NBC’s ”The Sing-Off” Season 4 premiere was the highest-installment of the voice’s only competition since its Season 2 finale, as NBC topped the night in each timeslot.
“The Voice” was the top show of the evening, earning a 3.4/9 in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. It roped in 12.8 million viewers overall. “The Sing-Off” earned a 2.4/6, up 26 percent from last season’s September premiere.
NBC was first in ratings with a 2.8 rating/7 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and first in total viewers with an average of 9.9 million, according to preliminary numbers.
More to come …
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George Clooney sent a message of support to Ukrainian demonstrators protesting their government’s decision to not align closer with the European Union via a 65-second YouTube clip.
In the brief cell phone video, released on boxing brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko’s YouTube page, the “Gravity” actor expressed his affinity for those who desire democracy. He also slammed the current incarnation of the government for taking political prisoners — including former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko – simply because their ideals differ.
“We have learned through trial and error that true democracy cannot exist without a free and fair and honest election,” Clooney said in the clip.
He added, “So let me just say this to all of you in the square of Kiev, or all around Ukraine: When you look to the West, know that we are looking back at you with great admiration.”
“We wish you a peaceful and safe mission,” the two-time Oscar winner concluded. “We wish you the government that you want, and we wish you the strength to carry on. Good luck.”
Vitali Klitschko, the current WBC heavyweight champion, is also the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, a political group that boasts an anti-corruption, pro-European platform.
Watch the video:
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Fox News has a reputation for presenting a conservative bias, but Megyn Kelly assured “Tonight Show” audiences on Monday that she is “a straight news anchor,” unlike her colleagues who specialize in opinion.
“I’m a straight news anchor. I’m not one of the opinion hosts at Fox,” the “Kelly File” host told Jay Leno. “But I always laugh because I’ll have a conservative pull me aside and say, ‘I love your conservative principles.’ And I’ll say,’You assume too much.’”
Don’t assume she leans left, either.
“And then I’ll have the liberals pull me aside and say, ‘I know you’re one of us.’ And I’ll say, ‘You assume too much,’” Kelly continued. “But I always tell people if they think that I’m this conservative operative, ask Karl Rove if that’s true.”
Kelly may have been referencing her network’s coverage of the 2012 election, which Rove argued until the bitter end that Mitt Romney had a chance to beat President Barack Obama — even after Fox had called the election in Obama’s favor. Kelly called the exchange “awkward” at the time.
“The way we do it on the Fox News Channel is the straight news anchors give a hard time to both sides,” Kelly said. “I don’t care about pandering to the left or the right, I care about protecting my audience. My boss, Roger Ailes, pays me a decent amount of money to go out there and ask questions, because he thinks I know the questions my audience wants answers to.”
While Kelly appears to pride herself on the distinction between “news anchor” and “opinion hosts” on Fox, she isn’t afraid to clash with guests. And one of the “most contentious” she’s ever had on the air was Anthony Weiner.
“He was so full of hubris, and he was so sort of in your face,” Kelly said. “If you were walking around with that kind of secret, and you were going on the national news, wouldn’t you sort of dial it back a little bit?”
Watch what she has to say about the disgraced former Congressman and New York City mayoral candidate in the video, below:
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He helped launch One Direction and Il Divo and made “American Idol” appointment TV, but Simon Cowell still has some regrets.
No, it’s not “X Factor,” his less beloved follow-up to his “Idol” gig, and its well documented ratings free-fall. It turns out there was another pop super grip that slipped through his prickly grasp, Cowell told Jay Leno during Monday’s edition of “The Tonight Show.”
At one point in an illustrious career of packaging and promoting pop groups, the music manager and producer nearly signed the Spice Girls to a deal.
“Spice Girls is probably my biggest mistake,” Cowell said.
“You passed on the Spice Girls?” Leno said. “And that was a mistake? Maybe you’re just ahead of your time.”
“Maybe I was actually kind,” Cowell mused.
The feisty record producer clarified that it was actually the decision of Posh, Sporty, Scary, Baby and Ginger not to come on board.
“I offered them a deal, but they didn’t want to sign to me, so that kind of hurt at the time,” Cowell said.
The Spice Girls, of course, went on to become one of the most successful acts in musical history, selling over 80 million records worldwide. However, Cowell’s memory of the failed negotiations contradicts comments Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice) made about the reasons the group signed elsewhere.
