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zondag 11 maart 2012

This TV Week in Review

This TV Week in Review

Some thoughts on the highs and lows and assorted other TV news that caught my eye this week:

DEAD MAN WALKING: So there I was watching AMC's The Walking Dead last Sunday — the first piece of TV I hungrily consumed after a week of mostly TV-free vacation (except for the Oscars, which I should have passed on) — and as self-righteous Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) yammers on about everyone's humanity being at stake if they execute their prisoner (Randall the Outsider), I start rolling my eyes and going, "Oh, die already, you blowhard." So imagine how bad I feel a few scenes later, after Dale walks away muttering "This group is broken" when he thinks he lost his argument — when in reality he didn't — and he stumbles across the zombie little Carl was unable to kill when he found the "walker" stuck in the mud earlier in the day. Down goes Dale for the count, trying to fight off the deadly bite but being bloodily, horribly eviscerated (as in disemboweled) in the process. Ugh.

Somehow it won't be much comfort telling him that Rick wasn't able to shoot Randall after all — because Carl was watching, soullessly urging him on with a "Do it, dad, do it!" — because even kindly Hershel (who sat out the debate, which also rankled Dale) can see that they won't be able to put Dale back together again. And while Rick was able to deliver the killing blow to little Sophia in the grim fall mid-season finale, it's up to Daryl to put Dale out of his misery with a "sorry brother." The Walking Dead reminds us all the time what a bloodthirsty lot we are, as many complained the show itself was stuck in the mud during this Hershel's farm period. But now we're in the season's final chapters, and the carnage is just getting started.

TRIBAL MADNESS: I won't even tell you what I was screaming at the TV Wednesday night as CBS's Survivor: One World truly went off the deep end — courtesy of one of the most loathsome players ever. Worse than Russell. Smarmier even than Johnny Fairplay. I'm talking, of course, of preening evil queen Colton, a spoiled-rotten unrepentant bigot who somehow has cowed the men on his tribe into letting him pull all the strings: "I'm running this entire show right now. If you can't see that, then you are Helen Keller." Not funny. Not cool. But true enough, and very true to bad form. In a decision he engineered that so flabbergasted Jeff Probst (who thought he'd seen it all) he called it "one of the craziest in the history of the game" and "one of the biggest and riskiest moves ever seen in this game," Colton convinces the Manono morons to sacrifice the immunity they've just won (in a blowout challenge) and take the Salani women's place at Tribal Council. "Have they really lost their mind?" wondered Kat (who's hardly the brightest bulb of her group). If not their mind, then surely their nerve.

But that's just how deep the hateful Colton's antipathy runs toward Bill, a struggling stand-up comic who is African American and has been known to sleep on friends' couches as he chases his dream. "I hate him. I want his head on a platter. I want him gone," Colton drones in one of his tantrums. Using a misstep by Leif as a pretext — calling the littlest player "an annoying Oompa-Loompa" and declaring, "That little Munchkin is about to get knocked back to Oz" — the equal-opportunity offender rallies his group (including a "completely bum-puzzled" Jay, as are we all) to prematurely sacrifice one of their own. Not Leif, but Bill, who had the audacity (and stones) to call Colton "a little stuck-up brat" to his face. Everyone else seems petrified to get on Colton's bad side. What is this, The Crucible? Only a bitch hunt instead of a witch hunt? Colton's behavior at Tribal Council is typically abhorrent, as he giggles and patronizes his black housekeeper and says dismissively of Bill, "I don't associate with [poor] people like that in the real world." Colton, who appears to have gone to the same finishing school as Hilly on The Help (and who could use a helping of humble pie), gets his way, as Bill is sent packing, but for how much longer?

THE TV JUKEBOX: Just how incestuous is this world of TV music competitions, anyway? Just a day or so after Kelly Clarkson, Lionel Richie and Robin Thicke appear on NBC's The Voice as guest mentors, they're announced as the celebrity stars (along with Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles) of ABC's summer singing contest Duets. Which does at least offer a new twist, as the established stars will sing alongside their protégés for the vote. But honestly, it's hard enough to tell these shows apart as it is.

Although there's no question that even in the "battle rounds," The Voice is so much more fresh and electrifying than American Idol as it winnows down its mostly unremarkable Top 13. I appreciate how the Voice judges are keeping an eye on the prize, selecting those they think have a shot at actually winning — but it was a tough call when Christina Aguilera's powerhouse belters Anthony Evans and Jesse Campbell went mano-a-mano on If I Ain't Got You. "Seriously, this kills me," she said.

On Idol, very few were killing it in the Whitney and Stevie catalogs, especially in the boy ranks. Yes, Jeremy Rosado seems like a sweet guy, but when he was picked as a "wild card" last week over a quirky original like Reed Grimm or a malleable kid (eliciting early stadium screams from the audience) like 15-year-old Eben Franckewitz, you could hear America groan while they refused to pick up the phones.

Final thought on this subject: How much more fun would Idol be if they let Steven Tyler or Randy Jackson swap seats with Jimmy Iovine? They'd be just as suitable as mentors, but they're toothless as judges (especially Steven), and it seems unfair to make us wait until results night to hear Jimmy's withering, spot-on critiques.

JUST DESSERTS: Best news of the week (though hardly unexpected): FX's renewal of Justified for a fourth season, the news of which arrived the same week as one of the current season's best and twistiest hours, establishing Neal McDonough's Quarles firmly in the pantheon of memorable villains with whom Raylan Givens has tangled. Raylan's in particularly hot water, as Quarles and restless sidekick Wynn Duffy do their darndest to frame him for the murder of Poor Gary (left on the lawn of Gary and Winona's old digs), with the Feebs and local Lexington detectives double-teaming the embattled marshal. Favorite moment: When Raylan explains why he threw the (now) incriminating bullet at Duffy — "told him the next one might be coming a little faster" — one of the Lexington shields can't help but laugh: "Deputy, that might just be the coolest thing I've ever laid ears on." Yes, Raylan is just that cool, and it's even cooler when he confesses he heard that line on the Johnny Carson show once. Not so cool is the attempt of crooked Sheriff Napier to set up Boyd Crowder for the car bombing the sheriff arranged himself.

But it's Quarles, unhinged and unleashed, who we're left with, as he's cut loose by his Detroit bosses after failing to nail Raylan. Popping an Oxy while driving and listening to the strains of a revival sermon about "the beast," this icy killer finds his way to Limehouse's holler, where he approaches the backwoods kingpin: "You said you liked to back the winning side." Game on, but who exactly are the players again?

NOVA NO MORE: Fox's cancellation of Terra Nova this week wasn't much of a surprise, given the middling ratings returns on its enormous investment and the network's obvious heel-dragging in recent weeks. It's too bad this ambitious production could never find the balance between its epic-scaled sense of adventure and its mawkish Disney lite characters. Next time when they swing the bat this hard, it might sense to have the show figured out first.

PUTTING ON THE SHOW: I'm still a believer in NBC's Smash, but at times (like this week's episode), it often feels like two shows battling for supremacy. There's the actual Smash, a fascinating saga about the making of a Broadway show. And there's a much clumsier thing called Smush, a trite and dull soap that's forever singing off key.

Here's the parts of Smash that I liked: Derek, that bully of a director, forcing Karen to do her Marilyn-esque "Happy Birthday" in front of the full ensemble, schooling Ivy on her shaky vibrato, and then having her coach Ivy in an awkward private session. Ivy barks at Karen, "Don't get ahead of yourself. ... I'm a grown-up, and I have a pretty clear sense of what I bring to the party." Tough words from a tough diva, but when Derek refuses to give Ivy feedback during rehearsal, she freezes and cries — her insecurities echoed in the neurotically splashy "Let's Be Bad" production number (also the episode title). I also identified with Julia's procrastination in delivering her new pages, even as the producer and director bark. And while I'm not wild about the Smash numbers that find characters bursting into song in their actual life, Karen's sultry "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" fantasy solo in front of her mirror worked well enough. Tom's pillow talk with his lawyer beau, remarking on how bad the sex was, had me reflecting on how one of the show's executive producers is David Marshall Grant, whose similar post-coital scene in thirtysomething (with Peter Frechette) many moons ago stopped the TV industry in its tracks. These days, not so much.

Here's the parts of Smush I wish I hadn't seen: Julia's boring son Leo being busted for smoking pot in the park, encouraging her gorgon overreaction and another mention of the (Noooo!) adoption, while smitten Michael Swift clings to her like a barnacle ... Michael's incredibly stilted "A Song For You" serenade to Julia — on her outside stoop! — while Leo (sigh) watches in horror from above (we know how you feel) ... the hideous Ellis weaseling his way into Eileen's office and confidences ... dialogue like "What's bigger than love?" as Michael discusses script changes (a pretext for flirting) with Julia ... anything involving Karen's boyfriend Dev's ambitions to become press secretary.

More Smash, less Smush please.

ODDS AND ENDS: Lindsay Lohan may have been a good sport, coming on to Saturday Night Live to spoof her tabloid bad-girl reputation, but any signs of her being a talented performer seem long ago and far away. (Jon Hamm, pretending to be her backup host, would have been more welcome.) Best bits: the Real Housewives of Disney parody — like Once Upon a Time crossed with GCB — and Bill Hader channeling Psycho's Norman Bates in his Shepard Smith impersonation, and returning to Weekend Update as James "king of the snakes" Carville. ... I really wanted to enjoy Katy Perry's grotesque take on a prison guard on Fox's Raising Hope, but the entire episode felt off, more shrill than usual, and Perry made me cringe more than laugh. ... Most puzzling midseason comeback: Fox's Breaking In, an aimless show not improved by the addition of a shticky Megan Mullally. ... I wonder if anyone else was thinking "What is that lady from The Event doing here?" when this week's Awake ended with the hero's police boss (Laura Innes) meeting on a park bench with a mysterious conspirator whom she accuses of "taking out [Michael's] whole family." Oh great, another layer of mystery on an already densely weird show.

