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'Mad Men,' 'Modern Family' pick up WGA Awards

AMC

Mad Men and Modern Family were big winners at the Writers Guild of America Awards tonight — the two series picked up trophies for Drama and Comedy Series categories, respectively. Mad Men also picked up an award for its “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” episode. (No doubt this acclaim only reminds Mad Men fans how relieved we are that a season 5 will air on AMC.) 30 Rock won in the TV Episodic Comedy category with “When It Rains, It Pours.” READ FULL STORY

TNT apologizes for Tracy Morgan's crude Sarah Palin remark

TNT has released a statement, apologizing for Tracy Morgan’s crude remark about Sarah Palin on last night’s Inside the NBA pregame show: “It’s unfortunate Mr. Morgan showed a lack of judgment on our air with his inappropriate comments. We apologize for any embarrassment or offense it may have caused.”

During yesterday’s live broadcast, co-hosts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley handed 30 Rock‘s Morgan a microphone and asked him to settle a bet: Tina Fey or Sarah Palin? “Me and him have this argument all the time, ” crowed Smith, referring to Barkley. “[Morgan's] the only one who can settle it. Tina Fey or Sarah Palin?” They were clearly not asking which woman was smarter or faster in a race.

Morgan responded as he would if he were on stage. “Yo, let me tell you something about Sarah Palin. She’s good masturbation material.” Co-host Ernie Johnson quickly pulled down the curtain, saying “I want to thank Tracy Morgan for stopping by.” Full video after the jump. READ FULL STORY

Jane Krakowski's pregnancy will not be written into '30 Rock' -- EXCLUSIVE

30-rockWhen Jane Krakowski announced the happy news that she and fiancé Robert Godley are expecting a child, 30 Rock fans cried in unison, “By the hammer of Thor! What does this mean for Jenna? Will Jane’s pregnancy be written into the show?” At long last, the suspense is over. Tina Fey and exec producer Robert Carlock tell EW in an exclusive statement, “At this time, we plan to shoot around Jane’s pregnancy, because no child should have Jenna Maroney for a mother.” While our hopes for a clandestine Jenna-Kenneth tryst have been dashed, I do think the 30 Rock team has made a wise choice. How about you?

'Lost', 'Walking Dead', 'Boardwalk Empire', 'Glee' among Directors Guild TV nominees

The Directors Guild of America today announced its nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television and Commercials for the year 2010. They include:

Dramatic Series
Jack Bender, Lost, “The End, Part 1&2″
Allen Coulter, Boardwalk Empire, “Paris Green”
Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead, “Days Gone Bye”
Jennifer Getzinger, Mad Men, “The Suitcase”
Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire”

Comedy Series
Steve Levitan, Modern Family, “Hawaii”
Beth McCarthy Miller, 30 Rock, “Live Show”
Ryan Murphy, Glee, “The Power of Madonna”
David Nutter, Entourage, “Lose Yourself”
Michael Spiller, Modern Family, “Halloween”  READ FULL STORY

'30 Rock' exclusive: Tina Fey talks Matt Damon's return and Angie Jordan's reality show

30-Rock-Damon-FeyImage Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBCWhen 30 Rock returns from winter hiatus Jan. 20, it’ll be in a new 10 p.m. slot, which could be good news for fans of the show’s rather unconventional tendencies. “It will be kind of exciting,” creator/star Tina Fey tells EW exclusively. “We have been wondering: Can we do even weirder things?” Weirder than Paul Reubens as an inbred Austrian prince? Weirder than Jenna dating a guy who plays her in a drag show? “We’ll try,” Fey says.

Also coming up this season: [SPOILER ALERT!!!] Matt Damon will return as Liz Lemon’s pilot boyfriend, Carol, but, alas, don’t expect him to stick around. READ FULL STORY

Fall winners and losers: 'NCIS' reigns supreme; 'Dancing with the Stars' is most-watched reality show

2010-Fall-TV-StandingsImage Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC; Justin Lubin/Fox; Richard Cartwright/CBS; Eric McCandless/ABCWe’ve already seen the death of six new shows (Lone Star, My Generation, The Whole Truth, Undercovers, Outlaw and Running Wilde, though Fox hasn’t officially canceled the latter) as well as the departure of some old ones (So long, Medium! Looks like you’re out the door, too, Life Unexpected!) So it probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that HUT levels among CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC (that’s “homes using television”) are down 3 percent this year (from 39.7 million to 38.5 million).