‘He is the only man in the music industry who turned down the Spice Girls – and said we would never work,” Bechkam said in 2009 while guest judging on “Idol.” “I like that fact.”
Watch the video:
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Twentieth Century Fox and Seth MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door Productions are teaming up with developer TinyCo to create a “Family Guy” mobile game for iOS and Android devices.
The app, which will be released next year, will feature an all-new, original story influenced by the show’s 212-episode catalogue as well as current events. What it will not perfectly reflect is any specific, currently airing storyline. That is particularly relevant now as fan favorite Brian the dog died in a recent episode after being hit by a car. The beloved talking bipedal, hard-drinking, womanizing family member was immediately replaced by new family dog, Vinny (Tony Sirico) — though that may even be temporary on the airwaves. We digress.
The game will be a free downloadable and playable app on smartphones — and the developers really only want five minutes of your time at a time, they told TheWrap. These brief gaming interactions are perfectly suited for the mobile platform, whereas console gaming generally requires longer stays of attention.
TinyCo and 20th Century Fox are banking on the higher engagement level associated with gaming than there is simply from absorbing TV. They’re also banking on literally banking on the game. After all, the companies have to monetize it somehow. They will do so primarily through in-app purchases for a variety of digital goods available through play. That ensures gamers can play through the entire game for free, but to differentiate or speed up the experience, power-up or decorate, they can spend a few real dollars.
In the game, players will be able to adventure throughout the Griffin’s hometown of Quahog, recruiting – and sometimes confronting — show characters along the way.
Fuzzy Door, Seth MacFarlane’s production company, is involved directly in the process, with its writers handling the story aspect. While the developer and Fox would not comment on specific characters who will and won’t make the final cut, TinyCo and Fuzzy Door are working to cram as many in as possible.
“Mobile platforms are a new frontier for engaging with your favorite characters and worlds,” said Rick Phillips, senior vice president at Fox Digital Entertainment. “With more than a decade on the air, ‘Family Guy’ has built a world like no other with some of the most beloved characters in entertainment today. This game will bring the best of the ‘Family Guy’ experience to mobile gamers all over the world.”
“’Family Guy’ is an amazing show that’s famous for its sharp wit, unpredictable storytelling, and hilarious cast of characters,” added Suli Ali, chief executive offer of TinyCo. “We’re capturing that essence and providing players with an awesome way to get their ‘Family Guy’ fix every day.”
The free-to-play game will be available on iOS and Android devices in 2014.
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Over the past six months or so, the American people have been playing a sort of a “fun little game” with the National Security Administration, as Jon Stewart put it Monday in his new segment: “That Thing They Said They’re Not Doing? They’re Totally Doing.”
That “thing” the “Daily Show” host is referring to is, of course, the government spying on its own citizens’ telephone conversations and email correspondence.
As creepy as it sounds that a stranger may be monitoring your private interactions, it just got worse: Some NSA employees are using the technology to track their significant others — or those who they hope to engage with romantically. Which led to this terrific Stewart moment:
“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy,” the comedian sung to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Stewart continued, “Here’s your number of your bank account and social security, so call me, or I will continue to monitor your activities.”
Later in the show, Stewart commented on the recent revelations that the NSA is now even monitoring popular online video games, such as “Second Life” and “World of Warcraft.”
Apparently, the NSA feared that terrorist groups could use the games to plot attacks. Stewart then landed one of the better late-night jokes in recent memory:
“Well, I guess that does make some sense, how Islamic terrorists do like to be surrounded by 72 virgins,” Stewart quipped, adding the celebratory, “Gamer slam!”
Watch the videos:
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Oscar Isaac is singing his way into stardom as the grumpy, yet talented lead in “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and on Monday he sang his way into the hearts of any Katy Perry fans watching “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”
When Fallon handed Isaac a guitar and asked him to play something, the actor opted to finger pick his way through Perry’s “Roar.”
“Llewyn Davis at one point in the movie says, ‘If it was never new, and it never gets old, than it’s a folk song,’” Isaac said. “And I think you’d all agree that you can define this song that way.”
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The Walt Disney Company may not be done shopping, Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday.
