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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Will Damon escape 'The Cell'?

This episode is all about hot vampires in small spaces

The theme for tonight's episode of "The Vampire Diaries" seems to be hot vampires trapped in small spaces. I'm not kidding, either. First, we have to deal with Damon's entrapment by the truly loathsome Wes. It turns out Wes comes from a long line of sadists, I mean, scientists who love poking and prodding vampires to see how they tick. And, as we know, Damon has been through this before.

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Golden Globes 2014 TV Contenders: Which shows are eying nominations?

Golden Globes 2014 TV Contenders: Which shows are eying nominations?

'Orange,' 'Orphan,' 'Cards' and 'Candelabra' will be hoping for nods
As anybody attempting to cull a Top 10 list knows, this has been a rather spectacular year for scripted TV, both in terms of the upper echelon -- "Breaking Bad" delivered one of the best send-off seasons ever -- but also in terms of depth, as I could substitute a Top 10 list of *new* shows for my overall Top 10 and still be very happy. 
 
That means that next Thursday (December 12) morning's Golden Globes nomination announcement will be especially unpredictable, given the Hollywood Foreign Press' penchant for shiny and new things.
 
Many of the big questions surround Netflix, which scored fairly big at the Emmys with "House of Cards" and now will look to make "Orange Is The New Black" into a player. But will the HFPA warm to the darkly funny, but deeply humanistic prison show? And will they warm to it as a drama? We'll see.
 
After being snubbed by Emmy voters, will this be a breakthrough for Tatiana Maslany and "Orphan Black"? 
 
And who will be this year's Callie Thorne or Piper Perabo, a bizarro nominee that nobody saw coming?
 
In this gallery, I've broken down the contenders in each TV category under Probable Nominees (basically the sure-things), Strong Contenders (the shows I'd expect to fill out each roster) and Dark Horses (worthy contenders and other oddballs). Unlike my epic Emmy previews, these aren't formal predictions.
 
Check out the candidates in the gallery below (and note that "30 Rock" and "Broadchurch" are among the random shows not eligible).
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"The Sound of Music Live!"

 "The Sound of Music Live!" 

Credit: NBC

'The Sound of Music Live!' recap: Does Carrie Underwood deliver?

Stephen Moyer brings starchy attitude to Captain von Trapp

There are so, so many things about "The Sound of Music Live!" that I can't get excited about. Commercials would be one of them, as you don't tend to get those on DVDs or, thank God, in Broadway plays (at least, not yet). I also fear anything that had an exclamation point in the title unless it's a parody. Then, there's Carrie Underwood, who has the voice of an angel but zippo acting experience. Well, zippo if you don't count small roles in "How I Met Your Mother" and "Soul Surfer," which I don't. 

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<p>Skylar Astin and Briga Heelan in &quot;Ground Floor.&quot;</p>

Skylar Astin and Briga Heelan in "Ground Floor."

Credit: TBS

Review: 'Ground Floor' - 'The Gift'

Brody's birthday present to Jenny has unintended consequences

When I wrote my advance review of TBS' "Ground Floor," I said that the show got better with each episode I saw. Tonight's installment was the last, and best, of those. It made me laugh consistently, whether from physical comedy like Brody's reaction to the slightly less-awesome wine, or from running gags like Mansfield having special powers.

I'm curious how those of you who have stuck with the show are feeling about it at this point. There was some understandable resistance to the studio audience laughter; did anyone tough it out and learn to accept it, or are the only people left those who already have a fondness for multi-cam comedy? Do you like the work being done with the characters? Or is everyone just marking time until "Cougar Town" is back next month?

Have at it.

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Lorde creates her own universe in new 'Team' video: Watch
Credit: Universal Music Group

Lorde creates her own universe in new 'Team' video: Watch

Join her world of ferns, puritan outfits and motorbikes

In Lorde’s world, it’s not always the most popular kid who wins. She embraces the misfits, as “Royals” taught us. In “Team,” a band of high school kids in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world are looking for a new ruler. And they pick the new king in a decidedly Mad Max way as two kids don helmets, hop on bikes and joust with table legs.

