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zaterdag 10 maart 2012

Ant & Dec 'banned' from entering National Television Awards

Ant & Dec 'banned' from entering National Television Awards

Ant & Dec will no longer be eligible to enter the National Television Awards under new plans, it has been reported.

Organisers at the annual ceremony have allegedly decided to remove the pair from the shortlist after tiring of them winning the 'Entertainment Presenter' prize - which they've secured for the past 11 years in a row.

Producer Indigo Television instead plans to name the award after Ant & Dec as a tribute to their past success in the category, The Sun reports.

"Ant & Dec have taken more awards than any other show or star in the ceremony's 17-year history," a source said.

"So now there's talk they will step out of the competition to give others a chance and organisers will rebrand the category 'The Ant & Dec Entertainment Presenter Award'.

"It will be news to them and the idea will depend on whether they want to go along with it. They might just say 'No', in which case the organisers can't not let them enter."

Mark Wright recently described Ant & Dec as his "heroes", confessing that they inspired him to become a presenter following his I'm A Celebrity stint.

Gemma McCluskie death: Canal body confirmed as ex-'EastEnders' actress

Gemma McCluskie death: Canal body confirmed as ex-'EastEnders' actress

A body discovered at a canal in London has been formally identified as ex-EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie.

Police have confirmed that the headless torso found in Hackney is that of McCluskie, who played Kerry in over 30 episodes of the BBC soap in 2001.

The 29-year-old disappeared from Bethnal Green, east London, last Thursday (March 1).

Scotland Yard officers, who are reviewing CCTV footage of her last movements, say she was murdered and dumped in the canal after attending the opening of a new hospital.

Detective Superintendent Fiona Mallon, who is leading the investigation, said: "We urge anyone with any significant information about this case to contact us as soon as possible.

"In particular we would like to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity around her home address in Pelter Street in Bethnal Green."

A 35-year-old man, thought to be McCluskie's brother, still remains in custody following his arrest in connection with the case.

Her EastEnders co-star Dean Gaffney recently said that he was "utterly devastated" by her disappearance.

Misha Collins has revealed new details about his upcoming Supernatural return.

'Supernatural' star on return: 'My character's changed'

Misha Collins has revealed new details about his upcoming Supernatural return.

Castiel (Collins) appeared to die earlier in the show's seventh season, but will reappear in forthcoming episode 'The Born-Again Identity'.

"Sam (Jared Padalecki) is in really dire straits," the actor told TV Guide. "Dean (Jensen Ackles) is definitely looking to lean on the character for help."

Collins added that his angel character has "changed" since his last appearance in 'Hello, Cruel World'.

"There's a kind of big experience that is being kicked off at the end of my first episode [back]," he explained. "Cas is going to go through yet another transformation and on to another kind of struggle and journey. Once again, he'll be put through the wringer."

The former series regular added that he would be happy to return to Supernatural if the show is picked up for an eighth season.

"There's no reason why it couldn't happen," he suggested. "I have been resurrected from the dead around four times. So no amount of death or destruction seems to be insurmountable in the Supernatural universe."

Supernatural returns to The CW on Friday, March 16 at 9/8c.

'Fringe' casts Georgina Haig in guest role

'Fringe' casts Georgina Haig in guest role

Georgina Haig has won a guest role on Fringe.

The Australian actress will appear in the 19th episode of the Fox sci-fi drama's fourth season, according to TVLine.

She has been cast as Etta, a government operative paired with a male agent, played by Lost star Henry Ian Cusick.

Haig has predominantly worked in Australian television, starring in crime drama Underbelly and children's series The Elephant Princess.

Michael Massee also recently signed up to appear in the fourth season of Fringe. The Se7en actor will play a "memorable guest bad guy" in the 15th episode, expected to air in March.

Fringe showrunners Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman recently admitted that they are "hoping for the best" regarding the show's future, with recent rumours suggesting that the series could return for an abridged final season.

The show's fourth run resumes on Fox on March 23 at 9/8c.

Fashion Star: Meet designers Lizzie Parker, Luciana Scarabello

Fashion Star: Meet designers Lizzie Parker, Luciana Scarabello

Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos serve as the celebrity mentors on NBC's new design competition Fashion Star, which is hosted and executive produced by Elle MacPherson. Fourteen designers will battle to impress the mentors and representatives from America's top retailers to win the multi-million prize to launch their designs.

Lizzie Parker left her corporate job to pursue her fashion dreams using just two used sewing machines. The 42-year-old mother from Seattle, WA, now owns her own boutique and aims to create accessible clothing for the average American woman and her everyday life.

Luciana Scarabello is from Argentina but moved to the US when she attended college in Boston. The 30-year-old, who now resides in Miami, FL, started making her own outfits at just 14, before studying at Parsons School of Design and going on to design the 'Scarabello' dress line which is sold in over 100 stores across the country.

JLS: 'X Factor panel is fantastic'

JLS: 'X Factor panel is fantastic'

JLS have said that they believe the new X Factor judges did a "fantastic" job on last year's series.

The 'Take A Chance On Me' singers, who came second on the ITV contest's 2008 edition, said they disagreed with criticism of panellists Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland.

"I thought personally the judging panel last year was fantastic," JLS member JB Gill told The Mirror. "I think you could see the chemistry the judging panel had on screen and the year was a success generally.

"They had a new judge in Tulisa go on and win the show with Little Mix. All the judges have proven their worth to the show."

However, Marvin Humes said that he would be happy to see X Factor boss Simon Cowell return.

"It'd be great to for Simon to come back," he said. "He came back this year on Britain's Got Talent so who knows - he might make an appearance again on X Factor this year.

"It's his show - Simon is The X Factor, so it'd be amazing for him to take up a chair."

Duncan Bannatyne: 'I'm too broke for Dragons' Den'

Duncan Bannatyne: 'I'm too broke for Dragons' Den'

Duncan Bannatyne has teased that he is too broke after his divorce to invest during the new series of Dragons' Den.

The health club boss announced in July 2011 that he is to separate from Joanne McCue after five years of marriage. Their divorce was finalised in December.

