TIME Television

Late-Night Highlight: Kristin Chenoweth Gets Pranked On Letterman

After what happened on The Good Wife, this doesn't seem like such a great idea...

Kristin Chenoweth dropped by the Late Show Tuesday night. In return, something almost got dropped on her.

Chenoweth was the butt of a somewhat cruel April Fools’ prank — right as she was talking to David Letterman about her tendency to look out for falling objects.

“No matter where I’m at, I always look up. Because I want to know if, you know, anything’s gonna fall,” Chenoweth said.

Unfortunately, she didn’t look in the right place.

The show planted a sandbag that fell from the ceiling right as she was talking, causing Chenoweth to shriek and later comment, “I’m sweating in between my cleavage!”

The moment no doubt brought back memories of Chenoweth’s experience while shooting for The Good Wife in 2012, when she hospitalized after a lighting fixture fell on her on set.

Luckily, Chenoweth wasn’t hurt this time around, and even tweeted afterwards: “Just finished letterman. So fun.” No foul.

TIME Amazon

Fire TV: Amazon’s Television Set-Top Box Revealed

Amazon Fire TV
Doug Aamoth—TIME

The online giant's small television set-top box, which costs $99 and begins shipping today, will stream movies, TV shows and music from users' Amazon libraries, services like Netflix and Hulu, and apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio

Amazon has announced the Fire TV, a small television set-top box for streaming movies, TV shows and music.

The box is slimmer than a dime (standing up, that is), and can either sit in an entertainment center or mount behind the television. A small Bluetooth remote has a handful of buttons for media playback and navigation, similar to an Apple TV remote, but it also has a microphone for voice search.

As with Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, the software is partly based on Android, but it also uses HTML to support easy porting of apps from other television platforms. Apps for Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, WatchESPN, MLB.tv, NBA, Crackle, Bloomberg TV and others will be supported at launch, and of course Amazon will have its own services on board, such as Amazon Prime Instant video and a store for purchasing and renting videos.

Beyond video, Fire TV will stream music from users’ Amazon libraries and from streaming apps such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. Users can view photos as well, as long as they’re stored in Amazon’s Cloud Drive services.

Kindle Fire users can see information about what’s on the TV using Amazon’s “X-Ray” feature. Users will get a notification on their tablets, letting them tap to learn about actors and other information on a video, and see lyrics for music. Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service is supported as well, allowing parents to set time limits for their children and get recommendations on kid-friendly content.

As rumored, Fire TV will have a gaming component, and Amazon lists Disney, Gameloft, 2K, Ubisoft and Double Fine as some of the publishers that are on board. An optional Fire Game Controller will sell for $40, but users can also play games through the remote control or with a companion phone and tablet app. The games are mostly adaptations of mobile titles, such as Gameloft’s Asphalt 8, Minecraft Pocket Edition and Disney’s Monsters University; many are free to play, and the average price of a paid game is around $1.85.

Amazon did recently acquire a game studio, Double Helix, and Amazon is now building games specifically for the Fire TV and Kindle Fire tablets. One example Amazon demonstrated is Sev Zero, a third-person shooter that includes some tower defense elements. (Amazon’s website shows how a second player can use a Kindle Fire tablet to view the map, collect resources and launch air strikes.)

Fire TV’s components are similar to that of a smartphone or tablet, with a quad-core processor, a dedicated graphics processor, 2 GB of RAM and dual-band Wi-Fi. It supports 1080p video and offers Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound via HDMI or optical output.

Amazon says it set out to fix a few common complaints with existing TV boxes: Performance can be laggy, search is too difficult on a typical remote control, and closed ecosystems don’t always offer the services users want. The Fire TV’s powerful specs and remote control microphone may solve the first two problems, but with the exception of Apple TV, many other set-top boxes are open to competing music and video services. Still, the gaming element is a unique feature, and the focus on a simple, speedy interface could help Amazon stand out.

Amazon’s Fire TV costs $99—same as an Apple TV, but twice the price of the cheapest Roku device—and is shipping today.

TIME Television

WATCH: Samuel L. Jackson Performs Boy Meets World Slam Poem

The Oscar-nominated actor hit all the right notes on The Tonight Show

Performing slam poetry is not easy, and neither is laying out an entire retconned history of Boy Meets World in under four minutes. Somehow, though, Samuel L. Jackson managed to pull off both tasks with aplomb on last night’s Tonight Show.

