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<p>The Leftovers</p>

The Leftovers

Credit: HBO

'The Leftovers' creators Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta on their dark, mysterious HBO series

And how does the co-creator of 'Lost' feel his new show will be received?

I wrote my rave review of HBO's "The Leftovers" — which began with me wondering why on earth "Lost" co-creator Damon Lindelof would get involved in a show designed to not offer answers to a cosmic mystery — before I had a chance to sit down with Lindelof (pictured above with director Peter Berg and Justin Theroux) and Tom Perrotta (who wrote "The Leftovers" novel and co-created the series with Lindelof) and ask him that very question directly. His answer fit in with my assumption that he found the show's premise — 2 percent of the world's population disappears in a Rapture-like event called the Departure that equally baffles science and religion — freeing rather than constraining.

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<p>Oh my good look at them</p>

Oh my good look at them

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Sarah Polley set to write and direct John Green's 'Looking For Alaska'

Earlier book by the blockbuster author could finally be on its way to theaters

John Green has become something of a big deal since the opening of "The Fault In Our Stars," and more power to him. I am all for anything that gives power to the writer as opposed to basically anyone else in the food chain. Green sold the rights to this novel to Paramount years ago, and my guess is that as soon as "Fault" opened, they got real excited about what must have been a wildly reasonable investment.

Sarah Polley, writer/director of 'Take This Waltz' and 'Stories We Tell,' and Academy Award-nominated for her screenplay 'Away From Her,' is set to write and direct 'Looking For Alaska.' The book, by 'Fault In Our Stars' author John Green, has been in development for years, but is picking up steam as 'Fault' crosses the $100 million domestic box-office mark.

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Gary Oldman apologizes on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' for his anti-Semitic remarks

Gary Oldman apologizes on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" for his anti-Semitic remarks
A visibly shaken Oldman didn’t cancel his previously scheduled appearance on Kimmel to promote “Dawn of Planet of the Apes” when this week’s controversy erupted. Instead, Oldman, who has appeared several times in Kimmel sketches, thanked the host for allowing him to apologize on TV. “I’m a public figure. I should be an example and an inspiration, and I’m an A-hole. I’m 56. I should know better,” Oldman said. PLUS: Oldman does "Stranger Wrestling" for Kimmel.

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Report: NBC wants to hire Pippa Middleton as a 'Today' correspondent

Report: NBC wants to hire Pippa Middleton as a “Today” correspondent
The Peacock is set to make a job offer following Matt Lauer’s exclusive interview with the sister of Kate Middleton, according to Page Six. A source says: “NBC, along with all the major networks, have been trying to sign Pippa for some time. NBC is set to make a fresh approach to her following the interview."

ABC’s “World News” will look more like “GMA” after Diane Sawyer leaves
“There’s going to be more of an editorial mix,” a source says of David Muir taking over. PLUS: Watch Diane Sawyer address the transition.

Binge TV-watching is more likely to kill you, researchers find
Sitting down and watching TV all day is deadlier than sitting down at your desk or in a car all day.

“Wilfred” boss: Our show convinced a fan not to commit suicide
Showrunner David Zuckerman writes: "It’s been a very emotional journey for me. Tremendously satisfying, but also challenging and bittersweet. Shortly after the pilot received a production order, my beloved dog George died suddenly.”

Jennie Garth & Tori Spelling made sure “Mystery Girls” was like their real-life friendship
"Our banter in real life is our guideline,” says Garth. "We talk sometimes and it makes no sense to anyone else.” PLUS: ABC Family tonight is showing “Mystery Girls’” 3rd episode first.

Vanessa Bayer is pulling for Hillary Clinton "not just because I impersonate her” on “SNL”
"I definitely hope that she runs for president,” she says.

Why Dr. Oz still has a medical license
As notes: "The fact that Oz hasn't lost any credentials speaks to a larger challenge in modern medicine: Once you get a medical license, its actually really difficult to lose it.”

