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Tye Sheridan in "Mud"
Tye Sheridan in "Mud"
Credit: Roadside Attractions

Washington critics spring for '12 Years a Slave,' Cuarón, Blanchett

And some good news for Tye Sheridan fans
The Washington D.C. critics had some fun with their awards at the nominations stage, throwing in such offbeat mentions as Baz Luhrmann for Best Director, with Joaquin Phoenix, James Franco and Scarlett Johansson among the acting nominees. Their list of winners, however, is rather more conventional. "12 Years a Slave" leads the pack with six awards, including Best Film, Actor, Supporting Actress and Ensemble, while they also plumped for fellow Oscar frontrunner "Gravity," handing it Best Director and a pair of technical awards.
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<p>Saints QB Drew Brees</p>

Saints QB Drew Brees

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Panthers-Saints action boosts NBC Sunday, while 'Once' rises for ABC

NFL overrun gives 'The Simpsons' a bump
Fast National ratings for Sunday, December 8, 2013.
After last week's Sunday Night Football dud, NBC got a matchup of playoff-bound teams and rode the Panthers-Saints matchup to easy Sunday wins in all key measures. 
FOX got a boost from its own NFL overrun and took second for the night among young viewers, while "60 Minutes" and the "Amazing Race" finale helped CBS claim second overall. [Note that CBS had a slew of football delays and started 27 minutes late in a number of markets, though the network's placement is unlikely to change.]
ABC saw "Once Upon a Time" rise over last week's airing, while "Revenge" was steady in its return after several weeks away. "Betrayal," however, sunk.
On to the numbers...
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USA announces premiere dates for 'Psych,' 'Suits,' 'White Collar' and 'Sirens'

USA announces premiere dates for "Psych," "Suits," "White Collar" and "Sirens"

The debut of Denis Leary's "Sirens" will be after the return of "Suits" on March 6.

"Sesame Street" recreates "The Lord of the Rings" with Cookie Monster

It's "The Lord of the Crumbs."

Tim Meadows is ticked off "SNL" did "Bill Brasky" without him

"Sorry 'The Ladies Man' bombed…if it would have done better they wouldn't treat me like a red headed step child," Meadows wrote on Facebook, adding, "I will never watch SNL again" and "F*ck them." Later, he posted, "I feel better and after a Mimosa I take back everything I said before!"

Check out Seth Meyers' 1st "Late Night" poster

The poster announces a 12:35 start time on Feb. 24, though Fallon's "Late Night" currently airs at 12:36 AM.

"Homeland's" Brody storyline would've been better if it wasn't so rushed

Last night's developments would've been better off if it was spread over several episodes. PLUS: This episode proved "Homeland" didn't jump the shark, what's up with all the CIA incompetence?, and there was too much absurdity in this episode.

"Doctor Who's" next season won't be split in half
Steven Moffat says Series 8 will air as one complete run.

ESPN asks its on-air personalities to stop saying "sucks"

"This word is simply not appropriate for ESPN," says a memo to the staff.

New Yorker editor joins NBC's Winter Olympics coverage

David Remnick, an expert on Russia who served as The Washington Post's Moscow bureau chief, will lend his expertise on Russian politics.

"Murphy Brown" cast will reunite on "Katie"

Candice Bergen, Faith Ford and more will mark the 25th anniversary on Friday's show.

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<p>James McAvoy in &quot;Filth.&quot;</p>

James McAvoy in "Filth."

Credit: A24

'Philomena' shut out as UK Oscar entry 'Metro Manila' surprises at BIFA Awards

James McAvoy takes a deserved win for Best Actor

The British Independent Film Awards -- effectively the UK industry's answer to the Spirits -- are an unpredictable institution. Some years they reward very much the films they're expected to reward ("The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" both took a clutch of awards here), and some years they live up to the "independent" part of their name and go wildly off-script. (A memorable example: nominated for "The Queen," Helen Mirren lost to Kate Dickie in "Red Road.") It all depends on the whims of the jury, and this year's group was clearly feeling rebellious.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: Does Kandi need to pick a side?

Did Phaedra forgive Apollo too easily?

Boy, life is never boring in Atlanta, is it? Porsha's suffering from the pretty faints, Cynthia and her ex Leon are debating whether or not to lie to their daughter Noelle about sex or just stick her in a cage until she turns 30, and Kandi's mother is throwing punches in a wedding parlor. That's not even getting to Kenya sobbing in a restaurant. 

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<p>Dana Delany and Marg Helgenberger in &quot;China Beach.&quot;</p>

Dana Delany and Marg Helgenberger in "China Beach."

Credit: ABC

Review: Reflections of 'China Beach' on DVD

The 25-year-old Vietnam War series holds up well in the golden age of drama

December is Top 10 season for TV critics, as we look back on the past year to figure out the best (and sometimes) worst shows we saw. 2013 was an extraordinarily deep year in television, one where I could have easily cooked up 3 or 4 different lists without having a dud among them. Yet as I whittled my list (which you'll see next week) down to 10, I had to keep fighting the temptation to find a very high ranking for a 25-year-old TV show: "China Beach," the Vietnam War drama which finally arrived on DVD earlier this year.

