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"Orphan Black"

 "Orphan Black"

Credit: BBC America

Press Tour: 'Orphan Black' to feature 'tough decisions' in season 2

Plus, the first scene of the new season is screened

 Hey Clone Club, the first second-season scene of "Orphan Black" was shown at press tour, and I think it's safe to say that the pressure is not letting up on Sarah and the rest of the clones as their story continues. First, a recap of the scene, then we'll get into what Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris and co-creator Graeme Manson had to say (and after press tour, I'll be writing up my own one-on-one interviews with Manson and Gavaris, which hint at some big picture shifts ahead). Hold on to your hats. It's gonna be a bumpy ride when the show returns Sat. April 19 at 9:00 p.m. on BBC America. 

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<p>Jordan Belfort might not be able to sweet talk his way into the best picture race if there are only eight or nine nominees.</p>

Jordan Belfort might not be able to sweet talk his way into the best picture race if there are only eight or nine nominees.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Contender Countdown: Will there be fewer than 9 best picture nominees?

Statistics, passion and guilds all weigh in

The ballots have been cast. Voting is over (for the moment).  There is nothing any pundit, actor, director, studio head or awards season sweet talker can do to affect the nominees for the 86th Academy Awards. It's done. Now, all anyone in the game can do is wait. And maybe try to shake off their nervousness with a few drinks over this busy event weekend.

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<p>Aden Young of &quot;Rectify&quot;</p>

Aden Young of "Rectify"

Credit: Sundance Channel

Sundance loosely sets 'Returned,' 'Rectify' returns

'The Writers' Room' will also be back for a second season
Two Sundance dramas that made my Top 10 list for 2013 have very loosely set return plans for 2014. 
On Saturday, January 11, Sundance gave really nebulous Season 2 announcements for "Rectify" and "The Returned" (No. 4 and No. 5 respectively in my Top 10).
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'Mad Men's' final season kicks off on April 13, 'Better Call Saul' debuts in November

"Mad Men's" final season kicks off on April 13, "Better Call Saul" debuts in November
AMC also announced that "Talking Dead" has been renewed for a 5th season and Revolutionary War spy thriller "Turn" will premiere on April 6.

"Enlisted's" debuts low

About 2.4 million checked out the Fox military comedy.

DirecTV may drop The Weather Channel
With The Weather Channel's deal expiring Jan. 14, the satellite provider has added its own weather channel called WeatherNation.

Audrina Patridge today takes over for Ali Fedotowsky on "1st Look"

The NBC lifestyle show that airs after "SNL" has tapped the former "Hills" star to host following the departure of ex-"Bachelorette" Fedotowsky to E! News.

Sundance Channel bringing back "The Returned"

The French zombie hit will return in the fall.

Robin Wright gets engaged to actor Ben Foster

The "House of Cards" star and Foster met on the set of the movie "Rampart."

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Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Enlisted' premieres low, while 'Shark Tank' and 'Blue Bloods' lead Friday

'Bones' wins the 8 p.m. hour for FOX
Fast National ratings for Friday, January 10, 2014.
In usual Friday form, "Shark Tank" was comfortably the night's top show among young viewers, while "Blue Bloods" dominated overall, with ABC and CBS leading the way accordingly.
"Shark Tank," "Blue Bloods" and "Hawaii Five-0" all drew season-high audiences on Friday.
The night's other main notable was FOX's "Enlisted," which had a perilously low premiere despite a wave of positive reviews and word-of-mouth. On the other hand, FOX got another solid Friday performance from "Bones," so there's that.
On to the numbers...
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<p>Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman.</p>

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman.

Credit: AMC

AMC announces 'Mad Men' & 'Better Call Saul' premiere dates

Don Draper and company are back in April, 'Breaking Bad' spin-off launches in November

AMC is presenting this morning at the Television Critics Association press tour, and ahead of that made a bunch of announcements, including premiere dates (some specific, some vague) for "Mad Men," "Better Call Saul" and several other new series, plus the renewal of "Talking Dead" for a fifth season.

The seventh season of "Mad Men" (which is going to be split over two years, like the final season of "Breaking Bad") will debut on Sunday, April 13 at 10 p.m. A week before, Revolutionary War drama "Turn" will have a 90-minute premiere on Sunday, April 6 at 9 p.m.

