<p>&quot;What Happened, Miss Simone?&quot;</p>

"What Happened, Miss Simone?"

Credit: Sundance

Review: 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' only sings when Nina Simone sings

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Liz Garbus' Sundance opener makes great use of performance footage

Liz Garbus' "What Happened, Miss Simone?" begins with footage of Nina Simone taking the stage at the 1976 Montreaux Jazz Festival. It was a performance that simultaneously represented a comeback from self-imposed exile for the iconic chanteuse, but also has been used as an example of the mercurial, erratic and occasionally bizarre work that characterized the middle of Simone's career. 

Simone stands in front of her piano and takes a prolonged bow. She stares into the audience and seemingly off into space. There's almost no way to read  her. Is she embracing the applause? Is she alienated in the spotlight? Is this her dream? Is it her nightmare? 

It's a perfect prelude to the film's title, which comes from a 1970 Redbook piece by Maya Angelou.

That enigmatic opening and the interrogative title lead, somewhat disappointingly, into a rather conventional cradle-to-the-grave documentary.

But even if there's a sense that a woman as uncontainable as Nina Simone deserved a documentary less eager to contain her in easy-to-understand terms, "What Happened, Miss Simone?" remains engaging by virtue of the wealth of archival and concert footage Garbus has assembled.

One of the Opening Night films at this year's Sundance Film Festival, "What Happened, Miss Simone?" is screening out-of-competition here and will premiere on Netflix this spring.

[More after the break...]

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<p>Taraji P. Henson of &quot;Empire&quot;</p>

Taraji P. Henson of "Empire"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Empire' rises again, 'America Idol' also up for FOX Wednesday

'Criminal Minds,' 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' eye series lows

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

After doing something unprecedented for the season by rising in its second week, FOX's "Empire" did something fairly unprecedented in this writer's memory and also rose in its third airing. With "American Idol" also getting a big bump, FOX dominated Wednesday in all measures.

Per FOX, "The Finder" three years ago actually rose in its second and third weeks as well, but those numbers were on an entirely different scale.

Elsewhere, "Criminal Minds" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" both hit series lows against the "Empire" juggernaut

On to the numbers...

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<p>Jacob Tolliver of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Jacob Tolliver of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Auditions - Minneapolis

Prince's hometown yields very little soul or funk or rock

We've reached that intriguing place in the "Idol" audition schedule that overlaps with Sundance, so there's a distinct chance that between now and next Thursday, a few of the audition episodes may not get recapped. 

Instead? You can expect a lot of reviews for documentaries you've never heard of!

Woot!

Follow along with my recap for Wednesday (January 21) night's auditions from Minneapolis...

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'Backstrom' star Rainn Wilson discusses returning to TV and killing Dwight

'Backstrom' star Rainn Wilson discusses returning to TV and killing Dwight

'The Office' veteran talks about his prickly new FOX detective

VANCOUVER, BC. The video posted above, captured mid-sentence, has context. 

It's a late October and Rainn Wilson's Backstrom has spent a long afternoon and evening working over a suspect in an interrogation room. 

Production on "Backstrom" has been largely restricted to two or three scenes in the Portland police precinct, but those scenes have kept Wilson busy for hours, the price of being first on the call sheet.

Wilson carved out 10 minutes to chat with one small roundtable of reporters, but a second group of reporters has been waiting in the dark corner of a Vancouver stage into the early evening, occasionally getting restless and, at least once, getting silenced by an AD. [To our credit, we were only silenced because Thomas Dekker was instigating lively conversation. And the other group of scribes, befriended by co-star Kristoffer Polaha, was far noisier.]

That at least somewhat explains Wilson greeting the journalists, identified as "bloggers," with the declaration, "You know, I'm kinda a wimpy guy, but I bet versus bloggers, I could probably take out any blogger on the planet."

On my video recording, posted above, it comes across as amusingly threatening, but that's mostly the shadowing at our press table. In person, it was less ominous and more an extension of Wilson's new character.

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<p>The &quot;Survivor: Worlds Apart&quot; cast</p>

The "Survivor: Worlds Apart" cast

Credit: CBS

'Survivor: Worlds Apart' introduces its Blue, White and No Collar tribes

It's a pretty arbitrary set of classifications, but meet the 18 castaways

One day after announcing the cast for the upcoming Blind Date season of "The Amazing Race," CBS has unveiled the cast of the 30th installment of "Survivor."

As was previously announced, the "Survivor: Worlds Apart" cast has the 18 castaways divided into White Collar, Blue Collar and No Collar tribes.

