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<p>The Strain</p>

The Strain

Credit: FX

FX renews 'The Strain' for season 2

Vampire thriller from Guillermo del Toro and company has 7 episodes to go this season

Hey, it's renewal day for summer cable dramas! A few hours after Sundance announced a third season order for "Rectify," FX has ordered a second season of its new vampire thriller "The Strain."

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FX renews 'The Strain' for Season 2

FX renews “The Strain” for Season 2
“I am thrilled!” Guillermo del Toro said of the pickup, which means his and Carlton Cuse’s neo-vampire bio-terror drama will be back next summer.

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Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'American Ninja Warrior,' 'MasterChef,' 'Under the Dome' lead Monday

The CW had its best Monday since 2011

Fast National ratings for Monday, August 18, 2014.

As usual, "American Ninja Warrior," "MasterChef" and "Under the Dome" were among the Monday night standouts, as NBC, CBS and FOX were all able to claim little bits and pieces of primetime victory.

Meanwhile, the season premiere of "America's Next Top Model" wasn't especially high, but it combined with a pair of strong "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" episodes to help The CW to its best Monday overall since December 2011. This is reflective mostly on what The CW has programmed on Mondays over the years, but so it goes.

When it comes to Monday notables, "Running Wild," "American Ninja Warrior" and "Mistresses" were all down a little, while "MasterChef" and "Hotel Hell" both rose a hair.

On to the numbers...

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'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' gets Adrianne Palicki to play Mockingbird

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” gets Adrianne Palicki to play Mockingbird
The “Friday Night Lights” alum will guest as the fan favorite on the season’s 5th episode.

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Amy Poehler: 'My whole life changed once Don Pardo said my name'

Amy Poehler: “My whole life changed once Don Pardo said my name”
“I will really miss that kind and talented man,” Poehler said in a statement, one of a number of "SNL" alums remembering the longtime "Saturday Night Live" announcer. PLUS: Watch Pardo’s greatest “SNL” moments, and read more tributes from Ana GasteyerColin Jost, Chris Kattan, Dennis Miller, John Milhiser and Rachel Dratch.

Julianne Hough — “Dancing with the Stars” judge!?
TMZ reports that an offer has been made to make the former “Dancing” star a judge next season.

Watch Gary Busey’s bizarre “Celebrity Big Brother” entrance
“That was an experience and a half - don’t you just love live telly?” said presenter Emma Willis, who had to lead Busey up by the hand. PLUS: Watch Busey’s video intro.

Chelsea Handler is only taking 2 of her staffers to Netflix
According to the NY Daily News, Handler initially told all her “Chelsea Lately” staff that they’d come with her to Netflix.

Report: Katie Couric declined to guest co-host “Today” for 1 day
Page Six reports Couric wanted to guest-host for two weeks while Savannah Guthrie is on maternity leave.

Hulu renews “The Awesomes”
Seth Meyers’ animated comedy will return for a 3rd season.

Chuck Lorre will experiment by putting “Mom” reruns on TBS for 1 month
From Aug. 25 to Sept. 19, the Anna Faris comedy will be shown after reruns of “The Big Bang Theory.”

ABC’s “Selfie” pilot is now available for web streaming
The Karen Gillan-John Cho comedy is now posted on Hulu. PLUS: “Selfie” reviewed in hashtags.

Justin Hartley is the new Adam Newman on “The Young and the Restless”
Hartley is returning to daytime TV, replacing Michael Muhney, who was fired from the soap last year.

Nathan Fielder explains to Conan why he kept posting a old man porn on Instagram
“It’s just one of those unfortunae accidents…"

Watch the trailer for Syfy zombie drama “Z Nation”
Is this the next “Walking Dead”?

Roku unveils its own smart TVs
The streaming set-top box maker claims that these are the first streaming-first TV sets.

James Corden is coming back with “The Wrong Mans” Christmas specials
The rumored future “Late Late Show” host will have a pair of specials on BBC2 this Christmas.

William Hung is a married man
The famed “American Idol” reject actually tied the knot two months ago.

“Veep” director could become “Doctor Who’s” next sidekick
British comedian Chris Addison directed much of the 2nd season of the HBO series.

“Star Wars Rebels” will premiere with a 1-hour movie
“Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” debuts Oct. 3.

TruTV orders 13 more “Hardcore Pawn” episodes
The 13 episodes amount to a backorder for this season.

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Credit: Sundance

Sundance renews 'Rectify' for season 3

A win for fans of emotionally powerful, if non-commercial, TV drama

Sundance has ordered a third season of "Rectify," one of the very best shows on television – and a series that likely couldn't survive anywhere but on Sundance.

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<p>&quot;Men, Women &amp; Children&quot;</p>

"Men, Women & Children"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Teaser for Jason Reitman's 'Men, Women & Children' sets moody internet-era tone

Could this touch a zeitgeist nerve this season?

