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ABC renews 'The Bachelor Pad' -- EXCLUSIVE

Guilty pleasure TV will continue this summer on ABC: EW has learned exclusively that the network will order a third season of The Bachelor Pad.

The series, which is a Big Brother-like battle of the sexes in a home populated by former contestants, will return this summer. And there will be twist: A lucky fan can join the show! Viewers can apply to appear on the series at ABC.com/Bachelorpad. (Let the lines form now!)

More information about the new season will pop up after tonight’s finale of The Bachelor.

Season 2 averaged 7.10 million viewers.

InsideTV Podcast: Is Colton the most despicable 'Survivor' contestant ever? Ousted Bill weighs in. Plus: 'Bachelor' chat with EW's fave grandma!

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

In just four episodes, Colton Cumbie has made a strong case for being the most hated Survivor contestant of all time. Whether it is the borderline racist comments, the bullying of a little person, or just overall disdain for anyone and anything he comes into contact with, Colton may as well just attach his picture next to the word “unlikable” in the dictionary. But is he the most despicable character in the history of the show? Jessica Shaw and I debate that very point in the newest installment of the InsideTV Podcast. And we call in an expert witness in the recently ousted Bill Posley to ask the stand-up comic point blank: Is Colton a racist? Bill answers that as well as explaining his reasoning for agreeing to go to Tribal Council even after his tribe won the immunity challenge. (Turns out he thought Colton was going home!) READ FULL STORY

'The Voice' ratings climb for battle rounds, and 'Smash' rises too

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Most expected NBC’s The Voice ratings to go down once the show moved from its popular audition phase into the battle rounds. Instead the numbers went up — and boosted Smash too.

Aided by CBS running repeats last night, NBC’s Monday lineup of The Voice (16.7 million viewers, 6.1 adults 18-49 rating) and Smash (7.9 million, 2.7) posted gains over last week. Voice was up 13 percent and Smash climbed 17 percent. NBC is wisely ramping up Voice‘s star power for its battle rounds this year, adding Kelly Clarkson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Robin Thicke, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie and Ne-Yo as guest coaches. This is the best Voice adult demo rating since its premiere week.

The climb was particularly helpful for 10 p.m.’s Smash, which fell drastically from its Super Bowl week premiere last month, then seemed to perk up slightly, and then last night showed some real spark. Smash was probably aided by repeats on other networks more than Voice, though, since both Castle and Hawaii Five-0 were encores in the hour. Still, nobody forces anybody to watch a TV show, and this was a great night for the Peacock.

Also last night: The “Women Tell All” edition of The Bachelor (8.1 million, 2.5) was on par. Fox’s two-hour edition of Alcatraz (5.7 million, 1.8) was steady with last week’s modestly rated hour. (And for those that haven’t heard, Alcatraz‘s chances of renewal likely went up since Terra Nova was just cancelled.)

Read more:
‘Smash’ recap: Steppin’ To The Bad Side
‘The Bachelor’ recap: Liar’s Remorse
‘Alcatraz’ recap: Silver, Gold, and Peeping Tommy Madsen
Photo Gallery: ‘The Voice': Our Top Ten

'The Bachelor' sneak peek: The 'ladies' rip into Courtney on 'The Women Tell All' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Say it with me, rose-lovers: It’s going to be the most dramatic Women Tell All episode… ever! And EW.com has your first look at the reunion special, in which Ben’s rejected “ladies” gather to share memories, reveal teary-eyed regrets about their failure to find “love” with Ben, and most importantly, to tear into Courtney like a pack of starving hyenas decimating a felled zebra corpse. And the best part? Courtney’s listening in the whole time! Watch the delicious awkwardness after the jump. READ FULL STORY

'Smash' starts solid; 'Voice' tops Monday ratings

Monday’s twin debuts of The Voice in its regular time slot and freshman drama Smash delivered pretty good news for NBC.

As expected, The Voice‘s ratings (17.7 million viewers, 6.6 adults 18-49) dropped sharply from Sunday’s post-Super Bowl debut. The singing competition was down 60 percent. But this was NBC’s highest-rated regular entertainment series telecast in over four years and gave the network a rare Monday night victory. It’s also up 29 percent from last year’s series debut of The Voice and grew steadily each half hour.

NBC’s Smash (11.5 million, 3.8) news was a bit more mixed. The musical was the third-highest-rated new drama debut of the season and delivered the biggest 10 p.m. rating of any drama this season. Yet even with the mammoth Voice lead-in, four rival network shows had higher ratings. Plus, Smash dropped pretty sharply after The Voice, then dipped again during its second half hour. READ FULL STORY

'House' and 'Alcatraz' help Fox win Monday ratings

House and Alcatraz both took a small step down in the ratings Monday, yet nonetheless led Fox to win the night.

With CBS airing repeats of its powerful comedy block, veteran House (8.6 million viewers, 2.8 adults 18-49 rating) and newcomer Alcatraz (8.3 million, 2.7) both were at the top of their respective hours. (Well, Alcatraz tied for the win.) Both were down 10 percent from last week.

ABC’s The Bachelor (8.1 million, 2.6) was down a tenth. NBC had a repeat of Fear Factor, the Who’s Still Standing finale (6.6 million, 1.7) and Rock Center With Brian Williams (3.3 million, 0.8). Over in the magical CW Land, Gossip Girl (1.4 million, 0.7) and Hart of Dixie (1.5 million, 0.6) both perked up a tenth.

