ESPN: Worldwide Cheerleader?

Throughout July, ESPN's award-winning flagship news hour "SportsCenter" is devoting a chunk of every broadcast to a segment called "Who's Now." It's an elimination tournament, purely theoretical, to determine which current athlete is the most "now"—although two weeks into the competition, it's still anyone's guess what exactly "now" means.

TV Review: 'Damages' and 'Saving Grace'

There is something broken about an industry that can't find good work for actresses like Glenn Close and Holly Hunter. No one wants to hear another pious rant about the film business's allergy to women over the age of 40, because, for one thing, it's not entirely true, and for another, enough already.

Emmy Noms: Why 'Lost' Got Overlooked

The two most talked-about television events of the past year were the final season of "The Sopranos," during which Tony Soprano either did or didn't die in the final seconds of the last episode, and the season finale of "Lost," which blew its audience's collective mind with (spoiler coming, sorry) a pre-crash, pre-island flashback that was actually—gotcha!—a post-crash, post-rescue flash-forward.

The Men of Summer

Is it weird that television's best new drama of the summer is on a channel called American Movie Classics? No more peculiar than MTV's thriving for years without playing much music, right?

After 'The Sopranos', HBO's Next Act

To help remodel the house that Tony Soprano built, HBO will unveil five original series over the next year, including a show about a combustible family of California surfers, a broad satire of filthy-rich Friends of Dubya set deep in the heart of Texas and a relationship drama with scenes of raw sexuality between four different couples, among them a pair of white-haired sixtysomethings.

'Waitress': Filmmaker's Sad Goodbye

Adrienne Shelly wrote, directed, co-set-designed, co-costume-designed and costars in the new film "Waitress." She also composed a song for the soundtrack and gave her 3-year-old daughter, Sophie, a cameo in the final scene.

Controversial PBS Series: 'America at a Crossroads'

In "The Case for War," the third installment of PBS's sprawling, 11-part, $20 million documentary series "America at a Crossroads," former Bush administration adviser Richard Perle spends the better part of an hour explaining why going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do. "The Case for War" has infuriated many public broadcasters and media watchdogs from the moment that plans for it, and for "America at a Crossroads," were announced in March 2004.

TV: When No News Is Not Good News

If you were looking to build a case for the sheer pointlessness of 24-hour cable-news networks, Monday afternoon's coverage of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech would've been a great place to start.

Horror No Longer Scares Hollywood

The medical photographs on Robert Rodriguez's laptop are, in a word, disgusting. They show real, live human beings afflicted with ... actually, Robert, why don't you explain? "It's this thing called 'necrotizing fasciitis.' It's basically a flesh-eating virus," he says, giggling. "Pretty nasty, huh?" The 38-year-old director ("Sin City") borrowed the photos from a doctor pal and used them to inspire the look of the zombies in "Planet Terror," an 85-minute splatterfest that kicks off...

Q & A: Quentin Tarantino

People are always eating and drinking in Quentin Tarantino's films, and he always makes sure to give them cool places to do it. The 44-year-old filmmaker loves colorful banter, and restaurants and bars are the ideal setting.

TV Preview: How Will 'The Sopranos' End?

In the opening moments of the April 8 season premiere of "The Sopranos," a loud knock at the front door startles Tony and Carmela out of sleep. "Is this it?" she asks, with a flash of panic.

TV: A Radio Classic Gets a Look

Last summer, the Chicago Tribune printed a peculiar story about the nationally syndicated public-radio show "This American Life." The story wasn't so much about the show, which has a loyal weekly following of 1.7 million listeners, so much as it was about the show's staff and their struggles to get situated in their new home, New York City, after a decade of happy times in Chicago, where "This American Life" got its start.

HBO's Hard Look at Addiction

What happens to drug addicts who don't get the help that they need? Forget for a moment whether you believe the prevailing science that addiction is a disease, or that proper medical care—and not willpower alone—is required to overcome it.

TV: Wedding Bell Blues

David E. Kelley's new hourlong comedy for Fox, "The Wedding Bells," about three sisters (named, tah-dah, Bell) who run a fancy, full-service wedding parlor, is dreadful in a multitude of ways, but at least it clarified for me how important I'll be at my own wedding in two months: not at all.

Why Tv Is Better Than The Movies

Denis Leary remembers the exact moment when all his notions about what television could be got blown to smithereens. It came during the first season of "The Sopranos." "It was the episode where Tony Soprano is driving Meadow to visit colleges and he runs into the snitch along the way," says Leary, the star and co-creator of FX's firefighter dramedy "Rescue Me." Tony (James Gandolfini) happens upon the turncoat, who'd been placed in witness protection, at a gas station on some leafy country road.

Stop Or They'll Shoot!

Armed & famous," CBS's new reality series about celebrities turned cops in Muncie, Ind., is one of those abominations that get people moaning about the plight of American culture, but if nothing else, the show justifies its existence by giving us scenes where someone can utter the phrase "Officer La Toya Jackson." The seven-episode series is like a cross between "Cops" and "Scooby-Doo," only instead of Shaggy, the team doofus is 4-foot-7 Jason (Wee-Man) Acuña of "Jackass" fame. (WWE wrestler...

Smashing Your 'Idols'

Since "American Idol" has helped make this country into a place where we bare our souls, no matter the price, here's my confession: last night's season premiere was the first time I'd ever watched an entire episode of it.

The Final Hunt

From his hotel bed in Cairns, Australia, John Stainton stared at the ceiling and waited for sleep to take him. 1 a.m. ... 2 a.m. ... 3 a.m. ... But it never came.

Sarah Silverman

At two minutes past 3 o'clock, Sarah Silverman calls and the first thing she says is, "I am so sorry." She is exactly two minutes late. That's the real Sarah Silverman.

Olympics: America's Top Ski Bum

Even now, Bode Miller insists he had a blast at February's Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. He hung out with his pals, ate good food and partied till he dropped.

The Arctic Adventurer

On an unseasonably warm day just south of the Arctic circle, the star of "The Golden Compass" flops into a chair near a snowdrift and braces herself for an onslaught of questions.

Attack of the Killer Basketball!

Of all the complaints that that NBA players have lodged about the new "microfiber composite" basketball in use this year, this one is surely the most bizarre: apparently, players are suffering cuts on their fingers from it.

Revisiting the Tsunami

The opening sequence of "Tsunami: The Aftermath," HBO's noble new mini-series about the minutes, hours and days following the December 2004 disaster in south Asia, has the bewildering power of a nightmare.

Attack of the Killer Basketball!

Of all the complaints that NBA players have lodged about the new "microfibre composite" basketball in use during league play this year, this one is surely the most bizarre: apparently, players are suffering cuts on their fingers from it.

2006: A Space Oddity

Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain" stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in a time-tripping, psychedelic love story set in three different centuries. The story of how it got made is either (a) the story of a gifted director who refused to quit on an idea and bet his career on the movie of his dreams, or it's (b) a folly about a myopic talent who set out to make an Important Film and ended up delivering a silly one.

The Brain Behind Borat

For a brief moment in December 2004, the "Borat" movie was on the brink of collapse. The original director had left--"creative differences" with the star, the usual stuff--and the studio was getting twitchy. "We were officially a problem project at that point," recalls producer Jay Roach, who directed "Austin Powers." Leading man Sacha Baron Cohen's choice to take over was "Seinfeld" veteran Larry Charles--but there was a problem. "I had hair down to my a--, a beard down to my waist and I was...

Back to the Future

You can always tell the precise moment when a big movie franchise goes completely off the rails. It's never subtle. When George Clooney showed up with nipples on his Batsuit, it was all over.

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