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Updated: 10 hours 7 min ago

Another Small Town Murder on Acorn TV's 'Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham'

Sun, 11/18/2018 - 5:00pm
Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham

Ah, the quiet life. That’s what hip London publicist Agatha Raisin (Ashley Jensen) wanted when she moved to the sleepy English Cotswolds in Season 1 of this British mystery series (based on M.C. Beaton’s novels).

Then Agatha was accused of killing her neighbor — but she solved his murder, then another and another. Now she’s the local superstylish supersleuth. “She got a taste for detecting,” Jensen says. “And Agatha likes being the center of attention in whatever way she can.”

 'Murder in Mansfield' vs. 'Jonestown' Saturday-Night Documentary Showdown: 'Murder in Mansfield' vs. 'Jonestown'

We compare the most disturbing bits and what's still hard to comprehend about the crimes.

So who cares if a suspect almost sets her on fire? Yes, that happens in Wizard, one of three new movie adaptations (The Fairies of Fryfam and The Curious Curate debut in the coming months).

Here, Agatha’s hairstylist is poisoned — so she stakes out salons, finding the ladies he’d bedded. Agatha has man issues herself: Last season, stuffy new husband James (Jamie Glover) ditched her.

Wizard hints at a spark with his laid-back friend, local landowner Charles (Jason Merrells). “It is a bit Team Charles and Team James,” Jensen admits. “Charles is the bohemian lord of the manor. James is the repressed English soldier.

There’s a magnetism between Agatha and James they don’t understand, but Charles shows her quite a nice time.” Our pick: Charles forever!

Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham, Movie Premiere, Monday, Nov. 19, Acorn TV

How to Watch the 2018 National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day

Sun, 11/18/2018 - 11:00am

Prep those brushes and sticky rollers as The National Dog Show Presented by Purina is almost here!

The annual event, which will be returning for its 17th year, will be hosted by award-winning TV personality (Seinfeld), author and Broadway star John O’Hurley. Returning to offer expert analysis is American Kennel Club judge David Frei, who has officiated at dog shows worldwide and, alongside O’Hurley, has co-hosted the competition since its inception in 2002.

Pictured: Susan DePew, handler, Brussels Griffon named Newton, 2017 Best in Show Winner (Photo: Bill McCay/NBC)

Joining those two is NBC Sportscaster and dog enthusiast Mary Carillo, who will report from inside the show ring. Also in for the furry fun are former U.S. Olympic figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who will visit competing dogs and offer behind-the-scenes vignettes as digital contributors.

John O'Hurley and David Frei on Bringing a Hollywood Feel to the Beverly Hills Dog Show John O'Hurley and David Frei on Bringing a Hollywood Feel to the Beverly Hills Dog Show

The long-time dog show commentators talk about the new Easter Sunday tradition.

Two new American Kennel Club-sanctioned breeds will be included in this year’s competition – the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (sporting group) and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen (hound group) – bringing the total recognized breeds to 192. Since 2003, 45 new breeds have been introduced to the event.

Taking first in Cuteness Class is this young handler with her Long Coat Chihuahua  --  (Photo: Bill McKay)

Last year, Newton, a 3-year-old Brussels Griffon (toy group), took home the Best in Show title among the seven group winners. Newton impressed the judges with his superior condition and form, beautiful coat and loving personality.

The 17th Annual National Dog Show Presented by Purina, Thursday, November 22, 12 pm (in all time zones), NBC

Who's Hosting 'Saturday Night Live' in Season 44?

Sun, 11/18/2018 - 10:51am

Another season of laughs and unforgettable skits is in full swing — Saturday Night Live returned on September 29 for Season 44.

The first host taking center stage at Studio 8H for the Emmy-winning sketch series' new season was Star Wars star Adam Driver. This was Driver's second time emceeing — he first appeared in Season 41.

Is Kenan Thompson Leaving 'SNL' for His NBC Show? Is Kenan Thompson Leaving 'SNL' for His NBC Show?

The actor is working on a pilot with Lorne Michaels.

SNL is coming into this unprecedented season after winning Outstanding Variety Sketch Series at the 2018 Emmys. This marks the show’s fourth win and 23rd nomination in the category.

The show also won seven golden statues at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmys.

Scroll down for a breakdown of upcoming musical guests and hosts:

September 29

Host: Adam Driver

Musical guest: Kanye West

October 6

Host: Awkwafina

Musical guest: Travis Scott

October 13

Host: Seth Meyers

Musical guest: Paul Simon

November 3

Host: Jonah Hill

Musical guest: Maggie Rogers

November 10

Host: Liev Schreiber

Musical guest: Lil Wayne

November 17

Host: Steve Carell

Musical guest: Ella Mai

December 1

Host: Claire Foy

Musical guest: Anderson .Paak

Saturday Night Live, Saturdays, 11:30/10:30c, NBC

 

'RHONJ' Stars Margaret Josephs & Jackie Goldschneider Tease 'Tears & Tantrums' (VIDEO)

Sun, 11/18/2018 - 9:00am

Don't mess with Jersey women.

The new season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey is underway and the drama is already brewing between the ladies. Returning OGs include Melissa Gorga, Teresa Giudice, and Dolores Catania, with Margaret Josephs back for her second season.

Eric Bana Reveals 3 Things to Know About Bravo's 'Dirty John' Eric Bana Reveals 3 Things to Know About Bravo's 'Dirty John'

The true-crime tale will shock viewers, the actor hints.

Josephs, along with newbie wife and friend, Jackie Goldschneider, sat down for an interview and chatted about what we can expect this season.

"Tears, tantrums, delusions, and a lot of fun," Josephs teased. "A lot of great trips [and] we have two new fabulous Housewives.

"I liked the whole feel of everything," Goldschneider said of joining the established Bravo franchise. "I was ready for it."

Check out the entire interview below:

The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Wednesdays, 9/8c, Bravo

'Escape at Dannemora' Director Ben Stiller Calls Filming at Prison 'Amazing and Surreal'

Sat, 11/17/2018 - 3:00pm

Calm and cool Richard Matt (Benicio Del Toro) has one overriding fantasy in Escape at Dannemora — to get on a horse and gallop toward the open horizon. There’s just one catch: He’s serving a life sentence for murder at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York.

Pushed to the edge, Matt finally decides to "forget about the consequences," says Del Toro, setting up his character’s great escape in Showtime’s seven-part series about the headline-grabbing June 2015 prison break. Matt, a master manipulator, teams with fellow lifer (and convicted murderer) David Sweat (Paul Dano), and together they recruit a dowdy civilian prison worker, Joyce "Tilly" Mitchell (Patricia Arquette), seeking a taste of adventure.

Del Toro and Arquette in Escape at Dannemora.

As told in the limited series — based largely on the 170-page official report of the escape and multiweek manhunt from New York State’s inspector general, Catherine Leahy Scott (played by Bonnie Hunt) — Mitchell has a relationship with both men. "Matt is the first alpha male Tilly’s ever been with, so it’s terrifying but also a rush," Arquette says. "With Sweat, it was more maternal, flirty."

