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<p>Brian Baumgartner and Ed Helms on &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Brian Baumgartner and Ed Helms on "The Office."

Credit: NBC

'The Office' - 'Pam's Replacement': Are you hot?

A flagging season shows a few signs of life

Typical. The day I publish a piece about my disappointment with the post-Steve Carell version of "The Office" - along with a post-script about how I don't see a point to weekly reviews anymore - the show presents the episode I've enjoyed the most so far this season. A few quick thoughts on why coming up just as soon as I write something nasty on your Facebook wall... 

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<p>Kirsten Dunst has never seemed happier than she is when discussing her new film 'Melancholia,' which is strange considering the depressing subject matter.</p>

Kirsten Dunst has never seemed happier than she is when discussing her new film 'Melancholia,' which is strange considering the depressing subject matter.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Kirsten Dunst seems very happy to discuss 'Melancholia'

From Mary Jane to the end of the world, Dunst has finally grown up

In yet another milestone on the very strange road to adulthood my two sons are walking, they were witness to an exceptionally chipper Kirsten Dunst talking about her "boobies" as we settled in for a quick conversation last weekend about her new film "Melancholia."

This was a very busy morning for us.  I was also doing interviews for "The Muppets" at the same hotel, so I had both of my sons with me.  Toshi actually did one of those interviews, and you'll see that here next week sometime.  They've both come to junkets with me before, and they know that they have to sit quietly when I'm doing the actual interview.  As fans of Spider-Man, they are aware of Dunst from the covers of the movies they're not old enough to watch yet, and they knew that she used to be Spider-Man's girlfriend.

When we were just sitting down, I complimented Dunst on her work in "Melancholia," and she thanked me, then asked what the boys were doing with me.  I explained about "The Muppets," and she got interested immediately, asking them how they liked the film and asking me if they got the movie right.  She then asked the boys if they had seen "Melancholia" with me, and laughed when they both said no.

"Well, that's good.  They haven't seen my boobies, then."

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<p>&quot;Everybody chill out. I&nbsp;got this.&quot;</p>

"Everybody chill out. I got this."

Credit: AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

AMPAS president Tom Sherak has his say on Oscargate

The catch phrase at the Academy is (as Ford Prefect would say): “Don’t panic.”

It was a whirlwind week for Oscar. Between Brett Ratner’s hasty resignation as the Oscarcast producer followed immediately by Eddie Murphy bowing out of his hosting duties and Brian Grazer stepping in to join forces with Don Mischer to rescue the show, the Academy has barely had time to catch its breath, much less take proper notice of the @MuppetOscars campaign on Twitter. This afternoon’s announcement that Billy Crystal will host the 2012 Academy Awards effectively dashed any remaining “Rainbow Connection” Oscar remix dreams.

In the wake of Oscargate, Academy president Tom Sherak has stepped forward to assure Hollywood (and the Oscar viewing audience at large) that everything is thoroughly under control. “If this happened in January, I would be hiding under my desk,” he told Deadline in one of a number of interviews today. “Look what has happened. We are actually two and a half weeks ahead of where we were last year, in terms of naming a host.”

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<p>Chris Rene performing on Wednesday night's &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Chris Rene performing on Wednesday night's "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Results Live-Blog - Down to the Top 10

Who would be the season's second act sent home by America and the judges?

One of America's "X Factor" Bottom Two picks last week was a no-brainer and one was a tiny bit strange.

That means it's still too early to be entirely confident in predicting which acts America is going to shun and which performers viewers will embrace.

And that means that there could be some drama in Thursday (November 10) night's results show. 

Click through...

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<p>Depending on your tolerance for 'Star Wars' nerdery, you'll either love this week's episode or you'll wish you had a way to use hyperspace to escape.</p>

Depending on your tolerance for 'Star Wars' nerdery, you'll either love this week's episode or you'll wish you had a way to use hyperspace to escape.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

Listen: A special all-'Star Wars' edition of the Motion/Captured Podcast

Oh, okay, we digress a little, so it's 'Star Wars' and 'Bellflower'

It's a weird one this week.

One of the first things that brought Scott Swan and I together as friends was our shared affection for all things "Star Wars." When we first met, "Return Of The Jedi" was only two and a half years old, and both of us were still operating under the impression that there would be more sequels, and that they would come fairly quickly.

Now here we are in the year 2011, a full six years after the release of the final prequel, and I've just finished sharing the films with my kids for the first time.  It seems hard to believe, since in some ways, it feels like it's just been a blink of the eye since the first time Scott and I sat there, arguing over the merits or the demerits of the films, and it sort of feels like our entire friendship has been one long conversation about the films and their creator, George Lucas.

We were asked by many of you to do an all-"Star Wars" podcast, and the result is perhaps the loosest and most inside conversation we've ever published as a podcast.  This is Scott and I late on Sunday night, just shooting the breeze, the conversation wandering from point to point, all of it somehow loosely related to "Star Wars."  If you're looking for something professional and well-organized, this ain't it.  But if you want to hear two old friends picking up the same topic for the 10,000th time, this is it, and it's a real glimpse at the nerd DNA we have in common.

