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zaterdag 28 juli 2012

'Area 51' show 'being developed by AMC'

AMC is reportedly developing a show based on the best-selling book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base.

Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer on The Walking Dead, is to take on the same role for this new series, having bought the rights to the source material last year.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it has been confirmed that AMC is now developing the project.

The book, written by US journalist Annie Jacobsen, uses interviews with scientists and engineers that worked at US military base Area 51 to explore the alien-related stories that are famously linked with it.

The show's plot will centre around two Area 51 employees who end up in danger when they discover highly sensitive government secrets.

Todd E Kessler (The Good Wife) is reportedly on board for the script , with Jacobsen taking on a co-producing role.

Joanna Lumley: 'I'd do an Absolutely Fabulous movie'

Joanna Lumley has said that she would be happy to star in an Absolutely Fabulous movie.

The actress first played Patsy Stone in the sitcom in 1992 and recently reprised the role in this year's Olympics special.

"It was very good fun," Lumley told Metro. "It's 20 years since the first one. It makes us laugh too much to let the characters go.

"It's all up to Jennifer Saunders if there will be more. If she writes a film, I'll be in it."

Asked for people's misconceptions about her, she replied: "That I'm exactly like Patsy. I drink a fraction of what she does and I'm fatter than she is but I'm a bit like her.

"I don't have her vicious language but I adore her. We put some of my experience into her past. She'd been a model in the 1960s who used to hang around with rockers."

Lumley added: "I knew girls like Patsy - Eurotrash figures who didn't seem to belong anywhere but were always immaculately turned out and could be found in Saint-Tropez.

"You could never work out quite how they lived and Patsy was one of those."

Channel 4 to broadcast DJ marathon next month

Channel 4 has announced plans to hand over creative control of its main channel to six world-class DJs for an all-night, advert-free television rave.

DJs have previously taken over warehouses, fields, car parks and derelict office blocks to stage raves, but this summer they will commandeer a national broadcaster for a six-hour House Party.

In what is being described as "an unprecedented live television event", DJs such as Grandmaster Flash and Annie Mac will each give hour-long sets in a "clubbing experience like no other".

As Channel 4 puts it, "This is not a programme about clubbing; this is the club".

But the night will also feature the Idris Elba-narrated two-hour film How Clubbing Changed the World, tracking the history of the greatest youth culture phenomenon of our generation.

House Party will run without any adverts or the mediation of a presenter, and there will not be a studio audience; instead it will just transform living rooms, bedrooms and bars around the UK into dancefloors.

Commissioned by Channel 4 arts commissioner Tabitha Jackson and staged as part of the London 2012 Festival, the live event will be "a visually exciting, experimental and interactive night of music".

Jackson explained: "From the visual artists having to transform our screens by responding live to the DJs; to the scale of the real time on-screen and online interactivity; to the DJs having to reach directly into our living rooms rather than playing to a venue. If we can pull it off, we will have created a pretty unique experience.

"Great DJing is about much more than just hitting play and standing there with your hands in the air. We are about to get up close and personal with some of the world best exponents of the real art of turntablism.

"2012 is also the perfect summer for this television event. Not only does it mark 20 years since the ultimate free rave at Castlemorton, the weather has been rubbish and money is tight.

"There's never been a better time for us to throw the ultimate house party [and] bring an awesome lineup of talent directly into your living room for free. All you have to worry about is making sure you have enough friends and big speakers."

Jackson also confirmed that House Party will be distinct in that it will not be repeated or made available on 4oD, Channel 4's catch up TV service.

"Like all the best club nights and parties, if you want to be there you do have to actually turn up. Don't miss the House Party..." she said.

Hip hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash and new DJ talent champion Annie Mac have already been confirmed for the event, with other names to be announced in due course.

'The Apprentice': Lord Alan Sugar wants more female applicants

Lord Alan Sugar has hinted that he wants more female applicants for the next series of The Apprentice.

The businessman has confirmed his appearance for another two runs of the BBC reality series.

With the application process for the upcoming ninth series underway, Lord Sugar tweeted that he hoped to see more women in the business end of the competition.

"Application still open for The Apprentice. Come on, ladies, show me what you can do, not just the blokes," he wrote.

The series nine application process finishes on Sunday, with interviews set to be held in August in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

The last two series of The Apprentice have been won by male candidates, with this year's run seeing men dominate the final, with four males out of the final five.

Three female candidates have won the show so far, with Ricky Martin becoming Lord Sugar's latest business partner in June.

'Doctor Who' star Matt Smith: 'We want James Corden back'

Doctor Who's Matt Smith has said that he would love James Corden to return for another episode.

Corden first guest-starred in Doctor Who's series five episode 'The Lodger' and later helped defeat the Cybermen in last year's 'Closing Time'.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Smith said that he is keen to have Corden back for a third adventure.

"We'd love him to [return], but he's pretty busy being a Tony award-winning actor on Broadway and having a baby. But we'd love to get James back," Smith joked.

The actor also previewed Doctor Who's series opener 'Asylum of the Daleks', which sees the Tardis crew come up against several variations of his oldest foes.

"[It's] wonderful, because I got to meet my favourite Daleks, which are actually from [Patrick] Troughton's era, I think," he revealed. "They're the sort of pale blue and whitey ones. They're a bit smaller actually. I think they're groovy! I mean, we've got every Dalek that exists in the world."

He added of the Daleks: "I mean, they are frightening. But you can't help but go, 'God, there's 20 Daleks in a room moving around me!'"

Last week, Smith touted The Doctor's new companion (Jenna-Louise Coleman) by hinting that she is "different" from Amy Pond (Karen Gillan).

Doctor Who will return to BBC One in August in the UK and will also air in the US on BBC America.

Big Brother: Caroline Wharram is evicted ahead of Luke Scrase

Caroline Wharram has been evicted from Big Brother.

She lost out in the public vote to seven housemates, made up of Luke Scrase - who was last to secure safety - Ashleigh Hughes, Conor McIntyre, Deana Uppal, Luke Anderson, Sara McLean and Adam Kelly.

Caroline whooped with joy as her name was announced, running around and screaming: "Yes!"

Exiting to what Brian Dowling later called the most boos this series and "maybe ever", the contestant carried on celebrating in front of the baying crowd, waving her hairbrush in the air.

The former boarding school girl has antagonised people both inside and outside the house, most recently with her decision to purchase only sweets, chocolate and junk food with this week's luxury shopping budget.

She also caused a storm by seeming to call Luke A "Mrs" and by describing Adam as "a gorilla".

