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This Week's Cover: 'The Hunger Games' and 'Fifty Shades of Grey' are both novel covers

The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey: two literary sensations that have whipped readers into a frothy frenzy. The librarians of the world must be (very quietly) ecstatic.

Last weekend the first film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book series about dystopian teenage blood-sport massacred the competition at the box office, raking in an astronomical $152.5 million and taking its place as the third biggest opening weekend of all time. Jennifer Lawrence’s headstrong heroine Katniss Everdeen shot her way into the hearts and wallets of moviegoers the world over, as well as onto our newsstand cover. (Subscribers will receive a slightly steamier cover featuring our exclusive story on Fifty Shades of Grey, the massively successful erotic novel that has everyone talking, if perhaps only in hushed tones.)

Even the folks who were banking on The Hunger Games being a success were shocked by how many fans and not-yet-fans alike crammed into multiplex seats to watch Katniss fight for her life. “This has exploded beyond anything we could have imagined,” says director Gary Ross. “There are days where it feels like we’re in the middle of some national media event that has nothing to do with entertainment. We keep looking around trying to figure out how this could have actually happened.” Lionsgate is aiming to release the sequel, Catching Fire, around Thanksgiving 2013, but everyone will be returning to work much sooner. “It’s fantastic to finally have the movie out in the world and to see all of these people who love it,” says producer Nina Jacobson, who first picked up the rights to Collins’ novel back in 2009, “but at the end of the day we’ll roll up our sleeves and it’s on to the next one.”

Even as The Hunger Games heats up movie theaters, another literary wildfire is threatening to turn Kindles into kindling. READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: The untold story of 'Desperate Housewives'

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For the first time in years, ­Desperate Housewives is captivating America again — for reasons its creator and cast can’t be happy about. Former star Nicollette ­Sheridan sued Touchstone Television for wrongful termination after the show’s creator Marc Cherry killed off Sheridan’s man-eating alter ego, Edie Britt, in spring 2009. The details were scandalous — for instance, Cherry testified that Sheridan once called costar Teri Hatcher “the meanest woman in the world” — and the juicy, three-week trial culminated in a verdict reminiscent of Housewives’ famous cliff-hangers: A judge declared a mistrial due to a hung jury.

The publicity around the trial is a fitting coda for the eight-year-old ABC dramedy, which will finally sign off with a two-hour finale on May 13 at 9 p.m. To commemorate the end of this ­pioneering series (and in light of the show’s recent return to newsy relevance), EW decided to put the ladies of Wisteria Lane — klutzy divorcée Susan Mayer (Hatcher), frazzled mom Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), WASPy homemaker Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross), and suburban sexpot Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) — on the cover of EW one last time. We conducted two dozen interviews with the cast, crew, and writers, who recall Housewives’ provocative premise, its controversial story lines and effect on the TV industry, and one very gnarly Vanity Fair photo shoot.

The chats with major Desperate players reaped delicious behind-the-scenes details from the series: On-screen husband Doug Savant blames the brouhaha over the much talked-about Vanity Fair cover on an “inhospitable” environment created by the production team at the photo shoot; Cross admitted that “people thought for a long time that I was the bitch” of the show; James Denton — whose character Mike Delfino was killed off the show on March 11 — told us about how much of a “bummer” the Sheridan lawsuit was and that she was “fun to work with”; Huffman admitted to being such a fan of her on-screen husband, played by Savant, that she offered to pay part of his salary so he wouldn’t make less money in the show’s final season; and all the ladies shared their favorite moments from the series — for Hatcher it was being “naked in the bushes” and for Longoria it was mowing the Solis’ lawn in the pilot while wearing heels. “Most of my favorite memories about the show have to do with sitting in my trailer with Marcia or Felicity,” Longoria continued, “and talking about life.”

For all of that and more about Desperate Housewives pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands March 23. Also, remember to follow @EW on Twitter. 

