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'Survivor: Cagayan': Jeff Probst explains why former NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson was the 'enemy'

Survivor has a history of having formerly famous people from other areas of life appear as contestants on the show. Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel made it all the way to the finals of Survivor: Philippines. But most of the familiar faces have come from the sports world, including Super Bowl winning coach Jimmy Johnson (Nicaragua), Dallas Cowboys quarterback Gary Hogeboom (Guatemala) and National League MVP Jeff Kent (Philippines). Add another name to that list when Survivor: Cagayan debuts on Feb. 26 as former NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson takes part as a member of the Brawn tribe. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Rachel and Brendon compare 'Big Brother' and 'Amazing Race'

I don’t know if there will be any life vests on this season of The Amazing Race, but if so, floaters better grab them. That’s because reality royalty returns tonight when husband-and-wife team Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly take their second tour on The Amazing Race when season 24 of the reality show premieres on CBS. But how does racing around the world at breakneck speed compare with backstabbing house guests in the backyard on the show that first made Brenchel famous, Big Brother? We asked the couple when they called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105). READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Jeff Probst says the show is on a hot streak when it comes to winners

Survivor has had some great seasons and some not so great seasons. Sometimes the casting and creative decisions all work, and sometimes you get Survivor: Fiji. But the show has been on a recent hot streak. I have the past three editions all ranked in my top 10 seasons ever, and after 27 installments, that is not too shabby. So what gives? Why the sudden — and consistent — resurgence? Host Jeff Probst thinks he has the answer. Probst says that big players are making big moves, and it’s paying off for them in the end. And when deserving players win, viewers win as well. READ FULL STORY

Lindsay Lohan strikes a pose for reality show -- PHOTO

Ready for the confessions of an adult drama queen?

Lindsay Lohan’s reality show is almost here, and the first promo photo for the project has arrived. The pretty pic, above, shows Lohan striking a modeling pose — super candid this is not. The good news? She’s got red-ish hair in the shot; we all know things are better when she’s a redhead.

The eight-part OWN reality show, Lindsay, will follow the 27-year-old as she focuses on her recovery after her sixth stint in rehab this past summer. It premieres March 9.

'American Idol' live shows start tonight: Producers unveil new set, talk format changes for 'lucky' season 13

When American Idol‘s rush week begins Tuesday night, fans of the long-running singing competition will notice a couple of changes to the show. For one, what is Rush Week?

The new stage of the competition marks the beginning of the live shows for the 13th season, which welcomed back judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, as well as introducing fan favorite Harry Connick Jr. to the panel. The live shows will also feature a brand-new set created to tap into the energy of live music, which executive producer Evan Prager says is the core of the show. The complete 360-degree environment features two performance stages with the judges on a center platform. With fans seated up to the ceiling, set designer Baz Halpin said the intimate feeling will allow for multiple staging options and for the performers to move around more. Director Louis J. Horvitz says that the new set will also help get away from the repetition of the 13 weeks of live competition. Using cinematic framing, Horvitz is looking to draw the audience in not just as a rock concert though, but as a true narrative following the contestants, showing more reaction shots and time rehearsing and with their families. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Jeff Probst says 'I'm baffled by people who want to strangle me because I like Redemption Island'

Jeff Probst knew that the introduction of the Redemption Island twist would be controversial when it was unveiled in season 22 (also not so coincidentally called Redemption Island) of the longtime CBS reality hit. Many fans were upset with another similar twist during the Pearl Islands season called “the Outcasts” that allowed players that were voted out a chance to reenter the game. Even Probst himself was not a fan of that twist.

But Redemption Island was different. For one thing, everyone would be told up front it was happening. For another, voted out players would have to stay out in the elements as they attempted to fight their way back onto a tribe (unlike the Outcasts, who were well-fed with a roof over their heads). And finally, the sooner you were voted out, the harder it would be to get back in. By fixing these flaws from the Outcasts, Probst and producers thought they had come up with an exciting new wrinkle. Many viewers agreed. Many others did not. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef Estrellas': Why is the Spanish-language spinoff so different?

