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Bryan Fuller makes science fiction fun again with 'High Moon'

Tonight, Americans have the choice between watching Dancing with the StarsMonday Night Football, and … a SyFy movie with gay Russian spies on the moon. Curious? You’re not alone: SyFy executives thought the same thing of Bryan Fuller’s newest creation, High Moon. For four years, Fuller and the channel entered into an on-again, off-again relationship. At first it was a pilot, then a miniseries, then back to a pilot, then back to… you get the idea.

“[B]ecause of how strange the development process was at the network, I don’t think anybody was surprised [that it wasn't made into a series],” Fuller said. “Right before we were ordered, the highest guy at the network told us he didn’t think this was science fiction. So we were like, ‘OK, this is gonna be interesting.’ [laughs] I think the bigger issue with them was just the tone because it was fun…and science fiction for them has to be serious because they need to be taken seriously as a network.” (SyFy declined to comment.)

In the end, Fuller and the network settled on a TV movie that airs Monday night at 9 p.m ET.  READ FULL STORY

'Z Nation' ratings tie 'Walking Dead' (if you move the decimal point)

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Z Nation ratings came in much, much lower than that other zombie drama’s average — as of course you would expect. But how can we compare Syfy’s new walker zombie drama Z Nation to its most obvious inspiration?

Z Nation debuted to 1.6 million for its Friday night premiere, which is fairly low wattage for a Syfy drama series. But Syfy points out this is a record premiere number for an acquired show produced by an outside part (Sharkado production company The Asylum made Z Nation). The network further noted more viewers watched Z Nation than the most recent telecasts of The Leftovers on HBO, Teen Wolf on MTV and Doctor Who on BBCA — so there.

But let’s look up that dizzying comparison to AMC’s mega-hit The Walking Dead anyway. It’s interesting that Z Nation pulled 1.6 million viewers because that’s the same as The Walking Dead‘s fourth season fall premiere — if you move the decimal point over a notch (16 million viewers). The 2010 series premiere of Walking Dead delivered 5.4 million viewers.

There was one place that Z Nation was an unqualified hit, however: BitTorrent! The show reportedly strongly surged in online pirating after its premiere.

'A Different World' cast reunites for 'Oprah: Where Are They Now?'

In 1987, A Different World debuted as simply a Cosby Show spinoff. But by 1991, the show starring Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Hardison had surpassed Cosby in the ratings and earned an EW cover story touting it as “an ensemble comedy about black college life that’s brightly acted, politically and socially attuned, idiosyncratic, and yes, even funny.”

The cast members are reuniting for the Oct. 26 episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?, which returns with new installments on Oct. 5. Watch a sneak peek below, in which they talk about inspiring a generation to attend college and fondly recall how creator Bill Cosby ends conversations. READ FULL STORY

'CSI: Cyber' casts Luke Perry

CSI: Cyber is gathering the best of the ’90s and early 2000s, all in one place.

Fresh off the casting news of Shad Moss (a.k.a. Bow Wow) and James Van Der Beek, EW has confirmed that Luke Perry will be joining the CSI spin-off as former FBI agent Nick Dalton. According to TV Line, Dalton was supposed to be the head of the cyber crime division, a job that subsequently went to the show’s central character, Special Agent Avery Ryan (Patricia Arquette).

The show began as a backdoor pilot in April on the original CSI that focused on Arquette’s Ryan, who travels to Las Vegas to investigate a blackmailing hacker on social media.

CSI: Cyber is set to debut midseason on CBS.

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst on importing other reality stars

Something weird happened last year on Survivor. A contestant from another CBS reality show appeared on the program. Previously, CBS had imported stars from Survivor and Big Brother onto The Amazing Race. And it also cast Willie Hantz — brother of Survivor’s Russell and uncle of Survivor’s Brandon — on Big Brother. But Survivor — which is still considered the granddaddy and gold star of reality television, even if it doesn’t have the Emmy awards (or nominations, for that matter) to prove it — had never accepted sloppy seconds from another CBS show.

That all changed when Big Brother 12 champion Hayden Moss showed up on Survivor: Blood vs. Water. But that casting at least made a little sense. Hayden had actually originally auditioned for Survivor instead of Big Brother, and the fact that he was dating Survivor contestant Kat Edorsson allowed him to tag along as her loved one for that Blood vs. Water season. But would that be an isolated incident?

