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'Survivor' finalist Stephen Fishbach on the ties between reality TV and 'The Hunger Games'


Stephen Fishbach (left) was a contestant on Survivor: Tocantins and finished in second place. He’s written about Survivor and his experience for People as well as hosted our Viewer chat for the current season of the show. You can join his live chat for this week’s episode on Wednesday night here. Below, he discusses how The Hunger Games and Survivor are close cousins.

Nobody is trying to kill you when you play Survivor. Producers aren’t launching exploding fireballs at your head. Poison-tipped tridents are strictly forbidden by the CBS legal department.

But apart from these minor differences, playing Survivor is so much like being a contestant on the Hunger Games, at times I find it hard to believe that author Suzanne Collins hasn’t been a Survivor contestant herself. You’re stranded in an extreme environment — blistering-hot days, bitterly cold nights. The torrential rainstorms seem to never end. You forage for food. You cobble together shelter from sticks and moxie.

To survive, you must rely on the people around you — a multicultural mix from across the country. Only one thing unites them: they are hell-bent on your destruction. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch planner: Zombies, Muppets, Dancing, 'Hunger Games'…. and ‘Mad Men’!

Time flies, but it seems to take waaaay longer when you’re waiting for the most anticipated movie of the year to open or a favorite TV show to come back from an extended hiatus. This Friday, Hunger Games fans will finally get their wish when Katniss, Peeta, and the rest of the crew come to the silver screen. But that’s not all that’s on the docket this week. The planner is bookended with AMC favorites, starting with tonight’s Walking Dead season finale and moving on to next Sunday’s Mad Men season 5 premiere – it’s only been 17 months in the making!

In between, there’s the Dancing with the Stars season opener, a couple new TV shows (Touch and Bent) to check out, and of course, NCAA March Madness. Have a great week!

The Walking Dead season finale, 9 p.m. AMC

The Walking Dead season finale tonight should have enough blood, gore, drastic turns of events, and gun-wielding zombies to hold you over until next season. If not, perhaps you should seek outside help… or just watch the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer a few more times.  After the show, check out our interview with showrunner Robert Kirkman and the full recap of the episode on insidetv.ew.com.

Dancing with the Stars season premiere, 8 p.m., ABC

If you ever wanted to see Urkel dance, this season of Dancing With the Stars is your chance. Former Family Matters star Jaleel White joins tennis great Martina Navratilova, Extra host Maria Menounos, singer Gavin DeGraw, and more under the glitter ball.

The Muppets out on DVD/Blu-ray

I have had “Man or Muppet” in my head since The Muppets came out over Thanksgiving, but that won’t stop me from watching it again. Relive all the Muppety magic as the Jason Segel/Amy Adams – and don’t forget Kermit and Miss Piggy — film makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray.

Bent premieres, 9 p.m., NBC

Amanda Peet (where’s she been?) stars in NBC’s new sitcom Bent. She plays a recently divorced lawyer who hires a contractor with a reputation for womanizing to renovate her kitchen. What I’m looking forward to most? The always hilarious Jeffrey Tambor playing an aspiring musician (and the contractor’s father).

Touch premieres, 9 p.m., FOX

A sneak peek of the new Kiefer Sutherland drama was well-received earlier this year, but will fans remember and be ready come back for the full season? A step away from Jack Bauer on 24, but back in the same time slot, Sutherland stars as a New Yorker whose wife died on 9/11, and who’s now raising his 11-year-old son.

Bonus if you’re reading this on Sunday: There’s an online Q&A at 6:30pm.

The Hunger Games opens in theaters

The hottest movie of the year comes out today, but may the odds be ever in your favor in buying a ticket – advance sales on Fandango list over 1,000 showtimes already sold out, and more are going fast. Our Hunger Games special coverage has the lowdown from the cast and crew of the film, plus you can check out clips from the movie, and share your thoughts on opening day!

March Madness basketball, CBS

Regional finals continue this weekend, so keep an eye on your bracket and settle in for some serious college basketball.