"I'm not looking at investing in anything new," he told The Mirror. "Because of the divorce, I can't. It's costing a lot and I can't predict the effect on my finances.

"Both of our lawyers are costing me a fortune. My issue is that this is my children's money that's being taken. The money is going on nothing right now and that should be for my children's futures."

Bannatyne's spokesperson insisted that the 63-year-old would be returning to Dragons' Den as planned, but did not explain his comments any further.

A BBC representative concurred: "Duncan is very much committed to Dragons' Den and always on the lookout for new investment opportunities."

Bannatyne made a "substantial contribution" to a fund for victims of the London riots in the midst of his divorce battle last August.

'Glee' to air Whitney Houston tribute episode

'Glee' to air Whitney Houston tribute episode

Glee will pay tribute to Whitney Houston in an upcoming episode, reports have revealed.

The Fox drama is currently shooting an instalment which features eight songs from the late musician, E! Online reports.

A source claimed that the episode will "not be a typical tribute" and added that it will focus on the graduating characters struggling to deal with the changes in their lives.

"It's using Whitney's music as a way to say goodbye," the insider said. "A way to respectfully say thank you for her music."

Lea Michele, who plays Rachel in Glee, recently posted on Twitter that the cast were paying tribute to a star, saying: "Starting a new episode today. A very special tribute to one of the worlds most amazing singers. Very excited about this one."

She later added that she was "singing a really great version of one of [her] favourite songs" with Amber Riley, Naya Rivera and Chris Colfer and teased: "Filming something right now that's going to be really special.. Can't wait for you all to see it..."

Following Houston's death earlier this year, Riley sang 'I Will Always Love You' on Glee. The performance had always been planned but the show paid tribute to Houston by adding a title card in her memory at the end of the episode.

Glee is currently on hiatus and will return on April 10 on Fox in the US, though it is not yet clear when the tribute episode will air. The show continues on Thursdays at 9pm on Sky1 in the UK.

Jonah Hill on 'Saturday Night Live': 'I don't want to fall off my face'

Jonah Hill on 'Saturday Night Live': 'I don't want to fall off my face'

Jonah Hill has joked that he doesn't want his second appearance on Saturday Night Live to be a flop.

The 21 Jump Street actor returns to SNL this weekend for the first time since 2008 and he told Access Hollywood that he does not want to suffer a "sophomore slump".

"You just try not to fall on your face," Hill joked. "I think I did pretty well the first time, but now it's [the] sophomore slump. [I've] got to get over the sophomore slump."

Hill's first hosting stint saw him make out with Andy Samberg's father in a 'Digital Short' and portray a lecherous gameshow host. The actor hinted that he will be up to similar antics on this week's Saturday Night Live.

"I don't know if I make out with anyone this go around... It's too early in the week," Hill quipped. "I'm accused of having sex with Fred Armisen, playing a monkey - not to give too much away.

"It's alleged. It's not totally grounded in truth yet, we'll see what happens."

Hill also revealed that his 21 Jump Street co-star Channing Tatum might make a cameo appearance on the sketch comedy show.

The Shins join Hill on Saturday Night Live, airing at 11.30/10.30c on NBC.

'Awake': 'The Little Guy' recap

'Awake': 'The Little Guy' recap

This Week... Britten (Jason Isaacs) investigates the death of a fertility doctor, which begins to collide with the murder of a homeless man in the other world. As his personal life begins to feel the strain, Britten's captain Tricia Harper (Laura Innes) grows concerned with his behaviour...

Two World Order... Following on from last week's impressive, scene-setting opener, episode two of Awake seeks to explore the deeper ramifications of Michael Britten's unique situation. But it also takes a big misstep that threatens to derail the entire series...

In Rex's world (the green universe), our hero investigates the death of Bernard McKenzie, a fertility doctor who seemingly died of a heart attack, but was in fact dosed with potassium chloride. This sparks Britten's interest in a cold case in Hannah's world (the red universe) - the murder of a homeless man.

Clearly there's still some concern that this constant jumping between worlds will prove confusing, since - in addition to the change of colour palette - there's now a visual motif that accompanies Britten's transition between his two lives.

'The Little Guy' does a good job of examining how Britten's condition is putting a strain on his personal relationships. His teenage son Rex is pulling away from him - though credit to actor Dylan Minnette that the character doesn't grate, like so many other moody TV teens...

But the bigger problem for Britten is his wife Hannah (Laura Allen) - since he's still in touch with Rex, Britten's unable to really empathise with his wife's grief over their son's loss, which begins to put a strain on his marriage.

What's more, his Insistence on following seemingly random leads and theories frustrate his fellow cops - both 'red' partner Vega (Wilmer Valderrama) and 'green' partner Bird (Steve Harris) are losing patience.

In Hannah's world, the homeless man was shot by a "little guy", and this fuels Britten's police work in Rex's world, eventually leading him to McKenzie's killer....

Chirpy therapist Dr. Evans (Cherry Jones) wants our lead to embrace the connection between his "conscious and unconscious mind" to process his emotional issues, while the stern Dr. Lee (BD Wong) warns Britten that his condition is "a problem... not a tool".

But the focus is very much on Britten's personal life this episode and regrettably that means that one intriguing theme introduced in the pilot - the psychological impact that all this could potentially have on Britten - isn't really followed up here.

Hopefully the show won't shy away from this potentially fascinating area in future - the contrasting therapy sessions with Evans and Lee can be used for far more than just delivering exposition.

However, any criticisms we might have had were minor until this week's final scene. Laura Innes (ER) was introduced earlier in 'The Little Guy' as Britten's concerned police captain, and it was a relief to see the actress finally being handed some decent material, atfer last year's NBC misfire The Event spectacularly wasted her talent.

Unfortunately, with the revelation that Britten's car accident was all part of some great conspiracy - of which Innes's character was a part - we're back in Event territory. It's a a hackneyed notion, and it's not as if this show doesn't have enough going on already.

Despite its unusual concept, Awake is perhaps not quite as revolutionary as one might have hoped. It's chiefly a procedural and, at times, a frustrating one. But there's plenty of untapped potential here and thankfully there's still enough of a human element to Britten's story to keep this viewer interested, for now.

