"True Blood" returns for its sixth season tonight, and as much as that's a cause for celebration there are still plenty of reasons to feel, at the very least, ill at ease. As everyone knows, creator Alan Ball has left the show (though he assures us it's in more than capable hands with replacement showrunner Mark Hudis). Cue ominous music here.
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One of the panels I moderated at WonderCon this year was for James Wan's new film "The Conjuring." It was a treat to have Lorraine Warren, one of the real-life inspirations for the film, and we spoke with her a bit after the panel. I got to meet several of the daughters of the family depicted in the film, and by the end of the day, I'd been able to have fascinating conversations with all of them.
Before I moderated the panel, they showed me the film so I could see what I'd be talking about. That's not always the case, but they seemed very confident that they had something special, and while I'm still not reviewing the film (we'll do that closer to release), I can tell you that I agree. I think Wan's getting better from film to film right now, and it's exciting to watch what he's doing. He has a knack for a particular type of haunted-house experience, and this is a particularly character-driven version of this type of film.
1. The Replacements: Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson will play their first shows together in 22 years this summer. Pleased to meet me, indeed.
2. Kanye West: The week before the release of “Yeezus,” he makes news in a New York Times profile as he compares himself to Steve Jobs. Look for the iWest coming to a store near you.
3. Cyndi Lauper: She becomes (incredibly) the first female composer to win a Tony for best musical, “Kinky Boots.” Girls just want to have fun.
4. The Beatles: Apple Corps, the Fab Four’s business arm, inks a deal with Universal’s Bravado for merchandising. It turns out love isn’t all you need. You also need a snug Baby Tee.
5. Apple: Apple bows its long-anticipated iTunes Radio internet radio service. Too little too late or is the timing just right?
6. Fleetwood Mac: They become the first act to ink a deal directly with Clear Channel for performance royalties from airplay on their “Extended Play” EP. Predict a landslide of acts to follow.
7. Queens of the Stone Age: The rockers totally rule the charts as new album “... Like Clockwork,” not only becomes the group’s first No. 1 on the Billboard 200, but receives universally strong reviews.
8. Robin Thicke: He scores the first No. 1 Hot 100 hit of his 10-year career with “Blurred Lines.” We’re sure the topless models in the video had nothing to do with the song’s success.
9. Pandora: BMI and ASCAP go gunning for the streaming music service in both the media and the courts demanding that it pay songwriters a fair and equitable royalty rate after Pandora craftily buys a small terrestrial radio station in an effort to lower its payments.
10. Bonnaroo: The Manchester, Tenn. festival holds another successful run, despite losing headliners Mumford & Sons (due to Ted Dwane’s scary blood clot) and Earl Sweatshirt to pneumonia. Jack Johnson steps in for M&S and DIIV for Sweatshirt.
Black Sabbath will land at its first No. 1 next week on the Billboard 200 with the lucky “13.” The title will be the only project to surpass 100,00 in sales, as the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted album is expected to sell up to 125,000 copies.
The other debuts in the Top 10 couldn’t be more different from the metal gods: Big Time Rush’s “24/Seven” will bow at No 3, Hans Zimmer’s “Man of Steel” soundtrack at No. 4 (when’s the last time we saw a composer in the top 10?), Goo Goo Dolls’ “Magnetic” at No. 6 and Lonely Island’s "The Wack Album" at No. 10, according to Hits Daily Double.
Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” continues to sell well to be at No. 2, with sales of up to 50,000. Darius Rucker’s former No. 1 country album, “True Believers” holds steady at No. 5, while this week’s No. 1, Queens of the Stone Age’s “Like Clockwork” drops to 7.
Country act Florida Georgia Line continues to “cruise” in the top 10, as “Here’s To The Good Times” looks good for No. 8 and Blake Shelton’s “Based on a True Story...” will be at No. 9.
Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” will likely fall out of the top 10 for the first time since its debut more than two months ago.
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
"Veronica Mars" movie adds Ryan Hansen
Hansen confirmed his involvement in a specially made YouTube video.
HBO's "Hard Knocks" to revisit the Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals last appeared on "Hard Knocks" in 2009, with Chad Johnson as that season's star.
Happy 40th birthday, Neil Patrick Harris!
The "Doogie Howser" teen icon is now in his 40s.
"Short Term 12" has played at SXSW, the Seattle Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Film Festival so far this year, and you'll get a chance to see it soon thanks to Cinedigm, who picked it up for distribution. I think they've got a very special movie on their hands, and the performances that are the beating heart of the film are revelatory, real announcements regarding actors I hope to see much more from in years to come.
