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CNN bringing back Anthony Bourdain's hot series

Anthony Bourdain has traveled to all sorts of exotic places over the past couple of years, with none as important as where he’s taken CNN itself.

Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series, a culinary travelogue, swiftly became the network’s top-rated series since debuting last April, a bright spot at a place that was in a severe dry spell before the missing Malaysian plane kicked up ratings. A new eight-episode season begins Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT.

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The Weather Channel returning to DirecTV

DirecTV customers will have The Weather Channel back on their lineup starting Wednesday.

The move comes nearly three months after the TV distributor dropped the channel after the two parties failed to reach a carrier agreement. The financial terms of their new contract were not disclosed, but in a release, The Weather Channel said they had “agreed to reduce reality programming by half” on weekdays.  READ FULL STORY

'The Normal Heart': See the new trailer for Ryan Murphy's powerful HBO adaptation -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Ryan Murphy, the co-creator of Glee and American Horror Story, tackles his most dramatic and emotional project to date with his adaptation of Larry Kramer’s iconic play The Normal Heart. Set to air May 25 on HBO, the film chronicles the rise of AIDS in New York City in the early 1980s and features a sterling cast, including Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons. EW is exclusively premiering Heart‘s new trailer. Watch below. READ FULL STORY

Investigation Discovery casts '80s heartthrobs to play real-life bad boys

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If you grew up adoring Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch) and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), you probably won’t love them here.

EW has learned exclusively that a dream team of ’80s heartthrobs like Jack Wagner  and Rob Estes (Melrose Place), as well as Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club) and Antonio Sabato Jr. (General Hospital)  — as well as the aforementioned Peter Brady and Hercules — will take part in a new miniseries called Heartbreakers for Investigation Discovery. READ FULL STORY

Stephen Colbert on #CancelColbert: 'We almost lost me' -- VIDEO

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Stephen Colbert used his entire Comedy Central show Monday to address an out-of-context tweet last week that kicked off the #CancelColbert campaign. Update: Watch video from the episode below.

The show started with a hilarious montage showing The Colbert Report shutting down, the lights going out, a flower wilting, scenes of the apocalypse, the famous crying Indian — all while Adagio for Strings played over the images. Then Colbert “woke up” from his bad dream and did his show.

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'GMA' shakeup again: Josh Elliott out

Good Morning America’s winning team is about to get even smaller.

On the heels of Sam Champion’s high-profile departure to The Weather Channel, Josh Elliott is leaving ABC’s morning show to take a gig at NBC Sports. Elliott has been with the morning show since 2006.

Amy Robach will replace him, effectively immediately. Robach was already a member of the GMA team.

Elliott, whose contract was about to expire with ABC, was in negotiations when his GMA colleague Lara Spencer signed a new deal worth a reported $8 million-plus a year.  Elliott was making just over $1 million a year and was apparently looking for parity, especially in light of the new, $14 million contract recently inked by Robin Roberts, Deadline reports. (George Stephanopoulos’s deal isn’t up until the end of this year).

Elliott now becomes the second staffer on the morning show to jump to an NBC-Universal-owned network.

Newly-appointed Disney/ABC TV TV Group president Ben Sherwood sent out this note Sunday to the ABC News division:

“I’m excited to let you know that we have promoted Amy Robach to News Anchor on Good Morning America effective immediately. Amy is a world class anchor and correspondent who is beloved by our morning audience and all who know her. READ FULL STORY

Why 'Archer' star H. Jon Benjamin isn't always in the 'Danger zone!'

Want to do Archer star and comedian H. Jon Benjamin a solid favor should you ever recognize him on the street? Then resist the temptation to request he say “Danger zone!” — the catchphrase with which his character Sterling Archer has become synonymous with during the five seasons-and-counting run of FX’s spy spoof.

 

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ABC Family drops controversial pilot about Saudi Arabia

ABC Family has abandoned a drama pilot called Alice in Arabia after advocacy groups expressed concern that it would perpetuate negative stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims.