'Jersey Shore' episode 10 recap: 'One Meatball Stands Alone'

'Jersey Shore' episode 10 recap: 'One Meatball Stands Alone'

Will you ever be able to watch Jersey Shore the same way again following Snooki's big announcement that she's both pregnant and engaged? Is our hard-partying meatball gone for good?

Well, that remains to be seen, as this season was filmed way before her happy news arrived, but how appropriate that this week's episode is all about how in love Snooki and now-fiancé Jionni really are?

It all starts with last week's bombshell that Mike is finally going to tell Jionni about his alleged hook-up with Snooki before Italy. Jionni will be mad, right? We'll see fireworks? He'll march upstairs, confront Snooki and demand to know the truth? Clearly, that's what Mike is hoping for, but sadly for him, he has to make do with no response but a handshake.

A whole season's worth of build-up to this moment concludes with Jionni calmly nodding his head while Mike talks, before disappearing off upstairs to cuddle with a sleepy Snooki and say how laughable he found the entire story.

Mike has to make do with telling himself that Jionni's lack of reaction means he just doesn't care about Snooki, a theory which Sammi and the guys seem to share. The next theory is that Jionni doesn't care because he's hooking up with girls on the side. "Their relationship is a joke," decides Pauly D.

But, while Jionni is taking the news well, Snooki is seriously annoyed at Mike's betrayal and tells him he's a "psycho" and there is no way they will ever be friends again. Side note: we learn Jionni hates starting arguments and confrontations, while Snooki is more than willing to start throwing pickles around to defend herself. Maybe opposites really do attract…

For his part, Mike remains calm. "I couldn't look your boyfriend in the eye, take shots and be friends knowing that had happened," he says. "I want you to go f**king die and rot in a hole!" screams Snooki. "Well, that's not very nice," chides Mike.

They manage to get their frustrations with each other out later that night in the civilised, grown-up manner of a messy food fight. Snooki's armed with milk and screaming "You like milk, Popeye?" Mike's going into battle with ketchup and mustard. God help whoever has to tidy the Shore House.

Bottom line is that Snooki's furious at Mike (aka the "worst friend" she's ever had), Mike thinks he's done nothing wrong and has ultimately won the war.

Whatever. Snooki's confident she and Jionni will be just fine. "Me and Jionni are getting married when he proposes," she declares. "I don't know when he'll do it, but it better be in the future."

One person not so happy with Snooki's loved-up state, however, is Deena, who feels like "one meatball standing alone" now that her best friend is wrapped up in a relationship.

It all comes to a head when Deena arranges a date with Joey, who, obviously, the housemates can't stand. In fact, they're so against the match that Pauly gets on the phone with Joey to tell him Deena's sick and can't come out.

"What a joke," fumes Joey, who's been waiting outside on the street for her to come out. That comment clearly irks Jenni who thinks he should be offering chicken soup and soda, so he gets an earful from her when he calls back and is politely told Deena won't recover from her illness, so bye bye.

An emotional and tearful Deena just wants to let loose on a big night out, but Snooki's upstairs cuddling with Jionni. She heads off with Jenni, Sammi and Ronnie instead, where it emerges both she and Jenni miss spending time with Snooki.

They get the chance to voice those thoughts when Snooki comes up with the genius idea to go camping. The gang - minus Pauly and Vinny - head off to the woods to pitch tents and chat around a campfire, where Snooki says that she's sorry her friends feel that way, but she's in love: "Don't make me feel guilty."

So, while it's getting pretty heavy out in the wilderness (or wherever they are), back at the house Pauly and Vinny clearly have too much time on their hands as they plan the mother of all pranks, even roping in Shore Store owner Danny and his friends to help them.

The basic idea is they're flipping the house inside out, so the living room furniture is going in the patio, the patio stuff is coming inside, etc. How will the other housemates react? Guess we'll find out next week…

Jersey Shore airs Thursdays at 10/9c on MTV

Rush Limbaugh broadcasts silence as advertisers flee show

Rush Limbaugh broadcasts silence as advertisers flee show

A number of advertisers have pulled out of advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Show in the ongoing storm over his comments about student Sandra Fluke.

Of the 86 commercials during yesterday's New York broadcast (March 8), 77 were unpaid public service announcements from the Ad Council, The Hollywood Reporter says.

Of the remaining nine ads, seven were from firms who are said to be in the process of removing their commercials from the show, Media Matters reports.

Thursday's show on WABC 770 AM is reported to have included five minutes of dead air spread over four instances, though it was not confirmed if this was due to technical problems or missing advert spots.

Limbaugh attracted criticism after calling Georgetown University law student Fluke a "prostitute" and a "slut" over her testimony to the House of Representatives regarding insurance coverage for contraception.

Fluke rejected Limbaugh's apology over the incident, noting that he merely said that "his choice of words was not the best" and that it only came only as his sponsors left the show.

Peter Gabriel has called for his music to be pulled from any of Limbaugh's shows.

Actress Patricia Heaton apologised this week after her own criticism of Fluke on Twitter.

'Strictly' Len Goodman: 'The BBC deserve my loyalty'

'Strictly' Len Goodman: 'The BBC deserve my loyalty'

Len Goodman has promised that he will never quit Strictly Come Dancing and claimed that he owed the BBC his loyalty to the reality programme.

The veteran dance teacher said that he would remain on the panel for as long as the broadcaster didn't "get fed up with me", and insisted that his heavy workload with Strictly and the US series Dancing with the Stars wasn't too much for him.

"I have no intention of stopping or slowing down. I'm in a position where I could do that, but once I stop I know what would happen, I'd be sitting indoors on a Saturday night watching Strictly Come Dancing and I'd be thinking, 'That's a bloody stupid thing to say' and thinking, 'I wish I'd kept going'," he told The Mirror.

Goodman, 67, also dismissed reports that the Strictly judges were unhappy with their pay.

"But if they give me more, I'm not going to say no to it," he joked.

Commenting on Alesha Dixon's departure to ITV1 to judge Britain's Got Talent, he added: "The BBC were wonderful - they didn't know who I was really, I'm just a dance teacher.