Mad Men returns, 9 p.m., AMC

A season premiere just 17 months in the making, Mad Men returns Sunday night with a special two-hour episode. Are Don and Megan for real? How’s Joan doing with the baby? What pitch is Peggy working on this week? It’s been a loooong time for us to go without a scotch, so get your decanter and highball glass ready.

Read more:
Special coverage: ‘The Hunger Games’
The Women of Mad Men
‘Dancing With the Stars’: And the new cast is……

Vote for your favorite 'Hunger Games' fan-made film!


We’re just 11 days away from the hotly anticipated release of the kiddie-homicide blockbuster The Hunger Games. Lionsgate has done a surprisingly good job of keeping most of the film under wraps — the various trailers have focused mainly on the early part of the story, with only a few sneak peeks of the hunt-to-the-death action inside the Arena.

To fill that gap, a whole series of fan-made Hunger Games films have popped up online — and unlike, say, the upper-level production requirements of a Star Wars fan film, making your own Hunger Games movie just requires a forest and gallons of fake blood. We’ve rounded up the best of the best. Check them out, then make sure to click through to the end to vote for your favorite Hunger Games fan film in our poll. (Spoilers, natch.) READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Planner: Remembering the Japan tsunami, counting down to 'The Hunger Games,' and 'Idol' heats up

The Hunger Games film release is less than two weeks away – are you ready for the reaping? Join us on EW.com for the livestream of the premiere on Monday! But that’s hardly all that’s going on this week – there’s a bunch of Oscar-nominated films coming out on DVD so you can catch up on what you may have missed, plus Discovery Channel investigates life on ice and Idol is already down to the Top 12. Have a great week!

YouTube: Japan in a Day 

Today marks one year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. In commemoration of the disaster and to focus on the resilience of Japan, filmmaker Ridley Scott is using today to kick off work on his new project, Japan in a Day, which asks people around the world to film whatever they are doing today, March 11, and submit it for inclusion in a crowd-sourced documentary. Scott previously collaborated with YouTube on Life in a Day, which gathered footage from around the world and told a story of humanity. You can watch the trailer on YouTube now, and submit a video from anywhere in the world up until midnight tonight.

The Hunger Games premiere, live on EW.com

The big day is almost here. You can officially start planning your Katniss/Effie/Peeta costume –The Hunger Games premiere in Los Angeles is Monday night and we’ll be streaming it live on EW.com! The movie officially opens around the country on March 23, but catch Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and co. on the red carpet here first. And if you’re in LA, you’d better already be downtown at the Nokia Theater where they are allowing fans to camp out overnight for a chance to attend the big event.

Major DVD releases: Melancholia, The Descendants, My Week With Marilyn, Young Adult, The Adventures of Tintin

It’s a big day for home viewing – catch (nearly) everything you didn’t get a chance to see in the theaters before Oscar week as some major films come out on DVD. One of our favorite ‘Nominated for Nothing’ flicks, Melacholia with Kirsten Dunst, is in the mix, along with The Descendants, Michelle Williams’ nominated turn in My Week With Marilyn, animated film The Adventures of TinTin, and the edgy Jason Reitman-helmed Young Adult.

American Idol : The Top 12 perform, Fox, 8p.m.

We’re getting there – American Idol is already down to its Top 12 contestants and tonight they take the stage for the judges. The theme hasn’t been announced yet, but rocker Daughtry will perform on the follow up results show Thursday, so maybe there will be a harder edge to the songs this week?


Community, NBC, 8 p.m.
Bonus: DVD rental The Ides of March

As one astute commenter pointed out, Community makes its valiant return tonight on NBC. Will the fan favorite hold its own being scheduled up against ratings winner Big Bang Theory?

Also, just for fun – it’s the Ides of March– March 15, like the real ides of March — but this year there’s a film out on DVD to go along with the ever-ominous date. So grab a copy of the George Clooney/Ryan Gosling political thriller The Ides of March and do your best Caesar impression at home.

