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Put Down the Remote: Announcing the Launch of HuffPost TV

Posted: 12/14/2011 9:02 am

I'm happy to announce two new additions to our cultural coverage: the launch of HuffPost TV and the re-launch of HuffPost's Book Club.

HuffPost TV is also somewhat of a re-launch -- the site was formerly known as AOL TV. In its new incarnation, HuffPost TV will have many of the same features you've come to know: exclusive interviews and clips, reviews and recaps, the stories behind the scenes of your favorite shows, and TV listings. But now, we're adding HuffPost's powerful blog and community platforms to the mix, giving you an even more comprehensive -- and much more social -- look at everything happening in the world of TV, both onscreen and off.

With series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Modern Family, and Game of Thrones, television has definitely entered a new Golden Age -- and with it has come viewer demand for TV coverage that matches the scope and depth of the best shows out there.

But HuffPost TV won't just be hanging out at the award-winning end of the TV spectrum. We'll embrace it all, from the most groundbreaking to guilty pleasures to the latest reality shows to the outright spectacles that have become part of our shared experience. Because even if you didn't see last night's episode of Jersey Shore, Gossip Girl or Kim's Fairytale Wedding, the ability to reference, quote from, and roll your eyes at these programs is practically a cultural -- indeed sometimes even political -- requirement (see John McCain tweeting about Snooki in 2008 or President Obama joking about her during the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2010) .

HuffPost TV will feature many of the voices you've come to know from AOL TV, including Maureen Ryan, our TV critic, and Maggie Furlong, our West Coast Editor. HuffPost TV will be edited by Jaimie Etkin, a former associate culture editor at Newsweek/Daily Beast, where she spent more than two years as the resident Jersey Shore expert and concluded that DVR is the greatest invention of our time. Her work has also appeared in Us Weekly and Radar.

We kick things off today with must-read contributions from UK-based writer Catherine Lawson, who reveals that three of America's hottest TV shows' star actors cut their teeth at the same elite English school; and veteran entertainment journalist Richard Rushfield on the writers who make up the so-called "Friends Mafia," whose post-Friends solo efforts have mostly fizzled.

We're also featuring stories from Chris Harnick, who interviews Hot In Cleveland's Valerie Bertinelli and Jane Leeves on their plans for Betty White's 90th birthday party; and Maureen Ryan interviewing Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes in an exclusive video, and offering her take on the perks and oddities of her job as a TV critic (along with tips on staying in shape in a sedentary line of work).

And of course it wouldn't be HuffPost without a great lineup of bloggers, starting with my pal and HuffPost favorite Bill Maher, who offers an appreciation of TV ("it's a box full of good memories") and tells how he came to be the first man to ever say "sucks" on TV. Aaron Sorkin weighs in on the genius and legacy of Sid Caesar. TV pioneer Norman Lear blogs about the amazing way he landed his first TV writing job. Dr. Phil gives his advice on how to deal with family over the holidays. And IFC president Evan Shapiro makes the case for why TV's doomsday criers are mistaken.

So check out HuffPost TV. And get primed for the new HuffPost Book Club, which officially re-launches on January 3rd with Téa Obreht's remarkable novel The Tiger's Wife, by reading our Books editor Andrew Losowsky's introductory post. The last time around, our book club centered around the books I was reading, including Carl Horore's In Praise of Slowness, Jeremy Rifkin's The Empathic Civilization, Janine Wedel's Shadow Elite, and Simon Johnson and James Kwak's 13 Bankers. This time, our Books editors will make the picks -- and I'll join you in reading them!

And we want you to be an even bigger part of the discussion, inviting you, as Andrew writes, to "join a special HuffPost Book Club digital community, through your existing Twitter (#HPbookclub), Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr accounts, and share both thoughts and real-world experiences as we read."

So... happy viewing, happy reading, and as always, please use the comments section to let us know what you think.

 
 
 
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