Antonio Sabato Jr. Fights With Fiancee On ‘Wife Swap’

It was a successful first season for "Celebrity Wife Swap" (Tue., 9 p.m. EST on ABC), which wrapped its inaugural run by swapping the wives of Antonio Sabato Jr. and Mick Foley. Sabato's fiancee Cheryl immediately brought some structure into the Foley household, as well as accountability for the family. But she also emphasized family time together, which was something everyone responded well to.

Cheryl is an admitted OCD clean freak. Her daily to-do list for Mick's wife Colette is 65 items long. When she was allowed to implement her own rules, Cheryl immediately loosened the reins a bit for the family. Both families had fun and felt they'd learned from the experience, but at the couples' reunion the situation got heated pretty quickly.

When Cheryl called Colette out for having a messy house, Colette was a bit offended. At the same time Cheryl said it was Antonio's fault their daughter was so overworked and stressed. She wasn't really taking responsibility for any faults in the family. And when Antonio tried to talk to her a little deeper, Cheryl shut down and ultimately walked off.

She said she wasn't sure if he loved her and finally told him she never wanted to see him again. All the while, Antonio was trying to figure out exactly what he'd done to upset her so much, but she wasn't sharing that. It was revealed that she did come back home later and admit that her pride got the best of her in that moment.

TV Replay scours the vast television landscape to find the most interesting, amusing, and, on a good day, amazing moments, and delivers them right to your browser.

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Smash: TV Review

Tim Goodman
Call it "Glee" for grown-ups if you must. But this behind-the-scenes look at casting and launching a broadway musical has more gravitas, excellent acting and an insider's knowledge of the competitive drive to stardom. A cable-quality drama that will be looking for viewers.

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Smash: TV Review

Tim Goodman
Call it "Glee" for grown-ups if you must. But this behind-the-scenes look at casting and launching a broadway musical has more gravitas, excellent acting and an insider's knowledge of the competitive drive to stardom. A cable-quality drama that will be looking for viewers.

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On Her Own? Samantha Barks Cast As Eponine In ‘Les Miserables’ Over Taylor Swift

Meet Samantha Barks, the actress who Tom Hooper chose to play Eponine in "Les Miserables" over established Hollywood starlets like Scarlett Johansson, Lea Michele and Taylor Swift.

Barks was notified of her big-screen break on Tuesday night following a performance of "Oliver!" at the Manchester Palace in England. Producer Cameron Mackintosh told Barks, who then Tweeted her excitement: "Most incredible moment of my life!!!!"

The 21-year-old rose to fame in England after finishing third on the talent show "I'd Do Anything" in 2008. In a twist that seems like anything but a coincidence, she actually played Eponine in a London production of "Les Miserables" from June of 2010 to June of 2011. She also starred as Eponine in the 25th anniversary production of "Les Mis" in October of 2010, after Mackintosh saw her perform in the role in London.

Hooper, who won an Oscar last year for directing "The King's Speech," has assembled an all-star cast for his adaptation of "Les Miserables": Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and Eddie Redmayne as Marius. His shortlist for Eponine included Johansson, Michele, Swift and Evan Rachel Wood; earlier this year, it was reported that Swift had the inside track, but apparently the stage bona fides of Barks was too much for her to overcome.

So, what will Barks sound like as Eponine? Probably something like this: her performance of the famed song "On My Own" in the 25th anniversary production of the musical.

"Les Miserables" arrives in theaters on Dec. 7.

[via Broadway World]

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Rider Strong: The Resistable Rise of the Mockumentary

Watching Ricky Gervais host the Golden Globes last month reminded me how amazing The Office was when I first saw it in 2001. Today, the mockumentary form is as conventional as a laugh track. But back then, coming at the tail end of an era of hugely successful, and more obvious, American sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld, it was refreshing to see the volume of television humor turned down. 

I once heard someone say that for every joke, there's a scale of 1 to 10: 1 being the most subtle version of the joke, in which you don't give any indication that there even is a joke, and 10 being the most hacky, obvious, in-your-face version of the joke. "Friends" operated at about an 8 or a 9. With The Office, Ricky Gervais was giving us a 3.

