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<p>Britney Spears is now an RCA artist, not Jive</p>

Britney Spears is now an RCA artist, not Jive

Credit: AP Photo

Arista, Jive and J Records fold as artists ushered under RCA name

Sony shutters decades-old labels in order to 'refresh' the RCA brand

What's in a name? Ask the common consumer which artists are -- or, rather, were -- on Arista, Jive or J records recently and you might get just a couple answers, if any. Those names may not carry much weight or the weight that they used to with music fans.

RCA Records CEO Peter Edge and COO Tom Corson agree, at least in part. Sony Music is retaining the artists under those three labels and putting them under the larger RCA umbrella. So now acts like Usher, Britney Spears, Pink, Foo Fighters, previous "American Idol" stars like Jennifer Hudson and more will all be officially RCA artists. This, after months of blood-letting on a staffer level and dropping acts like "AI's" Lee DeWyze and Britain's "X Factor" contestant Diana Vickers.

Arista was established in 1974 by Clive Davis; he also started J in 2000. Barry Weiss' Jive was perhaps best know for its pop signings around the turn of the millennium with entertainers like Spears and Justin Timberlake (and his former band N*Sync).

"The path we've taken is to refresh RCA, so we're going to retire those brands," Corson told The Hollywood Reporter. "There may be a reason down the line to bring them back, but it's a clean slate here."

Where I get a little confused is Corson's insistence that RCA will be defined by its artists... and by itself simultaneously.

"The concept is that there is value in branding RCA and not having it confused or diluted by other labels," he said. But then, "The artists have all been supportive. We didn't make this move without consulting our artists, and we haven't had any push-back. Frankly, they're the brand. We're defined by our artists."

So Jive, J and Arista diluted the RCA brand, but what is the RCA brand anyway except a roster of names?

Consumers don't buy based on what an RCA artist is, or what a Jive artist was, because those label groups put out a variety of genres and big-name artists. Certainly, there are independent labels or genre-focused labels that fans trust to lead them to new artists (think Sub Pop, or Def Jam) but giant labels like Columbia (also owned by Sony) host artists from Kreayshawn to Tony Bennett. How can one "brand" a giant umbrella group like RCA, other than make it bigger?

This move just looks like another way to trim the fat in a still-slender music economy, even with album sales up 3%. Remember when Sony still had BMG in its name? Is this like Clear Channel trying to align itself with why you "heart" radio? Talk about dillution.

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"Our America with Lisa Ling"

 "Our America with Lisa Ling"

Credit: OWN

Lisa Ling talks 'Our America,' Oprah, PTSD, polygamy and porn

The former "The View" co-host is grateful to be taking on real issues

As you might imagine, it's good to have Oprah Winfrey in your corner. With her show "Our America with Lisa Ling," former "The View" co-host Lisa Ling has been able to explore a wide variety of challenging topics in-depth without network pressure to condense material to snippets. Most importantly, Ling has scored a high profile timeslot for her show on OWN, following Oprah's own "Oprah's Lifeclass" ("Our America"'s second season debuts Sun. Oct. 16 at 10 p.m. on OWN). Still, the intrepid journalists acknowledges that the fledgling network hasn't exactly taken over basic cable, even with the Oprah stamp of approval. "OWN has gone through it's challenges," Ling admitted in a conference call with reporters. "it's a brand new network. It's looking to find its voice, but I actually feel more strongly about it now than ever."

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Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in &quot;The Iron Lady&quot; is &quot;spine-chilling,&quot; according to co-star Olivia Colman.</p>
Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" is "spine-chilling," according to co-star Olivia Colman.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Olivia Colman bigs up 'Iron Lady' co-star Streep

Meanwhile, British actress earns UK raves for 'Tyrannosaur'

In a perfect world, Olivia Colman would be as heavily tipped for the Best Actress Oscar as Meryl Streep -- sight unseen in the latter star's case, while the little-known Brit's stunning breakout performance in "Tyrannosaur" has been wowing critics since her film's Sundance debut. 

Of course, this is no perfect world, and Colman, together with her tiny, downbeat film will have to fight tooth and nail for even a percentage point of the media attention given to Streep -- though in a curious twist of the season, it's the American megastar who could give this darkest of horses her biggest boost in the race. For Colman will next be seen opposite Streep herself, playing Margaret Thatcher's daughter Carol in "The Iron Lady" -- an appearance that should raise her profile immensely going into awards season.

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<p>Hot Chelle Rae</p>

Hot Chelle Rae

Watch: Hot Chelle Rae takes us backstage for 'I Like It Like That' video

Hot Chelle Rae aims straight for the middle of the road with its own party anthem for folks for whom LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” is too “edgy.”  “I Like It Like That”  is a formulaic pop effort  with the requisite “Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh” singalongs and a rap from the New Boyz meant to make the little girls scream.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>George Clooney in &quot;The Ides of March&quot;</p>

George Clooney in "The Ides of March"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Ides of March'

George Clooney's political drama hits theaters today

We've said about all we can say about George Clooney's "The Ides of March" around these parts. Guy was reserved about the film in Venice and used the occasion of the film's release to launch a list of the top 10 films about politics. I was over the moon about it in Los Angeles and am willing to stake plenty on its Oscar chances, despite naysayers. And Anne and I had plenty to say about it and the film's critical reception this morning. But today, the film is opening wide across the country. So many of you will get a load of it yourself this weekend. I'm eager to hear what you have to say, so hurry on back here when/if you get around to seeing it and give us your thoughts.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 64 -- Digging into the lead categories

Oscar Talk: Ep. 64 -- Digging into the lead categories

Also: Talking NYFF opener 'Carnage' and critical reaction to 'The Ides of March

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

Anne is calling in today from New York where she's on hand for the New York Film Festival. Much of what's there she (and I) have already seen, but there are one or two treats for folks like her who hit just about every major festival, including the big premiere of "My Week with Marilyn" (and whatever Monday's super secret work-in-progress secret screening might be). But there's plenty to talk about otherwise, so let's see what's on the docket today...

