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Patti LuPone joins 'Penny Dreadful'
Credit: FX

Patti LuPone joins 'Penny Dreadful'

Patti LuPone joins “Penny Dreadful"
The Broadway legend will guest on Season 2 as “a mysterious character of great importance to Eva Green’s bewitched character Vanessa.” PLUS: 2 “Penny” stars get a promotion.

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” brings on Hayley Atwell
Agent Carter will be in the season premiere.

NBC orders anthology drama “Manhunt”
The 10-episode series will follow a city’s manhunt for a fugitive.

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Here is an infomercial for Ryan Adams' new album, starring Garry Shandling, Jeff Garlin, Don Was, Bob Mould
Credit: Julie Brokaw

Here is an infomercial for Ryan Adams' new album, starring Garry Shandling, Jeff Garlin, Don Was, Bob Mould

Hide your birds

Ryan Adams' self-title album is out tomorrow. But today, this little infomercial is the star.

Garry Shandling, Jeff Garlin, Don Was and Bob Mould co-star in this truly bizarre piece of internet ephemera, which may withstand the passage of time due to its use of parakeets and the skittish secretary trope.

Single "Gimme Something Good" also has its moment to shine, if we can call it that.

"Ryan Adams" is out on the singer-songwriter's own PAXAM label, I highly recommend the aforementioned song, along with "Wrecking Ball" and "Trouble." Guests like Johnny Depp, Adams' wife Mandy Moore and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench lend their talents to the set. Here's a great profile of Adams via Buzzfeed.

Read Melinda Newman's review of "Ryan Adams" here.

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Review: An expert cast makes dysfunctional family pain funny in 'This Is Where I Leave You'
Credit: Warner Bros

Review: An expert cast makes dysfunctional family pain funny in 'This Is Where I Leave You'

It also makes solving those problems look very easy

One of the overriding messages of almost any film festival is "Wow, families are screwed up."

What makes a dysfunctional family film work is when the specifics of how one particular family is broken manages to somehow illuminate something universal about how difficult that dynamic can be overall. There are times when I feel like I should call my parents and yell at them for being normal and loving and taking great care of me because maybe I'd be a more tormented and successful artist if only they'd been selfish dicks.

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Report: Tori Spelling & Jennie Garth’s 'Mystery Girls' has been canceled
Credit: ABC Family

Report: Tori Spelling & Jennie Garth’s 'Mystery Girls' has been canceled

Report: Tori Spelling & Jennie Garth’s "Mystery Girls" has been canceled
ABC Family insists that no official decision has been made, but TV Line reports that the mystery series won’t be back for a 2nd season.

Ex-intern files a class-action lawsuit against CBS and Letterman
Ex-“Late Show” intern Mallory Musallam filed the lawsuit demanding that she and "all similarly situated employees that also worked on The Late Show With David Letterman, all compensation, including minimum wages and overtime compensation, which they were deprived of, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs."

“True Detective” Season 2: Rachel McAdams vs. Elisabeth Moss?
Variety reports the two actresses are vying for the lead female role on the HBO series.

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<p>Hilary Swank in &quot;The Homesman&quot;</p>

Hilary Swank in "The Homesman"

Credit: Saban Films

Off the Carpet: Best Actor and Best Actress make for a tale of two industries

Once again, the leading ladies seem to have short shrift in the Oscar race

Look across the landscape of Best Actor Oscar contenders this year. Michael Keaton, Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Bill Murray, Timothy Spall, Chadwick Boseman, Kevin Costner, Ralph Fiennes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Hardy, James McAvoy, Channing Tatum all seen and stumped for. Joaquin Phoenix, David Oyelowo, Brad Pitt, Jack O'Connell, Bradley Cooper, Oscar Isaac, Matthew McConaughey and Mark Wahlberg all looking for room on the other side. Gael García Bernal, Ellar Coltrane, Brendon Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Miles Teller all likely to find supporters besides.

Now look at the Best Actress contenders

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Ryan Adams

Album review: Ryan Adam's new self-titled set is a melodic downer

Singer/songwriter returns after 3-year break

Three years is a normal gap between albums for most artists, but Ryan Adams isn’t most artists. The singer/songwriter is rivaled only by Prince for his copious output. “Ryan Adam,” his first album since 2011’s “Ashes & Fire,” marks a solid, if not spectacular,return.

