Tom Hanks, Conan O'Brien
This was a week dominated by the Coco Express (and the launch of Conan took some of my focus off prime time this week, so this will be a more selective roundup). Let's start there.
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LATE NIGHT WITH COCO: If Conan O'Brien keeps creeping earlier and earlier onto the schedule with each step of his career (from 12:30 to 11:30 and now to 11/all times ET), eventually he'll be ready for prime time. But not really. As I noted in my insta-reaction to Conan's opening night, the move to basic cable (feeding nicely into Conan's self-mocking persona) is the equivalent of going from Broadway to off-Broadway. Ergo the hipster beard. Being the underdog suits Conan, and while his explosive opening ratings quickly came down to earth, it's clear that a significant slice of the younger fan base is thrilled to see this funky and deeply silly Irish folk hero of TV comedy get back in the game...
As the Blue Bloods cop most likely to shove a perp's head in a toilet, Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) makes it hard to tell which side of the law he's on. "He's a gray guy," says Wahlberg. "Is anyone really good or bad?" Though Danny exercises a little flexibility with constitutional rights, he's always a stand-up older brother to the youngest Reagan, Jamie (Will Estes), who recently joined the force...
Life gets trickier for the Russos as the new season of Wizards of Waverly Place picks up right where things left off in October's Season 3 finale, after the magical bunch escaped from a government agency holding them captive. Selena Gomez, who plays middle child Alex, fills us in on what to expect with the show, including the chances of a fifth season...
Cheers to John Slattery for his sidesplitting turn as a true madman on 30 Rock.
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Following in the wingtipped footsteps of costar Jon Hamm, the Emmy nominee hammed it up hilariously as Steve Austin — not the wrestler, or the Six Million Dollar Man, unless you're blind or senile — a Rhode Island congressional candidate/owner of a local paintball facility. Sure, his literally infantile platform (and his even-less-authentic-than-Julianne-Moore's accent) might have seemed silly, but is "I'm a baby" any more ridiculous of a campaign-commercial theme than Christine O'Donnell's "I'm not a witch"?
Still, Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy...
Lee Majors, Stephen Moyer
Lee Majors, who kicked off his career as young buck Heath Barkley in the 1965-69 TV western The Big Valley, has been tapped to play his old character's father, Tom Barkley, in a 2011 big-screen remake. "I have a beard I've been growing since July because they keep pushing back the start date," says Lee, who will get to kiss Jessica Lange (as his wife Victoria Barkley) before he's bumped off. "The story's very true to our original pilot. They just backed it up a few years so you get to know the father and set up his affair with another lady."
The delays in shooting...
Even as the former La Flor and Espada tribes merge into one, two distinct factions are illuminated this week as Marty continues his attack against Jane while power-players Sash and Brenda ponder their next move. Upon returning to camp from Tribal Council, Marty stands by everything he said about Jane: If she makes the final three, she's a guaranteed million-dollar winner. The Marty camp — including Fabio, Dan and Benry — have a plan to blindside Jane by telling the camp they're voting for NaOnka, thereby flushing out her hidden immunity idol and sending Jane packing. Jane, however, has a team of her own in Chase, Purple Kelly, NaOnka and Holly, with Sash and Brenda as the swing votes. Brenda admits that her relationship with Chase has drifted over the past few weeks, and because he's such a worrywart, she's unsure if she can trust him in an alliance...
If your kids start asking about shape-shifters and alternate universes, don't be too scared. They may just be soaking in the Science of Fringe (fox.com/fringe/fringe-science), a joint effort between Fox and the nonprofit Science Olympiad group (recently honored by President Obama) to develop lesson ...
Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley
The country-music industry sure is a welcoming bunch. While the genre's heavy hitters — like big winners Miranda Lambert and fiancé Blake Shelton — were the guests of honor at last night's 44th annual CMA Awards, Nashville also rolled out the red carpet for stars from Hollywood, the sports world and even Vegas showrooms.
Here's who we spotted on the rug:
Better with You star Joanna Garcia arrived with ...
For a show that's all about sweets, the Top Chef: Just Desserts final four sure were bitter last night.
By the time they reached the elimination challenge — to create an anniversary cake for the famed, fabulously adorable cake maker Sylvia Weinstock and hubby Ben — the remaining pastry cheftestants had trashed each other so much, it was hard to tell who was behaving the most hatefully. Overdramatic urchin Zac whined to the judges about uber-grumpy Morgan, who proved ...