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ABC's 'The Neighbors': The story behind fall's craziest new show

ABC’s The Neighbors concerns a family that moves into a community…full of human-looking aliens…who communicate via something called a Pupar…and cry green goo from their ears. Yep, you’re thinking: Did TV time-travel back to 1996, when “wacky” sitcoms (see: 3rd Rock From the Sun) were all the rage?

How’d the season’s oddest new comedy come to be? Looking for answers, we grilled everyone who helped bring The Neighbors (which debuts tonight at 9:30 p.m., before moving to 8:30 p.m. starting Oct. 3) to life to discover how this wild concept — Pupar and all — landed on Earth.

Inspired by his mother’s condo development, Cars screenwriter Dan Fogelman — alongside producer Chris Koch — shopped the alien-human idea My Fellow Zabrovians (as it was then titled) to the networks, and Fox bought it. But after the writers’ strike hit in November 2007, the show’s development languished — and died — before a pilot was produced.
DAN FOGELMAN: It was fun going around town pitching people and seeing who we could stun out of the room and who would take it. My pitch for the show was, “We’re going to do the first season of The Cosby Show.”
CHRIS KOCH: Sometimes it’s just the genre — aliens — that makes us a target.
FOGELMAN: Alien comedy is a genre of storytelling that’s only been done four times [successfully] on television in 50 years: ALF, Mork & Mindy, 3rd Rock From the Sun, and My Favorite Martian. To those who are quick to dismiss [The Neighbors], the only thing I say to them is, There are 15 alien movies that come out every summer. So what’s the problem?

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Kate Walsh previews 'Private Practice': 'Huge news happens to every single character!'

As we head into Private Practice‘s sixth season this evening, there are so many questions: Who will Addison (Kate Walsh) choose — Jake (Benjamin Bratt) or Sam (Taye Diggs)? What will happen after Walsh leaves in 13 episodes? Will Addison get a happy ending? Will the series live on after her departure?

EW recently nabbed a little time with the series’ star to discuss the upcoming season — how it felt making it to 100 episodes, what will happen for Addison this season, how she’d like to see the character go out, and much, much more. Walsh, for her part, is feeling good about her decision to leave. “I can’t help but look back and be in the moment and look at the future all at once, which is a little crazy making,” she says. “But it’s exactly where I think I’m supposed to be.” And, she says, the season is really all about all the characters: “Huge news happens to every character!” Interesting.

Tune into the season 6 premiere of Private Practice tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC, but first, let Kate Walsh preview what’s coming to Oceanside this season.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did it feel to make it to the 100th episode of Private Practice, which airs later this season?
KATE WALSH: Yeah, it’s huge! It was funny, leading up to it, I was like, “Oh, we’ve got that 100th episode celebration thing at lunch at 12,” and then I got very unexpectedly emotional, like very touched and moved, thinking, Oh my gosh! You can’t help but think back. From the beginning on Grey’s Anatomy, who would have anticipated a spin-off? And then, how rare do spin-offs even work, and then we had the writer’s strike. Lo and behold, here we are in our sixth season.

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Michael Urie talks new CBS show 'Partners,' the evolution of the gay sitcom

ABC’s dramedy Ugly Betty was memorable for innumerable reasons, but one in particular stands out: Michael Urie. The actor played the ever-colorful and ever-bitchy fashionista Marc St. James, who stole scenes with a band of robbers including co-stars Becki Newton and Vanessa Williams. Although he won’t be with his old Betty cronies, Urie is returning to TV tonight at 8:30 p.m. in CBS’ sitcom Partners, playing one-half of a pair of friends — one gay, one straight.

EW recently caught up with the actor to talk about his return to TV, playing opposite (a former) Superman, and which old co-star he wants to play his mother.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Welcome back! Were you looking to get back into TV?
MICHAEL URIE: Not really. But when I read this part, I was like, Okay, this is a part I could get and I have to get. I have to hustle. I have to make this happen because it could be my only chance for a great leading role in a TV show.

