Friday, November 18, 2011

Sneak Peek: Oprah's Next Chapter

Beginning on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, Oprah Winfrey sits down with celebrities, finally, like singer and American Idol judge Steven Tyler, in her new series, Oprah's Next Chapter.

Watch a preview here.

Sneak Peek: Oprah's Next Chapter

News: Showtime Renews Dexter

Michael C. Hall
From Showtime: The network has ordered two more seasons of its award-winning, top-rated drama series Dexter, starring Golden Globe® award-winning actor Michael C. Hall, it was announced today by David Nevins, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc.

On the heels of Hall and Showtime closing a new, two season deal for Hall to return to the series, production will begin on season seven in 2012 in Los Angeles. Seasons seven and eight will consist of 12 episodes each.

Recap: The X Factor

If The X Factor's Stacy Francis accomplishes nothing else in her singing career, she has already gone down in history for delivering one of the best moments in reality TV and, really, in TV, period.

Her audition, when the show began a couple of months ago, with her mascara-soaked face, her pleas to judge Simon Cowell to give her a chance, her backstory of being in a bad relationship, was amazing. (Check it out below). And, finally, Simon's telling her that her audition was one of the best he's ever seen was nothing short of fantastic.

But this can't be the last we see of Stacy - she's way too talented to fade away. Stacy, we're rooting for  you!

News: Regis' Last Day on Live!

Kelly Ripa, Regis Philbin
After watching Katie Couric's touching profile, and interview, of Regis Philbin on ABC's 20/20 on Thursday, it's hard not to like Regis - a kid from the Bronx who made it.

Today is Regis' final day co-hosting Live! with Regis and Kelly.

That's Kelly Ripa, who has signed on to continue with the show for several more years. But Live! will never be quite be the same without Regis. He has been on the show for nearly 30 years and redefined early morning TV - less newsy, more fun and loads more personal.

Preview: Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls

James Van Der Beek and Sarah Carter
Have you been missing Dawson Creek's James Van Der Beek? Don't fret.

James plays a teacher and soccer coach at all-girls school in the Lifetime movie, Jodi Picout's Salem Falls (Saturday, 8pm). His life is turned upside down when a student's crush on him gets the town wondering if he's up to no good.

Preview: Thanksgiving Live!

Alton Brown
Ever wanted to ask Rachael Ray her recommendation for how long to cook a Thanksgiving turkey? Or Bobby Flay his recipe for the perfect gravy or stuffing? Well, here's your chance - Jay Bobbin in Newsday.

Food Network goes hugely interactive Sunday from noon to 2pm with the two-hour special Thanksgiving Live. Alton Brown will host Ray, Flay, Ted Allen, Sunny Anderson, Anne Burrell, Melissa d'Arabian and Alex Guarnaschelli as viewers are invited to send holiday meal questions via Twitter, Facebook and Skype.

Preview: Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys

Brent and Olivia
From Sundance Channel: The cable network is set to loosen up the buckle on the Bible Belt with the explosive second season premiere of the critically-acclaimed hit series Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys on Friday, Nov. 18 at 9pm.

The groundbreaking unscripted series that celebrates and explores the special relationship between women and their gay best friends moves to Nashville, Tennessee and the all new cast provides more drama and higher stakes than ever before.

Review: Woody Allen - A Documentary

There’s a noticeable imbalance in Woody Allen: A Documentary, a three-and-a-half-hour American Masters biography spooling out on Sunday and Monday on PBS, writes Mike Hale in the New York Times.

The first chapter, the longer and better of the two, follows its subject through just the first 10 films of his career, ending with “Stardust Memories.” Then the program’s director, Robert Weide, stuffs Mr. Allen’s 31 subsequent features into the 90 rushed minutes of the second night.

Watch Woody Allen: A Documentary on PBS. See more from AMERICAN MASTERS.

News: Real Housewives of Atlanta Spin-Off

Kim Zolciak
Bravo will air the new series Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding (get it?), documenting the Real Housewives of Atlanta star’s trip down the aisle to Atlanta Falcons player Kroy Biermann, writes Yvonne Villarreal in the Los Angeles Times.

"I am so excited to give an up close and personal look at the next chapter in my life," Kim Zolciak said in a statement. "My life has turned into a true Cinderella story and to watch the pieces unfold is going to be great! I can't wait to share with all of you!"

Each half-hour episode will follow the adventures of Kim preparing for her wedding, which fell on 11/11/11.

Sneak Peek: RuPaul's Drag Race

Bring gurls. Now!

