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<p>Jesse Spencer in &quot;Chicago Fire,&quot; one of several shows NBC renewed tonight.</p>

Jesse Spencer in "Chicago Fire," one of several shows NBC renewed tonight.

Credit: NBC

NBC renews 'Parks and Recreation,' 'Chicago Fire,' 'Chicago PD' & 'Grimm'

A strange renewal release brings good news in the end

Welcome to an exciting installment of Adventures in Network Press Releases, where a simple email about the renewal of "Chicago Fire," "Chicago P.D." and "Grimm" instead turns into a stealth renewal announcement for "Parks and Recreation" and "Celebrity Apprentice."

Earlier this evening, NBC sent out a press release with a simple and clear headline about the first three shows being renewed. Makes sense. The two "Chicago" shows have done relatively well after, respectively, "The Voice" and "Law & Order: SVU," and NBC likes being in the Dick Wolf business, and "Grimm" has been a stable Friday performer for a few years now.

Then came the strange part, as the release mentioned previous renewals for "The Blacklist," "The Voice," "Parks and Recreation," "Celebrity Apprentice" and "The Biggest Loser." The problem was that only the first two had actually been previously announced as renewed for next season. Back at press tour, Fienberg goaded Bob Greenblatt into saying he expected "Parks" would be back next season, but no contracts had been signed, "Celebrity Apprentice" had been in limbo for a long time, though there have been recent reports of casting work being done for a 14th edition, and there was no news at all on "Biggest Loser."

As it turns out, "Biggest Loser" being included was a mistake, but NBC says the others are correct.

So if you have your scoreboard handy, here is what happened tonight:

* "Chicago Fire," "Chicago PD" and "Grimm" were all renewed, loudly and proudly.

* "Parks and Rec" and "Celebrity Apprentice" got stealth renewals, and we still don't know when the latter will air or exactly what the deal is for the former (my guess is "Parks" gets the "30 Rock" treatment with a shortened order for a season that we know going in will be the final one).

* "Biggest Loser" fans got their hopes up for a couple of minutes until NBC sent a correction.

* Many other NBC shows (including "Biggest Loser," but also "Law & Order: SVU," "Parenthood," "Hannibal," "Revolution," "Dracula," the new Tuesday comedies, "Community," and even "The Michael J. Fox Show," among others) will have their fates decided later in the season, or at upfront time in early May. The improbable "Community" dream of six seasons and a movie: not dead yet!

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NBC renews 'Chicago Fire,' 'Chicago PD' and “Grimm'

NBC renews “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Grimm”
They’ll return next season for a 3rd, 2nd and 4th season, respectively. PLUS: NBC formally picks up "Parks and Rec."

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<p>Elbow</p>

Elbow

Credit: Tom Sheehan

Rock band Elbow talks 'Taking Off' into their golden years

Craig Potter is thinking about Bloody Marys on the cusp of their No. 1 (UK) album

Elbow just scored their first No. 1 in the U.K. this month, with their sixth studio album "The Take Off And Landing Of Everything," which has also become one of their best-selling sets in the U.S. The music itself contains as much up and down as the title suggests, even with the rock troupe's many successes; it's more about personal failures and regrets, sarcasm and lunacy, and -- sure -- a some triumph and optimism.

Produced by the band keyboardist Craig Potter, "The Take Off" now leaps up from No. 109 to No. 83 on the Billboard 200 this week. The group will be touring the U.S. May 12 through May 28, with several dates already sold out. Having previously interviewed frontman Guy Garvey, it's apparent Elbow are thankful for any success they've seen. With this release, I spoke to Potter, who also feels that shaking things up in the studio still has kept them on an "up" trajectory.

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Below is our abridged Q&A, on their single, their tour, beer and bloody marys, recording at Peter Gabriel's studio and embarking on The Golden Years of Elbow.

I’ve been listening to “Fly Boy Blue/Lunette” a lot since the song came out. Let’s start by talking about that song, can you talk about the making of that song in the studio?

What we did with this album, we sort of split up into different groups, didn’t necessarily all get together. We had one day off a week when we were writing so it meant that different varying groups of the whole band working together at different times trying to get different vibes out of different songs. So “Fly Boy Blue,” the bare bones of it, was written by three of us, musically.

It's so much more of a performance song, sort of band feel. Probably a little bit more like some of our older stuff. We always wanted it to feel quite foggy in a lot of ways, as some of the other tracks on the album do. They came up with this big heavy riff in the middle, this really long riff and it was just guitars and keyboards at first and then we decided to put the sax on to give it a bit of a twist.