The pilot followed an American teen who is kidnapped by her relatives and taken to Saudi Arabia, where she is kept as a prisoner in her Muslim grandfather’s home and forced to “find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil,” according to an official network logline read. The script’s from Brooke Eikmeier, a former cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language for U.S. Army who trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. It was one of three new drama pilots announced by ABC Family earlier this week. READ FULL STORY

'Bates Motel': Carlton Cuse talks the mother of a twist revealed in latest episode -- EXCLUSIVE

[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST BATES MOTEL!!!!]

Tonight’s Bates Motel had a whopper of a twist in the final moments: Dylan’s father is…his mother’s brother! Yep, according to Norma (Vera Farmiga), her bro Caleb (Kenny Johnson) is Dylan’s dad. This will likely not end well so we talked to Motel EP Carlton Cuse about this major development.

EW: Tonight’s big reveal was that Caleb is the father of Dylan. Did you all plan that from the start of the series?
CARLTON CUSE: Like most good creative ideas they evolve and they grow richer over time. Back when I first discussed the show with A&E I mentioned with them that I would love to add a brother character number one because I thought it would be great to have a window of normalcy to look out at Norma and Norman through the perspective of this other guy. Also, it just felt like this dynamic of this other brother kind of creating triangulation in the family dynamic would be super great. Kerry Ehrin and I put flesh and bone on the Dylan character and I think as we started writing him and developing him and actually watching him and seeing how hurt and damaged he was being this sort of third wheel in this family, it felt like a natural progression to try and explain that and deepen our understanding of how that happened. Then, honestly, it was Vera who sent us the idea and thought What if we do this. Kerry and Vera and I all talked about it. It just was one of those things that “Oh this completely makes sense.” It was all kind of sitting on the table and then it all kind of fell into place.

So where will this storyline go?
I think it has incredibly powerful consequences for Dylan. It’s just such a horrible revelation for his self-worth. It really sort of spins him into a dark place in concert with the fact that he’s unwittingly found himself right in the middle of this crazy drug family. I think those two things spiral on top of each other. That’s what we’re following for the rest of the season: the downward spiral of Dylan. I’ve talked before about how the thematic of this season is, Who am I? Now that Dylan gets this really horrible answer to this question, now he’s dealing with the consequences of it. It’s really an opportunity for Max Thieriot to shine. It goes to some pretty twisty places over the course of the season. The event kind of catalyzes his event for the rest of the season.

Will we meet Norma’s parents?
We’ve had conversations about other family members but this is kind of as far as its goes. You can’t take too many Bates relatives at one time.

Kenny Johnson is sorta perfect because he looks like Max.
I think he looks remarkably like him. If you took Max Thieriot and just led a hard and dissolute life for 20 years, he would look just like Kenny Johnson. It was sort of the brilliance of April Webster, our fantastic casting director, who found Kenny. I knew Kenny because he was on The Shield and The Shield was done by Shawn Ryan. I gave Shawn Ryan his first job on Nash Bridges and Shawn and I are friends. Shawn had extolled how amazing Kenny was and how fantastic he was an actor. We just jumped at the opportunity for him to join our show.

We’re also meeting Michael Vartan’s character. He seems so nice. Is that even possible on Bates Motel?
Well, that’s really the question: Is Norma capable of having a relationship with a nice, normal person? I think this is a problem for a lot of people in life in general. There’s definitely a lot of people who kind of just don’t choose well when it comes to relationships because they’re sort of drawn to qualities that don’t tend to go with people who turn out to be nice guys or gals. I think Norma in some way is being handed the life she wants on a silver plate and will it work out.

This was probably the most shocking episode so far. Are there more twists to come?
Yeah, there are some other surprises coming up this season. I think that’s kind of the fun of the show. This is not like a small nuanced cable drama where one thing happens. The story telling is intentionally pretty full-throttle. There’s a bunch of other stuff that happens.