OK, the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race doesn't debut until January. But, at least, we're getting a brief look at the new season of the fantastically fun, and touching and heartwarming show.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sneak Peek: Clinton

In February, PBS's American Experience delves deep into the life and political career of Bill Clinton with the two-part documentary, Clinton.

Here's a preview and click Read More below for more details from PBS.

Watch Clinton Preview on PBS. See more from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.

Stats: TV Ratings Recap

Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood
ABC had a pretty sweet week, the week of Nov. 7, with two episodes of Dancing with the Stars and the 45th Annual Country Music Awards ranking among the week's top-10 shows, according to new Nielsen ratings.

Dancing ranked No. 3 with nearly 18.2 million people tuning in. The results show, when pro soccer player Hope Solo took off her dancing shoes, was seen by 15.1 million people.

On top of that, 16.4 million viewers watched the CMA Awards with co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley.

Still, ABC's shows took a backseat to the reliably gargantuan audiences for NBC's Sunday Night Football (just under 21 million people) and CBS's NCIS (just over 20 million viewers).

Click on the Stats page above for detailed Nielsen ratings.

News: One More Day for Regis

Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa
I guess when you're 80 years old, you can retire. But does anyone really want Regis Philbin hightailing it out of Live! with Regis and Kelly? Well, no, not after having The Reg in our homes most mornings for nearly 30 years.

Tomorrow is Regis Philbin's last day on Live! (On Monday, Jerry Seinfeld kicks off what will presumably be a long list of guest co-hosts alongside Kelly Ripa). Former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford stops by today and, tomorrow, well, the farewell show is a secret for now. Bye, Reg, we'll miss you.

Click Read More to watch a clip from yesterday's Live! with Regis and Kelly.

Preview: 20/20 - Regis Philbin

Katie Couric, the former CBS News anchor and one-time co-host on NBC's Today, is now working for ABC - her daytime talk show Katie from Disney-ABC kicks off next fall.

Tonight, she hosts a special episode of 20/20, Regis Philbin: The Morning Maestro with Katie Couric (ABC, 8pm) to bid farewell to Regis Philbin, who's retiring tomorrow from Live! with Regis and Kelly.

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Preview: We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân

From PBS: We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân (10pm - check local listings) is the story of the revitalization of the Wampanoag language, the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in this country.

The Wampanoag’s ancestors ensured the survival of the Pilgrims in New England, and lived to regret it. Nevertheless, through resilience and courage they kept their identity alive and remained on their ancestral lands. Now a cultural revival is taking place.

Recap: The X Factor

The X Factor
The X Factor results show airs tonight on Fox at 8pm - someone's gotta go.

Here's a recap of last night's episode: I love rock'n'roll -- but it was in seriously short supply during this week's The X Factor, writes Laura Prudom on AOLTV. Host Steve Jones opened the show with the ominous qualifier that the week's theme was "rock songs, or songs sung in a rock style" which was the first clue that trouble was afoot.

We heard reggae, rap, blues and ballads, but very little in the way of actual guitar-smashing, amp-blasting rock; the only one who really fulfilled the assignment was resident rocker Josh Krajcik -- go figure. Still, I'm pretty sure that Stacy Francis hit rock bottom with a screechy, tone-deaf rendition of Meat Loaf's (via Celine Dion) 'It's All Coming Back to Me Now,' and my eardrums may never recover.

News: The "Community" Backlash

When NBC released its midseason schedule late Monday and Community (tonight, 8pm) wasn't on it, fan panic and outrage quickly spread via Twitter, as The Week accurately sums it up (though, not emphatically enough).

Now that the dust has settled, it's clear that Community — the quirky, innovative sitcom about a community college study group — hasn't been canceled. The series will, however, be put on an indefinite hiatus.

Review: Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie

Wavy Gravy
The 2010 documentary, Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie, about the guy Wavy Gravy - an activist, a clown a throwback to California commune living - premiers tonight on Showtime (7:55pm).

A review from the New York Post's V.A. Musetto: The journey is entertaining, whether you witnessed the 1960s firsthand or heard about it from your grandparents.

But the film ignores Wavy's childhood -- surely his early years had an impact on what he became in later life. And there isn't a single negative comment. Are we to believe that this wild-haired, in-your-face LSD disciple is Mr. Perfect? I doubt it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preview: The X Factor

Lakoda Rayne
Fox's The X Factor has been a slow build, both creatively and in terms of finding an audience. But, while it's been a good show since it debuted in September, now it's great, and viewers are flocking to it in big numbers.

Tonight, the top 10 finalists perform live (Fox, 8pm), with the likeliest of those to get axed tomorrow being the group Lakoda Rayne. That's a group that Paula Abdul is mentoring.

