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TV Insiders podcast: EW experts chat with 'Survivor' villain NaOnka about jury controversy, talk Christmas movie cliches, and preview the 'Walking Dead' finale

Image Credit: Scott Garfield/AMC; Disney Enterprises; Monty Brinton/CBS

If you thought Survivor: Nicaragua villain-turned-quitter NaOnka Mixon regrets the way she tackled a one-legged woman, berated a nice little surfer boy, stole the tribe’s food or turned on best buddy Brenda…think again! “I don’t regret s—” she announces on this week’s edition of the TV Insiders podcast. NaOnka called in to discuss her impressive lack of remorse as well as whether she thought Jeff Probst would allow her on the jury after quitting (“He gave me the easy way out”) and how some parents of the kids she teaches gym to want her fired after seeing how she acted on the show. (Shocking, I know.) A clearly dumbfounded Michael Slezak and Annie Barrett also chime in about this week’s controversial episode. But that’s not all! On Sunday night The Walking Dead will finish its all too brief run of cable television dominance. We’ve seen the season finale, and will tell you what to expect not only this Sunday, but beyond for season 2 as well. Zombie guru Clark Collis joins us to break down the season so far, and reveal why you’re going to be glued to your set on Sunday. On a lighter note, ’tis the season for really horrible TV Christmas movies. There are 16 new ones heading to the small screen this month, and our man Dan Snierson watched every single one of them for our annual Holiday Movie Cliché Checklist. Dan will tell us which categories came up big winners this year (Dramatic Plug-in of Lights, Poignant Stare at Old Photo, Elf High Jinks) and which ones simply didn’t make the cut (Concern About Santa’s Diet, Orphan/Dog Given New Home). You’ll never look at holiday movies the same way again. Come to think of it, you may never look at holiday movies again—period. To join in all the fun, just click on the audio player below. And in the best news of all, we’re now on iTunes! You can subscribe for free right here and take the TV Insiders with you on the go. Where you go exactly is completely up to you. And to send a question to the TV Insiders, follow us on Twitter @TVInsiders. Enjoy!

[AUDIO http://www.ew.com/ew/static/podcast/2010/12/EW_TV_Insiders_12_3_10.mp3%5D

'The Walking Dead': Let's meet this week's zombie cover stars!

EW-COVER-1131_300.jpg People tend to know well ahead of time that we intend to put them on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Not so the quartet of folks who are featured, in zombie form, on this week’s Walking Dead-celebrating issue alongside the show’s star, Andrew Lincoln. “One of my other zombie friends from the show texted me a picture and was like, ‘Look! You’re on the cover!'” says Alyssa Courtney Gruhn (a.k.a., “Bottom right cover zombie”). “I was like, ‘Whaaat?’ It came out of nowhere. It was pretty awesome.” Music store manager Charles Casey was similarly surprised to find himself following in the EW cover-decorating footsteps of such luminaries as Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, and, uh, the dog from Frasier. “I got a call from my boss, who subscribes, and he informed me that I was on the cover,” says Casey, who is the zombie on the far left. “I actually work next to a Barnes & Noble, so I gave the heads up to my friend who works there and he bought all the copies they got this week. I have 15 sitting in front of me.”

Maybe we should put non-A-listers on our cover more often. Think of all the extra copies we could sell! In the meantime, after the jump, our quartet of undead unknowns reveal how they got their Walking Dead roles in the first place, recall the heat-blasted Atlanta shoot, and tell us their zombie-playing secrets.

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'The Walking Dead': This week's EW cover story goes behind the scenes on TV's best new show

EW-COVER-1131How in the world did a show that begins with a policeman shooting a little (albeit zombified) girl in the head ever make it on to television? And how did it become the hottest new series of the year? The new issue of Entertainment Weekly examines the past, present, and future of AMC’s zombie survival epic, The Walking Dead — from the comic book’s humble beginnings, to unlikely path to the small screen, to even more unlikely path as a bona fide hit. We talk to all the key players, including comic creator Robert Kirkman, executive producers Frank Darabont and Gale Anne Hurd, and star Andrew Lincoln, who was as shocked as anybody by the subject matter when he was first approached for the project. “I got an e-mail outlining the project,” says Lincoln. “The first thing I read was ‘AMC.’ I went, ‘Great! I’ve been waiting for an AMC opportunity!’ Then it said ‘The Walking Dead.’ Terrific title. Then the names. ‘Frank Darabont.’ ‘Gale Anne Hurd.’ Great. And then it said ‘Zombie survival horror.’ I think I actually did a literal double take. I was like, ‘Really?!’

