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'Damages,' 'True Blood,' 'Leverage,' 'Breaking Bad': Find out what's next in the Spoiler Room

It’s that time of the week again!

I’d romance you into your scoop for the week, but it’s too hot outside. No time for foreplay. Instead, read this and then go get yourself to a pool, stat! And send me a question if you’re so inclined: or @EWSandraG on Twitter.


We’re just a stone’s throw away from the premiere of a brand-spankin’ new season of Damages. [Bells, whistles, excitement] And what better way to celebrate the upcoming July 11 premiere than with fresh scoop from last night’s premiere party. Here are three teases for the fifth and final season: READ FULL STORY

'How I Met Your Mother,' 'Parenthood,' 'Fringe,' 'The Closer': Spoiler Room!

How I Met Your Mother: Find out how season 8 begins
Q: I am counting down the minutes until How I Met Your Mother returns in the fall — any scoop on big plot points for season 8? Thanks! — Whitney
With roughly 136,500 minutes to go, I’m excited, too, Whitney. After what I felt was one of their best seasons yet, my expectations are sky high. And executive producer Craig Thomas, who was nice enough to break down the season 7 finale for me as part of EW’s Emmy Watch, promises we won’t be disappointed.

Now, while I couldn’t squeeze too much info out of him on next season (the writers’ room is in the thick of it now!), here’s what he did share. “One little tidbit: The season premiere picks up right where we left off in May, with Ted and Victoria — a runaway bride — driving off into the sunset. Suddenly, Ted is struck by horrible guilt over the fact that he was left at the altar back in season 4 and now finds himself on the other end of that dubious equation,” he says. “So the entire premiere takes place on that day in May — a first for us, starting a season that way — and then episode two jumps us through the summer and into September.”

So will we get to see Marshall and Lily’s first day as parents? Will Ted drive Victoria BACK to her wedding? What about Barney? What about Robin? WHY ISN’T IT SEPTEMBER YET? Anyway, discuss… (Note: My countdown was based on a “start time” 1 p.m. ET on June 22 and a premiere date of Sept. 25, which is simply a guess. And if you figured that out before reading this sentence, you’re crazy.)

Fringe: Will Walter die?
So, we already know that much of next season will take place in 2036. We know that we have a mere 13 episodes to go. And we know it’s a journey we’ll be taking without the watchful eye of co-showrunner Jeff Pinkner. (J.H. Wyman will remain as the sole showrunner.) But other than that? Fringe can take us in any direction is pleases.

For John Noble, all that matters is that Walter gets a chance to right his wrongs. But is death the only way to do that? We discussed: “I think they’ve got to find a way to do it… I think they’re going to find a way to disappear him,” he says. “The storytelling mode, does it work to kill off a hero? I’m not sure that it does sometimes. You can see a person go through an enormous journey, but somewhere at the end of that journey, there’s a change — whatever the change is. It’s [usually] a change for the better, even though it may mean that person is not there.”

But he doubts the writers will, as he jokes, say, “Die, old man!” “I think that would be horrible. I think the fans would storm the citadel,” he says. “But I think it would also be really honorable and dignified if they find some way for Walter to willingly end this nonsense. But I don’t actually know how they’ll do that yet. But I believe they have to.”

Elsewhere, he also feels like the “extraordinary love affair” between Peter and Olivia needs to “become validated.” “That would be satisfying to me as an audience member. Again, not walking into the sunset, just really [reassuring us] they are in love and they need each other,” he says. Of course, he adds, “we’d know that anyway.”

Parenthood: Three teases for season 4
Jason Katims never intended for the season finale of Parenthood to feel like a series finale. (For the record, he thinks it was the wedding that gave that impression.) So we asked Katims to preview some of the great stuff coming up for the characters. And since you’ve already read about what Sarah and Mark will be facing (darn you, Ray Romano!), here’s a look at some of the others:

+ Julia and Joel: “We want to explore the addition of Victor, who’s the boy that Julia and Joel adopted. And we want to look at both the joy of what that is but also the challenges of what it’s like adopting [a child]. It’s not what they expected. They never pictured an 8-year-old. They pictured a baby. So what is that like for them? What are the challenges?”
+ Crosby and Jasmine: “We’re excited about exploring the first year of marriage between Crosby and Jasmine. We have a couple ideas for some really big storylines for them. It’s a little early to pitch those quite yet, but we’ll be really taking the show to another level.”
+ Drew: “It’s last year of high school. I have a bunch of friends who have children graduating high school, and it’s a really interesting period of time from both the parents’ point of view and the high school senior, who is ready to take off and branch out.”