Recap: Dancing with the Stars

Professional soccer player Hope Solo got booted from Dancing with the Stars last night on ABC, just one week shy of the finale. While it wasn't much of a surprise, when, in the final moments last night, you could see that Hope knew it was coming, it was still sad.

Which means the top three celebrities for this, the 13th season of the show, are: Ricki Lake, J. R. Martinez and Rob Kardashian. Click Read More below for all the deets from ABC.

News: Save "Community"

AOLTV's brilliant, witty and wonderful TV critic Maureen (Mo) Ryan is trying to save NBC's Community (Thursday). NBC is shaking up its schedule and, well, it doesn't look good for the Joel McHale comedy.

From Maureen: Maybe Community hasn't been my cup of tea every single week, but I absolutely love how much people adore it, and in a perfect world, the TV landscape offers range of shows that a wide variety of people wholeheartedly love, whatever those show's occasional wobbles.

That's why we need a Save Greendale campaign, which should not only involve felt beards but also letters to NBC (and if you have further ideas on how to save the show, please share them below).

Read Maureen's letter to NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt here.

News: Prime Suspect is Wrapping Up

Maria Bello
Prime Suspect (NBC, Thursday) will wrap production at the end of the month — hardly a good sign for the rookie drama, writes Yvonne Villarreal in the Los Angeles Times. And it also raises the question: What's going to happen to the hat!?

The cop drama remake, which stars Maria Bello, was left off NBC's midseason schedule (along with comedy Community); its 10 pm Thursday time slot will be replaced by The Firm beginning Jan. 12.

Preview: Whitechapel

On tonight's fantastic Whitechapel (10pm), from BBC America: The Organized Crime Division, led by the dashing DCI Cazenove, seems to have control of London's streets until a spate of gruesome killings and maimings rocks the East End district of Whitechapel. DI Chandler and his team are tasked with solving them.

Buchan claims the crimes replicate those committed by the infamous Kray twins back in the 1960s. He tells Chandler the victims are chosen from those who gave evidence against the Krays and that they are killed in the manner of their testimony.

Preview: The Fabric of the Cosmos

Brian Greene, the Columbia University physicist who made a splash about a decade ago with PBS's The Elegant Universe, is exploring space and time in Nova's The Fabric of the Cosmos.

Tonight at 9pm (check local listings), Brian explores the universe's tiniest particles. Click Read More below for an episode description from PBS.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recap: Dancing with the Stars

Ricki Lake solidified her lead on Dancing with the Stars last night, when the four finalists each danced three dances. (The results show airs tonight at 9pm on ABC).

Ricki's ahead on the judges' scores. But J. R. Martinez, the actor and war vet who was severely injured by fire, has America on his side. In a TVFirstLook poll, as of yesterday, 77% of those voting say J.R. will take the crown. Only 18% think Ricki will go home the winner. (Keep reading after the vid).

Review: AFI's Master Class: The Art of the Collaboration

John Williams, Steven Spielberg
The American Film Institute could have hardly chosen a more appealing pairing to inaugurate its Turner Classic Movies specials Master Class -- the Art of Collaboration (8pm) than Steven Spielberg and John Williams, whose 40-year relationship is one of the most fruitful and memorable in screen history - Brian Lowry in Variety.

The ensuing hour manages to be both intimate and revealing, overcoming the seminar format to feel like a legitimate treat for discriminating movie fans -- one that ought to enhance their appreciation of a composer's contribution to films.

Preview: New Girl

Fox's cute-y cute (sometimes, too cute) New Girl with Zooey Deschanel, who plays Jess, rolls out its Thanksgiving episode tonight. And, no matter if you hate or love a show, Thanksgiving episodes make it good.

No one's going to pat New Girl on the back for Thanksgiving originality - can't cook, fire. But Justin Long is a guest-star who works with Jess and who acts like her (kooky).

News: Is NBC Done with Community?

From AOLTV: NBC is doing a big midseason shuffle, putting 30 Rock in the Community timeslot, a move that could spell the end for the quirky cult-hit comedy. What else is changing? Well, quite a bit.

30 Rock returns to the Peacock on Thurs., Jan. 12 at 8pm, knocking Community off NBC's schedule completely. New drama The Firm takes the Thursdays, 10pm slot now held by Prime Suspect and Whitney swaps time slots with Up All Night.

Preview: Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals

Tonight, PBS debuts the documentary Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals (9pm - check lcoal listings).

