Latest Blog Posts

'Game of Thrones’' Season 4 finale was 'more blow-up than clean-up,' says co-creator

“Game of Thrones’” Season 4 finale was “more blow-up than clean-up,” says co-creator
"In past seasons,” says D.B. Weiss, "our final episodes have often been clean-up  -- exciting in their own right, but primarily concerned with addressing the aftermath of the momentous events of the episode before. This isn't one of those. The finale of the fourth season is more blow-up than clean-up. In real life, blowing things up is usually a lot easier than cleaning them up, but on TV it's a lot more difficult.” PLUS: Why it’s a good thing the book spoiler didn’t happen, here's George R.R. Martin's explanation for what happened to Tyrion, It was refreshing that producers chose to end on an emotional moment instead of a cool one, producers made a misstep with Tyrion, Was there too much good stuff?, too many characters got shorter shrift, there was something for everyone in the finale, “The Children” is more an ellipsis than a period, Gwendoline Christie on Brienne’s finale showdown — “I was just knackered,” Maisie Williams is glad Arya Stark got that ending — “I don’t really think it was spiteful," Sibel Kekilli was shocked it didn’t happen to Shae last season, and read George R. Martin’s 1963 letter to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.


Report: Malia Obama is working as a production assistant on CBS’ “Extant”
The oldest daughter of President and Mrs. Obama, who turns 16 on the 4th of July, was spotted working on the CBS Steven Spielberg-produced Halle Berry drama last week, according to The Wrap. “She helped with computer shop alignments and the director also let her slate a take,” says an insider.


TLC apologizes for airing a profanity-laced “Honey Boo Boo” episode in the UK
Last week’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” contained five instances of the F-word, 11 instances of the S-word and one B-word.


Report: Katie Couric was hated at CBS
A new book "The News Sorority” tells how CBS staffers resented Couric’s arrival in 2006, including her hefty $15 million salary. PLUS: Couric talks about her daytime talk show struggles.


Jimmy Kimmel has his fans jump on their dads for Father’s Day
Check out Kimmel’s latest YouTube Challenge — “Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I Hopped on Pop.” PLUS: NBA stars read Mean Tweets.


“24” tonight hits Episode 200
"It's fantastic,” says co-creator Robert Cochran. "It's something that makes us very humble and very thankful for the fans around the world... that have supported us all these years. I can promise you when we started the show, this thing wasn't even in our minds. We were trying to get to Episode 2. We're very thankful for it."

Read Full Post
<p>Game of Thrones</p>

Game of Thrones

Credit: HBO

Season finale review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'The Children'

Jon Snow meets with Mance, the Hound has a rough outing and Tyrion and Tywin have a chat

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I do a poor job hobbling the horses...

Read Full Post
<p>Enlisted</p>

Enlisted

Credit: FOX

Review: 'Enlisted' - 'Army Men'

Randy and Pete compete over Jill, and Derrick tries to impress Erin

A quick review of tonight's "Enlisted" coming up just as soon as I convince an old Jewish couple I'm their grandson Jeffrey...

Read Full Post
Casey Kasem

Thank you, Casey Kasem, for spending time with me every week

Kasem dies at 82 after a long illness

Second only to my father’s, Casey Kasem’s voice was one of the resounding male voices of my childhood and played a large part in shaping my dreams. That voice, which had been off the air for several years already, was silenced for good today when Kasem died at 82.

When people ask me how I got into music journalism, there is one story that I always tell and that is of loving listening to the radio. Growing up in Raleigh, N.C., the main Top 40 station was WKIX. It was my gateway drug into the music world. I bought singles and got into album-oriented rock as I got older, but from the start, I was a Top 40 girl. I listened to it all the time. I made my mom switch from WPTF, her station of choice, to WKIX whenever we were in the car together (my father, who loved classical music, wasn’t usually so compliant) and I listened to it on the radio in my bedroom when I was doing my homework. If I could get away with it, I would listen after I went to bed,  but I would be so excited to hear what the next song was that I couldn’t fall asleep, so my parents put an end to that.  The local DJs brought me the songs that informed my childhood, but every Sunday, Casey Kasem brought me the world.

