"Game of Thrones" cinematographer defends dark Battle of Winterfell episode
Many fans complained that the April 28 episode of "Game of Thrones," which centered around the Battle of Winterfell, was too dark to see. But cinematographer Fabian Wagner disagrees: "I know it wasn't too dark because I shot it," he told TMZ, adding that "the showrunners decided that this had to be a dark episode" and that "another look would have been wrong." He suggested to Wired that viewers who struggled to see the episode were watching it wrong — from an improperly tuned TV, on a phone or an iPad or in a room that was simply too bright. "'Game of Thrones' is a cinematic show and therefore you have to watch it like you're at a cinema," he said. He also blamed "HBO's compression of the episode … which leads to poorer visual quality" and "is made worse if it's being viewed on a streaming service with a weak connection."
CBS sets "The Big Bang Theory" farewell special
CBS announced on April 29 that "Unraveling The Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell" will air at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, following the final episode of "The Big Bang Theory" and the second-season finale of "Young Sheldon." Penny actress Kaley Cuoco and Leonard actor Johnny Galecki will host the half-hour retrospective special, sharing their favorite memories from their 12 years on the hit sitcom. They'll also reportedly tour the show's iconic sets and dish on behind-the-scenes secrets.
How the "Today" baby boom is affecting the show
There will be a revolving door of guest co-hosts on the fourth hour of the "Today" show through the end of the year due to the current "baby boom" at the NBC morning show, Page Six reported on April 29. Longtime host Hoda Kotb is currently on maternity leave after adopting second child Hope Catherine, while Jenna Bush Hager, who just replaced Kathie Lee Gifford in early April, is expecting her third child sometime this summer. "We'll have guest co-hosts filling in, but any changes that we had in mind for the show — and any new look — likely won't launch until January," said a source.
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Oprah Winfrey says she quit "60 Minutes" because show was "flattening out my personality"
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that hit the Internet on April 30, Oprah Winfrey revealed that she recently "removed" herself from "60 Minutes" because "it was not the best format" for her. "[It's] never a good thing when I have to practice saying my name and have to be told that I have too much emotion in my name," explained the media mogul. "I think I did seven takes on just my name because it was 'too emotional.' I go, 'Is the too much emotion in the Oprah part or the Winfrey part?' I had a deja vu moment because I've actually lived through this once before when I covered a story as a young reporter [where] the family had lost their home and my boss told me that I reported it with too much emotion. I had too much emotion in the story. I thought, 'OK, so you're not supposed to be involved in the story, I get that. You're a journalist.' But the same thing is true even with a read [at '60 Minutes']. They would say, 'All right, you need to flatten out your voice, there's too much emotion in your voice.' So I was working on pulling myself down and flattening out my personality — which, for me, is actually not such a good thing."
"Jeopardy!" champ James Holzhauer wins 18th game by $18, later breaks record for second-longest winning streak in show's history
James Holzhauer won the April 29 episode of "Jeopardy!" — his 18th win total — by just $18. Three days later, he won his 21st straight game, breaking the record for the second-longest winning streak in the game show's history. (Julia Collins won 20 straight games back in 2014.) Only "Jeopardy!" superstar Ken Jennings has won more games: 74 in 2004.
FOX says there are "no plans" for Jussie Smollett's "Empire" character to return as series is renewed
FOX released a statement on April 30 announcing that "at this time there are no plans" for Jussie Smollett's "Empire" character, Jamal, to return for the drama's upcoming sixth season — even though the network negotiated an extension to the controversial actor's contract, meaning he could eventually pop up on Season 6. Said a rep for the actor, "We've been told that Jussie will not be on 'Empire' in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal's future open." Season 5 of "Empire" concludes on May 8; Season 6 will likely debut in the fall.
"Blindspot" pulled from NBC schedule as likely cancellation looms
TVGuide reported on April 26 that NBC put "Blindspot" on hiatus through May 24, signaling that the crime-drama may not be back for a fifth season later this year. Season 4 will end on May 31 with two back-to-back episodes — they do not reportedly satisfyingly conclude the series, on which Jaimie Alexander stars. According to TVGuide, the show's rating have decreased by 20 percent year over year. It's currently the lowest rated drama on NBC, and only "Good Girls" has fewer total viewers.
"The Young and the Restless" says a final goodbye to Kristoff St. John with emotional tribute episode
On April 29, CBS aired a special "The Young and the Restless" episode paying tribute to actor Kristoff St. John, who portrayed Neil Winters for nearly three decades before his death at 52 on Feb. 3. Current and former stars of the long-running soap — including Shemar Moore, who portrayed Neil's brother Malcolm Winters — gathered to share their memories of the late star.