Click Read More for more details from PBS

Preview: Knights of Mayhem

Tonight, National Geographic Channel kicks off a new reality show, Knights of Mayhem (9pm). It's about a group of guys who are trying to turn the medieval sport jousting, best known these days for mock performances at Renaissiance fairs, into a professional sport.

Click Read More below for more details from National Geographic Channel.

Review: Engineering Evil

Engineering Evil, a History Channel special on Tuesday night (9pm), is devoted to the details of how the Nazis carried out the Holocaust, so you expect to learn about things like crematorium design, and you do. But another kind of engineering — call it human engineering — is also revealed here, writes Neil Genzlinger in the New York Times.

The Nazi plan required a populace that was, at best, willing to look the other way and, at worst, a participant. The program documents how the Nazis began creating that reality even before their military expansion started, removing Jews from jobs in education, medicine and other fields and demonizing them in all sorts of propaganda.

Preview: Reed Between the Lines

Tracee Ellis Ross,
Malcolm-Jamal Warner
In case you haven't noticed, I'm really enjoying most of the new comedies this season, writes Amy Robinson in the Charleston Gazette. Besides all of the network ones I watch, I've also gotten into BET's Reed Between the Lines (BET, 10pm).

Airing back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. Tuesdays, the sitcom harkens back to the family sitcoms of the 1980s like Full House and The Cosby Show. Like those shows, it's got a nice, down-to-earth, not particularly dysfunctional family at its core and positive messages about family, life, parenting and proper behavior each week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: The Headhuntress

There's an inherent danger to reality shows, especially hit shows like History Channel's Pawn Stars, Ice Road Truckers and Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker, where real people doing their jobs become hit shows.

That danger, which has loomed large since reality TV burst onto the scene a decade ago, is that these shows seem too easy to produce. So, every sorta interesting person stomping their boots in the general vicinity of Hollywood becomes a candidate for a show.

News: Holly Robinson Peete Co-Hosting Nate Berkus Today

Holly Robinson Peete, Nate Berkus
Holly Robinson Peete hasn't quietly slumped off into the night since CBS, earlier this year, axed Holly and Leah Remini from its daytime talk show, The Talk. Far from it.

Recently, the autism activist, author and actress (21 Jump Street, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, One on One) has had a guest-starring stint on CBS's hit comedy Mike & Molly and, last week, she co-hosted Access Hollywood Live. Today, Holly is co-hosting the daytime talk show Nate Berkus (find when it's on here). Among other things, she'll talk The Talk. Ooh.

Click Read More below for a description of today's episode from the Nate Berkus show.

Recap: Saturday Night Live

The only way Rick Perry could shove his foot further into his mouth would be with a little help from the cast of Saturday Night Live, writes Joyce Chen in the New York Daily News.

This past Saturday, the GOP presidential hopeful was reminded once more of his on-air snafu with a cold open completely dedicated to reinacting the awkward moment. In the nearly 6-minute clip, Bill Hader plays the much-mocked Perry, initially earnest about a second go at the debates.

Preview: 20/20 - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Not quite a year ago, Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while hosting an outdoor meeting with her Tucson constituents. Several news outlets had reported that she died. Eighteen other people were also shot - six, fatally.

Tonight, on ABC's 20/20 (10pm), Rep. Gabby Giffords speaks publicly for the first time since that shooting, alongside her husband, Mark Kelly - a retired astronaut who, in May, commanded the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Review: Saved

Animal Planet is familiar as the home of garish shows like Fatal Attractions and My Extreme Animal Phobia, writes Neil Genzlinger in the New York Times.

On Monday night, though, it goes for the touching rather than the tacky with Saved, a new series about people who were in need of some kind of spiritual boost and received it from an animal. Each episode features two real-life tales, and the ones in the premiere are certainly likely to tug a lot of heartstrings.

Preview: Dancing with the Stars

J. R. Martinez
From ABC News: It’s the ninth week of Dancing With the Stars season 13, and there have been 75 dances and eight tough eliminations.

Good Morning America caught up with the top four to chat with them as they approach the home stretch.

Here’s a break-down of the final four and their partners, along with a tally of their highest and lowest scores for individual routines.

Recap: Dexter

Michael C. Hall
The title of [last night's] episode, “Nebraska,” should have let you know that we wouldn’t be getting our typical Season 6 installment of Dexter, writes Claire Zulkey in the Los Angeles Times.

In a midseason interlude, the series took a sharp turn [last night] that indulged Dexter’s dark passenger (literally, his brother Brian Moser was riding with him in his car) and looked and sounded different from most other episodes to date.

I’m not complaining, however. Christian Camargo chews the scenery as Brian, a seductive, petulant, easily bored monster whom I personally find strangely sexy.