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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo

Is Britney Spears headed to L.A. Reid's label? Is she jumping RCA's ship?

Superstar reportedly has one album left on her current label deal

Are Britney Spears and her fellow “X Factor” judge L.A. Reid about to make beautiful music together?

According to The Hollywood Reporter,
Spears’ contract with RCA will be up after one more album and among those courting the pop princess is Reid, who is head of Sony's Epic Records.

Also in the picture is Barry Weiss, who now heads Island Def Jam. Weiss is the former head of Jive (which was absorbed into RCA as part of the BMG/Sony merger), who oversaw Spears’ career from the start.

The Reporter piece says both execs are eager to sign Spears for a sum of $3 million-to-$5 million/album.

We contacted RCA, who declined to comment on the story. Weiss told THR that he would “love to be reunited with [Spears].”  While Reid may have proximity on his side and the lure of making shiny new promises to an artist who may be looking for a change, Weiss has an advantage in that he’s proven to Spears what he can do. For that matter, what's to stop "X Factor" judge, creator Simon Cowell from stepping in and trying to sign her to his Sony imprint, Syco? He's certainly done just fine with One Direction and Susan Boyle.

Then again, we’re likely talking a few years from now since Spears still has to fulfill her contract with RCA first, and the landscape can change between now and when negotiations begin in earnest. These are the kinds of stories that make great copy, and get the rumor mill going, but we’ll have to wait  to see how it all shakes out. What is undeniable is that Spears, through all her ups and downs, had remained a viable, worldwide album seller (if not as strong as she was in her heyday) so it’s no surprise that any label would love to see her on its roster.


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"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Review: 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' is weirdly watchable

A family of rednecks aims for a possibly unreachable goal

Watching "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (TLC, premieres Wed. 10 p.m. ET) brought up a range of emotions for me, not dissimilar to the roller coaster one goes through while watching a Terence Malick movie or perhaps when reading "Ulysses." Okay, maybe more like watching a NASCAR race or "Hillbilly Handfishin'." But still, "HCHBB" isn't the horrifying, non-stop slow-mo car wreck I expected. Sure, it has moments of nausea-inducing horror, but I was able to watch the whole thing without shrieking, which I'm pretty sure my colleague Dan didn't think was a remote possibility. Stranger still, there is something honestly charming and, yes, poignant about the show. And no, I am not mistaking poignancy for a craving for pork rinds.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 143

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 143

Dan and Alan talk 'Go On,' 'Animal Practice,' 'Hell on Wheels' and Olympics


Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!
As promised, here's a mid-week bonus installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
We came in under an hour on this one and it's fairly straight-forward: We review NBC's "Go On" and "Animal Practice," chat about the start of the second season of AMC's "Hell on Wheels" and we use one piece of Listener Mail as our opening to chat about NBC's Olympics coverage a bit.
Here's the breakdown:
"Go On" (00:01:30 - 00:15:30)
"Hell on Wheels" (00:15:30 - 00:25:40)
"Animal Practice" (00:25:45 - 00:38:25)
The Olympics (00:38:25 - 00:55:00)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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Daniel Day-Lewis transformed in new promo still for Spielberg's 'Lincoln'

Daniel Day-Lewis transformed in new promo still for Spielberg's 'Lincoln'

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones also star

Next time you dig a penny out your pocket at the store, you may find Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis suddenly crossing your mind.

In this newly-released photo from Steven Speilberg's upcoming Oscar hopeful "Lincoln," the actor looks to be the spitting image of the 16th U.S. president who helped reunite a fractured America -- and rocked one of history's greatest beards.

Take a look here:


Lewis has picked up two best actor Academy Awards (for "My Left Foot" and "There Will be Blood"), and Touchstone Pictures are no doubt hoping he'll be the one to best this awards season. 

Instead of attempting to cover his entire career, the film will wisely focus on just the last act of Lincoln's life, tracing his momentous presidency through the Civil War and abolition, and ultimately leading to his death at the hands of assassin John Wilkes Booth. Day-Lewis' Honest Abe will therefore be starting the film with the weight of the world already on his shoulders.

