Simon Cowell sits on a balcony overlooking the pool at the Beverly Hilton hotel and lights another cigarette. It's a tumultuous time for the fiery Brit, whose baby-daddy drama is dominating tabloid headlines just a month before The X Factor is set to premiere its do-or-die third season in the United States. But Cowell has rarely appeared more at ease. "I think you're really going to like it more this year," he says of his singing competition.
After last season's addition of judge Britney Spears proved to be a multimillion-dollar dud and original panelist L.A. Reid jumped ship (Demi Lovato is the only holdover from Season 2), Cowell again restructured the panel, this time focusing on experience and chemistry. Enter Kelly Rowland, a former member of Destiny's Child who worked on the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2011, and Paulina Rubio, a Latina superstar whose previous gigs include coaching the Mexican edition of The Voice. Mario Lopez will take on full hosting duties, after sharing last season with Khloe Kardashian.
The format itself is also undergoing some tweaks. Here, Cowell and his team discuss the show's new direction.
The start of the 2013 NFL season is only days away, and NFL Network's Rich Eisen is preparing with a little help from his celebrity friends Matt Damon, Kevin Costner and Larry David on The Rich Eisen Kickoff Special (airing Tuesday at 10:30/9:30c). The NFL GameDay Morning host — whose weekly podcast just surpassed 10 million downloads — sat down with the three devout sports fans to discuss their favorite teams and break down football's most notable off-season stories.
Mindy Kaling and James Franco
James Franco checks in for the first two episodes of the Fox comedy The Mindy Project playing Dr. Paul Leotard, a model-turned-ob-gyn who joined the office following Mindy's (Mindy Kaling) missionary trip to Haiti at the end of last season.
"He has firmly established himself as the most popular doctor at the practice," says exec producer Jack Burditt. "So when Mindy returns and wants everything to go back to normal, he is a huge obstacle in her way."
Soup's on! The E! clip show that specializes in skewering the world of reality television celebrates its milestone 500th episode tonight by airing two live shows for both coasts. "I'm very much looking forward to it," host Joel McHale told reporters after wrapping the show's 499th episode on Aug. 14.
Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato, Paulina Rubio and Simon Cowell
The X Factor is hoping the third time's the charm when the Fox reality competition series returns this fall with new faces Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio joining Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato on the judges' panel. The infectious chemistry between the four was immediately apparent during Thursday's auditions in Los Angeles with Lovato and Rubio dancing together before the taping, Rowland storming the stage to teach a rapping grandmother how to "twerk," and all three women ganging up on Cowell when they didn't agree with his snarky comments. "They are little devils," Cowell told reporters with a grin. "I love difficult girls and I've met my match. I respect them and you see and hear things in a different way than you have before. It's just a very different experience."
It's a welcome change of pace after last year's arguably lifeless dais..
Shameless is saying goodbye to one of its own. During a panel event held at the Television Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday night, showrunner John Wells confirmed Justin Chatwin will not return as a series regular in Season 4 and did, in fact, die at the end of last season.