Latest Blog Posts

<p>Saints QB Drew Brees</p>

Saints QB Drew Brees

Credit: Bill Haber/AP

TV Ratings: Saints-Cowboys game leads NBC Sunday, while 'Once' droops

NFL overrun keeps CBS in a comfortable second
Fast National ratings for Sunday, November 10, 2013.
NBC got a strong Sunday Night Football performance from the Saints and Cowboys, routing the primetime competition in all measures. Only CBS, which got 47 minutes of NFL overrun on the right side of the country came close.
Among other notables, it was a down week for all of ABC's dramas, with "Once Upon a Time," "Revenge" and "Betrayal" all slumping. Also down were all of FOX's animated comedies.
On to the numbers, remembering that due to NFL-based liveness, these numbers will definitely shift.
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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for 42 West

Watch Lady Gaga's wacky live performances at 'Artpop's release party

She turns the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a living gallery for the night

Lady Gaga performed a number of tracks from “Artpop” at her Artrave album release event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard early Monday morning.

Her hip problems are clearly past her as Momma Monster danced and gyrated through a series of songs from "Artpop," out today.

Earlier in the evening, Lady Gaga introduced a flying dress, but the excitement from her fans was clearly for the mini-concert. Check out the footage of Lady Gaga  performing/lipsyncing the title track, “Artpop” in a black and white dress/flotation device.

Among the tunes she performed from the album were a very spirited  “MANiCURE,” “Applause,” “Do What U Want” (with an absent R. Kelly on backing track), “Dope," and "Gypsy," which she dedicated to "a very special person...a true hero, Jeff Koon," the artist who designed the cover of "Artpop," and who is clearly Lady Gaga's new muse. 

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China demands ABC 'face its mistakes' over 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' skit

China demands ABC "face its mistakes" over "Jimmy Kimmel Live" skit
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was asked about the "kill everyone in China" controversy, and said: "ABC should face its mistake head on, and respond with a sincere attitude to the reasonable demands by Chinese in America, and prevent a similar incident from occurring again." PLUS: Protesters demonstrated outside ABC affiliates nationwide on Saturday.

Angela Lansbury: "It's a mistake" to recycle "Murder, She Wrote" title for reboot
"I think it's a mistake to call it 'Murder, She Wrote,'" says the 88-year-old Lansbury, though she notes that "they have access to it and it's their right."

USA disappointed in "Modern Family"

The cable channel paid big bucks for the ABC comedy's reruns in hopes of attracting young viewers. Instead, USA is down 9% in the same timeslots in the key 18-49 demo from last year.

David Cross to guest on "Community"

His appearance will be a part of a follow-up to the classic Dungeons & Dragons episode.

Anthony Jeselnik says "The Jeselnik Offensive" has been canceled

The Comedy Central show won't return for a 3rd season, says Jeselnik. Though Comedy Central hasn't confirmed the news.

"GMA's" Amy Robach to undergo a double mastectomy after on-air mammogram
Robach said she was reluctant to undergo the mammogram last month on the ABC News show.

Encore is changing to appeal to African-Americans, Hispanics, Baby Boomers

Starting next month, Encore Drama will become Encore Black.

HBO teases "Looking"
Is this the gay version of "Girls"?

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<p>Josh Charles as Will in &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Josh Charles as Will in "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'The Good Wife' - 'The Week After'

Will gets some advice from Alicia's brother, while Zach and Grace have webcam trouble

A quick review of last night's "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as I stop selling those gnomes on the Internet...

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<p>James Blunt</p>

James Blunt

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: Why James Blunt is having the last laugh

His take on Whitney Houston and his takedown of himself

James Blunt is having the last laugh. His new album, “Moon Landing,” which came out Nov. 5 in America, debuted at No. 2 in the U.K. and first single, “Bonfire Heart” is burning up the chart in a number of countries, including Germany where it’s his first No. 1 single.