It's basically a story of snapshots of Guy’s life in a lot of ways, the first half, and then “Lunette” is more of an honest sort of hit. It’s a sort of admission, just a very honest sort of tale, I think.

I like in particular the treatment of Guy’s voice. Can you talk about the evolution of his voice as you've known him as a producer and bandmate throughout Elbow’s career?

Interesting. Listening back to our old albums and listening back to early stuff that we did, it has changed quite a lot. Obviously his range as he gets older -- he can't quite do the falsetto bits anymore so he used to sing a lot of falsetto and higher sounds when he was younger.

He's always layers his voice in a lot of ways, especially when we first started experimenting with recordings. One of his strengths is harmonies. So I'd give it a little bit of a twist. And more and more it got a bit more gravel. You can push Guy's voice up in the mix a lot and it's just really “wow” having it really loud and in your face. Other than that ,it's just the usual things really, a bit more grit has come in there.

Lyrically this album and the last touch a lot on major big life gestures and a moving through life. Do you feel like this new album says something new or touches on a lot of issues about aging?

Yeah, I think the feel of a lot of the things are definitely about approaching 40. I mean I'm actually a couple years younger than the rest of them, but yeah we’re all at that or around it. When you get to that I think a lot of it's when you get to that stage of life you do a bit of looking back, and you do looking forward, so you're sort of in the middle almost. And I think that comes through. Considering death and then considering your childhood and what was, all at the same time.

Did you imagine that you'd be still with this band and working with this band in this capacity when you started?

If you'd asked 20 years ago if we'd still be together, I would've said no way. I think we're just lucky to get on so well.

And what have you considered to be one of the biggest goals that you guys have achieved or what had you thinking, “Man, we really made it?”

The big moment that is sort of changed everything was winning the Mercury Music Prize over here. That changed a lot of things. But I mean - because of that we got to play with BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and on TV over here…

And you have your own beer, which I feel like is an achievement of its own.

Yeah. The beer thing is crazy. We did it with the last album and it went down so well so we've got to do it again. It is just to promote the album at the end of the day. But if people like it and it sells well it's like why not, it's a bit of fun.

It certainly makes you think a little differently about merchandising. Are you thinking about branching into spirits, perhaps some whiskey?

You never know. Maybe next time. We would think we'd quite like to do a bloody mary mix. I mean it's one of things because we travel around a lot and depending on how hungover you are, sometimes it's nice to have a morning bloody mary in an airport. Maybe next time that's what we'll do.

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 10</p>

The "American Idol" Top 10

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 13 - Top 10 Performances - Top 10 Songs Night

The remaining contenders sing Billboard hits

Welcome to another somewhat strange, very open-ended "American Idol" theme night.

Last week, we discovered that "Bennie and the Jets" was a Song From the Movies because it was heard in "27 Dresses."

Thursday night's theme? Top 10 Songs. Past? Present? Future? Any chart?

Let's find out!

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First Kiss
Credit: Wren

5 things about that 'First Kiss' song, Soko's 'We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow'

Including how it debuted at No. 1

Seemingly out of nowhere, Soko’s two-year old song, “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow,” zoomed onto the Billboard Hot 100 this week, bowing at No. 9. Even more impressively, the song launched at No. 1 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart.

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'The Walking Dead' is headed to broadcast syndication, edited for family-friendly viewing

“The Walking Dead” is headed to broadcast syndication, edited for family-friendly viewing
This fall, MyNetworkTV will air two cleaned-up episodes of the AMC hit.


"Rizzoli & Isles” will address Lee Thompson Young’s death in the season premiere
Angie Harmon tweeted: "Season 5 eps 1&2 address our beloved Lee w/ love, honor & respect. Thank you @JanNash100."


“Dexter’s” Desmond Harrington joins “Astronaut Wives Club”
He’ll play Alan Shepard, the first American in space, on the ABC pilot.


Mia Farrow deletes an anti-CNN tweet when it’s pointed out her son is an MSNBC host
"Has TV 'news' gone completely crazy,” she tweeted with an image from CNN’s Malaysian Airlines missing plane coverage.


Treat Williams to play a “CSI” crime scene investigation pioneer
The “Everwood” alum will guest on the season finale.

