Tag Archives: Jake T. Austin

Celebrities Celebrate Beastie Besties at Hero Dog Awards

Dogs have always been man’s best friend, but it’s only been in the last few decades that we have started behaving as if it works both ways.  That’s an encapsulation of an idea that Betty White expressed last night, when she was honored at the Second Annual American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards — and Betty is one who would know.

The 90-year-old national treasure has been an animal lover throughout her lifetime, of course, going back to the days that, according to her, animal advocates were viewed as “a bunch of zealots” and our beastie besties were strictly considered beneath us.  Now, though, every year we’re discovering more capabilities of these wonderful creatures, Betty enthused.

Kristin Chenoweth presents a new line of greeting cards for dogs — not too seriously — at the Hero Dog Awards

At the Hero Dog Awards, many of these remarkable capabilities were celebrated, as eight Hero Dog honorees and their stories were introduced with the help of emcee Kristin Chenoweth (and her own dog, Madeline Kahn Chenoweth), Joey Lawrence, Jewel, Pauley Perette, Kellie Martin, Denise Richards, Naomi Judd, Mark Steines, Jake T. Austin and other celebs.

For instance, there’s Jynx, the Law Enforcement/Arson Dog honoree.  He was on duty with his handler, Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly of the Berks County Sheriff’s Department, and other officers in rough terrain — and the German Shepherd alone detected a bad guy lying in wait, ready to ambush the law men with a sub machine gun and a cache of other weapons.  Jynx alerted the deputies to the gunman’s presence, attacked the gunman — who nevertheless managed to fire several shots at Pagerly — and then attempted to pull his wounded master to safety.    Pagerly died at the hospital, but the other officers on the scene that day feel they owe the hero dog their lives.   Jynx now lives with Pagerly’s widow and baby daughter.   It was Mrs. Pagerly, only a few weeks pregnant when she lost her 28-year-old husband,  who tearfully accepted Jynx’ award — and a heartfelt standing ovation from the crowd.

There are stories of therapy dogs who’ve saved lives and brought troubled humans out of their shells, stories of courageous canines on the battlefield, dogs who’ve given people with disabilities ways to live normal lives.   Yes, have the hankies handy if you watch the Hero Dog Awards on The Hallmark Channel November 8.  Each honoree is loveable and deserving, unlike other awards shows we could name.

The Beverly Hilton Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where such galas as the Golden Globes take place, was again the setting for the Hero Dog Awards, with quite a few canines, large and small, there to enjoy the event first-paw.  (Whatever must those doggies have thought of being applauded by a ballroom full of people?)  The crowd feasted upon sauteed tenderloin of beef and seared citrus olive marinated filet of sea bass — and a dessert of espresso almond tiramisu in a chocolate cup, complete with white chocolate hero dog medallions.   For those who watched the first Hero Dogs Awards last year, with Carson Kressley as host — expect a more even program this year.

 

 

‘Bittersweet’ Times for ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Creator as Final Season Progresses

David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Selena Gomez, David DeLuise, Maria Canals Barerra

Selena Gomez just got her driver’s license last week, joining “Wizards of Waverly Place” cast mates David Henrie and Jennifer Stone as legal behind the wheel of a car.  Her TV younger brother Jake T. Austin, meanwhile, has applied for his learner’s permit – and has undergone a dramatic growth spurt since last season.

That’s the word from “Wizards” creator-producer Todd J. Greenwald, who is back into production of the popular Disney Channel series — for what will be its fourth and final season.  “It’s definitely bittersweet,” admits Greenwald.  He says he’s set up the number-being-served sign on the show’s deli set so that “it’s counting down the episodes we have left to shoot.  When we get down to zero, it’s going to be pretty emotional.”

On the sweet side, both the series and its 2009 telepic spinoff are up for Emmy honors.  Last year, “Wizards of Waverly Place” was named Outstanding Children’s Program.  The awards will be a family affair for Greenwald, whose mom is coming from New York to be on hand – and whose real-life son and daughter, Jordan and Julia, served as the models for Henrie’s and Gomez’ characters on the show.

As “Wizards” fans are well aware, the series is moving toward a day of reckoning when one of the three siblings will become a full-fledged wizard and the other two will go on to lives as mere mortals.

“Alex is going to have a wave of not wanting to be a wizard and then really wanting to be a wizard.  Max is definitely getting a little wiser, beginning to look like someone who could win.  And Justin, who has graduated from high school, is becoming more prominent in the wizarding world,” he notes of Gomez’, Austin’s and Henrie’s characters, respectively.  “With their maturity, anyone could win competition.  What I’m really looking forward is doing that episode.  It’s where we’ll go for broke.  We’re getting so many ideas, from classic games shows to shows like ‘Survivor,’ to high tech productions like ‘Avatar.’”

As for the already-greenlit next “Wizards” TV movie, he says, “I think it’s a great idea to explore what the family is like after one of the kids becomes a wizard – what happens after the big event.”

‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Actors Find Magic in Emmy Nod

Canals Barrera, DeLuise
Canals Barrera, DeLuise

David DeLuise and Maria Canals Barrera – a.k.a. Dad and Mom on the Disney Channel’s “The Wizards of Waverly Place” – were both taken by surprise by last week’s Emmy nominations announcements, in which their series received a Best Children’s Show nod. 

“I didn’t even know they were doing the announcements – or that we were in contention,” David says.  And Maria notes, “I have two little kids, so your mind is in a lot of places early in the morning.  It was a complete, wonderful surprise.  Everybody is really excited.  We all want to go together,” she adds, referring to their series children, Selena Gomez, David Henrie and Jake T. Austin as well as cast mate Jennifer Stone.

The duo are busy working on the third season of their series, and they have the Aug. 28 “Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie” Disney Channel Original in the can.  Come September, Maria will be doing double duty, simultaneously shooting “Wizards” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Showdown” – in which she reprises her role as the mother of Demi Lovato’s aspiring performer character.  The first “Camp Rock,” with Demi and the Jonas Bros., scored a megahit for the network, with ratings second only to “High School Musical 2.”

“The script is fantastic,” she says of “Camp Rock 2,” which has all the young stars back, and now pitted against each other in rival camps.  Of traveling back and forth between the series set and movie location, she says, “I’m thrilled to be doing it.”  And of her five and three-year-olds, “I’m bringing them with me!  They’re too little to be without mama and dada.  My husband is going to be coming with us.”

 AND:  DeLuise also is doubling up his jobs, but in his case, it’s all on “Wizards” as he is set to direct two episodes of the show this season.  “You have to be on your toes and be on top of everything that’s going on,” notes the youngest son of the late Dom DeLuise.  “I’ve done several episodes now, and I definitely enjoy behind the cameras.  As far as the future, what the world gives me, I go with.  If the directing continues, great.  I hope it does.  It’s very satisfying.”

 HIGH STEPPING:  Nigel Lythgoe, who created “So You Think You Can Dance” and serves as one of the show’s judges, tells us he couldn’t be happier with how much the world and, in particular, the dance community has begun to respect the level of talent coming from their show.  “There’s an integrity now in it and the dancers are being recognized by their names and so are the choreographers,” notes the British TV mogul.  “Before we started, choreographers were just choreographers and a lot of people didn’t even know what they did.  Now people are like, ‘I love Mia Michaels!‘”