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'Homeland': Damian Lewis talks SAG nomination, jokes show can 'kill me whenever they want'

When Damian Lewis received news of his first Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination, he was not doing anything particularly glamorous. In fact, it was wonderfully ordinary: He was shopping in the streets of London with his child in tow.

And as a day of shopping turned into a day of celebration for the actor, EW got him on the phone for a quick chat about the start of what’s likely going to be a busy award season for him and his Homeland cast mates and about the show’s upcoming season finale. READ FULL STORY

Best & Worst of 2012: Your favorite television show -- VOTE

Happy Endings or Parks and Rec? Homeland or Sons of Anarchy?

Now is your chance to make your voice heard. We’ve told you some of our choices for the best shows of the year. Now we want to hear what you think. Vote below in our poll and tell us which show is your pick for best this year, and then check out the results — as well as more television picks from the EW staff — in Entertainment Weekly‘s Best & Worst 2012 issue, on newsstands Dec. 21.


'Dexter' breaks all Showtime records: Will it change the show's endgame?


Showtime is on fire this fall.

Dexter and Homeland have once again hit new series-high ratings.

Dex delivered 2.6 million viewers — the biggest audience ever for a Showtime original series. Normally such records are broken during season finales or premieres, not during penultimate episodes like this one. Homeland also keeps closing the gap with Dexter, now up to 2.4 million viewers — up 9 percent from last week.

Including their Sunday repeats, Dexter had 3.1 million and Homeland had 2.6 million for the night. Both shows have their season finales next week. Chances are strong Showtime will enjoy another round of happy headlines.

Question: Showtime’s previously stated non-definitive rough-draft plan has been to end Dexter next season. The rising popularity of Homeland makes this easier to follow through on, because now the network has a successful fall replacement hit. But will Showtime really pull the trigger on Dexter when its numbers keep shattering records? Everybody involved with the long-time serial killer drama makes it sound like the only factor for deciding when to conclude the show is its creative storyline — which, let’s face it, would probably benefit from some closure in the near future. But ratings momentum like this, when coupled with a real choice on the table, is unavoidably influential too.

It will be easier to have an opinion on this topic after next week’s finale. Until then, what do you think? How much longer should Showtime air Dexter?

InsideTV Podcast: Is 'Homeland' getting dumber each and every week?

Image Credit: Kent Smith

Image Credit: Kent Smith

Homeland is taking a lot of heat for its most recent episode. And with good reason — it was preposterous! Are we supposed to believe that the CIA would actually not be monitoring the phone of an admitted terrorist who recently had a bomb strapped to his chest while he tried to assassinate the Vice President of the United States? Are we also supposed to believe that there is no security or cameras in the Vice President’s house and that you can tell someone you’re going to take a leak and then simply go anywhere you want? Oh, and since when can you Skype on a Blackberry? Those were just a few of the head-scratchers that we were expected to swallow.

But it is not the first time that Homeland has dipped into the pool of preposterous. Remember earlier this season when Abu Nazir needed to send someone discreetly to get his tailor/bomb maker — who was under surveillance — out of Gettysburg, and instead of dispatching a faceless nobody, he sent a famous war hero and U.S. congressman (Brody) to the man’s shop instead? Sure, that wouldn’t raise eyebrows! Makes about as much sense as answering a call from your wife on your cell phone while you are in the process of killing a guy in the woods. All this raises the question — did we give Homeland too much credit as a thinking person’s thriller? Have the incredible performances by Claire Danes and Damian Lewis blinded us to the fact that the show has had some creative missteps — hit and run, anyone? — along the way? Or are we simply holding the show to too high a standard? Should we just take the dumb plot twists in stride, like we did on the producers’ previous cougar-infested terrorist series, 24, where such absurdity almost added to the show’s charm? Jessica Shaw and I tackle that very topic on this week’s installment of the InsideTV Podcast. (The Homeland discussion starts at 14:45.)

