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'Covert Affairs' renewed


"Covert Affairs" renewed

USA has picked up the spy drama for a 5th season.


"Super Fun Night" has strong debut, "Ironside" premieres weak
About 8.2 million tuned in for the Rebel Wilson comedy, while Blair Underwood's remake had NBC's lowest-ever fall drama debut in the 18-49 demo.


MTV orders a 25th season of "The Challenge"
"The Real World" spinoff will begin filming its 25th season this fall.

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<p>Rebel Wilson of &quot;Super Fun Night&quot;</p>

Rebel Wilson of "Super Fun Night"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Ironside' disappoints, 'Fun Night' is OK on competitive Wednesday

'Survivor' rises week-to-week to boost CBS
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 2, 2013.
 
Week-to-week gains for "Survivor" helped CBS tie for the Wednesday night crown among young viewers and combined with "Criminal Minds" and "CSI" to give the network an easy overall win.
 
After several nights of positives, NBC had plenty of bad news on Wednesday, with "Ironside" premiering to a dismal 1.4 among young viewers, "Revolution" taking a big slide overall and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" failing to maintain last week's renewed energy. 
 
ABC, meanwhile, saw a moderate decline for "Back in the Game," but got a good sampling for "Super Fun Night" and watched "Nashville" retain decently from last week's return.
 
And as for FOX? "X Factor" was basically steady with last week -- perhaps down a tick in the demo and up a hair overall -- which continues to count as better-than-expected news.
 
On to the numbers…
 
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<p>Behind the scenes of &quot;12&nbsp;Years a Slave.&quot;&nbsp;Will this be our crafts category juggernaut this year?</p>

Behind the scenes of "12 Years a Slave." Will this be our crafts category juggernaut this year?

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Tech Support: Kicking off crafts coverage of the 2013-2014 Oscar season

'Gravity,' '12 Years a Slave' and 'The Monuments Men' look to be craft behemoths

Welcome back. It’s hard for me to truly appreciate that this is the eighth season of Tech Support here at In Contention (third in our association with HitFix). I’m pleased to say that this column has come a long way during this time, as has media coverage of below-the-line Oscar races as a whole.*

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<p>Tom Lennon in &quot;Sean Saves the World.&quot;</p>

Tom Lennon in "Sean Saves the World."

Credit: NBC

Tom Lennon talks 'Sean Saves the World' and 'the mustache discount'

How does the 'Reno 911' alum benefit from his facial hair?
NBC’s “Sean Saves the World” (it debuts tonight at 9) is pretty much what you would expect it to be: a very loud (in both the performances and the laugh track) multi-cam sitcom in which Sean Hayes gets to do Sean Hayes things as a single dad who works for an online retail company.
 
The one part of the show that’s unexpected — and that I enjoyed the most — is Tom Lennon’s performance as Hayes’ evil, peculiar, mustachioed boss. At press tour, I spoke with the “Reno 911” alum and veteran screenwriter (he and frequent collaborator Ben Garant recently teamed up to co-direct “Hell Baby,” which Drew liked a lot) about being an acting gun for hire, his fondness for playing weirdoes and (with some input from his wife Jenny) the advantages of regrowing the old Lt. Dangle ‘stache.
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<p>Tom Hanks</p>

Tom Hanks

Credit: AP Photo

Roundup: BAFTA hosts Tom Hanks' 'life in pictures'

Also: Tom Clancy in Hollywood, and who 2013's biggest films almost starred

Tom Hanks' two-pronged Oscar campaign this year seems to be going well enough on either side of the Atlantic, but the resurgent actor is really courting the British vote this year. He's the unofficial mascot of the BFI London Film Festival, appearing on the red carpet next Wednesday for the fest opener "Captain Phillips," and returning to close things out with the world premiere of "Saving Mr. Banks" on October 20. Before, then, meanwhile, he'll be the subject of a BAFTA 'Life in Pictures' tribute evening, where he'll discuss his career and his craft before a London audience. Previous luminaries to have been hosted in such a way include Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren. Hanks has never won a competitive BAFTA, though he accepted an honorary award at BAFTA Los Angeles' Britannia Awards a few years back. [BAFTA]

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"Nashville"

 "Nashville"

Credit: ABC

'Nashville' recap: Are Rayna and Juliette facing the same problem?

