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'Glee' releases 1st look at Cory Monteith tribute

"Glee" releases 1st look at Cory Monteith tribute
Monteith's face is in black and white, with the caption: "The hardest word to say is 'goodbye.'"

"Bob Burgers" renewed
Fox has ordered Season 5 of the animated comedy.

"South Park" returns to big numbers

Last night's Season 17 premiere was its highest-rated episode in four years.

Martin Freeman joins FX's "Fargo"

The "Sherlock" and "The Office" vet will play the William H. Macy role in FX's limited series.

Discovery orders an Evel Knievel documentary
"True Evil" airing Oct. 14 will look at the motorcycle daredevil's rise to fame.

Caroline Manzo exiting "Real Housewives of New Jersey"
E! reports that Manzo won't be part of the Season 6 cast.

Patton Oswalt to surface on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

He'll play a fire marshal named Boone.

"Revenge" books Ana Ortiz
The "Devious Maids" star will play a PR specialist.

"Breaking Bad" meets "The Walking Dead"
It's "Breaking Dead."

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<p>Mick Jagger in &quot;Muscle Shoals&quot;</p>

Mick Jagger in "Muscle Shoals"

Movie Review: 'Muscle Shoals' doc makes the music come alive

Take a trip to a sleepy Alabama town and witness the magic

Never has a town so little been responsible for such a big sound. The story of Muscle Shoals, Ala., a rural burg whose name signifies a swampy R&B and southern rock sound, plays out in “Muscle Shoals,” a music documentary that opens Friday (27).

Among the artists who recorded legendary sides at FAME Studios and its rival, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, were Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynrd, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Otis Redding, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and The Allman Brothers. Many of them are on hand to talk about their experiences in Alabama, as well as such talking heads as Bono, Alicia Keys, Jimmy Cliff, and Steve Winwood.

The movie centers on Rick Hall, the conflicted, troubled founder of FAME Studios. He and his brother grew up “like animals” in abject poverty in Alabama (his little brother later dies after falling in a pot of scalding water and his mother, in her grief, abandons him and becomes a prostitute). “I wanted to be somebody,” he says. And he certainly succeeds. After an initial falling out with some business partners (the beginning of a pattern), and his new wife dying in a car accident, driven by vengeance and bitterness Hall launches FAME and wills it to succeed. Luckily, he has an ear for talent and before long, he and his artists are creating magic, whether it’s Percy Sledge, a former hospital orderly, recording “When A Man Loves A Woman” or Arthur Alexander with “You Better Move On.”

After FAME’s initial success, Atlantic Records co-founder/legendary producer Jerry Wexler decides to start recording at FAME, following a spat with Memphis’s Stax Studios. Perhaps unintentionally,  the film makes a good case for how many magical moments happened simply because feuding partners were too egotistical to apologize and the principals would rather haul up and move to another city or start another company rather than say “I’m sorry.” Wexler brings Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin to FAME. The footage of Franklin in the studio, as well as much of the other vintage footage from the ‘60s and ’70, helps make the movie. Watching her surrounded by some of the most amazing studio musicians ever collected— Spooner Oldham, Roger Hawkins, Dan Penn, Barry Beckett— as they rework “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You)” is to witness a song being pulled out of the ether in all its majesty and glory.

But Hall and Wexler have a fight (are you sensing a theme yet?) and Wexler yanks Franklin back to New York and takes the fabled studio musicians with him as they record Franklin’s Atlantic debut, which also included a little song called “Respect.”

And so it goes as the film chronicles Hall and his battling of his demons as various tragedies, some of his own doing, come in and out of his life (the dude has Shakespearean-level bad luck), while it also portrays him and the studio musicians, all white, as trailblazers during the civil rights movement. They worked with black artists while segregation was in full force (studio scenes are juxtaposed against Gov. George Wallace vowing to keep black students out of schools) with no regard for anything other than talent. They were proud brothers in arms.

