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AOL picks up Web series from James Franco, Steve Buscemi

AOL has tapped a diverse lineup of celebrities to contribute to its original programming slate, ordering 12 new Web series from the likes of James Franco, Steve Buscemi, and Zoe Saldana.

At its NewFront presentation Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the company showed a commitment to short-form programming with a roster of 16 mostly unscripted programs with episode lengths of 10 minutes or less. The one exception is Connected, AOL’s first long-form series, which is slated for a 20-episode initial run of half-hour episodes. It follows five seemingly unconnected New Yorkers as their individual stories are woven together.

But star power is the strength of this AOL Originals lineup. New celebrity-focused series include Making a Scene with James Franco, during which the actor and his pals talk about some of their favorite films and re-create iconic scenes; previously announced Park Bench, featuring Buscemi striking up conversations with famous friends — as well as strangers — on the streets of New York City; and My Hero from executive producer Saldana, which allows celebrities to pay a surprise tribute to someone who inspired and changed their lives. READ FULL STORY

Steve Buscemi to star in new AOL original series

Steve Buscemi is looking to trade the boardwalk for a park bench.

AOL announced Wednesday that it will launch a new original series, titled Park Bench, starring New Yorker Steve Buscemi as he gives “a local’s take on the special people, places and spirit of The Big Apple.” And how will he do that? Well, Buscemi will partake in unscripted conversations with fellow New Yorkers (with a few of Buscemi’s famous friends thrown in for good fortune).

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'Portlandia' first look: 'The Celery Incident' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Throw out all your kale and swiss chard, because there’s a new vegetable in town — if your town is Portlandia, that is.

In the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, we asked Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein to give us the lowdown on their favorite sketches and characters from the IFC show’s past three seasons. And with the fourth season premiere coming up next week (Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. ET), we also cajoled them into discussing an upcoming series of sketches that’s sure to become a fan favorite: “The Celery Incident,” which you can watch in its entirety below.

It stars Steve Buscemi as a down-on-his luck salesman trying hard to get the humble vegetable’s brand to take off; think of it as Glengarry Glen Ross meets Gil from The Simpsons. Take a look at the clip below, and read on to see what Fred and Carrie had to say about the sketch. READ FULL STORY

'Boardwalk Empire' trailer: Welcome to the AC, Jeffrey Wright and Ron Livingston -- VIDEO

“I’m a middleman. I take orders. They do the rest. I don’t ask questions,” pleads a poor schlub at the beginning of this new full-length trailer for Boardwalk Empire.

Of course, nobody really cares about middlemen — which is why the clip quickly moves on to power players like Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson, who may have a new and fearsome foe in Harlem boss Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright). “Only kings understand each other,” Narcisse says smoothly after reminding the gangster that he prefers to be addressed as “Doctor.” “What shall we do, Mr. Thompson?”

Elsewhere on the Empire: Carrie Bradshaw’s ex-boyfriend Jack Berger (a.k.a. Ron Livingston) has morphed into Roy Phillips, a wealthy outsider in town for mysterious reasons. Hopefully, he doesn’t date Gillian (Gretchen Mol), then dump her via Post-It. She’s got enough problems as it is — like a pesky judge demanding to know what occurred in her residence eight months ago.

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'Boardwalk Empire' season 3 finale promo: The gun show -- VIDEO

“Where’s Nucky Thompson?”

It’s a question a lot of Boardwalk Empire‘s characters have asked while Atlantic City’s puppetmaster fell in love and off the radar. A vengeful Nucky set the stage for Boardwalk‘s season 3 finale a few weeks back by issuing a “You’re either with me or against me” war declaration against psychotic nemesis Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) and his associates.

Below, watch a new promo for the finale that offers more questions than answers. What it delivers most on, though, is guns. Tons and tons of guns.
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'Boardwalk Empire': Watch clips from season premiere -- VIDEO

The third season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (finally!) premieres on Sunday and we’ve got some clips to whet your appetite. In the opener, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) and Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) make some unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, and Gyp’s (Bobby Cannavale) mission to take control of the Boardwalk is most ambitious of all — especially now that Jimmy (Michael Pitt) is out of the picture.
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