For more on The Walking Dead, check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on sale Nov. 29.

'Walking Dead' comic creator Robert Kirkman talks about last night's episode, 'Tell It to the Frogs'

the-walking-deadLast night’s episode of The Walking Dead was a fairly gore-free zone, by the standards of AMC’s hit zombie show. True, we did get to see one of the undead chowing down on the insides of a deer before being beheaded — and then arrowed through the brain by a new character, Daryl Dixon, played by Boondock Saints star Norman Reedus. And the episode concluded with the image of a recently severed hand belonging to — or, by that point, not belonging to — Daryl’s brother Merle (Michael Rooker). But compared to the mayhem of last week’s let’s-wear-intestines-like-a-scarf, blood-a-thon Guts, this was a veritable Merchant-Ivory-esque yakfest — albeit one not short of incident as Rick was reunited with Lori (who thus discovered that Shane had been lying about her husband’s demise) and the hotheaded Daryl was informed that his sibling had been left to perish on the top of a building in Atlanta.

Regardless, it almost seemed like, having presumably repelled all the people who don’t like zombie movies with the first two shows, the behind-the-scenes team had decided to get rid of everyone who does enjoy a good undead flick with the third episode. “We’re really trying to burn through this audience as fast as we can,” laughs Robert Kirkman who writes the Walking Dead comic series and is an executive producer on the TV adaptation. “There are entirely too many people watching this show.”

Kirkman can afford to joke about ratings. The pilot episode of The Walking Dead — which was helmed by Shawshank Redemption‘s Frank Darabont — garnered an very impressive audience of 5.3 million viewers. Unsurprisingly, AMC announced a week ago that it was ordering a second season of the show, which will comprise 13 episodes, as opposed to the current run of six.

After the jump, Kirkman talks about last night’s episode, “Tell It to the Frogs,” the Rick-Lori-Shane love triangle, and, why he can’t be blamed for that Miss Piggy-oral sex gag.

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'Walking Dead' star Andrew Lincoln talks about making AMC's new zombie hit: 'It got crazier and crazier'

the-walking-deadLast summer, I spoke at length with British actor Andrew Lincoln for EW’s Fall TV Preview just as he was coming to the end of shooting the first season of The Walking Dead in Atlanta. Of course, at the time, there seemed a good chance that it would also be the show’s only season. Despite the creative input of Shawshank Redemption auteur Frank Darabont and legendary sci fi producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, Aliens) AMC’s adaptation of the long-running, Robert Kirkman-penned zombie comic book series, seemed like an unlikely project even from the cable network responsible for such idiosyncratic successes as Breaking Bad and Mad Men. It would have been a brave man for sure, who bet the farm on The Walking Dead becoming the season’s breakout hit.

A brave man and, as we now know, a richer one. The Walking Dead debuted on Halloween and garnered a record-breaking audience of 5.3m viewers, making it the most watched premiere in AMC history.  Unsurprisingly, the network announced this week that it had commissioned a second season.

Given all this, I thought Walking Dead fans new and old might be interested in persuing an extended version of my chat with Mr Lincoln, particularly as he discussed at some length the filming of the most recent episode, Guts. You can read it after the jump.

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'The Walking Dead': Comic book series creator Robert Kirkman talks about last night's 'Guts'-y episode

the-walking-deadLast night, AMC broadcast the second episode of The Walking Dead, its adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s still ongoing zombie comic book saga. Would executive producer and show creator Frank Darabont maintain the jaw-dropping level of carnage featured in the pilot, which opened with Andrew Lincoln’s sheriff hero Rick Grimes shooting a cute zombified girl in the head (and which scored record-breaking ratings for AMC)?

The answer was a definite “Yes-and-then-some!” as the appropriately titled Guts found Grimes and his new buddy Glenn (Steven Yeun) attempting to blend in with the undead hordes of Atlanta by covering themselves with blood, viscera, and even a severed foot. (Between this show and the just released 127 Hours, I can only assume it must have been National Detached Extremities Weekend. My, it seems to come earlier every year!) The second episode also introduced a number of characters including the racist Merle Dixon, played by Michael Rooker of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer infamy.

