MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

New study crowns Starz series as TV's deadliest show

By Corey Levitan May 23, 2012 9:18AM

"Game of Thrones" is not violent enough -- at least not to top a new study of the 40 bloodiest television shows that named "Spartacus: Vengeance" by far the highest in weekly body counts.

Starz' Roman Empire drama averaged 25 corpses a night, whereas HBO's "Thrones" had no game in comparison, delivering a mere 14 per episode.

The study -- which measured eight episodes of each show -- was a flash of marketing brilliance conducted by a funeral planning website called


Also: What TV shows are returning next season?


"There is a clear disconnect between the acceptance of death in popular culture and the acceptance of it in reality," a representative of the website told The Hollywood Reporter.

Among broadcast series, the deadliest was the CW spy thriller "Nikita," with nine dead bodies per episode.

The killing  of bodies that were already dead counted as a separate category in the study, with the CW's "Vampire Diaries" topping AMC's "The Walking Dead" by a score of 18 to 16.


"Game of Thrones" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.


Hip hop queen turned TV player to take on daytime in 2013

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert May 23, 2012 7:33AM

Five-time Emmy winner Corin Nelson has been tapped to executive producer Queen Latifah's upcoming syndicated talk show, initially announced back in October. Nelson's impressive resume boasts experience on "Chelsea Lately," "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "The Tyra Banks Show" and "The Nate Berkus Show." That bodes well for Queen Latifah's second foray into daytime.

Bing: More about Queen Latifah | Corin Nelson


"Given Queen Latifah's profile, stature and accomplishments, it was vital for us to find someone who complemented such a tremendous talent to helm this show," said Holly Jacobs, executive vice president, U.S. reality and syndicated programming, Sony Pictures Television. "We knew the diversity of Corin's experience in daytime and late night, her collaborative spirit, tremendous creative chops and passion for the medium made her a perfect match."


Also: What TV shows are returning next season?


Nelson has a strong history in both creating and running talk shows. She created, developed, launched and served as executive producer and show runner for the first three seasons of E!'s "Chelsea Lately." She also led "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" to five Best Show Emmys during her tenure as showrunner. More recently, she developed and produced the pilot for "The Tyra Banks Show" and executive produced the second season of "The Nate Berkus Show." 


Queen Latifah has also done her share of producing, via her company Flavor Unit Entertainment. The hip hop superstar is behind the BET series "Single Ladies" and is involved in Lifetime's upcoming all-black production of "Steel Magnolias," as well as several other TV projects. Queen Latifah also wrote the self-esteem book "Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman." 

"Queen Latifah is that rare combination of a multi-talented performer and one of the warmest, most genuine women I've ever met," raved Corin Nelson. "This show is the perfect platform to showcase her tremendous range of talents and unique ability to connect with and entertain people. I'm thrilled to be working with the powerhouses of Flavor Unit, Overbrook and Sony Pictures Television, whose combined creative vision will truly help fuel the show."


Flavor Unit, Will Smith's Overbrook and Sony Pictures Television are teaming up to producer the new talker.

As mentioned, this will be Queen Latifah's second foray into daytime. "The Queen Latifah Show" was short-lived, however, running from 1999 to 2001. Her new syndicated talker will premiere fall 2013, allowing Katie Couric, Ricki Lake, Steve Harvey, Trisha Goddard , Marie Osmond and "Survivor" host Jeff Probst and possibly Bethanny Frankel to duke it out amongst themselves before she gets into the game.


ABC Family offering full first episode before airing

By MSN TV May 22, 2012 9:57AM

'Bunheads'/ABC Family

In ABC Family's latest offering, A former ballerina turned Vegas showgirl decides to take a gamble on a new marriage and a fresh start in Paradise in the series premiere of ABC Family's original drama "Bunheads," airing Monday, June 11th at 9p.m. ET. 


Exclusive: Keep reading to find out how to see the entire first episode before airing.
Michelle Simms (Tony Award®-winning actor Sutton Foster) had a promising career as a classically-trained professional dancer but was drawn to the lights of Las Vegas. Now, with a dead-end job as a 30-something showgirl, she's found the excitement of Sin City has lost its appeal, and her persistent suitor, Hubbell Flowers (Alan Ruck, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"), is gaining it. With promises of a cushy life in his coastal town of Paradise, CA. Hubbell convinces Michelle to marry him and move away. Once in Paradise, Michelle discovers that Hubbell forgot to mention that he lives with his mother, the strong-headed, imperious Fanny Flowers (Kelly Bishop, "Gilmore Girls"), who is not pleased that Hubbell has run off and married a stranger.   

A former dancer herself, Fanny runs the local dance studio, which Michelle comes upon and ends up bonding with some of Fanny's dance students: sweet "Boo" (Kaitlyn Jenkins), who would give anything to be a "bunhead" but struggles against her body type; rebellious Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles), who possesses the classic ballet dancer's body and talent but -- distracted by family issues at home -- doesn't seem to have her heart in dancing; shapely Ginny (Bailey Buntain), who is not yet comfortable in her own skin; and fun-loving Melanie (Emma Dumont), who is ready for whatever life throws at her. Michelle's budding relationship with these girls helps her adapt to small town living and her uneasy role as a  
new daughter-in-law.
"Bunheads" is executive produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino ("Gilmore Girls").


Be sure to check out the premiere:

Your case-sensitive access CODE: MSNBunheads



'Luck' casualty lands on his feet with Showtime

By Kenny Herzog May 22, 2012 9:56AM
It's been a big day for recent HBO castaways. First, Gabriel Byrne notched a leading role with History Channel's first scripted series. Now, Showtime has announced that snake-bitten "Luck" star Jason Gedrick will appear in a multi-episode arc during Season 7 of "Dexter."

More on Jason Gedrick | "Dexter" | "Luck"

And really, what lifelong admirer of "Iron Eagle" and secret "Class of '96" super-fan wouldn't be rooting for the 47-year-old Chicago native to finally put his money down on a winning network horse? Mean people, that's who.
Gedrick will play the manager of a Miami nightclub that's at the center of a homicide case. There's no word yet on whether his character will be relegated to procedural B-story or somehow wrapped up in Dexter's annual anti-hero vs. villain showdown. But we can assume Gedrick's real-life agent is in line for a serious bonus.

Season 7 of "Dexter" premieres September 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

Former 'In Treatment' star grabs top billing in network's first scripted series

By Kenny Herzog May 22, 2012 8:57AM
HBO's underrated therapeutic drama "In Treatment" helped launch several young careers, notably those of "Chronicle" star Dane DeHaan and "Alice in Wonderland" ingénue Mia Wasikowska. So it's only fair that "Treatment" lead Gabriel Byrne receive some collateral goodwill from his award-winning turn as Dr. Paul Weston. 
Luckily for both the Irish thespian and fans of period drama, History Channel has embarked on its maiden voyage into original programming. The network just announced that Byrne will star in "Vikings," its inaugural scripted series and contribution to the flourishing Middle Ages sub-genre

Byrne will play tyrannical Viking ruler Earl Haraldson, adversary of commoner-turned-tribal king Ragnar Lothbrok, a role that has yet to be cast. "The Tudors" creator Michael Hirst is behind  "Vikings," and it will be interesting to see how he writes for basic cable, given the somewhat more rigid guidelines concerning explicit nudity and violence. Fortunately for him and us, there are no broadcast standards prohibiting general awesomeness.

"Vikings will premiere in 2013 on History.

ABC's Lara Spencer and Josh Elliott take on the p.m. expansion

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert May 22, 2012 6:51AM

With "Good Morning America" locked in an ongoing daytime ratings rumble with "Today," co-anchors Josh Elliott and Lara Spencer are expanding the "GMA" brand this summer. The duo will launch the new extension "Good Afternoon America" on Monday, July 9. The one-hour show will replace the canceled "Revolution" and serve as a time-slot holder until "Katie" premieres Sept. 10.


Bing: More on "GMA" | Katie Couric

"It's tremendous that 'GMA' has this opportunity to extend its reach and bring something new to the afternoons," said Josh Elliott. "It is gratifying to play a role in it, and we genuinely hope our audience will come along for the ride."

"I am beyond excited and honored to be part of this new chapter for the 'Good Morning America' family," Lara Spencer added. "'Good Afternoon America' gives us the opportunity to reach a different audience, and better yet, to spend a little more time with our morning viewers who want to be a part of the conversation and fun we plan on bringing to afternoon TV." 


ABC is hyping the new spinoff as "energetic" and "fast-paced" and promising hot topic celebrities, pop culture news and original content. The show will also cover lifestyle, health, workplace and consumer news, along with a bit of ABC self-promotion. "GMA," for example, already goes behind the scenes at sister show "Dancing with the Stars" and gives sneak peeks of hits like "Modern Family." Viewers are sure to see more of that.

"GMA" anchors Sam Champion, Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos will make special appearances, along with other member of the ABC family. Katie Couric is sure to be a regular, as she builds up to her own talk show premiere.

"Good Afternoon America" premieres Monday, July 9, at 2 p.m. ET/PT and will run for nine consecutive weeks.


Robin Thicke, Demi Lovato, No Doubt, Brad Paisley, Counting Crows and more

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert May 21, 2012 1:10PM

"Good Morning America" released a partial schedule for its 2012 Summer Concert Series. Every Friday morning starting May 25, "GMA" will feature a live performance from the Rumsey Playfield in New York City’s Central Park, while "Today" continues its own summer series across town

More on 'Good Morning America'

So far, the fourth annual Pepsi sponsored event boasts a purely A-list lineup. "Duets" mentor Robin Thicke kicks off the festivities and will be followed by No Doubt, Brad Paisley, Counting Crows, Demi Lovato, The Wanted, Neon Trees and LMFAO. With several dates still to be announced, additional acts will be revealed throughout the summer. (See schedule below.)

All concerts are free and open to the public and will take place live during "GMA." Viewers interested in joining "GMA" in Central Park are encouraged to arrive at Rumsey Playfield via the 72nd street entrance on Fifth Avenue at 6:00am when the park opens to the public.

Bing: Check out the "Today" concert series lineup

"GMA" Sizzling Concert Series 2012 Lineup

May 25: Robin Thicke
June 1: Brad Paisley
June 8: Counting Crows

June 15: Beach Boys

June 22: TBA

June 29: LMFAO

July 6: Demi Lovato

July 13: TBA

July 20: TBA

July 27: No Doubt

Aug. 3: TBA

Aug. 10: TBA

Aug. 17: Neon Trees

Aug. 24: The Wanted

Aug. 31: TBA


"GMA" airs weekday mornings on ABC.


The 'Men in Black III' star seizes audience nostalgia, creates PR magic on BBC

By Kenny Herzog May 21, 2012 8:34AM

Only Will Smith could be criticized for slapping an overseas reporter one minute and then have fans swooning over a televised rap-along the next. But, alas, that's just the sort of crisis-defying charm that get sprinkled like fairy dust from the 43-year-old actor's debonairly graying goatee. 
While stopping by BBC's "The Graham Norton Show" this past weekend, the artist formerly known as DJ Jazzy Jeff's MC du jour guaranteed "Men in Black III" millions in global ticket sales by taking advantage of a golden viral-marketing opportunity. Namely, being a good sport and rapping every word of his "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme in real-time with the studio audience. 

More on Will Smith | "Men in Black III" | "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

The most endearing, unscripted moment arrives when fellow "Norton" guest and UK pop artist Gary Barlow joins in and performs the song's signature synth melody, and Smith drops his composure and guffaws (and, naturally, fist-pounds with Barlow) in disbelief. And while the movie mega-star hasn't had to rely on his rhyming chops in nearly two decades, it's hard to deny that he's still got cadence and charisma. Damn him.