Deacon's hand isn't getting better, so what does his future hold?

Oh, last night's episode of "Nashville" started out with such promise, didn't it? First, Juliette meets with the new president of Edgehill Records, Jeff, and discovers she's no longer the bright shiny penny of the company. As we learn, he's a bean counter, and Juliette hasn't been moving enough beans lately. When she protests that she's simply growing into a "mature" new sound, Jeff snaps back that that sound isn't even besting Rayna James' sales numbers, so clearly, the mature audience isn't all that interested. Juliette fumes and storms out, which allows Rayna to storm right in. 

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How 'The West Wing' solved its government shutdown


How "The West Wing" solved its government shutdown

Can President Obama learn from President Bartlet?


Samuel L. Jackson wanted to make a  "S.H.I.E.L.D." cameo

"I'm still playing the same guy, it's the same process," he says. "I just show up and they turn the cameras on and we do it."


"Orange is the New Black" creator quickly corrects herself after calling it a "TV show"

"It's not a TV show — it's a streaming show," Jenji Kohan said at NY Paleyfest. PLUS: Taylor Schilling poses with her real-life counterpart, Piper Kerman.


Is "Lucky 7" about to be canceled?
The 2nd episode logged very, very low numbers this week.


We are living in the golden age of TV Theme Songs

As the Wall Street Journal notes, "In the age of binge-viewing, it's more important than ever that a theme song be catchy. Now that viewers can watch any show at any time, a familiar song can provide an anchor for a series and preserve the sense of ritual attached to following it."


How "Breaking Bad" filmed Walter White's final scene

Walter White in the lab was filmed first, as makeup artists were "uglying" up Aaron Paul. "I'm looking at the lab equipment as if I'm inspecting the troops. One last nod. One last look at the world of chemistry," Bryan Cranston tells Entertainment Weekly, which witnessed the death of Walter White. PLUS: New Mexico rejected giving "Breaking Bad" a loan in 2008, cast reveal which scenes they always wanted to shoot, 3 lessons from the finale, will "Breaking Bad" change the way TV shows end?, and can Aaron Paul become a movie star?.


Johnny Lewis may have fathered a child with a "Sons of Anarchy" guest actress
The court is trying to figure out how to split Lewis' $41,000 estate, and documents reveal that one possible beneficiary is the daughter of an actress who appeared on the FX series.


How "SVU" came up with its Paula Deen/Trayvon Martin mashup
Producers wanted to do a story about racial profiling in New York City, but the episode had to have a sex crime component.


"Heroes" creator Tim Kring to produce a high school drug use drama for CW

"Exp" would explore what happens when a foreign designer drug becomes prevalent in American high schools.


Howard Stern agrees to do Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"
The shock jock said he'll be taping with Seinfeld today.


Academics delve into "SNL"
A new media studies book on "Saturday Night Live" tries to examine the NBC show via academics essays.


"The Bridge" is watched by more DVR viewers than live viewers

It's the most time-shifted show in FX history.


Did Fox make a mistake picking David Tennant for the American "Broadchurch" remake?
The former "Doctor Who" star's American accent has been criticized.


Check out "Game of Thrones" set photos

Emilia Clarke was spotted filming Season 4. PLUS: Sansa and Arya are BFFs in real life.


See Emily Deschanel in her "Bones" wedding dress
Deschanel says she picked the most "flattering" wedding dress, a $4,800 off-white gown by Romona Keveza.


Listen to "Real Housewives" stars sing without autotune
No, they cannot sing.


Is "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" the successor to "30 Rock"?
The heavy use of flashcuts is reminiscent of Tina Fey's NBC comedy.


How "Team Clinton" shut down CNN and NBC's Hillary Clinton projects
This is not the first time Bill and Hillary have wielded their clout against a media organization.


Spike TV greenlights "Frankenfood"
Contestants will compete to create great tasting flavor combinations.


"Cop Rock" is still considered a weird idea 23 years later
What was Steven Bochco thinking?


Tyler Labine headed to Hulu

The "Reaper" alum will star in a supernatural series called "Deadbeat."


"Step by Step" cast: Where are they now?
What is the cast of the '90s TGIF comedy up to these days?