Soon, the married woman is smuggling in small saws (concealed in raw hamburger!) for Matt and Sweat to dig their way to freedom à la The Shawshank Redemption. "If it wasn’t true," says Dano, "I don’t think I’d believe this story."

'Escape at Dannemora' Is a 'Human Story' Says Director Ben Stiller 'Escape at Dannemora' Is a 'Human Story' Says Director Ben Stiller

The actor also produces the mini-series based on a true story.

To get closer to that truth, Del Toro, Dano and Ben Stiller (who produces and directs each episode) met with the still-incarcerated Sweat, gaining insight into the bond between the escapees, who were both artists. "They complemented each other," says Del Toro. "Matt is a guy that starts the homework and never finishes. Sweat will follow it through, which is what happens in the story."

Dannemora’s all-star cast shot at the actual prison — a spooky experience. Just looking back "gives me the willies," says Dano. Stiller, meanwhile, found the place "amazing and surreal," yet notes that for the men incarcerated there, the beauty of the nearby land "must really play with your head." Speaking of playing with your head, Stiller recalls, "A corrections officer found some buried shivs in one of the spots where we were shooting."



Escape at Dannemora, Series Premiere Sunday, November 18, 10/9c, Showtime

Saturday-Night Documentary Showdown: 'Murder in Mansfield' vs. 'Jonestown'

Sat, 11/17/2018 - 1:00pm
A Murder in Mansfield

The Setup: A son seeks answers with the help of Oscar-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA). Collier Boyle was 11 on New Year’s Eve 1989 when his father, John, bludgeoned his mother in their Ohio home and hid her body under the basement floor of a newly purchased place in Erie, Pennsylvania. Twenty-six years later, Kopple accompanies Boyle to his childhood house, to a reunion with detectives — and to prison to ask Dad for the truth.

The Most Disturbing Bits: Early on, we see archival footage of an eerily composed preteen Collier testifying at John’s trial. Video evidence of his mother’s body being extracted from her concrete grave is horrific. Yet John’s selfish, occasionally angry letters to his son after his conviction are almost as upsetting.

Try to Wrap your Brain Around… John’s protestations of innocence. When the two men sit down at Marion Correctional Institution, he insists the death was an accident, despite evidence he had purchased a jackhammer two days earlier.

Premiere, Saturday, Nov. 17, 9/8c, Investigation Discovery

 'Escape at Dannemora' Is a Riveting True Story Roush Review: 'Escape at Dannemora' Is a Riveting True Story

Ben Stiller's meticulous direction brings to life the infamous 2015 prison escape by two inmates aided by a sexually compromised prison employee.

Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle

The Setup: The world looks disbelievingly at Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones and the Jonestown settlement in Guyana, South America, where — 40 years ago tomorrow — he orchestrated the deaths of 918 people. Journalist Jeff Guinn’s book The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple inspired this two-parter (produced by Leonardo DiCaprio), which features formerly secret FBI documents and new takes from survivors.

The Most Disturbing Bits: Terror notes that many didn’t willingly “drink the Kool-Aid” (which is where the saying started, though Kool-Aid may not have been the brand, or the only brand, used) and were forced to ingest poison or killed more maliciously.

Try to Wrap Your Brain Around… Jones’s startling evolution from active civil rights leader (he received a Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in 1977) to demagogue and mass murderer.

Premiere, Saturday, Nov. 17, 9/8c, SundanceTV

'NCIS: LA' Sneak Peek: Will 'The Patton Project' Change Everything? (PHOTOS)

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 6:00pm

Another new episode of NCIS: Los Angeles means another new mission, and in "The Patton Project," the team's fate may be sealed.

According to the November 18 episode's logline, Deputy Director Ochoa (Esai Morales) volunteers NCIS to take part in a covert job dealing with a terrorist group. Will this extreme  mission prove fatal?

 Los Angeles'? When Will We See Kensi & Deeks' Wedding on 'NCIS: Los Angeles'?

It's been confirmed the couple will walk down the aisle this season.

Callen (Chris O'Donnell) in particular seems to express some concern about the team's future when it comes to this assignment, which involves a group promoting extreme military force. Click through the images above for a sneak peek at the exciting new episode and be sure to tune in Sunday to see how it all plays out!

NCIS: Los Angeles, Sundays, 9/8c, CBS

NBC Holiday Schedule 2018: The Full Lineup From Thanksgiving Through New Year's Day

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 5:30pm

NBC has scheduled their festive specials for the holiday season, and the 2018 lineup is especially packed! We're talking from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day with The Tournament of Roses Parade.

The seasonal programs range from cherished favorites — Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, It’s a Wonderful Life, National Dog Show — to telecast premieres — the Timeless finale, holiday edition of America’s Got Talent, Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas Special and everything in between.

Also back are two Saturday Night Live specials, the classic cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Christmas in Rockefeller Center. Programs debuting are A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy and a special episode of Deal or No Deal two days before its premiere on CNBC.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - (Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC)

Below is a night-by-night list of the specials airing on NBC this holiday season:

Wednesday, November 21

Hollywood Game Night (8-9 p.m.; repeat Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 9 p.m.)
Celebrities will partake in such games as “Block This Way,” “Four-Letter Words,”’ “Popped Quiz,” “Back to Back” and “7 Seconds of Fame.”

A Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving (9-11 p.m.)
All-things Thanksgiving, going back through the 44 seasons of SNL.

Thursday, November 22

Macy’s 92nd Thanksgiving Day Parade (9 a.m.-12 p.m.; repeat 2-5 p.m.)
With 24 million viewers, last year’s parade was the #3 most-watched entertainment program of the year, behind only the Oscars and the Grammys.

National Dog Show Presented by Purina (12-2 p.m.; repeat Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m.)
Averaged 11.6 million viewers last year and 12.3 million the year before, making those the two most-watched telecasts of the National Dog Show in the 16 years NBC has covered the event.

LEGO® Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit - (Photo: NBC)

Friday, November 23

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (8-8:30 p.m.; repeat Tuesday, Dec. 25 at 8 p.m.)
The animated holiday classic returns.

DreamWorks Trolls Holiday (8:30-9 p.m.)
Now that the Bergens’ one holiday is gone — and the Trolls don’t have to worry about being eaten by their neighbors — Poppy, the eternally optimistic Troll queen, has made it her mission to bring a brand new day of celebration to Bergen Town.

Wednesday, November 28

86th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center (8-10 p.m.)
Was last year’s #1 most-watched primetime holiday special.

A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy (10-11 p.m.; repeat Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 10 p.m.)
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen celebrate the season of joy and laughter alongside the couple’s family and talented celebrity friends. Legend performs a selection of songs from his 2018 holiday album, A Legendary Christmas.

Thursday, November 29

Lego Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit Parts 1 & 2 (8-9 p.m.; repeat Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m.)
A trio of dinosaurs need to be moved to a new super-secret exhibit at Jurassic World. However, moving them to the new attraction is not as easy as previously thought.

Monday, December 3

Deal or No Deal: Happy Howie Days (10-11 p.m.)
Howie Mandel’s hit game show is back after 10 years and he’s offering up the possibility of a $1 million holiday present. A family who has overcome all odds, an incredible adoption story and a player who pushes the limits to bring life-changing money home for the holidays. The series premieres Wednesday, Dec. 5 on CNBC.