THE HONOR ROLL: Leslie's drunken interview on Parks and Recreation with Indianapolis morning-show host Buddy Wood (Sean Hayes), who needles her: "Is it this sad, pathetic town that makes you drink this way?" Her response to his charges: "What? No! Preposterous! Are you in(hic)ebriated?" Pause. "That was bad timing." Anything but, actually. ... The converted wine fountain on Cougar Town. ... The "whip sound" app on The Big Bang Theory, which made me laugh out loud every time Sheldon used it (usually to mock Howard). ... In the same episode, Penny advising Amy not to confuse Star Trek with Star Wars. "They get all cranky when you mix the two up." Asked what's the diff, Penny replies, "There's absolutely no difference!" ... New Girl's Jess taking Nick to the doctor — her lesbian ob/gyn — for his touch-football injury, and giving him meds designed for severe menstrual cramps. Also: Schmidt's "Fredo kiss" when he thinks his best friend is dying. ... ABC's The River may be going nowhere in the ratings, but I was transfixed this week watching the crew of The Magus watching the recovered tapes of Emmet Cole, documenting his decline into madness and despair in the Amazonian jungle — but thankfully, not so desperate as to eat his trusty dog for protein. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought "Dharma" (as in Lost) when the episode ends at an abandoned outpost, Emmet's last known location.

AS HEARD ON TV: "I'd make fun of Sheldon for having girl problems if I weren't in shock that Sheldon has girl problems." — Leonard on The Big Bang Theory. ... "That is the most sickeningly sweet thing I have ever experienced — and I am sipping Kool Aid through a Red Vine." — Big Bang's Sheldon reacting to Howard and Bernadette's billing and cooing. ... "Sickly is the new sexy." — Big Bang's Penny trying to make sense of Amy's infatuation with Sheldon. (Can you tell I liked this week's episode?) ... "Are you accusing me of being a fake blond? Because if you need me to prove it to you, I might be inclined to break you over that stepladder, ride you like a teaser pony and paint this room an entirely different color." — Justified's Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) in a tense encounter with Marshal Raylan Givens.

Frankie Cocozza, Kirk Norcross 'end bromance'

Frankie Cocozza, Kirk Norcross 'end bromance'

Frankie Cocozza and Kirk Norcross have reportedly fallen out.

The pair met on Celebrity Big Brother and remained friends after the show, even planning to move in together and become the "Hugh Hefners of Essex".

They were also close to securing their own TV show, as Channel 5 was interested in commissioning the UK's answer to The Girls of the Playboy Mansion.

However, their friendship is said to have cooled after Norcross became jealous of the X Factor star's success with women and popularity in the media.

"They're both blaming their busy work schedules for them growing apart," a source told the Daily Star.

"But Kirk has been getting jealous of Frankie's success with the girls and his TV projects.

"They tend to go for the same girls and lately it's been ending in an argument. Kirk has taken himself off to Dubai for some time out from it all."

Cocozza was recently rejected by model-turned-bodybuilder Jodie Marsh.

'Parks and Recreation': Real labor union endorses Leslie Knope

'Parks and Recreation': Real labor union endorses Leslie Knope

NBC's "Parks and Recreation" may be off until April 19, but fictional Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her fictional candidacy for Pawnee City Council are still top of mind for the very real national labor union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME). Friday (March 9) the public sector union endorsed Knope today in what the group calls "a blatant attempt to draft Amy Poehler to speak at the union's biennial convention in June."

Gerald W. McEntee, president of AFSCME, which represents more than 250,000 parks and recreation workers, said on the union's website: "We proudly endorse Leslie Knope for Pawnee City Council.  Knope's public service and her passion for making our communities safer, healthier and stronger make her the right person for the job." 

McEntee added: "AFSCME members would be thrilled to have Amy Poehler at our convention. We are prepared to Ramp Up our campaign to draft her, and we will even have waffles for her backstage if she accepts." 

'The Vampire Diaries' does '1912': Five things to expect (without ruining the fun!)

'The Vampire Diaries' does '1912': Five things to expect (without ruining the fun!)

"Vampire Diaries" fans, if you ever listen to anything we say, listen to this: Do your best not to get spoiled for the big twist in Thursday's upcoming episode, because it's really freaking awesome. We had the opportunity to watch the episode a little early on Saturday night at PaleyFest's "Vampire Diaries" night, so we'll offer you a few teases, but we promise not to give anything away that might ruin your fun. (Or ours, when we watch out for your reactions on Twitter.)

As you already know, the episode takes us back to 1912, when Damon and Stefan return to Mystic Falls for a funeral, after nearly half a century away from their home. Here are a few other little tidbits we can tell you.

1. Alaric wakes up in jail after his encounter with Meredith and her gun. (Come on, you didn't think he'd get killed off yet, right? It's not even May sweeps.) He's healed from the wound she left in his chest, and Sheriff Forbes has some major questions for him.

2. Matt and Elena, teen detective team extraordinaire, get stuck in a closet together. In fact, this episode has a ton of great Matt-and-Elena bonding moments. He finally asks her what Stefan had that he didn't, back in early Season 1, and her answer to that question is completely unexpected and refreshing.

3. We'll meet Sage, the vampire who was essentially Damon's "Lexi," teaching him the ways of the vampire world in 1912. But you knew that. What you'll also discover is her surprising connection to the Original Family, which adds an interesting twist to any future involvement in present-day Mystic Falls. (And makes us re-think the photo of her crying from "A Murder of One.")

4. Damon and Stefan spend nearly the entire episode together -- today and in 1912. In the present day, the boys get together for a some brotherly bonding (read: day drinking) but their fun is cut short as Stefan grows more agitated, "freaking out" from his blood withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, Elena pays them a visit at a rather inopportune time, which could change their relationships a bit moving forward. Back in 1912, we see a tipping point between them that explains why Stefan and Damon had nothing to do with each other in the '20s. Every time we think we have the Salvatores' relationship issues figured out...

5. You will find out the identity of that serial killer that's been on a council rampage this season, once and for all.

As for what you won't see: Bonnie, Caroline, and Klaus aren't in this episode. (Neither are Jeremy or Tyler, obviously.) Bonnie and Caroline are helping Abby through her transition, and Klaus is probably off drawing pictures of farm animals.

We promise that there's so much to love, though. So much. This was by far one of our favorite episodes ever. Get your speculation on in the comments! Our lips are now sealed until Thursday night at 9 p.m. EST.

'Quantum Leap': Tube Talk Gold

'Quantum Leap': Tube Talk Gold

Veteran TV producer Donald Bellisario is probably best known to modern audiences for co-creating smash-hit US drama NCIS, but he also devised some of the most iconic shows of decades past. His list of credits includes Magnum, PI, Airwolf and the subject of this week's Tube Talk Gold - Quantum Leap...

Fondly remembered by fans and TV critics alike, Quantum Leap is the story of Dr. Sam Beckett, an uber-genius with six doctorates who is desperate to prove his theory of time travel. With his 'leaping' project on the verge of shutdown, Sam decides to risk his own life by entering the Project Accelerator!

Leaving behind a brilliantly late '80s interpretation of the future, Sam (Scott Bakula) leaps from body to body - materialising at different points in history to put things right that once went wrong. Sam's memory is disrupted by the leaping process, leaving him with a "Swiss cheese brain" - but luckily project observer Al (Dean Stockwell) is able to guide his friend, as a neurological hologram...

Armed with hybrid computer Ziggy, the snappily dressed, cigar-smoking Al is always around to advise Sam on what's required of him before he can take the next leap. But some mysterious force always prevents Dr. Beckett from simply returning home - "God or Time or something was just waiting for your quantum leap to correct a mistake," Al suggests in the pilot.

Even Al's help wasn't always enough - leaping into a new body, Sam would often find himself in a rather trying situation, lacking the necessary skills to pass himself off as the person he was supposed to be...

What's more, he never knew exactly who he was until he looked in the mirror - in an early episode, Sam's disappointed to lose cowgirl Tess (Kari Lizer) to the strapping Wayne (Marshall R. Teague), until he discovers that he's inhabiting the body of a gawky, balding man.

One of the strengths of this premise was the variety it offered - Quantum Leap was essentially a different show each week. It was science-fiction, sure, but the series also become a gangster drama, a detective thriller, an epic romance - the list goes on...

The nature of Sam's mission would also change from week to week. One episode might require him to patch up a relationship between a husband and wife, while another would see him involved in pivotal moments in history - the JFK assassination and Watergate scandal both cropped up across the show's four-year run.

On a few occasions, Sam even leaped into his past - in two-part third season premiere 'The Leap Home' - and also into Al's history - in moving season two finale 'M.I.A.'. And his interference in time could have serious consequences; many times, Sam changed history for the better, but on occasion, his actions led to a far worse sequence of events, such as in season four ender 'A Leap for Lisa'.

A consequence of all this leaping around in history was that Quantum Leap would often confront social issues too. Race, gender and politics all came under the microscope, while one particularly memorable episode - 1989's 'Jimmy' - saw Sam leap into the body of a young man with Down's syndrome. In 1964, he's branded as "retarded" and bullied by ignorant thugs, including one played by a young Michael Madsen!

