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Matt Lauer returns tonight to host NBC's primetime Olympic coverage


Matt Lauer returns tonight to host NBC's primetime Olympic coverage
Bob Costas says he hopes to return on Monday or Tuesday.

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<p>Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in &quot;The Grand Budapest Hotel.&quot;</p>

Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson win at Berlinale, as 'Black Coal, Thin Ice' takes top prize

91-year-old legend Alain Resnais also rewarded

I've fallen a bit behind in my Berlinale coverage -- there are still several films I want to write about in this space -- but one film I won't be reviewing is the festival's Golden Bear winner, "Black Coal, Thin Ice." Yes, for the second year running, I managed to miss the jury's favorite. (Last year, it was "Child's Pose," and that worked out pretty well for me.) Anyway, I was braced for that possibility, since I spent less time than usual in the Competition, which was widely agreed to be a pretty lackluster selection this year.

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'Saturday Night Live' 2014 Power Rankings: Who's number one?
Credit: NBC

'Saturday Night Live' 2014 Power Rankings: Who's number one?

Which cast members are proving to be vital this season?

In the middle of a lengthy hiatus for "Saturday Night Live" after the end of The Seth Meyers Era, it’s time to take stock of the show’s remaining players in HitFix’s annual Cast Power Rankings. (You can see last year’s list here.) The following list has nothing to do with the talent of those on the show. This list merely ascertains their overall worth to the show as exhibited by onscreen time, level of contribution, and the show’s perceived value of their worth to the program as a whole. Those low on the list aren’t unfunny: They simply haven’t had the chance to shine or haven’t found a way to break through just yet. Those atop the list are vital to "SNL" as a whole and are poised to lead the show heading into its fortieth anniversary next year.

You can check out the entire list in the embedded gallery in this post. Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.

 
 
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<p>An example of some of the award-winning makeup for &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

An example of some of the award-winning makeup for "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

'The Walking Dead,' 'Breaking Bad' and 'Bad Grandpa'' lead makeup awards winners

'Behind the Candelabra,' 'American Hustle' and 'The Voice' win, too

The Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild announced their 2014 awards winners tonight and two Oscar nominees in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category both came home with some championship hardware.

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'Orange is the New Black' returns June 6 -- watch the teaser


"Orange is the New Black" returns June 6 -- watch the teaser

Netflix announced the Season 2 premiere date at the end of the "House of Cards" season finale.


NBC opened a secret Starbucks in Sochi, flying in 15 baristas

Starbucks isn't an official sponsor, so NBC has had to keep its Starbucks a secret, using baristas from other Starbucks locations in Russia. PLUS: As expected, Meredith Vieira will return for a 2nd night.


"JAG's" David James Elliott joins a Fox comedy pilot

He'll be married to Jane Kaczmarek in "Here's Your Damn Family."


Jim Henson's "Muppets" puppeteer son, John Paul Henson, dies at 48
John,  the puppeteer behind the ogre Sweetums, died of a heart attack.

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<p>Eric Church</p>

Eric Church

Credit: AP Photo

Eric Church's 'The Outsiders' has inside track to be best-selling album next week

Can he knock 'Now 49' out of the top spot?

Eric Church will handily bow atop the Billboard 200 next week as the country artist’s latest set, “The Outsiders,” could sell as much as 300,000.

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<p>Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling in a scene from Season 1 of &quot;Orange Is The New Black&quot;</p>

Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling in a scene from Season 1 of "Orange Is The New Black"

Credit: Netflix

Netflix sets 'Orange Is The New Black' Season 2 premiere for June

Prison dramedy was No. 2 in HitFix's Critics' Poll for 2013
Viewers who marathoned "House of Cards" on Friday and Saturday got a special unannounced surprise courtesy of Netflix.
 
Slipped in at the end of the "House of Cards" run was the first formal reveal of a second season premiere date for "Orange Is The New Black."
 
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<p>Patrick Chan came up short in his quest for Gold</p>

Patrick Chan came up short in his quest for Gold

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Olympics coverage leads NBC on slow Valentine's Day Friday

'Enlisted' repeat outdraws last week's original
Fast National ratings for Friday, February 14, 2014.
 
Was NBC's Sochi coverage sluggish on Friday night because the men's figure skating competition yielded an American-free medal podium?
 
Were ratings low because Friday was also Valentine's Day?
 
Or was Friday slow just because it was Friday?
 
The answer is probably "All of the above."
 
No matter where you put the blame, Friday night yielded NBC's lowest numbers of the 2014 Olympics, even with normally reliable figure-skating as a centerpiece. Still, NBC beat the combined totals for the other four networks in all measures.
 