The American Top 40 Countdown aired on WKIX every Sunday starting at noon. I would sit in church and fidget as it grew closer to 12 p.m. Church would finish and my parents — I’m convinced they did this just to torture me— would insist on chatting with friends or helping clean up the sanctuary while I would be dying inside, knowing I was missing the songs at No. 40, 39, 38, 37… on the radio. Usually, we’d get home by the time Kasem was declaring Song No. 35 or so and, as I did every week, I’d sit at my desk in my bedroom, take out purple, lined, notebook paper (sometimes it was pink) and I would write down the songs as he announced them. I’d leave space at the top for the songs I’d missed because I knew he’d recap them when he got to No. 30.  

This was in the days when local stations had more clout in determining what they played than they do now, so I might hear a song on AT40 that I’d never heard before on WKIX because the local program director didn’t want to play it. There was something magical and wonderfully comforting about knowing that I was hearing him count down to “the top song in the land,” as Kasem used to say, and that some kid in Sacramento or Milwaukee was listening to these songs too. Kasem had a warm voice that felt like it was caressing the words as he conspiratorially, softly revealed secrets behind the songs and the artists, pulling back the curtain on new artists I’d never heard of before or revealing the newest song from some act I loved before WKIX had put it in regular rotation.

My obsession with writing down the weekly chart numbers probably lasted for only a few years— probably from fifth to seventh grade or so… but Kasem and the American Top 40 Countdown introduced me to Billboard. For several years, AT40 used Billboard’s charts and that’s how I found out about the trade magazine. And then… a few short years later, I was interning for Billboard while in college, and ultimately worked for them for more than a dozen years. I feel like I have Kasem to thank. I’m sure I would have learned about Billboard somehow, but because of Kasem, from a very early age, Billboard held a mythical allure for me.

I had long weaned myself off of having to listen every Sunday, but when I went to Germany for my junior year of  college, Kasem came back into my life. I would find myself missing home and wanting to hear an American accent (this was was before the internet and Skype and international calling was expensive enough that I only talked to my parents once a month). Enter Armed Forces Radio Network. In addition to the 1,000 stations in the U.S. that aired AT40, the countdown was broadcast on 400 AFRN stations, including one that was near Regensburg, where I went to college. So once again, Kasem brought me the world— or more specifically— helped me go home each week, when I would hear what was hitting big in the U.S. while I was 4,000 miles away.

Kasem turned over hosting AT40 to Ryan Seacrest in 2004. Even though I hadn’t listened for awhile, I still felt nostalgic sadness that an icon from my childhood was no longer there for me every week.

SiriusXM Radio plays the American Top 40 Countdown on its 70s channel every week and if I’m in the car, I’ll tune in. It’s a trip to hear Kasem’s voice coming back at me through the speakers. The long distance dedications delivered with dripping sincerity sound hokey to me now in a way that they never did to that young girl growing up in Raleigh who took his weekly sign off of “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”  very seriously.  I never met Kasem during my time at Billboard, but that didn’t make me sad because I felt like I already knew him already. After all, we spent every Sunday together for years.

It wasn't that long ago that Kasem and I were radio mates, but it was a very different time that feels like another era. Though Top 40 countdown shows still exist, there was something special about having a weekly listening date and knowing that if I missed hearing Kasem then, I couldn't just go online and see the chart or stream that week's countdown whenever I felt like. Technology has definitely given us more options, but when you have everything at your fingertips whenever you want it, it loses a little of its uniqueness and what make it special. I'm glad that I felt that urgency to get home every Sunday, even if my parents didn't understand the necessity, and I'm thankful that Kasem helped me understand from a very young age the power of dreams and music.

