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Casting Corner: Drop Dead Diva, Big Love and More

Here’s a quick look at some of the casting announcements made recently:

Drop Dead Diva: Paula Abdul will soon be featured in two programs about divas. On September 17, the former Idol judge will host VH1 Divas highlighting Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, Miley Cyrus and Jordin Sparks. Then just three days later, she will have a guest appearance on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva. Paula will play an actual judge - albeit a sexy one - in a dream sequence.

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2009 Primetime Emmy Nominations

2009 Emmy nominations

Bright and early this morning, Chandra Wilson and Jim Parsons announced the nominees for the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards.

Just like last year, we saw many first-timers named and a long list of cable acknowledgements (for both pay and basic channels). Thanks to expanded categories, we also saw a number of surprises (Flight of the Conchords, ) and overdue nominations (How I Met Your Mother, Big Love).

For the second year in a row, , with its 16 nominations, topped all drama programs. Meanwhile, 30 Rock broke comedy records with a whopping 22 noms. Overall, HBO was the most-nominated network with 99 mentions while NBC - yes, NBC - came in second.

This year’s ceremony will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris on Sept. 20 on CBS.


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2009 Screen Actors Guild Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Last January, the Screen Actors Guild Awards was considered a pleasant distraction from all the writers’ strike business. Since the actors now face their own work stoppage, this year’s event once again served as a nice diversion.

With the Academy Awards less than a month away, tonight’s ceremony gave us a better idea of how that broadcast might pan out. Was Kate Winslet another double-winner this evening? Did Mickey Rourke wrestle an additional victory? Is Heath Ledger on his way to that posthumous Oscar? Get all the details after the jump!

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2009 Golden Globe Awards

Posted by Veronica Santiago Categories: Award Shows, Prime Time, Cable, HBO, NBC, News,

Golden Globe

One year after a strike-induced absence, the drinking resumed. Although the drew its usual set of followers tonight, this year’s program carried even more significance than usual. The reason? Heath Ledger.

With or without the Dark Knight nomination, the ceremony would have been interesting. Was this going to be the year a film about an Indian game show (Slumdog Millionaire) won top prize? Would either Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia, Doubt) or Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road, The Reader) walk away with two awards? Could ‘s comeback performance in The Wrestler earn him a surprise win over Sean Penn (Milk)?

To find out the answer to these questions (and many more), you can read our detailed coverage after the jump!

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Amy Poehler Officially Says Goodbye to Saturday Night Live

Yesterday evening, finally made it official: her days with Saturday Night Live are now over.

Although she was not expected to return after the birth of her son in October, Amy surprised audiences last Saturday when she appeared in two sketches. This weekend, she reunited with Maya Rudolph (I thought was gone from SNL too?) for another episode of “Bronx Beat” before joining Seth Meyers on the news desk.

You can Poehler’s emotional goodbye above and her skewering of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich after the jump.

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Amy Poehler Makes Surprise Return to SNL

Although she had intended to move on from Saturday Night Live, delivered an early Christmas present to her fans this weekend.

Poehler, who has been absent from the late-night program since giving birth on October 25, appeared in two segments during yesterday’s broadcast. After reprising her role as - who else could possibly play the future Secretary of State? - she reunited with Seth Meyers for another edition of the Weekend Update.

Could Clinton’s new cabinet position mean additional SNL appearances from Amy in the future? Keep your fingers crossed!

SNL Brings On Two New Females

Abby ElliottMichaela Watkins

Although recently lost Amy Poehler to motherhood and Tina Fey (once again) to 30 Rock, the show will soon go back to being unevenly staffed. This weekend, Lorne Michaels will introduce two new women to the NBC program. These casting additions will bring the female portion of the crew up to four. (If you count Seth Meyers, the male half currently stands at nine.)

Starting November 15, Abby Elliott (above left) and Michaela Watkins (above right) will become the latest Not Ready for Prime-Time Players. Elliott - who has performed with the Upright Citizens Brigade (the group co-founded by Poehler) - is also the daughter of a former SNL alum (comedian Chris Elliott). Meanwhile Watkins, who has appeared on several episodes of , comes with several ties of her own. She was once a member of The Groundlings, a comedy troupe that lists Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig amongst its former participants.

Paul Rudd and Beyonce are the featured guests on this Saturday’s show.

Read More | TV Guide

SNL Alum Not Amused By Sarah Palin

After tons of hype and media attention, vice presidential candidate finally made an appearance (for real) on SNL. I would have rather just watched Tina Fey (who at least makes the wanna-be veep seem charming)…and apparently I’m not alone in that sentiment.

“Quite frankly, it’s a big mistake to let her go on,” said former regular and Weekend Update anchor Chevy Chase. “Apparently, she [Sarah Palin] cannot improvise herself out of a paper bag!” Or drooping polls.

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Tina Fey Brings Spark to Saturday Night Live’s Ratings

Although ‘s episodes have been creatively uneven (What was up with that Michael Phelps swimming sketch?), the 2008 political season has been good to the show. Prior to last night’s broadcast, NBC saw a 50% ratings bump over 2007’s first two weeks.

A large part of the program’s recent success is, of course, due to ‘s hilarious portrayal of Sarah Palin. Last night, the Emmy winner’s second attempt helped SNL improve 46% over this point last year. (You can see the clip of yesterday’s opener below.) Given that the Vice-Presidential debate is scheduled for this Thursday, I expect we will see Fey one more before we hit a rerun. (For some reason, the producers can only manage four episodes in a row before needing to recharge.)

and The Killers are the featured guests next Saturday.

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Hollywood Reporter

The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards

60th Primetime Emmy Awards logo

Even though the previous television season was marred by the annoying writers’ strike, I find myself really excited for the . Not only will this ceremony give us a chance to start anew, it’ll be the academy’s chance to celebrate what’s new.

Tonight, two basic cable shows (Damages, Mad Men) will get a chance to win for Outstanding Drama Series. (That would be an Emmy first.) Meanwhile, nominees in several categories will have an opportunity to compete in a Sopranos-less environment. An added bonus? A new category. This year, reality show hosts will finally be acknowledged for their programming contributions as well.

So who won? Who lost? Who ran up and grabbed the award even though they didn’t win? Read our West Coast play-by-play account of this evening’s telecast and find out!

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Academy of Television Arts & Sciences