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<p>The women of Wisteria Lane &mdash; Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross &mdash; back in the pilot of &quot;Desperate Housewives.&quot;</p>

The women of Wisteria Lane — Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross — back in the pilot of "Desperate Housewives."

Credit: ABC

'Desperate Housewives' says goodbye after improbable success

Primetime soap broke various rules, turned into huge phenomenon
It's tempting to look at ABC's "Desperate Housewives," which comes to the end of its eight-season run tomorrow night at 9, and suggest that a show like that would have trouble getting on television today. But the fact is, "Desperate Housewives" had just as much trouble getting on the air back in 2004. It was not only one of TV's biggest successes of the '00s, but one of the medium's most improbable.
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<p>Muscular Mark Twain's torch is stuffed on &quot;Survivor: One World.&quot; Or &quot;Greg&quot; or &quot;Tarzan.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Muscular Mark Twain's torch is stuffed on "Survivor: One World." Or "Greg" or "Tarzan." 

Credit: CBS

Interview: Greg 'Tarzan' Smith talks 'Survivor: One World'

Muscular Mark Twain discusses his leadership role and Poopy Pants
His drivers license reads Greg Smith.
 
His patients call him Dr. Smith.
 
His "Survivor" nickname was Tarzan.
 
My recaps called him Muscular Mark Twain.
 
On "Survivor: One World," Tarzan was often a subject of mockery. He had trouble with names. His vocabulary stumped Jeff Probst. And in one unfortunately incident he was accused of attempting to clear his soiled drawers in the camp water supply.
 
But was he also the man masterminding all of Colton Cumbie's big moves? 
 
Was he the power behind the throne helping Kim and Chelsea advance their "Survivor" causes? 
 
That's certainly the claim Tarzan makes now, after his recent elimination, and if sheer verbosity equals validation and verification, he may be right. My exit interview with Tarzan was easily the longest I've ever done and also involved easily the fewest questions I've ever had the time to ask. 
 
He's also the first interview subject I've ever had use the words "epicene," "hebetudinous" and "kwashiorkor" in conversation.
 
Click through for Tarzan's explanation of his subliminal leadership role, as well as his POV on The Poopy Pants Incident...
 
 
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<p>&nbsp;Carrie Underwood</p>

 Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' stays still atop the Billboard 200

Only two titles look good to debut in next week's Top 10

Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” should stay tied down to the top spot on the Billboard 200 next week, as it looks to be the only title that will surpass 100,000 in sales.

With a few days left of reporting until the chart’s Sunday close, the Top 10 looks relatively static with only two new entries: Silversun Pickup’s “Neck of the Woods,” at No. 6 and Tank’s “This Is How I Feel” at No. 9.

Adele’s non-stoppable “21” will be at No. 2 with up to 95,000 copies sold and “Now That’s What I Call Music” at No. 3. Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” and Norah Jones’ “Little Broken Hearts” are too close to call for No. 4 with both aiming for 60,000-65,000.

Similarly, while Hits Daily Double has “Neck of The Woods” projected to land at No. 7, that title and One Direction’s “Up All Night” are too close to call with both targeted to sell between 35,000-40,000.

B.o.B’s “Strange Clouds” rounds out the top 10 at No. 10 selling up to 27,000 copies.

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<p>Leonard Nimoy of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>

Leonard Nimoy of "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' Finale - 'Brave New World, Part 2'

Let it never be said the show took the safe path this season...but where has it led us?
So, yeah, that happened.
 
By “that” I mean a few things. Primarily, I mean the second half of the two-part finale “Brave New World.” But I also mean the fourth season of “Fringe” in general, which I think will go down as a case study in how following one’s muse sometimes allows you to lose your way. I’ve been watching a lot of the reaction online the past few days to announcements of renewals, pick-ups, and cancellations of various television shows. And it strikes me just how much people feel invested in those programs. Sure, I’ve always known about that investment, but it’s felt particularly acute over the past 48 hours. But there’s a difference in feeling invested in them and actually owning them. None of us watching these programs own them. It might feel that way at times, but it’s just not true. So when I say that “Fringe” bitterly disappointed me for nearly an entire year, I want it clear that I respected the decision of the show to go this route even as they took it further and further away from what I used to love. They had no obligation to make any show other than the one they wanted, and they absolutely achieved that goal.
 
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<p>Michael Ealy and Warren Kole in &quot;Common Law.&quot;</p>

Michael Ealy and Warren Kole in "Common Law."

Credit: USA

'Common Law' - 'Pilot': Not Penny's patients

What did everybody think of the new USA cop drama?