Because it’s Lorde’s world, the unpopular kid —the one with the stringy hair, acne and a limp, is victorious.

Despite the bombed-out building (which is the perfect metaphor for how most of us feel about high school), Lorde is in a lush setting, full of greenery. With her hair pulled back, her sullen expression, and her dark lipstick, she looks more like a post-goth vampire than your typical high school kid.

Though she sings “we live in cities you’ll never see onscreen,” in an effort to heighten the sense of disenfranchisement and the distance between Auckland and the rest of the world and the kids in the song, the video for “Team” was actually shot in Brooklyn.

Lorde has said that the video came out of a dream she had about "teenagers in their own world, a world with hierarchies and initiations....I dreamt about this world being so different to anything anyone had ever seen." 

“Team” is the second single from “Pure Heroine,” following “Royals,” which has spent nine weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

What do you think of "Team?" 
 

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<p>Lorde</p>

Lorde

Credit: Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Six predictions for Dec. 6's Grammy Nominations

Who will come away with the most nods?

The Grammy nominations for the Jan. 26 Grammy Awards will be announced Friday (6) during the enthusiastically titled CBS television special, “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!!—Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night.”  

In addition to announcing the nominees in a smattering of the 80 or so categories, the hour-long program, which will air Live!! at 10 p.m., will feature performances from Lorde, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke with Earth Wind & Fire and Keith Urban with Miguel.

Here are six predictions for tomorrow night:

*Justin Timberlake will come away with nominations in three of the big four: album, song and record of the year, as well as a number of collaboration nods.

*Best new artist nominees will likely be Lorde, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ellie Goulding and Kendrick Lamar...although Ariana Grande could also sneak in there. (Depending upon how vigilant the Grammys are, Kacey Musgraves may not be eligible for best new artist: nominees can not have put out more than three albums and “Same Trailer Different Park” is her fourth album, following three indie and/or self-released sets.)

*Regardless of whether she gets
a best new artist nod, Kacey Musgraves will be the leading country nominee. The Grammys have gotten better by getting in step with country’s populist taste, but the voters still love to support acts that get no or scant country radio play like past nominees Ryan Adams and Lyle Lovett. And who can forget 2007 when the Dixie Chicks won album of the year after the country music industry had shunned them? Musgraves has been embraced by the press of all stripes and will show up on lots of Top 10 lists, yet she’s struggling at radio and has only eked out one Top 10.

*Both Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Lorde
could achieve the holy grail: nominations in all of the major four categories, album, song, record of the year and best new artist. Both are likely, but the nod goes to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis since most voters still know Lorde for one song not for the depth of  her album, “Pure Heroine.”

*Even though Robin Thicke is performing “Blurred Lines” at the nominations concert, and that’s usually a good sign, the backlash against “Blurred Lines” may result in the song getting blanked when it comes to record of the year. It was the biggest song of the year, spending 12 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, but the tide turned on the song for some. It could still eke out a nomination, but it’s far from a sure bet....although it will likely get some nods in collaboration categories.

*Kanye West, who has been a Grammy magnet
, may pay the price for some of his antics. It shouldn’t matter, but West’s belligerence has turned some of his most ardent supporters against him. He was legitimately robbed of an album of the year nomination for “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” three years ago after three previous albums getting nods, and he’s probably not returning to the category with “Yeezus.” Don’t feel too back for him, however, West already has 21 Grammys, the sixth highest among any male artist.

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Brian Griffin will still be on 'Family Guy,' despite his TV death


Brian Griffin will still be on "Family Guy," despite his TV death
According to Entertainment Weekly, Brian will resurface on the Dec. 15 episode.


PBS posts "Frontline's" 1999 look at the life of Nelson Mandela
The film "The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela" is now online for the first time. PLUS: TV networks aren't changing their primetime lineups for Mandela, and Danny Glover played Mandela in a 1987 HBO movie.


Alec Baldwin is going back to TV for 1 night, thanks to TCM
On Jan. 6, Baldwin will interview Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne for "Private Screenings."


