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"Shahs of Sunset"

 "Shahs of Sunset"

Credit: Bravo

Ryan Seacrest's 'Shahs of Sunset' gets start date from Bravo

Six rich Persian-Americans get their fifteen minutes with new show

Ryan Seacrest strikes again. He'll be adding to his Kardashian TV empire with a new series, "Shahs of Sunset," beginning Sun. March 11 (10 p.m. ET on Bravo). Following the lives of six Persian-American friends, the show will focus on their efforts to juggle social lives and careers with family tradition.

“Shahs of Sunset” cast includes: 

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<p>Tim McGraw wants to get you all emotional.</p>

Tim McGraw wants to get you all emotional.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Album Review: Does Tim McGraw's 'Emotional Traffic' get in gear?

Will he knock Adele out of the top spot?

In recent interviews, Tim McGraw has repeatedly said that he feels like he’s achieved only about 30% of his potential in his music career.

With Jan. 24's  “Emotional Traffic,” his last studio album for Curb, he moves that needle slightly forward. Though he doesn’t achieve any major breakthroughs, he hits most of the musical and lyrical notes that have helped make him a country superstar for nearly two decades.

On album opener, the midtempo “Halo,” McGraw is weathering, none to well, the fall out of an ended love affair, as he sings, with barely concealed contempt: “I’ll crawl out of my cradle, down into my black hole and you just lay low under your halo.”

It's a great opening shot  that shows off McGraw’s voice, which has always been full of rough edges and nuance, despite its limited range. Somewhere around  2001’s “Set This Circus Down,” he harnessed its strength and power and figured out what songs work best for it, not only musically, but thematically.

[More after the jump...]

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Eddie Vedder hits the road on solo tour before Pearl Jam heads to Europe

Eddie Vedder hits the road on solo tour before Pearl Jam heads to Europe

Florence + the Machine also set Spring outing

Eddie Vedder will hit the road this Spring for a 13-date solo tour to support his Grammy-nominated “Ukulele Songs.”  Primarily a  theater outing, the tour includes a May 3 stop at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The dates precede Pearl Jam’s European tour, which starts Jane 20 in Manchester, England. Opening the solo outing, which starts April 11,  will be Swell Season’s Glen Hansard, who appears on “Ukulele Songs.”  Tickets go on sale Feb. 3.

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<p>Pulp's Jarvis Cocker</p>

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker

Credit: AP Photo

Pulp adds more dates to U.S. jaunt in April

Where else is the reunited British band playing besides Coachella?

In addition to its previously announced show at Coachella, Pulp will play two other date while in the U.S. for the Indio, Calif. festival.

The Jarvis Cocker-led British outfit will also appear at  New York’s Radio City Music Hall on April 11 and San Francisco’s  The Warfield on April 17. Its Coachella appears are April 13 and April 20.Similarly, Radiohead recently announced additional dates around its Coachella set.

In addition to Cocker, the band includes all the original members, including drummer Nick Banks, keyboardist Candida Doyle, bassist Steve Mackey, violinist/guitarist Russell Senior and guitarist Mark Webber.

So do you think the inevitable full-on U.S. tour and album will follow? Pulp came off a nine-year hiatus to play festivals in Europe and Australia last summer, but these U.S. dates mark the first time the group has performed in the U.S. since June 1998 in support of their “This Is Hardcore” album.

Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitFixMelinda

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj pushes back 'Roman Reloaded' to when?

Plus, watch new video 'Stupid Hoe'

“Roman Reloaded,” Nicki Minaj’s follow-up to “Pink Friday” will have to wait just a little to unload: the album has been pushed back from Feb. 14 to April 3.

Minaj tweeted the news herself. She gave no reason for the delay, but added “But have no fear. Tons of surprises before then.” She later added “The initials for a song ur gna love on the album: COAC” and then “And the new one I’m wrkng on rt now.”  So maybe she’s just adding more ammo.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Will Tomas Alfredson's &quot;Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy&quot;&nbsp;spin BAFTA crossover and goodwill into multiple Oscar nominations tomorrow?</p>

Will Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" spin BAFTA crossover and goodwill into multiple Oscar nominations tomorrow?

Credit: Focus Features

Off the Carpet: Pencils down

Declaring final predictions in all categories

How many Best Picture nominees will there be? We don't know. Which of the 10 or 11 films in clear contention for a nomination will get squeezed out? We don't know. How will the tweaks to the Best Picture balloting procedure change the situation over all? We don't know.

The Best Picture category is an odd bird this year. Most probably have the same seven or eight films predicted, but there are a lot of variables flying around in the math of it all that could shift things in an unexpected direction. The Academy got its wish: the mystery is back.

Then there are other elements, like how the final stretch has changed the landscape. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," for instance, is a film that ended up on the lips of numerous voters in the last days of balloting. The BAFTA nominees, which share some crossover membership with AMPAS, indicated strength for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" that could carry over, which was expected, but then inserted the added interest of "Drive" being a contender in areas we might not have anticipated.

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<p>Spike Lee at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere of &quot;Red Hook Summer'</p>

Spike Lee at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere of "Red Hook Summer'

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Sundance: Wrapping up with Spike Lee, Stephen Frears and too many parties

Goodbye, Park City

PARK CITY - The wind-down on my Sundance experience began yesterday morning as I spent most of the day preparing predictions and whatnot for tomorrow's big nominations announcement. On one hand, it's been nice to be here in order to lay off the obsessive Oscar considerations. On the other, it's been difficult to focus on the work at hand here in Park City and see enough movies.