The movie does its best to cultivate an air of mythology about Muscle Shoals, including invoking Native American legend, as a way to explain how it became such a vaunted musical hotspot. Or as the imminently quotable Bono says, the music “seems to come out of the river; out of the mud.” Clarence Carter, who cut most of his hits at FAME, including “Patches,” simply says, “Every time someone came to Muscle Shoals, they came out with a hit record.” What doesn’t work so well is director Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s efforts to tie in Hellen Keller, who was from Alabama, and her ability to communicate, though deaf and dumb, with Muscle Shoals’ mysticism.

It seems inevitable that the studio musicians, collectively known as the Swampers, leave Hall to start their own studio, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, taking with them some pretty choice talent. “It was war, total war,” Hall says. Through much of the ‘70s, MSSS captured the bigger names, plus Hall misses the mark on the Allman Brothers. “I just didn’t hear it,” he admits, leaving them to go to MSSS, where Lynyrd Skyrnd also recorded its legendary album. (Any fan of “Sweet Home Alabama” knows the line “Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers/And they’ve been known to pick a song or two”).

One of  MSSS’ biggest moments is when the Rolling Stones record “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar” there instead of cutting in France, as they normally did.  To see them in their youth, recording two now classics, alone make the movie worthwhile. Looking back, Keith Richards muses, “Those sessions are as vital to me as any I’ve ever done.”

The movie unspools as artists come and go and the studios’ fortunes rise and fall, with both of their heydays ending by the ‘80s.   The stories are the stuff of legend when it comes to fighting and feuding, but the real star is the music. A staggering amount of classic hits came out of those two studios, despite all the chaos, and the tale of two studios is told is such a way to draw any lover of music in.

Unlike some movie docs that focus only on one subject, "Muscle Shoals" covers such a wide array of music and artists that like "Twenty Feet From Stardom," it will appeal to anyone with a song in their heart or anyone who wants to root for the underdog. 

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With 'Gravity' on the horizon what are the greatest space movies of all-time?
Credit: Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, MGM

With 'Gravity' on the horizon what are the greatest space movies of all-time?

'Star Wars'? 'Alien'? '2001'? Which film tops our list?

With "Gravity" set to hit theaters next week, we decided to look back at some of our favorite space movies. When discussing it, we set the game up like this: in order to be on the list, the film needed to feature important and pivotal sequences set in space. Not on another planet, mind you, but in space.

There's always been something mysterious and beautiful about the notion of outer space, and it's easy to understand what drove us to look up into that vast expanse overhead and decide we had to go there. Even today, as we continue to learn more and more about what's out there, we still seem to have only taken baby steps into what I believe is our eventual destiny. We make so many movies set in space because it continues to gnaw at us. I feel like there is a race between us ruining this planet and us leaving it, and I pray we make the right choice.

We sifted through dozens of films that fit the basic description here, and then the HitFix staff voted on what they felt the ten best were. The results were, as always, surprising in some ways, totally expected in others. It seems like we have a lot of love for "2010" here at HitFix, for example, something I wouldn't have predicted, and the films that almost made the list are tons of fun, like "Galaxy Quest."

One common thread that runs through most of these films, aside from setting, is that they seem to celebrate the potential of space. Sure, it can be terrifying at times, but beyond that, space seems to speak to the best in us, and these ten films are all worth your time and attention, and are sure to set the stage for when you get to see the remarkable "Gravity" starting next Friday.

Check out our picks here:

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<p>Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo at Fantastic Fest</p>

Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo at Fantastic Fest

Credit: Arnold Wells

Want to hear new Metallica music? Get 'Through the Never' on home video

Band has plans to take film's epic, fantastical stage concept on tour

AUSTIN - Metallica fans will hear previously released material in the soundtrack to the band's new film "Metallica: Through the Never," but they'll also get to hear new metal material from the foursome should they pick up the movie when it comes out on home video.