The answer is no. For the second Blood vs. Water go round on Survivor: San Juan del Sur (premiering Sept. 24 on CBS), the show has now gone and imported an Amazing Race duo: twins Nadiya and Natalie Anderson. The “Twinnies” — who appeared on seasons 21 and 24 of Race — are a love it or loathe it duo for fans, and I was curious as to Probst’s thoughts on bringing aboard more contestants from another show. I spoke with the host out on location in Nicaragua on day one of filming to ask him about it, and now you can see his response in the video player below. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' star Theo Rossi says it's 'total chaos and full survival mode' coming up for Juice

Ever since he turned on the club back in season 4, Juice Ortiz has been the Sons of Anarchy character you love to hate. Or is it hate to love? Or is it both? Because while Juice is a man that has made some downright terrible decisions as a member of SAMCRO, he also seems like a good guy deep down. As a result, viewers have been left to alternate between wanting to see Juice pay for his sins (like killing a fellow Son) and hoping he can get a fresh start. Theo Rossi, the man who plays Juice, loves hearing the back and forth fans feels about the character, because at least they are feeling. “I believe any character you play on anything…as long as you feel something,” said Rossi when he called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105). As long as you love or you hate.” Rossi also discussed much more and now you can hear the entire chat right here on the InsideTV Podcast. READ FULL STORY

Ben McKenzie previews the 'swift and brutal' world of 'Gotham'

In today’s world of comic-book remakes, it’s rare that an actor gets to portray multiple characters within any given universe. It’s even more rare that an actor gets to take part in a story that hasn’t been told before. But Ben McKenzie has done both.

In 2011, McKenzie got the chance to voice an animated Bruce Wayne in Batman: Year One, and three years later, he’s playing a young James Gordon in Fox’s upcoming series, Gotham. And despite the fact that Gotham is a prequel and therefore telling a new story, McKenzie is very aware of the “high bar” that exists for his character. But thankfully, McKenzie wasn’t asked to do what Gary Oldman did in Christopher Nolan’s films or what Bryan Cranston did in Year One. Instead, when McKenzie went to lunch with DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns, they talked about McKenzie’s responsibility to the character, part of which was making Gordon “fresh.” So the next question was: How does one do that? READ FULL STORY

Mike O'Brien will not return as an 'SNL' player this season

As Saturday Night Live adds comedian Pete Davidson to its lineup, news has also emerged that another player will not be returning—at least in front of the camera.

EW can confirm that Mike O’Brien, an SNL writer since 2009 who made his debut as a featured player last year, will no longer be in the series’ cast. Deadline first reported the news. O’Brien will still be a writer on the show.

O’Brien had a following before his onscreen SNL debut, thanks to his web series “7 Minutes in Heaven,” in which he interviewed celebrities like Amy Poehler and Jon Hamm inside of a closet.

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VH1 renews 'Dating Naked'

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Strip off your clothes and celebrate: VH1 has ordered a second season of Dating Naked, EW has learned exclusively.
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Pete Davidson added to 'Saturday Night Live' as featured player

Saturday Night Live has a new featured player: It’s Pete Davidson, a New York comedian who’s been featured on MTV’s Guy Code and on Adam DeVine’s House Party, a Comedy Central sitcom that includes stand-up sets.

Davidson has also appeared on the FOX comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine in a guest role. In April, he did a stand-up set on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he revealed that he’s only 20 years old: “I just dropped out of college,” Davidson said. “That’s my big move this year.” READ FULL STORY

Ken Burns' weeklong docuseries 'The Roosevelts' premieres on PBS

“It’s Shakespeare,” historian George Will says in the opening minutes of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, “to have a single family in which human flaws and virtues are on such vivid display—and the constant struggle between those vices and those virtues to try to do good and fulfill one’s duty.”

In his new PBS series, Ken Burns doesn’t need to embellish history to evoke Shakespeare—only poetically document it. The Roosevelts, then, is not just a fascinating account of one of the most sociopolitically influential families in U.S. history—but a testament to the truth of how pain and hardship can shape a person into an American hero. “All the Roosevelts were wounded people with something to overcome,” explains historian Geoffrey C. Ward.

Tonight’s episode, “Get Action,” which kicks off the weeklong event, stars mostly Theodore, telling the improbable story of how a sick and fearful little boy overcame his weaknesses and grew into the robust, fearless man who would become the youngest president in American history. READ FULL STORY

Cecily Strong is happy for her 'Weekend Update' replacement. Really

On Tuesday, news broke that comedian Michael Che, formerly of The Daily Show, will be replacing Cecily Strong as co-anchor of Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update. For a few days, Strong stayed silent about the decision before taking to Instagram to share her thoughts.

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