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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Update: 'Today' show cancels Universal broadcast

The Escape from Gringotts thrill ride and the  Hogwarts Express train will be some of the big features of the theme park expansion, letting visitors travel between the two parks on the iconic train and shop in the wizarding business district of Diagon Alley.

The Escape from Gringotts thrill ride and the Hogwarts Express train will be some of the big features of the theme park expansion, letting visitors travel between the two parks on the iconic train and shop in the wizarding business district of Diagon Alley.

UPDATE: WESH TV, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, is reporting that Today show producers have canceled the planned broadcast from Universal Orlando Resort on Friday.

When the news of the show being in Orlando was first announced Tuesday, it sent speculation flying faster than a Firebolt that muggles will finally be told when the opening day of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion, Diagon Alley. There was no word from NBC or Universal if the decision had anything to do with the theme park expansion's progress.

Universal Orlando and Today are both a part of the NBCUniversal media empire, which is owned by cable giant Comcast.  Universal officials so far have only said the expansion is opening “this summer,” but Comcast Corp., the parent company of Universal, said in a conference call this week to discuss first-quarter earnings that it expect a strong performance during the April-through-June quarter because of the later Easter holiday and the debut of Diagon Alley. And sharp-eyed theme park watchers noted that Universal Studios Florida will start staying open later until 10 p.m. beginning June 19. …

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What to watch this week: 'Rewrapped', 'The Voice', 'Black Box', 'Bad Teacher'

'Bad Teacher' with Ari Graynor premieres this week.

CBS

'Bad Teacher' with Ari Graynor premieres this week.

This week in our top TV picks, 12 singers head to the live episodes on The Voice (go Sisaundra!), three wildly different shows premiere and Joey Fatone hosts a new series on the Food Network.

Click here for the full list of top TV.

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'Mad Men' recap: Lies, lies, lies (and an 'I love you')

AMC

Grab a cigar and pour yourself an Old Fashioned. Each week, Times TV mavens Michelle Stark -- a young go-getter in the Peggy Olson mold -- and Sean Daly -- the Roger Sterling-esque, smiling-through-the-chaos smartaleck -- will vigorously debate Sunday night's episode of Mad Men.

DON AND SALLY
Sean:
Let's be honest about this ep dealing in dishonesty, Michelle: It wasn't the most riveting hour, especially after last week's woe-is-us premiere. This one was a table-setter, which, considering this season is the Grand Finale, is a little frustrating. Let's get this train wreck a-rollin'! …

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'Scandal' season finale is a terrific, shocking end to season 3

Yep, that's how we feel too, Olivia.

ABC

Yep, that's how we feel too, Olivia.

A less ambitious show would have saved the bomb for the end of its season finale.

Not Scandal.

Scandal has so much on its mind, so much confidence in its storytelling ability, so much plot to burn through - its explosion came before the opening credits Thursday night.

Of course, there was another explosion at the end of Scandal’s season three finale, a classic “WHAAAAT?” moment that was all the more gasp-inducing for the fact that it followed an otherwise slow-burn episode.

Typically, Scandal is so busy jumping to the next plot point and pulling rugs out from under its audience that it rarely allows itself a moment to breathe. To be honest, we were getting sick of it. Nothing meant anything anymore.

Not Thursday. The whole hour was steeped in a sentimentality that made all the big, horrifying twists - Fitz’s son dies, Huck finds his family, Papa Pope betrays Olivia - even more chilling. Plus, there were a handful a truly terrific scenes that were allowed to play out with an eerie calm: Olivia and Cyrus in the hospital, Mellie and Fitz embracing after he found out what Big Jerry had done, Olivia and Papa Pope sharing a moment. …

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An ode to 'Orphan Black': Why we love this show, returning Saturday

BBC America

Editor's note: When it comes to loving Orphan Black, we can't hold a candle to TV enthusiast and Times designer Brittany Volk. So we decided to let her tell you all about why she loves the BBC America show, ahead of its season 2 premiere Saturday.

It’s the show that came out of nowhere. And it stars Tatiana Maslany, the most underrated actress currently on television. …

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WATCH: 'Orange is the New Black' season 2 trailer is out

Netflix

Cancel all your plans for June 6: The trailer for Orange is the New Black season 2  is out, and it's amazing. I've been excited about the return of the Netflix original show since I finished binge-watching its sublime first season last year. But I didn't realize just HOW excited I was for season 2 until I watched this new, just-released trailer. As one characters says: "This is like next-level crazy."

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Rhonda Shear to revive 'Up All Night' on Tampa's Ch. 38

Rhonda Shear during Up All Night's heyday

USA Network

Rhonda Shear during Up All Night's heyday

Rhonda Shear is about to go up all night again.

The comedian and B-movie actor, who now runs a fast-growing shapewear and intimates firm in St. Petersburg, became a cult classic in the ‘90s on the USA Network show Up All Night, a show that bookended comedy bits around truly awful movies like Vampires on Bikini Beach that played in the wee morning hours.

The show ran from 1989 to 1998 with Shear on Friday nights and comedian Gilbert Gottfried on Saturdays gloriously reveling in cult classics and B movies with comedy bits sprinkled throughout.

Shear Enterprises is resurrecting Up All Night and is quietly releasing the first episode at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning on WTTA Ch. 38. It will feature the return of Shear, a spotlight on the Big Cheese, a St. Petersburg rapper who stumbled upon viral-video stardom in 2009 with his parody of Plies’ Becky, called Gimme Dat Bacon, which was featured on Web Soup and Comedy Central’s Tosh.0.

