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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Dexter's Dad, James Remar, speaks on the end of TV's ultimate antihero

James Remar as Harry Morgan on Showtime's Dexter

Showtime

James Remar as Harry Morgan on Showtime's Dexter

It takes a bit of prodding, but eventually James Remar reveals a Dexter plot twist he just didn’t like.

Remar, 59, is a character actor extraordinaire, with standout roles in The Cotton Club, 48 Hours, Sex and the City and two roles in Quentin Tarantino’s recent hit, Django Unchained (he swears the two different hired guns he plays in the film – one gets killed at the beginning and one at the end – are not related).

But Dexter fans know him as Harry Morgan, the late, adopted father of pathological serial killer/forensic blood technician Dexter Morgan; the voice of cold reason who Dexter still sees, many years after his real adopted dad committed suicide. Remar's scenes act to shake sense into this murderer of murderers, giving a flesh-and-blood reality to Dexter's inner dialogues.

And there was just one twist in the story of the late Harry Morgan – a cop who scooped a youthful Dexter up at a bloody crime scene and later taught him a “code” for only killing those who killed others – that Remar will admit rankled him.

When the writers revealed Harry had an adulterous relationship with Dexter’s biological mother.Full Story

Was Zimmerman trial witness Rachel Jeantel tripped up by her inability to code switch?

Rachel Jeantel, 19, has been called the star prosecution witness at the murder trial of George Zimmerman.

CNN

Rachel Jeantel, 19, has been called the star prosecution witness at the murder trial of George Zimmerman.

As the media world debates the impact of star witness Rachel Jeantel on the murder trial of George Zimmerman, it seems obvious the 19-year-old friend of shooting victim Trayvon Martin stumbled over one of the biggest issues few people talk about when opinionating on the case.

The supreme challenge of code-switching on a national stage.Full Story

Why even Jon Stewart may not care that CNN is reviving Crossfire, the show he accused of "hurting America"

James Carville, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson (left to right) traded barbs on the last iteration of CNN's Crossfire in 2005.

Reuters

James Carville, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson (left to right) traded barbs on the last iteration of CNN's Crossfire in 2005.

CNN announced today it would revive Crossfire -- a debate show the cable channel canceled in 2005, not long after Daily Show host Jon Stewart confronted its hosts on camera for “hurting America.”

But executives at CNN swear the new Crossfire will be different, debuting this fall in half-hour episodes, without a live audience, covering one topic per show.Full Story

Paula Deen denies racism in emotional Today show interview which skirts some important issues

Celebrity chef Paula Deen denied racism in an emotional Today show interview.

NBC

Celebrity chef Paula Deen denied racism in an emotional Today show interview.

Celebrity chef Paula Deen faced the world on NBC’s Today show this morning to deny she was a bigot, offering an emotional interview about race and racism sparked by admissions in a lawsuit deposition that she had once used the n-word.

Unfortunately, the segment, handled with delicate but firm precision by anchor Matt Lauer, skirted some of the most important issues in the controversy swirling around Deen, including allegations in the litigation of sexual harassment and racial discrimination at her restaurants.Full Story

Creative Loafing rejects then accepts ad from St. Petersburg art studio featuring nude man

Creative Loafing initially rejected, then accepted this ad.

provided by Leslie Curran

Creative Loafing initially rejected, then accepted this ad.

The news was so unexpected, at first Leslie Curran thought she had heard wrong.

But it was true. Creative Loafing, the Tampa-based alternative newspaper, had turned down her St. Petersburg art gallery’s proposed advertisement for a Friday reception celebrating St. Pete Pride.

The reason: It featured a painting by artist Steven Kenny, titled “The Egg,” depicting a nude man viewed from behind.
Full Story

Hey Emmy voters! Consider Southland's Michael Cudlitz, Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany and BBC's The Fall

Kerry Washington of ABC's Scandal seems a shoo-in to make Emmy history.

ABC

Kerry Washington of ABC's Scandal seems a shoo-in to make Emmy history.

For proof of how insular and restrictive Hollywood’s TV A-list can be, consider this:

When The Hollywood Reporter gathered six men considered hot contenders for Emmy nominations in drama for a roundtable interview, just one – House of Cards star Corey Stoll – was under the age of 50. (other names included Kevin Bacon, 54; Mandy Patinkin, 60; and Dennis Quaid, 59.)

But when the same industry magazine assembled actresses who had the same Emmy buzz, not one – including Kerry Washington, 36; Connie Britton, 46 and Elisabeth Moss, 30 – were OVER the age of 50.

Which means, to my mind, that Emmy could use a few mind-opening suggestions.Full Story

Nearly 13 million people watch Sarasota native Nik Wallenda's Grand Canyon walk

Sarasota native Nik Wallenda drew record audiences on Discovery channel and social media.

Discovery

Sarasota native Nik Wallenda drew record audiences on Discovery channel and social media.

About 13 million people watched Sarasota native Nik Wallenda walk across a gorge near the Grand Canyon Sunday, according to the Discovery channel, which also pronounced the event the most influential across social media on broadcast or cable in the U.S.Full Story

Mad Men closes its season with an amazing feat; making us care about Don Draper again

Can Don Draper (Jon Hamm, left) face the troubles in his life rather than lie through them or flee?

AMC

Can Don Draper (Jon Hamm, left) face the troubles in his life rather than lie through them or flee?

Redemption.

That’s the one avenue left for Mad Men’s Don Draper; set up by a season finale Sunday which saw our supremely dysfunctional advertising man finally move toward becoming a character viewers could find compelling again.Full Story

Mad Men season finale tonight: Is this end of the beginning for TV's antiheroes?