"They gave me an opportunity to do Strictly Come Dancing, which was a life-changing event really, and I think that they deserve my loyalty, and my loyalty is what they will get."

The BBC are expected to announce a replacement for Alesha Dixon on Strictly during the summer. Karen Hardy, Kara Tointon and Darcey Bussell are among the stars tipped to be in the running.

'Glee' falls to 280,000 viewers on Sky1

'Glee' falls to 280,000 viewers on Sky1

Glee shedded a sizeable percentage of viewers week-on-week last night, according to overnight data.

Episode 11 of the US import managed only 281k (1.1%) on Sky1, compared to the 406k who tuned in the previous week.

The multichannel ratings were again dominated by Celebrity Juice. The show grabbed 1.64m (8.6%) from 10pm, with a further 229k (2.2%) on timeshift.

Elsewhere, the latest episode of Ringer, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, took 119k (0.5%).

On the terrestrials, Kidnap and Ransom dipped as it ended its three-episode run with 3.83m (14.7%) on ITV1 (+1: 139k/0.8%).

David Walliams' Big Swim: A Sport Relief Special aired in the same 9pm timeslot, attracting 3.29m (13.4%). Earlier, The Great British Countryside had 3.03m (12.2%).

Europa League football continued to perform exceptionally well for Channel 5, as 3.47m (14.4%) watched last night's Manchester United match against Athletic Bilbao.

White Heat premiered on BBC Two with 1.74m (7.1%) from 9pm. Natural World attracted 1.4m (5.6%) in the 8pm hour.

Finally, Channel 4 showed Location, Location, Location and Make Bradford British, which appealed to 1.37m (5.5%) from 8pm (+1: 256k/1%) and 1.81m (7.4%) from 9pm (+1: 269k/1.5%) respectively.

ITV1 secured primetime victory overall with 20% (+1: 0.5%), beating BBC One's 17.7%. Channel 5 took third place with 11.4%. BBC Two had 6.3% and Channel 4 ended up with 5.3% (+1: 0.9%).

Daughtry to perform on 'American Idol's Top 12 results show

Daughtry to perform on 'American Idol's Top 12 results show

Daughtry will perform on American Idol's results show next week.

Chris Daughtry will return to the Fox competition on Thursday, March 15 to perform 'Outta My Head', the third single to be taken from the band's third album Break The Spell.

The same night, one of the remaining Top 12 contestants will be sent home.

Next week's results show will also mark the first appearance of Tommy Hilfiger on the show. The fashion designer joined the programme this week as an image advisor for the finalists, to help them work on defining their stage performances and cultivating their style.

This week's American Idol results show saw Jeremy Rosado become the first of the Top 13 singers to exit the competition.

Rosado was revealed to have polled the fewest number of public votes of all the males, while Elise Testone ranked bottom among the female singers.

In a twist to mark the show's 400th episode, judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson then had to choose which contestant to send home, ultimately opting for Rosado, who had entered the Top 13 as a judges' wildcard pick.

The male contestants had performed tracks by Stevie Wonder the previous night, while the females had taken on songs by the late Whitney Houston.

Last season's runner-up Lauren Alaina and Mary J. Blige, who served as a mentor this week, both performed.

American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox.

TV Tonight 10th of March 2012

TV Tonight 10th of March 2012

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

    20/20 S34E30: "My Strange Affliction (2)"
    48 Hours Mystery S25E19: "The Boy Next Door"
    Area no Kishi S01E10: "Episode 10"
    Bakuman. S02E23: "Winning and Losing"
    Bayou Billionaires S01E08: "Southern Fried Fitness"
    Ben 10: Ultimate Alien S02E29: "Night of the Living Nightmare"
    Beyblade: Metal Fusion S02E31: "Brazilian Trap"
    Billy the Exterminator S05E11: "Roadkill"
    Billy the Exterminator S05E10: "Swamp Monster"
    Billy the Exterminator S05E09: "Night of the Living Possums"
    Bleach (US) S13E15: "The Long Awaited... Kenpachi Appears!"
    Cardfight!! Vanguard S01E62: "Episode 62"
    Casualty S26E26: "Ricochet "Damage Control""
    Color Splash S10E16
    Fairy Tail S03E26: "The Right to Love"
    Game Change S01E01: "Season 1, Episode 1"
    Harry Hill's TV Burp S14E06: "Series 14, Episode 6"
    Last Exile (JP) S02E19: "Episode 19"
    Let's Dance for Comic Relief S04E04: "Series 4, Episode 4"
    Match of The Day S47E39: "Season 47, Show 39"
    Must Love Cats S02E01: "Season 2, Episode 1"
    My Big Redneck Vacation S01E08: "Health Ledger"
    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic S02E20: "It's About Time"
    Pokémon S15E04: "Ash Versus the Champion!"
    Power Rangers S19E04: "Something Fishy"
    Q'Viva! The Chosen S01E02: "Season 1, Episode 2"
    Saturday Kitchen S10E37: "March 10, 2012"
    Saturday Night Live S37E17: "Jonah Hill / The Shins"
    Shakugan no Shana S03E22: "Episode 22"
    Soccer AM S16E31: "Series 16, Episode 31"
    Take Me Out (UK) S03E10: "Series 3, Episode 10"
    Take Me Out: The Gossip S01E10: "Episode 10"
    Tanked S02E02: "Rules of Engagement"
    The Aquabats Super Show S01E02: "Mysterious Egg!"
    The Bronson Pinchot Project S01E05: "Greek Revitalized"
    The Ellen DeGeneres Show S09E119: "Jason Segel, Cirque du Soleil's Ants"
    The Firm S01E10: "Chapter Ten"
    The Football League Show S03E28: "Series 3, Episode 28"
    The Jonathan Ross Show S02E10
    Transformers: Prime S02E04: "Operation Bumblebee | Part 1"
    Vanilla Ice Project S02E10: "Baby Got Back Yard"
    You've Been Framed S19E24: "March 10, 2012"
    Young Justice S01E20: "Coldhearted"
    Zero no Tsukaima S04E10: "Episode 10"

Davis Guggenheim Obama Ad Uses Osama bin Laden's Death to Sell Re-Election

Davis Guggenheim Obama Ad Uses Osama bin Laden's Death to Sell Re-Election

In case you've forgotten, Barack Obama was the president who ordered the death of Osama bin Laden.

