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2014 Emmy Nomination Contenders - Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

2014 Emmy Nomination Contenders - Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jim Parsons looks strong, but will Andy Samberg challenge him?

Reminder: For our annual Emmy contenders coverage, Sepinwall does his personal preferences, while I handicap mostly in terms of likelihood of landing nominations. As usual, the first six slides in each gallery are my nomination predictions. The next eight or nine slides are the actors and shows most likely to sneak in, based on precedent, quality or something nebulous. And then at the end of each gallery, I tend to throw in a couple oddballs who have no chance at all of being nominated, but who I think deserve to be a part of the conversation, or might accidentally become part of the conversation, just because.

Our next category:

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY

This is a weak field. Louis C.K. is Louis C.K. and I'll always express admiration for what Jim Parsons does on "Big Bang Theory," but otherwise you're looking at two Showtime stars who are favorites at least 75 percent by default and then your choice of decently regarded parts on shows very few people watched, well-regarded performances on shows that nobody watched or contenders who are only here because they won Emmys for better shows years ago. This is what happens when the stars of "Modern Family" are all "supporting" and the stars of the year's best new comedy, "Orange Is The New Black," are all women. This is a category that either needs an infusion of good new product next year or else needs voters to actually watch Andy Daly in "Review."

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<p>Chris Meloni in &quot;Surviving Jack.&quot;</p>

Chris Meloni in "Surviving Jack."

Credit: FOX

If I Had An Emmy Ballot 2014: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Which new shows make the cut?

The Television Academy of Arts & Sciences released this year's Emmy ballots last week. Now that the ballots are out, it's time for our annual two-pronged experiment, in which Dan tries to predict the likeliest nominees in each major category, while I pretend that I'm an actually TV Academy member and pick the six nominees that would make me the happiest.

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'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange is the New Black,' 'Fargo' win Critics’ Choice Television Awards

“Breaking Bad,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Fargo" win Critics’ Choice Television Awards
They were named the best drama, comedy and miniseries, respectively. PLUS: Sarah Silverman ticks off Mark Burnett while sarcastically presenting the reality TV award.

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Cable TV is struggling to find network sitcom hits it can use for reruns

Cable TV is struggling to find network sitcom hits it can use for reruns
“New Girl” is the only viable option for 2015, while “The Mindy Project” and “Last Man Standing” are the only comedies left for 2016 syndication. Yet all three aren’t big hits. "We're all getting starved,” says an FX executive. "For every elite show like 'Big Bang Theory', there is an awful lot of mediocrity out there that won't pull ratings."


Early Critics Choice Television Award winners include “Fargo’s” Allison Tolman, “OITNB’s” Uzo Aduba
Matt Bomer also won for “The Normal Heart,” while Andre Braugher took home an award for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine." UPDATE: "Orange is the New Black" wins best comedy series, "Fargo" nabs best miniseries, and Billy Bob Thornton and Matthew McConaughey also win awards.


Bill Clinton to introduce USA’s broadcast of “Philadelphia”
The former president will introduce the AIDS-themed 1993 film on Saturday at 7 m as part of Pride Month and National HIV Testing Day.


Bill Nye on a “Science Guy” reboot: “Does it make sense now”?
Bill Nye has been talking about bringing back “Bill Nye The Science Guy” for years, but he says “now there are millions, just literally millions of competitors (on YouTube). Certainly tens of thousands."


Why “Fargo” isn’t all it was cracked up to be
The glaring problem was that the FX event series paled in comparison to the brilliance of the Coen brothers, however much it tried, says Matt Zoller Seitz. "As long as (creator Noah) Hawley's show is doing things that are different from, but as aesthetically and philosophically rich as, things that the Coens might do in their films, it's in fine fettle. The problem arises when the show does things that seem lazier or dumber or more retrograde than things the Coens would do. And unfortunately, the show had many such lapses.” PLUS: “Fargo” became the antidote to bloody “shock-ya” TV.


History channel enlists Dierks Bentley to pen the theme song for “Biker Battleground Phoenix”
The country singer, a motorcycle enthusiast, penned the song “Ride On."


January Jones deletes an old modeling pic she posted to Instagram after it was called racist
The modeling pic shows the “Mad Men” starring wearing a trial-themed sweater while standing between two shirtless black boys.


“Rookie Blue” Season 5 picks up tonight exactly where Season 4 left off
“This,” says co-creator Tassie Cameron, "was more challenging because we're picking up moments after the finale of Season 4 and trying to remind everybody where you're at. And you're starting in this very intense, emotional place.”


Kerry Washington: I’d love to play Arya Stark on “Game of Thrones”
The “Scandal” star was asked, "If you could play another role on any other show, what would it be?” PLUS: What it’s like to be a man on “Scandal."


“Teen Wolf’s” Bianca Lawson joins “Witches of East End”
She’ll play a mysterious character named Eva.