Thanks to the Olympics and Valentine's Day, the other networks took Friday off, basically, so there aren't any other real notables, though you may be interested that an encore of the "Enlisted" premiere outdrew last week's original? 
 
On to the numbers.
 
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<p>Who will take the BAFTA&nbsp;on Sunday?</p>

Who will take the BAFTA on Sunday?

Credit: BAFTA

2014 BAFTA Award predictions

'Gravity?' '12 Years a Slave?' 'Philomena?' Our awards experts place their bets

On Sunday, the last major pre-Oscar televised event of the awards season take place -- the British Academy of Film & Television (or, you know, BAFTA) Awards. The UK's premiere film awards, held at the Royal Opera House in London, used to have very much their flavor, though they're growing more imitative and preemptive of the Oscars with each passing year. Could that make this year's winners list, however deserving, a teensy bit on the dull side, or are we due a re-emergence of BAFTA's quirkiness?

Greg, Kris and I have each offered our own predictions in all feature film categories -- and the level of consensus is pretty high. What do you say? Check out our predictions below -- the full list of nominations is here -- and share yours (or simply your wishlists) in the comments. Then tune in Sunday for the Stephen Fry-hosted show.

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<p>&quot;Transparent&quot;</p>

"Transparent"

Credit: Amazon

Interview: 'Transparent' creator Jill Soloway discusses her Amazon pilot

'Six Feet Under' vet talks gender identity, Jewishness and the Amazon process
[Warning: Read this interview after you've watched Jill Soloway's Amazon pilot "Transparent." It discusses the "surprise" of the pilot. Really, you can watch and enjoy the half-hour family comedy knowing the surprise, but if you like being 100 percent unspoiled, just check out the pilot and then come back.]
 
Usually there's a finite number of things to discuss when it comes to a half-hour comedy, but I probably had enough questions for "Transparent" writer-director Jill Soloway to fill an hour.
 
"Transparent" has been generally hailed as the cream of Amazon's most recent crop of pilots, which dropped last week. As with the first round of pilots, which yielded series orders for "Alpha House" and "Betas," Amazon is letting viewers watch all of the pilots and then weigh in with their feelings. That public sentiment will then factor into the decision-making process for the website. 
 
So far so good, then, for "Transparent," the story of a dysfunctional group of siblings (played by Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) who are about to learn that their father Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) is actually Moira, a trans woman. 
 
Soloway, a "Six Feet Under" and "United States of Tara" veteran, has layered the pilot with sometimes sensitive, sometimes trenchant (sometimes both at once) observations about gender identity, sexuality, family ties, religion and Los Angeles. It's a pilot with a lot on its mind and a pilot that finds itself in the middle of a much bigger societal conversation.
 
I only got to the tip of those conversations, so you'll have to watch "Transparent" and rank it highly so that I can broach some more topics with Soloway after Amazon picks up a full season. Future topics will have to include the punny title, Gaby Hoffman's comeback, LA's East Side and more. But we covered some good ground.
 
Click through for the full Q&A...
 
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<p>Ellen Page at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;The East&quot;&nbsp;last May.</p>

Ellen Page at the Los Angeles premiere of "The East" last May.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris PIzzello

Watch: Former Oscar nominee Ellen Page comes out: 'I'm tired of hiding'

'Juno' and 'Inception' star makes announcement at HRC event

Ellen Page came out Friday at the inaugural Time to Thrive Conference held by the Human Rights Campaign in Las Vegas. In a speech opening the conference, the former best actress nominee spoke about being a lesbian, publicly, for the first time.

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'House of Cards' boss talks about THAT scene


"House of Cards" boss talks about THAT scene

"That was always in the cards," says creator Beau Willimon. PLUS: Analyzing that scene, should viewers have seen it coming?, "House of Cards" vs. Shakespeare, and what it was like binging through Season 2.


ABC Family cancels "Ravenswood"

The "Pretty Little Liars" spinoff is done after one season.


Rosie O'Donnell had stomach surgery to lose 40 pounds

"I did it to save my life," says Rosie of her vertical gastric sleeve surgery, which came after she suffered a heart attack.


"American Idol" will have a 360-degree set for the live shows, plus 2 stages
The new set, to be unveiled next week, will also feature the judges in the middle of the room. PLUS: What it's like to be "Idol's" lawyer.


Donald Trump complains that NBC News stars don't like him, even though he's had a show on NBC

That's according to a lengthy Buzzfeed profile: "It's funny; I have a tremendous hit show on NBC, and the NBC guys…" he pauses to choose his words carefully. "Chuck Todd does not treat me nicely… Brian Williams is not someone who treats me well." But, he hastens to add, "That’s his prerogative."


Susan Sarandon's daughter is pregnant -- what about their NBC comedy pilot?