The media conglomerate has been responsible for some of the biggest entertainment deals in the past decade — plunking down $7.4 billion for Pixar Animation in 2006 and following that up with $4 billion deals for Marvel and LucasFilm in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
However, the company’s recent decision to increase its buyback plans and repurchase $6 billion to $8 billion of stock starting in 2014 made it look as though Disney was done with blockbuster purchases.
“It’s safe to say you’ll continue to see us doing acquisitions in the future,” Rasulo told the Wall Street heavy crowd, advising them to not read too much into the buyback plans.
He did say, however, that any deals would probably be smaller in size, noting that the company did not have “anything on the scale of LucasFilm or Marvel” in its sights.
When it comes to integrating LucasFilm and its “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” brands into the Magic Kingdom, Rasulo said the model will be closely aligned to how it has treated another one of its major purchases.
“You can substitute the word Marvel for LucasFilm,” Rasulo said.
The strategy when it came to capitalizing on the comic book empire, Rausl0 said was “..to take this treasure trove of content and deliver it through the Disney eco-system.”
That manifested itself in the way that the cinematic adventures of individual superheroes like Captain America and Iron Man all fed into one massive super-team film, “The Avengers.” The global success of “The Avengers,” in turn, provided a substantial “box office lift” to solo outings such as “Thor: The Dark World” and “Iron Man 3″ that were released in its wake, Rasulo argued.
Likewise, the box office heft of the film franchises generated interest in television spin-offs like ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and an upcoming series of shows based on characters like Luke Cage and Daredevil that will be released on Netflix.
In a sign that Disney will not veer far from “The Avengers” blueprint, the studio has said that it will release a new “Star Wars” film each year beginning in 2015, which will be comprised of a new trilogy that follows up on the original six films and a series of standalone projects.
On the consumer products end, Rasulo said that Marvel and its legion of superhero characters have been “fully integrated” into the company’s toys and other divisions and he expects that “Star Wars” will soon join those comic book creations in popping up all over Disney’s myriad business interests.
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While many called Nelson Mandela “Madiba” or “Tata,” Stephen Colbert and his “inner-circle” had another affectionate nickname for the beloved South African leader: “Nutella.”
“Rich, creamy, chocolate-hazelnut justice,” Colbert eulogized.
During Monday’s “Colbert Report,” the host mocked several media tributes to the late South African leader — the first was ESPN’s somewhat ill-focused obituary headline, “Mandela, 95, dies; brokered ’10 World Cup.”
“Yes, during his 27 years in prison, Mandela took strength in the knowledge that one day, he would bring the people of South Africa vuvuzelas,” the late night comic quipped.
But Mandela meant something to more than just soccer fans, believe it or not. What he represented was a greater humanitarian struggle.
Colbert pinpointed the man’s true legacy, saying, “Of course, when you think repressed black people, you think ‘Republican Party.’”
Speaking of which: Rick Santorum spoke on the eve of Mandela’s death about the legend’s accomplishments, with more than a tiny sprinkling of political agenda. Santorum compared the injustice that Madiba revolted against to, naturally, the Affordable Healthcare Act.
“Yes, Obamacare is America’s apartheid,” Colbert concluded.
Watch the clip:
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Keep an eye out for Stephen Colbert in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in theaters this weekend, because he’s “kind of the breakout star.”
The “Colbert Report” host appeared on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” on Monday and teased his cameo in the sequel to 2012 hit “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
“I don’t want to tell anybody where I am, but I’m in it … check IMDb,” Colbert said before explaining that Jackson invited him and his family to visit the New Zealand set during production.
“We’re in a scene in Laketown,” Colbert added. “I don’t want what to say what, where in the movie — it’s kind of a ‘Where’s Waldo.’”
Laketown is the human settlement which Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the band of Dwarves pass through on their way to reclaim Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
IMDb has Colbert listed as playing a “Laketown Spy” in film. Audiences can find out what that means, if anything, when “Desolation of Smaug” hits theaters on Friday.
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Eight of the country’s largest technology companies, including Google and Twitter, attacked the government on Monday for flouting its users’ privacy. They took out full-page ads in several newspapers, part of a broader PR campaign to restore their users’ confidence.
Watch the video above.
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NBC plans to produce another live musical for the 2014 holiday season, the network confirms to TheWrap.
