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woensdag 4 januari 2012

Lincoln's 'cheeky' Neighbours role

Lincoln's 'cheeky' Neighbours role

Former Home And Away star Lincoln Lewis has revealed that his new Neighbours character lives for the moment.

Lincoln guest stars as marine biologist Dominic Emmerson in the Ramsay Street soap.

Kate Ramsay, played by Ashleigh Brewer, is charmed by Lincoln's character after a period of heartache.

Lincoln said it didn't take much for him to jump at taking the role, reported Adelaide Now.

"The producers said it was going to be a fun role to play, that it would take a week to shoot, and that it would be in Port Douglas.

"I had just finished (TV mini series) Underbelly. I got to return to Queensland. That's all I needed (to know)," he said.

Lincoln, who played Geoff Campbell on Home And Away, said: "At the start, Dominic comes across as annoying, but as time goes by you see it is just a cheeky persistence.

"He has a live-for-the-moment attitude. Nothing is too much drama for him."

Porter: My DOI costumes are tiny

Porter: My DOI costumes are tiny

Hollyoaks star Jorgie Porter is hoping her revealing lads' mags photo shoots will help her get to grips with her skimpy Dancing On Ice outfits.

The actress, who plays Theresa McQueen in the Channel 4 soap, is looking forward to getting on the ice for the first live show on Sunday - but admitted she's nervous about her barely-there costumes.

She said: "I've been in underwear in lads' mags - but that's completely different because you're stood still so you can hold it in and tense and stuff when you want to.

"But moving about in a little tiny bikini thing, I don't think I'm going to be able to watch that."

Despite her concerns over her costumes, Jorgie is proving fearless on the rink.

"I think I've got so much confidence because I'm not scared, because I've not really had a big fall yet - touch wood - or if I do fall, I just get straight back up," she said.

And the soap star confessed she got starstruck when she first met the other celebrity competitors.

She explained: "There's Rosemary (Conley), there's Charlene (Tilton) from Dallas, there's Corey (Feldman) he's mega-Hollywood, Jennifer (Ellison) I used to watch Phantom Of The Opera and Brookside, and Heidi (Range). I just think, 'I can't believe I'm doing something with them' and it's an absolute dream."

Lucy to cause trouble in Walford

Lucy to cause trouble in Walford

EastEnders' troublesome teen Lucy Beale is set to cause havoc for dad Ian and new his girlfriend Mandy when she returns to Albert Square.

Hetti Bywater has taken over the role of the troubled teenager who will be back in the soap for Pat's funeral next week after spending a year living in Devon.

Lucy lands Ian in hot water when he lies to Mandy and tells her she and twin brother Peter are too busy to come to the funeral, when in fact he hasn't contacted either of them to invite them. He has also avoided telling them he is now with Mandy.

So when Lucy finds out about the funeral and turns up to bid Pat farewell she is angry about his secrecy and even more furious to find Mandy in their home, demanding to know who she is.

Lucy is not impressed with her dad's new girlfriend and she and former wild child Mandy are set clash, leaving Ian caught in the middle.

Lucy also reportedly decides to smuggle along some alcopops to Pat's funeral, much to the delight of Lauren Branning.

The youngster left Walford in August 2010 to go and live with her grandmother after cheating on her exams and having an abortion behind her step-mum Jane's back.

But now Lucy is back with a bang.

Hetti has said: "I'm really excited to be joining such an iconic show as EastEnders, especially becoming part of the Beale household."

Alan Yentob joins board of BBC Studios

Alan Yentob joins board of BBC Studios

Alan Yentob, the BBC's creative director, is to join the board of BBC Studios and Post Production as a non-executive director, it has been announced.

A commercial subsidiary of the BBC, Studios and Post Production is the UK's largest provider of studios, post production and digital media services to the broadcast and media industry.

Based at London's Television Centre in Elstree and Bristol, the company has the BBC as its client, but also works with various other broadcasters, including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky.

BBC veteran Yentob has acted as the corporation's creative director since 2004, with oversight across all of the BBC's services. Previously controller of BBC One and BBC Two, Yentob is also currently chairman of BBC Films and presenter of the Imagine arts and culture strand on the BBC.

"I am delighted to be joining the BBC Studios and Post Production Board as it continues to build on recent strong performance," said Yentob.

"I look forward to working with colleagues on the board to further develop a successful business model for the future."

John Tate, the BBC's director of policy and strategy who was appointed chairman of BBC Studios last September, added: "I am delighted that Alan is joining the BBC Studios and Post Production Board.

"He brings a wealth of experience from the UK creative sector, and I'm very much looking forward to working with him and building a strong future for the business."

Under the leadership of chief executive Mark Thomas, the BBC's studios and post production business has just completed its best ever year, generating its highest profitability since it was formed in 1998.

'Biggest Loser: No Excuses' season premiere recap: Three players exit

'Biggest Loser: No Excuses' season premiere recap: Three players exit

John Rhode may only have been crowned the winner of The Biggest Loser back in December but it's already time for a new season of the NBC weight loss competition to take over our Tuesday nights... and this time, there is a major twist waiting in the wings!

Everyone arrives at the ranch in couples (husband/wife, grandma/granddaughter etc.) bar one pair of strangers - Emily and Kim, both former athletes (Kim was a pro wrestler who worked under the name Desire) - who are united together as the Pink Team.

The teams are:

Pink: Emily, 29, and Kim N, 38
Orange: Cassandra, 25, and her grandmother Nancy, 63
Blue: Joe, 38, and brother Mike, 41
Aqua: Adrian, 32, and sister Daphne, 37
Brown: Ben, 34, and brother Buddy, 42
Grey: Chism, 19, and father Mark, 43
Red: Chris 42, and husband Roy (a professional Santa Claus!), 63
Green: Conda, 24, and brother Jeremy, 22
Yellow: Gail, 57, and daughter Lauren, 26
Purple: Kimmy, 48, and daughter Megan, 21

As we already know, it's the No Excuses season, so everyone comes out with their reasons about why they are overweight: No time to work out (Orange Team's Nancy has 13 kids and 53 grandkids to look after!), come from a heavy family, food addict, emotional eater, there's always tomorrow...

But, before anyone can actually begin their journey at the ranch, they have to take part in a series of challenges, including a 40-yard relay race, and unfortunately for the Aqua Team, their time on the show ends before it even starts when they come in last.

