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<p>Sadie Calvano of &quot;Mom&quot;</p>

Sadie Calvano of "Mom"

Credit: CBS

Interview: 'Mom' star Sadie Calvano discusses CBS' dramatic comedy

Therapy brings up some dark secrets in Thursday's episode

It's time for your weekly reminder: CBS' "Mom" is taking creative risks that no other comedy on TV, especially no other multi-cam comedy on network TV, is even considering.

After tackling drug addiction, teen pregnancy, cancer and an assortment of other maladies and discomforts last season and delving into depression and economic hardship so far in Season 2, "Mom" delves into some of its darkest terrain with Monday's episode, "Free Therapy and a Dead Lady's Yard Sale," in which, as the title suggests, a group therapy session leads Christy (Anna Faris) and Bonnie (Allison Janney) to tell an acting-out Violet (Sadie Calvano) some distressing truths about her father. Long stretches of the episode play out in almost purely dramatic mode with nary a punchline.

But, as always seems to be the case on "Mom," if ever things get too somber, there's a corpse that "looked like a bean-bag chair in a nightgown," or an acerbic cut-down from the deservingly Emmy-toasted Janney. 

That Janney and Faris have been able to sell the tonal rainbow that is "Mom" hasn't been a surprise. They were always the anchors for this Chuck Lorre show. The big surprise, especially since midseason last year and into this fall, has been Calvano, a 17-year-old actress whose most prominent credit before this was apparently "Melissa & Joey."

Last season, Calvano's Violet had to deal with comedic subplots -- Flatulence at prom is an issue if you're pregnant, apparently -- but also with the tough to decision to give up her baby to an adoptive couple. This season, things have gotten far murkier and I've been pretty reliably impressed by how effective Calvano has been in the raw, emotional moments.

Ahead of this week's admirable episode, I got on the phone with Calvano to discuss the challenges of "Mom," including how much she was prepared for when she signed on. We discussed the different on-set atmospheres for dramatic scenes versus comedy, as well as the influence of her two co-stars.

Check out the full Q&A below and check out "Mom" on Thursdays at 8:30 on CBS.

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Kiefer Sutherland thinks he's done with '24'

Kiefer Sutherland thinks he's done with '24'

Sarah Silverman to star in an HBO comedy pilot

Kiefer Sutherland thinks he's done with “24"
In an interview with the UK’s Telegraph, Sutherland was asked if he had moved on from the Jack Bauer role: “Me, I don’t see going back to it,” he says. "We had set out to do 12 episodes to end the show and deal with some of the past history of the show. It was also an irresistible opportunity to go shoot in England. So for all of those reasons it made sense to do that last season.”


Sarah Silverman to star in an HBO comedy pilot
The project from the creator of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl” will star Silverman in "a comic look at a pathologically honest woman having a modern mid-life crisis.”


Jerry Seinfeld takes Jimmy Fallon boating
For the season finale of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Fallon got to ride in Seinfeld’s truck and boat.


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<p>The &quot;Survivor: San Juan Del Sur&quot; Top 4</p>

The "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" Top 4

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' finale leads CBS to easy Wednesday wins

'Hell's Kitchen' finale, 'The Sing-Off' can't compete

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

The two-hour finale and hour-long reunion show for "Survivor: San Juan del Sur" led CBS to an easy Wednesday sweet in all measures.

FOX's "Hell's Kitchen" finale and NBC's Michael Buble special and "The Sing-Off" were no competition for "Survivor," nor were The CW's "The 100" and a "Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown" special, though both did OK numbers for The CW.

On to Wednesday's ratings...

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<p>Serial host/producer Sarah Koenig</p>

Serial host/producer Sarah Koenig

The 'Serial' season finale: Whodunnit? And does the end matter?

Podcast's conclusion bumps up against the limitations of non-fiction

Many thoughts on the season 1 finale of "Serial" coming up just as soon as I use Mail Kimp...

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Craig Ferguson grills 'Late Late Show' successor James Corden
Credit: CBS

Craig Ferguson grills 'Late Late Show' successor James Corden

Stephen Colbert holds a yard sale

Craig Ferguson grills “Late Late Show” successor James Corden
“Are you sure you want to do this?” asked Ferguson, adding: “Got any plans?” To which Corden responded: "Not as many as I should have, really.” PLUS: Ferguson and Corden say goodbye.


Stephen Colbert holds a yard sale
Colbert recently invited the public to buy his “Colbert Report” memorabilia. PLUS: Explore the “Colbert” set on Google Streetview.


“Survivor's" 30th season will be "Worlds Apart" with 3 tribes
“It’s White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar,” says Jeff Probst of "Survivor: Worlds Apart." “White Collars are the people who typically in life are educated, might work in an office, wear a suit—they make the rules. Blue Collar—the heart of America. They typically work outdoors. They might wear a uniform. They work with their hands. They follow the rules. And the No Collars are the people who break the rules. They don’t go by convention. They don’t care about the status quo.”


