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December 24, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
The Season 4 finale of NBC's revived musical competition "The Sing-Off" was down in the ratings compared with its last closer two years ago, according to early numbers from Nielsen. The episode, which crowned country crooners Home Free as champions, drew an average of 5.19 million viewers over two hours and scored a rating of 1.3 in the key 18-49 age demographic. Among those advertiser-desired young adults, the rating fell 35% from last Monday and 19% from the show's previous season finale.  However, this season concluded during the week of Christmas -- a considerably tougher challenge than the contest's third cycle, which had its last episode in November.
December 19, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
It looks like Barbara Walters was fascinating enough to give ABC a ratings win Wednesday night. "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013" drew 8.84-million viewers on average and a rating of 2.1 in the key 18-to-49 demographic, making it the highest-rated telecast of the night on the major networks, according to Nielsen.  Viewership for the retiring news veteran's last "Most Fascinating People" special, which revealed...
December 18, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Two kinds of cinematic traditions can be celebrated in the coming weeks, starting with the annual Christmas Eve "Fiddler on the Roof" sing-along dreamed up by the Laemmle chain and now expanding to no less than six theaters. The Broadway musical, based on the classic Tevye stories by preeminent Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, was made into an Oscar-winning film (for Oswald Morris' cinematography and John Williams' score) in 1971 that boasts Isaac Stern playing violin on the soundtrack.
December 12, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
NBC's resurrected musical contest "The Sing-Off" fell Wednesday night from its debut, while ABC's comedies made up some ground in the ratings week to week. Among the major networks, it was CBS that won the night, though its shows' numbers are down.   "The Sing Off," the series hosted by Nick Lachey that had been off the air for two years, drew 5.92 million viewers to its second episode, and a rating of 1.8 among key 18- to 49-year-olds, according to early numbers from Nielsen. In the young adults demographic, it was down 25% from the premiere Monday, though that was expected because the debut was helped by its lead-in, "The Voice.
December 12, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Those looking for a shot of spirit for a holiday less than two weeks away would be advised to take a few minutes. It'll serve you well to see this version of a classic that a collection of musicians -- including Iron & Wine, Calexico, Glen Hansard and Kathleen Edwards -- so beautifully performed on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" on Wednesday.  "Fairytale of New York," a story of bitter love and hate circa 1987 by the Irish band the...
December 10, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder, This post has been updated, as indicated below
NBC's Monday night was all musical with the return of "The Sing-Off," hosted by Nick Lachey, which has been off the air for two years. The two-hour "Sing-Off" Season 4 premiere improved over its 2011 opener, according to early numbers from Nielsen. "Sing-Off" drew an average of 8.36 million viewers and a rating of 2.4 in the key 18-49 age group, up 26%, certainly benefiting from the lead-in from Monday night's biggest entertainment show, "The Voice. " In addition, "The Voice" bled into "Sing-Off's" time slot by two minutes.  "The Voice" drew 12.8 million viewers and was flat in the 18-49 demographic with a rating of 3.4, the best of the night on the major networks.  RELATED: 'The Voice' recap: The Top 5 perform in the semifinals NBC won the night with an average of 9.86 million viewers overall.  Fox saw a slight uptick from its new sci-fi cop drama "Almost Human," which grew by 6% to a 1.8 in 18-49 and booked an audience of 5.98 million, so it could be finding its footing.
December 9, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Thousands of South Africans filed into the 94,000-seat soccer stadium in Soweto early Tuesday for the state memorial service of the nation's apartheid-struggle hero, Nelson Mandela. Low gray clouds and misty rain cast a somber mood, but the atmosphere in the stadium was joyful and exuberant, as the crowds sang liberation struggle songs, danced, ululated, whistled and blasted vuvuzelas - the plastic trumpets that South Africans blow at soccer matches and joyful occasions, waiting for the service to begin.
December 7, 2013 | By Scott Collins and Meredith Blake
You can now count live events and glossy musicals as a few of TV executives' favorite things. Thursday's three-hour spectacular "Sound of Music Live!" with country star Carrie Underwood as Maria sang for 18.6 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That was a number that exceeded all expectations and gave NBC its most-watched night of entertainment programming in nearly seven years. But Underwood and the singing Von Trapp kids also carried heavy symbolic freight for the TV industry.
December 6, 2013 | By Annlee Ellingson
No "Angels Sing" in this holiday melodrama stripped of any religious significance suggested by its title, but Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Lyle Lovett do. Disappointingly, star Harry Connick Jr. does only a little, for he's the Grinch in this Yuletide tale about Michael, a loving husband and father who can't stand Christmas. Early scenes suggest his distaste stems from the commercialization of the season, but the reality is he's still grieving a tragedy that struck on Noel when he was a boy. In the market for a new home, Michael finds that Christmas comes early when an old coot named Nick (Nelson, skinnier and hipper than his patron saint is usually portrayed)
December 6, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
Joel and Ethan Coen's new folk-music tale "Inside Llewyn Davis" has struck a chord with critics - make that a few chords, plus a couple of verses for good measure. The film, which stars Oscar Isaac as a struggling folk singer in 1960s New York, has garnered near-unanimous positive reviews. The Times' own Kenneth Turan writes , "While the bleak, funny, exquisitely made 'Inside Llewyn Davis' echoes familiar themes and narrative journeys, it also goes its own way and becomes a singular experience, one of [the Coen brothers']
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