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Carrie Underwood on her 'Sound of Music' critics: 'Mean people need Jesus'

Carrie Underwood on her "Sound of Music" critics: "Mean people need Jesus"

"Glory to God tonight...I couldn't be more proud," the former "Idol" winner tweeted. "What a tough thing to pull off and we did it! I am so blessed!!!"

"Teen Mom 3" canceled?
Several of the MTV show's stars say on social media that "Teen Mom 3" is over.

"Family Guy's" opening credits replaces Brian Griffin with Vinny
Tony Sirico's doggie character is now getting top billing.

Peter Berg confirms: There won't be a "Friday Night Lights" movie
"There’s not gonna be a movie," he tells Collider. "We talked about it, some people thought it was a good idea, some didn't; I've come to believe it's probably not a good idea and I seriously doubt it's gonna happen."

Watch a preview of Bob Barker's 90th birthday "Price is Right" celebration
This is Pet Adoption Week, which ends with a special visit by Barker.

Paul Rudd and One Direction help "SNL' ratings rebound
Rudd was up 20% over the Josh Hutcherson episode. PLUS: Kristen Wiig returns as "SNL" makes fun of "The Sound of Music Live."

"Game of Thrones" video game coming next year
"We'll be taking advantage of all the fiction to make something great," says the CEO of Telltale Games. "We're just really getting into it right now and thinking about characters -- who has the most at stake, who has the biggest impact on the world."

BBC releases "Sherlock" Season 3 trailer
It's an interactive trailer, featuring unique onscreen messages.

Susan Boyle diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome
The "Britain's Got Talent" star learned of her Asperger's a year ago, and says she couldn't be more "relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself."

"Downton Abbey" unveils its Christmas trailer
Love letters, disagreements and royal balls at Buckingham Palace.

Meredith Baxter weds her longtime girlfriend
The former "Family Ties" star tied the knot Sunday with contractor Nancy Locke.

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<p>&quot;American Hustle&quot;</p>

"American Hustle"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Roundup: 'American Hustle' ensemble gets Palm Springs honor

Also: MacLaine's Kennedy Center honors, and the Coens' failure fixation
I'm interested to see how it shakes out, awards-wise, for ensemble of "American Hustle," one of the most integrated and evenly weighted in any of this year's heavyweight contenders. Jennifer Lawrence appears to have nailed down a Supporting Actress spot for her sensational turn, but I'd like to see Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper start picking up equivalent momentum, while Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner and even Robert De Niro all contribute to the electricity. At any rate, it's one case where ensemble honors seem justified and not merely a veiled award for the film as a whole. So it is that "Hustle" will receive the Ensemble Performance Award at the Palm Springs fest, which has already announced acting honors for Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern and Julia Roberts. [PSIFF
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<p>Nicole struggles with a robot in Tokyo</p>

Nicole struggles with a robot in Tokyo

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' Finale - 'Amazing 'Crazy' Race'

Should dropping flour from a plane be worth a million bucks?
It's odd that an "Amazing Race" season that began with some people, myself included, suggesting this could be the most blandly likable assortment of contestants in Race history ended with a two-hour finale that left me, and a few other people if Twitter is any barometer, searching desperately for anybody to root for. 
It was a deserving Final 4, but it was also a Final 4 that people seemed to approach in the conditional tense.
"I could like Jason & Amy *if* Jason were a bit more memorable and a bit less macho."
"I could like Travis & Nicole *if* Travis weren't so sanctimonious and condescending when Nicole struggles."
"I could like Tim & Marie *if* Marie were somebody else."
"I often like teams like Leo & Jamal and I think I could like them *if* they were completely different."
I've seen desires for a Tim & Amy super-team pop up in comment sections and on Twitter and I think I would agree that that would be a more appealing matchup, but even before Sunday's (December 8) finale made it explicit, I already had a hunch that without Marie, Tim's chances of having any interest in doing "The Amazing Race" would be nil. Without Marie, there is no Tim on this show and it's possible that a goodly portion of what we all liked about Tim was his attitude in the face of Marie anyway.
I'm not sure that I've ever gone into an "Amazing Race" finale with so little rooting interest, so in lieu of wanting any one team to win, I quickly found myself just wanting the team that won to be deserving, to perform in such a way that I could go, "OK. I can buy that after 12 Legs, this was the pair that earned the million bucks.
Full recap after the break...
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<p>&quot;Gravity&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Her&quot;&nbsp;provided Warner Bros. with a surprisingly potent LAFCA haul.</p>

"Gravity" and "Her" provided Warner Bros. with a surprisingly potent LAFCA haul.

Contender Countdown: 'Gravity' and 'Her' rise in the race

Not the best week for '12 Years A Slave'

What a week. We knew that the end of year honors from the nation's preeminent critics groups would send a ripple through the best picture race. We didn't know it would send a shockwave.

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<p>Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in &quot;Masters of Sex.&quot;</p>

Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in "Masters of Sex."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Phallic Victories'

Bill struggles in Virginia's absence, while Dr. DePaul thrives in her presence

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I tell you how many pap smears can be administered for $7...

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<p>Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Homeland' - 'Big Man in Tehran'

Brody's mission takes an unexpected turn

A quick review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I ask if that's a head scarf you're wearing...

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