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TV Critics Tour: New Showtime series, 'The Affair,' to be shot on LI

British actress Ruth Wilson, who will star in

Beverly Hills -- "The Affair," a Showtime newcomer arriving in October and starring Ruth Wilson and Dominic West, will be shot over the full 10-episode season in Montauk, showrunner Sarah Treem said yesterday.

And yes - that is unusual because the Hamptons and points east are considered (in fact are) enormously expensive places to shoot a series, while other LI-based series, like "Royal Pains"...

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TV Critics tour: 'Homeland' arrives in October

This photo released by Showtime shows Claire Danes

(Credit: AP)

Beverly Hills -- "Homeland" will be back Oct. 5 -- a Sunday, so don't bother checking the calender. The return date was announced here Friday, and just to add a little salt with that pepper, Showtime also unveiled the first new season tease (see below).

This season -- by the way -- is currently in production in South Africa... South Africa? Yes, South Africa, and not because the storyline...

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Was Fox's 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,' ending Sunday, a success, or...?

This photo released by Fox shows Neil deGrasse

(Credit: AP)

"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" ends Sunday (WNYW/5 at 9 p.m.), and before this remarkable Fox venture sails off into infinity and beyond, a brief farewell...

There has certainly never been anything quite like "Cosmos" on Fox -- bedfellows as strange as bedfellows could be, made stranger by the presence of Seth McFarlane, who brought this 13-part remake of the 1980 Carl Sagan classic to the...

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Daytime Emmy Award nominations: The shrinking drama category

Actors of TV series "The Bold and Beautiful"

(Credit: Getty Images)

The Daytime Emmy Awards nominations were announced a little while ago -- for the June 22 ceremony -- and from the long list of nominees (350 out of some 1,400 submissions), this sober observation: The Emmys struggled to find actual daytime shows to honor.

Only four nods to soaps, and one them, "One Life to Live," is no longer in production. To bolster the category, the Emmys have added a "new...

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'Mad Men' final season premiere review: Don Draper still in a dark place

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on "Mad Men's"

(Credit: AMC / Michael Yarish)

What it's about: As per custom, "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner asked that no plot details of the seventh and final season opener are offered here, so, instead, some broad strokes.

The end of last season fell around Thanksgiving, 1968, and Don (Jon Hamm) was essentially fired from his own agency after suffering a breakdown in a client meeting with Hershey.

However, he had already told...

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Return dates for 'Masters of Sex,' 'Ray Donovan'

And now this: Showtime has announced return dates for "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex:" July 13. That's a Sunday and airtimes are 9 and 10, respectively. Both are sophomores and both are acclaimed - "Masters of Sex" in particular, based on definitive biography of Williams Masters and Virginia Johnson by Newsday's Tom Maier. Both series are twelve episodes each. 

Key and Peele on Showtime's 'Inside Comedy' Monday

"Key & Peele": Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele

(Credit: AP)

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele comprise one of the funniest teams working in television today, and so this makes perfect sense: They'll be featured on David Steinberg's "Inside Comedy" on Showtime this Monday at 11 p.m. More Key & Peele news: Comedy Central just added more episodes to this season's run, and handed them a deal to produce an animated series. They'll also be on FX's "Fargo." (Seriously, they will be... .)

Garry Marshall will also be on Monday's edition (11 p.m.). I don't have a clip of Marshall, but here's one of Key and Peele.

Seth MacFarlane's 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey' review: Basic yet beautiful

Bronx-born Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the

(Credit: FOX)

So what did we think of Seth MacFarlane's "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," premiering Sunday on Fox, while hitching a ride on half a dozen other Fox-owned networks (that's called a "simulcast" ). My thoughts... .

"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," WNYW/5, Sunday night at 9, then Monday nights at 9.

What it's about: This 13-part series produced by Seth MacFarlane, who also does some voice work here (some of the historical figures and sequences are in anime), is a remake of Carl Sagan's 1980 series, "Carl Sagan's Cosmos," which charted the creation of the universe, planets and life and became a huge hit for PBS in the process. With a major assist from Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan and Steven Soter -- both of whom wrote the original with Sagan, who died in 1996 -- this "Cosmos" is hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, also director of the Hayden Planetarium. Sunday's opener, like Sagan's, begins beyond the stars, at the beginning of the universe, as Tyson (like Sagan) takes flight in his own "Ship of the Imagination." "It's time," says Tyson, "to journey from the infinitesimal to the infinite."


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My say: Seth MacFarlane does Carl Sagan's "Cosmos?" Is this the cosmos' idea of a cosmic joke? Or is this project perhaps MacFarlane's atonement for his TV sins (and "Ted," too?) Billions and billions and billions of years of evolution, and 75 years of TV, and we all now meet at this point in space and time, whereby the guy who created "Family Guy" channels an eminent planetary astronomer and his classic TV series... What does this all mean?

Who cares. Is "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" any good? Based on the first (and only) episode sent out for review, yeah, it's good and in some ways superior to the original. Those are, of course, the obvious "ways," represented by quantum leaps in special effects technology that transport Sagan's original vision to places even he could never have dreamed of. It's a dazzling vertiginous swirl of stars, planets, galaxies and super-clusters while the money sequence Sunday features a proto-Earth and moon rapidly accreting out of space junk and stardust. Were Sagan alive to witness this extravagant TV spectacle, he'd happily approve.

But in some ways this "Cosmos" is also inferior to the original. Sagan's "Cosmos" began with a breathtaking visual idea: What if you, the viewer, were to approach Earth from the farthest reaches of the known universe? This offered a unique cosmic perspective by placing our pale blue dot -- Earth -- within the infinite span of space and time. Accompanied to a soundtrack by Vangelis, Sagan's "Cosmos" carefully led the viewer on this intellectual journey, patiently explaining reasonably difficult science with singular clarity and compelling language. (In addition to his many talents, Sagan was also a wonderful writer.)

But commercial TV doesn't have the luxury of time, so there's a rushed, breathless quality to this finished product. Basic ideas are laid out, but they're almost too basic. MacFarlane's "Cosmos" loves pictures. Sagan's "Cosmos" loved words.

But as a cosmic tour guide, Tyson is easily Sagan's equal. He brings Sagan's passion, wonderment and intellectual heft, and because he's told this story on so many other TV series, he remains a comfortable, familiar figure, too. Tyson closes Sunday's opener with an anecdote about a 17-year-old from the Bronx who long ago visited Sagan. That aspiring astronomer -- Tyson himself -- was treated with kindness and generosity. That day, he says, "I also learned the kind of person I wanted to be." In this series, one hopes Sagan will be repaid.

Bottom line: Basic yet beautiful, "Cosmos" appears to be a winner.

Grade: B+

CNN ends 'Piers Morgan Live'

CNN confirms on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, that

(Credit: AP)

Piers Morgan is kaput. CNN has confirmed the story that Morgan himself confirmed to The New York Times about an hour ago. 

The blunt and unlovely statement: "CNN confirms that Piers Morgan Live is ending. The date of the final program is still to be determined."

Morgan did what he pretty much had to do -- put on a good face in an interview with the Times' David Carr, who knew the score of this game long ago, too, or, as Carr precisely and accurately puts it in his scoop: 


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"It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial."

Morgan told the Times: "Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”

"Jeff" is Jeff Zucker, CNN chief. 

 Meanwhile, a Times of London story said Morgan may have taken the fall for his anti-gun stance. Good for Morgan, but apparently the Times of London has never heard of "ratings" -- as in "pretty darned not good." 

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