Caroline was not the bookmakers' favourite for eviction tonight, with Ashleigh having had odds of 11/8 to be axed.

Dawn French wanted by ITV for future shows after 'Superstar'

Dawn French is reportedly wanted by ITV bosses for future programmes.

The Vicar of Dibley star is said to have impressed during her stint as a judge on talent show Superstar, reports The Sun.

"Dawn played a very important part in the show," said an ITV source. "Her wit and warmth were very much valued.

"She is also incredibly down-to-earth and a real joy to work with on set. We would love to work with her again on other shows.

"Despite being new to this, she played an absolute blinder. Watch out, David Walliams!"

French was tipped to join the panel of ITV's Loose Women last year.

Details Behind CNN Chief Jim Walton’s Exit; Time-Warner Seeks Overhaul

The removal of Jim Walton as president of CNN Worldwide on Friday means that Time-Warner Chairman Jeff Bewkes realizes that his news network is in trouble and in need of a major overhaul.

The move has been in the works for a couple of months, insiders tell me.

Bewkes and Turner CEO Phil Kent had been speaking to Walton in recent weeks about the need for change, with a plan emerging for him to be replaced after the November election.

It seems that Walton took their signals and leaped.

Walton’s own memo to CNN staff on Friday acknowledged that he didn't have the stuff to turn things around.

"CNN needs new thinking,” he wrote to the staff, echoing what the outside world has found crushingly obvious for some time.

And he admitted that he wasn't the guy for the job:  “That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through."

Bewkes recognizes that CNN is going rapidly in the wrong direction and that the network -- as one executive told me -- is “stuck in the mud” and needs an “overhaul.”

Already speculation is running rampant through CNN that a replacement for Walton (right) will come from another Time-Warner division, like HBO or New Line.

A knowledgeable executive told TheWrap that this is categorically false. An open search is already underway, and I’m told that it’s “unlikely” the replacement will come from Time-Warner.

It’s not an easy job for any executive, no matter how seasoned. How to turn around CNN, which has plunged from a once-unassailable first place to a long-lagging third?

Fixing CNN “is not that complicated,” a journalist at the network tells me. “They need to invest in the news.”

The staff, by most accounts, is frustrated by years of Walton’s cost-cutting and a lack of innovation.

The network has a star in Anderson Cooper, but Soledad O’Brian's lively morning show cannot catch up with MSNBC competitor Joe Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” lineup or Fox's "Fox and Friends." Erin Burnett's OutFront is also struggling.

And Piers Morgan, who replaced Larry King, continues to underwhelm.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is another casualty from the “lack of new thinking” department. EVP Mark Whitaker ought to watch his back.

Olympics 2012 ratings: First Team GB football match peaks with 6.2m

Team GB Men's captain Ryan Giggs during the Olympic Warm Up match at the Riverside stadium, Middlesbrough.

The Team GB football team's first group match of London 2012 attracted a solid audience last night (Thursday), early overnight data shows.

Some 6.2m watched at the match's peak as Stuart Pearce's men - led by Ryan Giggs - draw 1-1 with Senegal at Old Trafford, after Craig Bellamy's early strike was cancelled out late on.

BBC One's full coverage, fronted by Gary Lineker, averaged 4.77m (24%) between 7pm and 10pm - a marked improvement on the squad's warm-up game last Friday.

Live coverage of the final stages of the Olympic torch relay secured 1.03m (9.6%) in the 5pm hour, while BBC Two's showing of the other games in the Men's Football interested 920k (9.7%) between 2.30pm and 7pm.

Meanwhile, ITV1's Olympics-themed Big Sports Quiz flopped opposite the football, logging just 1.73m (8%) from 9pm (+1: 174k/1%).

The Big Sports Quiz, hosted by Stephen Mulhern, was beaten by Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder: The Big Clear Out, which delivered 2.04m (9.5%) to Channel 4 (+1: 498k/2.8%).

The Hotel Inspector took 1.6m (7.4%) for Channel 5 (+1: 128k/0.7%), then 1.25m (7.2%) watched Big Brother. Meanwhile, Natural World was BBC Two's best-rated programme with 1.37m (6.5%) in the 8pm hour.

Overall, BBC One topped primetime with 23.8%, ahead of ITV1's 17.2% (+1: 0.9%), BBC Two's 5.8%, Channel 5's 5.5% (+1: 0.3%), and Channel 4's 5.2% (+1: 1.1%).

On the multichannels, Dynamo: Magician Impossible slumped to 733k (3.4%) on Watch at 9pm, but remained the night's second most-watched digital shows - a Family Guy repeat had 931k (8.2%) at 11.05pm.

Big Brother: Scott Mason warned again over drunken rant

Scott Mason has picked up another warning from Big Brother after a drunken spat with Becky Hannon.

The history student fumed at Becky after she accused him of being an alcoholic, and a remark about slapping her prompted Big Brother to give him a ticking-off in the Diary Room.

"I'd come over there and slap you if I was," said Scott, following Becky's accusation about his drinking habits.

He continued: "I find people annoying. I've never heard so much s**t in all my life. Just f**k off you tw*ts."

When Becky claimed that Scott might be in trouble over his comments, he added: "It's the truth, bitch. Just kick me out of the house."

Scott has previously been warned by Big Brother about his attempts to use aftershave to get drunk and comments that he made about Deana Uppal using her hands to eat food, which could be considered racist.

Mark Strong to reprise 'Low Winter Sun' role in US remake?

Mark Strong is in talks to play the lead role in AMC's remake of 2006 UK miniseries Low Winter Sun.

Strong played cop Frank Agnew in the Channel 4 original and could now reprise his role in the US version, Deadline reports.

Written and exec produced by Chris Mundy (Criminal Minds), AMC's Low Winter Sun will transpose the original's story of police corruption from Edinburgh to Detroit.

In both versions, Agnew's life is turned upside down when he helps to kill a corrupt fellow police officer.

James Ransone (Inside Man) will star alongside Strong as Damon Callis, a member of a Detroit crime syndicate.

The Low Winter Sun remake was first ordered by AMC in May, alongside a legal thriller from Justified's Tony Goldwyn.

Danny O'Donoghue denies Bo Bruce fling again

Danny O'Donoghue has again denied rumours that he is romantically involved with Bo Bruce.

The Voice UK coach was previously reported to be dating the finalist from the show, but the rumours were swiftly denied by his representative at the time.

"No, not at all," O'Donoghue told Capital Breakfast this week when asked directly if he is dating Bruce.

