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Jenna Elfman, John Hannah Join 'Damages'

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 24th 2011 4:30PM
Jenna Elfman, John Hannah DamagesJenna Elfman and 'Spartacus' star John Hannah are joining Ryan Phillippe in Season 5 of 'Damages.'

According to Deadline, Elfman will play an investment bank employee who becomes troubled by her company's behavior. Elfman's character approaches Channing McClaren (Phillippe), the founder of a Wikileaks-esque web site.

Look for McClaren to turn to Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) for help. The Season 5 case pits Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and Ellen up against each other.

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Ryan Phillippe Joins 'Damages' Season 5

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 14th 2011 4:00PM
Ryan Phillippe DamagesRyan Phillippe is joining the cast of 'Damages.'

According to TVLine, Phillippe has booked a major role in the upcoming fifth season of the Glenn Close-fronted legal drama. Details on his role are being kept under wraps.

Last season, John Goodman, Dylan Baker and Chris Messina joined the cast.

Previous guest stars include Ted Danson, Lily Tomlin and Martin Short.

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'Damages' Season 4: John Goodman & Chris Messina Talk Life on Set

by Chris Harnick, posted Jul 12th 2011 4:00PM
John Goodman, Chris MessinaAny fan of 'Damages' knows the show is propelled to riveting dramatic heights thanks to the relationship between Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), but behind every great woman, there's a few good men. 'Damages' Season 4 is no exception.

John Goodman, Chris Messina and Dylan Baker join Close and Byrne for a new kind of case -- this season (premieres Wed., July 13 at 10PM on DirecTV's Audience Network), the ladies are exploring the military and private defense sector.

Goodman plays Howard Erickson, the CEO of a private military defense company, the target of Ellen and Patty's case. Messina plays a decorated solider and contractor under Erickson and Baker plays Jerry Boorman, an associate of Erickson's who is described by DirecTV as a "shadowy opportunist."

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Review: 'Damages' Returns on a New Network With the Same Modus Operandi

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jul 12th 2011 1:00PM
'Damages' (10PM ET Wednesday, DirecTV's Audience Network) is on a new network -- its fourth season will air only on DirecTV, not on FX -- but some things about the show never change.

Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) is still an expensively clad, unrelenting near-sociopath, and her former protege, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), still thinks she can imitate Patty's moves and not end up exactly like her. As always, there's a time puzzle that is introduced in the first episode of the season: We see events in the present day and a few months down the road, and eventually we'll see how those various occurrences weave together to form one narrative.

Some things do change on the show. Each season is anchored by a different ripped-from-the-headlines story, and -- this is big -- Ellen wears her hair down for much of the new season. Byrne's more confident performance is of a piece with Ellen's ever-so-slightly sassier hairstyle.

But the one enduring thing I like most about 'Damages' is that it's basically summer camp for character actors.

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Rose Byrne Talks 'Damages' & the Admirable Ambition of Ellen Parsons

by Chris Harnick, posted Jul 5th 2011 10:30AM
Rose ByrneChances are, if you didn't know who Rose Byrne was before, you do now after her tour de force summer.

Between the smashing successes of her films 'Bridesmaids' and 'X-Men: First Class,' and the return of 'Damages' (Wed., July 13 at 10PM on DirecTV's Audience Network), there's no escaping this talented Aussie -- and no reason you should want to!

When viewers last saw Byrne's Ellen Parsons, she was walking away from Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). It's now been three years in the world of 'Damages' and a lot has changed.

"She's had a lot of time away from Patty," Byrne told AOL TV. "She's sort of been given her space and I think space from what she wants from the law. She's working at a completely different law firm. When [Patty and Ellen] meet again, it's on much different terms."

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Glenn Close on 'Damages' Season 4 and Mastering Patty Hewes

by Chris Harnick, posted Jul 1st 2011 3:00PM
Glenn CloseShe's ruthless, cunning, manipulative ... and a doting grandma? What has become of Patty Hewes since viewers last saw her?

