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InsideTV Podcast: It's the first ever 'Survivor' Momcast, starring John Cochran and Cochran's mom!

survivor-momcast-john-cochran_510x510He’s one of the most colorful and controversial Survivor contestants ever. John Cochran burst upon the Survivor scene demanding Jeff Probst address him by his last name and then flipping on his tribe rather than pulling colored rocks in a tiebreaker. Fans either loved or loathed him. Now, as Cochran returns to play Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS), we hear not only from the man himself, but from the woman behind the man. That’s right — Cochran’s mom! John and Arlene Cochran (as seen above) join us for our first ever Survivor Momcast! READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: 'Spartacus' stars and creator discuss the bloody final season and violence on TV

Image Credit: Matt Klitscher/Starz

Image Credit: Matt Klitscher/Starz

Julius Caesar will be introduced tonight on Spartacus: War of the Damned, but before that happens, we decided to get the men behind both characters, Todd Lasance as Caesar and Liam McIntyre as Spartacus, in a room together and see if we could sort this all out peacefully. No such luck! That means the Rome vs. Rebellion battle will continue at 9pm on Starz as planned. But we did have a delightful chat with both men as well as Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight on the newest edition of the InsideTV Podcast as the three men talked about the decision to end the swords and sandals drama as well as what we can expect in the final season. (Did someone say…pirates?) They also promise a finale that will blow every other bonkers Spartacus finale away, and talk about what’s it like to film all those crazy sex scenes. (Turns out they’re not so sexy when 20 crew dudes are watching your every move.)

Of course, there’s also been a lot of discussion about violence in entertainment lately in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, and with Spartacus being the most violent show on television, I asked DeKnight for his take on the issue. He says the culprit is not entertainment, but rather the NRA. “The NRA has strong–armed Congress to make sure no research is ever done that could result in gun control,” says DeKnight. “Look at other countries. Look at Australia. They have the same TV, movies, video games. Look at the U.K., look at Japan. What’s the difference in all those countries is gun control. It’s that simple. I don’t think you have to be a genius to figure that out. And that’s not just me defending my profession. I think the moment you start saying you’ve got to curb art so someone doesn’t pick up a gun and shoot somebody, we’ve got a serious problem. I mean, call me crazy — I think the real answer is make sure somebody can’t pick up a gun.” READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Busy Philipps talks pregnancy, 'Freaks and Geeks', and the future of 'Cougar Town'

Image Credit: Randy Holmes/ABC

Image Credit: Randy Holmes/ABC

From Freaks and Geeks’ Kim Kelly to Cougar Town’s Laurie Keller, Busy Philipps has made a career out of playing lovable loudmouths. Off screen, the actress possesses the gift of gab as well, which is why we invited one of our small screen faves to call in to this week’s edition of the InsideTV Podcast! And call in she did. In a freewheeling discussion, Busy tells us all about her “disheartening” frustration with the lack of support from Cougar Town’s previous network, ABC, as well as some big changes for Laurie this season on the comedy’s new home of TBS. She also reminisces about her formative days on Freaks and Geeks, while also discussing being pregnant for the second time —and the bigger boobs that come with it!

Busy then provides some behind-the-scenes intel on how the Cougar Town set is unique when it comes to balancing work and parenting. Not only that, but the actress plays a few rounds of Jessica Shaw’s latest game — 7 Degrees of Busy Philipps! To hear our candid and colorful chat with the star, click on the audio player icon below.

But that’s not all. Jessica and I also size up the new American Idol judges panel. Is Nicki Minaj too over the top? Does Mariah Carey have anything of interest to say? And is Randy Jackson the only one willing to actually critique anyone? We give our first impressions of the first episodes and name some early favorite contestants as well. (The American Idol discussion begins at 24:00.) READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Is Mariah Carey the most boring 'American Idol' judge...ever?

Image Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

Image Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

Other than a possibly manufactured feud with Nicki Minaj that she appears to want no part of, has Mariah Carey added anything to the American Idol judging panel? Considering all the vocal expertise at her disposal, we hoped she’d have some legitimate constructive criticism to share with this year’s auditioning contestants. Instead, she merely smiles, says yes or no in as boring a manner as possible, and then goes back to praying that her fellow female judge does not light into her again. Mariah’s yawn-worthy entrance onto the American Idol stage is just one of the first impressions Jessica Shaw and I will be breaking down on this week’s edition of the InsideTV Podcast.

Also up for discussion on the new season of Idol: Is Randy the only judge actually willing to criticize? How are we feeling about the steady stream of inspirational sob stories being shoved down our throats? And does Keith Urban deserve better than being forced to play peacemaker between the two feuding divas? Also, who are our early favorites among the contestants? Click on the audio player icon to hear our thoughts and see if you agree. (The American Idol discussion beings at 24:00.)

