TV bosses have renewed Downton Abbey for a fifth season. The fourth season finale of the award-winning period drama, created by Julian Fellowes, aired in the U.K. on Sunday (10Nov13), and seconds after the credits, fans were treated to the good news that the show will be back next year (14).
Downton has garnered an average of 11.8 million viewers, becoming the highest-rated drama in the U.K. this year (13).
The show is also a big hit in America, but fans there will have until the new year for the fourth season to debut on 5 January (14).
The season four Christmas special, which will air on Christmas Day (25Dec13) in Britain, will feature two veteran American actors - Shirley MacLaine, who will reprise her role as Martha Levinson, and Golden Globe-winner Paul Giamatti, who will join the cast as family matriarch Cora Crawley’s playboy brother, Harold.
Actor Jackson Rathbone is trying to persuade his Twilight co-star Nikki Reed to get pregnant, so his baby son Monroe has a playmate. Rathbone's new wife Sheila Hafsadi gave birth to the couple's first child last year (12) and now the movie vampire is urging the boy's godmother to start making family plans with her musician husband Paul McDonald.
He says, "Nikki will be an amazing mom, so we're trying to infect her with baby fever so we can have an amazing kid for Monroe to play with. We want him to have a little buddy."
And is seems little Monroe will have a sibling or two in the very near future - his proud dad is keen to add to the family.
He tells People.com, "We kind of hope that we’ll have twins, a little boy and girl."
"He's been my neighbour for over 20 years. We got together and decided we would go out together and see what happened. 'Simon and Sting-funkel' is what we're gonna be called." Singer Sting jokes about the new name he and pal Paul Simon should take on when they embark on a North American tour next year (14).
We list TV directors working today who are long overdue to take the big screen leap and create the next studio tent-pole, from Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones) to Guy Norman Bee (Arrow, Southland, Supernatural). To read the article, check it out at Studio System News!
Actress Katey Sagal was among the terrified travellers trapped in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for hours last week (01Nov13) after a gunman opened fire in her terminal. Authorities shut down the building and grounded hundreds of flights on Friday after Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, allegedly shot and killed a Transport Security Administration (TSA) official at a Terminal 3 checkpoint, and injured several others.
Actor James Franco and singer Nick Jonas used their Twitter.com accounts as the drama unfolded to reveal that they had been left stranded on flights halted by the emergency, and now the Sons of Anarchy star has opened up about her horrifying experiences in the terminal itself.
She tells U.S. talk show host Katie Couric, "I was there. I was in Terminal 3, I was in the lockdown area for about six hours. It was frightening, it was absolutely frightening to me."
The real-life incident has prompted Sagal to call on TV writers to continue tackling the issue of gun control in America onscreen in a bid to encourage further discussion about how to crack down on shooting crimes - just like her husband, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, did with the show's recent season six premiere, which featured a storyline about a boy who opens fire in a school.
She says, "In terms of the television show, the fact is that people should be continuing that conversation.
"My husband, who wrote that episode, he felt that it was a show about a club that runs guns, that's what they do and the lead character is a guy with a couple of kids so it would make sense that that kind of thing would happen. And I think that in his mind it continued the conversation, which, whether it upsets you or... I mean, it's a horrible thing to have to acknowledge, but it's going on and we need to keep talking about it."
The controversial Sons of Anarchy episode aired in America in September (13), less than a year after the nation was rocked by the Sandy Hook school massacre last December (12), when 20 young children and six adults were murdered. The tragedy was the latest school shooting to hit headlines and has prompted fevered discussion about the need for tighter gun control laws.
He can sing, cook and now he shows us that he can act. One of our favorite Idols chats with us about winning American Idol, having his own Vegas show and his upcoming role on Law & Order: SVU.
You're the first 'American Idol' winner to score a Vegas residency. We hear it’s a great show.
I really love performing in Vegas. It’s pretty awesome to have your own show room and to be a part of such a historic landscape of entertainers that have had residencies here.
What is your favorite act in Las Vegas...other than yours?