I posted my review of USA's "Common Law" yesterday. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the new USA cop drama? Did the couples counseling gimmick freshen up all the old cliches, or just make them seem even sillier? Did you like the chemistry between Michael Ealy and Warren Kole? How did you feel they compared to some of the other USA duos and trios? Any "Tell Me You Love Me" fans who were happy to see Sonya Walger on the other side of a therapy session? "Rescue Me" fans glad to see Jack McGee, period? 

And, most importantly, will you watch again? Have at it.

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<p>Tara Lynne Barr is one of the stars of the jet-black comedy 'God Bless America,' which is kicking off its limited theatrical run this weekend.</p>

Tara Lynne Barr is one of the stars of the jet-black comedy 'God Bless America,' which is kicking off its limited theatrical run this weekend.

Credit: Darko Entertainment/Magnet Releasing

Weekend Watch: 'God Bless America,' After Dark Action, and grindhouse trailers on Blu-ray

The lines between theatrical and home release get blurry this week

You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video.  Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.

"The Avengers" continues to suck all of the oxygen out of the room this weekend, even with "Dark Shadows" entering the marketplace.  I'm curious to see if they can get a $100 million second weekend out of the film, which would be a 50% drop, and I'm curious to see if the Depp/Burton pairing is enough to overcome decidedly negative reviews and an ad campaign that never really kicked into high gear.

With films that big and high profile, though, you know they're out there.  I doubt anyone's going to startled to hear that "Dark Shadows" is opening, and I'd be amazed if there's anyone on the planet who isn't aware of "The Avengers" by now.  So instead, let's point out some alternatives that are out there this weekend that might not be getting the same level of attention, but that are absolutely worth your time as well.

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<p>Giant Giant Sand</p>

Giant Giant Sand

Interview: Howe Gelb's Giant Giant Sand country rock opera mistake

Check out the EXCLUSIVE first-look at the album and storyboard artwork

A friend suggested I wait to publish anything on Howe Gelb’s latest project until I saw the guy play piano. Last night, the Giant Sand (now Giant Giant Sand) mastermind performed solo at Joe’s Pub in New York. I’d seen Gelb play a handful of other times – mostly when he’s on guitar, mostly with other people.

My friend was right, though. Gelb is a divine piano player, it brought in a new dimension. He has an ease around the keyboard. He likes to lay an object on some of the strings so there’s vibration and a ping when the hammer hits.
 
What I like about his playing – and his singing, and his songs – is that it’s unpretentious with a dash of tension. Gelb has made a lot of records over the last three decades, and now he’s prepared his first “country rock opera,” “Tucson.” It, too, is unpretentious; in spite of the daunting narrative structure that the term “opera” can bring to a traditional singer-songwriter, Gelb thrives in those kinds of constraints.
 
Giant Sand records have been written on the spot, in the studio or on the drive on the way to the studio. He’s played consistently with Denmark musicians Thøger T. Lund, Peter Dombernowski, Anders Pederesen and Nikolaj Heyman over the last ten years, but he’s also mixed in elements like a gospel choir or a horns sections from album to album. Or, y’know, made some sessions into an opera.
 
“Music has always been about handing it over -- music as evolution, it has to keep changing,” he said in our recent interview. He spoke from his longtime home of Tucson, the album’s namesake. “I dared myself to plan a concept, and to strip away the stuff that isn’t ‘it’ or meant for ‘it.’ I took a pretty good gamble that the songs we were gonna write are already inside of us.”
 
Gelb first had the “nagging notion” of making an opera around 1978, but like so many of his projects, he didn’t want to force it. Last year, he played music festival in Berlin, with “this big band which manifested itself by accident or by fate. None of us had gotten together until the moment we were on stage.” The event commissioned artists that represented deserts from around the world, a construct for which Gelb is well-suited. The group – who barely knew each other but tangentially all had connections to Denmark and Tuscon – began jamming on a cumbia, a seed planted that would later become “Caranito” on “Tucson.”
 
“If you’re hittin’ it, it’s gonna have a zing that you can never plan for. It got higher and higher in our set. It was wonderful night, and it was evident that something was in play.”
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Sacha Baron Cohen punks Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars in February.
Sacha Baron Cohen punks Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars in February.
Credit: E!

With Sacha Baron Cohen's 'The Dictator' on the way, let's not forget poor Ryan Seacrest

Plus: The prankster talks the Oscars and awards shows on Howard Stern

"Oh yeah. 'The Artist.'" Cheap shot but that crossed my mind the other day. It wasn't until a press release hit earlier this week announcing a theatrical re-release for the film* that I gave much thought to the season we just concluded in February. It's interesting, sometimes, to note the quick burn-off takeaway...if there is one.

