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donderdag 29 december 2011

Paddy McGuinness: 'I was scared to leave my job for Phoenix Nights'

Paddy McGuinness: 'I was scared to leave my job for Phoenix Nights'

Paddy McGuinness has revealed that childhood friend Peter Kay "nagged" him to quit his job for a full-time career in comedy.

McGuinness made his comedy breakthrough on Kay's Channel 4 sitcom Phoenix Nights, but the Take Me Out host told The Mirror that he was initially concerned about whether the show would be successful, choosing to stay in his job as a lifeguard at a local swimming pool.

"Phoenix Nights was really starting to take off. But I was scared to leave my job in case things didn't work out," McGuinness recalled. "Peter kept nagging me to quit my job so I could commit to comedy full-time. I didn't have the confidence to throw all my eggs into one basket.

"I think it's a northern thing. I was always told as a kid the most important thing you could have was a job that paid you sick pay if you needed it and came with a bit of a pension. I was scared of running off to be a comedian and then having to come back with my tail between my legs."

However, McGuinness admitted that Kay's persistence eventually paid off, adding: "It was frustrating for Peter because I could only arrange to be there for filming sessions in between my shifts at the swimming baths. In the end he nagged me enough and I quit - which turned out to be a cracking move."

The pair went on to star in Phoenix Nights spinoff Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere and spoof fitness DVD Max and Paddy's Power of Two.

McGuinness also revealed in the interview that he struggles spending time apart from wife Christine Martin, who he married this June.

The comedian will return to ITV1 with a third series of dating gameshow Take Me Out in January.

'X Factor' Little Mix single 'UK's most unwanted Christmas gift'

'X Factor' Little Mix single 'UK's most unwanted Christmas gift'

The debut single from X Factor winners Little Mix has been named as the UK's least wanted Christmas gift.

The girl band's 'Cannonball' cover topped a British Heart Foundation poll looking for the most disappointing present to open on December 25.

Little Mix's record beat products such as raunchy underwear, musical ties and foot spas to the title after being singled out by a quarter of those surveyed.

Little Mix were knocked from the top of the UK singles chart on Christmas Day by Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir, making them only the third X Factor-winning act after Steve Brookstein and Joe McElderry to miss out on the Christmas number one.

'Cannonball' also achieved the lowest first-week sales for an X Factor winner's single since 'Against All Odds' by Brookstein in 2004.

Little Mix shifted 210,000 copies of their track over seven days, significantly fewer than the 556,000 recorded by the Military Wives and 'Wherever You Are'.

Russell Grant 'asked to represent Malta at Eurovision'

Russell Grant 'asked to represent Malta at Eurovision'

Russell Grant has reportedly been asked to represent Malta at next year's Eurovision Song Contest.

The celebrity astrologer is said to have been approached by officials from the Mediterranean island after they saw his performances in BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing.

However, he is allegedly hoping to represent the UK instead.

"He was thrilled but a bit perplexed to be asked to represent Malta as he has no link to the country," a source told The Sun.

"The only Maltesers he knows are in a box of chocolates. But he was really flattered.

"The premise would be Russell singing and then breaking off into a dance with Strictly partner Flavia."

Strictly Come Dancing backing singer Hayley Sanderson has written a song for Grant for a possible UK entry, and has reportedly held preliminary talks with the BBC.

Grant was the seventh celebrity to be voted out of this year's competition.

Ruby Wax, 'Reservoir Dogs' Michael Madsen for Celebrity Big Brother?

Ruby Wax, 'Reservoir Dogs' Michael Madsen for Celebrity Big Brother?

Michael Madsen and Ruby Wax are the latest names to be rumoured for a Celebrity Big Brother appearance.

The Reservoir Dogs actor and the comedienne have reportedly signed a deal to star in the Channel 5 reality series, which starts next month.

Pineapple Dance Studios star Andrew Stone is another new name linked to the show, according to The Sun. Stone appeared as a guest housemate during Channel 4's final full series in 2010 as part of a special dance task.

A studio insider revealed: "Ruby is very feisty and speaks her mind so she won't take fools lightly in the house. Michael is a great signing as he will bring some Hollywood spirit."

Jedward have reportedly been asked to make a re-appearance in the latest series for a task.

Lindsay Lohan, X Factor singer Frankie Cocozza, The Only Way Is Essex cast member Kirk Norcross and Natasha Giggs are among those also tipped to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house.

Boy George, Tinchy Stryder and reality star Sam Faiers have all denied their reported involvement in the show.

Celebrity Big Brother begins January 5 at 9pm on Channel 5.

BBC One's 'Great Expectations' slays ITV's 'Fast Freddie'

BBC One's 'Great Expectations' slays ITV's 'Fast Freddie'

The BBC's new adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations premiered with a bumper audience last night (Tuesday).

The BBC One mini-series, starring the likes of Ray Winstone and Gillian Anderson, averaged 6.59m (25.6%) in the 9pm hour.

Great Expectations was too strong for ITV1's one-off Laurence Fox drama Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me, which appealed to 3.9m (15.6%) and 216k (1.2%) on +1.

Serial dramas EastEnders and Holby City, airing before the watershed, paced BBC One's primetime victory.

Susan Boyle documentary An Unlikely Superstar (ITV1) and Channel 4's repeat of My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas tied with 1.99m (8.3%) in the 8pm hour. ITV1 +1 added 108k (0.4%) for Boyle, while 314k (1.2%) watched the Gypsy Weddings special on timeshift.

Jimmy Carr's annual Big Fat Quiz of the Year, featuring among others Eddie Izzard, Jamie Oliver and a bearded David Mitchell as guests, held 3.1m (13.4%) between 9pm and 11pm (+1: 393k/2.4%).

On BBC Two, Three Men Go To New England set sail with 1.75m (6.8%), prior to which Dad's Army amused 2.33m (9.4%) and a tribute to the show's legendary writer - You Have Been Watching... David Croft - was watched by 2.03m (8.5%) at 8pm.