Adams’ prodigious talent and musical curiosity has allowed him to dabble in several different genres, from rock to metal to country. “Ryan Adams” finds him at the intersection of classic rock and alt country. And if you’re going to going to lean toward classic rock, you might as well lean toward the greats: On album opener, “Gimme Something Good,” the swampy chugging guitar riff recalls The Rolling Stones’  Keith Richards.  “Trouble” has an engaging swagger redolent of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. “Am I Safe” essays a John Fogerty-like intro. “My Wrecking Ball” and “I Just Might” both have a touch of early and later-era Springsteen. The references, intentional or not, give “Ryan Adams,” which Adams self-produced, a pleasing air of familiarity, but also keep it from standing out as an album that can go toe-to-toe with some of Adams’ more distinctive fare such as “Heartbreaker,” “Easy Tiger” or “Cold Roses.”

There’s a melancholy to most of the lyrics here, a certain kind of sadness from which there seems no relief. On “Trouble,” he self-consciously notes, “I feel you watch me across the room/the lines on my face like a map of my sins.” On the spare, lonely “My Wrecking Ball” —just as in Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty,” Adams is  surrounded by friends who are similarly lost: “My thoughts inside my head get lost inside the haunted house/everyone I used to know left their dreams by the door.”

By the time he gets to “Shadows,” and its “field of razor wire,” the wheels have come off. The song devolves into distorted chaos as everything falls apart. Adams sounds a bit like The Doors’ Jim Morrison as he pushes pop’s parameters on the weird, off-beat track.

On “Tired of Giving Up,” he laments that he’s tired of giving up so easily, but he doesn’t sound like there’s enough gas left in the tank to keep pushing.

As lyrically downbeat as much of the material is, the melodies, Adams’ vocals, and his great electric guitar work, are consistently engaging, giving “Ryan Adams” a buoyancy, despite the often depressing subject matter. Whether he decided to go the self-titled route because it’s his first album in a few years, he feels the lyrics are revealing, or whether he just couldn’t come up with a catchier title, “Ryan Adams” is a good reminder of what a strong musical force Adams can be, even if this isn’t his best work.

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James Corden officially named Craig Ferguson's replacement
Credit: Associated Press

James Corden officially named Craig Ferguson's replacement

James Corden officially named Craig Ferguson's replacement
CBS called the future "Late Late Show" host “the ultimate multi-hyphenate – a writer, creator and performer who is loved and respected in every medium he touches, including theater, comedy, music, film and television.”

ABC renews “Bachelor in Paradise”
The newest “Bachelor” spinoff will return next summer.

Neil Patrick Harris weds
The former “How I Met Your Mother” married his longtime partner David Burtka in Italy over the weekend.

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<p>The cast of &quot;Utopia&quot;</p>

The cast of "Utopia"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: Colts-Broncos action leads NBC past FOX's Sunday 'Utopia' premiere

CBS' 'Big Brother' beats 'Utopia' in 8 p.m. matchup

Fast National ratings for Sunday, September 7, 2014.

The Sunday night premiere of Sunday Night Football led NBC to a commanding primetime win, topping CBS' strong "Big Brother" installment, which in turn beat FOX's so-so debut for "Utopia."

"Utopia," a heavily promoted year-round reality experiment got a solid sampling among young viewers ahead of its Tuesday premiere, but FOX will have to wait and see how much of that carries over and how much was delivered courtesy of an NFL lead-in.

While the numbers are sure to change dramatically in Final Live+Same Day ratings, "Utopia" drew over 6.15 million viewers and a 2.6 key demo rating in its first half-hour and was down to over 3.8 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo for its last half-hour. The retention could have been better, but the drop could have been worse. We'll see what Tuesday looks like.

On to the numbers...

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<p>James Corden</p>

James Corden

Credit: CBS

CBS names James Corden to host 'Late Late Show'

English actor will replace Craig Ferguson in 2015

CBS has named English actor James Corden as the new host of "The Late Late Show," where he will succeed the departing Craig Ferguson sometime in 2015.

