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New contender for worst sitcom title ever

COUGAR-TOWN

The hallowed list of worst network sitcom titles ever might have a new contender: NBC is developing a comedy titled #Winning. And if that name makes you wince, check out the dozen or so other famously bad sitcom titles below that are arguably worse.

The NBC project is inspired by an apparently true story where a trio of friends learned that their “suddenly famous pal broke up with their entire friend group via a form letter, leaving them more determined than ever to ‘win’ at life.”

Setting the concept aside, let’s take on that title (which could changethis project is only at the script stage and might not even make it to air). READ FULL STORY

'True Detective' confirms 3 more cast members

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HBO is announcing some more cast members for True Detective season two.

The network has finally officially confirmed that Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and Kelly Reilly (Black Box) have joined as female leads, along with Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor) in a major role.

Here are the official descriptions: READ FULL STORY

Who is going to die on 'The Walking Dead' midseason finale?

Will someone die on Sunday’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead? It could go either way. Last season, both Hershel and the Governor met their ends at the halfway point. So did Sophia in the Barnageddon massacre that closed the first half of season 2. However, season 3’s eighth episode featured no major character deaths (sorry, not counting Oscar or Zombie Penny), so there is no guarantee that someone will be biting the dust on Sunday. But let’s play the timeless game of “What if…?” to try and determine who might be the one to go should somebody not make it to 2015. READ FULL STORY

Watch an exclusive clip of Lucy Lawless guest-starring on 'Adventure Time'

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Xena fans rejoice! The hit Cartoon Network series Adventure Time celebrates Thanksgiving this week with four new episodes—and on Friday, the animated show will feature guest voice Lucy Lawless. Lawless plays the militaristic Queen of the Ants, who drafts Finn into the never-ending battle between ants, worms, and flies. Somehow, this all has something to do with dental care. READ FULL STORY

HBO planning Alex Gibney doc on Scientology

Academy Award winner Alex Gibney is directing a documentary about Scientology and Hollywood for HBO, EW has confirmed.  READ FULL STORY

American Music Awards ratings down despite all the booty

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The 2014 American Music Awards delivered a big audience against heavy football competition Sunday night. Yet the awards were still down in the ratings from last year (despite all the booty).

The AMAs had 11.6 million viewers and a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49, slumping 16 percent from 2013.

As for what actually happened during the show, EW has you covered: Here’s our grading of the performances, complete winners list, and fashion gallery.

ABC cancels John Stamos' 'Members Only' drama before premiere

Despite some of the promising names attached to the project and its straight-to-series pickup, midseason drama Members Only has been canceled by ABC before its premiere, EW has confirmed. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

READ FULL STORY

'Constantine' production halted by NBC

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John Constantine might not go to hell, but he’s headed straight to broadcast TV purgatory.

NBC has decided to halt production on Friday night’s Constantine, capping the series at its initial order of 13 episodes. READ FULL STORY

'The Mentalist' scoop: Eighth season 'possible' but CBS finale will have closure

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With CBS’ The Mentalist entering its seventh and final season, we spoke to series creator Bruno Heller about what fans expect now that crime-solvers Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) are officially an item, if there’s a wedding in their future, whether the CBS finale will have a true ending, and the odds of the popular detective series having an eighth season afterlife on another network.

EW: In broad strokes, what’s unique about the final season?
BRUNO HELLER: From a professional point of view, we got a chance that’s rarely given in this business to really end the story, to tell the story exactly as we wanted to do, and give you the coda, the happily-ever-after chapter. It was a great move and suggestion on the part of [Warner Bros. TV chief Peter Roth] to end the Red John story [last season] and move on to life after that. What’s different and fun about this season is it’s the same characters, but with life ahead of them—with options, possibilities and joy in their lives. It’s the same Mentalist, but with more sunshine peeping through.

How long after the last scene of the finale does the story pick up?
Couple weeks. READ FULL STORY

'AHS' star Alexander Dreymon joins cast of BBC America's 'The Last Kingdom'

As BBC America’s The Last Kingdom begins filming, the ensemble cast that will be populating 9th-century Britain has been announced.

READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead' star Seth Gilliam reveals where Father Gabriel is going

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only after watching Sunday’s “Crossed” episode of the The Walking Dead.] READ FULL STORY

Stephen Merchant answers burning questions about 'Hello Ladies: The Movie'

Spoiler alert: Stephen Merchant wrapped up his one-season wonder Hello Ladies with a movie Nov. 22 on HBO. His character, Stuart, finally learned to appreciate his real friends (as opposed to men who could get him closer to models) and ended up with his roommate, Jessica (Christine Woods). Merchant answered a few of our burning questions about the movie’s most memorable scenes:

EW: How did you get Nicole Kidman to cameo as herself, someone who Stuart claims he dated to impress his ex?
Merchant: How did we get Kidders involved? Nicky K, as I call her. I actually did a standup show in New York City some time ago, and I’d heard that she’d been in the audience. I don’t know if she paid for tickets. I suspect she got them for free, which annoys me. But yes, I discovered that she had come to the show, and I suspected maybe that meant she was a fan, and so I asked her if she would take part, and she very graciously did. As we were writing, it just seemed right to us that if you’re going to try and impress people in LA, you’re going to do it by pretending to be associated with a celebrity. She just seemed like the perfect choice. She was more than happy to improvise and play around and let me say whatever. Her husband came along to the shoot. I’m making these cracks about having been in a relationship with her, and he’s there behind the monitor laughing. So that was good. I was anxious to see in case he thought I was being disrespectful. They seem to be fans of the show. In a way, I always feel a bit bad when we take very talented actors and don’t give them great work to do, we give them silly things to do. She’s got this natural dignity that’s always lovely to play against in these things.

The bedroom scene between Stuart and Jessica is so hilarious. How did you approach it?
We were determined to try and make one of the funniest sex scenes we could. There’s something inherently comic about sex, I think. As soon as you stop and just consider what you’re doing [Laughs] it’s quite a bizarre thing. There’s two people, things are going into other others. We wanted to have fun with that. So it was scripted, but then we started improvising. One of my other producers said, “Why don’t you start dirty talking?” Lines just came out of nowhere. I was like, “I’m gonna take the penis, mine, and flap it against your leg…” That would just set us going, obviously, for hours. The sex scene took up all morning because we were just doing so many different versions of it: Versions where we were arguing, versions where we were having fun together. Because there’s just two of you and you’re in very tight proximity, as soon as someone laughs, you have to start again because you can’t cut around that. We had lots of other stuff we couldn’t fit in. She says that the condoms have expired, and I’m like, “They’re not milk. They don’t expire, surely.” We basically pulled together all of our experiences of sex over the years and sort of put it all together.

Stuart and Jessica get together in the end. But if you had an extra season, or a few extra seasons, how would it have unfolded?
I think we certainly had the idea that they would at some point get together. Whether or not that relationship would last would remain to be seen, but certainly at some point we would bring them together. People will often say things like oh well, it was so inevitable, but I think equally, you’re very dissatisfied if two characters who have a good rapport and chemistry don’t try at all. I think Christine and I have a very good chemistry on screen and a very easygoing rapport. It was fun for us to play that stuff. We weren’t going to rush to that conclusion if we had done more seasons. We were going to have Stuart get into a relationship with someone other than her, and explore that, and see his anxiety about being with a girl who’s maybe out of his league and fearful of if she’s cheating on him—just the mechanics of him maintaining a relationship. We had these ideas, which we touched on in this movie, of Jessica having a sort of slightly premature mid-life crisis. Not quite knowing where she slots into the world. She’s given up acting, which is something I noticed a lot among my female friends, also some of my male friends, but particularly my female friends when I was in my early thirties. I noticed a few of them not yet settled down in a relationship, not necessarily wanting to define themselves with a relationship, but also unsettled in their careers, not quite knowing where they were heading, and sort of trying to figure it out, comparing themselves with their friends. She’s married with a kid. Should I be in that position? That girl is high-flying at her job. Should I be doing that? It just seemed like an interesting area of the modern sort of career crisis or life crisis that people have way earlier than perhaps they used to in the fifties.

Do you think they stay together?
Well, the thing about romantic comedies is they normally end just as things are getting fraught, right? The reality of a relationship is, yes, you can kiss in the rain, but then you’re soaking wet and you got to catch a cab or something, and you’re probably arguing over that. The toughness of a real relationship is the moment from after the kiss. My hope is that they’ll stay together, because they’ve already been through a lot together. They already know each other. As my character says, it’s not about bells ringing and birds singing, it’s more about percentages. In any relationship, the most you can hope for is that there’s a decent amount of percentage that you like the other person. I think he likes her, like, 82 percent of the time, and that’s good for him. But one of the great problems with romantic comedies now is that technology has made it very difficult. You think about all the great rom-coms where they run to stop the girl at the airport. Well now with the mobile phone, [mimes calling], “Don’t get on the plane. I love you. I’ll see you in a minute.” “All right.” It’s so undramatic. So technology has made it really, really difficult to be heartfelt and passionate.