Last week’s “Sound of Music Live” delivered the highest Thursday ratings NBC has seen since the finale of “E.R.,” among other ratings records.
“All weekend, people have been calling us and emailing us,” chairman of NBC’s entertainment Robert Greenblatt said in an interview with the New York Times. “Rights holders of musicals have said, ‘Please do one of our shows.’ We’re excited to try it again.”
“There’s enough to do a handful of these over the next years, if we keep increasing the learning curve,” Greenblatt added. “There may be a little bit of a phenomenon to the first one of these. Who knows what happens year two, three or four. But you’ve got to have events. I think we could do this again — and again and again.”
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“The Real,” the one-hour daily talk show hosted by Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley, has been cleared in more than 70 percent of the country after a four-week summer test run on seven Fox-owned stations.
The series, which will return wide next fall, has been bought by stations from the Cox, Sinclair, Gannett, Local TV, Meredith, Raycom, Media General, Gray, Sunbeam, Griffin and Schurz groups. It will also launch on all of the Fox-owned Television Stations, as previously announced.
The seven-market summer test took place across Fox-owned stations in New York (WNYW), Los Angeles (KTTV), Washington, D.C. (WTTG), Philadelphia (WTXF), Phoenix (KSAZ), Houston (KRIV) and Tampa (WTVT). Across all seven markets, “The Real” improved at least two share points over its lead-in among all women demos, growing 50 percent over the May 2013 time period share among women 18-49 and 40 percent among women 25-54, Warner Bros. TV said.
“Our traditional station partners have joined the Fox Stations in embracing all of the excitement that is ‘The Real,’” said Ken Werner, president, Warner Bros. TV. “This year, more so than in most, there are limited opportunities for new shows and we are thrilled stations have selected ‘The Real’ as their choice.”
“The Real” will originate from L.A. and is produced by Telepictures Productions, distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
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Warner Bros. has released the international trailer for Wachowski Starship’s “Jupiter Ascending.”
The big-budget sci-fi movie stars Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis.
WB will release the movie July 25, 2014.
The post Channing Tatum Saves Mila Kunis in ‘Jupiter Ascending’ Trailer From ‘Matrix’ Directors (Video) appeared first on TheWrap.
Eleanor Parker, a three-time Oscar nominee who portrayed the baroness who lost her man to Maria in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” has died at the age of 91.
She died Monday of complications from pneumonia at Palm Springs medical facility, a family friend told the Associated Press.
Also read: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2013
“Eleanor Parker was and is one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever known,” said Christopher Plummer, who starred with her and Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” in a statement. “Both as a person and as a beauty. I hardly believe the sad news, for I was sure she was enchanted and would live forever.”
Parker was nominated for Oscars in 1950 (“Caged”), 1951 (“Detective Story”) and 1955 (“Interrupted Melody”).
Parker was discovered at the Pasadena Playhouse and signed a contract at Warner Bros., where she landed her first major role as Mildred Rogers in the 1946 remake of “Of Human Bondage.”
Her breakthrough performance came as a prison inmate in the 1950 film “Caged,” which brought her first Best Actress Oscar nomination.
She was nominated again the following year, when she played Kirk Douglas’s frustrated wife in “Detective Story.”
Her final nomination came in 1955 in “Interrupted Melody,” in which she played opera star Marjorie Lawrence, who continued her career after contracting polio.
Her career as a leading lady was established, and she played opposite some of the top leading actors of the day. She starred with Stewart Granger in “Scaramouche,” with Robert Taylor in “Above and Beyond,” with William Holden in “Escape from Fort Bravo” and opposite Charlton Heston in “The Naked Jungle.”
She also appeared in “The Man with the Golden Arm” with Frank Sinatra and “The King and Four Queens” with Clark Gable.
Parker’s career slowed after “The Sound of Music.” She appeared on TV shows including “Fantasy Island,” ”Murder, She Wrote” and “The Love Boat” and starred in the short-lived 1960s series “Bracken’s World.”
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A version of this story first ran in OscarWrap: Actors Issue.
A dinner meeting two years ago with Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”) turned into back-to-back movies for Jake Gyllenhaal: the yet-to-be-released “Enemy,” in which he plays two roles, and the slow-burn thriller “Prisoners,” with Gyllenhaal as a detective and Hugh Jackman as the father of an abducted girl.
