<p>Bopper and Mark of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Bopper and Mark of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars' Premiere - 'Back in the Saddle'

After an initial shocker, the teams head to China
Season 24 of "The Amazing Race" started on Sunday (February 23) night with an episode that inverted the show's ideal momentum. There was a shocking, sad and emotional twist before we got to the opening credits, but then 50 minutes later, the episode concluded without any cursory effort at creating suspense or tension. 
 
And the editors couldn't have created tension even if they wanted to, as the "All-Stars" season began with a purely designed Leg featuring two needle-in-a-haystack -- not especially big haystacks, either -- plus a Roadblock that failed to inject even an iota of difficulty into the game. 
 
For a season that was already plagued by skepticism regarding the "favorite" status of several of the team selections, this was not an ideal premiere, now was it?
 
I'd love to have more to talk about from Sunday's hour, but it wasn't well-suited for recapping, either. 
 
I'll do my best after the break, but at a certain point, I'm probably just gonna stop to go watch "True Detective."
 
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Ryan Seacrest, Harry Connick Jr. talk on the 'American Idol' Top 13 blue carpet

Ryan Seacrest, Harry Connick Jr. talk on the 'American Idol' Top 13 blue carpet

Randy Jackson also discusses his new mentor role
On Thursday (February 20) night, as soon as I finished recapping the "American Idol" Top 13 results, I rushed up to Fig & Olive in Beverly Hills for the season's Top 13 party.
 
On the traditional blue carpet, I talked with all 13 of the finalists, 12 of the 13 in 1-on-1 interviews, about they challenges they're going to face this season and the challenges they've already faced. [Special kudos to Team HitFix's daring cameraman for braving the blue carpet's strange and erratic lighting system.]
 
In addition, many of the show's decision-making bigwigs came and talked to reporters in groups of four or five. We got host Ryan Seacrest, who I asked about the season's more substantive judging panel, and mentor Randy Jackson, who I asked about the itch of watching "Idol" performances without judging for the first time. We also got Harry Connick Jr., who I asked about raising the level of the discourse on the judging panel. [Keith Urban's few minutes fell victim to the problematic lighting, while Jennifer Lopez whizzed by my side of the carpet like she was a speed skater.]
 
Check out highlights from those three interviews above.
 
Stay tuned for my Top 13 interviews before next Wednesday's show!
 
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<p>Skier&nbsp;Mikaela Shiffrin won Gold on Friday</p>

Skier Mikaela Shiffrin won Gold on Friday

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Olympics coverage hits Sochi lows for NBC Friday

'Shark Tank' returns to help ABC to second in the demo
Fast National ratings for Friday, February 21, 2014.
 
Anchored by 18-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin's slalom win, NBC's Olympics coverage still dominated Friday night, albeit with the lowest primetime numbers from Sochi.
 
ABC aired the only other new primetime programming and got good numbers for a new episode of "Shark Tank," helping the network finish second among young viewers. CBS was second overall with three repeats of "Blue Bloods."
 
On to the numbers...
 
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<p>Jennifer Lopez</p>

Jennifer Lopez

Credit: Brian Dowling/FOX

NBC orders Jennifer Lopez drama 'Shades of Blue' for 2015-16 season

Ryan Seacrest-produced drama won't begin production til next year
With the other networks looking at pilots and straight-to-series orders for the 2014-2015 season, NBC is shifting the conversation in an unexpected direction, ordering a straight-to-series drama for the 2015-2016 season.
 
Yes. That's not this fall, but next season. What makes NBC so confident and forward-looking? Only Jenny From the Block.
 
On Friday (February 21) night, 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast in fact, NBC announced that it has given a 13-episode order to "Shades of Blue," a drama executive produced by and starring Jennifer Lopez.
 
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<p>Halle Berry *is* Catwoman</p>

Halle Berry *is* Catwoman

Heroes vs. Villains: Where does Batman nemesis Catwoman fit in?

Halle, Michelle, Julie, Anne, Eartha and more have played this burglar
The NCAA basketball tournaments are less than a month away. Because it's obviously never been done before, HitFix is going to host its own tournament, but this battle won't take place between teams on Tobacco Road. We've got something more exciting in mind.  In our competition, the greatest Heroes from the worlds of television and movies will face off versus the greatest Villains.  

The committee is currently mulling over the brackets, but we need your help.  There are six characters who some would consider anti-heroes, but we then need to to know where they fit in this battle royale. Do they fall in the Heroes bracket or the Villains bracket? 

You decide.  You have 48 hours. Choose wisely.
 
The second-to-last of our open Hero/Villain antiheroes is probably a trick question.
 