Sam was always hoping that his next leap would be the leap home, but as early as the pilot episode, he admitted to himself, "I could be bouncing around in time forever". And so it was ultimately to be...

In series finale 'Mirror Image', Sam materialises in a tavern, where he's met by an enigmatic barman (Bruce McGill), who may or may not be God. Oh boy, indeed...

As events unfold, Sam learns that he is in fact in control of his leaping - he could've returned home any time he wanted. Desperate to get back, but honour bound to continue righting wrongs, Sam keeps on leaping... forever.

Thanks to his friend, Al is reunited with his true love Beth (Susan Diol), but Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home. It's a melancholy but in many ways perfect ending - Quantum Leap always provided plenty of humour and fun japes, but at its heart was a real emotional core.

We've come this far without even mentioning our two leads. As Sam, Scott Bakula has a natural charm and likeability - the perfect everyman to guide the audience through a series of madcap adventures. He's perfectly complimented by Dean Stockwell, whose spirited performance is frequently hilarious and at times quite touching.

The strength of the show's central duo meant that Quantum Leap appealed to more than just avid sc-fi fans - the relationship between Bakula and Stockwell is one of the show's real strengths.

A terrific science fiction premise, two rock-solid lead performances and an overwhelming sense of fun - Quantum Leap had all these things, and Mike Post's memorably jaunty theme tune too! Rumours of a movie remake abound, but we'd suggest tracking down the original - all five seasons are available now on DVD!

'American Idol' Jeremy Rosado on Jennifer Lopez, Elise, future plans

'American Idol' Jeremy Rosado on Jennifer Lopez, Elise, future plans

If ever there was an American Idol contestant worth rooting for, it was 19-year-old Jeremy Rosado. With his silky smooth vocals and charming personality, he was a shoo-in for the singing competition's 11th season and despite five previously unsuccessful auditions, the Valrico, Florida native sailed through to this year's Top 24. Once in the Top 13, however, Jeremy ran into trouble after his performance of Stevie Wonder's 'Ribbon In The Sky' failed to rouse enthusiasm from judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson - as well as from the viewing audience. Unfortunately, he fell into the bottom four and was eliminated during Thursday night's live results show.

Jeremy spoke to reporters on Friday about his experience on the show and his plans for the future.

Jimmy Iovine and Steven Tyler both said that you deserved to go home last night. Did that make the elimination harder?
"It definitely didn't help, you know? It definitely made me think that I would be the one going home, but at the same time, I had to hope and pray that things would come out in my favour. I'm grateful for the experience I had with the judges and am grateful that they brought me this far. They obviously saw something in me. Last night, Jennifer came up to me and said that she wanted to keep me, which definitely made me feel good."

Jennifer really did seem to take a shine to you. How was your relationship with her?
"It was crazy, it was amazing. I will forever be grateful to her for being on my side and trying to hold on to me until the last. But at the same time, I'm grateful for all three judges, as I said before. For there to be 100,000 people and me to get through - I really am so blessed."

Do you plan to stay in touch with her or perhaps have her mentor you as you move forward in your career?
"That would be awesome! I haven't heard anything at all, but I love her, first of all, and I will forever be grateful to her for the way she fought for me. It would be awesome in the future for her helping me out in some way, mentoring me or something. It was a huge blessing. Just to think that she saw something in me that was special to her... I honestly think it was just the fact that I wore my heart on my sleeve every time I performed and she felt it. I'm very proud I made it this far."

You were the wildcard addition to the Top 13. Do you feel like you were working on borrowed time because of that?
"I don't know. I definitely felt like I had something to prove because I wasn't voted into the Top 13. I was just hoping that what I had done the night before was enough - which wasn't my best, but I don't think it was the worst, either. I know that Jennifer was trying to save me, but I'm not sure what happened between the judges. I'm forever grateful - not only for her for fighting for me, but for the other judges and producers. If it wasn't for all of their votes to get me that far, I wouldn't be here. I didn't think my performance was very strong the other night and that's why they didn't put me through."

Singing Stevie Wonder is such a tall order for one of your first performances. Was that intimidating?
"I was scared! It's not easy singing him - no-one will ever be Stevie Wonder, he's one of the greatest of all time. I was just hoping I could do my own thing with the song. Jennifer loved it and Steven did as well, even though Randy didn't so much. I thought it was pretty good for what it was. There were probably things I could have changed, but I don't know what I could have done differently. I sang my heart out, wore my heart on my sleeve and got eliminated. What can you do?"

Did you feel that you should have stayed over Elise though?
"I wouldn't compare myself to anyone because I know that everyone there is amazing and they're all my brothers and sisters. I think my performance was enough to still be in the competition - I thought I would still be there today. But when we were standing there on stage, I had a gut feeling that it would be me [that was leaving]. But Elise is amazing and deserves to be there."

You were roommates with Colton and he had great things to say about you. What was your relationship like?
"He became my big brother, really. I'm going to miss him so much and all my other brothers and sisters that I met on the show. I love them so much and it'll be the experience I miss about this the most, not being with my family, my fellow contestants."

What do you expect for the future. Are you interested in pursuing acting?
"I'm into trying anything, maybe some TV or movies or something, getting a record deal - the big dreams, you know? I'm just hoping that next summer you'll be talking to me and big things will be happening. I know that God has a plan."

Would you try out for other shows like American Idol, like The Voice or X Factor?
"No. I think that American Idol was the show I wanted to do for a long time. It's done so much for me. There are two reasons I wouldn't audition for another show - the first one is that they wouldn't take me since I made it this far on this show. Second, I think Idol has done a lot for me and given me a huge head start in my career, so I'm hoping that doors will open just from having this in my life."

What will you do now that you've left?
"I have some more press to do this next week - that's it for now. Then I get to go home and be with my family and my church. I hope and pray big things happen."

Who would you like to see win the show?
"You know, I can't even pick anyone. I love each and every one of them, they're my brothers and sisters. They're all absolutely amazing in their own rights and deserve to be there. I'm excited to see how it plays out and who will be the winner."

Do you think it hurt you to not be featured as much as some of the other contestants in the earlier stages of the competition?
"I think that could have played a part, definitely. At the same time, I can't be upset with the producers for the way it was edited. I may not have been featured in the beginning, but I was on the show and they brought me this far. I'm grateful that I got this far. This is just what was meant to be."

American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox.

'The Voice' UK launch date confirmed, new trailer unveiled

'The Voice' UK launch date confirmed, new trailer unveiled

The Voice UK's rumoured launch date of March 24 has seemingly been confirmed.

The talent competition - which features Jessie J,, Sir Tom Jones and Danny O'Donoghue as coaches - will, as speculated, debut on the same day as its ITV rival Britain's Got Talent, according to the show's official Twitter profile.

"Two weeks from now, something new will be on your television," a post read. "Something so great you'll want to run up and kiss the screen. Just FYI."

The announcement comes after a new trailer for The Voice debuted on the BBC yesterday (March 9).

The latest clip features the most footage from the show yet, including interviews with the panel, a first look at some contestants and bickering between the coaches.

Speaking about the possibility of a clash between The Voice and Britain's Got Talent earlier this week, a BBC spokesperson said: "This is typical of ITV, parking their tanks on our lawn just as we launch a major new format.

"They are smarting because they didn't get the show although they bid £10 million more than us."

Dirk Gently episode 1 review

Dirk Gently episode 1 review

Cramming the character’s odd genius and esoteric belief system into an hour of TV left him feeling oddly under-stuffed, like a tie-in Dirk Gently toy that squeaked out the catchphrase “fundamentally interconnected” whenever its string was pulled.

Dirk Gently returns to BBC4 in a new three-part series, but has episode one ironed out the wrinkles of the 2010 pilot? Read our review here...

Following sluggishly on the heels of a promising-but-not-without-its-problems 2010 pilot comes episode one of the BBC’s three-part comedy Dirk Gently, based on (but tellingly not adapted from) the novels by Douglas Adams.

Dirk Gently stars Stephen Mangan as the titular holistic detective, with Darren Boyd as Richard Macduff, reimagined for TV as a limp Watson-a-like sidekick.

The bad news? Whether you keep the source material in mind or treat it as an original venture, it still doesn’t quite work. Fingers crossed that the coming episodes settle into their groove, but on the basis of this opener, Svlad Cjelli was better off left dealing with electric monks and Norse Gods between the covers of a book.

Despite the fondness many of us feel for the BBC2 Hitchhiker’s series, it’s always seemed something of a fool’s errand to try and tamp Adams’ eclectic, spilling-over-at-the-sides, verbally plump imagination into a TV-sized container. Radio absolutely - after all, it’s where it all began for Adams - but telly? Too small and too… square.

This episode’s plot, inspired in part by a throwaway gag from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, concerned a paranoid programmer whose “Reason” software provides rationale for any act you need justification for committing. It’s a programme the Pentagon was keen to get its hands on for reasons of territorial expansion, and believing it was in the possession of Gently, a game of hunt the holistic detective ensued.

Meanwhile, the detective agency’s bread-and-butter clients (old ladies with missing cats) had been side lined by a wife (Cosima Shaw) worried her husband was having an affair, and that same husband (Paul Ritter) convinced his horoscopes were coming true. He was; they weren’t, as it turned out.