“Prisoners” won strong reviews and did $60 million at the box office after its September release, a solid number for a film that ratchets up the tension slowly for nearly two-and-a-half hours. It’s not a typical awards film, but Gyllenhaal’s performance as a cop who clearly is hiding a lot of his own secrets has at least put him in the conversation.
Your character in “Prisoners” has tattoos that we can’t see clearly, and he seems to have a troubled background, but nothing is spelled out. Did you add that ambiguity?
Yeah. One of my hesitations about the character was whether Denis and Alcon wanted a character who was going to be essentially a narrator. Because what fascinated me was this idea that a detective — or any good truth-seeker, journalist, whatever they may be — has to be almost infatuated with the mind of the criminal.
A number of the detectives I met while doing “End of Watch” had their own criminal backgrounds, and they were so good at their jobs because they understood that mindset, they understood the movements, they understood the behavior.
And so that just led me into saying, “Well, look, I would love for this guy to be a question mark from the beginning.” I didn’t even want you to see that he was a detective at first. I wanted you to meet the character and go, “Maybe this guy looks like he’s the one who did it.”
Did Denis embrace that idea?
I think, given our relationship from “Enemy,” that he trusted that I was in service of the story. I think that’s always the hesitation, director to actor: Are you in service of the story, or of your character only? And the reason we work so well together is that he knows I’m in service of the story. I’m going to ask him questions that sometimes might be bad and not really work, but I’m trying to help him tell the story.
So when I would do improve and stuff, he never ever told me that what I was doing was no good, even when it was no good. It was so freeing, you know?
You gave the character some unexplained facial tics and mannerisms.
The tics and those physical manifestations, that happened in my mind as I was reading it. Just before I made this movie, I was on stage in New York City playing a character who talked a lot, and had a lot of sort of nervous energy. There was a transition period where I moved that anxiety and overactive mind of the character I was playing onstage and narrowed it down into a type of behavior where there was more silence and stillness. And I started trying things onstage, things like the tic.
It was a really interesting training ground, and an area to explore. Some of the parts that Aaron wrote in the script were really open to interpretation, and then I saw it as this interesting opportunity — like, oh wow, he’s given me this room.
The film maintains tension for almost two and a half hours, but it moves very slowly, which must have provided its own challenge.
One of the choices I made is that I never wanted to move quickly. A lot of times when you want to fabricate tension, you move fast. But tension is a beast — it’s like a lion being coaxed closer and closer. Will it bite? Will it run away? Where’s it going? What the fuck am I doing here with a lion?
They did the most wonderful shot that was not in the movie, which so bummed me out. I get in a car, the glass is totally fogged, and I’m silhouetted as [cinematographer] Roger [Deakins] lit it. I turn on the defroster, and it starts defrosting as I get the call. That’s Denis and that’s Roger. I could tell as soon as we were focusing on defrosting a front windshield that we were going to take our time. And so I just tried to move in the same way. And then also sort of deflect and create my own question marks on top of that.
You know that when the base is solid, you can just sort of dance.
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Bette Midler has joined the HBO Films biopic of Mae West. She will both play the provocative Hollywood star as well as executive produce the project currently in development, a cable channel representative told TheWrap.
Midler joins “Excorcist” director William Friedkin, who will direct and executive produce; Harvey Fierstein, who’s writing the script; and executive producer Jerry Weintraub (“Behind the Candelabra”).
The movie will be based on West’s autobiography, “Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It.” First written in the 1950s and then updated in the 70s, West’s book discusses her rise to fame as the highest paid actress in 1930s Hollywood, how she saved Paramount from bankruptcy, fought obscenity charges and her take on why the roles dried up.
In similar fashion to West, Midler has pushed the boundaries over her career. Well known for her riotous and high energy stage show, Midler earned the nickname the Divine Miss M.
She is also well known for the critically acclaimed tearjerker opposite Barbara Hershey, “Beaches.” Her other well known movies include “The Rose,” “The First Wives Club” and “Hocus Pocus.”
Midler is currently in the middle of a three-week engagement at the Geffen Playhouse of “I’ll Eat You Last.” She plays Hollywood agent Sue Mengers in the play written by John Logan and directed by Joe Mantello.
