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Could hip-hop soap 'Empire' become TV's No. 1 show?

"Empire" could well be rapping its way to become America's No. 1 show.

Fox's hip-hop soap -- with Terrence Howard as an ailing record mogul struggling with family intrigue -- keeps climbing higher in the ratings. Wednesday's episode drew 14.2 million total viewers, again crushing all competition as the night's most-watched program, according to Nielsen.

"Empire" has scored eight straight weeks of ratings growth since it premiered in January -- an almost unheard-of feat in television.

Like many dramas, the series also scores well in delayed viewing. People who watch within a week of the original air date boost the already-high rating among adults ages 18 to 49 by another 42%.

And the best may be yet to come. "Empire" has already been picked up for a second season, and if past patterns hold, it will grow even more. Primetime soaps tend to accumulate their audiences for the first two seasons and peak before slowly burning out. Ratings for the original "Dallas" on CBS peaked in Season 4;...

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Alec Baldwin suggests Brian Williams lied to please his audience

While most in the media will only go public with statements of shock and disbelief at Brian Williams' on-air exaggerations that led to his six-month suspension, Alec Baldwin offered up a more psychological reasoning.

Talking to guest George Stephanopoulos on his WNYC podcast, "Here's the Thing," Baldwin said he thought Williams fell unconsciously victim to "wrapping himself in the flag and in the glory of the military to please his audience."

Williams was suspended in February for untruthfully claiming on multiple occasions that a Chinook helicopter he was aboard in Iraq in 2003 came under enemy fire.

One of the places where Williams told his untrue tale was on Baldwin's podcast in 2013.

"What people want is they want us to have a sustained, honest, real, palpable celebration of our fighting men and women at war over there," Baldwin said.

"Because Brian's audience is one that's middle class, conservative, moms and pops who aren't walking around with their devices in their hands all the...

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Adam Sandler and Bob Barker restage their 'Happy Gilmore' fight

It's been nearly 20 years since Adam Sandler traded punches with Bob Barker in the film "Happy Gilmore." Now Sandler and Barker are back for an on-screen rematch. But this time, they're doing it to raise money for the autism charity event "Night of Too Many Stars." And though Barker is 91 now, his fighting style has gotten only nastier.

Set in a hospital, Sandler and Barker waste no time in digging in tearing open those old wounds. For those who don't remember, Barker won the big-screen fight handily. And it seemed as though it was Barker who was itching for round two.

"I'm fine," Barker said to Sandler. "But you, you're looking old. How old are you, 60?"

He continued, "You're looking chunkier than the soup."

Believe it or not, Barker's insults quickly become so filthy, we can't even go into them here. Trust us, Barker's got a mouth on him.

From there, the fists and prosthetic limbs fly free. But don't worry too much about Barker. He handles himself well and appears to have a stunt...

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Alert Mr. Carson! Duchess of Cambridge to visit 'Downton Abbey' set

In news that is sure to delight Anglophiles the world over, on Thursday Kensington Palace announced via Twitter that Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, or as us commoners like to call her, Kate, will visit the set of "Downton Abbey" next week. 

The former Kate Middleton, who is expecting her second child with Prince William in April, will visit Ealing Studios, the London facility where many of the show's interior scenes are filmed. 

According to the Telegraph, the duchess will meet series creator Julian Fellowes; tour the makeup, wardrobe and set-building departments; and meet cast members Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora, the Countess of Grantham), Maggie Smith (Violet, the dowager countess), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Robert James-Collier (Thomas) and Sophie McShera (Daisy). She will also watch as a scene from the upcoming sixth season is filmed. 

Our first thought? Poor Lady Edith, left out once again. And our second? We only...

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TV picks: 'American Crime,' 'Dig,' 'The Returned'

“American Crime”—Using the newly minted anthology style of “True Detective,” John Ridley’s new series is a wide-ranging exploration of race, class and gender, a gratifying breakthrough for television that moves by means of slipstream portraits of a wide variety of lives.

The murder of a young man and the brutal attack on his wife in Modesto, Calif., reverberates through the victims' families and the community, revealing connections and conflicts both personal and political. The young man’s father, Russ (Timothy Hutton), is thrust back into contact with his ex-wife, Barb (Felicity Huffman), a woman tightly wound around bitterness toward Russ, toward her past and toward a society that she believes values white lives less than others.

The other lives include an interracial couple, Aubrey (Caitlin Gerard) and Carter (Elvis Nolasco), bonded by love and addiction; teen-aged Tony (Johnny Ortiz) chafing against the high expectations of his father (Benito Martinez), and the young thug Hector...

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In Cuba, Conan O'Brien makes friends, gets laughs ... and drinks too much rum

On Wednesday, Conan O'Brien made history with a special episode of his TBS talk show, "Conan," filmed over four days last month in Cuba. 

As the first American late-night host to broadcast from the island nation since Jack Paar interviewed Fidel Castro for "The Tonight Show" in 1959, O'Brien had quite a task ahead of him. Would O'Brien's self-deprecating humor do for U.S.-Cuba relations what Ping-Pong once did for America and China? Or would it be the comedy version of the Bay of Pigs?

Based on the evidence in the 75-minute episode, which was more of a humorous travelogue than late-night talk show, he succeeded -- and then some. O'Brien steered clear of politics and focused on comedy, making himself the butt of the joke whenever possible.

"Cuba is a country with many complicated social and political problems, so this process won't be easy," O'Brien explained in the opening segment as he wandered through the streets of Havana, "which is why I kept the purpose of my visit simple: to meet...

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