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'On the Menu' premiere react: A new recipe for a staling genre

There are a couple of ingredients you need to make any good cooking competition show on TV. But it seems if you aren’t a part of the Food Network or named Gordon Ramsay or Tom Colicchio, you may struggle to find them in your pantry.

The first is a twist that makes you different from the rest, and On the Menu, TNT’s first foray into the food world, has got a pretty good one. Each episode, four home cooks battle out in three rounds of competition for a $25,000 prize, but their dish is immediately featured on the menu of some of the country’s biggest chain restaurants. The day after their episode airs, the chef’s winning dish will be available for viewers to actually taste. Though it claims to be the first show to let the audience interact this way, that’s not really true. NBC unsuccessfully tried a similar idea with America’s Next Great Restaurant, but the three start-up locations for the winning idea closed within two months of opening. TNT is smart to align itself with some big names in the food industry like Chili’s, Denny’s and Outback Steakhouse to legitimize the entire show and end results.

The second ingredient is a great host who knows what they are talking about. Ty Pennington has left the home makeovers to focus solely on the kitchen and though he does a serviceable job, he definitely has a love-him-or-hate-him type of personality. Luckily, TNT has also racked up legendary Chef Emeril Lagasse to serve as a mentor-like figure for the home cooks. Not only did Lagasse arguably help create the idea of the celebrity chef (without which a show like this would never really exists) but one of his own restaurants is one of the 10 taking on a new menu item.

The problem is, the premise is a lot more promising than the show itself. If you squint your eyes just enough, it’ll look like you’re just watching another episode of Chopped or Cutthroat Kitchen on the Food Network. The three rounds begin with the cooks being challenged to recreate a famous item already on the menu for that week’s respective restaurant executives. In the Chili’s premiere, it was guacamole. Restaurant executives choose which three move on to the next round, where they each get their first chance to make their personal menu item within some sort of small guideline (they are tasked with making a burger for Chili’s). Another unique angle On the Menu has against some of the other cooking shows is how the next round is judged, bringing in everyday patrons and customers to taste and pick their favorite dish. You still get a lot of the forced “I’m on TV so it must be good” answers and reactions, but additional hidden cameras add both a comedic and informative level of observation for the executives, who don’t actually get to eat the item just yet. They have to wait to the third round, where the final two cooks take the customer’s comments and refine their dish before one final taste.

On the Menu adds some unique flavor to the food competition genre of reality TV with a prize that really can’t be won anywhere else. Will it entice you enough to actually get off your couch and into one of these restaurants to taste the winning dish? Probably not. I’m not sure how anyone will even be able to find the wining dish from The Cheesecake Factory episode in that massive encyclopedia of a menu. But the show freshens up an otherwise staling genre of TV, and for foodies and others who naturally like to eat with their eyes, On the Menu is definitely one to put on the DVR at least.

'Dallas' canceled by TNT

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After a three-season run, Dallas has been canceled.

TNT announced on Friday that the primetime soap opera, a reboot of the 1980s classic, will not be returning for a fourth season.

“TNT has decided not to renew Dallas. We are extremely proud of the series, which defied expectations by standing as a worthy continuation of the Ewing saga. We want to thank everyone involved with the show, from the extraordinary cast to the impeccable production team, led by the show’s creative forces, [executive producers] Cynthia Cidre and Mike Robin,” a TNT spokesperson said in a statement. “We especially want to thank the people of Dallas for their warm and generous hospitality during the production of the series.”

While the reboot kicked off with impressive ratings in 2012, its viewership shrank after the death of Larry Hagman, who had reprised his pivotal role of J.R. Ewing, in November 2012. The 81-year-old was filming the second season of the show at the time. In addition to Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray were also among the cast members from the original series. New to the series for the reboot were Juan Pablo Di Pace, Julie Gonzalo, Brenda Strong, Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster, and Jesse Metcalfe.

