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Thursday, August 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 70.0° F  Light Rain
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A star is born on American Idol

I've always wondered what would happen if young, undiscovered Elvis Presley were a contestant on American Idol. Would Fox just shut down the season after a week or two? Would the other contestants simply give up, acknowledging that no one could compete with a performer so extraordinary? >More
 The Real Housewives of New Jersey are real scary

Bravo's Real Housewives series has focused on rich middle-aged women in Orange County, Atlanta and New York City -- the kind whose souls can be measured in carats. But The Real Housewives of New Jersey sets new standards for big hair, big nails and big breasts. >More
 Is College Life on MTV too 'real' for its own good?

In College Life, MTV gives cameras to students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an attempt to get the unvarnished truth about undergraduate life. "This is not reality," according to the opening credits. "This is real." >More
 A woman's rage powers In Plain Sight

Everybody loves cable TV's stunning heroines: Holly Hunter of Saving Grace, Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer, Mary-Louise Parker of Weeds, Glenn Close of Damages. Now it's time to start loving Mary McCormack of In Plain Sight. McCormack begins her second season as Mary Shannon, a U.S. marshal involved with the witness protection program in Albuquerque. >More
 Sit Down, Shut Up gets a failing grade

The Simpsons and South Park keep producing genius-level satire while imitators come and go. The latest to come is Sit Down, Shut Up. Now I can't wait for it to go. Like its lead-in, The Simpsons, this animated series tries to be at once stomach-turning and meaningful, stupid and smart. Instead, it's just stomach-turning and stupid. >More
 Harper's Island is damn scary

Scary series don't usually work on broadcast TV, given the frequent interruptions by Burger King commercials. But Harper's Island got under my skin. It's about a wedding party that boats into Harper's Island, the scene of shocking murders seven years ago. >More
 MTV lets UW-Madison students film themselves in College Life

MTV has tapped eight students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for an experiment in reality TV. Rather than trailing the kids with a camera crew, the network gave them their own cameras. They spent several months documenting their lives, and MTV has assembled the footage in a show called College Life. It premieres at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, April 13. >More
 In the Motherhood tweaks modern attitudes

If you lack a sense of humor about "enlightened" parenting, environmental awareness, organic food and enforced sexual-harassment training on the job, stay far away from In the Motherhood. The rest of us are in for a treat. >More
 I won on Jeopardy!

One evening some weeks back I was in the middle of a pleasant trip to sunny Southern California, a welcome change from frozen Wisconsin. Earlier that day I'd seen a legendary entertainment franchise close up, as a guest at Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City. It was a holy-of-holies pilgrimage for a pop-culture obsessive like me. And, oh yeah, I'd won $23,600 in the space of about an hour. >More
 Cupid is hard to love

Cupid is a remake of a '90s series, but it really feels like a throwback to corny TV of the 1960s and '70s. Like Bewitched, it features a bickering mortal/immortal pair, with Sarah Paulson thrust into the thankless Darrin role -- a stick-in-the-mud perpetually exasperated by Cupid's powers. >More
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