Smoking an e-cigarette and dressed in muted tones, Jackson demonstrated his skills as a slam poet and his knowledge (or a Tonight Show writer’s knowledge) of 90s-era ABC sitcom Boy Meets World — a knowledge that surpassed many of the show’s die-hard fans. Most BMW fans are all too eager to accept the alternate reality that was force-fed to audiences in the show’s later seasons: that Cory and Topanga had been together forever. Truth is, Cory had always found Topanga (“daughter of hippies, name of a gypsy,” Jackson explains) rather odd until that fateful moment in the show’s first season — a seminal event that Jackson rightly chronicles: “For he tries to mock her / Until, shocker! A reluctant kiss by his locker.”

Jackson hits other key moments in the show’s history including Cory’s final temptation with Lauren at the ski lodge, Eric’s “Feeny” call and Feeny’s final, emotional farewell to his favorite students. Though this version is flawless, an hour-long rendition would be welcome — if only to hear Jackson utter the words “Plays With Squirrels” and describe that entire flash-forward.

In case you don’t want to hold your breath for that, there’s always the BMW spin-off Girl Meets World, which is set to premiere later this year on the Disney Channel.

TIME Television

Netflix Orders Series About Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar
AFP/Getty Images

Narcos, which Netflix hopes will provide a look into the Medellin drug cartel that the famed drug kingpin co-founded, will be directed by RoboCop remake auteur José Padilha and run for an initial run of 10 episodes. Filming starts soon in Colombia

A new series about the life of famous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar is coming to Netflix. Narcos, which follows the exploits of the notorious Medellin drug cartel that Escobar co-founded, will premiere on the online streaming service in early 2015. Brazilian actor Wagner Moura will star as Escobar.

The series is being produced by Gaumont International Television and directed by Jose Padilha, who just helmed the remake of RoboCop. Padilha and Moura previously worked together on Elite Squad, a Brazilian thriller about a special forces unit in Brazil’s military.

Netflix has commissioned an initial run of 10 episodes for the show, which will begin filming in Colombia soon.

TIME Television

VIDEO: How I Met Your Mother‘s Surprise Ending

Spoiler alert! The video and post reveal some of the big surprises from the Mother finale

If there’s one lesson to be learned from the finale of How I Met Your Mother, it’s that the show was never really about the Mother at all.

Perhaps it doesn’t come as a complete shock, since it took a whopping eight seasons before Cristin Milioti’s character was revealed as the Mother, but the show ends with Ted rekindling his romance with Robin via a blue French horn.

While not everyone was pleased with the show’s ending (which included a few other surprises), it certainly got people talking — “Ted and Robin” was trending on Twitter Monday night, along with #HIMYMFinale and the show itself.

Watch the video above to see what happened.

TIME Books

Duck Dynasty‘s Lisa Robertson Reveals Childhood Abuse in New Book

The Women of Duck Commander
Howard Books

In a book by the female Robertsons, the reality show's stars don't shy away from serious topics

Duck Dynasty is best known for its male stars — the Robertson men who make those famous duck calls — but the women of the show are speaking out in a new book: The Women of Duck Commander: Surprising Insights from the Women Behind the Beards About What Makes This Family Work, out April 1.

The book, written by Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica and Lisa Robertson, is heavy on parenting and relationship tips aimed at the fans who often ask them how their big TV-friendly family came to be. They don’t shy away from the dark stuff — marital problems and alcohol abuse, namely — but the biggest and darkest reveal comes in a chapter written by Lisa, Alan’s wife, who joined the show in its fourth season. In it, she describes being sexually abused by a relative when she was a child:

As a little girl, I had an extended family member who had major drug and alcohol problems. Unfortunately, that person lived with my grandparents, so I had to see him often. Because I spent so much time at my grandparents’ house, I was easy prey for him. My earliest memory of being molested was at the age of seven when he started to do things to me, things that made me feel bad and dirty.

Robertson never told her parents, until much later when she had her own children. The abuse continued until she was a teenager, when she threatened that she would tell her father and he would kill her abuser. She writes that she believes the trauma of her abuse led her to think that her “purpose in life was to please men,” contributing to her straying from her marriage. Eventually, as religion played more of a role in her life, she says she was able to heal herself and her marriage.

So why reveal such a personal matter in a chapter in the middle of book that’s also about cooking and Sunday school, in a context where readers probably expect hijinks about hunting?

Robertson explains that she did it because she’s aware that “what happened to me happens to many, many people” and that she wanted to show those people that she was able to recover. Though her own personal method of recovery, through religion, may not work for everyone, she gets her message across:

…I want all abuse survivors to know they have hope. They can have hope for complete healing, hope for great relationships, and hope for a wonderful life, free from the lingering effects of the trauma they have suffered.


