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<p>&quot;The Office&quot;&nbsp;formula was so delicate that Steve Carell could make it work as the lead, but Ed Helms couldn't.</p>

"The Office" formula was so delicate that Steve Carell could make it work as the lead, but Ed Helms couldn't.

Credit: NBC

'The Office': A look back at a brilliant, volatile comedy mix

A show that shouldn't have worked instead became a great, popular, influential one

In an early episode of "The Office," Michael Scott has a client meeting at a local Chili's, accompanied by his very skeptical boss from corporate (and unrequited crush) Jan. Jan understandably views Michael in the same way we do after a dozen installments of the young NBC series: as a buffoon who is painfully, erroneously convinced of his gifts as a boss, as a salesman and, especially, as a comedian. The early part of the meeting couldn't seem to be going worse, with Michael continually disrupting every one of Jan's attempts to talk about making what could potentially be a huge sale, telling off-color jokes, playing Truth or Dare and pressing Jan for embarrassing details about the end of her marriage. It's another obvious Michael Scott disaster in the making.

And then to our amazement, and to Jan's, Michael pulls it off. It turns out Michael understood the client better than Jan did and was expertly bonding with him long before he first mentioned business. He makes the impossible sale, and even winds up spending the night with an impressed (and very drunk) Jan.

That, in a nutshell, is the American version of "The Office," which ends tonight at 9. By almost any reasonable argument, it had no business working, creatively or commercially. It was messy. It was problematic. At times it could be mortifying. And all the odds were stacked against it from the start. Yet here we sit, hours away from the show ending its run after nine seasons, 200-odd episodes, and a long stretch of critical adoration (even if these last few seasons have been pretty rough). And like Jan watching Michael close that sale, it's not hard to sit back, marvel and ask, simply,

How the hell did that happen?

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Watch CW's new fall show previews

Watch CW's new fall show previews
Check out "The Tomorrow People," "Vampire Diaries" spinoff "The Originals," Mary, Queen of Scots in "Reign," plus midseason entries "Star-Crossed" and "The 100."

CW: Wonder Woman prequel is still alive
CW boss Mark Pedowitz says the prequel, dubbed "Amazon," is still in development.

Here's your fall 2013 network schedule

How does each network's schedule stack up against each other?

Seth Meyers: I owe a debt of gratitude to Jimmy Fallon -- they'll be on different floors
Meyers tells "Today": "I think I owe a debt of gratitude to Jimmy for having gone from 'Update' to 'Late Night' and having shown it's a nice progression, so I'm very happy to be doing it." PLUS: Who should be Seth's house band?

"Happy Endings" not looking good for USA
According to Deadline, talks between USA and the canceled ABC sitcom are still ongoing. But a pickup is unlikely.

NBC Universal signs new deal with Amazon Prime
Shows like "Hannibal," "Covert Affairs" and "Grimm" will be available on Amazon for streaming.

Watch the "Under the Dome" extended trailer
Steven Spielberg's miniseries based on Stephen King's novel debuts June 24.

"The Simpsons" + "Downton Abbey" = "Simpton Abbey"
Watch a preview of Sunday's "Simpsons" season finale, which spoofs "Downton."

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CW's fall schedule revealed: 'Supernatural' joins 'Vampire Diaries' spinoff on Tuesdays

CW's fall schedule revealed: "Supernatural" joins "Vampire Diaries" spinoff on Tuesdays

"Hart of Dixie" and "Beauty and the Beast" move to Mondays, "Vampire" spinoff "The Originals" will air on Tuesdays, "Tomorrow People" will air after "Arrow" on Wednesdays and "Reign" will follow "The Vampire Diaries" on Thursdays. For Friday night, CW is pairing "The Carrie Diaries" and "America's Next Top Model."

"Nikita" will end with 6-episode Season 4
The CW series will wrap up sometime during midseason.

Report: Fred Armisen also leaving "SNL" -- Jason Sudeikis "probably" gone, too

The NY Post reports that Armisen and Sudeikis, along with Bill Hader's exit this season and Seth Meyers' exit next year will leave a giant void on "Saturday Night Live." Armisen's 11 seasons currently ties him with Al Franken for the 3rd-longest tenure in "SNL" history -- Seth Meyers is No. 2 and Darrell Hammond is No. 1. PLUS: Seth Meyers confirms he'll be back in the fall for his 13th season.

Watch: Diddy joins "Downton Abbey" -- "Downton Diddy"
"Yes, I am an Abbey-head. Proudly," said Diddy, promoting his new Funny or Die video. He added: "I am making the announcement: I am the first black cast member on 'Downtown' ... 'Downton Abbey, whatever the f*ck it's called."

Topless Bea Arthur painting sells for $2 million
Painted in the early 90s, the "Bea Arthur Naked" painting was accused of being misogynistic.