And yeah, despite proclaiming, "These go to 11," the classic mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap maintains a steady 2 on the joke-o-meter. 

Because that's the primary benefit of the mockumentary form: subtlety. Even on the horror end of the spectrum, where the Paranormal Activity films earn their suspense solely from night-vision shots in which absolutely nothing happens. Besides a rumbling noise in the background. Maybe a plate falls, and we jump a mile.

With the recent box-office success of The Devil Inside, and looking ahead to the superpowers-based Chronicle, the mockumentary is no longer a rare, cool filmic style. It's become a standard approach to storytelling. As new directors, my brother and I have had lots of meetings in the industry recently, and during every single one, the phrase, "found footage" has been uttered.

Hollywood wants to cash in. Genre doesn't matter anymore. Expect mockumentary romantic comedies (mock-doc-rom-coms?), mockumentary musicals, mockumentary westerns...

But should this be the case?

Before the onslaught continues, (and before my brother and I throw in the towel and make one of our own) I thought I'd take a moment to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the form. How it's been used... and often abused.

From a filmmaking perspective, the popularity of the mockumentary makes a whole lot of sense. For both studios and independent producers, these films cost way less money, all you need is some cheap cameras and some no-name actors. There's more to it than that, though. Creatively, it's very liberating for directors. After all, it's required that the technical elements be a few steps behind, that there are a few "pretty mistakes" thrown in -- you know, that it looks a bit like crap. Likewise, it's an actor's dream: freed from the challenge of forcing naturalism into the demands of plot, actors are able to relax, to languish in the quirks and habits of character.

But the mockumentary has its challenges, too.

The biggest hurdle is the suspension of disbelief. The irony of a "normal" fiction film is that we accept its tricks and conventions without hesitation (assuming it's well made). Whereas when a film declares upfront that it is "real," it has to keep earning our trust over and over again. The lens of a mockumentary is easier to create, but harder to maintain.

For instance, once people start getting killed, or aliens start invading, the obvious question these movies beg is, "Why the hell would someone keep filming?" The stock solution is the conceit of the "film geek who's obsessed with capturing everything." That's getting old (unfortunately, I think Chronicle follows this path).

So the real heavy lifting of the form rests on the writer's shoulders. It's the writer's job to cram a traditional narrative into an anti-narrative structure; to allow the film to stumble into a story.

Sometimes, they don't even try. Especially in the subgenre of "found footage," there's rarely much narrative. These movies haven't really evolved since The Blair Witch Project, putting characters in worse and worse situations until the screen goes black and we're left to contemplate "what happened?" Like the Norwegian film, Trollhunter, which, despite some awesome effects, doesn't twist its story beyond the initial reveal that trolls exist. It just keeps showing the same basic scene over and over. Let's go over here and hunt a troll. Then head over here to... hunt another troll. Black screen!

Other films go to great lengths to be as traditionally narrative as possible. Such is the case with Cloverfield, which integrates flashbacks via the idea that the footage we're watching was taped over existing footage -- which just-so-happens to be informative back-story. I think this is actually pretty brilliant, but too clever by half. There wasn't anyway to appreciate the story without simultaneously appreciating the crafty way they slipped it.

Or then there's the approach of District 9, which sidesteps a lot of problems by giving up the mockumentary structure early on, but sticking with the look. This is an interesting approach, and one that requires a level of audience habituation that I don't think would have been possible pre-reality TV. We're so used to handheld cameras, zooms, and other cinema verite techniques, that films can leap between omniscient and camera-crew P.O.V., yet stylistically remain the same. Arrested Development operated on the same principle: It was shot like a mockumentary, but no one ever looked into camera, and the show contained a complex web of flashbacks and scenes that would've been impossible for a documentary crew to capture. 

Call it mock-mockumentary style. 

For all its iterations, though, the current popularity of the mockumentary has very little to do with artistry. The truth is that the rise of the form is sign of our economically polarizing times in Hollywood.

As the industry becomes more top heavy, the mockumentary is becoming the best -- and maybe only -- way for indie filmmakers to compete. Or, more accurately, to opt out of competing. How else can a tiny budget stack up against slick, $100 million films, replete as they are with gigantic crews, famous casts, and computer imaging?

