Latest Blog Posts

Steve Harvey lands an interview with Obama

Steve Harvey lands an interview with Obama
The president is taping an interview at the White House for Harvey's daytime talk show.

Warren Buffett dresses as Walter White for his Christmas card
"Spoiler alert: Walter faked his death and moved to Omaha," says the billionaire "Breaking Bad" fan's Christmas card.

Cheryl Hines to guest on "The Crazy Ones"
She'll reunite with her former "RV" co-star, Robin Williams.

Watch videos of the black female comedians who are competing for "SNL" slot
They include standup comics and sketch performers who've appeared on shows like "30 Rock" and "My Wife and Kids."

"Hawaii Five-0" does an episode devoted to Pearl Harbor
Tonight's episode will not only revolve around the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941 but will also delve into the Japanese-American internment camps on Hawaii. PLUS: It's a hell of an episode.

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Oscar Talk: 'Hustle,' 'Wall Street,' precursors and the 10 best films of 2013

Oscar Talk: 'Hustle,' 'Wall Street,' precursors and the 10 best films of 2013

How did a fantastic year of filmmaking shape up on our lists?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is broadcast in special installments throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

On the docket today…

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<p>Surprisingly, Thorin actually smiles like this once in 'The Hobbit:&nbsp;The Desolation Of Smaug'</p>

Surprisingly, Thorin actually smiles like this once in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug'

Credit: HitFix

Richard Armitage discusses the rising darkness in Thorin for 'Desolation of Smaug'

The dwarf who would be king is struggling these days

Here's something I like about Richard Armitage: I don't get any sense that he has any interest in or illusions about being a movie star.

Instead, like most of the people Peter Jackson casts in his "Lord Of The Rings" films, Armitage strikes me as a character actor who doesn't mind vanishing into the make-up he wears as Thorin Oakenshield. My kids are huge fans of both of the "Hobbit" movies so far, and if they ended up in the same elevator with Armitage, they'd never know it was him. The transformation is that complete.

This is my second time chatting with him about the series, and what struck me this time is how much Thorin is already teetering on losing his battle with the rising darkness within him. Unlike Bilbo, who is battling the influence of the One Ring that he found, Thorin's darkness is completely generated from within. There is a madness that seems to set in around the vast mountains of money waiting for him in Erebor, and the closer Thorin gets to fulfilling what he sees as his destiny, the more he seems willing to do anything to anyone to make it happen.

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Martin Freeman in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."
Martin Freeman in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

The second part of Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth hits screens today

I haven't yet caught up with "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" myself. On my one opportunity to see it this week, it was scheduled against "The Wolf of Wall Street" and -- well, you know. I didn't get on at all with "An Unexpected Journey" last year, finding it narratively listless and visually garish (not helped by the divisive 48fps technology).

But my curiosity has been renewed after a number of trusted colleagues deemed the new instalment significantly superior to its predecessor. Drew McWeeny is among the believers, declaring the film a "thrilling" improvement. Now it's your turn. Do you agree that "Smaug" is a step up? Perhaps you thought the first film required no improvement? Or can you still not get over the division of one slender book into three films? Share your thoughts in the comments if and when you've seen the film, and vote in our poll below.

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Rob Corddry and Dwayne Johnson are set to become HBO 'Ballers'

Rob Corddry and Dwayne Johnson are set to become HBO "Ballers"
Peter Berg will direct the half-hour dramedy pilot about a group of current and former athletes in Miami. Johnson will play a former running back and Corddry -- who isn't leaving "Children's Hospital" -- will play his boss.

Baz Luhrman & Shawn Ryan are shopping a show about the dawn of the hip-hop era
The potential series -- which is being pitched to Netflix, Amazon, FX, Showtime and other cable networks -- would explore the birth of hip-hop from the perspective of two young New Yorkers.

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<p>Calin Peter Netzer with the Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlinale.</p>

Calin Peter Netzer with the Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlinale.

Credit: AP Photo

Calin Peter Netzer on maternal inspiration in foreign Oscar hopeful 'Child's Pose'

The Berlin Golden Bear winner is Romania's entry to the Academy Awards
As competitive as the current Oscar race is for Best Picture, the Best Foreign Language Film field is several times more feisty – with 76 films, precious few (if any) sure things and precious few (if any) joke contenders, it’s a tough road even for the most prestigious titles in the race. Prominent among those is Romania’s entry “Child’s Pose,” winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin earlier this year -- recent winners of which include eventual Oscar winner “A Separation” and surprise nominee “The Milk of Sorrow.”
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<p>Another dominant showing for &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Another dominant showing for "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'12 Years a Slave' leads with 11 Chicago Film Critics Association nominations

What might the late Chi-town legend Roger Ebert have thought of this year's films?

I was hit with a pang of sadness this morning when it occurred to me that the Chicago Film Critics Association's list of nominees this year are the organization's first since the passing of legendary Chicago critic Roger Ebert. What would he have thought of "12 Years a Slave," which led the way with 11 nominations? How would he have responded to "Gravity?" What invaluable insight might he have afforded films like "American Hustle," "Her" and "Inside Llewyn Davis," all of which fill out the group's Best Picture slate? We'll never know, and I don't know — it strikes me as particularly unfortunate in a year like this, which has been so, so extraordinary. Rest in peace, Roger. Check out the full list of CFCA nominations below. And remember to keep track of the season via The Circuit.

