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zaterdag 28 april 2012

Elizabeth McGovern on 'Downton Abbey' comments: 'I was misinterpreted'

Elizabeth McGovern on 'Downton Abbey' comments: 'I was misinterpreted'

Elizabeth McGovern has clarified recent quotes attributed to her about Downton Abbey.

McGovern, who plays Lady Cora Grantham, appeared to claim in an interview with the LA Times that she wasn't as keen on series two of the hit ITV period drama.

However, she has since released a statement saying: "I am horrified that my comments about the second series of Downton Abbey have been taken out of context and misinterpreted. I was in no way criticising the second season or implying that I loved or enjoyed it any less.

"When asked about the second series I said that the tone differed slightly from the first. There would be some people who would naturally prefer the more domestic detail of series one and others who would love the faster pace and heightened drama of the war years.

"That does not translate that series two was any less entertaining than series one - and many millions of people around the world agree with me.

"Julian Fellowes is a brilliant writer and I am proud and privileged to be part of this show. The third season is so rich with character detail, storylines and new faces that I can't wait for people to see it."

Downton Abbey's second run, which dealt with the horrors of WWI, culminated in a spread of influenza that killed Lavinia Swire (Zoe Boyle).

'NCIS' soars to 2 million for Channel 5

'NCIS' soars to 2 million for Channel 5

US cop drama NCIS broke the 2 million mark for Channel 5 on Tuesday night, overnight data shows.

The Mark Harmon import averaged 1.89m (7.3%) in the 9pm hour, beating Channel 4 and BBC Two's respective programming, and commanding 116k (0.6%) on Channel 5 +1.

One-off royal documentary Queen Victoria's Last Love interested 1.45m (5.6%) on Channel 4 (+1: 201k/1%), while BBC Two's Divine Women could only muster 726k (2.8%).

The Apprentice: You're Fired was BBC Two's saving grace, attracting 2.16m (9.6%) at 10pm, while 8pm's Our Food served up 1.64m (7%), overpowering Four Rooms' 1.3m (5.6%) for Channel 4 (+1: 158k/0.6%) and Channel 5's Cowboy Traders (1.24m/5.3%).

The Apprentice itself held strong with 6.57m (25.6%) against ITV1's all-European Champions League semi-final clash, which scored an impressive 6.22m (26.3%) between 7.30pm and 10.30pm.

Elsewhere on BBC One, Panorama took a solid 4.93m (22.9%) at 7.30pm, and Waterloo Road's last episode in Rochdale managed 4.7m in the 8pm hour.

Channel 4's night peaked at 10pm with a Bodyshock special - Turtle Boy - which grabbed the attention of 1.98m (10.1%) as well as 292k (3%) on timeshift.

Overall, ITV1 won primetime with 25.9% (+1: 0.3%) against BBC One's 20.7%. BBC Two claimed third place with 6.3%, ahead of Channel 4's 6% (+1: 0.8%) and Channel 5's 5.1% (+1: 0.2%).

The Only Way Is Essex continued to pull in bumper ratings for ITV2 with 1.11m (5.3%) at 10pm (+1: 170k/0.6%), prior to which Peter Andre: My Life had 923k (3.6%) and 146k (0.6%) on ITV2 +1.

'Great British Bake Off', Nigella Lawson head up Food on BBC Two

'Great British Bake Off', Nigella Lawson head up Food on BBC Two

Mary Berry's Great British Bake Off and Nigella Lawson's Nigellissima will head up a new selection of BBC Two food shows, announced this afternoon by the channel's controller Janice Hadlow.

Other programmes unveiled include new series from the Hairy Bikers, Rick Stein and Ken Hom and Ching-He Huang.

Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will return to host a third series of the BAFTA-nominated amateur cookery series Great British Bake Off, which will feature cookery writer Berry and acclaimed Master Baker Paul Hollywood judging the cakes, pastries and bread-making skills of 12 home cooks.

Lawson's new series Nigellissima will air in the autumn and will feature her unique take on Italian food.

"When I went to live in Italy when young, I said I'd do anything but clean lavatories; as a chambermaid in Florence, that is what I ended up doing! But I also learned about real Italian food, and by the time I'd left I had found my spiritual and gastronomic home," said Lawson.

"I wanted to make a series of my sort of Italian food, inspired by the ethos and the ingredients but fused with the way we live our lives, here, in the UK. I care about ease and accessibility, but I care most about passion and taste and it is these crucial Italian factors, I want to bring to the table and the television!"

Other shows launching on the channel include Ken Hom and Ching-He Huang's Eat, Drink, Cook China and The Hairy Bikers' How To Love Food And Lose Weight project, which will aim to get the British public leading healthier lives.

Benedict Cumberbatch 'desperate for Sherlock to be US success'

Benedict Cumberbatch 'desperate for Sherlock to be US success'

Benedict Cumberbatch has admitted that he is "desperate" for Sherlock to be a hit in the US.

The actor argued that the BBC detective drama is only a "cult thing" in America, where it airs on PBS.

"I'm desperate for America to really take to this," he told The New York Times. "It has taken it into its heart as a cult thing, but I'd love it to hit the mainstream this time. Because I just think it's of that quality, and it belongs there."

Cumberbatch added that he was envious of the success enjoyed in the US by Downton Abbey, recalling an incident at the Golden Globes in which PBS Masterpiece producer Rebecca Eaton had light-heartedly taunted him with the show's award.

"I just looked at it and went, 'Begone, woman. Bring it back when it says "Sherlock Holmes" or Steven Moffat or myself - someone else who's more deserving than the second series of Downton Abbey'."

However, the actor refused to be drawn on his criticism of the ITV1 period drama.

"I know too many people who are in it," he said. "I thought the first series was good. That's what I'll say."

The second series of Sherlock premieres on Sunday, May 6 on PBS.

'Prisoners' Wives' second series confirmed

'Prisoners' Wives' second series confirmed

BBC One drama Prisoners' Wives has been given a second series, it has been confirmed.

Creator Julie Gearey revealed to the Radio Times that she is already "bursting at the seams" with new stories for the second run.

Series two will be a slightly shorter run of four episodes, which will air in 2013.

Emma Rigby, Polly Walker, Pippa Haywood, Natalie Gavin, Jonas Armstrong and Adam Gillen starred in the South Yorkshire-based drama about four women coping without their partners, who are all in prison.

The first run ended earlier this year with over 5 million viewers for the sixth episode.

Its first series was highly praised by critics, with The Guardian describing the show as a "thrusting character-driven piece with a cast you can't take your eyes off".

'Merlin' exec on series five: 'Merlin will be stronger, more powerful'

'Merlin' exec on series five: 'Merlin will be stronger, more powerful'

Merlin co-creator Julian Murphy has dropped hints about the fifth series.

The young wizard will become "a much... stronger, focused and [more] powerful character" in future episodes, Murphy told SciFiNow.

"I think it's interesting because you saw a glimpse at the end of the last series, particularly when he killed Agravaine," said the writer.

"We're really interested in taking him on that journey with all its dangers and the temptations it will bring, so that will be a big part of the fifth series."

However, Murphy admitted that Merlin (Colin Morgan) is unlikely to find love in the fifth series.

"Although there are legends that relate to certain romances... I think in our consciousness he's a curiously non-romantic figure," he explained.