I took that question directly to series star Glenn Close at the premiere of 'Damages' Season 4 (Wed., July 13 at 10PM on DirecTV's Audience Network).

"She's at the top of her game, she has this huge suit against an international pharmaceutical company and she's going to win it -- and she knows she's going to win it," Close told me.

'Damages' begins three years after viewers last saw Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) and Patty together, and boy, how things have changed. Ellen has been picking Patty's brain about a huge case against Howard Erickson (John Goodman), the head of a private military defense organization.

"She and Ellen have been having these coffees and one thing leads to another," Close said. "She's kind of moved on."

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'Damages' Season 6? Co-Creator is Optimistic

by Chris Harnick, posted Jun 30th 2011 1:15PM
Damages Creators'Damages' has a new lease on life thanks to DirecTV, that's no secret. The show was picked up for Seasons 4 and 5 after FX passed on the critically-acclaimed drama, but many assumed these two extra seasons would serve to wrap up dangling threads.

However, according to the creators of the Glenn Close-fronted series, they're not done planning for Patty Hewes (Close) and Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne).

"The show isn't necessarily ending at Season 5, we're not sure about that," 'Damages' executive producer and co-creator Todd A. Kessler told AOL TV at the 'Damages' premiere. "In terms of the Patty and Ellen storyline, there is a story to be told."

The main story for Season 5 is still being figured out, but the wheels are churning for even future seasons. "The show has a great life and great potential even beyond the fifth season," Kessler said. "There could be a Season 6, with Patty and Ellen."

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'Friday Night Lights' Season 5, Episode 11 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 27th 2011 1:15AM
friday_night_lights_nbc_coach_taylor['Friday Night Lights' - 'The March']

Watching tonight's episode of 'Friday Night Lights' brought to mind the expression, 'Be careful what you wish for.' Just as so many good things are happening for characters like Tami and Vince and Jess, there's also trouble bubbling right below the surface.

Nothing is black or white, nothing is crystal clear, and as the last two episodes of the show loom, it's still uncertain how 'Friday Night Lights' will conclude. ... And that's a good thing because this show is consistently one of the best dramas on the air.

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NBC Orders 'Glee' Competitor to Pilot, Matthew Weiner Still Without 'Mad Men' Deal and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Jan 24th 2011 11:40AM
NBCCould 'Glee' have a musical competitor?

As we enter the thick of pilot season, networks have been greenlighting pilots to consider for the 2011-2012 season. One of the biggest in the works is NBC's 'Smash.' According to Deadline, it's based on an idea from Steven Spielberg about putting on a Broadway musical, and would feature original songs by Grammy- and Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Among the other pilots picked up this weekend were a comedy called 'Vince Uncensored,' from Conan O'Brien's production company (it went to CBS, according to Entertainment Weekly), a thriller/drama called 'Exit Strategy,' starring Ethan Hawke and directed by Antoine Fuqua (snagged by Fox, according to The Hollywood Reporter, along with two comedies, per Deadline), and David E. Kelley's previously D.O.A. 'Wonder Woman' (which landed at NBC, reports Deadline).

In other TV news ...

Matthew Weiner would love to start writing the fifth season of 'Mad Men,' if AMC would sign a deal already. "I have every intention of making the show when they decide to work out their business with Lionsgate," he said. "I can't wait to come back to work ... I am not looking for a new job." [EW]

Kevin Smith, Kevin Pollak and Adam Carolla will star in AOL's new nightly talk show. The web video series will team up with the actors' existing podcasts for new episodes every Monday through Thursday, with a best-of installment on Fridays. [AOL]

Could Keith Olbermann have a new gig already? 'The Social Network' writer Aaron Sorkin has been developing a comedy set behind the scenes at a cable news show. Now that it's getting closer to a pilot pickup and Olbermann is out of a gig, sources are speculating that he could contribute to the series. [EW]

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'Friday Night Lights' Season 5, Episode 9 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 13th 2011 9:20AM
connie_britton_nbc_friday_night_lights['Friday Night Lights' - 'Gut Check']

As Season 5 heads to a close, some hard truths are coming out on 'Friday Night Lights.' No truth was more evident than the one that has slapped Eric and Tami in the face more often than not.

