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<p>Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in &quot;True Detective.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in "True Detective."

Credit: HBO

'True Detective' creator on his gripping new HBO series

How did a novelist with only two screen credits get to create and run such an ambitious series?
Before creating the new HBO mystery series “True Detective,” Nic Pizzolatto’s only produced scripts were a pair of episodes from “The Killing” season 1. That is not a resume that will generally lead to a writer being given control of an expensive, ambitious series for pay cable’s gold standard, featuring a pair of movie stars in Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, in which he would write all eight episodes himself.
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<p>Harry Belafonte at the New York Mayor Inauguration on January 1.</p>

Harry Belafonte at the New York Mayor Inauguration on January 1.

Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Harry Belafonte pays tribute to Steve McQueen's 'genius' at NYFCC Awards

86-year-old legend delivered a heartfelt speech praising '12 Years a Slave'

Last night's New York Film Critics' Circle awards dinner have already made industry headlines for the wrong reasons -- Armond White's regrettable outburst was already covered in this morning's roundup -- which has thus far obscured talk of the awards themselves. Which is doubly unfortunate, since it would appear that there were a number of valuable takeaways from that side of the evening -- and none more so than Harry Belafonte's eloquent address to Steve McQueen.

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Stan Lee to appear on 'Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'


Stan Lee to appear on "Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
Lee is promising a "big role" in an upcoming episode.


Jimmy Fallon recalls his failed movie career, and Lorne Michaels giving him dating advice

Vanity Fair cover boy Fallon opens up about how Lorne Michaels saved him from his failed drunken movie star L.A. phase by offering him the "Late Night" hosting job.


Fire causes $100,000 worth of damage to Alex O'Loughlin's Hawaii home

"We heard a boom and his garage door blew off," a neighbor of the "Hawaii Five-0" star says of the fire, which was contained within 20 minutes.


Watch Ringo Starr's "Powerpuff Girls" cameo
He plays Fibonacci Sequins.


Louis CK releasing his 1998 film featuring cameos from Steve Carell, Conan, Amy Poehler, JB Smoove

The comedian told Jay Leno he raised money to make the black and white film with the help of pals Chris Rock, Jon Stewart and Denis Leary.


"MythBusters" getting a "Dangerous Toys" special
In a Discovery special, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will take a "kids' fort-battle game and blows it up with adult-sized concoctions."


"Bachelor" contestant shows up with a fake baby bump

"I know you have a daughter, and I know you want more children, and I was thinking maybe adding to it!" she told Juan Pablo. PLUS: A bachelorette went to 2nd base for the first time.


"Duck Dynasty" controversy has had no impact on advertisers
In fact, the price of advertising on the A&E show is going up.

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<p>Bradley&nbsp;Cooper&nbsp;(left)&nbsp;and David&nbsp;O. Russell on the set of &quot;American Hustle&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper (left) and David O. Russell on the set of "American Hustle"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Alfonso Cuarón, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese earn DGA nominations

The Coen brothers and Spike Jonze miss in the significant precursor

The nominees for the 66th annual Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards were revealed today, narrowing the Oscar race considerably as the industry precursor has long been an indicator for which way the Academy might fall. So those who missed the cut this morning — the Coen brothers, Spike Jonze, Alexander Payne — will be facing a steep uphill climb after today.

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'The Bachelor' hits a 3-year high with Juan Pablo


"The Bachelor" hits a 3-year high with Juan Pablo
The premiere of Juan Pablo's season was up 17% over last year.


Elle defends controversial cover of Mindy Kaling
Of the four covers for the Women in TV issue, only Mindy Kaling is shown in close-up, with her body excluded, and in black and white. "Mindy looks sexy, beautiful and chic," says the magazine. PLUS: Kaling responds to "ya pervs."


Ryan Seacrest: "Not a chance" will I ever quit "American Idol"
"I'm so used to getting up each year and doing that show," he says on "Today."


"Key & Peele's" Keegan-Michael Key is coming to "The Middle"
He'll guest as a charismatic preacher.


Peter Capaldi begins filming his "Doctor Who" stint
Check him out on set wearing Matt Smith's "Who" outfit. PLUS: Capaldi dislocated his thumb while filming BBC's "The Musketeers."


Alex Trebek raps a "Jeopardy!" category
Last night's episode featured a category of famous rap lyrics.


Sarah Michelle Gellar is "disappointed" on "Sesame Street"
Watch explain "disappointed" with Elmo.


Watch the "Parks and Rec" celebrate 100 episodes

Cast members talk about their favorite moments in a new promo. PLUS: Aubrey Plaza takes up the sax in new music video.

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<p>It's The Bachelor!</p>

It's The Bachelor!

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Bachelor' premiere leads ABC Monday while 'Castle' slips

Also, 'Almost Human' is steady and 'Hostages' does 'Hostages' numbers
Fast National ratings for Monday, January 6, 2014.
 
With the BCS Championship no doubt siphoning a large audience over to ESPN, ABC's counter-programming of the "Bachelor" premiere proved successful and drew Monday's biggest audiences in all key measures. 
 
While "The Bachelor" may have dominated the night and improved 17 percent over last January's premiere, it proved a less-than-"Dancing" lead-in for "Castle," which had some of its lowest numbers of the season despite the lack of a new "Blacklist" as competition.
 
There was still enough available audience for "Almost Human" to do solid numbers for FOX, while the two-hour "Hostages" finale did roughly the same low-but-consistent numbers "Hostages" did all fall.
 
On to the ratings...
 
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<p>Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in &quot;True Detective.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in "True Detective."