"In our mind, he's never associated with women, and I guess we stay true to that, but we'd never rule it out, and there are some interesting stories about Merlin being seduced away from the path."

Murphy and Merlin co-creator Johnny Capps previously told Digital Spy that the series could continue beyond the upcoming fifth run.

"We've always planned five series, but it depends on how popular the show is," said the pair. "There's every possibility it could continue."

Russell Tovey sitcom, post-watershed dramedy for ITV

Russell Tovey sitcom, post-watershed dramedy for ITV

ITV has commissioned two new comedy series.

The channel announced that it has ordered six episodes of both primetime sitcom The Job Lot and post-watershed dramedy Great Night Out.

The Job Lot takes place in a job centre and stars Russell Tovey and Miranda's Sarah Hadland. It was commissioned following a successful pilot produced by Rev's Hannah Pescod and directed by Richard Laxton of Him & Her.

Executive producer Kenton Allen said: "The moment I read the script I immediately thought The Job Lot was a comedy idea that captured the spirit of these times and could be the answer to ITV's ambitions to reignite primetime comedy on ITV1.

"We are all delighted with the pilot and can't wait for audiences to get to know the brilliant characters that lurk within Brownall Job Centre."

Great Night Out centres on four male friends in their mid-30s (Waterloo Road's Will Ash, Misfits star Craig Parkinson, Lee Boardman and Stephen Walters) who have a weekly boys' meeting.

The series was written and created by Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni of The Worst Week of My Life.

The Job Lot is scheduled to air in 2013, while filming of Great Night Out has already begun in London and Stockport.

'An Idiot Abroad: The Short Way Round' specials confirmed by Sky1

'An Idiot Abroad: The Short Way Round' specials confirmed by Sky1

Sky1 has officially confirmed that An Idiot Abroad will return for two specials.

An Idiot Abroad: The Short Way Round - featuring Karl Pilkington and Warwick Davis - will be comprised of a pair of 60-minute episodes.

The new project will see Pilkington and Life's Too Short star Davis travelling from Italy to China to recreate the journey of famous explorer Marco Polo.

"Karl once said to me that opposites attract," said series co-creator Ricky Gervais. "Warwick Davis is sociable, hardworking and never complains. They should get along fine."

Pilkington added: "I don't know how it will work out. Honestly. Edmund Hillary had that Tenzing fella, Ben Fogle had James Cracknell. I've been given an Ewok."

The Short Way Round will focus on Pilkington's "trademark observations" as he travels across Eastern Europe and India, as well as Davis's "varying experiences as a little person in different countries".

"An Idiot Abroad has been a huge success," said Sky's head of factual Celia Taylor. "We are thrilled that Karl is back on the channel for The Short Way Round, which with the addition of the brilliant Warwick Davis, looks set to be the most entertaining yet."

Gervais confirmed last month that Pilkington had signed up for a third series of An Idiot Abroad.

"He was worried about it [but] he signed the contract this week, so he can't back out now," said the comic. "He's in too deep."

An Idiot Abroad: The Short Way Round will air on Sky1 in late 2012.

What fandom did for Doctor Who

What fandom did for Doctor Who

It is said that the cancellation of Doctor Who in 1989 was marked by earthquakes, bad dreams, the closing of quarries, and, shortly afterwards, the issuing of several contracts by Virgin Publishing. However, the only people this is said by are Doctor Who fans, and there are several possible theories to explain this.

1. A fondness for slightly forced Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy references.

2. Hyperbole.

3. Nothing else.

Doctor Who was cancelled in 1989, and returned in 2005. In that time BBC Books took up the publishing mantle from Virgin in 1997, Doctor Who Magazine's monthly comic strip went from strength to strength, and Big Finish gained a licence to produce original audio-plays. This era produced some of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever told; helping young writers go on to great things, from The League of Gentlemen to Action Comics. Fans have argued (occasionally in order to justify disapproval of the new series) that without keeping Doctor Who alive in this way, the show would never have returned in 2005. How true is this?

All of these spin-offs were created to meet a market demand. Since 2005, the Doctor Who market has since changed beyond all expectation. Simon Guerrier has written Doctor Who books for both markets, and so I asked him about the differences:

Simon Guerrier: The market is completely different these days. Before the show came back, Doctor Who merchandise was a relatively small but lucrative area, mainly based round adult collectors. Now it's a huge and broad market, with magazines and toys selling large numbers in supermarkets to kids. I think it would be difficult to predict one from the other.

Was there a sizeable difference in sales for these ranges?

SG: Yes, there's a huge difference - by something like an order of ten. The first new series books - with the Ninth Doctor - sold phenomenally well. The Time Travellers (Simon's Past Doctor Adventure) was very well reviewed and in all the right places but never made its advance back.

In 2006 nine titles sold 321,230 copies. Presumably this new market has come from new viewers. For some idea of the difference in sales, The Monsters Inside shifted 38,923 copies and The Stone Rose 32,35 (according to the Bookseller website via Justin Richards). When you consider that Doctor Who Magazine's 2011 circulation was 30,682 these figures are impressive, but for further context we must ask: how many hard-core Doctor Who fans are there?

It's impossible to say precisely. If you combine the highest figure from fan-sites' Twitter followers or forum members the total is roughly 145,700. This figure does show is that, even adjusting upwards (say, doubling the figure to accommodate variables), the kind of fan who is debating how much of Destiny of the Daleks was written by Terry Nation or Douglas Adams has gone from being the near-totality of fandom to being a minority (the average UK viewing figure for the 2011 series was 7.75 million).

This increased audience may have been latent (Paul McGann attracted nine million viewers) but BBC Worldwide complicated rights issues by looking to make further films. When Mal Young - a fan since the 60s - became the BBC's Controller of Continuing Drama Series in 1997, he looked into bringing Doctor Who back to TV. I asked him about the process:

Mal Young: As soon as we talked about Doctor Who, everyone was suddenly into the idea - and I heard that if it was ever more than a possibility, then I had to meet with Russell (T. Davies) who was the only person who could write it for a new audience. But then we hit the rights issue and were frustrated that we couldn't take it further at that point.

I can't be certain, but I think the rights became available around early 2004. But we knew any new version would have to compete with the higher production values of series like Buffy - much more than the previous series of Doctor Who. Sci-fi TV and film had moved on a lot in the intervening years and we knew the audience's expectations would be high. It couldn't be studio-bound or multi-camera anymore. But this also meant the budget would have to be significantly higher. BBC1 knew they wanted to put it back into its traditional Saturday tea-time slot, but at that point there was not enough money available for what had become an entertainment slot. So me, Julie Gardner and Russell headed off to LA to pitch it as a potential co-production to hopefully make up the shortfall.

However, this was at a point when US Networks were looking to reinvent their own brands like Battlestar Galactica, and although there was much fondness for Doctor Who, it was seen as too British, so we came back empty handed. Nearer production, we were able to get some additional funding from Canada, and of course when the show became a hit, BBC Worldwide were able to sell it all over - especially to the Americans - so it did eventually become cost-effective.

It was always going to be on Saturday early evening. It wasn't even a debate, just accepted. I had strengthened Casualty in the later slot, and more family entertainment shows were emerging, so we felt we should kick off Saturday night with Doctor Who in its old slot.