Does that mean there weren’t enough good shows to watch on the Big Four this fall? Glee, Modern Family and The Good Wife fans would probably disagree, but it’s never good when so many freshman series tank before the holidays. Here’s how all the shows ranked in total viewers from Sept. 20 to Nov. 28:

1. NCIS (CBS) 21.3 million
2. Dancing with the Stars (ABC) 21.2 million
3. NFL Sunday (NBC) 20.2 million
4. Dancing with the Stars results (ABC) 18.5 million
5. NCIS: LA (CBS) 17.4 million
6. The Mentalist (CBS) 17.3 million
7. Criminal Minds (CBS) 16.2 million
8. CSI (CBS) 15.9 million
9. Two and A Half Men (CBS) 15.5 million
10. NFL Sunday pre-kickoff (NBC) 15.2 million
11. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 15 million
12. Modern Family (ABC) 14.7 million
13. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 14.6 million
14. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) 14 million
15. 60 Minutes (CBS) 13.9 million
16. The Good Wife (CBS) 13.7 million
17. Survivor: Nicaragua (CBS) 13.3 million
18. Blue Bloods (CBS) 13.25 million
19. Desperate Housewives (ABC) 13.22 million
20. Castle (ABC) 13 million READ FULL STORY

'30 Rock' exclusive: Exec producer Robert Carlock talks Jack's future with NBC -- and his new boss

rockHow will Jack stay in the good graces of the suits at Kabletown, which just acquired GE Sheinhardt NBC Universal (coincidentally as Comcast takes over the real NBC)? With the secret weapon known as Sherri Shepherd, of course! After the midseason break, she’ll return to 30 Rock as Tracy’s wife, Angie, who stars in her own suspiciously Real Housewives-esque reality show. “Jack realizes she has all the attributes for a reality show,” exec producer Robert Carlock says. “And Liz, in spite of herself, is saying, ‘Yeah, I would watch that.'” Jack’s also got another network-exec innovation up his sleeve, too: a star-studded disaster relief benefit. For, of course, a disaster that’s yet to happen. “Jack has this idea that the highest-rated reality events are celebrity disaster relief benefits,” Carlock says, “so he decides to pre-tape one and beat the other networks to the punch.”

We’ll also meet Jack’s new Kabletown boss, though he’s yet to be cast. Any ideas?

Read more:
’30 Rock’ holiday episode scoop: Exec producer Robert Carlock teases a family reunion — and wedding?
’30 Rock’ recap: Microwave Goodbye

'30 Rock' holiday episode scoop: Exec producer Robert Carlock teases a family reunion -- and wedding?

30-rock-holidayImage Credit: Nicole Rivelli/NBCHow will Liz Lemon and company be celebrating the holidays? With (SPOILER ALERT) some pretty major life events, particularly for expectant-dad Jack (Alec Baldwin), though the bundle of joy isn’t due until early 2011. “The Christmas episode is the big one for us,” executive producer Robert Carlock says. “It’s the long-awaited reunion of Jack’s biological parents. A couple of years ago, Jack discovered his real father, but just to avoid an argument, he hasn’t told his mother that he knows her shameful sex secret.” That means guest appearances from Elaine Stritch and Alan Alda as said parents, with the requisite on-screen fireworks.

Leading up to that family reunion, Will Forte will return as Jenna’s drag-queen-who-dresses-as-her boyfriend for a few episodes. “They have some ups and downs,” Carlock says. “He wants to try to be a normal couple, and she is afraid of that level of commitment.” New Year’s, meanwhile, will herald the return of another significant-other guest star, thanks to possible nuptials for Jack and baby-mama Avery (Elizabeth Banks): “The plan is for Jack and Avery to get married on New Year’s Eve on a French-speaking island,” Carlock teases, “but we discover when they get back that not everything went as planned.”