World's Strongest Man was Channel 5's most-watched programme, grabbing 1.35m (5.6%) at 8pm. Carry on Christmas (9pm) and The Greatest Carry on Films (10pm) followed with respective audiences of 768k (3%) and 812k (4%).

BBC One's 25.9% primetime share was almost double ITV1's 13.4% (+1: 0.9%). Channel 4 finished in third place with 9.5% (+1: 1%), followed by BBC Two's 7.6% and Channel 5's 3.8%.

BBC Four's scientific Christmas Lecture on brain cells was the best-rated multichannel show, picking up 991k (4.1%) at 8pm.

Annie Lennox: 'X Factor is a factory owned by puppet masters'

Annie Lennox: 'X Factor is a factory owned by puppet masters'

Annie Lennox has said that The X Factor is a "factory" owned by "puppet masters".

The singer-songwriter told Dave Gorman on Absolute Radio that her heroine Joni Mitchell could never have been discovered by the singing contest.

Lennox said: "You wouldn't find a Joni Mitchell on The X Factor, that's not the place.

"The X Factor is a specific thing for people that want to go through that process, it's a factory, you know, and it's owned and stitched-up by puppet masters."

She added of Mitchell: "[I] was blown away by the fact that she was writing these extraordinary songs with this extraordinary sort of commentary, poetic, special way, and this voice and this incredible playing.

"As soon as you heard the first chord and her voice, it was just... and I thought 'I want to do that'. You know, but I didn't have a clue how you do that."

Last year, Lennox described reality talent shows as "dangerous and cruel" and said that there was "no chance" that she would ever be a judge on their panels.

She later said that such contests are "like a casino" where "the punters think they can win but it's always the show that comes out on top", adding that she "would never have stood a chance on a show like that".

Angela Lansbury 'very grateful' for Turner Classic Movies spotlight and 'Murder' move

Angela Lansbury 'very grateful' for Turner Classic Movies spotlight and 'Murder' move

"I'm not one of those people who sits in the dark, looking at their work from 70 years earlier," Angela Lansbury insists. "I'm really not."

Still, the widely loved stage and screen star is pleased that many of her films are about to be showcased by Turner Classic Movies. The channel has named the "Murder, She Wrote" television icon its Star of the Month for January, with Lansbury festivals running each Wednesday.

The titles range from her screen debut in 1944's "Gaslight" (Jan. 4) to her chilling portrayal of one of movie history's most manipulative mothers in 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate" (Jan. 18) -- both Oscar-nominated performances.

"When I see it now," Lansbury tells of her "Gaslight" work, "I say, 'How did you ever have the chutzpah to play that role as you did, at that age?' I'm enormously interested in how I arrived at that performance, but I also know it was created by the original writer of 'Angel Street' (the Patrick Hamilton play that the film was based on) and the screenwriters."

Lansbury also credits the veteran director of "Gaslight," George Cukor, "who was responsible for my being allowed to play this loose young woman I had never experienced being. He was able to get across to me what he wanted, and as young as I was, I had enough training at that time to do what he wanted. It was also inherent in the lines, her words and her attitude."

Flash forward 18 years to "The Manchurian Candidate," in which Lansbury played mom to good friend Laurence Harvey, though they were just short of three years apart in age. "That was a most unique and extraordinary role," she reflects. "I was so fascinated by the book (by Richard Condon) and by the people I was working with, and it was all on the page.

"What this woman represented was so evil, I couldn't fail to be challenged. As it turned out, it worked. I will be forever grateful to 'the boys,' [screenwriter] George Axelrod and [director] John Frankenheimer, particularly John. He was a genius at creating the kind of excitement and drama we had in that movie, which never could be replicated. And never should have been tried. If you know the story's secret, the whole thing is shot." A 2004 remake placed Meryl Streep in Lansbury's role.

"National Velvet," "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "State of the Union" and "The World of Henry Orient" are among other movies included in TCM's upcoming Lansbury salute. She's especially gratified that the last Wednesday of the tribute (Jan. 25) offers, along with her 2006 "Private Screenings" interview with main channel host Robert Osborne, a 1982 recording of her stage hit "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

"I'm very grateful to them for showing that," Lansbury confirms of the project that earned her one of her five Tony Awards. "This was the role that I found a huge, new, young audience with, and that thrills me to this very day. They saw 'Sweeney Todd' and said, 'Who is this? What is her name? Angela something?' [Director] Hal Prince created a mood and a look, and it was staggering when you walked into the theater.

"That set was stunning, and the whole atmosphere was so particular, it just got under people's skin. When we first opened, they either liked it or loathed it. They didn't know what they were seeing ... especially those who were splattered with 'blood' in the front row. The circumstances [of the taping] were sad, because that was the last performance of the show we ever did, but everybody was there with us."

Featured in the new-to-home-video Jim Carrey comedy "Mr. Popper's Penguins," the London-born Lansbury will be heard in movie theaters again soon, and she didn't have to do any extra work for it. She's revered by younger fans as the voice of Mrs. Potts in the animated Disney classic "Beauty and the Beast," which will follow the lead of "The Lion King" by relaunching in 3D on Friday, Jan. 13.

"Kids particularly enjoy it, because they feel like they're right in it," Lansbury notes of the process. "Time passes, but there are always little ones who are coming up, and they will see it for the first time this way. It should be very exciting for them."

Lansbury also is set to return to Broadway in a spring revival of "The Best Man," Gore Vidal's drama of two candidates vying for their party's presidential nomination. "It's going to be interesting," she reasons, "not just because of the theatrical involvement, but also because of the election coming up."

Additionally, Lansbury will start the new year by moving from Hallmark Channel to TV Land in repeats of "Murder, She Wrote," effective Sunday (Jan. 1). "I'm delighted," she says, "because it's a way of revitalizing my work. I love Jessica (Fletcher, the mystery novelist Lansbury played for 12 seasons on CBS, then in several TV-movie sequels), because I love the fact that people find her so comforting, warm and engrossing to watch.