"The story kind of came out of nowhere. We were on TV, we had this moment where we were face-to-face - part of the BBC choreography is you listen to the choreographer and do what they're saying."

He added: "It was one of those moments on TV that everyone was like, 'Oooh, saucy! There's something going on there'. But there's nothing behind it."

When presenter Dave Berry quipped that the choreographer was his 'wing man', O'Donoghue joked: "Yeah yeah yeah, he's me best mate!

"[He said,] 'This is the part when you're going to put your hand on somewhere, and then you're going to go for...' No, not at all."

Rumours of a fling were fuelled last month when O'Donoghue reportedly split from his then-girlfriend Irma Mali, but the Script singer allegedly told friends that the reports were "complete nonsense".

Richard E Grant joins Channel 4 drama 'The Fear'

Richard E. Grant at London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 - Jasper Conran - Front Row London, England.

Richard E Grant has joined the cast of Channel 4 drama The Fear.

The Withnail & I actor will star opposite Peter Mullan in the upcoming crime drama.

Mullan (Tyrannosaur, War Horse) will play an ex-crime boss from Brighton in the four-part series. His character Richie Becket's business, run by his two sons, has to deal with a rival gang of Albanians.

Grant will play a plastic surgeon named Seb, whose seedy past gets him involved with the crime boss.

Richie Becket's sons will be played by EastEnders star Paul Nicholls and Great Expectations actor Harry Lloyd.

Wallander's Richard Cottan has written the four hour-long episodes.

Filming has started in Brighton, while the series is expected to air as part of Channel 4's winter lineup.

TV Tonight 28th of July 2012

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

    Area no Kishi S01E28: "Episode 28"
    Bad Dog! (US) S02E05: "Doggy Divas and Cat Burglars"
    Beyblade: Metal Fusion S02E51: "The Final Blow Of Pegasus"
    Big Brother (UK) S14E58: "BB 13, Episode 58"
    Big Brother After Dark S07E17: "Season 7, Episode 17"
    Big Brother's Bit on the Side S04E54: "Series 4, Show 54"
    Bleach (US) S13E35: "Battle of the Females? Katen Kyōkotsu vs. Nanao!"
    Dark Matters: Twisted But True S02E03
    Detective Conan S19E21: "The Intimidator In a Rainy Night"
    Dog Days (JP) S02E04: "Biscotti Summer Camp!"
    Ebiten: Kouritsu Ebi Sugawa Koukou Tenmonbu S01E03: "Episode 3"
    Fairy Tail S03E46: "Chase the Infinite Clock"
    Formula 1 S04E27: "Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying"
    Ginga e Kickoff!! S01E17: "TBA"
    Hagure Yuusha no Estetica S01E04: "The Hero's Back"
    Mad Mad World S01E05: "Episode 5"
    My Big Redneck Vacation S02E08: "Passport To Paris"
    My Cat From Hell S03E05: "Roscoe the Menace"
    NYC 22 S01E10: "Jumpers"
    Pokémon S15E24: "A Clubsplosion of Excitement!"
    Redneck Island S01E07: "As Redneck Island Turns"
    RocKwiz S10E04: "Season 10, Episode 4"
    Sword Art Online S01E04: "The Black Swordsman"
    The 2012 Summer Olympics S01E02: "Season 1, Episode 2"
    The Dog Whisperer S09E05: "Jersey Shore Dogs"
    The Million Pound Drop Live S10E14: "Series 10, Episode 14"
    The Nerdist S01E04: "Comic-Con"
    The Nerdist S01E05: "Tribute to Toys & Games"
    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S20E128
    Undercover Boss: Abroad S01E31: "Ritchies IGA (Fred Harrison)"
    Wicked Attraction S05E08: "The Body Shifters"

The Era of Rockette Comedy

I want to make clear that I’m not trying to make an attempt to dissect comedy. Dissecting comedy is like finding blood in your stool -- not good. I’m simply offering a few general observations about the state of comedy on TV and then skulking away as quickly and quietly from this topic as possible.

I can appreciate a well-placed bon mot as much as much as the next guy, but lately it seems what used to be the comedic equivalent of a belch has been replaced with an ipecac-induced spew. (Begone, people who thought I couldn’t tie in vomiting to an analogy by my third sentence).

One observation I have is that writers have deserted cadence in a lot of current TV comedies. Laughing is fun, but trying to make every single person in an ensemble cast who utters a word on-screen funny is not.

It’s a simple matter of allowing some breathing room. Give the viewer a chance to regain before you hit them over the head with another joke. Even when I tickle my 32-month-old (I know, that’s annoying), I lay off for 30 seconds so he can catch his breath. Give us the same courtesy and stop trying to suffocate us with jokes.

Another observation is the oversaturation of irreverent humor getting so played out that it actually comes full-circle and becomes reverent. And we all know reverence has no place in comedy. Can I get an Amen?

Then there’s hipster humor. These are jokes or situations that attempt to come off as super-cool and as if they’re not really trying, but most of the time their transparence is well, transparent. I should know, I live adjacent to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so by default I’m an expert in identifying overreaching and inhaling second-hand smoke. The same goes for the penchant of joke on top of joke on top of joke. Stop taking the fast-food approach to stacking chuckles. We’re Americans, but we don’t need everything we consume supersized!

The ‘Rockette’ mention in my title is not in reference to perfectly-crafted gams or the fact that there’s not enough woman of color in the troupe; it comes from the thought that some comedies strive to hard for polished perfection. I’m more apt to give a guttural laugh to a looser *Carol Burnett Show”-type moment than a joke or situation that’s been combed through so meticulously that the high is taken out of the kick. It’s fine to leave a couple of I’s un-dotted and a few t’s uncrossed. (For those too young to understand the Carol Burnett reference, she was a really funny lunch lady at my high school in the late '80s.)

The shows that I am the biggest fan of are guilty of some, or all, of the things I mentioned above, but like a super-hot cousin … I still like them way more than I should.  From “30 Rock” to “Family Guy,” “Parks and Rec,” “Community,” “Happy Endings,” “Modern Family,” “The Office” and “Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton,” that’s a scripted comedy, right? I list these shows to make a point and ground this blog, but also to place this piece in prime position for online keyword search visibility, or as they say in the business, Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I will leave you with one of my most favorite TV moments ever.  If this moment were a food it would be chocolate pudding ice-box layer cake:

P.S. I wish my best during these tough times to both Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise (this is not sincere, just another SEO tactic!)

