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<p>Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir of the United States</p>

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir of the United States

Credit: Vadim Ghirda/AP

TV Ratings: Winter Olympics lead NBC past 'Big Bang Theory' and 'American Idol' on Thursday

It's the biggest network Thursday since September
Fast National ratings for Thursday, February 6, 2014.
 
The Opening Ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics won't air until Friday, but Thursday's "bonus" night from Sochi delivered big ratings to NBC as the canned sporting events led the network to easy wins, crushing FOX's "American Idol" and also topping CBS' powerhouse "Big Bang Theory."
 
The Olympics took a big bite out everything in its path on Thursday, knocking "Rake" and "The Crazy Ones" to series lows and siphoning viewers elsewhere. 
 
It's a reminder why you'll be seeing a lot of repeats in the next two weeks.
 
On to the numbers...
 
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<p>A scene from &quot;Captain Phillips.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Captain Phillips."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Roundup: On writing, or writing down, 'Captain Phillips'

Also: Channing Tatum's Team Oscar, and clothing 'The Grandmaster'

Not everyone was expecting "Captain Phillips" writer Billy Ray to take the WGA Award last weekend -- though Kris, I believe, called it. Anyway, it seems to have been a popular win, and while he seems unlikely to repeat that triumph on Oscar night, it's nice to see one of the season's most formidable also-ran films get a moment in the sun. Ray himself has now written a good piece about his experience of writing the film -- in which he refuses to claim much credit: "I like the feeling I get when I'm working on a true story — a sense of authenticity, that I'm really reporting and not just writing ... [Phillips], like the movie itself, is real and unvarnished, imperfect but thoroughly human. I always felt there was a real nobility in that; my job was simply to capture it. In that sense, it's really Captain Phillips who wrote this movie — I just wrote it down." [LA Times]

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Jay Leno chokes up as he says goodbye to 'The Tonight Show'


Jay Leno chokes up as he says goodbye to "The Tonight Show"

"It really is time to go," Leno said before quoting Johnny Carson and tearing up. PLUS: Watch the star-studded musical surprise for Leno, and Leno dresses in drag as celebs offer him advice


Letterman offers congrats to Leno
"Congratulations on a wonderful run," David Letterman said on Thursday's show, "and I'll tell you something -- If I was Jay Leno and I was retiring? You know what I would do? I'd go out and buy myself a car." PLUS: "The Late Show" Twitter also said goodbye, and Jimmy Fallon offered a classy sendoff.


Watch Jimmy Kimmel humiliate Matt Damon

The cast of "Monuments Men" appeared on Kimmel's show, but there was no seating for Matt. PLUS: Kimmel had firefighters spray water on Damon.


Jimmy Kimmel has more celebs read mean tweets: Jon Hamm, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jennifer Garner

Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Matt Damon are also part of the 6th edition of celebrities reading mean tweets.


"HIMYM" co-creator tweets a pic of the 1st draft of the "Finale" -- from 2/21/06

"No memory of writing it. Wish I could show the rest!" tweeted Carter Bays.


Chuck Lorre accomplishes a rare showrunner feat: 4 shows in the Top 20

"The Big Bang Theory," "Mom," "Mike & Molly" and "Two and a Half Men" all placed in the Top 20 shows.


Conan celebrates "The Walking Dead's" return with kissing lesbian zombies

According to Conan, it's a TV first.


"Once Upon a Time" is casting for "The Wizard of Oz's" Glinda

Glinda the Good Witch is coming to the ABC drama.

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin&nbsp;Scorsese and Jonah Hill at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Jonah Hill at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Credit: AP Photo

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio look back on a fruitful collaboration

The director and actor received Santa Barbara's Cinema Vanguard Award Thursday

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio hit the stage at the Arlington Theatre Thursday night as co-recipients of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Cinema Vanguard Award. A two-hour discussion, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, covered all bases of their 12-year pas de deux, including, of course, their introduction to each other's work.

