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TCAs: Showtime talks 'Masters of Sex'

Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy

(Credit: AP)

Beverly Hill -- This fall Showtime will launch a new series based on the distinguished biography of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson by veteran Newsday investigative reporter, Thomas Maier, but yesterday, critics here got a first look at the cast that will front this intriguing newcomer, notably Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.

Both had much to say about their roles (see...

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Seth Meyers says next season 'exciting time' for 'SNL'

Writer and actor Seth Meyers talks to television

(Credit: Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.  -- Maybe he's being ironic, or maybe euphemistic, or just flat-out accurate, but Seth Meyers -- who will leave "Saturday Night Live" next February for "Late Night" -- just told critics here that the forthcoming season will be "a really exciting time" for the classic. Reason: It'll be the time to build and explore and expose new talent, much as it did back in the 2006 to 2007 season when now-departed stars like Andy Samberg joined.

As you know, four key cast members, Seth included, will be gone next season.

Meyers was here with "SNL" vet and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" producer, Michael Shoemaker, to talk about their new animated superhero comedy, "The Awesomes," which begins Thursday with two episodes on Hulu.

Shoemaker seconded Meyers' reaction to the big void, saying such mass departures are "thrilling" times for the creative team at "SNL." 

TCAs: Will there be a 'Dexter' spinoff?

Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan and Michael C.

(Credit: Showtime)

Beverly Hills -- Showtime chief David Nevins all but confirmed a "Dexter" spinoff this afternoon, after announcing that showrunner Scott Buck had signed an overall "development deal" with the network that might first see the creation of a series based on the novel, "American Dream Machine" (by Matthew Spektor; just published; about Hollywood.)

Nevins was asked...

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TCAs: Philip Seymour Hoffman joins Showtime comedy pilot

July 23: Philip Seymour Hoffman

(Credit: Getty Images)

Beverly Hills -- Philip Seymour Hoffman - who does TV about as often as I star in celebrated Oscar-winning movies - is coming to the small tube, in a new Showtime comedy; arrival date to be determined. Details of this have been leaked to various websites in recent weeks, but this afternoon, Showtime officially confirmed and larded in many additional details, including the name of writer and creator, Shalom Auslander, who doesn't have a whole heck of a lot of TV credits but is a well-regarded writer and contributor to  "This American Life."

Titled "Trending Down," herewith the outtakes from the press release - and yes, this appears interesting, indeed, and sounds like it will be as acidic as "Nurse Jackie" (first season, anyway) or "House of Lies." Clearly, Showtime is thinking "Emmy" all the way here, too:

TRENDING DOWN is a blistering attack on our youth-obsessed culture, and a darkly comic examination of what it means to matter. Or matter not. The project centers on Thom Payne, a man facing his own obsolescence after his advertising agency is taken over. The pilot is set to begin filming on the East Coast this fall.

'Breaking Bad': Ozymandias

Opinions will perhaps be divided on the deployment of Shelley's oft-used, oft-quoted, oft-cited, oft-recalled poem "Ozymandias" as the basis for this major new promotion for "Breaking Bad." But it does hammer home the theme of decay and decline that is captured in the opening seconds of the Aug. 11 episode.

In any event, here it is — your opinion is what counts; what think you? (And check out the new catch-up reel from AMC):

TCAs: Claire Danes talks 'Homeland,' Saul, acting and...'Saturday Night Live'

"Homeland" actress Claire Danes plays Carrie in the

(Credit: Showtime)

Beverly Hills — Claire Danes, suddenly the most celebrated actress on television, wasn't always so. Or to rephrase, she has pretty much always been celebrated, going back to "My So-called Life," but getting gigs hasn't always been easy. Yesterday, she talked about "Homeland" — she's up for another best actress Emmy — and the post-"Temple Grandin" drought. And "Saturday...

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TCAs: 'Homeland' reveals

Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, celebrate Emmy wins

(Credit: Getty Images)

Beverly Hills

The just-concluded "Homeland" presentation at the TV critic's tour is over, and from it we -- and now you -- learned this: Damian Lewis's Nicolas (needs no introduction) Brody will not --repeat --not appear in the first two episodes of the third season, which arrive on Showtime Sept. 20.

"Strictly a function of story," per co-showrunner Alex Gansa, because "there is so much transpiring on ground in Washington." (And no, this does not comprise one of those "spoilers" some readers find so annoying -- Gansa was even asked if this reveal was OK to mention).

And without getting too spoilery in this post, a couple of other notes: Both Gansa and Howard Gordon explained that the new season (in part) will be an exploration of the CIA post the terrorist attack that closed out the second season and also -- by the way -- a handful of key characters, notably David Harewood's David Estes.

Estes' death pushes Saul (Mandy Patinkin, and no, he was not in attendance here) into the driver's seat, which he occupies uncomfortably, or as Gansa puts it, "Saul finds himself in a unique position, sitting in the director's chair and all of a sudden finds himself having to make decisions and with the [future] actual existence of the CIA in question, he has to make to make choices ... he's not comfortable making. .... He's a man loath to make decisions and is forced to make the most important ones of his life."

Yup, the CIA is on trial in the third season and so is Carrie -- Claire Danes -- who was here, and we will get to her a little later in this blog, so you may want to check back.

Arsenio Hall on late-night TV this fall

BEVERLY HILLS — "The Arsenio Hall Show" ended 19 years ago — yes, time does fly — and will return Sept. 9.

A couple of hours ago, Hall, perhaps better known to some TV viewers these days as a recent winner of "Celebrity Apprentice," said that he understands full well that the late night world has changed since the last century: "One of the biggest challengers is to...

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TCAs: Robin Williams is back (on TV); here's why

Actors Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams speak

(Credit: Getty Images)

Beverly Hills-- Robin Williams returns to network TV this fall in his first live-action comedy in 31 years, and took to the stage here a bit earlier today to explain why: "It's great to have a steady gig after so long," he said, "It's wonderful." Not that steady work had been exactly hard to come by after "Mork & Mindy" ended in 1982. Williams has worked continuously...

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Will David Letterman stick around beyond 2014?

David Letterman was a topic of discussion at

(Credit: AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- David Letterman is under contract to remain as host of "Late Show" through next year, but a tremendous endorsement by CBS chief Leslie Moonves Monday morning strongly suggests that an extension is likely, if not imminent.

"We love David Letterman . . . he's our guy . . . we don't like drama at 11:30 . . ."

Here's the full quote: "Look,...

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