Read more:
’30 Rock’ recap: Microwave Goodbye

NBC schedules six comedies on Thursdays; debuts 'The Cape' and 'Harry's Law', and brings back 'Parks & Recreation'

nbc-comediesImage Credit: NBCNBC, as first reported by EW, announced today that it will air six comedies on Thursdays beginning Jan. 20. The network will also debut new dramas like The Cape and Harry’s Law during the same month while making time period changes for Law & Order: Los Angeles, Chase, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Parenthood.

In other moves, NBC also announced the return of Parks and Recreation, The Biggest Loser: Couples, Who Do You Think You Are?, Minute to Win It, The Marriage Ref and The Celebrity Apprentice to the schedule. “The goal for our midseason schedule was to keep us in original programming throughout the season and launch several promising new shows,” said Mitch Metcalf, NBC’s head of program planning and scheduling, in a statement. “We were looking to add more comedy to our schedule, and we believe the best way to do so is to expand our already successful Thursday night.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that NBC ran six comedies. During the 1990-91 season, then-NBC topper Brandon Tartikoff scheduled Parenthood, Working it Out, The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Carol & Company and American Dreamer on Saturday nights.

The one show missing from NBC’s midseason lineup is Love Bites, the Cindy Chupack-penned anthology that’s similar to the old Love, American Style. An insider told EW that the network remains high on the dramedy, which could bow in the spring. Here’s the midseason schedule:

Mondays
8-9 p.m. Chuck
9-10 p.m.  The Cape (premiere with a two-hour episode on Sunday, Jan. 9 and new episodes start in its regular time period on Jan. 17)
10-11 p.m. Harry’s Law (Jan. 17)
9-10 p.m. The Event (returns on Feb. 28, 9-11 p.m.; resumes in its regular time slot March 7)
10-11 p.m. Parenthood (debuts in this slot March 7)

Tuesdays
8-10 p.m. The Biggest Loser: Couples (Jan. 4)
10-11 p.m. Parenthood (Jan. 4 for four episodes)
10-11 p.m. Law & Order: Los Angeles (Feb. 8 )

Wednesdays
8-9 p.m. Minute to Win It (Jan. 5)
9-10 p.m. Chase (Jan. 12)
10-11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Jan. 5)
9-10 p.m. America’s Next Great Restaurant (March 16)

Thursdays (Jan. 20)
8-8:30 p.m. Community
8:30-9 p.m. Perfect Couples
9-9:30 p.m. The Office
9:30-10 p.m. Parks and Recreation
10-10:30 p.m. 30 Rock
10:30-11 p.m. Outsourced

Fridays
8-9 p.m. Who Do You Think You Are? (Jan. 21)
9-11 p.m. Dateline NBC (Jan. 7)

Sundays
7-8 p.m. Dateline NBC
8-9 p.m. The Marriage Ref (March 6)
9-11 p.m. The Celebrity Apprentice (March 6)

NBC scoop: Network ponders three-hour comedy block on Thursdays

nbc-comediesImage Credit: NBCAfter the current – and very low-rated – installment of The Apprentice ends its run, NBC could go with a three-hour block of comedies on Thursdays.

Sources told EW that the Peacock may shake up the lineup, with 30 Rock possibly moving to 10 p.m., to make way for the return of the critically-beloved Parks and Recreation and the new comedy Perfect Couples, which has been described as depicting “the misadventures of three engaging couples as they struggle to find out what makes the ideal relationship — and how to maintain it through humorous trial-and-error.”  NBC’s other cult faves – The Office and Community - would likely remain in their timeslots, while Outsourced could go at 10:30 after 30 Rock. NBC would not comment, but the possibility of a lineup change certainly piqued the interest of the competing networks. Says one high powered suit, “They’ve got nothing to lose at this point.”

There’s still a chance that NBC could move a Law & Order into the important 10 p.m. timeslot on Thursdays since it owns a piece of the legal franchise, but a three-hour comedy block would create buzz and provide good counter-programming to the stiff competition from The Mentalist and Private Practice. And this wouldn’t be the first time that NBC ran six comedies. During the 1990-91 season, then-NBC topper Brandon Tartikoff scheduled Parenthood, Working it Out, The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Carol & Company and American Dreamer on Saturday nights.