Thought Obama supporters might leave it up to voters to remember that for themselves? Think again. In his latest documentary-style extended campaign ad about the president, Oscar-winning "An Inconvenient Truth" director Davis Guggenheim tries to make sure viewers keep it at the front of their minds until Election Day.

Guggenheim, who also directed the Obama ad that aired near the end of the 2008 election, asks voters to look at the last four years in their entirety, and not just at a given day's headlines. Narrator Tom Hanks asks, "How do we understand this president and his time in office? Do we look at the day's headlines? Or do we remember what we, as a country, have been through?"

That means reminding viewers that Obama made the call on OBL -- and ensuring that he doesn't become a one-termer despite a major military success, like the first President Bush did after the Gulf War.

But presidents who call attention to military victories walk a fine line. The second President Bush's critics derided his 2003 "Mission Accomplished" stunt as an attempt to prematurely reap political benefits from the situation in Iraq.

In a trailer for the Obama ad, which debuts March 15, Obama loyalists including David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Vice President Joe Biden and others list his challenges and successes. They include facing an economic meltdown soon after taking office and fighting for health care for the uninsured.

Then Biden delivers the rhetorical kill shot: The bin Laden decision was Obama's alone.

Britney Spears Rejects $10M Bid to Judge 'X Factor' - She Wants $20M! (Exclusive)

Britney Spears Rejects $10M Bid to Judge 'X Factor' - She Wants $20M! (Exclusive)

Britney Spears has rejected a $10 million offer to judge the next season of “The X Factor,” TheWrap has learned.

So the question is: How much is Fox going to have to pony up? Try $20 million.

Reports this week that the pop star was considering a $10 million offer to judge next fall’s seasons of “The X Factor” are out of date, according to a knowledgeable individual in Spears’ camp.

The singer rejected that offer three weeks ago and is instead thinking about an offer to become a resident performer at a Las Vegas hotel in the fall, a la Celine Dion.

So here comes a game of chicken. Fox desperately needs a big name to announce on the judge’s panel of Simon Cowell’s show, now that NBC’s hit show “The Voice” will be competing with them in the fall.

Spears’ camp wants $20 million. (EvenI think that’s ridiculous and Fox won’t pay that.)

But the reality is it’s becoming an arms race for singing talent being paid to sit behind tables and… talk.

NBC has put its money where its mouth is, paying Christina Aguilera upward of $10 million to come back and judge the new season of “The Voice.” They’ve given handsome paychecks, if not as much, to the other judges as well.

What Fox has shelled out for the “X Factor” judges pales in comparison. Paula Abdul was paid $2.5 million for the last season, according to another knowledgeable insider, and she was announced at the 11th hour.

She was also fired, as were judge Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones.

“X Factor” is already recording its audition phase, but won’t need the judges until the end of May.

Fox wouldn't comment. Spears' camp wouldn't comment. Simon Cowell's camp wouldn't comment.

But what the network wants is a big piece of news to present to advertisers at their upfront sales presentations on May 14.

Where does this game of chicken end? Somewhere in between, I would imagine.

'Walking Dead' Delivers Another Shocker -- and You Should Watch

'Walking Dead' Delivers Another Shocker -- and You Should Watch

("Walking Dead" spoiler warning: Don't read this if you want to avoid discussion of a major plot point in season two).

After the initial shock of last Sunday's "The Walking Dead" wears off, viewers will likely be left with this thought: how can they top it before the season ends?

Don't worry, we're not going to reveal any specific spoilers -- though an AMC ad inadvertently did that very thing recently. Suffice it to say that the end of "Better Angels," which airs Sunday, will come as a surprise even to those who've devoured Robert Kirkman's "Walking Dead" comics.

The entire episode is a tension-filled gem, with an unexpected admission by Lori that leads Shane off on his most dangerous plot yet, involving Rick, prisoner Randall, Lori, Daryl, Glenn and Carl. And there's still one episode left after Sunday -- the second-season finale airs March 18.

'Game Change' Review: Sarah Palin Has Nothing to Complain About

'Game Change' Review: Sarah Palin Has Nothing to Complain About

Sarah Palin would be lucky if everyone portrayed her as generously as Julianne Moore does in "Game Change."

The United States is filling up with people who wholeheartedly embrace one political party and reject everyone in the other. They don't just reject the other party's platform -- if they even know what it is. They just reject other people because they have an R or a D next to their names. They are dumb and tiresome.

Palin's most ardent supporters would like you to believe that the creators of HBO's "Game Change" are these kinds of people -- or worse, that they are liberal Hollywood elites out to shamelessly stoke the passions of knee-jerk Democrats and brainwash the uninformed.

They aren't. (Well, except for the liberal Hollywood elites part.) "Game Change," premiering Saturday, is a surprisingly balanced and relentlessly fair portrayal of Sarah Palin's 2008 vice presidential run. It is proof that people of one side can have empathy for those on the other, even as they critique them.

This makes "Game Change" in some ways a more informative and useful presentation than news coverage that treats politics as a game, with two equal teams, never to be fundamentally changed.

The film doesn't seem to care about playing gotcha. It seems genuinely interested in understanding a character the filmmakers must have truly struggled to understand. Almost all of them, from director Jay Roach to executive producer Tom Hanks, to the lead actors, including Moore, Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris, have proudly supported Democrats in the past.

Ed Harris and Woody Harrelson in Game Change

The filmmakers' admitted liberal leanings will make anything they say, including the truth, suspect to their loudest conservative critics. (2008 presidential candidate John McCain and Palin are among those who have rejected the film.) But the "Game Change" creators seem to have swallowed the most damning things they could have said about Palin and McCain.

The film even skips some of the more personal and incendiary charges included in its source material, the book of the same name by reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. No mention is made, for example, of the whispers and intimations that both  McCain and his wife had affairs. The film could have sought tawdry drama by reviving such innuendo. It doesn't.