Brie Larson has done very good work in several films so far, and in general, I'm impressed by the way she disappears into the films. She never seems to be the same person twice. I seriously haven't recognized her in about three films until I saw her name in the credits. But until "Short Term 12," I didn't really have any indication of how amazing she is. And she is. Amazing. I am fascinated by actors who have the ability to just lay themselves emotionally bare, raw and electric and wide open to get hurt again and again, and Larson's work here is all about pain and the way her character Grace protects it. The way she carries it around taking power from it but always struggling to keep it pushed down. She focuses on others so she never has to think about herself. She's good at reaching out to people and helping them. She just can't get out of her own way in real life. Grace is good for everyone but Grace.
I think it's safe to say that the film business is in a period of transition.
I think it's dangerous to pretend that anyone knows how that period of transition is going to resolve itself.
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made headlines this week when they spoke at USC as part of the grand opening of the new Interactive Media Building, which is part of USC's School of Cinematic Arts. I think the reason the quotes ended up getting the sort of traction they did in the press is because there's something irresistible about hearing two of the men responsible for the age of the modern blockbuster talk about how blockbusters are ruining Hollywood. There have been a wide range of reactions to the quotes online, but by far, the leading sentiment seems to be a sort of gloating over the idea that these guys are finally realizing what they've done to the industry.
It's an easy claim to make, but it's a hard one to actually back up. By now, it's almost just accepted as a given that "Star Wars" and "Jaws" created the system that exists today, but there's a world of difference between the films that launched Lucas and Spielberg to the top of the business and the films that show up in our theaters week after week right now, and trying to claim that these guys were the ones who lowered the bar does a disservice to the films they made and to the conversation that's worth having about the way decisions are made at the studio level today.
Why can't "The Voice" find a successful winner?
So far, Season 1 winner Javier Colon has sold fewer albums than William Hung and "American Idol's" least successful winner, Lee DeWyze.
Gordon Ramsay hit with a class action lawsuit from his restaurant employees
The Fox chef is accused of not paying employees minimum wage at an L.A. restaurant.
Olive Garden lends Jimmy Fallon its slogan: "When you're here, you're family"
"We reached out to Olive Garden and said, 'If you're not going to use that slogan any more, can we have it? and they said yes," says Fallon.
"Arrested Development" teams with New Yorker for Emmy ads
Check out the "Arrested" characters, illustrated in classic Al Hirschfeld style.
Ryan Seacrest isn't leaving "Idol" anytime soon
"Every day of my life for the last 12 -- almost 13 -- years," he says. "I've gotten up to either host 'Idol' or go on the auditions. So I'd like to do it as long as they'd like to have me."
John Oliver's "too good" a job on "The Daily Show" -- is it all about the writers?
Is Oliver diminishing what made Jon Stewart so special?
How the "Game of Thrones" creators wound up writing an "It's Always Sunny" episode
Rob McElhenney says he first became friends with D.B. Weiss, then David Benioff. "We probably hung out three or four times socially," says McElhenney. "And one night we went out to dinner and they said, 'Hey, we want to pitch you an episode of the show.'"
Tim Allen celebrates his 60th birthday
The "Last Man Standing" star was greeted last night with a marching band.
Watch the trailer for Showtime's "Masters of Sex"
Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan play famed sex researchers Masters and Johnson.
Dean Cain reacts to "Man of Steel"
The former "Lois & Clark" star was anxious to wear his old Superman costume.
"Bachelorette" star talks about his domestic violence arrest, denies punching ex in face
Brad McKinzie addressed his domestic violence charge, which was later dismissed, on this week's episode and her accusation that he punched her in the face. PLUS: Why Brandon cried, and watch "The Baby Bachelor" make his home visits.
1 year ago, "SNL's" Cecily Strong was babysitting and "just being poor"
She was also touring with Second City and working the box office at Improv Olympics when she got the chance to audition for Lorne Michaels. "I cried a lot," she says of the audition process. "I cry all the time. Ask anyone. But I was so excited to be so close. It was something I’d dreamed about."
Dean Norris: I can talk about the "Breaking Bad" ending with only 8 people
"I can't trust my wife with it," he says. PLUS: Meet "Breaking Bad's" composer.
Study: Cable TV helped bring down India's birth rate
Researchers studied rural villages in five Indian states, and found that once a village got cable TV, fertility declined within a year.