TNT orders fantasy pilot from 'Captain America' director

TNT is getting into the fantasy game with an ambitious pilot order from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and director Joe Johnston.

The network has picked up Lumen, about a family trapped in an alternate universe. Here’s the pitch: “The famous author of a best-selling series of fantasy books suddenly disappears, and a family of four finds themselves transported to the mystical alternate world that inspired her work. Once there, however, they are plunged into the middle of a war raging between rival magical forces, of light and darkness. Facing peril at every turn, the family must unravel a complicated mystery and uncover some astonishing secrets as they struggle to find their way home.”

The project has some heavy hitters involved, including director Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger, Jurassic Park III), screenwriter Chris Black (Mad Men, Desperate Housewives), and executive producers Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (The Americans), James Frey (A Million Little Pieces, Endgame) and Todd Cohen (Ugly Betty), along with Johnston and Black.

 

Mark Wahlberg adapting his film 'Shooter' for TNT

Mark Wahlberg and producing partner Stephen Levinson (Entourage) have teamed up with Paramount Television on a potential drama series for TNT adapted from the 2007 conspiracy thriller Shooter. Deadline was the first to report the news.

Wahlberg starred in the Antoine Fuqua-directed film based on the Stephen Hunter novel Point of Impact, about a former U.S. Marine Scout Sniper on the run after being framed with murderThe action pilot will be written by John Hlavin (The Shield). In addition to the upcoming Entourage movie, Wahlberg and Levinson are also the executive producers on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and A&E’s Wahlburgers. Paramount TV will also be producing the Minority Report sequel coming to TV on FOX.

 

'Major Crimes' enlists '24,' 'CSI' alums

CSI alum Alex Carter and 24’s Carlos Bernard have landed guest-starring roles on Major Crimes, EW has learned exclusively.

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'Falling Skies' season 4 finale: Showrunner David Eick answers your burning questions

Falling Skies wrapped up its fourth season Sunday with what may be the show’s most hopeful yet most enigmatic season closer.

SPOILER ALERT: Details of tonight’s season 4 finale lie ahead! READ FULL STORY

'Falling Skies': Noah Wyle teases an 'insane' mission in season finale

As alien-filled as it is, Falling Skies has kept its characters Earth-bound throughout the show’s four years on TNT. But it appears that’s about to change. The 2nd Mass’ latest strategy for winning back their planet is rocketing themselves beyond Earth’s atmosphere — to the Espheni power converter on the moon.

The mission-to-the-moon storyline came from the show’s executive producer, a guy you may have heard of: “That was Mr. Spielberg’s idea,” Noah Wyle told EW.

Wyle (Tom Mason) admitted that crafting that storyline was a challenge. With Falling Skies‘ fourth season nearing its big finish, Wyle talked to EW about shooting for the moon, about recent character deaths, and about what fans can expect from the season finale, which airs Sunday.

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Cast, showrunner hint at what's next on 'Falling Skies' at Comic-Con

Falling Skies is halfway through its fourth season, which saw a lot of changes from season 3, along with the addition of new showrunner David Eick. With the 2nd Mass separated after an Espheni attack, our ensemble cast found themselves in very different worlds from one another.

“In Tom’s world we were in darkness. Lexi’s world—it was light. It was almost like Munchkinland,” Eick said during the show’s Comic-Con panel. “In Anne’s world it was very gritty but stripped down.”

At Comic-Con, Eick and the show’s cast hinted at what’s to come on Falling Skies now that the characters have reunited. Most important to know right off the bat? As Sarah Sanguin Carter (Maggie) said on the panel, “The second half is gnarly, you guys.”