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<p>Blake Shelton in &quot;Footloose&quot;</p>

Blake Shelton in "Footloose"

Watch: Blake Shelton cuts a little loose in video for 'Footloose'

Does he kick off his Sunday shoes?

Blake Shelton wants to cut loose, but in the video for his remake for “Footloose,” he leaves the fancy footwork to others. In a fairly truthful,  although slightly twanged up, remake of Kenny Loggins’ original, Shelton shows up at a drive-in, which, conveniently, is showing “Footloose.” That means he has the likes of Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald to show off their fancy-schmancy dance moves that looks just as great now as they did 27 years ago.

Shelton basically stands in the bed of a truck and sways a little; that’s about as loose as he gets, but if you’re a fan of Shelton’s, it’s enough.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&quot;Arthur Christmas&quot;&nbsp;could seize the day if doubts and re-considerations plague a few of this year's contenders.</p>

"Arthur Christmas" could seize the day if doubts and re-considerations plague a few of this year's contenders.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: 'Christmas' poised to strike?

Also: How the Ultimate Warrior broke Ryan Gosling's heart and Kenneth Branagh talks 'Marilyn'

Linked in today's round-up is my colleague Greg Ellwood's London interview with "Arthur Christmas" director Sarah Smith and a piece from Steve Pond expanding a bit on the recent news that the feature animation branch is still in the process of determining the eligibility of performance capture productions in that race. I'll write a bit more about the category in due time, but I find myself wondering, if films like "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" are ultimately deemed eligible in the field, that's really only half the battle.

What if the stigma of the technology keeps branch members from voting for it? Just a curiosity, really. And there are no shortage of contenders, like "Arthur Christmas" (from the well-regarded Aardman animation studio, waiting in the wings to slide into the line-up. Anyway, more later. Let's see what's going on in the Oscarweb today...

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<p>Andy (Ed Helms)&nbsp;and Darryl (Craig Robinson)&nbsp;on &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Andy (Ed Helms) and Darryl (Craig Robinson) on "The Office."

Credit: NBC

'The Office' - 'Lotto': Warehouse louses

Darryl has a spiritual crisis when the warehouse staff wins the lottery without him

A quick review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I kayak to my job at the bike shop...

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<p>Juno Temple, director Abe Sylvia and Jeremy Dozier at the New York premiere of &quot;Dirty Girl.&quot;</p>

Juno Temple, director Abe Sylvia and Jeremy Dozier at the New York premiere of "Dirty Girl."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

'Dirty Girl's Abe Sylvia on the seven-year wait, Melissa Manchester and the search for Dirty Debbie

An epic interview waxing on the making of a Hollywood indie

Living in Los Angeles for as long as this pundit has (and no, we're not going there), the list of friends and acquaintances who are writing a screenplay or trying to get a movie off the ground is seemingly endless.  Over the years, great scripts that were never produced passed through my hands and many of those budding filmmakers or screenwriters slowly transitioned to other full time gigs in the entertainment industry.  Whether they have given up on those dreams is debatable (hopefully not), but there was always one friend who's journey to the big screen should be an inspiration in devotion for others, Abe Sylvia.  

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<p>Johnny Depp, seen here during the midst of the madness of the Cannes Film&nbsp;Festival, may play Dr. Seuss in a biopic about the acclaimed and beloved author.</p>

Johnny Depp, seen here during the midst of the madness of the Cannes Film Festival, may play Dr. Seuss in a biopic about the acclaimed and beloved author.

Credit: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

Johnny Depp is the biggest star of today and Dr. Seuss is the next role he might play

With a life that is ripe and a story untold, could this be the film to get Depp Oscar gold?

When you say "Johnny Depp as Dr. Seuss," the first image that flashes at this point is one of his patented weird-voiced eccentric larger-than-life performances.

That's not who Theodor Geisel was, though, and if Universal and Illumination Entertainment are serious about making a biopic that honors the remarkable life and creative output of this man who has helped shape the early imaginary lives of 50 years worth of kids, then I'm genuinely excited.  This could be one of the coolest things Depp is currently attached to, and the hiring of Keith Bunin as a writer indicates that they're treating this as a serious drama, not a wacky kid's film.

I find it interesting that people right away assume that this is going to be another performance like The Mad Hatter or Willy Wonka or Captain Jack Sparrow.  Why?  Dr. Seuss was not one of his own characters.  He was a guy who lived from one end of the 20th Century to the other, working in advertising, publishing political cartoons and propaganda work during WWII, and finally helping to redefine children's literature with his classic works that are still read around the world.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: CW

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'Disturbing Behavior'

Klaus is getting closer to the necklace, but Damon may be the real loose cannon

Damon doesn't seem to be the focus in this episode, given how much is happening to everyone, but by the end of the show it's abundantly clear -- Damon is tired. Tired of trying to be nice, tired of everyone trying to make him be nice, tired of playing nice. It's not surprising that our resident bad boy would eventually bristle at playing by the rules, and unlike Stefan, he's become hardened enough that his mushy marshmallow center isn't easy to access 24/7 -- even when Elena's around. As for Elena, as much as she misses Stefan, she needs to be more aware of how much she wants Damon to step into his shoes, whether she admits it to herself or not. But, as I said, there's a lot happening in this episode to everyone, so let's get recapping. 

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