Jenny Slate learned “SNL” fired her from the web
“Lorne and I never talked when I was fired at the end of the season; I got the news online,” says Slate, who was on “Saturday Night Live” for the 2009-10 season and was most famous for saying the F-word live on air. “I’ve still never watched the clip of my f—k-up. That’d be like watching yourself fall down the aisle at your wedding! I feel like it happened to somebody else, and I want to tell her, ‘Oh, girl. I’m so sorry, but you need to move on.’"

New White House press secretary’s favorite “West Wing” character is Josh Lyman
Josh Earnest, who started his new job this week, also says he prefers “The West Wing” over “House of Cards” because “I am an optimist."

“Wheel of Fortune” vs. “Jeopardy!”
Which game show makes you feel dumber?

Since “Frasier” ended, Kelsey Grammer has had to embrace playing villain roles
. I have been extremely blessed and honored to play Frasier. It was a highlight of my life,” he says. “But is it a problem in terms of casting? Yeah, probably. I’m working through it."

“Gotham” releases individual character posters
“The Good. The Evil. The Beginning.” PLUS: “Gotham” director watched “Serpico” and “The French Connection” for inspiration.

“Game of Thrones” fan’s $30K 7-foot-2 Iron Throne replica can’t fit in his apartment
Mike Ross is trying to sell the Iron Throne that he won.

Ex-“Scandal” star Columbus Short ordered to pay $21.5K per month in child and spousal support
Short didn’t actually show up in the family court proceeding that ordered him to pay his estranged wife.

Check out a “Modern Family” Tree
With Jay and Gloria on top.

“Hey Arnold!” voice star dies
Steve Viksten, who helped develop the Nicktoons series, was 54.

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Recap: 'Big Brother' Season 16 Premiere - Wednesday Night
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Season 16 Premiere - Wednesday Night

The first eight hamsters enter the house for a twist-filled summer

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome.

It's time for another season of CBS' "Big Brother." It's Season 16 and the hamsters have changed, but the Julie Chen remains the same. Exactly the same. Disturbingly the same.

As always, HitFix will be recapping here at the Monkeys As Critics blog. With some variation, I'll be recapping one night (probably the elimination show so I can be lazy and live-blog), Louis Virtel will take another night (which may not be live-blogs, but they'll be funnier than my recaps) and we're still ironing out that extra night. But don't worry. We'll be there to cover all of the racism, homophobia and showman's that CBS sees fit to put on TV. Probably none of us will be watching the live-feeds, but just because it happens doesn't mean it's canon.

Anyway... Click through for my live-blogged recap of Wednesday (June 25) night's premiere and check out Louis' interview with last year's winner Andy.

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Credit: RCA

Sia releases lush new pop song 'Big Girls Cry'

Admit it: You're a cryer

If Sia's "Chandelier" made you feel adventurous, "Big Girls Cry" may bring you down from the ceiling.

The chart-busting songwriter has released another new track from her solo album "1000 Forms of Fear," and it's a little more tame, a little more mid-tempo and a little more heartbroken. I'm gonna let this one sit for a little longer, but it does empower me feel OK about crying during particularly poignant Christmas commercials.

"1000 Forms of Fear" is out on July 8 and was produced by Greg Kurstin, who was behind one of the few songs with any life to it on Lana Del Rey's No. 1 album "Ultraviolence." Listen to another Sia song, "Eye of the Needle" here.

And, no, Sia's still not showing her face in any of her promos. Lena Dunham does some of that for her.

What do you think of the track?

Here is the tracklist for "1000 Forms of Fear":

Big Girls Cry
Burn the Pages
Eye of the Needle
Straight for the Knife
Fair Game
Elastic Heart (*produced by Diplo, co-produced by Greg Kurstin)
Free the Animal
Fire Meet Gasoline
Dressed In Black

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Tech N9ne's 'Fear' music video hits hard

Tech N9ne's 'Fear' music video hits hard

One of the most personal -- and career best -- moments in the rapper's life

Tech N9ne has been at the rap game for 15 years, with more than a dozen proper studio sets to his name.

