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Netflix reaches deal with Comcast

Netflix has reached a deal with Comcast to ensure that its TV shows and movies are streamed smoothly to households, the first deal the online video streaming service has reached with an Internet service provider.

The two companies said in a joint statement Sunday they’re establishing a more direct connection to provide a better service to customers that will also allow for future growth in Netflix traffic. The companies say the arrangement is already giving customers a better experience.

Netflix had 33 million U.S. streaming subscribers at the start of the year and accounts for about one third of all traffic at peak times on the Internet, according to research firm Sandvine. As the video steaming company has grown, Internet service providers like Comcast have pushed the company for more structured deals to enable its content to be transmitted smoothly and reduce the strain on their networks.

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Emmys to split some awards categories, increase number of nominees for others

Even more changes are afoot for the Primetime Emmy Awards, especially in the Miniseries/Movie category. The Television Academy announced late Wednesday that several award categories have been altered “to ensure that the Primetime Emmy Awards accurately celebrates the excellence in our ever-evolving industry.” Among the shifts:

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie is getting split
In 2011, two formerly separate categories were combined “due to a general industry downtrend of the genre,” the TV Academy writes. But after an uptick in quality miniseries and movies, the Academy has decided to separate the categories once more this year — though only for the overall program award. All other miniseries/movies awards will remain combined between both formats.

Outstanding Reality Program is getting split
The Emmys previously named both an Outstanding Reality Competition and an Outstanding Reality Program. The latter category will now be split into Outstanding Structured Reality Program — for series with set formats, such as Antiques Roadshow or Mythbusters — and Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program, for more free-wheeling series such as Pawn Stars or Duck Dynasty.
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'Doctor Who' alum Karen Gillan to star in ABC pilot 'Selfie'

Doctor Who fans, your prayers (to the Time Lord?) have been answered: Karen Gillan could be coming back to TV.

EW has learned that the former Doctor companion has been cast as the lead in the ABC pilot Selfie, from Suburgatory creator Emily Kapnek.

The single-cam comedy, said to be inspired by My Fair Lady, centers on a self-obsessed 20-something woman named Eliza Dooley (Gillan), who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. In the pilot, a video of her very public and humiliating breakup goes viral and she enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image.

The announcement of the casting comes on the heels of the release of the well-received first teaser for Guardians of the Galaxy, in which Gillan appears as blue-skinned alien Nebula.

'How I Met Your Mother' star Alyson Hannigan nabs female lead in Ben Affleck, Matt Damon-produced CBS pilot

Could Alyson Hannigan be coming back to TV after the end of How I Met Your Mother? Possibly.

EW has confirmed that the actress has nabbed the lead role in the CBS pilot More Time With Family, a multi-camera comedy produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

The pilot, which received a put pilot commitment (a “put pilot” increases the likelihood a project will receive a series order as the network faces penalties if it’s never aired) back in October, stars Tom Papa, who plays a man who undergoes a career change to spend more time at home with his family. It is based on Papa’s stand-up comedy and Damon’s experiences. Papa is also set to write and executive producer alongside Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa.

Hannigan will play Papa’s onscreen wife, Cindy.

Hannigan is the most recent HIMYM alum to land a role in an upcoming pilot. Earlier this week, Cristin Milioti was cast as the lead in Rashida Jones’ pilot for NBC.

How I Met Your Mother will finish its nine season run on March 31 with an hour-long episode.

'Top Chef Estrellas': Why is the Spanish-language spinoff so different?

Bravo’s Top Chef may have just wrapped up its eleventh season, but the popular reality cooking competition is about to get a Latino-themed makeover when Top Chef Estrellas premieres on Telemundo Feb. 16. And there’s more to the show than the lilt of Spanish to distinguish it from its English-language counterpart. The trailer for this incarnation of Top Chef promises “spicy new ingredients,” like a a blonde who seductively tears off her chef coat, a hunky guy who appears shirtless, and a handful of fully-made up Spanish TV stars who prance around in the kitchen in high heels.

If all this sounds more like what you’d see on a telenovela than an episode of Top Chef, that’s not by accident. In fact, several surprising — and potentially polarizing — changes have been made to the show’s format so as to appeal to Latin audiences.

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'Office' alum Oscar Nunez joins USA comedy 'Benched'

Oscar Nunez is coming back to TV.

This time, The Office alum will star alongside Happy Endings‘ Eliza Coupe in the upcoming USA Network comedy Benched, about a corporate attorney whose breakdown leaves her working as a public defender. Nunez, who joins as a series regular, will play a colleague of Nina’s.

The single-cam comedy, from executive producers and writers Michaela Watkins (Saturday Night Live) and Damon Jones (Halfway Home), also stars Jay Harrington, who plays a public defender at Nina’s office.

Since signing off with The Office almost year ago, Nunez has appeared on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
and has a role in the upcoming Chilean miner movie The 33, which stars Antonio Banderas.

Benched received a series order from the USA Network in January.