In their careers, they work with teenagers. As Eric said tonight, "They are exhausting." Have the Taylors reached teenage overload? You have to wonder.

Lurking beneath the surface for the couple was an offer from Shane State University in Florida, which would be a major reward for Eric.

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'Friday Night Lights' Season 5, Episode 8 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 6th 2011 8:45AM
kyle_chandler_coach_taylor_friday_night_lights_nbc['Friday Night Lights' - 'Fracture']

You might think that with the East Dillon Lions undefeated and possibly on the way to state, all would be harmonious among the team. You'd be wrong. Instead of unity and solidarity, dissension has filtered into the team and the direct cause is Vince's star complex.

But that's not the only turmoil on 'Friday Night Lights'. Julie's situation remains a sore subject, especially for Eric, who's more disappointed in his child than he can say.

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Sorry Fans, Don't Look to DirecTV to Save Your Shows Anymore

by Chris Harnick, posted Nov 22nd 2010 4:30PM
Damages, Friday Night LightsTwo critical darlings may be enough for DirecTV. After saving 'Damages' and 'Friday Night Lights,' the satellite broadcaster will no longer be answering desperate "save our show!" pleas.

According to Variety, DirecTV's 101 Network -- which can be seen by 19 million subscribers -- will refocus on original programming after 'Damages' launches in 2011.

"In the future, I think we're going to move away from that model," Chris Long, senior vice president of entertainment and production, said.

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Full Hearts: 'Friday Night Lights' Returns for Its Final Season

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 27th 2010 5:20PM
It's easy to be overtaken by nostalgia when watching the final season of 'Friday Night Lights,' which begins 9PM ET Wednesday on DirecTV's 101 Network (the final season will air on NBC some time next year).

Loyal viewers been through a lot with these people; we have stuck with the show through so many ups and downs. And just as many of its characters this season and last have said their farewells, soon we'll have to say goodbye to Dillon, Texas.

'Friday Night Lights' has made many of us cry over the years, and it's hard not to get a lump in your throat just thinking about the fact that the show will be over for good soon. Below are some thoughts on the first few episodes of the show's fifth season. (You may wish to wait until Season 5 airs on NBC to read what's below, but this review shouldn't spoil any major plot developments, for either NBC or DirecTV viewers.)

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CBS Names 'Undercover Boss' Season 2 Participants

by Chris Harnick, posted Jul 28th 2010 12:05PM
Undercover BossCBS's Emmy-nominated reality series 'Undercover Boss' has announced even bigger names for its second season.

In a press release, CBS named NASCAR, DirecTV, Great Wolf Resorts and Chiquita Brands International, Inc. as companies that will be infiltrated by their own undercover executives.

"We're thrilled with this season's new batch of bosses," Stephen Lambert, creator/executive producer of 'Undecover Boss,' said in a statement. "The companies are some of the best known brands in corporate America, and clearly -- with the likes of NASCAR, Chiquita, DirecTV and Great Wolf Resorts -- we've got an interesting blend of industries."

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Canceled 'Damages' Gets a Reprieve from DirecTV

by Audrey Fine, posted Jul 19th 2010 8:30PM
Glenn Close in 'Damages'Just when those corrupt corporate bad guys thought it was safe to resume their dastardly business practices, comes the news that ruthless lawyer Patty Hewes will be back.

That's right, folks, as it has been rumored since April, 'Damages,' the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged Glenn Close legal drama, may have been given the boot by FX after three seasons (although, an official announcement was never made) but DirecTV has swooped in at the last minute to save the day.

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