"Better Call Saul," the "Breaking Bad" prequel focusing on Bob Odenkirk as sleazy attorney Saul Goodman, will debut sometime in November, exact date still TBD.

"Halt and Catch Fire," another new drama about the rise of the PC era in the early '80s, will premiere sometime in June, while "Hell on Wheels" will be back later in the summer.

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White House responds to Jimmy Kimmel's China controversy

White House responds to Jimmy Kimmel's China controversy
Since more than 100,000 people signed a White House anti-Kimmel petition, the Obama administration was compelled to respond, saying that ABC and Kimmel had free speech rights. The White House noted, though, that ABC and Kimmel have repeatedly apologized for the sketch gone wrong.

Claim: Seth Meyers has hired the 1st-ever black female writer for a network late-night talk show
Comedienne Amber Ruffin -- who participated in "SNL's" recent black female casting call -- is joining Meyers' "Late Night" staff. Ruffin also happens to be an alum of Meyers' comedy troupe alma mater -- Amsterdam's Boom Chicago.

CeeLo Green: I feel a little jaded that "The Voice" hasn't produced a big star
"Believe it or not — I think the only thing that jades me just a bit about 'The Voice' is that we have yet to discover and, you know, unleash to the world the new, the next big thing, a true star on the big stage," he says.

A congressman from Portland recently watched "Portlandia," and thought it was real
"I watched the first three episodes before I realized it was a comedy and not a documentary," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. "I mean, these are my people."

Ashton Kutcher takes a "Two and a Half Men" selfie with "#Legends"

Check out his Instagram with Garry Marshall, Tim Conway, Carl Reiner and Steve Lawrence.

Creator of "Breaking Bad's" Saul Goodman used to be HBO's go-to political writer

Peter Gould is co-creating "Better Call Saul" these days, but he used to write scripts on Bush and Clinton. PLUS: Betsy Brandt wants to join "Better Call Saul."

How Tina Fey & Amy Poehler became best friends

The Golden Globes co-hosts first met an a Chicago improv class in 1993. PLUS: Watch a history of Fey & Poehler being hilarious.

"Real Housewives" drove Rosie O'Donnell out of her Miami island neighborhood
"We were on Star Island," Rosie recently explained. "And it was getting a little crazy with all those tour boats and that Miami Show ...The Beverly ...The Mom of Miami, whatever it is, Housewives."

Is MTV doing a disservice to gay rights by having females "Faking It" as lesbians?

The new show's fake lesbian storyline, some say, will make lesbianism a joke. PLUS: "Faking It" creator defends the show.

Cory and Topanga's "Girl Meets World" son is making $8,000 an episode

August Maturo's contract will give him a raise of up to $9,261 per episode if the show makes it to Season 4.

Steven Bochco: My TNT series "Murder in the First" is better than my '90s series "Murder One"
Like the original "Murder," the new "Murder" follow a single case over the course of the season. PLUS: Bochco says "I'm just old" these days.

"Parks and Rec's" 100th episode: Was that the beginning of the end?

It seems like most of the characters have little room to grow at this point.

"The Simpsons" does another special couch gag
This one from animator Bill Plympton.

Why are TV's politicians no longer inspiring?
Instead of Jed Bartlet, we have Frank Underwood.

"The Carrie Diaries" tackles the '80s AIDS epidemic

"We've always been leading up to it and felt a lot of responsibility to tell it in a real way but also to (do) it as real storytelling versus melodrama or something preachy," says exec producer Amy B. Harris.

Maggie Smith's actor son Toby Stephens won't watch "Downton Abbey"
"It's not really a show I enjoy — It's just not really what I enjoy watching," he says.

"90210" and "Melrose Place" alum Jessica Lucas joins "Broadchurch" remake
She'll play a reporter on "Gracepoint."

Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" ad turns 30
The classic ad premiered on Jan. 10, 1984.

In Season 3, "Girls" gets mean
The 3rd season is disappointing, says Richard Lawson, because the show has gotten mean and harder to love, trending toward dark satire rather than loving hyperbole. "Girls," he says, "was never exactly a 'nice' show, but it never used to be this mean." PLUS: We're not supposed to like these characters, hating is the price "Girls" has to pay for beating haters at their own game, Season 3 is more implausible than ever, the "Girls" are actually growing up this season, how Lena Dunham's directing makes "Girls" more emotionally resonant (and polarizing), and ranking the guys of "Girls."