Last night I saw a chunk of Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" before feeling a bit under the weather suddenly and having to bail. What I saw I liked but I got the sense it was a bit bloated as things went along. Indeed, I heard from more than a few later that the film could use some tightening, but regardless, from what I did see, it was actually a refreshing piece. It's Lee back in truly personal territory for the first time in a while, and that passion plays out in the filmmaking and that trademark sense of confidence. I can't wait to see the whole thing.

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<p>(from left) John C. Reilly, Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski, and Kate Winslet at the Paris premiere of "Carnage"</p>

(from left) John C. Reilly, Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski, and Kate Winslet at the Paris premiere of "Carnage"

Credit: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Does ‘Carnage’ confuse instinct with immaturity?

A sense of disconnect comes to light in an interview with playwright Yasmina Reza

The notion of man releasing his thinly held guise of civility to reveal the beast within has long been a theme in literature, the stage and screen. The limitations of our societal norms have been explored in stories ranging from “Tarzan” to “The Lord of the Flies” to “Heart of Darkness.” Or, as an example of a tale that illustrates the consequences of clinging too dearly to arbitrarily established rules: “The Age of Innocence.”

To varying degrees all tales ask their protagonists to stretch beyond the boundaries of their self-imposed mental constructs, or the restrictions that have been created for them by the outside world. If they do so with noble intent, or for the sake of a purely held passion (one that is, at least metaphorically, divinely ordained) they become a hero: a Luke Skywalker, William Wallace or yes, even a Rudy. If they succumb to avarice and greed, however, they are tainted and perhaps irredeemably lost.

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<p>I'm the only one of Gold Derby's 31 pundits predicting a nod for Brad Pitt in &quot;The Tree of Life.&quot;</p>

I'm the only one of Gold Derby's 31 pundits predicting a nod for Brad Pitt in "The Tree of Life."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Round-up: 'Twas the night before Oscar noms

Also: Spike Lee's Sundance protest, and the craftwork of 'Drive'

You want Oscar predictions? You got 'em. I posted mine last night, and Kris and Gerard's will arrive today, but if that's still not enough for you, Tom O'Neil has gathered the guesswork of 31 pundits (yours truly included) across 14 categories -- more than enough to make you second-guess yourself many times over. With this vast chart of predictions, it's most interesting to seek out the wild-card picks: I'm somewhat alarmed to see I'm the only one stumping for Brad Pitt in Supporting Actor, while you might be surprised to see a few mentions of Charlize Theron in the Best Actress rundown. As for Best Picture, I'm not alone in my "Tinker, Tailor" hunch, while others are plumping for "Bridesmaids" -- and there's no consensus whatsoever on how many nominees there even will be. Browse away. [Gold Derby]

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<p>James Murphy</p>

James Murphy

Credit: HitFix

Watch: LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy talks 'Shut Up and Play the Hits'

The dance band frontman opens new chapter, eyes DFA and new collaborators

PARK CITY - James Murphy wants a new job in music. Or rather, "to figure out how to make it my job without making it my job in the same way."

It's been about nine months since the LCD Soundsystem frontman waved goodbye to fans from the stage at Madison Square Garden and during those weeks he's busily helped build the film "Shut Up and Play the Hits" around LCD's final hours, the days before after the band had officially called it quits.

And now the movie has bowed, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, another job done.

When I spoke to Murphy at the film premiere last night (Jan. 22), he seemed calm, if not plainly wary of the fact that every fan (and journalist) wants to know what he's up to next.

"I had fun and I want to be able to do things that I wouldn’t have been able to do before in the band. And ['Shut Up...'] is one of the things that I wanted to do that I couldn’t do before," he said. Beyond this, he said, he doesn't know.

Collaboration wouldn't be out of the question, since its been central to his career with LCD and beyond. He had help from Arcade Fire and Reggie Watts at the finale. Aside from starring in "Shut Up...," he also plays a role in another Sundance pick "The Comedy," directed by Rick Alverson and starring Tim Heidecker along with half a dozen musicians and comedians like Richard Swift, Heidecker's other half Eric Wareheim and Okkervil River's Will Sheff. Murphy plans to continue working with the roster at DFA Records, the label he helped to co-found. He's obviously got plenty of old and new friends who could help out on whatever it is he wants to do. But with his unsurety comes some skepticism and even healthy cynicism.

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<p>William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on &quot;Shameless.&quot;</p>

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on "Shameless."

Credit: Showtime

'Shameless' - 'I'll Light A Candle For You Every Day': Finders keepers?

Did Frank and Fiona both go too far last night?

A quick review of last night's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I misspell my name on a loan application...

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<p>Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 1

Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz talk about the show's origins and that truncated first season
"Chuck" ends its improbable 5-season run with back-to-back episodes this Friday at 8 & 9 p.m. on NBC. This will be, by my count, at least the sixth different time that creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz have had to conclude the series, but where all the previous finales were followed by unexpected renewals or extensions, this one's the absolute, no doubt about it finish.
 
When I was in California earlier this month for press tour, I went over to the Warner Bros. lot to interview Fedak and Schwartz (and then just Fedak after a certain point, since Schwartz has responsibilities to a bunch of shows at the moment) and look back over the life of one of my favorite series. It's a very long interview — the transcript is about 16,000 words — so I'm breaking it up into five parts, roughly covering one season each day. (Though as you'll see, we bounce back and forth in time a lot.) Today, we're covering the show's origins through the abrupt end of the first season when the writers strike shut down production.
 
So buckle up, and let's head back to those very early days when Schwartz was still running "The O.C.," Yvonne Strahovski's last name was still spelled Strzechowski, and the fan community believed Adam Baldwin would always be the hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne. (Some still believe this, by the way, and that's okay.)
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