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<p>Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen are among the &quot;Modern Family&quot;&nbsp;actors demanding a significant pay raise.</p>

Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen are among the "Modern Family" actors demanding a significant pay raise.

Credit: ABC

'Modern Family' contract dispute leads to lawsuit, canceled table read

Can this be resolved before ABC comes to press tour on Friday?

Because the summer press tour takes place right around the time network shows are resuming production for the next season, there's been something of a tradition of contract disputes playing out right as the network in question is about to arrive at the tour. One of my first tours involved the cast of "Friends" uniting to negotiate a better deal, with every reporter too busy covering the salary impasse to pay any attention to the new shows NBC was trying to promote. In the mid-'00s, CBS fired "CSI" cast holdouts George Eads and Jorja Fox midway through the tour, eventually welcoming them back — at their previous salaries — after enough time had passed for them to learn their lessons.

These issues tend to crop up around hit shows — the cast of "Happy Endings," great as they are, don't have a ton of leverage — and this summer's dispute involves one of the biggest hits anywhere in television: "Modern Family."

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<p>Rob Thomas</p>

Rob Thomas

Credit: Robthomas.com

Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas joins 'The Voice' as mentor with Team Cee Lo Green

Who should be Team Christina Aguilera's mentor?

Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas has joined “The Voice” as a mentor for Season 3. Thomas will work with Cee Lo Green’s team.

His participation leaves Christina Aguilera as the only judge yet to announce a mentor: Mary J. Blige recently signed on with Team Adam Levine and Michael Buble is with Team Blake Shelton. I’d love to see Aguilera bring in someone like Bruno Mars or Taio Cruz. Each of the mentors brings a different vocal perspective to the show and they contrast nicely with the judge they've been paired with.

Thomas told Us Weekly, which broke the news, that he “loves the idea that I may be in the room with a future superstar that the world has yet to discover.” 

He probably also loves how “The Voice” helped bring Maroon 5 and Adam Levine back to the top of the charts with their smash “Moves Like Jagger” featuring Aguilera. Levine has used his “The Voice” stint as a launchpad to get into acting as well, including an upcoming role in “American Horror Story” and in the movie "Can A Song Save Your Life."  Matchbox 20’s first full album of new material, “North,” comes out Sept. 4. The new season of “The Voice” premieres Sept. 10 on NBC. Nice timing, right?  The group has already released “She’s So Mean,” the first single from the set, which I reviewed here.

Thomas is a funny, smart guy who is going to be a great asset to the show. He’d been hinting in recent tweets that he had something big coming up and I was hoping that he was going to be named an “American Idol” judge, but this may be a better move for now since it allows him to get his feet wet and see how he likes the reality show world. Still, it would have been a kick to see Thomas, who is very low-key, and newly-announced "AI" judge Mariah Carey bounce of each other. I assessed Carey's strengths and weaknesses as a judge here.

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<p>Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis in &quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild&quot;</p>

Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Tech Support: Ben Richardson on photographing 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Finding the film's visual vocabulary with young Quvenzhané Wallis as his muse

LOS ANGELES - Cinematographer Ben Richardson was living in the Czech Republic in 2003 working on an animated film with a friend when he moved into a building full of interesting, creative filmmaker types, a salon of sorts for like-minded film enthusiasts. One of those enthusiasts was director Benh Zeitlin, who was hard at work on his own animated endeavor. They hit it off over their love of animator Jan Švankmajer and a collaboration was born.

"I’d always wanted to be a filmmaker," Richardson says, "but I had kind of concluded that I really wanted just to explore something unique. And animation is a great way to do something ambitious on an incredibly low budget. The only thing you really need is time and perseverance. You don't need a lot of materials or equipment, you know, lighting-wise. You just need a sensitivity to light."

Eventually his passion for animation bridged a gap to a passion for photography. He had played with dark rooms when he was younger and took classes in school, but he was mostly taken by theater at a younger age. Soon, though, he started to fall in love with the role of the camera in filmmaking and the way it related to the actors.

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<p>NBC doesn't want this kind of &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;weirdness from its new sitcoms.</p>

NBC doesn't want this kind of "Community" weirdness from its new sitcoms.

Credit: NBC

Press Tour 2012: NBC wants broader comedies than 'Community'

Will Matthew Perry and a monkey be less narrow? And whither 'Smash'?

Things have been dire at NBC for so long that network entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt could be forgiven for opening his press tour session by celebrating the network's third-place finish for the season in the adults 18-49 demographic. Even if it was boosted by the Super Bowl, it was still NBC's first finish above fourth place since the 2003-04 TV season.

The one good thing NBC has had going for it during this dark, dark period has been a collection of shows — particularly the comedies on Thursday — that have been praised early and often by the TV critics Greenblatt was addressing. Unfortunately, our love doesn't translate into ratings, and part of Greenblatt's plan to bring the network back from oblivion involves moving away from the strategy that gave us "30 Rock," "Parks and Recreation" and "Community."

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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City

Credit: VEVO

Watch: Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen combine for a squeaky-clean 'Good Time'

Single will appear on both artists' forthoming albums

Sonically and thematically, Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time" occupies the space between Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." and Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)." And it's accompanying music video is as predictably squeaky clean as fans have come to expect from Owl City mastermind Adam Young.

It's all Slurpees, fishin' poles and daisy chains for Young's band of marauding Hollister models and from "Call Me Maybe" star Jepsen's flower children's children. I need a toothbrush and a rare steak after all that sugar.

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<p>Crystal the Monkey and NBC Chief Robert Greenblatt</p>

Crystal the Monkey and NBC Chief Robert Greenblatt

Credit: NBC

Press Tour 2012 Live-Blog: NBC Executive Session with Robert Greenblatt

Expect lots of optimism and a few mea culpas from NBC's chief

BEVERLY HILLS - NBC actually finished third for the 2011-2012 season. Well, NBC finished tied for third among adults 18-49 for the 2011-2012 season. That's the sort of optimism you can expect from NBC Entertainment Chief Robert Greenblatt when he meets with the Television Critics Association on Tuesday (July 24) morning at the Beverly Hilton.

Click through for the full live-blog...

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<p>Anthony Anderson and Tempestt Bledsoe in &quot;Guys with Kids.&quot;</p>

Anthony Anderson and Tempestt Bledsoe in "Guys with Kids."

Credit: NBC

A day in the life of press tour '12: NBC

Matthew Perry, Dick Wolf and Giancarlo Esposito come to meet the critics

Press tour keeps moving quickly, so after FOX wrapped things up last night, NBC moved in for two days: one devoted to the broadcast network, one to NBC Universal cable. Because the broadcast network is in such dire shape, they're launching a whole lot of new series this fall, which means there's no time on the schedule for any returning shows. So no quizzing the new "Community" showrunners, no getting a sense from Greg Daniels on what will become of "The Office," no Offerman-stache, etc. But lots and lots of panels.

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<p>Ryan Gosling reunites with &quot;Blue Valentine&quot;&nbsp;helmer Derek Cianfrance in &quot;Place Beyond the Pines.&quot;</p>

Ryan Gosling reunites with "Blue Valentine" helmer Derek Cianfrance in "Place Beyond the Pines."

Toronto Film Festival selects 'Argo,' 'Anna Karenina,' 'Cloud Atlas' for 2012

Plus: New films from Robert Redford, Noah Baumbach, Neil Jordan, David O. Russell and more

The Toronto International Film Festival announced their initial selections for the 2012 edition of the annual awards season kick off and it includes new films from Ben Affleck, the Wachoski's, Terrence Malick, Neil Jordan, David O. Russell, Joss Whedon, David Ayer, Joss Whedon, Derek Cianfrance and Joe Wright among others. Rian Johnson's "Looper" will be the opening night gala on Thursday, Sept. 6.  The closing night film has not been announced.

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<p>Christopher Nolan (left)&nbsp;and Hans Zimmer</p>

Christopher Nolan (left) and Hans Zimmer

Credit: AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Christopher Nolan on composer Hans Zimmer's contribution to his 'Dark Knight' saga

And a personal tip of the hat to one of the series's most accomplished elements

There is one element of "The Dark Knight Rises" that I think is more accomplished than anything else in the franchise, one thing I thought they got more right here than in either "Batman Begins" or "The Dark Knight." And that was Hans Zimmer's magnificent, epic score.

Zimmer was joined by James Newton Howard on the previous installments, Howard's propensity for percussive propulsion serving them well. While it's a shame he couldn't be on board for the denouement, I think it's also serendipitous, because the world of "The Dark Knight Rises" is a very different world than the other two films, a place less of decay and disaster than internal rot and melancholy.

So Zimmer's haunting melodies were a fantastic contribution to the world of Nolan's finale. There is plenty of thumping bombast when necessary, but for the most part, that has given way to measured elements, whether somber or just plain sinister.

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<p>Joshua Jackson</p>

Joshua Jackson

'Fringe' star Joshua Jackson talks Peter's evolution and the final season

Why wasn't he reduced to tears on the Comic-Con panel?
SAN DIEGO - Ah, Comic-Con interviews, the gift that keeps on giving.
 
You've already seen my Comic-Con interviews with Anna Torv and John Noble, which followed the emotional Hall H panel for FOX's "Fringe." At that panel, Torv and Jasika Nicole were moved to tears discussing the Astrid-heavy "Making Angels" episode from last season, setting off a chain reaction that left Lance Reddick choked up.
 
In the press room after the panel, Joshua Jackson and I discussed his lack of tears on the panel, but we also discussed his hopes for the fifth and final season of the FOX cult favorite, including a discussion of how Peter Bishop has evolved since the pilot.
 