Last night (Sept. 25) at Fantastic Fest in the Texas capitol, bassist Robert Trujillo, guitarist Kirk Hammett and the film's director Nimrod Antal took questions from the audience after screening the 3D flick, which combines a scripted feature-narrative with a concert documentary. Antal revealed that there are two additional cuts of the film, which will be available on the DVD/Blu-Ray and other formats of the release. He said one cut is just of the narrative portion to "Through the Never" -- which stars Dane DeHaan as a roadie for the band  -- and has "a completely original," "Goblin-esque" soundtrack made by Metallica and producer Greg Fidelman. The other version is just of the concert footage, with "three to four" bonus songs recorded during those live gigs in Vancouver and Edmonton.

Addtionally, Trujillo premiered his Metallica-centered short animated film "'Tallica Parking Lot" last night, which also featured new music from the metal pioneers. Its soundtrack had big, energetic beats as the animations panned through 2D and 3D views of the fans that pre-game at Metallica shows. The film was a collaboration with Titmouse Animation Studio and helped by animators like Mike Judge; characters from "South Park," "Beavis & Butthead," "Metalocalypse" and even the cartoon visages of rockers like Lemmy make cameos.

"'Tallica Parking Lot" and the three total versions of "Metallica: Through the Never" will be bundled together for home video, with release date TBA.

Judging from the technical aspects that went into the making "Through the Never," Antal and the band could've made even a few more films from their shoot. Concert footage for "Through the Never" was captured by 30 cameras at any one time Antal said, which was -- in his words -- "a f*cking nightmare." The stage was fraught with its own perils, and not just metal music wattage: some of the concert props to help tell the "Through the Never" story included Tesla coils, pyrotechnics, falling rocks, sparking light poles and jumbo video screens in the shape of coffins.

Performing was an "occupational hazard," Hammett said. "It's amazing we survived it." Death magnetic, indeed.

The band said they're planning on, at some point, taking that very epic stage concept on tour, though not mentioning when that would be. They're still catching up to the "now." Hammett said called the outcome of "Through the Never" and their collaboration with Antal as "unexpected." He said that he sees old songs like "Ride the Lightning" and "Creeping Death" in a new light, now that the tracks have been married to Antal's horror-apocalypse treatment.

"We would never have thought we'd be in this space three years ago," Hammett said.

"Metallica: Through the Never" heads to IMAX tomorrow (Sept. 27) and into additional theaters Oct. 4.

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<p>Keith Stanfield in &quot;Short Term 12.&quot;</p>

Keith Stanfield in "Short Term 12."

Credit: Cinedigm

Could 'Short Term 12' crack the Best Original Song race?

Brief rap track 'So You Know What It's Like' plays a crucial role in the indie drama

We say this on an almost annual basis, it seems, but the Best Original Song race is looking particularly lean this year -- so lean, in fact, that I can scarcely think of any possibilities, strong or otherwise, from the year's releases so far. (I know Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful," from "The Great Gatsby," has a lot of advocates out there, but it seems the song won't be eligible.) But one interesting possibility, and one the film's publicists seem willing to push, comes from recent indie favorite "Short Term 12." 

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Credit: NBC

Wednesday ratings analysis - 'Revolution' is steady, 'X Factor' surprises

Who knew "SVU" still had this much juice?
[As I said yesterday, I'm going to start doing some additional ratings analysis a bit after the morning Fast National numbers come in each morning/afternoon. It's a way to get away from merely the regurgitation of data as quickly as possible at 8:30 a.m., though I'll still be doing that. I'll also be doing some Live+3 and Live+7 analysis this season as those numbers become available.]
There were winners and losers on Tuesday (September 24) night. "Lucky 7" is already on Deathwatch. "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is already a hit (for at least one week). FOX's comedy block probably isn't in overall jeopardy, but it can't go on this low forever. And "NCIS" and "The Voice" remain the cocks of the ratings walk.
Fast Nationals for Wednesday, September 25 told a very different story. There are minor disappointments here and there, but mostly everybody came away from the Fast National numbers relatively happy. That's better for the industry, even if it isn't as sexy when it comes to analysis. 
Click through for my bulletpoints...
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Kevin McKidd on "Grey's Anatomy"