Credit: HBO

Review: McConaughey & Harrelson amaze in HBO's 'True Detective'

New anthology mystery series gets outstanding use out of its two visitors from the movies
“I have literally no interest in serial killers,” novelist Nic Pizzolatto told me while discussing “True Detective,” the new HBO drama series he created that debuts Sunday night at 9.
 
This seems a funny thing to say, given that “True Detective” is the story of two Louisiana cops, played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, investigating a serial killer case that spans 17 years. Even with “Dexter” gone, TV is awash in serial killer melodrama — some of it great, like NBC’s “Hannibal,” some of it stupid and self-congratulatory like FOX’s “The Following” — and “True Detective” lets McConaughey stand around grisly crime scenes tossing out phrases like "meta psychotic" and "paraphilic love map,” sounding very much like other fictional profilers.
 
But the more you watch “True Detective” — or, rather, the longer you remain under its hypnotic spell — the easier it is to understand Pizzolatto’s point. This is a show about duality and hidden identities (the opening title sequence features an array of ordinary images laid over other much darker ones), and one that's ultimately much, much less interested in the serial killer than it is in the two men chasing him.
 
And those men, as written by Pizzolatto and played by McConaughey and Harrelson, are riveting.
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<p>Steve McQueen at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards.</p>

Steve McQueen at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Roundup: Armond White jeers Steve McQueen at NYFCC Awards

Also: Liza Minnelli's Oscar promise to McConaughey

Another year, another Armond White controversy. The famously against-the-grain critic routinely gets people's backs up with his reviews, but he's also taken in recent years to making a nuisance of himself at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards, denigrating his colleagues' choices in the presence of the winners themselves. Last night saw his ugliest display yet, as he disrupted Best Director winner Steve McQueen's speech by calling him "an embarrassing doorman and garbage man." McQueen classily ignored him; the NYFCC, of which White is a former chair, should not do the same. A critic's opinions are his to freely express in print; personal public abuse is another matter. [Variety]

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: Can Brandi change?

Yolanda and Lisa defend Brandi, but should they?

While lots of things happen in this episode (Jamie Lee Curtis for the win!), all of them are overshadowed by the never-ending battle between Brandi and Joyce. After the pathetic ending to Lisa's dinner party debacle, I think the win is pretty clearly in Joyce's column. She may be many things, but I don't think Joyce is one to play the victim card, at least not the way Brandi did. 

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<p>Jane&nbsp;Campion at the 2009 Cannes&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Jane Campion at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival

Credit: AP Photo

Jane Campion to head 2014 Cannes jury

The filmmaker has a long and rich history with the festival

Filmmaker Jane Campion has found herself in the Palme d'Or mix three times at Cannes: for 1989's "Sweetie," 1993's "The Piano" (which one the prize in a tie with Kaige Chen's "Farewell My Concubine") and 2009's "Bright Star." She also won a prize for her short film "An Exercise in Discipline - Peel" in 1982. Suffice it to say, she has a rich history with the fest, and now she adds one more notch on her Croisette belt: she'll be heading up the 2014 edition's jury.

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<p>Clark Gregg of &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Clark Gregg of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

Interview: Clark Gregg teases 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' evolution and Coulson's secret

How is this Agent Coulson different from the big screen Agent Coulson?
Magical place or not, we're somehow skeptical that Agent Coulson spent the time between "The Avengers" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." enjoying the recuperative powers of Tahiti.
 
That Agent Coulson was dead and now he's not has been one of the core mysteries of ABC's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and answers have been, thus far, fairly slow in coming for either viewers or for Coulson himself.
 
That's expected to change in the drama's January 7 episode, which picks up soon after the abduction that ended its 2013 finale. 
 
Ahead of Tuesday's episode, fittingly titled "The Magical Place," I got on the phone with "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." star Clark Gregg to talk about what he knew about Coulson's secret, when he knew it, how this TV Coulson has been different from Movie Coulson and how he feels about his show's evolution through its first season.
 
Click through for the full Q&A...
 
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<p>Harvey&nbsp;Weinstein with Meryl&nbsp;Streep and Margo Martindale at a recent LA&nbsp;screening event for &quot;August:&nbsp;Osage&nbsp;County&quot;</p>

Harvey Weinstein with Meryl Streep and Margo Martindale at a recent LA screening event for "August: Osage County"

Credit: AP Photo

Off the Carpet: Will Harvey have his first Oscar off-year since 2007?

Also: Where's the love for 'Dallas Buyers Club' director Jean-Marc Vallée?

It was a pretty good weekend for Harvey Weinstein and his crop of awards season hopefuls. On Saturday, "August: Osage County" — coming off a dominant showing at the Capri, Hollywood Film Festival in Italy — was recognized at the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala with honors for stars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. The Weinstein Company honcho also held a private little after-soiree that was full of talent not just from his films but others as well.

Sunday night, it was a Kirk Douglas Award presentation for "Lee Daniels' The Butler" star Forest Whitaker in advance of the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (which will feature another accolade in the form of the Montecito Award for, well, Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey). A big boost of visibility for the SAG nominee.

The legendary awards strategist — who recently placed number one on HitFix's inaugural Oscar Power List with ease — has a typically loaded slate of films this year and he's making all the right moves on their behalf. "August," "The Butler," "Fruitvale Station," "Philomena" and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" have all been represented on the circuit (though perhaps the best of them, in my opinion — "Mandela" — has received short shrift). Yet despite SAG and WGA attention, it seems more and more like Weinstein will have his first off year in the Best Picture ranks since finally cutting through with "The Reader" in 2008.

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