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'Big Bang Theory’s' Thursday table read canceled

“Big Bang Theory’s” Thursday table read canceled
Production on Season 8 has been postponed for a 2nd day due to contract negotiations.

Brian Williams reports on his daughter’s “Peter Pan Live” casting on “NBC Nightly News”
"Family members confirm that she's been rehearsing for this role since the age of three and they look forward to seeing her fly,” Williams said of daughter Allison’s casting.

Sharknadoes cause PTSD, and 9 other lessons from “Sharknado 2”
“Sharknado 2: The Second One” also taught us that Matt Lauer is the 3rd most-important character. PLUS: ASPCA creates a “Barknado,” and “Sharknado 2” had no business being this much fun.

“Stalker” adds Warren Kole
“The Following” vet will reunite with Kevin Williamson on the CBS drama.

AMC Networks in talks to buy a 50% stake in BBC America
BBC America is currently owned by BBC Worldwide, the for-profit arm of the BBC.

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TV Review: 'Sharknado 2: The Second One' offers more polish, slightly less charm
Credit: Syfy

TV Review: 'Sharknado 2: The Second One' offers more polish, slightly less charm

Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return, with a slew of cameos

I know I've thought it and said it and probably even written it, but there's something vaguely condescending about the notion that the "Sharknado" franchise is somehow review-proof or review-immune or however you'd prefer to view it. 

Just because something is designed to be a guilty pleasure doesn't mean that it can't achieve its goals with more or less craft.

And just because something isn't necessarily meant to be taken seriously doesn't mean that those aspirations can't be achieved with more or less success.

Because the desire to be taken seriously or viewed as legitimate is hardly an argument to be reviewed or acknowledged in the case of utter ineptitude. 

For example, look at CBS' "Under the Dome." It has a literary pedigree, some respectable creative auspices, a cast of familiar TV faces, a position of some prominence in CBS' lineup and a reputation as a summertime success, even if that reputation hasn't been supported by recent ratings.

And "Under the Dome" is awful. It's as inert and inept a show as there is on TV, a showcase for shoddy effects, leaden pacing, dead-ended plotting and a slew of performances that run the full gamut from wooden to petrified wooden. 

No matter the patina of frivolity that coats Wednesday's (July 30) premiere of "Sharknado 2: The Second One," there's almost no level on which this Syfy original movie is inferior.  

Unlike "Under the Dome," "Sharknado 2" has a sense of playfulness that infuses its variably successful effects shots, its sometimes stumbling momentum and its unflagging commitment to delivering ridiculously audacious set-pieces. And unlike "Under the Dome," every one of the actors on-screen in "Sharknado" clearly wants to be there and even if that's because they're aware they couldn't be doing anything else, why is that so bad? 

This isn't to say that "Sharknado 2" is some great piece of made-for-TV art. In improving its empirical quality, the sequel has absolutely lost some of its ephemeral charm. But it's absolutely a thing that is capable of being evaluated objectively, as more than just an "It is what it is" or an "If you liked the first one you'll like this one" level.

So let's do that, eh?

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Dave Bautista on his daily transformation into Drax for 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'
Credit: HitFix

Dave Bautista on his daily transformation into Drax for 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'

One of the movie's biggest surprises is a soft-spoken giant

If there is any cast member in "Guardians Of The Galaxy" whose work can be categorized as a genuine surprise, it's Dave Bautista.

I've actually spoken to him before this film, when we talked about his work in "The Man With The Iron Fists," and he struck me there as a very thoughtful guy who has this warmth that may not be immediately apparent when his primary job is to beat the hell out of opponents in the wrestling ring.

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<p>Emmanuel Lubezki on the set of &quot;Children of Men&quot;</p>

Emmanuel Lubezki on the set of "Children of Men"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Variety jumps into the deep end of crafts coverage and it's about time

New 'Artisans' initiative is a long time coming

As one person put it to me, "It's nice to have a trade covering, you know, the trades, because we haven't really had that in some time." Indeed, it's fantastic to see our colleagues at Variety dig in and represent the industry as they are with the newly branded "Artisans" initiative, and it's a long, long time coming. It is and has been an underreported element of the business, but I've happily seen that slowly shift in the decade we've been diligently, sometimes obsessively, covering below-the-line here at In Contention.