 Kevin McKidd on "Grey's Anatomy"

Credit: ABC

Interview: 'Grey's Anatomy' star Kevin McKidd talks Christina and Owen split

The actor says to expect things to get 'really tough and tragic'

When you meet Kevin McKidd, what's most startling (at least it is if you're a "Grey's Anatomy" fan) is the accent. Born in Scotland, McKidd's rich, rolling brogue sounds nothing like Owen, the lovelorn surgeon he plays on the show (which has a two-hour season premiere tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC). Though the actor has played many other characters memorably (fans will remember him from "Rome" and "Trainspotting"), after five seasons on the ABC show he's probably best known as Owen -- and that's just fine with him. During press tour I talked to McKidd about what's next for Owen and Christina (if anything after their split), if Owen will ever get out of denial about wanting to be a daddy, and whether or not he's really a frustrated rock star.


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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 203

Dan and Alan talk 'Crazy Ones,' 'Masters of Sex,' 'Michael J. Fox' show and more


Happy Thursday, Boys & Girls! As promised, there was too much TV this week for just one podcast, so it's a bonus Firewall & Iceberg.
With Alan out of the hospital, finally, we reviewed a slew of new shows, including "The Crazy Ones," "The Michael J. Fox Show" and "Masters of Sex," as well as the return of "Homeland."
Also, because we got a couple emails and podcast questions about it, we talked a bit about AMC's decision to split the 
Today's breakdown:
"The Crazy Ones" (00:01:20 - 00:14:15)
"The Michael J. Fox Show" (00:14:15 - 00:24:00)
Odds and ends including "Betrayal" and "Hello Ladies" (00:24:05 - 00:33:30)
"Homeland" (00:34:10 - 00:45:10)
"Masters of Sex" (00:45:15 - 00:53:00)
"We Are Men" (00:53:00 - 00:59:40)
Listener Mail: The splitting of "Mad Men" (01:00:10 - 01:08:10)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.



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Gay 'Modern Family' writer teared up writing last night's episode

Gay "Modern Family" writer teared up writing last night's episode

"As I started writing, I became unexpectedly emotional," says Jeffrey Richman, one of two gay writers on staff. "I teared up writing it. I teared up hearing it read."

Kaley Cuoco gets engaged after 3 months of dating
"The Big Bang Theory" star and tennis pro Ryan Sweeting are set to get married.

Lorne Michaels writes about the birth of "SNL"

Read his piece in Vanity Fair reflecting on the year 1975.

Watch every bad thing "Breaking Bad" did to Jesse Pinkman
In 4 minutes and 23 seconds.

OWN nabs rights to "Lee Daniels' The Butler," starring Oprah Winfrey
There will be even more Oprah on OWN.

"Boy Meets World's" Danielle Fishel is writing her memoir
"Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern" will be released in fall 2014.

Why Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan opted not to be married on "The Michael J. Fox  Show"
Fox's real-life wife will be playing a "sexy" neighbor on his new sitcom. Why? As Fox explains, "We talked about how it would be like being a family on TV and being a family at home… and a family on TV… and never having a break from it."

"Suite Life of Zack and Cody's" Dylan Sprouse: I'm not broke, but I am working at a restaurant
To clear up the air (which is admittedly pretty rude), I did not take this job because I 'lost all my money,' I am finacially secure," Sprouse explains on Tumblr. He says he "took this job as a way to primarily feed my over bountiful video game addiction."

Watch "South Park" spoof Alec Baldwin

His thumbs are homophobic.

Fox buys "Wife Nanny" from Jason Bateman
The "Arrested Development" star is teaming with Spike Feresten on a comedy about a sports exec who secretly hires a gay best friend for his wife.

