<p>Eva Green of &quot;300: Rise of an Empire&quot;</p>

Eva Green of "300: Rise of an Empire"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Set Visit: '300: Rise of an Empire' filmmakers hope to build on '300'

Director Noam Murro and producers talk from the movie's Bulgarian set
SOFIA, BULGARIA. "Show no mercy and give no quarter!" bellows Eva Green, as she strides confidently out of a ship's state room, through a sea of masked men. Wearing a badass, fringed leather tunic with metallic highlights in front and spikes poking out of her back, she paces towards the camera once, twice, three times.
"Today, the last Greek ships will be destroyed," she announces over and over again. That first line remains the same with every reading, but Green keeps varying the second line, barking the order in different directions, varying the clarity and the emphasis. 
After each take, Green returns to her character's state room. Director Noam Murro isn't making refinements to Green's performance, though. The Persian queen Artemisia is assertive, loud and sexy and she's not the problem. The problem appears to be the obscured men referred to as proto-samurais. They're clad in heavy, layered armor and they're wearing matching versions of what seems to be a more bellicose version of the famed masks of Melpomene, the muse of tragedy. The masks, which come in several complicated pieces, are bedecked with threatening metal dreadlocks, so we may be comparing them to samurai, but a better antecedent might be The Predator. 
It's hard in here for a proto-samurai. To begin with, they have to be giving expressive performances, even though their faces are completely covered and they're almost entirely immobile. They can't remove the masks wearing their gloves and they can't remove their gloves without the help of assistants. So between shots, some of the proto-samurai remain in full costume, while others get help from scurrying assistants so that they can get water or scratch an itch. 
It probably won't be the case when "300: Rise of an Empire" is released, but on this September day in 2012 at Sofia, Bulgaria's Nu Boyana Studios, the proto-samurai are the stars of the movie. 
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<p>President Obama delivers his State of the Union address</p>

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address

Credit: Larry Downing/AP

TV Ratings: CBS, NBC lead State of the Union Tuesday, while 'Supernatural' rises

'NCIS' repeat, 'The Biggest Loser' are Tuesday's tops
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, January 28, 2014.
On a night all of the networks -- other than The CW, of course -- turned over much of their primetime blocks to President Obama's State of the Union address, a repeat of "NCIS" led CBS to an overall win, while "The Biggest Loser" put NBC on top with young viewers.
Network State of the Union numbers were low enough that The CW's "The Originals" and "Supernatural" were able to tie with FOX for third in the key demo for the night, with "Supernatural" posting gains. It was, in fact, the most watched "Supernatural" since 2010 and its best rated episode among teens since 2009.
On to the not-especially-interesting numbers, which will almost certainly change due to time zones and live numbers and other silliness.
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<p>&quot;Sean Saves the World&quot;</p>

"Sean Saves the World"

Credit: NBC

NBC halts 'Sean Saves the World' production

The remaining two episodes may air at some point
NBC has not officially cancelled "Sean Saves the World," but halting production on a low-rated comedy with four episodes remaining in its order is not a sign of confidence.
News of the "Sean Saves the World" production half came on Tuesday (January 28) evening, but it won't impact fans of the show for a while. In its last original airing, "Sean Saves the World" averaged only 2.6 million viewers and did a woeful 0.7 rating among adults 18-49, but "Sean" wasn't scheduled to air another new episode until late February after the Olympics.
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<p>The Emmy trophy</p>

