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Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

Credit: HitFix

'American Horror Story's Angela Bassett on Jessica Lange's exit plan

Plus, playing another real life character was right in her wheelhouse

Fans were crushed when Jessica Lange announced she'd be doing just one more season -- the upcoming "Freak Show" -- of "American Horror Story." Before the PaleyFest panel for "American Horror Story: Coven" I got a chance to ask Angela Bassett what she thought about the "queen bee" leaving. The short answer? She's got her co-star's back. 

Bassett also knows a little something about playing real-life characters. She's been Tina Turner ("What's Love Got to Do with It"), Betty Shabazz ("Malcolm X"), Rosa Parks ("The Rosa Parks Story"), Katherine Jackson ("The Jacksons: An American Dream") and Voletta Wallace ("Notorious"). Last season on "Coven" she tackled yet another real person -- Marie Laveau, a voodoo priestess in Louisiana in the 1800s. Unsurprisingly, she told me she takes playing real people pretty seriously -- and had to face the high standards of New Orleans' dwellers. Yeah, I think she did fine, don't you? 

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'HIMYM' was once a struggling sitcom, saved by Britney Spears
Credit: CBS

'HIMYM' was once a struggling sitcom, saved by Britney Spears

"HIMYM" was once a struggling sitcom, saved by Britney Spears
At first, "How I Met Your Mother's" innovative sitcom format didn't appeal to viewer, so much so that the show was on the bubble when it filmed its series finale scene during Season 2. It took a Season 3 appearance by Britney -- accompanied by gobs of media attention and paparazzi -- to make "HIMYM" a certified hit. PLUS: Looking back at "HIMYM's" rating highs and lows, director Pam Fryman recalls her favorite moments, 10 "HIMYM" jokes as infographics, Ted Mosby was a slut, fans are having trouble coping with the end, a political history of "HIMYM," ranking Ted's girlfriends, looking back at the pilot episode, and how the co-creators met in a band.


"SNL's" Taran Killam went on his 1st date with Cobie Smulders the day after "HIMYM's" pilot table read
In a 2 1/2-hour interview with Kevin Pollak, Killam recalls how much his life with Smulders has coincided with "How I Met Your Mother." Killam met Smulders thanks to his Canadian co-star Paul Campbell on the failed Bill Lawrence WB pilot "Nobody's Watching."


George Lopez's "Saint George" looks like it's going to be canceled
FX has an option to pick up 90 episodes after the initial 10-episode run, like Charlie Sheen's sitcom. But Lopez's comedy has been performing poorly.


Binge-watching study: D.C. is No. 1, most viewers prefer binging on current shows
A Harris Poll commissioned by Comcast also found that 11% of viewers would pick Rick Grimes from "The Walking Dead" as their "binge buddy."


Why "Cosmos" disappoints: Neil deGrasse Tyson is too annoying
The acclaimed astronomer talks to viewers like their little kids, and the entire presentation is too cartoonish.


If Chelsea Handler exits E!, then late-night will become all-male again
Not only all-male, but almost entirely white males (except Arsenio).


"Raising Hope" was Martha Plimpton's only steady job in her long acting career
She says of her role on the Fox comedy : “There were things about doing that character every week — every day — that were incredibly freeing and confidence-building and gave me a new relationship to work, and how to work, and how to be present and available and game. I will miss it. But I cannot complain. I don’t feel in any way robbed of anything. Do you know what I mean?”


Asian females are dropping like flies on network TV this season
By the end of the season, three Asian-American characters will be gone from their shows.


Anderson Cooper talks to Howard Stern about "The Mole," Alec Baldwin and Kathy Griffin
The CNN host even uttered a bad word during his nearly 1 hour and a quarter interview.


How "Game of Thrones" is handling its child stars aging
“I’m happy Bran is a cripple,” says co-creator D.B Weiss, who notes that Isaac Hempstead-Wright is now almost as tall as him.


Here's some advice for Josh Charles
What should he do now that he's no longer part of a hit show?


Does FX have the best TV show promos?
Are FX's promos better than AMC's or HBO's?


Drew Carey wanted to keep his April's Fools swap with Craig Ferguson a secret
"Well, that’s what I thought we were going to do, but then CBS had to approve it all," says "The Price is Right" host. "Originally when I heard the concept I thought, 'That would be a fun thing to spring on people.' And then once CBS found out about it, they were like, 'No, we’re going to publicize the hell of it and get people to watch.'"


Watch a supercut of every "Community" movie reference
Where's "Robocop"?


Universal Orlando opens a hotel that looks like it was inspired by "Mad Men"
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort takes advantage of the '60s theme.


See a preview of CBS' "Bad Teacher"
Ari Graynor takes over the Cameron Diaz role in the remake of the 2011 film.


VH1 spoofs reality TV tonight with "This Is Hot 97"
As the NY Times describes it, "Hot 97" is a "workplace comedy masquerading as a hip-hop-insider tour masquerading as a reality show, and not particularly successful at any of them."


CBS' "Friends with Better Lives" really does want to be the new "Friends"
The comedy starring James Van Der Beek and Kevin Connolly has "a professional, even a grim efficiency to the jokes," says Robert Lloyd, "which approach like B-52 bombers, drop their punch lines and head back to base. There are breast jokes, genital jokes, a long oral sex joke, an alcoholic-sorority-girl-defecating-in-a-closet joke. A few hit, many miss. The war goes on." PLUS: The pilot is so awful it has nowhere to go but up, it's wrapped in 100 percent market-proven cardboard humor, and what Van Der Beek learned from "Don't Trust the B---."

