<p>&nbsp;Simon Cowell of 'American Idol'</p>

 Simon Cowell of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Live-Blogging FOX's TCA Press Tour Executive Session

Simon Cowell is leaving 'American Idol' and more

 Yesterday, I live-blogged NBC's news-packed TCA executive session. That panel was nothing but Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien questions. It's possible that FOX's executive session is going to be more exciting.

At the very least, we've got a far more diverse slate of possible questions. Is Conan O'Brien coming to FOX? Is Simon Cowell leaving "American Idol" at the end of this season? Why the heck did "Our Little Genius" get pulled? This may, in fact, be the tour's most jam-packed panel.

So follow along (and click through) as FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly and FOX Chairman Peter Rice entertain the press...

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<p>&nbsp;'The Simpsons'</p>

 'The Simpsons'

Credit: FOX

Tune-In Reminder: 'The Simpsons' Episode 450 and "20th Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice!'

Anne Hathaway and Morgan Spurlock lead a night of animated fun on FOX
Want proof that FOX's "The Simpsons" is mellowing in its old age? Back in Season Seven, the long-running animated smash mocked the idea of landmark telecasts with "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular." 
 
It's 15 years later and "The Simpsons" team seems to have made peace with the show's iconic status and with the idea that certain milestones truly are significant. "The Simpsons" caps off a full-year 20th Anniversary celebration on Sunday (Jan. 10) night with the show's 450th episode and an hour-long documentary titled "The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice!"
 
It's funny to see a show that used to revel in a renegade's disregard for industry convention getting so caught up in its own hype, but you know the truth? If "The Simpsons" wants to take a night to celebrate itself, the show has earned the right, especially since both of Sunday's big Springfield-ian events are plenty entertaining.
 
A little more talk on Episode 450 and the Morgan Spurlock-directed "The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice!" after the break...
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<p>&nbsp;Jay Leno</p>

 Jay Leno

Credit: NBC

Live-Blogging NBC's TCA Press Tour Executive Session

Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad discuss Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and... other things

I usually don't live-blog Television Critics Association press tour panels except when they're likely to be spectacularly newsworthy, spectacularly funny, spectacularly stupid or spectacularly awkward.

No fair guessing which of those four I'm expecting from Sunday (Jan. 10) morning's NBC Executive Session featuring Jeff Gaspin (Chairman NBC Universal Television Entertainment) and Angela Bromstad (President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios). 

I do, however, expect Jay Leno to be mentioned once or twice. Follow along! [And click through...]

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<p>&nbsp;Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski of 'Chuck'</p>

 Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

TV Review: NBC's 'Chuck' - Season Three

Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski and Adam Baldwin return with two hours of Sunday fun

 I could just bottom line this for you: Plenty of shows will be premiering and returning in the first few months of 2010. I know this because I watched more than 30 hours of screeners last weekend, an amount that verges on a mathematical impossibility. Many of the screeners I watched are for shows I enjoy, shows I respect a great deal, shows I fully intend to recommend to you further at a later date. I don't think that any of those shows are more enjoyable than NBC's "Chuck," funnier than NBC's "Chuck," more exciting than NBC's "Chuck," more easily and instantly able to bring a smile to my face than NBC's "Chuck."

 
But you, regular readers, know that I just happen to really like "Chuck." If I were a person prone to using outdated slang that I really can't get away with saying -- and I often am -- I'd admit that "Chuck" is my jam. It's music played in a key that this particular writer is always happy to groove to. I've always been convinced that the vernacular of my Inner Child of the '80s is one in which Chris Fedak, Josh Schwartz and their wildly talented team of writers are fluent. I watch "Chuck" and feel like its cleverness and messages are pitched directly at me and since I know people who are *nothing* like me who feel *exactly* the same way, I know that "Chuck" must be doing something right and something universal, even if the show's ratings suggest that not every part of the universe has discovered it.
 
Like I said, that's the bottom line. After a long day of press tour, my ability to write as much as I'd like to about "Chuck," which premieres on Sunday (Jan. 10) at 9 p.m. and then moves to its regular slot the following night, is limited. 
 
But I'll try to say a bit more after the break...
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<p>&nbsp;Alex O'Loughlin of 'Three Rivers'</p>

 Alex O'Loughlin of 'Three Rivers'

Credit: CBS

Press Tour: CBS highlights -- 'Three Rivers,' Sheldon's sexuality and more

CBS TCA panels also include NBC slamming and news on the fate of 'Numb3rs'
Press Tour: CBS highlights -- 'Three Rivers,' Sheldon's sexuality and more
 
One of these days, CBS is going to cease to be TV's most watched network. One of these press tours, it will be CBS that's battling disaster, scandal, embarrassment and upheaval. When that day comes, CBS can look forward to its Television Critics press tour panels being the ones reporters eagerly awaits. Until then, CBS continues to mostly cruise along and reporters mostly prefer to sharpen their claws for NBC or occasionally FOX.
 
This January's press tour had its first full day on Saturday (Jan. 9) with CBS leading things off by celebrating another strong fall, segueing into a panel for "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory," TV's two most popular comedies. Even if "Undercover Boss" and "Miami Trauma" stirred either minor ethical questions or polite disinterest, there was little anger or buzz. Probably' that's exactly the way CBS wants it.
 
So what were the highlights of CBS' morning? After the break!
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<p>&nbsp;Bill Paxton of 'Big Love'</p>

 Bill Paxton of 'Big Love'

Credit: HBO

TV Review: HBO's 'Big Love' - Season Four premiere

The first episode is chaotic, but by Week Two Bill and his wives have a new purpose
Friday (Jan. 8) marked the first day of the January Television Critics Association press tour, which will be dominating this blog's coverage through Jan. 18. I'll then have one day to do laundry before heading off to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, which will dominate this blog's coverage for the following week. That's a lot of domination of coverage and it means that sometimes things that I'd like to write standard long reviews for may need to get slightly reduced treatment.
 