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina - (Photo: Chris Haston/NBC)

Tuesday, December 4

Saturday Night Live Best of Christmas (9-11 p.m.; repeat Thursday, Dec. 13 at 9 p.m.)
Two hours of classic Christmas-related sketches over the show’s illustrious history.

Tuesday, December 11

Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas (9-10 p.m.)
Winner of the 2017 season of America’s Got Talent, Darci Lynne Farmer will celebrate the holidays Oklahoma style with her puppets and guests Kristin Chenoweth, Toby Keith, Hunter Hayes, Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling.

Hollywood Game Night (10-11 p.m.)
Hosted by Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch, episode will play holiday-themed games between teams that include Jameela Jamil (The Good Place), Lauren Ash (Superstore) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development).

Wednesday, December 12

Ellen’s Game of Games (8-9 p.m.; repeat Thursday, Dec. 20 at 10 p.m.)
A holiday edition of last season’s #1 new alternative series.

Little Big Shots (9-10 p.m.)
The Steve Harvey-hosted series returns to celebrate the holiday season with fan-favorite acts that include Angelica Hale, Miles Caton and more.

Christmas in Rockefeller - (Photo: NBCUniversal)

Monday, December 17

America’s Got Talent (10-11 p.m.; repeat Friday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.)
A holiday edition of the #1 alternative series on television.

Thursday, December 20

Timeless (8-10 p.m.)
The series finale promises fans an epic, unforgettable thrill ride through the past, present and future, with a healthy dose of Christmas spirit.

Monday, December 24

It’s a Wonderful Life (8-11 p.m.)
Nothing says Christmas like the classic 1947 Jimmy Stewart film from director Frank Capra.

Christmas Eve Mass (11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.)
Viewers will be able to watch the Pope Francis-led mass from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Tuesday, December 25

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (8:30-11 p.m.)
The #1 highest-rated movie on the broadcast networks last season.

The 130th Tournament of Roses Parade - (Courtesy of NBC)

Monday, December 31

NBC News Special: A Toast to 2018! (8-10 p.m.)
The highlights and newsmakers of 2018 are brought to the fore in this year-end review.

NBC’s New Year’s Eve (10-11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.)
Live from Times Square in the heart of New York, the most famous live New Year’s Eve party in America will be a spectacular celebration to wrap up 2018 with show-stopping celebrity guests, unforgettable musical performances and, of course, the heart-pounding, iconic ball drop.

Wednesday, January 1, 2019

130th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade (Live) (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET / 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. PT)
The New Year’s Day tradition continues as marching bands and beautifully crafted floats stroll down Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California

Hulu's 'The Bisexual' Creator & Star Desiree Akhavan Calls Series a 'Reverse Taboo'

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 4:30pm
The Bisexual

Fans of Casual, Transparent and Fleabag, get ready for your next binge — The Bisexual.

When American tech entrepreneur Leila (creator, director and cowriter Desiree Akhavan) splits from her girlfriend and business partner Sadie (Maxine Peake), the wryly funny thirtysomething begins to date men… and starts to come out as bisexual.

 4 Essential Episodes to Watch on Hulu 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show': 4 Essential Episodes to Watch on Hulu

The old favorite is available in its entirety on the streaming service.

"I felt excited by the idea of it as a reverse taboo," Akhavan says of her character’s journey. Guiding Leila along the way is her new roommate, Gabe (Brian Gleeson). "At the heart of the show lies a bromance between Leila and Gabe," Akhavan explains.

"He gives her insight into men and the straight world, while she helps him understand women. They are the ultimate wingmen for each other."

The Bisexual, Series Premiere Friday, November 16, Hulu

Who Will Be the Next to Leave 'NCIS'? A Look at Possible Season 16 Exits

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 4:25pm
 Kevin Lynch/CBS © 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Fans of CBS's hit series NCIS were left in tears over Pauley Perrette's Season 15 exit, and she's just the latest in a long line of stars who have come and gone, leaving many viewers wondering... who's next?

Nearly five years ago in 2013, fan favorite Cote de Pablo left the show when her character, Ziva David, returned to her native Israel. Though not an original cast member — de Pablo joined NCIS in 2005 — the character certainly made an impact during her time there. Fans were particularly fond of the relationship between her and Michael Weatherly's character, Tony DiNozzo.

00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Richard Foreman/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Michael Weatherly as DiNozzo and Cote de Pablo as Ziva in NCIS. (Richard Foreman/CBS)

The actress' exit rocked the show's fan base and it's been a bumpy ride ever since, as Michael Weatherly followed suit two years ago in May 2016. His character left to care for his daughter with Ziva, after de Pablo's character was said to have been killed in Israel. These smooth but sullen departures seem small in comparison to how Weatherly's fellow original cast member, Pauley Perrette, left the show.

Each of these characters received relatively hopeful storylines, and weren't killed off by the writers — de Pablo's character's death happened off-screen years after her exit from the show. Whereas some of the newer cast members have met untimely ends amid their exits from the popular procedural.

What Will Pauley Perrette Do After 'NCIS'? 8 Shows She Should Star in Next What Will Pauley Perrette Do After 'NCIS'? 8 Shows She Should Star in Next

From 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' to 'The Big Bang Theory,' where should the former 'NCIS' star go next?

For example, Duane Henry's Reeves was killed in the Season 15 finale when a mugger held him and Abby at gun point. Both characters were shot, but Henry's character left the show because he died, while Abby left to honor his character's memory.

So who will be next? There are a few potential options based on previous departures, but those aren't the only factors to take into consideration. You have to keep in mind the length of time these characters have been on the show and what predicaments their characters are currently in after the Season 15 finale.

00 PM, ET/PT), Pauley Perrette, Duane Henry. Photo: Eddy Chen/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Pauley Perrette as Abby and Duane Henry as Reeves in NCIS. (Eddy Chen/CBS)

Based on this history, the characters that could be in danger of leaving are: Rocky Carroll's Vance, David McCallum's Ducky, Mark Harmon's Gibbs, and Sean Murray's McGee. None of these actors have hinted at leaving the show anytime soon, but that's not to say they won't.

At the end of Season 15 viewers saw Vance being held hostage on a plane by a terrorist who goes by the name Nigel Hakim (Pej Vahdat) or "The Monster." It was a definite cliffhanger, and Vance's longevity wasn't guaranteed, but he made it through as he was saved in Season 16, but is there still a chance he could exit? It's hard to tell considering the show's penchant for toying with fans' emotions.

Will Another 'NCIS' Character Leave the Show? Season 15 Finale Hints at Exit Will Another 'NCIS' Character Leave the Show? Season 15 Finale Hints at Exit

One character was left in jeopardy in the concluding cliffhanger.

Ducky, on the other hand, could very well exit stage left under the guise of retirement — Mallard is no spring chicken. Meanwhile, Gibbs and McGee don't seem to be going anywhere, thanks to their fan following and importance to the fabric of the show.

Out of the original cast, McCallum, Harmon, and Murray are the only remaining stars from the show's first season in 2003 — Weatherly and Perrette were the other members of that core cast. Since Season 16 has taken fans in different and unexpected directions with the welcoming of new full-time members like Kasie (Diona Reasonover) and more, the guessing game only grows larger.