There’s so many wonderful talented entertainers. I love all the Cirque Shows. It’s like asking me what my favorite song is. It’s a really hard question. It depends on your mood.
Can you tell us a little about your role on Law & Order: SVU?
I’ve been working with an acting coach for about a year now. I have been auditioning for scripted TV. What's great about this role is that I get to play myself, and I love the show. It's one of my favorites on TV.
Would you have any desire to judge American Idol?
I know the idea has been kicked around a lot. I would love to take on that role because I know a lot about it, and I would love to help up-and-coming artists get to really successful points in their careers, which is what I think American Idol does.
How was working with Clay Aiken and Ashanti?
Those two were wonderful to work with. Ashanti is as sweet as she can be, and we just had a ball on set. It was a wonderful experience, and I hope I get to see and work with them again.
We hear you’re working on a country album.
I definitely think it will be country, soulful music. Coming from the South and Alabama, you pick up on a lot of genres. Country music was definitely a big part of my life. I’m really blessed to be able to work in Nashville and live and work in Las Vegas and Birmingham - where I'm from - and to work with wonderful country artists and writers on this next record.
Who have you enjoyed performing with the most?
That’s a tough one. I think adding blues harmonica to "Gin and Juice" with Snoop Dogg was probably one of the best moments I’ve had as an entertainer. Adding blues to rap was the most innovative thought we had. Definitely a fun moment.
Any dream future collaborator?
I'd love to work with Paul Simon. He's one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I just really love his music, and I’ve been playing it for a long time. Hopefully our paths will cross.
Word is you’re a great cook. You even own your own restaurant, Saw's Juke Joint in your native Birmingham, Alabama. What inspired you to get into the restaurant business?
Well, I used to perform in that location long before my American Idol days. I was always around restaurants and clubs. I was always a foodie. When you’re from Alabama, you're born a foodie. I love the culinary arts, music and food. It’s the perfect match. Saw's is a wonderful combination of those. Live music, jalapeno poppers stuffed with BBQ and sweet tea fried chicken. It’s a soulful venue.
Do you ever play there?
I do. I sneak in and perform some nights. It’s always fun to come back and surprise folks.
You have a couple recipes in the new Taste of Home cookbook, Recipes Across America. Where'd you learn to cook?
My grandmother and my great-grandmother were always in the kitchen. I love to cook. I love big pasta diners with friends and family. Spaghetti is one of my favorites to cook for everybody. I don’t get to cook too much because I travel a lot, but when friends or family come over, we do pasta.
What will you do for Thanksgiving dinner?
I always like to take Thanksgiving to be with my family and friends. There's a lot of great cooking around, and there's always a festive atmosphere.
Lastly, I have to ask: How did it feel to win American Idol?
You know, it was one of those feelings that I will never forget for the rest of my life. As many years as I spent as a struggling musician, it all culminated in that moment...of catching my break. I am very grateful for that.
Catch Taylor on Law & Order: SVU on NBC Wednesday, November 6 at 9PM ET.
Liam Gallagher has teamed up with his one-time rival Damon Albarn's Gorillaz bandmate Jamie Hewlett to create a new collection of charity T-shirts. The White Guitar Collection will feature three limited edition designs, created by artist Hewlett, depicting guitar poses inspired by rock idols Phil Lynott, Pete Townshend and Paul Weller.
Proceeds from sales will benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The shirts will be available at Gallagher's Pretty Green clothing stores.
Actress Saoirse Ronan is eager to overcome her severe stagefright to make her theatre debut. The Oscar nominee admits she has long harboured dreams of treading the boards, like her actor father, The Devil's Own star Paul Ronan, but she will have to confront her fears of performing in front of a live audience first.
She tells The New York Times Style Magazine, "I think it (performing in a theatre) is in the blood. And even though I'm terrified about doing it, if something goes all right on stage, it must be the most amazing feeling."
However, Ralph Fiennes, the actress' co-star in upcoming film Grand Budapest Hotel, is convinced the 19 year old would be a "natural" and "fantastic" on stage.
He adds, "She just seems to have been gifted with something, where she seems to have none of the anxiety the rest of us have. She's very special."