"I'm amazed at the number of people today who are very dependent on being able to see that show. They find it very calming and entertaining. And that's what we're really talking about here, entertainment, but she represents kind of a port in the storm of life that we all go through. I know that many, many people look upon her as that, which is a great compliment."

'Celebrity Cook-Off's' Coolio 'had to go black diamond real quick'

'Celebrity Cook-Off's' Coolio 'had to go black diamond real quick'

Celebrity chefs Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri have, ahem, cooked up a fabulous antidote to the winter doldrums - a "Celebrity Cook-Off" show. In Rachael Ray's Everyday magazine January issue, the cooking celebrities share some tidbits about the season. This first one focuses on rap star Coolio, be sure to check back for more as we lead up to the "Cook-Off" premiere Sunday, Jan. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Food Network.

Coolio's Quick Bite: "I always thought I was a good cook, but now I know I'm a good cook."

Coolio's Tale from the Trenches:

"I made my grandma's mini pudding cake for a dessert face-off and, as it got down to the wire, I realized that it was still loose like a souffle. I had to go black diamond real quick, so I put the cake in the oven and turned it up to 500 degrees. It stiffened up and came out with a nice brown crust on the top."

Coolio's Bizarre-but-Delicious Experiment:

"Guy taught me how to make a tempura-fried avocado stuffed with crab. Now I fry bell peppers filled with shrimp and ground turkey. I've even made my own spicy and lemon tempura batters, and I'm dreaming up crazy combinations all the time."

Coolio before the show - "I did everything in the kitchen by hand."

And now - "I use a food processor for almost everything that needs a lot of chopping or blending. It saves so much time. Who knew?"

Who Will Be Breaking In With Christian Slater in Season 2? And Who Won't Be?

Who Will Be Breaking In With Christian Slater in Season 2? And Who Won't Be?

The Contra Security workplace will look a bit different when Fox’s Breaking In breaks out its second season.

Confirmed to return as series regulars to the caper comedy — which was canceled back in May but then plucked from the ashes as a midseason replacement — are Christian Slater (as Contra boss man Oz), Bret Harrison (Cameron) and Alphonso McAuley (Cash).

Plus, as TVLine exclusively reported last month, Emmy winner Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) is coming on board as a Season 2 regular, playing Oz’s own boss.

As for the rest of the ensemble: TVLine has learned that Odette Annable, who during Breaking In‘s brief canceled state joined the cast of Fox’s House, will reprise her role of savvy, sexy Melanie in “multiple episodes” but not reclaim series regular status. Meanwhile, Michael Rosenbaum — who in Season 1 guest-starred as Mel’s doofus beau, Dutch – is not set to return, due to his preexisting commitment to direct a feature film that he wrote. However, we hear the Smallville alum could guest-star at some later point.

Breaking In kicks off its new season on March 6, airing Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c between encore and new episodes of New Girl (while Glee is on hiatus).

The Secret Circle Hot Shots: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner!

The Secret Circle Hot Shots: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner!

The Secret Circle is about to get an infusion of power — from Charles’ mother, Kate!

When the CW series returns Jan. 5, Mama Meade (Hunter alumna Stepfanie Kramer) will be dropping by Chance Harbor, and we’ve got a first look at her unexpected visit.

Diana is thrilled to see her grandmother, but her presence means trouble for Charles and Dawn. You see, Kate is a very powerful Elder — “maybe more powerful than we’ve seen with Henry and Jane,” executive producer Andrew Miller previously told TVLine. “[She] will have certain abilities to sense things.” Like the world’s most awkward dinner party with Charles, Dawn, Diana and Cassie, in whom Kate takes an interest.

Meanwhile, it looks like Cassie’s dark power may prove life-endangering for Adam after she enlists his help with a secret about herself.

Bowing in February, NBC has a lot riding on musical drama Smash.

Bowing in February, NBC has a lot riding on musical drama Smash.

While the series stars Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty and Debra Messing in the story of the staging of a Broadway play about Marilyn Monroe, it has been unclear to this point whether the series would feature songs outside of those written for the play within the show.

However, executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron tell Playbill in a new behind-the-scenes interview from the set that the upcoming series will feature songs outside of the original music written for Smash’s Marilyn play.

On location in New York’s Times Square, McPhee and Hilty are covering Rihanna’s “Cheers (I’ll Drink To That),” with Meron noting that the bulk of the songs will be done for the play onstage, in rehearsal or during a demo but there will be “fantasy sequences” where sometimes characters will be singing in Times Square.

In addition, the EPs noted that Smash – which has been dubbed “Glee for adults” – wouldn’t be on the air were it not for Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s Fox hit.

“Glee has to get a lot of credit because if it wasn’t for Glee, it wouldn’t have broken that ground,” Zadan says. “They opened the door for us. The great thing is we’re not copying Glee, we’re not like Glee but we’re grateful to Glee for giving us the opportunity to do our show.”

Lastly, the duo behind Broadway hits Hairspray and Chicago also express hope that Smash’s Marilyn play could find a life of its own onstage in New York as a production of its own.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t finish it and take it to Broadway,” Zadan says.

Adds Meron: “It’s a really great idea that this show can give birth to a Broadway musical. It’s all going to depend on how it’s developed, how we all feel about it and how NBC feels about it.”

Check out the full interview below. Would you drink to a Smash theater spinoff? Smash premieres Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. following The Voice on NBC.

Sky Deutschland Shares Fall After News Corp-Owned Network Drops Paramount Films

Sky Deutschland Shares Fall After News Corp-Owned Network Drops Paramount Films

Stock in Rupert Murdoch's German pay-TV operation fall after group cancels studio output deal.

Shares in Sky Deutschland, the German pay-TV group controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, continue to slide following news that Sky will not renew its film output deal with Paramount Pictures.

Sky Deutschland stock dipped more than 2 per cent in late trading Wednesday, after falling up to 2.6 per cent on Tuesday, the first trading day after Sky announced it would not renew the Paramount deal. Though Sky shares made up much of the day's loss in a late rally, the stock remains some 3 per cent down compared to last week and 30 per cent off its high three months ago.