Saturday’s show will also have a comedy clip of the week, and clips from the movie Giant Balls from Outer Space. The producers are asking viewers for submissions and pulling videos from the “Rhonda Vault” including flashbacks to USA: Up All Night. …

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Stephen Colbert will be on 'Late Show' with David Letterman next week

Colbert.

Comedy Central

Colbert.

CBS announced today that forthcoming Late Night host Stephen Colbert will sit down with current Late Night host David Letterman this week as a guest on the show. Gee, what ever will they talk about?

It'll be interesting to see whether Colbert shows up as his character "Stephen Colbert" or as himself, the guy who will be taking over Dave's show next year. It was announced last week that Colbert is replacing Letterman when Dave retires in 2015 after three decades as a late-night host. For what it's worth, we're obsessed with these glimpses at the "real" Colbert, which are being unearthed all over the Internet after last week's announcement.

And if you haven't seen it, check out Colbert's spot about Letterman's retirement on his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report: "I gotta tell you, I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair. Folks, those are some huge shoes to fill and some really big pants."

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive

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D is for Draper: Jon Hamm feels 'guilty' on Sesame Street

PBS

Although things are getting mighty chilly for Mad Men's Don Draper, actor Jon Hamm is in a far warmer place these days: Sesame Street! And with a rockin' manly beard, to boot! In what could be the cutest video of all time, the 43-year-old actor helps furry Murray with his "emotions," including what it looks like to feel guilty, which Hamm has had seven seasons of Mad Men to perfect. 

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Interview: Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton talk 'Fargo'

Billy Bob Thornton

FX

Billy Bob Thornton

FX had a tricky task when it set about creating its new series, Fargo: craft something in the same dark-comedy vein as the Coen brothers' 1996 movie while also creating a work that stands on its own.

The show, premiering 10 p.m. tonight on FX, seems to have pulled off something impressive, especially with the spot-on casting of Martin Freeman as pathetic sap Lester Nygaard and Billy Bob Thornton as drifter Lorne Malvo. That's what really sets Fargo apart.

We spoke to the actors via a conference call last week, and they were both confident that Fargo is its own creation. Click here for their thoughts on that, and for more excerpts about everything from Minnesota accents to how they approached the characters.

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Review: FX's superb 'Fargo' adaptation stands on its own

Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in 'Fargo'.

FX

Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in 'Fargo'.

Well, looks like we found our new favorite show: FX's Fargo. Yes, the drama debuting Tuesday is an adaptation of the Coen brothers' 1996 black comedy, but it more than stands on its own as a compelling creative work. It does a tremendous job re-creating the movie’s tone, that foreboding dread and Minnesota friendliness, but it builds on that with surprising writing, memorable original characters and some dynamite acting. Leads Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in particular turn in some fascinating performances.

Click here for our full review of Fargo. The show debuts 10 p.m. Tuesday on FX. Trust me, you don't want to miss it.

 

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'Mad Men' Season 7 premiere: Don, Peggy, Roger keep hangin' on — barely

Oh, Peggy. Chin up, kid!

AMC

Oh, Peggy. Chin up, kid!

Grab a cigar and pour yourself an Old Fashioned. Each week, Times TV mavens Michelle Stark -- a young go-getter in the Peggy Olson mold -- and Sean Daly -- the Roger Sterling-esque, smiling-through-the-chaos smartaleck -- will vigorously debate Sunday night's episode of Mad Men

Amid all the zombies and Scandals on right now, it’s easy to forget that Mad Men is still the reigning champ of quality TV. And Sunday night’s premiere was a great, if teasing, Mad Men episode, one that actually has us pumped for this final season (not a given, considering how morose and frustrating last season could be). Oh, sure, the episode was still dreadfully depressing at times (what's up with Don shivering on the icy balcony?), but the buzz of a new decade on the horizon, of change, gave it an exciting energy. Judging by President Nixon's inauguration speech, it looks like we're in January 1969 now, which means this last season will likely span the entire final year of the '60s. More thoughts on the season 7 premiere, Time Zones

  …

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What to watch this week: 'Scandal' season finale, 'Orphan Black' premiere, 'Silicon Valley'

Tatiana Maslany in 'Orphan Black'.

BBC America

Tatiana Maslany in 'Orphan Black'.

Scandal heads to an explosive season 3 finale, Parenthood revives a character we thought would never appear again, and New Girl attempts to deal with life after 'Nick and Jess'. Plus, Tatiana Maslany resumes one of TV's most impressive performances when Orphan Black returns!

Click here for the full list of this week's top TV picks.

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Keep an eye on these buzzy shows premiering in April

HBO's new show Silicon Valley is a hilarious send-up of techie culture.

HBO

HBO's new show Silicon Valley is a hilarious send-up of techie culture.

In honor of Mad Men returning Sunday, we rounded up six other shows that should definitely be on your watch list this month. Okay, and one that's not out till May, but it's so good we had to include it.

Click here for the full list.

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Preview: 'Mad Men' season 7 premieres Sunday - a look at where it's headed

Don and Megan are up to new things in Sunday's 'Mad Men' premiere.

AMC

Don and Megan are up to new things in Sunday's 'Mad Men' premiere.

Mad Men definitely seems to be swinging into a new era for its final season, which starts Sunday on AMC with seven episodes this year and the final seven airing in 2015. Filled with fab fashions and a groovy color palette, the premiere is a showcase for all our major characters. Pete, Peggy, Joan, Roger - we get a chance to see what they're all up to, and some of it is not what you'd expect. That goes for Don Draper, too, who seems poised for a change as everyone gets closer to a new decade. As one character says in the episode's first few moments: "This is the beginning of something."

Click here to read our Mad Men preview. (Don't worry, no big spoilers ahead.)

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