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<p>Reece Shearsmith isn't sure which way is up in the truly surreal and original 'A Field In England,' the latest from filmmaker Ben Wheatley</p>

Reece Shearsmith isn't sure which way is up in the truly surreal and original 'A Field In England,' the latest from filmmaker Ben Wheatley

Credit: Drafthouse Film

Review: Reece Shearsmith freaks out in Ben Wheatley's 'A Field In England'

A psychedelic period war film that defies easy genre labels

There are few filmmakers working right now who seem as set on the expansion of the very definition of "genre" as Ben Wheatley. Film after film, he throws curve balls at the audience, trusting them to be adventurous enough to follow him as he explores some truly dark and oddball corners of human experience.

Anyone who saw his breakthrough film "Down Terrace" would probably be excused for thinking he was just another English filmmaker in love with working class criminals, a sort of collision of Mike Leigh and Shane Meadows. With "Kill List," though, he made it clear that whatever you expected him to be, that's probably not what he was interested in being. "Sightseers" is the sort of dark comedy gem that can be fiendishly difficult to pull off, but he made it look effortless. They're all films that feel like they are drawn from a very British tradition of storytelling, but Wheatley has his own voice, and he's bending and breaking expectation with a fiendish sort of glee at this point.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Will Katherine make Stefan fall for her?

Damon just can't stay out of trouble, either

We knew it was only a matter of time before someone figured out "Elena" wasn't really herself. The only surprise was that it wasn't Katherine herself who gave away her true identity. Watching her roll her eyes, flirt mercilessly with Stefan, and wing her way through conversations she doesn't entirely understand, it's been hard to believe that Elena's nearest and dearest aren't whispering about how "off" their friend seems.

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<p>Just what sort of Vision will this new Vision be?</p>

Just what sort of Vision will this new Vision be?

Report: Paul Bettany is taking a shocking on-screen role in 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'

If this is correct, this is a huge key to how the mega-sequel will unfold

Normally, I would ignore anything printed by The Daily Mail, which is notoriously untrustworthy, but they've just posted something that fits in so neatly with other information that we can confirm that it sounds like the broken clock is indeed, in this case, telling the correct time. Besides, I'm seeing other way more reliable folks like The Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit weighing in, and it's starting to look like this is for real.

According to their report, Paul Bettany will finally play a live-action role in a Marvel Universe movie, and it would make perfect sense based on the way things will play out in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." The long-time voice-only computer butler to Tony Stark will make the jump to playing the long-anticipated character The Vision.

Fans have been assuming since the title announcement was made last year at Comic-Con that Ultron would be the creation of Tony Stark in this film, as opposed to Hank Pym, who has traditionally played that role in the comics. That's a safe bet, and Stark does indeed play a major role in the birth of the character. Fans have also assumed that Jarvis would somehow factor into Ultron's birth, which also makes sense. After all, Stark has apparently had a fully-functioning AI working for him since before the opening of "Iron Man," something that he seems to treat as sort of matter of fact and totally normal.

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Jay Leno's has a star-studded final 'Tonight Show'


Jay Leno's has a star-studded final "Tonight Show"
"Tonight is our last show for real. I don’t need to be fired three times — I get the hint," Jay said in his last opening monologue. UPDATE: Conan uses Olympics to joke about Leno: "NBC will finally get to show somebody who’s okay with passing the torch."

 

 

 


Bob Costas kicked off NBC's Winter Olympics coverage with an eye infection

What happened to Costas' left eye? His assistant explains: "Bob has some sort of infection which has his left eye completely red and almost completely closed, making it impossible to put a contact lens in it." PLUS: Watch the Peter Dinklage-narrated Olympics opening.


Conan O'Brien puts on zombie makeup for his "Walking Dead" special
Watch the "Conan" cold open for his gathering of the stars of the AMC hit.


Ruben Studdard thinks Clay Aiken would be great in Congress
"If he wins the race, it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to his district," says the Season 2 "Idol" winner.


California to begin selling Snoopy license plates
Proceeds of the plates will go towards funding museums and science centers in California.


"About a Boy" adds Will Sasso

He'll romance Minnie Driver on the NBC comedy.