The last time Paramount Pictures tried a Jason Reitman film on the awards season, it was last year's "Labor Day." I thought it was an impressive bit of stretching from the director and was happy to see a certain sect of critics find value in it. Alas, that was a minority view, as most took aim on the film and fired either at Telluride or Toronto and a misguided December release date finished it off after that. But everyone is back up to the plate this year with the Chad Kultgen adaptation "Men, Women & Children," and the first teaser trailer for the film has arrived to set the tone.

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6 Things to watch for during the 2014 MTV VMAs: Beyonce, Taylor Swift and more

Will Nicki Minaj take another swipe at Iggy Azalea?

The producers of MTV’s annual Video Music Awards show often try a little too hard to be edgy and try to act like the video channel still represents the cutting edge in some way. Not this year. Sunday’s 2014 VMAs, which will air live on MTV from Los Angeles’ Forum, look like a straight-ahead, mainstream, pop fare with performances from Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Charli XCX, Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Maroon 5, who, incredibly, are making their VMA performance debut.

Here are six things to expect from the Aug. 24 awards:

*Look for Taylor Swift to debut her new song, “Shake It Off.” She premiered the video for her latest tune —the first single from forthcoming album “1989”— via a Yahoo chat on Monday (18) Now we can see her perform it for the first time at the VMAs. The big question is how much of the video’s plot will she incorporate into her performance? Will it be ballerina Taylor or ‘80s rapping Taylor or tweaking Taylor that shows up on Aug. 24 or a combo of all three? I predict she’ll play totally off her album’s title, “1989.”

*Beyonce will deliver the water cooler performance of the evening. She steals the spotlight now just by showing up, but given that Beyonce is the leading nominee with eight VMA nods and the recipient of this year’s Video Vanguard Award AND she seems to be into making cryptic statements from stage, expect her performance — which we hear is a solo one— to give us all something to discuss Monday morning. Will it be a nod to the ever-swirling divorce rumors or a hint at what’s next? Only Beyonce knows for now.

*Girls Run The World: We’ll have our official predictions on Friday, but this feels like a very female-centric VMAs,  between Bey and Iggy Azalea  leading nominations with eight each, the heat behind Sia’s “Chandelier,” performances by Azalea, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj… Move over, boys, the ladies have got something to say.

*5 Seconds of Summer will bring the all the girls to the yard. 5SOS is taking a break from opening for 1D to perform at the VMAs and it is the act’s chance to really prove that when it comes to numerically-named boy bands, they are more One Direction than 98 Degrees.

*Nicki Minaj will throw some shade at Iggy Azalea: She almost can’t help herself at this point. The question is how will she do it? We think she should have a tall, skinny white dancer who moves clunkily on  stage during her performance of “Anaconda.” That’s really the only chance she’ll get since Minaj is not up for any awards. As far as Azalea, she’ll probably be too busy collecting Moonmen to take any digs: she’s up for 8 awards. Looks like she’s already won the Minaj/Azalea VMA battle before the night even begins.

*This award show is for the girls: To expand on an earlier point, between all the female performers, 5SOS,  and “Pretty Little Liars’” Lucy Hale hosting the pre-show (no host has been named for the main telecast), this year’s VMAs seem squarely aimed at girls 12-to-18. Yes, there’s something there for the guys, with acts like Eminem appearing (and surprises not yet announced), but the demo for this show is your little sister. You’ll be able to hear the squeals all over the house.


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Exclusive: Scott Frank explains the 'present-day' Travis McGee he's making with James Magnold
Credit: Universal Pictures

Exclusive: Scott Frank explains the 'present-day' Travis McGee he's making with James Magnold

Which of John D. McDonald's books will they adapt first?

It is safe to say that I am very concerned about a Travis McGee film.

That's not to say I'm automatically negative about what's going to happen, but I think it's going to be tricky to get even one Travis McGee film right, much less an entire series of them. There's no way anyone gets a chance to make all 21 films in the series, nor do I think they should. Not every one of the books is perfect. I love them dearly, but there are certainly high points in the series, books I'd need to see brought to life, like "The Green Ripper." So if they're doing a film franchise, I'm curious how you even begin to make those choices.

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'SNL' announcer Don Pardo dies at 96 after a 70-year NBC career

“SNL” announcer Don Pardo dies at 96 after a 70-year NBC career
An NBC announcer since June 15, 1944, Pardo introduced nearly every “Saturday Night Live” episode -- he missed Season 7 and, when he was ill, Darrell Hammond filled in for him. Pardo also once got to hit on James Van Der Beek. He also was the first to announce on NBC that John F. Kennedy had been shot. PLUS: Lorne Michaels reacts: "I don't know what I'll do. It won't be the 1st time I've thought of it, and I've never had an answer." Also, "SNL"-ers past and present Seth Meyers, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharoah, Aidy Bryant, John Mulaney and Paula Pell paid tribute on Twitter.

David Letterman: "I knew Robin Williams for 38 years"
Letterman, who once guest-starred on “Mork and Mindy,” paid an emotional and heartfelt tribute to Williams, who was his guest about 50 times.

“Lost’s” Sonya Walger joins “Scandal”
Her role is being kept top secret.

“Rectify” renewed for Season 3
The SundanceTV series returns in 2015.