Part of our strategy was to attract dads who watched the show the first time around to come back to the sofa and watch with their kids. We knew we had to somehow create and new audience and fan-base, as the existing one was simply not enough to give us the ratings for the show to survive. We needed to make the show more contemporary and relatable. We also knew we had to attempt to attract the female audience.

So although we felt we had a well-known brand with a history, we also had to create something brand new and not rely at all on that past. Some sections of the audience didn't remember the show fondly and to them it was a damaged brand. We had to be respectful at the same time as making a brand new show. As we got closer to launch, there was a definite feeling that it was going to work and so we gained confidence to do stuff like the Doctor Who Confidential.

Ultimately the decision was down to the Controller of BBC1 - when we started on the journey it was Peter Salmon, but by the time it got on air it was Lorraine Heggessey - they were both big supporters of the show and know what it could mean for BBC1, if we got it right.

Jane Tranter, then Head of Drama Commissioning, was also a big part of getting the rights back and giving us that support. they were all very aware of the fan base, strength and loyalty of the brand and the fact it felt like a jewel in the history of the BBC.

The books and audio-plays helped convince everyone there could still be an audience, but there was also nervousness that that wouldn't be enough. We knew we had to attract audiences outside of that core fan base. What if the new viewers didn't care? What if sci-fi had moved on too far and left Doctor Who behind. We knew we couldn't rest on the past.

So, what fandom did was be part of the foundations for the show's successful return. Whether or not it remains a cornerstone is difficult to say. Certainly the show's universe is richer for all of its spin-off material, and what would have happened without it is conjecture rather than proof either way.

However, the reason the series is popular is that it did look beyond its existing fan-base. The show, like its title character, is always moving on, and this is the way it should be. If you don't like the show now, just remember that its popularity ensures that it will change again in the future.

And if you don't like that, well, there's always the past.

Celebrating 15 years of South Park

Celebrating 15 years of South Park

...fifteen years after it first premiered, there is still nothing else on television quite like it. Paul celebrates fifteen years of South Park (yes, you are that old), and looks at why it's worked so well, and for so long...

It’s indicative of how far we’ve come in 15 years that the idea that an eight-year-old calling another eight-year old an asshole would inspire anything other than glazed eyes now seems adorably quaint, like when cigarettes were prescribed by doctors for hysteria.

In 1997, though, the animated portrayal of swearing kids in South Park was transgressive enough to invoke widespread debates about moral decline, infuriate the self-appointed social and cultural guardians, and propel the show both to the top of the cable ratings and to the forefront of pop-cultural consciousness, a position it has managed to maintain to this day.

How South Park has, against all odds, managed stay relevant and reach over 220 episodes is primarily by remaining funny, and secondly by retaining its power to shock. Admittedly your mileage may vary as to whether it’s still as funny as it was, and every season is greeted with message board proclamations about it being the Worst Season Ever, but the decline in quality has been nothing like as pronounced as a certain other long-running animated comedy sitcom that introduced that particular saying into the lexicon.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s brand of comedy is still as recognisable and distinctive as ever, in South Park as well as in the hugely successful side projects of Team America and The Book Of Mormon: unashamedly scatological, powerfully surreal, fearlessly confrontational, whilst also somehow managing to be remain disarmingly sweet and hopeful, with a steadfast moral centre. Perhaps the greatest compliment you can pay South Park is that, 15 years after it first premiered, there is still nothing else on television quite like it.

One of the most notable things about the show is its genuinely remarkable production process, where writing, voice-overs, storyboarding and animation for each episode is condensed into the six days leading up to broadcast, with Trey Parker assuming sole writing and directing responsibilities. While this unusually accelerated way of doing things results in the odd clunker, the advantage is that South Park can remain relevant and topical in a way that is the envy of more nakedly political live action shows; let alone South Park’s animated peers, many of which have script-to-screen production periods that last close to a year.

Some have argued that this ability to comment on topical events has negatively affected the show – it’s become too preachy, too focused on delivering a ‘message’ as opposed to telling a funny story. This change in focus was almost certainly necessary, however, as Parker and Stone have said, in order to remain provocative – they saw that poo jokes and kids swearing wasn’t going to stay shocking forever, and sure enough the early episodes seem positively tame in comparison to later season efforts.

Portraying Barbra Streisand as a fire-breathing Mechagodzilla, which elicited whispered giggles of astonishment at the time, doesn’t have quite the same impact when you’ve seen Mel Gibson in a nappy smearing his own shit over the walls, or Paris Hilton being forcibly and wholly inserted into the anus of a bondage clad submissive gay man named Mr Slave.

There’s almost guaranteed to be an episode of South Park that crosses your own personal boundary, and indeed one of things that unsettles people the most about Parker and Stone’s work is their distrust for political sacred cows. They show equal distaste for liberal viewpoints as they do conservative, if not more so – as with most predominantly artistic communities, Hollywood is dominated by those on the left, so Parker and Stone’s eagerness to attack the likes of Alec Baldwin, Michael Moore and Al Gore has led to many of their Tinseltown contemporaries to dismiss them as Republican sympathisers.

Likewise, Republicans are so desperate for a comedian, any comedian to be anything other than completely opposed to them that they have been quick to claim them as their own, with one right-leaning American commentator coining the term ‘South Park conservative’ to describe the young, typically male South Park viewer who subscribes to the political ideology supposedly espoused by the show.

In reality, rather than subscribing to the viewpoint of any political party, it’s precisely this ‘you’re either with us, or against us’ mentality that Parker and Stone are satirising. However, they definitely seem to attack targets on the left with a little more zeal – perhaps precisely because they’re harder targets for comedians to aim at. Stone may have summed up the South Park approach to politics in a recent interview when he said, “I hate Republicans, but I really fucking hate liberals.”

Perhaps South Park’s most notable run-ins with controversy during its run have been with religions and religious groups. You could argue that this is because religious fanatics are more – well, fanatical than other lobbying groups, but there’s an equal case to be made that the pair reserve a special level of vitriol for organised religion, as they’ve returned to attack certain targets again and again: the Catholic Church and its fervent covering-up of scandals, Scientology, the absurdity of anti-Semitism, Scientology, Mormonism, Christian self-righteousness, and Scientology. The fearlessness with which the South Park team take on, for want of a better term, sacred cows, and their refusal to censor or dilute their attacks, has over the years become one of its defining characteristics.

It’s hard to over-estimate how ballsy South Park has been in its 15 year run – it’s demonstrated fearlessness in the face of just about every taboo imaginable, a fearlessness that has led to the world’s most powerful institutions being provoked into a fury, and ultimately created an overall cultural impact so significant, it has even led to the lives of the creators being threatened. Not bad for some swearing eight-year-olds.

With that in mind, next time we’ll be celebrating ten of the ballsiest episodes in South Park history...

'Britain's Got Talent' live semi-final dates, timings confirmed

'Britain's Got Talent' live semi-final dates, timings confirmed

The dates and timings for this year's Britain's Got Talent semi-finals have been confirmed.

The penultimate phase of the competition will be spread over five consecutive days, starting on Sunday, May 6.

The first semi-final will run for two hours. Subsequent semi-finals will be one and a half hours with a separate half-hour results show.

Each day will feature nine acts performing live for judges Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams.