Also, on the menu, Mandi Bierly and I break down the crazy Sons of Anarchy finale, and then the most recently voted off contestant of Survivor: Philippines, Carter Williams, calls in to talk about how he feels about being practically edited out of the entire show while also sharing his big move that we did not see. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad,' 'Modern Family' dominate WGA Award nominees

What do Walter White and Phil Dunphy have in common? They’re both at the center of the TV shows most honored by the Writers Guild of America today. The group just announced the nominees for its annual awards, which will be handed out Feb. 17 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. Breaking Bad garnered five nods; Modern Family drew four. Here’s a list of all the primetime and late night series in contention for the event’s biggest prizes:


InsideTV Podcast: Carter from 'Survivor' talks about being invisible, and his big move that was never shown

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

He came. He saw. But we barely saw him. Carter Williams did a good job on Survivor: Philippines, winning challenges and making it all the way to the final six. But he didn’t do a good job when it came to air-time as he was seemingly MIA the entire season. What is it like to live out on an island for 33 days with a camera in your face 24 hours a day recording every step you take and every move you make, and then have basically none of it air once the show makes in onto TV? We asked the ousted Carter that very question when he called into this week’s edition of the InsideTV Podcast, and it turns out the running coach was not too psyched about his skimpy air-time. Carter also gives us his take on Hurricane Abi, as well as some insight into what we didn’t see, including what he calls his biggest move of the game. To hear more from Carter than you heard all season long, just click on the audio player icon below. (The Survivor chat starts at 22:00 while the  interview begins at 28:00.)

We start things out, however, by looking back at this week’s big Sons of Anarchy season finale. SOA expert Mandi Bierly gives her take on an episode that was so tense it almost had her biting off her own tongue. We exchange our dueling theories as to who is responsible for Tara heading to the slammer, and Mandi offers up bits of intel for where things could be headed in season 6.

Then, Jessica Shaw and I lament last Sunday’s episode of Homeland, which we agree was the series’ worst ever — an installment that was filled with massive plot holes and characters acting in ways that made no sense. Are we bring too nitpicky and holding this show to too high a standard, or was it as bad as we say it is? And after some other plot missteps — hit and run, anyone? — can the show recover? (The Homeland discussion begins at 14:45.) READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012: Did that really just happen? TV plot twists

Deaths, daddy issues, and a “Did she just do that?!” moment. These five single moments had lasting effects on their shows — and their shocked viewers. READ FULL STORY

'Homeland' scoop: Will Brody die? Damian Lewis teases possibility -- EXCLUSIVE

Kent Smith/Showtime

Kent Smith/Showtime

This fall, one question permeated Monday morning chatter everywhere, particularly in the offices of EW: “Did you watch Homeland last night?!?!” This year’s Emmy winner for Best Drama Series, along with statues for lead actors Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, became THE show to watch/analyze/debate with your family, friends and coworkers (the show actually hit a ratings high with this past Sunday’s polarizing hour). That’s why EW named it as one of our Entertainers of the Year for 2012. “It seems a little excessive,” jokes Danes of the banner year. “It’s always a little concerning when there’s this gush, this flood of success. But it’s wonderful and I’m just so grateful that people have really embraced the show and are as enthusiastic as they are. I think we all can’t quite believe our luck.” Adds Lewis, “I know the writers were concerned on not being able to top season one. But people have really seemed to enjoy season two and that’s even with some of that ambiguity potentially having evaporated in that relationship between Carrie and Brody.”


InsideTV Podcast: What is this season's best returning TV show?

Image Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC; Nadav Kander/Showtime; Dewey Nicks/Fox

A lot has been made about which new shows have been sinking and swimming this season. We all waited with bated breath to see which show would be cancelled first (sorry, Made in Jersey), and which shows would become breakout hits (umm…still waiting). And then there are the new shows that alternately thrill and exasperate us depending on the week (we’re talking to you, Last Resort).