“Our movie is really about a working leader who must make tough decisions and get things done in the face of overwhelming opposition,” Spielberg said in a press release.

Oscar winner Sally Field ("Norma Rae," "Places in the Heart") plays First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, while "The Dark Knight Rises'" Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays their eldest son, Robert.

Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn and Jackie Earle Haley also star in the highly-anticipated film .

"Lincoln" opens November 9.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 143: 'Go On,' 'Animal Practice' & 'Hell on Wheels'

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 143: 'Go On,' 'Animal Practice' & 'Hell on Wheels'

Dan and Alan also discuss NBC's Olympics coverage


Time for the second Firewall & Iceberg Podcast of the week, as Dan and I look ahead to the first new shows of the 2012-13 network TV season, check back in on AMC's "Hell on Wheels" as it begins its second season, and talk a little bit about the most-watched — if not always best-liked — TV show of the summer.

The line-up: 

"Go On" (00:01:30 - 00:15:30)
"Hell on Wheels" (00:15:30 - 00:25:40)
"Animal Practice" (00:25:45 - 00:38:25)
The Olympics (00:38:25 - 00:55:00)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>Jimmy Fallon on &quot;The Today Show&quot;&nbsp;in&nbsp;London</p>

Jimmy Fallon on "The Today Show" in London

Credit: NBC

Jimmy Fallon: 'I won't be hosting the Oscars.'

Who do YOU think should get the gig?

I didn't bother weighing in on last week's scuttlebutt that Jimmy Fallon was in talks to host the 85th annual Academy Awards, mostly because I was on the road in Texas, but also because I just couldn't see it happening. While ABC may not have veto rights on the Academy bringing in two NBC stars (the other being "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels) for its Oscarcast, I still don't know that you'd want to ruffle the relationship all that much.

Also, with Hawk Koch newly minted as AMPAS president, it's unlikely he'd want to carry on something brought in by exiting president Tom Sherak. Surely he'll have his own ideas. I suppose it's still possible Michaels could produce (along with former AMPAS president Sid Ganis, who the LA Times reported last week was also in the mix), but one giant commercial for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" always seemed to me like it would be a bit of a stretch (not to mention a bad creative approach, at least in my opinion).

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<p>&quot;Vertigo&quot; topped Sight &amp; Sound's critics' poll, but did it feature in my Top 10?</p>

"Vertigo" topped Sight & Sound's critics' poll, but did it feature in my Top 10?

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Lists: My top 10 films of all time

How I voted in Sight & Sound's decennial critics' poll

For a week now, Sight & Sound's decennial critics' poll of the Greatest Films Of All Time, the results of which are awaited by cinephiles with all the eagerness of over-sugared rugrats on Christmas morning, has provided ample discussion fodder for the film-focused blogosphere.

The Top 100's seemingly inexhaustible avenues for statistical breakdowns (How many Asian films? How many post-1968 films? Which directors received the most votes collectively? Which films fell the farthest from their 2002 placing?) are still being explored, the number-crunchers matched in enthusiasm -- or lack thereof -- only by the sniping commentators inevitably displeased with the results. Why is the list so old? Why is it so stodgy? Why is it so white? Why is it so male? Why are my own subjective favorites not accounted for? Many talk of the list as if it's compiled by some unified committee with a patent agenda against cinema from many of our lifetimes, an aggressive boner for silent cinema and a vindictive urge to take Orson Welles down a peg or two.   

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<p>Matthew Perry in &quot;Go On.&quot;</p>

Matthew Perry in "Go On."

Credit: NBC

Review: Matthew Perry deals with grief in NBC's 'Go On'

Does 'Friends' alum's new sitcom represent change in NBC strategy, or more of the same?

With NBC's comedy brand, there is the past, the present, and the hoped-for future.

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<p>Rachel Weisz makes a rare foray into a pure action movie with 'The Bourne Legacy'</p>

Rachel Weisz makes a rare foray into a pure action movie with 'The Bourne Legacy'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Rachel Weisz brings the brains and the beauty to 'The Bourne Legacy'

What if even your good guys in a film aren't that good?