Entertainment Weekly is now available on most tablets, including the iPad, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy. Think of it like the EW you already love, but on steroids: With our digital magazine, you can buy the recommended movies, albums, books, and DVDs while you’re reading about them. Plus you can watch music videos and film trailers, and find movie showtimes in your neighborhood. Current subscribers can access the digital version of EW for free by downloading EW app (also free) and logging in using your name and address or the information on your subscription label. Single copies of the magazine are also for sale through the app if you prefer to read EW that way. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to become one, you can can do so by going to ew.com/allaccess.

Read more:
Mistrial declared in Nicollette Sheridan case
‘Desperate Housewives’ major character death revealed: Read an EXCLUSIVE interview with the star!
‘Desperate Housewives’ star Teri Hatcher thinks SPOILER death ‘was a bad idea’

This Week's Cover: Jon Hamm and Co. gear up for the return of 'Mad Men'

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Seventeen months is an excruciatingly long time to wait for anything — let alone TV’s best drama — to return, but your patience/frustration is about to be rewarded/end: The fifth season of AMC’s Mad Men finally hits the air on March 25. That’s right, the entrancing and nuanced series about ad execs in the ‘60s — which has claimed the Outstanding Drama Emmy four consecutive years — is ready to restake its claim to your Sunday nights. To mark the occasion, EW has put Jon Hamm on this week’s cover. No one commands a room, or a cigarette, quite like Don Draper. (Kids, it’s a terrible habit. Don’t start. They didn’t know what they were doing back in the ‘60s.) We visited the set and spoke with creator/exec producer Matthew Weiner along with key cast members about the upcoming batch of episodes, why that hiatus turned out to be so darn long, and what to expect from Don, who was last seen throwing us a WTF by proposing to his secretary, Megan (Jessica Pare).

“A lot of the decisions that Don makes may seem strange to the audience, but they’re going to seem strange to the people around him, too,” notes Weiner. “He is coming into middle age, which was closer to old age back then. Existentialism is a young man’s game, and you can say what you want about how death nullifies things. But when you get closer to death, it starts to become more serious, and it’s harder to laugh it off and say, ‘I’m living for the moment.’”

Fans can breathe easier knowing that they will be getting plenty more Mad moments: After some tense, protracted negotiations last spring, the show was renewed through a seventh and final season. Weiner felt that seven was the lucky number for the show to end on, and, well, that suits Hamm just fine. “I love going to work, so in that sense I could play Don for 100 years,” he says. “But I realize we’re not on a treadmill, we’re on a thing that moves forward… And so I think these things should end, and they should end the way the guy that started it wants it to end.”

For much more on Mad Men —  including teases for season 5 and a look back at the first four seasons and their best episodes — pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Mar. 9. Also, remember to follow @EW on Twitter. 

Entertainment Weekly is now available on most tablets, including the iPad, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy. Think of it like the EW you already love, but on steroids: With our digital magazine, you can buy the recommended movies, albums, books, and DVDs while you’re reading about them. Plus you can watch music videos and film trailers, and find movie showtimes in your neighborhood. Current subscribers can access the digital version of EW for free by downloading EW app (also free) and logging in using your name and address or the information on your subscription label. Single copies of the magazine are also for sale through the app if you prefer to read EW that way. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to become one, you can can do so by going to ew.com/allaccess.

Read more:
Watch an exclusive video with Jon Hamm at our Facebook fans only page!
‘Mad Men’ scoop: First season 5 promo is here! — EXCLUSIVE
Should Don and Joan hook up in season 5?

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

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“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

This Week's Cover: Whitney Houston's life and legacy

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Whitney Houston’s tragic death on the eve of the Grammy Awards was a shock to the music community and the world. Her fans and colleagues have struggled with her legacy in the days since her passing, reconciling her one-of-a-kind talent with her battle with substance abuse and troubled personal life. In this week’s issue of EW, we explore Houston’s life, her influences, and how she will be remembered.