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Before HBO’s “The Newsroom,” CBS’s “Murphy Brown” was giving viewers its version of broadcast news.
Twenty-five years later, the cast of the hit CBS comedy are reuniting on TV once again with another famous newswoman Katie Couric.
On Thursday, Dec. 12, Bergen, Faith Ford, Charles Kimbrough, Joe Regalbuto, and Grant Shaud, along with show creator Diane English, will appear on syndicated daytime talker “Katie.”
They’ll share behind-the-scenes stories, their most important episodes and the show’s lasting impact on pop culture.
Couric’s on-air reunion follows a day after the cast reunites on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. The program, called “Murphy Brown: A 25th Anniversary Celebration,” is sponsored by Encore Classic, which currently runs repeats of the series.
“Murphy Brown” originally aired from 1988-1998. It starred Bergen as a famous investigative journalist and news anchor for “FYI,” a fictional CBS television newsmagazine.
Spectacular flameouts and unlikely triumphs flickered across the nation’s living rooms this year, from cancellations to shocking success stories. With 2013 roaring to a close, TheWrap separates the successes from the failures.
Winner: Kenny Powers (Danny McBride), “Eastbound & Down,” HBO
Kenny rose like a phoenix from the third and almost final season of “Eastbound & Down” to regain his fame, fortune and balls in the fourth. And good, because Season 4 was arguably the best yet. The finale — including cameos from Sacha Baron Cohen, Lindsay Lohan and Alexander Skarsgård — was more spectacularly ridiculous than any fan of McBride, Ben Best and Jody Hill’s creation could have ever imagined. — Greg Gilman
Winner: Fox News
Already the most-watched cable news network, Fox News made some successful lineup changes this year. Megyn Kelly moved from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. with “The Kelly File” in October, winning its timeslot in cable news with 2.1 million total viewers with its premiere, and growing the next night. The recruitment of “The View” refugee Elisabeth Hasselbeck for “Fox and Friends” gave the morning show a viewership boost. In November, Fox News took second place in primetime for all of cable, behind only ESPN. — Tim Kenneally
Loser: “The X Factor”
We all had higher hopes for truth-sayer Simon Cowell, but his “post-Idol” talent show has never lived up to his old show. After exhausting us for two seasons with his “Hunger Games” of musical judges, he settled on a panel that was the casting equivalent of “mom jeans” for Season 3. Has he given up? At least half the fans have. The current season has seen a dramatic drop from more than 12 million viewers for Season 1 to less than 5 million this season. Is it time for Fox to cut its losses and focus on the makeover of “American Idol”? – Jethro Nededog
The Syfy TV movie about sharks attacking via hundreds of sling-shotting tornadoes took the world by storm (pun intended) this summer. Bolstered by a can’t-miss trailer and the so-bad-it’s-good plot, the Ian Ziering/Tara Reid movie became a social media sensation. After taking over Twitter, the telecast actually got some viewers. Encores of “Sharknado” kept growing their audiences. The phenomenon even birthed midnight theater showings in New York and Los Angeles, along with a red carpet for the latter. “Sharknado 2″ was immediately greenlit, and fans got to name the sequel. Next year’s “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” will terrorize New York. --Tony Maglio
Loser: First Casualties of the Fall
Remember “Lucky 7″ or “We Are Men”? No? Well that makes sense, because they each only aired two episodes this fall before getting the ax. “Lucky 7″ had the worst fall drama debut in ABC history, earning a 1.3 in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. Its second — and final — episode received a 0.7. Goodbye. “We Are Men” had the lowest comedy debut in CBS history with a 2.0 rating. Adios. –Tony Maglio
Also read: ‘Lucky 7′ Is Fall’s Unluckiest Show
Winner: “Breaking Bad”
In its final season, the methamphetamine epic went from being quietly brilliant to a full-fledged hit. The finale earned 10.3 million viewers, up nearly 4 million over its previous high. What those viewers saw was perfection: Teacher-turned-meth kingpin Walter White mowed down a Nazi ranch in one of the greatest TV endings of all time. Sweeter still, the show got its due while it was still on the air, winning the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series on the Sunday night before its final cook. –Tim Molloy
Loser: Paula Deen