NEXT: Weeds, The Closer, Suits, and more scooplets!

'Game of Thrones' gets Comic-Con upgrade (but not 'True Blood')


Confirmed: HBO’s Game of Thrones and True Blood are going to Comic-Con — and you expected that, right?

But here’s the bigger news: Thrones will be presented in the king-sized Hall H for the first time, an honor that typically goes to movies and, very occasionally, giant TV shows like ABC’s Lost. The Thrones panel will take place at the San Diego fan convention on Friday, July 13, and the True Blood panel will take place on Saturday, July 14 in Ballroom 20 (no panel details available yet).

Lost helped TV shows break into the 6,500-seat Hall H a few years ago, but this year more small-screen shows are being granted access to the event’s largest room. Both Fox’s Fringe and CBS’ Big Bang Theory will be in Hall H this year. True Blood‘s Ballroom 20 seats about 4,000.

Read more:
‘Glee’ turnaround: Show’s going to Comic-Con!
Comic-Con: Take a look at TV lineup so far

InsideTV Podcast: Larry Hagman's crazy eyebrows on 'Dallas.' Plus: 'True Blood' and 'Bunheads' premieres

Image Credit: Zade Rosenthal/TNT

There were twists and turns aplenty on the premiere of TNT’s Dallas reincarnation this week, but the most shocking thing of all may have been the feisty and fascinating eyebrows of one Larry Hagman. That’s right, J.R. is back and you can’t take your eyes off of him…mostly because you’re wondering if those eyebrows are going to reach out through the television screen and strangle you to death. On this week’s edition of the InsideTV Podcast, Ken Tucker, Jessica Shaw, and I head to Southfork Ranch to break down the new Dallas. How are the returning old-timers (J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen)? Which newcomer steals the show? And is the new incarnation worthy of a DVR season pass? (The Dallas discussion begins at 11:00.)

We also take a look at two other premieres from this week: the season 5 kick-off of True Blood and Amy Sherman-Palladino’s return to television with Bunheads. On True Blood, are Eric and Bill more intriguing as friends or foes? How do we feel about Tara as a vampire? And why are we loving the new vamptastic Rev. Newlin?

As for Bunheads, is Sherman-Palladino’s new show a return to the glory of Gilmore Girls or the horror of The Return of Jezebel James? How does two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster do in her first leading TV role? And does Grey’s Anatomy exec producer Shonda Rhimes have a point when she tweets about the lack of diversity on the ABC Family dramedy? (The Bunheads talk starts at 17:07.) READ FULL STORY

'True Blood' debuts solid (but down)

The season five premiere of True Blood lured 6.3 million viewers across its two plays Sunday, which HBO says was mostly in line with last year’s combined premiere number (though down 3%).

An average of 5.2 million viewers tuned into the premiere, down 4% in comparison to season four premiere but up 3% from the season 4 finale.

An additional 1.1 million viewers tuned in for the 11 p.m. replay.

For more:
‘True Blood’ recap
Kristin Bauer van Straten talks ‘True Blood’

'True Blood': Arlene on life with Mikey -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

There are a lot of loose ends left untied as we head into True Blood‘s season 5 premiere tonight. Will Sookie give in to temptation and renege on her dismissal of Bill and Eric? Will Tara survive a shot to the head? Will Lafayette overcome his grief after murdering his lover Jesus? Will escaped-from-the-cement-grave vampire king Russell Edgington rip the spines out of every resident of Bon Temps? Can Jason and Alcide give up this charade that they need clothes?