Sarandon and daughter Eva Amurri, who's pregnant with her first child, signed up last October to co-star in "Growing Ivy."


Is "True Detective" the new best show on TV?
The HBO miniseries is accomplishing something rare on television.


Billy Crystal pens a tribute to Sid Caesar
Crystal writes in the NY Times: "I became as enamored with Sid and company as I did with the Yankees, two great teams with charismatic stars, Mickey Mantle and Sid Caesar, both in their glorious primes. I grew to imitate Sid’s powerhouse approach to sketch comedy. His virtuoso abilities in language and mime were as seductive as hitting from both sides of the plate."


"Top Chef Estrellas" is nothing like "Top Chef" -- it's more like a telenovela
In fact, the Telemundo competition features celebrities competing against each other for charity.


50 years ago, ABC debuted a show called "Valentine's Day"
The comedy lasted just one year -- and premiered not on Valentine's Day, but in September.


Watch the first 2 episodes of "Mixology," ABC's new comedy from producer Ryan Seacrest
Debuting Feb. 26, "Mixology" tells the story of "One Bar. One Night. Ten people."


Neil Patrick Harris' reaction to the final "HIMYM" table read: "holy dang moly"
"Holy moly," he adds. PLUS: See what other shows shot on the "HIMYM" stage, including "Dharma & Greg."


CBS orders Nigel Lythgoe's "In the Spotlight" performance reality show
The "So You Think You Can Dance" honcho is adapting the show from a Turkish format.


"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" showed a building near Andy Samberg's high school
The YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in Berkeley recently got a shout-out. It's located nearby Berkeley High School, which has paid tribute to Samberg and his Lonely Island pals, who are all alums from the '90s.


"Dance Mom" star sues Abby Lee Miller following their fight

Kelly Hyland wants $5 million after their "knock-down drag-out catfight."


Lena Dunham tours Silicon Valley
The "Girls" star spent today visiting Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. PLUS: Andrew Rannells talks about his "Girls" return.


"The Daily Show's" new head writer started as an intern, welcomed a baby on New Year's Day
Tim Carvell talks about his new job. This is his third week due to paternity leave.


Inside the Paula Deen cruise
Gawker Caity Weaver investigated, and learned that the former Food Network star once had sex on a train.


Is binge-watching behind the recent anthology craze?
It's easier to watch a show like "True Detective" when you know there is only going to be a limited number of episodes.


Christina Aguilera gets engaged to a former production assistant
"The Voice" star met her fiance on the set of "Burlesque."


Matthew Perry: College speaker
The former "Friends" star will deliver a lecture at the University of South Florida about his battles with addiction.


Showtime accused of stealing "Ray Donovan"

Writer Brian A. Larsen has sued, claiming he pitched the network in 2011 on a show with a similar concept.


Lifetime is developing "The One," a movie about the early life of Jesus Christ
The movie is set to focus on Jesus' life starting as a teenager.


"Backstrom" finds a new leading lady for Rainn Wilson.

Genevieve Angelson replaces Mamie Gummer.


Kristen Bell got a hug on "Sesame Street"

Watch her with Abby Cadaby.


What "The Simpsons" sounds like in other countries

Listen to the Japanese Homer say D'oh. PLUS: Introducing Duff Beer energy drink.


Read a valentine tribute to "Tosh.0"

"If loving him is wrong, I don't want to be right," Hank Stuever writes of his "secret dirty love," which gave a tepid review to five years ago.


Rob Lowe: NY Times book reviewer

The former "Parks and Rec" has penned a review of "Mad as Hell," a new book about Paddy Chayefsky's film "Network."


"Little House on the Prairie" has been fully restored for its Blu-ray release

Check out the HD "Little House."


Meet one of the new "Star Wars Rebels" characters
Ezra is a charismatic teenage con artist.


Tom Hardy signs on for a BBC2 series
"The Dark Knight Rises" has joined the cast of gangster drama "Peaky Blinders."


See Zooey Deschanel with her "New Girl" stunt double

"Twins!"


"Downton Abbey's" Lady Mary Crawley has proven to be more selfish than Hannah Horvath
"I wouldn't go to Mary for a shoulder to cry on," says Lara Zarum, "but I could listen to her passive-aggressive dinner banter all night."


Cornell University student found inspiration in "Gilmore Girls" reruns

"Rory Gilmore helped me get to Cornell," writes Olivia Tice.


A "Dr. Horrible" sequel will eventually be made when its creators are less busy
All the Whedons currently have too much work to tackle to work on the sequel to "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog."


"48 Hours" will show a 2-hour documentary Saturday about New Orleans marching bands

"The Whole Gritty City" will show how marching bands used for Mardi Gras help keep guys away from danger.

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