News Nuggets: What are the four most popular (and the worst) new TV shows?

What are the most popular new shows (and the worst) of the fall TV season? TV Guide has been polling the public the past few weeks, and the top favorites are “Sleepy Hollow (Tom Mison), “The Blacklist” (James Spader), “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Clark Gregg), and “The Crazy Ones” (Robin Williams). On the complete list of 26 freshman series, the bottom four consists of two cancelled programs, “Lucky 7” and “We Are Men,” plus “Dads” and “Super Fun Night“. TV Guide.

Screenplay contenders for the Oscars, Golden Globes, Writers Guild, and other groups are already jockeying for position in the awards derby. New scripts that can now be downloaded include “Before Midnight,” “Frozen,” “Monsters University,” “The Past,” and “Rush.” They join previously available screenplays online from “The Invisible Woman,” “Kill Your Darlings,” “Lone Survivor,” “Mud,” and more. Rope of Silicon.

Glenn Whipp projects the Oscar contenders for Best Picture. The locks are “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” with “Captain Phillips” very likely. Pros and cons are then provided for “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Nebraska,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” and several other possible contenders. L.A. Times.

“The Act of Killing” might be the documentary to beat this year at the Academy Awards. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, the “sobering” film is about Indonesian genocide and has been racking up nominations from groups across the board. Another film doing well is “Stories We Tell,” a family memoir from actress/director Sarah Polley. Hitfix.

After a “botched” change on NBC’s “Today” last time, executives are already trying to make the next anchor transition on the long-running morning program “smooth and painless.” Producers made a sudden switch from Ann Curry to Savannah Guthrie last year. When the contract of Matt Lauer expires, names under consideration are Willie Geist (late morning anchor), David Gregory (“Meet the Press”), and Carl Quintanilla (CNBC). Hollywood Reporter.

Forest Whitaker will be honored with a retrospective and tribute this Friday by the American Cinematheque for his film career. He won an Oscar as Best Actor for “The Last King of Scotland” in 2006 and is a contender this year for “The Butler.” Awards Daily.

Anne Thompson champions “The Spectacular Now” to awards voters and reminds that it has a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. She was specifically won over by the young leads Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley as they “go for broke in this genuine crowd-pleaser.” With screeners going out this week, she says the best hopes ride with Independent Spirit voters but there is hope for others. Thompson on Hollywood.

Blockbuster Video is closing its remaining 300 stores by the end of January. The video rental store was a giant in the entertainment industry starting in 1985 and had over 9,000 stores as recently as 2004. Online servicer Netflix then became popular with DVD rentals through the mail, leading to a massive decline for the video chain. Deadline.

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