As "Arrow" ends the first half of Season 3, the stakes have never been higher. Oliver (Stephen Amell) is close to death at the beginning of "Three Ghosts," and only Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) can save his life.
And it just gets worse from there. Get a preview of this "Arrow" episode with photos from "Three Ghosts."
Warning: There are some minor "Arrow" spoilers contained in these photos and in their descriptions. Be careful what you read.
First of all, despite his initial condition in the episode, it's likely that Oliver Queen will survive his injection with some sort of mystery drug.
Oliver is not, however, very happy about Barry finding out his secret.
He even takes out that anger on Felicity!
There are, however, other problems going on. Since the police are going nowhere, Thea and Sin take their suspicions about Sebastian Blood's blood drives to Laurel.
Officer Lance is hoping to figure out what's going on too. Is he really going to take on a man with superhuman strength?
Remember, Sebastian Blood has an informant in the police station ...
Roy, meanwhile, gets himself into something of a bind.
Needles never mean anything good on "Arrow." Could this be the end for Roy?
- The Starz adaptation of "Outlander" has added Simon Callow ("Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Doctor Who") to its cast. He'll play the Duke of Sandringham, an "opulent and flamboyant" nobleman who maintains his hold on power through a variety of alliances. "Outlander," an adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's novels, comes to Starz in 2014.
- Former "Southland" star Regina King has signed on to FX's "The Strain." She'll play the manager of a rock star (Jack Kesy) who has fallen under the sway of an ancient vampire. [Deadline]
- "Mob City" drew a smallish mob of viewers to TNT Wednesday night (Dec. 4). The premiere of TNT's miniseries averaged 2.3 million people, below the typical audience for the channel's other original series.
- Former MTV VJ Kennedy has a new show ... on the Fox Business Network. Kennedy (full name: Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) will co-host "The Independents" with Matt Welch and Kmele Foster. The roundtable show premieres Dec. 9 and will air Monday through Wednesday each week.
- "Saturday Night Live" regular Nasim Pedrad, Elliott Gould and Seaton Smith will be part of FOX's upcoming comedy "Mulaney," starring former "SNL" writer John Mulaney. All three were attached to the show when it was first developed at NBC, but their status became uncertain when it moved to FOX. The show has also added Zack Pearlman (MTV's "Inbetweeners") to its cast. [Variety]
- Esai Morales ("Caprica," "Magic City") will play the president of the United States in HBO's political comedy pilot "The Brink." The show also stars Tim Robbins, Jack Black and Pablo Schreiber as three men affected by a political crisis. [Deadline]
The second wave of "Saturday Night Live" promos for Paul Rudd's hosting appearance have been released, this time with 100 percent more One Direction. This time out, Rudd gets to interact with the boy band, a lot of which involves begging to be a member. The most memorable of the promos finds him fainting after realizing why girls scream for them. Luckily, the guys are there to catch him, otherwise there could have been some serious trouble.
If NBC -- or another network -- does decide to give another go at a live musical special event, then they've got a whole lot of good choices to choose from. But to strike the right note of family-friendly tone and holiday vibe, here are some suggestions that Zap2it thinks would do particularly well.
This musical retelling of "The Wizard of Oz" has become a modern Broadway classic, but even those who aren't fans of "Wicked" will find plenty to love in this story. Unlike a straightforward reproduction of "The Wizard of Oz" which would have the leading lady constantly compared to Julie Andrews, "Wicked" at least has enough of a hook to get people interested while also providing something fresh.
Suggested stars: Lea Michele as Elphaba and Taylor Swift as Glinda
"Oklahoma!" is a musical that has its stage productions still aired on TV today, so why not give viewers something new to watch? Its continued popularity and string of popular leading men make it still relevant today, so tossing some currently buzzworthy stars in there would help get younger generations on board.
