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The Daily Beast: "Why Comedy Writers Love HBO's Game of Thrones"

Game of Thrones is beloved by viewers and critics alike. But the Emmy-nominated HBO fantasy drama is also a surprising favorite in the writers’ rooms of TV comedies around Hollywood. I talk to sitcom writers about why they’re obsessed with the sex-and-magic-laden drama, and how the show informs their own narratives. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Why Comedy Writers Love HBO's Game of Thrones, " in which I talk to writers from Parks and Recreation, Modern Family , and Community about why they love HBO's Game of Thrones, nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Drama. Fox’s upcoming sitcom The Mindy Project, created by and starring Mindy Kaling, deconstructs the romantic comedy fantasies of its lead character, an ob-gyn whose disappointment in the dating world stems from her obsessive viewing of Nora Ephron films. At the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in July, Kaling was candid about the role that When Harry Met Sally and oth

The Daily Beast: "Fall TV Report Card: The Winners and Losers"

With the 2011-12 television season in full swing and the cancellation orders stacking up, Jace Lacob rounds up the season’s winners ( Revenge ! Homeland !), losers ( Man Up! Whitney! ), and draws. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest story, "Fall TV Report Card: The Winners and Losers," in which I offer up not a critic's list, or a Best of 2011 TV list, but a business story selecting the winners and losers (as well as draws) for the first half of the 2011-12 television season. (Those selections are in the gallery.) With the 2011-12 television season well underway, it’s become increasingly clear that this isn’t the best fall the broadcasters have ever had. Back in May, when the networks touted their new offerings to advertisers, it appeared they were trying to take some risks with their programming. But the opposite is true: most of those shows featured what the networks hoped were built-in audiences for retro brand settings ( Pan Am ! The Playboy Club !)

TCA Awards: Friday Night Lights Wins Program of the Year, Game of Thrones Named Outstanding New Program

It is known: Game of Thrones is the winner of this year's Outstanding New Program by the TCA. As a member of the venerable Television Critics Association (TCA), I joined the professional journalists' organization this evening for the annual TCA Awards, which are always a fantastic evening celebrating the best of television. At the ceremony (which, as per TCA tradition, are not be televised), Parks and Recreation 's Nick Offerman was on hand as the host of the evening, which saw awards given out to Game of Thrones (Outstanding New Program), Friday Night Lights (Program of the Year), Mad Men (Outstanding Achievement in Drama), Modern Family (Outstanding Achievement in Comedy), Sherlock (Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials), and The Amazing Race , among others. Individual winners included Mad Men 's Jon Hamm, Parks and Recreation 's Offerman, Modern Family 's Ty Burrell, and Oprah Winfrey, who was the recipient of a career achiev

Year in TV: The 10 Best (and 5 Worst) TV Shows of 2010

It's that time of year when we bid farewell to the last twelve months and start looking toward the future, but it's also a chance to reflect, to catalogue, and to reminisce as well. My selections for the Ten Best (and, cough, five worst) TV shows of 2010 have now gone live over at The Daily Beast . The series selected represent the very best that television had to offer the past twelve months and include such shows as Mad Men, Community, Terriers, Parks and Recreation, The Good Wife, Fringe, Justified, Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights , and Modern Family. It wasn't easy to whittle down the competition to just ten shows as, despite the overall drain in creativity this calendar year, there were quite a lot of fantastic series. (In fact, one of the very best of the year didn't even air on American television at all: Season Three of BBC One's Ashes to Ashes --including its breathtaking and gut-wrenching series finale --would have made this list if it had been o

Channel Surfing: Sons of Anarchy and Haven Renewed, Walking Dead Novels, NCIS: LA, Modern Family, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. FX has renewed motorcycle drama Sons of Anarchy for a fourth season. Series, which wraps up its third season on November 30th, is the most-watched series in the cable network's history. " Sons of Anarchy is the most popular show FX has ever had, and the No. 1 series in basic cable for our key demographic," said FX president/general manager John Landgraf. "It is also one of the best, most original series on television." ( Variety ) Elsewhere, Syfy renewed freshman drama Haven for a second season, with thirteen episodes on tap for next summer. Production is slated to resume in the spring in Nova Scotia on the sophomore season. ( Variety ) Robert Kirkman's zombie comic, "The Walking Dead," which is heading to the small screen later this month with AMC's television series of the same name, will also be transformed into a trilogy of original novels, the first of which will be released in 2011

