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San Diego Comic Con Preview: Roving Reporter Steven Panzarella On What He’s Excited To See.

Steven Panzarella previews the exciting weekend to come at San Diego Comic Con.



For me, the day you find out you are going to Comic Con is relatable to the day you find out you are going to Disney World… Emotions range from pure joy to wondering how you will overcome the fear of Storm Troopers. Since I will be spending 5 days in San Diego, California this week for Comic Con, i will be not only be live tweeting my experiences(@StevenPanzarella), I will also be running a daily blog post on this website entitled “Life On Mars”.

Comic Con has been going on for years, it went from a small comic book convention into the largest pop culture convention in the United States. People come from all over the world to meet celebs, see clips from new movies, and get their hands on the latest toys and comics. It is also a place for artists, writers, and designers to meet people in the business and hope for job offers. It is literally the Holy Grail of nerd-dom.

I wanted to tell you the major reasons why I am jumping up and down in anticipation for this years comic con.

Television–  AMC’s The Walking Dead- At the NYC Comic Con in October of 2011 I witnessed plenty of fantastic panel dicussions (something Comic Con is known for)- AND one of my favorites was for The Walking Dead. If you don’t know what it is then to quickly jog your memory it is a show based on a comic book series that chronicles a group of survivors as they fight the infected zombies or “Walkers” and each other.  (Confused? Stay with me.) A lot was revealed – including the first 5 or so minutes of the season premiere days ahead of the TV debut. (Sneak peeks are another big part of the convention.) It is one of the biggest and most original shows on TV and has a massive following and after new plot lines and cast members have been revealed it will be exciting to see where the discussion goes.

Game Of Thrones– HBO’s hit show could give viewers an opportunity to get a close look at the 3rd season or at least answer some burning questions fans have. The series is just starting to film season 3, and some cast members will be there. The panel could reveal new material for one of HBO’s most popular shows. It also gives the opportunity to get questions answered by the cast and even book writer George R.R. Martin.

Fringe– the show which is coming into its final season has a very loyal fan base and will actually be getting a panel in the con’s Hall H. (for those of you wondering if comic con is related to Disney World, that would make Hall H the Magic Kingdom). Fringe will hopefully show us a little something for the final season and answer burning questions about where we could be left off.

There will be plenty of excellent television programming to catch that will likely be in on the action, including Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, and more.

Movies– A more recent occurrence at comic con has been the introduction of films. Film has actually taken over the convention to the point that most people go to get a look at the films they are most excited for rather than the comics themselves. So we know we will see the likes of Iron Man 3, Breaking Dawn Part 2, and Resident Evil: Retribution, for me it is falling into the unknown.

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit– ever since I heard that a Hobbit movie was getting made the 13 year old in me jumped up and down for joy. Then came the news that Peter Jackson is shooting The Hobbit in 48 frames per second which is not at all normal to the 24 FPS that movies have been shot in. This caused quite a controversy at Cinema Con in April after Jackson showed the footage which some described looked more like watching a sitcom then it did a movie, never mind one of the largest prequel’s in modern movie history.  So I am itching to see this for myself and make my own judgment’s considering as movie writers we tend to overreact.One of the other reasons to be hyped for The Hobbit is the cast which has some returning cast members including (Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom,Ian Mckellen, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood) and newbies that include Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch (is that not the greatest name on earth). The cast that so many loved in the Lord of The Ring’s series, allows fans to get very excited to expect more of the same while adding plenty of new faces and new story lines.

Pacific Rim-Another movie I think we are all very ready to hear more about is the passion project of monster master himself Guillermo Del Toro. He was once working on The Hobbit with Peter Jackson who needed help while finishing Tin Tin, but after so many production issues Del Toro left and moved on to  Pacific Rim. About massive aliens that invade earth and the pilots who control huge robots that are built to fight them. Starring Charlie Hunnam(Son’s Of Anarchy), Idris Elba(Prometheus) and Rinko Kikuchi(The Brothers Bloom), we have not seen any footage and the only pictures we have are Posters and a few set photos. This will be the premier of all footage for the movie coming out in July of 2013. As a huge fan of Del Toro’s especially Pan’s Labyrinth in 2007, he is a visonary director and no one does monsters quite like he does so most people who go to the panel will be looking for some look at what the monsters will look like.