In a recent fan question posed towards  TV Line about who could be leaving they said, "It may depend on what comes of this development: Sources tell me that midway through the season, the Secretary of Defense will be out for blood upon learning that Gibbs’ team defied his wishes, breaking the law in the process. As a result, the D.C. team may land under the microscope, much as their Los Angeles- and New Orleans-based brethren have."

So who will live to see another day? Are your favorite characters living on borrowed time?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS

'My Brilliant Friend' Is a Story of Breaking Boundaries Says EP Jennifer Schuur

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 4:00pm

Viva girl power… or, in patriarchal 1950s Italy, the small rebellions of the fairer sex. HBO’s new drama My Brilliant Friend, based on the Elena Ferrante bestseller, follows a life-changing friendship between smart, obedient Elena and dazzlingly bright, untameable Lila. Over eight emotional episodes, they mature from children to teens in an impoverished, danger-filled area of Naples.

Post-World War II, “Everyone’s trying to put back the pieces of their lives,” executive producer Jennifer Schuur says. “Women are wives, mothers and housekeepers. If they fall short, they’re beaten. These two girls are wildly different, but their souls speak to each other. That creates friction but is also a great force of love and support.”

Emma Thompson Joins Cast of HBO/BBC Series 'Years and Years' Emma Thompson Joins Cast of HBO/BBC Series 'Years and Years'

It begins shooting in Manchester this month.

The time span required casting two sets of actresses: newcomers Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti as childhood Elena and Lila, and Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace for the later years. Much of the Italian-language series was shot in Italy on an outdoor set — a shabby neighborhood the production team built from scratch.

In their oppressive environment, the less assertive Elena tries to keep up with her friend academically. And Lila stubbornly refuses to abandon a meaningful intellectual life when she’s taken out of school to work in her father’s shop. “The girls poke at boundaries,” dodging groping boys and the pressure to marry, says Schuur, who hopes to adapt all four books (spanning 60 years) in Ferrante’s series. “Their friendship challenges and pushes them to be better than what they may have wanted for themselves. It’s a love story.”



My Brilliant Friend, Series Premiere, Sunday, Nov. 18, 9/8c, HBO

'Shark Tank' First Look: Women Dominate the Panel For the First Time Ever (PHOTOS)

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 3:30pm

Too long have men dominated the business arena, but not anymore on Shark Tank's latest episode!

TV Insider has an exclusive first look at three success female entrepreneurs — Spanx inventor Sara Blakely, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, and "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner — taking over the panel while Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary round it out.

Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth

"It was thrilling to have three competent women controlling the Shark Tank panel!" Corcoran said. "Although we each sized-up the various businesses from entirely different perspectives, all of us placed the greatest value on the entrepreneurs themselves and we made the smartest investments"

 The Cast Reflects on The Show's Lasting Impact 'Shark Tank' Celebrates 10 Years: The Cast Reflects on The Show's Lasting Impact

Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, and Kevin O’Leary look back at how the series changed TV.

Sunday's episode includes four new, innovative minds, including: a pair of sisters from New Jersey whose product helps protects handbags; someone from North Carolina with an automated travel service business; an entrepreneur from California who promises to ease cleaning chores with his one-handed pull broom and dustpan; and an entrepreneur from Wisconsin who shows the Sharks how to make healthy beverages in an affordable way.

Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth

The Emmy-winning series is in its tenth season and continues to inspire new generations of inventors, investors, and entrepreneurs.

Shark Tank, Sundays, 9/8c, ABC

Who Should Meredith Choose on 'Grey's Anatomy': DeLuca or Link? (POLL)

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 2:30pm

It's about time Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) got a viable romantic interest — and now, she has two of them!

In the Grey's Anatomy midseason finale, "Blowin' in the Wind," the love triangle between Meredith, DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), and Link (Chris Carmack), really picked up the pace. In an emotionally vulnerable scene, DeLuca finally told Mer how he really feels.

'Grey's Anatomy' Star Kevin McKidd Teases Owen's Reaction to Teddy's Pregnancy 'Grey's Anatomy' Star Kevin McKidd Teases Owen's Reaction to Teddy's Pregnancy

Plus, the actor talks about directing more than 20 episodes of the hit series.

"I'm not sorry I kissed you at the wedding 'cause it's all I've been able to think about ever since," he said, adding that he knows Meredith feels the spark between them, too. "Look, we can go through all these excuses but I know you feel it too," he added.

She didn't give in though, responding that she'd think about what he said. (To be fair, she's already been doing a lot of thinking, considering she's had sex dreams about him!)



"Having someone vie for the same person you like might force you to accelerate your declaration [of affection] to that person. But I don't necessarily think that's what is happening here. I think it's just a coincidence that, as DeLuca is figuring out that he has feelings for her, that somebody else also is figuring out he has feelings for her," Gianniotti told Entertainment Weekly.

"I think it just adds a challenging and comical layer. It's fun for Meredith, having these two guys falling at her feet," he continued.

As for the qualities that DeLuca possesses that he thinks will win her over, Giannotti said,"We need to have Meredith not just see him being heroic but being kind and sweet and empathetic. Those are the things that are going to make Meredith fall in love with him."

'Grey's Anatomy' Star Jake Borelli Comes Out as Gay After His Character Does 'Grey's Anatomy' Star Jake Borelli Comes Out as Gay After His Character Does

The November 1 episode saw Borelli's Levi grapple with his sexuality.

Meanwhile, patient/matchmaker CeCe (Caroline Clay) is pushing Meredith to go on a date with the new "ortho god" Link, and she does finally agree.

But as fate would have it: MerLuca got stuck in an elevator together. So, will they go for it? We'll have to wait until the New Year to find out!

Who do you think Meredith should pursue things with? Take our poll below:

Grey's Anatomy, Season 15 Returns, 2019, ABC

Chrissy Metz on Going Animated for 'Kung Fu Panda' and Kate & Toby's 'This Is Us' Future

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 2:00pm

Actress and best-selling author Chrissy Metz can add a new title to her resume — voice actress. The This Is Us star is featured in Prime Video Kids' new DreamWorks TV series, Kung Fu Panda:The Paws of Destiny, out November 16.

Taking on the role of Mei Mei, Metz gives the beloved character her own flair while staying true to franchise's roots. That's evident in the clip below, where Mei Mei is caught partaking in some beauty rituals.



TV Insider spoke with Metz about the exciting new gig, what inspired her to take on the role, her career bucket list, and of course, some This Is Us Season 3 teasers.

How does it feel to be part of the Kung Fu Panda franchise?

Chrissy Metz: It’s so exciting. I’ve always wanted to be an animated character and to play, of course, such an adorable one like Mei Mei. I can relate to her because she’s an actress and it’s just been so much fun. It’s really cool to be doing something that you never thought would actually ever happen. I’ve been such a fan of animated movies and television shows for my entire life.

Voice work is a departure from your dramatic side on network TV. Why did it appeal to you here?