The Emmy trophy

Credit: AP

NBC moves the 2014 Emmys to August and to a Monday

As usual, Sunday Night Football plays a role in scheduling mayhem
As expected, NBC announced today (January 28) that the Prime Emmys will move to August this year. Somewhat less expectedly, NBC also announced that the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on a Monday.
More specifically, the Emmys will be broadcast live, coast-to-coast, on Monday, August 25, 2014. As usual, the Emmys will take place at the Nokia Theatre.
The Emmys in August? That's pretty normal stuff. Because of NBC's Sunday Night Football commitment, the Emmys were also held in August in 2010 and 2006, the past two times the network had the ceremony.
But the Emmys on a Monday? Well, that's a bit strange.
NBC also announced that the Creative Arts Emmys will be held on Saturday, August 16. Per NBC, the Creative Arts Emmys were already locked down and the Primetime Emmys have to be the weekend after, but due to Sunday Night Football, a Sunday ceremony was impossible. Hence, Monday Night Emmys!
Thus far, the network has not revealed either producers or a host for the Emmys. The last time NBC had the Emmys, Jimmy Fallon hosted. The time before that, it was Conan O'Brien. Does that put Seth Meyers in line for this year? Probably not.
Guess it's time to start prepping my Emmy preview galleries. If you're looking for a dark horse, I'm predicting "Breaking Bad" might get some award consideration.
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 217
Credit: Starz

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 217

Dan and Alan talk 'Fleming' and catch up from two weeks away


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls.
Sorry for two weeks away, but we're back for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. 
As we explain in this week's podcast, between Alan's physical circumstances and my TCA Press Tour and Sundance circumstances, we missed out on two weeks of potentially busy podcasts, but we returned for a week with almost nothing.
So we reviewed BBC America's "Fleming" just because it happened to be new and premiering this week. And then we also did a quick check-in on a bunch of shows that premiered over the past couple weeks, discussed the press tour, talked Golden Globes and more.
Here's today's breakdown:
"Fleming" (00:03:20 - 00:11:20)
Press tour recap (00:11:25 - 00:27:15)
Golden Globes (00:27:20 - 00:34:30)
"Rake" (00:34:40 - 00:43:05)
"Black Sails" (00:43:05 - 00:48:35)
"Suburgatory" (00:48:35 - 00:54:20)
"Looking" (00:54:20 - 01:03:30)
"How Your Mother Met Me" (01:03:30 - 01:09:05)
"Sleepy Hollow" (01:09:05 - 01:18:45)

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 or subscribe on IHeartRadio.] 

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


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<p>Monday's &quot;How I Met Your Mother&quot;</p>

Monday's "How I Met Your Mother"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'How I Met Your Mother' 200th episode bump lifts CBS on Monday

'The Blacklist' and 'Intelligence' rise, while 'The Following' is so-so
Fast National ratings for Monday, January 27, 2014.
The 200th episode of "How I Met Your Mother" got a big bump for CBS and delivered Monday's biggest audience among young viewers. Combined with "Mike & Molly," which did Monday's largest overall audience and CBS won the night in most key measures.
I say "most key measures" because ABC won among younger female viewers -- 18-49, but not 25-54 -- thanks to "The Bachelor."
Meanwhile, NBC's "The Blacklist" rose week-to-week, as did CBS' "Intelligence."
Taking a predictable drop from its preview airing after playoff football was "The Following" and while it wouldn't be even vaguely fair to compare the drama's time period premiere to last weekend's sneak, it would be totally fair to observe that "The Following" came in solidly below season averages for "Sleepy Hollow" in the time period, including last week's finale.
On to the numbers...
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<p>The cast of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

The cast of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

CBS announces the latest 'Amazing Race' All-Stars cast

We'll never be rid of Brendon & Rachel. NEVER.
There had been rumors for months, but CBS officially announced the teams returning for the latest All-Stars cast of "The Amazing Race."
Unlike "Survivor," "The Amazing Race" has been fairly judicious in its use of returning teams over the years, so we're only just beginning to break into three-time "Amazing Race" competitors. This group of 11 teams includes likable favorites Flight Time & Big Easy and Jet & Cord, plus Margie & Luke, who allegedly people like, even if I can't find any evidence of which people those are. [Brendan & Rachel are only making their second "Amazing Race" appearance, but with two "Big Brother" appearances apiece, they've spent more time on CBS than any of the other teams.]
The producers have also heavily cast this season with high energy teams that polarized viewers and their rival teams. You might not have thought that Leo & Jamal, Natalie & Nadiya and Joey & Meghan *all* needed to return at the same time, but you'd be wrong.
"The Amazing Race" returns on Sunday, February 23 with a one-hour episode. 
Check out all 11 teams in the gallery below, along with the thing I think they've best remembered for, as well as my exit interviews from most of the teams' original runs.
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<p>Lang Lang was on fire at the Grammys</p>

