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Judd Apatow to receive Icon Award at PaleyFest 2014

Comedic screenwriter, director, and producer Judd Apatow will be this year’s recipient of the Paley Center for Media’s 2014 Icon Award. Apatow, beloved for his cult-hit TV classics like Freaks & Geeks, will receive the award on March 10 when PaleyFest kicks off. Apatow will be the second recipient of the award, following in the footsteps of Glee‘s Ryan Murphy, who received the award last year.

PaleyFest runs from March 13-28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. This year’s lineup includes Veronica Mars, Orange Is the New Black, How I Met Your Mother, Pretty Little Liars, Parks and Recreation, Sleepy Hollow, Mad Men, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Masters of Sex, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Community, American Horror Story: Coven, Veep, The Mindy Project, and a special panel honoring the 10th anniversary of Lost.

'The Simpsons': Judd Apatow on playing 'self-involved' Judd Apatow and the upcoming episode he wrote (two decades ago)

Judd Apatow is one of Hollywood’s biggest comedy voices, and he’s lending his to The Simpsons on Sunday (Fox, 8 p.m.) The writer-director-producer whose credits range from This is 40 to Anchorman to Bridesmaids to Girls plays himself in an episode in which Homer screens illegally downloaded movies in his backyard, only to wind up on trial for piracy. (Will Arnett, Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Channing Tatum and Rob Halford also pop up.) This won’t be Apatow’s only contribution to the animated comedy; the producers also plan to turn a script that he wrote two decades ago into an episode for next season. EW spoke with Apatow about both of his Simpsons gigs.
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'Simpsons' episode to feature voices of Judd Apatow, Channing Tatum, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Seth Rogen -- EXCLUSIVE

Late last year, news broke that The Simpsons were going to turn a decades-old spec script written by Judd Apatow into an episode. As it turns out, the A-list comedy writer-director-producer is collaborating with the animated series in front of the microphone as well. EW has learned that a different episode — which was already known to boast Will Arnett as a guest star — features the voices of Apatow, frequent collaborators Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, and Seth Rogen, plus Channing Tatum and… Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. READ FULL STORY

Entertainers of the Year: Lena Dunham

Photo: Lena Dunham. Credit: Jenny McCarthy / Getty Images

Ben Affleck might be on the cover of our Entertainers of the Year issue, but 2012 wasn’t so bad for Lena Dunham, either. Not only did she make our list of the year’s biggest talents in pop culture — earning a heartfelt tribute from Jon Hamm, who wrote it himself — she also scored an Emmy nomination for her new HBO comedy Girls, nabbed a role in Judd Apatow’s This is 40, signed a $3.5 million book deal, accepted an invitation to the Met Ball, and got the chance to interview her idol Nora Ephron about Ephron’s first movie, This is My Life, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (Pause and take a deep breath to quell any feelings of jealousy.) We spoke with Dunham about what she called “the best year I’ve ever had as a human being.” Here are a few excerpts from that conversation.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you talk about the night you interviewed Nora Ephron at BAM? Did she tell you what she thought of Girls?
LENA DUNHAM:
She actually watched it early, before it came out, and was awesomely encouraging. But that night at BAM was amazing because she was so insanely generous with her knowledge about the industry, about being a female in the industry, about trying to balance the fact of having children, and being a writer of prose, and being a wife, with the fact that she needed to make movies. For her to talk so openly about that to an audience of young women — I don’t even think she could’ve known what a gift that was. But I have a sense she had an inkling.

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'The Simpsons' to make Judd Apatow-penned episode two decades after he wrote it

One lucky fan of The Simpsons is going to see his dream come true when the show turns his spec script into an episode that will air on TV. He’s no contest winner, though: He’s Judd Apatow. READ FULL STORY

'Freaks and Geeks': Judd Apatow and Paul Feig on their favorite episodes, biggest regret, and a possible movie

Image credit: Chris Haston/NBC

On Sept. 25, 1999, NBC debuted a new dramatic comedy about high-schoolers in Michigan circa 1980. The series was equal parts heart and humor, showcasing the best and worst elements of the awkward years between adolescence and adulthood. It was fresh. It was funny. It was deeply personal. It also never had a chance. Freaks and Geeks was moved all over the NBC schedule. As if that was not confusing enough for audiences in the pre-DVR days, episodes also ran out of sequential order, upsetting any sort of linear narrative. The network cancelled the show after just 12 episodes (three more eps were burned off during the summer in a mini-marathon, while three more were shown the following fall on ABC Family).

Little did NBC realize that by cancelling Freaks and Geeks, it was jettisoning arguably the biggest collection of talent ever assembled on a single TV show. Actors like James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Phillips, Linda Cardellini, and John Francis Daley went on to star in hits on both the big and small screen, while producers Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-old Virgin) and Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) went on to become… well, Judd Apatow and Paul Feig!

With the entire series now streaming on Netflix beginning today, I chatted with Apatow and Feig to talk about the past, present, and future of Freaks and Geeks. (Click through both pages to read the entire interview.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You both have obviously gone on to a lot of success since the show with big blockbuster films, but I always got the sense that Freaks and Geeks was a project really dear to both of your hearts.
PAUL FEIG:
I think so. We made it a good dumping ground for all of our good and bad memories of our youth. So you can’t help but connect to it that way. And all the other writers had personal stories they put in, so it just made it a little more special I think. READ FULL STORY

SXSW: Festival homegirl Lena Dunham premieres three episodes of her new HBO series 'Girls'

On Monday afternoon, Lena Dunham, who wrote and directed the beautifully received SXSW discovery Tiny Furniture in 2010, returned to Austin to share the first three episodes of her new HBO series Girls. Her latest creation is a terrifically fresh, recognizable portrait of being young, smart, and adrift in a city that isn’t there to serve you. There’s a not unkind wink to Sex and the City in the first episode, which seemed a shrewd way to acknowledge the inevitable comparisons and keep it moving.

Executive producer Judd Apatow stood alongside Dunham on stage, looking like a bemused and proud uncle in his pink button-down. (“I took a picture with a film fan at the Austin Airport and they put it on Twitter,” he said: “‘Judd Apatow comes to Austin with his suburban Dad fashion.'”) “I’ve never been around so many women before,” he said of Girls. “There were no bongs in the room. No bongs or penises and they don’t really like pornography. It was all very new for me.” READ FULL STORY

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