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POSTED: Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 4:27 PM

There's still no way to know if anyone will survive this season of AMC's "Breaking Bad," but it looks as if Bob Odenkirk won't be looking for work immediately.

AMC and Sony  confirmed Wednesday that they'd reached a "licensing agreement" for a one-hour spinoff of the show, starring Odenkirk's character, a lawyer who's been providing advice, legal and otherwise, to chemistry teacher-turned-meth mogul Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his cooking partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul)  since Season 2.

"As conceived, the new series is based on the show’s popular Saul Goodman character with the working title 'Better Call Saul.' Plans call for 'Saul' to be a one-hour prequel that will focus on the evolution of the popular Saul Goodman character before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer," said the statement from AMC, which didn't specify whether AMC was ordering a pilot or going directly to series or to what extent "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan would be involved.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 1:11 PM
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“Back is beautiful,” declared Arsenio Hall Monday, and so are the first-night numbers for his return to late night TV after 19 years, with the debut of the syndicated “Arsenio Hall Show” beating every other late-night show on broadcast TV in the advertiser-targeted demos of 18-49 and 25-54 in Nielsen’s 25 “people meter” markets, which include Philly.

Because the Eagles and the U.S. Open overrun delayed both ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman,” Hall’s PHL17 debut at 11 p.m. went head to head here with only “The Tonight Show” (and only from 11:30 to midnight). In that half-hour, though, Arsenio beat his friend Jay Leno (who made a surprise appearance at the top of the new show). Locally, the show scored a 1.8 rating/4 share in households and a 1.8/5.7 among 25- to 54-year-olds. (Each local household ratings point equals 29,490 TV households. Share is the percentage of sets in use tuned to a particular show.)

POSTED: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 1:04 PM
Author Elmore Leonard smiles during a 2012 interview at his home in Bloomfield Township, Mich. Leonard, a former adman who later in life became one of America's foremost crime writers, has died. He was 87. (PAUL SANCYA / Associated Press)

“I never thought of him as any kind of super-intellect...He likes what he does. That’s the main thing.”

That’s novelist Elmore Leonard talking about Raylan Givens, the character he created and that Timothy Olyphant brought to life in FX’s “Justified.”

But Leonard, who died Tuesday at 87 from complications of a recent stroke, might easily have been talking about himself.

POSTED: Thursday, August 15, 2013, 10:25 AM
Kevin McKidd before an ABC party in Beverly Hills earlier this month

One of his co-stars on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” has announced she’ll be leaving the show at the end of the coming season and another races cars to add some excitement to his life, but Kevin McKidd says he’s happy just where he is, thank you.

“I’m from the Highlands of Scotland...Istill can’t believe — I still pinch myself — that I’m living in like Hollywood, on a TV show, playing this great character, with these amazing actors around me,” said the Scottish actor at an ABC party in Beverly Hills earlier this month.

As the show returns Sept. 26, McKidd’s entering his sixth season as Dr. Owen Hunt and “I just feel very lucky,” he said.

POSTED: Monday, August 12, 2013, 3:05 PM
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, left, and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from "Breaking Bad." (AP)

The return Sunday of "Breaking Bad" for its final eight episodes broke a ratings record for the critically acclaimed series, attracting 5.9 million viewers, a whopping 102 percent increase over last summer's Season 5 premiere, according to AMC.

(For those playing along at home: The fifth and final season has been broken up over two summers. For maximum agony.)

Of the 5.9 million who tuned in to see the latest adventures of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher-turned-meth mogul, it's estimated 3.6 million were between the ages of 18 and 49 -- the sweet spot for most advertisers. That put the series, or a least this episode of it, just behind AMC's "The Walking Dead," which is No. 1 in that demographic among all cable networks.

POSTED: Sunday, August 4, 2013, 11:49 AM
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Norman Lear and Rob Reiner re-enact a Richard Nixon rant at awards ceremony honoring "All in the Family" Credit: Ian Mosley

Amy Poehler danced on to the stage. Rob Reiner channeled Richard Nixon. And Emilia Clarke -- Daenerys Targaryen of "Game of Thrones" -- created a sensation just by turning up as her actual brunette self.

The Television Critics Association Awards is always a loose affair, untelevised, uncensored and utterly free of musical extravaganzas, which probably explains why everyone's always out of the Beverly Hills ballroom and back at the bar by 9:30 p.m. at the latest. Even the Golden Globes, held in the same room in January, can't claim that. (Well, OK, it can. But only because it starts at 5 p.m. on the West Coast.)

Hosted this year -- its 29th -- by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of Comedy Central's "Key & Peele," who killed with their President Obama and his Anger Translator routine, tailored for those in the audience who've so far spent nearly two weeks listening to actors and executives put their spin on the coming TV season, the awards show's tone was set Saturday night by Louis C.K. After being presented with the award for individual achievement in comedy for FX's "Louie," he noted that the actual award is a "plastic piece of s---."

POSTED: Thursday, August 1, 2013, 2:51 PM
Canadian born actor Cory Monteith, star of the hit show "Glee" was found dead in a Vancouver hotel in July. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

The third episode of the new season of "Glee" "will deal with the character Finn Hudson being written out of the show," Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly told reporters Thursday, adding that the show would address the circumstances under which Cory Monteith, who played Finn, died.

The Canadian actor, one of the show's stars since its first season, died July 13 at age 31 in a Vancouver hotel room of a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol.

The show's writers are still at work on the episode and Reilly would not say whether or not  Finn would die of drug-related causes but said that cast members would appear in public-service announcements -- presumably to air during the episode -- that addressed the issue directly.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 5:28 PM
This undated publicity image released by Showtime shows Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan, left, and Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in a scene from "Dexter." (AP Photo/Showtime, Randy Tepper) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"Dexter" addicts jonesing for a spinoff of the popular Showtime series, now in its eighth and final season, may find a glimmer -- but just a glimmer -- of hope in the announcement Tuesday that series showrunner Scott Buck had signed a development deal with the premium cable network.

"Draw your own conclusions," Showtime president David Nevins said during a press conference at the Television Critics Associations summer meetings in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Afterward, he offered no more guidance than that.

About this blog
As the TV critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, I've always believed my job is less about thumbs -- up or down -- and more about the conversation. Because the more choices we have, the fewer people in our lives know what we're talking about when we say, "Did you see that?" And that's when television really starts to get interesting. Reach Ellen at

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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