But what of the returning shows? Which ones have come back just as strong — or even stronger — than last season? James Hibberd, Jessica Shaw, and I tackle that very topic on the latest edition of the InsideTV Podcast as each of us gives our pick for the best returning show this fall. What shows are aging like a fine wine? We’ll tell you. Although I have a bone to pick with Jessica’s selection. Click on the audio player icon below to find out why!

Then, Jessica and I turn our attention to another returning show that is having a stellar season: Survivor: Philippines. We discuss who we are loving and loathing in this installment and then take a call form the man who was just ousted from the tribe, Artis Silvester. Artis has some harsh words for his former tribemate Michael Skupin, whom he describes as “not a nice person.” Listen in to find out what has Artis so hot, even months after the game ended. READ FULL STORY

'Homeland' star made Muslim joke to Obama

Homeland star Damian Lewis told a British talk show he sent a Muslim joke to president Barack Obama.

During an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show Saturday night, the Emmy-winning actor says the president wanted a signed DVD box set of the Showtime hit to give to the Teamsters labor union (the president has previously revealed Homeland is his favorite show). Lewis says co-star Claire Danes wrote something along the lines of, ”I was a fan of yours long before you were a fan of ours.” But when it was the British-born Lewis’ turn, the actor says he jokingly wrote: “From one Muslim to another.”

“I thought I’d think of something great and funny … and wrote: ‘From one Muslim to another’ in an indelible Sharpie,” the actor recalls. “And I couldn’t take it back … I was then writing emails for the whole of the next week going: ‘I do hope he understands irony.”’

Lewis’ character on Homeland is an America POW who was tortured while in captivity and converted to Islam. Now back in the United States, he’s wrestled with a terrorist agenda and keeps his religion a secret. Obama, of course, has been pestered by unsubstantiated conspiratorial theories suggesting he’s a Muslim.

Lewis adds that he asked the president during a dinner how he finds time to watch the show. “Aren’t you busy running the free world?” the actor recalls asking. Lewis, while impersonating the president’s speech cadence, says Obama replied: “On Saturday afternoons. Michelle, she takes the two girls, they go play tennis. I go into the Oval Office. I pretend I’m gonna work and I switch on Homeland.”

Here’s the clip (Obama conversation starts around 7:10):


'Homeland' renewed for third season

No surprise, but now it’s official: Showtime’s Homeland has been renewed for a third season.

Coming off last night’s ratings high for the sophomore series (1.75 million viewers at 10 p.m) — not to mention one heck of a plot twist — the Emmy-winning drama series starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis will begin production on season 3 in spring 2013.

“The Emmy wins for Homeland have certainly set the stage for a great second season,” said Showtime president David Nevins in a release. “The writers, cast and crew of Homeland continue to create a remarkably entertaining and suspenseful roller coaster ride, growing audiences week after week.  We can’t wait for our viewers to experience what unfolds through the rest of season two.  Our partners at Fox 21 have been tremendous, and we are thrilled to begin the planning for Homeland‘s third season.”

Read more:
Ken Tucker on the distinctive storytelling pleasures of ‘Homeland’
EW’s ‘Homeland’ recaps
‘Homeland’ irks Lebanese, Israelis

'Homeland' irks Lebanese, Israelis

Militants carrying assault weapons clear the area around a street, shouting in Arabic for people to get out of the way. A jeep pulls up: The world’s No. 1 jihadi has arrived for a meeting with top Hezbollah commanders. On rooftops, U.S. snipers crouch unseen, the kingpin in their crosshairs at last.

The scene, from a recent episode of the hit U.S. Showtime series Homeland, is supposed to be Beirut. But it is really in Israel, a country similar enough in some areas to stand in for Lebanon, yet a world away in most other respects.

The show about Arab terrorists and American turncoats has inadvertently become a tale of two cities. Some Beirutis are angry because the depiction of their city as swarming with militiamen is misleading and because they see Israel as the enemy. And in Israel, some are peeved that Haifa and even Tel Aviv — a self-styled nightlife capital and high-tech hub — apparently appear, to outsiders at least, to be Middle Eastern after all. READ FULL STORY

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