At the Grammys, Houston’s impact was apparent. Bonnie Raitt, Diane Warren, and other major music industry figures spoke to EW about her influence on their own work and on the music business as a whole.  “She broke the glass ceiling for female R&B singers to cross over,” Raitt said.

Houston’s music is what will live on. From “How Will I Know” to “I Will Always Love You,” we’ve compiled an ultimate Whitney playlist, featuring 25 of Whitney Houston’s best songs, as well as a collection of her life in photos.

For more on Whitney Houston and our complete Grammys coverage, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands this Friday.

Entertainment Weekly is now available on most tablets, including the iPad, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy. Think of it like the EW you already love, but on steroids: With our digital magazine, you can buy the recommended movies, albums, books, and DVDs while you’re reading about them. Plus you can watch music videos and film trailers, and find movie showtimes in your neighborhood. Current subscribers can access the digital version of EW for free by downloading EW app (also free) and logging in using your name and address or the information on your subscription label. Single copies of the magazine are also for sale through the app if you prefer to read EW that way. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to become one, you can can do so by going to ew.com/allaccess.

Read more:
Special coverage: Whitney Houston

'Vampire Diaries': Watch behind-the-scenes video footage from EW's steamy photo shoot on Facebook!

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You’ve checked out our three red-hot Vampire Diaries covers, voted on which was your favorite, but you are still hungry for more. More! Well, you’re in luck: You are just one click away from watching behind-the-scenes video footage of EW’s photo shoot with Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder.

Want to see it? (Of course you do!) All you have to do is head on over to EW’s Facebook page, “Like” us, and feast your eyes on everyone’s favorite tantalizing CW trio. Click here, then take a nice, cold shower.

Read more:
This Week’s Cover: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ love triangle
EW’s ‘Vampire Diaries’ issue: Which cover do you like best?
Photo Gallery: ‘Vampire Diaries’: 10 Exclusive Pics!

EW's 'Vampire Diaries' covers: Which do you like best?

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We feel your pain, Elena. It is extremely difficult to decide between the compassionate and handsome Stefan and the dark and dangerous (and handsome) Damon. But it’s even more difficult to decide which EW cover featuring the cast of The Vampire Diaries wins your heart. So while we gifted you with an issue on stands this week with three Vampire Diaries covers, we’re going to make you choose: Which cover image do you like best? (See the other two after the jump.) The one featuring Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Elena (Nina Dobrev), the one featuring Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Elena (Nina Dobrev), or will you go with the best of both worlds and pick the one featuring Damon, Elena, and Stefan? Vote in our poll after the jump, and pick up the issue on stands Friday to devour ‘em all. (Or click here to buy now!) READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: 'The Vampire Diaries' stars talk about the red-hot Damon-Elena-Stefan triangle

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Somehow, for a series packed with vampires, werewolves, witches, hybrids (and yes, even the occasional ghost), it’s a love triangle between two undead brothers, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley), and one very mortal girl, Elena (Nina Dobrev), that gets The Vampire Diaries fans the most riled up. (And judging from the chemistry in our cover photos, it’s not hard to see why. Check out collectors’ covers No. 2 and 3 after the jump.)

When executive producers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec decided that they were finally ready for bad-boy Damon to share a legitimate kiss with Elena — after more than two years of buildup — they knew it would have to satisfy two avid fan bases: those who wanted to see Elena

get with Damon, and those who were still holding out hope for her to work things out with soul mate, Stefan.

“It’s one of those things that you want to be able to defend,” Williamson explains to EW. “But even more importantly, you’d rather not defend it. You want it to feel real and right and natural by all the audience.” Satisfying the “shippers” (a term used to identify fans who root for fictional characters to have relationships), is a challenge both Williamson and Plec have faced each time they’ve tried to advance the triangle. Asks Plec: “How can we service this moment between our characters that we really want, a Damon and Elena kiss, without getting the Stefan-Elena side of the fandom to give up hope and give up on us? And vice versa, when we want Stefan and Elena to have a moment together, how can we do that and not have our Delena fans outraged?”