The brother-and-sister team can only watch as the other teams enter the gates of the ranch and they remain shut on the outside. However, if they can lose 50lbs between them in just one month then they will have a second chance to get on campus.

For everyone else, it's on to campus where they meet their trainers - Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince - for the first time, and both make rather dramatic entrances, with Bob zooming up on a motorbike and Dolvett jumping out of a helicopter.

Now, the hard work can begin. The teams will have two hours to work out with both trainers at the gym and then they will have to pick which trainer to work with this season.

Bob and Dolvett get to work delivering some serious tough love in the gym, evidenced by Bob's refusal to allow Purple Team's Megan to stop her workout even though she is heaving, suggesting she is just pretending to be sick in order to stop: "Unless I see your dinner come out of your mouth that ain't puking. Back on the treadmill until that happens."

Unfortunately, elsewhere, it seems people are throwing up ("It's crazy, like a warzone!" says Chism) and it's an intense workout all-around. Professional Santa Roy ends up on his back on the floor with Bob giving him a pep talk about not having to prove himself to anybody at the ranch except himself and his wife.

"I liked you the minute I saw that beard," Bob adds. "I love Santa Claus. I'm on the good list, right? I'm nice!"

Elsewhere, Brown Team's Ben needs medical attention when he starts "blanking out" during his work-out. He tells us that he and his wife have nine children in their family and he loves every part of his life apart from his weight. Meanwhile, former Olympic weight lifter Emily wants to regain her past fitness.

Alison then arrives to deliver a bombshell - it's the season of No Excuses and No Partners! Everyone will be working solo with a different trainer and competing against each other. Understandably, the news is greeted with a definite lack of enthusiasm among most of the teams. Green Team's Jeremy points out he chose to apply with his sister and had wanted a partner there to get him through the tough times.

So, in the end we arrive at the following teams. Bob gets Gail, Chism, Megan, Chris, Jeremy, Joe, Ben, Emily and Cassandra, while Dolvett gets Roy, Conda, Mike, Kimmy, Lauren, Mark, Nancy, Kim and Buddy.

So, it's off to the gym for a Last Chance Workout where Dolvett becomes frustrated that his team doesn't seem to be working out as intensely as Bob's team. He points out some of the older members of his team, the frequent bathroom breaks, the injuries... "Everything possibly that could go wrong for this team has gone wrong already!"

Dolvett also takes time to talk to Kim, who has a sore knee, one-on-one. She says that she never felt physically better than when she was a professional wrestler. She explains that the weight gain began when she lost her fighting spirit. Her career was ended on live TV when she broke her back during a match, although she continued until the end of the match and pinned her contestant.

The First Weigh-In:

Bob's Black Team

Gail: 322 to 313lbs: -9lbs
Chism: 261 to 349lbs: -12lbs
Megan: 259 to 252lbs: -7lbs
Chris: 240 to 232lbs: -8lbs
Jeremy: 389 to 376lbs: -13lbs
Joe: 357 to 342lbs: -15lbs
Ben: 396 to 381lbs: -15lbs
Emily: 264 to 254lbs: -10lbs
Cassandra: 239 to 225lbs: -14lbs

Dolvett's Red Team

Roy: 306 to 292lbs: -14lbs
Conda: 294 to 285lbs: -9lbs
Mike: 358 to 345lbs: -13lbs
Kimmy: 219 to 210lbs: -9lbs
Lauren: 246 to 237lbs: -9lbs
Mark: 291 to 282lbs: -9lbs
Nancy: 217 to 212lbs: -5lbs
Kim: 252 to 239lbs: -13lbs
Buddy: 403 to 381lbs: -22lbs

So, Dolvett's Red Team wins the first weigh-in and the Black Team must retreat to the elimination chamber and decide which one of them will be going home. Cassandra has immunity with the highest percentage of weight loss.

Ben says that his fame and fortune lies at home and he didn't come on the show to win a game. He misses his family and says the team should send him home, and eventually that's what happens.

In a post-elimination update we learn Ben has now lost 50lbs since leaving the ranch and he's happy with his decision to go home to his wife (who is now pregnant) and family. He says he works out at his home gym and eats healthily. He's also incorporating his family in workouts.

'X Factor' USA Nicole Scherzinger to replace 'Strictly' Alesha Dixon?

'X Factor' USA Nicole Scherzinger to replace 'Strictly' Alesha Dixon?

Nicole Scherzinger has reportedly been approached to replace Alesha Dixon on the Strictly Come Dancing panel.

Dixon quit the BBC contest to join Simon Cowell's ITV programme Britain's Got Talent on Monday (January 2), having apparently been offered triple her Strictly fee.

It has since been claimed that BBC bosses are looking to get even with Cowell by poaching Scherzinger - a former winner of America's Dancing with the Stars - from The X Factor USA.

"Nicole is young, sexy and knows what she's ­talking about," a Strictly insider told the Daily Star. "Having already won the US dance show her ­credentials are good.

"And taking her off ­Simon would be great. Alesha leaving could end up being a great move for the show."

Scherzinger has hinted that she may not return to The X Factor USA next year.

Dance pro Karen Hardy is the early bookmakers' favourite to join Strictly, while Darcey Bussell, Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey and former winner Kara Tointon have also been touted for the role.

Dixon will judge alongside Cowell, David Walliams and Amanda Holden when Britain's Got Talent returns in the spring.

'Seinfeld' writer sells new sitcom to NBC

'Seinfeld' writer sells new sitcom to NBC

NBC is developing a new sitcom with former Seinfeld writer Spike Feresten.

The network has given a script commitment to Married With Roommate, according to Deadline.

The project, to be produced by Universal TV and BermanBraun, will focus on a married couple who move in with their single bachelor friend.

Feresten wrote nine episodes of Seinfeld between 1995 and 1998, including the acclaimed 'The Soup Nazi', and hosted Fox series Talkshow with Spike Feresten from 2006 to 2009.

He is also developing a family comedy starring Chelsea Lately comic Josh Wolf with the Fox network.

Other comedy projects currently in development at NBC include an online dating sitcom from Jack Black and new shows starring Sarah Silverman and Will & Grace actor Sean Hayes.

Professor Green blasts "really shit" BBC over Will Young 'Voice' snub

Professor Green blasts "really shit" BBC over Will Young 'Voice' snub

Professor Green has revealed that he is annoyed the BBC axed Will Young from The Voice at the last minute.