I think with any actor, you sort of want to have a box of all sorts of tools that you hopefully get to use. Comedy is something I thought I was going to really sort of take off with, and it was the opposite, where I’m doing the dramatic stuff first. [Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny]’s obviously very different from the feature film [Breakthrough] that I just starred in that’s coming out in April or something really dramatic like This Is Us.

As an actor you want to do everything – whether it’s a challenge or [something] you feel like you would excel at it, it’s something that you have to sort of dive into. It’s [also] really nice because, as they say, you can work in your pajamas. But that’s the cherry on top.

Working in your pajamas? Sounds like a dream job!

Oh, are you kidding? [Laughs] Yeah, for sure.

Did taking this role have anything to do with your past teaching children?

Yeah, it’s always at the back of my mind. I know how instrumental the programming that children watch can be in their lives, whether it’s a book that’s turned into a series or movie. Being a preschool teacher, I realized that you can teach through the excitement of an animated character.

With this particular series, it’s really about believing in yourself and showing up for yourself — all of the things that I believe in as a person, that I think are so instrumental to [begin imparting] on children as early as they can understand. With this in particular, I think the through lines are so special that I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s even better that there’s actually a message behind a really entertaining, beautifully done series.’

'It's A Wonderful Life' Makes Its Streaming Debut & More on Amazon Prime Video 'It's A Wonderful Life' Makes Its Streaming Debut & More on Amazon Prime Video

Plus, the sexy German thriller 'Beat.'

Mei Mei is undoubtedly confident; did you feel a kinship with her?

I would like to think that all of us have an alter ego when the insecurity or the doubt kind of comes into mind, you access that alter ego. I feel like Mei Mei is sort of my alter ego in a sense that, if I wasn’t so bogged down with peoples’ opinions or thoughts about me, I’d probably be [her] for sure. She’s just unabashedly who she is and half of me feels that way – very confident and full of self-love and just accepting for who I am because we’re all perfectly made. But she really believes that and I don’t think there’s really any doubt in her mind.

She inspired me, which is kind of funny because typically the actor will inspire the character. But yeah, she’s definitely helped me to access that differently and maybe more quickly.

You’ve done so much this year, with the release of your book, This Is Me, your television roles, and film projects. What’s next on your career bucket list?

Oh goodness, I’d love to produce a film. I’m sort of in the works with a dear friend of mine that wrote this really fantastic script – we’re just trying to get some funding for it, and we’re definitely on our way and attaching names. So, producing and eventually having my own production company.

And then I’m doing some personal music in between time that I can find. Any creative person, I think, just wants to create, so whether I’m helping somebody else do it or I’m a part of it — whether it’s music, TV, or film — it’s definitely something that I want to pursue.

Kate’s finally pregnant on This Is Us. Did you speak to any other women who have dealt with infertility and pregnancy to prepare? Why is this storyline so important?

The storyline is so important because, just like with the miscarriage event in Kate and Toby’s life, it’s stuff that we don’t talk about — particularly women because I think there’s so much shame around it that you feel broken or you feel less of a woman because you can’t have a child naturally.

Wendie Malick Shares What's Next for Toby's Mom on 'This Is Us' & 'Just Shoot Me' Revival Hopes Wendie Malick Shares What's Next for Toby's Mom on 'This Is Us' & 'Just Shoot Me' Revival Hopes

Plus, she shares what it was like starring alongside frequent co-star Dan Lauria again.

What people don’t know is that there are so many women who are dealing with this and we don’t see that.What has been so wonderful and I think consistent with the show is that the writers continue to write about things we don’t know how to talk about in life.

When you speak your truth, that brings people closer together and that’s what the miscarriage and this IVF [storyline] have done. I’ve received so many floods of messages [saying], ‘Oh my goodness, this is my life, you’re telling my story.’ Everybody wants to be able to relate to a character or see themselves through a character, or hopefully have empathy for a particular character. I think that’s what Kate and Toby are doing so beautifully because it’s written so well.

The Thanksgiving episode is coming up. How does this one compare to those from past seasons?

In true This Is Us fashion, when the family gets together, there are things that we have yet to learn about people. You’re sort of spending a concentrated time together, and it can always be challenging in that regard. But it will not disappoint, and what we get to find out about one of the characters is so important that I’m really excited — not only for the actor but for the show and this particular character.

What else can you tease us about Kate in the second half of this season? You said recently that she and Toby are going to have a “unconventional parenting situation” — can we assume that means there will be relationship trouble ahead?

Anytime two people are handling life together — coexisting — and then throwing in a new first-time pregnancy that’s been pretty difficult, things aren’t going to be perfect. But I think what is really great about Kate and Toby is they support each other completely, no matter what situation they’re going through. While it’s really exciting, there’s still a lot of life to still weed through.

Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, Streaming Now, Prime Video

This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC

WWE Star Naomi Keeps It Real When It Comes to Showing Her Marriage on 'Total Divas'

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 1:00pm

It’s hard to believe SmackDown Live superstar Naomi is approaching a decade working with WWE. And her husband Jonathan Fatu, known to fans as Jimmy Uso, has been there for most of the way as she transformed from former Orlando Magic dancer into pro-wrestling champion. Their relationship continues to be chronicled on the E! reality show Total Divas.

“Where we were in our lives 10 years ago is a lot different than where we are now,” Naomi, real name Trinity, said. “We were a lot younger, way more immature. Life is different. Our careers have picked up. We got married. We’re home owners now. I’m full-on, hands-on with my step kids now, which I love. We’re truly adulting.”

Shayna Baszler Reflects on Her Success in WWE & Why She Is Part of the Real Four Horsewomen Shayna Baszler Reflects on Her Success in WWE & Why She Is Part of the Real Four Horsewomen

The MMA fighter turned pro wrestler talks what it means to be featured in 'WWE 2K19.'

The “Feel the Glow” personality has gotten used to the cameras, even when she butts heads with her fellow WWE spouse. In recent episodes of Season 8, Naomi is missing family in Atlanta and wants to spend time with Jon outside of Pensacola. This leads to some uneasy marital discussions.

“Everything that comes with our lifestyle now is not going to be perfect and easy all the time,” she said. “We’re trying to understand each other’s wants and needs at this point in our life because we have both changed as people. That’s what I’m learning and what we are trying to figure out in our marriage right now.

"You’re getting to see that unfold on Total Divas. It’s real, what is going on and where we are. Hopefully, it can help out other couples and others who are watching can relate because they are going through similar situations.

“What we put out is real, and what we put out is with no regrets. It’s very important to see that as much as we love each other, there are flaws. It’s a constant fight to get through life.

"But as long as that bond and love is there, everything will work out. It’s interesting how people see that because of social media nowadays. Overall it has been positive. At the end of the day, we are truly ourselves. That’s all that matters.”

WWE 'Total Divas' Superstar Naomi Is Gearing up for a Glowing 2018 WWE 'Total Divas' Superstar Naomi Is Gearing up for a Glowing 2018

Naomi talks to us about the E! reality hit, being one of the competitors in the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble match, and more.

Naomi learns a lot about herself from watching previous episodes. The long time Total Divas cast member sees instances when she got swept up in the heat of the moment. It’s been a unique kind of therapy.