Read Full Post
2014 Emmy Nomination Contenders - Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

2014 Emmy Nomination Contenders - Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Can Dean Norris break in? Will Josh Charles return? Big questions abound

Reminder: For our annual Emmy contenders coverage, Sepinwall does his personal preferences, while I handicap mostly in terms of likelihood of landing nominations. As usual, the first six slides in each gallery are my nomination predictions. The next eight or nine slides are the actors and shows most likely to sneak in, based on precedent, quality or something nebulous. And then at the end of each gallery, I tend to throw in a couple oddballs who have no chance at all of being nominated, but who I think deserve to be a part of the conversation, or might accidentally become part of the conversation, just because.

Our next category:

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA

This is always one of the toughest categories on the ballot because of the depth of some of these ensemble casts. "Breaking Bad" could fill three or four slots. "Boardwalk Empire" could fill a whole field. "Game of Thrones" has a few actors worthy of consideration. And those are all shows that have been represented here in the past. Will a new show like "Ray Donovan" break the field? Will a past favorite like "Mad Men" or "The Good Wife" make their presence felt? Is this the year that Emmy voters notice "The Americans" or expand their notice of "Scandal"

The results could be amazingly boring and familiar (and not necessarily wrong) or they could make pundits look very silly.

Read Full Post
<p>Boardwalk Empire</p>

Boardwalk Empire

Credit: HBO

If I Had An Emmy Ballot 2014: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

In an ideal world, three pairs of co-stars would duke it out at the actual Emmys

The Television Academy of Arts & Sciences released this year's Emmy ballots on Monday. Now that the ballots are out, it's time for our annual two-pronged experiment, in which Dan tries to predict the likeliest nominees in each major category, while I pretend that I'm an actually TV Academy member and pick the six nominees that would make me the happiest.

Read Full Post

RIP Casey Kasem

RIP Casey Kasem
Kasem, who died today at age 82, was not only famous for his radio work, but also was the voice of NBC in the '70s and '80s and was the voice of Shaggy on "Scobby-Doo."

Read Full Post
<p>Hiccup and Toothless in &quot;How To Train Your Dragon 2.&quot;</p>

Hiccup and Toothless in "How To Train Your Dragon 2."

Best and Worst of 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'

Wait, there was a worst in this movie?

Audiences are finally getting a chance to see "How To Train Your Dragon 2" this weekend, and pretty much every parent I know is excited about that news.

Why? Well, the first one was an underdog hit for Dreamworks Animation, and it's the sort of film that people walk out of feeling surprised. If you can do that, then you'll get an audience to show up for a sequel because they are actually excited, rather than just bludgeoned into submission by marketing muscle. The flip side to the enormous expectations people have for the sequel is that it makes it that much harder for the filmmakers.

Read Full Post

Jay Leno’s longtime producer dishes dirt on 'Tonight Show' guests in tell-all book

Jay Leno’s longtime producer dishes dirt on “Tonight Show” guests in tell-all book
Leno wrote the forward to Dave Berg’s book, “Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show,” which tells how Christian Bale was difficult, Teri Hatcher was complicated and how the show had to pay $33,000 to Sarah Palin and her family to fly down to L.A. via private jet.


NYC mayor has to sing “I Love L.A.” on Jimmy Kimmel after losing Stanley Cup bet
Mayor Bill de Blasio will also have to buy Kimmel’s entire audience hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya.


HBO let “Girls” do a “money shot” in Season 3 after rejecting it in Season 2
“Girls” showrunner Jenni Konner calls it “the biggest fight we've ever gotten in with HBO.


Happy 50th birthday, Courteney Cox!
The “Cougar Town” star today becomes the 2nd “Friend" to enter their 50s.


NBC dumps the “Crisis” finale on a Saturday
The canceled drama's two-hour finale was originally scheduled for Sunday, June 29.It’ll instead air on June 21.


Animal Planet responds to The World Cup with The World Pup
Check out cute dogs in a World Cup-style bracket.