The rapper claimed that Young would have been a better coach for the talent show over The Script frontman Danny O'Donoghue as "he knows what he's talking about".

The pair met each other while appearing on Sky Arts programme The Jo Whiley Show and Green insisted that Young would have been "perfect" for the job.

The 'Read All About It' star is quoted by The Sun as saying: "No-one knows who Danny is. That's really s**t that they dumped Will for him.

"He would have been perfect for that job. He really knows what he is talking about when it comes to making music... I liked him."

Young recently confessed that he was "disappointed" by the way the BBC treated him over The Voice, but revealed that he has received a lot of support from the public.

Brian Dowling talks Celebrity Big Brother 2012

Brian Dowling talks Celebrity Big Brother 2012

Guess who's back... back again. Celebrity Big Brother returns in the New Year, and there's a bagful of reasons for us to rub our hands gleefully at the latest run of the daddy of reality shows.

With probably the show's coolest ever promo campaign, a whole heap of exciting rumoured housemates (Cocozza! Giggs! Lohan!) and the promise of a more "evil" Big Brother second time around on Channel 5, there's should be no excuse for not tuning in on January 5.

To get you in the mood for the show's return, Reality Bites gave Brian Dowling a call to find out the latest Big Brother gossip.

It feels like Big Brother only just ended and it's back again?
"That's because it only just f**king has, Alex! It only just has."

What's the recipe for a great Celebrity Big Brother?
"A recipe for a great Celebrity Big Brother would be a spoonful of glamour, a teaspoon of aggression and a big helping of fun."

When do you find out the lineup?
"Because we've got Christmas and New Year, I'll probably find out on January 3, the day of our first proper rehearsal. They'll take me in a locked room with no phone line or internet, tell me the lineup and then leave me there until the launch."

I know people who work on the show already know the lineup. Do you not ask for some details?
"All the time. I've offered sex and alcohol for details, but nobody has accepted. But do you know what? I'd rather wait and find out as late as possible. I enjoy the build-up and excitement. Even letting me [know on] the day of the launch is a bit of a risk because I will just tell everybody."

Who is on your Celebrity Big Brother wishlist?
"There are a lot of people on my wishlist. Barbara Windsor, Jane McDonald, Britney Spears."

Why Babs Winsdor and Jane McDonald?
"I think someone like Barbara Windsor, everyone loves her and it would be great to see her on a normal everyday basis. Jane McDonald has lived a great life, she worked on a cruise ship, she's very funny and would be amazing."

Who are your favourites ever celebrity contestants?
"I quite liked George Galloway when he pretended to be the cat with Rula Lenska. 'Ohh you're a naughty cat... purrr'. That was amazing. I thought Pete Burns was a brilliant housemate. I thought Jade Goody was a great housemate with her family. I thought that was a great year. It was a very controversial year, but putting her family in was something that hadn't been done before. Obviously the first one with Claire Sweeney and Vanessa Feltz was great as well. We had a proper meltdown with Vanessa in the house."

Why do you think the celeb version is still such a ratings draw?
"I think it is fascinating. It's getting to see celebrities in the parts of the day we never get to see. From the moment they get up to the moment they go to bed. When we see that part of them in Big Brother, we see what they are really like. I think if you attach the word celebrity to anything people are just interested."

Do you keep an eye on rival reality shows like I'm a Celebrity?
"I watch I'm a Celebrity. I think a lot of people thought the names weren't that good this year. But I think that's a quite good thing from the casting team. We then watch the show and we see different sides of people and we see their characteristics. I don't think you need A-list celebrities to have a hit celebrity reality show. I think it's about the characters, the situations and the trials that they have to do."

It's usually the people you've never heard of that are the most interesting?
"I like that. If you already know everything about people and have views on them already it's less interesting. I think that's what was great about Paddy Doherty in the last series. He won the series, but at the start nobody knew anything about him. People warmed to him through the show, he showed a vulnerable side and people loved him and voted for him because he showed himself to be a lovely, gentle man."

Do you think Big Brother is still relevant in the era of scripted reality shows?
"I think the thing about Big Brother is that it's an original reality show. It's a proper reality. What you see happens. With these new scripted shows, a lot of it is false, a lot of it is fake. It's been edited together. In Big Brother, you see the start of something, the middle and the end. It's not scripted. And it is, and always will be, the original reality show.

"There are a lot of scripted reality shows out there doing well, but I think Channel 5 have responded to that by making Big Brother much slicker. I think the packages are better, the music's better, it's more American - I like that. That was something about different Big Brother this year. It targeted a a younger audience and I think the number of 15-35 year-olds trebled from what it was before. We're now making a show for younger people."

Do you think Channel 5's changes were a response to TOWIE and Made In Chelsea?
"I think it's partly that. I also think the show has run very successfully for 10 years on a different channel. By moving to Channel 5 it could suddenly change lots of things. If they'd made big changes on Channel 4, people would have said, 'Why change a hit?' The move to Channel 5 was a fresh start and it meant the producers could make the show that they want to make. They could make the show sexier.

"I think the changes were proved right when the ratings came in and we had over 5 million viewers on the launch. I wasn't expecting that. It was the best figures Channel 5 have ever got, and they held throughout the celebrity series and normal series.

"On Friday night evictions even at the end with the normal series, we were beating BBC Two and Channel 4 in the slot. Sometimes all the channels. When we beat things like Million Pound Drop on Channel 4, that was an 'oh my God!' moment. To beat shows like that in the ratings was a real achievement."

What themes would you like Big Brother to have in 2012?
"I think for the celebrity one it needs to be much darker. I think the first time around last year they got a very easy ride. But for the normal one, well, it's the 13th series. 13 is traditionally unlucky. So maybe it will be a bit more evil. We don't want it to be too easy in there do we, Digital Spy?"

Have you had a wedding invite from Big Brother 12 lovebirds Jay McKray and Louise Cliffe?
"I've not got the invite yet, but I'm hoping to get one very, very soon. I can't believe I might have my own Big Brother wedding. I feel like Cilla Black. I need to find myself a hat! I don't hang around with the contestants though outside of the house. I'm probably way too old for them these days."

Were you shocked by some of the things that they said in their exit interviews? There was a lot of poo talk from the pair of them.
"I wasn't shocked, because I'd seen them unravel across the series. But I think what was shocking through the weeks was the fact that the more shocking he was, the more she seemed to fall for him. Louise was never shocked or appalled by anything that he did and she seemed to like the fact Jay was so down to earth. I think that is a good basis for a long, steady relationship."

