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.

'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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Television Was UsTube

When "Davy Crockett" debuted on ABC in 1954, the show was supposed to be a flop. "Crockett" was an earnest series of dramas based on the manly exploits of the American adventurer, starting with "Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter." The show was the brainchild of Walt Disney himself, who devised it to promote Frontierland at his new amusement park, Disneyland.

Newsmakers

Roseanne is back with a one-hour comedy special on HBO. She spoke with Nicki Gostin.I'm trying to get comfortable with aging. It's hard. Reality is really tough.No.

Ready for Prime Time?

One of the disadvantages of being the last TV show to debut on the fall schedule is that your show has already been discussed, dissected and, in some quarters, dismissed before it's hit the air.

Killer Serials

There's a rule of thumb for writers that goes, if you introduce a gun into your story, it had better go off. In the first episode of ABC's "The Nine," the gun appears before the first commercial--and is never seen again.

Starting to Feel 'Lost'

I'm reluctant to question the way that "Lost" unlocks its secrets. The show has changed directions countless times in its first two seasons, and each of the zigzags—discovering the hatches, the second set of survivors, the "Others" and of course the whole mysterious "Dharma" initiative—has only deepened the story and fed fans' obsession with this most willfully inscrutable show.

Televsion: Shark

James Woods has never been Hollywood's most subtle actor--which makes him perfect for "Shark." Sebastian Stark, a.k.a. Shark, is the legal equivalent of flesh-eating bacteria, a high-priced defense attorney who devours anyone standing between him and victory.

Race Baiting

"Survivor: Cook Islands," which premiered Thursday night, received much more than the usual preshow buildup thanks to a controversial gimmick: the four tribes are segregated—and we do mean segregated—by race: black, white, Asian and Latino.

Oh Brother

This is a good time to be a bad guy. Tony Soprano, Dr. House, "The Shield," "Deadwood"—the badder the lead character, the bigger the ratings and acclaim.

Putting a Spell on Us

Aaron spelling was the McDonald's of TV producers--no one ever accused him of being a master chef, but he sold more shows than anyone. Spelling, who died last week of a stroke at 83, was never deluded by where the likes of "The Love Boat," "Dynasty" and "T.J.

Chappelle: A Dozen Skits, a Million Questions

On July 9, Comedy Central will air what it's calling "Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes," but that must be a typo. These are really the last episodes, as in the dozen skits Dave Chappelle had filmed before he went crazy or to Africa or wherever he went after he walked away from his $55 million (or so) contract.

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