November 19th, 2009
08:33 PM ET

Oprah calls it quits

It's been rumored for weeks, but now it's actually happening: Oprah Winfrey is ready to announce tomorrow that she's ending her immensely popular and influential TV talk show.  She'll drop the news on Friday morning's live show from Chicago.

Fans shouldn't panic just yet: WLS, where her show began as "A.M. Chicago" in 1984, says the final "Oprah Winfrey Show" will air in September of 2011, giving her nearly two more years to spur water cooler talk, influence trends, and push authors to the top of the best-seller list.

What then?  The media queen has been trying to get the cable channel OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, off the ground with Discovery Communications for awhile now, and it seems a good bet she'll move her attention and resources there.  After all, why "settle" for a show – even one of the most talked-about and enduring in TV history – when you can have a network?

November 19th, 2009
08:33 PM ET

When overzealous publicists happen to good people

So you want to know what Kim Kardashian is like?

I can tell you a little bit – from the 8 minutes of time I spent in her company.
She is simply lovely in person. She is petite and seemingly quiet. And as a 29-year old woman who has lived a good portion of her life out on a reality TV show, I quickly realized that she is more than capable of answering any question thrown at her. But don’t tell her publicist that.

Actually there were at least three publicists on hand at the new eBay store here in New York City, where Miss Kardashian is auctioning off some of her personal items for charity.

Along with my own questions I was also there to get Kim’s responses to some of the CNN iReporter questions sent in by viewers on cnn.com. We had planned to have Kim answer 6 viewer/iReporter questions on camera and capture her reaction spontaneously. These questions weren’t exactly curve balls. One man wanted to know what Kim take on interracial relationships and how they are perceived publicly– a good question since Kim is dating an African American man. Another viewer wanted to know what she had planned for her future, and someone else wanted to know if Kim had any regrets with regards to her reality show. Two publicists interceded before we could get Kim to step up to the computer on hand and answer any questions. They said the questions were ‘mean’. They were not.

My camerawoman and I were ready to walk. We surely didn’t need to give Kim Kardashian more publicity. But, we stayed after negotiating to get at least get one viewer’s question answered. We were there partially on behalf of iReporters and we didn’t want to let them down.

We were allowed to show her one iReporter question… a question the publicist himself chose after watching them all as they were posted on cnn.com. The funny thing is, when I interviewed her, I asked two of the questions posed by viewers. And Kim handled them fine. During our interview we ended up discussing most of the topics brought up by the iReporters.

But, when I asked her if she cared to comment on her relationship with Reggie Bush, one of the publicists came running towards the camera. But it was too late. Kim had already begun to answer the question. And she did it all by herself without the overzealous handler jumping in to rescue her.

November 19th, 2009
02:37 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Will Ferrell is Hollywood's most "overpaid" star, according to Forbes, in a study they posted Wednesday. His recent box-office flop, "Land of the Lost," had a lot to do with that. The Web site says that Ewan McGregor came in second.

Perennial "guest star" Heather Locklear did wonders for "Melrose Place's" ratings in the '90s, but how did she fare with her appearance on the new version? Not too well, says The Hollywood Reporter. Ratings were only up 14 percent from the series low the week before.

Reality cooking shows are starting to become as hot as dancing shows. NBC has ordered a new series called "United Plates of America," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The winner of the competition will launch a chain of restaurants - not a bad prize.

Jennifer Morrison spoke to EW.com about her apparent exit from "House" on Monday. As for a possible return in the future, she said that she was being paid for the rest of the season and didn't know anything else beyond that. Her character, Cameron, who has been with the show since the beginning, left her husband and the hospital in the most recent episode.

November 19th, 2009
12:53 PM ET

Ed Norton, Elizabeth Banks join 'Modern Family' mayhem

When it was announced that Elizabeth Banks would guest star on ABC's new hit comedy "Modern Family," one assumed she would ham it up as she has in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Scrubs." Ham it up she did, as Mitchell and Cameron's wild, hard-partying friend.

However, when it was announced that Edward Norton, star of such dark movies as "Fight Club" and "American History X," would play a musician, the last thing I expected was the guitarist from '80s one-hit-wonder band Spandau Ballet.

"Modern Family's" ensemble has quickly become one of the sharpest on TV, and I think Ed O'Neill's "Jay" and Ty Burrell's "Phil," in particular, are Emmy-worthy. Bringing in two guest stars actually wasn't all that necessary, but seeing Norton and Banks interact with the cast was a real treat.

In this episode, Mitchell and Cameron learned that their new baby and old friend weren't going to mix - as Banks not too subtly implied that she wouldn't mind getting rid of it altogether since it got in the way of her wild lifestyle.

Meanwhile, it turned out that Phil isn't a complete disaster as a person, because he certainly knows how to shower his wife, Claire, with gifts on her anniversary. She, on the other hand, was totally clueless and invited Norton's character to give them a private show, assuming that "True," the first song they ever heard, was something special to him.

Instead, it turned out that he barely had any clue of the band beyond that. It seemed that Norton wanted a chance to really let loose here, which he certainly did, but the interplay between Burrell and Julie Bowen, already perfect, was what made it stand out.

The funniest part of the episode, however, was Jay and teenage granddaughter Haley's game of cat and mouse, as she tried to sneak out of his house for a party. Unfortunately for her, he was two steps ahead of her, having gone through this before with her mother.

This episode was another great example of how this show captures the family dynamic in new and unique ways and it didn't need two big-name guest stars to pull it off.

Did you watch last night? What did you think of Banks and Norton? Share your thoughts on video, or in the comments below.

November 19th, 2009
09:49 AM ET

'SYTYCD' heartthrob lives to dance another day

'SYTYCD's' top 14 group routine
'SYTYCD's' top 14 group routine

The solos on Wednesday night's "So You Think You Can Dance" results show were much improved after judge Nigel Lythgoe admonished them last week. As pred... wait, can I just pull an Adam Shankman and interrupt myself to say how much Wade and Amanda Robson's group routine rocked? I smell another Emmy!

Anyway, as predicted, Karen and Kevin's weak "Sweet Charity"-inspired number landed them in danger. Despite an entertaining birdcage routine, Channing and Justin joined them.

Surprisingly, and thankfully, Russell and Noelle got enough votes for their fox trot to stay safe. Despite showing a good deal more maturity this week, Nathan's female fanbase didn't vote in enough numbers to save him and his partner Mollee from the bottom three. After last week, I would have preferred to see them go, but then I saw their solos. Like it or not, they really brought it, particularly Mollee with an incredible cartwheel onto her knee.

I'm not much of a Victor fan but I also have to admit that he had a pretty impressive solo this week, too. Kevin was by far my favorite of the three guys in danger, but unfortunately, his solo was more of the same (and still reminiscent of Twitch). Like I suspected, Kevin was sent home, leaving the hip-hop contingent this season to two.

It's just too bad that Channing had only started to show her personality, but her solo didn't wow me, or the judges, apparently. With Mollee in the clear, they kept Karen, who has been one of their favorites, despite an off week (I'm guessing judge Mary Murphy really fought for her). This time, I was happy to be wrong in my prediction.

So we have an unusual situation where Victor and Karen will be paired up next week, only to be broken up - assuming they make it to the top ten.

Now it's your turn: Did the judges make the right call this week? Do you agree with my (begrudging) opinion that Mollee and Nathan earned a place in the top 12 with their solos? Sound off on video, or in the comments below.

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