Natasha Giggs returns her parents home in Manchester
Right, some Celebrity Big Brother rumours. Would you like Natasha Giggs in the house?
"Oh my God. I think that was such a huge story. The alleged affair, the gagging order in court... I think if she is going and she is willing to talk about it, and legally can talk about it, that will be amazing.

"I think it's the greatest real life soap story. It involves a family, it involves two brothers, it involves an alleged injunction, it involves a footballer, it involves a reality TV star... it's like a Jackie Collins novel. I think people can't get enough of that story. But I won't know until January sadly if it's true."

And Frankie Cocozza...?
"I just hope it's something that Frankie is able to do. Not just physically and logistically, but mentally.

"Obviously he's had a tough time with the X Factor thing, but I think Frankie only ever really wanted to be famous. I don't think he ever really cared about being a singer. So from that perspective, I could imagine him doing it.

"I think he'd be a great name to get in there. It just depends whether it is something he wants to do. He'll be going from one great show to another and it will be fascinating to see him in the house... if it's true. If it's true."

Kelsey Grammer 'not concerned about Boss ratings'

Kelsey Grammer 'not concerned about Boss ratings'

Kelsey Grammer has insisted that he is not concerned about the ratings for his show Boss.

The first season of the Starz drama drew praise from critics but struggled in the ratings, with the finale attracting just 0.51m viewers.

"It doesn't frustrate me at all," the actor told the Los Angeles Times. "People will find it. Word of mouth is pretty effective."

Boss has already been picked up for a second season, with Grammer revealing that he also expects a third run to be commissioned.

"We've only been on for eight episodes," he said. "It's a dense piece [so] it takes time for people to wrap their heads around it. I think we'll have a hearty audience by the second or third time around."

The Good Wife's Dee Johnson recently joined Boss creator Farhad Safinia as co-showrunner, following the departure of experienced producers Richard Levine and Lyn Greene.

A ten-part second season of Boss is expected to air on Starz later this year.

TV Tonight 4th of January 2012

TV Tonight 4th of January 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    Allein gegen die Zeit S02E13: "20:00"
    Allein gegen die Zeit S02E12: "19:00"
    Anderson S01E70: "Getting Failure Out of Your Life"
    Bargain Hunt S31E03: "Series 31, Episode 3"
    Bitchin’ Kitchen S02E10: "Getting the Romance Back"
    Black Gold S04E06: "Season 4, Episode 6"
    Brad Meltzer's Decoded S02E12: "Houdini: Murdered?"
    Celebrity Mastermind S10E07: "Series 10, Episode 7"
    Chelsea Lately S05E199
    Chihayafuru S01E13: "Episode 13"
    Conan S02E27: "Emmy Rossum, Dave Attell, Chris Isaak"
    Days of our Lives S47E39: "Ep. #11749"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E124: "Episode 1804"
    Dickinson's Real Deal S08E22: "Series 8, Episode 22"
    Doctors S13E169: "To Have and To Hold"
    Dog the Bounty Hunter S08E01: "And Baby Makes Three, Part 1"
    Dog the Bounty Hunter S08E02: "And Baby Makes Three, Part 2"
    Drinking Made Easy S02E14: "Memphis"
    Emmerdale S41E03: "January 4, 2012"
    Escape To The Country S12E02: "Devon"
    Full Throttle Saloon S03E06: "Season 3, Episode 6"
    General Hospital (US) S49E192: "#12466"
    Got to Dance S03E06: "Series 3, Episode 6"
    Great British Railway Journeys S03E03: "Sudbury to Southend"
    Happy Endings S02E10: "The Shrink, The Dare, Her Date And Her Brother"
    Harry Hill's TV Burp S11E10: "The Best of TV Burp (17)"
    Hollyoaks S18E03: "January 4, 2012"
    Hot In Cleveland S03E06: "How Did You Guys Meet, Anyway?"
    I Get That A Lot S01E05
    Inside the NFL S35E18: "18 11-12"
    Jeopardy! S28E78: "Show #6283"
    Jimmy Kimmel Live S09E179: "Octavia Spencer, Lloyd"
    Kiekens S01E06: "Season 1, Episode 6"
    Late Night with Jimmy Fallon S02E197
    Late Show with David Letterman S18E185: "Brian Williams, WU LYF"
    Match of The Day S47E27: "Season 47, Show 27"
    Mobbed S01E03: "Episode 1230"
    Modern Family S03E11: "Lifetime Supply"
    Moonshiners S01E06: "A Moonshiner's Farewell"
    NFL Turning Point S01E17: "Season 1, Episode 17"
    NOVA S39E09: "Deadliest Volcanoes"
    One Born Every Minute S03E01: "Series 3, Episode 1"
    One Life to Live S44E119: "Ep. #11098"
    Pointless S05E87: "Series 5, Episode 87"
    Public Enemies S01E02: "Episode 2"
    Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is S05E03: "Series 5, Episode 3"
    Rani S01E08: "Marquise"
    Rani S01E07: "Reine"
    Restaurant: Impossible S02E17: "Sullivan's"
    Revenge S01E11: "Duress"
    Saints and Scroungers S03E03: "Series 3, Episode 3"
    Sons of Guns S03E05: "The Hogzilla Gun"
    Steven Seagal: Lawman S03E01: "Drug Warriors"
    Steven Seagal: Lawman S03E02: "Cops and Cons"
    Suburgatory S01E10: "Driving Miss Dalia"
    The Bold and the Beautiful S25E202: "Ep. #6231"
    The Chase (2009) S05E02: "Series 5, Episode 2"
    The Colbert Report S08E02: "John Heilemann"
    The Daily Show S17E38: "Elizabeth Dowling Taylor"
    The Dr. Phil Show S10E75: "CBS This Morning"
    The Exes S01E06: "A Very Wrong Engagement"
    The Jeremy Kyle Show S07E78: "January 4, 2012"
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson S08E03: "RZA, Melissa Rauch"
    The Middle S03E12: "Year of the Hecks"
    The Soup S08E52: "Here's Love In Your Eye"
    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S19E218
    The Young and the Restless S39E199: "Ep. #9814"
    Thuis S17E93: "Season 17, Episode 93"
    Top Chef S09E09: "BBQ Pit Wars"
    True Life S12E07: "On The Mat"
    Wanted Down Under S06E03: "Series 6, Episode 3"

Telenovela Star to Guest as Love Interest on VH1's 'Single Ladies'

Telenovela Star to Guest as Love Interest on VH1's 'Single Ladies'

William Levy will appear opposite Denise Vasi's Raquel on two episodes of the series.