Here’s more that Eick and the cast revealed on their panel: READ FULL STORY

Sean Bean swaps identities in new 'Legends' trailer

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In TNT’s upcoming undercover-espionage thriller Legends, Sean Bean plays Martin Odum, a deep-cover operative who’s uniquely adept at adopting new identities. Perhaps predictably, there are an awful lot of people who want to kill him—and that’s the least of his problems. The show debuts on August 13, but EW is excited to share an exclusive new trailer for the series, which hints at the show’s twisty serialized arc, plus a look at Legends co-stars Ali Larter, Tina Majorino, Steve Harris, and Morris Chestnut. Yes, Sean Bean says, “Move, and I’ll blow your teeth out.” No, he’s not joking. READ FULL STORY

'The O.C.'s' Melinda Clarke will guest star on TNT's 'Dallas' in a classic role

The O.C.’s Melinda Clarke has signed on guest star in two episodes in the third season of TNT’s Dallas, The Wrap reports.

Clarke will assume the role of Tracy Lawton, a character who was introduced in the 12th season of the original series and was played by Beth Toussaint. In the original series, McKay was introduced in 1988 as a love interest for Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), and it was later revealed that she was in fact the daughter of Ewing’s rival Carter McKay (George Kennedy).

Since leaving The O.C., Clarke has guest starred on The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, HBO’s Entourage, and was a series regular on the recently canceled Nikita, which ran on The CW for four seasons.

Clarke will make her debut in the September 3 episode of Dallas‘s third season, which resumes on August 18.

TNT trailers: 'Public Morals,' 'Proof,' 'The Librarians,' more

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In addition to renewing Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show and revealing a slate of new shows — including a Firestarter sequel series — as part of its upfront presentation to advertisers Wednesday, TNT also released trailers for several of its upcoming new shows. There’s a TV-sized, internationally produced version of The Transporter films, a series version of its The Librarian adventure films called The Librarians (starring Noah Wyle), and two new original dramas: The Edward Burns police show Public Morals and the Jennifer Beals supernatural thriller Proof.

Transporter will premiere this fall,  The Librarians this winter, and Proof and Public Morals next year.All four trailers are below: READ FULL STORY

TNT developing sequel to Stephen King's 'Firestarter,' unveils explosive new tagline

A Stephen King-inspired series is headed to TNT.  The cable network is developing The Shop, a sequel to King’s 1980 bestseller Firestarter.

The drama centers on the insidious agency responsible for kidnapping and attempting to exploit the psychokinetic powers of a young girl named Charlie McGee in the original story. Now it’s 20 years later and Charlie has been tracked down by one of The Shop’s former members, Henry Talbot, who introduces her to a group of people with their own unique abilities. From the announcement: “It turns out The Shop is very much alive, bigger and badder than ever, and its dark experiments are unleashing terrifying new entities on the world. It’s now up to Talbot, Charlie and the rest of the team to find The Shop and destroy it for good.”

The project is written by Robbie Thompson (Supernatural) and produced by James Middleton (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Jaime Paglia (Eureka) and Thompson.

In addition, TNT unveiled an explosive new tagline that’s quite fitting if The Shop ever goes to series: “TNT Drama. Boom.” Yup, that’s it. “‘Boom’ speaks to the experience we want to deliver to TNT viewers,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT. “It’s about the thrill of the chase, or overcoming impossible odds and winning the day; it’s about what keeps you on the edge of your seat, hands clenched, heart racing, waiting to see what happens next; it’s about the moment when it all goes ‘Boom!’ Most importantly, ‘Boom’ makes a promise to our audience about the kind of emotional, intense, exciting, funny, shocking, sexy and thrilling drama they should expect from TNT.”

Here’s the rest of TNT’s new series in development along with The Shop: READ FULL STORY

'Falling Skies': New trailer warns of great battle

Post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama Falling Skies is coming back this summer with its fourth season, and its latest trailer promises that it’s going to be as crazy as ever.

The TNT series, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and created by Robert Rodat, follows the aftermath of the human race after a disastrous alien invasion and how one history professor (Noah Wyle) takes charge of the remaining (human) survivors.

Falling Skies returns June 22 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT. Watch the trailer below:

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