Latest Blog Posts

"American Horror Story: Coven"
"American Horror Story: Coven"
Credit: FX

Check out the spooky, well-dressed cast of 'American Horror Story: Coven'

Come for the voodoo, stay for the gorgeous costumes

Given that "American Horror Story: Coven" will be chock full of grand dames (Kathy Bates! Angela Bassett! Jessica Lange!), it's only right that the costumes be all kinds of awesome. Forget those mental patient rags and nuns' habits of "Asylum" and put these ladies in ornate frocks and elegant black dresses with on-trend peplums! It's highly superficial to gush over what these ladies will be wearing, but damn, these costumes are awesome! Plus, we don't have much else to go on at this point, other than some creepy promos that don't tie into the actual show and a teaser that makes the show look a little bit like "The Craft," which I'm hoping is just an unfortunate accident.

Read Full Post
<p>David Heyman (right) at the New York premiere of &quot;Gravity&quot; with Sandra Bullock and&nbsp;Alfonso Cuar&oacute;n</p>

David Heyman (right) at the New York premiere of "Gravity" with Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuarón

Credit: AP Photo

'Gravity' producer David Heyman: 'I would make the phone book with Alfonso Cuarón'

After 'The Prisoner of Azkaban' he was ready for whatever the journey would be

Producer David Heyman's relationship with Alfonso Cuarón actually began well before he tapped the filmmaker for a new direction in the "Harry Potter" franchise back in 2004. They were thinking of collaborating on an adaptation of William Sutcliffe's 1999 road trip novel "Are You Experienced?," but the project fell through. Cuarón went on to make "Y Tu Mamá También" and Heyman went on to shepherd the "Harry Potter" books to the screen. When it came time for a stylistic detour in that series, Cuarón was the first artist Heyman had in mind.

"There were several reasons I thought he was the perfect choice [for 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban']," Heyman says. "One, I loved 'A Little Princess' and I also liked his first film a lot. I felt that he had a really keen understanding of teenagers. 'Y Tu Mamá' was about the last moments of being a teenager and this third 'Harry Potter' was about the first moments of being a teenager. He was good at bringing sort of the truthfulness to the relationships."

For Heyman it was about cultivating a sense of modernity to an already wildly successful film franchise. The way to sustain the series was to reinvigorate it after director Chris Columbus had done such a definitive job of setting up the world. "Even though, funny enough, his film was the least successful of the eight financially, Alfonso sort of redirected the series in such a way that it allowed us to continue on to make eight films," Heyman says. "He allowed us to grow up."

Cut to five years later and Cuarón is out on a bit of a limb with a hugely challenging concept: "Gravity." Heyman didn't even need to read the script to know that he was in for whatever ride was in store. And as it would turn out, it would be quite the eventful ride indeed, both in front of and behind the camera.

Read Full Post
<p>Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in &quot;Scandal.&quot;</p>

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in "Scandal."

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' and Olivia/Fitz as the best/worst couple of them all

How the Shonda Rhimes drama works whether you love or hate the central pairing

"Scandal" — Shonda Rhimes' delightfully insane drama about Washington, DC fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), her team of crisis managers, and the President of the United States (Tony Goldwyn) with whom she's been having an on-again, off-again affair for years — is back for a third season tonight at 10 on ABC. I've seen the premiere, and it's very strong, as it deals with the fallout from Olivia and Fitz's relationship being leaked to the media, and from the revelation — which would be absurd on many a "serious" drama but which works just fine here — that Joe Morton's shady intelligence boss is actually Olivia's estranged father. (Morton and Washington share a scene early in the premiere that's dynamite, and not just because it's one of the few moments in the run of the show that so much as alludes to Olivia's race and the complications it causes in this situation.)

Read Full Post
Quick fixes for the fall's worst new TV Shows - 'Dad,' 'Betrayal' and more

Quick fixes for the fall's worst new TV Shows - 'Dad,' 'Betrayal' and more

It's been a dismal fall for new shows, hasn't it?
Since we did galleries for Most Anticipated New and Returning shows a couple weeks ago, normally we would have done Worst New Shows at some point as well. Instead, time got away from us. Also, *most* of the new shows could have qualified for a Worst gallery and we went with "Most Anticipated" instead of "Best" for a reason.
Anyway, instead of trying a Worst gallery now, I went with Quick Fixes/Suggestions for the fall's worst new shows, including a couple that have yet to premiere. It's too late for basically all of them, but that's the nature of a business that still believes that, when in doubt, Heather Locklear can fix any new show.
Check out all of my suggestions (and a couple from Sepinwall) in the gallery below:
Read Full Post
<p>I'm curious to see if they stick with a traditional version of her costume for film or if they try something way more real-world.</p>

I'm curious to see if they stick with a traditional version of her costume for film or if they try something way more real-world.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Samuel L. Jackson confirms that Elizabeth Olsen is set to play Scarlet Witch in 'Avengers' sequel

He's unsure if she's working for or against the heroes, though

See, this is why you don't tell Sam Jackson anything.

