September 17, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

What happened to Kara DioGuardi? Former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi returns to tube as a TV music competition judge May 30 — but on a brand-new show, Bravo’s “Platinum Hit.” She tells us she didn’t think she’d be back “so fast, but I really loved the idea that songwriters were going to get some attention.”

Songwriter Evan Bogart (whose credits include Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Rihanna)” is one of the executive producers and creators of the show, she relates, and “he came to me about it. I thought a songwriting show would be interesting, but how do you do it?”

Good question. Watching contestants noodle around on a piano and scribble down ideas doesn’t sound like much of a show. But that’s not what “Platinum Hit” is like, assures DioGuardi, who toplines with Jewel. “Bravo is really great at creating drama and character development. Part of what makes great songwriters is where they come from — their truth. When you get to know their journey, you start to get emotionally involved. There were some character revelations along the way of people’s back stories that were really compelling. When they write from their truth — that’s when they really connect.”

DioGuardi wrote from her truth in her recently released “A Helluva High Note” memoir, including going through the hell of being molested as a young girl, and date raped when she was new in the music business. Going public with her past has proven to be exceptionally moving — particularly in response from readers who said they were inspired to deal with, or talk about, their own similar traumas.

“That’s really why I wrote it,” she says. “A lot of people write, ‘I’m glad you spoke about that.’ When you know someone else has gone through something, it helps to know you can get through it. You’ve got to keep moving, keep going on. You can’t let it get you down and stop you from living your life as you want, from pursuing your dreams.”

It’s an intense time for DioGuardi, who’s also awaiting word on the future of the USA Network “Big in Japan” series pilot on which she serves as producer. “It’s about an old boy band, 10 years later, after the peak of their fame. But they’re still always big in Japan,” she explains with a laugh. Besides that, “I’ve been doing a lot of country writing,” says Kara, whose songwriting credits include tunes for the likes of Pink, Carrie Underwood, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and Céline Dion. “I’m loving it down in Nashville. It’s a very song-centric industry. Songwriters are revered down there.”

With it all, she admits, “I haven’t watched that much” of the current season of “American Idol.” “It’s not because I’m not a big fan of them. I am. But that’s what I do every day — I have artists coming into my office all the time,” says Kara, executive vice president of talent development at Warner Bros. Records. She’s quick to add, however, “I’ve been hearing great things about the show this season, especially about Steven Tyler.”

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About Beck / Smith

Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith are among America’s leading columnists. They’ve covered the Hollywood beat for decades — Elvis and “Easy Rider” through the Jonas Bros. and “Avatar” and all the stars and their triumphs and scandals in-between. Their Creators Syndicate column, Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive, is a source of top celebrity interviews and entertainment news in newspapers across the country as well as online. To read more about Marylin and Stacy go to

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