AMC Cancels 'The Killing'

"The Killing," which led viewers on a search for Rosie Larsen's killer over two frustrating seasons, will not be back for a third, AMC announced Friday.

The Fox Television series from showrunner Veena Sud starred Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnamon as Seattle detectives trying to solve the teenager's murder.

The fakeout ending of its first season -- the mayoral candidate who seemed to be Rosie's killer turned out not to be -- frustrated viewers to such an extent that AMC promised to solve the mystery by the end of season 2. But by then many viewers had abandoned the dark, moody series.

"After much deliberation, we've come to the difficult decision not to renew ‘The Killing’ for a third season," the network said. "AMC is incredibly proud of the show and is fortunate to have worked with such a talented team on this project, from showrunner Veena Sud and our terrific partners at Fox Television Studios to the talented, dedicated crew and exceptional cast.”

The series first premiered in April 2011 and yielded six Emmy nominations in its first season, including an outstanding writing nomination for Sud, a lead dramatic actress nod for Enos, and a supporting actress nod for Michelle Forbes.

The show's second-season finale -- which also proved to be its series finale -- left the show with few places to go. It finally, conclusively, solved the mystery of who killed Larsen.

"The Killing," which drew comparisons to "Twin Peaks" because of its Pacific Northwestern setting and focus on a teenage girl's murder, now has another similarity with that ABC classic: Neither show made it to season 3.

'The Only Way Is Essex' cast 'threaten walkout over pay, schedule'

The Only Way Is Essex cast are reportedly threatening a mass walkout in protest over being underpaid and overworked.

The stars of the ITV2 reality series are said to be considering a mutiny after working for 13 hours in the heat on Sunday, with most of the footage not set to make the final cut.

Cast members including Lauren Goodger, James 'Arg' Argent and Gemma Collins get paid £80 a day to appear in the show, and have said that they have not been given a holiday this year, due to filming their Marbella special last month.

They allegedly walked off the set on Sunday and told producers how they felt about their current work schedule, reports The Sun.

A source said: "A lot of the cast members have been complaining about how hard they are worked for little money.

"On Sunday a lot of them put in a 13-hour day and later found their scenes had been dropped. There are a lot of unhappy stars at the moment."

The Only Way Is Essex returned for its sixth series on Sunday (July 22).

'Modern Family' Contract Deals Done

The "Modern Family" cast has reached a deal.

A 20th Century Fox Television representative said late Friday that the dispute over their salaries had been resolved. Principal photography will proceed Monday as scheduled, and a lawsuit filed by the cast will be dropped as part of the agreement.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The entire cast had sought pay raises for the Emmy-winning hit comedy, which is ABC's top-rated show.

The show's co-creator, Steve Levitan (left), said he learned the deal was done at a party at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

"They're all deserving," he told TheWrap. "I'm extremely happy."

Asked what he believed led to the deal, he said, "reason, sanity."

"There's an inevitable place where deals come together," he said.

Levitan called the negotiations and lawsuit an "annoying distraction."

"Since May 15 or so, our writing staff has been busy writing, and that's what we want to do," he said. "And this led to a flood of phone calls and meetings. It was a distraction."

Negotiations turned hostile Tuesday when the cast refused to take part in a scheduled table read. Instead, all of the show's adult leads except for Ed O'Neill, who was negotiating separately, filed a lawsuit seeking to void their contracts. O'Neill joined the lawsuit in solidarity on Thursday.

He was the best known member of the cast at the start of the deal, and was better paid than castmates Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, and Sofia Vergara.

The first sign that the standoff was thawing came when the cast agreed to take part in a table read Thursday. On the same day, ABC announced that the show would return Sept. 26.

On Friday, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said he was "optimistic" that a deal was near.

The announcement that it was complete came moments after Levitan told TheWrap that an agreement was close.

The deal ends an embarrassing feud for one of television's best-loved shows. It won two consecutive Emmys for best comedy and has helped ABC launch other shows, including "Suburgatory."

Spoiler-free Revolution pilot review

The trouble with Revolution is that, like many mythology shows, it all hangs on the big reveal. Incorrectly marketed as taking place in a world devoid of all forms of energy – as many people have complained, this is patently impossible - Revolution is set in a world in which anything that throws a spark outside the human body has mysteriously stopped working. No electricity, no cars, no airplanes, not even battery power. In one moment, all of these things simply cease to function for absolutely no apparent reason.

Obviously, this makes no sense. Try as I might search my brain, I can't think of anything that could explain the laws of physics breaking down short of magic, though creator Eric Kripke has promised in several interviews that the blackout does indeed have a scientific basis.

Because of this, when the big reveal finally does happen, be it at the end of the first season or several seasons down the line if the show is so lucky, it either has to be an amazing explanation that blows our minds, or it's going to leave a lot of people yelling angrily at the TV screen.

Let's hope for all of our sakes that the reveal comes sooner rather than later, because otherwise, I don't think we're going to get to hear it. Because unfortunately, even aside from its universe-defying premise, at this admittedly early stage, Revolution is simply not that good.

This is not to say it's entirely bad, either - Billy Burke is surprisingly entertaining as Miles Matheson, formerly of the armed forces and now running what is left of a bar in the ruins of Chicago. This role receives what is easily Kripke's best writing in the pilot, and Burke handles the stern, ass-kicking, but surprisingly comedic part well.

The same, however, cannot be said for the rest of the cast. Led by Tracy Spiridakos as main character Charlie, the bulk of the cast is somewhat stiff, and none more so than Spiridakos herself. The character is fairly unlikable to begin with. Having grown up in a sheltered community after the blackout, Charlie defies both her father and common sense because of her desire to see the ruins of big cities. Doing so is dangerous not only because of the gangs that now run wild throughout the country, but also because of The Militia, a mysterious, threatening organization that exists purportedly to uphold order but which reminds the viewer more of the Sheriff of Nottingham than a proper law enforcement agency.

But it's not just the writing or editing of Charlie's character that leaves me cold – Spiridakos' portrayal of the character is wooden and vacant in the pilot, something that will need to improve along with the writing as the season progresses if she’s to become any more likeable a lead.

The effects of the blackout on the planet are well-thought out, and I enjoyed the world-building of a post-blackout society. Without giving anything away, there are a handful of genuinely surprising twists and turns to be had. But unfortunately, none of that can compensate for an unlikable lead character played by an actress with limited range, nor for a premise that feels impossible to pay off in any satisfying manner.

