Latest Blog Posts

PBS boss defends 'Downton Abbey' delay


PBS boss defends "Downton Abbey" delay

Season 4 will begin on Jan. 5, again months after the UK broadcast. The delay, says PBS chief Paula Kerger, has "actually benefited us." PLUS: Will "Sherlock" be delayed, too?, "The Bletchley Circle" will be back for Season 2.


PBS will have the first female co-anchor team
Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff have been named co-anchors of "NewsHour."


CBS to air a 2-hour special on teachers
"Teach," airing Sept. 6, will follow four exceptional teachers through an entire school year.


Peyton & Eli Manning make a rap music video for DirecTV

Check out "Football on your Phone" to promote NFL Sunday Ticket.


"NCIS" books "24" alum Leslie Hope
Her one-episode guest appearance will have "tremendous importance in the NCIS world," says "NCIS'" boss.


HBO teams with Larry Wilmore and "Awkward Black Girl" web star
Wilmore will produce "The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl's" Issa Rae will star in a comedy project about a modern-day black woman.


Adam Brody would like to see an "O.C." see reunion -- on stage
The 33-year-old last night said of the 10th anniversary: "It's very gratifying to be a part of something that seemed to mean something to a lot of people and be part of this story that everyone kind of invested in."


"Falling Skies" down in season finale

About 3.7 million tuned in Sunday.


"Justified" inspiration Elmore Leonard suffers a stroke

The 87-year-old author is recovering at a hospital.


Cookie Monster covers Icona Pop's "I Love It"

His version is, of course, all about cookies.

Read Full Post
<p>Sigur Ros</p>

Sigur Ros

Credit: Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros launches 'ever-evolving' video for 'Stormur'

'Your #stormur' is made up of fan-submitted Instagram photos and videos

Sigur Ros is starting to evolve.

The icelandic band has launched a unique interactive project in place of a traditional video for the track "Stormur."

The "ever-evolving" video piece, called "your #stormur," is made up of Instagram photos and videos submitted by artistically-minded fans.

The result pairs the typically haunting and atmospheric tune, from their new album "Kveikur," with a feast of user-generated, mostly melancholy visuals -- so far heavy on themes of nature and nostalgia -- from fans like "Edna," "Beth" and "Brian Wilson" (probably not that Brian Wilson).

It's being continually updated as fans enter their additions. You can join in the fun by simply tagging your Instagram photo or video with #stormur.

Watch the video evolve here.

Read Full Post
<p>Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in &quot;Enough&nbsp;Said&quot;</p>

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in "Enough Said"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

James Gandolfini courts Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the trailer for Nicole Holofcener's 'Enough Said'

One of the late actor's final roles looks like a fun Searchlight romp

It's been a while since I giggled through a trailer like this. But then, of course, the sadness that hits when you think of James Gandolfini, gone. Sigh…

Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" is set for a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month and looks to be a light romp for Fox Searchlight to play with this season. Globe potential? Maybe more? We'll see how it lands, but the trailer establishes it as something fun to take the edge off as the "serious" months knock on our door.

Read Full Post
<p>The Civil Wars, &quot;The Civil Wars&quot;</p>

The Civil Wars, "The Civil Wars"

Credit: Columbia

Album review: The Civil Wars' self-titled album burns, burns, burns

Duo now on hiatus after an album about wanting and not having

It’s really a shame that the Civil Wars are unlikely to tour off of their second, self-titled album, because the duo spends at least half of the 12-track set right in the pocket. Blistering vocal moments outweigh any whimpering; Joy Williams and John Paul White relish in “The Civil Wars’” emotional heights, making it all the more enthralling and heartbreaking for the listener who mourns the Grammy Award winners' grave status as a band.

Read Full Post

FX grabs Donald Glover for a music-themed comedy pilot -- 'Atlanta'


FX grabs Donald Glover for a music-themed comedy pilot -- "Atlanta"

The "Community" star will write, produce and star in a comedy about Atlanta's music scene. Glover grew up in Atlanta.

