A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas time is here...and so is the 45th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Filled with humor, heart and a universal message of goodwill toward men, the tale of Chuck's search for the meaning of Christmas, Snoopy's prize-winning decorations and the saddest little tree ever never fails to make the season bright. So we rang up executive producer Lee Mendelson to talk about the special's lasting legacy, how it came to be, and Mariah Carey's take on its iconic theme as performed on her "Merry Christmas to You" special Monday night (9/8c, ABC).
The Biggest Loser is introducing not one but two new trainers to take contestants through their dramatic weight-loss journey in Season 11, which begins January 4. The reason: Jillian Michaels is leaving the show after the May 2011 finale. The wannabe losers, which include an Olympic gold medalist and the heaviest contestant to date, will be allowed to choose between sweating it out with trusted trainers Michaels and Bob Harper and face elimination each week, or train with the unknown duo and receive immunity for a month.
When Dr. House meets Arlene Cuddy (Candice Bergen) on House's January 17 episode, he thinks he's treating just another hypochondriac — unaware that his patient is the mother of his girlfriend, Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein).
Tom Welling and Erica Durance
He may not fly much, but that Clark Kent sure knows how to lift our spirits. On Friday night's Smallville, the Man of Steel made Lois Lane an offer no one in their right mind could refuse when he asked his star reporter to make him an honest alien. On bended knee — because he was raised right — and right by their favorite pay phone, CK said the words fans have been waiting to hear since our first shot of the ring box earlier this season. And while we don't want to know what he did to that flower-delivery guy to make it rain rose petals, we do know his proposal was super romantic:
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Question: In season 3 of Fringe so far, the focus has heavily been on Olivia and her emotional turmoil. Any chance we'll be seeing more from Peter? He's been painfully absent and with everything he's gone through recently, it must all build up and make him close to breaking-point, right? We often see Olivia and Walter have meltdowns and heart-breaking scenes, but there are so few from Peter. Joshua Jackson's an amazing actor when given the opportunity! — Helen
Michael C. Hall
As big finishes go, Dexter's was a nail-biter, leaving us pretty breathless — though tripping over at least a few loose ends along the way. The Amazing Race on the other hand coasted to its finish line with minimal suspense — but maximum satisfaction in crowning the first all-female champs, the likable doctor duo of Nat and Kat, who stayed comfortably in first place for the entire last leg. The unflappably perky Home Shopping hosts Brook and Claire landed in second, amusing themselves and the audience all the way to the end. Everyone seemed pleased, and even the ultra-competitive last-guy-standing Thomas (who ran afoul of an L.A. cabbie who'd never heard of the Internet) took his defeat like a pro.
She's not just living a soap opera these days, she's also appearing on one. Big Brother 12 vixen Rachel Reilly just shot her fourth episode of The Bold and the Beautiful — airing January 24 — and it's proving to be a much-needed distraction from real-life events. Reilly recently became the innocent third party in a sex-Skyping scandal in which her man, Brendon Villegas, whom she met and fell in love with on Big Brother, sent photos of his naked genitals to a woman he met online. (In an apology video, Villegas claims he was being blackmailed).
Friday Night Lights
Spoiler alert! After an emotional five-season run, Friday Night Lights will go dark next year (DirecTV's 101 Network airs the series finale February 9; NBC will replay the season, likely this summer). But before the last football is tossed, much-missed Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), Tyra Colette (Adrianne Palicki), Jason Street (Scott Porter) and Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) return to Dillon, Texas. Also back: sprung-from-the-slammer Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch, who will appear in the last five episodes).
The Vampire Diaries (Monday-Friday, 8/7c, The CW)
Get bit. The CW's Southern Gothic answer to Twilight-mania is at least as sexy and twice as fun, burning through so much bloody story in its second season that this weeklong marathon of the sophomore year's first 10 episodes should come in handy, with two episodes airing each night. This time around, admire the ladies of Mystic Falls, in particular Nina Dobrev doing double duty as the virtuous Elena and the evil vamp Katherine, and Candice Accola as Caroline, whose transformation into one of the show's most fascinated and tormented characters took nearly everyone by surprise.