Latest Blog Posts

<p>Gina Rodriguez of &quot;Jane the Virgin&quot;</p>

Gina Rodriguez of "Jane the Virgin"

Credit: The CW

Take Me To The Pilots '14: The CW's 'Jane the Virgin'

Gina Rodriguez makes this telenovela-flavored comedy one to watch

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

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<p>&quot;Famous in 12&quot;</p>

"Famous in 12"

Credit: The CW

What if The CW cancelled 'Famous in 12' and nobody noticed?

OK, some people noticed, but we only just noticed. Will viewers?

Apologies, but I was deleting some scheduling releases from The CW on this 4th of July morning and I happened to notice that "Famous in 12" was pulled after five impressively low-rated Tuesday airings. 

It appears that some of my media brethren noticed on Wednesday afternoon and a couple noticed on Thursday afternoon, but the news has been greeted with all of the excitement that you'd expect from the cancellation of a reality series averaging a hair over 500,000 viewers.

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<p>Thursday&#39;s &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

Thursday's "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' leads pre-holiday Thursday, 'Undateable' finale drops

'Undateable,' 'Last Comic Stand' hold up on slow night

Fast National ratings for Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Numbers were mostly down on a pre-holiday Thursday night, with "Big Brother" ranking as the night's top show among young viewers and ranking behind only a "Big Bang Theory" repeat overall. It's no surprise, then, that CBS won the night in both measures.

There were a number of Thursday notables and some actually did reasonably well.

"Gang Related" was one of the night's only shows to even be flat among young viewers and gained slightly overall, even more impressive since "Hell's Kitchen" was down in all measures. "Rookie Blue" was up from last week in total viewers, but down a hair in the key demo. ABC's "NY Med" slipped a bit in its second week, as did NBC's "Undateable" in its finale. 

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Orange Is the New Black</p>

Orange Is the New Black

Credit: Netflix

Review: 'Orange Is the New Black' - 'Comic Sans/Appropriately Sized Pots'

Cindy and Rosa get the flashbacks, while Piper tries to get a furlough

Continuing our periodic look at "Orange Is the New Black" season 2, I have thoughts on episodes 7 & 8 coming up just as soon as I'm in an M. Night Shalamalama movie...

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<p>FOX&#39;s &quot;Gotham&quot;</p>

FOX's "Gotham"

Credit: FOX

Take Me To The Pilots '14: FOX's 'Gotham'

Batman sorta-prequel has a good pilot, but maybe chill on the iconic villains?

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

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<p>Amber of &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

Amber of "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Eviction plus an HoH controversy

Did Devin get his anonymous vote? And how did Replay Review impact Greek Week?

If you watched Wednesday's "Big Brother," you know that Pao-Pao thinks "Caltoru" is a word -- She was trying to spell Cthulu, I assume.

You also know that Duck Donesty was never a soldier, but Caleb is convinced that Donny's ex-military because of something related to the hair, or lack thereof, on his legs.

And you finally know that Joey isn't so great at this. America's Favorite Player before the season, Joey attempted to start an all-girl alliance. She failed to find any takers. Then she went around apologizing to everybody for forming an all-girl alliance. Then she got put on the block by Caleb, either as punishment for trying to start an all-girl alliance, punishment for apologizing about being in an all-girl alliance, or punishment for not being a very good "Big Brother" player.

Take your pick!

Let's get down to Thursday (July 3) business...

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'Seinfeld' seems as different from anything on the air today as it did 25 years ago
Credit: Sony

'Seinfeld' seems as different from anything on the air today as it did 25 years ago

“Seinfeld" seems as different from anything on the air today as it did 25 years ago
A quarter-century after the premiere of “The Seinfeld Chronicles” on July 5, 1989, there’s still been nothing like it on TV — though, there have been many imitators, notes James Poniewozik. “The show exists outside generations and time,” he says, adding: "It has a comedian’s purity of focus on the sanctity of the joke above all–above sentiment, ‘relatability,’ larger social meaning–that still feels bracingly we-don’t-give-a-damn. PLUS: “Seinfeld’s” genius wasn’t apparent until the end of the 13-episode 2nd season, “Seinfeld” blazed the trail for sophisticated sitcoms, celebrating Elaine’s fashion, celebrating Elaine’s awkward dance, meet the writer behind “Double-Dipping” and “Yada Yada Yada,” “Seinfeld’s” 10 best side men, “Seinfeld’s” 25 greatest contributions to the English language, Carol Leifer explains why Larry David won’t use an iPhone, the 20 best sports moments, Jerry Seinfeld’s favorite sitcom is “Mary Tyler Moore,” everything you didn’t know about your favorite “Seinfeld” episodes, and Mariska Hargitay and Jeremy Piven are among the celebrity guest stars who appeared on “Seinfeld” before they were famous.