Are you excited or nervous about doing a traditional sitcom?
I’m like a kid in a candy store, since Partners mixes everything that I love about television and theater. The difference between Partners and Ugly Betty is this awesome live audience, so in that respect, it’s like doing a play. The audience is ripe. But also, they’re honest. They won’t laugh if they don’t get the joke.

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'Desperate Housewives' DVD release: Sneak a peek at two deleted scenes from the final season -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Desperate Housewives has been off the air since May, but the Wisteria Lane drama isn’t quite over. No, Nicollette Sheridan hasn’t landed her retrial, but ABC is venturing back to Fairview with the DVD releases of Desperate Housewives: The Complete Eighth and Final Season, as well as Desperate Housewives: The Complete Collection. As usual, the DVDs feature a bevy of extras — featurettes about the show’s deaths and goodbyes and a blooper real, for starters. And then, of course, there’s the deleted scenes, two of which EW has exclusively here as a preview for you.

The first scene is a funny interaction between neurotic queen Bree (Marcia Cross) and detective boyfriend Chuck (Jonathan Cake), after he smells something funny and wants to check the trunk of the car they’re driving to see what could be producing such a bad odor. As you might remember from this past final season, Bree spent much of her time hiding the dead body of Gaby’s (Eva Longoria) abusive stepfather. The situation leads to pretty typical Bree-esque tactics, but in the end, it’s funny. The second scene is a bit more emotionally touching and comes from the series finale — it’s the moment when Susan (Teri Hatcher) tells her girlfriends from the Lane that she’s moving away for good in the wake of Mike’s (James Denton) death. It’s actually hard to believe this moving scene didn’t make the episode.

Both DVD sets are available next Tuesday, Sept. 25, but until then, enjoy two of the deleted scenes from Desperate Housewives: The Complete Eighth and Final Season here now:

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Stanley Tucci tapped as host of PBS' documentary series -- EXCLUSIVE

Make some room, Maggie Smith: The newest distinguished face on PBS is actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci, who EW can exclusively report has been tapped as the host of the network’s long-running documentary series Independent Lens.

The Hunger Games and Devil Wears Prada star follows in a long time of distinguished past Independent Lens hosts, including Mary-Louise Parker, America Ferrera, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Susan Sarandon, Terrence Howard, Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, and Don Cheadle.

“Stanley Tucci truly embodies the spirit and essence of Independent Lens,” says Lois Vossen, Lens’ senior producer. “Incapable of giving a bad performance, he owns each role, yet continues to surprise audiences with every new character. His acclaimed work as an actor, director, producer, and screenwriter demonstrates how much he understands what it means to be an independent filmmaker. We are deeply honored that he chose to support our series.”

Independent Lens launched in August 1999, and the coming Tucci-hosted season — which features Brad Lichtenstein’s As Goes Janesville on Oct. 8, before fully launching on Oct. 29 with Macky Alston’s Sundance award-winning documentary Love Free or Die — will be its eleventh. The series airs at 10 p.m. on Monday.

To mark the announcement of his new hosting duties, Tucci recorded a short video, which EW has exclusively below.

“I’ve been on both sides of the camera, and I can tell you: There’s no easy way to make these films,” Tucci says of the series’ documentaries. “Behind every risk-taking expose and intimate portrait is an independent filmmaker who has spent years building trust, gaining access, and getting the story right. In the end, you get a great film told with passion told with passion and perspective.”

Watch the clip here:

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Stacy Keach moves into ABC's 'The Neighbors' -- EXCLUSIVE

Someone new is moving into the neighborhood!

EW has learned exclusively that veteran actor Stacy Keach will play Lenny Venito’s (Marty Weaver) dad on the ABC sitcom The Neighbors. The 71-year-old will make his debut in the show’s Thanksgiving episode in what will be a very “interesting” turkey day for the Weavers. ABC is currently casting the role of Weaver’s mother.

Keach is perhaps most famous for his role in the Fox sitcom Titus, where he played the lewd father of comedian Christopher Titus. He has also appeared in a number of films, including The Bourne Legacy, the biopic W, and American History X. Here’s hoping Thanksgiving doesn’t end with a curb stomp!

