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Judging American Idol: The Final 5

It was Songs of the Rat Pack Era tonight on American Idol, so that meant… Jamie Foxx as mentor? Because he played Ray Charles in a movie? Why not Don Cheadle — at least he played Sammy Davis Jr.! Why didn’t they get Joaquin Phoenix for country night? Foxx is at least amusing, delivering some Tracy Jordan-esque lines like “he’s not …

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FCC Wins, Somewhat, on Decency Fines

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Federal Communications Commission in its lawsuit with Fox network over the FCC’s ability to fine broadcasters over the use of “fleeting” expletives.

I haven’t reviewed the decision firsthand—nor am I a lawyer—but the analysis suggests that the decision, while a win for …

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The Morning After: Heroes, Welcome?

I’ll be upfront here and say that I am not in the best position to assess last night’s Heroes finale. (Brief spoilers follow, if you’re concerned about that.) Heroes lost me early on this season, and I checked in on volume four only intermittently. Still, intrigued by having heard that the show was on an upswing, I had to at least …

The Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites

Every year around this time the National Trust for Historic Preservation releases a list of eleven historic sites around the U.S. that are threatened by decay, developers or natural disasters. The Trust will issue this year’s list at a press conference Tuesday in Los Angeles with Diane Keaton, a trustee of the group who is also a prime …

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Fox Picks Lie to Me Over Obama Presser

In times past, journalists have complained that Presidents have been too unavailable to take questions from the press. This year, TV broadcast networks have had the opposite complaint—that President Obama’s prime-time addresses have too frequently cut into valuable airtime, costing millions in unrecoverable advertising revenue.

This …

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Corporate Press Release Theater: Jon & Kate Plus Eight Times Five

TLC has announced its summer programming, and it looks like there’s no summer vacation in the raising-the-kids-in-public business: scant weeks after season 4 ended, season 5 of Jon & Kate Plus Eight returns on May 25.

In other news, TLC will premiere the new series Cake Boss, which, added to Ace of Cakes on Food Network, brings us one …

The Great Mona Lisa Heist

We seem to be in a season for art theft books. A few months ago there was one about the 1989 break-in at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Now there are two that look back at how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 and stayed missing for more than two years. The accepted facts of that case make for a pretty …

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Save Dollhouse! Then Cancel It!

Friday’s Dollhouse was an intriguing one-off idea regarding the uses of the Dollhouse’s technology—a woman using it to literally return from the dead to witness its aftermath. But it was jarring, once the show had switched gears and committed to the ongoing story of the conspiracy and investigation, to return to the active-of-the-week …

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The Morning After: Weekend Edition

I’m going to be delayed in doing any Sunday Watch posts, so I’m throwing it open for discussion of any weekend TV, including but not limited to:

* (SPOILER ALERT) The Amazing Race, whose two-part nonelimination round was not a surprise, exactly—it was clearly too early to get down to the Final Three—but annoying as usual …

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