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'Married to the Army: Alaska' follows wives who wait on the last frontier

18 November 2012 2:52 PM, PST

Nicknamed "America's Arctic Warriors," United States Army Alaska (Usarak) is part of the United States Army Pacific and headquartered at Fort Richardson in Anchorage. It's home to more than 10,000 active-duty soldiers, almost 7,000 of whom were deployed to Afghanistan during the last two years.

For many of those troops, heading into a war zone means leaving wives and children behind. For those military families, there's not only the stress of dealing with a husband in harm's way but also coping with the harsh conditions of life in America's northernmost state.

Premiering Sunday, Nov. 18, on Own (then airing on Mondays), the eight-episode docu-series "Married to the Army: Alaska," shot starting in March of this year, follows the lives of seven Army wives. They are Yolanda Goins (Harker Heights, Texas), Blair Flanagan (Lynchburg, Va.), Lindsey Bergeron (Alexandria, La.), Rynn Randall (Atlanta, Texas), Traci Moran (Baltimore, Md.), Salina Tillman (El Paso, Texas) and Tessara Dunlap (Bastrop, »

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'Sofia the First': Ariel Winter fulfills her Disney destiny

18 November 2012 12:00 PM, PST

Most people can reel off the 10 Disney princesses but not the nine Supreme Court justices.

(Except for Mulan, everyone always forgets Mulan ... and Breyer - for those able to name the justices.)

Sure, one group has infinitely more power, but the group in the sparkly outfits always wins. And that group is about to get larger with the arrival of Sofia.

She's introduced in "Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess," a one-hour movie premiering on Disney Channel Sunday, Nov. 18. Early next year, the TV show launches.

"Sofia is a young girl faced with difficult situations and becomes a princess overnight," Ariel Winter ("Modern Family"), who voices Sofia, tells Zap2it. "She has to learn manners and how to grow up overnight and learn how to make sibling relationships and social relationships."

Incidentally, Ariel, 14, was indeed named for the red-haired Disney mermaid princess.

"It is so much fun" playing Sofia, »

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Alton Brown on 'Next Iron Chef: Redemption': 'It comes to an interesting conclusion'

18 November 2012 11:00 AM, PST

Earlier this month, Food Network premiered the fifth iteration of one of its most successful franchises, "The Next Iron Chef: Redemption."

The eight-episode series (the finals air on Sunday, Dec. 23), with host Alton Brown ("Good Eats"), features a roster of acclaimed culinary masters vying for a second chance to join the exclusive "Iron Chef" club. Along with veterans of the competition, the show added a few newcomers, along with a 10th cast member decided in Web-exclusive battles at FoodNetwork.com.

Asked about this fresh twist on the concept, Brown -- calling in between flights from the cockpit of his private plane -- tells Zap2it, "You always have to look at the story arc. It's a good story. It's not just a matter of piling another bunch of people to fight with one another.

"We look at the people who had come very, very close in the past, then, »

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AMAs 2012: Usher, Carly Rae Jepsen, Linkin Park and Ke$ha ready to 'Burn It Down'

18 November 2012 10:00 AM, PST

The rule in entertainment has always been that the show must go on, no matter what. And so the 40th American Music Awards will be live on ABC Sunday, Nov. 18, despite the death of the man who created the show.

This will be the first AMAs since Dick Clark's death in April, and Stevie Wonder, who worked with Clark back when he was still known as "Little Stevie," will perform a tribute.

The lineup for one of music's biggest nights is huge and runs across all pop music genres. The public votes for the winners, and some of the stars, such as Usher, Ke$ha, Carly Rae Jepsen and Linkin Park's lead singer tell Zap2it why this live awards show means so much to them.

Related: Best & Worst Moments of the 2011 AMAs

"It is the one awards that has no politics," Usher says. "The Ama is by far the most critical. »

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Chris Christie on 'Saturday Night Live': Rate the N.J. governor's 'Weekend Update' cameo and other must- see sketches

18 November 2012 9:56 AM, PST

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live" last night (Nov. 17).

Joining Seth Meyers on the "Weekend Update" segment, the straight-shooting politico's commentary centered around Hurricane Katrina. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, he offered thanks for everyone's contributions in the aftermath of the disaster. Sporting his now-famous "Chris Christie, Governor" fleece, he even gave props to his wife for tolerating "a husband who has smelled like a wet fleece for the last three weeks."

He also called out those who do not deserve his gratitude. "I do not thank any of the stupid mayors who ignored my evacuation orders," he railed. "They're idiots. And when you ignore me, it makes you look like a real Seth Meyers."

Gov. Christie signs off by quoting a great "poet" -- actually the lyrics to "Atlantic City" from New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen.

How does the governor's appearance rate »

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'Seinfeld': 'The Contest' turns 20 years old - retro-recapping a comedy classic

18 November 2012 9:00 AM, PST

Sunday (Nov. 18) is the 20th anniversary of the "Seinfeld" episode "The Contest." It's now considered one of the very best episodes of the series -- if not of any sitcom ever. Zap2it -- heck, the web as we know it -- didn't exist then. But if it had, this is how we would have recapped "The Contest" in our first ever Retro Rave. The items in parentheses are little factoids about the episode.

That's it. "Seinfeld" is king of the comedy county, lord of the laugh manor. Truly, the show is master of its domain.

The show has been on an unbelievable run this fall, and it came to a head, so to speak, this week with "The Contest," which has to be about the funniest and certainly the most innuendo-laden take on masturbation in TV history. Where to start?

("The Contest" Fact No. 1: Larry David won an »

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'Thanksgiving Live!': Alex Guarnaschelli - 'I don't even know' what I'm making

18 November 2012 5:00 AM, PST

If there's ever a time when viewers can use Food Network's help, it's Thanksgiving.

Menus and recipes can make or break the holiday, and to that end, the channel offered its first interactive "Thanksgiving Live" special last year. Its success was evident from the number of at-home watchers who sent in questions via Twitter, Facebook and Skype, so it's happening again: Another all-star team of Food Network personalities assembles for the special's second edition Sunday, Nov. 18.

Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson, Alex Guarnaschelli and host Alton Brown return for the new two-hour session, joined this time by Giada De Laurentiis, Ree Drummond and Aaron Sanchez. For Guarnaschelli, of such Food Network programs as "Chopped" and the current "The Next Iron Chef: Redemption," it's about the camaraderie as much as the food ... as it is for so many on Thanksgiving Day.

"To the viewer, it seems as if live television would be simple, »

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Jeremy Renner on 'Saturday Night Live': How'd he do?

17 November 2012 11:50 PM, PST

Who knew Jeremy Renner is such a talented singer? Everyone who watched his Nov. 17 hosting debut on "Saturday Night Live," that's who!

For his opening monologue, the two-time Oscar nominee performed -- singing and playing piano -- rejected theme songs he claims to have written for all his movies. He quickly recovered from an audio glitch (someone forgot to turn on the piano!) before launching into a medley of deliberately awful but beautifully performed tunes for "The Bourne Legacy," "Mission Impossible" and "The Avengers" (including the forced rhyme for "The Avengers, they're always there, from the Hulk to Iron Man to Captain Amer").

In Renner underwhelmed in the latest episode of "The Californians," but considering Fred Armisen was breaking from the outset, the sketch never had a chance. He killed his next role as the "self-proclaimed" mayor of Tampa being interviewed for "The Situation Room" -- confounding Sudekeis' Wolf Blitzer with his street swagga. »

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Jamie Foxx to host 'Saturday Night Live' Dec. 8 with musical guest Ne-Yo

17 November 2012 10:30 PM, PST

Jamie Foxx will host "Saturday Night Live" on Dec. 8, NBC revealed tonight (Nov. 17).

Considering the Oscar winner is also a gifted musician, that probably means this season's trend of musical opening monologues will continue through the holiday season. (Jeremy Renner was the latest actor showing off their pipes, opening this week's show by performing "rejected" theme songs he composed for his hit movies, singing and playing the piano himself.)

Foxx, who's promoting his upcoming Quentin Tarantino film "Django Unchained," will be joined on "SNL" by musical guest Ne-Yo in three weeks, the first "SNL" returns

Foxx previously hosted "SNL" in 2000, but the gig marks Ne-Yo's debut. The "Sexy Love" singer's new album, "R.E.D.," dropped Nov. 6.

"Saturday Night Live" is airing repeats for the next several weeks, starting with the Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Muford & Sons show Nov. 24. »

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TV ratings: 'Malibu Country' drops again, but ABC wins another disappointing Friday night

17 November 2012 12:15 PM, PST

After a strong series premiere, "Malibu Country" lost viewers for a second consecutive week Friday (Nov. 17).

Reba McEntire's new ABC sitcom nabbed a 1.3 in the 18-49 demo (6.7 million total viewers), down 24 percent from the previous week -- and 43 percent from its debut.

Its lead-in, Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing," fared little better with a 1.4 demo rating (7.1 million viewers), down 14 percent from the previous week.

Still, ABC led the night -- when viewership was down across the board -- with "Shark Tank" the top draw, even though its 1.9 demo (6.7 million) marked a 10 percent drop from the previous week.

CBS' reality staple, "Undercover Boss," led the 8 p.m. hour (1.7/6). "CSI: NY" and "We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston," subbing for "Blue Bloods," both netted a 1.4 in the demo.

On NBC, "Grimm," following reruns of "Go On" and "Guys With Kids," dipped slightly (1.6/5), as did "Dateline »

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Redneck Island continues tonight on Cmt

17 November 2012 8:06 AM, PST

An all new season of Redneck Island continues Tonight at 9/8c on Cmt! Pro wrestling hall of famer Steve Austin takes 14 red, white and blue-collared Americans out of the country - far away from cold beer - and drops them in a tropical paradise where they compete for $100,000!

On an all new episode tonight, after a slip sliding good time trying to win a bounty of coveted food, tensions run high when a couple of rednecks get into a fight over their booty. And after a deep sea "fishing" themed competition that simultaneously tests their physical and mental strengths, one of the rednecks on the losing team is sent packing.

Check out Cmt's Redneck Island Facebook page for exclusive apps including postcards from the island. Upload a photo of you and your friends with Steve and the cast! One fan-submitted postcard will be featured each week on Redneck Island. Also, »

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'Doctor Who': Christmas special teaser features the Doctor's new companion

16 November 2012 10:25 PM, PST

We've known for a while that the "Doctor Who" Christmas special will introduce the Doctor's new companion -- or rather, re-introduce her.

Jenna-Louise Coleman also appeared in the show's season premiere, "Asylum of the Daleks." In the Christmas special, "The Snowmen," the show circles back to the Doctor meeting Clara (Coleman) for the "first" time -- and this trailer suggests she knows more than a little bit about him.

We meet Clara as a nanny, and she tells her charges that the Doctor lives on a cloud and makes sure children don't have bad dreams -- which is a pretty apt description, don't you think? The Doctor, however, has retreated from the world a little since the Ponds left him, so he might need a little convincing to return to action.

The source of the nightmares here is Doctor Simeon (Richard E. Grant), who commands an army of fearsome-looking snowmen. »

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Who won 'America's Next Top Model: College Edition' - Kiara, Laura or Leila?

16 November 2012 6:06 PM, PST

"America's Next Top Model: College Edition" crowned its champion Friday (Nov. 16) -- so who took the prize?

(Finale spoilers coming right up.)

After final photo shoots for sponsors Nine West and Nylon magazine and a haunted house-themed runway show, the winner is Laura James, the daughter of former "Dynasty" star John James. Kiara finished second, and Leila -- who fell during the final runway show -- came in third.

Here's how it went down:

Pics: 'America's Next Top Model: College Edition'

Things don't start auspiciously for Laura, who was collateral damage in a snit between Kelly Cutrone and the photographer during her shoe photo shoot. The argument left Laura with very little time to get a good shot.

Leila and Kiara have their own problems: Leila has some trouble "connecting to the product," and Kiara doesn't want to let go of her serious face.

During a photo shoot for Nylon, »

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'American Idol': Judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj don't hate each other anymore

16 November 2012 4:13 PM, PST

It seems like news of feuding judges on reality super-giant "American Idol" have been coming ever since the new panel was announced. And it has definitely been a foregone conclusion that judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey were in a war with each other ever since footage of a fight surfaced.

Now, however, the show reports that all is well between the two singing divas. This is a good thing for season 12 of the show, which has just finished its last round of auditions in Long Beach, CA.

An insider at "Idol" reported to People that the wars had died down before the final auditions: "Mariah and Nicki sat next to each other yesterday. There really is some great chemistry among all the judges."

While this might sound like rather low standards for getting along, simple proximity is a huge improvement over judges' relations back in the beginning of October. »

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'Last Resort' and '666 Park Avenue' canceled by ABC

16 November 2012 3:40 PM, PST

ABC has canceled two freshman series, "666 Park Avenue" and "Last Resort."

"Last Resort," the military-political thriller starring Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, was praised by critics as one of the best new fall dramas but failed to attract a large audience in its competitive 8 p.m. time slot on Thursday nights.

It's tough news for co-showrunner Shawn Ryan ("The Shield), whose previous two shows, the favorably reviewed "Terriers" (FX) and "Chicago Code" (Fox), were both canceled after their first 13-episode seasons.

"News is true," Ryan tweeted today (Nov. 16). "No Back 9 for #LastResort. We will film and air all 13 episodes. We're going to give you no-holds barred kick-a** ending."

The supernatural drama "666 Park Avenue" also floundered in its 10 p.m. Sunday time slot, and its Brooklyn set was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

ABC confirms to Zap2it that both "666" and "Last Resort" will finish out their current 13-episode orders.

Are »

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'The Dust Bowl': Ken Burns remembers America's darkest days

16 November 2012 3:28 PM, PST

They recall the days turning black, the winds whipping through towns, taking with them the family's livelihoods, the soil on which they farmed. In those natural disasters, thousands died, but no one is sure just how many.

Survivors of the dust storms of the 1930s tell their stories in Ken Burns' oral history documentary "The Dust Bowl" Sunday and Monday, Nov. 18 and 19, on PBS (check local listings).

"They used to say no one will watch; no one has the attention span," Burns says of films tackling history's tough subjects.

But he has proved naysayers wrong before. Viewers watched his very long films about the Civil War, jazz and baseball. Four hours, spread over two nights, is practically a short when it comes to Burns' signature films.

And there is a lot here, much of it terrifying, to sustain the four hours.

"It was a man-made catastrophe," Burns says. "It »

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'The Vampire Diaries': Arielle Kebbel returns as Lexi in 1942

16 November 2012 2:26 PM, PST

Great news, "Vampire Diaries" fans! Where there's a flashback, there's a potential return for one of our all-time favorite guest stars, Arielle Kebbel -- and when the show returns from a brief Thanksgiving bye-week, we're heading to 1942, long before Lexi's brutal death at the hands of Damon. (We're still pretty mad about that.)

Check out these (insanely hot) photos of the Salvatore Brothers in their World War II regalia, giving a whole new meaning to the term "brothers in arms." Stefan looks a little less smirky than we saw him in the '20s, so we'll assume that having Lexi by his side has kept him from turning back to his roaring Ripper ways. The shot of Damon and Lexi seemingly conspiring over a drink is a little hard to swallow, knowing that she'll ultimately die by his hand, but we'll try to stay positive. (Sob.)

You'll also notice "Californication »

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'Arrow' casts 'True Blood's' Janina Gavankar in major recurring role

16 November 2012 2:00 PM, PST

"True Blood" star Janina Gavankar has booked a multi-episode arc on The CW's biggest new show, "Arrow," Warner Bros. confirms to Zap2it.

Gavankar will play McKenna Hall, a vice cop with the Starling City Police Department. Tough, sexy, and considerably formidable, McKenna has a complicated history with Oliver (Stephen Amell). Of course, he knows a little something about tough and sexy himself.

Working vice, McKenna knew Oliver back before his island days, when he was just a harmless billionaire bad-boy, as opposed to, you know.. a powerful vigilante and the Scpd's No. 1 menace.

She'll first come into play when a sketchy new drug called Vertigo hits the streets. With the drug comes a compelling new nemesis for Oliver, played by "Fringe" fave Seth Gabel. We can't wait to see them all go head-to-head.

Gavankar is best known as Luna, a shapeshifter on "True Blood," and as Papi from Showtime's "The L Word. »

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'Glee': 5 things to expect from 'Dynamic Duets'

16 November 2012 12:29 PM, PST

Give thanks, Gleeks! There will be a new episode of "Glee" on Thanksgiving night, and it is definitely one you do not want to miss. "Dynamic Duets" is a super episode in every way.

And we do mean super. The episode shows the crew at McKinley High as they all channel their inner superheroes. From Nightbird to the Human Brain to the Almighty Treble Clef, "Dynamic Duets" brings out the odd and costumed heroes hiding behind those mild-mannered, singing facades.

We wouldn't want to give too much away, but here are 5 things that you can expect to see in the Thanksgiving-day "Glee" episode:

1. Something of great value is stolen, and one member of New Directions must face down his darkest temptations in order to get it back. He or she may even give in to the Dark Side.

2. Two characters duet on an Rem song while wearing fedoras. It's as »

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Jennifer Hudson celebrates a diva with Whitney Houston special 'We Will Always You'

16 November 2012 11:00 AM, PST

Jennifer Hudson wasn't even planning to attend last February's Grammy Awards.

Instead, she stopped the show with a tribute both sad and celebratory.

Those attending were shocked by the death of music icon Whitney Houston the night before, and Grammy winner Hudson was summoned at virtually the last minute for what was a stunning rendition of the Houston-recorded, Dolly Parton-written classic "I Will Always Love You."

Related: Whitney Houston's Life in Pictures

The "American Idol" alum honors Houston again in the new CBS special "We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston" Friday, Nov. 16. Taped in mid-October at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, the program also stars Celine Dion, Usher, Yolanda Adams and CeCe Winans. Plentiful clips of Houston herself are included, in Grammy appearances and also at Super Bowl Xxv, where her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" became immediately classic.

"I did some of her up-tempo numbers, »

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