Fringe, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead pick up Saturn Awards

The 38th annual Saturn Awards for sci-fi, fantasy & horror took place yesterday, and we have the list of the TV winners right here…

Created in 1972 to plug the genre film and TV hole in the US awards parade, the Saturn Awards took place in California last night. In TV world, the Saturns traditionally make up for the lack of Emmy nominations for geeky shows, a trend that more or less continued with this year’s Emmy shortlists, though American Horror Story and Game of Thrones did edge their way into a few major Emmy categories.

Up against Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Supernatural, Terra Nova and A Gifted Man, Fringe took home the Best Network Television Series award. Emmy-favourite Breaking Bad prospered in the Best Cable Television Series, winning over American Horror Story, The Closer, The Killing, Dexter, True Blood, and Leverage.

Cementing its position as “The Best Thing on Telly Right Now™”, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul both walked off with Best TV Actor awards, while Fringe’s Anna Torv was given Best TV Actress.

The Walking Dead nabbed the Best Television Presentation Saturn (confusing category, that), trampling over Camelot, Falling Skies, Game of Thrones, Torchwood: Miracle Day, and Trek Nation. Finally, Teen Wolf won Best Youth-Oriented Television Series, beating Doctor Who, Being Human USA, The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, and The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

Development Update: the 28th of July

BARABBAS (ReelzChannel) - Billy Zane has booked the title role on the mini-series, which explores the story of a man whose life was spared because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Compagnia Leone Cinematografica is behind the project, which is based on Par Lagerkvist's novel. Production begins shortly in Tunisia. (

BATTLE ROYALE (The CW, New!) - The netlet is reportedly in preliminary talks to import the cult Japanese film franchise as a television series, in which teenagers in a totalitarian state fight for survival in a government-imposed competition. It's understood Koushun Takami's novel, upon which the films are based, would be optioned as part of said efforts. No other details were given. (

D-RAW (Comedy Central, New!) - Comedian/YouTube star Deshawn Raw is set to star in a new comedy pilot at the cable channel featuring Deshawn and his diverse group of friends "as they make fun of themselves and their lives in Rancho Cucamonga." Chris Rock is on board to executive produce the project alongside Raw and J.P. Minot, the latter of which will direct. (

INFAMOUS (NBC) - Wes Brown ("Hart of Dixie") has joined the cast of the midseason drama, about Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good), a police detective who goes undercover to solve the murder of her childhood best friend, the heiress to the Bowers pharmaceutical empire. He'll take over for Neil Jackson as Julian Bowers - the sweet, sexy, bad boy, sex-addicted youngest son - whom Joanna was once involved. Ella Rae Peck, Katherine LaNasa, Laz Alonso, Marin Hinkle, Tate Donovan and Victor Garber also star in the project, from creator Liz Heldens. (

CINNAMON GIRL (Lifetime) - The Renée Zellweger-produced drama, about four girls coming of age during the Los Angeles music and movie scenes of the late 1960s/early 1970s, has been ordered to pilot. Gavin O'Connor is directing the hour from a script by Zellweger and Anthony Tambakis. Said trio will executive produce with Danny Bramson serving as producer and music supervisor. (

EX MEN (CBS) - Kal Penn ("How I Met Your Mother") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about Carter Thomas (Christopher Nicholas Smith), a young guy who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex. He'll play Gil Brooks ("a nice, somewhat nebbishy guy, who owns a Spa and Pool equipment store"), one of said fellows, who was "caught having the world's worst affair and now lives in the complex until he can convince his wife to take him back." Rob Greenberg is behind the half-hour, which is set up at the CBS Television Studios-based The Tannenbaum Company. (

THE EXPERIMENT (MTV, New!) - Blumhouse Productions ("Paranormal Activity") is developing a new "found-footage mystery" drama at the cable channel. Brian Horiuchi and Miguel Sapochnik created the hour which Sapochnik will direct from a teleplay by Horiuchi. They'll likewise executive produce alongside Jason Blum and Naomi Despres. No other specifics were given. (

THE LANDLORD (HBO, New!) - Writer/cartoonist Daniel Clowes ("Ghost World") is developing a new comedy at the pay channel about "a volatile college professor with Utopian delusions, who after inheriting a shabby apartment building in a remote California town, drags his family into the unforgiving netherworld of small-town America." "Little Miss Sunshine" directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are eyeing the half-hour, which they'd presumably executive produce alongside Clowes and John Lesher. (

LOW WINTER SUN (AMC) - Mark Strong and James Ransone are both on track to star in the drama pilot, "a contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption in a world where the line between cops and criminals is blurred." The former would play Frank Agnew - a role he originated in the project's U.K. incarnation - who murders a fellow detective, activating "forces that will forever alter that detective's life and pull him into the heart of the Detroit underworld." Ransone then is set as Damon Callis, a member of the Detroit organized crime syndicate. Chris Mundy is behind the hour, a co-production of AMC Studios, Endemol USA and Tiger Aspect Productions. (

TINY APARTMENT (Comedy Central, New!) - Jessie Cantrell, Mike O'Gorman and Pat Driscoll's web series has snagged a pilot order from the cable channel. Said effort revolves around a young couple, Jessie (Cantrell) and Mike (O'Gorman), living in a rundown apartment in New York City, trying to "make the best of their situation with a little help from beer, take out, and their best friend, Pat (Driscoll)." Tristram Shapeero is on board to direct and executive produce alongside the trio, as well as Joe Kelly and Mosaic's Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen. (

- "Community" creator Dan Harmon is reportedly close to landing a new multi-camera comedy at the network. No details however were given about the project, which Harmon would write and executive produce. (

EX MEN (CBS) - Christopher Nicholas Smith ("Paranormal Activity 3") has booked the lead role on the single-camera comedy pilot, about a young guy who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex. He'll play said fellow, Carter Thomas ("handsome, charming, funny"), in the CBS Television Studios-based project. Rob Greenberg is behind the half-hour, which he'll also executive produce alongside Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. (

THE GOODWIN GAMES (FOX) - Kat Foster ("Weeds") has joined the cast of the midseason comedy, about three siblings (Becki Newton, Scott Foley, T.J. Miller) who must heed to the idiosyncratic terms of their father's (Beau Bridges) will to inherit his fortune. She'll play Lucinda, an attractive minister who used to date - and was dumped by - Scott Foley's character. Felisha Terrell originated the role in the pilot, one of two that was recast (the other being Jake Lacy by T.J. Miller). Carter Bays, Chris Harris and Craig Thomas are all behind the half-hour, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television. (