John Oliver gets some “Fresh Air”
The “Last Week Tonight” host tells NPR’s Terry Gross of his net neutrality viral video, "It took a week of sifting through almost paralyzingly dull footage to try and work out how to present it."


Vienna gets the “House of Cards” treatment
A filmmaker in Austria recreated the Netflix series’ opening credits using locations in Vienna.


Jill Duggar and her fiance’s Walmart wedding registry lists guns, ammo, cereal, duck tape
The TLC star is getting married on Saturday.


TCM Cruise to feature Richard Dreyfuss, Alex Trebek, Roger Corman
Shirley Jones will also be part of this year’s cruise, taking place Oct. 21-26.


“Rectify” is to drama what “Louie” is to comedy
The SundanceTV series returns for a 2nd season tonight, offering "an emotional marathon unmatched by anything else on television.” says Jason Lynch, adding: "It might sound clichéd to say that Rectify is unlike anything else on television, but it’s also entirely accurate. The show’s languid, deliberate pace is almost hypnotic.” PLUS: “Rectify” needs to get on with it, "Rectify's" slowness and care is even more distinctive and refreshing than they were a year ago, and creator Ray McKinnon on deciding to do a Season 2.


Syfy’s “Dominion” uses just about every fantasy/sci-fi trope
The TV series about angels based on the 2010 film “Legion,” says Diane Werts, "seems to have assembled elements of just about every fantasy/sci-fi trope -- dystopic urban landscape, royal house-joinings, flying monsters, secret-message tattoos, 'religious theater’ vs. "politics." Not 10 minutes into the pilot comes a good old-fashioned penance whipping. There's even a subtitled angel language.” PLUS: It’s utterly familiar and predictable, “Dominion” may be the dumbest, worst-acted, most poorly written TV series ever.

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'Dear White People' teaser trailer doesn't want your stereotypes
Credit: Roadside Attractions

'Dear White People' teaser trailer doesn't want your stereotypes

Never think of 'Gremlins' the same

As "Dear White People" heads to theaters on Oct. 17, remember: this isn't "The Help," "The Butler," or any of the other films where a white person leads black people in the charge, or one where Tyler Perry wears a dress.

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<p>Against Me!</p>

Against Me!

'Drinking with the Jocks' music video: Catching up with punk rockers Against Me!

'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' continues to demand your attention

In 2012, Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender, making her one of the highest-profile music artists to have ever done so. As she made her medical transition, she and her band worked to complete "Transgender Dysphoria Blues," their hard-heeling sixth studio album.

I heard Grace refer to the 2014 album at one point as having catchy songs about "a dark thing," and considering the title and the punk band's propensity to leave in their rough edges, one can start to imagine. But there's something that I adore about "Transgender..." that goes well beyond what you could call simply "bravery" -- an overused but noble term about being personal, to airing of laundry. It's dauntless, in its takedown of the ugly, gender-dominated cultures in an eyebrow-blazing speed with heavy, dark things.

"Drinking with the Jocks" is one of these, skidding to a halt and setting fire to things in only 1:50 time. Informed people don't wave the word "faggot" around easily. "Look at all of them bitches, yeah / I'm gonna f*ck them all... / Fill them up with cum," Grace sings on the sex-and-death speed reel above. It's language-as-blunt-object, as a tool or a weapon. Worth a listen.

Against Me! is on tour now, dates below.

6/21 – Clisson, FR @ Hellfest
6/24 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie
6/27 – Toronto, ON @ Pride Toronto
7/18-20 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
7/19 – Bloomington, IN @ Rhino’s Youth Center *
7/22 – Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29 *
7/23 – August, GA @ Sky City *
7/24 – Wilmington, NC @ Ziggy’s By The Sea *
7/25 – Charlottesville, VA The Southern *
7/26 – Amityville, NY @ Revolution *
7/27 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall *
7/29 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theater *
7/30 – Pawtucket, RI @ The Met
7/31 – Quebec City, QC @ Mountain Bike World Championship
8/01 – Kingston, OH @ Ale House
8/01-03 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
8/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
9/10 – Washington DC @ 9:30 Club #
9/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Mann Center for the Performing Arts #
9/13 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center #
9/16 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues #
9/27 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater #
9/30 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues #
10/01 – Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee #
10/03 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom #
10/07 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre #
10/08 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works #
10/10 – New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre #
10/14 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre #
10/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue #
10/16 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom #
10/17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE #

* = w/ Jenny Owen Youngs and Creepoid
# = w/ The Gaslight Anthem

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<p>Kate Upton in Lady Antebellum&#39;s &quot;Bartender&quot; music video</p>

Kate Upton in Lady Antebellum's "Bartender" music video

Credit: UMG

Kate Upton battles Tony Hale in Lady Antebellum's 'Bartender' video

'Veep's' Gary gets a neck tat

There's rounds at the bar, and rounds of boxing, and in the music video for Lady Antebellum's "Bartender," you get both.