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<p>Get ready for Group Chaos on &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Get ready for Group Chaos on "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 13 - 'Hollywood Round, Week #1'

How many lives would Group Night claim?

I don't understand "American Idol" naming.

Last night's episode was the start of Hollywood Week, but tonight's episode is technically titled "Hollywood Round, Week #1." How many weeks the Hollywood Round? And why am I adhering to the arbitrary "American Idol" naming system?

I don't know.

Anyway, last night we had solos and did the preamble to the group performances

Tonight? Let's see how those Groups go.

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Leonard Nimoy reveals he has a serious lung disease, but is 'doing OK'


Leonard Nimoy reveals he has a serious lung disease, but is "doing OK"
The 82-year-old former "Star Trek" star tweeted that he has developed "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."


"House" helps solve a medical mystery
A German man's illness had stumped doctors for months -- that is, until he met a doctor who was a "House" fan.


Lifetime picks up Shiri Appleby's "Un-Real" reality show-inspired satire, rejects Alicia Silverstone's pilot

"Un-Real" from Marti Noxon is a drama that goes behind the scenes of a reality TV competition. Meanwhile, Silverstone's "HR" is being shopped to other networks.


Presenting the Sochi Winter Olympics TV guide

NBC's coverage starts tonight with figure skating. The tape-delayed opening ceremony airs Friday.


Letterman's Ed Sullivan Theater marquee now looks like it did when the Beatles arrived in 1964

"The Late Show" is celebrating Sunday's 50th anniversary of The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show." PLUS: Even "SportsCenter" is commemorating the Beatles' 50th anniversary.


Owner of the real-life Bada Bing "Sopranos" strip club is a "mob rat"
Turns out Anthony "Tony Lodi" Cardinalle, owner of New Jersey's Satin Dolls strip club, Genovese family associate is now talking to the feds after pleading guilty in December to a trash hauling scheme.


Amazon announces "Veronica Mars" and "Ravenswood" fan fiction
Fan fiction writers inspired by the two shows can get their works published legitimately via Kindle Worlds.


Kaley Cuoco: I want a "Big Bang" wedding, too

"I'm ready for them to get married," she says of Penny and Leonard. "Maybe because I just got married -- so come on Penny and Leonard, it's been six years! It took us six months! But I hope that's in the cards for them."


Here are all of NBC's comedy failures in recent years
From "Whitney" to "Outsourced" to "The Paul Reiser Show."


Does Clay Aiken really face long odds in his Congressional race?

The district the Democratic Aiken is running for has been redrawn to be solidly Republican. PLUS: Why Aiken is perfect for Congress.


Kate Walsh was originally supposed to star on "Reign"
How did Amy Brenneman end up with her role?


The lessons of "The Michael J. Fox Show" -- Michael J. Fox wasn't the problem

Fox proved he's still a good actor, but his NBC sitcom was a lesson in how stars from nostalgic sitcoms don't lead to a hit comedy. PLUS: "Fox Show" never settled on a point of view, or tone.


"Nashville" needs to dump some characters
The ABC series, says Willa Paskin, is suffering from "Disposable Significant Other Disease. There are currently four ancillary characters on 'Nashville' playing the temporary love interest, a boyfriend or girlfriend who might as well have 'waiting to be dumped' tattooed on his or her forehead."


Discovery Channel teases "Amish Mafia's" return
Season 2 kicks off Feb. 25.


"The Real World: Ex-Plosion" is refreshingly authentic

Breaking down the fourth wall by showing the producers and cameraman has
breathed new life into the long-running MTV reality show.


Comic book flips genders of "Star Trek" characters

Introducing Captain Jane Tiberia Kirk.


Why an "Idol" contestant came out on the show
Keith London performed Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy" on Wednesday's episode, without changing the pronouns.


Inside the "House of Cards" editing room with director Robin Wright
Wright had to look closely at her face for her Episode 10 director's stint.


Oprah says she cried after giving her employees the day off for her 60th birthday
"For my birthday I had all of my employees take the day off and they just gave me a book of all the things that they did on my day off," she says.


