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"Celebrity Wife Swap"

 "Celebrity Wife Swap"

Credit: ABC

What 'Celebrity Wife Swap' really reveals about stardom

While the parents have different styles of parenting, that's not the biggest difference

Because there seems to be an unwritten rule that any aging reality TV show can rejuvenate itself by slapping D-list celebrities into the formula, ABC has launched "Celebrity Wife Swap" (Tues., 9 p.m.). In theory, this is our chance to see just another bunch of regular (and/or weird) people live their lives, although some of these regular people have platinum records and hordes of domestic help. So, you know, just like regular folk!

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<p>Dierks Bentley at the 2011 CMAs</p>

Dierks Bentley at the 2011 CMAs

Credit: AP Photo

Dierks Bentley reveals details about going 'Home' on new album

Grammy nominee returns to his country roots after bluegrass set

After flirting with bluegrass on his last album, the Grammy-nominated “Up On the Ridge,”  Dierks Bentley returns to his country roots with “Home,” out Feb. 7.

We’ve already gotten glimpses of the wide range he covers on the set from the party anthem, “Am I The Only One” to the current sentimental single, “Home.”  Bentley has also road tested a number of the songs. We heard the funny, sweet “Diamonds Make Babies” last February and could tell it was a winner (the song, as the title implies, talks about going from engagement to marriage to fatherhood). “Thinking Of You” also addresses Bentley’s role as daddy to two girls.

“I definitely stepped away and explored some things that were more on the fringe of country music for a little while,” said Bentley in a press release. “So, this record feels fresh. It doesn’t feel like a continuation of any other project or series of recordings.  I love being able to try different things musically, and I'm so thankful my fans have followed me to those places.  But, I feel like my real "Home" is in the center of country music."

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<p>She's a man, baby.&nbsp;</p>
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She's a man, baby. 

Credit: ABC

TV Review: ABC's 'Work It'

The year is young, but you can already see 2012's worst new show
When you see a bunch of TV shows premiering at the same time that all seem a lot alike, here's the basic breakdown of how a theme or an idea becomes a trend:
 
Let's say that 24 months ago, thousands of unemployed writers were independently watching CNN and they saw a segment on something a glib economist was calling a "mancession," a set of indicators suggesting that in our down economy, men were losing jobs at the statistical expense of women. Hundreds of those writers responded speciously, "Ha. After all of those years of women complaining that men were getting better jobs and getting paid better, the shoe is finally on the other foot. There's a script in that." A couple dozen actually sat down and wrote their scripts and then 15 months ago, maybe a dozen of them sold to networks. Maybe six or seven of them went to pilot in the spring of 2011. And ABC, eager to pounce all over that possible zeitgeist, picked up three different shows about the plight of the white male, scheduling two -- "Last Man Standing" and "Man Up" for a fall comedy block -- and saving the most thematically explicit, "Work It," for a threatening midseason slot. 
 
"Last Man Standing" began course-correcting almost immediately and it has mostly become an innocuous sitcom about an old-fashioned man with old-fashioned values living in a house surrounded by women. Tim Allen's character occasionally laments the state of contemporary masculinity, but he's just the latest iteration of that beloved sitcom trope: The well-meaning, but in-over-his-head dad. I've kept watching "Last Man Standing" because it makes me chuckle once or twice a week and because my DVR isn't over-taxed on Tuesdays. 
 
"Man Up" never returned to the over-articulated thematics of its pilot and it eventually began to just illustrate the ordinary lives of a few ordinary men and if they happened to be struggling with their masculine identities, that was part of the background of the story. The premise soft-pedaling didn't particularly matter, since "Man Up" never was able to hold onto its lead-in audience and the freshman comedy has ceased to exist on ABC's schedule.
 
Whether it ultimately works or ultimately doesn't work, if what birthed your show is a trend of questionable veracity, it really, really helps to have a premise that allows you room to backpedal.
 