Suggested stars: Zachary Levi as Curly, Mae Whitman as Laurey and Katy Perry as Ado Annie
"Guys and Dolls"
In choosing a beloved musical with well-known songs -- and a famous movie version -- NBC's "The Sound of Music" already had a built-in fan base. Why not take that route again with this story of gamblers and criminals in 1940s New York City?
Suggested stars: Justin Timberlake as Sky Masterson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Nathan Detroit and Anna Kendrick as Miss Adelaide
The fact that ABBA music gives "Mamma Mia!" its soul is something any musical-loving fan should get on board with, but its Broadway and big screen pedigree have made it a household name. Thanks to its modern family messages and its upbeat vibe, it would be a rousing way to bring the family together around a TV set.
Suggested stars: Idina Menzel as Donna and Ariana Grande as Sophie
"Fiddler on the Roof"
This might not be the happiest of all musicals, but goodness is it a great -- and popular -- one. Throw a leading man like Mandy Patinkin into a musical that most people know the songs from (whether they're aware of it or not), and TV live production would be a perfect way to bring this musical to life.
Suggested stars: Mandy Patinkin as Tevye, obviously
"West Side Story"
"West Side Story" is about as classic as they come, so the key to making this fun for a new audience is to bring in a batch of new blood. In this case, we looked to the Disney Channel for inspiration, with tried-and-true Broadway star Nick Jonas as Tony, and Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato as Maria and Anita, respectively. Come on, you know it would be amazing.
Suggested stars: Nick Jonas as Tony, Selena Gomez as Maria and Demi Lovato as Anita
Just for fun: "Spamalot," "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Book of Mormon"
These musicals would never get made on a network, but what about if cable channel's decided to get in on the fun? Imagine an FX-produced reproduction of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and rejoice.
What would be the next musical you'd like to see performed live on TV?
It's time to share an unpopular opinion: I love the character of William on "Haven," and I think his presence is one of the best things to happen to this show in years.
You may commence with the stoning. Alternatively, keep reading to find out why I think "Haven" would benefit from as much Colin Ferguson as it can get.
Let's meet William
Until the beginning of "Haven" Season 4, viewers didn't have even an inkling of a man named William. No matter what strangeness occurred in the real world or in the mysterious barn, William wasn't a part of it. We didn't need him.
But now William has emerged. That seemingly friendly and helpful Barn fellow who likes microbrews and who can chase off bad guys (but who isn't a cop) has -- in a few short episodes -- become absolutely indispensible to the mythology of "Haven."
He alone knows the details of Audrey's past. William is the only person who has ever been even a little bit like Audrey. Heck, he's physically connected to the woman. Even if William is lying about almost everything, this is an important figure in the show's world.
We need to keep him around. Why?
Villains are important.
Leaving aside the whole "kill William and Audrey dies" issue, the best justification for keeping William is simple: "Haven" works best with an enemy.
Sure, there are still struggles in the town of Haven when no bad guys are around. The Troubles keep life interesting every day in a town that's faced earthquakes, meteor showers and a bunch of far weirder things. But, while you can fight a Trouble, it's rather hard to focus your anger on what is essentially a disability.
Villains are another story. And "Haven" has always had villains. Reverend Driscoll satisfied that role beautifully for most of the first two seasons, while the Bolt-Gun Killer (later revealed to be Arla) followed in Season 3. Whenever these baddies showed up on screen, the stakes grew. A Trouble can't easily kill Audrey, after all -- but a person with a weapon is always a threat.
With William, we get a whole new level of villain. Unlike previous bad guys, who were unrelentingly antagonistic, William entered into the world of "Haven" as a friend. He was a helpful, smiling man who offered answers to Audrey's many questions.
And then -- smile unaltered -- William became a villain. As compelling as the man was before, villainy has just heightened his importance. No matter what happens, the heroes of "Haven" always have a target.
Audrey needs this.
The woman most often known as Audrey on "Haven" has a rather unbelievable identity problem. Four separate personalities and lives have been hers over at least a 60-year period, but none of them are real. Only William has any clues to the truth underlying Audrey Parker.