The Neighbors premieres on Sept. 26. Watch the trailer below:

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'The New Normal': Six things to know about NBC's new comedy

The pilot for NBC’s new Ryan Murphy comedy The New Normal had a preview back in August during the Olympics, and that half hour also re-aired Monday night. But Tuesday night, the second episode airs and will give viewers an idea of where the show — which follows gay couple Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) as they attempt to start a family via a down-on-her-luck surrogate Goldie (Georgia King) — is going to be headed this season. But besides that, what else should you know about The New Normal? Read on for six insights into the new comedy.

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'Grey's Anatomy' season 8 deleted scene: 'Use your words, Karev!' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

One of the great joys of Grey’s Anatomy‘s last season was watching the relationship between Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) develop further, as the doctors worked together on the smallest patients inside Seattle Grace Mercy West’s neo-natal unit. The special kinship between the pair is on display in the upcoming, Sept. 4 DVD release of Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Eighth Season in a fun little deleted scene that EW has here for you exclusively.

The never-before-seen scene comes from the January episode “Suddenly” and finds Karev and Robbins performing surgery on one of the hospital’s newborns. “Huh,” Karev says unceremoniously, in the middle of operating. And that’s what Robbins takes issue with: “‘Huh’? You don’t ‘Huh’? when you have an open newborn baby on the table,” the motherly/teacherly doctors scolds Karev. “You know what? I’m taking over.” Karev continues his mumbling, and that’s where the funny comes in between this pair: “Hey! Use your words, Karev!” Robbins implores him. “Or you’re not making another cut.”

Watch the whole scene here:

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Loretta Devine talks 'Grey's Anatomy,' her Emmy nod, the 'Waiting to Exhale' sequel, and more

Grey’s Anatomy star Loretta Devine has a lot to celebrate: She won an Emmy for her meaty role as the Alzheimer’s-riddled Adele on the ABC soap last year, and she’s nominated again this year. It’s not a stretch to think she might take home a second trophy, but the field — guest actress in a drama series — is notoriously deep with talent and this year that’s no different: Devine is up against The Good Wife‘s Martha Plimpton, Harry’s Law‘s Jean Smart, Mad Men‘s Julia Ormond, Shameless‘ Joan Cusack, and Smash‘s Uma Thurman.

But win or not, Devine has lots more to smile about: Besides her Emmy-winning role on Grey’s, she’s also got a spot as a sassy madame on Lifetime’s successful movie spin-off series The Client List, and she voices a role in Disney Junior’s cute, animated show Doc McStuffins, which just released a DVD. Between it all, Devine found a few minutes to chat with EW about her Emmy nomination, her future on Grey’s, what she’d like to see happen to her character Adele, what’s going on with the Waiting to Exhale sequel, and much more.

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'So You Think You Can Dance': Mia Michaels previews tonight's tribute episode to her

After a two week hiatus, tonight’s Top 14 episode of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance returns and tributes a very special lady: the show’s most prolific choreographer, Mia Michaels. The three-time Emmy winner will be feted for the entire two hours, as the seven pairs of dancers remaining will each perform one of her classic dances from previous seasons — everything from her famous “Bench” dance to “The Butt Piece.”

“They contacted me, and they were like, ‘We have an idea. We want this to happen,’” Michaels tells EW about how the episode came together. “It was quite an honor, and I was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ It’s definitely turning out to be one of my most favorite seasons, especially now because I’ve had a personal attachment to the dancers now that are doing this work. It’s really cool.”

In addition to Michaels’ seven most memorable dances being performed — all of which are previewed below by Michaels, with embedded videos of the original performances — the choreographer has also constructed the night’s group number, which will feature all the dancers. “It has the potential to be one of my favorites. Hopefully it will be,” Michaels says of tonight’s group piece. “For me, the piece is about the long-distance relationship I’m in right now. I have been for the past two years, with someone who is the most amazing man. The problem is the long distance, and it’s very difficult in this space. So the stage is filled with so much love, almost like, it’s Prince Charming everywhere. But there’s ropes involved, and the rope represents the only connection we have, which is the telephone. The girls are tied up by one arm, so they can’t fully love with both arms because they’re stuck because of the distance.”

