Latest Blog Posts

<p>Wednesday's &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Survivor: Blood vs. Water"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' - 'Opening Pandora's Box'

Colton is Colton, but a fighting challenge adds real drama
Pre-credit sequence. I've already forgotten who the Newbies voted out at Tribal Council. Rachel, apparently. Instead, we're starting with the Returnees, where everybody is discussing Tyson's cupcake belt and Tyson and Aras are enjoying some homoerotic banter. Colton is frustrated. "I love the strategy component of this game and apparently that's threatening to people," Colton says, before Aras reassures him that he is, indeed, in trouble. Colton complains that he'd hoped to redefine himself in the game. "He doesn't get this game. He thinks this game's about creating chaos. He might have dug his own grave," Aras tells us, before telling Colton to relax and enjoy himself. Yeah. That's exactly what Colton wanted to hear. "Unless you've got people who are willing to roll with you, there's nothing you can do," Colton laments.
 
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<p>Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Connor</p>

Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor to Miley Cyrus: Stop prostituting yourself

She's a Cyrus fan

Sinead O' Connor posted an open letter to Miley Cyrus on her website today and she has some strong advice for the "Wrecking Ball" singer.

First off, she tells Cyrus that the whole reason she showed only her face in her groundbreaking video for "Nothing Compares 2 U," a video that Cyrus emulates in the director's cut of the "Wrecking Ball" clip, was because her label wanted to exploit her sexuality and she said no. As she acknowledges, that train has left the station and arrived at its next destination in Cyrus's case.

Below is the letter in full: 

OPEN LETTER TO MILEY CYRUS

Dear Miley,

I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.

I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.

I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.

The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.

None of the men oggling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.

Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and it’s associated media.

You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognize those who do not.

I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.

You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.

As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.

Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.

What do you think of O'Connor's advice? 

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<p>Slash</p>

Slash

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Slash talks the state of rock

Legendary former Guns N' Roses guitarist takes modern rock to task

LOS ANGELES - Slash is known for his hats, and recently he's been wearing a good many of them -- specifically as a producer on new horror film "Nothing Left to Fear," the composer for that same soundtrack, the head of his own Slasher Films and a touring and recording musician. He, in fact, was touring to support his most recent solo outing as "Nothing Left..." was being shot.

The legendary guitarist spoke to HitFix this week about the film, but also took the time to take rock 'n' roll of recent days to task for its problem with mediocrity. Slash gave a hand to Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains and Queens of the Stone Age (plus a little backhand to Avenged Sevenfold) for their latest albums, but said, overall, "rock is in a really bad way."

"Everybody's conforming to the industry standards," he said in talking about the current state of his longstanding genre. He said the industry gives no room to development, and has an overemphasis on the creation of a hit off the bat. "Younger bands can't even get a record made... in order to make a hit record out of the box, you gotta copy everybody else that's making hit records."

He called pop artists like Katy Perry "genuinely good" but the domination of pop has given rock a formula problem.

Watch the excerpt from our interview above, and stay tuned later this week for the complete interview on "Nothing Left to Fear," horror films, Slash's next solo album with Myles Kennedy and more.

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<p>Lorde</p>

Lorde

Lorde is queen of the Billboard Hot 100 with 'Royals'

Is she the youngest person to reach the summit?

Lorde rules over the  Billboard Hot 100 as her hit single, “Royals,” rises 3-1 to become her first chart topper. 

The 16-year old New Zealander is the youngest solo artist to top the chart since Tiffany, who was also 16 when she did so in 1987.   The overall record belongs to Stevie Wonder, who was 13 when he took “Fingertips — Part 2” to the top in 1963. Wonder whatever became of him?

Lorde isn’t the only one with big chart news: Ylvis's“The Fox,” this year’s “Gangnam Style,” enters the Top 10, moving 13-8. Plus, Drake scores his first top 5 hit as a lead artist in more than 3 years as “Hold On, We’re Going Home” moves 7-4. The track, from Drake’s “Nothing Was The Same,” which hits No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week, is one of 12 songs by Drake on the Hot 100. That ties the record for the most songs charted simultaneously by a solo artist: Lil Wayne achieved the same feat in 2011. The record for all artists belongs to The Beatles who charted 14 songs at the same time in 1964.

Katy Perry’s former No. 1, “Roar,” holds at No. 2, while Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball, ends its two-week run at No. 1 and drops to No. 3. Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” falls 4-5.

Rounding out the Top 10, Jay Z’s “Holy Grail” (featuring Justin Timberlake) stays at No. 6, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” falls 5-7, Lady Gaga’s “Applause” moves 8-9, despite a rise in airplay, and Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais’ “Summertime Sadness” also slips one to No. 10, and similarly gains in airplay.