Oz The Great And Powerful-Another Film to look forward to hearing about next weekend is Sam Raimi’s take on The Wizard of Oz with the prequel called “Oz the Great And Powerful“. Starring a huge cast that includes James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz, Oz tells the story about how the wizard arrived in Oz and became its ruler. It also follows the story of the three witches who are played by Kunis, Williams and Weisz respectfully.

Man Of Steel-There are plenty of big time film panels and a lot to reveal but one that has everybody wondering is Man Of Steel, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer(The Dark Knight) wrote the script for Zach Snyder(Watchmen). The most interesting aspect is the cast with Russell Crowe playing Superman’s father and Henry Cavill (Immortals) will play the man in red. They are hoping for a much more successful film that Superman returns which was less than stellar, especially Brandon Routh who was, in my opinion, not a very good Superman. People are excited to see Snyder’s vision and some are nervous due to the fact that not many enjoyed Snyder’s most recent work Sucker Punch and some fans of the Watchmen series had issues with his version of Watchmen. We will find a lot about Man of Steel over the weekend and you can imagine judgments will be made based on the footage we see.

There will be plenty of big stories and a lot of revealed footage to talk about over the weekend and if you are a movie and television fan like myself there is a lot to look forward too.  Keep track of all the things happening at Comic Con by following me on twitter @StevePanzarella and by following my daily blog posts right here on


POP in the Kitchen! The Perfect Snack and Cocktail Pairings.



POP Goes The Week’s Brian Balthazar is part of the all new Food Network Kitchen App! Cook LIVE alongside Brian as he makes get party food and the drinks that go perfectly with them!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited for this – I was thrilled to be a part of the new app, which is an all new way to cook with your favorite chefs and cooking experts. In the app, you can get the recipe and ingredients and recipe in advance, check the live class schedule, then cook at the very same time as your instructor!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to do a live snack and cocktail pairing, which you can still watch – and cook along with me! Trust me, these all start out as live, which means anything can happen! (I have an adventure with the broiler in one of them!)

Download the app here.

For my recipes, I made a pulled pork toast with queso, sour cream radishes and green onions, along with a smoky mezcal paloma.

Pulled Pork Toasts with Sour Cream, Queso, Radishes and Green onions, garnished with cilantro. The recipe is literally those ingredients stacked onto baguette slices!

In another class, I make lavender honey that gets drizzled right on top of baked brie with herbs, then use that same lavender honey for my own interpretation of a “Bees Knees” cocktail that I call a “Bees Knees Breeze.” I came up with the variation because the original recipe, simply gin, honey and lemon was just TOO strong for me and I found myself always getting plastered!

Check out the gallery of what I made, all available on the FNK app!

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I hope you can check them out, AND all your favorite instructors like Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis and Ree Drummond!



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Who Is This Brian Balthazar Guy, Anyway?

Did you see Brian on TV today? Wondering who he is? Here’s much more than you wanted to know. They leave the part out that he loves a well mixed Dark And Stormy, but let’s keep things professional…




You may have seen Brian Balthazar on television this morning, heard him on the radio, or read about some recent developments in the world of media and pop culture. But who the hell is this guy? Brian Balthazar leads a double – triple – okay, maybe quadruple life. Part journalist, actor and comic, he appears on many TV shows as a guest, but is also a developer and creator of several television shows behind the scenes. This when he’s not renovating homes and making snacks for his websites, and

After launching the fourth hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, he turned his attention to cable television, overseeing the direction and development of several shows on HGTV, including Flip or Flop, Love It Or List It, Christina On The Coast, House Hunters, Hit Properties with Nathan Morris, Flea Market Flip and dozens more.