While you can enjoy that new rope-heavy group number tonight, you’ll also be able to look forward to new interpretations of these seven classic Mia Michaels dances — “The Door,” “The Bed,” “Time,” “Gravity,” and three more — which she reveals and delves into here with EW:

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'Revenge' DVD extra: Who is Nolan's secret nemesis? -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Just how does Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) get himself into sticky situations like this one pictured here in season 1 of Revenge? One word: secrets. And it’s just that — again, secrets! — that are heavily spilled in the extras on the Revenge: Season 1 DVD release, which hits retailers a week from today, Aug. 21.

Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive peek at a particularly juicy extra, “Nolan Ross Exposed,” which features the dastardly Mr. Ross in a recently unearthed sit-down interview with reporter Sarah Juarez (Stephanie Maura Sanchez). You might remember Juarez from news updates during the season finale plane crash, but in the “Nolan Ross Exposed” extra, she grills Nolan about everything from his childhood to his father, and his sexuality to his business, NolCorp. He gamely — often to hilarious effect — answers.

The full “Nolan Ross Exposed” extra is about three minutes long (and even features Sarah asking Nolan about his patented whale cameras), but the minute or so we have here concerns queries about a woman who seems to be something of a nemesis to Nolan. Sarah suggests that Nolan’s business has succeeded because of this mysterious (and now jettisoned) woman, and that’s where this EW exclusive clip picks up — and where the billionaire gets extremely defensive and sassy. “I’m not denying that she’s smart, but she obviously pulled the wool over your eyes, though — that wouldn’t be difficult,” says Ross. “I’m just saying there’s a reason that Swift Tech is located so close to my coattails.”

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'Revenge' season finale: Creator Mike Kelley answers burning questions!

Last night’s season finale of ABC’s delectable soap Revenge — perfectly titled “Reckoning” — was, in a word, explosive. And filled with juicy cliffhanger after cliffhanger.

With so many doors opened, there are so many questions that are begged: Is Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) really dead? What’s going on with the increasingly tangled love life of Emily (Emily Van Camp), Jack (Nick Wechsler), Amanda (Margarita Levieva), Daniel (Josh Bowman), and Ashley (Ashley Madekwe)? Is Amanda’s baby really Jack’s? Who will play Emily’s mother? And what will the character be like? How did the show so perfectly pick Florence and the Machine’s haunting “Seven Devils” to play during the episode?

To answer these questions, we went straight to the source: Revenge creator and executive producer Mike Kelley, who holds the keys to the show’s castle. As usual, he was tight-lipped about some things — but let a few other juicy tidbits slip. Read on for the answers to all your burning questions from last night’s season finale.

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'So You Think You Can Dance' premieres tonight: Host Cat Deeley previews season 9

It’s a year of change for Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, which premieres tonight with a two-hour episode that chronicles auditions in New York and Dallas. The biggest difference in the show’s ninth (!) season is that there will only be one installment per week. That is, the “results hour” — historically airing on Thursday evenings — has been jettisoned completely, with just a Wednesday night episode every week, even during the early audition rounds.

Host Cat Deeley says the change is for the better. “I always felt a bit like, Oh, God, how much further can I drag this out?” she says, laughing. “We amalgamate the results show into the performance show. Now the audience is going to know who’s in danger at the top of the show. It adds another layer of jeopardy to it. For the audience, that makes it that much more interesting.” Always a ham, Deeley jokes that it’ll be a feat for her to fit what had typically been three hours of television into two. “It’s worth watching,” she says, “just to see if I manage to do it. I’m going to do a bit of a hope and a prayer — and fingers crossed — and keep that thing moving.”

Other changes this year include the fact that one female and one male dancer will be crowned winner; and after the pool is whittled down to the Top 10, each finalist will be joined by a SYTYCD all-star dancer, each of whom is an expert in either ballroom, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, or jazz. Before that, like usual, the Top 20 will be paired amongst each other, with two contestants eliminated each week.

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