"The Carrie Diaries" to introduce Samantha
In Season 2, viewers will see how Carrie first met Samantha Jones.

William Shatner pitches himself for "Star Wars" while J.J. Abrams guests on Jimmy Kimmel

Billy Dee Williams also showed up in Kimmel's audience.

"Doctor Who" and "Star Wars" fans clash at a UK sci-fi convention

Police had to be called out to stop the argument in which no one was hurt.

USA picks up "Playing House" and Denis Leary's "Sirens"
"Sirens" is about three EMT friends and "Playing House" focuses on a friendship between a mother-to-be and her best friend.

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<p>Emma Watson in &quot;The Bling Ring.&quot;</p>

Emma Watson in "The Bling Ring."

Credit: A24

Cannes Review: Sofia Coppola flips the celebrity mirror in taut, smart 'The Bling Ring'

Un Certain Regard opener is worthy of a Competition slot

CANNES - “For a moment, a band of thieves in ripped-up jeans got to rule the world.” In all likelihood, pop princess Taylor Swift wasn't thinking of the Bling Ring when she penned these lyrics to “Long Live,” a sweetly non-specific 2010 ode to that fleeting invincibility that any teenager claims at some point between her first kiss and her first crisis of purpose. After all, had Swift been one of the fashion-conscious female stars targeted by this band of thieves in, well, expensive Japanese selvedge denim, her sense of generational self-awe might have been tainted with rueful concern – a line that Sofia Coppola's brisk, funny, unexpectedly substantial study of a tabloid diversion walks with considerable grace.

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'SNL's' Jay Pharoah got to do his Obama impression in front of the president

"SNL's" Jay Pharoah got to do his Obama impression in front of the president

"The president was surprised, then started laughing," according to Page Six, describing Pharoah entertaining the president at a Harvey Weinstein fundraiser Monday night.

Keith Urban: "I would come back" to "Idol" next season

The country singer has yet to learn about his judging fate, but he says he loved the experience and would welcome a chance to return next year.

Jimmy Kimmel insists his mean celebrity tweets are real
"They are all tweets," says Kimmel. "There are some who've indicated otherwise. That is not the case."

"Treme's" David Simon and Anthony Bourdain are feuding with Bravo's Andy Cohen

Both Bourdain and Cohen were arguing on Twitter over "Top Chef's" tax incentives to film in New Orleans, when, according to Simon, Cohen "goes out of his way to sh*t on the HBO production of 'Treme.'"

House Republicans use "Arrested Development" to mock Obama
Watch their parody, "Arrested Economic Development."

"Hannibal" might survive if NBC opts not to renew
At least one cable network and Amazon have expressed interest in saving the Bryan Fuller show should it be canceled, according to Deadline.

"Veronica Mars" movie begins filming on June 17
Rob Thomas tweeted that filming will begin in L.A.

"Mad Men's" Matthew Weiner talks to Jeff Garlin about losing on "Jeopardy!"
Listen to their nearly two-hour chat in which they talk about watching "Revenge" and Weiner's past jealousy of Conan O'Brien.

"Dancing's" Zendaya inks book deal

The title: "Between U and Me: How To Rock Your Tween Years With Style And Confidence."

USA to run short "Talk Stoop" clips during the day
In "Talk Stoop With Cat Greenleaf," celebs will be interviewed on the stoop of a Brooklyn brownstone apartment.

A bearded Nick Offerman sings the "Rainbow Song"

Watch his Jay Leno performance in honor of Megan Mullally.

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<p>Zoe Saldana is human for the moment before gearing up for two back-to-back gigs as aliens, but for now, she's all about 'Star Trek Into Darkness'</p>

Zoe Saldana is human for the moment before gearing up for two back-to-back gigs as aliens, but for now, she's all about 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Credit: HitFix

Zoe Saldana talks about all the ways 'the boys' made her laugh on 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Hollywood's busiest alien spends a little more time with Starfleet

I am mesmerized by Zoe Saldana's "hot schoolmarm" thing that's going on in this interview. I'm not sure what she's wearing or what she's doing with her hair, but I definitely hear a Van Halen song when I look at her.

Saldana is currently Hollywood's busiest alien. She's about to start work on "Guardians Of The Galaxy," introducing her into the Marvel Universe, and James Cameron is supposedly still hard at work on the scripts for "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3," which he hopes to shoot back to back starting sometime next year.

I'd love to know if she's already training to be able to pull off what sounds like some ground-breaking underwater motion-capture, because that's got to be a whole different level of physical challenge. And I'm curious if they'll be going the make-up route for "Guardians," or if that will be a largely digital performance, too.