William Levy is set to guest star on VH1's Single Ladies.

The Cuban American model-turned-actor has inked a deal to appear in two episodes of the popular drama, where he'll play Antonio, an old friend of Raquel (Denise Vasi). After significant time apart, the duo reunites to find they still have strong chemistry.

The news comes mere weeks after VH1 announced Vasi (White Collar, All My Children) would be replacing first season star Stacey Dash on the hit scripted series. The show centers on the dating lives of three friends in Atlanta.

For his part, the role marks Levy's first in an English-language series. He recently starred in Univision's highly rated telenovela Triunfo del Amor, a remake of the Venezuelan classic Cristal, and is currently in negotiations to appear in a romance film entitled The Perfect Dance.

In August, Levy was selected as the cover star of People en Espanol's Sexiest Men of the Year issue. The actor, whose other credits include Mi Vida Eres Tu, Acorralada and Pasión, is repped by WME and Carrabino Management.

Jack White to Appear on 'American Pickers' Reality Series

Jack White to Appear on 'American Pickers' Reality Series

The White Stripes and Dead Weather founder will share antiques with Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz on the Jan. 9 episode.

Jack White opens the door of his Third Man Records on the Jan. 9 edition of History's American Pickers.

The White Stripes, Dead Weather and Raconteurs founder welcomes co-hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz to his Nashville-based label for a session of hard bargaining and antiquing.

According to White's reps, he offers personal artifacts including the photo booth used in the Dead Weather's "Hang You From the Heavens" video in exchange for one of the most "memorable" treasures ever to appear on the show.

On American Pickers, Wolf and Fritz travel the country in search of valuable relics that once purchased from their original owners, make their way to stores and sometimes museums.

They chose their wares from collectors, hoarders and amateur historians who believe they have priceless items.

American Pickers airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on History.

Darren Criss Debuts in Broadway's 'How to Succeed'; Tweets Opening Night 'Excitement'

Darren Criss Debuts in Broadway's 'How to Succeed'; Tweets Opening Night 'Excitement'

The “Glee” star took to Twitter hours before his performance, while receiving well wishes from co-stars and friends in Hollywood.

After months of anticipation, Glee’s Darren Criss will make his Broadway debut on Tuesday, Jan. 3 in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

The actor returned to his Twitter account hours before the show, following a two-week hiatus, to share his excitement with fans.

“So I've been gone from the Internet for the past two weeks- been busy getting ready and excited for my opening of 'How To Succeed' on B-Way!” he wrote. “So to make up for lost time, I want to share a few moments of excitement leading up to the big opening night...”

The excitement of the day was not lost on Criss’ Glee co-stars and several Hollywood pals, who took to their own accounts to wish him luck.

“Sending so much love to Mr. @DarrenCriss for his broadway debut tonight in How to Succeed!! Have an amazing night!!! Xo,” wrote Lea Michele, while Dianna Agron added: “@DarrenCriss I wish I could be front row and center tonight!”

“@DarrenCriss Break a leg tonight, bud!” said Chris Colfer, who plays Criss’ boyfriend on the hit Fox series.

Earlier in the day, Criss tweeted a photo to his WhoSay account with the caption “Backstage and on stage.” The photo was promptly removed, but not before Amber Riley retweeted the image and wrote, “Break a Leg!!!!!”

Outside the Glee circle, LeVar Burton, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Perez Hilton were among Hollywood well-wishers sending notes his way.

I would tweet @DarrenCriss a Congrats on his Broadway Debut tonight but I think I'll just text him instead. And yes, that was a #humblebrag," wrote Ferguson.

Criss will take over the role of Pierrepont Finch from Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, who took his final bow on Jan. 1. Criss is slated to perform for three weeks, before being replaced by Nick Jonas on Jan. 24. Jonas has signed on for the show through July 1.

Criss’ debut comes on the heels of a record-shattering week, which saw Radcliffe’s final performances after 10-months of never missing a single show.

Jenny McCarthy Will Return to TV in 2012, Just Not On 'Dancing With the Stars'

Jenny McCarthy Will Return to TV in 2012, Just Not On 'Dancing With the Stars'

Finally free from over a decade of holding deals, she tells THR about her next move, her hope for her own "New Girl" and turning the ABC competition down every season.

For the entire 21st century, Jenny McCarthy found herself in production deals that never went anywhere.

Scripted holding deals only led to pilots that were never picked up, and a plan for a talk show with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios finally fizzled in 2011, leaving the 39-year-old television personality free to fully explore her opportunities for the first time since her days on MTV.

McCarthy recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, and in addition to talking about her experiences with Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark on New Year's Rockin' Eve, she laid out part of her plan for the coming year.

"Next year you will see something, I can't say what, but it is already signed, sealed, delivered," McCarthy said, promising something on the talk show front -- though she wouldn't clarify if it was daytime or late night. "I can't. I'm sworn to secrecy."

What she can talk about is her desire to act again. Last headlining her own series in 1998, she's since had recurring roles on series such as One on One, Hope & Faith and Two and a Half Men but recently took meetings in hopes of finding a show that might stick.

"I'd been in a holding deal for the last 12 years of my career," McCarthy told THR, "from network to network to network, doing pilots that just didn't make it. So this [past] year I had just met with all of the presidents of the studios, and I said if there's some great New Girl type script, send it my way. So that could very well happen also."

And McCarthy loves the New Girl. She also thinks Whitney Cummings might be the "female Larry David."

"She's got that gift," she says of Cummings. "I feel like the show will morph into something even better as time goes on, but they have the right idea behind it, which is her take on things."

One thing she actually seems closed off to is reality television. When asked about the chances of ever seeing her on Dancing With the Stars, McCarthy seemed amused but firm.

"They ask me every year, and I just can't do it," she says. "I tell them why: You guys keep saying every year you're going to get A-List people and then it's the girl that was with George Clooney... They better talk the walk or walk the talk -- whatever that saying is."

McCarthy credits much of her career confidence to her successful career as an author that's seemed to steer much of her recent career and maybe even distracted her from the medium that made her famous.