Instead, it makes a simple case that is also demonstrably true: Sarah Palin had huge gaps in her foreign policy knowledge when she was elevated from Alaska governor to vice presidential candidate. Her selection was rushed and so was her background check. You don't need a liberal hatchet job to come to these conclusions. Just watch her interviews from 2008.

No, she never said, "I can see Russia from my house," any more than Al Gore said, "I invented the Internet." The misquotations caught on because they played into existing narratives.

But she did say a great many other dumb things, and made glaring mistakes. "Game Change," the book and the movie, indicate that she thought the queen was the acting head of England's government.

Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in Game Change

Palin was ignorant about foreign affairs. Some people will add on that she was  megalomaniacal, psychotic and all sorts of other impressive words that no one can prove are accurate. So let's stick with the one we can readily verify. The reporters behind "Game Change" -- and the creators of the HBO film -- make the case repeatedly and convincingly, without any sense of glee.

Palin pressed on confidently in the race, despite her foreign policy ignorance, because she believed her selection was "God's plan," as she's quoted saying in the book and the film. Some people will call this humility, others, again, megalomania. Moore, who plays Palin with more respect and less gotcha than critics will ever admit, delivers the line as if Palin truly believes it.

Decisions like this one -- to state the facts and spin them as little as possible -- protect "Game Change" from most-based criticisms.

And so its critics are forced to invoke change-the-subject arguments, as Palin recently did when asked about Rush Limbaugh calling a woman a "slut" because they had different opinions about, essentially, what should be covered by private insurance. Rather than join him in saying his remarks were uncalled for, she argued that "leftist radicals" say horrible things and get away with it. As if that cancels out Limbaugh's foul.

The refusal of the "Game Change" producers to get in the mud -- to bring out the really harsh, but less provable and more distasteful allegations -- would, in a smarter and better world, make their film the subject of an open-minded discussion by people who want what's best overall, not just for those who have the same letters by their names that they do.

In a smarter and better world, people would give the film credit for giving Palin credit for the things she has done that have been indisputably good. Like her or not on specific policies, she has undeniably given hope and inspiration to many parents of special-needs children, for example.

One of the film's most effective moments -- as art and as information -- comes when we see Moore-as-Palin make an immediate connection with a special needs girl also named Sarah. Palin's biggest critics would benefit most from watching the scene, which shows her at her most appealing. Whether they want to understand her or just understand how to defeat her in future elections, the scene goes a long way to explaining her popularity.

Depressingly, the rigorous fairness of "Game Change" will cost it fans on both sides. Knee-jerk conservatives will refuse to consider that liberals might have any valid critiques of their hero. Knee-jerk liberals will wonder why the filmmakers didn't take every possible cheap shot.

It's easier to be completely one-sided than it is to be nuanced. Those who are hard to pin down are at once less hateable and less lovable. Oversimplification sells. The Rush Limbaughs and Sarah Palins and Keith Olbermanns and Michael Moores of the world benefit from it.

And that's too bad for those who might have something to offer both sides. The people who suffer most in our divided system are those like Palin's ostensible boss in 2008, McCain, who throughout his career was notoriously difficult to pin down ideologically. Barack Obama succeeded in large part by masterfully linking him to the unpopular George W. Bush, for whom McCain once felt a deep antipathy thanks to Bush's dishonest and race-baiting campaigning in South Carolina in 2000.

As sympathetically played by Ed Harris, McCain comes off as an at-least decent man whose great mistake was giving into the stupidity of our election cycles by choosing an unproven "star" rather than a more qualified veep prospect. Which feels pretty accurate.

But looking at the number of people who believe Obama is a Muslim from Kenya -- or that Palin's child is really her grandchild, or that McCain had a black love child instead of a Bangladeshi adopted daughter, or that "Game Change" is mere propaganda -- can you blame McCain for thinking so little of we, the voters?

Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' Tops 'Idol' to Give CBS Edge for Night; 'Awake' Drops 20%

Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' Tops 'Idol' to Give CBS Edge for Night; 'Awake' Drops 20%

CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" scored a decisive ratings win Thursday night to give the network a slight edge over Fox and "American Idol," while NBC's new drama "Awake" dropped from its already soft series premiere, according to preliminary numbers.

CBS tied with Fox in the key adults 18-49 demographic with an average 3.6 rating/10 share, but took the win in total viewership with an average 14.5 million total viewers. Though down slightly from its last original airing two weeks ago, "Big Bang Theory" at 8 took the top ratings spot with a 5.1/15 in the demo, and averaged 15.2 million total viewers. Following a "Big Bang" repeat at 8:30, "Person of Interest" at 9 climbed 10 percent in the demo versus its last original two weeks ago, taking a 3.4/9, with 15.8 million total viewers. (It the second-most watched show behind "Idol.") "The Mentalist" was also up slightly, receiving a 2.8/8 in the demo and drawing 13.8 million total viewers.

Fox took second place in total viewership with an average 12.1 million. "Idol" at 8 dropped 11 percent in the demo from last Thursday's Top 13 reveal for a 4.8/14 in the demo. "Idol" was the most-watched show of the evening with 17 million total viewers. "The Finder" -- which will soon be moving to a Friday night time slot -- was up 15 percent in the demo from its last original two weeks ago with a 2.3/6. It had 7.3 million total viewers.

NBC took third place in the demo with an average 1.8/5, and fourth place in total viewership with an average 4 million. "30 Rock" at 8 posted a 1.4/4 in the demo and 3.5 million total viewers, while "Parks and Recreation" at 8:30 rebounded from last week's season low, growing 12 percent in the demo with a 1.9/5 and taking 3.8 million total viewers. "The Office" at 9 drew a 2.6/7 in the demo and 5 million total viewers, while "Up All Night" at 9:30 posted a 1.7/4 in the demo and 3.5 million total viewers. The evening ended discouragingly for the network, with its new drama "Awake" dropping 20 percent from last week's series opener, receiving a 1.6/4 in the demo and 4.3 million total viewers.

