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Is This the End of 'American Idol'?

After 10 long years of big-footing its way through pop culture, it looks like "American Idol" has sung its last note as the country's No. 1 TV show, music ("music"?) source, Broadway feeder school, and all-around entertainment distraction. With the departure of judges Ellen DeGeneres and (reportedly) Kara DioGuardi, there is no way that "Idol" will continue as the well-oiled machine that it was in the hallowed days of Randy-Paula-Simon.
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'Jersey Shore': The Backlash Begins

"Jersey Shore" returns this Thursday, and right on cue, the naysayers are piping up—from The New York Times to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. What are they saying about America's new icons?
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Angelina Jolie: Spy Master?

Consider: Angie's thriller "Salt" opens in less than a month, and it just so happens that she plays an American woman who is accused of spying for the Russians. Now, if folks are finding it hard to believe that the Russians—decades after the end of the Cold War—had engineered some kind of long-range plan to infiltrate Washington think tanks, is it any less conceivable that yesterday's news was really a ruse created to drum up publicity for a movie?
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Isner Over Mahut: So Long, It Hurts

Who says tennis is a gentlemanly game? The marathon, three-day match at Wimbledon between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut—just resolved in Isner's favor, at 70 to 68 games—became something like mortal combat . . . for the fans.

Film Review: '8: The Mormon Proposition'

A good documentary should be like a kindergarten teacher: something that sternly makes you pay attention, and if you're lucky, learn something. By that standard, what grade should "8" receive?

PBS Relaunching Retro Fave "Electric Company"

HEY, YOU GUYS! That's not a desperate plea to read this article (mostly). For children of the '70s, it's the catchiest catchphrase from the hippest TV show this side of "High School Musical." "The Electric Company" was the first show to make a grade-school kid feel like a grown-up. It was basically a sketch comedy—a sort of junior "Carol Burnett"—filled with silly skits, pop-culture spoofs and snappy songs. It was so good that most kids never noticed it was really a reading booster shot. The amazing cast included Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno, but the real stars were the diphthongs, blended syllables and a pre-Dave guy named Letterman.No PC-savvy, Wii-crazy kid would go near such retro stuff today, so why is PBS launching a new version of "Electric Company" next week? Because more than a quarter of public-school fourth graders are still below-level readers for their age. Because after kids graduate from "Dora" and "Sesame Street," there isn't a lot of literacy-oriented...

Film on NHL's Sean Avery and the Fashion World

You might say that Sean Avery is the human equivalent of jock itch. It's his job, as the baddest badass in the National Hockey League, to annoy his opponents, to get under their skin—anything to gain an edge. Like the time he painted his fingernails black. "It was an experiment to see what a guy would do when he saw a fist coming at him and the nails are painted," he says. Or the time he turned his back on a game against New Jersey so he could wave his arms to block goalie Martin Brodeur's view and glare at him like a jackal. "I still remember the look on his face," says Avery. "I think at that point he thought I was officially out of my f–––ing mind." The NHL promptly outlawed that kind of diversionary tactic in what is now called "the Avery Rule." "I only got to do it once," he says, "but it was a good once."If you met Avery on the street, though, you'd never guess he likes to get bloody. Quite the opposite. He may be the most hated guy in the NHL, but he's hands down its best...

The Oscars Should Die

Whether or not the Hollywood writers' strike nixes this year's Academy Awards telecast, it may be time to kill the show.

Babs’s Stepson Also Rises

You might call Josh Brolin the Rory Culkin (or Stephen Baldwin or Lorna Luft) of the moment. He's one of those actors who are better known for their bloodlines—dad James Brolin, wife Diane Lane, stepmother Barbra Streisand—than for their own work. To the extent it's possible to take pity on someone so blessed, I do feel for the guy: Brolin is talented, but it's hard to avoid the hunch that he's getting work only because he's worked his connections. It's not as though his résumé is sparkling. His greatest hits include "The Younger Riders" (with Stephen Baldwin!) and a TV drama called "Mister Sterling." Oh, and "The Goonies."So how, I wondered, did he land?in two of this year's most intense dramas, the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men" and Ridley Scott's "American Gangster"? Talk about setting yourself up for disaster. Brolin's costars are Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem (in "No Country"), and Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe (in "Gangster"). Together, they have four Oscars...

TV: The End of 'The Sopranos'

One of the perks of being a TV critic is that you get to see all the shows before the public does. So you can imagine what my week has been like. Everyone who knows what I do for a living has asked me: "Does Tony die at the end of 'Sopranos'?" One person framed the question like this: "Do we know what happens at the end of 'Sopranos'?" To which I responded: "We can't know because you obviously do not." I know—bitchiness is never becoming, but I couldn't help myself. The fact is, I don't know how "The Sopranos" ends, and I'm very, very bitter about it. After all the hours I wasted watching "Lucky Louie," at least HBO could slip me the finale. I promise I won't tell anyone.OK, that's probably not true—I am a reporter, after all. I'd have to tell someone, even if it were only my mother. But since HBO doesn't trust me, I have no choice but to make something up. What follows are my theories of what might happen to Tony and the gang (what's left of it) on this Sunday's series finale: ...

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