“You are just reacting and emotional. You’re not thinking. So sometimes I would watch stuff and not even remember why I was so angry,” she said.

“Then there are times where I think, ‘Oh my gosh! I was wrong. Why would I say that? Why would I do that? He was totally right in that situation.’ Sometimes you are so blinded you only see things one way. That’s the cool thing about it to me. We have this to look back in our lives forever. It’s crazy.”

Naomi (Trinity Fatu) and Jimmy Uso (Jonathan Fatu) on their wedding day. (WWE)

Outside her personal life, Naomi is proud to be part of an overall push for female empowerment within WWE. In 2017, the athletic performer became the first African-American SmackDown women’s champion. She followed it up this year by participating in the inaugural women’s Royal Rumble and ended up winning the first-ever women’s battle royal at WrestleMania.

WWE's Paige on How She's Using Her 'Total Divas' Return to Help Others WWE's Paige on How She's Using Her 'Total Divas' Return to Help Others

The 'SmackDown Live' general manager on having to relive her retirement from the ring on the E! reality series.

“Our locker room is so positive,” she said. “We are all focused on the same objectives, and that’s equality for women. Changing the perspective. We want it to be the norm for us to get TV time and for it not to be a big deal if a woman is in the main event. We want the same opportunities as the men, and we’re still focused on proving that.

“This isn’t just about what is happening right now. This is the future. I think all of us being on the same page has brought us closer together. Our mission and goal are to prove that as women we belong on top just as much as the men. That we belong here, and that people are coming to see us just as much as the men.”

WWE Superstar Carmella Explains Why 'Mella Is Money' on 'SmackDown Live' WWE Superstar Carmella Explains Why 'Mella Is Money' on 'SmackDown Live'

The first 'Ms. Money in the Bank' & former women's champ also talks WWE 2K19 and why you don't see her on 'Total Divas' anymore.

Another milestone was marked in October when WWE presented the first all-women’s Pay-Per-View Evolution. Naomi hopes the historic show isn’t the last of its kind.

“I think with as many Pay-Per-Views as we have, I think this shouldn’t be a one-time thing,” Naomi said.

“I think it was very inspiring, very impactful, and it was good. We had a good Pay-Per-View. I’m proud of what we produced, what we brought to the table. To me, it would be a tragedy if this was the only one. As many Pay-Per-Views as we have, at least one year. Even if it just starts with us having one a year, that wouldn’t be too much to ask.”

Attention turns to Survivor Series as Naomi stands alongside Team SmackDown against Team Raw.  She is happy her recent tag partner Asuka also featured in the five-on-five elimination match. In her eyes, they’ve only scratched the surface of their potential working together.

'IIconics' Duo Peyton Royce & Billie Kay on Their Bond and Taking the WWE Journey Together 'IIconics' Duo Peyton Royce & Billie Kay on Their Bond and Taking the WWE Journey Together

The 'SmackDown Live' duo return to their native Australia as part of the Super Show-Down WWE Network special.

“A dream of mine is that if and when we get the tag team titles, I want me and Asuka to be the first to hold them,” she said.

“I think where things stand right now, you’re seeing a different side of her. We all know Asuka is probably the baddest women, toughest women and most talented. I think she is truly talented. I’ve been learning so much from her.

“And as cute and pretty as she is, when she gets pissed off or mad, she can take down any woman or man. I think she is the best. That’s who I want on my team and my corner.

"I’ve created such a real friendship with her. She is freaking hilarious. That is who Asuka is. Maybe her being around me is giving her an opportunity to be shown. But she is probably one of the funniest people I know and one of the most kick ass women I know. I love her.”

Becky Lynch on WWE's Inaugural All-Women's 'Evolution' PPV Event & Her Rise to the Top Becky Lynch on WWE's Inaugural All-Women's 'Evolution' PPV Event & Her Rise to the Top

The 'SmackDown Live' women's champ will defend against Charlotte Flair at WWE's first all-women's PPV event.

With Charlotte filling in for an injured Becky Lynch against Ronda Rousey, Naomi has a suggestion for the blue brand’s team captain.

“I would love to get bumped up to be team captain, or even Asuka. Either-or. We can even be co-captains,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to getting some retaliation for Becky at Survivor Series match.”

Survivor Series, Sunday, November 18, 7/6c live, Pay-Per-View and the WWE Network

Total Divas, Wednesdays, 9/8c, E!

Roush Review: 'Escape at Dannemora' Is a Riveting True Story

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 11:30am

Like trapped animals, the three protagonists in producer-director Ben Stiller’s riveting and superbly acted seven-part true-crime docudrama Escape at Dannemora reek of desperation.

That’s to be expected of restless prison inmates Richard Matt (Benicio Del Toro, in full magnetic swagger) and David Sweat (a pensive Paul Dano), but it’s also true of Tilly Mitchell (sourpussed Patricia Arquette), a dissatisfied, sexually frustrated prison employee who supervises the tailor shop where Matt and Sweat toil. As the men engage Tilly in risky and reckless backroom trysts, manipulating her to provide tools for a meticulously planned escape, she fancies herself the Bonnie to their Clydes.

'Escape at Dannemora' Is a 'Human Story' Says Director Ben Stiller 'Escape at Dannemora' Is a 'Human Story' Says Director Ben Stiller

The actor also produces the mini-series based on a true story.

The pathos is as excruciating as the underground caper is suspenseful, and Stiller ratchets the tension when his camera takes us inside the clammy bowels and tunnels of the prison, with Matt and Sweat hitting more than a few walls along the way.

Tabloids had a field day — “Shaw Skank Sex Triangle,” blared one headline — in the aftermath of the infamous 2015 prison break and nearly monthlong manhunt in Upstate New York. But Stiller’s virtuosic and detailed focus stays on the human dynamic: Matt’s reckless narcissism clashing with the well-named Sweat’s earnest labors, Tilly’s bravado dissolving in nervous panic and despair, manifesting in cruelty to her devoted but slovenly husband (a heartbreaking Eric Lange).

There’s no rooting for these lost souls, but Escape at least helps us understand them.

Escape at Dannemora, Series Premiere, Sunday, Nov. 18, 10/9c, Showtime

'Blindspot' Sneak Peek: Jane and Weller Discuss the Importance of Secrets (VIDEO)

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 11:30am

Ever since Jane Doe's (Jaimie Alexander) alternate personality Remi took a hold of her, it's been an interesting ride for Blindspot fans. And this week's episode is shaping up to be a juicy one.

It's clear that Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) has suspicions about his wife's recent behavior, between meeting up with mysterious people in alleys to the odd ways she interacts with those closest to her. But in spite of those suspicions, he's kept quiet about what he knows — until now.

'Blindspot' Stars Jaimie Alexander & Sullivan Stapleton Talk Season 4, Tokyo & Tattoos (VIDEO) 'Blindspot' Stars Jaimie Alexander & Sullivan Stapleton Talk Season 4, Tokyo & Tattoos (VIDEO)

Plus, the pair talk about Jane's persona 'Remi.'

In an exclusive clip for the November 16 episode of Blindspot, "Ca-ca-Candidate for Cri-cri-Crime," the couple are at the scene of a crime discussing Weitz (Aaron Abrams) and his secrets. "Whatever Weitz was into, his biggest mistake was lying about it," Weller says pointedly, hinting at something else entirely.