Channel Surfing: Full Season for Raising Hope, Outlaw Arrested, Mary-Lynn Rajskub to Modern Family, The Office Has Glee, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. While the focus so far this season has been on early cancellations, FOX yesterday announced the first full season pickup for this woeful fall season, granting comedy Raising Hope a 22-episode order. News comes a week after the network axed drama Lone Star after just two episodes. "With Raising Hope , Greg Garcia captures a smart take on the working-class family with a great mix of wild comedy and a big dose of heart," said Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly. "The show is running like a Swiss clock, and we're very happy with how well audiences have responded so far -- so we're confident it will build an even bigger audience throughout the season." Meanwhile, the fate of timeslot lead-out Running Wilde is still very much up in the air. ( Variety ) The news wasn't so good for the crew of NBC's struggling freshman drama Outlaw , as the production grinded to a halt after three low-rated inst

Channel Surfing: Gwyneth Paltrow Tackles Glee, V lands Jay Karnes, NBC Lands Legends, Showtime Renews Weeds, The Big C, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos is reporting that Gwyneth Paltrow is in talks to join the cast of FOX's Glee in a two-episode story arc in which she would play a potential love interest for Matthew Morrison's Will Schuester. "According to rock-solid Glee sources, Gwyneth would play a substitute teacher in two episodes airing in November," writes Dos Santos. "Mr. Schuester gets sick, so Gwyneth's character steps in and takes over the glee club. The kids love her, and Will starts to fall for her... complicating his relationship with Emma (Jayma Mays)... I'm told Glee creator/executive producer/creative badass Ryan Murphy wrote this role expressly for Gwyneth, as the two are friends. If it all comes together, Ryan will be directing her first episode, which begins shooting in two weeks." Should the deal close, Paltrow would appear in two episodes slated to air in November. ( E! Online's Watc

Channel Surfing: Psych Has a Twin Peaks Experience, HBO Orders Apatow/Dunham Pilot, SNL, Modern Family Casts Cam's Mom, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. I'm not even a Psych fan and this made me blissfully happy. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that USA's Psych is staging a Twin Peaks -inspired episode that will also feature original cast members Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn, Dana Ashbrook, Catherine Coulson, Ray Wise, Lenny Von Dohlen, and Robyn Lively. Um, yes please. The episode, co-written by series star James Roday, will air sometime this fall and will revolve around "a quirky Northern California town that has been rocked by the death of a high school student." Sound familiar? Coulson will even play a "mysterious Woman with Wood," a tongue-in-cheek take on her Log Lady from Twin Peaks . Sign me up. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that HBO has given a pilot order to an untitled comedy written/directed by 24-year-old Lena Dunham ( Tiny Furniture ) and executive produ

The Daily Beast: "2010 Emmys: Who Will Win This Year?"

With the 2010 Emmy Awards less than a week away, it's time to take a look at this year's front-runners and weigh the major races that are already underway. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "2010 Emmys: Who Will Win This Year?" in which I take a look (via a visual gallery) at who will win the top spots this year and who should be taking home those statuettes come August 29th. Do you agree with my assessments? Think Julianna Margulies is a lock? Or do you think that I'm wrong and Aaron Paul won't get overlooked for a Best Supporting Actor award? Head to the comments section to discuss and debate and post your take on the major categories. The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards will air live coast to coast on Sunday, August 29th on NBC.

Hulu Headaches: Modern Family Co-Creator Steve Levitan Discusses Flawed Ratings System's Improper Counting

Just two weeks after making statements at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour about his desire that ABC remove his show from Hulu and ABC.com, Modern Family 's co-creator Steve Levitan again fired back at digital platforms earlier this week, following the announcement of a potential IPO for Hulu. "Some estimate Hulu IPO could bring in $2Bil," wrote Levitan on Twitter . "What will the content providers get? Zero. What is Hulu without content? An empty jukebox." Levitan's frustration is palpable, particularly when you consider that Hulu and other online platforms like the network's own ABC.com could be siphoning away viewers from the linear broadcast. While that's to be expected in an age of heavy DVR users, time-shifting, and an array of potential platforms from which to consume programming, it fails to address one major issue, said Levitan: these viewers aren't necessarily being counted when looking at the overall ratings for a

The Daily Beast: "Why Modern Family Should Win an Emmy Over Glee"

While several of the categories in this year's Primetime Emmy Awards look to be fierce, one of the most hotly anticipated is the Best Comedy category, which will see fellow freshman series Modern Family and Glee compete for the top prize. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Why Modern Family Should Win an Emmy Over Glee ," in which I discuss, well, just that, taking a look at whether Glee should be competing in the category, whether it's even a comedy, and whether the FOX musical-comedy stands a chance at winning the Emmy later this month. I also speak to Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan about the comedy series and whether he's written an acceptance speech or not. (Hint: he hasn't.) Which show are you rooting for? And what's your take on Glee 's status as a comedy? Discuss.

