<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 8</p>

The "American Idol" Top 8

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 8: Music of the Motor City Night

Expect lots of Stevie Wonder from our Finalists

It's Motown Night on "American Idol," a theme that usually means a lot of of Stevie Wonder, since "American Idol" contestants don't know much by way of Motown, just like they don't know many songs by the Beatles. 

Oh well. 

Click through for all of the excitement...

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'Game of Thrones' co-star Natalia Tena discusses her 'younger' and 'plumper' Osha

'Game of Thrones' co-star Natalia Tena discusses her 'younger' and 'plumper' Osha

'Harry Potter' veteran discusses her road-trip season
"Song of Ice and Fire" author George R.R. Martin has been very open about Natalia Tena's Osha being the character whose incarnation on "Game of Thrones" he perhaps prefers to her version on the page. 
 
Last week, on the "Game of Thrones" premiere red carpet in Hollywood, I talked with the "Harry Potter" franchise veteran about how her Osha is different from the Osha in the books? The key differences, apparently? She's younger and plumper. But how did she come to be plumper? Well, Tena has theories.
 
In the conversation, Tena explains how Osha is "like a psychopathic mother-bodyguard" this season and describes the closeness of the Belfast contingent of the "Game of Thrones" cast.
 
Definitely one of my favorite interviews from that red carpet, Tena also uses at least one word that may not be safe for your workplace, depending on said workplace. You've  been warned.
 
Check out the interview above. And you should also check out my red carpet interviews with MartinRose LeslieNikolaj Coster-Waldau and Oona Chaplin. And stay tuned for a couple more interviews in the days to come.
 
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday, March 31.
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'Game of Thrones' co-star Oona Chaplin explains how Talisa is good and bad for Robb Stark

'Game of Thrones' co-star Oona Chaplin explains how Talisa is good and bad for Robb Stark

And why it's OK that her character is different from in the books
Normally when heroes on TV shows find love, that's a good thing, but fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones" are smart enough to be wary of King Robb's new nuptials.
 
Yes, we should be pleased that the King in the North seems to have chosen a worthy partner in Oona Chaplin's Talisa, but as Robb's mom has been prone to observing, the hastily composed marriage may mess with the Starks' necessary alliance with House Frey.
 
On the "Game of Thrones" premiere red carpet in Los Angeles, I caught up with Oona Chaplin, who discusses the pros and cons of Talisa's relationship with Robb. Chaplin -- Yes, she's Charlie's granddaughter -- also talks about playing a character who isn't at all like her equivalent in George R.R. Martin's novels. 
 
Check out the interview above. And you should also check out my red carpet interviews with Martin, Rose Leslie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. And stay tuned for a few more interviews in the days to come. [You'll notice Natalie Tena in the background here. She'll probably be the next interview that I post.]
 
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday, March 31.
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 174

Dan and Alan talk 'Game of Thrones,' 'Orphan Black' and much more

The

Happy Monday and Happy Seder Night, Boys & Girls!
 
It's time for another busy installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
This week, we talk about "Revolution," "Orphan Black" and the new season of "Game of Thrones." We also talk about a random assortment of other stuff. It's a full week!
 
Next week? Much more to talk about!
 
This week's breakdown:
"Revolution" (00:01:10 - 00:13:55)
"Orphan Black" (00:14:00 - 00:23:10)
"Game of Thrones" (00:24:00 - 00:37:45)
"Mr. Selfridge" (00:37:45 - 43:50)
A few words on "Happy Endings" on Friday and Jaypocalypse 2.0 (00:44:00 - 01:01:20)
Listener Mail - Marketing versus Creative (01:01:35 - 01:05:55)
Listener Mail - The future of "Law & Order" (01:06:00 - 01:12:05)
Listener Mail - Showrunners on multiple shows (01:12:10 - 01:18:20)
Listener Mail - Live+3 versus C3 ratings (01:18:25 - 01:20:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>Winnie and Pam make a new friend on &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Winnie and Pam make a new friend on "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Scorpion King Hunter'

After an apology, the teams head to Africa
I guess we might as well get this out of the way up-front, since there's virtually nothing worth discussing from Sunday's (March 24) installment of "The Amazing Race":
 
Sunday's hour began with a rather lengthy narrated apology for last week's Leg, directed specifically at veterans and anybody else offended by the episode, which took place in Hanoi and included both an extended challenge built around a Communist anthem, as well as a key route marker at a monument built around a downed B-52. The apology referred to the show at "insensitive" and was probably sufficiently self-flaggelatory to placate some of the outraged viewers (though not the commenters who posted on my recap and ratings posts last week vowing never to watch again).
 
Here's the thing: I understand completely why certain people were disturbed and pissed off about the scenes. Totally. I think that a lot of the vitriol that was spewed on Fox News was over-the-top, but that's par for the course. If you want to say that last week's episode was insensitive? I wouldn't dare quibble. If you want to say that CBS and the show are un-American and deserve punishment? Well, yeah. I can't go that far with you.
 
Because I watch the show, I know this is what "The Amazing Race" does. If the show is in a country that has a particular relationship with the United States, that relationship is acknowledged, even if it's not pretty. The most obvious examples have involved African countries, where the slave trade has been specifically addressed. But it's really not uncommon. So I wasn't surprised that "The Amazing Race" didn't shy from the Vietnam War when the teams went through Vietnam. Pretending that racing through Vietnam is identical to racing through Bali would be disingenuous and not the way "The Amazing Race" operates. The show is about world citizenship and the Vietnam War is a fair part of the discussion to a group of Americans racing around Vietnam. It just is. But could it have been addressed in a different way? Well, yes. Absolutely.
 