A further plot (the fundamental connectedness of which is presumably to be discovered at a later date), saw Gently receiving anonymous, crazed Valentines from his resignation-happy secretary (Lisa Jackson).

Mangan is good as Dirk, equal parts laziness, mania and naked egotism, showing scant regard for banalities like the law or the feelings of others. Cramming the character’s odd genius and esoteric belief system into an hour of TV action though, left him feeling oddly under-stuffed, like a tie-in Dirk Gently toy that squeaked out the catchphrase “fundamentally interconnected” whenever its string was pulled.

The script didn’t help. If you’d drunk a shot every time Mangan was made to repeat the words above, you might have ended up plastered enough to find it all hilarious.

Not that there weren’t laughs to be had - the Zen navigation stuff was great, and the business with the chair was worth a chuckle - but episode one never hit its comedy stride, which is surprising given the calibre of those involved.

Howard Overman’s Misfits is one of the best UK TV shows around (sci-fi or otherwise) and consistently good for a laugh. If BBC4 was hoping to mirror that success then it's likely to be disappointed. Speaking of other successful TV shows, a dark cloud hung heavily over this episode, specifically, a dark cloud in a well-cut coat.

Whether it’s just a case of Sherlock being so fresh in our minds, or whether someone behind Dirk Gently was deliberately attempting to have comparisons drawn, the BBC One tent-pole loomed large.

From the slimmed down moniker, to the premise of a sociopathic amateur detective delivering mile-a-minute monologues accompanied by an exasperated, slightly sarcastic sidekick, it seemed (somewhat fittingly, I suppose, seeing as the Holmes archetype was borrowed from to create Dirk) as if Adams' eccentric comic narratives had been reimagined as Sherlock-lite. The constant recap shots seemed to ape Sherlock director Paul McGuigan’s visual quirks and - though this may well just be me - even the score seemed startlingly reminiscent of the other detective show's twangy theme.

Which brings us to the episode’s final problem. A comedy detective show that’s not packing enough comedy can redeem itself if it spins a sufficiently engaging detective story. That, sadly, wasn’t the case here.

Is it not the point of detective stories to keep audiences largely in the dark until greater deductive powers than our own unfurl the mystery at hand? We can guess and speculate, but the fun is in being proven right or wrong come the reveal.

Part of the reason then, that episode one of Dirk Gently made for such frustrating viewing, is that its audience was kept a step ahead of its detective. The fake grieving wife, the tube of mints, the pick-pocketing orderly…, they were all so clearly signalled it all felt oddly like watching CBBC at times.

Having enjoyed the pilot (admittedly, under a mulled wine-induced fog), loved the books, and admired those involved, I very much wanted to like Dirk Gently, but couldn’t help feeling it was all less than the sum of its parts.

The show didn’t have faith that its audience could either keep up with the plot or put up with more than a sprinkling of Douglas Adams’ exquisite weirdness, making it difficult to have much faith in Dirk Gently in return.

Doctor Who series 7 update

Doctor Who series 7 update

A few new details have been revealed about Doctor Who series 7, including the reveal of a new guest star…

More news continues to come in regarding the currently-filming seventh series of Doctor Who since it was revived.

Firstly, then, a new guest star has been confirmed. As reported in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Farscape’s Ben Browder is the latest addition to the cast. He’s going to appear in the third episode of the new run, which is the story written by Toby Whithouse.

And when Whithouse mentioned the other week that he’d been given a genre nobody had given him before, it seems he wasn’t kidding: the story is set to take place in the wild west. Look out for Doc Brown and the DeLorean, we say.

That's the episode that's shooting right now, we understand, and it's actually Spain that's doubling up for the wild west.

Meanwhile, we also now know that Chris Chibnall’s episode in the new series run will be the second. That's the one that will guest star Mark Williams, Rupert Graves and David Bradley.

That means Steven Moffat is up first, Chibnall second, and Whithouse third. It should get things off to an interesting start.

More news on Doctor Who series 7 when we get it…

What we know about BBC America’s two new sci-fi/fantasy shows

What we know about BBC America’s two new sci-fi/fantasy shows

Two original pilots are on their way from BBC America, sci-fi Wired and paranormal crime show The Dead Beat, and this is what we know so far…

From Doctor Who, Sherlock and Being Human to erm, Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show, BBC America is a Stateside showcase for the best of the Beeb’s original programming. About a week ago though, it was announced that the network was to expand its remit by developing two original shows with Misfits producers, Clerkenwell Films.

The first, Wired, comes from the pen of The Awakening, Afterlife and Ghostwatch writer Steven Volk, and is set in a present-day world where synthetic human robots known as “Syns” are the latest plaything of the wealthy.

Volk spoke to Variety about Wired (formerly titled Dolls Hospital) saying, “The pilot episode is, I think, the best work I’ve written for TV to date. It’s darkly satirical, with an ensemble of characters in a ‘precinct’. Very different from Afterlife, but I hope in its own way just as compelling. And certainly with a few more laughs!”

The second new commission, The Dead Beat, sounds more of a Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) sort of deal, centring on a reluctant partnership between two police officers, one living, one dead. The pilot comes from the pen of Being Human’s John Jackson, who’s behind this Sunday’s episode of the vamp/ghost/werewolf soap, Puppy Love.

More news on both pilots as soon as we have it.

Looking back at Magnum P.I.

Looking back at Magnum P.I.

Join Neil on his celebration of 80s Hawaii-set detective show Magnum P.I. It's time to salute the Selleck...

A lone red Ferrari 308 GTS cruises along a deserted Hawaiian stretch of road. It approaches as the morning sun silhouettes it with a heavenly glow. The car skids into view, and at the driver’s seat is Thomas Magnum still wearing his beloved Detroit Tigers cap. He’s twenty-five years older, but could still kick all our asses. He coolly removes his aviator glasses, slyly raises both eyebrows, and grins sarcastically. The Magnum P.I. theme charges in as:

Boom! Can you picture that? What you just read isn’t an actual reunion movie in production, it’s a fictitious trailer I’ve carried around in my head for longer than I care to admit. But bear with me because putting it on paper does serve a purpose. One of my guilty pleasures has always been Magnum P.I. (you could call it more than a guilty pleasure seeing as  if I took the time to dream up a fake movie trailer).

How can you go wrong with five things: Tom Selleck, the 1980s, Hawaii, mystery, and beautiful women? It’s popular to knock Selleck’s acting chops, but he really was the fuel that kept the Magnum train running. How many actors do you know who could nonchalantly break the fourth wall, look at the camera, smile like Bugs Bunny, and make it seem cool?  So, let’s put on our fake moustaches and Aloha shirts, rev up the Ferrari, and crack open some bottles of “Old Dusseldorf”. Join me as I look back on the best eight years of Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV’s life.

Male fantasy

For the uninitiated, Magnum P.I. is probably the closest thing to a sanitized male fantasy that was ever broadcast on television. Let’s run down the list of evidence:

1) “Private Investigator” Thomas Magnum lives on the palatial Hawaiian estate of elusive mystery author Robin Masters. In return for running periodic security checks on the property, he gets to live in the guest house rent free and have access to Masters’ Ferrari. CHECK!

2) His best friend Orville “Rick” Wright is the manager of the extremely opulent Waikiki based “King Kamehameha Club.” CHECK!

3) His other best friend Theodore Calvin, aka T.C., owns a helicopter. CHECK!

4) Jonathan Quayle Higgins, the British majordomo of the Masters Estate, attempts to thwart Magnum’s antics at every turn. NOT CHECK.

Well, three out of four isn’t bad. Aside from that last point, life is pretty good for Magnum.

The brainchild of Donald P. Bellisario (Quantum Leap, Airwolf, JAG) and Glenn Larson (Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica), Magnum P.I. premiered on December 11 1980 in a two hour pilot called Don’t Eat the Snow in Hawaii. In it we meet Magnum a year after his resignation from Naval Intelligence. He is settling into his new role on the Masters Estate (“Robin’s Nest”), when he finds himself having to clear the name of a recently murdered fellow Marine from his Vietnam days.

To me, what is unique about the episode, aside from how much it holds up, is how the characters are fully formed from the get-go. In most TV series, it takes a while for the writers to flesh out the characters and get their rhythms. That’s really not the case here. The characters’ core personalities are firmly established and, for the most part, stay that way throughout its eight year run. As it turns out, CBS agreed and immediately ordered twenty two episodes.

What I think is most often overlooked about the programme is that it really operates on several different levels. Laugh at me if you want - many do - but despite presenting itself as a standard mystery of the week on the surface, dig deeper and there’s something with a little more bite to it. Magnum and Higgins constantly bicker. Magnum mooches off Rick and T.C. for favours in solving cases. Magnum, Rick, and T.C. are all Vietnam vets. Who is Robin Masters? Is he an unseen presence who conveniently sounds like Orson Welles? Or is he really Higgins all along? It’s really the intertwining relationships that are first, then the mystery second.

“Zeus, Apollo, Patrol!”

If you ever hear that yelled at you it can only mean one thing: Higgins! Aside from Magnum, he was the only other character to be seen in the opening moments of the pilot, and I’d be remiss in not mentioning him in detail. Along with his beloved Dobermans, Zeus and Apollo (“The Lads”), he runs the Masters Estate with an iron fist…or so he thinks. As I mentioned before, Magnum and Higgins bicker….a lot. It’s this interplay that lends itself to some of the best moments on the show. No matter what the storyline is, be it dark or serious, it always comes just at the right moment to lighten up the mood and frustrate Higgins even further.

