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Why The X Factor Bloodbath Is Good News — And Hopefully Just a Starting Point

The X Factor

Some time in recent days and weeks, Simon Cowell realized that The X Factor wasn't shaping up to be the singing competition to end all singing competitions. The money was there, as was the support from Fox, but with little more than 12 million viewers tuning in to see who would win a $5 million windfall, it became clear something hadn't clicked with America.

And so on Monday, we learned that he had cleaned house: Gone are stiff host Steve Jones and simpering, whimpering judges Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul. Reports that Cowell was looking for more star power next season quickly followed. Mariah Carey's name has already been bandied about as the kind of A-list celebrity he wants, and she did serve as Simon's right hand during the at-home coaching sessions.

But is she enough? Is she even the right Hail Mary play? The truth is The X Factor has strong elements going for it, boasting auditions in front of a live crowd, Simon's bitter tongue and the most diverse lineup of contestants of any of the broadcast talent shows.

Now if only it could rid itself of any remaining similarity to American Idol. Some ideas:

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Pilot Season: ABC Picks Up Two Dramas

ABC logo

ABC has picked up two one-hour drama pilots, Americana and Nashville.

Americana is a soap set around a legendary fashion designer, his family and his business... read more

NBC to Premiere Musical Soap Smash Online

Smash

As NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt put it, NBC is giving Smash the full-court press.

The network announced Friday that the full first episode will be available as a digital download beginning Jan. 16 read more

A Chuck Christmas: The Return of Daniel Shaw, the "Muahaha" Bad Guy

Brandon Routh, Chuck

Have Chuck and Sarah been naughty this year? On Friday's Chuck (8/7c, NBC), it looks like Santa is bringing them something far worse than a lump of coal: their old nemesis Daniel Shaw!

"We wanted to do a Christmas story, and Christmas is such a holiday that's haunted, like in the Charles Dickens tradition," Chuck co-creator Chris Fedak tells reporters during a December set visit. "We thought, 'Let's bring a monster from our past.' At the end of Season 3, Brandon [Routh] was such a good 'muahaha' bad guy. I was like, I've got to bring back the 'muahaha.'"

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Work of Art Winner Defends Lola, Praises The Sucklord and Depends on Waterproof Mascara

Work of Art

After all the studio flirtations, scatological subject matter and soggy breakdowns, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist crowned its second season winner Wednesday night.

[WARNING: The following interview reveals the winner and details from the finale.]

In her final exhibition challenge, Iranian-American painter Kymia Nawabi created an installation that examined the concept of what comes after death through detailed drawings, amplified with textured paints and accompanying burial sculptures. She beat out performance artist Young Sun Han and figurative painter Sara Jimenez to win a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum in addition to the $100,000 cash prize. Not bad for a waitress with only $50 to her name.

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Terra Nova: 10 Reasons Why Fox's Dino-Drama Should or Should Not Be Renewed

Jason O'Mara

Terra Nova ended its freshman season by permanently cutting off the colony to the future and unloading a whole slew of new mysteries for what the producers likely hope means a second season.

Lucas Taylor (Ashley Zuckerman) finally got the upper-hand on his father, bringing the Phoenix Army to the past, where they planned to mine and strip Terra Nova of all its resources. Commander Taylor (Stephen Lang) refused to go down without a fight, sending Jim (Jason O'Mara) to the future to destroy Hope Plaza, essentially plunging everyone left in the colony into the dark ages, with no further contact with the future possible. However, before the Phoenix Army high-tailed it away, they left a clue that could mean... there may be humans on prehistoric Earth? Or another portal?

Check out the best TV shows of 2011

What will happen to the stranded colonists on Terra Nova? That can only be answered if Fox decides to renew the show. We've put together a list of 10 reasons why the network should or should not bring the series back for a second round... read more

Dexter Boss on the Finale Twist: It's Finally Time to Deal with [SPOILER!] Head-On

Dexter

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's season finale of Dexter. Read at your own risk.]

For six seasons of Dexter, Michael C. Hall's titular serial killer has hidden his true nature from those closest to him. But on the Showtime series' Season 6 finale, Dexter's "Dark Passenger" was finally revealed to... read more

Homeland Bosses on the Season Finale: Showtime Really Wanted Damian Lewis for Another Year

Damian Lewis, Claire Danes

[SPOILER WARNING: This story reveals key plot elements from Sunday's season finale. Read at your own risk.]

Homeland's first season finale posed the question: Would traitorous Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) actually carry out a suicide bombing directed at the vice president of the United States?

See where Homeland ranked in our countdown of the Best TV Shows of 2011

The answer... read more

Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs: Who Should Win? Vote!

Elizabeth Falkner, Geoffrey Zakarian

It's an East Coast-West Coast battle when Chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Geoffrey Zakarian go head to head to determine who wins the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef on Sunday (9/8c, Food Network).

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Chuck Boss: Rebecca Romijn's Sexy-Scary Character Was Supposed to Be a Man

Chuck

Chuck is sending in Rebecca Romijn to do a man's job.


"We created a character originally that was just going to be a man, sort of an ominous, scary figure who has a penchant for torture, which he considers his art form," co-creator Chris Fedak says of the former supermodel's guest role on Friday's episode (8/7c, NBC), "Chuck Versus the Curse." "But then we started thinking about it, we were like, 'What if Rebecca Romijn was this guy? That would be scary and sexy.'"

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