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Even 'The Sing-Off' is beating 'The X Factor'

Even "The Sing-Off" is beating "The X Factor"
Simon Cowell's reality show was topped last night by the NBC a capella competition in the all-important 18-49 demo. PLUS: "Grey's" and "Scandal" rise with their midseason finales, and "X Factor" is huge on iTunes charts.

Netflix: Binge-watching is the new normal
Netflix found that of 1,500 of its TV streamers, 61% binge-watched shows regularly.

Jon Hamm interviews Ellie Kemper, his former high school drama student
The former "Office" star had the future "Mad Men" star as her teacher when she was in 9th grade. The two chat in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Claire Danes recently discovered her college freshman roommate works for the CIA
"That was totally whacked," the "Homeland" star says of bumping into her ex-roommate during a visit to CIA headquarters. "It was just bizarre to re-encounter each other there."

Every time Paul Rudd visits Conan, he shows the same movie clip

Watch a compilation of Rudd showing the same clip over and over again.

Watch Juan Pablo in action on "The Bachelor"
Here's the first promo for "Juan-uary."

Atlanta Hawks cheerleaders attempt to spoof "Sharknado"
It's "Hawknado"!

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<p>&quot;Fruitvale Station&quot;</p>

"Fruitvale Station"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Fruitvale Station' to receive PGA's Stanley Kramer Award

Awards to be held on Jan. 19

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has announced that Ryan Coogler's Sundance sensation "Fruitvale Station" will be the recipients of this year's Stanley Kramer Award. Established in 2002 to honor a production, producer or other individual whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues, the honor is of considerable note in a year featuring a number of films that have tackled racial injustice and inequality, Coogler's film being one of the very best among them.

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<p>Kaley Cuoco in &quot;The Big Bang Theory.&quot;</p>

Kaley Cuoco in "The Big Bang Theory."

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' wins Thursday for CBS

'The Sing-Off' beats 'The X Factor' head-to-head

Fast National ratings for Thursday, December 12, 2013.

"The Big Bang Theory" carried CBS to another Thursday night ratings win, while an undignified "X Factor" season continued with the FOX show losing a head-to-head battle with NBC's "The Sing-Off."

Preliminary numbers are subject to change a bit because the CBS affiliates in Denver and San Diego were showing the Broncos-Chargers game, but CBS should win comfortably regardless, with a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.32 million viewers overall. Buoyed by "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," ABC was second (2.2, 7.09 million), followed by NBC (1.2, 3.9 million), FOX (1.0, 3.68 million) and the CW (0.8, 2.13 million).

8 p.m. -- Again, the CBS numbers may move slightly up or down, but for now, the "Big Bang"/"The Millers" combo averaged a 4.1 demo rating and 15.3 million viewers, followed by "The Sing-Off" (1.4, 4.53 million), "X Factor" (1.2, 4.89 million), "The Vampire Diaries" (1.0, 2.41 million) and "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" (0.9, 3.45 million).

9 p.m. -- ABC took over in first place with "Grey's Anatomy" (2.7, 8.5 million), though new episodes of "The Crazy Ones" and "Two and a Half Men" (2.1, 9.13 million) averaged a slightly larger total audience. New episodes of "Sean Saves the World" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" were a distant third for NBC (1.0, 3.24 million), followed by a "Glee" repeat on FOX (0.7, 2.47 million) and the soon-to-relocate "Reign" on the CW (0.6, 1.86 million).

10 p.m. -- "Scandal" won the hour for ABC (3.2, 9.33 million), followed by CBS' "Elementary" (1.8, 9.53 million) and NBC's "Parenthood" (1.2, 3.94 million).

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.
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<p>Mae Whitman in &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Mae Whitman in "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parenthood' - 'All That's Left Is the Hugging'

Kristina accepts defeat, Julia visits Ed and Amber cries... a lot

A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I offer to trade my vote for a new playground slide...

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<p>&quot;Her&quot; is prime fodder for the Anti-Traditionalists, says Mark Harris.</p>

"Her" is prime fodder for the Anti-Traditionalists, says Mark Harris.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: The building blocs of the Academy

Also: Should the Globes give up on dividing comedy and drama?
Now that the SAG and Golden Globe nominations have lent a little more shape to the Oscar race, Mark Harris examines a more determining factor than precursors: the various, contrasting voting contingents of the Academy itself. In an interesting piece, he breaks the body down into seven blocs: Traditionalists (those likeliest to vote for the Weinsteins' titles this season), Anti-Traditionalists (think "Her"), American Auterists (Scorsese and Coen sympathizers), Underdog Fetishists (the best hope for "Fruitvale Station"), Spectacle Guys (hello, "Gravity"), Actors (look at the SAG ensemble picks) and Message Voters (well, someone has to vote for "The Book Thief"). Not to be taken as gospel, of course. [Grantland]
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