Dave Chappelle recalls Kanye West’s TV debut on “Chappelle's Show”
Even before Kanye was famous, Chappelle tells Jimmy Fallon, he had a big head.


“Idol” alum Pia Toscano is now J.Lo’s backup singer
“I’m in her band,” says the Season 10 alum.


Kelly Clarkson becomes a mom
The former “Idol” champ welcomed a daughter, River Rose, on Saturday.

Read Full Post
<p>&#39;22 jump Street&#39;</p>

'22 jump Street'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Best and Worst of '22 Jump Street'

Is the Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill sequel better than the 2012 remake?

One of the first conversations I had on Twitter after arriving home from London on Thursday evening was about whether or not "22 Jump Street" is a good comedy. I really enjoyed the movie, and I think it's got a lot going on just below the surface. It's like the world's most insane subversion of the "Beverly Hills Cop" model ever attempted, and it made me laugh like a maniac.

It's clear, though, that some of us at HitFix laughed harder at the film than others, and that's fine. That's how comedies normally are. There are any number of comedies that I adore that people hate, and I would never try to argue the point with them. For me, laughter is an involuntary thing, and when I spend pretty much the entire running time of a film laughing, I'd call that a successful comedy. It was true of the first "21 Jump Street," and it's equally true of the sequel.

We decided to look at the best and worst things about "22 Jump Street" here, and the whole HitFix editorial team took a shot at it.

For me, the one thing I can't decide if I liked or disliked is a pretty big spoiler so I didn't mention it in my first review. I guess I liked this one thing, but disliked the way it was resolved in the film. As they work undercover to find a new drug being sold to college students, Jenko (Channing Tatum) tries to get close to a football player named Zook (Wyatt Russell). From the moment Jenko and Zook meet, they've got a relationship right out of a romantic comedy, and they play it over the entire film. I wish they would have had Jenko realize at some point in the film that he's actually gay, because I think it would have been a fascinating way to twist the buddy comedy norms. Tatum's such a super-cop in the film that revealing he's gay would challenge expectations in a big way.

What are the things the rest of Team HitFix liked and disliked? Open the gallery below, and let's see how many you agree and disagree with.

"22 Jump Street" is in theaters now.

Read Full Post
2014 Emmy Nomination Contenders - Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

2014 Emmy Nomination Contenders - Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

How many 'Modern Family' men will make the cut this year?

Reminder: For our annual Emmy contenders coverage, Sepinwall does his personal preferences, while I handicap mostly in terms of likelihood of landing nominations. As usual, the first six slides in each gallery are my nomination predictions. The next eight or nine slides are the actors and shows most likely to sneak in, based on precedent, quality or something nebulous. And then at the end of each gallery, I tend to throw in a couple oddballs who have no chance at all of being nominated, but who I think deserve to be a part of the conversation, or might accidentally become part of the conversation, just because.

Our next category:

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Unlike the Supporting Actress in a Comedy category, which has the influx of talent from "Orange Is The New Black," as well as other sources, Supporting Actor in a Comedy is pretty flat. In one version of reality, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Enlisted" might be infusing the category with three or four new nominees. Instead, it'll probably be Andre Braugher representing all of FOX's low-rated comedies. And while all of the "Orange" women seem like they could be contenders, is there any way "Orange" could be popular enough to get a nomination for Jason Biggs? Unlikely, but not impossible.

Read Full Post
<p>Nick Offerman</p>

Nick Offerman

Credit: NBC

If I Had An Emmy Ballot 2014: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The 'Modern Family' men will fill half the slots or more, but who else might be deserving?

The Television Academy of Arts & Sciences released this year's Emmy ballots on Monday. Now that the ballots are out, it's time for our annual two-pronged experiment, in which Dan tries to predict the likeliest nominees in each major category, while I pretend that I'm an actually TV Academy member and pick the six nominees that would make me the happiest.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME