Latest Blog Posts

"Private Practice"

 "Private Practice"

Credit: ABC

'Private Practice''s very special episode aims high but falls short

Amelia's battle with drug addiction gets drowned in soapy melodrama

I've always considered "Private Practice" to be a guilty pleasure show, a soapy indulgence that occasionally tugs heartstrings but mostly features a lot of bed hopping. So why do I so often feel let down when the show aims to be more than that? 

Take Thursday night's two hour "life changing" episode (to quote ABC's promo). Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) has been on a slow, ugly descent to the bottom of her drug addiction, and the evening's episode was to be devoted to her intervention and subsequent dive into rehab. The episode started out with promise -- a cryptic, beautifully shot flashback followed by Amelia bouncing into the office, brightly trying to convince her co-workers she's clean and sober. Scorsone turns in a nuanced and pitch perfect performance, which is what we get, really, from all of the cast. 

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Listen: Rihanna' streams 'Talk That Talk' on her Facebook page
Credit: Def Jam Records

Listen: Rihanna' streams 'Talk That Talk' on her Facebook page

What do you think of her new album?

You can’t buy it until Monday, but you can stream Rihanna’s new album, “Talk That Talk” via her Facebook page now. All you have to do is “like” her.

It’s the latest move in a marketing campaign that has engaged fans throughout the promotional process by having them “unlock” certain steps to reveal songs, the album cover, and other elements of the project.

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<p>Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes in 2009</p>

Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes in 2009

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Gervais to Hollywood: 'Be afraid. Be very afraid.'

Welcome to the third annual tinsel town roast

Are you surprised? Well, if you’ve been reading the site, then perhaps not. In Contention informed of Ricky Gervais’s imminent return to Golden Globes hosting duties (read: indiscriminate razing of Hollywood’s collective egos) in August and then again earlier this month. Still, given the recent Oscarcast shake-up, today’s official announcement could be interpreted as the Globes, in essence, sticking their tongue out and saying, "Suck it Oscars. The Globes aren't afraid of a live wire."

Gervais Tweeted his intentions clearly: “It's gonna be biblical.” Anyone familiar with the Brit comedian’s view on religion knows that “biblical” (in Gervais speak) may well mean full of epically scaled exaggeration, fancy and lies. (TO BE CLEAR – that is not my take on the bible so please release the caps lock button.) It is simply my best estimation of the comedian’s implications. It could also denote a grandiose disaster that only the animals will survive…if anyone.

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"Project Accessory"

 "Project Accessory"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Recap: 'Project Accessory' - 'It's in the Bag'

The designers must please picky clients for a handbag challenge

It's time for "Project Accessory," so grab a double espresso so that you don't doze off (or, conversely, if you have problems with insomnia, skip the espresso and make sure you're located somewhere comfortable). "Project Accessory" eliminated one likable contestant last week and, more importantly, a raving nut job. Nicolina was cray-cray, but she was fun and she could be counted on to say something outrageous every few minutes, and while this show and its much better parent "Project Runway" are built around skill instead of drama, "Project Accessory" needs a shot of adrenaline any way we can get it. 

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<p>Leslie (Amy Poehler)&nbsp;tries to get Chris (Rob Lowe)&nbsp;to keep her close to&nbsp;Ben (Adam Scott)&nbsp;on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Leslie (Amy Poehler) tries to get Chris (Rob Lowe) to keep her close to Ben (Adam Scott) on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'Smallest Park': Man, I'm steamroller

Leslie pushes Ben too far, Tom and Jerry team up, and Andy goes back to school

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I get competitive with Martin Luther King...

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<p>Charlize Theron at last week's BAFTA 'A Life in Pictures' tribute.</p>

Charlize Theron at last week's BAFTA 'A Life in Pictures' tribute.

Credit: BAFTA/Jamie Simonds

BAFTA pays tribute to Kenneth Branagh and Charlize Theron

Potential 2011 nominees latest to be celebrated in 'A Life in Pictures' series

For whatever reason, I always find myself forgetting about BAFTA's series of 'A Life in Pictures' tributes, wherein assorted big-name actors and directors speak about their work to a public audience at the British Academy's headquarters. (It's a little like the James Lipton treatment, if a mite less toadying.) Previous honorees run the gamut from Will Ferrell to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, so it's not particularly an awards-related deal, but it just so happens that BAFTA's two most recent selections for the series are currently on the campaign trail: "Young Adult" star Charlize Theron was up last week, while "My Week With Marilyn" hopeful Kenneth Branagh has his turn on Saturday. It certainly won't hurt their visibility with voters.

