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'The Strain': Guillermo del Toro on the creation of his FX series' big bad vampire -- EXCLUSIVE

Getting the flu is a major bummer. But it’s waaay preferable to a contagious virus that turns you into a vampire, the all-too-creepy premise behind FX’s July horror epic The Strain. Based on the book trilogy by director Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) and author Chuck Hogan, and executive-produced by Lost’s ­Carlton Cuse, the 13-episode series focuses on an epidemiologist (House of Cards’ Corey Stoll) who must battle a parasitic sickness threatening to transform New Yorkers into plasma-loving monsters.

The main carrier of the ­disease? The Master, one of the oldest vampires in existence. The Strain’s brutal behemoth is so complicated to operate that it takes two men (actor Robert Maillet and dancer Roberto Campanella) plus several visual-effects artists to bring him to life on screen. Del Toro shares this exclusive early sketch of the villain and talks about creating the ultimate bloodsucker. READ FULL STORY

Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly stepping down

Fox’s programming chief is stepping down: Kevin Reilly, the network’s entertainment chairman and top prime-time decision maker for the past seven years, will leave his post by the end of June.

“21st Century Fox is a great company that has provided me with choice seats at the head table of pop culture over two very rewarding stints both at FBC and FX, and I am grateful to have benefited from the leadership of Peter Rice, Chase Carey and Rupert Murdoch,” Reilly said in a statement. “Peter and I have been discussing this transition for a while, and now with a robust new slate of programming for next season and strength in the FBC ranks, it felt like the timing was as right as it could be. I couldn’t be more thankful to my team — a group of creative, tireless and fun people whose fellowship I will miss.” READ FULL STORY

Logo announces 'Trailblazers' special to honor gay activists, with Daniel Radcliffe, Jared Leto, Ariana Grande

Logo has announced a new annual special called Trailblazers, which will pay tribute to gay rights activists who have paved the way for the LGBT community. The one-hour show, airing June 26 at 9 p.m., will feature appearances by longtime Trevor Project supporter Daniel Radcliffe as well as stars like Jared Leto, Kylie Minogue, Ariana Grande, Rita Ora, and Iggy Azalea. A Great Big World will also perform.

Airing during the week that marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the one-year anniversary of DOMA being overturned, the inaugural Trailblazers will honor many LGBT champions, including gay marriage advocates Edie Windsor and Roberta Kaplan.

Top 50 broadcast TV shows of 2013-14

The 2013-14 TV season for the broadcast nets ends this week — and no surprise, football continues to reign supreme for NBC. Here are the top 50 top 55 shows (because lots are tied) among adults 18-49 for the TV season that began Sept. 23.

Each rating point in the 18-49 demo equals 1.3 million viewers.  READ FULL STORY

'River Monsters' renewed by Animal Planet

Jeremy Wade will be back with his scary underwater creatures: Animal Planet has renewed River Monsters for a seventh season.

The unscripted show that sends Wade sleuthing for freshwater mysteries is Animal Planet’s best-performing series ever. It’s sixth season debut was its most-watched-season premiere and also ranked as the most-watched network season premiere among key demos.

The two-hour opener, dubbed “Amazon Apocalypse,” averaged 1.7 million viewers.

The sixth season finale of River Monsters will air Monday, May 26 at 9 ET with “Body Snatcher,” an episode in which Wade investigates rumors of a body-snatching spirit and predatory freshwater mermaid that is said to drag men deep into the river, never to be seen again.

'The View' says goodbye to Barbara Walters

Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey joined just about every female anchor currently on network TV to bid farewell today to Barbara Walters, who is retiring this week from The View and ABC News.

After taping a reunion with current and former co-hosts of The View (welcome back, Star Jones, Rosie O’Donnell and Lisa Ling!) that aired earlier today, Walters, 84, rejoined current hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd for one last lovefest behind the desk for a final show that’ll run Friday. Dressed in a white jacket and black skirt, Walters walked on stage for one last time as the crowd chanted “Barbara! Barbara!” Pictures from her long broadcast history (Walters and the Carters; Walters and Hugh Downs) flashed in the background. READ FULL STORY

'How I Met Your Mother' spinoff: 'Didn't work out'

One of the most glaring omissions from CBS’ fall schedule is How I Met Your Dad, the much-talked about spinoff of CBS’s long-running comedy. But CBS topper Nina Tassler told reporters Wednesday that “things on the pilot didn’t work out” and the producers can now shop it elsewhere.

