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The 2015 Miss USA Pageant Will Return to Baton Rouge Sunday, July 12. It will be recorded live from the Baton Rouge River Center and appear on NBC 8-11 pm ET. Below is the Miss USA Pageant Press Release.

New York, NY – April 14, 2015 – NBC, Donald J. Trump and Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, announced today that the 2015 MISS USA® Pageant will take place in Baton Rouge, La.  After the success of last year’s telecast, the MISS USA pageant returns to air LIVE from The Baton Rouge River Center Sunday, July 12 (8-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.

“The 2014 MISS USA® Pageant delivered an unprecedented amount of national and international exposure for Baton Rouge, taking its reputation for tourism and business opportunities beyond the local level,” says Trump. “This year’s pageant will be no different. Continuing our partnership guarantees another sold-out show that will provide Louisiana’s capital with another three hours of primetime television coverage,” adds Trump.

“There is always a genuine feeling of true hospitality when visiting Baton Rouge,” says Shugart. “We have created an incredible partnership with the city, and are honored to have the responsibility of sharing what their community has to offer through our worldwide telecasts,” adds Shugart. “Baton Rouge was recently named one of the Top 10 Happiest Cities in America by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which is no surprise to us. We truly cannot wait to go back.”

The Miss Universe Organization will return to the “Capital City” to produce the 2015 MISS USA® Pageant after the tremendous results from last summer. The 2014 MISS USA® broadcast and its events leading up to the show placed Baton Rouge on a world stage, bringing the city unparalleled exposure which vastly increased web traffic and created countless mentions in news and social media. The telecast shared the best of Louisiana’s vibrant culture and featured its lively music scene, unique food and proud people. On the night of last year’s pageant, hotels showed their largest surge in revenue, with an increase of 25 percent from the same day in 2013. Furthermore, it was reported by local news to be a “tourism victory.”

“Last year’s pageant was great exposure for Louisiana. We showed off Louisiana’s unique culture, abundant leisure opportunities and delicious seafood,” Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said. “We are excited to have the Miss Universe Organization back in 2015 to share our one-of-a-kind hospitality with the contestants and the pageant’s millions of television viewers.”

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Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden said, “There are so many things about the return of MISS USA to Baton Rouge that are unprecedented, but one of the most memorable from last year which we will again see was the fantastic exposure it gave Baton Rouge and Louisiana as a great tourism destination. There was a national social media buzz about this event all week as the contestants made local appearances. I’m going to predict this year will be even better now that everyone has seen how much entertainment MISS USA brings to Baton Rouge.”

“We are elated that the pageant is returning to Baton Rouge. Visitors, contestants and the nation alike saw the uniqueness of Baton Rouge’s attractions, food and culture last year,” said Paul Arrigo, president and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge. “With so much more to see and do in Baton Rouge, we cannot wait to showcase everything else our great city has to offer.”

There’s more!

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After The Sound of Music broadcast live in December, NBC is hoping to match the musical’s ratings highs with the upcoming live performance of Peter Pan. And they’ve just landed one of the best song-and-dance men of the last century.

In the new televised musical adaptation of Peter Pan, Christopher Walken will star as Captain Hook. The Oscar winner will be reteaming with Hairspray producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “The exhilarating thing about doing these live musicals,” said Zadan and Meron, “ is giving the stage to a thrilling performer like Chris and seeing his once-in-a-lifetime performance unfold at the same moment the audience is watching at home.”

“He’s one of the most unique actors in our business,” says Greenblatt. “He might really just be a song and dance man at heart. This may be the first tap dancing Captain Hook you’ve ever seen.”

While they know a female will play Peter, the actress to take on the role has not been announced. There was talk of Frozen star Kristen Bell, but unfortunately her schedule won’t work. There was also talk of casting a male, but several women wanted to do it.

NBC’s new take on the famous characters in James M Barrie’s book comes from the network’s live Broadway broadcast in 1955. The show starred Mary Martin and Cyril Richard and drew sixty-five million viewers. The show was shown live again in 1956 and 1960.

This time around it’s Walken’s time to shine. “I started my career in musicals and it’s wonderful after all this time, at this point in my career, to be in this classical musical I watched as a child and to work with Neil MEron and Craig Zadan again after Hairspray,” said Walken. “It’s a chance to put on my tap shoes again.”

The NBC production will be broadcast live on December 4.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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Wes Brown’s Deception

by Catie Ragusa on June 30, 2014

NUP_149533_2844-webThis article originally ran in the July/August 2013 issue of Scene Magazine. Brown starred in HBO’s True Blood in its second season.

“You start at the bottom and you do your best to earn your way up,” says actor Wes Brown. “You hope that every single project will help you grow. That you will learn from it. If it turns out bad, you learn from it. If it turns out good, you learn from that, too.” Though born in Texas, Wes Brown was raised in Louisiana, attending high school in Baton Rouge at Parkview Baptist School. “When you’re just getting started, you need experience,” he says. “The experience of being on set, of acting for the camera, and you can’t be too picky and choosy.”