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Hank Williams and Tom Hiddleston

Watch 'Thor's' Tom Hiddleston sing Hank Williams' 'Move It On Over'

Shooting for the biopic stars this fall

Tom Hiddleston doesn’t start shooting the Marc Abraham-directed Hank Williams’ biopic, “I Saw The Light,” for a few more weeks, but it looks like he’s already getting into character.  The “Thor” actor showed up at  the Wheatland Music Festival in Michigan this weekend and hopped on stage to deliver  Williams’ classic “Move It On Over.”

He’s got a bit of work to do to capture the tragic singer's pinched vocals, but he’s getting there and the band is solid in the audience-captured video (our favorite part is all the audience chatter in the last 30 seconds…No, you cannot take a picture…) Plus, he has a striking resemblance to Williams.

Music artist biopics have hardly been box office winners lately  (hello, “Jersey Boys” and “Get On Up,” but maybe Hiddleston’s will be different. We have both the Jimi Hendrix biopic (starring Andre 3000) and Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) to go before Hiddleston’s project sees the light.


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One Direction

One Direction comes back with 'Four' in November, hear new song 'Fireproof'

Download 'Fireproof' for free for 24 hours

Almost exactly a year after releasing its third album, “Midnight Memories,” enduring boy band One Direction returns Nov. 17 with its fourth album, the cleverly titled “Four”  (Are they in cahoots with Maroon 5, who just released “V,” their fifth album? Also, not to be confused with Huey Lewis & The News' "Fore" album)

The British quintet announced the album via YouTube, as well as informed fans about the availability of  24-hour free download of “Fireproof.” Two of the band’s members, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, co-wrote the new tune with John Ryan, Jamie Scott and Julian Bunetta.

“Fireproof” is a mid-tempo, sweet, wistful tune, which features, per usual, the members trading lines about a love that goes on despite the odds. A drum loop propels it forward, as a nice electric guitar line gives it some heft. It doesn’t have an undeniably catchy chorus or build like “Story of My Life,” but it’s a nice sign as to where the boys are musically now and it sneakily grows on you with repeated listenings.

Boy bands have a built-in shelf life and One Direction continues to make the absolute most of its time in the sun. The band recently finished a wildly successful worldwide stadium tour and its three previous albums have sold more than 46 million copies. “Midnight Memories” was world’s best-selling album in 2013.

There are still plenty of albums to be announced for the fourth quarter— including (though unlikely) potential Adele and U2 releases—but it’s starting to shape up with Taylor Swift on Oct. 27;  Foo Fighters, Nov. 11; One Direction Nov. 17, and Garth Brooks the week after. It's not going to be enough to safe the continuing downward sales spiral (as Katie Hasty wrote about here), but we're probably looking at four weeks where the No. 1 album sells at least 500,000 copies in its opening frame).

"Fireproof" is below the album announcement.

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At Joan Rivers’ star-studded funeral, Hugh Jackman sang and Howard Stern delivered the eulogy
Credit: Associated Press

At Joan Rivers’ star-studded funeral, Hugh Jackman sang and Howard Stern delivered the eulogy

At Joan Rivers’ star-studded funeral, Hugh Jackman sang and Howard Stern delivered the eulogy
“She did everything on her own terms,” said Stern, whom Rivers roasted in January at his 60th birthday bash. “She fought the stereotypes that women can’t be funny, they should stay in their place, stay home,” he added. “Courageously, she fought to save her family after her husband’s suicide; she fought to rebuild her career after Johnny banned her from ‘The Tonight Show’ and the Fox show was canceled. She fought the bigotry toward gay people.” PLUS: How Prince Charles became friends with Rivers.

“The Simpsons” will be available “officially” in China for the 1st time
Said “Simpsons” boss Al Jean: "Woo hoo! Now we can reveal Springfield is actually in Guangdong province.”

John Oliver goes after “60 Minutes”
“Last Week Tonight” found that the long-running Sunday institution has been putting words in its subjects’ mouths. PLUS: Oliver performs a tribute to geckos.

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