Check out this interview and I think my interviews with Reddick and showrunner J.H. Wyman may be coming tonight.
 
"Fringe," of course, returns to FOX on Friday, September 28.
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<p>The charming Zoe Kazan is not just the star but also the screenwriter of 'Ruby Sparks'</p>

The charming Zoe Kazan is not just the star but also the screenwriter of 'Ruby Sparks'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan talk about love, collaboration, and 'Ruby Sparks'

The two stars of the film discuss their approach to this charming love story

I've seen Zoe Kazan work in a few films and I've enjoyed work she's done before, but until I saw "Ruby Sparks" last week, I didn't really "get" Zoe Kazan.

Consider me fully onboard at this point, though.  Not only does she give a fetching, smart, complex performance that fully refutes the entire notion of the "manic pixie dream girl," but she's also the screenwriter for the movie that opens in some markets on Wednesday.

Her co-star in the film and, according to the interviews I did with them last week, also her co-star in real life is Paul Dano, known by many for his work in "Little Miss Sunshine" and "There Will Be Blood" and "Cowboys and Aliens."  In the film, he plays Calvin, an author whose first book was published when he was a teenager, making him a media sensation.  Now stuck with a massive case of writer's block, he tries an writing exercise that leads to him turning out page after page describing his perfect woman, only to find her actually in his house one morning.  Kazan plays Ruby, the girl he creates, and as Calvin experiments, he learns that he can indeed make her into anything or make her do anything simply by adding to his manuscript.

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<p>Mariah Carey performs at a concert in Monaco last month.</p>

Mariah Carey performs at a concert in Monaco last month.

Credit: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

Why Mariah Carey is a good choice for 'American Idol' and why she isn't

We break it down for you

So “American Idol” has nabbed its Christina Aguilera-equivalent. Hang on there,  lambs... I am fully aware that Mariah Carey was a superstar before little Christina was even a Mouseketeer. What I mean is that for a singing competition, “American Idol” sure took a hell of a long time and traveled a most circuitous route before landing an honest-to-God singer for a judge.

Though word leaked out last week that Carey was a serious contender, Fox didn’t confirm the news until today at TCA, allowing Jennifer Lopez to be as coy as she wanted about whether her “99%” decision meant she was going or if it was a negotiating ploy. Looks like Fox ultimately made the decision for her.

Let's look at the Carey decision a little more closely:

THE PROS


*The star wattage is huge. Carey is the biggest artist to become a judge on a reality talent show yet. She’s sold more than 200 million albums and has scored 18 No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100, second only to the Beatles and ahead of Michael Jackson and Madonna.

*She can really sing. Yes, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler could too, but Carey has a five-octave range that automatically commands respect from any of the contestants. Despite all her other talents, she is first and foremost a singer.

*She knows how to match a voice to a song. She's written plenty of her hits, but she also has a very clear understanding of what she’s looking for from outside writers or co-writers. Though she won’t be involved in song selection, she will be able to critique the choices well.

*She understands the business. Not only will she be able to advise the contestants on their vocal skills, she is a shrewd businesswoman.

*She’s tough. I remember the first time I interviewed her, I expected someone much more delicate than I got. She is smart and tough and she will tell it like it is. She'll be able to make the hard calls.

*She spans genres: Though she’s primarily a pop artist, she has worked with a wide variety of R&B and rap artists so she has a broader musical palette than some of the past judges. For example, her new single, “Triumphant,” features Meek Mill and Rick Ross

THE CONS

*She’s unproven when it comes to the full rigors of a weekly live show, despite having served as a past "AI" mentor and guest. Carey has been known to, as they say in Hollywood, “suffer from exhaustion” and she’s a night owl, so may be a big adjustment to adhere to such a fixed timetable. However, we’re sure that her husband, “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon, can give her all the advice she needs on dealing with such a heavy schedule.

*She, like Lopez, had the majority of her hits more than a decade ago (although Mimi is, hopefully, far from done adding to her list of Top 10s). At some point, “American Idol” is going to have to bring in a judge who is under 30. The show doesn’t have to go “Disney young” and bring in a Demi Lovato type, but they have yet to have a judge who is a contemporary to the contestants.

*Carey is two decades, several hundred million dollars, and a big old penthouse away from remembering what it was like to launch a career. The audition process is going to be a big old reality check for her to come back down to the ground level and see what nascent talent looks like again.

*As we mentioned, Carey is, first and foremost, a singer. To be effective, she's going to have to look beyond someone's technical proficiency and evaluate the overall package. Will she be able to give someone with a quirkier voice, like a Paul McDonald or a Casey Abrams, a shot? She may need to widen her criteria on whether someone should go forward.

How do you think Carey will do? Was she a good choice?

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