Meanwhile, the current installment of The Apprentice has been a big disappointment for the Peacock. Though the network attempted to reboot the franchise to make it more applicable to the ailing economy, the show has hit historic lows this season. It ticked up on Nov. 11 (up 14 percent to a 1.6 rating/5 share among adults 18-49, and averaging 4.5 million), but NBC’s numbers were inflated because of an NFL game in Baltimore.

'Grey's Anatomy' remains healthy, NBC gets great boost from local football game

greys-30-rock-bonesImage Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC; Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC; Adam Taylor/FoxCBS took Thursday among adults 18-49 (3.0 rating/8 share) and viewers (12.6 million) while NBC got a sweet little boost from the Raven/Falcons game that aired on a Peacock affiliate in Baltimore, according to early results. For the exception of The Office - which, at 3.8/10 and 7.6 million, was flat versus last week – all the NBC shows were up on Thursday. Community was up 11 percent to a 2.1/6 (4.8 million), followed by 30 Rock (up 8 percent to a 2.6/7, Outsourced (up 4 percent to a 2.8/7, 6.0 million), and The Apprentice (up 14 percent to a 1.6/5,  4.5 million). Each 18-49 point represents 1.3 million people.

NBC got a nice kick in the pants from the NFL game that aired on the Baltimore station, which is a No. 26 market that reaches 11 million homes. As a result, NBC pretty much tied Fox for third place for the night among 18-49 (2.4/7 versus 2.4/6), according to early returns. Fox averaged 6.9 million viewers for the night while NBC lured 5.5 million. Fox aired originals of Bones (2.5/7 and 9.1 million) and Fringe (1.8/5, 4.8 million). Speaking of which, read Doc Jensen’s super walk-up to last night’s Fringe episode here.

ABC was second for the night in the demo (2.7/7) and viewers (7.7 million).  The repeat of Grey’s Anatomy at 8 did a 1.0/3 and 4.0 million, but the original at 9 averaged a timeslot-winning 4.0/10. It lured 11.2 million. Private Practice scored a 2.9/8 and 8.2 million.  On CBS, Big Bang Theory earned a 4.2/12 and 13 million, followed by $#*! My Dad Says (2.8/8 and  9.7 million), CSI (2.8/7, 12.9 million), and The Mentalist (2.8/8, 13.7 million). It’s always worth reminding everyone that advertisers don’t buy total viewer averages, they buy demo ratings, but boy those audiences stay big for the likes of Marg Helgenberger and Simon Baker.

On the CW, The Vampire Diaries won its timeslot among female teens (2.6/9) and came in second in women 18-34 (2.6/8). The fifth-place network was first from 8-10 p.m. among female teens.

'30 Rock' scoop: Michael Sheen's Wesley Snipes will likely make a comeback!

30-rock-sheen-feyImage Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBCMichael Sheen isn’t ready to say goodbye to Wesley Snipes, his 30 Rock alter-ego, just yet. The Wales-born actor told EW exclusively on Thursday that there is “a very strong chance that he will make another appearance.”

“We have talked about it and we kept it open,” Sheen said while attending the 19th Annual BAFTA LA Britannia Awards in Los Angeles. “We’ve all enjoyed the character and I loved working with Tina. She’s quite brilliant and writes some of the best jokes to poke fun at Brits. But she’s currently romancing that damn Matt Damon character so I am on the sidelines for a while.”

In the meantime, Sheen said he’ll start donning the red contacts in December to play Aro Volturi in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. parts 1 and 2. “I don’t know if they are going to shoot them simultaneously or not. They may do all the Volturi parts in one swoop,” he told EW. “I think that makes financial sense because it is such a huge task to get it all up and running and coordinate this huge cast, especially as they have all got quite full dance cards.” – With reporting from Carrie Bell

Before I go...

ausiello-ew-finaleImage Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC; Kirsty Griffin/Starz; Art Streiber/NBC; Paul Drinkwater/NBC…here are my top 10 favorite EW memories, with a few exclusive scoops and spoilers mixed in.

READ FULL STORY

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