I didn't even know Theron was being celebrated the very next day when I reflected on the South African's early career highlights on Friday. In retrospect, it all ties in rather nicely -- even if it still seems a tad early for the 30-something star to be given the this-is-your-life treatment. (A BAFTA, incidentally, is one award Theron hasn't won: nominated for "Monster" the year after her Oscar win due to release-date discrepancy, she wound up losing to Imelda Staunton.)

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<p>&quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;Dean Pelton (Jim Rash)&nbsp;came face to face with Greendale alum Luis Guzman.</p>

"Community" Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) came face to face with Greendale alum Luis Guzman.

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Documentary Filmmaking: Redux': Heart of darkness

Dean Pelton drives the entire campus to madness while filming a Greendale commercial

A review of tonight's "Community" - and further thoughts on recent scheduling/ratings developments - coming up just as soon as I fight the power with my hugs...

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<p>One of John Myhre's Oscar-nominated sets for the 2009 film &quot;Nine.&quot;</p>

One of John Myhre's Oscar-nominated sets for the 2009 film "Nine."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

John Myhre tapped as production designer for Oscar show

Two-time Oscar champ to give something back to the Academy

Considering what a pickle they were in only a week ago, I admire the efficiency with which the Academy is moving forward with their Oscarcast plans -- with new producer Brian Grazer and host Billy Crystal in place, Oscar-winning production designer John Myhre is now on board to literally set the stage for the event. (It's a nifty coincidence that this news should land on the same day Gerard covers the Best Art Direction race in Tech Support.)

And I must say, I'm fully down with this choice. As with Grazer, there's something classy about bringing a previous winner into the fold to design the show that has been so good to him in the past -- it suggests to me that their show, a little like Bill Condon's 2008 ceremony, will be grounded in a strong, affectionate sense of Academy tradition.

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<p>Burrito Josh</p>
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Burrito Josh

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Results Live-Blog - Down to the Top 9

Rihanna performs and another act heads home on a busy Thursday

The winner of tonight's "They're Not Going Home, So I Feel Confident Using a Picture of Them With My Recap Without Being Accused of Spoiling Anything" prize goes to... Burrito Josh!

Congratulations, Burrito Josh, for giving the only actual "rock" performance on Wednesday night's "The X Factor." For that, and previous achievements, I'm just assuming that Burrito Josh will be sticking around for another week.

As for the rest of Thursday's results (and a performance by Rihanna), click through...

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Some thoughts on Billboard's album and singles chart changes post-Lady Gaga

Some thoughts on Billboard's album and singles chart changes post-Lady Gaga

What will the pricing threshold mean for you?

Call it the Lady Gaga rule. Billboard has set a pricing threshold for albums and singles to come on the Billboard 200 album and the Hot 100 singles charts.

Effective with the charts dated Dec. 10  for the tracking week that starts Nov. 21), any album selling for less than $3.49 for its first four weeks will not be eligible for the chart. After that, discount away. For the singles chart, any track selling for less than .39 cents during its first three months will not be allowed on the chart.

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<p>Miranda Lambert poses backstage at the 2011 CMAs after winning the Female Vocalist of the Year award.</p>

Miranda Lambert poses backstage at the 2011 CMAs after winning the Female Vocalist of the Year award.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Miranda Lambert, Chad Kroeger, Gavin DeGraw tapped to salute CMT artists of the year

Also, check out which country artists are headed to the White House

Miranda Lambert,  Matthew McConaughey, Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, and Ellen DeGeneres are among the artists who will honor the 2011 CMT Artists of the Year in a special that will air Dec. 13 on Rob Lowe will host the 90-minute program, taped at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

The artists of the year—Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift—were chosen based on sales, airplay, concert grosses and internet activity.

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"Being Chaz"

 "Being Chaz"

Credit: OWN

Chaz Bono talks 'DWTS,' sex reassignment, being called an Ewok and Cher

The LGBT activist launches a new doc, 'Being Chaz,' on OWN
For those who can remember the adorable little blonde girl on "Sonny and Cher," Chaz Bono's very public transformation from a woman into a man has likely been a jarring one -- and probably accounts for some of the angry response to Bono's decision to star in the current season of "Dancing with the Stars." But Bono has inspired people (and not just transgendered people) everywhere with both his honesty and his willingness to share his transition with the world in the OWN documentary "Becoming Chaz," which was nominated for three Emmys. Now comes "Being Chaz," a second doc showing Bono's life after becoming a man. Bono talked to reporters on a conference call about the new show, what it was like to be called an Ewok on "Dancing with the Stars" and how his mom finally came around to having a son. 
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