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<p>Aubrey Plaza relishes the opportunity to break Jim O&#39;Heir&#39;s spirit on-camera</p>

Aubrey Plaza relishes the opportunity to break Jim O'Heir's spirit on-camera

Credit: HItFix

Watch Aubrey Plaza shock Jim O'Heir with terrible news on 'Parks and Rec' red carpet

And she's so happy about it, too

There is no worse moment for an actor than being fired from a role.

Eric Stoltz is probably still raw about what happened on "Back To The Future," and no matter what the reason that happened, he will most likely always be raw about it. When you act, you're laying yourself pretty bare in terms of criticism. When someone rejects a performance, they're rejecting all the choices the actor made. When you're fired from something because it's just not what the director wanted, it has to feel very personal. It must hurt.

When we attended the red carpet for the PaleyFest "Parks and Recreation" panel, we were expecting lots of jokes and energy from the show's remarkable cast. Our first few interviews went very well. But when Jim O'Heir stopped to talk to us, we ended up witness to a horrifying personal moment sprung on him at the worst possible time.

To be honest, the part that really gets me here is just how pleased Aubrey Plaza seems to be to tell him the terrible news. She may be a monster.

In all honesty, this is all part of the character O'Heir plays on the show, and we'll have more of my interview with him in the very near future, as well as much more from the red carpet including a Nick Offerman answer that we're not sure we can even share with you, it's so filthy.

"Parks and Recreation" airs Thursdays on NBC.

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Pharrell Williams
Credit: Columbia Records

Pharrell Williams' 'Happy' makes it four weeks at the top

Who is Soko and how did she debut in the Top 10?

“Happy,” Pharrell Williams’ Oscar-nominated ditty remains No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for its fourth week, while the Top 10 welcomes some newcomers.

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<p>If this still from &quot;The 100&quot; makes you swoon, you probably don&#39;t care about my review anyway.</p>

If this still from "The 100" makes you swoon, you probably don't care about my review anyway.

Credit: The CW

TV Review: The CW's 'The 100' has a rough start but improves a little

Post-apocalyptic teen drama lacks even slightly appealing characters

Stop me if you've heard this one before: In elementary school at some point, we had to do extended book reports. I chose "Lord of the Flies," as you do. Well, part of the assignment was to select a character you liked at the beginning of the book and do a chapter-by-chapter diary from that character's point of view. 

I sympathized and empathized with Piggy, so he was an easy choice for my diary-writing. For a couple chapters, I wrote lengthy entries about the challenges of being a pudgy, bespectacled outsider in a group of increasingly feral kids, discovering how quickly the trappings of civilization fall away. Then, of course, very bad things happen to Piggy and his beloved conch. 

Briefly, I was crushed. Subsequently, I realized that my assignment had just gotten vastly easier. For the last chunk of the diary, I wrote nothing other than the chapter and "Still dead."

There are a variety of reasons why Piggy's death in "Lord of the Flies" is so shocking and powerful. You don't necessarily need to love the character. Frankly, he's a bit of a pill. Other characters want to be noble or savage. Piggy wants to be civilized and domesticated in exactly the way a grown-up would want them to be, not in any organic way. His death doesn't have subtle meaning. It has whack-you-over-the-head-with-a-mallet portentous meaning, but it still hits home. It hurts because you don't want the character to die, but you also don't want the idea that the character represents to die. And it kicks you in the groin because "Lord of the Flies" was written back in the days before "Hunger Games" and whatnot, back when the idea of killing off juvenile characters in fiction was something that writers didn't do haphazardly. Writers had to earn those deaths and they didn't make the assumption that they were being badass just because they offed somebody too young to buy scratchers at the 7-11. 

The flipside of that coin might be The CW's new drama "The 100," which premieres on Wednesday (March 19) night in the protected 9 p.m. confines after "Arrow." 

We've made a lot of jokes over the years about The CW's assembly line of hot young stars, with the punchlines peaking this fall when the network actually dipped back into the Amell gene pool to pair Robbie Amell's "Tomorrow People" with Stephen's "Arrow." We always suspected that CW stars were a renewable and somewhat interchangeable resource, often harvested and refined from Australia. But with "The 100," the formula has expanded to accentuate the disposable nature of these chiseled, all vaguely familiar thespians. 