Read Full Post
Listen to Kings of Leon's new single and watch their new video for 'Supersoaker'

Listen to Kings of Leon's new single and watch their new video for 'Supersoaker'

Rockers power down to mid-tempo for 'Wait for Me' from 'Mechanical Bull'

Kings of Leon have now introduced two songs from their new album "Mechanical Bull." "Supersoaker" was the first single, swooning over sentimental girls. This new track "Wait for Me," has the band slowing their gait to mid-tempo.

For the latter, it kicks off like a slower version of "Twilight Zone" -- no, not the theme song to the show, but the Golden Earring mega-hit from 1982. While we're jumping decades, it pounces all over late-'90s mainstream rockers, with lyrics earnestly, timelessly generic. This is a harmless, safe passage toward radio, but doesn't pop like "Use Somebody" or "Crawl" did previously. Then again, I thought "Radioactive" should have blown up bigger than it did, so it depends on what temperature rock dials are feeling now at the end of this summer.

Read Full Post

'The Bachelorette' finale hits an all-time low


"The Bachelorette" finale hits an all-time low
Desiree's season-ender was down 16% from last year's finale. PLUS: "Under the Dome" hits low vs. "Bachelorette."


Al Roker overslept for the 1st time, and missed "Wake Up with Al"

But Roker was able to make it on time for "Today."


"Doctor Who" writer: At least 1 black actor has turned down the Doctor role
Neil Gaiman wouldn't, however, divulge which black actor was offered the part.


Shark Week boss defends airing "Megalodon" documentary
"It's one of the most debated shark discussions of all time, can Megalodon exist today? It’s Ultimate Shark Week fantasy," says exec producer Michael Sorensen.


Oprah comments on the Paula Deen N-word controversy
"In the very first days I tried to reach her and then I decided to stay out of it as I saw it blowing up," she tells "ET." "In time she will be fine. For me, it all just felt kind of sad."


Lindsay Lohan did okay filling in on "Chelsea Lately"
Watch highlights of Lohan mocking her peers, including Kristen Stewart.


Bravo orders a "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce" drama from Marti Noxon
The former "Buffy" producer wrote the pilot based on the "Girlfriends’ Guide…" series of books.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Jan Kaczmarek won an Oscar for the 'Finding Neverland' score.</p>

 Jan Kaczmarek won an Oscar for the 'Finding Neverland' score.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Oscar-winning composer Jan Kaczmarek on his Transatlantyk Fest and getting back to work

What project is next for the 'Finding Neverland,' 'Unfaithful' and 'Hachi' composer

POZNAN, Poland:  Composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2005 for Marc Forster’s “Finding Neverland,” has put his writing on hold for the last few years to get his latest production off the ground. But now, he’s ready to return to his first love.

Kaczmarek, who also scored such films as “Unfaithful,” “The Visitor,” and “Washington Square,”  started the Transatlantyk Festival, a music and film event here, in 2011. The Polish native attended college in Poznan and now splits his time between Poznan and Los Angeles.

“I took a sabbatical from writing,” he says. “Creating and funding the festival was such a big job, I removed myself from writing for three years. I did two movies and one concert work just to keep the flow, but it was a necessary decision to really seriously create this structure that works.”

 In its third year, the Aug. 2-9 festival, which draws more than 41,000 people to its series of classes, screenings, scoring competitions and events, will honor Yoko Ono on Aug. 7 with its Glocal (a combo of global and local) Hero Award. Accompanied by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, the 80-year old icon will also perform a selection of her works.

For Kaczmarek, Ono’s work and life beautifully represent the spirit of the festival, which draws attendees from all over Central Europe, and budding composers from around the globe. “We are a festival of film and music, but we define ourselves as a festival of ideas —social, political and culturally. We wanted her for many reasons, she’s also an activist in the peace movement,” he says. He also knows the benefit to having such a name grace his budding conference:  “To have an award accepted by a legend certainly has to send a message that, ‘yes, we do something important here.’”