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<p>President Obama</p>

President Obama

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: 'Parks and Recreation,' 'MasterChef Junior' make a State of the Union Tuesday dent

'NCIS' repeat is still Tuesday's most watched show

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, January 19, 2015.

With the State of the Union causing a slew of Tuesday repeats, "MasterChef Junior" and "Parks and Recreation" helped FOX and NBC tie for first among young viewers, though CBS' repeats still led overall.

The return of "The Flash" on The CW was lower than some of its fall numbers, but still helped lead the network into fourth place in the key demo and, in fact, to victory in most young male demos.

Remembering that the State of the Union numbers will shift due to liveness and whatnot, let's get to Tuesday's ratings...

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<p>Eric Andr&eacute; of &quot;Man Seeking Woman&quot;</p>

Eric André of "Man Seeking Woman"

Credit: FXX

Interview: 'Man Seeking Woman' co-star Eric André on getting naked and the evil of 'Love Actually'

'2 Broke Girl' vet discusses improvising with Jay Baruchel

TORONTO, ON. Eric André and I are kindred spirits. 

I don't know if this is actually the case on any sort of global scale, but on a recent visit to the "Man Seeking Woman" set in Toronto, I overhear a fellow reporter asking Andre about his favorite and least favorite romantic comedies.

I no longer remember what André lists as a favorite, but he doesn't hesitate to list "Love Actually" among the worsts. Darn tooting.

André first popped up on my radar as part of the ensemble of the cancelled-too-soon "Don't Trust The B---- in Apartment 23." It was only after his extended run on CBS' watched-too-long "2 Broke Girls" that I made the fairly logical connection between actor/comic Eric André and Adult Swim's "The Eric André Show," which he hosts and created.

The third season of "The Eric André Show" premiered in November, but André now has another sitcom showcase with FXX's "Man Seeking Woman," in which he plays the uber-bro best pal to Jay Baruchel's Josh. 

On the set, we were able to witness some of the interplay between André and Baruchel, who are both comedy writers and are prone to take punchlines rather far afield when given the opportunity for improvisation. Very little of what I heard from their riffing is likely to make it to air even on the lenient FXX and even in the leniently twisted rom-com world of "Man Seeking Woman."

Oh well.

In my interview with André, we briefly discussed the horrors of "Love Actually," but also talked about his "Man Seeking Woman" process and the importance of "The Eric André Show" to his career.

Click through...

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<p>Idris Elba of &quot;Luther&quot;</p>

Idris Elba of "Luther"

Credit: BBC

FOX orders 'Frankenstein,' 'Luther' pilots

Idris Elba adaptation will only go to pilot if FOX can find the right lead

One year after its temporary demise, pilot season continues to be alive and well at FOX, as the network ordered pilots for several of its highest profile scripts, including "Frankenstein" and the Americanized "Luther."

The announcements came a little over one week after FOX ordered "Minority Report" report to pilot and days after FOX execs told reporters that "Shameless" and "Entourage" veteran Mark Mylod will direct that pilot.

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<p>The &quot;Amazing Race&quot; Season 26 cast</p>

The "Amazing Race" Season 26 cast

Credit: CBS

'Amazing Race' Season 26 cast includes Olympic Medalist, a New Kid on the Block

Check out the six established couples and five blind date couples

Representing its biggest format twist in years, CBS' "The Amazing Race" announced its Season 26 cast on Tuesday (January 20).

The 11 announced teams include six pre-existing couples, pairs who have been together between seven months and 10 years, and five individuals, who have been matched for a nationally televised blind date that could take them around the world.

As usual, the "Amazing Race" field contains a couple celebrity ringers. You'll notice New Kids on the Block veteran Jonathan Knight paired with his boyfriend Harley Rodriguez, while Ally Dudek and Steven Langston are both veteran Winter Olympic medalists.

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<p>&quot;Jane the Virgin&quot;</p>

"Jane the Virgin"

Credit: The CW

TV Ratings: Big 'Scorpion' helps CBS sting 'The Bachelor' and ABC on Monday

'Jane the Virgin' draws its biggest post-premiere audience

Fast National ratings for Monday, January 19, 2015.

With its second new episode in two nights, "Scorpion" was Monday's most-watched show and tied for tops among young viewers, leading CBS to victories overall and in the key demo.

Meanwhile, The CW got a small bump from Gina Rodriguez's Golden Globes win, drawing its biggest audience since the series premiere and doing its best numbers yet among adults 18-34.

There was a fair amount of double-digit variation on Monday, with "Sleepy Hollow," "Gotham" and "NCIS: Los Angeles" all declining and "The Bachelor" and, particularly, "State of Affairs" rising week-to-week.

On to the numbers...

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