REACT (TNT, New!) - "Act of Valor" director Scott Waugh is developing a new drama at the cable channel "described as revolving around a secret black ops task force and is grounded in reality." Sean Jablonski ("Suits") will pen the hour and executive produce alongside Barry Josephson and Waugh via the latter's Bandito Brothers banner. No other details were given. (

HANNIBAL (NBC) - Laurence Fishburne ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") is in talks to join the cast of the upcoming drama, a contemporary take on the Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) characters from Thomas Harris's novels. He'll play Jack Crawford, "the agent-in-charge at the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI who is tasked with tracking down a certain flesh-eating serial killer." Dennis Farina, Scott Glenn and Harvey Keitel played said role in its feature film incarnations. Bryan Fuller is behind the project, from Gaumont International Television. (

HELLO LADIES (HBO, New!) - "The Office" co-creator Stephen Merchant is set to write, direct, executive produce and star in a new comedy pilot for the pay channel about "a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles." Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky co-wrote the half-hour alongside Merchant and will likewise executive produce for ABC Studios. Production is set to begin later this year. (

SLEEPY HOLLOW (FOX, New!) - "Hawaii Five-0" executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are set to reteam with pilot helmer Len Wiseman for a modern-day take on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" which follows Ichabod Crane "as he partners with Sleepy Hollow's local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil." The network has given a put pilot commitment to the project, which Kurtzman and Orci will co-write alongside Phillip Iscove. They'll likewise executive produce with Heather Kadin for their 20th Century Fox Television-based K/O Paper Products banner. (

SLEEPY HOLLOW (The CW, New!) - Patrick Macmanus and Grant Scharbo are in talks to land their own take on "Sleepy Hollow" at the netlet in which "FBI Agent Ichabod Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow to investigate a mysterious beheading." Gina Matthews of Little Engine Productions and Aaron Berger and Carina Schulze of Chatrone Productions are also on board to executive produce the hour, a studio for which has yet to be attached. (

Five great whole episode flashbacks

Flashback episodes are one of the richest sources of not-quite-fresh material for a long-running TV series. For one thing, as TV series change over time, inevitably many viewers start expressing a preference for the earlier version of the series, the one they fell in love with. A flashback episode is a great way of giving them what they want, at least temporarily. Through flashback episodes we can be reunited with characters who’ve been properly, definitively killed off, we can re-live old conflicts and once again crack old jokes, and we can enjoy laughing at the hairstyles of days gone by, rendered even more dubious than they were in the first place through the use of dodgy wigs.

There are lots of different varieties of flashback episode. There’s the clip show, the old money-saving tool beloved of cash-strapped TV producers everywhere. There’s the fake clip show using the same format but with newly filmed clips, rather touchingly done in Frasier’s Crock Tales and recently popularised by Community’s sublime Paradigms of Human Memory and its follow-up, Curriculum Unavailable. For genre television, there’s always the time travel option, and a combination of this and some technical wizardry can even allow you to flashback to an older show, as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did in Trials and Tribbleations. That’s without even considering the shorter flashback sequences that are an essential part of Lost, Highlander: The Series and any show featuring vampires ever, and I’m not even going near Doctor Who’s complicated relationship with its own past.

Perhaps the most emotional, character-building variant, though, is the simple whole episode flashback. This episode type is distinct from the fake clip show in that it tells a single story; that story may be told through short references to incidents spread over a long time-span, but they will all add up to a coherent plot, unlike the disparate clips of the fake clip show. They also tend to tell a story that takes place before the series started. Whereas the fake clip show is about playing with the show as the audience remember it, the simple whole episode flashback is about revealing where the main characters came from and what they were like before we joined them in the pilot episode. These are five of the best.

Heroes, Company Man

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Unlike the other entries on this list, major events are taking place in between the flashbacks, in the form of a tense and tightly plotted hostage situation (during which, of course, no one is comfortable). But since this is by far the most coherent episode of Heroes and one of very few to focus on a single storyline, it counts. The flashbacks are highlights from Mr Bennet’s memory.

Getting To Know You: The flashbacks finally reveal the core of Bennet’s motivation and internal conflict; he’s a company man (TV Tropes’ Punch-Clock Villain) but has come to genuinely love Claire as his daughter, and is willing to break the rules for her.

The Past Is A Foreign Country… everything is in black and white there.

How We Got Here: The scene in which Claire helps Horn-Rimmed Glasses choose the item that was initially his only distinguishing feature and tells him he looks ‘like her Dad’ ties things together very nicely.

Is All This Going Anywhere? This is probably the best episode Heroes ever did. Seventeen episodes into the first season is a bit early for this sort of episode, but HRG had been such a fascinating character that a proper, in-depth exploration of what makes him tick was immensely satisfying. The fact that the whole thing is tied in with a classic hostage situation and an emotional (and explosive) finale is the icing on the cake. It was all downhill from here.

The Big Bang Theory, The Staircase Implementation

Are You Sitting Comfortably? During an argument with Sheldon, Leonard tells Penny, over nail polish, about their first few weeks living together. Leonard and Penny have recently broken up at this point, but seem remarkably comfortable with each other despite that.

Getting To Know You: Although Sheldon has become a little more sociable since Leonard first moved in, the major character revelation of this episode is how impressively brave he is, walking calmly into the elevator holding something that’s about to explode.

The Past Is A Foreign Country… everyone has bigger hair there.

How We Got Here: The best whole flashback episodes explain something that’s at the core of the series, but has always been slightly mysterious up to this point. In this case, we discover that the broken elevator isn’t just a sign of the run-down state of our heroes’ apartment building, but the result of a particularly foolish move on Leonard’s part. We also get to meet Joyce Kim and the transvestite who used to live in Penny’s apartment.

Is All This Going Anywhere? Sitcoms are a great format for the whole episode flashback, as we get to see how characters who knew each other already in the pilot met and there’s plenty of comedy to be mined from the audience’s hindsight and sense of dramatic irony. This is a funny and satisfying episode that fully explains just why Leonard is willing to put up with so much grief from Sheldon.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fool For Love

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Buffy is recovering from a recent stab wound when she asks Spike to tell her about the two previous Slayers he killed so she’s probably not comfortable, no. Buffy and Angel both included lots of thematically appropriate flashbacks to their resident vampires’ pasts, but Fool For Love and its partner, Angel’s Darla, are the only two that devote a whole episode to a vampire’s story.

Getting To Know You: We thought we knew Spike pretty well before this episode and Spike the vampire largely fulfils those expectations, but I don’t think anyone would have predicted that when he was human, he was a socially awkward nerd known for his bloody awful poetry.