Sky Deutschland's licensing agreement with Paramount expires in January. Unless the two sides can reach a deal sometime in the future, Paramount blockbusters such as Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and The Adventures of Tintin will not be available on Germany's leading pay-TV platform. The German pay-TV group has output deals with the remaining five Hollywood major studios.

Paramount and Sky were apparently unable to come to terms, with Sky unwilling to pay more for top-tier features.

The announcement comes as Sky is in the midst of far more important negotiations: for rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer. Sky pays around $360 million annually for Bundesliga pay-TV rights but CEO Brian Sullivan wants more: namely soccer rights for all platforms, from TVs to tablets to the Internet and mobile phones.

His main competitor is telco giant Deutsche Telekom, which holds Internet rights to the Bundesliga and is looking to add satellite TV rights for the league. Sullivan is counting on soccer-mad Germans to pull Sky out of the red ink. The company, in which News Corp. holds a nearly 50 per cent stake, is expected to lose up to €175 million ($230 million) this year.

'Glee' Preview: Are Will and Emma Getting Engaged?

'Glee' Preview: Are Will and Emma Getting Engaged?

Check out a new promo for the Fox hit's Jan. 17 return featuring Matthew Morrison and Jayma Mays.

It’s only 30 seconds, but it’s great a scene that Will and Emma Glee fans have been waiting for.

When the Fox hit returns Jan. 17 with its “Yes/No” episode, Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) is gearing up to pop the big question to McKinley High’s resident OCD guidance counselor, Emma (Jayma Mays).

Check out a new promo for the episode, and hit the comments below with your thoughts on who has the best one-liner, Santana (Naya Rivera) or Quinn (Dianna Agron) line.

Glee returns Jan. 17, which will also feature Real Housewivesof Atlanta’s Nene Leakes as swim coach Roz Washington.

AMC to Marathon 'The Walking Dead' on New Year's Eve

AMC to Marathon 'The Walking Dead' on New Year's Eve

Starting with the pilot and through Season 2's midseason finale AMC will air all 13 episodes of the zombie drama on Dec. 31.

MC has the answer to your last-minute plans for New Year’s Eve: The Walking Dead.

The cable network will marathon every episode of its hit zombie series on New Year’s Eve, starting with the Season 1 pilot, titled “Days Gone By” at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31.

Leading up to the midnight showing of Season 2’s shocking midseason finale, titled “Pretty Much Dead Already,” all 13 episodes of the series based on the comics by Robert Kirkman will be televised back-to-back.

Starring Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal and Norman Reedus, the second half of the drama about a ragtag group of strangers who survive the zombie apocalypse returns Feb. 12.

E!'s Giuliana Rancic Returns to Work After Double Mastectomy

E!'s Giuliana Rancic Returns to Work After Double Mastectomy

The 37-year-old television host went back to work at E! News just two weeks after having successful surgery as part of her breast cancer treatment.

E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic is back at work, just two weeks after a double mastectomy.

The 37-year-old television host returned to E! on Dec. 27 after having a successful double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery as she continues breast cancer treatment.

"I've been feeling better every single day since surgery and this weekend my doctors gave me the green light to get back to work," Rancic told E! Online. "Even though I moved a tad slower than usual today, everyone welcomed me back with open arms and it was a wonderful homecoming."

Though Rancic did admit that she wasn't sure when she would be back: "I wasn't sure whether I was going to return to E! News this week or after the new year. The last thing I wanted to do was rush my recovery."

During her first day back at the helm, it was all work as usual, as Rancic -- who is married to former Apprentice winner Bill Rancic -- informed viewers on the Christmas engagement news of Matthew McConaughey to longtime girlfriend Camila Alves and singer John Legend to model Chrissy Teigen, as well as the Tom Cruise's latest box office success with the Mission: Impossible fourquel.

Rancic has spoken out about her previous struggles, including attempts at conceiving a baby, which was featured in her Style Network reality series Giuliana & Bill.

Peter Pan Returns to Never Land in First-Ever Primetime Special of Disney Junior's #1 Series

Peter Pan Returns to Never Land in First-Ever Primetime Special of Disney Junior's #1 Series

"Jake and the Never Land Pirates," Premiering Monday, February 13 on Disney Channel

Star-Studded Season Two of the Hit Series to Debut Monday, February 20

The classic character Peter Pan makes his first-ever appearance in the hit series for kids age 2-7, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," in a primetime special presentation, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns," premiering MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13 (7:00-8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. Featuring six original songs, the special finds Peter Pan returning to Pirate Island to enlist Jake, Izzy, Cubby and Skully in finding his lost shadow. Adam Wylie ("Picket Fences") voices the role of Peter Pan.

Generating excitement and demand among the youngest viewer category (kids age 2-5) and their parents, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" ranks as 2011's #1 series launch in the demographic (kids age 2-5) and cable TV's #1 series among Boys 2-5. Overall, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" is pacing as Disney Channel's #1 preschool series of all time among Total Viewers (2.2 million), Kids 2-5 (1.03 million/6.1 rating), Boys 2-5 (648,000/7.5 rating) and Women 18-49 (424,000/0.6 rating).

Season two will debut MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 with new episodes airing daily at 8:30 a.m., ET/PT throughout the week. Sharon Osbourne, Josh Duhamel, Jane Kaczmarek and Tiffani Thiessen star in recurring roles, joining the series notable voice cast including David Arquette, Tori Spelling, Lisa Loeb, Adam West and Ariel Winter.

Beginning Monday, February 6, will feature "Jake's Countdown to Peter Pan" and the debut of a new two-part game, "Shadow Shenanigans," where players can take on the role of Peter Pan's shadow to try to wake the sleeping Jolly Roger crew and then play a shadow matching game.

A full-length preview of "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns" will become available via Disney Channel on Demand on February 6. Mobile providers Sprint TV and MobiTV will simulcast the special in conjunction with the television premiere on February 13 on Disney Channel. The special will be available the following day on mobile VOD for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customers.