TIME Television

Seven Shows to Fill the How I Met Your Mother-Sized Hole in Your Heart

Josh Radnor as Ted, Cobie Smulders as Robin, Jason Segel as Marshall, Alyson Hannigan as Lily, and Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Ron P. Jaffe / Fox Television / CBS

From classics of the genres to Mother's own spinoff

After nine season and 208 episodes, How I Met Your Mother aired its season finale last night. But whatever your feelings about it (and there were plenty of them), fans of the show will be without one of the most reliable comedies of the last decade. Fortunately, there are plenty of shows —new and old, niche and broad, live-action and animated — that can fill the void left behind by the Mother gang:

New Girl (FOX)

If there’s a genuine spiritual successor to HIMYM, it’s New Girl. Swap New York for Los Angeles, add a prominent player (depending on how you feel about the return of Coach) and you’ve got the very familiar early 30s, three guys-two girls, sexual tension all over the place, nonstop inside-joke formula that made HIMYM so successful. The archetypes don’t quite match up — though Max Greenfield’s Schmidt is a fan favorite in much the same way that Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney was —but it’s close enough that HIMYM fans should be able to seamlessly transition to New Girl. Plus, without an overarching gimmick that mirrors the one from HIMYM‘s, New Girl viewers shouldn’t be in for nearly as much disappointment when the show eventually finishes its run.

Community (NBC)

Dan Harmon’s critically acclaimed show already has a devoted following, but there’s still plenty of room on the bandwagon. It might not be quite as easy to slip into Community as it was HIMYM, but the payoff is almost guaranteed to be more rewarding. Rather than following a familiar formula week after week, each episode of Community is its own adventure — all set within the confines of the world’s worst community college. The show lost its showrunner (Harmon, who has now returned) and two of its cast members (Chevy Chase and Donald Glover), but remains as funny as it’s ever been and shows little sign of slowing down. Its partner for NBC’s 8 p.m. hour on Thursday nights, Parks and Recreation, is also a viable option.

Archer (FX)

If HIMYM‘s propensity for inside jokes is what drew you to the show, Archer should be your next stop. It’s true that it has little obviously in common with HIMYM other than the fact that they’re both half-hour comedies about humans (Archer is an animated series about about a spy agency-turned-drug cartel, soon to be turned-spy agency once again), but it takes inside joke-making to unprecedented levels. Archer also has the advantage of being arguably the funniest half-hour on television, so it’s hard to go wrong there.

Seinfeld/Friends (NBC)

You might have heard of them. The spiritual predecessors to HIMYM, Seinfeld and Friends are both worthy of binging if you didn’t catch them the first time around. HIMYM is about a close a clone of Friends as you’ll find — though there have been plenty of imitators over the years and HIMYM is, by all accounts, the best one. As for Seinfeld, if you haven’t watched it yet, you probably should just go ahead and do that. (Also if you watch its finale, you probably won’t be as disappointed by HIMYM’s anymore.)

Silicon Valley (HBO)

HBO’s latest comedy effort, created by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill), isn’t likely to bear much resemblance to HIMYM as it chronicles the efforts of six programmers looking to hit it big in the tech industry, but it does start this Sunday and has received rave reviews. Never hurts to start something from the beginning, especially since that’s not an option for the five shows listed above.

How I Met Your Dad (CBS)

Of course, the other option is to wait for HIMYM‘s spinoff, How I Met Your Dad. The new show, which will not so much be a spinoff as its own standalone series, features an entirely new cast, headlined by Greta Gerwig as the dad-meeter. Though it will feature all-new characters and locations, HIMYD will be run by HIMYM showrunners Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, as well as Emily Spivey. Few details are known at this point, but its a safe bet that HIMYD will feel very familiar to fans of its predecessor.

TIME Television

Dancing with the Stars Watch: Most Memorable Years

Kimmy Gibbler alert!

Grab your hankies and brace your family for an ugly cry, because it’s Memorable Year night on Dancing with the Stars. For the uninitiated, that means our beloved D-list stars recounting the most tear-jerking stories about themselves and crying in public and then interpreting all those feelings into dance in order to curry favor with the voters and stick around the show for one more week. It’s all very moving.

After last week’s double elimination, the competition is heating up — so helping cull the spandexed wheat from the sparkly chaff is über fan Robin Roberts of Good Morning America fame, who is sitting at the judges’ table this week.

Here’s what happened on Dancing with the Stars:

Best Revenge: Dear Whoever Bullied James Maslow For His Looks In Middle School: You’re Idiots. Signed, Everyone Watching Dancing with the Stars Tonight.