Film releases: 21 Jump Street, Casa de Mi Padre

March is notoriously slow for movie releases, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fun (although perhaps a bit mindless) comedies hitting the multiplex. 21 Jump Street is a fun ride down memory lane (where’s Johnny Depp?), with Channing Tatum and Oscar-nominated Jonah Hill as a pair of ne’er do well cops sent to break up a school drug ring. Also out this weekend: hear Will Ferrell’s reportedly impressive Spanish in Casa di mi Padre.

Chasing Leprechauns, Hallmark Channel, 8 p.m.

Don your favorite green outfit and check out Hallmark’s latest cutesy holiday-themed endeavor – the story of a corporate hack (Adrian Pasdar) sent to Ireland to close a deal on a construction site that – get this – is rumored to be inhabited by leprechauns. I kid you not, this is really on TV. Or there’s always the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day-themed horror flick, Leprechaun (1993), starring Jennifer Aniston in her film debut.

Frozen Planet, Discovery Channel, 8p.m.

Penguins, and polar bears, and sea lions, oh my! In this new co-production with the BBC, Discovery Channel explores life in the polar areas of the world, giving a new view of these vast, frozen landscapes. Alec Baldwin narrates the seven-episode series.

'Hunger Games' author Suzanne Collins weighs in on the big question: Will lovers of the book be happy with the movie?

Earlier today, author Suzanne Collins took to The Hunger Games Facebook page to share with fans her thoughts about the film version of her young adult novel after seeing a screening of the much-anticipated film. Collins updated fans as production started on the feature last year, so it’s fun to see the progression and to read her thoughts on the actual content of the film and how it envisions the world of Panem.

“I’m really happy with how it turned out. I feel like the book and the film are individual yet complementary pieces that enhance one another,” Collins wrote. “It’s amazing to see things that are suggested in the book fully developed and so brilliantly realized through the artistry of the designers. And, my God, the actors. The cast, led by the extraordinary Jennifer Lawrence, is absolutely wonderful across the board.”

You, dear PopWatchers, will have to wait to give your take on book vs. movie until the film’s release on March 23. Until then, what do you think will be the most different? What details are you most worried about seeing on the cutting room floor?

Read Collins’ full statement below, where she addresses specific things she saw and liked in the film version:

Dear Readers,

I’ve just had the opportunity to see the finished film of The Hunger Games. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I feel like the book and the film are individual yet complementary pieces that enhance one another. The film opens up the world beyond Katniss’ point of view, allowing the audience access to the happenings of places like the Hunger Games control room and President Snow’s rose garden, thereby adding a new dimension to the story. Director Gary Ross has created an adaptation that is faithful in both narrative and theme, but he’s also brought a rich and powerful vision of Panem, its brutality and excesses, to the film as well. His world building’s fantastic, whether it be the Seam or the Capitol. It’s amazing to see things that are suggested in the book fully developed and so brilliantly realized through the artistry of the designers. And, my God, the actors. The cast, led by the extraordinary Jennifer Lawrence, is absolutely wonderful across the board. It’s such a pleasure to see how they’ve embodied the characters and brought them to life. So I’d like to sincerely thank all the many people who devoted their time and talents to the film, especially producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, and the excellent teams at Color Force, Larger Than Life, and Lionsgate. I hope you enjoy the film!

Suzanne Collins

Read more:
This Week’s Cover: ‘The Hunger Games’ – Game on!
‘The Hunger Games’: All hail EW.com-sponsored District 7!
‘The Hunger Games’ trailer
Special Coverage: ‘The Hunger Games’

The odds are in your favor: How to get your mouth on Liam Hemsworth


If you’ve been looking for a way to lick Josh Hutcherson, we just might have the solution. New York bakery Eleni’s, most recently responsible for their ingenious Oscar cookies, has given their detailed treatment to none other than the characters, creatures, and concepts of The Hunger Games, pictured above.

Their Capitol confections (which I can attest are not made from tesserae grain) include everything from tracker jackers you can eat without fear of delirium, a mockingjay pin (that I would proudly wear if it wouldn’t crumble on my shirt), a bow and arrow, a bunch of nightlock berries (eat at your own risk), the foreboding white rose, and for all you Team Gale fans, a mop-haired Liam Hemsworth.