The CW once talked about doing a "Battle Royale" series, but the network seemed to realize that in a post-Columbine, post-Newtown, post-Aurora world, some tip-going was required. "The 100" isn't that "Battle Royale" remake, but it is a futuristic drama that revels in killing off young characters, sometimes with intended gravity, but usually with a cavalier shrug of disinterest. There's so much happening and so many characters moving around in "The 100" that it's impossible to care about anybody getting killed off, so you're just supposed to feel like the show is exhibiting braveness on principle. 

Here's the weird and confusing and disappointing thing about "The 100": If I had reviewed it off of the first two episodes, I'd have been veering in the direction of a D/F-grade review and you'd have gotten to see Angry Dan. If I'd have reviewed it off of the first four episodes, I probably wouldn't have moved above a D+/C-. I've seen six episodes and my grade has inched up even more. I thought those first two episodes were awful -- Badly written characters being acted poorly and put through uninteresting pacts. I thought the next two episodes were bad -- Still badly written, poorly acted characters, but at least they were doing some unpredictably things. 

The last two episodes I watched? I'm not going to say they're good. They're not. But there's a narrative that's finally taking shape and a few -- not close to all -- of the actors are settling in to their roles, correcting performances that were misdirected in the pilot. I'm still struggling to find a single character whose fate I'm even vaguely invested in, but my outright antipathy towards some of the characters had begun to fade.

In the end, that makes for a conflicted review on "The 100." I really can't recommend the show at all. But if you're intrigued by the premise and kernels of the pilot interest you, I can assert that "The 100" gets better. That's tepid encouragement in general, but it's more enthusiastic if you watch the pilot and you actually like it. 

Honestly, that could probably be my review, but more detailed and show-specific thoughts are after the break.

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<p>Dan Harmon discussing his return to &quot;Community&quot; at the 2013 Comic-Con.</p>

Dan Harmon discussing his return to "Community" at the 2013 Comic-Con.

Credit: AP

Mega 'Community' interview with Dan Harmon, part 1

On being rehired by Sony, making peace with Chevy Chase, and more

On some level, I’m still having a hard time believing that Dan Harmon is back running “Community,” and that the show has been as good as it’s been for most of this season. Large entertainment conglomerates are not generally in the business of rehiring idiosyncratic creators whom they have fired, and TV shows that go off the rails as badly as “Community” did in the Harmon-less fourth season rarely return to former levels of glory.

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<p>Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler spent as much time making each other laugh as they did answering questions at Tuesday night&#39;s PaleyFest panel for &#39;Parks and Recreation&#39;</p>

Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler spent as much time making each other laugh as they did answering questions at Tuesday night's PaleyFest panel for 'Parks and Recreation'

Credit: Kevin Parry for Paley Center For Media

15 things we learned from the 'Parks and Recreation' PaleyFest panel

There was a lot of love on the Dolby Theater stage Tuesday night

As with Sunday night's "Lost" panel, I stepped in to do a little TV duty this week and attended tonight's "Parks and Recreation" panel at the PaleyFest.

I'm not sure there's a group of characters that I like spending time with each week as much as the "Parks" group right now. Pawnee has taken its place right alongside Springfield as one of the most fully-realized comedy communities in TV history. Each year, we learn more about the people of Pawnee and we learn more about the main characters and we just plain dig deeper into the roiling cauldron of weird that is headed up by the great Leslie Knope, played by the also-great Amy Poehler.

After a very spirited round of interviews on the red carpet, I headed upstairs where they were just starting to screen this Thursday's new episode, "Galentine's Day." After this, there are only six more episodes this year, and there was a fair amount of talk tonight on the carpet about how crazy the finale is going to be. Nick Offerman talked about trying to shoot a scene with Michelle Obama, but in the end honoring their mutual decision to always stay 250 feet away from each other so they don't make their respective spouses suspicious. Jim O'Heir talked about how he worked with Genuwine twice before learning that Genuwine is actually famous and not something made up for the show. It sounds like they've gone as big as they can, but week to week right now, I feel like they are just effortlessly knocking it out of the park. With characters this great and a cast this gifted, how can they do anything but make great TV?

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<p>Billy Crystal in his latest Oscars stint</p>

Billy Crystal in his latest Oscars stint

Credit: AP

FX sends Billy Crystal's 'The Comedians' to series

Josh Gad co-stars in the half-hour, which will premiere in 2015

"Soap" star Billy Crystal is returning to series television with "The Comedians," which has been ordered to series by FX.

The half-hour project stars Crystal as a superstar veteran comic who is paired with an edgier up-and-coming comic (Josh Gad), leading to "an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look at a late night sketch comedy show where egos and generations collide."

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