But first, it’s time to get busy with one of our TV favorites — Busy Philipps! That’s right, the Cougar Town star calls in to talk about the comedy’s big move to TBS, her boobs getting a lot bigger (due to her pregnancy, natch), and what’s in store for her character coming up. She also shares some memories from her Freaks and Geeks days and plays a few kick-ass rounds of Jessica’s new game — 7 Degrees of Busy Philipps. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Lisa Whelchel talks about her new TV job and if she'll ever return to 'Survivor'

Image credit: CBS

Image credit: CBS

Lisa Whelchel is clearly determined to rule every single television genre. She became a star playing snooty Blair Warner on The Facts of Life, and then lasted all 39 days on Survivor: Philippines. Now she is ready to embark on her third act: talk show host. Starting on Monday, Whelchel will be appearing as a sidekick to her former Survivor lord and master for a still-to-be-determined number of episodes as she begins a stint cohosting on The Jeff Probst Show.

How did it happen? And what the heck is she going to be doing on the show? The former sitcom and reality star calls into the InsideTV Podcast to give all the scoop on her new gig and talk about what other opportunities she may be pursuing in the future. (Might Lisa make a return to scripted fare?) Of course, we also ask her to look back at her experience out on the island: Was it what she expected? Which of her castmates does she still consider good friends? And would she ever go back to play again for the million dollars? American’s sweetheart reveals all! (The Lisa Whelchel interview begins at 33:00.)

But we begin this week’s podcast by breaking down the new Survivor cast. The full list of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites players was just announced, and Jessica Shaw and I go through each of the returnees, discussing which ones we are glad to see back and how they may do in the game the second time around.

To join in the fun, just click on the audio player icon below. Or, since we’re on iTunes, you can subscribe for free and take the podcast with you. No iTunes? No problem. You can also download the entire podcast right here. And to send a question to the InsideTV Podcast team, follow us on Twitter @InsideTVPodcast. But first let us know what you think: Will you watch Lisa cohosting on The Jeff Probst Show? And do you want to see her again on Survivor? Speaking of Survivor, what are your thoughts on the new cast? The message boards are open for business! Also make sure to read our new Survivor cast announcement with exclusive intel from host Jeff Probst. Okay, listen in to hear Lisa in all her glory and see if you agree with our Survivor assessment!





InsideTV Podcast: Which returning players are we happy to see back on 'Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs Favorites'?

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

The 10 players who will be returning to take on 10 newbies on Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs Favorites have now been announced. Although many of these alleged all-stars are more noteworthy for their blunders in the game as opposed to any sort of strategic prowess, they are undeniably a group of big personalities, if not big gamers. Now, Jessica Shaw and I break down each of the 10 returnees — whether we are happy to see them back and how they may do the second time around. Will Brandon have another meltdown? Should the others trust Cochran? And will Phillip and Francesca kill each other? We will discuss and debate on the latest installment of the InsideTV Podcast. Click on the audio player icon below to listen in!

Then, we check in with Survivor alumnus Lisa Whelchel, who will be reuniting with Jeff Probst when she cohosts episodes of The Jeff Probst Show next week. Lisa calls in to talk about reentering the public spotlight, her new gig, and the possibility of getting back into acting. She also looks back at her time out on the island and reveals her current thinking as to whether she would consider playing again. It’s a full-on Survivor explosion this week! (The Lisa Whelchel interview begins at 33:00.) READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Inside scoop on the 'Doctor Who' Christmas special 'The Snowmen'

Image Credit: Adrian Rogers/BBC

Image Credit: Adrian Rogers/BBC

Forget about what appears under the tree Christmas morning. The present many sci-fi fans are looking forward to on Dec. 25 is the new Doctor Who Christmas special airing that night at 9pm on BBC America. And to get everyone ready, we brought our resident Doctor Who expert, Clark Collis, onto the InsideTV Podcast to give his take on the episode. Clark has seen the installment — titled “The Snowmen” — and he’ll explain why the episode brought him to tears. We also put Clark on the spot and ask him to name his favorite of the recent Doctors. Will he choose Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, or Matt Smith? Listen in by clicking on the audio player icon below and find out! (The Doctor Who discussion begins at 4:30.)

Then, we welcome EW TV critic Ken Tucker to dissect and debate his Best & Worst of 2012 list. Does he stand by his number one selection of Homeland, even after what some felt was an uneven last month of the season? Did he include Parks and Recreation just because of his recent shot-out on the NBC comedy? And will he survive a blistering attack from Jessica Shaw for ranking The Good Wife above Parenthood? It’s Ken Tucker unleashed! (The Best & Worst discussion begins at 19:00)

But we start things off with a quick discussion on the Survivor: Philippines finale and reunion. Did Jonathan Penner go too far by outing Lisa Whelchel’s past on The Facts of Life? We discuss that as well as some behind the scenes nuggets I can reveal from my interviews with the final four.

To join in the fun, just click on the audio player icon below. Or, since we’re on iTunes, you can subscribe for free and take the podcast with you. No iTunes? No problem. You can also download the entire podcast right here. And to send a question to the InsideTV Podcast team, follow us on Twitter @InsideTVPodcast. But first let us know what you think: Who is your favorite of the post-reboot Doctors? What’s your number one TV show of the year? And did Penner go too far by outing Lisa’s past on the Survivor finale? The message boards are open for business!





