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'Girls' creator/star Lena Dunham on 'Today'

From left, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet and Jemima

(Credit: HBO)

For those who missed it, a look at this morning's "Today" encounter with the cast of "Girls." Notable for a few reasons, including Savanah Guthrie's almost barely contained ... ahhh, revulsion isn't quite the right word but shock at some of the content of the series.

"Girls" is indeed an envelope-buster, but it hardly nukes the envelope, as "Sex and the City" did to so many poor envelopes over the years. (Though I do wonder what Savannah would say of last season's episode when Peter Scolari, who plays Dunham's father, slipped in the shower after a rather frisky encounter with his wife.)

Sex in the context of "Girls" is very often comical or grotesque; never ever erotic, as if ...

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"Girls" returns for a second season on HBO this Sunday, and yes, I will review.

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'Downton Abbey:' 8 million (almost)

"Downton Abbey" began its third season with a bang last night -- nearly 8 million viewers, or to be a bit more precise, 7.9 million. A record for PBS? Beats me, and even PBS seems uncertain, though this has to be close to the highwater mark, if not exceeding it. Needless to say, these sorts of things don't happen often on PBS and the network can be forgiven its excitement. The PBS line...

The season premiere "exceeded the average rating of the second season premiere of “Downton Abbey” by 96 percent (based on metered market averages). Between 9:00-11:00 p.m., PBS was the second-most watched broadcast network on Sunday. Highest local-market ratings were at member stations KCTS-Seattle (9.6 rating, 17 share), WGBH-Boston (8.8/14), KLRU-Austin (8.1/13) and WNET-New York (8.0/12).

'One Life to Live,' 'All My Children' to revive online, report says

Elizabeth Rodriguez, Thorsten Kaye, Susan Lucci and Walt

(Credit: ABC)

Looks as though patience and deep fan love have finally paid off: The partners of an online venture to revive the two late/lamented ABC soaps, “One Life to Live” and “All My Children,” say they finally have the necessary support to relaunch them and that production will begin next month.

According to a letter posted on Deadline, both principals behind Prospect Park, Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz, said they  “are pleased to confirm that Prospect Park is reviving the beloved soap operas, 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' as the anchor programs on The Online Network (TOLN)." Also this: Agnes Nixon, the doyenne of the soap world, has apparently signed on in a consultant capacity too. 

As readers may recall, deals to relaunch both shows had fallen apart last year when PP couldn't work out various union agreements. One assumes details on casting are coming shortly, as well as some sort of backgrounder on “The Online Network.”

'Necessary Roughness' gets third season

On the set of ?Necessary Roughness? Callie Thorne,

(Credit: USA Network)

As if there was ever any doubt -- there was not -- "Necessary Roughness,”  the Callie Thorne hit about the LI mom/shrink who takes care of head cases in the sporting world, just got a third season. Pertinent line from the news release:

USA Network ordered a third season of its Golden Globe® nominated original drama series Necessary Roughness. The 10-episode pickup completes the renewal of the network’s full summer slate of original drama series, joining previous new season orders for Suits, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, White Collar and Covert Affairs.

ABC: Mariah Carey hired bodyguards after Minaj threat

Mariah Carey attends the 12th Annual BMI Urban

(Credit: Getty Images)

Interesting interview Barbara Walters has conducted with newest “Idol” judge, Mariah Carey -- airing on “Nightline” tonight -- in which she says she hired additional bodyguards following that inflammatory showdown with Nicki  Minaj. (There was some press about this a few months ago, but she confirms here for the record...) See clip below...

 And from the transcript:

“It felt like an unsafe work environment,” Carey said. “Anytime anybody's reeling threats at somebody, you know, it's not appropriate. I'm a professional. I'm not used to that type of environment.”

As a result, Carey said she hired more security. “I just felt it was the appropriate thing to do,” she said. “Sitting there on the road with two babies, I'm not going to take any chances.”

Minaj has denied saying anything about a gun [that she had threatened Carey], calling the statement a “fabrication.”

When ABC News asked her for comment for this story, her representative said “she's said what she's saying on this topic."

“For all the drama, I hope it helps the show,” Carey said. “I think it's a classic, classy show and it didn't need this.”  

Sundance to air 'The Writers' Room'

For it is written: Watching writers write is not entirely unlike watching the grass grow, which is why this new Sundance Channel series, "The Writers' Room," may unintentionally end up reminding viewers of long languorous days of summer.... But, grass aside, this could be a fascinating ride too.

The show is produced with Entertainment Weekly.

Sundance Channel GM Sarah Barnett...

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Jennifer Hudson takes center stage at 'Smash'

Jennifer Hudson attends ?Metal Works Photography: Sculptures? by

(Credit: Getty Images)

NBC's "Smash" - somewhat maligned last season, somewhat praised, and somewhat reconfigured for the sophomore season, starting Feb. 4 - has (as you're probably aware) added a major newcomer, Jennifer Hudson. But producers yesterday told TV writers in Pasadena, for the winter portion of the Press Tour, that she'll appear in three of the first four episodes.

  And to that end, check out the new promo/tease below. Lots of Hudson and some suggestions that "Smash" will head off in a different direction for the second, though nothing radical as best I can tell. New showrunner Josh Safran says the show will be more distinticly musical, in that it will embrace more numbers and more of that big brassy Broadway feel; the old rivalriy between Kat McPhee's and Megan Hilty's characters continues (of course; how could it not); plus, the series will get a little more deeply into the inside world of the Broadway world - the backstage of the backstage, I supppose. 

  But Hudson's the big news here, as the promo clearly establishes...

HBO's 'The Normal Heart' gets 2014 airdate

Actor and director Mark Ruffalo attends The 2010

(Credit: Getty Images)

Larry Kramer's celebrated Broadway play about the AIDS crisis, "The Normal Heart," will get a national audience next year, HBO — which is producing a film adaptation — announced a short while ago.

On the film, starring Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo, and directed by "Glee's" Ryan Murphy (most of these details were actually relayed a year ago, via various trade reports), HBO offered these fresh specifics:

"Roberts plays Dr. Emma Brookner, the paraplegic physician who treats several of the earliest victims of the disease. Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses firsthand the mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Matt Bomer ('White Collar,' 'Magic Mike') plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover."

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Interesting aside: Alec Baldwin had earlier been attached, but no word on whether he still is . . .

David Letterman to Oprah: Ashamed of scandal; thinks Leno is funny

OWN continues to shrewdly leak out clips of its David Letterman/Oprah Winfrey encounter this Sunday (making you wonder - why watch!?) and here are a couple of others. First up, his thoughts on the 2009 sex scandal which sent a blackmailer to jail; and what he really thinks of that silly old rivalry with Jay Leno...

'Hawaii Five-0' lets you pick an episode ending

Alex O'Loughlin, left, and Scott Caan star in

(Credit: CBS)

This is actually kinda interesting - if the idea of picking an ending of a popular serial qualifies as "interesting," and maybe it should: "Hawaii Five-O" will give viewers the option of selecting one of three different endings while the Jan. 14 episode is in progress. Winning entry airs and another little chapter in the history of social media-meets-mass media will have been...

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