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Cheryl Burke and Rob Kardashian on "Dancing with the Stars"

 Cheryl Burke and Rob Kardashian on "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Cheryl Burke's rules for ruling 'Dancing with the Stars'

Rob Kardashian's dance partner doesn't get the show's judging, either

Cheryl Burke, the 27-year-old "Dancing with the Stars" pro who just may be more of a household name than her "celebrity" partner Rob Kardashian, will be hoofing her way into the semifinals Monday (Mon. at 8:00 ET on ABC). I had the chance to ask the dancer/author/actress/samba maniac about how she's gotten this far and her plan to land another mirror ball trophy to add to her collection.

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Old friends
Old friends
Credit: AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Billy Crystal steps in for Eddie Murphy to host this year's Oscar telecast

The 84th annual ceremony will be his ninth stab at the emcee gig

Okay, so like I said, I imagine it went something like this: "Let's make this easy on everyone. Let's get Billy Crystal in here and let's forget this whole mess ever happened." Sorry, Muppets.

Billy Crystal has been tapped as the host of this year's Oscar telecast. I'm fine with it. What was the last one he did? 2003? And he's been itching to get back into that seat. So I'm happy for him. And I'm happy this whole thing was settled so quickly. I wish the show the best moving forward and I have no doubt it'll be a fun and classy event.

It all started with a Tweet (which could have easily been a joke, but that doesn't stop the desperate world of online journalists from single-sourcing and running with it). But that news was eventually confirmed by the Academy to numerous sources, including HitFix. So Billy's our guy.

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<p>Billy Crystal stopping by the 83rd Academy Awards this past February.</p>

Billy Crystal stopping by the 83rd Academy Awards this past February.

Credit: AP Photo

Confirmed: Billy Crystal is hosting the 84th Academy Awards

Legendary host stepping in to save the day after Eddie Murphy's departure

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has confirmed that Billy Crystal will host the 84th Academy Awards.

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<p>&nbsp;Lauren Alaina</p>

 Lauren Alaina

Credit: AP Photo

Lauren Alaina set for National Anthem for Lions/Packers Thanksgiving game

Did fans succeed in tossing Nickelback out?

Nickelback may not pass muster with Detroit fans, but they seem to have no trouble with “American Idol”  season 10 runner up Lauren Alaina.

The country singer, whose album “Wildflower” debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, will warble the National Anthem at the Detroit Lions/Green Bay Packers game on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24.

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Credit: AP Photo

Rihanna stays at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 with 'We Found Love'

Will LMFAO take over the top spot next week?

Rihanna finds the top of the Billboard 100 for the second consecutive week as “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris remains at No. 1 on the singles chart.

The big question is will “Love” have the juice to hold the top spot for another week and fend off LMFAO’s”Sexy and I Know It,” which rises 3-2, swapping places with Adele’s “Someone Like You.” "Love," Rihanna's 11th No. 1, is the first single from "Talk That Talk," out Nov. 21. The singer will reveal "You da One,"  the second single from the set on Nov. 11 on her Facebook page.

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Listen: Drake taps The Weeknd, Rihanna samples The xx, The Roots conjure Sufjan

Your week in urban set tapping into indie

It's no novelty for mainstream pop and urban artists to tap into the indie set. The week just seems to particularly heavy on it.

Drake's album "Take Care" has already leaked, but for those who crave the singer/MC bit by bit, there's new "Crew Love" and "The Ride" on which Drizzy takes advantage of melodies (and non-) from mysterious co-Canadian and singer The Weeknd. The former pushes the high end with the atmosphere and samples and takes it sweet time to get to Drake's initial verse. On the latter, Drake is confident there's not a sufficient amount of "feel" from fans and haters, as Weeknd's voice lilts and flits around loops in the background. It grooves less like a grandstand and more like a bedroom jam. It confuses me.

Meanwhile, it has become clear that Rihanna has worked in a sample from British rock sleepies The xx on her track "Drunk on Love" for her forthcoming album "Talk That Talk." That set is being previewed in seconds-long snippets, and the song in question (using "Intro") can be heard below.

Additionally, Sufjan Stevens may be inspired by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but it seems Illadelph's The Roots are inspired by Sufjan Stevens. His "Greetings from Michigan" track "Redford (For Yia Yia & Pappou)" served as inspiration for The Roots' new album "undun" protagonist Redford Stephens. They included a track of Stevens playing the song, as a section of a "four-part movement."

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<p>Roger Corman at the Governors Awards two years ago.</p>

Roger Corman at the Governors Awards two years ago.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Interview: Roger Corman remains unflinching in the face of an evolving industry

The subject of the doc 'Corman's World' reflects on his legacy and unmet goals

"Every year at the Academy Awards they give out a lifetime achievement award," actor Bruce Dern says in the new documentary "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel." "How they can not have gotten to Roger Corman by now is disgusting. And I don't know that they ever will because they say, 'Well, what are the great movies that he made?'"

That, of course, was an interview from a few years ago. Since then, the Academy has indeed toasted the life and times of Roger Corman, tapping him in 2009 for an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards, a designation many in the industry would agree was a long time coming.

Corman has produced nearly 400 films since 1954. Indeed, they might not register on the objective scale of "great movies," as Dern notes, but his legacy is undeniable. Corman has had a definitive hand in shaping the modern Hollywood landscape. He gave breaks to Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard among countless others. He broke the greats of today into the business, and yet he has remained on the fringe, borderline obscure.

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