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Question: The latest we’ve heard about Tony and Ziva on NCIS is Shane Brennan stating that their relationship will remain status quo. Please tell me they’re not ending Tiva? —Jamie
Ausiello: Strange. That seems to contradict what I’m hearing. According to my hairy NCIS mole, the Jan. 26 episode finds Tony and Ziva hopping a plane to the City of Love. That’s right, Tiva takes on Paris! And would you believe the hotel screws up their reservation and they end up sharing a room together? What are the odds?!
Question: Your Bones scoop last week was crap. The promos already gave away Booth’s nude scene. Got any legitimate scoop? —Barry
Ausiello: When the show returns on Jan. 14, someone must contend with a positive pregnancy test. Legitimate enough for you?!
Question: Could we have some Grey’s Anatomy scoop, please? —Katie
Ausiello: The show’s big flashback episode — slated to air in February or March — will reveal the toll Ellis’ demanding career (as well as her affair with Richard) took on a 4-year-old Meredith. There’s also buzz that the episode will show us Bailey’s days as a Seattle Grace intern and introduce us to the Nazi supervisor who schooled her.
Question: There is a rumor circulating that House has a twentysomething son and he’ll turn up in the season finale. Any truth to this? —Malinda
Ausiello: You mean the twentysomething son played by French actor/stuntman Sebastien Soudais? That’s what we in the biz call a full-of-crap rumor. It all got started when the role of “House’s son” suddenly appeared on his IMDB page. “I don’t know who did that,” Soudais tells me of the listing, which has since been removed. “I really like House, but I never would have made something like that up.” Ironically, I’m having the opposite problem. I’ve been trying for weeks to get my upcoming role as Cuddy’s BFF uploaded to my IMDB page but it won’t take. What am I doing wrong?
Question: Loving all the True Blood scoop! More, please! —Hayley
Ausiello: You got it: Roger Sterling’s Mad Men mama, Shannon Welles, has signed on to guest star in an early season 3 episode as a mysterious old woman who lives in the middle of nowhere.
Question: Did you watch your Big Love screener yet? Any scoop? —Rachel
Ausiello: Sadly, I probably won’t get around to watching it until the weekend. In the meantime, I was shocked and a little disturbed to find out that season 4 (debuting Jan. 10) is only nine episodes long! WTH HBO? Why so stingy? I’m not happy.
Question: Parks and Recreation just keeps getting better this season. The “hunting expedition” episode was probably the funniest so far. My one complaint: the woefully underused Paul Schneider (Mark). Any chance we’ll be seeing more of him in upcoming shows? —Nicolaus
Ausiello: “We have some big shifts for Mark during the second half of the season, career-wise and romantically,” reveals exec producer Mike Schur, adding that fans shouldn’t assume that a Leslie/Mark romance is inevitable. “We don’t necessarily have specific places we’re going with every different relationship. We just follow what’s interesting. I don’t think that the final chapter has been written in the Mark and Leslie saga, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to get together. It might just mean that the feelings bubble up in one way or another at some point.”
Question: It looks like the end is near for Numb3rs, so I best get this question in now: Got scoop? —Aimee
Ausiello: The procedural is getting some new [True] blood! Anna Camp, best known as TB’s clueless, two-timing preacher’s wife Sarah Newlin, is guest starring in a late January episode as a hooker named Siouxsie Dark. The plot finds Don and Co. on the prowl for a serial killer who’s targeting prostitutes. Carnivale’s Clea DuVall also appears as the sister of one of the murdered escorts.
Question: I looked at your midseason TV Cheat Sheet and I noticed that Lie to Me wasn’t mentioned. Does that mean that Fox didn’t order the “back-nine” episodes? —Ari
Ausiello: Look at you throwing around fancy industry lingo. Impressive. Less impressive is the fact that you totally missed my story last month confirming that Fox had indeed picked up the show’s back-nine. The reason it’s missing from the Cheat Sheet is because Fox has yet to assign a return date for the show. But it will return this Spring.
Question: Merry Christmas to me! I won the prize on Charity Buzz to tour your offices. I think I have read every word you’ve written since Lorelai and Rory came to life. It is such a treat for me to come to New York, meet you in person, and get a tour of the EW offices! —Amy
Ausiello: Yeah, about that… Turns out I’m going to conveniently unfortunately be out of the office the day you’re here. I feel absolutely terrible about this. If you’re interested, my colleague, Annie Barrett, has graciously agreed to meet you at the au bon pain across the street for coffee. Her treat. I’ll even make sure she brings you an autographed picture of me. And one more thing: Just kidding! The honest truth is I can’t wait for you to meet me. I’m also excited to see the look on your face when I give you the answer to this blind item. You are going to flip.
Question: Regarding The Mentalist, when will we learn what Bosco whispered into Jane’s ear just before he died? —Mike S.
Ausiello: Executive producers Bruno Heller and Ashley Gable refused to cough up that little detail. Instead, they coughed up something even better! “We can tell you that Jane’s explanation later in that episode — that Bosco told him to take care of Lisbon and it would haunt him if he didn’t — was a lie.” That is better, right?
