June 24, 2010
Room 222 --

Before "Beverly Hills 90210", "Boston Public" "Head Of The Class" and "Saved By The Bell", there was Room 222.

ABC's innovative series, about the lives of teachers and students at a Los Angeles high school, ran from to 1975.

The show made early stars out of the talented cast including Lloyd Haynes, Denise Nichiolas and Karen Valentine.

The Paley Center for Media held its first 'Paleyfest: Rewind' television festival celebrating classic shows and stars of the 60s and 70s. Room 222 was a highlight of the festival....

The audience was treated to an airing of an episode of the show. Entitled "Right On, Brother!", the episode cover many social issues of the time, including censorship, freedom of speech, peer pressure and abuse of power.

After the screening, members of the cast and crew were on hand to talk about the series, how it came about and how it influenced many of the television shows that came after it.

Joining in the conversation were series stars Denise Nicholas (Liz McIntyre), Karen Valentine (Alice Johnson), David Jolliffe (Bernie), Judy Strangis (Helen Loomis), Producer/Creator James L. Brooks and Producer/Director Gene Reynolds.

The meeting brought out pleasant stories and memories from the cast, many of whom hadn't seen each other in over 40 years.

Nicholas and Valentine felt like it was old home week as they recalled chatting up a storm once they saw each other again.

Reynolds shares that his inspiration for creating the show centered around the playground he grew up around as a kid. "There was a playground monitor who was so great with kids...he was always out there with them, playing baseball, basketball, whatever he was intstructing. He was a great guy." Reynolds gos on to add the the early premise for the lead was his childhood playground monitor.

He felt having the high centered at a high school would be more interesting and more complicated. He also came up with the idea of making lead teacher African American because at the time schools were being integrated around the country. "We saw a tremendous change in demographics. The country was changing enormously", Reynolds says. "So Jim and I sat down and said what are we going to do with a high school? We've both been out of school so long
Brooks, who went on to produce "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "Cheers" and movies like "Terms of Endearment" shares how producer kept the show real.

"I can't say enough about Gene and his fight to maintain the integrity of the show. When he hired me to write the pilot, he insisted on research. We had a leader who insisted on finding the heart and purpose of the show, who fought the network at a time when no one was doing it at the time." As a writer, Brooks spent months at a Los Angeles area high school getting to know and shape the characters that would later appear on the show. "We got the stories from the pilot there and many of the stories through out the first season."

Jolliffe, who played on the show's students, "Bernie" reflect on the instant fame the show brought him. Bernie was a white student who had his hair styled in a huge red afro. The actor jokes that he had people coming up to him saying is that really your real hair.

Nicohlas remembers that the show was very popular with teachers. "I remember the show was a huge hit with teachers all over the country with the American Federation of Teacher", the actress reflects. "We then knew we were doing something good and that resonated with people in the education world. The teachers certainly supported the show."

Valentine shares that she received many comments through the years by people who were moved by the show. Many, she says, we influenced to become teachers because of the show.

She later tells the funny story of living in her old Burbank neighborhood. "... At the time I lived in Burbank, near a school and the kids found out where I lived and came to my door and said 'what time is class'", she says. "It was so cute," she remembers. "And then I had to move", she jokingly continues.

Many of the cast talks about Lloyd Haynes's character, Pete Dixon and the actor's and character's positive influence on the show.
"I think everyone wanted a teacher like Pete Dixon," Strangis says. "He would listen and not necessarily give you all the answers right away. He's make you think."

"People would come up to us and say 'I wish I had a teacher like Mr. Dixon or a counselor like Miss McIntyre'," Jolliffe adds when teaching about the show's audience response.

agreed. "The show had a way of capturing the heart of people," she adds.

CMT Music Awards 2010: Carrie Underwood the night's big winner

June 10, 2010

The always fun CMT Awards were held this week on Nashville. Fan favorite and former American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood, continues to add to her already impressive number of awards as the country singer was the night's big winner.

Underwood won the big awards of the night, including VIDEO OF THE YEAR for her song "Cowboy Casanova" and CMT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR AWARD for "Temporary Home" from INVITATION ONLY: CARRIE UNDERWOOD.

Keith Urban was awarded MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR for his song "Til Summer Comes Around," and Miranda Lambert won her first ever CMT Music Award for FEMALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR for "White Liar".

Other first-time winners included Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins, and Luke Bryan.

Performances included Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson, LeAnne Rimes, Underwood, Urban, who teamed with John Mayer, Tim McCGraw and the show's host, Kid Rock, who was joined by many of his famous friends, including Trace Adkins, Zac Brown, Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, and none other than Hank Williams, Jr.

Presenters included Erin Andrews and Maks Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing With The Stars", Laura Bell Bundy, Sheryl Crow, Paula Deen, Kara Dioguardi, Gloriana, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Terrell Owens, Hayden Panettiere, Richard Petty, Kellie Pickler, Jada Pinkett-Smith, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, "Jersey Shore's" Snooki and The Situation, David Spade, Taylor Swift, Kenan Thompson, Carrie Underwood, Luke Wilson, Trisha Yearwood and Zac Brown Band.

The 2010 CMT MUSIC AWARDS will encore Friday, June 11 at 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 13 at 7:00 p.m. The 2010 CMT MUSIC AWARDS RED CARPET SPECIAL will re-air on Sunday, June 13 at 6:00 p.m. All times listed are ET/PT.

Below is a full list of winners:


· Carrie Underwood - "Cowboy Casanova"


· Keith Urban - "'Til Summer Comes Around"


· Miranda Lambert - "White Liar"


· Lady Antebellum - "Need You Now"


· Brooks & Dunn - "Indian Summer"


· Luke Bryan - "Do I"


· Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins - "Hillbilly Bone"


· Carrie Underwood - "Temporary Home" from INVITATION ONLY: CARRIE UNDERWOOD


· Shaun Silva

The 2010 CMT MUSIC AWARDS will encore Wednesday, June 9 at 11:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 10 at 12:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m.; Friday, June 11 at 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 13 at 7:00 p.m. The 2010 CMT MUSIC AWARDS RED CARPET SPECIAL will re-air on Sunday, June 13 at 6:00 p.m. All times listed are ET/PT.