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Buffalo filmmaker to screen PBS series at North Park; Weakley ad-lib shocks

This is what I’m thinking:

The upcoming PBS documentary series “The Italian Americans” is going to get a special screening at the North Park Theater from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 21 attended by the Buffalo filmmaker who wrote, directed and produced it.

John Maggio, a St. Joe’s graduate who has gone on to produce several high-profile PBS documentaries, said he has been going around the nation – as well as around Italy -- to show portions of the film and decided a stop in his hometown made perfect sense, too.

So he contacted representatives of the theater that is within walking distance of his parents’ home and a date was made.

Maggio told me he plans to show portions of the second episode of the four-hour documentary before it airs on Feb. 24. The first part of the series airs on Feb.17. In addition to the North Park screening, he will be there to do a question and answer session.

Here’s how series executive producer Jeff Bieber described the series narrated by actor Stanley Tucci to critics during a recent press conference in Pasadena, Calif. “Through intimate stories of ordinary people and those more well known, we've created a series that we believe shatters these stereotypes. It's a series that also speaks to the conversation today about who is an American and how you become one.”

You’ll be reading much more about Maggio here and his series as it becomes closer to the PBS air date.

The controversy surrounding Seattle Seahawk star running back Marshawn Lynch’s way of fulfilling his Super Bowl week duty to talk to the media reminded me of a question I posed in Pasadena to Fred Gaudelli, the coordinating producer for NBC’s telecast of the Super Bowl.

The question came after Gaudelli announced “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” will have a live late-night edition after Sunday’s Super Bowl and the star of the game will appear.

My question: What would happen if Lynch – who could be the league’s worst and most disinterested interview subject -- is the star of the game?

“Now, you know, I don’t know Marshawn Lynch all that well,” said Gaudelli. “I did actually speak to him in a meeting about four or five years ago where he was incredibly entertaining and a lot of fun to speak with. But who knows. You know, Marshawn, that might be an opportunity that he would not want to pass up on and say what he really wants to say and not have to say it to the sports crowd, per se. But I don’t to pretend to speak for Marshawn.”

The odds in Las Vegas of Lynch saying “what he wants to say” are probably equal to the odds that Seth Rogen will be honored anytime soon in North Korea or that the website GoDaddy will receive an award from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for the proposed Super Bowl ad featuring a lost puppy. The ad was supposed to be ironic and funny, but it was pulled after an outcry following its online release. GoDaddy can’t be too unhappy since the controversy undoubtedly sent viewers to watch it online for free.

Speaking of PETA, I wouldn’t be surprised if Channel 4 morning anchor Teresa Weakley heard from the organization after Wednesday’s ad-lib about the story of a cat who survived after being buried alive six feet under. After co-anchor Jordan Williams said they were calling it "Zombie Cat," Weakley said “it freaks me out. Maybe it should have been deeper.” Or at least I think that’s what she said. She talked so fast it also could have been “thinking it should have been deeper.” I've watched it several times online and can't figure out which one of those versions is correct or if viewers misheard it.

The remark understandably sparked some outrage on social networks. It didn’t look like Weakley was trying to be funny. I can’t imagine she realized how callous that remark seemed and undoubtedly wished she could have taken it back rather than antagonize all the cat lovers who watch local news in WNY.

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