It may be distressing and it may cause nothing but problems and heartache in the short term, but the truth does set you free -- even on television.
Search your heart and answer truthfully: Do you really want to say goodbye to Colin Ferguson on "Haven"? Bad guy or not, the guy is awesome.
LL Cool J and CBS have made good partners, musically as well as dramatically.
The rapper and "NCIS: Los Angeles" co-star has been a big part of the network's Grammy Awards coverage, having hosted the past two ceremonies, plus the special "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! - Countdown to Music's Biggest Night" since it began in 2008. A two-time Grammy winner himself -- now a candidate for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- he'll preside again over the nominations show, airing Friday, Dec. 6, on CBS from Los Angeles' Nokia Theater L.A. Live.
"I'm still very, very close to music," maintains LL Cool J, whose given name is James Todd Smith. "This just gives me a chance to be more deeply immersed in music culture by hosting the show."
Robin Thicke, Keith Urban, Drake, and musical partners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are scheduled to perform in the Grammy Nominations Concert. As accommodating as "NCIS: Los Angeles" has been about working his schedule around his Grammy-related work, LL Cool J doesn't necessarily expect to get those calls.
"You can't presume or assume that I'm going to do it," he tells Zap2it. "Every season is different, and there's no telling when the Grammys may want to go in a different direction, to work with someone else or try something new. We just take it one step at a time. If they come to me and ask me to do something, we talk about it and figure it out. I don't take any of this for granted."
Though LL Cool J enjoys his connection to the Grammys, it hasn't always been light in spirit. He faced the challenge of setting the tone as host of the award show the night after Whitney Houston's death in February 2012, an occasion that still resonates with him almost two years later.
"It's definitely something that I will always remember. It was a sad time and a shocking time, but I'm glad we made it through, and I'm glad that I was able to provide some kind of relief to the millions of people around the world who were watching the show. I'm grateful that I was able to handle it ... but hopefully, that will never happen again."
An extended Christmas programming trailer has been released by BBC One, showing even more little looks into the "Doctor Who" Christmas special, "The Time of the Doctor." While you won't see the Doctor (Matt Smith) spanking Clara (Jenna Coleman), there are some looks at his foes in the episode. From The Silence to Cyberman, there's some pretty nasty obstacles for the Doctor and Clara to face in Smith's final outing in the title role. The trailer even includes a nice little moment of the Doctor introducing himself. "The Time of the Doctor" airs December 25 at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.
Get ready for some bad news, Gladiators: There's going to be less of Season 3 of "Scandal" than originally planned.
ABC had reduced the order for their red-hot Shonda Rhimes drama from 22 to 18 episodes, Zap2it can confirm. The network hadn't given a reason for the cutback, but it's safe to assume it's not because the show is in any danger of cancellation.
Though she hasn't confirmed it, "Scandal" star Kerry Washington is reportedly pregnant. Considering that the show revolves around Olivia Pope, it wouldn't be entirely easy to trim Washington's workload without shedding some episodes altogether.
The news comes the morning after a jaw-dropping episode on Thursday (Dec. 5) that saw the series move ahead of NBC's "The Blacklist" to become the season's No. 1 broadcast drama in the key 18-49 demo.
"Scandal" airs its fall finale Thursday, Dec. 12 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
MTV has ordered "Shannara," a fantasy series based on the novels of Terry Brooks. "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau will collaborate with "Smallville" creators Al Gough and Miles Millar to executive-produce the series.
According to Deadline.com, MTV is expected to order "Shannara" straight to series if the pilot script meets expectations. Could this be the next "Game of Thrones"-style hit?
Set in the future, thousands of years after our current civilization is destroyed, the "Shannara" book series follows the Shannara, mixed elf and human people with magical abilities and adventures that reshape the world. Season 1 of the MTV television series would be based on the second book in the series, "The Elfstones of Shannara."