The album reflects a change of pace for the British singer songwriter and represents the truest side of himself he’s shown since his breakthrough smash “You’re Beautiful,”  from 2005’s “Back to Bedlam,” which catapulted him into superstardom, and inspired a level of vitriol among his detractors that seemed far out of proportion.

“‘You’re Beautiful’ stripped me of my indie roots and put me in a dirty, dirty place called mainstream,” he says, only half joking (Indeed, many reviews for “Back To Bedlam” are glowing, comparing Blunt to Elliott Smith and Badly Drawn Boy, but as soon as “You’re Beautiful” became massive, the backlash started).  

Blunt adds that he has loved and is grateful for all that came after, but it took until “Moon Landing,” his fourth studio set, to settle down enough to strip away the veneer he’d built up since then and write from a place of honesty

With “Moon Landing,” written largely in Los Angeles, he and “Back To Bedlam” producer Tom Rockroth went back to the beginning. “It was important to go back to him without my band, to go back to a place before that audience was there,” Blunt says. He admits on his last two albums, 2007’s “All The Lost Souls”  and 2010’s “Some Kind of Trouble,”  “I was writing songs for an audience, not the words I needed to say;  I didn’t want to be as open because I didn’t want to put myself through that again.”

But he found he yearned to express that side of himself and he thinks that reclaimed genuineness is what people are responding too. “I’m not hiding behind anything,” he says. “Before, I think I was feeling [defensive] when [I] was asked in an interview, ‘Are you romantic,’ and not in a positive way, it means you’re not macho. And I’d say, ‘No, I’m not. I’m a soldier’,” says the Kosovo army veteran.

Still, he has his limits when it comes to expressing himself too much. He and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder wrote “Bonfire Heart,” a song about falling deeply and passionately in love.  But coming out and telling Tedder directly that was the thinking behind the song was a bit too much. “I never normally say ‘this is what I’m going through’ because I’m a man and that would feel very uncomfortable to me’,” he laughs. Instead, he went on tour with OneRepublic and on the tour bus, he and Tedder would write, inspired by the gentle, steady feel of the wheels turning beneath them. “We spar off each other with lyrics. That’s unusual for me. We’d make a racket, we’d make a noise.”

For the most part, “Moon Landing’s” songs tackle such universally shared emotions as love and longing, “I write about what is it to be a very simple human being; what we feel en masse,” he says. “I don’t write songs about how incredible or how different I am, which many songs do. I write about what it’s like to be normal. That definitely comes out of having been in the army and traveling around  and meeting people.”

In fact, the experience of writing “Moon Landing” has made him acutely aware of artists who aren’t showing their true selves. “I’m on the charts with artists who surround themselves with expensive cars, expensive jewelry, girls... that’s just kind of bullshit,” he says. “They’ve constructed an image, smoke and mirrors. They want the audience to think that they are big and strong and powerful, but they’ve surrounded themselves with bodyguards who are much bigger and stronger.” When asked if he had any artists specifically in mind, he said, “I’m definitely not naming names.”

One artist he’s not wary of naming by name is Whitney Houston. The song “Miss America,” was written about her and her tragic downfall.

 “We never met and in many ways I’m glad we didn’t,” he says. “In the same way that an audience member looks at a singer and thinks they know him, we go online and buy magazines to see them at their best and their worst. It’s about her incredible voice and talent and it’s the same story as Amy Winehouse and Princess Diana and and Michael Jackson and, maybe in the future, Justin Bieber. It’s how much we enjoy speculating on their downfall a bit too much.”

Ever since “You’re Beautiful,”  Blunt has had plenty of critics who have wished for his downfall. And lately, he found a new way to silence them: poke fun at himself on Twitter.

For the last few years, his label had encouraged him to engage with his fans more via Twitter, but he just couldn’t fathom tweeting what he’d had for breakfast or some other minutiae.

A few months ago, however, he decided that instead of interacting with his fans, he’d find the people tweeting the most hideous things about him and he’d answer them. But instead of talking trash back, he’s let his sense of humor shine through. Below are a few examples.