The home viewers will choose which acts make the final and the chance to win a slot on the Royal Variety Performance and £500,000

The full semi-final details are as follows:

Semi-final 1 - Sunday, May: 6 8pm-10pm
Semi-final 2 - Monday, May 7: 7.30pm-9pm (results 9.30pm-10pm)
Semi-final 3 - Tuesday, May 8 7.30pm-9pm (results 9.30pm-10pm)
Semi-final 4 - Wednesday, May 9: 7.30pm-9pm (results 9.30pm-10pm)
Semi-final 5 - Thursday, May 10: 7.30pm-9pm (results 9.30pm-10pm)

The Final - TBC

Kris Jenner, Reality Producers Defend Big Paydays

Kris Jenner, Reality Producers Defend Big Paydays

Reality producers are not a conservative group.

When the Beverly Hilton’s fire alarms went off in the middle of Thursday’s Hollywood Radio & Television Society lunch with the industry’s top reality television producers, production companies, and executives, almost nobody evacuated the ballroom, despite the flashing lights and repeated announcements.

“If we all die, what a great story this is going to be,” moderator Tom Bergeron cracked. “Idiot Reality People Don’t Leave Burning Building.”

The non-idiotic reality producers on Bergeron’s panel who survived the false alarm -- Mike Fleiss (“The Bachelor” franchise), Brent Montgomery (“Pawn Stars”), Kris Jenner (“Keeping Up with the Kardashians”), Conrad Green (“Dancing with the Stars”), Eli Holzman (“Undercover Boss”), and Bertam van Munster (“The Amazing Race”) -- weighed in on the state of the industry and production crises ranging from fifty-pound bricks of runaway cheese, glass eyes popping out on camera, and unexpected visits from the FBI.

Besides the fire alarm, the elephant in the room was Fleiss’ latest credit: newly minted legal defendant.

Two African-American would-be “Bachelors” filed a federal racial discrimination suit against the producer, ABC, Warner Horizon and Next Productions last week.

The HRTS screened Fleiss from the attending media, making a point to warn this reporter and others not to approach him. The most casually dressed of the honorees in head to toe black, the dour producer smoked an electronic cigarette on stage and spent most of the pre-reception huddled with the talkative van Munster.

“If any of our shows on this panel are hypothetically involved in litigation, they can’t comment on it, so I won’t ask about it,” Bergeron said.

Fleiss was more vocal in criticizing the inverse relationship between the maturity level of the viewing audience and shift in programming since the days of his own early high profile spectacle, “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” 

“It used to be the most innovative stuff (got on) TV. Now it’s the most bland and derivative. The audience isn’t rejecting it, but it has settled in to a level that is different than when there was explosive energy and curiosity because it was something they hadn’t seen before. Now it seems relatively calm,” Fleiss critiqued.

“Almost every profession has been mined for its reality series,” Conrad Green added. “You can only be a virgin once,” Bergen said.

Predictably, all of the producers took a hard line against criticism that reality consumes too much of the finite broadcast schedule. “It’s a fantasy that we’re taking jobs from actors. It's crazy.” Green said. “The sheer quantity and quality of drama on TV now compared to the past makes that a nonsense argument.”

“It’s a genre that has caught on and it just works,” Van Muster added. “If (the scripted community) can create a genre and it catches on again, then they get the place there and we’re out of the game again.”

Jenner, whose television brand champions an elite lifestyle, offered a populist defense. “By the way, we’re bringing work to a lot of other people,” she said. “Our show employs hundreds and hundreds of people every year. Like when there was a strike, we had a show on the air and employed a lot of people who got to feed their families, and that made me feel really good.”

Fleiss credited ABC’s scheduling cutback, more on-screen travel, and a better cast for keeping shows fresh.

“We had a couple bad bachelors. [Former “Bachelor” Charlie O’Connell] was drunk off his ass. He’s sober now. He’s got four years of sobriety. We got a little complacent, a little lazy. It started to sag. The audience picks up on that. They’re smarter than we give them credit for,” he said.

Unbeknownst to Fleiss, he had hired the man at his left, Brent Montgomery, to work as a new hire on that ill-fated O’Connell season. Mongtomery is now the Executive Producer of History Channel’s “Pawn Stars.”

After the Kardashian clan signed a new three-season deal with E! earlier this week, Jenner spoke up to defend her family’s lucrative haul for the series. “There is definitely a misconception out there that just because you do a reality show, it means you don’t work as hard. People need to remember it’s definitely a business. Everyone in my family has an amazing work ethic. We’re not trained actors. We don’t have a lot of talent. I can cook, that’s about it. My kids are definitely motivated to do a really good job,” Jenner added.

Jenner also shed some light on the genesis of the Kardashian franchise, tipping her hat to “Dancing with the Stars” celebrity talent booker Deena Katz, who was in the room. Katz brokered her professional introduction to Ryan Seacrest.

Warner Horizon’s Craig Erwich and ICM’s Greg Lipstone co-chaired the lunch.

'Fringe' Renewed for Fifth and Last Season

'Fringe' Renewed for Fifth and Last Season

"Fringe" might not be raking in the ratings that Fox might have hoped for, but it has its loyal fans, and the network has decided to give them another season of the show.

Fox has renewed the sci-fi series for a fifth -- and last -- season with a 13-episode order.

“'Fringe' is a remarkably creative series that has set the bar as one of television’s most imaginative dramas. Bringing it back for a final 13 allows us to provide the climactic conclusion that its passionate and loyal fans deserve,” Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting, said of the renewal.

“The amazing work the producers, writers and the incredibly talented cast and crew have delivered the last four seasons has literally been out of this world," he said. "Although the end is bittersweet, it’s going to be a very exciting final chapter.”

Series co-creator and executive producer J.J. Abrams added that the fifth season "will allow the series to conclude in a wild and thrilling way. All of us at Bad Robot are forever indebted to our viewers and the amazingly supportive Fox network for allowing the adventures of Fringe Division to not only continue, but to resolve in a way that perfectly fits the show.”

Snooki and JWOWW Somehow Score 'Jersey Shore' Timeslot

Snooki and JWOWW Somehow Score 'Jersey Shore' Timeslot

The highly anticipated "Snooki and JWOWW" will unsurprisingly take over their old "Jersey Shore" timeslot, MTV announced Thursday as it unveiled its upcoming slate of shows.

During the presentation, Snooki (real name: Nicole Polizzi) alluded to her pregnancy when she told the audience how it had changed the focus of the show from just her and JWoww (born Jennifer Farley).

"The plan was to make every night girl's night, just the two of us, and then I got a big surprise," she said, patting her belly. In a preview of the show played during the presentation, she broke the news to Farley that she was pregnant and engaged. "How did this happen?" asked JWoww. "Sex," said Snooki.

MTV had access to unusually strong musical talent to wow the advertisers. Fun performed their anthem "We Are Young," while Alicia Keys sang three songs, including a Jay-Z-less version of their duet "Empire State of Mind."

The network announced that the second season of "Awkward" would get the coveted slot after the "Jersey Shore" veterans, who will debut in the Thursdays-at-10 p.m. slot beginning June 21. "Awkward" will follow at 10:30 beginning June 28.

The network also said the second season of "Teen Wolf" will premiere in two parts, with the first airing Sunday, June 3, at 11 p.m., after the 2012 MTV Movie Awards. The second part airs the following night, Monday, in the show's regular 10 p.m. slot.

The network presented its upcoming slate to advertisers Thursday at New York City's Beacon Theater. In keeping with the "Jersey Shore" theme, DJ Pauly D provided the music.