'Chuck': Josh Schwartz on possibility of beloved spy series coming back -- EXCLUSIVE

Cult action comedy Chuck ended its five-season NBC run on Jan. 27, 2012. In the final moments, electronics store clerk-turned-superspy Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) attempted to reignite the memory of amnesia-plagued Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) with a kiss, but viewers never saw the resolution. With similarly beloved series Veronica Mars being revived as a movie through a Kickstarter campaign, EW called up series co-creator Josh Schwartz to see if there would be any chance for Chuck fans to see a return to Buy More. READ FULL STORY

Lifetime orders dystopian thriller from 'Children of Men' author

Lifetime is getting into the thriller genre, picking up 10 episodes of conspiracy drama The Lottery.

Written by Children of Men author Timothy J. Sexton, The Lottery is set in a dystopian future when women have stopped having children and the human race is on the verge of extinction. But when a fertility specialist (Marley Shelton) successfully fertilizes 100 embryos, the government sponsors a lottery to find suitable surrogates.

The Lottery is one of the most provocative and original concepts we’ve ever seen,” the network’s executive vice president Rob Sharenow said. “Tim Sexton’s unique dystopian thriller represents an exciting new direction for Lifetime and continues cable’s position on the leading edge of bold, high-quality scripted drama.”

The series also stars Michael Graziadei (American Horror Story), David Alpay (The Vampire Diaries), and Martin Donovan (Homeland). Sexton is set to executive produce along with former Prison Break EP Dawn Olmstead.

2014 Olympics: Matt Lauer to fill in for infection-fighting Bob Costas -- VIDEO

The pinkos have finally won.

By that, of course, I’m referring to Bob Costas’s red-rimmed eyes — inflamed with an infection that’s plagued NBC’s lead Olympic commentator since the network’s coverage of the Sochi Winter Games began last week. (The infection started in Costas’s left eye and has subsequently spread to his right.)

Though Costas has soldiered on despite his ailment — even gamely downing a glass of vodka with Mary Carillo night — the Peacock announced Tuesday that the sportscaster is finally stepping aside, at least for one night. Costas will be taking the day off from coverage; Today anchor Matt Lauer will fill in for him during NBC’s primetime broadcast.

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Study: Jay Leno's favorite target was Clinton

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Hey Jay Leno: the ’90s want their jokes back!

According to a study from the Center for Media Affairs at George Mason University, the outgoing host of The Tonight Show relied heavily on yuks about Bill Clinton while delivering his monologue over the last two decades. In fact, one out of every 10 political jokes was about the 42nd President.

The center’s study covered 43,892 jokes about public figures and public affairs that were told by Leno between 1992 and 2014. “Leno’s monologues focused on power and scandal, and Bill Clinton was the top two-fer,” said Prof. Robert Lichter of the CMPA.

All told, Leno made 4,601 Clinton jokes. Democrats, as a whole, were the target of 10,885 yuks — 15% more than the 9,465 jokes that were lobbed against the GOP.

Here were his top 10 political targets:

1. Bill Clinton (4,607)
2. George Bush (3,239)
3. Al Gore (1,026)
4. Barack Obama (1,011)
5. Hillary Clinton (939)
6. Dick Cheney (673)
7. Monica Lewinsky (454)
8. Bob Dole (452)
9. John McCain (426)
10. Mitt Romney (361)

Besides Simpson (795 jokes), Leno’s top celebrity targets were Michael Jackson (505), Martha Stewart (208) and Paris Hilton (153). Leno’s last day on The Tonight Show is this Friday.

EW Radio talks to Baby-Daddy TV pioneer Maury Povich

In a special installment of tonight’s Inside TV show on EW Radio, I’ll focus on three of TV’s most enduring programs — America’s Funniest Home Videos, COPs and Maury.

After talking with AFHV founder Vin Di Bona and COPS creator John Langley, Maury Povich will come on to not only chat about tabloid TV but to answer this burning question: who is the true pioneer of Who’s Your Daddy TV?

Here’s what he said: READ FULL STORY

'How I Met Your Mother' spin-off details emerge

How I Met Your Dad is starting to take shape. In fact, producers are already on the hunt for the New Gang.

EW has confirmed that casting is officially in progress for the host of characters that will populate the show, which will revolve around a woman named Sally (Girl Ted), a “vibrant, messy and unpredictable” woman described as a “female Peter Pan who has never grown up and has no idea of where she’s going in life.” The real twist for this main character, though? She’s got a husband! But we’re guessing ISN’T the “dad” to which the title refers, as the character description for Sally says she’s “thinking of calling it quits” with said husband (named Gavin).

As for her circle of friends, here’s the scoop, via TVLine, who first reported the news: READ FULL STORY

'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy on the Supreme reveal and plans for season 4...and season 5! -- EXCLUSIVE

[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE SEASON FINALE OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN!!!!]

The Supreme has been crowned!!! On the season finale of FX’s American Horror Story: Coven, Cordelia was named the Supreme, following in the footsteps of her mother Fiona. But people with M names had a rougher night with the deaths of Myrtle, Misty, and Madison. EW talked to co-creator Ryan Murphy about the wrap-up plus his plans for season four…and five!
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