ABC ran repeats throughout the evening, but nonetheless took third place in total viewership with an average 4.2 million total viewers. The network was fourth place in the demo, with an average 1.4/4.

Developement Update: the 10th of March

Developement Update: the 10th of March

BABY BIG SHOT (CBS) - Kyle MacLachlan ("Desperate Housewives") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery), a working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete with her more polished colleagues at a Manhattan law firm. He's on board as Donovan Stark ("a rhino who booms confidence and big-picture philosophy"), the founder of said firm, Stark & Cohen. Toni Trucks also stars in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, from writer Dana Calvo. (

BANSHEE (Cinemax) - Frankie Faison ("The Wire") has been cast in the upcoming drama at the pay channel, about an enigmatic ex-con (yet to be cast) who poses as a murdered sheriff in Banshee, Pennsylvania, imposing his own brand of justice while also cooking up plans that serve his own interests. He'll play Sugar Bates, "a powerful and wise former boxer and ex-con who is now the owner of the local watering hole." Daniel Ross, Matt Servitto and Trieste Dunn also star in the project, from co-creator Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler and executive producer Alan Ball. Greg Yaitanes is directing the pilot. (

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (ABC) - Karen LeBlanc ("Defying Gravity") has scored a role on the pilot, a drama set in a mythical city where its princess, Grace (Ruth Bradley), is tasked with quelling a rebellion. She'll play Ehren, the "drill-sergeant-y" leader of the rebels - a role originally written as male. Chris Egan, Darius Campbell, F. Murray Abraham and Meegan Warner also star in the ABC Studios-based hour, from writer Jonathan E. Steinberg and director Yves Simoneau. (

THE BLUE LAGOON (Lifetime) - Denise Richards ("Blue Mountain State") has joined the cast of the original movie, the network's contemporary remake of the 1980 film, which featured Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields as a boy and a girl marooned on a tropical island where they grow up together, fall in love and discover sexuality. She'll play Barbara Petersen, a successful and devoted mom who tirelessly searches for her daughter, Emma (Indiana Evans), who's been marooned on a tropical island with her classmate Dane (Brenton Thwaites). In addition, Atkins himself is set to film a cameo for the project, from executive producers Neil Meron, Craig Zadan and Judith Verno. (

CHICAGO FIRE (NBC) - Lauren German ("Hawaii Five-0") and Teri Reeves (Hulu's "Battleground") are the latest additions to the pilot, a drama about the heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department's Firehouse 55. The former is set as Leslie Shay ("pretty, with blond hair"), a paramedic who's joined at the hip with fellow EMT Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund); while Reeves will presumably play Hallie Casey, Matthew's (Jesse Spencer) doctor wife, whom he's newly separated from but still has a connection. Charlie Barnett, David Eigenberg, Eamonn Walker and Taylor Kinney also star in the project, from the Universal Television-based Wolf Films. Jeffrey Nachmanoff is directing from a script by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. (

DEFIANCE (Syfy) - Julie Benz, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray and Stephanie Leonidas have all been cast in the upcoming drama set in near future about a world where humans and aliens must learn to live together on an exotic new Earth that has been transformed by alien terra-forming machines. Benz will play Amanda Rosewater, "the idealistic newly appointed mayor of the mining boomtown who is determined to maintain peace in the community"; with Curran as Datak Tarr, "a member of another elite alien race known as the Castithans who schemed his way out of his home planet before it was destroyed"; Murray as Datak's beautiful and proper wife; and Leonidas as Irisa, "a beautiful warrior who is part of an alien race called the Irathients" who serves as law keeper Jeb Nolan's (Grant Bowler) right-hand. Scott Charles Stewart is directing the Universal Cable Productions-based project from a script by Rockne S. O'Bannon. (

FRIEND ME (CBS) - Tim Robinson has been cast in the comedy pilot, about best pals Rob and Evan (both yet to be cast) who have just moved to L.A. from Indiana to start new jobs at Groupon. He's presumably on board as Sully ("will never take a job that interferes with his beer-league hockey team"), one of their friends from back home. Ajay Sahgal and Alan Kirschenbaum are behind the CBS Television Studios-based half-hour, which also stars Parvesh Cheena. Pamela Fryman is directing. (

GO ON (NBC) - Allison Miller ("Terra Nova") and Khary Payton ("Powers") have both been cast in the Matthew Perry-led comedy pilot, about Ryan King, an irreverent yet charming sportscaster, who after his wife dies, finds surprising solace from the members of his support group. She'll guest as Carrie, Ryan's quirky assistant, a role which is in second position to the former FOX drama as producer 20th Century Fox Television continues to find a home for the project. Payton then is set as group member Don ("beaten-down, bitter and dry"), a working-class guy who went bankrupt and his wife took the kids and left. Julie White and Suzy Nakamura also star in the Universal Television-based half-hour, from writer Scott Silveri and director Todd Holland. (

GOTHAM (ABC) - Lennie James ("Hung") has scored a role on the pilot, a drama about Annie Travers (Megan Ketch), a cop who, after pursuing a seemingly unsolvable case, discovers a magical world that exists within New York City. He's on board as Gabriel Riga ("an Egyptian god in a suit"), a wealthy CEO running for mayor who has ties to said world. Barry Sloane also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, to be directed by Francis Lawrence from a script by Michael Green. (

GRACELAND (USA) - Scottie Thompson ("Trauma") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a group of agents from the DEA, FBI and U.S. Customs whose worlds collide while living together in an undercover house in Southern California. She's on board as Lauren Kincaid, "a loyal and determined DEA agent dealing with the repercussion of her wounded partner." Aaron Tveit, Brandon Jay McLaren, Daniel Sunjata and Manny Montana also star in the Fox Television Studios-based hour, from creator Jeff Eastin. (

L.A. NOIR (TNT) - Neal McDonough ("Justified") has signed on for a lead role on the drama pilot, about the epic battle between Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker and mobster Mickey Cohen in the 1950s. He'll play the former fellow, "a man with a long memory and a ruthless streak when provoked, is committed to rooting out corruption in the police department, and equally dedicated to bringing down Mickey Cohen and the mob." Jeremy Strong, Jon Bernthal and Milo Ventimiglia also star in the project, from writer/director Frank Darabont. (