Favours are never done willingly between the two. If they are done at all, it usually comes with ultimatums. Magnum usually wants access to the usual: tennis courts, the wine cellar, Robin’s camera, etc. Higgins always wants to take them away. But, underneath it all, you feel a begrudging mutual admiration between the two, and this is how they communicate. This admiration usually crops up when they discuss their common war experiences as soldiers (World War II and Vietnam). It really is a testament to the acting of Jonathan Hillerman that he won an Emmy for best actor in 1987…and he’s not even British.


All this talk of war leads me to my next point. If you want to start up a good drinking game with Magnum P.I, take that whiskey shot every time the Vietnam War is mentioned. The fact that Magnum, Rick, and T.C. were five years out of Vietnam was and still is an inspired choice. If you can get past the occasional war flashbacks where everyone suspiciously seems five to ten years older than they should be, then you’re in for some seriously good subtext. Remember that Team Ring Magnum, Rick, and T.C. wore? Yeah I know you do. Enough said.

The backdrop of Vietnam shows the three as real people and, for that matter, a little damaged. Perfect examples of this are two episodes. Skin Deep (episdoe 1.6) isn’t particularly a stand out episode as far as mysteries go. Magnum is caught up investigating the apparent suicide of a movie starlet. However, what is pretty awesome about it are the unrelated intercuts of Magnum and T.C. going in and out of Vietnam within their heads. It has nothing to do with the main mystery, and is only superficially addressed at the end of the episode. The mystery is solved! All is right with the world. Magnum and T.C. are relaxing on the beach playing volleyball. Magnum casually asks T.C. if he still thinks about the war. T.C. laughs it off with a quick “No, never, how about you?” Magnum pats him on the shoulder and says “Who me? No.”

One of the most superb episodes of the entire series is fan favourite Did You See the Sunrise? (episodes 3.1;3.2).  It’s here that we learn two important and revealing points: Magnum definitely still has some nasty enemies left over from Vietnam. Also, if you irritate him enough, Magnum will take you down in cold blood. 

Nothing exemplifies this more than the final moments of the whole shebang. After 90 minutes of battling Ivan, his old Doc Wei P.O.W Camp torturer, Thomas is understandably a little frazzled. You would be too if Ivan had hypnotized T.C. to attempt to kill a visiting Japanese dignitary. Also, what would you do if Mac, a long running contact from Naval Intelligence, had been blown up by a car bomb in the original Ferrari? Obviously, you do what Magnum did and get Rick to help you intercept Ivan before he leaves the country on political immunity.  By 'intercept', I mean Magnum kidnapped him to the jungle, asked him “Did you see the Sunrise this Morning?” and shot him at point blank range.

What makes it all come full circle though is that “Did you see the Sunrise?” was the last thing Mac yelled out to Thomas right before the car bomb went off. So, it’s this eerily poetic and revenge-filled moment that resonates with this nerd…uh, fan. This is the moment where we see Magnum snap from an affable beach bum to someone who has to be as ruthless as the enemy he’s fighting. I’ll leave you to ponder that scene and its meaning solemnly by yourself on You Tube. 

Infinite variety

If you know anything about Donald P. Bellisario’s various series you know he makes each episode vary in their tones and themes. Magnum P.I. is certainly no exception to this rule. One week could be intense drama and the next broad comedy. All the while he, along with his team of writers, populated Oahu with many unique, but memorable, side characters. Do these names ring a bell: Agatha Chumley, Lt. Tanaka, “Mac” MacReynolds, “Doc” Ibold, Carol Baldwin, and Col. Buck Greene? How about Rick’s sauna loving underworld contact “Icepick”? Even Jessica Fletcher from “Murder She Wrote” showed up. If not, then you have an eight season DVD set with your name on it.

All good things come to an end, and the two hour finale Resolutions (episodes 8.12; 8.13) is no exception. It’s a race to the finish where Magnum must find the stalker of a former flame, reunite with his long lost daughter, and make it to Rick’s wedding in time. Oh and Magnum ...never mind. There are just too many nuggets of quality in this one for me to spill the beans here. Let’s just say many loose ends are tied up, while a few tantalizing mysteries (i.e. Robin Masters) are left to be just that…mysteries.

On that note, I find myself reflecting on that long ago reunion trailer in my head. Every now and then a movie is announced with a brand new cast but, fortunately never seems to happen. Whether a proper real reunion ever gets made I guess doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that almost twenty four years after the show went off the air, we’re still talking about it.

Under the 80s sheen is a character that people identify with. He’s not superhuman like Indiana Jones, James Bond, or Batman. He’s Thomas Magnum, a beach bum who is a lot like us. He has close buddies, likes beer, chili dogs, and the beach. He’s gone through hell, but after eight years grew and became a better person. In the end may it always be 1984, may there always be a Ferrari running, and may Magnum always be on the case.

David Walliams 'to play Michael Barrymore in TV drama'?

David Walliams 'to play Michael Barrymore in TV drama'?

David Walliams has reportedly signed up to play Michael Barrymore in a TV drama about his life.

The comedian will depict Barrymore during the height of his career in the Sky project, according to The Sun.

A source said: "It's a four-part drama looking at Michael's glory years.

"It shows how he was a hugely popular family man and television icon who had a number of skeletons in the closet.

"David will be perfect to play him. He's great at improvising but can also portray fragility and the darkness at the heart of the story."

Walliams is apparently planning to improvise scenes involving Strike It Lucky and My Kind Of People - TV programmes that made Barrymore famous - for the series.

Sky Entertainment drama chief Anne Mensah is heading the show, which is due to begin filming later in the year.

Geoff Atkinson, who ghostwrote the autobiography of the late Cheryl Barrymore, Michael's ex-wife, is also involved.

'Nurse Jackie' First Look: It's Time To Clean Up

'Nurse Jackie' First Look: It's Time To Clean Up

The past catches up as Edie Falco's alter ego faces her misdeeds when a sober Jackie's secrets are exposed.

Jackie and the men in her life are cleaning up when Showtime's Nurse Jackie returns next month.

The fourth season of the Showtime dramedy will explore something viewers have yet to see -- Edie Falco's Jackie clean and sober but there's a plus: she won't be alone. In a photo exclusive to The Hollywood Reporter, Jackie, Coop (Peter Facinelli), Mike Cruz (Bobby Cannavale), Eddie (Paul Schulze) and Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) are all cleaning up for the new season.

In addition, a new trailer reveals that Jackie's sobriety isn't the only massive change in store for the All Saints gang. Zoey (Merritt Wever) and Lenny (Lenny Jacobson) are engaged, Anna Deavere Smith's Akalitus is top dog no more and Paul learns the harsh truth from Kevin.

Nurse Jackie's fourth season premieres Sunday, April 8 on Showtime.

'The Apprentice' return date confirmed

'The Apprentice' return date confirmed

Lord Alan Sugar has confirmed the return date for the new series of The Apprentice.

Series eight of the BBC One show will premiere on Wednesday, March 21 at 9pm, the entrepreneur confirmed on his Twitter page.

"Ok its now official The Apprentice is back on on 21st March BBC 1 9pm (sic)," he wrote.

Aides Nick Hewer and Karren Brady will return to keep an eye on the new contestants as they battle it out to earn an investment from Lord Sugar.

Tom Pellereau won the last series after pitching a business aiming to reduce the financial and personal costs of employee back pain through specialist chairs.

Lord Sugar recently admitted that he had made some mistakes in the past when it came to firing candidates on The Apprentice.

"I don't think I've made too many mistakes in picking the winner. The mistake or firing the wrong person is usually in the early episodes of the show. Something like episode five, six or seven," he said.

'Fashion Star': Meet designers Nicholas Bowes, Nikki Poulos

'Fashion Star': Meet designers Nicholas Bowes, Nikki Poulos

Fashion Star hopeful Nicholas Bowes was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. He modelled for ten years before moving into business designing vintage T-shirts and leather jackets for his KRMA Clothing brand. He moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and expanded his brand, also launching his Nicholas Bowes label. His celebrity fans include Alicia Keys, Fergie and Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev.

Nikki Poulos grew up on 54,000-acre cattle farm in the Australian outback and made her very first outfit - a gingham bikini - at the age of 8. The 43-year-old, who now resides in Florida, developed an eco-friendly baby clothing line that was sold in major department stores before she returned to college to study marine biology. She is now back selling clothing online and in stores across the US, the Caribbean and Australia.

'GCB' Star Kristin Chenoweth Talks Carlene: 'The Bullied Become the Bully'

'GCB' Star Kristin Chenoweth Talks Carlene: 'The Bullied Become the Bully'

The Tony winner tells THR how her character has dealt with being the ugly duckling and why she was nervous about singing on the show.

As ABC’s new series GCB progresses with its season, we’ll learn more about the deeply rooted issues between Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) and the Dallas women who didn’t exactly welcome her back home with open arms. And while Carlene Cockburn is the current leader of the mean girls, the actress who plays her says that many viewers will find that they have something in common with her.

“I’m in love with my part, so I have to take up for it a little bit,” Kristin Chenoweth tells The Hollywood Reporter about viewers' first impressions of her character. “They’re saying she’s the delicious villain. Well, yeah. But, why is she that way? Because, she was tormented. So, I know a lot of people who will be able to understand that.”

THR spoke to the Tony award winner about the beef between her character and Amanda and how the show puts her singing talent to good use.

