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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

InsideTV Podcast: Artis from 'Survivor: Philippines' blasts Mike Skupin

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

He may have aligned with the wrong people in Abi and Pete, but Artis Silvester was all class in his final words after being voted off of Survivor: Philippines. However, as we found on on the InsideTV Podcast, that does not mean he doesn’t hold a grudge. And that grudge is aimed squarely at Michael Skupin. Artis is not upset about Skupin flipping at last night’s Tribal Council. He just doesn’t like the dude — at all. “He’s not a nice person,” Artis said when he called in to talk to Jessica Shaw and me about his experience on the island. “I despised Mike.” Ouch!

Artis is also not happy with the way he’s been portrayed as a villain on the “evil” alliance with Abi and Pete. Click on the audio player icon below to hear what he has to say about that as well as his reveal on whom he wanted to go to the finals with (you might be surprised), and his not so sunny reunion with fellow juror RC at Ponderosa. (The Survivor discussion and interview starts at 20:40.)

But first, we welcome James Hibberd to the show as he, Jessica, and I reveal our picks for the best returning show of the fall. What dramas and comedies do we feel have not only continued to be strong, but have actually gotten stronger this year. Listen in and see if you agree, and nominate your own picks as well. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: A 'pissed' Jeff Kent explains why he's 'still a little dumbfounded' after being voted off 'Survivor: Philippines'

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

He is a former Major League Baseball MVP, but Jeff Kent struck out in his attempt to win Survivor: Philippines. Well, that’s not entirely fair. After all, he did make the jury, so maybe it was more of a pop-out. (Just don’t ask me to explain the freakin’ infield fly rule.) Now, after his worst nightmare of being voted off before Jonathan Penner came true, Jeff called into the InsideTV Podcast to discuss and dissect his time on the island.

While using the word “pissed” about a thousand times, Jeff talks all about what went wrong, including things we did not see, like his aborted attempt to oust Pete last week instead of RC. He also explains his final words dis of Barack Obama as well as theorizing why Penner ended up voting for Abi, ensuring that Jeff went home instead. And in what qualifies as something of a bombshell shocker, Kent has nothing but complimentary things to say about the man he seemed obsessed with getting off the island. Plus, he reveals his biggest regret of the game. Listen in for yourself to find out how Jeff is dealing with his defeat. (Hint: Not well.) READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: David Morrissey and Gale Anne Hurd tell you what to expect in Woodbury on tonight's 'Walking Dead'

Image credit: Gene Page/AMC

The first two episodes of The Walking Dead’s third season saw Rick Grimes and Co. infiltrate and make a prison their new home/fortress. But tonight’s episode will take a drastic turn as we are finally introduced to the big bad of season 3, The Governor. Not only will we finally meet the Governor, but we will get an up close and personal tour of the town he calls home: Woodbury, GA.

But you don’t have to wait until tonight to hear from the Governor, because the man who plays him, David Morrissey, is ready to talk to you right here and right now! Morrissey and exec-producer Gale Anne Hurd stopped by EW’s InsideTV Podcast studio to drop some intel on the character fans will soon love to hate. What makes the Governor tick? And how is he similar and different to the comic book version of the character? Not only that, but David will respond to Andrew Lincoln starting a war of words between the characters a few months back. Also, Gale will offer some insight into the Rick 2.0 we witnessed chopping off legs and killing inmates the past two weeks. It’s a must-listen for any Walking Dead fan. (The Walking Dead interview starts at 15:00.)

But before the zombies attack, we need to discuss a slightly sexier supernatural being: the vampire. Mandi Bierly joins me to talk all things Vampire Diaries, including Elena’s recent transformation and the arrival of mysterious vampire hunter Connor Jordan. We break down what’s happened so far, and Mandi offers teases as to what’s coming up next. It’s a conversation you’ll want to sink your teeth into. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Are you digging Elena on 'The Vampire Diaries' as a bloodsucker?

Image Credit: The CW

The Vampire Diaries took a big gamble when they decided to have Elena begin the transformation from human to vampire. And the show took an even bigger risk when it decided to have Stefan and Bonnie’s attempts to save her from her fate fall short — meaning there is no turning back now. How do we feel about Elena now joining the ranks of the bloodsuckers? And where do both the character and the show go from here? TVD expert Mandi Bierly joins me on this week’s edition of the InsideTV Podcast to break down the ramifications of the big new twist and what it means for everyone in Mystic Falls. Not only that, but we also take a long hard look at the new vampire hunter in town, Connor Jordan. Whatever you do, don’t shake his hand! Just click on the audio player below to listen in.

But that’s not all, oh lovers of all things supernatural. We also have a revealing chat with the new big bad on The Walking Dead. The Governor is coming, and the man who plays him, David Morrissey, stopped by our studio along with Walking Dead exec-producer Gale Anne Hurd to drop some intel on both the man and his seemingly idyllic town of Woodbury (which we will see for the first time in this Sunday’s episode). Gale also talks about the big change in Rick this season, while David responds to some trash talk from Andrew Lincoln, who dissed and dismissed his on-screen opponent to us a few months ago. The battle is joined! READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Michael Rooker says 'You got Merle all wrong!'

Image credit: Gene Page/AMC

Merle Dixon. He’s the character Walking Dead fans love to hate, but the man who plays him, Michael Rooker, insists that Merle is simply misunderstood. According to Rooker, Merle is a positively delightful individual who did nothing wrong on that roof before he was handcuffed and left to die back in season 1. Who knows? Maybe he’s right, because when I went on set for an upcoming season 3 scene, the residents of Woodbury could not stop chanting his name — “Merley! Merely! Merely!” — over and over.

On this week’s InsideTV Podcast, Rooker explains what makes Merle so gosh darn swell. He also offers his theory as to where Merle has been all this time (“I tell people I’ve been done to the Bahamas. I learned how to make mixed drinks, partied a bit, and then decided to come back north.”), his thoughts on appendages (including a spatula) that can be added to the contraption where his right hand used to be, and what might happen when Merle and brother Daryl are finally reunited. Does the conversation go off the rails a few times? DAMN STRAIGHT! What else would you expect from our main man! Ladies and gentlemen, feast your ears on the world according to Michael Rooker! Click on the audio player below if you handle the truth he’s throwing down. (The Michael Rooker Walking Dead chat starts at 21:45.) READ FULL STORY


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