Based on Sir James Barrie's classic children's book, Disney's Peter Pan was first seen on the big screen in the 1953 film "Peter Pan" and later in 2002's "Return to Never Land." A fan favorite of multiple generations, Peter Pan, the little boy who never grows up and has the magical ability to fly, has also been featured in a variety of Disney television specials and direct-to-video releases, as well as the popular video game series "Kingdom Hearts."

"Jake and the Never Land Pirates" introduces a crew of kid pirates - leader Jake and pals Izzy and Cubby - and follows their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit two infamous characters, the one and only Captain Hook and Smee, from Disney's classic "Peter Pan." The series, which emphasizes teamwork, features original pirate rock music performed by Sharky and Bones of The Never Land Pirate Band.

"Jake and the Never Land Pirates" airs daily during Disney Channel's Disney Junior programming block for kids age 2-7. The series stars Colin Ford as Jake; Madison Pettis as Izzy; Jonathan Morgan Heit as Cubby; David Arquette as Skully; Corey Burton as Captain Hook; Jeff Bennett as Mr. Smee and Bones and Loren Hoskins as Sharky. Rob LaDuca ("Mickey Mouse Clubhouse") is executive producer. The series is produced by Disney Television Animation.

TV Land Adopts New Tagline "Laugh More"

TV Land Adopts New Tagline "Laugh More"

Plus: Dr. Lee Berk has released a breakthrough study showing a direct correlation between laughter and the positive effects on the body and mind.

Looking for a New Year's resolution? Let TV Land help: Laugh More.

TV Land, home to America's favorite sitcoms, has partnered with world-renowned Dr. Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunologist, for a breakthrough study titled "The Power of Laughter" showing a direct correlation between laughter and the positive effects on the body and mind. In fact, watching sitcoms, a staple on TV Land, can contribute to improving your overall health.

Some key findings include:

· People who laugh often are more likely to exercise vigorously and eat healthier.

· Sense of humor is the #1 quality that people find attractive in a person over other traits like physical appearance and intelligence.

· Over 70% of people agree that laughter, as a personality trait, can open doors and create opportunities in the workplace.

A basic necessity, 92% of people agree that everyone needs laughter in their life, with humor about everyday life ranking as the #1 type of humor. While almost everyone recognizes the importance of laughter, 55% of people in the study can be defined as heavy laughers versus 45% of people who are recognized as occasional laughers, almost an even split.

The study, titled "The Power of Laughter," was conducted in October 2011 via an online survey nationally representative by gender and ethnicity. The survey measured 1200 people ages 21-59 plus an augment of TV Land viewers.

"After you're done with the stress of everyday work, planning the family meals, and dealing with your in-laws, balance the pressures of the holidays with the health benefits of laughter," states Dr. Berk. "Our study validates that watching sitcoms like the ones on TV Land is the number one way people seek out and find laughter. That is very significant since this is an accessible way, be it alone or with others, that Americans can obtain the psychological and physical benefits of laughter such as feeling less stressed and depressed, having more optimism and vigor, along with lowering blood pressure, stress hormones and enhancing components of immunity."

"It's been said before that laughter is the best medicine, and we have seen that firsthand working with sitcom greats like the ones featured on TV Land," said Larry W. Jones, President, TV Land. "What's interesting is how something as seemingly simple as watching sitcoms is now shown to be connected to affect physical and psychological health and well-being. This research debunks the stereotype of a couch potato when, in fact, the laughter derived from watching sitcoms has many benefits. My holiday wish is that everyone watches more TV Land this year - after all, it's good for you!"

Laugh More, Stress Less

A whopping 88% of people agreed that laughter helps you deal with the seriousness of life. Whether it's due to the effects of years of financial market instability, almost a decade of war or individual experiences, the need to laugh came through in many ways in the "Power of Laughter" survey and that the benefits of laughter are plentiful. Eighty-eight percent of people agree that the more you laugh, the less stressed you feel and 63% of people believe that laughing makes you more relaxed.

The television industry is currently seeing the benefits of people wanting to laugh as sitcoms on TV are seeing a massive resurgence. Seventy-one percent of people believe "watching a funny TV show" is the #1 laugh-inducing activity. In fact, "Hot in Cleveland's" Betty White is the top celebrity that makes people laugh the most. Among TV Land viewers surveyed, TV Land was voted funnier than the broadcast networks netting out with TV Land at 62%, CBS with 51%, NBC at 50%, ABC with 45% and Fox at 42%.

Seventy-seven percent of people believe that laughter makes you happier. Heavy laughers are 69% more likely to feel happier now than ever before. When asked how often you laugh with your significant other, 77% of heavy laughers responded all or most of the time as opposed to 38% of occasional laughers. Additionally, 45% of heavy laughers strongly agree that they are excited about their next chapter in life versus 17% of occasional laughers. The optimism of heavy laughers is truly inspirational as almost 50% of this segment expect things to go their way versus 32% of occasional laughers.

Laugh Yourself to Good Health

In addition to having less stress, the "Power of Laughter" study showed people who laugh more are more likely to: maintain their target weight (48% vs 42%), exercise vigorously (68% versus 53%) and eat healthier with heavy laughers reporting to be 39% more likely than occasional laughers to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal. Seventy-six percent of all of those surveyed and 84% of heavy laughers agree "my health improves when I laugh more."

Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed believe that laughter keeps them young and whether you are a heavy laugher or not, 80% of people believe that those who laugh more are more youthful. Additionally, 88% of people believe that laughter is energizing.

Good sexual health is also a benefit of laughter. Almost 60% of heavy laughers describe their sex life as "just right" versus 44% of occasional laughers. Additionally, heavy laughers are more likely than occasional laughers to participate in romantic activities everyday or several times a week. Whether or not romantic activities are at play, 55% of people agree that laughing increases their libido and 54% of people agree that laughter is an aphrodisiac.