Time hasn't slowed him down, either: the rhymer introduced a couple of the best songs of his career with latest collection "Strangeulation," one of which is "Fear," a track about dying and the loss of his mother.

"Is there sound when the ground absorbs me?" Tech asks over the emotional loops, and with the video elements added to "Fear," consider yourself hooked. The 5-minute clip starts with a message to his fans:

"On November 27th 2013 I recorded 'Fear,' one of the most emotional songs of my entire career. The Strange Music video team shot the video on April 7th, 2014, days before I left for my tour in the course of waiting for the release, my greatest fear happened on June 6th, 2014, and I lost my ange l- my mother. Maudie Sue Yates-Khalifah.

"It's important for my fans to know that this is the most personal music video of my career and I never could have imagined what it would mean to me today. This is the final version of 'Fear,' for my fans worldwide.

"Thank you everyone for your love and support."

For many who have experienced the "toughest thing to swallow," "when someone who raised you, they gonna forget you" due to disease (Yates-Khalifah suffered from Lupus), it's powerful stuff.

"Strangeulation" is out and features collaborations from the Strange Music roster and made it to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 when it dropped; "Fear" has guest Mackenzie O'Guin.

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Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy' sits pretty atop the singles chart

Could Magic's 'Rude' topple her from her throne?

The rapper from down under remains on top again, as Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, holds at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the fifth week.

Similarly, Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” which features Azalea, stays at No. 2.  Ashanti is the only other female artist to have logged 5 weeks simultaneously at No. 1 and No. 2 12 years ago with “Foolish” and as the featured artist on Joe’s “What’s Luv.” Last year, Pharrell Williams held down the top two spots at the same time for five weeks with Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which also featured T.I. and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” according to Billboard.

Both “Fancy” and “Problem” are losing overall Hot 100 points (the tally measures sales, airplay, and streaming) leaving Magic!’s “Rude” the chance to leapfrog from No. 3 to No. 1 next week.

Two other newcomers move into the top 5:  Nico & Vinz climb 7-4 with “Am I Wrong,” while Sam Smith, whose “In The Lonely Hour” enters the Billboard 200 at No. 2,  moves 10-5 with current single, “Stay With Me” (he also rises 14-12 via his feature on Disclosure’s “Latch.”

In the bottom half of the Top 10: Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” featuring Snoop Dogg slips 5-6, John Legend’s “All of Me” falls 4-7, Calvin Harris’ “Summer” inches 9-8, DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” drops 6-9 and Pharrell’s “Happy” spends what could be its last week in the Top 10, sliding 8-10.

Just missing the Top 10, Maroon 5 bows at No 14 with new single, “Maps.” That’s the best debut for any group so far in 2014.

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Report: Luke Grimes left 'True Blood' because he refused to play gay

Report: Luke Grimes left “True Blood” because he refused to play gay
The actor, who was replaced by “Bunheads’” Nathan Parsons, objected to same-sex kissing and sex scenes that were part of the final season scripts he had read, according to Buzzfeed.

“Tyrant” attracts 2.1 million viewers
That’s about 80% of “Fargo’s” premiere viewership, but considered a good number considering the subject matter.

Read an excerpt from Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Adventure autobiography
The first few pages are now available online.

World Cup biter Luis Suárez to join “The Vampire Diaries”?
Ian Somerhalder jokes that “umm.. Apparently there's a new cast member."

Check out Kristen Chenoweth as Malefecent
Here’s your first look at the Disney Channel movie “Descendants."

White “Big Brother” star accused of racism defended by his black friend
The family of Caleb Reynolds is also sticking up for him after he called President Obama a "Muslim monkey” on Instagram.

Book twist is unlikely to happen on “Game of Thrones"
Michelle Fairley throws cold water on that book spoiler.