ABC working on a modern-day "Houdini" cop drama
What if Harry Houdini was partnered with a female LAPD detective?

Robert Smigel recalls joining "SNL" in 1985, launching Conan and creating Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

Listen to Smigel chat with ESPN's Bill Simmons about his "Saturday Night Live's" glory days.

White rapper MC Serch getting a talk show tryout
He'll star in "Serch" in a January test run.

Actress joins "The Walking Dead"
Will Alanna Masterson play Tara Chalmers?

Style's "Tia & Tamera" and "Giuliana & Bill" are moving to E!

Both reality shows will debut on E! next month following Style's transformation into the Esquire channel.

Connie Britton organized a dinner with Tina Fey, Michele Dockery and Elisabeth Moss
Check them out at their pre-Emmys dinner.

Loretta Devine heads to USA's "Sirens"

She'll recur on the USA paramedic drama.

"SNL" creates YouTube channel for the rest of the world

The YouTube channel can only be accessed outside the United States, since Yahoo! has the U.S. rights.

Rupert Boneham stunned by his early "Survivor" ouster
"I would have never in a million years guessed I would be the first one out," he says.

"Law & Order: UK" renewed
The ITV drama will return for an 8th season.

Katherine Webb films a Carl's Jr. ad

Miss Alabama is extending her 15 minutes of fame, despite recently breaking up with the Alabama QB boyfriend who made her famous.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 203: 'Homeland,' 'Masters of Sex' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'The Crazy Ones,' 'The Michael J. Fox Show' and 'We Are Men'


I have left the hospital, which makes this the first Firewall & Iceberg Podcast to be recorded in relative privacy in a couple of weeks. (I wasn't up for posting about the last two, but you can find them on Dan's blog here and here.) In this one, Dan and I tackle the rest of the notable premiere week premieres (some briefly, some at length), including my pick for the fall's best new show, and we dip into the mailbag to discuss the splitting of the final "Mad Men" season.

The rundown:

"The Crazy Ones" (00:01:20 - 00:14:15)
"The Michael J. Fox Show" (00:14:15 - 00:24:00)
Odds and ends including "Betrayal" and "Hello Ladies" (00:24:05 - 00:33:30)
"Homeland" (00:34:10 - 00:45:10)
"Masters of Sex" (00:45:15 - 00:53:00)
"We Are Men" (00:53:00 - 00:59:40)
Listener Mail: The splitting of "Mad Men" (01:00:10 - 01:08:10)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.


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'Boardwalk Empire' renewed

"Boardwalk Empire" renewed
HBO has ordered a 5th season of the prohibition-era drama.

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<p>If HBO&nbsp;hadn't renewed &quot;Boardwalk Empire&quot;&nbsp;again, Al Capone (Stephen Graham)&nbsp;might have gotten very cross.</p>

If HBO hadn't renewed "Boardwalk Empire" again, Al Capone (Stephen Graham) might have gotten very cross.

Credit: HBO

HBO renews 'Boardwalk Empire' for season 5

1920s mob drama has turned out to be a solid performer for the pay cable giant

HBO has renewed "Boardwalk Empire" for a fifth season.

“Thanks to Terry Winter, Martin Scorsese, Tim Van Patten, Howard Korder and their stellar team, 'Boardwalk Empire' remains in a class by itself,” HBO president Michael Lombardo said in a statement.  “I look forward to another electrifying season of this impeccably crafted series.”

Though "Boardwalk" has never turned into the Emmy juggernaut HBO might have hoped for, it's a solid ratings performer, it still picks up stray awards (like Bobby Cannavale's trophy on Sunday) and is off to a very intriguing start to its fourth season with the introduction of Jeffrey Wright as Harlem fixer Dr. Valentin Narcisse.

I'm a fan of the show and am glad it will be sticking around a while.

(Also, for those of you who will be in New York City next weekend, I'll be moderating a PaleyFest panel with Winter, Korder, Michael Kenneth Williams, Wright and Gretchen Mol.)

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