Jane/Remi's glare proves she has her own suspicions about what Weller really knows in regards to her double identity. After some back and forth, Jane concludes, "Well, he's allowed to have secrets. People don't have to tell everything to everyone."

How will the tense conversation end? Check out the full scene below for some clues as to what to expect from the episode!

Blindspot, Fridays, 8/7c, NBC

'Hawaii Five-0' Sneak Peek: Grover Is Caught in the Shower... by His Mother! (VIDEO)

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:30am

Even a tough guy like Captain Lou Grover (Chi McBride) on CBS's crime drama, Hawaii Five-0, needs to let loose once in awhile... but who knew he liked singing in the shower?

In Friday's all-new episode, it's Thanksgiving in Hawaii and Grover's parents — played by the iconic Louis Gossett Jr. and Gladys Knight — as well as his brother Percy, Jr. (Clifton Powell), are in town! And of course, this strikes up some sibling rivalry between the brothers. Also in this episode — written by none other than McBride himself! — the Five-0 looks into an empty safe that crushed a thief to death.

'Hawaii Five-0's 200th Episode Is 'Definitely a Departure' Says Alex O'Loughlin 'Hawaii Five-0's 200th Episode Is 'Definitely a Departure' Says Alex O'Loughlin

The actors were on double duty as they depicted 1940s characters as well.

In the below exclusive sneak peek, we see that, despite a house full of guests, Grover is enjoying his morning shower and, yes, he may use the shower nozzle as a microphone as he belts out a tune.

But, his good times are interrupted by his mother, who doesn't seem to mind her naked son standing in front of her. (For good reason, which I'll let her explain in the clip!). Enjoy!

Hawaii Five-0, Fridays, 9/8c, CBS.

'The Kominsky Method': Michael Douglas Reflects on Returning to TV After More Than 40 Years

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:00am
The Kominsky Method

Now here’s a production with an impressive pedigree. For his new half-hour dramedy The Kominsky Method, about an older, L.A.-based acting coach, mega-producer Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory, Mom) cast Oscar winners Michael Douglas (Wall Street) and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) plus Last Man Standing favorite Nancy Travis.

"I’m in really good hands!" notes the 74-year-old Douglas. He tells TV Guide Magazine about returning to series TV after more than 40 years.

 'The Kominsky Method' Is a Meditation on Aging From Chuck Lorre Roush Review: 'The Kominsky Method' Is a Meditation on Aging From Chuck Lorre

Michael Douglas & Alan Arkin are a resilient yet cantankerous odd couple.

This is your first starring role on a show since ABC’s The Streets of San Francisco in the 1970s. Why now?

It’s difficult to get the character-driven films that I prefer produced these days. Plus, I’ve been a big fan of Chuck Lorre’s since Dharma & Greg and Two and a Half Men. He’s a hell of a writer. But I wasn’t thinking about TV at all until I got sent this script. It turned out to be a great experience.

How would you describe your character, Sandy Kominsky?

Sandy has failed at three marriages, and he wasn’t as successful an actor as he hoped, but he found security as an acting teacher — and he’s a good one. His best days as an actor are past, but he still has an allegiance to Norman [Arkin], his agent of 40 years.

Arkin and Douglas in The Kominsky Method.

You and Alan have terrific chemistry. Is this your first time working together?

It is. He got tired of me repeating lines from [Arkin’s 1966 film] The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! [Laughs] But it was great casting.

Tell us about Sandy’s romantic relationship with his student Lisa.

When he’s teaching and working with these young kids, there’s a superficial level with many of them that drives him nuts. Finally, he has Lisa [Travis], an adult in his class who has the insight that only can come with age and who’s also very attractive. Nancy was a joy to work with.

Michael Douglas Reveals Why He Loves 'The Kominsky Method's Dark Humor Michael Douglas Reveals Why He Loves 'The Kominsky Method's Dark Humor

Plus, Chuck Lorre on why it's about the reality of aging.

A Lorre show always has an abundance of funny. This one also deals with heavy issues such as aging and death.

You could say it’s tragicomedy. It is very difficult to write and perform, but it is an exciting challenge for me.

The Kominsky Method, Series Premiere, Friday, November 16, Netflix

Ask Matt: New Face on 'Mom,' Doctors as Patients on 'Grey's,' Mickey Mouse Club, 'Murphy' Amnesia

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 9:00am

Welcome back to the Q&A with TV critic (also known to some TV fans as their "TV therapist") Matt Roush, who'll try to address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today's vast TV landscape. One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone, so we won't be addressing upcoming storylines here unless it's already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to askmatt@tvinsider.com (or use the form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.

 

What’s With Loudmouth Tammy on Mom?

Question: I've been watching Mom on CBS since Episode 1 and the ensemble cast with Anna Faris and Allison Janney is a delight. I understand adding a love interest/fiancé for Bonnie (Janney), and the rest of the AA group is terrific, but I can't for the life of me understand why they added Kristen Johnston to the cast. She's big, loud, mugs every time the camera's anywhere near her, delivers most of her lines at a bellow and generally sucks the air out of the room. Plus her character seems to be there to annoy the rest of the cast. I know she annoys the hell out of me. So again: Why is she here? — Michael

Matt Roush: Tell us how you really feel! Seriously, I get that Johnston’s character of ex-con Tammy could be something of an acquired tastelessness, but now that she’s moved off Bonnie and Christy’s (Faris) couch and into cat-lady Marjorie’s (Mimi Kennedy) home, perhaps less of her will be more acceptable. I’ve been a fan of Johnston since her Emmy-winning run on 3rd Rock From the Sun, and she’s just as over the top here, which seems appropriate given her circumstances. I have enjoyed watching Mom evolve over the seasons as Christy and Bonnie adopted their new family, and I was actually tickled when Tammy joined this group of hard-luck born losers, each seeking their own path to recovery. Tammy’s may be the rockiest yet. It will almost surely be the loudest. Mom isn’t the most subtle sitcom on TV in any given week, and while Johnston has raised the volume, I don’t find her presence out of character.

 Kristen Johnston on Playing 'Dumb & Funny' Tammy on 'Mom' Scene Stealer: Kristen Johnston on Playing 'Dumb & Funny' Tammy on 'Mom'

The actress guest stars as Allison Janney's foster sister on the CBS show.

Physicians, Heal Thyselves!