THE LIFE (ABC) - Australian actress Radha Mitchell ("Silent Hill: Revelation 3D") has been tapped for the lead role on the drama pilot, about the widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband's role in order to protect her family. She'll play said woman, Marta Walraven, in the ABC Studios-based hour, from director Mark Pellington and writer Melissa Rosenberg. Lee Tergesen and Luke Goss also star. (

MALIBU COUNTRY (ABC) - Justin Prentice and Juliette Angelo have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about a woman (Reba McEntire) who divorces her broke, cheating rock star husband and moves her family from Nashville to the only asset she has left - a little house in Malibu. They'll play her teenage twins Cash ("good-looking, confident bordering on cocky") and Sarah ("while pretty, is not as confident as her brother") in the project, from ABC Studios, director John Pasquin and writer Kevin Abbott. Lily Tomlin and Sara Rue also star. (

THE NEW NORMAL (NBC) - Bebe Wood has been tapped for a role on the comedy pilot, about a gay couple - Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and Andrew (Justin Bartha) - and Goldie (yet to be cast), the woman who becomes a surrogate to help them start a family. She's set as Shania Clemmons, Goldie's eight-year-old daughter whom she had in her teens. Georgia King and Ellen Barkin also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, from co-creator Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler. (

- Matt Cook is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about Nick (Bryan Greenberg) a notorious womanizer who, after surviving a health scare, realizes that "the one" is his ex-turned-gal pal/business partner Wendy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), who's already engaged to a nice guy, Warren (Ryan Gaul). He's on board as Spencer ("early 20s, shy and 'adorkable'"), the IT guru at Nick and Wendy's company, Hip Trips Travel Group. Greg Grunberg also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, from Greg Berlanti and Greg Malins. James Burrows is directing. (

RAY DONOVAN (Showtime) - Steven Bauer ("Breaking Bad") and newcomer Devon Bagby have both boarded the drama pilot, about Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), Hollywood's best professional "fixer," the one called in to solve the complicated, confidential and controversial problems of the city's elite. He'll play Avi, "Ray's No. 1 man at his detective agency," with Bagby as Ray's son Conor. The show's ever-growing ensemble also includes Ambyr Childers, Dash Mihok, Eddie Marsan, Elliott Gould, Johnathon Schaech, Jon Voight, Katherine Moennig, Kerris Dorsey, Paula Malcomson, Peter Jacobson and Pooch Hall. Ann Biderman penned the script while Allen Coulter is directing. (

REWIND (Syfy) - Shane McRae ("The Help") is the first to land a role on the drama pilot, about a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who must use untested technology to travel back in time to alter past events in order to change the future and avoid a devastating terrorist attack. He's set as Henry Knox, "ex-Special Forces who now ranks as a field operative in a special division of the Department of Homeland Security." Jack Bender is helming the Universal Cable Productions-based project, written by Justin Marks. (

THE SELECTION (The CW) - Newcomer Celia Kate Massingham is the latest addition to the pilot, a drama set 300 years in the future about America Singer (Aimee Teegarden), a poor woman who is chosen by lottery to compete to become the next queen of a war-torn nation. She'll play one of the remaining female roles, which wasn't specified: America's maid Lucy ("fresh-faced, worried") or her fellow competitors Ashley ("beautiful, genuine, and naive") or Celeste ("smart, beautiful, and conniving"). Mark Piznarski is directing the Warner Bros. Television-based hour from a script by co-creators Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain. Ethan Peck, Leonor Varela, Martin Donovan, Peta Sergeant and Sean Patrick Thomas also star. (

SUPER FUN NIGHT (CBS) - British actor Kevin Bishop has booked the male lead on the comedy pilot, about three nerdy female friends - Kimmie, Helen-Alice and Marika - on their quest to have super fun every Friday night. He'll play Richard ("straight laced and cute"), a new co-worker - and potential love interest - of Kimmie's who just transferred from the London office. Rebel Wilson is behind the project, which is set up at the Warner Bros. Television-based Conaco Productions. (

TROOPER (CBS) - Timothee Chalamet, Quinn Shephard and Lily Pilblad have all scored roles on the drama pilot, about K.J. Flaxton (Mira Sorvino), a common-sense mother who becomes a New York State Trooper. They're set as her three kids: Lee ("the rebel with a cause"), Olivia ("the oldest; calling herself Olive these days") and Ruby ("prodigious prodigy"). Aron Eli Coleite is behind the project, from the Warner Bros. Television-Jerry Bruckheimer Television. Craig Gillespie is directing while Jay Hernandez also stars. (

THE UNPROFESSIONAL (ABC) - Mo Gaffney ("House of Lies") has been tapped for a role on the comedy pilot, about Hilary Pfeiffer-Dunne (Mary McCormack), a high-powered executive who now faces the biggest challenge of her life when she finds herself unemployed and acting as a full-time mom to her two teenagers. She'll play Robin, a down to earth supermom in her forties who routinely clashes with Hilary. Greg Germann also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, from writer Kari Lizer and director Craig Zisk. (

UNTITLED BEN FALCONE/LARRY DORF PROJECT (CBS) - Emily Alyn Lind and Quinn Friedman have both landed roles on the comedy pilot, about David (Ben Falcone), a single 37-year-old who loses everything he has in the real estate collapse and must move back in with his parents (Judd Hirsch, Andrea Martin). They'll presumably play Martin and Hannah, the youngest of David's sister Lisa's (Rachael Harris) three kids. Emily Rutherfurd also stars in the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television. (

UNTITLED MINDY KALING PROJECT (FOX) - Zoe Jarman and Dana DeLorenzo have each landed roles on the comedy pilot, about Mira Kaviraya (Mindy Kaling), a young doctor trying to navigate both her personal and professional lives. The former will play Betsy ("female Chris Farley"), one of the receptionists at her office; with DeLorenzo presumably as Mira's best friend Gwen, an attorney-turned-housewife who's always taking care of her. Ed Weeks also stars in the Universal Television-based half-hour, to be directed by Charles McDougall. (