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NBC's incredible drama "Friday Night Lights" was thrown for another loss this morning in the Emmy nominations. And so am I.How could the voters ignore last season's best drama? It received only two minor nominations -- one for casting and one for direction. The incredible cast, including Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler as the best parents on television in recent…

Mandy Patinkin, who abruptly quit the hit CBS series, "Criminal Minds," is on everyone's mind here in Beverly Hills at the summer TV critics' press tour.His departure was a big subject at a news conference today (Wednesday) held by CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler. She didn't shed much insight into the mind of Patinkin, who years ago abruptly left another…

So you think it's all been said about Katie Couric's troubles after New York Magazine's Cover piece?Maybe not. OK, we learned that she entertains the occasional regret, now that CBS News' nightly ratings have tanked so decisively. And can get so put off by the sudden appearance of the word "sputum" in the day's script that she'll repeatedly and not-so-playfully p…

BEVERLY HILLS -- NBC has so many Scottish and British actors starring in its new series that you practically wonder if you stumbled into interview sessions here for the BBC.Kevin McKidd, the Scottish actor who starred in HBO's "Rome," is the lead in the new time travel series, "Journeyman." Damian Lewis, who starred in HBO's "Band of Brothers"…

Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC sports, did some Monday morning quarterbacking here in Beverly Hills about last season's promotion of a terrific series about high school football in Texas, "Friday Night Lights." He believes the game plan of heavily promoting the series on NBC's Sunday Night Football might have been a mistake."In a way, it may have hurt,&qu…

Still in L.A. on the Summer Press Tour, and had a session with Holly Hunter, the star of the new TNT series, "Saving Grace."  She sounded almost apologetic talking about her limited knowledge of TV. Asked if she watches TV, Hunter said: "I sound like a (expletive deleted) snob, but I don't." *** Tom Brokaw, the former NBC Nightly News a…

I arrived in Beverly Hills Sunday for annual summer press tour for  critics from around the nation. Unfortunately, I arrived several days after the tour began, and I feel a little bit like a student who missed the first few days of classes and has to catch up on all the gossip. I'm told that Thursday's HBO session was notable for a couple of reasons. There is going t…

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Ingrid Bergman refused to cap her teeth or pluck her eyebrows to satisfy studio heads, but when it came to her craft, she didn't hesitate to chop her hair to play Maria in "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Ava Gardner rebuffed requests to fill in a facial dimple with plastic surgery. Sophia Loren gave a firm "no" when she was told to get a nose job after her first screen test.…

You may not have read George Saunders' 2005 novella, "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil," which was not as widely acclaimed as his two short-story collections, "Pastoralia" and "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," both New York Times Notable Books. But the haunting and dryly hilarious opening sentence from "Phil" provides a glimpse of Saunders' eccentric genius and his …

Our year of firsts turned into our year of lasts this week, as kindergarten drew to a close. The first bus ride, the first day of school, the first cafeteria lunch, the first show-and-tell, the first field trip . . . they all are memories now. Our 6-year-old -- now seasoned at these things -- today begins her first official summer vacation. "Mom, yesterday was our la…

SELECTED ESSAYS By JOHN BERGER PANTHEON 588 PAGES, $35 THE SHAPE OF A POCKET By JOHN BERGER PANTHEON 264 PAGES, $24 "When my father died recently," wrote John Berger in the 1972 essay "Drawn to That Moment," "I did several drawings of him in his coffin, drawings of his face and head." He then immediately tells us an anecdote about the listless life d…

DICK ENBERG walked into the Genesee Bar at the Hyatt last week dressed in a three-piece outfit. It wasn't a suit. With his three layers of shirts and sweatshirts on, the unpretentious NBC play-by-play announcer could have been mistaken for any Western New Yorker about to head outdoors. And that is probably why he is so successful. Despite his hefty salary and all of …