The event also included early looks at the new docu-series "Catfish," based on the film; "In-Betweeners," based on the hit British series, the reality show "Wake Brothers" about wakeboard champion brothers, and "Zach Stone Is Gonna be Famous," starring Internet sensation Bo Burnham. During the presentation, musical acts Alicia Keys and fun. performed.

The network also announced plans for a new social media game called "Teen Wolf: The Hunt," which will premiere with the show and allow fans to take part in a choose-your-own-adventure style mystery.

The top 10 ballsiest South Park episodes

The top 10 ballsiest South Park episodes

Join us in a look at the 10 most offensive episodes in South Park's 15-year history. Is a warning even necessary?

Following on from our celebration of South Park's 15th anniversary (you'll find a link down at the bottom!), it seems logical then to salute the episodes that have really help the show push at the many boundaries it has. So here we are.

The following aren’t necessarily the show’s ten best episodes, but a collection of those that represent the particular brand of South Park rebellion at its most pointed and offensive.

10. Krazy Kripples

Krazy Kripples focuses on the two handicapped boys in Stan, Kyle and Cartman’s year, Jimmy and Timmy. South Park’s treatment of disability has always been remarkably (if deceptively) progressive: while it’s decidedly un-PC, with laughs being mined from their appearance and weird speech patterns, they’re also both proper characters who are regularly involved throughout the show, and rarely wheeled (pardon the pun) out just for the sake of a cheap gag. The South Park attitude to disabled people is that pretending that they don’t exist out of politeness or embarrassment is as just bad as hateful bullying. It seems this approach has been successful within the disabled community – a BBC poll found that Timmy was voted the best disabled character of all time, and proved much more popular among disabled voters than he did amongst the able-bodied.

The plot of episode features the lovable duo attempting to join LA’s infamous Crips gang, mistaking them for a club for handicapped people like them. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of this episode is the sub-plot, one of the most surreal in the show’s history: Christopher Reeve (the episode was produced before his unfortunate death), in his advocacy for stem cell research, uses the stem cells to become a super villain with over powering strength, in the process doing battle with his Superman co-star Gene Hackman (‘Hack-Man’). He achieved his powers by sucking the blood out of unborn foetuses, in one of the most disgusting sight gags you will ever see, anywhere.

9. All About the Mormons

This is one of the most notable examples of what would become a Parker and Stone trademark when looking at religion – the dogma, rituals and mythology are presented almost totally straight, with a lot of attention to detail and little in the way of comedic embellishment. This in turn lets the absurdities inherent within the religion then speak for themselves.

The plot, where a Mormon family moves to South Park and disarms everyone with their unfailing niceness, is based on stories from Trey Parker’s youth – his high school girlfriend was Mormon, and he was regularly invited round for Family Event Night just like Stan is in this episode.

These experiences clearly had a big impact on the formative Trey Parker, as Mormonism has been a recurring theme in Parker’s work, with the lead character in their 1997 film Orgazmo being a Mormon, and of course their phenomenally acclaimed and successful stage musical The Book of Mormon being a reworking of a lot of the themes found in this episode.

8. Scott Tenorman Must Die

Not all of South Park’s most shocking moments have been related to a topical, hot button issue. One of the show’s biggest assets is Cartman, the corpulent, foul-mouthed uber-brat who is the show’s reliable voice of not-reason.

Scott Tenorman Must Die is a favourite amongst fans of the show – unfortunately, to explain exactly why it’s so good would be to spoil its brilliantly constructed plot. Needless to say, Cartman before ths episode comes across as an obnoxious, spoilt, unpleasant dickhead, but after the episode, the real truth is revealed: he’s utterly, dangerously, irredeemably insane. Which is quite a daring trait to apply to your most recognisable character, all things considered.

7. Hell on Earth

The plot of this episode – Satan holds a super sweet sixteen birthday party in Hell – is fairly tame stuff by South Park standards, even if it does feature Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy as Satan’s hapless helpers running party errands that descend into gore-drenched catastrophes.

The reason this episode makes this list is a throwaway joke late in the episode: at Satan’s costume party, a familiar looking Australian man is shown revelling with a stingray lodged in his chest. Satan, assuming that this is someone wearing a deliberately bad taste costume (Steve Irwin died in reality six weeks before the episode aired), chastises him (“It’s just a little soon, you know?”), before it’s revealed that this is in fact the real Steve Irwin, who now resides in Hell. On hearing this Satan ejects him from the party for not wearing a costume, and Irwin is dragged off shouting “I thought we were friends!”

This one joke got international coverage, and it’s interesting that with all of the other sensitive material covered by South Park, this was the moment that many long-term fans thought they had finally overstepped a boundary. They might have a point. It’s indefensible on just about every level – which is probably why it was so funny.

6. Douche and Turd

Not a classic episode by any means, but it’s a nice distillation of South Park’s attitude towards the political system. Screened just before the 2004 general election, see if you can spot the extremely subtle political allegory – when South Park Elementary’s cow mascot is scrapped due to complaints from PETA, the kids are asked to vote for a new one. Their choices? A giant douche, or a turd sandwich. Stan, arguing that there’s no real difference between a giant douche or a turd sandwich, refuses to vote – his apathy enrages both the rest of the town and Puff Daddy, head of the ‘Vote or Die’ campaign.

Parker is a registered libertarian, and this attitude towards the two main parties is a fairly representative of the libertarian philosophy. The timing of this episode, at a time when there were desperate measures being employed to get people (especially the young people who make up a large proportion of South Park’s audience) voting in a bid to prevent another four years of George Bush, annoyed liberals no end, which you imagine is exactly the response the South Park team wanted.

5. It Hits the Fan

George Carlin had a famous stand-up routine called the Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV, and the ludicrousness of the FCC, the standards and practices body that regulates television output, demonizing certain words (“Tits doesn’t even belong on the list, man…”). It Hits The Fan is South Park’s version of Carlin’s routine, only it concentrates on one word. Previously always the subject of bleeping, the word ‘shit’ makes its first and last appearance on the episode, albeit repeated over 200 times in the space of 20 minutes, with a counter in the corner helpfully tallying up each utterance.

When the word ‘shit’ is uttered on ‘Cop Drama’ (a reference t o word being first used on TV on Chicago Hope in the late nineties), usage of the word becomes widespread, and so popular so that entire programmes are produced with dialogue comprised exclusively of that word.

Unfortunately, the boys discover that the word is cursed, and its constant utterance is resulting in a resurgence of the Black Death – therefore, they must employ the Knights of Standards and Practices to banish the word from South Park forever.  At the end, Stan concedes that “too much use of a dirty word takes away from its impact. We believe in free speech and all that, but keeping a few words taboo just adds to the fun of English.”

This moral is given even further weight if you’re privy to a bit of production history: Stone revealed that when the idea for the episode was taken to Comedy Central, they balked at what was originally three or four mentions of the word and rejected it. When the pair re-wrote it so that the word was used hundreds of times, the network had no problem with it, and passed it uncut.

4. Death

Death is at first glance one of the least controversial episode on this list, but it’s still one of the most important episodes in South Park history, and easily represents one of its biggest risks.

Some fans have decreed that South Park is now too ‘preachy’ and focused on delivering a message than it is on telling funny stories about its characters. However, the series’ first episode to deal with hot button ‘issues’ came precisely six episodes in.

