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The Playboy Club: What Went Wrong

The Playboy Club

It took years for The Playboy Club to hop into primetime. It took NBC three weeks to kill it.

Quick cancellations are nothing new in TV, but the rapid demise of The Playboy Club might serve as a cautionary tale for programmers as they depend more on familiar franchises and icons to attract distracted viewers.

With so much competition for the attention of viewers, network execs are looking for anything that might give them an edge in marketing and awareness — which is why so many remakes with familiar titles are hitting the air. The Playboy Club wasn't a reboot of an old show, but rather an original series looking to leverage a popular global brand.

NBC liked that the name "Playboy" would at least cut through the clutter of fall TV's slew of new series launches. "Many programmers would look at it and say, 'Here's a huge brand that should be able to... read more

Roush Review: Lifetime's Five, HBO's Enlightened

Jeanne Tripplehorn

They rarely make TV-movies like Lifetime's Five (Monday, 9/8c) anymore, and I really wish they would. A sensitively told issue-of-the-week anthology in the classic life-affirming tear-jerker tradition, the high-profile talent is on both sides of the camera in these intertwined vignettes dealing with breast cancer. Though the subject matter is wrenching, the tone here is more about emotional uplift, emphasizing the importance of bringing loved ones along for the fight.
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Patty Duke Returns to TV in Hawaii Five-0

Patti Duke

These days, a lot of TV actresses are taking on dual roles: The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev (Elena/Katherine), Ringer's Sarah Michelle Gellar (Bridget/Siobhan) and The Lying Game's Alexandra Chando (Emma/Sutton). But back in 1963, Patty Duke was all on her own as identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane on The Patty Duke Show. "We didn't have digital anything," recalls Duke, 64. "We'd [shoot] the Patty side first, then everyone would stand in place while I sneaked off and came back dressed as Cathy. In postproduction, they would actually split the celluloid."

Tonight Duke is returning to TV for a guest appearance on Hawaii Five-0. It's a role she couldn't turn down. "I play a woman in the second stage of Alzheimer's whose son was involved in a nefarious deal with gold coins in the ocean," says Duke, who took home the best supporting actress Oscar for The Miracle Worker in 1962. "McGarrett [Alex O'Loughlin] and Lori [Lauren German] come to inform my character that her son is dead and find that I'm living 20 or 30 years in the past. In her head, [her] son is still a boy coming home from school any minute for a sandwich."
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Roush Review: Breaking Bad's Explosive Finale

Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk

Casa Tranquila, my eye! (Or, rather, Gus's eye.)
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Keck's Exclusives: RuPaul's Drag Race Celebrity Judges Revealed!

Ru Paul

RuPaul's Drag Race, Logo's campy take on America's Next Top Model, may not be as well known as the CW hit, but it's luring some high-profile guest judges that would make other reality shows jealous. When Season 4 of the competition show — which pits drag queens against each other — kicks off in January, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rose McGowan, Loretta Devine, Kelly Osbourne and... read more

Cheers & Jeers: Boardwalk Empire: We Love Lucy

Paz de la Huerta

Cheers to Paz de la Huerta for showing off a new side of herself on Boardwalk Empire.

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In Season 1 of HBO's Atlantic City gangland epic, de la Huerta's character, woozy showgirl Lucy Danziger was notable mostly for her frequent nudity. Now that she's carrying the illegitimate child of fed Nelson Van Alden (the Emmy-worthy Michael Shannon), the role is... read more

Keck's Exclusives: Walking Dead Redneck Reunion?

Walking Dead

Is The Walking Dead going to reintroduce fan favorite Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker), who went MIA in Season 1 after chopping off his cuffed hand to escape becoming zombie lunch? Sounds like November 13 could be the night. That's when the AMC series centers an entire episode around Merle's bad boy brother, Daryl (Norman Reedus).

"It's pretty much all Daryl on his own, in a hard-core man-versus... read more

Exclusive: Terra Nova Roars Into New York Comic Con

Terra Nova

Fox's newest prehistoric stars are about to take a bite out of the Big Apple! Terra Nova cast members Jason O'Mara and Stephen Lang will be joined by executive producer Brannon Braga on... read more

Cheers & Jeers: Project Runway Inflation

Project Runway

Jeers to Lifetime for letting the seams out of Project Runway too much.

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As reality shows ranging from The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars to The X Factor and (ironically) The Biggest Loser have swelled to two hours, the cable network has searched for a way to fill out ...
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Matt's Guide to Weekend TV: Friday Cult TV, The Making of South Park and Breaking Bad

Trey Parker, Matt Stone

FRIDAY

Friday night is cult night, which may be why Rachelle Lefevre, the original Victoria in the first two Twilight movies, is joining CBS' A Gifted Man (8/7c) as Dr. Kate Sykora, among the candidates Michael is interviewing to run the clinic. ... Elsewhere, Jensen Ackles directs an episode of the CW's Supernatural (9/8c) in which Sam follows a lead on a demonic case from his youth. Firefly's Jewel Staite appears as the ...
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