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Short-form Beyoncé series to launch on HBO

Singer Beyonce performs on her "Mrs. Carter Show

(Credit: AP)

Beyoncé -- who has a relationship with HBO going back to at least last year's much viewed "Life Is But a Dream" special -- will return to the network in a 10-part mini program series that draws from her performances in "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour."

How short? Four minutes... and here's the interesting part: Each of these mini-performance episodes will lead into "True Blood" beginning June 29. Each will start at 8:55 p.m.

Ask yourself the obvious question -- what Beyoncé or the tour have to do with "True Blood" -- and you will be forced to come up with the obvious answer: Nothing! But at least they'll benefit from the huge audience that will arrive each Sunday for the final season wrap of "True Blood."

The "Carter" tour, which ended in March, comprised 132 concerts in 27 countries. It was of course a huge event, and now, HBO/ "True Blood" fans will get a sanctioned (as opposed to a pirated YouTube) look at the highlights.  

 

'Game of Thrones' fourth season finale, 'The Children,' recap: Valar morghulis

Charles Dance in season 4 of "Game of

(Credit: HBO / Macall B. Polay)

With the rip-roaring fourth season of "Game of Thrones" now history, best to begin at the end of last night's finale, "The Children":

"Valar morghulis," Arya says to the initially reluctant captain, and with this High Valeryian phrase secures passage to Braavos - the "free city" on the edge of Essos, the vast unknown land across the seas where Arya's story moves next season.

He responds:...

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D-Day programming: NBC, the History Channel

From left, World War II veterans of the

(Credit: AP)

The 70th anniversary of D-Day today will be marked by at least two major programs -- on NBC ("Brian Williams Reporting: Journey to Normandy" at 8) and the History Channel. Meanwhile, if you are near a set, live coverage of D-Day ceremonies are being covered on CNN and MSNBC.

This is, of course, an enormously important anniversary, for how many veterans of that historical day will be around...

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HBO: 'Game of Thrones' has surpassed 'The Sopranos'

A deal between Amazon Prime and HBO will

(Credit: HBO)

"Game of Thrones" has officially become HBO's most popular series of all time, according to a source that should know: HBO. The network just announced, saying "Game" has an average gross audience of 18.4 million, which surpassed "The Sopranos," which set its high-water mark in 2002, at 18.2 million. An apples to oranges comparison, you say? Well...maybe. Millions certainly watch on HBO GO, and via DVR. "GO," of course, did not exist in the Jurassic age of TV, circa 2002. 

 Nevertheless, a remarkable stat. Here's the full announcement: 

With two episodes remaining in the fourth season of GAME OF THRONES, the show has now become the most popular series in HBO’s history. Episodes of the show, which debut Sunday nights (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), have an average gross audience of 18.4 million viewers, surpassing the previous record set by the 2002 season of “The Sopranos,” which had an average gross audience of 18.2 million viewers per episode. Season three of GAME OF THRONES had an average gross audience of 14.4 million viewers per episode. The next episode of GAME OF THRONES debuts Sunday, June 8, followed by the season finale Sunday, June 15. Based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin, GAME OF THRONES is an epic story of treachery and nobility set on the continent of Westeros, where summers and winters can last years, and only the lust for power is eternal. The Emmy®- and Golden Globe-winning series was recently renewed for a fifth and sixth season.

McConaughey signals interest in another 'True Detective'

Matthew McConaughey, left, and Woody Harrelson in "True

(Credit: HBO / Lacey Terrell)

He's in! Maybe! Matthew McConaughey - a lead-pipe cinch, as they say, to win the best drama/actor Emmy statue for "True Detective" in August - told Deadline's Mike Fleming that he's open to the idea of a "Detective" reprisal. Here's the pull quote: 

If you’d wanted sequels, you could have stayed doing movies? MCCONAUGHEY: I liked True Detective, the whole series and the experience of making it, so much that I’d be open to doing another one now. At the time, I was looking at six months and not beyond that. I don’t know of a feature film I’d sign for where I’m going to say, “If this works, you’ve got me whenever you want me for the next three years.