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: To show all bullied children that you can survive middle school, James and Peta stormed the stage with a fast-paced jive that floored the judges. Len Goodman called it his “best dance, no question!” Robin really appreciated his anti-bullying message, while Bruno couldn’t get enough of James’ flicks and kicks. 36/40

The Switch-Up: Next week, everyone is switching partners based on fan votes. While the experiment will only last a week, that’s still long enough to get Maks and Nene together, right?

Billie Dee Williams and Emma Slater: As has sadly become the norm for older stars who sign up for the show, Star Wars legend Billie Dee Williams has decided that his body isn’t up to the challenge of dancing for hours a day after all. His back is acting up too much for this and he has no choice but to bow out of the competition.

Nene Leakes and Tony Dovolani: Nene decided to dance to the song she walked down the aisle to for the first time. She remarried her man in 2013 and to show how much she loves her husband, she danced a sultry rumba on a bed with fluttering bed curtains and a distractingly shirtless Tony, whom Carrie-Ann Inaba couldn’t help but objectify. While Robin liked the “sensuality”, Bruno dubbed her “naughty Nene” and, truly, there is no greater compliment. 31/40

Cody Simpson and Witney Carson: Cody chose to dance to the year 2010, which is the year that his entire family gave up their lives to help promote his career, moving from a house in Australia into a Hollywood hotel room. He is showing his gratitude through jazz set to his own song “Surfboard,” natch. It should be noted that this is not Beyoncé’s “surfboard,” but is a song Cody claims is about surfing with his dad, but includes the dubiously filial line “she’s on my surfboard” a lot. The judges thought it was tight and engaging, but Len brushed it off as a “boy band routine.” 35/40

Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy: Danica is marking 2010, the year her son was born a few weeks after her grandmother died. Val choreographed a contemporary routine set to an uplifting song about a child asking questions about death. It’s a beautiful, elegant routine that fittingly makes Danica’s young son burst into tears. She grabs him out of the audience and holds him tight while the judges extol her virtues. 36/40.

Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: Drew is marking the year his son was born and changed his world. He started crying telling how his dad died when he was 8 and how he wanted to live for his son, so he made the decision to change his lifestyle and eating habits and improve his health. He and Cheryl performed a competent if slightly safe waltz, which ended much like Danica’s with Drew dashing to the sidelines to pick up his 8-year old son. The judges liked Drew’s waltz, but not as much as his son liked Cheryl’s moves. 30/40

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Meryl cheated on the whole memorable year thing and opted to mark the entire Meryl and Charlie era of ice dancing. She and Maks danced a dizzyingly good foxtrot to John Legend’s “All of Me” (with guest violinist Lindsey Stirling). The routine made Carrie-Ann cry, because it was so impressive, and earned high praise from the judges including laurels for Maks’ choreography. Maks is very proud of Meryl and himself and it’s going to be so much fun to watch when he is paired with Nene in the Switch Up next week. They earned a 39/40, with Len being the only hold out.

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Paralympian Amy is dancing to mark the year that she got bacterial meningitis and had both her legs amputated and her dad donated a kidney to save her life. Derek choreographed an emotional contemporary routine to commemorate the moment that Amy walked on her new legs for the first time. She has new high heel feet for the occasion and is dancing barefoot as her dad cries in the audience. The judges can barely muster a critique of the routine each mumbling something about making America cry. 36/40

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Charlie is marking this very year, which is, of course, the year he and Meryl won a gold medal for ice dancing at the Sochi Olympics. Naturally the routine is set to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” because Charlie and Meryl are the happiest people on the planet at all times except for maybe that couple who won the lottery three times in one month. The judges were quite pleased with the routine. In Len’s words, “You were steaming, I was beaming, it was happy hour!” 36/40.

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Kimmy Gibbler alert! Candace has wisely taken a page from the Elizabeth Berkley/Jessie Spano playbook and decided to mark 1995, the year that Full House ended complete with cameos from Kimmy Gibbler and Aunt Becky. 1995 was also the year she got engaged to her husband, but that pales in comparison to a mini-Full House reunion and the revelation that Aunt Becky taught Candace how to kiss. She danced a jive to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes” and it was fine, but compared to some of the stellar routines and seriously skilled dancing this season, it was nothing to write the Full House fan club about. 32/40

The Leaderboard: Meryl White tops the rankings this week with a nearly-perfect 39/40, while Nene Leakes and Drew Carey hold down the bottom with 31 and 30, respectively.