Lang Lang was on fire at the Grammys

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: The Grammys cruise past The Pro Bowl on Sunday

'The Bachelor' wedding fails to offer much competition
Fast National ratings for Sunday, January 26, 2014.  
The NFL held its annual star-depleted Pro Bowl on Sunday night and earned big enough ratings for a solid second place finish, coming in well behind the Grammy Awards telecast on CBS.
For the primetime segment, the Grammys and Pro Bowl were both down single-digits from last year.
Audiences were less enamored with ABC's "The Bachelor: Sean and Catherine's Wedding" and with FOX's Animation Domination, which lagged well behind.
Remember, of course, that the Grammys aired live on the right side of the country, but taped on the left and that the telecast ran through 11:40-ish, while these numbers only reflect the 8-to-11 segment of the ratings. And the Pro Bowl aired live nationwise, so those numbers are also preliminary.
On to those numbers...
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Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

2014 Grammy Awards Live-Blog

Join us for 3.5 hours of music celebrating itself

HitFix's awesome and well-informed music team is covering the Grammy Awards from the red carpet and backstage. 

That leaves me to cover the telecast itself, which is a challenge for three reasons:

1) I mostly know new music from who makes guest appearances on "American Idol" or "The X Factor."

2) CBS sucks and doesn't broadcast the Grammys live across the country, unlike the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and even the SAG Awards.

3)The Grammys are *scheduled* for 3.5 hours. Oy. 

So please join the conversation below, because if folks don't stick with this recap, I'm gonna commit Boy Named Sue-icide.

Yup. That's the kind of up-to-date commentary you can expect from this live-blog.

So read, or else I'll have to commit suicIdes of March. This blog is your vehicle, baby! It'll take you anywhere you wanna go. Click through...

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<p>&quot;The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz&quot;</p>

"The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz"

Credit: Sundance

Review: 'The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz' is a harrowing cyber-thriller

Brian Knappenberger's Sundance doc generates sadness and anger
There is a perception that on the list of liberal enclaves, the Sundance Film Festival ranks only slightly below a poetry reading in San Francisco and Communist Party fundraiser in Boston.
There's probably some truth to that. 
However, hell hath no fury like a Sundance documentary director disappointed and the unfulfilled potential of President Obama has been a running theme over the past couple years. No amount of Fox News Obama condemnation could ever match the sense of betrayal illustrated in Rick Rowley's "Dirty Wars." Michelle Obama hasn't been immune either, as the First Lady's difficulties taking a hard line with food mass-producers is depicted as a major letdown in "Fed Up." Half of the World Docs seem to wish their central dilemma were receiving more or less attention from the Obama Administration.
With the possible exception of "Mitt," you'd be hard-pressed to find a Sundance documentary that wants to claim things would be better had the election results gone differently, but a consistent running undercurrent of recent Sundances is, "President Obama. Dude. You were supposed to be better than this."
When it comes to eroded idealism, it's hard to get more damning than Brian Knappenberger's "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz," which begins with news talking heads declaring that the title cyber-activist was "killed by the government" and spends the next 100 minutes confidently underlining that point. No, President Obama isn't really blamed for Aaron Swartz's death, at least not directly, but when it comes to the overzealous prosecution of the Reddit co-founder, there's little doubt that the message is, once again, "We expected better."
Actually, I should change the punctuation there. It has to be "We expected better!" because Knappenberger's doc, playing in the US Documentary Competition at Sundance, is all about exclamatory mood. For maybe 30 minutes, you go "Wow, look at this brilliant young man!" Then for maybe 40 minutes you go, "Wow, I'm so angry about what was done to this brilliant young man" and then for the last 30 minutes, you go, "Boy, it's so sad what happened to that brilliant young man!" Of course, all of that exclamation can sometimes be exhausting and Knappenberger maybe underlines some of his points a little aggressively, but he really wants to make sure you feel the outrage of Swartz's tragically brief life. 
And I did.
[More after the break...]
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