately suspect foul play.

Familiar “NCIS” regulars, gathered for the triple crossover shows airing Jan 2.

First up, “NCIS” and its episode, entitled “Too Many Cooks,” where the teams will come together and sort out investigative strategies.

“Hawai’i” is next up at bat, via “Deep Fake,” where some agents will find themselves captured while some find assets arriving in the islands that could be connected to several overseas assassinations.

“L.A.” is the finale, with an episode called “A Long Time Coming,” with agents find themselves ambushed with each with a $200,000 bounty on their head.

One night, three thrillers and teams, proving there’s strength in numbers, with CBS banking on high ratings from the Good Ship NCIS. Remember when the flagship procedural gave birth to three other series: “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” and “NCIS: Hawai‘i” (New Orleans has been cancelled).

Mark Harmon

It would be a coup, if the flagship original show’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs –that would be Mark Harmon, who led the investigations as special agent Gibbs over 18 seasons – might be aboard, too. But it’s unlikely, since he has not been an on-camera regular for the past two seasons, though he has been credited as an executive producer for most of the run. He wanted out after season18, but remained for two appearances in season 19, to assure CBS to remain committed to the franchise.

Spoiler! Online buzz theorizes that a body bag figures in the crossover, with an unthinkable and unsettling discovery!

There have been some crossovers involving three shows still airing on three other fronts. The networks haven’t been toasting a three-bie  involving the trio of  “Chicago,” “FBI” and “Law and Order” franchises. One doctor or cop or fireman or investigator have made quick cameos in these camps. …

Sight ‘ems

Melanie Tojio Lockyer

I bumped into New York theater couple local actress-director Melanie Tojio Lockyer (“Miss Saigon,” “Allegiance”) and her actor husband Peter Lockyer (“Miss Saigon,” “Les Miserables,” “Chicago”) at the opening of “The Year Christmas Was Almost Cancelled last weekend at Mamiya Theatre. They’re holidaying here to visit her family but enjoyed a reunion of the holiday musical’s co-creators, Kyle Kakuno and Roslyn Catracchia.

At the recent Randy Rainbow concert at Hawaii Theatre, he asked the audiences during a Q&A moment, where he might find nightlife action following his concert. Several in the audience shouted “Hula’s,” and it was uncertain if Rainbow knew this was a gay hangout. I ran into Hula’s proprietor Jack Law, after the show, in a nearby parking garage, and he was all smiles. “Quite a plug,” said Law. Not likely that the comedian/parodist made the trek after the show. …

Broadway grosses, week ending Dec. 4

While “The Music Man” remains No. 1 as the top-grossing Broadway show with $3.083 million last week, “The Lion King” roared to the tune of $2.162 million for No. 2 creds, leaving “Hamilton” at No. 3 with a respectable $2.083 million.

Such is the see-sawing rankings, courtesy The Broadway League.

The numbers:

And that’s Show Biz. …


Just asking …

If Hollywood filmmakers are seeking hefty discounts and insider tax incentives to shoot projects  in Hawaii – vs. other tropical sites such as Mexico or the Caribbean – shouldn’t state regulators  consider new mandatory requirements to ensure mutually beneficial perks?

One consideration might be to require, when possible, at least a secondary role for union actors from Hawaii to gain an edge to audition for a part on camera. Instead of a Maori from New Zealand to play someone local, why not a genuine local?

So often, shows are cast before setting shop on our shores, while we have a stable of eager performers hungry for work. Local behind-the-scenes techies are regularly hired; why not on camera participants, too? Then, it might be a win-win situation. The attitude that we don’t have talent here is so untrue.

The last and only TV show to hire fresh island faces for secondary leads was the original “Hawaii Five-0,” giving Al Harrington and Zulu a huge opportunity to strut their stuff. The only current islander (though now a Los Angeles resident) is Anthony Ruivivar, who plays the husband of lead agent Vanessa Lachery in “NCIS: Hawaii.” His role is recurring, but limited.  Technically,  Amy Hill of the rebooted “Magnum P.I.” (she plays Tutui) is not a local, but now sorta is, since she has bought a condo, which makes her a part-time resident but she lives and talks like  one us anyway.

The query: Don’t you think Hawaii-based shows, notably TV, should hire more resident actors? …