Rachel Weisz was my second interview of the day at the recent press event for "The Bourne Legacy," right after I talked to Jeremy Renner, and when we walked in, she spotted my seven-year-old son Toshi, who was with me.

She said hello to him, and he smiled, more shy than normal.  I told her that he was probably just recovering from how excited he was to meet Renner.  Toshi was even wearing his "Avengers" t-shirt.

She nodded.  "Of course," she said.  "He's a superhero, after all.  I can't compete with that.  I'm just a weird lady in a leather dress."

Toshi might not understand the appeal of Weisz, but I was certainly pleased to sit down and chat with her again.  The last time I saw her was in Montreal on the set of "The Fountain," and that encounter was a brief one because of how emotionally demanding that shoot was for both her and Hugh Jackman.

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<p>Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep turn to Steve Carrell when their marriage flounders after 30 years in the smart and well-observed 'Hope Springs'</p>

Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep turn to Steve Carrell when their marriage flounders after 30 years in the smart and well-observed 'Hope Springs'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Review: Moving and mature 'Hope Springs' features Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones at their best

A smart and subtle studio movie for adults in the summer? How'd that happen?

I would love to know how "Hope Springs" got made.

Sure, David Frankel's had a few hits now.  "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Marley & Me" were both down-the-middle studio hits, but his last film, "The Big Year," barely got a release.  It's a shame, too.  It's not a great film, but it's a nice, gentle character piece that featured a restrained, charming performance by Jack Black and strong work by Steve Martin.  Hard film to sell, though, no matter how it all plays in context, because it's not really loaded with the sorts of moments studios count on to help cut a comedy trailer.  "Hope Springs" is even more restrained and quiet than "The Big Year," and it's the best overall film Frankel's made yet.

It helps that Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep are both masters of their craft, and they both are at their absolute best here.  Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Jones) have been married for 31 years, and they've reached a place of quiet stalemate, each day exactly the same.  They barely talk, they sleep in separate rooms, and it's been years since they were intimate.  As the film starts, Kay finally finds the voice to tell Arnold that she's unhappy, and Streep is excellent at playing a woman who is lonely within her marriage but too afraid of shaking things up to find her voice.  Streep plays Kay as this bundle of tension, small eruptions of emotion occasionally flashing across her face before she manages to get them under control again.  Watching the way Arnold moves through their shared life, it's easy to understand how she gave up communication little by little.  He's basically a statue, a ghost who blows through for a few minutes in the morning and then passes out in front of televised golf in the evening.

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<p>Julia Louis-Dreyfus of &quot;Veep&quot;</p>

Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Veep"

Credit: Bill Gray/HBO

Interview: Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks Emmys, 'Veep' and the new Nicole Holofcener film

What does tying Lucille Ball for an Emmy milestone mean to her?
Last month, Julia Louis-Dreyfus picked up her 13th career Emmy nomination as a comedy lead actress, tying Lucille Ball for most nods within the category. 
When it comes to select company, it's tough to top Lucille Ball, though it should be noted that Ball picked up all of her nominations for playing characters named "Lucy," doing variations within one of the most iconic personas in TV history. In contrast, Louis-Dreyfus picked up seven nominations (and a win) for playing Elaine on "Seinfeld," five nominations (and a win) for playing the title role in "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and she's now got her first nod for playing Vice President Selina Meyer on HBO's "Veep." That's three very different roles on three very different shows on three different networks.
Louis-Dreyfus is also a a producer on "Veep," which means she'll theoretically be part of the team honored for the show's Outstanding Comedy Series recognition, her first nomination in that capacity. 
Last week, in the heart of TCA press tour, I was able to catch up with Louis-Dreyfus to talk about her Emmy nomination and Emmy night rituals, her new experience shifting to cable, her favorite "Veep" obscenity and her first lead role in a feature film in a long, long time.
Click through for the full Q&A...
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"The Glee Project"

"The Glee Project"

Credit: Oxygen

'The Glee Project' recap: 'Actability'

Two kids will get the boot in preparation for next week's season finale

Tonight's theme is actability. I always thought this was a legal term, but hey, whatever works to get the kids fired up about shooting a video under conditions that would most likely result in union negotiations if this wasn't a cheap reality TV show.

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