Take, for example, this Sunday's pretty terrific assortment of original programming. "Chuck" is returning and I definitely want to say a few words reminding viewers to check out what may be TV's most entertaining hour, but we've got my two-part interview with series co-creator Josh Schwartz (Read Part I and Part II) and the show will also be a new addition to our Monkeys as Critics recap blog. I also want to get in some notice for the landmark 450th episode of "The Simpsons" and the Morgan Spurlock documentary airing alongside it, as both are fun.
 
Then there's "Big Love," which returns to HBO on Sunday looking to continue its steady season-to-season improvement with the premiere of its fourth set of episodes. Since I know the show has dedicated fans, it's another new addition to the Monkeys as Critics recap blog.
 
[A short-ish review of the start of the "Big Love" season after the break, with some spoilers, albeit not any of the big ones...]
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<p>&nbsp;Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'</p>

 Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

HitFix Interview: Josh Schwartz discusses 'Chuck' Season Three - Part II

What does the future hold for Chuck and Sarah? What's coming up for Captain Awesome?
In the first part of this interview, "Chuck" co-creator Josh Schwartz discussed the factors that lead to the NBC action-comedy's renewal last spring and what changes fans can expect from the newly kung-fu-savvy Chuck Bartowski.
 
We pick up Part II talking about The Ring, Captain Awesome, what the future holds for Sarah and Chuck and what the third season of "Chuck" will be building to by Episode 19.
 
[Click through...]
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<p>&nbsp;Dominic Monaghan of 'FlashForward'</p>

 Dominic Monaghan of 'FlashForward'

Credit: ABC

Press Tour: 'American Idol' may misalign April 29 for 'FlashForward'

David Goyer promises the return of the kangaroo and the identity of Suspect Zero
"American Idol" has run more than a few tiny shows out of business and caused more than a few bigger shows to go scurrying out of its path, but the show has never caused the calendar to misalign. That may, however, be what's about to occur with ABC's "FlashForward."
 
ABC announced on Friday (Jan. 8) that the mysterious time-shifting drama will now return to the schedule on Thursday, March 18. That's two weeks later than originally planned, with ABC moving to shelter "FlashForward" from a pair of Thursday airings of "American Idol."
 
[More on the second half of the "FlashForward" season after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'</p>

 Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

HitFix Interview: Josh Schwartz discusses 'Chuck' Season Three - Part I

Twitter, Intersect 2.0 and the power of Subway come up in the first part of this interview
"Chuck" returns to NBC on Sunday (Jan. 10) night at 9 p.m. after cheating death last spring in a manner that bordered on miraculous.
 
Never before had the power of $5 footlongs, Twitter and the blogosphere been so successfully combined to create that most ephemeral of pop culture qualities, "buzz." 
 
NBC responded to that buzz and to the small-but-dedicated "Chuck" fanbase by giving the spy action-comedy a 13-episode third season and then extended that order to 19 episodes in the winter. Not only will fans get to find out what happened to Chuck (Zachary Levi) after uploading a brand new Intersect into his brain, but they'll get nearly a full season of capers with Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Casey (Adam Baldwin), plus nearly a full season of Buy More hijinks.
 
In a sign of solidarity with the networking site that helped save the show, Josh Schwartz, who created "Chuck" with Chris Fedak, even joined Twitter this week, posting nostalgic pictures songs and stirring up excitement about the "Chuck" premiere.
 
HitFix caught up with @JoshSchwartz76 to talk about tweeting, but also to chat about the saving of "Chuck" and the exciting season to come. It was a long interview and splitting it into two parts just seemed logical.
 
The first part is almost entirely spoiler-free, recalling last spring and the current state of the show, plus discussing what Intersect 2.0 will mean for Chuck Bartowski. In the second part, posting tomorrow, there's a little bit more talk about how this season will progress, with very minor spoilers.
 
[Click through...]
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<p>&nbsp;This is not a conveyor belt of love. It is a conveyor belt of donuts.</p>

 This is not a conveyor belt of love. It is a conveyor belt of donuts.

Credit: ABC

TV Review: ABC's 'Conveyor Belt of Love'

ABC's special almost made the women of 'The Bachelor' look classy and thoughtful
It's hard to find good things to say about "Conveyor Belt of Love," but you have to give it credit for something: It mostly occupied the 58 minutes of ABC primetime following the premiere of "The Bachelor" on Monday (Jan. 4) night.
 
That, of course, raises a key question: Do we feel more annoyed at NBC for attempting to kill primetime with five nightly installments of "The Jay Leno Show" or with ABC for besmirching even a single hour of primetime with the one-off "Conveyor Belt of Love"?
 
Because as unfunny as Jay Leno is and as uninspired is his alleged attempts at entertainment tend to be, he's never ended an episode with a 23-year-old mental patient (unconfirmed) ramming her tongue down the throat of a possibly-gay tanning parlor owner (partially confirmed, partially implied), while their pocket-sized dogs frolic at their feet, concluding with the immortal line, "I'm definitely going to go out with Johnny again, because he's super-hot with all his clothes on."
 
I'd go out on a limb and suggest that zero love matches were made on Monday's "Conveyor of Love." Since that also equals the total number of successful unions from "The Bachelor," it might actually make a fitting pairing, if ratings happen to be good enough. Then again, picking up "Conveyor Belt of Love" and teaming it with "The Bachelor" would be tantamount to admitting that "The Bachelor" is a sham, since I watched the last 10 minutes of the "legitimate" show before the "gag" show and the women were identical.
 
[More on "Conveyor Belt of Love" after the break...]
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