InsideTV Podcast: Jake Johnson promises 'a big Nick-Jess development' on 'New Girl' in 2013

Image Credit: Greg Gayne/Fox

Image Credit: Greg Gayne/Fox

We love curmudgeonly Nick Miller on Fox’s New Girl…mostly because he’s the guy who uses words like “curmudgeonly.” But we love the guy who plays him, Jake Johnson, even more. JJ came in for a “dy-no-mite” appearance on the InsideTV Podcast to gab about all things New Girl. He spills on-the-set secrets like what went down during his big sleigh sex scene with Olivia Munn, how he was publicly embarrassed in front of the crew, and whether Nick and Jess will ever actually hook up. “There’s a big Nick-Jess development,” reveals Johnson. SAY WHAT?!? That’s right, Johnson says that in an episode they just finished filming, we will see some sort of movement on the relationship that has showed some signs of becoming more than that of mere friend and roommate. “I think something potentially could happen sooner rather than later,” says Johnson, to the delight of shippers everywhere. It’s a blast of a conversation, and you can hear it for yourself by clicking on the audio player icon below. (The New Girl Jake Johnson interview begins at 5:48.)

But first, Jessica and I give our instant reactions to the Golden Globe television nominations, which include two of the most random, hilarious nods ever…which is truly saying something for the Golden Globes. Find out which nominations have us scratching our heads in disbelief. And then we round out the podcast by chatting with the big villain of Survivor: Philippines, Abi-Maria Gomes. Abi says there was one person who was being “a royal bitch” on the island — HER! She also tells us why she was being a royal bitch, why she kept saying “Die, Denise!” after the sex therapist was bitten by a spider, and how if she and mortal enemy RC ever ended up in a Survivor cage match, “I would kill her.” Needless to say, it is a must listen interview for any Survivor fan. (The Survivor finale preview starts at 28:00 and the Abi interview begins at 35:45.) READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast : Abi from 'Survivor' admits she was 'a royal bitch', but says 'I would kill her' if she faced RC in a cage match

Image Credit: CBS

Image Credit: CBS

It’s the InsideTV Podcast interview you’ve all been waiting for. Villainess Abi-Maria Gomes finally had her torch extinguished last night on Survivor: Philippines, and now she is ready to talk all about her bitchy ways on the island, as well as her epic reunion with bestie-turned-mortal-enemy RC at the Ponderosa jury house. And talk she does! Find out what we didn’t see that led to her calling Mike Skupin an “idiot” and a “moron” at Tribal Council. Learn what led to her saying, “Die, Denise!” over and over in her last few days. And hear all about her big feud with RC, which continues to this day and leads Abi to claim that “I would kill her” if they faced off in a Survivor cage match.

Best of all, Abi admits that not only was she PMSing on the island, but she is PMSing right now during out interview! Perfect! Listen in on that as well as Jessica Shaw and I making our Survivor finale predictions for who we want to win and think will win. (The Survivor conversation starts at 28:00 and the Abi interview begins at 35:45)

However, that’s not the only interview we have this week. We also welcome the hilarious and charming Jake Johnson to the podcast. Jake plays grumpy Nick Miller on New Girl and tells all about making out with Olivia Munn, getting lap dances form Max Greenfield, as well as what to expect between Nick and Jess when the show returns in 2013. Good times with Jake Johnson, everybody! Good times indeed. (The New Girl Jake Johnson interview begins at 5:48.) READ FULL STORY

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

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

InsideTV Podcast: Jonathan Penner explains why he turned down the final four offer on 'Survivor: Philippines'

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

We’ve always considered Jonathan Penner to be a pretty smart guy and pretty good Survivor player, especially when he went from being a dead man walking at the start of Survivor: Philippines to making it all the way past the merge. But then he started making some really odd decisions — none odder than refusing a final four offer from Mike Skupin and Lisa Whelchel.

That ultimately let to his ouster last night, so we called him up on the InsideTV Podcast to find out just what the heck he was thinking. And while we’re at it, Jessica Shaw and I also question the three-timer as to why he spent his money on chicken and fries instead of the advantage in the Immunity Challenge that ultimately led Abi to victory and Jonathan to the loser’s lounge at Ponderosa. Not only that, but Penner also shares some secrets of what we did not see in the episode, and gives his take on why Jeff Kent was so obsessed with getting him out of the game. It’s Penner unfiltered! — is there any other kind of Penner? — and you can click on the audio player below to hear it all for yourself. (The Survivor discussion and interview begins at 15:50.)

But first, Jessica and I take a deep dive into ABC’s county music drama Nashville. Which storylines are working and which ones are not? Which characters are we loving and loathing? And can Connie Britton do any wrong? (Short answer: no.) We go in depth on each and every storyline, giving each one a verdict of hit or miss. Listen in and see if you agree with our take. READ FULL STORY

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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