They say cats have nine lives and always land on their feet -- neither is true if you drop a cat off of the Empire State Building -- but when it comes to incarnations across comics, TV and movies, Catwoman has had many more than nine incarnations. Even if you leave out her animated permutations, depending on whether you take Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer or Anne Hathaway as your One True Catwoman, you might have a very different answer regarding whether she's a hero or a villain. If you take Halle Berry as your One True Catwoman, you're just weird.
 
Catwoman has generally been presented as a potential romantic for Batman, but there have been wide variations on whether she's a legitimate supervillain with primarily nefarious intentions or whether she's cut more from the Robin Hood cloth, terrorizing only the worst of Gotham's high society. She's been given a variety of backstories that often go even further toward developing her as a woman forced into a life of crime only by circumstances that go even further toward supporting a pro-Catwoman agenda. 
 
In fact, it's really pointless to have this poll. You're going to say that she's a hero. 
 
So I'll just protest... SHE BREAKS LAWS! LOTS OF THEM. Did you see all of the crimes Halle Berry's Catwoman committed against CINEMA?
 
Fine. Whatever. Make Catwoman a hero. See if I care.
 
VOTE:
 
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<p>Adelina Sotnikova of Russia</p>

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: NBC's Olympics Thursday peaks late, while 'Idol' droops

Figure skating draws a 10 p.m. audience from Sochi
Fast National ratings for Thursday, February 20, 2014.
 
With the United States facing its first Olympics without an individual skating medal in decades, NBC failed to get a bump for the normally massive women's figure skating final, but still captured its third straight Thursday with coverage from Sochi. 
 
Because NBC saved most of the skating for the 10 p.m. hour, this was the rare night of Olympics coverage in which the last part of primetime was easily the most-watched hour.
 
The night's only other originals were the Top 13 reveal on "American Idol," which kept sinking, and another low-rated new episode of the struggling "Rake."
 
On to the numbers...
 
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<p>MK Nobilette or Justin Bieber? You decide!</p>

MK Nobilette or Justin Bieber? You decide!

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 13 Rush Week - Top 13 Revealed

America picked 10 favorites and the judges will add three Wild Cards

When it comes to Thursday (February 20) night's "American Idol" results, I'm not confident on much. I know who I thought gave the best performances between the Top 15 Girls on Tuesday and the Top 15 Boys on Wednesday, but I don't know how America will respond.

I'm using a picture of MK Nobilette with my recap because I'm sure that even if America didn't love her, the judges will use a Wild Card for her. 

Beyond that? Well, let's see who makes the season's Top 13. Then I'm gonna go out and interview them.

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<p>Elisha Cuthbert</p>

Elisha Cuthbert

Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

Elisha Cuthbert joins NBC's 'One Big Happy' family

This story is an excuse to post 'Happy Endings' clips
Remember how when "Happy Endings" premiered everybody was all, "But Elisha Cuthbert isn't funny, at least not intentionally." And then after one season we were like, "Wait. Maybe Elisha Cuthbert is funny if you use her correctly." And then after two seasons, we were like, "Wait. Elisha Cuthbert is just plain funny." And then when "Happy Endings" ended, we were like, "Get Elisha Cuthbert a new comedy, now!"
 
It took a little while, but a network is finally trying.
 
We can confirmed that Elisha Cuthbert has been cast in the NBC/WBTV comedy pilot "One Big Happy," a multi-cam sitcom from writer Liz Feldman.
 
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<p>Lucien Laviscount</p>

Lucien Laviscount

'Supernatural: Tribes' begins casting with 'Vampire Diaries,' 'Waterloo Road' vets

The CW's 'Supernatural' spinoff casts its first two leads and they're both pretty
The CW has officially begun casting on "Supernatural: Tribes" and in case you were concerned, they've gone "attractive" with the initial stars. 
 
The first two actors set for the "Supernatural" spinoff pilot are Nathaniel Buzolic and Lucien Laviscount. The two actors and their characters will be introduced in the April 29 episode of "Supernatural."
 
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<p>American Gracie Gold</p>

American Gracie Gold

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Tiny Olympic bump for NBC Wednesday, while 'Idol' and 'Criminal Minds' get close

Didn't figure skating used to be more popular than this?
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, February 19, 2014.
 
Despite a reputation as the most popular of Olympic events, the start of the ladies figure skating competition from Sochi gave NBC only a small night-to-night bump on Wednesday, not that the less-than-impressive growth kept the network from dominating primetime in all measures.
 
In purely hypothetical terms, we'll see if NBC gets a bigger bump for Thursday's figure skating if early reports have either Ashley Wagner or Gracie Gold making a run for the medal podium.
 
FOX's second straight two-hour "American Idol" performance episode almost perfectly mimicked Tuesday's episode, but "Idol" was edged out by CBS' new "Criminal Minds" overall and only barely held off the procedural in the key demo.
 
On to the numbers...
 
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