“Gold Rush” star dies
James Harness, 57, died one week after suffering a stroke.

Maybe Chris Colfer should’ve left “Glee”
The hacker who tweeted his departure maybe was on to something — Colfer would be better off leaving a show that’s a lame duck. PLUS: How would Ryan Murphy have killed off Kurt Hummel?

Jay Leno weighs in on Stephen Colbert taking over “The Late Show”
"I like Stephen Colbert a lot,” says the former “Tonight Show” host. "I like the silliness of his character and I think he will incorporate a lot of that into his show. I think he'll be Stephen Colbert and occasionally go into the character when needed. I think he'll be terrific.”

CeeLo Green: I left “The Voice” because “it became a job”
"It easily and quickly became a job," Green tells Us Weekly. "Very, very obligating… Taxing and tiring… I still tip my hat to Adam and Blake and those guys who continuously do it, but I think I ran my course there just naturally."

Discovery Channel to pay tribute to Louis Zamperini
The WWII veteran, who died this week at age 97, was the subject of a Shark Week documentary "Adrift: 47 Days With Sharks” in 2012. That documentary will re-air on Sunday.

Jimmy Fallon is still going strong, Seth Meyers is beating Letterman in the demo
Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel had his best quarter to date.

Is Tori Spelling the real-life version of “The Comeback”?
Her new “Mystery Girls” comedy is something Valerie Cherish would do.

Iranian’s “Modern Family” knockoff, explained
"Haft Sang” debuted this week as part of Ramadan programming and its episodes run twice the time of the original “Modern Family” — watch the entire first episode now.

“Downton Abbey” creator: I expect there to a 6th season
"I would be amazed if there wasn’t another series after (this one),” Julian Fellowes tells Harpers Bazaar.

See Jon Stewart, animated
“The Daily Show” host makes a cartoon cameo on Monday’s “Phineas and Ferb.”

“Family Guy” meets “Game of Thrones”
Check out an artist’s drawings putting the Seth MacFarlane characters in Westeros.

Disney Channel renews “I Didn’t Do It”
The teen comedy is one of the top tween shows on Disney.

“Orange is the New Black’s” Taryn Manning claims her ex-friend is stalking her
Manning pressed charges against the friend, who was arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court on a misdemeanor charge of sending hundreds of messages to Manning.

Andy Cohen has a tiny office now that he’s no longer a Bravo executive
Cohen was moved from a spacious office on the 46th floor of 30 Rock to a cramped office on the 14th floor.

Science proves that “The Bachelor” is better than “The Bachelorette”
A psychologist explains why males competing for one woman is boring: There is less infighting among males, which leads to duller show.

Do you remember Nickelodeon’s "My Brother And Me”?
The mid-90s family sitcom is nearly forgotten today.

“The ‘90s: The Last Great Decade?” is a fun trip down memory lane
The three-night Nat Geo event, premiering Sunday, is especially timely with Hillary Clinton in the headlines.

General Wesley Clark kicks off TCM’s WWI salute on the Fourth of July
He’ll help introduce 43 films on The Great War.

“How I Met Your Mother’s” Kevin & Jeanette reunite
Kal Penn and Jeanette snapped a pic in “their new home.”

Check out Dana Carvey’s Church Lady cartoon
The classic “SNL” character gets a digital makeover.

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Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande dips her toe in EDM waters on 'Break Free' feat. Zedd': Listen

Hear her acoustic version of 'Problem'

Ariana Grande debuted a new song at her MTV #TotalAriana Live concert last night and it’s a peppy, EDM-influenced track, courtesy of Zedd’s involvement. The electronic outro b is going to sound dated very soon, but in the meantime, enjoy.

Now it looks like Grande could have two songs of the summer: “Problem,” featuring Iggy Azalea, will represent the first half of the season, while the instantly catchy “Break Free” will be your song for the second half. Thanks, Ariana!