The will-he-or-won't-he question has tended to consume fans of "Detective," much as their many bucket lists of whom they'd like to see cast in the next edition. The last one was a huge hit for HBO - culturally and otherwise. The network is coyly holding its cards close, but McConaughey's interest would appear to be a game-changer, no? 

HBO to air 'Band of Brothers' on Friday, 70th anniversary of D-Day

"Band of Brothers" is a perfect binge project:

(Credit: Archive)

Here's a real treat for someone who has all day to sit in front of a TV set on Friday -- and seriously, this would not be a waste of time: HBO is airing the entire 10-part 2001 classic, "Band of Brothers," from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  And of course, if you'd rather not, just check it out at HBO Go -- it's all there in all its glory, too. This really is however a wonderful series, and a great binge project, too.

Per HBO program notes, "B of B" is the story of "Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Starting with their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942, it recounts the achievements of the elite rifle company, which parachuted into France early on D-Day morning, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and captured Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden. Based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s acclaimed book of the same name, 'Band of Brothers'' chronicles a unit that took 150 percent casualties and became true American heroes."

HBO's 'The Normal Heart:' review

Mark Ruffalo, left, and Taylor Kitsch star in

(Credit: HBO / Jojo Whilden)

HBO's "The Normal Heart" arrives Sunday, and for the network - and director Ryan Murphy - this is a considerable undertaking not without risk, for these times are - in some regards - more polarized than '85, when the Joseph Papp production opened at the Public Theater. (The role of Ned Weeks - essentially the play's author Larry Kramer - was originated by "Midnight Express'"  Brad Davis - Billy...

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'True Blood' final season trailer...the first

Get ready. The final season of "True Blood"

(Credit: YouTube / trueblood )

The last season of "True Blood" begins June 22, which should give us just enough time to digest -- bad choice of word, but for now will do -- all the juicy (another wrong word) trailers that HBO will be feeding (how many wrong words can I stuff in a "True Blood" post?) fans between now and then. This one bites off a lot without sucking any vitality out of what to expect.

Oh dear.

Just take a look; this one arrived Friday:

 

Jim Parsons on 'The Daily Show' talks 'The Normal Heart'

Actor Jim Parsons arrives on the red carpet

(Credit: Getty Images / AFP)

"The Normal Heart" -- Larry Kramer's autobiographical play on the AIDS crisis from 1985 -- will arrive on HBO May 25, with Jim Parsons in the role of Tommy Boatwright (which he also played on Broadway). That means ... interviews!

On Thursday night he spoke to Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" about the play, the role, and what it all means now (though in truth he doesn't get too deeply into that aspect). It's an interesting interview, and all I'd strongly advise that as you watch this (and "The Normal Heart"), do not -- I repeat, do not -- think of Sheldon Cooper. Strip your mind of the iconic role, if possible.

"Heart," directed by Ryan Murphy, has a reasonably remarkable cast: Besides Parsons, Matt Bomer plays Felx Turner, while Alfred Molina and Mark Ruffalo play the Weeks' brothers, Ben and Ned, respectively. (Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch and Jonathan Groff also star.) 

There's no way around it: This will be a big Emmy winner for HBO, and -- I suspect -- for Parsons.

 

 

 

'Game of Thrones' recap: Night's King makes his entrance

Charles Dance in season 4 of "Game of

(Credit: HBO / Macall B. Polay)

Of the pleasures denied, or at least postponed, in "Game of Thrones" is a deeper exploration of the Others, or White Walkers, those mythological half-dead, half-alive creatures of the land of perpetual winter who emerge ever so briefly from the windblown snow, like white shadows, then disappear again before anyone can think much about them or focus on them.

They inhabit the magical edges of...

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