Best Reason to Come Back Next Week: Well, there’s no “best” reason to come back, but here are two reasons: The Switch is finally happening, and Julianne Hough will be guest judging.

MORE: The Good Wife Watch: Life Goes On
MORE: RECAP: Scandal Watch—We Finally Meet Fitz and Mellie’s Kids

TIME Television

Late-Night Highlight: Chris Evans Talks Captain America On Tonight Show

The actor explained his unconventional workout regime for the action sequel

Chris Evans discussed how he maintained his Captain America physique for his latest movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, on the Tonight Show Monday night.

The secret to his workout routine? Balance beams and ribbon twirling. Or, rather, gymnastics… we’re pretty sure he was kidding about the other part.

Surprisingly, Evans kept quiet about his interview with Variety, in which he said he planned to retire from acting after his Marvel contract expired.

TIME Television

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About The How I Met Your Mother Finale

From left: Josh Radnor as Ted and Cristin Milioti as Tracy in the finale of How I Met Your Mother.
From left: Josh Radnor as Ted and Cristin Milioti as Tracy in the finale of How I Met Your Mother. Ron P. Jaffe—Fox Television

Haven't seen the finale for HIMYM? Don't read this obviously spoiler-riddled argument why we should have seen that ending coming

If you didn’t like Monday night’s finale of How I Met Your Mother, you’re definitely not alone. Many people on social media and even TIME’s James Poniewozik weren’t crazy, to put it mildly, about the series’ ending. And they make some fair points! The final episode did rush to cram in a lot of life events; not just for Ted and the Mother, but also for Barney, Robin, Marshall and Lily. After the series’ meandering and somewhat disappointing final season, that was a real shame.

Yet the sheer outrage at the finale’s final minutes — which revealed that in 2030, Tracy, the Mother, had died years ago and Ted’s kids thought he should be with Robin — seems out of proportion for a series that’s been leading up to this outcome from the beginning. (Quite literally, in fact, as the show’s creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas had the ending planned in the series’ early days.)

Still not convinced? Here are three reasons why we all should have seen this particular finale coming:

1. TV history basically told us to expect this. Like Friends and Sex and the City, HIMYM always drew a huge part of its emotional thrust from the on-again, off-again relationship between two central characters. Judging from the show’s predecessors, after seasons of will-they-won’t-they-end-up-together tension between Ted and Robin, it was all but guaranteed that their romantic outcome would come full circle. Sure, we knew from the pilot episode that Robin wasn’t the titular Mother, but we also knew that Ted never stopped loving her. Why else would the series have spent nine years grappling with it?

Just as Ross ended up with Rachel and Carrie ended up with Big, Ted was bound to end up with Robin as almost every season of HIMYM indicated that first love carries heavy weight. And just as some grew tired of the “we were on a break” storyline on Friends and others insisted Aiden was the love of Carrie’s life on SATC, not everyone was going to be happy with the Ted and Robin reunion. But you can’t really argue that it wasn’t well-trodden TV history.

2. Despite the title, the show has never really been about the Mother. If it had been, why would it take eight whole seasons before we even caught a glimpse of her — and then almost a whole final season before we even learn her name? Many have made the point that the focus of HIMYM has never been the love story between Ted and his future wife. Rather, it’s been about his relationships with his friends and the emotional journey he needed to make before he was able to meet the mother of his children. As delightful as Cristin Milioti has been this past season, the audience’s attachment to her doesn’t come close to its attachment to the show’s five central characters. Though it might have felt sweet and satisfying if Ted and Tracy (the Mother’s real name) had lived happily ever after with their children Penny and Luke, it would have also rendered Ted’s past life — and the story he’s been telling up until now — largely insignificant.

3. The show has always thrown surprises and unexpected twists at the audience. From the very first episode that set up Robin as the possible Mother, only to have Ted, circa 2030, reveal “because that, kids, is the true story of how I met your Aunt Robin,” HIMYM has been riddled with twists and fake-outs. From episodes told multiple ways from the POV of multiple characters to long-game plot points that resurface unexpectedly (we’ll miss you, Slap Bet), this is a show that’s always kept us guessing. By the end of the first season, viewers knew that even the show’s title wasn’t to be trusted — Ted wasn’t just telling the story about how he met his children’s mother, but what his life was like before that point. It’s true the finale did include so many twists and turns it was likely to cause whiplash. Yet, if the show had just wrapped everything up in a neat little bow with a straightforward finale — without any significant twists or turns — it would have rang false for much of the audience, who had been waiting for one final romantic surprise.

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