The late James Gandolfini played modern TV's first great antihero, mobster Tony Soprano

AP

The late James Gandolfini played modern TV's first great antihero, mobster Tony Soprano

Is there a character on television more broken down at this cultural moment than Mad Men’s troubled advertising executive Don Draper?

Last week, we saw his prized protégé, Peggy Olson, turn her back on him after he humiliated a married coworker she not-so-secretly loves. The week before, Draper’s daughter Sally saw him cheating with a neighbor’s wife – the mother of a boy she liked -- neatly mirroring a moment in his own childhood when he saw his pregnant stepmother forced to trade sex for their room and board.

Curled up in a fetal position in last Sunday’s episode, Draper was isolated from friends, neighbors, wife and the rest of his family, shorn of any quality that might make a viewer sympathize with him, beyond a seemingly boundless ability to alienate everyone in his life.

The question looms: How ugly can producers make this guy before viewers stop caring about him?Full Story

Paula Deen loses Food Network deal after asking "please forgive me" for n-word controversy

Celebrity chef Paula Deen faces controversy over admitting in a lawsuit deposition past use of the n-word.

Getty Images

Celebrity chef Paula Deen faces controversy over admitting in a lawsuit deposition past use of the n-word.

After a couple of days controversy over her admission in a lawsuit deposition that she once used the n-word and tolerated racist jokes, celebrity chef Paula Deen has released two different videos begging fans to "please forgive me."

But the first video may not have had the intended effect; after it was posted, the Food Network announced it would not renew her contract when it expires at the month's end. 

Because she doesn't admit exactly what she's done wrong in either message -- there is a lawsuit still pending alleging sexual and racial harassment by her and her brother, after all -- it's unlikely Deen will change many minds.

And even as fans rally to her defense, many seem to misunderstand why she's in society's doghouse in the first place.

She should have learned from history: The only way out of this mess is to admit everything while begging for forgiveness.Full Story

Lifetime's Latina-focused Devious Maids raises the question: Where is line between exploiting a stereotype and exploding it?

Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria is a producer on and supporter of Lifetime's Devious Maids

ABC

Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria is a producer on and supporter of Lifetime's Devious Maids

Imagine a major TV outlet debuting a soap opera-style drama about five young, contemporary, beautiful African American women. Who work as maids.

Then try to imagine the NAACP, Urban League and Will Smith standing up to defend the program, saying it was an important look into the lives of black servants which would give great roles to black actresses.

That’s something like the controversy playing out over Lifetime’s new soap opera Devious Maids, a show created by Desperate Housewives mastermind Marc Cherry. Well-respected Mexican-American TV star Eva Longoria is also on board as a producer, bringing endorsements from civil rights groups such as the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

Arguments over the show boil down to a simple question: Where is the line between exploding a stereotype and indulging one?Full Story

CNN confirms media critic Howard Kurtz to leave Reliable Sources and the channel after 15 years

Media critic Howard Kurtz is expected to leave his CNN show in about two weeks.

CNN

Media critic Howard Kurtz is expected to leave his CNN show in about two weeks.

CNN has confirmed that Howard Kurtz will soon leave the media criticism show he has hosted for 15 years, Reliable Sources, amid a report on Mediaite.com that the longtime journalist is headed for a job at rival Fox News. He's expected to host the channel's media analysis show, Fox News Watch.

Kurtz, who is perhaps the best-known media critic in America, is expected to host the CNN show for the next two Sundays, according to the channel. After his departure, a succession of guest hosts will fill in, according to a statement from CNN.Full Story

Elliott Wiser, creator of Bay News 9, hired as general manager of WTSP-Ch. 10

Elliott Wiser, creator of local newschannel Bay News 9, will serve as general manager for St. Petersburg CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10.

Elliott Wiser, creator of local newschannel Bay News 9, will serve as general manager for St. Petersburg CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10.

Elliott Wiser, who created local cable newschannel Bay News 9, has just been named general manager of St. Petersburg CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10.

Staffers at WTSP were told in a 9 a.m. meeting Thursday that Wiser will succeed retiring general manager Ken Tonning, starting the job July 8. The move was a surprise to many who never expected Wiser to leave cable provider Bright House Networks, where he served as vice president of local programming and has worked since coming to the Tampa Bay area to launch Bay News 9 about 16 years ago.Full Story

James Gandolfini, who reinvented TV as mob boss Tony Soprano, has died at age 51

James Gandolfini, front right, led  talented cast on HBO's The Sopranos.

HBO

James Gandolfini, front right, led talented cast on HBO's The Sopranos.

For an actor whose work inspired a golden age of television antiheroes, James Gandolfini seemed a man supremely uncomfortable with the fan adoration and acclaim which came with the job.

Still, as word spread of Gandolfini’s death Wednesday of a suspected heart attack, admirers everywhere crowded Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, TV reports and interviews with kind words for the actor, whose portrayal of balding, beefy mobster Tony Soprano on HBO’s mob drama The Sopranos revolutionized television.Full Story

My NPR adventures: Analyzing kids TV on Netflix and Amazon; previewing summer TV

Netflix has an area Just for Kids accessible through computer and tablet.

Netflix

Netflix has an area Just for Kids accessible through computer and tablet.

Here's embedded audio of my last two NPR appearances: Examining the way Netflix and Amazon's competition for eyeballs has moved to kids TV, and offering some suggestions for TV shows to watch during the deluge of material coming this summer.Full Story