[12/03/10 - 08:07 AM]
HBO2 Documentary "Top Ten Monks" Debuts Dec. 22
The film track the story of "a small group of Cistercian monks in Austria made music history recently when their album of Gregorian chant climbed England's pop charts."

[via press release from HBO]


They rise at 4:30 every morning. They pray more than six hours a day. They've devoted their lives to God. And they're pop stars.

A small group of Cistercian monks in Austria made music history recently when their album of Gregorian chant climbed England's pop charts, landing in the Top Ten for two months and selling more than a million copies worldwide. Directed by Dana Perry (HBO's "Boy Interrupted"), the documentary TOP TEN MONKS takes an unprecedented look at the daily lives of these unlikely celebrities, who rarely allow cameras inside their walls, when it debuts WEDNESDAY, DEC. 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO2.

Other HBO2 playdates: Dec. 25 (6:30 p.m.) and Jan. 2 (8:00 a.m.), 7 (6:00 a.m.), 19 (9:00 p.m.), 22 (8:00 a.m.) and 31 (11:30 a.m.)

The story of the monks' success began when Universal Music noticed an increase in back catalogue sales of Gregorian chant, and placed ads in notable Catholic newspapers searching for the most beautiful sacred voices. Father Karl of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey, a 12th-century monastery near Vienna, sent the company a link to a website and a YouTube video of the monks' singing, which Tom Lewis, artist development manager at Universal, calls "some of the most beautiful Gregorian chant we heard."

Sung in Latin, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church, Gregorian chant is composed in a free musical rhythm that rises and falls in accord with the inner meaning of each piece. The peaceful and otherworldly - to some ears "eerie" - tonality of Gregorian chant, and its free rhythm, make it the perfect musical form for unfolding the meaning of the sacred texts that are sung in it.

While a monk's primary activity is prayer, which the monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz have engaged in for 900 years, TOP TEN MONKS dives deeply into their everyday lives, dispelling misconceptions about life in a monastery. Rather than a place of constriction and monotony, Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey enables the monks to strive for lives that are open and calm, healthy and happy. These monks are fully engaged in the modern world, using technologies such as cell phones and the Internet, as well as running a number of businesses, including a gas station and a sawmill.

Their sudden celebrity finds them in the headlines and on TV, but the monks are not inspired by money or fame, believing that for many people, Gregorian chant are an escape from and an answer to the pressures of modern life. Father Karl explains, "The music not only calms, it also gives strength. It has an emotional dimension. It is joy and fear, praise and mourning, jubilation and thanksgiving." He also believes that many people "find it interesting, cool and exotic when they see monks in long white robes, praying together and singing in Latin."

Explaining the monks' popularity, Tom Lewis says, "There's a lot of people out there whose musical appetites aren't necessarily being served by popular culture. And when something fresh comes along, the appetite for it is incredibly strong."

Dana Perry is a noted documentary filmmaker whose HBO documentary "Boy Interrupted" premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. She also executive produced the four-part documentary series "Sex: The Revolution." With husband and partner Hart Perry, she previously produced and directed "The Drug Years" (2006), a four-hour documentary exploration of illicit drugs and popular culture. Nominated for two IDA Awards and a Prism Award, "The Drug Years" received a Cine Golden Eagle, Telly Award and High Times "Stony" Award, and was exhibited at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

TOP TEN MONKS is a Perry Films Production; produced and directed by Dana Perry; director of photography, Hart Perry; original score, Michael Bacon; senior editor, Jennifer McGarrity; editor, Alyse Ardell Spiegel. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

  [december 2010]  

(series past and present)
(series in development)
(tv movies and mini-series)

[10/27/16 - 10:33 AM]
Bravo Media Greenlights Six New and Returning Series Growing the Network's Robust Slate
The network confirmed new season orders for fan-favorites "Southern Charm" season four as well as "Shahs of Sunset" season six and "Million Dollar Listing New York" season six.

