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<p>Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads going into the last lap of the Daytona 500</p>

Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads going into the last lap of the Daytona 500

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Sochi Olympics Closing, Dayton 500 pace Sunday

Golf-pushed 'Amazing Race' premiere is underwhelming for CBS
Fast National ratings for Sunday, February 23, 2014.
 
Coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi concluded NBC's two-plus weeks of primetime sweeps on Sunday night, combining with a preview of the comedy "Growing Up Fisher" to give the network wins in all measures.
 
NBC had slightly more competition than expected on Sunday, as FOX's coverage of the Daytona 500 was delayed by rain and stretched into the entirety of primetime for the East Coast and well into primetime in the West, pushing FOX to second in most measures. NASCAR, in fact, managed to push FOX within 0.1 of NBC in young male demos, though NBC's overall win was comfortable. 
 
Against that tough competition, it's no wonder that Sunday's other notable piece of new programming, the 24th premiere of "The Amazing Race," was sluggish, though even that was impacted by sports, with a 13-minute golf delay on the right side of the country.
 
On to the numbers, which will be less-than-exact in the case of FOX and CBS.
 
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Larry King pitches himself to replace Piers Morgan on CNN


Larry King pitches himself to replace Piers Morgan on CNN
"In truth,” he says of Morgan, "when someone is on the air for the amount of years I was on, whether it’s me or anyone, whoever replaces him, you don’t want to be the person who replaces him. It’s very hard to step in — putting myself aside — into any shoes that have been there forever.”


It’s official: Erin Andrews is the new “Dancing with the Stars” co-host
She replaces Brooke Burke-Charvey, who was abruptly dismissed on Friday. PLUS: Brooke Burke-Charvet jokes: "They fired us all!"


Report: “American Idol” will lose money this year for the 1st time
J.Lo’s and Ryan Seacrest’s salaries, combined with a $5-million new set, plus paying for last year’s executive producers means “Idol” is expected to be in the red this year.


“Breaking Bad’s” final episodes are now on Netflix
All 62 episodes of the AMC series are now available for streaming.


Russia makes fun of its snowflake malfunction in Sochi closing ceremonies
Don’t say Russians don’t have a sense of humor! PLUS: What NBC edited out of the closing ceremony.


Here’s the full list of Oscar presenters
Kristen Bell, Whoopi Goldberg and Kerry Washington will be among those presenting at this year’s ceremony.


Al Roker makes up with NYC’s mayor

There was an “awkward backpat man hug” this morning on “Today” between Roker and Bill de Blasio.


“Duck Dynasty” gets a college football bowl game

The Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana has been renamed the “Duck Commander Independence Bowl.”


“Doctor Who” adds a new, male companion
Actor Samuel Anderson's character, Danny Pink, is a teacher who will work alongside Jenna Coleman.


Alec Baldwin exiting public life, blasts MSNBC stars and Anderson Cooper

Baldwin detailed his experience working at MSNBC, explaining: "The problem with everybody on MSNBC is none of them are funny, although that doesn’t prevent them from trying to be.”


HBO releases the full “Silicon Valley” trailer

"Jobs was a poser. He didn't even write code."


CBS’ “The NFL Today” adds Bart Scott
The former Baltimore Raven is joining Tony Gonzalez on CBS’ pre game show.


January Jones once looked like a boy with a mullet
The “Mad Men” star posted a photo of her 9-year-old self on Instagram over the weekend.


“Today” names Tamron Hall new 9 a.m. co-host

Hall will continue to anchor her own show on MSNBC.

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<p>Sandra Bullock in &quot;Gravity.&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: Is Oscar ready for a 3D Best Picture?

Also: On the origins of the Oscars, and was 2013 such a banner year for cinema?

When "Avatar" was competing at the Oscars four (!) years ago, 3D was a relative novelty in multiplexes -- and a total one in the awards race. With the technology now a fixture in both contexts, have voter perceptions of it changed? This is the question asked Jen Chaney, as she notes the progression from "Avatar's" relegation to technical awards to the very real possibility of "Gravity" becoming the first 3D Best Picture. (Alfonso Cuaron, meanwhile, will most likely make it two in a row for 3D films in the Best Director race.) "There will be a 3D Best Picture winner at some point in our lifetimes," she concludes. "If not now, if not this year, then certainly in the not-so-distant future." [The Dissolve]

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<p>Martin Freeman in &quot;The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.&quot;</p>

Martin Freeman in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'The Hobbit' and '12 Years a Slave' lead Empire Award nominations

Jennifer Lawrence grabs two nominations for the reader-voted awards

The Academy may have long ago lost interest in Peter Jackson's Middle Earth exploits, but the same cannot be said of the readers of UK film magazine Empire. With seven bids, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" leads the nominations for the 2014 Empire Awards, which are entirely reader-voted -- resulting in an unusual list made up equally of prestige Oscar contenders and populist multiplex fare. By way of illuistration, "12 Years a Slave" is just behind with six nods, while "Captain Phillips" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" each notched up five.