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Jimmy Kimmel takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge … down his crotch

Jimmy Kimmel takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge … down his crotch
“Oh, my God. This is terrible…My nuts are the size of raisinets right now.” PLUS: Allison Williams takes the Ice Bucket Challenge and Charlie Sheen inspires Jon Cryer.

Jon Hamm reacts to the unrest in Ferguson, where he spent part of his childhood
"There is no positive spin to this,” says the “Mad Men” star, who spent his childhood biking through the St. Louis suburb. "And no one is blameless."

“Masters of Sex” star: It’s “very surprising and shocking” this week's episode matched up with the events in Ferguson
The St. Louis-set show mirrored the Ferguson unrest with Episode 6.

This has been the summer of TV men with clenched jaws and downturned mouths
From “24’s” Jack Bauer to “Sharknado’s” Ian Ziering, this summer “male actors and even the occasional reality star have been putting on an unintentional clinic in how (and sometimes, how not) to look grim,” says Neil Genzlinger. "In one show after another, as an actor strains facial muscles to the breaking point, you can almost hear the director urging: 'Give me grim. No, grimmer. No, even grimmer.’"

One of “The View” finalists has no TV experience, and that’s freaking people out at ABC
A source says of October Gonzalez, wife of former NFL great Tony Gonzalez, “It’s freaking people out that she’s under serious consideration. We’re all for hot. We’re all for diversity. But we’re also for someone with a real shot at not flaming out after one season.”

Does “The Strain” choose to be boring?
The FX series is avoiding becoming “fun trash."

Matthew Weiner predicts “Mad Men” finale will be met with mixed reviews
"The road has been paved for a mixed review, no matter what,” he says.

Claim: Iggy Azalea is a “diva” on “House of Styles” set
"Iggy walked in with her entourage and wouldn't take her sunglasses off the whole time we were in the store shooting her," a source tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She had a complete scowl the whole time and never cracked a smile — unless the cameras were on. And the minute they stopped, it was back to scowling."

“The Hills” alum Stephanie Pratt joins “Celebrity Big Brother”
Other contestants include Angelique “Frenchy” Morgan from VH1’s “Rock of Love.” PLUS: Wedding reunites “Laguna Beach” stars.

All 20 “America’s Next Top Model” cycles, ranked
Tyra Banks is back tonight with Cycle 21.

Fox is working on a Franklin D. Roosevelt-WWII event series
The 10-hour limited series would be based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “No Ordinary Time,” which chronicles FDR’s 3rd term as president.

“Big Brother” sued over its text message voting
CBS is accused of stealing a man’s patented voting system. PLUS: Why didn’t “Big Brother” enforce the “renom” rule?

See pics from “The Blacklist” Season 2
What are inside those envelopes?

Don’t blame Guy Fieri for the Food Network’s woes
The author of “Inside the Food Network” explains that the cable channel’s problems go beyond Fieri.

Arthur C. Clarke’s "Childhood’s End” to become a Syfy miniseries
The book by Clarke tells the story of a peaceful alien invasion that turns the planet into a near-utopia.

“SVU” books Teri Polo and Stacy Keach
They’ll play daughter and father.

Katharine McPhee spotted kissing her “Scorpion” co-star
Is the former “American Idol,” who’s in the midst of a divorce, in another kissing scandal?

An older “Dora the Explorer” goes “Into the City”
Nick catches up with Dora in tonight’s special.

“Revenge” casts Nestor Serrano as chief of police
He’ll be on Victoria’s side.

Watch the latest “Homeland” trailer
“It’s a job,” says Carrie.

"Once Upon a Time” is seeking Belle’s mother
“For the first time, we’ll delve into Belle’s past pre-the encounter with Rumple,” says exec producer Adam Horowitz.

Fox’s new late-night standup comedy show “Laughs” doesn’t pay its comics
The comedy showcase, which has aired in 11 markets since Aug. 2, has too small a budget to pay its performers.

“Episodes” adds Andrea Savage
The “Real Hotwives” star will play the new head of the network.

Why did “Arrow” change Felicity’s backstory episode title?
The title went from “Oracle” to “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak.”

HBO’s Pamela Smart documentary blames the media
“Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart” tells the story of the woman who had three teenage boys kill her husband.

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'Star Wars Episode VII': Sorting out the truth, rumor and speculation so far
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

'Star Wars Episode VII': Sorting out the truth, rumor and speculation so far

Plus we discuss what we hope this all means so far

It is a fascinating moment to be a "Star Wars" fan.

Right now, there is arguably more energy being expended on all things "Star Wars" than ever before. I remember the feeling in the early days of development on what became "Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace," when there were just rumbles of a possible new film or even *GASP!* a new trilogy of films. Hell, I remember when the Special Editions were just a rumor. I remember when a friend of mine called and said, "They're not a rumor. I have something to show you." He came by my house with a videotape, and on that videotape was the very first teaser trailer for "Star Wars: A New Hope - The Special Edition," the very first new "Star Wars" footage in what had been fourteen years at that point. It was mind-blowing. It made me reassess what I had started to accept as the simple fact that there would never be more "Star Wars."

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