Yes, surely some or all of those questions will be addressed as season 5 gets underway. Until then, EW has this exclusive clip, in which Arlene (Carrie Preston) discusses the littlest — and most diabolical — loose end of all: Her toddling son Mikey, who may or may not be a demon-child. Watch Arlene’s thoughts on little Mikey below. READ FULL STORY

'Strike Back' sets season 2 premiere date; new promo to air before 'True Blood' -- EXCLUSIVE

Strike Back, Cinemax’s action series about a covert British military unit hunting for terrorists, will return for its second season with two back-to-back episodes on Aug. 17. The show, which stars Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) and Philip Winchester (Camelot) as elite special-op soldiers who begrudgingly come to respect each other, fought for attention last year as Cinemax’s first-ever primetime series. But the program is about to get a big push. On Sunday night, right before the hyped season premiere of True Blood, HBO will showcase a promo for its sister network’s show. Watch it here first: READ FULL STORY

Kristin Bauer van Straten talks 'True Blood': 'It's quite a ride this year'

What a week for True Blood fans. EW has 11 luscious covers to sink your teeth into, season 4 released on Blu-ray and DVD last week, and season 5 is a mere two days away. In anticipation of Sunday night’s premiere, Kristin Bauer van Straten, who plays Bon Temps’ resident Queen of Mean Pam, chatted with EW about her favorite — and most vanity-destroying — moments from the series. How long did it take to achieve Pam’s rotting aesthetic from last year? What has been her most embarrassing moment on set? And what’s in store for season 6. (Hint: Girl-on-girl drama and gratuitous nudity are not out of the question.) Read on… READ FULL STORY

'True Blood': A treacherous trio of teases -- VIDEO

The clock is ticking down until True Blood‘s season 5 premiere (nine days!). No matter how many messes the denizens of Bon Temps clean up — and there are many — it seems they are always creating more in the process. In three new clips, all the main characters pick back up where they left off, whether it’s mopping up blood splatter or dealing with the return of old frenemies. Whet your appetites below. READ FULL STORY

'True Blood' scoop: [SPOILER] coming back for season 5 -- EXCLUSIVE

HBO’s True Blood returns to the airwaves on June 10 with a plethora of fresh meat, including Law & Order: SVU‘s Chris Meloni, but there are also some familiar faces back for season 5. TURN AWAY NOW TO AVOID A SPOILER!

EW has learned exclusively that Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Alfre Woodard will return as Ruby Jean Reynolds, the schizophrenic mother of Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) last seen in season 3. Ruby Jean was a patient in a local mental hospital and under the care of Jesus (Kevin Alejandro), who later went on to have a tragic romance with Lafayette.

Woodard was nominated for an  2011 Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series — for the Blood role. She’s set to appear in episodes 5 and 6 of the HBO series, and possibly more.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack

Read more:
New ‘True Blood’ promo: Russell’s back! And thirsty!
‘True Blood’ lines up new showrunner
‘True Blood’ promo: Don’t cry! It’s almost back!

New 'True Blood' promo: Russell's back! And thirsty!

“A 3,000-year-old vampire wants to suck my blood… Must be Thursday!” Actually, Sookie, it’s more like Sunday, June 10, when True Blood finally returns. The second trailer for season 5 (watch it below) shows more of the drama that will unfold when Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) is back from his cement grave. One thing is for certain: There will be blood. (The shots of Hoyt and Chris Meloni’s Roman, leader of the Authority, are currently tied for best splatter.) READ FULL STORY

'True Blood' lines up new showrunner

HBO has lined up a showrunner for True Blood if the vampire drama is ordered for a sixth season.

Now that Executive Producer Alan Ball has decided to step back from his head writer duties after the fifth season that begins June 10, the pay network will bring in co-executive producer Mark Hudis to fill the void. Hudis has worked in the True Blood writers room with Ball since season 4.

In February, HBO released a statement saying that “if we proceeded to True Blood’s sixth season that Alan would take a supervisory role on the series and not be the day-to-day showrunner.  If we proceed to season six, the show will remain in the very capable hands of the talented team of writers and producers who have been with the show for a number of years. This is the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball.”

Hudis’ other credits include Nurse Jackie and Miss Guided.

'True Blood' promo: Don't cry! It's almost back!

If there is a marketing team that has more fun than the folks who have to push True Blood, we have not met them. The latest promo is a montage of red-eyed characters weeping, telling us “Don’t cry… It’s back” on June 10. Bill wins the award for best blood tears, while Russell takes the prize for most melodramatic (with Franklin coming in a close second). Watch it below.  READ FULL STORY


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