The books first appeared in 1977 with two new installments published in 2013 and more planned for 2014. They are estimated as the highest-selling fantasy series with no television or film adaptation.
"I am thrilled to be working with the 'Smallville' creators Al and Miles again along with the amazingly talented Jon Favreau," MTV president Susanne Daniels said in a statement. "We feel that the Shannara novels are a perfect fit for MTV as this type of fantasy genre has continuously proved to resonate with our audience."
Brooks, who will also executive-produce the potential series, added: "The adaptation of these books is very important to me, and I believe we are on the right track in our endeavor to create an epic television series that both new and old fans of the books will love,"
If "Shannara" goes to series, it will join another supernaturally themed MTV drama, "Teen Wolf," on the network.
NBC's live production of "The Sound of Music" paid off in a big way Thursday, as the network scored its biggest audience on the night since 2004.
"The Sound of Music Live" scored commanding wins for the night in both viewers and adults 18-49, even beating "The Big Bang Theory" in viewers in their common half-hour ("Big Bang" did lead the half-hour in adults 18-49). The last time NBC had as big an audience on Thursday, excluding sports, was the night of the "Frasier" series finale in 2004.
Elsewhere, "Scandal" was up over its last original (pending updates for its Houston affiliate airing an NFL game), and "The X Factor" and "Glee" ticked up from their Thanksgiving lows last week. "The Vampire Diaries," however, was down from its last original episode two weeks ago.
NBC drew 18.5 million viewers and a 10.6 rating/16 share in households for the night, nearly doubling the 9.5 million and 6.0/9 for second-place CBS. ABC (6.6 million, 4.4/7) came in third. FOX (4 million, 2.5/4) took fourth, and The CW (1.95 million, 1.3/2) trailed.
In the 18-49 demographic, NBC's 4.6 rating was far and away the best mark of the night. CBS was the best of the rest at 2.5, and ABC finished third with a 2.2. FOX averaged 1.2 and The CW 0.8.
Thursday hour by hour:
NBC: Special - "The Sound of Music Live" (17.6 million viewers, 10.2/16 households) CBS: "The Big Bang Theory" (15.3 million, 9.3/15)/"The Millers" (9.4 million, 5.9/9) FOX: "The X Factor" (4.8 million, 2.9/5) ABC: "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" (3.6 million, 2.4/4) The CW: "The Vampire Diaries" (2.25 million, 1.5/2)
18-49 leader: "The Sound of Music Live" (4.7)
NBC: "The Sound of Music Live" (19.3 million, 10.9/16) CBS: "The Crazy Ones" (7.7 million, 4.9/7)/"Two and a Half Men" (8.3 million, 5.3/8) ABC: "Grey's Anatomy" (7.5 million, 5.0/8) FOX: "Glee" (3.2 million, 2.1/3) The CW: "Reign" (1.65 million, 1.1/2)
18-49 leader: "The Sound of Music Live" (4.8)
NBC: "The Sound of Music Live" (17.5 million, 10.1/16) ABC: "Scandal" (8.6 million, 5.8/9) CBS: "Elementary" (8.2 million, 5.3/8)
18-49 leader: "The Sound of Music Live" (4.3)
Ratings information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change. Source: The Nielsen Company.
The online reaction to "The Sound of Music Live!", which aired on NBC Thursday night (Dec. 5), has run the gamut. Some really enjoyed it, others found it unbearable. But it's the ignorant viewers out there that have my hackles raised.
The production was not without its flaws, certainly. There were a few odd lighting choices that felt kind of soap opera-y. And Carrie Underwood is definitely not an actress. She was pretty stiff in many of her deliveries (though she did have a few good moments).
However, Underwood has also never claimed to be an actress. In interviews about this production, she has said that she's not trying to be Julie Andrews, who starred in the movie nearly 50 years ago.