Read more:
‘Alcatraz’ recap: Cracking the Secrets of the Rock
‘The Bachelor’ recap: Nude Awakening
‘Gossip Girl’ 100th episode shocker: Producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Safran tease what’s next 

'Bachelor' host Chris Harrison talks Courtney versus Emily, tonight's skinny-dipping

Tonight is the episode fans of The Bachelor have been waiting for: Courtney invites Ben to go skinny-dipping in Puerto Rico as things continue to go south between her and the other contestants, particularly Emily. If Courtney’s man- and rose-stealing antics weren’t already the focus of watercooler (and ladies’ room) conversations, this should do it. When Bachelor host Chris Harrison visited us last week, he admitted he’d just gotten in a debate with one of our building’s female security guards about Courtney’s aggressive style of play. In the video below, Harrison shares why he thinks Courtney is such a divisive figure and how he first learned about her controversial swim with Ben. He also answers some burning Bachelor questions about what he’s actually doing during those long cocktail parties (sitting in a control room where he can dial up any conversation he wants to eavesdrop on) and who actually decides what order the names are called in during a rose ceremony. (“After 10 years, we’ve been found out.”) READ FULL STORY

'Alcatraz' ratings remain solid; 'Bachelor' rises

The second week of Alcatraz performed solidly for Fox, though didn’t seem to benefit from some scheduling changes that might have otherwise boosted its numbers.

Alcatraz (9 million viewers, 3.0 adults 18-49 rating) was down 9 percent from last week’s two-hour premiere. That drop is a little less than you expect for a Week 2 episode, but also little more than you’d hope for when adding a lead-in from House (8.7 million, 3.1) and CBS airing repeats. READ FULL STORY

Bachelor Ben Flajnik talks Jenna, skinny-dipping, and more -- VIDEO

It’s week 2 of The Bachelor, and we’re in for a treat: Instead of the remaining women settling into the Bachelor Mansion in L.A., winemaker Ben Flajnik takes them to Sonoma. “That was an idea of mine. I talked to a lot of the producers saying, ‘I like Los Angeles, but Los Angeles isn’t home,'” he says. “For the women to get a really good sense of me and a sense of place, I thought going up to Northern California would be a really cool idea.”

In the video interview below, Ben talks more about the kind of women he told producers he was looking for, why he gave Jenna a rose that first night, why he felt comfortable skinny-dipping with Courtney (as seen in the promo for what’s coming up this season), and how we haven’t heard the last of him playing David Gray’s “This Year’s Love.” For the record, he assures us he has no desire for a recording career.  READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: 'Bachelor' Ben -- Hot or Not?

Image Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

There has been a fierce debate raging in the hallways of Entertainment Weekly of late and that debate is this: Is Bachelor Ben a hottie or a nottie? So to settle this EW civil war once and for all, I posed that exact question to our two resident Bachelor experts — Kristen Baldwin and Jessica Shaw — on the latest edition of the InsideTV Podcast. Listen as they weigh in on that as well as other crucial issues of the new Bachelor season such as: How long will producers force Ben to keep kooky blogger Jenna around? Is contestant rapping ever a good idea? And who’s hungry for some cow balls? READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Is 'Work It' the worst TV show ever? (And where's 'Cougar Town'?)

Image Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

What better way to ring in the New Year than with a sitcom about two dudes dressing up as women to get jobs? Oh, wait, I just thought of about 18 zillion better ways to ring in the New Year! Yet somehow ABC either didn’t realize how awful their new cross-dressing comedy (and I use that word lightly) Work It was, or the network simply didn’t care. Now, it’s up to Kristen Baldwin, Jessica Shaw, and me to get to work on breaking down Work It for the first 2012 edition of the InsideTV Podcast. Just how awful was it? Has it now earned the title of Worst Show Ever? And, if not, what is worse? Plus, how could ABC leave Cougar Town off the air for this?! READ FULL STORY

CBS funnies take first Monday of 2012

Glad you’re back, original programming! And what a return: A (finally) funny episode of How I Met Your Mother highlighted a strong night for CBS, which won the first Monday of 2012 with a 3.7 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers, according to early results.

All the CBS comedies won their time slots, beginning with HIMYM (3.9/9, 10.2 million), 2 Broke Girls (4.3/10, 12 million), Two and a Half Men (4.4/10, 13.7 million), and Mike & Molly (3.8/9, 11.9 million). Hawaii 5-0 also won its time slot in the key demo (2.9/7) and viewers 11.7 million.

ABC was second for the night in the demo and viewers (2.4/6, 7.2 million), having rolled out another edition of The Bachelor. The two-hour crapfest averaged around 7.6 million viewers in its first hour and roughly 7.8 million in its second hour. It was No. 1 from 8-9 p.m. among women 18-34.

NBC was third for the night, and was helped by an original episode of Fear Factor, which earned a 2.4/5 and 5.9 million viewers. That’s a 60 percent improvement to the time slot versus earlier than season. Give that Joe Rogan a bonus!

Fox ran repeats of House while the CW aired oldies of Secret Circle.

Read more:
‘How I Met Your Mother’ recap: ‘Puzzles’ Goes to Pieces
‘The Bachelor’ season premiere recap: Release the Hounds!

'The Bachelor': Meet 5 'ladies' to watch -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

The season premiere of The Bachelor is a little over two weeks away (Jan. 2, 8 p.m. on ABC), but we’ve got an exclusive look at five “ladies” to watch, as chosen by host (and EW.com blogger) Chris Harrison. Click through for an early look at Amber, Courtney, Jenna, Kacie, and Lindzi (yes, Lindzi), as well as my thoughts on Chris’ picks. READ FULL STORY

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