And for established studios, the mockumentary has become a unique marketing tool. It's the perfect way to market subtlety, regardless of whether a film is actually subtle. For most of us, if we're going to pay to see something on the big screen, we demand spectacle. With its "bad filming" -- its shaky hand-held look, its zooms, its whip pans, its lens flares -- the mockumentary informs us, upfront, to not seek spectacle... even when it's actually there.

By lowering our expectations of spectacle and story, we don't feel as duped when we walk out having only seen one ghost for thirty seconds (well, unless its really bad). Or if not much happens, story-wise, once the body count starts adding up.

Expectation of subtlety used to be the norm. People would go to the theater to yes, watch a film where adults talked to each other about tough subjects, and maybe, if it were a really graphic and violent film, there would be a shoot out at the end. 

I don't think anyone's to blame for the shift to more spectacle-based cinema. The lazy, shorthand history is that great filmmakers like Lucas and Spielberg are responsible for elevating B-movies -- while at the same time, home video became the realm for subtle, talky films. Even if we agree with that version of events, I think it's undeniable that, on the whole, the craft of filmmaking has gotten better, not worse.

But we should remember that the craft of filmmaking is, by definition, superficial. The aims of craft and technique are making something that looks and sounds good. Looks and sounds pleasing. Appreciating such beauty is only one part of the film-going experience. What a movie has to say, what its story makes us feel or think about -- we should be open to the idea that a non-spectacle film can achieve greatness in these areas. Especially without resorting to the "look-at-how-subtle-my-story-is" lens of the mockumentary.

When I was in college, I was in a class with a kid who once went on a tirade against the exclamation point (you read that correctly). He believed it to be superfluous punctuation -- because it was either redundant, and therefore unnecessary, or it was too forceful. Telling you how to read a sentence! Telling you to push! He said if a sentence needed an exclamation point to indicate how to read it, it should be re-written so it doesn't need the exclamation point to begin with.

I think he was being a little too forceful himself -- and soooo 19 years-old -- but if I apply his logic inversely to the mockumentary form, I think there's something to it.

Because for Hollywood, the mockumentary is becoming the anti-exclamation point. The way for studios to tell us to think of this as a home movie that just maybe, mmmmaaaybe if we look close enough, might contain a story... boo!

But if a movie's story is already a big spectacle (like, say, a group of kids who get superpowers), then does it need to be a mockumentary? Why not simply make a good-looking movie with a full-fledged story? Or, if it needs the mockumentary form, then I think filmmakers face a tough question: are they using the form in order to rescue an otherwise impoverished narrative?

I'll take a stand to say that none of the recent mockumentaries, despite their innovations in approach, tone, or structure, have really been able to beat Spinal Tap (Tim Robbins' Bob Roberts is a close second). Of course, Spinal Tap had the benefit of being one of the first, but I also think it is an example of a perfect marriage of subject and form.

Which is something that Spinal Tap alum Christopher Guest has always been careful to do: select a subject matter that involves a certain level of spectacle already -- a folk concert, a dog show, a local theater production -- something that a documentary crew would conceivably cover, that is entertaining to watch in itself. Importantly, however, such subjects evolve from character, not external action (i.e., there's no disease wiping out humanity). By placing the demands of spectacle outside of the story, but still tying them to the personalities on screen, the idiosyncrasies of setting and character become primary.

In other words, just because mockumentaries can "go to 11," we probably don't need to turn them up that high.

Hypnotized by the cost and convenience of the form, I'm afraid Hollywood -- and in response, audiences -- are forgetting that an emphasis on setting and character is precisely the point of the mockumentary.

It is, in fact, the only point.

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Madonna: There Were ‘Cracks In The Veneer’ Of Marriage To Guy Ritchie

Madonna opens up about her new film, "W.E.," and her 2008 divorce from filmmaker Guy Ritchie in this week's Newsweek, on newsstands now.

The film -- which chronicles an unhappily married woman's obsession with historical couple King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson -- is the first major work the 53-year-old has released since she and Ritchie split.