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<p>Frank (O-T Fagbenle), Agust&iacute;n (Frankie J. &Aacute;lvarez), Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Rickie (Ra&uacute;l Castillo) enjoy a sunny day in San Francisco's Dolores Park.</p>

Frank (O-T Fagbenle), Agustín (Frankie J. Álvarez), Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Rickie (Raúl Castillo) enjoy a sunny day in San Francisco's Dolores Park.

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Looking - 'Looking in the Mirror' or when you realize your BFF is an a**hole

Will Patrick's friends derail his romance with Richie?

At first, "Looking in the Mirror" appears as though it's meant to focus on Dom's 40th birthday and subsequent party in Dolores Park, but the most compelling moments again center on Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Richie (Raúl Castillo). The series has not been afraid to bluntly depict those uncomfortable moments when ethnicity and social class clash and, sadly, nothing that occurs during this half hour is out of the norm for the Gay community. There are two moments in particular that are clearly painful for Richie.

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"Downton Abbey"

"Downton Abbey"

Credit: PBS

'Downton Abbey' recap: Edith fights her corner in the season finale

Mary gets welcome news, but what's to become of Branson?
I don't want to say the Christmas episode of "Downton Abbey" was much ado about nothing, as there really wasn't much ado at all. This was a relatively staid ending to a fairly low-key season, and even the significant twists either happened off-screen or, thanks to our stiff-upper-lip Brits, barely registered. Admittedly, that doesn't mean nothing happened. There were a few notable guest appearances (Paul Giamatti for the win!) and there are clearly big plot lines brewing for next season. Well, maybe. 
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<p>Father-son bonding in &quot;Growing Up Fisher&quot;&nbsp;with J.K. Simmons and Eli Baker.</p>

Father-son bonding in "Growing Up Fisher" with J.K. Simmons and Eli Baker.

Credit: NBC

Series premiere talkback: 'Growing Up Fisher'

What did everybody think of the new NBC comedy?

I never had a chance to write a review of "Growing Up Fisher," the other comedy NBC decided to preview after the Olympics this weekend, but I also didn't have a lot to say about it. (I had plenty to say about "About A Boy," however.) J.K. Simmons is among our more likable actors (and incredibly funny if given good material), and there's probably a version of the show oriented around him as a blind lawyer that could be amusing. This faux-"Wonder Years" approach (or, since it's set in the present, with Jason Bateman narrating from the future, faux-"HIMYM" approach) doesn't really work, though, in that the kids are forgettable and Jenna Elfman's character is actively grating. (And I say that as someone who's often liked Elfman in the past.) 

For those of you who tuned in tonight after the closing ceremonies from Sochi, what did you think? Did you laugh? Did you find the blind jokes (many of them based on creator D.J. Nash's father) clever or offensive? Did you like the family? The dog? And will you watch again? 

Have at it.

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<p>Bopper and Mark of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Bopper and Mark of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars' Premiere - 'Back in the Saddle'

After an initial shocker, the teams head to China
Season 24 of "The Amazing Race" started on Sunday (February 23) night with an episode that inverted the show's ideal momentum. There was a shocking, sad and emotional twist before we got to the opening credits, but then 50 minutes later, the episode concluded without any cursory effort at creating suspense or tension. 
 
And the editors couldn't have created tension even if they wanted to, as the "All-Stars" season began with a purely designed Leg featuring two needle-in-a-haystack -- not especially big haystacks, either -- plus a Roadblock that failed to inject even an iota of difficulty into the game. 
 
For a season that was already plagued by skepticism regarding the "favorite" status of several of the team selections, this was not an ideal premiere, now was it?
 
I'd love to have more to talk about from Sunday's hour, but it wasn't well-suited for recapping, either. 
 
I'll do my best after the break, but at a certain point, I'm probably just gonna stop to go watch "True Detective."
 
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<p>On &quot;Girls,&quot;&nbsp;Patti Lupone gives some advice to Hannah (Lena Dunham).</p>

On "Girls," Patti Lupone gives some advice to Hannah (Lena Dunham).

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Girls' - 'Incidentals'

Patti LuPone advises Hannah about Adam's first Broadway gig

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as Kristin Chenoweth passes out because I forgot to feed her...

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<p>Danai Gurira as Michonne on &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Danai Gurira as Michonne on "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'Claimed'

Rick has some unwelcome guests, while Glenn gets to know Abraham and Eugene

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I have something to say about your extremely comfortable and attractive shirt...

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<p>On &quot;True Detective,&quot;&nbsp;the 2012 cops (Michael Potts and Tory Kittles)&nbsp;seek answers from Maggie (Michelle Monaghan).</p>

On "True Detective," the 2012 cops (Michael Potts and Tory Kittles) seek answers from Maggie (Michelle Monaghan).

Credit: HBO

Review: 'True Detective' - 'Haunted Houses'

Rust and Marty come to blows, and the cops bring in a new witness

A review of tonight's "True Detective" coming up just as soon as I need you to tie my shoes for me...

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CNN to end 'Piers Morgan Tonight'


CNN to end “Piers Morgan Tonight”
The former “America’s Got Talent” judge isn’t expected to leave the cable news network, but his 9 pm timeslot will become vacant next month after three years. “Look,” he tells the NY Times. "I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it. That’s run its course and (CNN chief) Jeff (Zucker) and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”

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