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Celebritology 2.0: December 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008

Friday List: TV's Most Awesome Holiday Episodes

Guest Celebritologist Jen Chaney weighs in with a Friday list designed to get everyone in a festive mood ... to watch TV. Earlier this week, I published my annual list of unconventional holiday movie and DVD fare, which sparked a lot of solid recommendations during this online discussion, as well as the usual round of "How dare you not include 'Love, Actually'!" outrage. Ah, the "Love, Actually" outrage. Such a fine December tradition. This being Friday and a day that Liz usually reserves for list-making, I decided to craft a complement to the unconventional movie/DVD list. So I bring you this rundown, in no particular order, of the 10 Most Awesome Holiday TV Episodes of the Past 20 Years. I limited the time frame to 20 years just to keep this in the contemporary realm (and also so someone wouldn't yell at me for leaving out a pivotal Christmas episode...

By Jen Chaney  | December 19, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Morning Mix: Jeremy Piven's Illness Revealed

Headlines: More details on the "mystery illness" that forced Jeremy Piven to leave Broadway's "Speed-the-Plow": apparently Ari is suffering from what his doctor calls "shocking" levels of mercury in his system, caused by consuming excess sushi and Chinese herbs... Jermaine Dupri denies that he and Janet Jackson are breaking up and, while he's at it, squashes rumors about her pregnancy... The film "Doubt" leads the Screen Actors Guild nominations with five nods... Angie Harmon and husband Jason Sehorn welcome third daughter, Emery Hope Sehorn... MTV News's Man of the Year? No, it's not Obama. It's...Lil Wayne! And their woman of the year? Twilighters! R.I.P.: "Apocalypse Now" actor Sam Bottoms -- he played surfing soldier Lance B. Johnson -- dies of brain cancer at age 53... Majel Rodenberry, the "First Lady" of "Star Trek," dies of leukemia at age 76... And the most famous informant in American history, Mark W....

By Jen Chaney  | December 19, 2008; 7:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  Daily Mix  
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Interview Tips for the Media-Challenged Celebrity

When Liz wrote last week about Fran Drescher's political aspirations, the first thing that came to mind was "worst interview ever." This is always my first thought whenever Drescher's name bubbles up from the celebrity swamp, because Tony Kornheiser burned it into my brain. Drescher did a spot on Mr. Tony's radio show in 2007 that could be described as a train wreck, except that train wrecks at least end quickly. It's not just the pat answers, the clear disinterest on her part in what Tony's saying, the frequent misunderstandings ... the woman actually has trouble operating her phone at one point. Drescher has since become a running joke on the show -- a guest may be bad, but at least he or she wasn't "Fran Drescher bad." Any mention of her will send Tony into a sputtering diatribe about how terrible she was to interview. In my day job...

By Jen Chaney  | December 18, 2008; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Celebritology 101  
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Morning Mix: Let the Inaugural Ball Battles Begin

Headlines: Stars jockeying for position at inaugural balls;Yo-Yo Ma/Beyonce feud almost inevitable... Miss Piggy opens up about love, life... NBC to auction ScarJo snot rag ... Will Smith tithes to Scientology ... Tom Cruise passes on son's premiere, cites conflicting schedules ... Death of fan gave Simon Cowell pause... 90210's Shenae Grimes commits crimes against fashion, gym-goers... Paris Hilton commits crimes against Bentley ...A-Rod practices really safe sex ... Brangelina brood to enjoy a DIY Christmas... Jeremy Piven, off Broadway . Rumor Mill: J. Lo, Marc Anthony breaking up... Kevin Bacon thinking about "Footloose" remake ... Speidi marriage a sham?... Vince Vaughn considers popping the question... Tiffani Thiessen pregnant... Christopher Nolan wearing Bad Idea jeans. Legal Watch: Court investigates Jodie Sweetin for drug use... Death of Mark Ruffalo's brother ruled a homicide... Cops: Mindy McCready hospitalized after suicide attempt... Akon pleads guilty to hurling fan...Man arrested for grabbing LiLo... Just...

By Jen Chaney  | December 18, 2008; 8:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  Daily Mix  
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You Name the Best Picture

"Benjamin Button," are you The One? (Merrick Morton/Paramount) While our beloved Liz is away, Jen Chaney -- Liz's partner in "Lost" obsessiveness -- weighs in with a guest post on the most wonderful time of the year. (Hint: It ain't the holidays.) Awards season is here and anyone who keeps track of Hollywood accolades is already -- to borrow a phrase from the timeless anthem "We Built This City" -- knee deep in the hoopla. Critics' groups from around the country have already begun to heap their praise on the year's best cinematic offerings, as has the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with last week's Golden Globe nominations. All of it is, of course, preamble to the Lord God King of Awards Shows, the Oscars, whose nominations will be announced Jan. 22. If you haven't been keeping score, consider the following the equivalent of a Sports Center update on the...