"Super Fun Night" wants to be the "Freaks and Geeks" of sitcom hangout shows
Unfortunately for Rebel Wilson, her sitcom doesn't work and feels like the network is throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall. PLUS: It came out of the oven half-baked.


NBC's "Ironside" is weak, confusing, simpleminded

Blair Underwood's new detective show looks like a pointless remake. PLUS: It's no worse than your average cop show.

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<p>Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in &quot;The Dallas Buyer's Club.&quot; is this Focus Features last great movie for the foreseeable future?</p>

Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in "The Dallas Buyer's Club." is this Focus Features last great movie for the foreseeable future?

Credit: Focus Features

Contender Countdown: Turmoil in the Best Picture race?

Certainly not for 'Gravity,' '12 Years' or 'Captain Phillips'

Based on the events of the past week you'd think Tinseltown was on the edge of having some sort of dramatic breakdown. Let us count the ways...

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef' recap: Alligators, turtle are on the menu in New Orleans

On the season premiere, chefs tackle unexpected proteins

"Top Chef" is back, and while some things are different (there's a cool TV in the stew room!), many things remain the same. Case in point: at this stage in the competition, there are too many cooks in the kitchen and not enough minutes in the show to get to know them all. So, let's not worry about who's who or where they're from. After all, one of the few chefs with an interesting backstory gets the boot before the show is over. Let's just hope the food continues to look delicious.

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<p>'I'm telling you, it's the exact same uniform I wore in 'No Way Out.' Seriously. Sean Young was all up in this.' - the conversation I am totally sure they're having</p>

'I'm telling you, it's the exact same uniform I wore in 'No Way Out.' Seriously. Sean Young was all up in this.' - the conversation I am totally sure they're having

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Paramount finally released the first 'Jack Ryan' poster with Chris Pine today

Tell me again why the character is worth rebooting?

This entire film baffles me.

When "The Hunt For Red October" was published, what turned that book from a small press specialty fetish item into an international blockbuster was the dense wall of technospeak that Tom Clancy threw at readers.

I've always loved the way Clancy's story unfolded in real life. He couldn't get anyone to see past the curtain of detail that made it feel like he lived and breathed military technology, and so he ended up publishing the book through The Naval Institute Press. Ronald Reagan was the one who mentioned it during a press conference, immediately sending it onto reading lists around the world, and it launched Clancy's career in a major way as a result, eventually spawning a movie franchise. It was like when JFK admitted that he was a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. It was the ultimate dream of what an endorsement can do, and the entire industry that was built around Clancy wouldn't have happened if Reagan had not read the book.

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<p>I want to know who's in the costume, and I want to know what they're shooting for.</p>

I want to know who's in the costume, and I want to know what they're shooting for.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Edgar Wright shares a new photo of 'Ant-Man' on set via Twitter

But what exactly is he shooting?

Wait… is this actually going to happen?

I'm kidding, but only because it seems like Edgar Wright has been attached to "Ant-Man" for a while now. That's the thing about the Marvel Studios game plan. They are willing to spend years developing something if they feel like the payoff will be worth it, and "Ant-Man" may have seemed like an unlikely pick at first.

The truth is that the character is a lynchpin to the Marvel Universe, and introducing him to the continuity is going to allow them to do all sorts of things. It'll make it easier to bring in The Wasp, it will give Tony Stark an intellectual sparring partner, and it will open up a number of classic "Avengers" storylines.

By now, it's clear that Joss Whedon's plans for Ultron in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" will introduce that character in a way that will break from his classic origin, where he was the creation of Hank Pym, who is the brilliant scientist also known as Ant-Man. After all, even though "Ant-Man" is currently scheduled for a summer 2015 release, it's going to be after "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" opens.

So what, then, is Edgar Wright doing this week in Los Angeles?

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<p>Wednesday's &quot;The X Factor.&quot; At least one chair is off-screen.</p>

Wednesday's "The X Factor." At least one chair is off-screen.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - The Four-Chair Challenge Round #1

Would a new format bring new drama?

As you may have already read, I got a tease of the new "X Factor" round known as the Four-Chair Challenge on Monday evening and had a chance to discuss the format shift and the season as a whole (plus the possibility of a One Direction guest appearance) with judges Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato.

Check out the article.

And check out my full live-blog recap of Wednesday's (Oct. 2) debut of the Four-Chair Challenge after the break...

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