The hope was to retool the comedy pilot, but the show’s producers weren’t interested in returning to the drawing table. The comedy pilot starred Greta Gerwig as Sally, who gradually reveals how she met her partner in flashback. It’s from writers/exec producers Emily Spivey and HIMYM creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

READ FULL STORY

ABC defends racy 'Grey's' at 8 p.m.

Two of ABC’s popular — and very steamy — dramas will air an hour earlier on Thursdays this fall, but ABC topper Paul Lee doesn’t seem to be too worried about shaking up the so-called family hour with Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

“I think it’s much less relevant than it was than five years ago,” Lee said today in a press conference, after a reporter questioned the idea of airing adult content earlier in the evening. ABC unveiled its fall schedule Tuesday that shifted the sexy medical soap Grey’s to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and the equally racy Scandal from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Another reporter reminded Lee that ABC once had a reputation for keeping the family hour free of racy shows, he said the sales department was “fully supportive” of the decision to move Grey’s to 8 and that it’s a “non-issue.”

Lee also went on to say that ABC has a “strong” standards and practices department and “we will make sure whatever we air is appropriate.”

Sexy scenes have become a mainstay on both dramas — and characters have even been known to do the hibity-dibity outside of the bedroom. (See: Cristina and Owen in the fan shaft: Fitz and Liv in the White House). But Scandal, in particular, also features violent content like torture. Watch some below: READ FULL STORY

ABC fall schedule revealed: 'Scandal' on the move

Scandal will air an hour earlier on Thursdays, while Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will move to 9 on Tuesdays, according to ABC’s new fall schedule released today.

The rest of ABC’s schedule remains intact, especially Dancing with the Stars — which will stay a one-night-a-week franchise (sorry, fringe lovers).  Here’s the full schedule (new shows are in bold): READ FULL STORY

CBS orders 'NCIS' spinoff, 'The Odd Couple'

CBS gave the go-ahead to another NCIS spinoff, along with a retelling of the classic comedy The Odd Couple that will star Matthew Perry.

Tea Leoni will also debut on CBS this fall as the Secretary of State while Laurie Metcalf returns in a family sitcom about a raucous Boston clan.

What’s missing from this round of pickups? There was talk of a CSI spinoff that would have starred Patricia Arquette as a special agent in charge of the FBI’s cyber crime division. 

CBS, which has already issued verdicts on most of its shows save The Crazy Ones, Intelligence and The Mentalist, will present its fall lineup Wednesday in New York.

Here’s what’s planned (so far) for the 2014-15 season: READ FULL STORY

'American Horror Story: Freak Show': A bearded lady? A scary clown? Details on the new season -- EXCLUSIVE

FX’s American Horror Story: Freak Show, about a 1950s Florida freak show run by a German (Jessica Lange, naturally), won’t premiere until later this year — but co-creator Ryan Murphy is revealing some more details on what he and the writers have in store for the series’ fourth iteration.

“It was always a concept that Jessica and I talked about really early on,” says Murphy of Freak Show. “It was always her favorite one, which I thought was funny. I’ve had many different versions that I’ve run by her. I just love it. It feels really right. I thought it was going to be light but it’s turning out to be quite terrifyingly dark, which it feels much more like the Asylum season. But look — if you have a character named the Clown Killer, it’s going to be dark.” READ FULL STORY

CW renews 'Beauty and the Beast,' orders 'Flash'

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CW is bringing back three fan favorites and ordering a pair of comic-book inspired dramas for fall.

Beauty and the Beast and Hart of Dixie will make a comeback, as will the freshman drama The 100. They join the previously announced renewals of Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Arrow and Reign.

CW also picked up four new series in anticipation of its fall presentation to advertisers next week. They are The Flash, Jane the Virgin, iZombie, and The Messengers. Here are the official descriptions of the new dramas: READ FULL STORY

USA Network developing projects from 'Lost' creator Carlton Cuse, Jessica Biel

The USA Network is on the search for its next hit, with the announcement today of it’s 2014-15 development slate.

An alien drama from Lost creator Carlton Cuse, a comedy from Amy Poehler, and a single-cam comedy about a ski resort from Jessica Biel’s Iron Ocean Films are among the development projects touted by the network, who released descriptions for more than a dozen in-the-works possible series. READ FULL STORY

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