After high school, Brown had no plans to pursue acting as a career, studying business and finance at LSU, where he befriended fellow Parkview grad Daniel Lewis. “We were friends at LSU and it just so happened that we both eased into the same line of work,” he recalls. “I moved out to L.A. [after college], but he was one of those people that I’ve always kept in touch with.” After their stint at LSU, Lewis became a producer. Brown continued acting.

In 2009, Brown recurred in a seven-episode stint in the second season of HBO’s vamp camp drama True Blood. Despite his Louisiana roots, Brown says that growing up in the Bayou State didn’t help him to get his role on the Louisiana-set series. His character, Luke McDonald, was a football player from Texas.

“I was actually the only American on the show,” says Brown. “Ryan Kwanten’s from Australia. Stephen Moyer’s from London. Alex Skarsgard’s from Sweden. If you look at the acting community as a whole, there’s not many from Louisiana. It’s nice to see people from our home state doing this stuff.”

Brown was soon cast as the lead in Storm War, a Syfy Channel Original shooting in Baton Rouge. It was produced by his friend Daniel Lewis of Active Entertainment. The film follows a pair of estranged brothers who uncover a mystery behind a series of natural disasters that are destroying famous monuments in Washington D.C.

After appearing on the CW soap 90210 as Taylor Williams, and as Dr. Judson Lyons on the medical dramedy Hart of Dixie, Brown auditioned for a major role on a network show: NBC’s big budget primetime soap Deception. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t take it that serious,” he says. The role was originally written for an actor in his forties.

NUP_154787_0762_web There’s more!

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‘Pitch Perfect 2’ Adds Aca-Country Group Pentatonix

by Arthur Vandelay on June 25, 2014

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A newly famous a capella group will soon be in the highly anticipated a capella sequel Pitch Perfect 2,  directed by Elizabeth Banks. Pentatonix, a five person country a capella group, rose to stardom after winning NBC’s The Sing-Off in its third season. The group includes Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan, Kristie Maldonado and Kevin Olusola. In the sequel, they will play a rival group to the Barden Bellas.

Pentatonix got the full treatment when they spent a twelve hour day on set in Baton Rouge, including makeup and wardrobe. “We’re wearing some pretty interesting things,” says Hoying in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “You can definitely tell it’s the five of us, but what we’re wearing and who we’re portraying is definitely not Pentatonix.” Even though the band isn’t playing themselves, they were able to arrange their own song and keep “the Pentatonix sound.”

While Pentatonix are fans of the cast, it turned out that they had some fans in the cast. “Me and my roommate watch your Vines,” said Anna Kendrick to the group. ”I am the biggest fan of Pentatonix,” said Skylar Astin.

This group has talent and people recognize it. Catch them, well as the returning talented stars Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Hana Mae Lee and Alexis Knapp when Pitch Perfect 2 hits theaters May 15, 2015.

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Wes Brown Gets ‘Infamous’

by Jenny Bravo on August 1, 2012

Most recently seen on the CW’s 90210, Louisiana-born Wes Brown heads to a new drama, NBC’s Infamous. With appearances on big name hits such as Private PracticeTrue Blood and Hart of Dixie, Brown’s newest role will replace that of actor Neil Jackson as ladies man, Julian.

The show, premiering in midseason, stars Meaghan Good as a determined detective secretly looking into the curious death of her childhood friend. Also starring in the series are Victor Garber, Katherine LaNasa and Breakout Kings – filmed in Baton Rouge – star Laz Alonso.

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NBC’s “Today Show” spotlights New Orleans

by Arthur Vandelay

This morning, NBC’s “The Today Show” featured New Orleans as the third largest production hub in the country. Those interviewed in the video below representing the city include: Herb Gains, Executive Producer of Warner Bros “Green Lantern”, Spike Lee, Director of “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise”, Sherri McConnell, Executive Director of […]

Spoof flick “Vampires Suck” images and trailer released

by Danielle Tabary

Jumping on the blood-sucking bandwagon, 20th Century Fox brings back comedy duo Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer to make a vampire spoof “Vampires Suck”. The directing duo are well known for comedy spoofs such as “Date Movie”, “Epic Movie”, “Meet the Spartans” and “Disaster Movie”. Friedberg and Seltzer are no strangers to Louisiana. After previously […]

Emmy nods for “True Blood” and “Treme”

by Danielle Tabary

The nominations for the 62nd Annual Emmy Awards were announced July 8, and Louisiana’s own “True Blood” and “Treme” were recognized in multiple categories. “True Blood” received a total of 5 Emmy nods, its most notable nomination being Outstanding Drama Series. The series was also recognized for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series […]