In a short conversation with the Wall Street Journal, Jackson confirmed a casting rumor that has been persistent for the last few months. He was talking about "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," and said, "I know we're shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. Elizabeth Olsen, but I don't know what she's doing."

He doesn't specifically say that she is playing The Scarlet Witch, but that's the role she's been circling for a while now. Olsen and Jackson are both in the Spike Lee remake of "Oldboy" that comes out at the end of November, and she's been in the mix for this part basically since Whedon first mentioned that Wanda Maximoff would be part of the "Avengers" sequel.

Read Full Post

NBC to air the Mark Burnett/Richard Branson space reality show

NBC to air the Mark Burnett/Richard Branson space reality show
"Space Race" will have contestants compete to lift off from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, possibly next year.

Versace not happy with Lifetime's "House of Versace" movie
The company has taken issue with the inspiration for the film, the book "House of Versace" by Deborah Bell.

"Survivor's" Colton insists he quit to benefit partner Caleb
"I felt like the sooner I distanced myself from him, the better his chances would be," says Colton, who received a tongue-lashing from Jeff Probst.

"Girls" porn parody's "Hannah" doesn't understand Lena Dunham's objection

"It seemed like she liked the parody that 'SNL' did of her, so obviously it wasn't making fun of her that was the issue," says Alex Chance, who plays the porn version of Hannah Horvath.

Howard Stern & Jerry Seinfeld go shopping for cereal
The shock jock tweeted a photo from today's filming of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

Last night's "SVU" tackled seemingly every issue imaginable

It wasn't just about Paula Deen and Trayvon Martin.

"Rachael Ray" renewed through 2016

The two-year renewal will mean Rachael's talk show will have been on for 10 years.

Read Full Post
Travel with The Civil Wars to Paris in new video, 'Dust To Dust'

Travel with The Civil Wars to Paris in new video, 'Dust To Dust'

That's one way to reunite the now-defunct pair

Not so very long ago, The Civil WarsJoy Williams and John Paul White actually liked each other and enjoyed each other’s company.

The now -defunct duo look back to that time in the video for “Dust To Dust,” the haunting second single from the pair’s sophomore self-titled set.  The video features what they claim to be found footage from a 2011 trip to Paris. Yeah, “found” footage, just like “Blair Witch Project” or “Paranormal Activity.” Watch them stroll in Paris. Enjoy the cafes and book stores vicariously.

Seriously, it’s a clever way to deal with how to create a video that still features the band members when the band members are no longer talking to each other.  I imagine future videos will have old concert footage or be conceptual.


Read Full Post

Fox renews 'Sleepy Hollow'

Fox renews "Sleepy Hollow"
The freshman drama, which is slated to run for 13 episodes this fall, has received an order for a 13-episode 2nd season.

"24: Die Another Day" will film in London

Jack Bauer is leaving the United States, with the action taking place in the UK.

"Breaking Bad's" R.J. Mitte joins "Switched at Birth"
He'll recur on the ABC Family series as a pre-med college student.

Exxon accuses FXX of stealing its logo

Exxon Mobile has filed suit against 21st Century Fox, claiming the new FXX logo with intrerlocking X's steals from the Exxon logo.

Miley Cyrus gets a "Ken Burns"-style documentary, thanks to Jimmy Kimmel
Watch the birth of twerk. PLUS: Miley's VMAs outfit is the most popular Halloween costume, Miley's MTV documentary was a "strategic hot mess," and Miley will have her first post-VMAs interview with Matt Lauer on "Today."

Amazon orders 3 new pilots, including 1 from Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman
The two cousins are collaborating on "Mozart in the Jungle," a drama on the sex and drugs world of the symphony.

Alec Baldwin deletes tweets attacking future MSNBC colleague Joe Scarborough
Read his anti-"Morning Joe" tweets. PLUS: Chris Matthews jokes about "Killing O'Reilly" on "Colbert Report."

Oprah is planning a lavish 60th birthday bash
Oprah Winfrey will celebrate the Big 6-0 in January.