On the premiere episode, Amanda Vaughn returns and it totally throws Carlene for a loop.
Kristin Chenoweth: Well, I mean Carlene was definitely the ugly duckling. She was bullied big time by Amanda. I think when Amanda goes away Carlene probably sees the problem going away, where she’s free to do the overhaul and marry the man of her dreams. Then 15 years later, here comes this woman back that was so mean and awful to her and that bullied her.

Now, often times, the bullied become the bully. I think that Carlene is not happy when Amanda comes back. She’s not going to take it lying down. I think that she struggles with it herself and gets in her own way, because she is a Christian and she does believe in the Bible. But, this one person derails her big time.

The premiere doesn’t really get into how bad Amanda treated you all back in high school. Just how bad was she?
Chenoweth: She was pretty awful. I can’t exactly say how, but we show it. I think the sad part is so often times people don’t remember how awful they were. I think we have no trouble in reminding her how awful she is and was. So, you also have to give people second chances. I don’t think Carlene really wants to do that, but she does try.

You get a chance to show off your spectacular voice as the choir soloist. How often will we get that treat?
Chenoweth: Yeah, I love that [creator Robert Harling] does that. He’s so smart. I was a little nervous, because I didn’t want it to seem like, ‘Oh, now she’s going to sing.’ But we kept it very authentic with just the organ, how we would do it in church. It’s not overproduced. I think that we’ll get to hear other people sing in the show. That probably doesn’t set well with Carlene either. We have a lot of musically inclined people in our show. Church lends itself well to that, so wisely Bobby put it in and he should.

'Dancing on Ice' Jorgie Porter: 'Props week is a nightmare'

'Dancing on Ice' Jorgie Porter: 'Props week is a nightmare'

Dancing on Ice contestant Jorgie Porter has admitted that she feels more pressure as the competition progresses and routines become more complex.

The Hollyoaks star confessed that she is terrified of sustaining serious injuries when attempting riskier moves after accidentally slashing partner Matt Evers's face with her skate last week.

Porter will skate to Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games' this week, complete with a ribbon as part of the circus-themed 'Props Week'.

"I'm not feeling a pressure to win, I'm feeling a pressure to stay alive. That ribbon is a nightmare. I've had it wrapped round my feet, my knees, my neck. It's so hard to make it go where you want and it really makes your arm hurt - you need huge movements and the stick I hold is really heavy," Porter told The Sun.

"It's such an unpredictable prop. We could trip on it, cut it up or skate over it. It could tangle our legs together. You could be blinded if the end caught you in the eye. It's like dancing with another person on the ice. I've called the ribbon Penelope - it's massive, three times longer than me.

"You get little ribbon cuts like paper cuts. They are only small but they really sting. I've only had one training session this week because of work. But hopefully we'll pull it together on Saturday and Sunday and get there on time. My body feels tired now too, but I'm buzzing on adrenaline."

Porter will compete against Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden, X Factor's Chico, skier Chemmy Alcott and former Brookside star Jennifer Ellison for a place in next week's semi-final.

'Shahs of Sunset' Star Reza Farahan Says He's Prepared to Take the Heat

'Shahs of Sunset' Star Reza Farahan Says He's Prepared to Take the Heat

The openly gay cast member on Bravo's new reality series tells that he has a reason for "living out loud on television."

Reza Farahan is the openly gay cast member of Bravo’s new series, Shahs of Sunset, which features an upwardly mobile group of Iranian-Americans in Beverly Hills. If you’re a fan of the network, there’s no way you haven’t heard him boast during the network’s many promo spots, “Hello, we’re Persian.”

Like MTV’s Jersey Shore or TLC’s All-American Muslim, the Ryan Seacrest Productions-produced series already suffers from criticism about its implied representation of the Persian-American community. But, the reality star says he doesn’t intend to represent his community.

“No one elected me to any office. I’m not from the Persian House of Representatives,” Farahan tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I represent me, and as fabulous as I am, and I think I should represent more people, I don’t. I represent myself, maybe my family to some extent, and maybe my circle of friends, but that’s about it. This is not a documentary on how Persians are, it’s just how the six of us are, and we all happen to be Persian.”

THR spoke to the 38-year-old realtor about his community’s beliefs and why he would do a show as potentially controversial as the Bravo series.

The cast is made up of both Muslim and Jewish Persians. Does being Persian trump religious differences?
Farahan: Absolutely. Mike [Shouhed] and Sammy [Younai] are my brothers and I love them and adore them. They could be Buddhist, they could be Atheist, they could be Agnostic, or they could be Christian. My love for them would not change.

Is that the general feeling among the Persian-American community when it comes to religion?
Farahan: Well, the funny thing is that you’re speaking to me and it just so happens that my mother grew up and was raised by a Muslim family and my father grew up and was raised by a Jewish family. So, you’re talking to someone whose parents broke every kind of tradition and created drama almost 50 years ago. So, I have that unique distinction. So for us, it’s never a huge thing.

For certain families, it’s a big deal. It just depends on how religious you are and how much you like to dissect things -- if you want to dissect things down to being Persian, or down to being Persian and picking a religion. But for us in our group, we’re Persians, we’re friends, we love each other, and that’s it.

Can you enlighten me as to what it's like to be gay in your community and the feedback you get?
Farahan: Absolutely. It’s definitely different if you’re in the United States, as opposed to living overseas. If you’re in the U.S. and you’re Persian, and you’re gay, it’s very, very hard. You’re not going to get stoned to death, or hanged because of it, but it’s still very hard. Persian culture is definitely much more traditional, very old school. You grow up, get married, and give them lots of children. So, your parents have to let go of that dream and it’s hard for a lot of people. Persians don’t deal well with things that deviate from their norm, and being gay deviates as far away from their norm as possible.

Why would you want to expose yourself to the criticism?
Farahan: As much heat as I take and I take a lot, trust me -- I get the dirty looks, and nasty comments, and all of it. If me living out loud on television helps one gay kid, Middle Eastern, Persian, Israeli, wherever they’re from, if it gives them some hope, or if they’re being bullied, or if they are thinking about telling their families, if it helps one person, I’ll take as much heat as they can give me, because I’m strong. And no matter what anyone says to me, it will not impact me. I love myself. My family loves me. My friends love me, and nothing is going to change.

Shahs of Sunset premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on Bravo.

Martha Stewart cast in '2 Broke Girls'

Martha Stewart cast in '2 Broke Girls'

Martha Stewart is set to guest-star on a coming episode of CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls.

The show revolves around two women who work in a diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, played by Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs.

Stewart will be making a cameo appearance as herself in the episode. Dennings and Behrs's characters will run into the TV host while at a fashion event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The two will try to get Stewart's opinion on cupcakes for their new baking business.

2 Broke Girls made its debut in the fall of last year, and proved a big hit in its time slot, leading to CBS announcing the show would be picked up for a full debut season.

Along with her cameo, Martha Stewart has also welcomed a second grandchild this month from daughter Alexis Stewart.

Stewart appears in the May 7 episode of 2 Broke Girls, at 8:30pm on CBS.

'Dancing On Ice' judging role was a surprise, says Louie Spence

'Dancing On Ice' judging role was a surprise, says Louie Spence

Dancing On Ice judge Louie Spence has admitted that he was "so surprised" to be offered a job on the show.

The Pineapple Dance Studios star said his recruitment came as a shock, as he knew axed panellist Jason Gardiner was "still negotiating" his return at the time.

"I was so surprised to get the Dancing on Ice job because it came around really suddenly," he told The People. "The first I heard of it was from an article in the paper saying that I was being looked at to do it.

"I don't know the ins and outs but I believe Jason decided it wasn't for him this year. It was his decision to move on. So when they did come to me and said, 'Would you like to?' I'm there. But it has not affected my friendship with him."

Spence added that not even a few negative past experiences with celebrities could put him off the Dancing On Ice job.

"I have been surrounded by lots of famous people so I have seen what they can be like," he said. "Some of them are absolutely wonderful and some of them are total wankers. I'm not going to say who. But I've seen how it is."

Dancing On Ice continues tomorrow (March 11) at 7.15pm on ITV1.

Lindsay Lohan, Jon Hamm's Monroe skit cut from 'Saturday Night Live'

Lindsay Lohan, Jon Hamm's Monroe skit cut from 'Saturday Night Live'

A skit featuring Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn Monroe on last week's March 3 episode of Saturday Night Live was cut, it has been reported.

According to TMZ, it featured Lohan as Monroe and Mad Men star Jon Hamm as John F Kennedy.

The sketch apparently made it through rehearsals and was performed live, but had to be cut from the final broadcast due to lack of time.

In the skit, the two appear in a daydream to Rick Santorum, played by Andy Samberg. Monroe and the former US president tell Santorum that Monroe was on birth control thanks to Medicare, prompting Santorum to begin vomiting. Santorum stated recently that a 1960 speech by Kennedy on the importance of the separation of religion and politics made him "want to throw up".

This is not the first time Lohan has imitated an old Hollywood star. Lohan posed in an issue of Playboy styled after Monroe's famous spread. She is also set to play the late Elizabeth Taylor in an upcoming Lifetime biopic.

Lohan got positive reviews for her performance last week from stars including Zooey Deschanel and Taran Killam.

Rowland Rivron, Fatima Whitbread in Let's Dance for Sport Relief final

Rowland Rivron, Fatima Whitbread in Let's Dance for Sport Relief final

Rowland Rivron and Fatima Whitbread and The Cuban Brothers have grabbed the final spots in the Let's Dance for Sport Relief final.