Kate Upton plays a girl who needs to get over her guy, invited out on a night with the ladies. And Tony Hale is her bartender.

While it's simply entertaining on its face that Gary from "Veep" has a neck tattoo here, it's an altogether clever little video for a pretty simple song. Lady A made their green at first with breakout hit "Need You Now," the perfect salute to drunken booty calls. The trio's "Hey Bartender" made our Summer Songs of 2014 cut specifically because they go the upbeat, sassy route.

Now, you got this next round or what?

"Bartender" is off of the trio's fifth studio set, whenever that arrives. The group is currently on tour; their last album was "Compass," from 2013.

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Gerry Goffin

Legendary lyricist Gerry Goffin, Carole King's songwriting partner, dead at 75

He and King created more than 50 Top 40 hits

Gerry Goffin, who co-wrote such pop classics as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,”  “The Loco-Motion,”  “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “One Fine Day,”  “Up on The Roof,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman” and many more with ex-wife Carole King, died today at 75.

“Gerry Goffin was my first love. He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world,” King said in a statement. “Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have His name will forever be remembered as one of the greatest songwriters of all time and his songs, which are among the best ever written, will live on forever, touching generations of the future just as much as they have touched the generations of the past.touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship…His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say.”

In addition, on her Twitter page, King posted “There are no words” along with a picture of Goffin in his early twenties.

Goffin put words to King’s soaring melodies. Together they crafted more than 50 top 40 hits, many of them with poignant, yearning lyrics. He continued writing after their divorce in 1968, including co-writing Whitney Houston’s “Savin’ All My Love For You” and “The Theme to Mahogany,” performed by Diana Ross.

King and Goffin’s relationship is the subject of current Broadway musical, “Beautiful.”  The pair were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.

On Twitter, a number of other legendary songwriters commented on Goffin’s passing, including the great songwriting team of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, who also were Brill Building writers. “Now that Gerry Goffin is gone a part of us is gone 2 but we still have his lyrics and our great memories. We will miss him.”

Diane Warren tells HitFix in an exclusive statement, “His name will forever be remembered as one of the greatest songwriters of all time and his songs, which are among the best ever written, will live on forever, touching generations of the future just as much as they have touched the generations of the past.”

Goffin is survived by his wife, Michelle, and five children.

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Hollywood Walk of Fame giving stars to Amy Poehler, Julianna Margulies, Seth MacFarlane, Jim Parsons, Sofia Vergara

Hollywood Walk of Fame giving stars to Amy Poehler, Julianna Margulies, Seth MacFarlane, Jim Parsons, Sofia Vergara
Also receiving stars in 2015: Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Flay, Chris O’Donnell, James L. Brooks, Kelly Ripa, Kristin Chenoweth and Dick Gregory.

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<p>Better Call Saul</p>

Better Call Saul

Credit: AMC

AMC renews, postpones 'Breaking Bad' spin-off 'Better Call Saul'

'Breaking Bad' prequel will now debut early next year, with Vince Gilligan around full-time

Better stop holding your breath for "Better Call Saul," folks. In a good-news, bad-news press release, AMC announced that the "Breaking Bad" prequel series, focusing on Bob Odenkirk's Saul Goodman, has already been renewed for a second season, but now won't premiere until sometime in early 2015, rather than the previously-announced November 2014 plan.

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AMC has already renewed 'Better Call Saul' for a 2nd season — Season 1 will premiere in early 2015

AMC has already renewed “Better Call Saul” for a 2nd season — Season 1 will premiere in early 2015
The 1st season of the "Breaking Bad" spinoff was originally scheduled to kick off in November. Instead,  the 10-episode Season 1 will air in early 2015, and the 13-episode 2nd season will be shown in early 2016. PLUS: Here's the 1st photo from the set, and Vince Gilligan will be more involved with "Saul" as co-showrunner and director of the first episode and Season 1 will air with "The Walking Dead."


Michael Vartan joins “Satisfaction”
The “Alias” alum will recur as a “daring photographer” on the upcoming USA series.


Will NBA champ Tim Duncan announce his retirement on Letterman?
The San Antonio Spurs star is scheduled to appear on “The Late Show” on Tuesday.

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Top 10 performances in Roman Polanski films

Top 10 performances in Roman Polanski films

With 'Venus in Fur' on the way, which actors most excelled under his direction?

Tomorrow, more than a year after its Cannes Competition premiere, Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur" finally opens in US theaters. It's the 20th narrative feature of a career that now spans six decades, so a list themed around the Oscar-winning director's work seemed in order. Given that "Venus in Fur" -- Polanski's third film, after "Death and the Maiden" and "Carnage," to replicate the scale and pace of an intimate stage production -- is based so explicitly around notions of performance, and the push-pull relationship between actor and director, a selection of his most successful actorly collaborations seemed the obvious way to go.

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