After the jump, Kirkman—who in addition to creating the original comic, is one of the show’s writers and executive producers—ruminates on the episode, talks post-apocalyptic sex, and admits that the severed foot may possibly have been… a step too far! (Warning: The post does contain an image of an extremely gore-covered Grimes.)

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'The Walking Dead' walks on Google Maps

As much as I’ve always loved the utility of Google maps, I never pegged it as a service applicable to pop culture. But, apparently, it is. See: this fantastic and spoiler-filled Google map geared entirely around The Walking Dead, also known as the coolest thing I’ve seen all day.

Jason McDonald created the completely annotated map, which chronicles the births, deaths, appearances, and other events and locations from the 78 issues of The Walking Dead comic book series. It’s certainly made me want to delve further into Robert Kirkman’s world — I find it pretty cool to see a comic-turned-TV series that’s so rooted in fantasy (zombies!) through a lens of something so familiar to my everyday existence. I’ve loved the Walking In Holden Caulfield’s Footsteps map, but this map takes it to the next level. Which other shows, books, or movies would you like to see get the Google map treatment?

Those of you who’ve read all The Walking Dead books, give it a look and sound off below as to the accuracy of the map, and those of you who are looking to avoid spoilers, check the map — and read the comments — with caution.

More on The Walking Dead:
‘The Walking Dead': Comic book series creator Robert Kirkman answers our questions about last night’s shocking pilot
TV Insiders podcast: EW experts explain why ‘The Walking Dead’ will scare the beejezus out of you
‘Night of the Living Dead’: How a 42-year-old zombie movie refuses to die
George Romero unlikely to direct an episode of ‘The Walking Dead’
‘Walking Dead’ exec producer Gale Anne Hurd talks about AMC’s no-holds-barred zombie show

'Dancing With the Stars' 200th episode: Which group of returning alumni was the most hilarious?

Last night marked the beginning of the 200th-episode celebration of Dancing With the Stars. What? It seems like the series just started! NOT. So many random crops of alumni turned up for this huge ABC event. There they were, in scattered patches of the liiiiiiiive crowd, at once funny, fascinating, intergalactic, and sad. They bothered to show up, so I thought I’d bother to screengrab them in all their return-to-Planet Mirrorballus glory! Judging on ridiculata standards and nothing else, look through the pics and vote in our totally unnecessary poll after the break. READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Comic book series creator Robert Kirkman answers our questions about last night's shocking pilot

Last night, AMC screened the pilot of new show The Walking Dead, in which Andrew Lincoln’s small town Georgia sheriff Rick Grimes desperately attempts to reunite with his family in a zombie apocalypse. The result was an epic start to this adaptation of Robert Kirkman‘s long-running comic—and an amazingly horrific display by TV standards.

How did pilot director Frank Darabont get away with featuring so much bloody mayhem? Will a knowledge of the original comic series help viewers guess which characters are going to live and which become undead chow? And was that really Jim Carrey cameo-ing as a zombie?

After the jump, Robert Kirkman—who is also one of the writers on the show and a Walking Dead executive producer—tackles these questions and more. Though, be warned, at times the conversation leans toward the gory and, if you haven’t yet seen the pilot, spoilery.

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TV Insiders podcast: EW experts pick the best and worst 'Dancing with the Stars' contestants ever

Image Credit: Adam Larkey/ABC; Bob D'Amico/ABC

With Dancing with the Stars getting ready to celebrate its 200th episode, we thought it the perfect time to look back on 11 seasons of ballroom bliss and bedlam. On the latest edition of the TV Insiders podcast, DWTS expert Annie Barrett shares her selections for the best and worst hoofers to ever shake their groove thang on the dance floor. Who is the best of the best? Who is the worst of the worst? And who was neither good nor bad enough to merit our attention at all? Answers await in the podcast below! Also on tap for this special Halloween edition: Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and star Andrew Lincoln stop by to talk about the best way to kill a zombie, Michael Slezak and I discuss the latest developments involving urine on Survivor: Nicaragua, Michael Ausiello weighs in on the shaky future of NBC’s The Event, and Clark Collis shows up to flaunt his fancy English accent. You can download all the insanity straight to your mp3 player, or click on the video player after the jump to enjoy all the podcast magic on your screen right here, right now. And if you have a question for the TV Insiders, you can tweet it to @EWDaltonRoss. READ FULL STORY

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