"Work It," which inexplicably sees the light of day on Tuesday (January  3) night, has no room to backpedal. It's the story of two men who dress up as women because women have stolen all of the jobs from men and there really isn't much that the writers are going to be able to do to change that. So "Work It" is stuck with a genuinely stupid, somewhat offensive and entirely factually fantastical premise, which is a bad thing, but not nearly as bad as the execution, which is uninspired and amateurish to an impressive extreme. 
 
Like the mancession itself, I'd expect "Work It" to be a statistical blip, living on only in TV critic punchlines and as somewhat awkward conversation starters with the show's not-untalented cast.
 
Click through for more...
 
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<p>Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in Terrence Malick's currently untitled next project.</p>

Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in Terrence Malick's currently untitled next project.

Credit: FilmNation

The Lists: Our top 10 most anticipated films of 2012

A new year, a new reserve of hope for the multiplex

The 2011 film year and the experiences we had at the multiplex are officially memories. But 2012 brings the promise of new experiences and new memories in the dark of a crowded theater, so naturally, we should join the chorus and offer up our personal anticipations.

HitFix has already offered up a lengthy, well-considered (though overly populist) list along these lines. It features a lot of the usual stuff, but while a number of the films on our list show up there, a few do not.

I asked Guy, Gerard and Roth to send me their top 10s, combined them with my own and came up with what we are collectively looking forward to at theaters in the new year. The result was an interesting mesh of the usual and the not-so-usual, both on the various lists and on the eventual combined collective.

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<p>That's right Kristen.&nbsp; &quot;Bridesmaids&quot;&nbsp;got a PGA&nbsp;nomination which means its one step closer to an Oscar nod.</p>

That's right Kristen.  "Bridesmaids" got a PGA nomination which means its one step closer to an Oscar nod.

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Bridemaids,' 'Moneyball,' 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' makes PGA Awards cut

Oscar chances looking dire for 'Harry Potter,' 'Tinker Tailor' and 'Drive'

The Producer's Guid of America announced their 2012 PGA Awards nominations for film this morning and studio fare ruled the day. Unlike the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which may have anywhere from five to 10 nominees this year, the PGA has decided to remain with 10 nods.

This year's nominees as well as analysis follows:

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<p>George Clooney's &quot;The&nbsp;Ides of March&quot;&nbsp;has some life left in its awards hopes after all.</p>

George Clooney's "The Ides of March" has some life left in its awards hopes after all.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

PGA nominees include the usual, plus 'Dragon Tattoo' and 'The Ides of March'

'Bridesmaids' makes the cut, 'The Tree of Life' snubbed

The Producers Guild of America has announced its list of 10 films competing for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award as well as the animated feature nominees that will compete separately. The group announced documentary nominees last month.

The surprises included two Sony films -- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Ides of March" -- making the cut, while the rest of the field was pretty much as expected.

These nominations are key in that the PGA, like the Academy, uses the preferential balloting system. So it gives you an idea of how a large group of industry types sees the year. But like I mentioned yesterday, the balloting phase was December 5 through January 2. We've only just entered the Academy's balloting phase and now is the time when things can shift.

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<p>Christian Bale and Ni Ni in &quot;The Flowers of War.&quot;</p>

Christian Bale and Ni Ni in "The Flowers of War."

Credit: Wrekin Hill Entertainment

Round-up: Looking to break Hollywood's stranglehold

Also: See the Best Picture ballot, and Mazursky on Streep

There's a remarkable stat in Phil Hoad's interesting Guardian reflection on the global box office in 2011, and it's not a reassuring one. Looking down the list of the year's top grossers internationally, you have to go all the way down to 21st place to find a film made outside the Hollywood system: and if you haven't heard of "Intouchables," that'd be because it grossed its impressive $133.2 million inside its home country of France. (That said, it has been snapped up by The Weinstein Company.) Hoad wonders what can be done to bring a little more diversity to the international box office charts, and doesn't come up with many answers -- though he does suggest the crossover marketing appeal of projects like China's Christian Bale starrer "The Flowers of War" as one potential way forward. [The Guardian

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<p>Jason Segel on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Jason Segel on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Tailgate': Where everybody knows you're lame

The gang ushers in the new year in different ways in a solid episode

A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I open the kimono...