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<p>&quot;Survivor: Caramoan&quot; winner John Cochran</p>

"Survivor: Caramoan" winner John Cochran

Credit: CBS

Interview: John Cochran discusses his 'Survivor: Caramoan' win

This season's shutout winner discusses his path to victory
Say what you will about whether or not returning players have an unfair advantage within the game of "Survivor," I can say with certainty that returning players make the best "Survivor" exit interviews.
If you think back on past seasons, folks like Coach and Russell Swan and Jonathan Penner have been responsible for my favorite post-elimination conversations, while highlights this season have come from veterans like Corinne Kaplan, Malcolm Freberg (a great interview when he was a newbie as well) and the always excitable Phillip Sheppard. 
The last of this season's exit interviews is, of course, with the season's well-deserving winner, John Cochran. Over 39 days, Cochran laid low when he had to, orchestrated big moves when he had to and, in a shocker, won challenges when he had to. And, perhaps of equal importance, Cochran worked his strategy without alienating anybody, which was his downfall in his first season and which was the downfall of fellow Top 3 finishers Dawn and Sherri.
And, not surprisingly, this one is a good interview as well, as Cochran discusses his feelings about the acrimonious Final Tribal Council, his now-famous Harvard Law essay on the "Survivor" Jury System, his "bipolar" approach to the game and, as a student of "Survivor" the ranking of his win within the "Survivor" pantheon.
Click through for the full interview. And I left in the first part because, darnit, it made me happy...
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<p>A scene from &quot;Heli.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Heli."

Credit: Le Pacte

Cannes Review: Emptily accomplished 'Heli' starts Cannes competition on a bleak note

Sleek shock value but little substance in another take on the Mexican drug war

CANNES - Telenovela has never seemed more inviting than it does in a brief scene midway through "Heli," which plants our gormless title character in front of an unseen television set blaring the busy hubbub of Spanish soap opera, its shrill dramatics amplifying the violent silence that courses through Mexican director Amat Escalante's third feature. This kind of deadpan reference to more conservative forms of Latin culture is a note often played in new Mexican cinema, ascribing authenticity to a film's worldview by way of absurd contrast -- though reality is as flattened in "Heli" as it is heightened in telenovela.

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"So You Think You Can Dance"

 "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: The show heads to 'Audition City #2'

Detroit is the destination, and the talent is (mostly) hot

Detroit! Otherwise known as "Audition City #2," as stated in the episode title. Was that considered too big of a reveal? Did Fox think people would tune in, then see "Detroit" in the title and switch channels? I guess that will remain a mystery, but the good new is that TWitch is in the house! With Nigel and Mary. The producers had better not wear out poor Mary. She had cancer. Be nice, for crying out loud. But I guess the "nice" part of Detroit was giving Mary some time with the male exotic dancers. Good thing she didn't have heart problems. 

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<p>Reese Witherspoon at the New&nbsp;York premiere of &quot;Mud&quot; in&nbsp;April</p>

Reese Witherspoon at the New York premiere of "Mud" in April

Credit: AP Photo

Reese Witherspoon jumps aboard Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice'

She'll join 'Walk the Line' co-star Joaquin Phoenix in the film

It's been a rocky couple of weeks for Reese Witherspoon. Everything looked nice and peachy as the wonderful "Mud" starring the actress was set for release. Then on April 19, she was arrested in Atlanta following a dispute with a police officer. Soon enough the infamous "do you know who I am" video made its way out and everyone naturally took their shots.

Well, while it may have been a rocky couple of months, nothing turns it around like booking a gig on a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. And according to Deadline, Witherspoon has done just that, landing a role in the director's upcoming "Inherent Vice," adapted from the Thomas Pynchon novel set in 60s/70s Los Angeles.

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio in &quot;The Great Gatsby.&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Great Gatsby."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Beautiful but not damned: why 'Gatsby' was the right film to open Cannes 2013

It's not a world premiere, but Luhrmann's latest lends the Croisette some glitter

CANNES - The first press screening of the Cannes Film Festival is traditionally, in not-particularly-French parlance, a bit of a bunfight: always in the Salle Debussy, the smaller of the festival's two showcase screens, it tends to fill up fast with fevered, not-yet-red-eyed journalists scrambling for the last available seats with a workable sightline, while outside, the snaking queue of lowly yellow and blue badgeholders nervously hopes there'll be any seat at all for them. (Lest you think I'm sneering, I'm one of them: for me, at Cannes, blue clearly is the warmest color.) 

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<p>Candice is bigger than Kree.</p>

Candice is bigger than Kree.

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Finale Performances - Candice versus Kree

'Idol' begins to wind down a tough season with an hour of singing

"American Idol" is not a show known for restraint so let us, as we do every year, give thanks that FOX is not attempt to wring two hours out of the finale's performance night. Yes, tomorrow night's finale will be two-plus hours of excruciating largess, but on Wednesday (May 15), we should be treated to an hour of performances from two reasonably good singers. That should be pleasant, right?

OK, then!

Bring on Candice Glover and Kree Harrison!

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