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Top TV for 2014: 10 more great new series
Credit: Comedy Central/HBO/CW

Top TV for 2014: 10 more great new series

Celebrating 'Enlisted,' 'Broad City' and more fabulous first-year shows

You don't see it very often these days, but once upon a time, some TV critics insisted on only including new series in their top 10 lists. This was, of course, the glory days of print journalism, when space was a precious resource and no one had room for the zillions and zillions of bonus lists (like this one) we have online, and those critics preferred to use their limited column inches to spread the gospel for new material that hadn't been lauded for years on end. I could always respect that argument, even as I would decide there was no way I could have a best of the year list that didn't include, say, "The Simpsons" on it. 

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Obama Boyhood
Credit: AP/IFC

President Obama aligns with the people, names 'Boyhood' the best film of 2014

And Michelle offers critical thoughts on another contender

In politics, a Presidential endorsement can be the magic touch, imbuing a candidate with exposure and voter confidence. Does the same hold true in the Oscar race? The team behind "Boyhood" hopes so.

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Kristen Wiig says she was 'terrified' to shoot Ridley Scott's 'The Martian'

Kristen Wiig says she was 'terrified' to shoot Ridley Scott's 'The Martian'

She's reuniting on a new script with her 'Bridesmaids' co-writer that will be her directorial debut

Kristen Wiig is taking the road less traveled, and after a bumpy start, it's starting to show signs of life. 

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<p>The &quot;Survivor: San Juan Del Sur&quot; Final 5</p>

The "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" Final 5

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: San Juan Del Sur' Finale - The Winner Is...

Baylor, Missy, Natalie, Keith and Jaclyn gun for the million bucks

Pre-credit sequence. Poor Jaclyn is all alone and there's a scary creature in the trees. "You've gotta do what you've gotta do," Natalie tells Jaclyn, who also praises her fellow castaways for their acting and being fake. "I'm loyal to a fault in my life," Missy replies. Natalie and Jaclyn get into a shouting match about who does or doesn't know Jon. Jaclyn is particularly angry, which I guess makes sense. This, of course, is exactly what Natalie wanted, because she wants people to be wary about aligning with Jaclyn. She knows it'll take effort to maintain her ties to Missy and Baylor in the short term. "You've gotta put in work if you want to win this," Natalie says.

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'The Interview' and North Korea: What do we lose if we let fear win over art?
Credit: Sony Pictures

'The Interview' and North Korea: What do we lose if we let fear win over art?

Sony finds themselves cornered in a no-win situation

We are watching precedent unfold in front of us right now, and I'm afraid we're doing it wrong. Fear is driving a major studio to pull a film from release before it has even opened, and fear had every major theater chain ready to drop the film if the studio hadn't backed down.

This cannot be the way we make decisions.

My first major job was working for AMC Theaters, starting as an usher, then working my way up through pretty much every position I could hold at a local theater. I worked concessions, I sold tickets, I trained as a projectionist, I built up prints, and by the time I graduated high school, I had become an assistant manager.

When I took my first trip up to Florida State University's campus to prepare for my attendance in the fall of '88, it was the early days of the controversy surrounding "The Last Temptation Of Christ." There were only vague rumblings of the eventual furor at that point, so I was startled when I was walking with friends near the student union and ran into a guy handing out fliers trying to get people to sign a petition warning local theaters not to play the film when and if it was finally released.

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Sony hack: Sorkin back at it, slams 'easily distracted members of the American press'

Sony hack: Sorkin back at it, slams 'easily distracted members of the American press'

The 'Newsroom' creator issues statement following revelation of North Korea's involvement

The Sony hack story is going to keep unfolding and there will be no shortage of opinions and takeaways. Writer Aaron Sorkin already took aim at the media for its behavior in the early days of the dust-up, sentiments echoed by "Nightcrawler" writer/director Dan Gilroy, whose film is very much about ethical slippage in journalism. Well, the "Newsroom" creator and "Social Network" screenwriter fired back yet again today after news broke that North Korea was, according to the FBI, "centrally involved" in the hack.

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'Nightcrawler' director Dan Gilroy calls out media behavior in the wake of Sony hack

'Nightcrawler' director Dan Gilroy calls out media behavior in the wake of Sony hack

'I think it shows you how far down the road we are on this.'

At this point we're pretty far along on the Sony hack story. But a number of morally and ethically suspect pieces were published a week ago and, of course, news organizations rationalized their behavior. Since then, things have taken a darker turn with terrorist threats and the decision, first by theater owners and then by a corporate giant, to bow to those whims. But before all that started happening, I got "Nightcrawler" writer and director Dan Gilroy on the phone earlier this week to talk about the media's role and responsibilities when something like that arises. Reporters devouring a hacked carcass, scavenging for ratings under the thin guise of integrity — I was, to say the least, quite reminded of his film.

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