"I want to be able to do what I'm doing for the rest of my life," she told THR. "And some smart people in LA had said to me, 'If you want the power, you have to start writing things, because you create anything you want. You don't have to wait for anybody.' That I put into writing books, and it's been incredible for me. I've been really blessed. Now I feel like it's time to do more... It's time to be back on TV."

'X Factor's' Chris Rene: Epic Records Deal Imminent, Say Sources

'X Factor's' Chris Rene: Epic Records Deal Imminent, Say Sources

The Top 3 finalist, who's set to record his hit "Young Homie" for the label, is expected to announce his signing in the coming days.

The ink has yet to hit the paper, but like X Factor winner Melanie Amaro, finalist Chris Rene will soon sign a recording contract with Epic Records, sources tell the Hollywood Reporter.

The Santa Cruz-based rapper, who was mentored by X Factor judge and Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid, made it to third place on the show's inaugural season, although Rene won America's heart early on with his story of drug addiction and recovery along with the self-penned original number "Young Homie," which he sang at his first audition (the Youtube clip has since amassed over 11 million views). According to Reid, Rene is recording a new version of the song which will feature top-notch production.

Fellow X Factor contestant Astro and runner-up Josh Krajcik are also expected to land deals at Sony Music. Says an insider: "The star power is there for a number of them -- they're relevant, contemporary recording artists with great chart and radio potential."

Of course, none of the finalists will see the sort of payout awarded to Amaro, who'll pocket $5 million over the next five years. Today's major label contract can advance between $150,000 on the low end and $500,000 on the high end for a new artist on a multi-album deal, but often much of that money is recoupable by the record company after it's paid for the record's production, promotion and a slew of other costs.

Cybill Shepherd Placed on Lifetime's 'Client List'

Cybill Shepherd Placed on Lifetime's 'Client List'

Former "Moonlighting" star Cybill Shepherd has signed on as a regular for Lifetime's upcoming series "The Client List," TheWrap has confirmed. Shepherd will reprise her role as the mother of the main character, who'll be portrayed by Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Based on the 2010 Lifetime movie of the same name, which also starred Hewitt, "The Client List" will follow a Texas housewife named Riley who, after being abandoned by her husband, takes a job at a day spa and discovers that her new workplace offers illicit services along with massages to its clients. Hewitt is also executive-producing the series, which has been greenlit for 10 episodes, via her Fedora Films production company.

Shepherd, who in recent years has had recurring and guest-starring roles on a number of series, including "The L Word" and "Eastwick," last had a starring role in the small screen with her sitcom "Cybill," which went off the air in 1998.

'Oprah's Next Chapter' Premiere Gives Struggling OWN a Big Ratings Boost

'Oprah's Next Chapter' Premiere Gives Struggling OWN a Big Ratings Boost

Is there hope for Oprah Winfrey's floundering OWN yet?

The two-hour premiere of Winfrey's new series "Oprah's Next Chapter" gave OWN its highest ratings for a Sunday premiere since the network's January 2011 launch weekend, scoring a 1.1 rating in the network's target women 25-54 demographic and 1.1 million total viewers.

Sunday night's debut of the series, which aired from 9 to 11 p.m., featured Winfrey interviewing Aerosmith rocker-turned-"American Idol" judge Steven Tyler at his Lake Sunapee, N.H., residence.

To put Sunday night's numbers in context, the "Oprah's Next Chapter" premiere represented a 463 percent increase in the demo over the network's December 2011 average in that time period. Only the premiere of "Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes," which aired on Jan. 1, 2011, has scored better than the "Next Chapter" premiere, drawing a 1.11 in the demo and 1.2 million total viewers.

Upcoming episodes of the interview series will find Winfrey touring Skywalker Ranch with "Star Wars" maestro George Lucas, taking part in a slumber party at celebrity cook Paula Deen's estate in Georgia, and visiting Haiti with Sean Penn to survey how the nation is faring since the devastating 2010 earthquake.

MTV to Deliver GTL-Palooza With 12-Hour 'Jersey Shore' Marathon

MTV to Deliver GTL-Palooza With 12-Hour 'Jersey Shore' Marathon

Start warming up your fists now, "Jersey Shore" fans, because they're going to be doing a lot of pumping on Thursday.

Prior to the premiere of the fifth season of its runaway well-tanned hit reality series on Jan. 5, MTV will air an all-day "Jersey Shore" marathon, starting at 9:30 a.m. Given that "Jersey Shore" doesn't make its bow until 10 p.m., that's a whole lot of GTL for viewers to immerse themselves in like so much fake-bake and hair gel.

Also read: "Jersey Shore"'s Snooki Sued for Allegedly Cheating on Her Business Partner

In addition to episodes from previous seasons, the marathon will include sneak peeks of Season Five -- which sees Snooki and the gang returning to Seaside Heights, N.J., after their diplomatic sojourn to Florence, Italy -- throughout the day. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the "Jersey Shore" crew will host a series of "wraps," reminiscing about their favorite moments while hanging out at the Beachcomber Bar & Grill. (Fans of reality TV carnage will recall the Beachcomber as the site of Snooki's beatdown by rage-addled schoolteacher Brad Ferro.)

As for what to expect from the Season Five premiere, MTV promises (or is that threatens?), "a drama storm brews due to their unresolved issues left over from their time overseas. Mike threatens to destroy Snooki’s newly rekindled relationship with her boyfriend Jionni and the roommates worry about Vinny as he starts to withdraw."

And speaking of combative situations, at 12:05 a.m., MTV will air a sneak preview of its documentary series "Caged," which follows the knock-down drag-out lives of amateur mixed-martial arts fighters. "Caged" will premiere on Jan. 9 at 10 p.m.

Famed M*A*S*H Hot Dog Diner Sale Falls Through

Famed M*A*S*H Hot Dog Diner Sale Falls Through

Ohio's Tony Packo's diner, which was featured on multiple episodes the popular television series, was set to be sold for $5.5 million.

The sale of a iconic hot dog diner that gained worldwide notoriety after being featured multiple times on M*A*S*H was halted on its closing day because of a bank-required change.

Tony Packo's, whose original store is based in Toledo, Ohio was set to be sold for $5.5 million, but the potential buyer, restauranteur Bob Bennett backed out when the bank holding the loan to the chain of diners increased its requirements for the transaction, according to Ohio news station WNWO.

The news came as Tony Packo's Inc. executive vice president Tony Packo III and another company official pleaded not guilty to stealing from the company, reports the Associated Press.