Amazon Prime hikes price

For the first time, Amazon is raising the price of its Prime free-shipping program for U.S. members — which includes access to the unlimited Prime Instant Video service. The cost is increasing from $79 to $99 per year. Current members will be charged $79 if their membership renews before April 17 and $99 if their membership renews on or after that date.

Announcing the change in a notice on their website, the company also noted that Amazon Student members can get Prime for $49. It added that the fee for Prime Fresh membership will remain unchanged at $299.

Though Amazon declined to give a reason for the prince increase, an influx of Prime Instant Video content would seem to be partially responsible. In addition to an increasing volume of original shows, the Prime library also includes exclusive streaming rights for programs like Downtown Abbey and Veronica Mars.

Return dates announced for 'Under the Dome,' 'Big Brother'

For the second summer in a row, Big Brother will premiere in June and July to help kick off 90 hours of first-run programming through August.

BB will bow on June 25 with the first eviction occurring July 3. As usual, the show will air three times a week.

Starting June 29, CBS will air a three-hour block of original programming with BB, followed by  the new legal drama Reckless and a third season of Unforgettable. Under the Dome will return on June 30.

The new Halle Berry starrer Extant — which was originally scheduled to bow July 2 — will now premiere on July 9.

Here’s the entire summer schedule: READ FULL STORY

Comcast/Sony deal lets Comcast subscribers watch Netflix shows

Comcast today announced that it has signed an agreement with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to sell the studio’s titles through the Xfinity On Demand digital store. In the coming weeks, Xfinity TV customers will be able to purchase Sony Pictures movies and TV shows to own and access anytime on any device, kicking off with American Hustle, timed to the film’s DVD release. Additional Sony Pictures movie and TV titles that will be available for purchase in the coming weeks include Breaking Bad, as well as popular movies such as Captain Phillips, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Amazing Spider-Man and 21 Jump Street.

“Sony Pictures is pleased that this agreement brings significant titles to Comcast customers,” said Man Jit Singh, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president, in a release. “We deeply value our relationship with Comcast and look forward to working closely with them to meet the needs of all audiences.”

Most excitingly for TV fans, the Comcast/Sony deal will allow Comcast subscribers to purchase episodes of Netflix shows, even if they don’t have a Netflix subscription. At $1.99 an episode, it’s not exactly a steal compared to a monthly Netflix subscription, but it’s another option for fans who want to keep up with Frank Underwood’s exploits on House of Cards.

Fox cancels 'Raising Hope'

Raising Hope is saying goodbye. Fox announced Monday that it will air two back-to-back new episodes to end the comedy’s four-season run on April 4.

The series finale will begin with “How I Met Your Mullet” which will guest star Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey), followed by “The Father Daughter Dance” featuring Jeffrey Tambor. It will also include a musical performance by Kenny Loggins.

Raising Hope has averaged 2.7 million viewers this season and a 1.0 rating in 18-49.

“On behalf of myself, Greg Garcia and Raising Hope‘s amazing cast and crew, I would like to thank our audience for tuning in and supporting us over the last four seasons,” said executive producer Mike Mariano in a statement. “We planned our Season 4 finale with this possibility in mind, and hope our loyal fans enjoy the way we’ve chosen to say goodbye to the Chances and to Natesville.  Thanks again, and we’ll see you in syndication.”

“Getting to know and love the Chance family on Raising Hope has been a sweet, hilarious ride,” added Fox chief Kevin Reilly in a statement. “Thanks to the incredibly talented cast – along with Greg, Mike and the entire crew – for making us laugh for four fantastic seasons.”

Raising Hope, which was created by Garcia, bowed in the fall of 2010 and stars Martha Plimpton, Cloris Leachman, Garret Dillahunt, Lucas Neff, Shannon Woodward and Gregg Binkley. New episodes begin airing this Friday at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.

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