Inside TV and Pop Culture with Liane Bonin Starr

'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: Reunion Pt. 3

This episode is so meta your head might explode

"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

I suppose somewhere in the world there's someone who believes reality TV has a fair amount of reality in it. That's such a sweet, innocent ideal I would direct said person not to watch the third part of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"'s reunion, because the level of meta nattering will not only destroy that idea, but it could cause spontaneous combustion or a head explosion. When the ladies start talking about how they strategize what to say in front of the cameras, the gig is pretty clearly up on the whole "reality" thing. 

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: It's tug on your heartstrings week

Not every dance is quite so poignant, though

"Dancing with the Stars"

"Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Robin Roberts is the season's first guest judge. She's a huge fan and not a dancer, so she'll probably just gush over everything and talk about how much she likes her future guests, I mean, the performers. Also of note, this week each celebrity had to pick a song to illustrate their most important year, giving them an excuse to well up for the cameras. Some people have moving, emotional stuff. And some people really don't. Sorry, kids. 

'American Horror Story's Angela Bassett on Jessica Lange's exit plan

Plus, playing another real life character was right in her wheelhouse

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

Credit: HitFix

Fans were crushed when Jessica Lange announced she'd be doing just one more season -- the upcoming "Freak Show" -- of "American Horror Story." Before the PaleyFest panel for "American Horror Story: Coven" I got a chance to ask Angela Bassett what she thought about the "queen bee" leaving. The short answer? She's got her co-star's back. 

Bassett also knows a little something about playing real-life characters. She's been Tina Turner ("What's Love Got to Do with It"), Betty Shabazz ("Malcolm X"), Rosa Parks ("The Rosa Parks Story"), Katherine Jackson ("The Jacksons: An American Dream") and Voletta Wallace ("Notorious"). Last season on "Coven" she tackled yet another real person -- Marie Laveau, a voodoo priestess in Louisiana in the 1800s. Unsurprisingly, she told me she takes playing real people pretty seriously -- and had to face the high standards of New Orleans' dwellers. Yeah, I think she did fine, don't you? 

Emma Roberts reveals her 'Mean Girls' angle for 'American Horror Story'

The "Coven" star says she found inspiration in a familiar place

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts

Credit: HitFix

Surprise, bitch! Didn't you love Madison's snarky, witchy attitude on "American Horror Story: Coven"? I had a chance to talk to star Emma Roberts about her memorable character during PaleyFest, and while she wouldn't name any real-life stars who inspired the character (darn), she did explain why Madison might feel a little familiar. 

Interview: 'Orphan Black''s Jordan Gavaris talks nudity, homophobia

Felix will be going through some changes in season 2

Jordin Gavaris

Jordan Gavaris

Credit: BBC America

No matter how many times I meet Jordan Gavaris, I don't think I'll ever get used to how far removed he is from his indelible "Orphan Black" character, Felix Dawkins. That perfect English accent? The snarky attitude? The fabulous rent boy wardrobe? All part of the character -- and diametrically opposed to Gavaris' own Canadian accent, preppy clothes and exceedingly polite behavior.

As much as his co-star Tatiana Maslany has dominated headlines (and rightfully so) with her portrayal of multiple clones, Gavaris has resonated with fans as the guy you'd most want to call during a crisis. Felix might roll his eyes and crack wise, but he'd definitely be there for you. How can we not love Felix? 

Pharrell Williams to join judges' panel on 'The Voice' this fall

But who will be sitting next to him?

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams

Credit: AP Photo

Looks like an empty chair on "The Voice" has been filled. Pharrell Williams, who has dominated the airwaves with "Happy" and his Daft Punk collaboration "Get Lucky," will be joining the show as the latest judge. 

Williams isn't entirely new to the show, of course. He was an advisor to Usher's team in season four. Given how busy -- and monumentally successful -- his recording career has been of late, the only question may be why he wants to spend time on a TV show. Of course, those chairs look pretty comfy. He may just want to sit down for a while. 

'Naked and Afraid': Can the make-up artist and sober coach make it?

The results may surprise you

"Naked and Afraid"

"Naked and Afraid"

Credit: Discovery

So, a naked make-up artist and a naked sober coach are on a deserted island... what, this isn't the set up to a joke? No, it's what really happened on "Naked and Afraid" this week, and I was expecting a complete debacle. The make-up artist assures us she's a "girly girl" who works at the mall, while the middle-aged sober coach was a big time addict who totally digs adventures, dude. That's a recipe for disaster and certain death, right?

'Real Housewives of Atlanta': Do you think Kandi should trust Porsha?

Do you think Cynthia let NeNe off the hook too easily?

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Somebody catch me, because I may just fall over from shock any minute. Was there actually a peaceful resolution of a conflict between two women (and their respective menfolk) on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"? Did my eyes deceive me? Did I imagine that there was a civilized discussion of feelings without screaming or hair pulling? This may mark the beginning of the end for the entire franchise. How can we carry on from here? 

12 things we learned about 'American Horror Story' at PaleyFest

One star promises next season really is going to be a freak show

<p>Ryan Murphy, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett at PaleyFest2014</p>

Ryan Murphy, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett at PaleyFest2014

Credit: Michael Bulbenko for Paley Center for Media

Blame it on the witches. "American Horror Story: Coven" cast a spell on viewers, and nowhere was this more evident than at PaleyFest. While the show has always been a reliable hit at the event, this year the fan reaction seemed, well, more ardent than usual. Young fans asked the cast for hugs. One asked for a job. Evan Peters got a hand-knotted panda bear cap, while Sarah Paulson got letters, a T-shirt, and was asked on a date by one young female admirer. There was screaming. A lot of screaming. As one woman sitting behind me grumbled, "This isn't a One Direction concert." Despite the similarities, the audience still managed to learn a lot -- even (gasp) details about the top-secret coming season, "Freak Show." Here are twelve factoids worth mentioning.

'American Horror Story' welcomes a new star to 'Freak Show'

The stars in attendance at PaleyFest will be back as well

Michael Chiklis

Michael Chiklis

In what's becoming a PaleyFest tradition, "American Horror Story" creator Ryan Murphy had a casting surprise for the audience. Another top drawer talent will be joining the show. "The Shield" star Michael Chiklis will be playing a role in the "freak show" themed fourth season, which takes place in Florida in the 1950s.

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