“The first two I did, I thought they were amusing and self deprecating. My label called me and said, ‘Don’t do any more of that. It’s not cool,’ he recalls with a laugh. “And I thought, ‘What the f**k am I going to do?’”

What he did was ignore his label and he continued not only replying to the negative commenters but seeking them out.  And it’s clear it’s done more to change the perception of Blunt as an uber-sensitive, keening male singer than anything Atlantic Records could have ever planned. The label, once eager to silence his replies now includes a link to a Buzzfeed article about his tweeting.

“I suppose because of marketing, I’ve come across as earnest,” he says. “When the truth is, I take myself less seriously than anyone I know.” With Twitter, he appreciates the fact that there’s no filter. “It could have gone all wrong because what I’m doing is I’m going online and searching my name. I’m running tweet deck and all [my fans] are doing is saying ‘retweet me,’ and I’m looking for the ones saying mean things. I find myself completely avoiding the ones I should be engaging with, but I really enjoy engaging my detractors....the people who sit in the comfort and security and shadows of their bedrooms. It’s just great fun.”

Plus, as anyone who follows him on Twitter knows, he is never mean spirited in his replies, even to people who say horrible things to him. “It some ways, I’m saying, ‘jump on the stage with me and say that out loud’,” he says. “And I try my best to not be rude or horrid, only to myself, which is easy.”


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<p>Benedict Cumberbatch at the Britannia Awards.</p>

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Britannia Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Roundup: Britannia awards celebrate Cumberbatch and Clooney, among others

Also: David O. Russell at AFI Fest, and Natalie Portman's post-Oscar career

George Clooney, Kathryn Bigelow, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sacha Baron Cohen were all honored at last night's Britannia Awards, an annual shindig held by BAFTA's Los Angeles outpost to foster Anglo-American industry relations -- or, you know, to throw what is reputedly always a pretty good party. Scott Feinberg gives a comprehensive rundown of the event, where the likes of Julia Roberts, Judd Apatow and Chiwetel Ejiofor were also on hand to present. Receiving his award from his recent co-star, Cumberbatch offered this pointed soundbite: "Chiwetel, it feels bizarre that I'm standing here getting the British Artist of the Year Award after watching your performance in '12 Years a Slave.'" [Hollywood Reporter]

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<p>Matthew Baynton and James Corden in &quot;The Wrong Mans.&quot;</p>

Matthew Baynton and James Corden in "The Wrong Mans."

Credit: Hulu

Review: Hulu's 'The Wrong Mans' a comic thriller with laughs and suspense

James Corden and Matthew Baynton make a parody that also functions as the genuine article

My favorite kind of parody is the sort that simultaneously functions as both a comedy and a good example of the thing it's parodying. It's a much harder thing to pull off than a straight-up spoof, but it's more satisfying in the moment, and long-term. It's been a while since I got a belly laugh from "Galaxy Quest" (a "Star Trek" lampoon that was also the best "Star Trek" movie since "Wrath of Khan") for instance, but I still get chills at the moment where Alan Rickman has to say his character's stupid catchphrase and mean it. More than 25 years after I first saw "The Princess Bride," Vizzini's monologue about a land war in Asia still makes me chuckle, but the greatest pleasure comes from hearing Mandy Patinkin say with the deepest sincerity, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

I'm not going to put "The Wrong Mans," a British comic thriller that Hulu is premiering today (two episodes are up now, the other four will debut over the next four Mondays, and Hulu Plus subscribers can watch them all now), on the level of those films. But the thriller part of it as just as much fun as the comic part.

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<p>Scarlett Johansson in &quot;Under the Skin.&quot;</p>

Scarlett Johansson in "Under the Skin."