While South Park had already become a sensation with its first five instalments, the episodes themselves were seen as purely exercises in toilet humour and bad taste (even though there was more going on under the surface than people gave the boys credit for). Death, however, was a first for the show: an extremely ambitious episode that takes on the hugely thorny twin issues of censorship (a topic the show would return to over and over again) and euthanasia, in a storyline that depicts Stan’s grandfather as suicidal, as he begs his grandson to murder him.

The sub-plot features the parents of South Park staging a protest against Terrance and Phillip, the disgustingly puerile Canadian comedians beloved by their children, and in the process ignoring the real job of actually bringing them up. This plot went on to form the basis for the brilliant big-screen adaptation South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

‘Death’ is something of a turning point – after the episode, the show began to tackle topics in the news and moral issues with more and more regularity. Again, the argument rages whether this has been to the detriment of the show or not, but it’s inarguably played a huge role in its longevity.

3. Terrance and Phillip in ‘Not Without My Anus’

This was perhaps one of the first times Parker and Stone showed that they really are unafraid to give the proverbial middle finger to anyone – even their own audience. Especially their own audience.

The first season of South Park ended on a cliffhanger –who was Eric Cartman’s father? As hard as it seems to believe now, people were genuinely invested in this revelation and eagerly sat down to watch the second season premiere, ominously broadcast on April 1st.

The episode opened with a brief caption telling viewers that the scheduled episode with the big reveal was to be replaced with Not Without My Anus, a frankly ridiculous piece of surrealism featuring Saddam Hussein, Céline Dion, and of course the fart-happy duo of Terrance and Phillip.

To say people were annoyed is an understatement – Comedy Central received over 2,000 angry emails regarding the bait-and-switch, with many fans swearing never to watch the show again. Some critics were equally incensed, decrying the stunt as ‘fatal’ and that the South Park ‘phenomenon’ was over. Others saw it as either not that big a deal, or a genius move designed to separate those who watched the show for the dirty jokes from those who were prepared on board for something genuinely anarchic, mischievous and unafraid to mess with convention, even if it upset people. Fifteen years later, South Park is still on the air, and Not Without My Anus is something of a fan favourite.

2. Super Best Friends/Trapped in the Closet/The Return of Chef

These three episodes are three of the most famous the show has ever done, and without question three of the bravest. All three feature damning critiques of one of the least self-effacing and powerful ‘religions’ in the world: L. Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology.

Super Best Friends is the tamest of the three (with one notable exception, which we’ll get to) – in the episode, the boys join Blaintology, a cult that bears a significant resemblance to another –ology, and require the Super Best Friends, a Justice League of famous religious figures, to help them defeat the evil Blaine. By South Park standards, the Scientologists, usually so quick to take umbrage, probably realised that they got off relatively lightly, and the episode didn’t make much of a stir.

Parker and Stone really stepped things up for Trapped in the Closet, however: a vicious two-pronged attack on both Tom Cruise (the title alludes to both R. Kelly’s insane song and the scene in the episode where Tom Cruise locks himself inside a closet and refuses to, erm, come out) and Scientology as a whole, repeating the trick of animating some of the more out-there sections of the church’s mythology, and standing back without comment. Well, almost no comment – the sequence detailing the history of thetans (human souls that are also independently immortal spiritual beings), and how the evil alien dictator Lord Xenu fiendishly attempted to manipulate them, is overlaid with the withering caption “THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE”.

This flippant attitude towards core beliefs of Scientology was given extra spice as the story it details is top secret, and unavailable to even many lower-level Scientologists – you have to spend thousands of dollars to reach level three clearance before this story is revealed to you. The end of episode acknowledged the Church of Scientology’s notoriously litigious nature with one of the all time great South Park moments: all the Scientologists in the show threaten to sue Stan after he belittles their faith, to which he responds “Fine! Go ahead and sue!” Cut to a credits reel where the names of all of the South Park cast and crew have been replaced with John and Jane Smith.

This episode proved hugely controversial, with rumours abounding that Tom Cruise demanded that the episode be pulled from Comedy Central’s schedules (the episode was pulled, but there was no explanation as to why, and the evidence linking this to Cruise was circumstantial).

There was an even bigger knock on effect from the episode, however. Isaac Hayes, who played the boys’ lovable confidant Chef, was a practising Scientologist, and not longer after the show aired, issued a statement resigning from the show and accusing Parker and Stone of ‘intolerance and bigotry’ with regards to religious beliefs, to which the pair retorted that Hayes didn’t seem to have any problem when they were satirizing one of the myriad other religions that they had targeted.

The next episode to air after this furore was The Return of Chef, where Chef (voiced hilariously by cut-ups of previous lines spoken by Hayes in the show) returns to South Park having been brainwashed by a cult. The episode ends with Chef being gruesomely killed, but also with Kyle poignantly saying that the boys weren’t mad at Chef for leaving, but rather that ‘fruity little club’ that brainwashed him.

Rumours abounded later that Hayes’ health was such that he would have been unable to put out a statement like the one he did, and that he had been prompted to put it out by others. Sadly he died two years later, and the South Park team dedicated the episode The China Probrem to him.

The Scientology episodes were for a brief period South Park’s most notorious ever, but there was to be a even bigger controversy on the horizon, first hinted at in Super Best Friends. The coalition of religious leaders in the episode included Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Joseph Smith, and a Muslim prophet with ‘the powers of flame’ identified as Muhammad.

This depiction of Mohammed, whilst strictly something that has historically been incredibly offensive to practising Muslims, passed with little to no controversy at the time of airing – but when Parker and Stone attempted to repeat the joke a few years later, the reaction was markedly different…

1. Cartoon Wars Pt. 1 and 2

Cartoon Wars at first seemed primarily to be a broadswipe against one of South Park’s primary cartoon rivals, Family Guy, and its supposed over-reliance on cut-away jokes and gag humour. At one point, Cartman says “I am nothing like Family Guy! When I make jokes they are inherent to a story! Deep situational and emotional jokes based on what is relevant and has a point, not just one random interchangeable joke after another!”

The supposedly arbitrary nature of Family Guy’s stories is represented in the show by the presentation of Family Guy writers as manatees, who construct stories by fishing for balls with jokes and pop culture references attached to them.

This bit of sniping in itself would have made Cartoon Wars noteworthy, but what made the episode infamous was its attempt to once again portray Mohammad onscreen, only this time right in the middle of the furore surrounding the publication of Danish cartoons depicting Mohammad.

In the episode, when word gets out that Family Guy plans to show Mohammad on an upcoming episode, there is widespread panic, and the boys are torn between whether the episode should be shown or not, with those on the side of freedom of speech (Kyle), sensitivity to others (also Kyle, for a while) and outright hatred of Family Guy (Cartman). In the end, Kyle makes an impassioned speech in favour of the right to free expression, and the episode is aired…only when Cartoon Wars aired on Comedy Central, the image of Mohammad was replaced by an ominous black screen with the words “Comedy Central will not allow an image of Mohammad to be broadcast on their network.” This was then followed by a pointed coda, supposedly created in retaliation by terrorist leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, where Jesus Christ is shown defecating on George Bush and the American flag.

The impact of these episodes is hard to overestimate – the debate over whether to show the image goes on for 40 odd minutes, and the case for free speech is made so clearly and urgently that the black screen and white text disclaimer popping up at the cathartic moment constitutes as one of the most genuinely jaw-dropping television moments of the past few decades.