America’s butter queen, Paula Deen, suffered a career meltdown when a lawsuit filed by a former employee unearthed the fact that she had previously used the N-word. After awkward apologies failed to quell the growing outrage, Deen’s business associates crumbled away like the crust of a shoddily constructed pumpkin pie. The Food Network, Walmart, Target and a host of others cut ties to Deen, who was ultimately cleared of the racial discrimination claim in the lawsuit, which was eventually resolved. –Tim Kenneally
Jay Leno might need to drop the ratings jokes from his monologue: This fall, NBC is the top-rated network in the key 18-49 demographic, and is No. 2 behind CBS in total viewers. It can thank “The Voice,” “The Blacklist” and “Sunday Night Football,” TV’s biggest show. But there’s a caveat to NBC’s success: It was also the top-rated network this time last year. Once the football season ended, it fell hard to third place. –Tim Molloy
After two-and-a-half-years of intense scrutiny, OWN declared itself profitable earlier this year. Founder Oprah Winfrey has admitted that those formative years were far more difficult than she had expected. But, it grew through a series of smart partnerships (including with Tyler Perry), more airtime for Winfrey, and by honing in on black female viewers. –Jethro Nededog
Loser: Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin’s temper — particularly when directed at the paparazzi — has been making headlines for some time now, but this month it cost him a job. Baldwin’s recently launched MSNBC talk show, “Up Late With Alec Baldwin” — which already suffered from lackluster ratings — received a two-week suspension after Baldwin was recorded going off on a paparazzo with homophobic flair. The time-out turned into a permanent vacation when the actor and the network agreed to what they said was a mutual parting. On the plus side, Baldwin now has time to play more Words With Friends. --Tim Kenneally
Winner: Miley Cyrus
Say what you will about Miley Cyrus — she knows how to get attention. And after all, isn’t that the goal of any modern pop star? Cyrus, who caused a national case of the vapors during her MTV VMAs twerknado, upped the outrage meter by appearing to smoke a joint while accepting an EMA. The “Wrecking Ball” singer grabbed attention once again at the American Music Awards — by performing with a giant kitten on the video screen behind her. –Tim Kenneally
Winner: “The Walking Dead”
AMC’s zombie drama finished out its third season in the spring as the top-rated show on TV, aside from football. No cable show has ever accomplished that before. The show’s current fourth season is faring even better, ratings-wise, and AMC is planning a spinoff. You can quibble with plot points, but there’s no escaping the fact that the walkers are devouring TV. –Tim Molloy
Also read: ‘Walking Dead’ Is in ‘Lost’ Mode
Winner: “The Talk”
“The Talk” has been steadily climbing as its main competition, “The View,” has dipped a touch. “The Talk” on CBS is averaging just one-tenth lower ratings (1.1/7) than “The View” (1.2/8) season-to-date in their shared target market, women 25-54. Last season the gap was three-tenths. Eyeballs-wise, the ABC league-leader carries 2.9 million viewers, versus 2.8 million for “The Talk.” Last year at this time, “The Talk” trailed “The View” by more than one million viewers. This season, the gap is less than 200,000. –Tim Kenneally
Winner: Shonda Rhimes
After a couple years of setbacks (“Off the Map” was canceled in 2011, as was “Private Practice” earlier this year), writer and producer Shonda Rhimes finds herself back on top again. “Scandal” keeps fans glued to their TVs on Thursdays, and “Grey’s Anatomy” is holding on after 10 seasons. Rhimes recently announced that she has landed a book deal with Simon Schuster. –Jethro Nededog
Winner: Dan Harmon
After much drama following NBC’s ouster of the “Community” co-creator, Harmon finds himself in the driver’s seat again with Season 5. The move was supported by the show’s hardcore fans, cast and the critics. The crazy spark was gone on Season 4, but everyone looks forward to Harmon re-igniting the flame. Meanwhile, he has a new animated show on Adult Swim, “Rick and Morty,” about a genius kook and his grandson’s adventures through time and space. It promises to make up for the year TV had no Harmon. –Jethro Nededog
The post Best & Worst 2013: TV’s Biggest Winners and Losers of the Year appeared first on TheWrap.
A version of this story first appeared in OscarWrap: Actors
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the only actress to win Emmys for three different television series (“Seinfeld,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Veep”), but her movie career has always been sporadic – and, except for voice-over work in animated films, nonexistent for the last decade and a half.