Credit: A24

Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hardy nab BIFA nominations, as 'Starred Up' leads the field

'Philomena' also scores in Britain's answer to the Spirit Awards

She may remain an outsider when the bigger awards have their say, but it's turning into a pretty good, and pretty unusual, awards season for Scarlett Johansson. She got a surprise Best Actress nod at the Gotham Awards for her delicious comic turn in "Don Jon," while her acclaimed voice work in "Her" has sparked talk of her becoming the first actor to score an Oscar nomination for an invisible performance. And they're digging her across the pond, too: for her remarkable work as a seductive alien in Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin," the actress has cracked the Best Actress lineup at the British Independent Film Awards.

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<p>The Afghanimals hit UAE</p>

The Afghanimals hit UAE

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Speed Dating Is the Worst'

The teams head to Abu Dhabi for high class adventures
While the "Amazing Race" teams were in Abu Dhabi this week, I'm on an Amazing Race of my own. Well, that's not exactly true. I'm not racing anybody or anywhere, but I am in New Orleans for a movie set visit. Monday (November 11) is a travel day for me, but Mondays are also my regular days for "Amazing Race" exit interviews. Time and place to do that interview would have been a complication tomorrow, but I'd have made it work. However, I was basically certain that we were heading in the direction of a Non-Elimination Leg, so I didn't bother making those interview plans.
This time, I assumed correctly. [It was only a month ago that I'd reckoned that the Chile-to-Portugal Leg would be an NEL, but instead I ended up chatting with Chester & Ephraim from a quiet corner of a Las Vegas hotel.]
Sunday night's "Amazing Race" was not, however, actually about me, so let's move on to a quick recap. There was some drama in the Leg and there were some decent tasks, even if I'd never call a Non-Elimination Leg "good."
Click through…
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Credit: ABC

'Revenge' recap: Will Daniel cheat on Emily with Sara?

Jack is moving on, but is Daniel?

Guess what? Nolan gets his own slice of the vengeance pie in this episode of "Revenge," and it's nice to see him get some small reward for his otherwise thankless role as Emily's sidekick. What's weird, though, is that he seems to think this opportunity to destroy someone's life requires not grim determination (Emily's standard M.O.), but an Oscar-worthy speech of gratitude. "I've learned so much from you, Ems," he gushes, so grateful is he to her for having found the inner pluck to "take control" of his own life. I really think Nolan needs to make new friends, as crushing someone like a bug under your heel isn't exactly taking the high road. 

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<p>There is so much going on here that I hardly know where to start.</p>

There is so much going on here that I hardly know where to start.

Credit: HBO

Review: Kenny Powers reaches the heart of darkness on this week's 'Eastbound'

Can he rebound from this week's bad behavior?

If this is what rock bottom looks like, Kenny Powers may never learn his lesson.

Last week's episode concluded with a brutally ugly implosion between Kenny and April, and I wrote at that point that I can't imagine how this marriage is fixed after something that awful. This week made it clear that while Kenny expects there to be a magic reset button, that does not appear to be the case. April wants out of the marriage, and she wants to try to wrap things up without causing each other any more pain. Kenny, on the other hand, reminds me of a Randy Newman song with the way he's behaving this week.

"I ran out on my children / And I ran out on my wife / Gonna run out on you too, baby / I done it all my life / Everybody cried the night I left / Well, almost everybody did / My little boy just hung his head / And I put my arm, put my arm around his little shoulder / And this is what I said: / 'Sonny, I just want you to hurt like I do / I just want you to hurt like I do / I just want you to hurt like I do / Honest I do, honest I do, honest I do'"

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Atlanta': Is Kenya full of it?

The gang gets together to hash out the reunion mess and fur flies

I don't know why, but I keep hoping that Kenya will suddenly realize how she comes across, give one last "Gone With the Wind" fabulous twirl, and start thinking before she speaks. I realize that would ruin the entire show and the rest of the cast would have no one to gossip about other than maybe Beyonce or Rihanna. Still, it's hard for me to accept that someone who can seem so sane and even charming sometimes transforms into the Queen of Crazypants when she feels she has been the victim of some minor transgress. 

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