This week’s EW cover story also features interviews with Vampire‘s stars — Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, and Paul Wesley — who talk about keeping the love triangle red-hot, where they fall in the Stelena-Delena shipper wars, and all rumors swirling around their real-life relationships. Says Dobrev: “The rumor mills were ‘Is Nina with Ian or is Nina with Paul?’ Ther

e was a lot of speculation.” Notes Somerhalder coyly, “Nothing has been confirmed yet.” READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: Oscar nominations are out, and the race is on!

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Hugo versus The Artist! Meryl versus Viola! George versus Brad! The 84th Academy Awards are shaping up to be a night of epic showdowns, and this year’s nominations tightened the race in exciting fashion. In this week’s EW, we take you inside all exciting categories, explore the shocking snubs, and introduce you to all the nominees you may not know about (Demián who?).

Two of the happiest nominees this year? Good pals Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer, who were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress (for Bridesmaids and The Help, respectively). The pair costarred in a little-seen 2008 indie called Pretty Ugly People, directed by The Help‘s Tate Taylor. McCarthy, already an Emmy winner for her CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, woke up just as her category was being announced on Jan. 24 and had trouble putting all the pieces together. “I couldn’t process what it was,” she tells EW. “They said my name and I kept saying, ‘But what is this for?’ And my husband said, ‘The Academy Awards!’ And I said, ‘No, it’s a different show! It’s a different show!’ It was the weirdest thing. I couldn’t get the concept into my brain. I don’t know why.”

Spencer, meanwhile, has won every major pre-Oscar prize so far for her memorable turn in The Help but refuses to believe her status as the early favorite.

“I don’t know how anybody could say anybody is a front-runner,” says Spencer. “The only way you’re a front-runner is if you win. You know what I’m saying?”

For all the scoop you need to know leading up to this year’s Oscar ceremony, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands this Friday.

Entertainment Weekly is now available on most tablets, including the iPad, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy. Think of it like the EW you already love, but on steroids: With our digital magazine, you can buy the recommended movies, albums, books, and DVDs while you’re reading about them. Plus you can watch music videos and film trailers, and find movie showtimes in your neighborhood. Current subscribers can access the digital version of EW for free by downloading EW app (also free) and logging in using your name and address or the information on your subscription label. Single copies of the magazine are also for sale through the app if you prefer to read EW that way. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to become one, you can can do so by going to ew.com/allaccess.

This Week's Cover: Revelations about ABC's 'Revenge' lead our Winter TV Preview

When EW’s TV staff sat down to decide what to feature on our Winter TV Preview cover, the discussion repeatedly came back the one show we couldn’t stop talking about: ABC’s buzzy prime-time soap, Revenge. Throughout the fall, the new series — we refer to it as “TV’s greatest guilty pleasure” — had provided a multitude of outrageous cliff-hangers and OMG! moments that had the tongues of viewers wagging constantly.

However, there was one big question: Could Revenge possibly continue to sizzle so much in the coming months? EW is happy to report that, yes — after talking to the show’s players for our cover, featuring romantic leads Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) and Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman) — Revenge has only just begun to rev its engine, which is full of explosive revelations that will delight fans all the way through to its May season finale. This week’s cover story previews the drama’s upcoming new episodes — a jaw-dropping pair airing Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 — where we’ll finally learn what actually happened in the deadly beach scene outside Emily and Daniel’s engagement party that opened the series’ juicy September pilot, which then flashed back and followed Emily as she embarked on her journey of revenge against her enemies.

There are so many questions: Who’s dead? Who’s the killer? How does everyone we’ve come to know and love — and love to hate — on Revenge fit into this mess? We do our best to answer those, and break out the 10 things we’re most looking forward to in the coming episodes of Revenge, in this week’s issue. Here a few of those juicy points to whet your appetite:

READ FULL STORY

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