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Viacom Selling Harmonix, Makers of “Rock Band”

Viacom Selling Harmonix, Makers of “Rock Band” (photo)

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Late last week, Viacom announced that it was looking to unload Harmonix, the developer who first revolutionized the rhythm game genre with the “Guitar Hero” games and then with the “Rock Band” franchise.

Offloading the Boston-based studio will happen via auction and several buyers are reportedly interested. Harmonix was the cornerstone of Viacom’s MTV Games brand and the youth-cenrtic network’s cache probably helped bolster Harmonix’s ability to get musical acts to license their songs for use in “Rock Band.” Remember, too, that Harmoinx got full use of the Beatles music catalog for “The Beatles Rock Band” long before Apple did for iTunes.

And, symbolically, the “Rock Band” games filled the role that the channel once known as Music Television used to, namely giving viewers (players) a chance to directly interact with and re-imagine their connection to music and to bands. While the performance karaoke series hasn’t done the blockbuster numbers that it once racked up, it’s still a well-respected brand. This year’s “Rock Band 3” added a keyboard peripheral and new modes that offer basic instruction for playing real instruments. And as further testament to the fact that they’re still a uniquely talented developer, consider the fact that–more than “Kinectimals” or any game that Micrsoft itself developed–it’s Harmonix’s “Dance Central” that’s regarded as the cream of the Kinect launch crop.

In their Q3 financial report, Viacom states that Harmonix will continue to support “Rock Band” and “Dance Central.” One can probably assume that the never-ending work of building out the downloadable content stream for each game will continue until Harmonix gets acquired by another entity. Here’s hoping that the music masters at the studio won’t have to languish for very long.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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