Want to get a job? Try Laughing More

The "Power of Laughter" study found that there is an undeniable correlation between laughter and personal financial success. Fifty-two percent of heavy laughers agree that they are living up to their full potential while only 33% of occasional laughers say the same. Thirty-three percent of heavy laughers consider themselves very successful versus 22% of occasional laughers. Heavy laughers are 69% more likely than occasional laughers to be satisfied with their job and 71% of people agree that laughter opens doors and creates opportunities. In general, 64% of people believe that people who laugh more are more effective.

Laughing is Magnetic

Interestingly, there is a very social aspect to heavy laughers. Furthermore, heavy laughers actually draw people to them. Almost 90% of people agree that laughter brings people together. Forty percent of heavy laughers socialize with their friends several times a week versus 28% of occasional laughers. Additionally, 89% of people agree that laughter is contagious and 76% of people are more attracted to people who laugh a lot. In fact, people find sense of humor to be the #1 quality that people find attractive in a person over other traits like physical appearance and intelligence.

Watch TV Land and "Laugh More"

With a roster of original sitcoms including "Hot in Cleveland," "The Exes" and "Happily Divorced" as well as contemporary classics like "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Roseanne," it makes sense that encouraging laughter is something that is in TV Land's core fabric. The channel's new tagline "Laugh More" is not only a call to action but is clearly just plain good for all of you - mentally, physically and socially.

TV Tonight 29th of December 2011: Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.

TV Tonight 29th of December 2011: Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.

    Allein gegen die Zeit S02E07: "14:00"
    Allein gegen die Zeit S02E06: "13:00"
    Beavis and Butt-Head S08E12: "Whorehouse/Going Down"
    Beyond Scared Straight S02E09: "Western Tidewater Regional Jail, VA"
    Big Shrimpin' S01E07: "First Come First Serve"
    Braxton Family Values S02E07: "Family Feuding"
    Celebrity Juice S06E00: "A Juice Odyssey"
    Celebrity Mastermind S10E03: "Series 10, Episode 3"
    Chelsea Lately S05E193: "Liz Carey, Sarah Colonna, Kerri Kenney-Silver"
    Coach Trip S08E14: "Series 8, Day 14"
    Come Dine With Me S17E101: "Celebrity Christmas Special - 4"
    Coronation Street S52E263: "Thur 29 Dec, 2011"
    Days of our Lives S47E36: "Ep. #11746"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E107: "Episode 1787"
    Dragons' Den (UK) S09E00: "The Hilary Devey Story"
    EastEnders S27E209: "December 29, 2011"
    Emmerdale S40E306: "December 29, 2011"
    Emmerdale S40E307: "December 29, 2011 [Episode 2]"
    General Hospital (US) S49E189: "#12463"
    Good Vibes S01E11: "Surf Legend"
    Good Vibes S01E12: "Backstage Babs"
    Great Expectations (2011) S01E03: "Episode 3"
    HGTV Dream Home S07E02: "Behind the Build: HGTV Dream Home 2012"
    Hollyoaks S17E259: "December 29, 2011"
    I Almost Got Away with It S04E13: "Got to Pretend I’m a Priest"
    Impact Wrestling S08E65: "Season 8, Episode 65"
    Impractical Jokers S01E04: "Season 1, Episode 4"
    Independent Lens S13E07: "These Amazing Shadows"
    It's All About Amy S01E05: "Episode 5"
    Jeopardy! S28E74: "Show #6279"
    Living with the Amish S01E06: "Episode 6"
    Man, Woman, Wild S02E09: "Bear's Kitchen"
    Never Mind the Buzzcocks (UK) S25E13: "Series Highlights"
    NY Ink S02E01: "Kings of NY"
    One Life to Live S44E116: "Ep. #11095"
    QI S09E16: "Ice (Christmas Special)"
    Rang 1 S01E10: "Season 1, Episode 10"
    Selling New York S04E10
    Tegen de Sterren op S02E06: "Season 2, Episode 6"
    The Bold and the Beautiful S25E198: "Ep. #6227"
    The Fairly OddParents S08E10: "Meet the Odd Parents"
    The Family (2011) S01E06: "A House Full of Boys"
    The First 48 S12E12002: "After the First 48: 28 - Bad Company"
    The Young and the Restless S39E195: "Ep. #9810"
    Thuis S17E89: "Season 17, Episode 89"
    Top 2000 S13E05: "Top 2000 à gogo"
    truTV Presents: World's Dumbest... S12E08
    Vermist (2008) S03E09: "Angela"

Chris Lilley Offers 5 Things to Know About HBO's 'Angry Boys'

Chris Lilley Offers 5 Things to Know About HBO's 'Angry Boys'

The Australian mocumentary from the "Summer Heights High" creator premieres Jan. 1.

Chris Lilley returns to HBO with Angry Boys, a mocumentary in the same vein as their previous collaboration, the critically acclaimed Summer Heights High.

After playing three central characters on the eight-episode send-up of high school life that aired on the premium cable network in 2008, Lilley steps into the shoes of six extremely different characters for the 12-episode Angry Boys. While Mr. G, Jamie and Jonah aren't featured; a few of the characters will be familiar to diehard Lilley fans who haven't already seen the Australian series.

Here are five things to know about HBO's Angry Boys, which premieres Sunday, Jan. 1 with back-to-back episodes starting at 10 p.m.

1. Lilley plays six characters, two of whom fans of the writer-actor have seen before in his Australian/Sundance Channel mocumentary series, We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year: twins Daniel and Nathan Sims. "I wanted to bring back those guys and have them anchor the series and jump their characters off into other worlds," Lilley tells The Hollywood Reporter. The brothers live in the fictional town of Dunt, South Australia, which serves as the setting for Angry Boys. Other characters include Gran, the boys' politically incorrect grandmother who works as a guard at an all boys prison; S.mouse, an African-American rapper from L.A.; Jen Okazaki, a soft-spoken Japanese mother of three whose son, Tim, is an aspiring skateboarer; and Blake Oakfield, a former surf champion.