The singer told the magazine it wasn't a mere coincidence that she started writing the screenplay for "W.E.," which deals with the hardships and regrets of marriage, 10 years into her own relationship.

"I was certainly asking a kind of existential question that I think people ask when they've been married that long: what is the perfect love?" she explained to Newsweek. "Because when you start off, everything's great and lovely, and the person you've married is flawless, and you're flawless."

But as time passed, the singer said she began to notice "cracks in the veneer" of her marriage. She told Newsweek that the gradual realization made her ask herself, "'How much am I willing to sacrifice?'"

It's not the first time the singer has spoken out about her failed union. In August 2009, Madonna told Rolling Stone that she was thankful to have been able to concentrate on her work during her "challenging" marriage. Otherwise, she told the magazine, she "may have thrown [herself] off a building."

Madonna and Ritchie share custody of their two sons, Rocco, 11, and six-year-old David Banda, whom the couple adopted from Malawi. Madonna also has two other children, 15-year-old Lourdes and five-year-old adopted daughter Mercy James. She will be performing at this Sunday's Superbowl.

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Madonna’s Ex Dating Real Housewife?

Carlos Leon, the father of Madonna's daughter, Lourdes, was seen this weekend strolling through the East Village with ex-"Real Housewives of New York" star Kelly Bensimon. But Kelly's friends say you shouldn't be surprised if you see the pair spending even more time together.

"They started out working on a project together but have since gotten very close," a friend of Kelly's tells me. "Kelly always says that if you are not married or engaged, you are single. So, technically she is still single, but we all know that they are together."

This wouldn't be the first time one of Madonna's exes has been linked to a reality-TV housewife. Baseball star Alex Rodriguez was seen stepping out with Bravo's Bethenny Frankel after he split with Madonna in 2009.

"We met seven months ago," Kelly tells me. "I'm casting him for the show 'I Can Make You Hot.' Have you met him? He's an amazing dancer and athlete."

Kelly declined to comment more on her professional or personal relationship with Carlos.

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Check out all of the "Real Housewives," past and present, below:

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WATCH: Why Is This Pooch In The Back Of A Squad Car?

After a human head was found near the Hollywood Sign, our hearts, rightfully so, went out to the victim, his loved ones and the hikers who made the gruesome discovery. But have any of us insensitive humans thought about the poor pup who first came upon the severed head?

On "Conan O'Brien" Monday, "Bridesmaids" actress Maya Rudolph revealed that she is friends with the dog's owner, and that both the owner and the dog needed comforting after the traumatic event. You may think that a dog wouldn't understand what he's dug up -- or, at the very least, wouldn't care what he's dug up -- but not so.

The pooch involved was a golden retriever named Ollie. Rudolph recounted the doggie nightmare: "I think he's a digger, and so he was digging, and he came out like all proud with this bag and something fell out. And it was the head, guys."

Rudolph and Conan went on to say that officials detained Ollie for four hours and even put him in the back of the squad car. While Ollie was sitting in the backseat like a criminal, a photo, displayed in the video above, was snapped of him. As Rudolph described the eerily human expression in the pic, he "looks like he's been through hell."

The actress was also frustrated that Ollie was nominated for, and not instantly awarded, an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) award. "He wasn't given one yet. They nominated him," she said in disbelief. "Meaning, he's gotta wait to see if somebody else came up with something better than finding a head!"

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Royals Dating On Reality TV

What if "Coming to America" had been a reality show ... except instead of the handsome prince wining and dining you with McDowell's hamburgers, he only knew how to microwave his meat?

That must've been the pitch to TLC for "Undercover Princes" (premieres Tues., Jan. 31, 10 p.m. EST), which will soon be followed by "Undercover Princesses" (premieres Tues., Feb. 28, 10 p.m. EST). And by the looks of these "Princes," there's still plenty of comedy to mine from royals "slumming it" to find true love.

We've got an exclusive sneak peek at the network's first foray into royal reality dating. "Undercover Princes" follows three princes as they move to England into a Brighton townhouse together to try to search for love as "undercovers." They don't have their usual entourage of servants and assistants, and they're forced to do everyday tasks like getting jobs and grocery shopping. (The choice between crunchy or creamy peanut butter spawns a hilarious debate.)