Actor Jamie Farr, who played Corporal Max Klinger on CBS' M*A*S*H and is a Toledo native, called out the diner in a 1976 episode, saying "If you're ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo's got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs."

The restaurant then became something of a staple on the show, with one episode featuring a storyline that had Packo's shipping sausage casings to the mobile hospital unit. It was also mentioned in the series finale.

TiVo Shares Soar on Legal Settlement With AT&T

TiVo Shares Soar on Legal Settlement With AT&T

News that the DVR company will collect at least $215 million from telco giant has its stock surging 18 percent in after-hours trading.

Shares of TiVo were soaring 18 percent in after-hours trading after the pioneering DVR company said it has settled a patent-infringement lawsuit with AT&T that includes a guaranteed $215 million plus a cut of monthly fees through 2018 should AT&T exceed certain subscriber levels.

The arrangement also calls for the companies to dismiss legal challenges they had filed against each other.

TiVo previously won a similar lawsuit against Dish Network and has one pending against Verizon Communications.

TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said the settlement "represents hard-earned compensation for our IP enforcement efforts."

The company's shares were off a nickel to $8.92 during the regular session Tuesday but jumped to nearly $11 after the closing bell.

Simon Cowell returning full-time to 'Britain's Got Talent'

Simon Cowell returning full-time to 'Britain's Got Talent'

British viewers will be getting a bigger dose of Simon Cowell this spring when he returns in full capacity for the sixth season of "Britain's Got Talent." The reality competition show kingpin had taken time away from season five since he was busy launching the U.S. version of "The X Factor."

"I miss Britain and I miss the British public and I miss judging them," says Cowell in a release. "I want to find the next generation of talent in 2012. Different and new acts, younger and better talent. You want someone who can be a star all over the world and by coming back in 2012, it's the year of the Olympics, it's a big year for Britain, we are going to be in the world's spotlight and I want this show to be back in the world spotlight."

In fact, reports EW, Cowell will be contributing a tidy bundly of his own cash -- about $400,000 to this year's prize.

"Even though they are both my shows, I would like to find a better winner on Britain's Got Talent than The X Factor. To me it's a challenge," he says.

"What I really, really passionately believe when I do these shows is that you have to find someone who can be known all over the world from appearing on the show. That's what happened with Paul Potts and that's what happened with Susan Boyle."

Sneak Peek of the New MTV Docu-Series "Caged"

Sneak Peek of the New MTV Docu-Series "Caged"

MTV is revisiting all of the Italian adventures of Season Four in an all-day marathon beginning on Thursday, January 5 at 9:30a.m. ET/PT, leading up to the premiere of season five at 10p.m. ET/PT. Viewers will get sneak peeks at the several scenes from Season Five throughout the marathon. Then, as part of the celebration, the full cast will be on-hand making their big return to Seaside Heights, NJ by hosting a series of wraps starting at 7:30p.m. ET/PT and continuing throughout the Season Five premiere. Throwing down in their favorite beach town, America's most recognizable housemates will spend the night at their usual boardwalk restaurant Beachcombers with their friends, families and fans to share their personal stories and preview new footage from the upcoming season.

Following the "Jersey Shore" premiere night extravaganza, at 12:05a.m. ET/PT MTV will also treat viewers to a sneak peek of the first episode of its newest documentary series "CAGED," which premieres on Monday, January 9 at 10p.m. ET/PT. The show will provide an honest look into the lives of young amateur MMA fighters, both inside and outside of the cage.

In the Season Five premiere episode, the cast says "arrivederci" to their international jaunt to Florence, Italy and "yeah, buddy" to their old stomping ground and true home of Seaside Heights. As they hit the boardwalk running to resume their "G.T.L." regimens, a drama storm brews due to their unresolved issues leftover from their time overseas. Mike threatens to destroy Snooki's newly rekindled relationship with her boyfriend Jionni and the roommates worry about Vinny as he starts to withdraw. For a sneak peek at the Season Five premiere, click here.

A true pop culture phenomenon, "Jersey Shore" is MTV's #1 series of all time. The fourth season averaged a 6.96 P12-34 rating and ranked as TV's #1 series among viewers 12-34. Including all DVR playback, the fourth season averaged an 8.75 rating and 9.3 million total viewers each week.

Die-hard viewers can catch up on the cast's European adventures by purchasing the "Jersey Shore Uncensored: Season Four" DVD in stores now. Retailing in the US for $26.99, this four-disc set has all 12 uncensored episodes and is packed with must-see bonus features that include deleted scenes, confessionals, "After Hours" specials and the "Jersey Shore Season 4 Reunion" and more! Superfans can log onto to purchase DVD's, apparel, accessories and other series related merchandise.

The Bright Side Of Work It: It Doesn't Just Offend Women -- It Offends Everyone!

The Bright Side Of Work It: It Doesn't Just Offend Women -- It Offends Everyone!

When a show is as bad as "Work It," and you truly have nothing nice to say about it, it often feels like you should just follow that old adage and not say anything at all. But that's not my job. (Sorry, Mom!)

If you somehow haven't heard about this horrific new show, the fine folks at HitFix, IGN TV, Variety, Zap2it and Entertainment Weekly, among many others, have all tried to articulate exactly how bad it is to great success; Gawker even claimed that "Work It" could be the worst television show in history.

"Work It" also won worst of the worst in our TV Preview videos last fall, and it was the only new show that we all unanimously said to skip. Like I said, it's easy to pile on when's something is this unwatchable, but no one's taken the opposite approach ... until now.

So I set out to find a positive spin on this show that's far too easy to be negative about. Though it was nearly impossible, here's my attempt at seeing the bright side of the sexist, anti-feminist, everything-bashing sitcom called "Work It" (premieres Tues., Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC). Please only continue reading with your sarcasm-detecting glasses on ...

1. It Ain't No "Bosom Buddies"
If you thought those two guys from "Bosom Buddies" were just too believable as women, you're in luck -- the linebacker builds of "Work It's" Lee and Angel, Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco respectively, ensure that the walk, talk and physical appearance of these career cross-dressers will never confuse you. These are men, baby! They're just dressing like women. You know, because women have it so great.

2. It Gives Hope In This Horrible Economy
Don't give up if you're out of work and can't find a job -- you'll still be able to go out drinking with your friends every night of the week to vent about all of your financial woes over some over-priced beers. And when push comes to shove, there's always a) working in the fast food industry, or b) cross-dressing. Options!