My question: The "Amazing Race" producers planned, shot and edited those sequences. CBS must have known where the show was going and somebody at some point must have watched the episode. Could the "Amazing Race" producers and CBS *seriously* have been taken by surprise that some people were uncomfortable? Were they relieved when it took Fox News two or three days to get pissed off? Or were they shocked that anybody got pissed off at all? So either they were oblivious that anybody could be offended or else they were too spineless to either stand by the show's choices or to attempt to explain the show's reasoning and intellectual strategy. To my mind, an apology-with-explanation would have been justified and educational, rather than just a blanket kowtow. "Here's why we did what we did. Here's why we understand we could have done it better." If the intent wasn't malicious -- and I don't believe the intent was malicious -- own the intent.
 
I just suspect that "The Amazing Race" is so acclaimed and over-honored that either it's immune to CBS oversight or there's a commonly held assumption that whatever "The Amazing Race" does will be worshipped, even when the show picks at one of the rawest wounds in semi-recent American history.
 
Anyway... they apologized. And that was the most interesting part of Sunday's episode. And the apology was over with 59 minutes to go.
 
A few more words after the break...
 
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<p>Matt of &quot;Survivor: Caramoan&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Matt of "Survivor: Caramoan" 

Credit: CBS

Interview: Matt Bischoff talks 'Survivor: Caramoan'

Latest bootee talks alliances, tribal swaps and his beard
As Wednesday (March 20) night's "Survivor: Caramoan" episode began, Matt Bischoff may not have been in a position of power, but he was in a position of relative comfort. 
 
Part of the numbers majority on the Fans tribe, but also accepted by Pretty Kids Reynold and Eddie, the Cincinnati-based bearded BMX fan looked ready to weather any voting storm.
 
Then a tribal shuffle left Matt and his alliance-mate Michael on an absurdly weak new tribe composed of oddballs and misfits, forced to wage war against an apparently random assemblage of every challenge powerhouse in the game this season.
 
After an inevitable defeat, the new Gota tribe seemed prepared to vote out weak-link Julia, until they decided to consider the threat posed by a Matt-Michael voting block. That suddenly made Matt a target, because all of the Favorites were convinced he wasn't lying when he said he didn't have an Immunity Idol.
 
And that's how Matt, a likable and reasonably strong player seemingly playing an admirably balanced game, came to be this week's exit interview.
 
In the conversation, we talked about the ill-fated tribe-swap, his ability to make alliances with everybody and, of course, his beard. Click through for the full Q&A.
 
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<p>Janelle Arthur of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Janelle Arthur of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 9: Results

Who will follow Curtis out the 'Idol' door? Or is another surprise in store?

Welcome to "American Idol" Thursday, also known as "That thing you can watch the last five minutes of after surfing through the four NCAA Tournament Games currently on TV."

After Wednesday night's show, I'm curious who America will have rejected, but I'm also curious about what's happening in the NCAA Tournament games, so click through and witness the glories of my split attention span!

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<p>Fans vs. Favorites no more</p>

Fans vs. Favorites no more

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Caramoan' - 'Operation Thunder Dome'

A shift changes the course of the game, but Phillip is still annoying
Pre-credit sequence. The Favorites return and it's daytime and they're united in their relief at having jettisoned Brandon. However, there's some question of whether Brandon's departure might have buoyed the Fans. "I don't see how anybody could respect one ounce of what he did," Phillip maintains. Andrea and Phillip still worry that he did damage to their images. "Correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think I ever had any cross words with him," Phillip maintains. Nobody corrects him, nor does anybody agree. Corinne hopes Brandon never gets to play again, because he's a quitter and a crazy person. As she puts it, he's "up there with Mel Gibson and any other crazy person." "It's comforting to know that Brandon was successfully able to fly out of the cuckoo's nest and now we're just left with Phillip," Cochran says. Phillip is ready to return to action and Corinne is his next target.
 
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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 9</p>

The "American Idol" Top 9

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 9: Lennon & McCartney Night

The singers try their voices on some Beatles favorites

Curtis Finch Jr. is gone. I'm not hugely shocked. Most veteran "American Idol" observers aren't hugely shocked. But I'm guessing we're going to start Wednesday (March 20) night's episode being hugely shocked.

Then we're gonna sing Lennon & McCartney songs. Jimmy Iovine says it's a theme that requires no gimmicks.

Whee!

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'Game of Thrones' mastermind George R.R. Martin talks Blackwater, TV changes and playing favorites

'Game of Thrones' mastermind George R.R. Martin talks Blackwater, TV changes and playing favorites

'Song of Ice and Fire' scribe discusses his annual HBO episode
On Monday's (March 18) "Game of Thrones" premiere red carpet in Hollywood, I had short conversations with many of the show's stars.
 
You've already seen my interviews with Rose Leslie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, which only ran around two minutes apiece.
 
Somehow, I ended up getting a meatier seven minutes with franchise author George R.R. Martin, which was good because the "Song of Ice and Fire" scribe was in a thoughtful mood, starting right off the top with a simple-silly question asking him to play favorites with the books in his series. 
 
In this conversation, Martin discusses the changing nature of TV from the more procedural-driven format he had to work in back in the '80s to its more serialized permutations now. He also talks about the pleasure of writing last season's "Blackwater" episode and seeing that epic battle brought to the screen. He also talks about what drew him to the episode he wrote in Season 3. 
 
It's a good chat.
 
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday, March 31.
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