HBO's "True Detective" is simply awesome TV
"There is something invigorating about watching a show this searching," says Willa Paskin. "Its mood, its details, its performances, its genre pleasures are so exacting and exceptional that it can be fearlessly eggheady. It's a rejoinder to HBO's other show that wants to be about big ideas, Aaron Sorkin's 'Newsroom,' a series that stomps and snorts and screams about the shortage of smart, demanding, mind-expanding television for intelligent people without actually being any of those things. 'True Detective' is all of them, without the tantrum, just the goods." PLUS: Performances trump storylines, "True Detective" goes off track in Episode 2 and gets stuck in an "arty statsis" in Episode 3, the murder mystery is beside the point, and Matthew McConaughey has never used his handsomeness to greater effect.

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Credit: AP Photo

Beyonce headed back to No. 1 next week

Rapper Kid Ink poised for a big bow

Beyonce returns to dominance on the Billboard 200 next week as “Beyonce” is poised to thaw “Frozen” out of the top spot.

It will mark “Beyonce’s” fourth non-consecutive week at No. 1, as the soundtrack to the Disney animated features slides to No. 2.  

With the holidays over and no new releases from major artists, no title will top the 100,000 mark, with “Beyonce” slated to sell around 85,000 units and “Frozen” reaching for 75,000, according to Hits Daily Double.

The one debut in the Top 10 in the slow release week will belong to rapper Kid Ink with his major label bow, “My Own Lane,” at No. 3 (50,000).

The rest of the Top 10 belongs to major acts who have been lodged in the Top 10: At No. 4 will be Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” (40,000), Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” at No. 5 (35,000); One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” at No. 6 (26,000), Katy Perry’s “Prism” at No. 7 (22,000), Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz” at No. 8 (21,000) and Drake’s “Nothing Was The Same" and Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” in a dead heat for No. 9, with each moving up to 19,000 copies.


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Credit: Starz

Press Tour: 'Outlander' not 'reinventing' beloved books

One controversial scene won't be cut

Fans of the beloved "Outlander" historical novels may be anxiously awaiting the new Starz series of the same name, or they may just be anxious. With fans having their own ideas about what Claire and Jamie should look and act like, a TV show runs the risk of disappointing. Fortunately, all those involved who came out for the "Outlander" panel at press tour made it clear they intended to stay true to the spirit of the books, despite some minor changes.  

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<p>Geoff Stults tries to whip his &quot;Enlisted&quot;&nbsp;unit into shape.</p>

Geoff Stults tries to whip his "Enlisted" unit into shape.

Credit: FOX

Series premiere talkback: 'Enlisted'

What did everybody think of the new FOX sitcom?

I published my review of FOX's "Enlisted" on Wednesday. Now it's your turn. For those of you who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Did you buy the three leads as brothers? Did you enjoy Keith David and his foot? Is Parker Young funny enough that you're okay with his character being that dim? Was the "Stripes" soundalike score a nice reminder of an obvious influence, or too much of a rip-off? Did you laugh? Did the emotional moments land? Do you think Kevin Biegel accomplished his goal of being funny while also being respectful, or is there no such animal in comedy? And will you watch again? 

Have at it. In an ideal world, this is a comedy I'd write about regularly, but Friday shows are always tough for me, schedule-wise, so we'll see. At a minimum, I suspect there'll be a post next week, because I really liked episode 2, "Randy Get Your Gun." 

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<p>&quot;The Assets&quot;</p>

"The Assets"

Credit: ABC

ABC pulls 'The Assets' after 2 episodes

Get ready for 'Shark Tank' repeats til 'Scandal' returns
One of the fun things about TV as a business, a thing that probably isn't fun if your livelihood happens to depend on the shows in question, is looking at unsuccessful shows and trying to figure out the threshold for failure. 
It turns out that even as midseason filler intended only as a stopgap between two halves of a season of a hit drama, there are limits and on Friday, we learned that limit:
It's probably not that 2.92 million viewers is the threshold, because NBC has comedies that do that regularly, as does FOX. However, it's hard to remain on the air when you do a 0.6 rating among adults 18-49.
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ABC yanks 'The Assets' after 2 low-rated episodes

ABC yanks "The Assets" after 2 low-rated episodes
The eight-part spy miniseries will be replaced by "Shark Tank" repeats.

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