By Jen Chaney  | December 17, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Awards Season  
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Morning Mix: Madonna and Guy, Still Basking in Glow of Divorce

Headlines: Madonna and Guy Ritchie reportedly happy about divorce terms (um, if you were Guy Ritchie, wouldn't you be?)... Macaulay Culkin's family "absolutely heartbroken" over sister's death... Tensions mount over Screen Actors Guild vote... Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber name second son Samuel Kai Schreiber... Tom Cruise reportedly would love to see little Suri become an actress... Marilyn Monroe pics sold for nearly $150K... Lo Bosworth says Heidi Montag was drunk when she wed Spencer Pratt... Casting Call: Is Robert Pattinson in talks to join the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise?.. Jessica Alba joins "Office" Super Bowl episode alongside other high-wattage guest stars, including Jack Black. Tom Cruise Makes a List! Watch the star of "Valkyrie" poke fun at himself (and struggle to pronounce "heimlich") while doing a top 10 list on last night's "Late Show With David Letterman":...

By Jen Chaney  | December 17, 2008; 6:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Daily Mix  
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Jamie Foxx and Terrence Howard: Sing Off?

It seems Jamie Foxx and Terrence Howard are having a little tiff about singing talent, according to this video: Let's examine the situation closely. Jamie Foxx, an actor who began playing piano at age 3, carried a whole movie and won an Oscar for his portrayal of Ray Charles in part because of his vocal and instrumental skills. Terrence Howard, who isn't primarily known for his musical prowess though he recently released a CD, was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as pimp and aspiring rapper DJay in Hustle and Flow. And now, Jamie says Terrence dinged his music during a recent interview and Jamie wants some get back on it. To resolve this I demand a sing off at midnight on Dec. 31, 2008 in Times Square. May the best actor/singer win. Who's with me?! Guest Celebritologist Tanya Ballard Brown, an editor at NPR.org, loves sports cars...

By Nancy Kerr  | December 16, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Morning Mix: Madonna/Guy Divorce Settlement At Least $76 Million

Headlines: Madonna pays at least $76 million to get rid of ex-husband Guy Ritchie…Michelle Williams likely won't be working the awards circuit on behalf of Heath Ledger…Designers offer ideas for Obama's inauguration attire…Jack Black to do a stint on "The Office"...Anthony Pellicano sentenced to 15 years for iSpying on rich and famous…Dennis Quaid and hospital reach a $750,000 settlement over overdosing of his infant twins in November 2007... Daughter says Peter Falk ("Columbo") has Alzheimer's disease. -- Guest Celebritologist Tanya Ballard...

By Nancy Kerr  | December 16, 2008; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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The Celebrity-Fan Relationship: Walking the Line

A couple of recent incidents have gotten me thinking about the boundaries between stars and fans. Confession time here, I enjoy Rosie O'Donnell's blog. Rosie has often talked about how amazing it has been for her, as someone who grew up admiring Barbra Streisand, Joni Mitchell and others, to now be in a position where she can meet, interview, even socialize with huge stars. Her blog is pretty egalitaria: She posts pictures of her kids, writes in her capital letter-averse style about what she's up to, and answers questions from site visitors (or "bloggers," as she calls them). I used to think it was kind of nice how people would ask for her opinions on TV shows or snack foods (the ultimate praise being "triple love it"), or vent about a little problem or pet peeve, or opine on the news of the day. However, a lot of people just...

By Nancy Kerr  | December 15, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Morning Mix: Tara Reid Checks Into Rehab

Headlines: Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber welcome son #2...Tara Reid checks into rehab ... Stars contributing to Obama inauguration include Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Stone and Halle Berry ...Amy Poehler says goodbye to SNL ... Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards' daughters unhurt in car accident Rumor Mill: Were the murders of Jennifer Hudson's mother, sister and nephew triggered by jealousy over a gift?... Madonna and Guy to spend Christmas together for the kids' sake?... No "Idol Gives Back" this season? Royal Watch: Bearded (!!) Prince William and Kate Middleton spotted on a pheasant-shooting excursion... Queen Elizabeth II advises family members to tone down the flashy spending in light of the bad economy. Um, OK: "If you have a problem with that cover, go make bagels!" -- John Mayer on Jennifer Aniston's naked GQ cover (he also claims she can sing) Chat with a Celebrity: Alec Baldwin is live...

By Nancy Kerr  | December 15, 2008; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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