TCA Diary: Eric Stonestreet Talks Season Two of Modern Family, Emmy Nominations, Wedding Bells?

At the arranged coffee break with the cast and creators of ABC's Modern Family , Eric Stonestreet--nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy Award for his star-making turn as Cameron--expressed far too much modesty when discussing his nomination for an actor who is so perfectly cast in a breakout role. "To actually have people nominate me is beyond my comprehension," said Stonestreet about the Emmy nomination. "I think Ty [Burell] has a great shot at it. I told him from basically episode three that he was going to win the Emmy... But I just want to keep it in the family. I just hope that one of us is fortunate enough to be able to win." Stonestreet said that he has saved a voicemail message from his father in which tearfully reacted to news of the nomination. "It says everything a 68-year-old Kansas man can say in three words: "Congratulations, Eric. Con-grat-u-lations.' And it's all through tears." Just don't expect Stonestreet to

TCA Diary: Modern Family Co-Creator Steve Levitan on Steve McPherson's Departure

ABC took a break from their marathon of sessions today at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour to offer a much needed coffee break with the creators and cast of the ABC hit comedy Modern Family , nominated for 14 Emmy Awards. The series, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, was one of the bright spots this past season on ABC's schedule and was championed by ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson, who resigned from the network last week amid allegations of an internal probe. Steve Levitan, co-creator of Modern Family and a long-time friend to McPherson offered a few words about McPherson's departure and his own personal reactions during an informal interview with me and a group of other reporters in the foyer of the ballroom. "My genuine reaction was, uh, that sucks," he said in regard to McPherson's departure from ABC last week. "I'm sorry to hear it." "We've had the best of Steve on our show," he continue

TCA Awards: Critics Honor Glee, Modern Family, The Pacific, Lost, Breaking Bad, Jane Lynch, Julianna Margulies, and More

At an awards ceremony hosted by Parenthood 's Dax Shepard this evening in Beverly Hills, the Television Critics Association announced their award winners for 2010 as part of the annual summer press tour held twice a year by the professional organization. Among the winners: Glee, Modern Family, The Pacific, Lost, Breaking Bad , Jane Lynch, and The Good Wife 's Julianna Margulies. Glee took home the top prizes for both Program of the Year and Outstanding New Program while the FOX musical-comedy's Jane Lynch walked away with the prize for Individual Achievement in Comedy. Her counterpart on the drama side? Julianna Margulies, who walked away with the award for Individual Achievement in Drama. ABC's Modern Family was named the recipient of Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, while Lost and AMC's Breaking Bad tied for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. In the other categories, James Garner received the Career Achievement award, while the Heritage Award went to M*A*

Emmy Nominations Unveiled: Love for Friday Night Lights, Modern Family, Mad Men, Lost, True Blood, and More

It's that time of year again: Emmy nominations. Modern Family 's Sofia Vergara and Community 's Joel McHale were on hand bright and early this morning to announce the Primetime Emmy Award nominations. (I stayed home to watch E! Online's stream of the press conference rather than drive over there bleary-eyed and unable to conceal my frustration about overlooked performances and series in person.) While Vergara ultimately walked away with a nomination for supporting actress for Modern Family (as did most of her co-stars, in fact), McHale was sadly shut out of the nominations, as was Community , a real slap in the face (along with that for Parks and Recreation ) considering that Community and Parks were both streets ahead of The Office and 30 Rock this season. Grr. So which series did the best overall? HBO's The Pacific walked away with an impressive 24 nominations, followed closely by FOX's Glee at 19 nods, AMC's Mad Men at 17, and 15 nominations

TCA Award Nominees Announced: Modern Family, Glee, Mad Men, Lost, Parks and Recreation, Party Down Represented

The Television Critics Association today announced their short-list nominations for the 2010 TCA Awards, which will be handed out during TCA Summer Press Tour, which kicks off at the end of July. Among the nominees for Program of the Year, such series as Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Glee, Lost , and Modern Family . In the individual genre categories, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Lost, Sons of Anarchy , and The Good Wife will compete for the top drama prize, while Glee, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Party Down , and The Big Bang Theory are up for comedy kudos and such talents as Eric Stonestreet, Jane Lynch, Aaron Paul, Katey Segal, Nick Offerman, and many others are up for individual honors. I'm glad to see so many broadcast network series competing side by side with their cable brethren. It almost gives one hope that the network model isn't completely cracked. Additionally, this year's TCA Awards is also the first time that I'll be voting, as a newly instal