Bravo’s Top Chef may have just wrapped up its eleventh season, but the popular reality cooking competition is about to get a Latino-themed makeover when Top Chef Estrellas premieres on Telemundo Feb. 16. And there’s more to the show than the lilt of Spanish to distinguish it from its English-language counterpart. The trailer for this incarnation of Top Chef promises “spicy new ingredients,” like a a blonde who seductively tears off her chef coat, a hunky guy who appears shirtless, and a handful of fully-made up Spanish TV stars who prance around in the kitchen in high heels.

If all this sounds more like what you’d see on a telenovela than an episode of Top Chef, that’s not by accident. In fact, several surprising — and potentially polarizing — changes have been made to the show’s format so as to appeal to Latin audiences.

READ FULL STORY

'The Voice' coaches reveal what they look for, contestants they keep in touch with -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

With only two weeks to go until Shakira and Usher rejoin Adam Levine and Blake Shelton in those swiveling red chairs of power, we’ve got an exclusive video from the set of The Voice‘s sixth season. Carson Daly sat down with the four coaches — on red couches, no less — to discuss everything from the phenomenon of Lorde and what that means for young females to how they continue to help contestants from previous seasons.

Shelton reveals the contestants he helped get a record deal, while Levine talks about signing Tony Lucca to his own label. As for Usher? Yep, he still talks to Michelle Chamuel, guys! All is right in the world.

Watch the exclusive behind-the-scenes video below: READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Which tribe does Jeff Probst think HE would be put on -- Brains, Brawn or Beauty?

The new season of Survivor: Cagayan (premiering Feb. 26 on CBS) will see 18 contestants divided into three tribes of Brains, Brawn and Beauty. As Jeff Probst already told us, the show was deep into casting when they came up with the concept, so the players already selected were then placed into which tribe the producers thought they fit best. Naturally, that got me thinking — which tribe does Probst think he would he put into if he was a contestant on this season? So since I thought it, I asked him. And here’s what the host said: READ FULL STORY

10 burning questions about MTV's guilty pleasure 'Are You the One?'

My latest obsession? MTV’s Are You the One?, a Real World-style dating show that drops 10 guys and 10 girls in Hawaii and asks them to work together to find the perfect matches among them. If they can successfully pair up with their predetermined soul mates, they’ll all split a million bucks.

After just two episodes, I’ve gotten deeply invested in the show, and I can’t quite explain why. If a team of matchmakers told you that only one Bachelor contestant was scientifically compatible with Juan Pablo, wouldn’t that completely change the way you watched? That’s how it feels with Are You the One?, which plays up our  voyeuristic love of TV dating by promising you that, yes, 10 of these couples actually do belong together.

Or do they? The first two episodes have proven that mutual attraction (they’re all beautiful, FYI) and surface connection (“You like the movie Labyrinth? Wait, I like Labyrinth!”) don’t a perfect match make, and therein is the guilty fun of the show. It’s as if The Challenge and The Bachelor had a weird but gorgeous, chiseled baby who only cries on Tuesday nights at 11 p.m.

In my conversations with a few dear friends who have also fallen victim to the show’s puerile charms, we realized there were quite a few questions that we needed answering, so I took them straight to the producers. Read on — or, if burning questions aren’t your thing, scroll all the way down for an exclusive clip from Tuesday night’s episode. READ FULL STORY

'Party Down South' is a 'vile travesty,' 'Dukes of Hazzard' star Ben Jones writes in open letter to CMT

Ben Jones, best known for playing the mechanic “Cooter” on the long-running sitcom The Dukes of Hazzard, has taken Viacom and its channel CMT, which airs daily reruns of Dukes, to task for their new reality show Party Down South, from Jersey Shore executive producer SallyAnn Salsano.