Elle editor explains why Mindy Kaling's cover was in black and white

Kaling was the only one of four TV stars whose cover came out in black and white, and the fact the others were white and more fit caused some controversy. But Elle's boss Roberta Myers explains: "In the black-and-white photo, I thought that Mindy looked powerful, beautiful, potent, and sexy in the best sense of the word."


"The Killing" adds 3

Tyler Ross, Sterling Beaumon and Levi Meaden will be part of the six-episode final season.


"Arrow" shocker, explained

"So that's what Sara Lance has been doing for all these years!"


Check out the Season 2 poster for "Da Vinci's Demons"
"Same Genius. New World," says the Starz series.


An appreciation of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's" animator
Arthur Rankin Jr., who died last week at 89, created a world that never gets old -- one that even inspired Will Ferrell's "Elf."

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<p>Jay Leno</p>

Jay Leno

Credit: NBC

Goodbye, Jay Leno: This isn't the farewell he deserves


Goodbye, Jay Leno: This isn't the farewell he deserves

This "second ejection," says Robert Bianco, "seems to have left all involved a bit embarrassed — like family members who are called yet again to the deathbed of a lingering relative and can no longer think of anything to say. Even the timing of Leno's presumably final departure, shoehorned between the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, seems designed to cut short any valedictory celebration." He adds: "Leno has been a good, loyal and very successful soldier for NBC, and he deserved a better farewell than the one he's been given." PLUS: 10 reasons why Leno will be missed, and in defense of Leno.


Why we'll miss complaining about Leno

"Leno not being around anymore to bitch about makes me downright melancholy," says Steven Hyden.


White House calls today "the end of an era"

"The President wishes him well," White House press secretary Jay Carney said today. PLUS: Michelle Obama tweets, "Thanks for the memories."


Leno's 2nd exit has been carefully orchestrated, unlike the 1st exit

"If Leno’s treading very cautiously, it’s because, once again, he’s being compelled to turn over the franchise to someone far more popular with the media than he," as Lisa de Moraes explains.


Where will Jay Leno's 4 million viewers go?

They've already rejected David Letterman, so will they turn to Fallon or Kimmel?


A history of Jay Leno hate: Comedians, Hollywood insiders just love hating Leno

Hating Leno has been hugely popular for more than two decades.


Jay Leno's writers remain loyal

"He's a really good guy," says former "Tonight Show" writer Mike Colasuonno. "We always had a good time. He's always got your back. He always makes you laugh."


NBC is insulting Jay Leno!
The lack of buildup for his final "Tonight Show," the way they're giving Jimmy Fallon "starring" billing -- the Peacock is treating Jay unfairly.


Jay Leno is the Nickelback of comedy
"Now that he's retiring, his legacy will not be twenty years of outstanding ratings," says Stephen Marche. "It will be the legacy of hate he has built up. He is the definitive icon of show-business betrayal. In the light of posterity, Jay Leno will always be the man who hid in a closet to listen in on executives discussing him." PLUS: Leno thrived by being America's dullest man, and goodnight and good riddance!


Where will Leno land?

Will he end up in cable or syndication?


Leno's 6 greatest moments

From Hugh Grant to the unplugged show.


A brief history of Jay Leno's joke-stealing

The accusations against Leno are numerous.


Craig Ferguson gives Jay Leno a 1969 Ford Bronco
"It'll keep you busy if you get bored."

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<p>Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in a scene from &quot;Dallas Buyers Club.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in a scene from "Dallas Buyers Club."

Credit: Focus Features

Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey breaks down key 'Dallas Buyers' scene

The balance between sincerity and sentiment

The unexpected love thrown to "Dallas Buyers Club" by the Academy was on of the best surprises when the Oscar nominations were announced last month.  The film's 6 nods are a testament to the moving direction of Jean-Marc Valle (he earned an editing nod), the smart script by  Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack and, obviously, the career best performances from stars Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner and other unheralded members of the film's ensemble. McConaughey and Leto are the frontrunners in the best actor and best supporting actor categories respectively and have deservedly swept the equivalent Golden Globe and SAG Awards honors.  

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