“Breaking Bad,” “House of Cards,” “Game of Thrones” are the most binge-watched shows
TiVo’s survey also found that viewers binge-watched “The Walking Dead,” “Downton Abbey” and “Star Trek.”

Lifetime spinning off “Raising Asia” from “Dance Moms”
Asia Monet Ray, 8, and her mom, who also starred on “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition,” are getting their own reality show next month.

Firefighters rescued Rob Lowe and his family from raging waters that overtook their French vacation home
"Thank you to the fireman that saved us from this nightmare,” Lowe’s son Johnny tweeted. "Happy for us all to be safe, thoughts to others."

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Just how big is 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' going to be at the box office?
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Just how big is 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' going to be at the box office?

Is it going to be the summer's biggest hit?

There have been some monster openings at the box office this summer, but "Transformers: Age of Extinction" looks like it might be the biggest debut of 2014.  Just how big?

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Michael Jackson

5 reasons we'll never see another artist like Michael Jackson

Today marks the fifth anniversary of his death

Five years ago today Michael Jackson died. It feels like it was yesterday. His music still floods the airwaves and theaters and his popularity remains undiminished.

Here are five reasons we’ll never see the likes of his singular talent again:

1. He had time to develop: There’s no real development process anymore: whether it’s the immediacy of “American Idol,” “The Voice,” etc., or YouTube, wanna-be artists get exposure often way before they are ready—even though they think they are. Jackson and his brothers incubated in Gary, Ind., away from any spotlight. Though Michael became famous at a very, very early age, that was only after the Jackson 5 had worked their way up through local talent shows, regional tours and more before Motown signed them in 1969 (after initially rejecting them in 1967).

2. He was born a star: Jackson came alive on stage in a way that only a handful of artists since the advent of modern entertainment have: Elvis, Jackson, Springsteen. These aren’t artists who simply enjoyed/enjoy being on stage: They crave it and have to have it and feel more alive on stage than anywhere else. There is a magic that happens when the lights go down and they walk on the stage that can’t be taught, it can’t be learned. It can be nurtured, but you’re either born with it or you’re not and 99.999% of all performers aren’t. Jackson was.

3. He worked hard: Jackson had an unbelievable amount of talent bestowed upon him by the talent gods, but he then took those gifts and worked on them incessantly. He studied Gene Kelly’s dance moves, he practiced singing and worked to find different places his voice could go. He was constantly trying to improve and up his game. There never seemed to be a moment where he felt like he could rest on his laurels.

4. He didn’t play it safe: It’s easy to forget how adventurous he was musically because the risks he took have since cleared the path for other artists. When “Beat It” came out, the thought of having a rock solo by the likes of Eddie Van Halen on a pop/R&B track was unheard of…and he encountered plenty of push back. Just like pioneers always do.  He transcended genres with a fearless abandon and commitment to pushing music forward.

5. He could sing: His stage presence and dance ability were so otherworldly, it’s easy to overlook what a great vocalist he was. Listen to those records: the tear in his voice on “She’s Out Of My Life,” the hopeful determination in “Man In The Mirror,” unbridled joy on “The Way You Make Me Feel,” the growl in “Dirty Diana.”  He had range and strength, but he also had emotion. Not that many artists have that hat trick.


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<p>&quot;Alone Yet Not Alone.&quot;</p>

"Alone Yet Not Alone."

Credit: Enthuse Entertainment

The Academy responds to 'Alone Yet Not Alone'-gate with new campaign regulations

Music Branch gets specific attention in the new rules revealed today

Ah, remember "Alone Yet Not Alone?" For a couple of weeks at the wintery height of awards season, it was the gift that kept giving for Oscar scandal-mongers -- the head-scratching surprise of its nomination in the first place, the uncovering of its dodgy campaign tactics, the shame of its eventual disqualification. And five month later, most people have forgotten the film (which was formally released only last week) ever even existed. Oscar season: it chews you up and spits you out, but rarely quite so humiliatingly. 

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