While you won’t find these cookies included in your copy of this week’s Hunger Games issue, you can order the Down with the Capitol gift box (currently circulating EW’s office) for $75 from Eleni’s website. We’d love to see Seneca Crane take a bite out of that.

Read more:
This Week’s Cover: ‘The Hunger Games’ — Game On!
‘The Hunger Games’ tracking at ‘Twilight’-size numbers
Lionsgate announces 24 advance screenings for ‘Hunger Games’

This Week's Cover: 'The Hunger Games' -- Game On!


“Is it violent?” says director Gary Ross of his PG-13 film. “Yes. Do we back off from what it is? No, we don’t.”

The March 23 release of The Hunger Games is nearly upon us. While we can’t make the clock turn any faster, we can offer fans of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling dystopian trilogy (and newcomers, too) a deep, behind-the-scenes look into the making of the film, from conception to casting, filming to marketing.

Perhaps no bit of casting news was met with greater surprise than Lenny Kravitz taking on the role of Cinna, hero Katniss Everdeen’s deeply cool and compassionate stylist. Kravitz was working on his album, living out of a trailer in the Bahamas and oblivious to the Hunger Games phenomenon, when Ross first approached him to offer him the part. The director had been moved by the musician’s gentle grace in Precious and was further intrigued by the fact that Kravitz already felt a nurturing bond with star Jennifer Lawrence, who had become close friends with his daughter Zoe during the filming of X-Men: First Class. “I love that girl,” says Kravitz. “The minute I met her she became a part of the family.”  READ FULL STORY

'The Hunger Games': All hail EW.com-sponsored District 7!

My fellow citizens, we all know that every district of Panem creates something useful, for the greater glory of our beloved overseers in the Capitol. District 10 breeds livestock. District 8 manufactures textiles. District 4 is filled with fishermen — and I’m sure we can all agree that they deserve our respect for nobly sacrificing themselves to a life of swimming around poking at fish with their adorable tridents. But with all due respect to our brothers and sisters, their Districts would all fall into ruin without one key ingredient: Lumber. READ FULL STORY

'Hunger Games' advance tickets released

Image Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Hunger Games advance tickets went on sale this morning with just a month left to go until the film’s March 23 release — and it’s dominating Fandango, accounting for 83 percent of the site’s total sales today.

If you were hoping to get a ticket to the premiere in L.A., you may be in luck. Lionsgate announced that they will admit 400 fans in to the big night on March 12 — but get there early. Overnight camping will be allowed at “The Hob,” the L.A. headquarters for fans attending the Nokia Theater event, beginning on March 11 at 6am, according to the film’s Facebook page. Make sure you have some groosling ready to roast so you don’t go hungry out there!

For those already set to see the film on opening day with their Peeta or Katniss, enjoy! And for those tributes hoping to spot the stars on the carpet, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Read more:
EW’s ‘Hunger Games’ Central
 ‘The Hunger Games’ cast is coming to a mall (hopefully) near you! Plus: Two more TV spots!
 ‘The Hunger Games’ advance tickets go on sale tomorrow; new poster released

'The Hunger Games' advance tickets go on sale tomorrow; new poster released

As that countdown clock clicks louder and louder in the heads of excited Hunger Games fans, there’s something to alleviate the anxiety of waiting for March 23: Advance tickets go on sale… tomorrow. As in, tomorrow tomorrow. (Let’s all be grateful it’s online, otherwise the box office at your local theater might look a little bit like the Arena.)

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, exactly 30 days before The Hunger Games hits the big screen (and the really, really big screen if you choose to see it in IMAX), Fandango.com, Moviefone.com, and MovieTickets.com will begin selling tickets for the movie/event. And speaking of IMAX, there’s a new poster that’s been released that touts that the world will be watching in an enormous theater. (And, in turn, will likely go deaf. Worth it.) While it’s not terribly different from the last poster, in which Jennifer Lawrence’s skilled Katniss was taking aim with her trusty bow and arrow, in the words of Barney Stinson, it’s still going to be legen…

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