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'Sharknado 2' is already a huge success regardless of ratings
Credit: Syfy

'Sharknado 2' is already a huge success regardless of ratings

“Sharknado 2” is already a huge success regardless of ratings
Tonight’s sequel was made for next to nothing, and all the free promotion — from the media to companies like Subway — guarantees that “The Second One” won’t be a failure. PLUS: The New Yorker goes behind the scenes, the sequel is even more cheap and boringly bogus, play the “Sharknado 2” drinking game, it is too packed with cameos, the problem is “Sharknado 2” is trying to spoof the original, it’s as good as the first one, “Sharknado 2” writer promises a “surprisingly heartfelt” sequel, “So it's a tornado full of sharks?,” asks 88-year-old congressman, “Sharknado 2” is so bad, it’s bad, will “Sharknado 2” will give Tara Reid staying power, and the real “Sharknado 2” fear is of missing out on a big event.

How CBS got New York to give Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” $16 million in tax breaks
"We had to get a little more creative in the incentives to keep them here," says a spokesman for Empire State Development, noting that Los Angeles, New Orleans and Connecticut were all trying to woo “The Late Show.”

11 things to watch tonight instead of “Sharknado 2”
“Swimming with Sharks” is also on tonight.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” books Jenny Slate
She’ll play a mob mistress in the season premiere, reuniting with former “SNL” co-star Andy Samberg.

Watch Seth Meyers’ 1st Emmys promo
The Emmy host tried to bring “Breaking Bad” blue meth and a “Game of Thrones” sword through the TSA.

Infographic: Here are “The Walking Dead’s” most talked-about characters
Turns out The Governor was more talked about than Rick Grimes.

“Downton Abbey” takes over "Harry Potter’s” Hogwarts
The ITV drama is filming this week in the grand residence of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.

What happens to canceled TV shows’ Twitter accounts?
So many dead TV shows had Twitter accounts, it’s like a social media graveyard.

Readers of TV adaptations need to let it go
Regarding the “Game of Thrones” controversy, James Poniewozik says, “In the end, the book is the book. The show is the show. I’m glad to accept that I’m going to get different things from one than from the other–and if one of them ends up sucking, it doesn’t diminish the other. It’s just one more reason that it’s a good thing to own both a TV set and a bookcase."

Lena Dunham talks to Fred Armisen about once working as an “SNL” extra
She couldn’t stop giggling while Armisen filmed a digital short.

Nick’s “Bachelorette” “made love” comment reversed yet reinforced gender roles
As Willa Paskin points out, "Nick, operating under the auspices of hurt, sexual naïveté, and a dash of hubris, does not believe that Andi, the good, classy girl he loves, could have been sexually comfortable and voracious enough to have really good sex with someone— him!—if he was not 'the one.' No woman who has ever appeared on The Bachelor suffers from this delusion. By bringing up the sex, Nick is also upholding the specific gender roles of The Bachelor, in which men basically get to decide what is kosher.” PLUS: Fox News host calls Andi a "slut."

Who is “Supernatural” bringing back next season?
Several past guest stars will return in Season 10.

Burbank burger stand gives discounts if you order in the voice or a TV character
Order as  Scooby-Doo, and get 10% off.

Watch Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Jack McBrayer at Comic-Con
They were promoting their new Adult Swim series.

Maksim: Kirstie Alley and I don’t speak anymore
The “Dancing” alum says: "Now that I'm associating with other people, that (she said) she can't be associated with, I am no longer to be spoken with."

“HIMYM’s” Ashley Williams is pregnant
The actress, whose Jim Gaffigan pilot was just picked up yesterday by TV Land, is expecting her first child this fall.

“Penn & Teller: Fool Us” premieres tonight on CW
The game show will reward magicians who stump the famous duo.

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“The Wire" creator David Simon’s HBO miniseries casts Catherine Keener and Oscar Isaac

“The Wire" creator David Simon’s HBO miniseries casts Catherine Keener and Oscar Isaac
Simon is returning to HBO with “Show Me a Hero,” a Paul Haggis-directed six-hour miniseries based on Lisa Belkin’s 1999 non-fiction book about the fight for housing desegregation in the late ‘80s.

Bella Thorne to appear on “CSI"
The Disney star will become the prime suspect in a murder.