Lots of other Grande news: She and Nicki Minaj will appear on Jessie J’s  next single, "Bang, Bang." That song, which will be on both Jessie J and Grande's albums, comes out July 29.  Plus, she performed an acoustic version of “Problem” last night, which we’ve embedded as well.


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Cartoon Network fires the creator of 'Clarence' in wake of sexual assault allegations

Cartoon Network fires the creator of “Clarence” in wake of sexual assault allegations
Skyler Page’s firing comes after an artist on Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time,” Emily Partridge, tweeted allegations over the past two days that Page had assaulted her. “Skyler Page is no longer an employee at Cartoon Network Studios,” a Cartoon Network spokesperson said in a statement.

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Linda Perry

Exclusive: Linda Perry on her new VH1 show, Pink, and her issue with 'American Idol'

Why her show will not be a karoake competition

Linda Perry is nothing if not passionate. She is best known as the front woman for 4 Non Blondes, as well as writer and/or producer of some of the most popular songs of the last 20 years, including Pink’s “Get the Party Started,” Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and Faith Hill’s “Cry.”

Now fans will get to see her in action on her new VH1 series, “Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project,” which debuts July 16. In the 10-week summer series, she coaches several acts she has handpicked on how to write songs, how to record, how to perform, and how to navigate this tricky industry. She is doggedly honest and forthright. She will select one of the artists to sign to her own label.

We recently talked to Perry at her studio in Los Angeles, where the show takes place. She had very strong opinions about how her show will different from other singing competitions, such as “American Idol” and “The Voice.”

Her objection to such shows isn’t that most of these winners aren’t writing their own material, but that the talent level isn’t high enough. “The majority, 89% of the ‘artists’ that show up on these shows would never, ever be sought out by a label or management or agency and said, ‘you are spectacular, we’re going to sign you’ at their local karaoke club in Bumf**k, Michigan. And that’s the truth.”

She’s a little harsh on “American Idol”—- most of us can definitely name several artists who launched their careers from “Idol” aside from Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, but her greater point is that her show will pull back the curtain on how the process works… from songwriting to recording…and reveal the blood and guts it takes to be a true artist.

She’s doing the show not only for the contestants, but to help those watching at home. “If I inspired some 14 year old to not go down the route of selling perfume and using music as a promotional tool and she decided, ‘You know what, I’m not going to take that casting call job, I’m going to sit here in my room that truly inspire me because I’m going to trust that my emotions speak for me’,” then she says she has succeeded.

She promises we will see her unfiltered on the show: “What you’re going to see on the show is exactly how I am with who ever, if it were was Christina, Pink, Alicia Keys, whoever. That’s exactly how I am.”

Speaking of Pink, Perry, who produced much of Pink’s “Missundaztood” album and wrote “Get The Party Started,” had a falling out with Pink after she went on to work with other artists, including Aguilera. The two have since made up and Perry says she would love to work with her again:
“I would love it, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I would absolutely welcome it and love it because I really really love that girl, so who knows.”

We also asked her what advice she would give Aguilera, who has had great success as a guest on songs by Maroon 5 and A Great Big World, but has struggled a little bit lately. In addition to producing Aguilera, Perry wrote one of her biggest hits, “Beautiful.”

An episode of "Behind The Music" on Perry will also air July 16.

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<p>Isabelle Huppert in &quot;White Material.&quot;</p>

Isabelle Huppert in "White Material."

Credit: IFC Films

Looking back on six great years at In Contention

As I leave for pastures new, a reflection on the site that made it all happen

I've had several weeks to draft this piece, and several drafts it has taken, but the introduction is always the hardest part – the part where the bittersweet reason for breaking from our daily programming has to be announced. So let's lead with the good news: I'm excited to announce that my three-year relationship with Variety is growing into something more permanent and prominent – starting this month, I will be contributing regularly to the trade paper, both as a film critic and a features writer. The bad news you may have guessed: this means my time at In Contention has come to an affectionate close.

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Surprise! 'Frozen' leads list of 2014's best-selling albums

Album and digital sales sink even further

Unless you’ve been living in the great white tundra, it will come as no surprise that the soundtrack to “Frozen” is the biggest selling album for the first half of 2014.

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