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Best of 2012: The EW TV awards

It’s time for the year end accolades. Check out EW’s awards for the best in TV below!

Best Accessory
Olivia Pope’s trench coat on Scandal

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'Homeland' team answers burning finale questions, hint season 3 plans

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Brody lives! But is that a good thing for Homeland? Some thought it was time for Damian Lewis’ character to leave the show, but Homeland producers have other plans. Below, showrunner Alex Gansa and executive producer Howard Gordon took questions from reporters on a conference call. Producers were cagey and non-committal on several key topics. But here’s what we think we learned.

Damien Lewis was supposed to die — again! “There was a plan very early on to kill Brody in episode 7 or 8 this year,” Gansa says. “We felt there was enough story between these two characters to tell through [the end of the season] and that there probably is another chapter in that story, but frankly we don’t know what it is yet … The show really elevates when Carrie and Brody are together on screen, so I think that definitely mitigated the possibility of keeping him alive and giving him a role down the line.” Lewis winning an Emmy for his performance, Gordon says, wasn’t a factor in keeping him around though. “You can’t let all the awards and the acclaim dictate where the story would go,” he says. “You can’t let the tail wag the dog.”

Carrie is not off the hook: “I don’t think Saul is going to be ignorant [of Carrie helping Brody in the finale] and I think Carrie has some explaining to do,” Gansa says.

Carrie’s attention will shift to a new case: “Inevitably that’s going to happen,” Gansa says. “If you look at these two seasons, the Carrie and Brody story, we’ve told a significant part of that story …. There is a point where we’ll fall back on the franchise — Carrie and Saul trying to keep the world safe.”

Brody and his family will almost certainly appear in season 3. The producers played it coy. “Damian’s involvement and his family’s involvement is very much up in the air in light of what happened in the finale,” Gansa says. “It’s a nice idea hanging over the next season: Where is Brody? What’s he doing?” But producers also say all the actors whose characters survived the finale (save F. Murray Abraham, who’s pending a negotiation) are signed on for season three. “What is Brody’s role going to be next season if he’s fugitive No. 1? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Gansa says. “The Carrie-Brody [relationship], we began to feel we were repeating ourselves slightly [in season two], so unless we can establish a different dynamic between these two characters, we don’t want to tell the same story again … if there’s a chapter three it needs to be a reinvention of some kind.”

Season 3 might start with most assuming Brody is dead: “Posit this: The investigators are going to believe Brody was possibly in that car … if Brody was in his car, there’s a very good chance there would be absolutely nothing left of him,” Gansa says. “We also have our ever-present mole who could have been responsible for moving the car. Those are the possibilities that are running around in our head.”

Brody probably wasn’t responsible for the finale attack. READ FULL STORY

'Homeland' scoop: Executive producer Alex Gansa teases season 3 -- EXCLUSIVE

Kent Smith/Showtime

Kent Smith/Showtime

By now, many of you have watched the season finale of Showtime’s Homeland. But where will the series go next year? EW talked to executive producer Alex Gansa and got some exclusive details on the future of the series. “We know roughly what season 3 is,” says Gansa. “There’s some big muscular moves that we know will happen but there’s a lot to be filled in still.”

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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.

Vote below: READ FULL STORY

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

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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:

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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.”

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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

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