“Nashville” nabs Laura Benanti
The “Go On” alum will play an up-and-coming country star who befriends Rayna.

A warrant has been issued for Columbus Short’s arrest
The former “Scandal” star was a no-show for this morning’s domestic violence hearing. PLUS: “Scandal” books Kelen Coleman from “The McCarthys."

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<p>Jamie Foxx and Mike Tyson</p>

Jamie Foxx and Mike Tyson

Credit: AP Photo

Jamie Foxx's Mike Tyson biopic moving forward with 'Wolf of Wall Street' writer

The 'Ray' star has wanted to make this movie for a long, long time

Biopics. They're all the rage. James Brown is about to hit theaters. Richard Pryor is stirring back to life. And now "Iron" Mike Tyson himself will be coming to the big screen, courtesy of Jamie Foxx.

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Toronto's Midnight Madness announces Kevin Smith, 'The Guest,' and a return to '[REC]'
Credit: Cannon Films

Toronto's Midnight Madness announces Kevin Smith, 'The Guest,' and a return to '[REC]'

It sounds like this is going to be one wild ride

Okay, I doubt Charles Bronson will be there, but if anyone could pull it off, Colin Geddes could.

There are few things I look forward to with more fervor each year than Toronto's Midnight Madness selection each year. Programmer Colin Geddes is not just a phenomenal ringleader, an instigator of a controlled cinema riot every single night of the festival, but he is also a tremendous friend, the sort of person who is a pleasure to bump into anywhere at any festival in the world.

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Credit: Paramount Pictures

Matthew McConaughey visits alien worlds in the new trailer for 'Interstellar'

'Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.'

If you followed HitFix's coverage of Comic-Con, then you know we were extremely high on the new trailer presented for Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar." Paramount managed to get the director down to the San Diego convention for the first time ever (he had somehow never bothered despite his involvement in one of the most popular superhero franchises to date), and the result, apparently, was sheer bliss for the attendees in Hall H. Well, today you can see the trailer for yourself (if you didn't already catch it in theaters over the weekend), and find out what all the fuss was about.

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Colin Firth tells the truth about 'Kingsman' and becoming an action hero: 'It hurt'
Credit: HitFix

Colin Firth tells the truth about 'Kingsman' and becoming an action hero: 'It hurt'

He seems pretty pleased with the end result, though

It would give me enormous pleasure to report that Colin Firth, when the cameras were off, was a rude, unpleasant bag of garbage. It would delight me to no end to report that as he walked out onto the balcony where we did our interview about his upcoming film "Kingsman: The Secret Service," he punched an orphan and denied someone their basic human rights. I would love to be able to state, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is a terrible person.

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In defense of Allison Williams’ casting as Peter Pan

In defense of Allison Williams’ casting as Peter Pan
Marnie may be the worst character on “Girls,” but the real-life Williams is pretty good singer. PLUS: Lena Dunham predicts “she will slay,” and see Williams dressed as Peter Pan — as a child.

TNT renews Dick Wolf’s “Cold Justice"
The true crime docu-drama will be back for a 3rd season in early 2015.

Watch Jay Leno mentor a “Last Comic Standing” contestant
Why this might be Leno's smartest post-retirement appearance yet.

“The Bachelorette’s” Nick on his “made love” comments: ""It wasn’t necessarily about the sex…”
"I think she was very caught off guard by the question,” he says, "and quite honestly, I was surprised it came out, but I think I was very much in the moment, and it was something that I felt was weighing on my mind," he said. "It wasn’t necessarily about the sex, but just the level of intimacy about that night."

Krysten Ritter to visit “The Blacklist”
The “Breaking Bad” alum will guest on the season premiere.

Meet the Howard Stern crank caller who’s been pranking ESPN, CNN, NBC, ABC, MSNBC for 25 years
The Washington Post profiles Tom Cipriano, AKA Captain Janks, a truck driver and Stern fan who’s posed as everything from a football player to Bob Hope’s comedy writer to get on air.

Reminder: Halle Berry’s “Extant” has a new timeslot tonight
The Steven Spielberg-produced drama moves to 10 pm.

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Production on 'The Big Bang Theory' postponed due to cast contract negotiations

Production on “The Big Bang Theory” postponed due to cast contract negotiations
Season 8 was scheduled to begin production today. But only two cast members are under contract: Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik.

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