The comedian topped tonight's public vote with his homage to Christopher Walken's appearance in Fatboy Slim's 'Weapon of Choice' video, while Whitbread's performance to 'You Should Be Dancing' by the Bee Gees was favoured by judges Russell Kane, Jo Brand and Lee Nelson, aka Simon Brodkin.

The Gadget Show pair Suzi Perry and Ortis Deley, who danced to 'Livin' la Vida Loca' by Ricky Martin, also finished in the top three of the vote, but were snubbed by the panel.

Patrick Monahan's impression of Rihanna, and Watson and Oliver's rollerskate routine to Torvill and Dean's 'Bolero' also failed to impress.

Rivron, Whitbread and The Cuban Brothers will compete against Tyger Drew-Honey and Dani Harmer, Omid Djalili, Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, Miles Jupp, Terry Alderton and the team of Laurie Brett and Tameka Empson in next week's final.

The Let's Dance for Sport Relief winner will be decided when the show returns to BBC One on Saturday, March 17 at 7.10pm.

Newt Gingrich blasts ABC comedy 'GCB': 'It's anti-Christian bigotry'

Newt Gingrich blasts ABC comedy 'GCB': 'It's anti-Christian bigotry'

Newt Gingrich, candidate in the Republican presidential race, has spoken out against new ABC comedy GCB.

The series stars Kristen Chenoweth, Leslie Bibb and Annie Potts as ruthless Texas socialites. It is based on a novel called Good Christian Bitches by Kim Gatlin.

Politico reports that Gingrich adressed a crowd in Gulfport, Mississipion Friday (March 9), talking about how inappropriate the show is.

Gingrich said: "To show you the biases of the elite media, look at the new show that's on that has the word 'Christian' in it and I want you to take the exact name, drop out Christian and put in Muslim.

"And ask yourself, is there any network that would have dared to run a show like that? And you know the answer is not a one, because anti-Christian bigotry is just fine in the entertainment industry, but they have to be very protective of Islam."

New York City councilman Peter Vallone also recently called for a boycott of the show's alleged "attack on the Christian faith".

Elsewhere, Philadelphia has pulled adverts for the show due to complaints from consumers.

Despite the controversy, GCB managed to gain 7.6 million viewers for its premiere episode on March 4.

GCB continues this Sunday (March 11) on ABC.

TV Tonight 11th of March 2012

TV Tonight 11th of March 2012

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

    60 Minutes (US) S44E24: "Season 44, Episode 24"
    Aida (PL) S01E02: "Season 1, Episode 2"
    Äkta Människor S01E09: "Episode 9"
    America's Funniest Home Videos S22E16: "Season 22, Episode 16"
    American Dad! S07E13: "Dr. Klaustus"
    Antiques Roadshow S34E18: "Lulworth Castle (2)"
    Army Wives S06E03: "The Best of Friends"
    Austin & Ally S01E11: "Songwriting & Starfish"
    AX Men S05E09: "Rygaard vs. Rygaard"
    Bakemonogatari S02E10: "Tsukihi Phoenix, Part 3"
    Beelzebub S02E09: "Akumano Academy is Open"
    Behzat Ç. S02E17: "Geçmişle Yüzleşmek"
    Being Human (UK) S04E06: "Puppy Love"
    Big Brother Sverige S08E19: "Del 19 (Veckofinal)"
    Big Rich Texas S02E04: "Bride & Doom"
    Bob's Burgers S02E01: "The Belchies"
    Border Security S12E06: "Season 12, Episode 6"
    Brave 10 S01E10: "Episode 10"
    Breakout Kings S02E02: "Round Two"
    Californication S05E09: "At the Movies"
    Canada's Got Talent S01E03: "Vancouver Auditions (1)"
    Comic Book Men S01E05: "TBA"
    Coming Home (US) S02E01: "Season 2, Episode 1"
    CSI: Miami S10E16: "Rest In Pieces"
    Cupcake Wars S05E01: "Girl Scouts 100th Birthday"
    Dancing on Ice S07E19: "Series 7, Show 10"
    Dancing on Ice S07E20: "Series 7, Show 10 (Result)"
    Dateline NBC S21E29: "Su2125"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E181: "Episode 1861"
    Descending S01E04: "The Emerald Sea"
    Desperate Housewives S08E16: "You Take for Granted"
    Digimon Xros Wars S03E23: "Now Revealed! The Secret of the Digimon Hunt"
    Eastbound & Down S03E04: "Chapter 17"
    Family Guy S10E16: "Killer Queen"
    Finding Bigfoot S02E10: "Holy Cow, It's Bigfoot"
    Full Metal Jousting S01E05: "Hits Like a Truck"
    GCB S01E02: "Hell Hath No Fury"
    Got to Dance S03E63: "Round Up"
    Harry's Law S02E13: "After The Lovin'"
    Heartland (CA) S05E16: "Wild Horses"
    Hoarding: Buried Alive S03E19: "Are You Serious?"
    Hoarding: Buried Alive S03E18: "Where Are They Now?"
    Home of the Future S01E05: "Episode 5"
    House of Lies S01E09: "Ouroboros"
    Hunter X Hunter Remake S01E22: "Episode 22"
    Hvem kan slå Aamodt og Kjus? S02E02: "Tom Hilde og Johan Remen Evensen"
    Ice Loves Coco S02E04: "Baby Got Backseat Driver"
    Jerseylicious S04E04: "A Gatsby Bra-Tacular"
    Khloe & Lamar S02E04: "No Turkey for Khloe?"
    Kidou Senshi Gundam Age S01E22: "Big Ring Absolute Line of Defense"
    Kontoret S01E05: "Utvecklingssamtal med personalen"
    Las Vegas Jailhouse S05E02: "Season 5, Episode 2"
    Less Than Kind S03E11: "The Promise Bone"
    Lost Girl S02E19: "Truth and Consequences"
    Luck S01E07: "Episode Seven"
    Match of The Day S47E40: "Middlesbrough v Leeds United Live"
    Mirai Nikki S01E22: "Episode 22"
    Mob Wives S02E09: "Cabin Fever"
    Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku S01E10: "Episode 10"
    My Fair Wedding S05E15: "Mad Men Bride"
    My Strange Addiction S03E08: "Drinks Gasoline/Smelling Her Doll Head"
    My Strange Addiction S03E07: "Urine Drinker"
    Nightmare Next Door S02E08: "New England Nightmare"
    Once Upon a Time S01E15: "Red-Handed"
    One Piece (JP) S06E23: "Episode 23"
    Oprah's Next Chapter S01E11: "Lady Gaga"
    Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey S01E02: "Episode 2"
    Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle S01E23: "Episode 23"
    Rattlesnake Republic S01E04: "The Albino"
    Rinne no Lagrange S01E10: "Episode 10"
    Shahs of Sunset S01E01: "Season 1, Episode 1"
    Shake It Up S02E17: "Judge It Up"
    Shameless (US) S02E09: "Hurricane Monica"
    So Random! S01E26: "Destinee & Paris"
    Stevie TV S01E02: "Season 1, Episode 2"
    Talking Dead S01E12: "Better Angels"
    The Amazing Race S20E04
    The Apprentice (US) S12E04: "Failure To Launch"
    The Cleveland Show S03E13: "Das Shrimp Boot"
    The Ellen DeGeneres Show S09E120: "Jessica Simpson, Ellie Kemper"
    The Good Wife S03E17: "Long Way Home"
    The Simpsons S23E16: "How I Wet Your Mother"
    The Walking Dead S02E12: "Better Angels"
    Time Team S19E08: "Searching for Shakespeare's House: A Time Team Special"
    Tomtesterom S03E04: "Bouw je eigen duikboot"
    Top Gear S18E07: "Series 18, Episode 7"
    Ultimate Dance Battle, The S02E02: "Auditions 2"
    Unusual Suspects S03E03: "Murder on Miguel Lane"
    Upstairs Downstairs (2010) S02E04: "Series 2, Episode 4"
    Watch What Happens: Live S06E44: "Nene Leakes and Reza Farahan"
    Wegmisbruikers S14E10: "Season 14, Episode 10"
    Wild at Heart S07E10: "Series 7, Episode 10"
    Witse S09E10: "Ademnood"
    Worst Cooks in America S03E05: "TBA"

Frank Skinner's revived 'Room 101' ends series on low

Frank Skinner's revived 'Room 101' ends series on low

Frank Skinner's revived Room 101 ended its new series with a whimper last night (Friday, March 9), the latest overnight data indicates.

With John Prescott, Micky Flanagan and Rebecca Front featuring, the vintage panel game revived for BBC One slumped to 2.95m (12.2%) in its 8.30pm slot, nearly 800k down on where it started in January.

Benidorm continued to sparkle for ITV1 with 6.09m (26.6%) in the 9pm hour, adding 440k (2.5%) on +1 - overall higher than its equivalent episode at the same time last year.

Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers stayed rock solid for Channel 5, drawing in 1.42m (4.9%) at 8pm. The Mentalist followed with 1.51m (6.5%) an hour later.

Channel 4's Bank Job also held steady, grabbing 1.06m (4.5%) from 9pm (+1: 199k/1.1%), prior to which 869k (3.6%) watched New Girl at 8.30pm (+1: 169k/0.7%).

Over on BBC Two, familiar 8pm duo Mastermind (2.01m/8.5%) and Gardeners' World (2.04m/8.4%) were reunited to good effect, then Melvyn Bragg on Culture concluded with 1.27m (5.5%).

Across primetime, ITV1 came top with 25% over BBC One which had 19.1%. BBC Two's 6% was enough to win third place, ahead of Channel 5's 4.9% (+1: 0.3%) and Channel 4's 4.4% (+1: 0.9%).