Just as Sundance Film Festival started with the film institute before launching the full festival, Kaczmarek began by launching a film and music institute five years ago in Poznan. “There’s nothing better than hungry people you can feed,” he says. “We’re a big city with a great tradition of academics, great museums, music academy, culinary artists...this is the first capital of Poland from the 10th century, but on the level of film music, this was never an important place on the map.” 

With Sundance continuing as the model, Transatlantyk now has a working relationship with the famous Utah festival.  “We present a selection of movies chosen by Sundance for us called Sundance at Transatlantyk,” Kaczmarek says. Additionally, Sundance’s music director Peter Golub has attended the Poznan festival every year.

The festival prides itself on its slightly quirky innovation and creativity. The opening gala on Aug. 2 was preceded by a drumming circle to protest GMOs and the disappearance of bees. There is a green carpet instead of a red one to highlight a concern for the environment. In addition to the slate of films accepted into competition, there is a series dedicated to culinary films, and after the film, attendees can have a meal prepared by a chef that ties in with the movie’s theme. There is also a flight of films about bikes.

The festival, which takes over much of the 650,000-person town, makes the most of the large outdoor spaces no more so than for Cinema In Bed, a nightly series of films in a town square viewed on your own queen-sized bed, with your own projector and screen. There are 60 beds and the movie starts at the same time for everyone, but if you want privacy, you can lower the curtains on your bed. “It was my idea, like drive-ins, but beds are much quieter than cars and much more comfortable that cars. If you have a girlfriend, it’s much nicer to kiss her in our bed than in your car,” Kaczmarek jokes.

With Transatlantyk finding its feet, Kaczmarek is very eager to get back to writing music. “It’s what I’m here for,” he says. “It’s how I communicate with the world.”  Immediately after the festival, he is meeting with Austrian director, Feo Aladeg (director of “When We Leave,” winner of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival) about her new film about Afghanistan, shot in Afghanistan. “I’m curious as to why she wants me,” he says. “I’m always looking for a challenging project. I love the idea of a new culture and using muscles I didn’t expect I had.”

Like many composers, Kaczmarek is happy to toggle back and forth between film and television. What matters for him is quality. “Television is so good these days, especially American television,” say Kaczmarek, who scored the 2007 “War & Peace” mini-series. “It’s become really brilliant in a way and intellectually stronger, quite often, than the world of features.”

His score for  2009’s “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” and his subsequent live performances of the music in Japan about a Japanese dog who went to the train station every day to greet his master for nine years following the owner’s death has helped make him a star there “They needed a Polish composer for the movie to capture the years of suffering,” he jokes.

He also teases that he’s very popular with “Arab princesses” who loved the movie “Unfaithful” because it was about such a forbidden topic for them.

But he turns very serious when he talks about receiving a letter from a fan in Tehran, who wrote Kaczmarek to tell him that his music kept him from committing suicide.  “People play my music a lot when they lose someone, especially [the score to] ‘Washington Square’,” he says. “People play it over and over. I’m very touched.”

Such feedback spurs him to get back to writing. “I want another letter,” he says.

 

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;team of Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston in a recent appearance on Sundance Channel's &quot;The Writers' Room.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

The "Breaking Bad" team of Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston in a recent appearance on Sundance Channel's "The Writers' Room." 

Credit: Sundance

'Breaking Bad': Bryan Cranston and Vince Gilligan look back

How often have the star and creator disagreed about Walt? And how do they feel about the ending?
Eight hours to go. Eight more hours until we find out exactly what fate “Breaking Bad” has in store for Walter White. Eight more hours until we find out if creator Vince Gilligan can stick the landing on one of the most daring, breathtaking, awe-inspiring feats of dramatic gymnastics in television history. Eight more hours of watching Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris and company make us laugh, make us cry, and make us curl up into a terrified little ball. Eight hours doesn’t feel like nearly enough for this great show, does it?
 