2. The Sims family is the backbone of the series that incorporates Daniel and Nathan's heroes -- including S.mouse and Blake Oakfield -- characters who were inspired by Lilley's conversations with teens across Australia. "I met with teens in country towns and they had hero worship-like posters of pop culture figures, skaters, surfers and sports people -- as well as naked girls -- and that gave me the idea to jump into the premise for the show," he says.

3. It's just as politically incorrect as Summer Heights High was, but that's not Lilley's top priority. "There were things with Summer Heights High that I got into trouble with and I think I got a bit scared off," he notes. "But when I look at [the show], it's that desire to shock and challenge people -- I don't like the idea that my main motivation is to be politically incorrect. It's part of what I find funny but mostly I like compelling and real characters. That's what I care more about than shocking people." Keep that in mind when you meet Lilley's African-American rapper S.mouse.

4. Speaking of S.mouse, Lilley brought the character beyond the screen, releasing an album and performing as the rapper in London and is open to doing the same stateside. "It was this interesting thing where the character stepped into the real world -- it wasn't like a comedy show and I'd never done any spinoff things like that before. It was really unusual to be a white Australian guy in London playing a black American guy," he says. "I'd love to do that [stateside]. We're going to let the show air a bit but I’m pretty sure I'm going to have a good reaction and the fans will be keen on it. I don't really do much live stuff ever, but it's really fun and I'd definitely like to do that."

5. Summer Heights High won't be revisited. While characters from We Can Be Heroes were incorporated to Summer Heights High and now Angry Boys, Lilley is pleased with how the series ended and has no plans to revisit Mr. G, Jamie and Jonah despite pressure to bring back the popular characters. "It would water down the motivation of the series," he says. "I like to think of the series as just this one-off thing that's a story that starts and finishes and I feel strong about doing that rather than thinking about cashing in." Instead, Lilley says he's more excited to step out of his comfort zone by trying something new. "I like the challenge of putting myself in really scary situations -- like playing a character like S.mouse, who is so far removed from me."

CNN edges up in its battle with MSNBC

CNN edges up in its battle with MSNBC

Next year could be a critical one for CNN in the battle for second place, if the final 2011 cable news ratings are any indication.

Now fully in for 2010, the Nielsen numbers show Fox News safely ensconced in the top spot -- a place it has now occupied for nearly 10 years -- but the gap between its two counterparts narrowing.

MSNBC maintained its dominance in primetime, besting CNN during the three-hour block in the adults 25-54 demo for the third straight year (242,000 to 222,000) and in total viewers for the second straight year (775,000 to 689,000).

But CNN, coming off its worst year in more than a decade, rebounded slightly, maintaining its lead in total day viewers (479,000 to 435,000) and reclaiming the total day demo (160,000 to 148,000).

2011 was still the network's second-worst year this millennium, but an improvement over a far more troublesome 2010.

The jostling between the two rivals escalated in the second half of the year as CNN seemed to finally surge in September and October, notching a rare win in the demo during primetime -- much of that because the network hosted more of the often-incendiary GOP debates.

But by November, after flipping Lawrence O'Donnell and Ed Schultz in its primetime lineup, MSNBC was back on top, even passing CNN in total day viewers.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin has spent the past year championing his network's triumphs over CNN and trying to refocus the narrative on chasing Fox.

His network has ascended over the past few years, propelled by a shift in identity -- it is now a home for "progressives" -- and by the 2008 election. Its goal for next year: to chip away at Fox's heavy suit of armor.

It won't be easy. Though Fox's viewership declined by 8 percent this year, its top 11 shows still drew more than a million viewers -- a threshold nothing on MSNBC or CNN crossed.

That MSNBC still trumpets its victories over CNN more than it compares numbers with Fox signals that its older rival remains a concern, particularly in an election year.

CNN, meanwhile, has had its own inner struggles. In the past year, it has changed presidents -- from John Klein to Ken Jautz -- and remade its nightly lineup -- hiring Piers Morgan and Erin Burnett while waving goodbye to Larry King and Eliot Spitzer.

Yet 2011, replete with international news, lifted the network just in time for an election year.

Last time there was a presidential election, CNN posted its best ratings ever. This time around, it will find out whether it has found a winning formula.

One would have to imagine that CNN has a new show in mind for primetime. Anderson Cooper still airs at both 8 p.m., where he finished in fourth place, and 10 p.m., where the show excels.

However it shakes out, this year's ratings are a prequel. Though popular enthusiasm for the 2012 election may fail to match the heights of 2008, there will be no greater test of the balance of power.

Kardashians' Appeal Explained by E! President: 'People Aspire to Be Them or to Befriend Them'

Kardashians' Appeal Explained by E! President: 'People Aspire to Be Them or to Befriend Them'

E! President Suzanne Kolb owes much of her network's success this year to an extremely divisive family.

Hours of Kardashian-centered programming -- especially Kim Kardashian's start of a notoriously short marriage -- fueled ratings for the network that Kolb took over the network in July after serving as president of marketing, news and online for both E! and Style.

Kolb, who knows as much as anyone about the reasons for the Kardashians baffling-to-many popularity, talked to us about why people watch their shows.

Looking back at 2011 and ahead to the next two years, she also discussed E!'s plans to introduce a one-hour dramedy as its first scripted show in 2013, its place in the NBC Universal corporate family since Comcast acquired the company in January, and its growing reputation as a proving ground for NBC.

You've probably seen as much research as anyone into why the Kardashians are so popular with so many viewers. Can you explain why people watch their shows?
At their core, the Kardashians are an incredibly bonded, loving, large family who live an incredibly large life. And if you actually look at the history of television, there's a pretty large number of families with that blend resonating with viewers. This just happens to be the first reality show that does it.

In many ways when you look at the year ... there's obviously been a lot of major events in the Kardashian family's lives. It's just an incredibly fascinating drama that's played out. But at its core, you know that they're going to end up around that dinner table together. ... I  think there's something emotionally aspirational around that family dynamic and visually aspirational about the way that family lives.

You mentioned aspirational viewers. Some viewers watch shows because they want to be like the people on the screen, and some to laugh at them. Are the Kardashians' viewers in the first group?
From every piece of research I've seen, people aspire to be them or to befriend them.