But with Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" (all 75 minutes of it) making its way to theaters next weekend, I can't help but recall poor Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet -- covered in the "ashes" of Kim Jong-il. I might have mentioned it while live-blogging that night (ugh), but I don't think we ever posted it, so we might as well now.

Meanwhile, Cohen was on Howard Stern earlier this week promoting the film, touting it as one of few out-of-character interviews he's done. In true Stern fashion it was a fantastic interview and covered a wide range of topics (including the since oft-reported news break that the actor is no longer a part of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained.")

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<p>No need to worry anymore, Andy Dwyer:&nbsp;&quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;&nbsp;will be back on NBC next season.</p>

No need to worry anymore, Andy Dwyer: "Parks and Recreation" will be back on NBC next season.

Credit: NBC

NBC renews 'Parks and Recreation' for season 5

We'll get another year in Pawnee with Leslie Knope and friends

NBC has renewed "Parks and Recreationfor a fifth season.

As of now, the order is only for 13 episodes -- which is the same amount that "30 Rock" (definitively entering its final season) and "Community" (long-term future up in the air) got yesterday -- but I'm hearing that "Parks" will be on NBC's fall schedule, which means there's still very much a chance that the show could get a back 9 order, continue, etc.

UPDATE: Scratch all that above. The order is now for the full 22 episodes. Among other things, that'll get the show (which NBC owns) up to 90 episodes total.

Though the renewal came a day later than several of NBC's other decisions, I hadn't worried too much about the future of "Parks" being in doubt. NBC owns the show, and as modest as the numbers have been, it's done better than several other shows, and it's a known quantity in terms of what its floor is. NBC has ordered a lot of new comedies, but it's entirely possible those shows will do worse than Leslie Knope, Ron Effing Swanson and friends.

So rejoice, people of Pawnee. All is right with the world once again.

UPDATE: According to several published reports, NBC has also renewed "Up All Night." So a very good day in the Poehler/Arnett household.

RELATED: Season 4 finale review | Interview with co-creator Mike Schur

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<p>Joss Whedon at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;The Avengers&quot;</p>

Joss Whedon at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Avengers"

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

‘The Avengers’ director Joss Whedon is a contemporary pop mythologist

A self-professed fangirl's foray into the work of the man behind the blockbuster

Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” was released in U.S. theaters last weekend and is already breaking records, having usurped the all-time opening weekend crown held by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” with $700 million worldwide already in the bank. Many predicted the final culmination of the seeds Marvel has been planting the past four years would be a success, but few foresaw the magnitude of the appeal.

Of course, Whedon has had a loyal cult following for years, but “The Avengers” in particular seems to have tapped into something audiences have been craving in their summer blockbuster fare. If we look at the films of a similar ilk that have enjoyed this level of success, they are often expansive visually and strike at one or two simple but resonant archetypal themes. Joss infuses the film with the addition of an infectious sense of humor.

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<p>Johnny&nbsp;Depp in &quot;Dark&nbsp;Shadows&quot;</p>

Johnny Depp in "Dark Shadows"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Dark Shadows'

The film hits theaters today

Tim Burton is back in the multiplex this weekend for the first time since 2010's "Alice in Wonderland" raked in a billion dollars worldwide. Will "Dark Shadows" be such a hit? Uh...no. But now that the film has moseyed on into theaters, it's time to hear what you thought. I'll say it was amusing and harmless enough until a third act that is deplorable. Not that the rest of the script is that much better. It's actually awful and repetitive, but at least it has great art direction (natch). If/when you get around to seeing it, rifle off your thoughts in the comments section below.

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<p>&nbsp;Adam Lambert</p>

 Adam Lambert

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: Adam Lambert on 'Trespassing,' fierceness, and a memorable fan

Has living in the spotlight gotten any easier for the former 'American Idol' contestant?

On May 15, Adam Lambert’s second post- “American Idol” comes out. “Trespassing” is an extremely ambitious song cycle that takes the listener though life’s highs and lows. For Lambert’s fans, it come as no surprise that he holds nothing back whether he’s leading the party or in the depths of despair, aching to be understood.

Lambert talked to Hitfix about creating the follow up to 2009’s platinum “For Your Entertainment” and how, even though he makes it look easy, sometimes he struggles to be “fierce.Read his comments about fellow "American Idol" contestant Kris Allen's new single here.

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