You do a keg stand in the movie that goes horribly wrong because you are too tall. Has that happened to you in real life?
I’d never done an actual keg stand. We don’t have keg stands in England. That actually is a bit of a cheat. But funny enough in shooting that scene for the movie, I want to be known as the comedian who does his own stunts. Everyone always says, “Oh, Tom Cruise does his own stunts.” Yeah, fine, whatever. All right. But there’s not many comedians who do their own stunts anymore. This guy, he does. And so I was very determined to do that one. But there kept being technical problems, and so I did it about 12 times. And on about the sixth or seventh time, I missed the mat, and I slammed hard on my back, and I’ve not been the same since. So I’d like people to be aware of the effort and pain that I’ve been through to bring them entertainment.

The moment that is true, based on a real event, is when Wade catches his tie a light. You see in that flashback, he and I are hitting on some girls in the bar and his tie catches on fire. That was based on an incident that occurred when I was at university. I bought this new shirt. It was kind of a silky, red shirt. I thought, yeah, I’m looking pretty good. I went to a party. I was talking to this woman. It seemed to be going really well. I thought there was a vibe. She was laughing at my jokes. She said to me, “Hey, Stephen, you’re on fire!” And I said, “Thanks,” and she said, “No, you actually are on fire.” My sleeve had caught a light. I’m not at my sexiest when I’m rolling on the floor screaming, “Put it out! Put it out! For the love of God, put it out!” So we did a version of that in the show. People will say, no that would never happen, but it did.

What about Jessica’s awful yogurt commercial audition?
I didn’t have that exact experience, but I did a yogurt commercial back in England. It was the first and only time I’ve ever auditioned for a commercial. We had a whole bit that we didn’t have time in the show to do, but we wanted this whole thing where you see all these girls in the waiting area, and they look almost exactly like her. When you go to those commercial auditions, they want a particular type. So you sit there, and you’re with other people who look like you. You go in, and the people who audition you for those things take it really seriously because why not. They’re getting paid to do a good job. I went in there, and I seem to remember I had to be frightened by an imaginary thing. It’s a pretty humiliating experience because it’s sort of surreal. You go into an audition for a movie, and you go in with the script and you understand what those characters are. Often with commercials, they don’t tell you much about what it is. They’d hate for it to leak out because you know the world wants to know what’s going to be in the next yogurt commercial. You have to keep it top secret. I think it’s something that a lot of actors go through, particularly actors who haven’t quite broken through. It just seemed like the perfect way of being the final straw for her just to quit the business. They do treat you a little bit like a piece of meat because they don’t have much time, and they’re seeing 40 actors in an afternoon and they just have to get you through. It’s like a cattle call.

Was the yacht party as expensive to film as we’d think?
[Laughs] The boat scene was expensive. We had two days on this boat. Stuart is desperate to get on this yacht. He gets on this yacht, and there’s all these beautiful women. We were floating around in Marina del Rey, and it was very pleasant. And then we had to get a helicopter shot of the boat, and we couldn’t do that in the bay. We had to go out in the ocean. So as soon as you pass out of the harbor, the waves are like this [huge], and I’ve got all these models and actresses in high heels, and the waves are crashing, they’re coming over the sides, the ship is rocking, the girls are screaming. I’m like, I just need to get the shot. I’m like, [screams] “Just eat some oysters! Look sexy! Come on!” I thought there was gonna be a model mutiny. I thought it was gonna be like that scene in Captain Phillips. “I’m the captain now.” But it was gonna be like California models. “I am like totally the captain now.” I was really worried. But you know, that’s the thing, the money’s ticking away every second that you don’t get the shot. [Screams again] “I don’t care if you’re cold. Dance! That will warm you up!” “Oh, you might fall overboard? You’re in a swimsuit!”

Will Forte on guesting on 'The Simpsons' and bringing 'Last Man on Earth' to TV

Will Forte is having a pretty big week.

This Sunday, the Saturday Night Live alum will guest star on The Simpsons for the very first time as King Toot, owner of King Toot’s Music Store, which neighbors Moe’s Tavern. (To put it briefly: He and Moe don’t get along). Plus, the premiere date for his new show, Last Man on Earth, was just announced a few days back. Mark your calendars for March 1!

EW caught up with Forte—who was in the midst of shooting Last Man’s fourth episode—to talk about his upcoming works. What’s in store for you, fine readers? Talk of dealing with neighbors, bringing comedy to a solo performance, and shooting a flame thrower at a bunch of wigs (seriously — just read on). READ FULL STORY

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