Take a look and meet Prince Africa Zulu of Onkweni Royal House in South Africa (he's in the brown polo shirt), who is very traditional; Prince Remigius of Jaffna in Sri Lanka (in the black sweater), who's on a mission to find a suitable bride; and Crown Prince Manvendra of Rajpipla (wearing the Indian scarf and attire) from one of India's wealthiest royal families, who was the first Indian royal to come out as gay.

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‘Biggest Loser’ Host And Her Dog Battle Pet Obesity


By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Alison Sweeney, host of the NBC network's weight loss TV series "The Biggest Loser," has worked with the show's contestants since 2007, supporting them as they drop pounds and learn to lead a healthier way of life.

Now, Sweeney is taking on more weight issues by teaming up with dog food company Hill's Science Diet for the second annual Million Pound Pledge to raise awareness about obesity in pets.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54 percent of America's pet population is overweight. Sweeney, who also stars on the daily soap opera "Days of Our Lives," became aware of pet obesity when she took her Boston Terrier, Winky, to the vet and was told her pooch could stand to lose a few pounds. After adjusting Winky's diet and making a few changes, the canine is back in shape.

With the Million Pound Pledge, Sweeney is urging pet owners to come together on petfit.com and collectively help their animals drop a combined one million pounds by March 30. One lucky winner will win a free trip to "The Biggest Loser" finale in May. Sweeney spoke to Reuters about the plan and pet obesity.

Q: When did you realize Winky was getting fat?

A: "She was a little thick, but I thought it was kind of cute. The vet explained she was a good two pounds overweight and when your dog is only 19 lbs, that's a lot. People don't realize what a significant difference a pound or two can make on a small animal."

Q: What's the most common mistake people make when it comes to feeding their pets?

A: "The number one mistake is giving pets table scraps. I made the mistake thinking I was showing my dog love by giving her food and treats. You see a tiny 4 oz. piece of cheese, but for a Boston Terrier like mine, that's like one and a half hamburgers. That's unhealthy."

Q: How is human weight loss different that pet weight loss?

A: "Our pets rely on us entirely for their nutrition. So if you're making your own judgements, that could lead to a mistake. At the same time, we have more control over our pet's diet than we do with our children or with ourselves, so your vet can tell you what is appropriate for your dog and you can assign them that. In my experience, it took Winky a couple of days to get used to eating less, but I saw the results in her health and energy right away."

Q: How can we prevent pet obesity in the first place?

A: "Like human weight loss, there's no end date where you say, 'I've taken care of that problem, I never have to worry about it again.' Humans should always exercise and watch what they eat. So with your pet, make sure they get enough exercise, make sure they're getting fed at the same time every day and getting the nutrition they need. And make sure they get a lot of love and attention you both need. That's why you have them!"

Q: Ever think of incorporating pet weight loss in to 'Biggest Loser?'

A: "I would love to. I think it'd be a great addition to the show if we somehow found a way to make it part of the challenge. It would be fun. They deserve their own show too."

Q: Speaking of "Loser," the new season premiered earlier this month and was down about 30 percent in viewers compared to the previous year. Ratings have been falling since trainer Jillian Michaels left the show. Is it a cause for concern?

A: "For our show, and in reality TV in general, you always kind of look to make a change, to shake things up. If it becomes too predictable, it's not interesting. You want to keep everybody on their toes a little bit. I feel like we are part of the solution of the obesity epidemic in this country and so I'm proud to be a part of it and I hope NBC feels the same way for a long time. Ratings have been down across the board for TV and certainly in daytime we've experienced that more than most."

Q: Luckily, your daytime show is still on the air while other soaps such as "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" have recently come to an end. Do their cancellations affect you?

A: "Absolutely, because it affects the whole (soap) genre, the way people feel about daytime television and how confident their feel in their show. That's hard on all of us. I've met so many fans of daytime television who've watched the shows with their moms and grandmas and feel like they've known the characters their whole lives. It's sad for them to have to say goodbye to their favorite soaps and characters. We don't want that to happen to the 'Days' fans." (Editing By Bob Tourtellotte)

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