Question: I heard that Scott Elrod, who played Cash on Men in Trees, is set to do an episode of Castle. Any idea what part he will be playing? —Kim
Ausiello: He’s Beckett’s new maybe-lover! Lainie fixes them up on a date, and she takes the bait. Seems only fair considering what that horndog Castle’s been up to.
Question: What’s the latest on Adrianne Palicki returning to Friday Night Lights? —Kathleen
Ausiello: Looks like it hit a snag. Scheduling issues with Red Dawn prevented her from making an appearance in season 4. But exec producer Jason Katims remains hopeful she’ll be back for the fifth and final season. “Her career is taking off,” Katims notes. “We’re hoping she has a break in her schedule and can come back. We would love her to.”
Question: Will East Dillon and West Dillon play each other this year on Friday Night Lights? —Joe
Ausiello: Yes. My money’s on West beating East 31-28. In other news, anyone notice what was sitting on Tami’s desk in last week’s episode? Hint: It was blue and white and… it’s the Smurf I gave her!
Question: Please could you give this late convert to Friday Night Lights some scoop. It’s fast becoming a healthy addiction. —Ann
Ausiello: E.P. Jason Katims says he hasn’t decided whether the fifth and final season will take place at the beginning of a new school year or pick up where season 4 leaves off. “Typically, we would start closer to the next school year because we generally sort of follow the football season,” he says. “But we haven’t really made a [final decision]. What’s nice about the show is we’ve made slightly different choices from season to season, like coming back with the first game or coming back in the middle of summer. We’ve done a couple of radical time cuts over the course of the series.”
Question: For the record, I totally agree with your assessment of the Golden Globe nominations — Jim Parsons and John Noble are disgustingly absent and it makes me angry. Okay, so onto my question: I am dying for some Glee scoop since I have to wait until April for new episodes! —Sara
Ausiello: The phrase Best. News. Ever. gets used a lot around these parts, but this truly is the Best. News. Ever: Jane Lynch’s campaign to snag a musical moment on the show has ended in victory! “I have read the first two episodes [of the back-nine] and I can tell you that I will be singing and dancing,” Lynch reveals. “I can’t tell you what I’m singing because it’s top-secret.” Just a little hint? Teases Lynch: “It’s a very cold song.” We wouldn’t have it any other way!
Question: As the mother of an absolutely beautiful and wonderful daughter with Down syndrome, I was thrilled to see the characters of Becky and Sue’s sister in Glee’s “Wheels” episode. Any chance these characters will be back? —Cathy
Ausiello: “I hear that that will happen, yes,” confirms Jane Lynch of her TV sis’ return. “I haven’t read anything yet, but I heard that’s in the works for somewhere in the next nine episodes.”
Question: What do I have to do to get some How I Met Your Mother scoop around here? —Hannah
Ausiello: You have to simmah down nah and keep reading. Golden Globe nominee Neil Patrick Harris tells me that the musical number at the end of the 100th episode on Jan. 11 will demand repeat viewings. “There were so many great little things that we were able to put into each shot,” he says. “The song [titled “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit”] happens so quickly that I think you’ll go back and go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, those mannequins in the background are actually humans that are moving.’ There are going to be a lot of those little things.”
Question: Please tell me it’s not really the end for Barney and Robin on How I Met Your Mother! —Daphne
Ausiello: Neil Patrick Harris isn’t convinced it is. “I think there are still feelings there,” he says. “I don’t know that it’s done.” Regardless, the romance — which he says was “supposed to be two, maybe three episodes and it turned into seven” — served its purpose in that it humanized Barney. “At a certain point when you see someone who is just abhorrent week in and week out with his sexual conquests it’s nice to figure out what the Kryptonite is there,” he says. “Otherwise, [he] becomes a one-trick pony. So I’m glad that they fleshed him out a little bit. I also got to work with Cobie in a more serious nature. It was fun to do actual scenes with her as opposed to just being jokey.” What now? Does Barney just revert back to being a one-dimensional cad? “There’s no way to not go back to where he was pre-Robin,” he maintains. “That’s Barney Stinson in a nutshell. He suppresses all actual emotion and just plants his seed wherever he goes. Can I say that in EW? I meant it in a dirty way.” Actually, you can’t. I’ll let this one slide.
Question: When does Spartacus premiere on Starz? —Gary
Ausiello: Jan. 22. Here’s a little taste of what you can expect.
Question: Nate and Jenny in Gossip Girl — will it happen? —Adam
Ausiello: If Jenny gets her way it will.
Question: Is Renee Walker bad this season on 24? I’ve heard rumors that she is. —Stefanie
Ausiello: Depends how you define bad. She has essentially morphed into a female Dexter, so girlfriend’s definitely working through some demons.
Question: Friday’s Dollhouse was so awesome with Alan Tudyk. Please tell me he will come back before the end of the series? I need more Alpha! —Jess
Ausiello: He’s back in the series finale on Jan. 22.
Question: I’m convinced that you are deliberately not giving enough Lost scoops just to make me and the rest of the world go crazy. Please! Anything! —Quincy
Ausiello: Ever wonder how Mikhail lost his right eye? You’re about to find out! (Hint: *** knows!)
That’s a wrap! Send questions/comments/anonymous tips to firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks for playing! (Additional reporting by Tim Stack and Annie Barrett)