HBO taps Esai Morales to play the president of the United States
He'll star in the HBO comedy pilot "The Brink."


"Mob City" attracts a modest viewership

Just 2.3 million tuned in for the first night of the noir miniseries.


Iran state TV attacks Jon Stewart -- then copies him
Iran’s state broadcaster recently devoted six minutes to attacking Stewart's upcoming film "Rosewater." Yet another report on the same channel uses some of Stewart's "Daily Show" tactics to mock the media.


Play "The Sound of Music Live" drinking game
Take two sips every time someone's accent falters.


Dreama Walker to star in "The Grim Sleeper" on Lifetime

The film will focus on L.A.'s notorious "grim sleeper" killer.


"Billy on the Street" nabs Lindsay Lohan and Lena Dunham
Season 3 of Billy Eichner's game show will also feature Olivia Wilde, Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Joel McHale, Paul Rudd and Neil Patrick Harris.


"Lost" alum Rebecca Mader joins "Once Upon a Time"

She'll play the latest Big Bad.


What are the Top 10 episodes of 2013?
"Breaking Bad" is No. 1.

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<p>Restless Road of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Restless Road of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 Results - Down to the Final 4, plus Emblem3 performs

Little Mix also performs during another double elimination

It's time for another "X Factor" double elimination episode. 

Tonight's results had better be darned exciting, because at least so far, FOX has only teased performances from Emblem3 and Little Mix, which may not be enough to hold my attention through the pregnant pauses and awkward in-show commercials.

Click through to follow the fun...

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<p>&quot;The&nbsp;Hunger Games:&nbsp;Catching&nbsp;Fire&quot;</p>

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

Credit: Lionsgate

Tech Support: Can 'Catching Fire' crack the costume design Oscar race?

An array of periods and genres make for a very wide-open race

The category of Best Costume Design is always one of my favorite races, particularly in the pre-nominations stage. It can be so unpredictable. This is also the first year where the costume designers have formed a separate branch from the art department. While it is difficult to know precisely how this will affect the race, it only increases my curiosity in what appears to be a very open category beyond two rather obvious leading contenders.

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"Untold Stories of the ER"

 "Untold Stories of the ER"

Credit: Discovery Fit & Health

Exclusive clip: See the Crotch Twister on 'Untold Stories of the ER'

We're betting this test isn't covered by insurance

Sometimes emergency rooms are very serious places. But sometimes, a doctor does something really, really unexpected that's probably not ethical at all. But it's funny! And a little violent! In this exclusive clip from "Untold Stories of the ER" (airing Fri. Dec. 6 at 10:00 p.m. ET on Discovery Fit & Health), doctor Mike Abernethy tries a little test on a convict that undoubtedly isn't covered by insurance. Bet it hurts! 

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<p>Tom Hardy in &quot;Locke.&quot;</p>

Tom Hardy in "Locke."

Credit: A24

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy in Spotlight and New Frontier films at Sundance 2014

With a new, experimental directorial project, is JGL becoming James Franco?

Hard to believe that we're a little over a month away from Sundance, a film festival so sprawling that the announcement of its lineup is staggered over several days. Along with the rest of Team HitFix, I'll once more be braving the cold to give you the first word on eagerly awaited heavyweights and undiscovered gems alike. But not everything at the Sundance Film Festival is shiny and new -- some premieres from other fests are too exciting not to be cherry-picked, which brings us to the Spotlight section. 

This year's selection of eight Spotlight titles includes films initially premiered at Cannes, Venice and Toronto, among others -- some of which perhaps didn't get the attention they deserved in the initial festival rush, and some of which certainly did.

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Nelson Mandela dies: ESPN preempts programming to pay tribute


Nelson Mandela dies: ESPN preempts programming to pay tribute

After news broke of Mandela's death at age 95, ESPN moved signature program "Pardon the Interruption" to ESPN2 so ESPN could cover Mandela's death from a sports perspective. ESPN also had Bob Ley delve into Mandela's legacy.

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