3. The Men Are Women-Bashing For A Reason
When out-of-work Lee overhears that the drug business is doing well from a female pharmaceutical rep in his doctor's office, he's intrigued. But she quickly shoots him down, saying they're just looking for "girls." Why? "We've had some guys, but the doctors seem to want to nail them less." Oh ... so girls are getting all the good jobs because they're sluts? Well, there you have it. Hate away, guys!

4. It Has Timely References
Don't listen to those who say this show is dated -- they're slipping in hilarious pop culture references all over the place. Like this gem: "Most of the girls who interview here think 'clinical trials' are the things Lindsay Lohan keeps having to go to."

5. And It's Got Current Jams
If you love the Black Eyed Peas, then you're in luck. "Work It" has a zany montage showing how Lee first gets girly, set to the oh-so-appropriate 2005 hit "My Humps." (And yes, we see Lee dealing with all his humps, God-given and otherwise.)

6. It Teaches Us A Cultural Lesson
Did you know Puerto Ricans love selling drugs and hate cross-dressers? According to "Work It," it's true! When newly-employed Lee tells his pal Angel that he's found work, Angel quickly reminds him of their pact to get each other jobs, insisting he'd be a natural selling pharmaceuticals: "I'm Puerto Rican -- I'll be great at selling drugs!" Later, when confronted with his cross-dressing friend, he dismisses the idea that he could try the same tactics with pure Puerto Rican disgust: "This ... kinda thing doesn't really fly in my culture." Machismo is alive and well.

7. It Clearly Defines The Strict Gender Divide
Just a quick recap of the pilot's deeply researched gender lessons: Women like cuddling, book clubs, giving back-handed compliments, talking about marriage, lending each other tampons and only eating a piece of lettuce or two for lunch. Men like drinking beer. Oh, and they're good with cars.

8. It Ends On A Positive Note
Dressing up in drag isn't just good for business -- at the end of the pilot, married Lee now understands that women have it rough, too! This experience might even help him with his marriage and dealing with his teenage daughter. And single guy Angel isn't all about hitting on ladies anymore -- now, he's using them for tips on getting rid of visible panty lines. Win, win!

If these reasons have inspired you to watch this show, I apologize -- that clearly wasn't my intent. But if morbid curiosity does win out, don't say we didn't warn you.

"Work It" premieres Tues., Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC

ION Renews 'Flashpoint' Drama For Season 5

ION Renews 'Flashpoint' Drama For Season 5

ION Television has renewed its original police drama "Flashpoint" for a fifth season. The network is picking up 13 more episodes, set to begin filming in February 2012.

"Flashpoint" joined ION's primetime schedule in October 2011 after the network acquired all episodes from Seasons 1-3, along with all 11 original episodes in Season 4.

Since its debut on ION, the procedural drama's December 27 episode received its highest ratings ever among the network’s key demos, including the 25 to 54 (869,000), women 25 to 54 (566,000) and total viewers (2.1 million).

"We are delighted with how Flashpoint continues to resonate with fans in the U.S. and we look forward to creating another season of compelling and engaging episodes for them to enjoy," the show's executive producers Anne Marie La Traverse and Bill Mustos said in a press statement.

The drama, which follows an elite force in Toronto that deals with hostage standoffs and other crisis situations, stars Hugh Dillon, Enrico Colantoni, Amy Jo Johnson, David Paetkau, Sergio Di Zio and Clé Bennett.

Hot in Cleveland Exclusive: Liza Minnelli Cast as......

Hot in Cleveland Exclusive: Liza Minnelli Cast as......

Watch your back, Betty White! You won’t be the only living legend appearing in Season 3 of TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland: The comedy’s just scored Liza freakin’ Minnelli!

The bad news is that the Oscar winner’s just signed on for one episode — at least for now. But the good news is that it sounds like a great part: Judy Garland’s 65-year-old daughter will be playing the agent of down-and-damn-close-to-out actress-of-a-certain-age Victoria Chase (Wendie Malick).

Since Minnelli was such a hoot as Lucille 2 on Arrested Development — not to mention the whole “living legend” thing — this seems like a swell bit of news to start 2012 with, wouldn’t you say?

'Mankind The Story Of All Of Us': History Channel's Ambitious New Miniseries

'Mankind The Story Of All Of Us': History Channel's Ambitious New Miniseries

After its successful series on the history of America in 2010, television's History channel is setting its sights even higher.

The network said Tuesday that a 12-hour miniseries, "Mankind the Story of All of Us," will debut late this year. History, seen in more than 300 million homes worldwide, will offer different versions of the series in different parts of the world, the first time it has ever done that.

"America the Story of Us" hadn't even concluded when History executives, impressed by its ratings, began talking about what to do next, said Nancy Dubuc, the network's president and general manager.

"Rather than take a slice of the America story and do something more in depth on that, we decided to go bigger and broader," she said.

The "America" miniseries was the most-watched special ever on History, with 5.7 million people watching the first episode and nearly 40 million people in total watching some part of it, the Nielsen ratings company said.

The new series starts with the Big Bang and traces the development of humans on a planet where the vast majority of species go extinct, said Jane Root, the project's executive producer.

Root described it as a "real action-adventure" project, one that encompasses astronomy, geology and other sciences along with history. It will make liberal use of computer-generated recreations in its storytelling, she said.

The series traces the development of tools and the construction of the pyramids. Root said the production tries to make viewers aware of what it felt like, for instance, to set sail for distant lands on a ship when the common belief was the world was flat.

Root said she was surprised to discover the amount of connections among cultures in ancient times, like when Vikings visited China and fought with people in what is now Canada, each before the time of Christopher Columbus.

"We all grow up in a place where we learn just our history," she said. "You grow up in America, you learn American history. You grow up in France, you learn French history. To try to bring it all together and yet still make it a real exciting story of how humans made it is a real challenge."

History will offer companion material to schools interested in the project, although Root said it was "very important to us that this wasn't an educational mission. This is something you're going to watch like the best of a Hollywood superhero movie."

About a third of History's audience is in the United States. Worldwide, History is available in 150 countries, with India the biggest market, and in some 35 languages. Dubuc said the project would be localized in several markets with the inclusion of interviews with local historians.

Airdates have not been set for the series, which will stretch over six days, but it will be within the last three months of 2012, the network said.