It was appropriate then that the pair should return to the controversy for 200, the appropriately title 200th episode of South Park, which featured a cornucopia of past appearances, in-jokes and call-backs for long-time fans of the show, in a plot where all of the people South Park has offended over the past 200 episodes (there are many) join forces to sue the town – the instigator of the lawsuit, Tom Cruise, agrees to drop the suit only if he can meet Mohammad, a demand that sends the town into another panic over reprisals.

At first, Mohammad is allegedly placed in a bear suit in order not to cause offense, although this later turns out to be a decoy of Santa Claus. Like Cartoon Wars, however, the episode ends on a cliffhanger, with a depiction of Mohammad teased for the next episode. In between the airing of 200 and 201, the New York based radical Muslim group Revolution Muslim warned that there would be violent retribution were South Park to depict Mohammad, and that Parker and Stone would “probably end up like Theo Van Gogh”, a film-maker who was murdered by an Islamic extremist after making a documentary criticising violence against women in predominantly Muslim societies.

As a result, Comedy Central heavily censored 201, placing a black box over all appearances of Mohammad, and bleeping out huge portions of dialogue spoken by Kyle, Jesus, and Santa Claus, all in support of free speech. The move by the network was heavily criticised by fans of the show, fellow cartoonists, leading academics, and the public as a whole as caving in to intimidation– a survey showed that 71% of people believed 201 should have aired uncensored. Comedy Central stood by their decision, claiming that the safety of their employees was paramount above all other concerns, and both episodes still heavily censored. They are still yet to be shown on UK TV, or released on R2 DVD.

In many ways 200 and 201 are South Park’s greatest statements on the importance of free speech and the fight against censorship, two battles Parker and Stone have been waging since the show’s inception, and the network imposed censorship only serves to enhance their power: the sight of crudely blacked out images is far more shocking that a caricature of Mohammad could ever be.

In a neat bit of circularity, Seth Macfarlane, creator of Family Guy, was asked what he thought of Comedy Central’s decision to censor South Park. He began, somewhat disingenuously, by saying, “No-one is a bigger critic of organised religion than I am”, but then went on, “It's tricky. You pick your battles. You have to judge how real the threat is against how funny the joke is. How much do I care about the joke?”

And with that last sentence, Parker and Stone finally have their point proved in a nutshell: South Park really is nothing like Family Guy.

'Make It or Break It' Canceled by ABC Family

'Make It or Break It' Canceled by ABC Family

"Make It or Break It" is no longer making it.

The ABC Family series will come to an end after its current season, which airs May 14 at 9 p.m.

The show, which premiered in June 2009, has suffered  declining ratings, averaging 1.4 million total viewers for its current third season so far, or about half of what its first season drew. The series also received only eight episodes for its current third season, as opposed to the 20 seasons of its first two seasons.

Holly Sorenson, executive producer on "Make It or Break It," held out hope on her Twitter account that the series -- which followed a group of gymnasts as they trained for the 2012 Olympics -- would be allowed to play out to its logical conclusion, perhaps via a TV movie.

"We'd love to do an olympic movie of miobi," Sorenson wrote. "would love to give the show its natural end. its really a network call."

TV Tonight 28th of April 2012

TV Tonight 28th of April 2012

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

60 Minute Makeover S09E23: "Series 9, Episode 23"
7 Days (NZ) S04E11: "Comedy Festival Special - New Zealand vs. World"
8 out of 10 cats S13E01: "Series 13, Episode 1"
A League of Their Own (UK) S05E02: "Series 5, Episode 2"
Accel World S01E04: "Declaration"
Alan Carr: Chatty Man: S08E01
America's Most Wanted S25E22: "Season 25, Episode 22"
Ancient Aliens S04E10: "Aliens and Dinosaurs"
Anderson: S01E145
Art in the Twenty-First Century S06E03: "History"
Better Homes and Gardens S14E13: "Series 14, Episode 13"
Big Brother Sverige S08E60: "Del 60"
Blue Bloods S02E20: "Working Girls"
Come Dine With Me S18E85: "Series 18, Come Dine With Me"
Coronation Street S53E85: "Fri Apr 27, 2012 [Episode 2]"
Coronation Street S53E84: "Fri Apr 27, 2012 [Episode 1]"
CSI: NY S08E16: "Sláinte"
Dateline NBC S21E43: "Fr2132"
Days of our Lives S47E120: "Ep. #11830"
De Zonen van Van As S01E06: "Season 1, Episode 6"
Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E222: "Episode 1902"
Degrassi S11E42: "Hollaback Girl (1)"
Dickinson's Real Deal S08E98: "Series 8, Episode 98"
Doctors S14E18: "The Lunatics, the Lover and the Poet"
EastEnders S28E69: "April 27, 2012"
Emmerdale S41E101: "April 27, 2012"
Escape To The Country S12E45: "Kent"
Eureka 7 (JP) S02E03: "Still Fighting (Secret Operation)"
Fairly Legal S02E07: "Teenage Wasteland"
Fish Hooks S02E16: "Guys' Night Out"
Fred: The Show S01E18: "The Battle of Little Figglehorn"
Fringe S04E20: "Worlds Apart"
Gardeners' World S45E08: "April 27, 2012"
General Hospital (US) S50E20: "#12548"
Ghost Adventures S06E07: "The Riviera Hotel"
Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden S22E170: "Season 22, Episode 170"
Great British Menu S07E15: "The Olympic Feast - 15"
Grimm S01E19: "Leave It to Beavers"
Have I Got News for You S43E03: "Damian Lewis, Susan Calman"
Heir Hunters (UK) S06E10: "Series 6, Episode 10"
Hollyoaks S18E85: "April 27, 2012"
Home and Away (AU) S25E70: "Episode 5505"
Horrible Histories S04E07: "Series 4, Episode 7"
House Hunters S48E84
House Hunters International S25E87: "Family of Six in Belize"
In Plain Sight S05E07: "Sacrificial Lam"
Jennie Garth: Little Bit Country S01E02: "Luca Sings"
Jeopardy! S28E160: "Show #6365"
Jessie (2011) S01E17: "Badfellas"
Killer Trials: Judgment Day S01E21: "TBA"
King (2011) S02E09: "Chris Harris"
Ladykracher S07E03: "Folge 3"
Ladykracher S07E04: "Folge 4"
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon S02E258
Late Show with David Letterman S19E62
Later... with Jools Holland S40E02
Let's Dance (DE) S05E07: "Folge 7"
Lip Service S02E02: "Series 2, Episode 2"
Live with Regis and Kelly S29E173
Magic City S01E04: "Atonement"
Mastermind (UK) S40E31: "Series 40, Show 31"
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries S01E10: "Death by Miss Adventure"
Neighbours S28E80: "Episode 6390"
Nikita S02E20: "Shadow Walker"
Not Going Out S05E03: "Camping"
Nytt På Nytt S26E16: "Håvard Lilleheie og Kristine Riis"
Phineas and Ferb S03E3011
Piers Morgan Tonight S02E66: "Episode 66"
Piers Morgan's Life Stories S07E03: "Carol Vorderman"
Poms in Paradise S02E05: "Series 2, Episode 5"
Primetime S23E14: "What Would You Do? (14)"
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is S06E25: "Series 6, Episode 25"
QI S09E17: "The Immortal Bard"
Real Time With Bill Maher S10E14: "Season 10, Episode 14"
Romanii au Talent S02E11: "Semifinala #4"
Sakamichi no Apollon S01E03: "Some Day My Prince Will Come"
Sankarea S01E04: "Normal...Girl"
Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids S02E05
Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids S02E06
Shark Tank S03E12: "Season 3, Episode 12"
Stand Up for the Week S04E01: "Series 4, Episode 1"
Supernatural S07E20
The Block S05E10: "Day 10"
The Bold and the Beautiful S26E26: "Ep. #6310"
The Chase (2009) S05E59: "Series 5, Episode 59"
The Dead Files S01E09: "Scandal in the South"
The Ellen DeGeneres Show S09E148: "Hugh Grant"
The Finder S01E11: "The Inheritance"
The Graham Norton Show S11E03
The Jeremy Kyle Show S07E158
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson S08E68
The Project S04E100: "Season 4, Episode 100"
The Revolution (2012) S01E65: "Season 1, Episode 65"
The Ricky Gervais Show S03E02: "Comic Relief"
The Talk S02E155: "Season 2, Episode 155"
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S19E289
The Ultimate Fighter S15E08: "Season 15, Episode 8"
The View S15E148
The Young and the Restless S40E25: "Ep. #9894"
Thuis S17E175: "Season 17, Episode 175"
True Justice S01E05: "Dark Vengeance (Part 2)"
Undercover Boss S03E11: "Philly Pretzel Factory"
Who Do You Think You Are? (US) S03E09: "Rob Lowe"
Would I Lie To You? S06E03
WWE Friday Night SmackDown! S12E83: "Season 12, Episode 83"