I’ve seen the AMC drama’s final season premiere, which airs Sunday night at 9. It’s fantastic, as you might expect, but the ways in which it’s fantastic are better left discovered as you’re watching. (I’ll have, as usual, an episode review posted as soon as it’s done airing on the East Coast.) But before this last batch of episodes begins, I sat down with Gilligan and Emmy-winning star Bryan Cranston to discuss the rare instances when they disagreed about what was going on with Walt, about what kind of actor Walt himself has become in the series’ final days, and about how each of them feels about walking away from the best work either of them is likely ever going to do.
Read Full Post
<p>We're giving away free copies of &quot;The Revolution Was Televised&quot;&nbsp;to people who register for the site.</p>

We're giving away free copies of "The Revolution Was Televised" to people who register for the site.

Credit: Touchstone

Register at HitFix and win 'The Revolution Was Televised' for free!

We're giving away 10 signed paperbacks and 5 audiobook links

Want to win a signed copy of my book, "The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever?" Or would you like to get a free version of the audiobook, read in the dulcet tones of voice actor Joe Ochman? Well, now's your chance.

HitFix is in the midst of a registration drive, and this week we're giving away 10 signed paperbacks and 5 copies of the audiobook. It's very simple. Just go to register for an account here — and if you already have a HitFix account, clicking on that link will give you the option to update your info, which will automatically register you for the prize drawing. (That page also has a list of contest rules; it's only for U.S. residents, unfortunately.)

Register anytime between now and Sunday night and you're eligible for the books as your prize; a new giveaway will begin next Monday morning.

Read Full Post

ABC names the first minority 'Bachelor'


ABC names the first minority "Bachelor"

Juan Pablo Galavis, a 32-year-old former soccer player, will become the franchise's first non-white "Bachelor." The show faced more than a decade of scrutiny for only featuring white "Bachelors." PLUS: "The Bachelorette" Desiree picks "The Baby Bachelor."


"Sons of Anarchy" meets "Sesame Street"

Check out "Sons of Poetry."


Jimmy Fallon & Seth Meyers try to figure out their late-night poses
Meyers visited "Late Night" on Monday and realized The Roots aren't staying behind. PLUS: Meyers & Fallon play Egg Russian Roulette.


E! to air a Vanessa Hudgens-Ashley Tisdale reality special
"Vanessa & Ashley: Inner Circle" follows the BFFs as they go about their real lives.


Nielsen: Twitter chatter can boost ratings
A Nielsen study found that Twitter messages caused a "significant increase" in ratings 29% of the time.

Read Full Post
<p>Will Poulter, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, and Emma Roberts all seem as confused here as I was walking out of 'We're The Millers'</p>

Will Poulter, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, and Emma Roberts all seem as confused here as I was walking out of 'We're The Millers'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Unfunny and undercooked 'We're The Millers' totally wastes a decent ensemble

Have you ever wanted to see a joke-free comedy? Good news.

It does not remotely surprise me that Sean Anders and John Morris are the writers of "Dumb and Dumber To," because I sense a strong admiration for the work of the Farrelly Brothers in the scripts of theirs that I've read. I think the best thing they've had produced so far was also directed by Anders, and that's "Sex Drive," a movie that I expected absolutely nothing from when it was first announced. That movie had a simple hook, and it made the most of its enthusiastic cast, including Clark Duke and James Marsden, who both absolutely killed it in the film.

"We're The Millers," unfortunately, feels to me like an outline for a film instead of an actual film. I can see what the hook is, I can see how all of the various characters should interact, and I can see where the punchlines belong, but as an actual film, I found it very nearly inert. A few painfully obvious laughs do not a successful comedy make, and I'm baffled how you can throw this many relatively funny people at an idea this blatantly down-the-middle and end up with something like this, where it just can't land a punch.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME