TIME Television

Watch Woody Harrelson Turn SNL Into a Hunger Games Arena

Aidy Bryant volunteers as tribute

This weekend, Woody Harrelson will take a break from being Haymitch in the Hunger Games movies to host Saturday Night Live. He dropped by Studio 8H to record this promo video with cast member Taran Killam, who really just cannot contain his excitement — even though he confuses Harrelson with other famous Woodys (like Allen and Guthrie.)

Harrelson also reveals that he spoke with Lorne Michaels about doing an SNL version of the The Hunger Games — and Killam does not do very well.

TIME celebrity

Aubrey Plaza Says You Might Have to Be Drunk to Really Enjoy the Grumpy Cat Movie

"It's really the weirdest thing I've ever seen"

Like many great films, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever might be best appreciated when the viewer is drunk, says Aubrey Plaza, who’s lending her deadpan voice to the curmudgeon-y feline in the Lifetime special.

She told Jimmy Kimmel Monday that he should “have a couple glasses of wine” before watching it to “get in the right mood.”

“It’s really the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” she said. “It’s so confusing.”

But it’s also “a gift to America.”

See for yourself when it premieres Nov. 29.

PHOTOS: Grumpy Cat Is Not Impressed by TIME’s Photo Shoot

LIST: The 11 Most Influential Animals of 2013

TIME Television

Randy Jackson Is Leaving American Idol

Randy Jackson
Randy Jackson arrives at the American Idol XIII finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) Jordan Strauss—Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Jackson was the last original judge on the Fox reality series

Fox’s venerable singing competition is now almost completely cut off from its roots.

Randy Jackson, the only original American Idol judge who had remained on the show (as a “mentor” to contestants), has announced he’s leaving the franchise; his fellow original judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell had left in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The Abdul/Cowell/Jackson judging panel, on which Jackson served as the coolest head amid Abdul and Cowell’s bickering, saw the show through its period of greatest success in its first eight seasons; in recent years, ratings have consistently fallen amid judging panel shake-ups that have seen everyone from Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi to Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj take a turn at judging.

The only on-camera personality from Idol‘s glory days to stay with the production is host Ryan Seacrest, who’s branched out into various other enterprises while hosting the show. But neither Abdul nor Cowell have seen Idol-level success in their subsequent projects stateside; Cowell’s attempt to bring his globally successful X Factor franchise stateside with Abdul as a judge was a non-starter. There was something very particular about the contentious original panel that helped spur Idol‘s success; unlike, say, The Voice, which switches out panelists quite frequently, Idol couldn’t stay as big a hit as it was without every original judge accounted for.

Jackson’s role on the show has been significantly reduced in recent years, with a new judging group comprised of Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban getting praise for bringing the show back from the period of high dudgeon and intra-panel fighting that defined the Carey/Minaj year. But the show seems, now, far past the point at which it might somehow become, again, the single most discussed program on the air. Jackson, whose weird vocabulary tics (“dawg,” “pitchy”) caught the public’s imagination before, eventually, coming to seem exhausting, was one of the luckiest people in Hollywood. In just about any other entertainment context he would not have been able to build thirteen years as an on-camera personality on the basis of catchphrases and vague praise for amateur singers. But he was also an undefinably valuable part of a panel whose value was only apparent once it was disbanded.

TIME Television

Amazon’s Pilots for 2015 Include Comedy With True Blood Star

HBO's "True Blood" Panel - Comic-Con International 2014
Actor Sam Trammell attends HBO's "True Blood" panel during Comic-Con International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 26, 2014 in San Diego, California. Ethan Miller—Getty Images

But can they measure up to Transparent?

Amazon announced its pilots to premiere in 2015 on Wednesday. Each year, Amazon airs pilots on its site and then based on critical and audience feedback — plus some number-crunching — green lights certain series for a full season. Alpha House and Transparent have been the e-commerce giant’s most successful original series so far.

Here are the pilots to expect in 2015:

Cocked: The dark comedy follows liberal Richard Paxson (True Blood’s Sam Trammell) as he returns to his rural Virginia home to help with his family’s gun business. His older brother will be played by Jason Lee (My Name is Earl).

Down Dog: A charming and handsome yoga instructor for the rich and beautiful sees his life turned upside down when he and his girlfriend — the owner of the yoga studio where he teaches — break up.

Mad Dogs: An American adaptation of a U.K. series, this comedy centers on a group of high school friends (including Steve Zahn of Dallas Buyers Club and Billy Zane of Twin Peaks) who reunite in Belize. But the trip goes south when old grudges lead to an unraveling of lies and a murder. Shawn Ryan of The Shield will executive produce.

The Man in the High Castle: Based on Philip K. Dick’s book of the same name, the drama considers what would have happened if the Allied forces lost World War II. The series was penned by The X-Files’ Frank Spotnitz.

The New Yorker Presents: The most original idea of the bunch, this half-hour docu-series will bring articles, fiction and poetry from The New Yorker to life. The project boasts an all-star cast, including Alan Cumming (The Good Wife).

Point of Honor: The Civil War drama from Lost’s Carlton Cuse is about the son of a wealthy southern family who sets his slaves free while fighting for the Confederacy.

Salem Rogers: Leslie Bibb (Iron Man) and Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live) star in the comedy about an overly blunt former supermodel who re-enters the world after spending 10 years in a cushy rehab facility and tracks down her former assistant to help her make a comeback.

TIME Television

There Was an Entire Category About Beyoncé on Jeopardy! Last Night

The Glastonbury Festival 2011 - Day Four
Beyonce headlines the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 26, 2011 in Glastonbury, England. Samir Hussein—Getty Images

But if you're a true fan of Queen Bey, the questions were insultingly easy

Last night on Jeopardy!‘s Tournament of Champions, contestants got a chance to show off their knowledge about literature, geography, politics, blah blah blah — and oh wait, also BEYONCÉ.

Yup, an entire category was dedicated to Queen Bey — but for any true fans, the questions were pretty easy.

Check them out and play along here:

Contestants got all of the questions right, except for one minor hiccup from Arthur Chu, who responded with “Drunk on Love” instead of “Drunk in Love.” He later defended himself on Twitter:

Tread lightly, Arthur, because that kind of sass is what lands you in deep trouble with the Beygency.

TIME Television

Concert for Valor: Watch Performances by Rihanna, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen

Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl and the Zac Brown Band all performed at the concert for veterans

HBO’s Concert for Valor drew hundreds of thousands of fans to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with millions more tuning in on television screens and radios across the country to hear performances by Rihanna, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl, Metallica and many more.

The Concert for Valor was staged to boost awareness of veterans’ support groups, raise funds for veterans charities and salute the troops who do so much for the country. Fans came out in force to support the cause and to see stars like Dave Grohl, the Zac Brown Band, John Oliver, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Will Smith and Tom Hanks, who all seemed to mirror the sentiments summed up by Jamie Foxx,”I came because it’s just the right thing to do.”

Jennifer Hudson performed “The Star Spangled Banner” to open the concert. After a video message from U.S. President Barack Obama, she was joined onstage by Jessie J for a powerful performance of David Guetta’s “Titanium.”

Dave Grohl greeted his hometown crowd, “We’ve got a lot of heroes here tonight, we’re going to sing for them.” He then launched into acoustic versions of some Foo Fighter favorites like “Everlong” and “My Hero,” which turned into a tear-jerking, flag-waving singalong anthem.

Zac Brown band deliver a rousing rendition of “America the Beautiful” and were soon joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl for a rollicking rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” which some viewed as a controversial song choice due to its anti-war sentiment.

After the Black Keys whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their tracks “Fever” and “Howlin for You,” Carrie Underwood, pregnant and in heels, performed her song “See You Again.” (Read about the military family that changed how she sings the song here). Then backed by the Singing Sergeants of the US Air Force, she performed “Something in the Water” followed by a crowd-pleasing version of “Before He Cheats.”

Metallica was introduced by Jack Black and took the stage sounding loud and proud for a medley of “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman.” They ended their raucous set by dedicating the songs to the troops, “Finally, we get to play for our heroes!” and leading the crowd in a chant of “USA! USA!”

Bruce Springsteen returned to the stage for a stripped down, acoustic set including a haunting version of “Born in the USA,” and a bare bones “Dancing in the Dark” and dedicating his performance of “The Promised Land” to service members who just returned home.

Bryan Cranston did his best Heisenberg impression, encouraging everyone to hire veterans at their companies, before introducing Rihanna who looked like a sparkly Batgirl in a floor-length caped pantsuit to perform “Diamonds” and “Stay.” She was joined onstage by co-headliner Eminem for their hit “Monster.”


As Rihanna left the stage, Eminem made the most the concert being aired on HBO by encouraging everyone to “give it up for motherf–king Rihanna.” The crowd cheered, while the millions of people listening to the show on iHeartRadio undoubtedly enjoyed the beep. Eminem dedicated his track “Not Afraid” to the troops who came home and those who did not. He then launched into “Lose Yourself” and the crowd roared its approval.


Before the concert, officials predicted that the free concert would be the largest gathering on the National Mall in years, surpassing the Fourth of July and many presidential inaugurations. Proving the point, the Park Police tweeted out a photo of the impressive crowds gathered at the National Mall:

TIME Television

Jenny McCarthy Got A Reality Series to Chronicle Her Marriage

Jenny McCarthy Hosts A Halloween Costume Party At The SiriusXM Studios To Celebrate The Launch Of Her New Exclusive Live Daily SiriusXM Show "Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy"
Jenny McCarthy hosts a Halloween Costume Party Rob Kim—Getty Images

"Donnie Loves Jenny" will air in 2015

Newlyweds Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg will star in an A&E reality series called Donnie Loves Jenny, which will chronicle their first stage of married life.

This 10-episode order is a continuation of A&E’s Wahlburgers, about the Massachusetts restaurant Donnie and his brothers, including Oscar-nominated actor Mark, run together.

“Viewers have enjoyed following Donnie and Jenny’s relationship on Wahlburgers and we look forward to sharing this next part of their journey,” David McKillop, General Manager and Executive Vice President of A&E, told Deadline.

McCarthy announced she was leaving The View in June.

The show will air in 2015 and begin with footage from the couple’s August wedding.

[Deadline]

TIME streaming

REVIEW: High Maintenance Deserves Its Buzz

Blichfeld and Sinclair, creators of High Maintenance. Janky Clown Productions

This gemlike anthology, about a Brooklyn pot dealer and his clients, is one of the best things you can watch online.

When you tell people the subject of High Maintenance–the stories of a Brooklyn pot dealer and his clients–they can get the wrong impression. This fantastic online series, debuting three new episodes on Vimeo Nov. 11, is a comedy involving pot, but it’s not a pot comedy. It’s not stoner humor, like Harold and Kumar or even its closer analog, the choom-heavy Broad City. The stories tangentially involve marijuana, but marijuana is rarely the story itself.

Instead, the gemlike little tales anthologized in High Maintenance are about the reasons a character might smoke pot, which are myriad. Stress. Boredom. Illness. A date. Sadness. Celebration. Loneliness. Too much togetherness.

Or, let’s say, the end of the world. In the first episode of the new season–is “batch” the better word? “stash”? “crop”?–a young couple are going through the typical motions of white-collar urban life (work, barbecues with friends, lots of web surfing in their Fort Greene apartment) when one of them develops an obsession with survivalism. Maybe it’s the aftermath of Sandy, maybe it’s the zeitgeist, maybe it’s a way of feeling in control in his life. But one way or another, meal rations are purchased, survivalism lessons are taken, nerves are eventually frayed, and the couple decide to place a call to The Guy.

The Guy–the small-time pot dealer played by Ben Sinclair–is the one constant between High Maintenance episodes. Sinclair plays him with deceptively chill goofiness, but he also has a sneaky emotional intelligence that allows him to serve as kind of low-key confidante/bartender/therapist to his clients. (Sinclair writes, directs and edits each episode together with his wife, Katja Blichfeld, in an appropriately small-batch DIY artisanal enterprise. About which: the new videos are on demand for $1.99 each, or $7.99 for a bundle that will include three more earlier next year. Like The Guy, High Maintenance prefers to distribute in small quantities.)

Beyond that setup, every episode of High Maintenance can be what it needs to: there’s a new story each episode, which vary from six or seven minutes to around nineteen. (You can find older episodes, made before the show’s on-demand deal, for free on Vimeo.) A few characters recur, others disappear, but there is always The Guy, summoned on speed-dial, to help them maintain their high–or simply to help them maintain.

You’re probably sick of hearing about how a new show is “unlike anything else,” but the only close comparison to High Maintenance in series TV is Louie–whose “Fat Girl” monologue gets an on-point shoutout in the second episode–at least, in Louie’s self-contained, short-film-like segments. Like Louie, this is a series in sardonic love with New York City, but a different one: brownstone Brooklyn, which it shoots in vibrant color, and the freelancers and thought-industry workers who fill it, like Portlandia characters taken more seriously.

Despite the brief running time, each episode has a leisurely, languorous feel, which echoes the unhurried lives of its characters. They’re young and relatively unburdened, or older and unattached, working odd hours, adults with time to adopt intense hobbies (magic, birdwatching), watch TV online and nurse neuroses. (Emphasis on the latter; these people are, adjectivally, high-maintenance.) If High Maintenance were a person, it would be hanging out at Gorilla Coffee on a weekday afternoon, and if its characters were real people, they would watch High Maintenance. Their conversation topics are demographically GPS-precise–arguments about Vice News and Scandal, comparing vacation notes on Tulum, Mexico.

I don’t want to spoil too much story in the new episodes, partly because there’s less than an hour’s worth of them, partly because (again like Louie) their pleasure derives from how they amble along flâneur-like, taking side trips and conversational detours, until a plot develops almost without your noticing it. And yet each episode is tightly, often ingeniously plotted; they range from sweet romance to urban satire to comedies of manners, and each delivers more depth of character than TV episodes three times as long.

To blow one tiny detail, the third episode opens with a woman in a self-defense class, fighting off an “attacker” in a padded armor suit. She’s foregrounded, you can see the potential for a story developing about security and the city–why is she taking the class?–until the scene changes and you realize the episode is, in fact, not about her but about the guy in the padded suit.

It could have gone either way, I’m sure. (Indeed, some of the new episodes involve peripheral characters from previous seasons.) Part of the beauty of High Maintenance’s richness of detail and its specific sense of even the smallest character is that it makes you believe that any character in any scene could be the star of the story.

After all, as far as each of us is concerned, we’re all protagonists. Each of us has something we’re trying to escape, which ultimately is what The Guy sells. The genius of this show is how it uses its high-concept–so to speak–premise to get at something universal. If High Maintenance is aware of one thing, it’s this: The high is easy. It’s maintaining that’s tough.

TIME Television

Dancing With the Stars Watch: Threesome Night Again

ARTEM CHIGVINTSEV, LEA THOMPSON
Adam Taylor—ABC

Dance like everyone is watching

Welcome back to Dancing With the Stars, where we are creeping ever closer to handing off the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy for one of the stars to shove onto their ornamental fireplace (or mention on their college applications). Tonight the competition is split into two parts: America’s Choice, where voters assign dance styles to the stars, and the much ballyhooed dance threesomes, which they insist on demurely calling “trios,” because this is ABC.

Here’s what happened last night on Dancing With the Stars:

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Tasked with dancing a foxtrot to Robbie Williams’ “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” Alfonso and Witney decided not to rely on impersonal social media to guide their footsteps. Instead, they took their choreography choices to the (wo)man on the street, who helped plan their routine. The result was Alfonso in a top hat and tails gliding across the dance floor. Bruno Tonioli dubbed him “Alfonso Astaire” and admired the ability to combine the glamour of a bygone era with some “Justin Timberlake” flair. 37/40

Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: After finding out that they were headed to the semifinals, Tommy and Peta floated on air for their Viennese Waltz. Julianne Hough assured him that he would be in the competition for a very long time. Bruno agreed that he was “very watchable,” but it was Len Goodman who gave the ultimate compliment, “From one old geezer to another old geezer, you are my hero.” Being a hero doesn’t mean high scores, though. 29/40

Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: For their samba to Maroon 5′s “Animals,” Lea got into character by donning a tiny tiger-striped bedazzled unitard, which when paired with her long flowing blond mane gave her a distinctly Thundercat look. In a good way. The judges loved the routine, but Carrie Ann Inaba wanted her to loosen up a bit and let loose her inner tigress. 34/40

Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: America wanted Derek and Bethany to pretend they were a couple having a fight for their Viennese Waltz, because America apparently loves drama. At the end of the routine, Len wasn’t “transported to Vienna,” but he “was in Austria,” which is close enough. Julianne served up some word salad about Bethany’s journey and how she is a beautiful, vulnerable woman, and hoped that it connected with the audience. 36/40

Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Mark choreographed a jive to a song by a band called Christian TV, which one can only assume is a subtle shout-out to Sadie’s much discussed faith. While the spirit may have been in the music, the judges weren’t moved. Carrie Ann thought Sadie lacked “strength in her torso,” which is apparently a key element to the jive, and Julianne simply stated that it wasn’t her favorite dance. 33/40

Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Riding the high of their perfect score from last week, Janel and Val are given the show-closing spot for their Jazz Age–themed quickstep. To top off those are-they-or-aren’t-they rumors, the dance ended with a big kiss and a bigger apology because apparently the patent leather shoes they were wearing stuck together. The judges didn’t mind, though, because much like Tom Cruise, the routine had all the right moves. 38/40

The Threesomes:

Alfonso and Witney and Lindsey: If aliens ever land on this planet and decide to watch a little television before decimating the planet, and they happen to catch the Matrix-influenced paso doble set to “Turn Down for What” delivered by a threesome of blonde baby bombshells and Alfonso, they may just decide to spare the world. Carrie Ann summed it up with her “two-word” critique: “DAY-UM.” 40/40

Tommy and Peta and Sharna: For their samba, Peta decided to choreograph a routine to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me” and paint Tommy as the dirty old man flying Chong Air and doing his best to enter the Mile High Club with two sultry stewardesses. The results were high-level ridiculous, and Bruno almost died from honking at the spectacle. The judges were already beside themselves at the end of the routine, and when Tommy pointedly said that dancing with the two women was “hard,” they all got the vapors and had to fan themselves with their paddles. 28/40

Lea and Artem and Henry: Leo got in touch with her inner dominatrix for her paso doble. Clad in black leather and looming over the men (wearing suspenders and no shirts, naturally) and stomping across the floor to Ram Jam’s “Black Betty,” Lea was the epitome of toughness. The judges loved it, especially the way she incorporated their advice and cut loose on the dance floor. 36/40

Bethany and Derek and Tony: As they prepared to fight their way into the semifinals, Derek decided to take some battle cues from Thunderdome to give their Argentine Tango more flair. Carrie Ann loved it, but couldn’t help but nitpick about a lack of traditional elements. The other three judges disagreed, though, because they just can’t help themselves. 38/40

Sadie and Mark and Emma: For their foxtrot, Mark staged a dance-floor battle with Sadie and Emma squaring off for his affections, which was clearly wish fulfillment on his part. While Sadie walked off the dance floor in tears, because she forgot the last few steps of the routine, the judges didn’t notice and Len stood up to pronounce it the dance of the night. Bruno claimed he couldn’t tell which dancer was the professional, and Carrie Ann and Julianne oohed and aahed over the routine (and the dresses). 40/40

Janel and Val and Keo: A jungle-themed samba with some seriously cover-your-eyes-kids moments, R-rated moves and jaw-dropping lifts. Julianne couldn’t help but point out that there wasn’t much samba content in the routine, but she didn’t care because the dance was so much fun to watch. Len thought it was fantastic too, but he had to deduct a point because a few some parts made him feel uncomfortable. 39/40

Safety first: After the last round of the night’s competition, Tom Bergeron announced that Alfonso and Witney, Bethany and Derek, and Janel and Val were all safe.

In jeopardy: Lea and Artem and Sadie and Mark were the last two standing.

Who went home: Lea. She left standing tall with a smile on her face and a desire to get back to work on Switched at Birth.

Best reason to come back next week: It’s the semifinals!

TIME Television

Chris Soules Finds His Field of Dreams in the New Bachelor Promo

It's corny alright.

A few months ago, Chris Soules planted the seed that he wanted to be the new star of The Bachelor. ABC agreed that the gentleman-farmer could use the show to look for love and try to lure women to live with him in Iowa. Now comes an early glimpse of the farmer reaping what he’s sown.

In the promo, Soules gets in touch with his inner Kevin Costner and wanders through a green cornfield. He is soon joined by dozens of disembodied voices of the eager young women more than happy to elbow each other out of the way in the hopes of planting themselves in Iowa on the arm of a charming farmer. The result is more Children of the Corn than Field of Dreams, but one thing is for sure, this season of The Bachelor will bring a bumper crop of corn.

The new season of The Bachelor premieres on ABC on Monday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. ET.

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