You can watch Louis CK's PaleyFest chat tonight live online
PaleyFest will be livestreaming the interview starting at 9:20 p.m. ET.

ABC announces celeb-studded "David Blaine: Real or Magic" special
The 90-minute special will show Blaine performing for everybody from George W. Bush to Woody Allan to Katy Perry.

"Masters of Sex's" Michael Sheen is dating a VH1 star
He and "VH1 Morning Buzz" host Carrie Keagan are an item.

Read Full Post
Does Rihanna's 'Pour It Up' NSFW strip club video go too far?: Watch

Does Rihanna's 'Pour It Up' NSFW strip club video go too far?: Watch

The video has one purpose and it's not to admire her singing

Rihanna has shown no reluctance at all to show off her body in her seemingly endless parade of selfies on Instagram, so there shouldn’t be any shock value left in seeing her nearly nude in her new video for “Pour It Up,” a love letter to those girls working the stripper pole for a living.

Somehow, I still found myself surprised as Rihanna joined their ranks, twerking her G-string clad buttocks in the camera and spreading her legs and covering her crotch with her hands in a false sense of modesty  (or maybe she’s just saving that reveal for the next video).

Question why a young woman relies so much on her sexuality these days almost automatically gets one accused of  slut shaming or being a sex-negative feminist (one of the oddest terms I’ve ever heard).  But let’s call this video what it is: it’s a dimly lit video equivalent of a Playboy photo spread that is meant to serve the very same purpose for the boys and men who view it (I’m trying to be discreet here).  And we’re all supposed to scrape and bow and talk about how “artfully” it’s shot and pretend that it’s so very empowering for her to show off her body this way.

Rihanna has every right to use her body however she wants, but the fact that she wants to feature close-ups of her twerking ass giving a lap dance just seems sad to me. Her fans applaud her for pushing boundaries, but I see it more as another attempt to keep her name in the headlines one more day for something other than showing up late and drunk for her concerts. It's not pushing the envelope, it's pulling out the same old trick every time but just upping the ante. Soon there will be nothing left to uncover and we'll all move on to the next side show.

Rihanna doesn’t particularly want to be a role model, but she de facto is. And the message she sends to young girls over and over is your sexuality is your bargaining chip— not your intelligence, not your sense of humor, not even your talent— so work on developing that because that is your true currency and value in this world. That and remember to stretch before you attempt any of these moves at home.

What do you think of "Pour It Up?" 

Read Full Post

'Covert Affairs' renewed

"Covert Affairs" renewed

USA has picked up the spy drama for a 5th season.

"Super Fun Night" has strong debut, "Ironside" premieres weak
About 8.2 million tuned in for the Rebel Wilson comedy, while Blair Underwood's remake had NBC's lowest-ever fall drama debut in the 18-49 demo.

MTV orders a 25th season of "The Challenge"
"The Real World" spinoff will begin filming its 25th season this fall.

Read Full Post
<p>Rebel Wilson of &quot;Super Fun Night&quot;</p>

Rebel Wilson of "Super Fun Night"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Ironside' disappoints, 'Fun Night' is OK on competitive Wednesday

'Survivor' rises week-to-week to boost CBS
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 2, 2013.
Week-to-week gains for "Survivor" helped CBS tie for the Wednesday night crown among young viewers and combined with "Criminal Minds" and "CSI" to give the network an easy overall win.
After several nights of positives, NBC had plenty of bad news on Wednesday, with "Ironside" premiering to a dismal 1.4 among young viewers, "Revolution" taking a big slide overall and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" failing to maintain last week's renewed energy. 
ABC, meanwhile, saw a moderate decline for "Back in the Game," but got a good sampling for "Super Fun Night" and watched "Nashville" retain decently from last week's return.
And as for FOX? "X Factor" was basically steady with last week -- perhaps down a tick in the demo and up a hair overall -- which continues to count as better-than-expected news.
On to the numbers…
Read Full Post
<p>Behind the scenes of &quot;12&nbsp;Years a Slave.&quot;&nbsp;Will this be our crafts category juggernaut this year?</p>

Behind the scenes of "12 Years a Slave." Will this be our crafts category juggernaut this year?

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Tech Support: Kicking off crafts coverage of the 2013-2014 Oscar season

'Gravity,' '12 Years a Slave' and 'The Monuments Men' look to be craft behemoths

Welcome back. It’s hard for me to truly appreciate that this is the eighth season of Tech Support here at In Contention (third in our association with HitFix). I’m pleased to say that this column has come a long way during this time, as has media coverage of below-the-line Oscar races as a whole.*

Read Full Post