As a comic he served as the opening act for Russell Brand In New York City and the MTV series Man and Wife featuring hype man Fatman Scoop.  He has performed at The Comic Strip, Caroline’s On Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club and more.Wendy Williams Show Feb 2013

In addition to being a frequent guest on “The Wendy Williams Show,” (he co-hosted several times during Williams’ three week break) and appearing on the “Today” show, where he guest co-hosted with Jenna Hager-Bush,  Brian has frequently been seen co-hosting the syndicated TV gossip show Page Six TV.

Additionally, he was the sideline reporter for HGTV’s Rose Parade Coverage, hosted the HGTV Special I Bought A Famous House, and has appeared on CBS’s The Talk, HLN’s Showbiz Tonight, MSNBC’s Caught On Camera, The Joy Behar Show, and more.

Brian Balthazar Kathie Lee Hoda

An appearance on the fourth hour of the TODAY show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

He has also been an emcee for many notable events and sponsors, including work as a brand ambassador for Bombay Company, the co-host of the Miss Tennessee and Miss Mississippi USA pageants, and a red carpet host at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

You may also have seen Brian in some viral videos, most notably a recent parody of Bird Box, and a satirical look at House Hunters’ Writers’ Room.

HGTV – House Hunters Writer’s Room from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.

 Brian Balthazar Bombay

Appearing in a series of videos for Bombay Company.


Brian has provided analysis, interviews and helped co-host the Tony Awards backstage show. He also followed all the backstage madness at the launch of Fashion Week in New York City while co-hosting the Red Dress Event. He has been a roving reporter for the Dr. Oz show. Earlier in his career he was a features reporter and contributor on NBC, MSNBC, United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment and more.

For A&E network, Brian appeared in an episode of Biography about Jim Carrey. He also provided play by play of some of film’s greatest car chases for a documentary about, well, car chases. (Ask his family and they will tell you: NO one would have expected to see him in a show about cars. We’ll leave it at that.)


Before ‘finding himself’ professionally, Brian was a singer on a ship, a publicist for a trance medium, an insurance customer service rep, waiter, bartender, activities director, substitute teacher, website programmer, pianist at a camp for spoiled children, and college mascot. None of them worked out. Let’s hope this does.

To contact Brian, email

To check out his video clips from NBC, HLN, and MSNBC, click HERE…

And – become his friend on facebook!

For a more extensive listing of his TV appearances visit his IMDB page.

And he’s apparently getting better about Twitter. So he says. He’s @BrianBalthazar.

Thanks for reading POP GOES THE WEEK!

For his TV Appearances, Click on the TV APPEARANCES page.

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‘Saved By The Bell’ Cast Reunited For 30th Anniversary – And I’m So Excited



If you think your high school experience feels like ancient history then it won’t bring you any comfort to know that Saved By The Bell debuted 30 years ago!

Back in 1989, Saved By The Bell hit the small screen and quickly became a television staple. Over the course of its four seasons, the sitcom followed Zach Morris and his unique blend of friends as they navigated the tricky waters of high school. Everyone had a favorite Bayside Tiger and the series spawned many memorable scenes…but you are a liar if you didn’t say your favorite scene was where Jessie broke down crying after coming to terms with her caffeine pill addiction while crying out the most iconic line ever, “I’m so excited…I’m so excited…I’m so…scared”


In any event, some of Bayside’s most memorable students reunited over the weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the hit sitcom. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris), Tiffany Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) all gathered together to hit us right in the nostalgia. Notably missing were Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) and Dustin Diamond (Screech). Berkley wrote on her Instagram “FRIENDS FOREVER!!!” along with some sweet and fun hashtags. Lopez upped the ante and posted a video recapping the fun time the gang had as they reminisced on the days way back when. WHY WASN’T THIS TELEVISED?!? Many are speculating the reunion to be the beginnings of a reboot or revival but nothing of the sort has yet been confirmed.



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FRIENDS FOREVER #spousestoo!!!❤️❤️❤️#imsoexcited #buddybands #love #friends #family #life #magic

A post shared by Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (@elizberkley) on



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Credit card roulette comin up! #OldSchool

A post shared by Mario Lopez (@mariolopez) on

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