But Louis-Dreyfus changed that with her sharp, funny turn in Nicole Holofcener’s “Enough Said,” an affecting comedy in which she plays a divorced mom who finds that she has to hide a pretty big secret to keep her new romance alive.
Co-starring with another TV icon, the late James Gandolfini, Louis-Dreyfus is appealing and understandable as a character who makes bad and occasionally inexplicable decisions – as Alonso Duralde wrote on TheWrap, “She’s a master of squirm-inducing comedy, but rarely has she gotten to play a character with such a variety of tones … Louis-Dreyfus never allows the character to become so awful that we don’t root for her happiness.”
Except for voice-over work, you haven’t made a film in 16 years. Why not?
Well, you know, I was doing all these TV shows. And I had two children, both of whom were born during the “Seinfeld” run. So I was busy raising them, and my downtime was limited, and I didn’t want to be going off to location making films. And in addition to that, there aren’t gobs and gobs of interesting roles for women over the age of 35 in the film business.
And the reason I was able to do “Enough Said” is that I had just finished season one of “Veep,” which was only eight episodes, and so my time opened up. And this particular movie was shot in L.A., so I went home every night. A lot of things about it made it very doable, and irresistible because the script was such a cut above anything I had read in quite a long time.
Since you hadn’t been doing films, did you have to talk your way into a meeting with Nicole Holofcener?
I had to talk my way in a tiny bit. It was one of those get-to-know-each-other meetings, and it went really well. We just immediately connected in that moment, and I think it was pretty much a done deal after that.
We started talking about the script right away, and our kids, and our relationship with our children. And my husband and I had taken our oldest son off to college, and that was this massive moment in our family’s life. We talked about the dynamics of that, and I think I probably burst into tears as we were talking about it. Which I think pretty much secured me the gig at that point.
Your character spends much of the movie hanging onto a pretty devastating secret that is bound to come out and destroy two relationships. Did you struggle to understand why she acted that way?
I got it totally. That doesn’t mean I would do this kind of thing, but I got the anguish of it, and I understood the fear of loneliness, and how that sort of hijacked her. What is that movie where they take over your body?
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
Yeah, like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I totally got that, and sympathized with it. Listen, really good, nice human beings are capable of doing bad, nasty, insensitive things. She means well, though.
You insisted on putting in a scene where she almost tells James Gandolfini’s character her secret.
Yeah, I did. That was really important to me. You need to see her fighting that thing in herself, and failing. I think it makes her more understandable. So she tried, but then he slays her with a joke he makes, which is why she stops. Where do you go from there? Well, you could tell the truth.
But then you wouldn’t have a movie.
Your paths must have crossed with James Gandolfini before this, maybe at the Emmys or something.
I just met him socially, maybe twice. And we met for earnest on this movie, and became fast friends. I think he really understood the part, although he was very much like, “Why am I playing a guy who gets the girl? I don’t get it.”
He was very dismissive and self-deprecating, and kept saying to me and Nicole, “If you want to recast this, I get it.” That made him much more sort of strangely fall-in-lovable, that he would be so insecure. But that’s who he was. For somebody who was so extraordinary as an actor, he was so questioning, and hard on himself about his abilities.
Did he see any of the finished film?
He only saw bits and pieces in ADR. But he never saw the final version, which is a tremendous shame. It’s absolutely bizarre to be talking about this movie without him sitting here.
The final scene could very easily feel wrong, but somehow it walked a very fine line and ended on a perfect note.
I’m so glad you said that, because we really worked on that. We discussed it in great length — what is the tone of this moment going to be? We tried different things, but when we nailed it, it was somewhat improvised. And Jim and I got up off that stoop, and walked into the house and just fell into each other’s arms. We were very emotional, a little bit weepy, because we both felt as if we’d nailed it. And in fact, that very take is what Nicole used.
Do you plan to be more involved in movies now?
Yeah, I think so – when great material comes along. It’s hard to find really great stuff, and I’m seriously spoiled now. I mean, “Veep” is so crazy good, and so well-written. And then this movie.
And, frankly, I’m in the luxurious position of not having to do anything. That sounded really spoiled the way I said it, and I didn’t mean to sound like that. But I really am in a fortunate position, and so it’s just a question of finding that little treasure.
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