"Vampire Diaries" fans help track down Ian Somerhalder's Twitter hacker
The result was a civil conversation between Somerhalder and his hacker.
Giuliana Rancic delivers the E! News naked for Joan Rivers' 80th birthday
Rivers dared Rancic to host in the buff.
Why is "Mistresses" getting the flak that "Scandal" never gets?
After all, "Scandal" revolves around a mistress.
Alec Baldwin: "I don't necessarily want to be a cable channel prestige documentary host"
But the actor couldn't resist hosting Nat Geo's "Night of Exploration," which begins tonight.
Bobby Flay recalls cooking for Obama and China's president
"I made an All-American meal," the Food Network star says of the meal he cooked last Friday.
European fast food chain launches a Homer Simpson-themed menu
Check out the "Donut Burgers" and cheesy doughnuts at the restaurant Quick.
"Toddlers & Tiaras" mom is creating an energy drink for kids
Says pageant mom Tori Hensley: "A lot of studies show that caffeine reverses the effects of hyperactive children. Instead of medications and pills and nasty chemicals, why not give them caffeine?"
"Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke has become Britain's hottest young actress
The HBO role is one of Clarke's first acting gigs.
Before "The Bling Ring," there was E!'s "Pretty Wild"
The short-lived 2010 reality show features two of the celebrity burglars who portrayed in Sofia Coppola's new movie.
Dennis Rodman's "Vice" trip to North Korea airs, looking like propaganda
Tonight's episode makes North Korea seem silly, not scary.
IFC airing 3 "Three Stooges" marathons, complete with on-screen facts
The marathons, which begin Saturday, will come with facts from Mental Floss magazine.
"True Blood" is back for Season 6 -- and very naked
At this point, is nudity the only reason to watch the HBO series? PLUS: "True Blood's" showrunner previews Season 6, and does the new season get back on track?
Bear Grylls fan gets a bloody big tattoo
Said the reality star: "Now thats commitment!! (My mum would go mad!!)"
"Veep" creator: Real life is mirroring our show
"We wrote the series and recorded it some time ago," says Armando Iannucci, "and it's sort of strangely mirroring what's going on. So we've got debt discussions, and breakdowns, and shutdowns, and now we’re absorbed with a spy scandal."
TV stars reveal their fave shows
Plus, what their characters would be watching.
Jeff Garlin tells Judd Apatow about losing his virginity to a heckler
"I was 20," the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star says in his newest podcast. "She was 30 and a lawyer." They did it on the beach, he recalls, and a bum stole his clothes.
"Magic City" returns, still one of TV's best-looking shows
The 1959 Miami Beach-set Starz series may not get the acclaim of "Mad Men," but its writing is "perfectly fine" and its setting is "thoroughly transporting," says Matthew Gilbert. PLUS: Kelly Lynch and Danny Huston on Season 2.
Presenting The Hottest TV Dads of All Time
In honor of Father's Day.
For sale: "Suits" body wash, cufflinks
The USA show is steaming with Birchbox for "Suits"-themed products.
"Kimmy Gibler" from "Full House" has been posting old pics on Instagram
Check out Andrea Barber hanging out with her castmates in real life in 1989.
"Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham got D-cup breast implants
It's her 4th plastic surgery in three years.
Melinda Newman's been traveling all over the place, so this week I had a chance to interview a kick ass singer (and TV fan) Jenna Syde of Jenna Syde and the Watchers. If you haven't heard of her, she's an L.A. icon with great pipes -- and CulturePop is the first to broadcast the band's latest single, "Love Doll," from the new EP, "Pretty In Plastic." Hear it here first.
Plus, we talked about all of Jenna's favorite TV shows, including "Game of Thrones," "True Blood," and "Dexter" -- which you might recognize as the inspiration for the band's EP cover. But click through, because you'll want to see the band's entirely-shot-in-a-strip-club video. Yeah, that. Anyway, here's the rundown:
"Mad Men's" Matthew Weiner: "No one's going to die...this season"
"Thank God!" said Jessica Pare in response to learning that Megan Draper isn't being killed off. "It's just not part of the show. No one's going to die," says Weiner, adding "This season... I didn't say never!"
George Wendt to have a "Cheers" reunion with Kirstie Alley and Rhea Perlman
He's guesting on TV Land's "Kirstie."
Krysten Ritter will be back for the "Veronica Mars" movie
"I'm thrilled to be reprising my role of Gia Goodman in the Veronica Mars movie!!!" says Ritter. "It's gonna be very juicy Marshmallows!!!!!"