Friday, December 23, 2011


From the debut of talk show guru Oprah Winfrey's network, OWN to the pending drug possession trial of Chicago Bears' Sam Hurd, there were many arts and entertainment newz stories that made headlines in 2011 not just in the bi state area but also nation and internation-wide.

Below are the Top 10 BIG A&E STORIEZ of 2011 according to OUTTOWN from #10 to #1

10. Kanye West in 2011. This Chicago bred superstar made headlines all of 2011. Starting off the year with his 13 minute mini movie, "Runaway" from his #1 CD, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," West made newz for debuting his own clothing line KW during Paris Fashion Week, getting sued by two artists on copyright infringement (Chicago soul bluesman Syl Johnson and upcoming rapper Vince P )releasing the successful CD, "Watch The Throne" and subsequent concert tour with mentee Jay Z, visiting Occupy Wall Street protesters in the summer in NYC and in November, receiving the most nods for the upcoming 54th Annual Grammy Awards (with seven).

9.Bob Costas Lands Interview With Former Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky. Emmy Award winning sports journalist Bob Costas, who began his career in St. Louis, made news when he landed an interview with former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky after charges were filed against the coach on molesting young boys during his tenure at the university. It was a bizarre affair seen on NBC's "Rock Center" where Sandusky answered questions with his attorney present that made him look even more like a pedophile.

8. Eminem is Crowned King of Hip-Hop . The St Joseph native and Missouri semi raised rapper was quiet on the charts in 2011, but he made noise for his body of work when Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him the King of Hip Hop in August in front of contenders Jay Z (5th place)and Chitown bred Kanye West (4th place).

7.Lupe Fiasco Calls President Barack Obama a Terrorist. In June, Chicago native rapper Lupe Fiasco was on CBS News talking about politics in his music and quipped that President Obama was the biggest terrorist and doesnt vote. The controversial comment even had steep Republican conservatist talk show Bill O'Reilly to have the rapper on his show soon after to talk about the comment.

6.Melissa McCarthy Becomes a Breakout Star . The Plainfield, Illinois actress became a breakout star in 2011. Riding off the debut season of the CBS hit, Mike and Molly," and scene stealing in the crude hit film, "Bridesmaids," the fluffy actress copped an Emmy Award for Best Actress in A Comedy this fall in a coronation themed segment in the show. She also got raves hosting "Saturday Night Live" in October yielding the shows biggest ratings in years. Later in the year she landed the cover of EW where it dubbed her The New Queen of Comedy.

5.Derrick Rose Makes History Winning the MVP Award. Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose made history in May when he became the youngest player, at age 22, to win the MVP Award in May for his outstanding 2010-11 Season, a feat even former Bullster Michael Jordan, who won it five times, never done.

4.Former Illinois Governor/Reality Show Star Rod Blagojaveich Gets Retried/Sentenced on Bribery Charges. The looming Blago Trial of 2010 (which was OUTTOWN's No 1 Story of 2010) lingered into 2011 with the retrial in June where his 20 counts of bribery and corruption charges, including trying to sell the Senate seat of now President Obama, was going to be decided in October but was delayed in December when one of Blago' s associates trial was going to be held. Then in December, the jury found the former Illinois Governor guilty on all counts and was given 14 years in prison and a fine of $25K and to begin his sentence in February.

3.The St Louis Cardinals Win The World Series.

The St Louis Cardinals had a whirlwind of drama its entire 2011 season from slugger Albert Pujols not being re-signed before the start of the 2011 Season, pitcher Adam Wainwright's season ending arm surgery, pitcher Ryan Franklin losing his closer job after a series of boos and the Cards making barely making the playoffs. But things started to turn around in September after being 101/2 games out of first place and eventually winning the NL Conference Title and playing the Texas Rangers in the World Series. In one of the greatest World Series games in MLB history in Game 6, third baseman David Freese became a hero with his 11th inning homerun (even making guest appearances on The Tonight show and the Country Music Awards)at Busch Stadium keeping the team's chances alive and eventually winning in Game 7 also there. The Fox ratings for the series was the highest rankings since the 2004 World series (SEE TOP STL STORIES FOR MORE INFO)

2.Actor Charlie Sheen's My Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour Makes a Stop in Chicago. Actor Charlie Sheen had a big year in 2011 for his antics regarding his feud with CBS and the show, "Two and Half Men," leading to his firing in February. As a result, Sheen went on several interviews blasting CBS and said that he was the one "winning" (the catchphrase of 2011) and drinking Tigerblood for stamina. All this lead to a media frenzy sold out tour, titled, "My Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour/Defeat is Not An Option Tour that started off rocky in Detroit in April with fans booing him and eventually walking out. But, the next stop in Chicago at the Chicago Theatre after some retooling, got the crowd applauding him even giving him a standing ovation.

AND THE NO. 1 A&E STORY of 2011 IS:

1. Oprah Winfrey Says Farewell to Her Daytime Talk Show/Debuts OWN. 2011 was a topsy-turvy year for the talk show queen who began the year debuting her much hyped multi million dollar network OWN on Jan. 1 replacing the Discovery Channel. But even the Big O had a troubling start as the ratings were far from spectacular yielding Winfrey to fire the director of OWN and doing the job herself.

In the meantime, the newz was on Oprah leaving her long running Emmy Award winning daytime talk show in May. During the final week, there was a big star studded taping of a farewell concerts that aired May 23 and 24 in two parts for Oprah at the United Center in Chicago. Those who bid her farewell (and were a surprise for the talk show host ) were Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Dr Maya Angelou, Beyonce, Usher, and Aretha Franklin among many.

Then on May 25, Oprah did her final show, with no guests or fan fare, just her and the audience as she talked about her 25 years on air and ended by saying, " I wont say goodbye. I'll just say, until we meet again. God be the glory," as she fought back tears, kissed her longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham and hugged members of the audience.

Oprah, who moved permanently to Los Angeles to run OWN after her daytime show duties ended, followed trying to save her fledgling network by debuting two shows "The Rosie Show" starring Rosie O'Donell (that filmed inside Harpo Studios on her old talk show set) and the reality documentary series "Welcome To Sweetie Pies" Ironically, the much hyped O'Donell' s show was not the saving grace meanwhile the unknown, St Louis based "Sweetie Pies' became a runaway hit .

She ended the year reporting that she would return doing a show on her network, "The Next Chapter" in January, renewing "Sweetie Pies" to a second season, quelling rumors that she was angry at BFF Gayle King for leaving OWN for CBS from a letter from OWN read by talk show host Wendy Williams on her show and focusing on shows geared toward African Americans.

In unrelated newz, Oprah received an honorary Oscar in November for her humanitarian work.


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