BBC Three's repeat showing of Doctor Who's Weeping Angels classic 'Blink' exhilarated 514k (2.2%), and was one of the night's most-watched multichannel broadcasts.

Alesha Dixon being considered for 'X Factor' 2012 panel?

Alesha Dixon being considered for 'X Factor' 2012 panel?

Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon has been tipped for a similar role on The X Factor later this year.

Simon Cowell, who recently expressed his intention to retain last year's panel, believes Dixon could step in if Kelly Rowland does not commit to another series.

"It's a possibility that Alesha will be asked to be an X Factor judge if her stint on Britain's Got Talent is successful," a source told the Daily Mail.

"Simon originally wanted Alesha instead of Kelly to join the judging panel last year, but she backed out and decided to stay loyal to Strictly and the BBC," the insider went on.

"In a way, Alesha's better suited to The X Factor because she is in touch with popular music and has had hit singles, as a solo artist and a member of her old band."

Former Mis-Teeq member Dixon defected to ITV from BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing in January.

Cheryl Cole in talks for BBC chatshow?

Cheryl Cole in talks for BBC chatshow?

Cheryl Cole is reportedly in talks to host a TV chatshow.

The singer's manager is currently in negotiations with the BBC regarding the summer project, The Mirror reports.

"It's all been tremendously exciting after Will pitched this idea and things have been moving at a rate of knots," a source said.

"They are looking at a show in the summer which would be the ideal vehicle to relaunch Cheryl's TV career." is said to have an "excellent" relationship with BBC bosses due to his role as a coach on The Voice UK and has already lined up Rihanna and Justin Bieber as guests on the chatshow.

It is thought the potential deal could be worth up to £750,000 for Cole, who is rumoured to be debuting her new single on The Voice.

The Girls Aloud star recently ruled out a return to The X Factor, following her axe from the USA version last year.

Friday's Broadcast Ratings: "Undercover Boss," "Mentalist" Special Power CBS

Friday's Broadcast Ratings: "Undercover Boss," "Mentalist" Special Power CBS

Here are the highlights of the 12 ad-sustained programs that aired in primetime on the broadcast networks last night:

CBS (11.04 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 2.0, #1) was the network to beat on Friday with a new "Undercover Boss" (10.02 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 2.2, #1), a special "The Mentalist" (11.83 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 2.0, #2) and a new "Blue Bloods" (11.26 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 1.8, #3).

ABC (4.72 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 1.4, #2) then snagged the silver with its mix of "Shark Tank" (5.38 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 1.5, #T4), "Primetime: What Would You Do?" (4.21 million viewers, #9; adults 18-49: 1.2, #8) and "20/20" (4.55 million viewers, #8; adults 18-49: 1.3, #7).

Next up was NBC (5.08 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 1.3, #3) with originals of "Who Do You Think You Are?" (5.05 million viewers, #6; adults 18-49: 1.0, #10), "Grimm" (5.15 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 1.5, #T4) and "Dateline NBC" (5.03 million viewers, #7; adults 18-49: 1.4, #6).

Meanwhile, FOX (2.83 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 1.1, #4) offered up a two-hour block of "Kitchen Nightmares" (2.83 million viewers, #10; adults 18-49: 1.1, #9).

And finally, repeats of "Nikita" (1.15 million viewers, #12; adults 18-49: 0.3, #12) and "Supernatural" (1.16 million viewers, #11; adults 18-49: 0.4, #11) on The CW (1.15 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.4, #5) closed out the evening.

Here are the highlights of the 12 ad-sustained programs that aired in primetime on the broadcast networks one year ago (3/11/11):

CBS (10.61 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.8, #1) returned to the top spot on Friday with the season finale of "The Defenders" (9.03 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 1.5, #T6) followed by new episodes of "CSI: NY" (11.04 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 2.0, #1) and "Blue Bloods" (11.75 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.9, #2). The latter duo return on April 1 following the Eye's NCAA tournament coverage.

FOX (3.95 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 1.6, #2) then took home the silver with the return of "Kitchen Nightmares" (4.13 million viewers, #7; adults 18-49: 1.7, #T3) and "Fringe" (3.76 million viewers, #10; adults 18-49: 1.5, #T6) after a one-week break.

Next up was NBC (5.82 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 1.4, #T3) with a repeat of "Who Do You Think You Are?" (3.94 million viewers, #9; adults 18-49: 0.9, #10) alongside a two-hour "Dateline NBC" (6.76 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 1.7, #T3).

Meanwhile, ABC (4.75 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 1.4, #T3) offered up the penultimate week of "Supernanny" (4.01 million viewers, #8; adults 18-49: 1.1, #9) plus new episodes of "Primetime: What Would You Do?" (4.35 million viewers, #6; adults 18-49: 1.4, #8) and "20/20" (5.88 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 1.6, #5).

And finally, repeats of "Smallville" (1.56 million viewers, #11; adults 18-49: 0.5, #T11) and "Supernatural" (1.32 million viewers, #12; adults 18-49: 0.5, #T11) on The CW (1.44 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.5, #5) rounded out the night.

Week-to-week changes (adults 18-49): 20/20 (33.30%), Primetime: What Would You Do? (27.30%), Supernanny (22.20%), CSI: NY (17.60% vs. 2/25/11), Blue Bloods (11.80% vs. 2/25/11), Kitchen Nightmares (6.30% vs. 2/25/11), The Defenders (0.00%), Fringe (0.00% vs. 2/25/11), Dateline NBC (-8.30%).

In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.9/7 with an encore telecast; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.5/6 with an encore; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 3.9/9; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.5/4 with an encore.

In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 1.1/5 with an encore; "Late Show," 0.7/3 with an encore; "Nightline," 1.4/5; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.7/3 with an encore.

At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.5/4 in metered-market households with an encore) beat CBS's first-run "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.4/4). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.7/4 in 18-49 with an encore) topped "Late Late Show" (0.5/3).

At 1:35 a.m., Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.8/3 in metered-market households with an encore and a 0.4/2 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.

Oxygen Media Partners With ACTV8.ME for "The Glee Project" Season Two

Oxygen Media Partners With ACTV8.ME for "The Glee Project" Season Two

Oxygen Media announced a partnership with ACTV8.ME to power its new Social TV platform for "The Glee Project" season two, premiering this summer 2012. Oxygen will offer fans the opportunity to experience a talent-powered, relationship-driven social TV platform that connects them directly to the series contenders over the course of the entire competition. The spinoff competition series, which awards one winner a seven episode arc on "Glee," will return with 14 talented and unique contenders -- two more than season one -- additional themes and all new music. The announcement was made today from the South by Southwest(R) (SXSW(R)) Conference in Austin, Texas.

"We had ambitious goals for pushing the boundaries of engagement and ACTV8.ME proved to be the partner and platform to deliver on them," said Jennifer Kavanagh, Senior Vice President, Digital, Oxygen Media. "The most valuable reward we can offer fans is access to the talent they love. The core of our Social TV platform is about engaging to earn experiences."

Oxygen will utilize ACTV8's technology to power experiences that reward fans with exclusive access to contenders and the opportunity to receive on-air recognition. Throughout the season, select super fans will participate in exclusive live video chats with their favorite contenders, and one lucky fan will even get to meet their favorite contender face-to-face. Building upon the social success of "The Glee Project" season one, Oxygen and ACTV8.ME will also create a second screen experience that is essential to the series. During each episode, fans will be able to unlock new content, use their mobile devices to share their favorite moments from the show in real-time, and to participate in challenges and homework assignments issued by the contenders. Fans will also have access to exclusive synchronized content that compliments the viewing experience during the second season.

Mark Burnett, one of the most successful global producers and the acknowledged pioneer of reality programming in the U.S., partnered with ACTV8.ME in December 2011 to usher in a whole new world of audience participation and integration with television.

"Oxygen's partnership with ACTV8.ME as their social TV platform of choice aligns with my belief that ACTV8 is the cutting-edge solution for second-screen content," said Burnett.

ACTV8.ME delivers what it calls a "complete global media integration platform." The platform synchronizes a user's mobile device or tablet to any live or recorded video broadcast and not only provides rich interactive content to the user's device related to the programming, but also feeds viral hooks into Facebook and Twitter. With its proprietary technology, ACTV8.ME has married broadcast and cable television to the two largest social media platforms on the planet, and then made this all interactive, thus creating the ultimate uber-platform. Their powerful technology enables ACTV8.ME to deliver a host of program enhancements, line extensions, quizzes, trivia, gaming and sales experiences in conjunction with any TV programming.

Brian Shuster, CEO of ACTV8.ME said, "We are very excited to be working in partnership with the innovative and creative teams at Oxygen Media, they will truly define a new landscape of connectivity to the audience."

The announcement of Oxygen Media's partnership with ACTV8.ME comes during the South by Southwest(R) (SXSW(R)) Conference in Austin. Jennifer Kavanagh, Senior Vice President of Digital, Oxygen Media, is a Presenter on the conference panel entitled "Integrating Brands into Social Television" on Saturday, March 10 from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

"The Glee Project" season two will return with Ryan Murphy and Dante Di Loreto continuing as executive producers along with series executive producers Michael Davies and Shauna Minoprio of Embassy Row. Murphy will once again join casting director Robert Ulrich, choreographer and "Glee" co-producer Zach Woodlee and vocal coach Nikki Anders in the final deliberations of each installment of the series.