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Patrick Stewart on 'Star Trek: TNG,' returning to 'X-Men,' and Wil Wheaton's beard

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The Blu-ray edition of season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation — available starting today — includes an extended cut of one of the show’s earliest top tier episodes: “The Measure of a Man,” in which Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) defends Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner), an android, and his rights as a sentient being.

The trial gave Stewart a chance to show off his Shakespearean chops with a series of stirring speeches about the nature of free will and self-awareness — Star Trek: The Next Generation at its most challenging and thought provoking. So we couldn’t resist the chance to speak with the 72-year-old actor about that episode, as well as what the 25th anniversary celebrations of the show have been like. We also asked Stewart about his recently announced return to the X-Men franchise, and his answer was quite surprising to say the least. Check out our conversation below:  READ FULL STORY

Carrie Underwood to play Maria in NBC's 'The Sound of Music'

The hills are alive… with a new version of The Sound of Music.

Grammy winner Carrie Underwood will star as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s broadcast of the original stage version of The Sound of Music, the network announced today. An air date has not been set for the three-hour live event, but it will be broadcast sometime during the holidays in 2013. READ FULL STORY

12 must-see holiday TV specials: Your viewing guide for the season

Image Credit: TBS

What’s the official mark of the beginning of the holiday season? Nope, it’s not the sound of “Jingle Bells” on the radio or the sight of wreaths and twinkle lights on storefronts, but holiday specials on the tube. From classic movies like It’s a Wonderful Life to Wednesday’s Saturday Night Live Christmas show, the programming options are endless. So whip out that eggnog-flavored popcorn (did we just invent that?) and enjoy the festivities.

Here are our picks for the 12 specials you won’t want to miss (check the schedule on the following pages for additional showtimes): READ FULL STORY

Scarlett Johansson talks about the weather on 'Today' -- VIDEO

Scarlett Johansson’s normal neck of the woods may be Hollywood, but the star must have been looking to try something new when she was in New York City.

The actress stopped by the Today show this morning to promote her new film Hitchcock, but the talk soon turned to the weather. After learning that Al Roker was suffering from laryngitis, Johansson volunteered to take the reins. “I have a lot of experience with weather, yes,” Johansson said when questioned by Matt Lauer if she was ready for the job. “This is my dream come true.”

Later, Johansson joined the co-hosts on the plaza and the consummate performer delivered the weather forecast complete with gestures to a map (even if her locations were a little bit off!) and ended her debut as a weatherwoman with a jazz-hand pose and a kick.

Watch below: READ FULL STORY

Thanksgiving day TV marathons to be thankful for: Your viewing guide

Image Credit: Everett Collection

There’s not much you can do when that inevitable turkey coma sets in today so instead of fighting those couch potato urges, indulge in some Thanksgiving TV. Fortunately, there are plenty of TV marathons to be thankful for this year. Whether you’re craving something manly, in a nostalgic state of mind, or schadenfreude is the name of the game, there’s something to feast your eyes on. READ FULL STORY

Mads Mikkelsen on playing 'Hannibal' in upcoming NBC series; Anna Chlumsky to guest star in one episode

With his broad, Nordic-handsome face, Mads Mikkelsen is considered one of Denmark’s sexiest actors, but fans in the U.S. mainly know him as the scarred villain in 2006 Bond flick Casino Royale. He’s primed to make another lasting impression next year as a complicated baddie in the upcoming Bryan Fuller-created NBC series Hannibal, filming now in Toronto, starring as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the psychiatrist-cannibal made famous by Anthony Hopkins in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs.

READ FULL STORY

Oliver Stone on his new Showtime documentary series 'Untold History of the United States'

Oliver Stone has more than tackled — he’s practically smothered himself — in controversial politics on film, from directing 1986’s Vietnam classic Platoon to features about presidents (Nixon, JFK, W.) to Wall Street, its sequel, multiple documentaries on Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and beyond. So when Stone told journalists at a small press dinner EW attended on Monday night celebrating next week’s Blu-ray release of his latest film Savages about his upcoming Showtime documentary series Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, he sounded uncharacteristically nervous.

He’s worked on the ten-episode TV series — which premieres its first episode next Monday, Nov. 12 — since February 2008, for four and a half years.

“You can understand, I’m a little bit on edge,” said Stone. “I’ve delivered seven episodes, but eight’s almost done, and nine and ten are still in the process. When you see one hour, you’ll understand the work that goes into it. It’s like ten movies.”

The episodes delve into what Stone sees an under-reported events throughout the 20th century, from the bombing of Japan during World War II to the fall of Communism. He worked with Peter Kuznick, a history professor at American University.

“It started as an atomic bomb movie, because I was born in that age,” Stone said. “We thought it would make a great film, but it would also make a great documentary. … Because of Bush, it was 2008, and I was so upset with the nightmare our country was going through. I decided to expand it to understand George Bush, and how he could get away with this. As crooked as the 2000 election was, with the 2004 election, ‘How could we vote the guy into office for what he’s done?'”

A passion project, the series was a long, twisty road, diverging him from movies.