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<p>Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano of &quot;Switched at Birth&quot;</p>
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Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano of "Switched at Birth"

Credit: ABC Family

HitFix Interview: Creator Lizzy Weiss talks 'Switched at Birth'

ABC Family's hit drama resumes its first season on Tuesday
ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" was one of 2011's pleasant surprises.
 
The potentially tawdry tale of two teenage girls who discover they were [the title doesn't lie] switched at birth -- One's an aspiring artist raised by wealthy parents, one's a deaf basketball player raced by a blue collar single mom -- was rendered with enough sensitivity and nuance to earn a place on my Second 10 of 2011 list. 
 
In addition to being unexpectedly good, "Switched at Birth" also proved extremely successful for ABC Family, which gave the drama a back-22, bringing its first season to a whopping 32 episodes.
 
"Switched at Birth" returns on Tuesday (January 3) for the second block of episodes and I chatted with series creator Lizzy Weiss ("Blue Crush") about what's in store for Daphne (Katie Leclerc) and Bay (Vanessa Marano), their newly blended families and, of course, Emmett (Sean Berdy).
 
Click through for the full Q&A...
 
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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'Leis and Lies in Lanai'

Kim cracks up again, Brandi gets wasted and Taylor finds peace

Last week being the White Party Uninvitation Debacle on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," we obviously have a few loose ends to tie up before we can indulge in the carefree Hawaiian vacation to which Taylor and Russell can also consider themselves uninvited. Really, I think everyone is probably a bit relieved that Russell started tossing around the lawsuit threats that made him and Taylor persona non grata, because no one wanted that big ol' buzzkill trying to make awkward small talk with them or, worse, taking off his shirt on the beach and scaring off the dolphins. 

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<p>Alan Rickman as Severus Snape in &quot;Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.&quot; </p>

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

‘Harry Potter’ and the hunt for the golden statue

Warner Bros. makes the case for a Best Supporting Actor nod for Alan Rickman

Warner Bros. has put the full weight of its impressive resources behind an Oscar campaign for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” As the last in the franchise, the film represents the final opportunity for Potter and friends to receive a non-crafts nomination (the series has received nine Oscar nods throughout the crafts categories with no wins to date). "For Your Consideration" billboards recommending the film for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography have sprung up all over Los Angeles, while producer David Heyman and director David Yates have dug in for fresh media rounds over the last several months.

Recently it seems that the studio has shifted its focus slightly to pin a last minute Oscar hope on Alan Rickman in the Best Supporting Actor field. Rickman’s character, Professor Severus Snape, is the most inherently conflicted in the adaptation and Rickman has embraced Snape’s nuanced motivations with increasing depth as the cinematic depictions have evolved. He understood what followers of J.K. Rowling’s creation have always known: as the kids age, the themes, content and severity of the stakes evolve. There were always layers present, but Rickman’s portrayal culminated in what was, for me, the most emotionally evocative sequence in the final film: the reveal of Snape’s role as a double agent, his tortured, unrequited and steadfast love for Harry Potter’s mother Lily and ultimately, his demise.

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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'The Bachelor' meets a fleet of hella lotta crazy chicks

A lesbian twist and a total meltdown mixed with ridiculous entrances means one big evening for Ben

Yes, it's another season of "The Bachelor," and with boring Ben Flajnik at the helm, I wasn't expecting much. Boy, was I wrong. This may be, hands down, the weirdest, most gimmicky season opener in the series, and as for the girls, well, I don't know which mental institution the casting director hit, but some of these lovely ladies should be in restraints. Good luck, Ben! You're going to need it! 

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