So there's no section of the audience watching the way they watch "Real Housewives," saying, 'I can't believe how trashy this is'?
I'm sure there are some people out there. I always think it's funny when people say they don't like a show and then they can tell you the name of every character and every plot. ... There are other reality shows out there where you're watching the show primarily to see really bad behavior, and with the Kardashians you're not really watching for that.

I mean, they've definitely made their mistakes here or there. They've been very open about them in the last couple of months . ... But you don't watch for them to have bad behavior. You watch for sort of over- the-top situations and really a very soapy family dynamic.

Patrick Dempsey On His 'Grey's Anatomy' Future: Will He Stick Around For Season 9?

Patrick Dempsey On His 'Grey's Anatomy' Future: Will He Stick Around For Season 9?

Is the end of McDreamy upon us? Patrick Dempsey's "Grey’s Anatomy" contract is up at the end of the season and though the actor previously indicated he's ready to leave Seattle Grace, he recently told TV Guide Magazine that he may be up for one more shift.

"I have a family to support, and why not have a discussion about continuing?" he said when asked if he would come back to the show he’s starred on for eight years. "The question is will I do a full season, a half season or come back at all?" Dempsey said he's looking to move on to other things -- like car racing and movie roles – but would continue working on "Grey's" if he can find a way to balance it all. "There are so many other things than just the money. But it's a nice position to be in," he added.

Shortly after Dempsey's initial statement about his departure made headlines over the summer, the actor clarified and said his "it's done" comment was a reference to his contract only.

Dempsey's on-screen wife, Ellen Pompeo, will also have her contract expire at the end of Season 8. "I would never turn up my nose at 'Grey's,'" she said in October of her future on the show. "If I hear from the fans that they want us to keep going, then I would continue because we owe them everything."

But "Grey's Anatomy" also hit a ratings low in October. So are fans giving up on the show before its stars do? Time will tell.

"Grey's Anatomy" returns from its holiday hiatus on Thurs., Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.

Will Matt Smith Leave Doctor Who Too?

Will Matt Smith Leave Doctor Who Too?

Just because The Doctor's companions are saying farewell, that doesn't mean Doctor Who's titular character will be going through a regeneration anytime soon.

Doctor Who's Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill to exit series next season

Following the news that Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, who play companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, would exit the show after the upcoming season, 11th Doctor Matt Smith set the record straight on whether he'd be following them off the series.

"No," he said on The Graham Norton Show's special holiday episode. "I am very happy to stay. I love it and love making the show."

However, Smith stressed that he would miss Gillan, who succeeded previous companions such as Catherine Tate and Billie Piper. "I'll miss Karen because she's my best mate," he said. "She's mad as a box of cats, but she's a firecracker!"

Doctor Who boss and Karen Gillan on River Song, how her parents met and Hitler

"I've known for a while," he said of her impending exit, which head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat announced earlier this month. "There comes a time when a story reaches its conclusion, and the essence of the show is that it constantly reinvents itself."

Earlier this year, Smith hinted at this own departure from the series, but he is signed on to appear in at least 14 more episodes, which would premiere sometime in 2012 and run through 2013.

Who Is Rumpelstiltskin?

Who Is Rumpelstiltskin?

Chief among the myriad of mysteries that Once Upon A Time has introduced in just 7 excellent episodes is that of Mr. Gold, a.k.a Rumpelstiltskin.

Whether in Storybrooke or storybook land, he seems to know a lot more than your casual character. And that is something the mid-season premiere plans to address.

"What he does or does not know about Storybrooke becomes very clear in the first bunch of episodes back," co-creator Adam Horowitz tells "He certainly steps forward in a bigger way than we've seen thus far -- not just Rumple but Mr. Gold. Mr. Gold's role in the town and his connection and effect on the characters around him is something that becomes a more important part of the show as we move forward."

Check out a sneak peek from the mid-season premiere, titled Desperate Souls, which sees Regina and Mr. Gold take opposite sides when Emma runs for a coveted Storybrooke public office in the real world. Meanwhile, the fairytale storyline features Rumplestiltskin attempting to track down the ultimate power source in order to help his son avert the horrors of a meaningless war.

Once Upon a Time returns January 8 at 8 p.m. on ABC

Where Will 'AHS' Go In Season Two?

Where Will 'AHS' Go In Season Two?

Following last week's American Horror Story finale, co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that every season would follow a new family in a new house.

He went on to reveal, "There is a clue in the last three episodes where we say what the second season will be."

Today Ryan took that one step further, telling that the clue is located in the penultimate episode, Birth. "Go through it frame by frame. I planted it in there," he teased before adding, "I will never reveal it."

So I did just that. Went through the episode frame by frame and here are the Top 5 clues from Birth that might hint at the season two location.

Possible Location #1: Vermont

The episode opens in 1984 with Newhart playing on the television in the background. The show, which ran from 1982 to 1990, took place at an inn ... rife for the haunting?

Possible Location #2: Florida
This has been a popular theory with fans. The location was repeatedly mentioned throughout the season since it's where Vivien's sister Jill lives. Plus, there is no shortage of dead people in the retirement capital of America.

Possible Location #3: A Geographically Irrelevant Prison
Psychic Billie Dean Howard (played by the divine Sarah Paulson) has a long soliloquy about paramagnetic grip -- how evil can be absorbed by an environment. She says, "You see it all the time in places like prisons or asylums. Negative energy feeds on trauma and pain. It draws those things to it." This echoes a sentiment Ryan expressed during the conference call: "There are all different kinds of horror stores to tell, be it serial killing stories or true crime stories or prison stories."

Possible Location #4: North Carolina circa 1590
In an attempt to help Violet expunge Chad from the house, Billie Dean tells her a story about a Ghost Colony that lived in Roanoke around the turn of the century.

Possible Location #5: London, England
In the episode, two doctors treat Vivien: Dr. Marchesi and the unseen Dr. Hall. Well, Marchesi Hall is located in St. Paul's Cathedral in London.