Jones, a former United States congressman, calls the heavy-drinking program about eight wild young people living together in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, “cultural pornography” and he claims that it is “without a doubt the most offensive and sleaziest thing ever to make it to a national audience already neck-deep in offensive sleaze.” (Watch a preview of the show here.)

Jones says CMT “was built by appealing to rural heartland viewers with a sense of tradition and genuine values,” but that the promotion of Party Down South throws Southerners under the bus. “You are insulting the South without a clue of the richness and diversity of our many Southern cultures,” he says, expressing concern that CMT’s raunchy, dumbed-down depiction of the South will become the “accepted truth.” (Jones may be pleased to know that Party Down South isn’t drawing big audiences just yet: The last episode pulled only 627,000 viewers.)

EW reached out to CMT for comment on Jones’ letter, but the network has no response at this time.

You can read the full letter, via Saving Country Music, below: READ FULL STORY

UFC announcer Bruce Buffer on catchphrases, nicknames, and his Oscar pick for Best Picture

The UFC falls under the category of “sports,” but since its television breakout a decade ago, the spectacle of the events has become great TV. Despite the dozens of crossover stars and ascendent champions the Ultimate Fighting Championship has produced, it’s entirely possible that the most recognizable face of the UFC is that of announcer Bruce Buffer. With his authoritative bellow intoning his signature catchphrase “It’s Time!” Buffer has turned the simple act of introducing fighters into top-shelf television. His history with the company runs deep, and he’s as much a fan as he is one of the company’s most high-profile employees.

His exposure has grown steadily since the UFC struck a deal with Fox to air major shows on free network television a few years ago. This Saturday, the UFC raids Chicago to present UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs. Thomson, and next Saturday, UFC 169 adds to the excitement of Super Bowl weekend when it airs live on pay-per-view from Newark, New Jersey, just a few miles away from MetLife Stadium. EW caught up with Buffer (who is also a semi-professional poker player  and game developer) to talk about his life in fighting and who newcomers should pay attention to this weekend.

Entertainment Weekly: You are referred to as “The Veteran Voice of the Octagon.” When did you actually get started announcing shows?
Bruce Buffer: I started in 1996, that was my first show—UFC 8. Then I did UFC 10. Then I guest starred on Friends, and right after that they asked me back for UFC 13. On the set of Friends, the then-owner of UFC and I had the discussion where I said, “Look, I’ve been waiting like a girl waiting on a date to the prom. I’m happy to do the shows, but I want to do every show because I want to do more than just be your announcer. I want to help build the sport with my media contacts. I love it, I believe in it, and let’s make a deal.” That was the best poker hand I ever played. I basically announced every show from UFC 13 on. I’ve missed three shows in the last 17 years.

What was it that drew you to the UFC in the first place?
I’ve been into martial arts since I was 12. I had black belts in a style called Tang Soo Do, and also I kickboxed for a number of years. I have fighting in my blood. My grandfather was the champion of the world in boxing in 1921 in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions, and I’ve just been involved in the fighting world my entire life. I have an appreciation for what the fighters go through and what it takes to be a fighter, and the fact that they put their blood, sweat and tears on the line every time they walk to the the cage. It’s the loneliest job in sports, in my opinion, and these guys and girls deserve praise and so much honor. I want to be able to give as much to them and to the fans as I can.

What do you see as the biggest difference between the live product and the TV product?
Any UFC fan has got to experience a live event at least one time. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor: Cagayan': New cast includes former NBA All-Star (and recent North Korea visitor) Cliff Robinson

After a successful season of having former players compete with/against their loved ones on Blood vs. Water, Survivor will try another brand new concept when Survivor: Cagayan premieres with a two-hour episode on Feb. 26 at 8pm on CBS. This time, 18 contestants will be separated into three tribes: brawn, brains, and beauty. And while all of those contestants will be new players — marking only the third such all-newbie season in the past nine installments — one of the names may be familiar: former NBA All-Star (and recent visitor to North Korea as part of Dennis Rodman’s basketball troupe) Cliff Robinson. READ FULL STORY

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