“It detoured me from my film career,” Stone acknowledged. “I could have done five movies in those years instead of three. But I’ll be back, I hope.”

Read more:
Oliver Stone on Obama: ‘I hope he wins’

Ricky Gervais 'hands over the reins' to Tina Fey, Amy Poehler as Golden Globe co-hosts -- EXCLUSIVE

Ricky Gervais may have scared the pants off of A-listers as the snarky, saucy host of the Golden Globe Awards for the past three years, but he good-naturedly said Tuesday he decided to pass the baton to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as co-hosts of next year’s Golden Globes.

In pure Gervais style, of course, he threw some pointed barbs in.

“Good luck to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes. After failing three years in a row to make E! Channel’s Best Dressed list, I decided to hand over the reins,” said Gervais in an exclusive statement to EW. “Let me know if you run out of Scientology gags.” READ FULL STORY

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler to host Golden Globes

No more Ricky Gervais: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. The duo will anchor NBC’s live coverage of the program on Jan. 13 from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

Fey and Poehler co-starred together in the films Mean Girls and Baby Mama, plus worked with each other for years on Saturday Night Live, including a stretch as co-anchors of Weekend Update (2004-06). Now both are stars on NBC’s Thursday night comedy block (with Fey on 30 Rock and Poehler on Parks & Recreation). The announcement makes total sense for NBC, both in terms of finding a pair with natural comedic chemistry and in terms of promoting its shows.

Gervais hosted the event the past three years, drawing some criticism for his jokes being supposedly too harsh the first couple times, and then too soft during his third round. Gervais managed to keep the show’s ratings relatively stable across all three telecasts, hovering just under 17 million viewers. The announcement comes on the heels of ABC tapping Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to host the Oscars next year.  READ FULL STORY

Eddie Murphy, 'Shield' creator Shawn Ryan turning 'Beverly Hills Cop' into TV series

Paging Axel Foley! Eddie Murphy’s popular 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop (not to mention its two sequels) is coming to a small screen near you. EW has confirmed that a series based on the film is being developed by The Shield creator Shawn Ryan and produced by Murphy.

Murphy will both produce the show and have an on-screen role. He was also a producer on the original three Beverly Hills Cop films.

While Murphy said a fourth Beverly Hills Cop film wouldn’t happen in a Rolling Stone interview last year, he promoted the idea of creating a TV show based on the film. There are few details confirmed about the upcoming production, but Murphy told Rolling Stone in October 2011 his concept for a Beverly Hills Cop show: “What I’m trying to do with Beverly Hills Cop now is produce a TV show starring Axel Foley’s son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit. I’d do the pilot, show up here and there.”

Vulture first reported the news.

- James Hibberd contributed to this report.

Phyllis Diller dies at 95

Comedian, actress, artist, and author Phyllis Diller died Monday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 95.

“She was a true pioneer,” Diller’s longtime agent Fred Wostbrock told EW. “She was the first lady of stand up comedy. She paved the way for everybody. And she conquered television, movies, Broadway, record albums, nightclubs, books, and radio. She did it all. A true pioneer.”

The housewife-turned-advertising copywriter and mother of  six got her big showbiz break in 1955 at the age of 37 when the owner of San  Francisco’s now-defunct Purple Onion nightclub gave her a substitute stand-up  spot one night. “When I went on, the room went totally quiet and I knew that I  had this magnetic thing that you had to be born with,” Diller told EW in 2005.  “You can’t buy it or even learn it.” Diller’s shtick — often revolving around  her pathetic fictional husband “Fang” and her less-than-gorgeous looks (“I love  to go to the doctor. Where else would a man look at me and say, ‘Take off your  clothes?'”) — quickly made her famous. She became a legend to generations of  female comics (“To a lot of us she was better than Bob Hope,” Roseanne Barr told  EW).

READ FULL STORY

CBS to air 'Dark Knight Rises' tragedy special

CBS has scheduled a prime-time news special in the wake of the tragic movie theater shooting in Colorado.

The network will air 48 Hours: Tragedy in Aurora tonight at 8 p.m. The special will cover the massacre at last night’s midnight showing of Dark Knight Rises. Of course, the murders are also currently receiving extensive coverage on cable news networks like CNN and Fox News.

Read more:
‘Gangster Squad’ trailer pulled over theater-shooting scene
Aurora police chief on ‘Dark Knight Rises’ shooting suspect: ‘We are confident he acted alone’

'Simpsons': Maggie as Charlie Chaplin in 'Modern Times' -- PHOTO

Turns out, Maggie Simpson makes a rather charming silent film star. Seen here recreating an iconic image from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, the youngest member of the family will return the big screen today to star in The Simpsons‘ 3-D dialogue-free short The Longest Daycare, which will run before Ice Age: Continental Drift. In Daycare, Maggie goes back to the Ayn Rand School for Tots, where she is informed that her future is… “Nothing Special.” She does look pretty handy with a wrench in this promo photo, though. (Okay, someone get her down right now. This is dangerous.) READ FULL STORY

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