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<p>Keanu Reeves in &quot;The Matrix&quot;</p>

Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Thoughts on 'The Matrix' 15 years later and 1999 as a great year for movies

The Wachowskis' wire-fu ride celebrates an anniversary today

On March 31, 1999, Andy and Lana (née Larry) Wachowski's "The Matrix" hit theaters. That's 15 years ago today, and it was a pretty significant event.

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Michael Jackson
Credit: Epic Records

'Xscape,' Michael Jackson album of previously unreleased material, set for May 13 release

What does 'contemporized' mean?

We’ve long known at Michael Jackson left unreleased material before he died on 2009. Now the world will get to hear eight of the songs on “Xscape,” an 8-song collection featuring “contemporized” versions of the tunes. Epic Records will release the set May 13 in conjunction with Jackson’s estate.

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<p>David Duchovny</p>

David Duchovny

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

NBC 'Aquarius' will pit David Duchovny against Charles Manson

'Californication' star's new drama gets a 13-episode order

NBC is going back to the past in its latest piece of scheduling for its future.

The network announced on Monday (March 31) that it has given a direct-to-series order to "Aquarius," a true crime drama that will mark David Duchovny's return to broadcast TV.

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David Duchovny to star in NBC's Charles Manson drama 'Aquarius'

David Duchovny to star in NBC's Charles Manson drama "Aquarius"
Fresh off "Californication," Duchovny will star in a period drama playing a detective who hunts a hippie cult leader who turns out to be the notorious Charlie Manson.


"Nashville" going on a 3-city tour
The cast will perform in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., with Will Chase joining in for the NYC date. PLUS: Connie Britton joins Twitter.


"The Walking Dead" promotes 3
Alanna Masterson, Andrew J. West and Christian Serratos will become series regulars next season.


Spike TV renews "Ink Master"
The tattoo reality show will be back for a 16-episode 5th season.


Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd go "topless" on "The View"
They were talking about "Girls" when they decided to take off their tops, which were obscured by black bars.


"Once Upon a Time" character is really gone
"The decision was one that was not made lightly," exec producer Adam Horowitz says of last night's episode.

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Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts

Credit: HitFix

Emma Roberts reveals her 'Mean Girls' angle for 'American Horror Story'

The "Coven" star says she found inspiration in a familiar place

Surprise, bitch! Didn't you love Madison's snarky, witchy attitude on "American Horror Story: Coven"? I had a chance to talk to star Emma Roberts about her memorable character during PaleyFest, and while she wouldn't name any real-life stars who inspired the character (darn), she did explain why Madison might feel a little familiar. 

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Shakira and Blake Shelton
Credit: NBC

Shakira and Blake Shelton to perform together at ACM Awards

The Band Perry will open Sunday's show

Shakira and her fellow “The Voice” coach Blake Shelton will perform their duet, “Medicine,” on Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards.

The ceremony, which airs live from Las Vegas, will be co-hosted by Shelton and Luke Bryan. The Band Perry will open the show with what the ACMS are calling an “explosive” performance (we’re hoping they mean pyro).

Other previously announced performers include Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, George Strait, Hunter Hayes, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum with Stevie Nicks (in a re-creation of their CMT “Crossroads” special). Garth Brooks will present Merle Haggard with the Crystal Milestone Award.

Hitfix will be at the event and will bring you all the news at it happens.

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Jason Sudeikis at this year's Academy Awards.
Jason Sudeikis at this year's Academy Awards.
Credit: AP Photo

Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall to get cosy in 'Tumbledown'

The independent romantic comedy has begun shooting in Massachusetts

When Jason Sudeikis presented at the Oscars earlier this month, it was as good an indication as any that the industry no longer sees him simply as an overgrown "Saturday Night Live" comic. And while his films thus far (a small role in "Drinking Buddies" notwithstanding) have been in a fairly broad mainstream comic vein, he's evidently looking to class things up a bit with something a little more festival-friendly. "Tumbledown," an independent romantic comedy in which he stars alongside Rebecca Hall, has begun shooting in Massachusetts -- filling in for Maine, apparently.

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Best and Worst of 'Noah'

Best and Worst of 'Noah'

What worked and what didn't

Darren Aronofsky's highly anticipated epic "Noah" got off to a thunderous start over the weekend taking in $43.7 million at the box office. While critics gave the "it's sort of the biblical story it's sort of not" flick mostly positive reviews, Cinemascore says moviegoers gave it just a C.  Considering how even an average movie will earn an A in Cinemascore's system that's not a great sign for the film's future prospects. 

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Jordin Gavaris

Jordan Gavaris

Credit: BBC America

Interview: 'Orphan Black''s Jordan Gavaris talks nudity, homophobia

Felix will be going through some changes in season 2

No matter how many times I meet Jordan Gavaris, I don't think I'll ever get used to how far removed he is from his indelible "Orphan Black" character, Felix Dawkins. That perfect English accent? The snarky attitude? The fabulous rent boy wardrobe? All part of the character -- and diametrically opposed to Gavaris' own Canadian accent, preppy clothes and exceedingly polite behavior.

As much as his co-star Tatiana Maslany has dominated headlines (and rightfully so) with her portrayal of multiple clones, Gavaris has resonated with fans as the guy you'd most want to call during a crisis. Felix might roll his eyes and crack wise, but he'd definitely be there for you. How can we not love Felix? 

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Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams

Credit: AP Photo

Pharrell Williams to join judges' panel on 'The Voice' this fall

But who will be sitting next to him?

Looks like an empty chair on "The Voice" has been filled. Pharrell Williams, who has dominated the airwaves with "Happy" and his Daft Punk collaboration "Get Lucky," will be joining the show as the latest judge. 

Williams isn't entirely new to the show, of course. He was an advisor to Usher's team in season four. Given how busy -- and monumentally successful -- his recording career has been of late, the only question may be why he wants to spend time on a TV show. Of course, those chairs look pretty comfy. He may just want to sit down for a while. 

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