[10/27/16 - 10:31 AM]
"Mommy Dead and Dearest," The Shocking True Crime Story About the Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard and the Disturbing Life of Her Daughter, Gypsy Rose, to Debut in March 2017, Exclusively on HBO
In the film, provocative documentarian Erin Lee Carr again explores a crime in the age of social media.

[10/27/16 - 10:00 AM]
Freeform Celebrates 20 Years of Christmas Cheer with the "25 Days of Christmas" Programming Event Starting Thursday, December 1
This year's merriest programming stunt includes the network television premiere of "Holiday Joy" and the Freeform premieres of "Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups," "Snow Buddies" and "Just Friends."

[10/27/16 - 10:00 AM]
"Bones: The Final Chapter" to Premiere Tuesday, January 3, on FOX
The 12-episode run will celebrate the inventive series and bring the storylines of Brennan (Emily Deschanel), Booth (David Boreanaz) and the Jeffersonian-FBI team to a close, allowing the show's loyal fans to say goodbye to these indelible characters.

[10/27/16 - 09:59 AM]
"Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge," Television's Most Physically Demanding Competition Series, Returns for a Punishing New Season on Sunday, November 13 at 10PM ET/PT
The bigger-and-badder than ever physical competition series, starring sports and entertainment icon "Stone-Cold" Steve Austin, attracted nearly four million weekly viewers last season.

[10/27/16 - 09:23 AM]
Wednesday's Broadcast Ratings: World Series Delivers Big for FOX
The network's coverage of Game 2 is up 36% from a year ago among adults 18-49.

[10/27/16 - 09:19 AM]
World Series Game 2 Posts 11.3 Overnight Rating, Drives FOX to Primetime Victory for Second Consecutive Night
FOX Sports spins the numbers for Wednesday, October 26.

[10/27/16 - 08:52 AM]
TV One's "Rickey Smiley for Real" Returns for a Third Season, Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 8 P.M. ET
While Rickey Smiley continues to struggle to maintain his sanity by juggling his hectic business, family and personal schedules, the show will also follow the hilarity and hi-jinx of his family and co-workers.

[10/27/16 - 08:16 AM]
Disney Channel Sees Future in Spin-Off of "That's So Raven"
As the pilot story goes, Raven is now a divorced mother to two pre-teen kids (a son and daughter), one of whom has inherited her ability to catch glimpses of the future.

[10/27/16 - 07:38 AM]
James Bay, Fifth Harmony, The Chainsmokers and Halsey, and Carlos Vives with Shakira to Perform at the "2016 American Music Awards(R)"
They join previously announced performers Lady Gaga, Green Day, Bruno Mars, Twenty One Pilots, and "The American Music Award of Merit" honoree and performer Sting.

[10/27/16 - 07:00 AM]
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" to Broadcast Two Live Shows During Election Week on CBS
On Monday, November 7, Stephen Colbert will be joined by Don Cheadle, Katherine Waterston and musical guest Drive-By Truckers.

[10/26/16 - 03:23 PM]
Lifetime Partners with "The View" for Primetime Event Program, "The View Live Election Special"
The special will feature "The View's" co-hosts from their set with a live studio audience, election-themed Hot Topics, interactive election activities and up-to-the-minute results from key battleground states.

[10/26/16 - 02:01 PM]
Freeform Says Farewell to "Pretty Little Liars" with an Exclusive One-Hour Tell-All Following the Series Finale
Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell and Sasha Pieterse, as well as executive producer I. Marlene King, will sit down for an hour long unbarred and uncensored tell-all after show.

[10/26/16 - 01:31 PM]
Video: Showtime(R) Releases Poster and New "Presidential" Teaser for Stephen Colbert's Live Election Night Special
On election night, Colbert will be reacting in real-time to the election results as the state by state returns come in, making it the perfect election night destination for people who want to see all the latest news, without actually having to watch the news.

[10/26/16 - 12:45 PM]
New Comedy "The Mick," Starring Kaitlin Olson, to Premiere Sunday, January 1, After NFL Doubleheader, on FOX
The series will then regularly air Tuesday nights following "New Girl."