Question: On Grey's Anatomy, Richard's first wife and his lover both had Alzheimer's and died lonely deaths, and now his second wife (Debbie Allen as Dr. Catherine Fox) has cancer? Is he cursed or something? I know it's a drama, but seriously, that's a pattern. I love the show, but they have done the significant-doctor-character-becomes-the-patient storyline many, many times with more characters than I can count. I'm kind of disappointed to see them returning to this well yet again with Catherine. What is going to make this time any different than when we went through this storyline with any of the others before her? Are they really so hard up for new ideas that they have to repeat this one again? Just last year they did it with both Amelia's mega-tumor and April's near-death experience. I'm a huge fan of the show and will continue to watch it as long as they continue making it, but...really? What was intended to be a big emotional episode mostly had me rolling my eyes. — Jake

Matt Roush: I’ll again play devil’s advocate, to a point. I agree that Grey’s has gone to this well too many times, often on behalf of characters who didn’t merit such special treatment (I’m in the camp that considers Amelia and April among the show’s most aggravating characters ever). But giving Catherine this life-threatening storyline has the potential to be more impactful than most—if only because she is such an integral part of so many characters’ lives, including the hospital’s itself. Presenting her diagnosis in the context of husband Richard’s challenged sobriety raises the stakes as well, plus there’s son Jackson to consider and everyone else who looks upon Catherine as a mentor. And it’s Debbie Allen, for crying out loud! I also get that long-running medical dramas are in constant danger of repeating themselves—please don’t let her appear as a ghost to Richard in seasons to come—and Grey’s is perhaps more susceptible to this charge than most because of its soapy nature. But I’ll admit I’m curious to see where this story is headed in the back half of what’s turning out to be another enjoyable season.

'Grey's Anatomy' Star Debbie Allen Hints at a 'Big Episode' for Catherine & Season 16 Plans 'Grey's Anatomy' Star Debbie Allen Hints at a 'Big Episode' for Catherine & Season 16 Plans

The EP/actor/director also shared if she'll be there through the series' final episode.

They Joined the Jamboree

Question: On ABC’s recent Mickey Mouse's 90th (Birthday) Spectacular special, original Mouseketeers Bobby Burgess and Sharon Baird were introduced. Are they the only ones left from the 1955 show? — Carole

Matt Roush: Of the original cast members who were under contract for the full run of the original 1955-59 Mickey Mouse Club, and are most closely identified as the original Mouseketeers (known to some as the “Red Team”), only Annette Funicello and Doreen Tracey have passed away. According to a quick search, Lonnie Burr, Tommy Cole, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O’Brien and Karen Pendleton are also still around, but may not have been available for the reunion.

Diego Luna to Star in Live-Action 'Rogue One' Prequel Series for Disney's New Streaming Service Diego Luna to Star in Live-Action 'Rogue One' Prequel Series for Disney's New Streaming Service

It's the second live-action 'Star Wars' series planned for the upcoming Disney+ service.

And Did They Return the Gifts?

Question: In the new Murphy Brown, why hasn't there been any mention that Miles and Corky were once married? — Sue

Matt Roush: This is a classic case of sitcom “retcon” (as in “retroactive continuity”), in which a show decides to ignore events from its past life when it gets a fresh start. (The new Will & Grace ignored the original series’ ending, to its benefit.) I’ve read some suggestions (unconfirmed) that because the Miles-Corky marriage happened after series creator Diane English left the show, she opted to just ignore that it ever happened—and to be honest, it probably never should have—and that’s why it never comes up. Given how rocky some of those final seasons were, it may be just as well.

 'New Amsterdam,' 'Murphy Brown' 'The Rookie' & More New Fall TV Hits & Misses: 'New Amsterdam,' 'Murphy Brown' 'The Rookie' & More

From 'Single Parents' to 'Murphy Brown' where does your new favorite fall?

Swept Away in November

Question: For years, I've conditioned my husband to expect our DVR to fill up in November, February and May when sweeps hit, and set aside a little extra time to catch up on our favorite shows. This year, I've been surprised to see that a lot of shows we watch have taken a bye week. This Is Us, New Amsterdam, The Rookie, The Resident and many others were missing from the schedule last week or this week. And next week is Thanksgiving, so I'm guessing there will be a lot more shows in reruns or pre-empted by specials.

It makes me wonder if sweeps are even a thing anymore. So much TV is now streamed or time-shifted, and advertising is included in app/online viewing. Are the years of needing to set aside an extra couple of hours on the weekends to catch up on TV three times a year a thing of the past now? Or is it just the early Thanksgiving this year making this an anomaly? — Toni

Which New Fall Network Shows Should Get a Second Season? (POLL) Which New Fall Network Shows Should Get a Second Season? (POLL)

The networks have already ordered full first seasons.

Matt Roush: Sweeps months aren’t what they used to be, but the reason so many Tuesday series took the first week off this month was because of the unprecedented interest in midterm election day on Nov. 6. (I was surprised that Fox aired repeats of The Resident and 9-1-1 this week and can’t really explain that.) And yes, there will be more repeats and pre-emptions to come as Thanksgiving approaches next week. (Already!?!?!?!)

From a network business point of view, sweeps months are still monitored for setting ad rates, which is why you see special events like the CMA Awards this month—and the Oscars, Super Bowl and Grammys in February most years—but the mega-stunts and star-studded miniseries of years past are largely a faded memory. You can still count on most networks to run original episodes during these months (reverting to a mixed pattern of repeats and originals in months between), but your example of setting aside time on the weekends to catch up on TV is no longer just a sweeps-time event. It’s year-round in an era of “peak TV,” and there’s never enough time to catch up.

These Ratings Are Murder!

Question: Why do you think How To Get Away With Murder ratings are so poor, when they're having one of their best seasons? — Tamaca

Matt Roush: My guess would be that it’s too little too late. Almost every show, regardless of popularity and quality, declines over time, and this uneven melodrama always had its work cut out for it to sustain momentum. Murder is probably safe as long as ABC continues to invest in the “TGIT” brand. But with Scandal retired, the night doesn’t have the oomph it used to, which also may have contributed to Murder’s downturn.

'How to Get Away with Murder' EP Says Season 5 Will Reveal Gabriel's Identity 'How to Get Away with Murder' EP Says Season 5 Will Reveal Gabriel's Identity

He also teases Timothy Hutton's upcoming role.

A Few More Aggravating Things About TV

Question: Why Why Why! do so many shows like Face Off and cooking shows, etc play annoying repetitive music in the background? Whose idea was it to have all those stupid pop-ups appear on the bottom of my TV and how did they decide they should all do it? Do networks get together to add bad things to torture us? — Maria

Matt Roush: No one said watching TV would be easy. But I agree, if I have any criticism of Face Off, which I loved till the end (and keep hoping Syfy will eventually reconsider and revive, though I’m OK with giving it a rest for now), it’s the repetitiveness of so many formulaic beats every episode, including the incessant music. For so many TV producers, silence is not golden and they feel compelled to fill every second with some kind of ambient noise.

Why 'The Great British Baking Show' Is the Ultimate Cooking Competition Why 'The Great British Baking Show' Is the Ultimate Cooking Competition

It’s such a relief to see encouraging faces around the famous tent every season.

Regarding pop-up ads, which usually promote some sort of upcoming show on the network or other paid sponsor, that’s one result of so many of us fast-forwarding through ads these days. By inserting these messages, however annoying, into the bottom of the frame while we’re watching the actual show, that’s one way to get noticed. Of course, the aggravation factor could easily backfire on what’s being promoted, but the battle is to get the pop-up in front of many eyeballs as possible. If it didn’t work, they’d probably stop doing it.

 

That’s all for now. Thanks as always for reading, and remember that I can’t do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to askmatt@tvinsider.com or shoot me a line on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush), and you can also submit questions via the handy form below. Please include a first name with your question.

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