The Past Is A Foreign Country… these are vampire flashbacks, so it’s gorgeous period costumes all round.

How We Got Here: We knew that Spike killed two Slayers and we knew that he was madly in love with Drusilla, but we didn’t know quite how much romantic love and sexual attraction had motivated him over the years, or the extent to which his Slayer victims had given up as he killed them (making his exasperation at a Slayer with friends and family after Buffy’s mother hits him over the head with an axe in his very first episode that much more telling). Also, we get to see the Chaos Demon, slime, antlers and all.

Is All This Going Anywhere? This is a fantastic example of some of the things Buffy does best – comedy, tragedy, a bit with a Chaos Demon. It sets up the season 5 finale (without her family, Buffy might give up on life) and it demonstrates how much, in his own twisted way, Spike really does love Buffy, as in the episode’s final moments he gives up on trying to shoot her and comforts her instead. Great stuff.

Farscape, The Way We Weren’t

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Chiana finds an old security tape of Aeryn killing Moya’s first Pilot, and both Aeryn and Pilot are forced to share some painful memories. No one is comfortable at all.

Getting To Know You: We knew Aeryn must have done some nasty things as a Peacekeeper, but knowing she did them to Moya (and possibly to D’Argo, Zhaan and Rygel) makes them that much worse. The revelation that Pilot made some dubious decisions himself is perhaps more surprising.

The Past Is A Foreign Country… some of it is viewed via grainy security tape footage. These people have spaceships, but not HD-quality security tapes.

How We Got Here: This episode reveals that Crichton is not the first person to think Aeryn might be better off not being a dedicated Peacekeeper. It also fills in some more of the backstory on Crais’s plans regarding Talyn.

Is All This Going Anywhere? This episode is especially impressive in the way the revelation of Aeryn’s past and her memories actually put everyone in danger, so that there is a solid plot with potentially dire consequences attached to the flashbacks. Pilot, becoming more and more agitated, first attacks Aeryn, then sets them adrift in space, and then cuts off everyone’s life support by severing his connection with Moya. Only by talking themselves into a calmer state can the situation be resolved, and it’s implied that the natural joining of Pilot and Moya will have consequences for everyone for up to a year. This is a compelling, well-told story that greatly enriches the characters, alongside providing some obligatory romantic moments between Crichton and Aeryn. It’s a bit depressing in places, but it’s a great hour of story-telling.

Fringe, Peter

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Walter tells Olivia Peter’s history over drinks. They both look pretty comfortable. There may or may not be tea.

Getting To Know You: This is the first time we get to see extended footage of non-crazy Walter (following a few minutes in Grey Matters). He’s kind of like Denethor with an American accent. It’s also our first proper look at the alternate universe (where Eric Stoltz stars in Back to the Future) and we see Peter as a child, mostly lying around suffering from what TV Tropes would call the Incurable Cough of Death.

The Past Is A Foreign Country… it has an 80s style opening credit sequence! Even if this weren’t one of the all-time best episodes of Fringe, it would be commendable just for those opening credits.

How We Got Here: This episode is one of the most satisfying whole episode flashbacks you’re likely to see because it manages to explain the premise of the entire series in a manner that is both plausible and emotionally satisfying. The audience has known for a while that Walter’s Peter died and he somehow ended up with the Peter from the alternate universe, where G.I. Joe’s scar is on the other side of his face. But the revelation that Walter caused the breach between the universes in an attempt to save Alt-Peter (and caused Nina to lose her hand) is a doozy, and gives Walter some serious guilt to play with for the rest of the series, not to mention the building tension leading to Peter finally cottoning on in The Man From the Other Side.

Is All This Going Anywhere? It’s the turning point for the series, the moment when Fringe went from good to great. OK, we never have found out why Peter lost his memories of the whole incident, but that’s relatively easy to explain away via trauma/the aftereffects of the Incurable Cough of Death. The episode is also heart-breaking, featuring a compelling performance from John Noble and dealing with the decidedly depressing theme of the loss of a child with sensitivity and care.

Bubbling under: The X-Files, Unusual Suspects, which explains how the Lone Gunmen came together and how they met Mulder, throwing in a little bit of doubt in everything they believe in for good measure. This list is restricted to appropriately geeky shows, but the whole flashback episode works perfectly well for just about any long-running series and mention should be made of Friends, The One With the Flashback, which introduced us to the idea of Chandler and Monica as a couple, and The West Wing, In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (how everyone met everyone) and Bartlet for America (dealing with Leo’s alcoholism and his relationship with Bartlet).

Lots of Misfits series 4 news

Misfits showrunner Howard Overman and producer Matt Strevens have chatted to fans about the new series, new characters, and the zombie cat’s E4 spin-off series…

If you were having your tea and missed it, we’ve pulled out the choice morsels of today’s E4 web-chat from Misfits creator Howard Overman and producer Matt Strevens. Oh, and there are some brand new behind-the-scenes pics featuring new characters Jess and Finn at the end of it all as an added bonus. Photo pudding, if you will.

We'd advise you to exercise some caution though, as not all the responses seem 100% serious…

On what we can expect to see in series 4:

Howard Overman: You can expect killer rabbits and the four horsemen of the apocalypse and a puppy meets a very tragic demise. In someways this series is a lot like pet rescue, only with super powers and swearing.

Matt Strevens: Ok I can do you telekinesis, x-ray vision, a very bad memory, and the power to be pussy whipped.

On whether Simon and Alisha will return:

HO: Not in this series, but who knows what might happen in the future. There is a plan...which is unusual for me.

MS: And who knows one day they might return to Vegas.

On the new characters replacing Kelly, Simon, and Alisha…

HO: Three characters will be suiting up. And some characters will be hanging up their jumpsuits permanently […] Nobody likes it when their favourite characters leave a show, but Eastenders survived without Rolly the poodle, and so will we. […]The new probation worker is a scary bastard.

MS: So we have Jess [Karla Crome] and Finn [Nathan McMullen] on community service and we meet them in episode 1. Then we have Alex [Matt Stoke], who is not in orange but is key to the series story arc and finally Abby [Natasha O'Keefe] who the gang meet at a party later in the series but you will have to see if she joins the main gang or not. […] We do have a fab new probation worker called Greg who has anger management issues. He’s played by the wonderful Shaun Dooley.

[…] As when Rudy replaced Nathan we're not trying to replace like with like. The new gang are very different and the dynamic feels totally new - but still Misfits […] I think this season may be the funniest yet and the chemistry between the new gang is fantastic. There is also the beginnings of a great double act bromance between Rudy and new guy Finn.