 

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<p>Michael Jackson on his History tour</p>

Michael Jackson on his History tour

Credit: AP Photo

What the AEG verdict means for Michael Jackson and the music industry

Does it change his legacy?

Concert promoter AEG Live has been found not negligent by a Los Angeles jury for hiring Dr. Conrad Murray to treat Michael Jackson and keep him healthy in preparation for his 50-date run at London's O2 Arena. Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, had sued AEG for up to $2 billion in a wrongful death trial following her son’s passing in 2009.

The jurors ruled that AEG did hire Murray, a point that AEG had contested despite evidence that the promoter was paying Murray’s $100,000/month, but that it was not negligent  for his death and will have to pay no damages to Jackson’s family. That's the right decision.

The jurors also found that Murray was not “unfit or incompetent” to do the job he was hired to do. In a narrow reading of some of the evidence, this means that the jury agreed that AEG hired Murray, but only to treat dehydration and other issues to keep tour ready, and  not to inject him with Propofol. Therefore, the promoter couldn’t be held responsible for the final result since Murray was acting outside of the scope for which AEG hired him. That ruling seemingly contradicts the criminal case verdict against Murray.


 What the ruling  means for several key parties:

What does it mean for Michael Jackson’s legacy? His most ardent fans will, undoubtedly, continue to blame Murray and AEG and anyone else for Jackson’s death, when the simple fact is that he was a drug addict, responsible for his own actions,  and his death is a sad, almost inevitable, result of years of prescription drug abuse. His glorious music and legacy lives on and nothing can ever change that.

What does it mean for Conrad Murray: His reputation is restored to a certain extent. In a criminal case he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and has been in jail (he will be released in three weeks). He is fighting to overturn California’s decision to revoke his license. Murray has maintained that he did not inject Jackson with the fatal dose of Propofol.

What does it mean for AEG Live?  The concert promoter will pay no damages to the Jackson family and will keep its reputation in tact, but the 21-week trial revealed to the world the extent to which a promoter will go to prepare/keep an act on the road when there is so much money involved. No, AEG did not tell Murray to give Jackson illegal drugs, but I believe they did turn a blind eye to Jackson’s health and whatever Murray was doing to make sure that Jackson showed up to rehearsals. Evidence presented in the case showed that Jackson was tremendously fragile-- he cried and wouldn’t come out of his dressing room to announce the London 02 Arena dates-- and his mental and physical state of health was a matter of constant concern and yet, no one suggested that maybe the concerts be postponed until he could get healthy.

What does it mean for the music industry?
See above, re: AEG, but it’s really just more of the same. As record sales continue to decline, touring income will become an ever bigger slice of the income pie for both artists and the industry. Therefore, we can probably see more examples (perhaps not with as big names as Jackson) where promoters do whatever it takes to keep artists on the road and keep the money train rolling. This is nothing new, but the AEG trial illuminated that promoters (and anyone who has skin in the game) see artists as cash cows more than as humans.

What’s next? Jackson’s family will likely appeal, but given that Jackson’s estate is, from many reports I’ve seen, in much better financial shape than it was when he died, and many felt that this suit was a money grab more than a true belief that AEG was at fault, maybe Jackson’s family--secure in the knowledge that money from Jackson’s legacy will continue to roll in-- can finally let him rest in peace.

What do you think of the verdict?

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef': Will you be back for the 11th season?

There have been changes, but are they enough to bring you back?

So, "Top Chef" returns tonight for an 11th season, this time very slightly tweaked. If you got a chance to watch the web series "Padma's Picks," you probably already know one of the first twists. Padma Lakshmi, having traveled around New Orleans (where the show is based this season), has already hosted a mini version of the show, in which ten of the city's best chefs have battled to get a slot on the TV series. It's a small twist, however, and after so many seasons, the question isn't whether this twist will add something to the existing series -- it's whether the existing series needed a bigger revamp.

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<p>Malin Akerman of &quot;Trophy Wife&quot;</p>

Malin Akerman of "Trophy Wife"

Credit: ABC

Tuesday ratings analysis - 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' loses viewers, 'Trophy Wife' loses women

And has ABC cancelled 'Lucky 7' yet?
It's been a busy day and I meant to have some ratings analysis up earlier, since there was a lot to talk about stemming from the numbers for Tuesday, October 1
 
There are also several days of Live+3 ratings that I haven't gotten to. 
 
So it goes!
 
Click through for full discussion of the big "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." drop, which was slightly smaller than reported earlier; the dangerously low numbers for "Lucky 7," which were slightly lower than reported earlier; and the ongoing weakness of FOX's comedy lineup, which is every bit as weak as reported earlier.
 