But Underwood was given this opportunity and she has to be praised for even attempting it. Live theater is hard. Live theater in front of millions of people on a major television network? Yikes. Plus, "The Sound of Music" is not an easy show. It's a three-hour stage musical and carrying that is a huge undertaking, especially for your first time out.
Underwood's vocals were terrific -- the Southern twang crept in there in spots, but she tried very hard to keep it out -- and she and Stephen Moyer and the rest of the cast clearly worked their butts off for weeks and then for three hours of live TV. Why so much hate?
A lot of the haters online were talking about this being a "remake" and how could they possibly step into the shoes of Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews? That's what really makes me mad -- they weren't doing anything of the sort.
Just because there was a well-done, wildly popular movie, does that suddenly mean the stage production should never be attempted ever again? Should local theaters just throw out "Sound of Music" (and while they're at it, "Grease" and "My Fair Lady" and "Cabaret") and never perform those shows?
Of course not. That's absurd. And the vitriol directed thusly is also absurd.
"Real Housewives" star Taylor Armstrong had maybe our favorite absurd tweets of the night, "Do not like the new songs in the classic #SoundofMusic! Leave a legend alone!! ... Bastardizing a true classic w new songs - disappointed."
*headsmack* They weren't new songs. They were the songs from the original musical.
This wasn't a remake of the movie, gang. This was the stage production. Guess what? It's different. And it came first. "The Sound of Music" won a Tony for Best Musical six years before the movie was released -- was Julie Andrews "daring" to step into the shoes of Mary Martin, famed Broadway actress who originated the role of Maria?
NBC went out of its way to prepare people for the fact that this was a performance of the stage show -- and how could you not get that, watching it on TV? The only thing missing from this theatrical performance was a live audience.
And frankly, that's my only major criticism. I think a live audience would've done wonders for this production.
In my theater experience, Sunday matinees are always hard because the audience tends to be populated by an older crowd. We would call them "smiling audiences," because they're enjoying the show but the actual out-loud responses are few and far between. And smiling audiences make the performances feel flat -- stage actors feed off of the laughter and the applause. It enhances the show.
An audience laughing and clapping would have really helped "The Sound of Music" last night. You could tell there were nerves from the non-Broadway veteran actors, particularly Underwood. And why wouldn't she be nervous? I was nervous for her. This was a massive thing to attempt.
She certainly got better as the production went along, as she found her footing. An audience would have only made that easier.
I applaud NBC and the entire cast for trying this and pulling it off -- because they did pull it off. They performed the entire three-hour "Sound of Music" live on TV with nary a mistake.
Of course there is room for snark. Just check out actress Anna Kendrick's Twitter feed for a perfect example of someone who is clearly having a lot and appreciating "The Sound of Music Live!" for what it is.
What it was was a lot of fun. I would be delighted if networks would attempt more special projects like this.
No matter how "The X Factor" turns out, Alex and Sierra are bonafide stars -- at least that's what their mentor Simon Cowell thinks. The duo's rendition of "Say Something" hit No. 1 on iTunes (and is still there more than a day after the Top 6 performance show), and according to Cowell, this is their star-making moment.
"We were watching all last night. People were texting me saying this record was flying up the charts and then as soon as I woke up this morning I got the news they were No. 1," Cowell tells Zap2it after the Top 6 results show. "Mind you, the original is like No. 3 or something. It's incredible. I've always said this about these shows: It's not about winning a silly trophy; it's about launching an artist. It's about a career outside of it and that's what I'm most proud of. It does launch proper artists."
And yes, "Say Something" is that launch for Alex and Sierra. "Yeah, I do -- I think it was that moment. You always have a moment. I can remember having it with One Direction and Leona Lewis. There's one song where you go, 'I can see this working.'"
Even the other judges are rooting for the Florida group after last night, Simon says. "We saw something last night on that second song which is outside of what we normally see on the competition. That was like something you see on a show with two proper artists singing a beautiful song fantastically well. So it all changed last night."
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