SAG Slaps Back at Merger Critics in Legal Filing

SAG Slaps Back at Merger Critics in Legal Filing

The Screen Actors Guild took aim at critics of its merger with the American Federation of Television of Radio Artists, denying claims made by the detractors and demanding that a suit filed by them be dismissed with prejudice.

The union answered the suit in U.S. District Court in California on Wednesday, filing under its old name, rather than the newly created SAG-AFTRA moniker.

A district court judge earlier this month refused a stipulation to change the name of the defendant in the suit to reflect SAG-AFTRA's new moniker.

In its response, SAG argues that the suit -- filed by 68 dissident SAG members including Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Valerie Harper, Ed Asner and others -- is without merit for 10 different reasons.

Among them, SAG argues that the plaintiffs' complaint offers insufficient facts to constitute a cause of action; that the suit's claims, even if accurate, did not cause the damages alleged in the suit; that the lawsuit's point is moot; and that the plaintiffs are "guilty of unclean hands" in the matter.

Sheen, et. al, sued in February to have the merger vote blocked, claiming that SAG failed to conduct a study on the effects the merger would have on the union's pension and health benefits.

In a statement, SAG called the lawsuit "simply a public relations stunt," noting, "We have scheduled more than 50 informational meetings across the country, have posted all of the merger documents on the website for over 4 weeks, and we have afforded the merger opponents the right to send an opposition statement at the unions' expense as part of the referendum package."

SAG members overwhelmingly voted for the merger in March.

SAG officers David White, Ken Howard, Amy Aquino, Ned Vaughn, Mike Hodge and David Hartley-Margolin, who are also being sued by the dissident SAG members, filed a separate answer to the complaint as individual defendants. In their answer, they also deny the suit's allegations and offer affirmative defenses.

Jennie Garth Plays Nancy Grace (Almost) in Lifetime Movie

Jennie Garth Plays Nancy Grace (Almost) in Lifetime Movie

Pardon us if we don't see the resemblance: "Beverly Hills 90210" alum Jennie Garth has signed on to star in "Nancy Grace's Eleventh Victim," an adaptation of Grace's semi-autobiographical debut novel.

GettyGarth will play Atlanta assistant district attorney Hailey Dean, whose fiancé is murdered. Then she wins the conviction of a serial killer (Clint Burrell Cruise, in the tradition of serial killers with three names) and moves to New York City to begin a new career as a therapist.

In Grace's novel, "The Eleventh Victim," Dean's therapy patients become victims of a murderer who operates much like Cruise did. Dean, somehow unaware that Cruise had been freed from prison after an appeal, becomes the suspect in the murders.

Grace, whose fiancé was murdered when she was 19 and who worked in the Atlanta district attorney's office as a prosecutor who specialized in serial killer cases, will act as an executive producer on the movie with Ted Bauman and Josh Sabarra.

Garth, who, like Grace, is a "Dancing With the Stars" alum, is also currently starring in a new CMT reality series -- "Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country" -- which follows her family's move from Los Angeles to a working farm.

Ratings: 'Apt. 23' and 'Revenge' Drop; Fox Wins Night With 'American Idol'

Ratings: 'Apt. 23' and 'Revenge' Drop; Fox Wins Night With 'American Idol'

ABC's "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23" and "Revenge" took ratings hits Wednesday night, while "American Idol" held mostly steady to deliver an overall win to Fox, according to preliminary numbers.

Airing "American Idol" from 8 to 10 p.m., Fox took first place in ratings and total viewers with an average 4.6/13 in the advertiser-cherished 18-49 demographic and 16.5 million.  "Idol" was down very slightly from last week.

CBS came in a distant second in ratings and total viewers with an average 1.9/5 in the demo and 7.9 million. "Survivor" at 8 took a slight dip from last week, drawing a 2.6/8 in the demo and 9.5 million total viewers. The network ran repeats for the rest of the night.

ABC took third place in ratings and total viewers with an average1.8/5 in the demo and 5.6 million. The network ran repeats from 8 to 9:30, and without the benefit of an original lead-in, "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23" dropped 23 percent in the demo from last week to a 2.0/5. It had 4.9 million total viewers. "Revenge" at 10 was also down, dropping 13 percent in the demo to a series low of 2.0/6, and had 6.8 million total viewers.

NBC drew fourth place in ratings and total viewers with an average 1.2/4 and 4.8 million. "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" remained steady versus last week with a 1.6/5 in the demo and 5.8 million total viewers, while "Best Friends Forever" at 8:30 was also even with last week, drawing a 0.8/2 in the demo and 2.7 million. "Rock Center With Brian Williams" at 9 jumped 50 percent in the demo to a 0.9/2, with 3.8 million total viewers, while "Law & Order: SVU" was even with last week, taking a 1.6/4 in the demo and 6.4 million total viewers.

Betty White Guesting on 'The Client List'

Betty White Guesting on 'The Client List'

Betty White is showing off her feisty side again: The 90-year-old Emmy winner is making a guest appearance in the first season finale of Lifetime's "The Client List."

CBSThe drama, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt as a single mom who works at a spa that offers services beyond the standard massage, will feature White as the wife of one of the regular clients, reports

White will play Ruth Gibbons, who visits Riley (Hewitt) at The Rub of Sugarland spa to share her tips on what keeps a marriage working.

The guest appearance will mark a reunion for White and Hewitt, who co-starred last year in CBS' Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "The Lost Valentine."

The ever-busy White recently starred in "The Lorax" on the big screen and is currently starring in "Hot in Cleveland" on TV Land and hosting and producing the reality series "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" on NBC.

White's "The Client List" guest appearance is scheduled to air on June 20, in an episode directed by Hewitt.