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"Breaking Bad"

 "Breaking Bad"

Credit: AP Photo

'Breaking Bad''s Bryan Cranston to explain 'Big History' all for you

Walter White, Bill Gates will work together to unravel history

Walter White may be gone from the airwaves, but Bryan Cranston -- or at least his voice -- isn't. He's narrating H2's new show "Big History," a series that will dare to reveal one grand unified theory for how every event throughout history is connected. It's not blue meth, but it's still pretty cool, don't you think? Oh, and Bill Gates is involved, too, if you needed more big name cred. 

The 10-hour series will premiere on Sat. Nov. 2 at 10:00 PM ET. In addition to be narrating by three-time Emmy winner Cranston, the show is produced in collaboration with the Big History Project – a free, online course from Professor David Christian and Bill Gates.  

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'The Voice' winner Danielle Bradbery sets album release date

'The Voice' winner Danielle Bradbery sets album release date

Checking in on other past winners and contestants?

Danielle Bradbery, “The Voice’s” season 4 winner will release her self-titled album debut on Nov. 19 through Big Machine Records, home to artists like Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw.

No word yet on if the country project, produced by Dann Huff, features Blake Shelton, her mentor on “The Voice.” The two performed her first single,  “The Heart Of Dixie,” live on tour.  She will also appear, coincidentally enough, on an upcoming episode of the CW’s “Hart of Dixie.”

The 17-year old Bradbery is now set to hit the road with Brad Paisley on his “Beat This Summer” tour in the fine fall month of November.

Despite proving to be a rating bonanza, "The Voice" has not launched any careers into the stratosphere like "American Idol." Season one and two winners, Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul," have somewhat fallen off the map (neither has a major label deal), although season three winner (and fellow Team Blake contestant) Cassadee Pope is doing well at country radio with single "Wasting All These Tears"  and has her own reality show on "CMT."  Additionally, her debut album comes out Oct. 8.

Plus, runner ups Judith Hill, who stars in the  "Twenty Feet From Stardom" doc as well, will release her debut album on Sony next year and is on tour with Josh Groban, and Chris Mann is carving out a space for himself among traditional singers and has two PBS specials. 
 

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<p>Some of the cream of Focus' crop.</p>

Some of the cream of Focus' crop.

Credit: Focus Features

As Focus Features evolves, an appreciation

Universal's specialty division gets a shake-up but the legacy lives on

Film is an art but it's also a business and the writing may well have been on the wall for Focus Features. It hurts, but it seems the rule is you don't get to crank out that kind of an art house run and live too long to tell the tale. Indie/dependent divisions have been shuttering left and right for years. We lost Paramount Vantage. We lost Warner Independent. Sony Classics is the success model, 20 years strong, having figured something out. Fox Searchlight continues to find pay dirt, too. But they're the exceptions. We should be so lucky that we got Focus for as long as we did.

But by the way, Focus Features isn't going away. It is simply, by necessity, shifting its reach and identity. Some are writing about it like the sky is falling, like folding in FilmDistrict product and putting Peter Schlessel in charge is an affront. But I think a mixture of specialty and wide releases is a smart approach and, at the end of the day, it might provide an even better opportunity for specialty product to find its way at Focus as some of the other product (in theory) proves more profitable. This is their path, and I'm personally more positive than some of my colleagues.

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'Wilfred' renewed for a 4th and final season


"Wilfred" renewed for a 4th and final season
Elijah Wood's comedy will end its run on FXX.


"Veep" already shut down the "U.S. government" in June

What prompted creator Armando Iannucci to do such a prescient episode? "I suppose it’s been sort of looming over the past couple of years," he says. "It so nearly happened already, and the whole threat was becoming a perennial thing, like Thanksgiving, really. So we thought it would fun to do."


ABC renews "Motive"
The Canadian summer series will be back for a 2nd season.


Final death report: Cory Monteith shot himself up with heroin and drank champagne before dying
The "Glee" star's hotel room contained evidence of heroin use, plus two empty bottles of champagne.


Norm MacDonald argues that "Breaking Bad" killed Walter White at the start of the finale
The rest of the episode, he says, is just a fantasy.


"Homeland" vet David Harewood headed to HBO

He'll play a "grandiose, boisterous, irascible" CEO in David Milch's "The Money."


Tom Selleck: Tom Clancy wanted to make a "Magnum P.I." movie with me

"Tom Clancy is a huge 'Magnum' fan," Selleck said in an interview published the day Clancy died.

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The 10 Craziest Moments on 'American Horror Story' So Far
Credit: FX

The 10 Craziest Moments on 'American Horror Story' So Far

With 'Coven' launching next week, we look back on 'Murder House' and 'Asylum'

It's hard to pick just 10 creepy moments in "American Horror Story" (does an entire season count?), but the nonstop scariness of this series, which returns Oct. 9 at 10:00 p.m. on FX, did have some standout moments. Of course, if you haven't watched, this photo gallery is chock full of spoilers. But if you want to remember the best of the worst of times from the show, don't blame us if your blood runs cold.

Check out our picks here:

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