Is Seth the power dealer (Matthew McNulty) still in it?

HO: Yes, and he's more handsome and northern than ever. And he does a little light torture in episode 1.

Are the families of the characters going to have more involvement?

HO: Yes, they are. We've got sisters, step moms, dads who aren't dads and dads who are dads.

On how much the new series will reference previous story arcs:

HO: We try not to reference the past too much unless we need to dig ourselves out of a plot hole. We try to be forward looking so we don't alienate people who haven't seen every episode.

On potential romance for Rudy:

MS: There is lots. Some meaningless twisted sex and maybe even real lurve. We also learn just how many people he's slept with - via another very odd power.

…and for Curtis:

HO: Yes, but she may not be the one...Poor old Curtis.

On whether there’ll be any more online mini-episodes:

MS: Yes there will but the puppets have taken over and one is called Anal Mary to which there is an accompanying song.

And finally, on the fate of the zombie cat from season 3 episode 7:

HO: He was fed, stroked and given a saucer of milk before being clubbed to death with a baseball bat.

MS: He's got his own spin-off on E4.

Chris Evans 'wanted for Strictly Come Dancing'

Chris Evans at the launch event for G.R.E.A.T. held in London

Chris Evans has reportedly been offered a contract to star in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The BBC Radio 2 DJ is said to be on a list of household names who will be offered a deal to join the lineup of the upcoming tenth series.

Evans has however allegedly stalled contract talks after expressing an initial interest in appearing on Strictly, reports The Sun.

"Chris would be a brilliant signing," a source said. "He is a TV legend and would bring his own brand of humour and charisma to the show, not to mention nine million Radio 2 fans and five million One Show fans.

"Nothing is confirmed yet, but we have our fingers crossed."

Evans's signing is said to be an opportunity to improve the ratings of The One Show, which he co-hosts on Fridays with Alex Jones,

Jones took part in Strictly Come Dancing last year, partnered by James Jordan.

The insider added: "Alex was worried about going on Strictly, but loved every minute and has told Chris how much fun it was. The bosses hope her encouragement will swing it."

Snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan and Coronation Street's Michelle Keegan have also been tipped to feature in the next series.

'Desperate Housewives,' 'Selena' Actress Lupe Ontiveros Dead at 69

Actress Lupe Ontiveros, whose career spanned from a roles in the 1997 film "Selena" to the ABC dramedy "Desperate Housewives," has died at the age of 69, following  a battle with liver cancer.

A spokesman for Ontiveros confirmed that she died at 10:20 p.m. Thursday, adding that her death was peaceful and she was with immediate family.

Jacob Vargas, Ontiveros' "Selena" co-star, was also with the actress in her final moments. Vargas tweeted Thursday night, "My friend Lupe Ontiveros just passed away. May you rest in peace. Thank you for your great contribution to film and TV. You will be missed."

Born Guadalupe Moreno, in El Paso, Texas, Ontiveros worked for 18 years as a social worker  before breaking into acting. She landed an early role in 1983's "El Norte," playing a seamstress and maid who mentors a young Guatemalan immigrant, and went on to roles in "The Goonies," "Dolly Dearest" and "Mi Family/Mi Familia," but broke through with her portrayal of Yolanda Saldivar, the deranged fan-club president who murdered Tejano singer Selena, in the 1997 film "Selena."

Also read: Frank Pierson, Director.Writer/Producer and AMPAS President, Dies at 87

Ontiveros also had a considerable career in television, notably playing Juanita "Mama" Solis, the suspicious mother-in-law of Eva Longoria's Gabrielle Solis, on ABC's "Desperate Housewives." The role won her an Emmy nomination. (She also starred as Abuelita on Rob Schneider's CBS sitcom "Rob.")

A diehard activist, Ontiveros stumped for a number of causes, including higher education opportunities for Latinos, AIDS awareness, domestic violence prevention and other health issues. She was also dedicated to improving care for the deaf -- a cause that was no doubt dear to her heart, as her sons suffered from deafness.

In a statement, Ontiveros' family noted that the actress had died "in the company of her loving family as she made her transition in peace." Referring to her as "a tireless advocate for many causes", the family said that donations in her honor can be made to the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness and the Los Angeles Theatre Center. (Donations to the latter should include "in honor of Lupe Ontiveros" in the subject box.)

National Hispanic Media Coalition president and CEO Alex Nogales remembered Ontiveros as a "dear friend" who never gained the spotlight but will be remembered both for her acting and fierce commitment to others.

"Lupe was a dear friend. She worked tirelessly to perfect her craft and open doors for countless Latinos along the way," Nogales said. "Hollywood never gave her the lead role, but in our hearts she will be remembered as our leading lady. She will be deeply missed by all of us."

Bristol Palin: 'I Like Gays. I'm Not a Homophobic'

Bristol Palin wants to clear up her views on gays before her second go-round on "Dancing With the Stars."

"I like gays," she said. "I'm not a homophobic and I'm so sick of people saying that. Just because I'm for traditional marriage doesn't really mean I'm scared or anything of anyone else, and I don't hate anybody."

Also read: New 'DWTS' Cast: Bristol Palin, Pamela Anderson, Drew Lachey, Kelly Monaco

Palin spoke at the "Dancing With the Stars" panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, where she was one of the "Dancing" all-stars named for the upcoming season of the show. Of all of the contestants -- including Pamela Anderson and past winners Drew Lachey and Kelly Monaco -- Palin received the lion's share of the questions.

"You know, people are going to make up stuff about me no matter what," she said. "Whatever. I'm going to go dance and I'm going to have fun. ... It's not about politics and it's not about traditional marriage and anything like that. It's just about dancing and it's going to be fun."

Asked if she appreciated any aspect of the media coverage she received, she replied: "Do I like to provide for my son? Yes, I do."

Palin hasn't just been criticized for her support of gay marriage: She also made a gay joke during her first run on "Dancing," in 2010.

Another competitor that season, Margaret Cho, said Palin only competed because her mother, Sarah Palin, "forced her to do it."

Bristol Palin denied it in a December 2010 Facebook post, adding:

"You say you 'don't agree with the family's politics at all' but I say, if you understood that commonsense conservative values supports the right of individuals like you, like all of us, to live our lives with less government interference and more independence, you would embrace us faster than KD Lang at an Indigo Girls concert."

In November 2010, she apologized on behalf of herself and her then-16-year-old sister, Willow, after Willow used homophobic slurs in a Facebook feud between the sisters and people making fun of their family.