VIDEO: ‘Covert Affairs’ Season 3 Premiere Preview: Sarah Clarke As Annie’s New Boss

When Covert Affairs debuts its third season tomorrow night, there will be a new character in town. Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) will have a new mentor, played by small screen veteran Sarah Clarke. Clarke will play Lena, a legendary CIA operative running her own division.

Lena, by the looks of this video (courtesy of TVGuide), is a straight-shooter who has no problem with saying what’s on her mind. She believes that Annie was being under-utilized under the wing of Joan (Kari Matchett) and that she can do more. Color me interested. Her blunt nature reminds me a bit of her character Nina Myers on 24, perhaps one of the most sinister TV villains of all time.

Clarke joins Affairs after a small arc on CW’s Nikita. Let me be the first to ask – is it possible for her to recruit her husband, Xander Berkeley over to Covert Affairs as well? Besides both now being alums of Nikita, they also can jointly brag about their work on 24 as well.

Check out the video below and be sure to tune in to the Covert Affairs Season 3 premiere on Tuesday, July 10 at 10/9C.

Giveaway: USA Network Summer Prize Package – Celebrate the Burn Notice Season 6 Premiere

There’s nothing like this time of year : warm weather, barbecues and your favorite USA Network shows return for the Summer. Tonight, Burn Notice kicks off its sixth season and we’ve got a prize package to celebrate.

ENTER TO WIN a USA Network Summer Prize Package!

One Winner will receive:

· Custom Magnet Set
· Logo T-Shirt
· Baseball Hat
· S5 DVD of Burn Notice
(Premiere on Thursday, June 14 at 9/8c)
· S3 Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Royal Pains
· S1 & S2 DVD of Covert Affairs
(Premiere on Tuesday, July 10 at 10/9c)
· S3 DVD of White Collar
(Premiere on Tuesday, July 10 at 9/8c)

You can enter two times daily by:

1) Leaving a comment below telling us what is your favorite USA network show and why
2) Following us on Twitter and Tweeting to @buzzfocus and #USANetworkPrize your contest entry.

Contest Rules:
Contest open to US residents only.

By entering, you certify that you are 18 years of age and that you reside in the United States. The winner will be contacted via email or Twitter direct message and will have 48 hours from the point of contact to claim their prize. The contest ends on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 11:59PM PST. No Purchase necessary. The number of entries will determine the odds of winning.

Look Back at May 2012: USA Network Stars Shine in New York City (Photos)

Here’s a look back at the USA Network celebs who gathered in New York City this May.

Click thumbnails to enlarge and browse gallery:

Stars in attendance included:
Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice), Michael Ealy (Common Law), Warren Cole (Common Law), Sonya Walger (Common Law), Jack McGee (Common Law), Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs), Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs), Kan Matchett (Covert Affairs), Peter Gallagher (Covert Affairs), Michael Trucco (Fairly Legal), Baron Vaughn (Fairly Legal). Virginia Williams (Fairly Legal), Ryan Johnson (Fairly Legal), Callie Thorne (Necessary Roughness), Marc Blucas (Necessary Roughness), Mechad Brooks (Necessary Roughness), Scott Cohen (Necessary Roughness), Sigourney Weaver (Political Animals), James Wolk (Political Animals), Brittany Ishibashi (Political Animals), Carla Gugino (Political Animals), Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains), Campbell Scott (Royal Pains), James Roday (Psych), Dulé Hill (Psych) Timothy Omundson (Psych), Ryan Johnson (Fairly Legal), Tiffani Thiessen (White Collar), Matt Bomer (White Collar), Tim DeKay (White Collar), Gabriel Macht (Suits), Gina Torres (Suits), Sarah Rafferty (Suits), Patrick J. Adams (Suits), Meghan Markle (Suits), Kirsten Nelson (Psych), and Brooke D’Orsay (Royal Pains).

Summer TV 2012: 20 New and Returning Must-See Shows

The month of June is upon us and now that Memorial Weekend is past we can dig our heels in for summer television. Plenty of shows are returning with new seasons in the coming weeks and we’ve gathered the ones you should be tuning into and even discuss the marketing behind their new seasons. As usual, beware of spoilers!

agt howard stern
20. America’s Got Talent (Season 7)
NBC, Mondays at 8/7c

Summer started early for NBC and America’s Got Talent as we’re already three weeks into the auditions. While there’s a healthy amount of dance groups, comedians, magicians, singers, musicians, stuntmen and bizarre acts all vying to be Las Vegas’ next million dollar attraction, the main reason to watch this show is Howard Stern. Whatever impulsive reaction middle America had towards the Sirius XM Radio personality at the first announcement of him becoming a judge, they should know by now that the King of All Media is a pretty darn good judge who explains himself, gives constructive criticism, has complete charm and control of the room, has a much warmer heart than what he’s given credit for and he does have an eye for talent.

necessary roughness season 2

19. Necessary Roughness (Season 2)
USA, Wednesday, June 6 at 10/9c

Personally, what this show has going for it is that it’s completely different from the fleet of procedurals, courtroom dramas, and reality series.  When Callie Thorne got a Golden Globe nomination as a therapist with all of the answers at work but was a mess at home it raised eyebrows. Additional allure comes when we’d like to guess which current NFL diva wide receiver inspired Terrence King (Mehcad Brooks), but because the show is based on the life of Dr. Donna Dennenfelser and her no-nonsense advice to high profile clientele, we can’t help but wonder if Dani’s other cases resemble anyone from the real world. This season we’ll find out how T.K. survives that season one finale (you know he will), and Dani will begin treating another football player.

suits season 2

18. Suits (Season 2)
USA, Thursday, June 14 at 10/9c

Fans of Suits will be tuning in on the premiere to see if Trevor (Tom Lipinski) let Mike’s (Patrick J. Adams) big secret out and if he does, what are the consequences he’ll be facing? Look for Margo Martindale to square off against Harvey (Gabriel Macht) in the courtroom and we finally get to see what the hotshot lawyer does in his off time.

weeds season 8

17. Weeds (Season 8 )
Showtime, Sunday, July 1 at 10/9c

Season 7 ended with a gunshot and come the first of July, we’ll find out who was at the receiving end of that sniper bullet. Now the show would like you to believe it was Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise-Parker) but that wouldn’t be fun, would it? Botwin is just one of the possible victims along with Andy (Justin Kirk), Doug (Kevin Nealon), Shane (Alexander Gould), and Silas (Hunter Parrish). And like any good cliffhanger involving a shooting, we must find out who pulled the trigger. Hence, the tongue and cheek poster above. One of the other things on the minds of Weeds watchers, is will this be the final season?

common law season 1

16. Common Law (Season 1)
USA, Fridays at 10/9c

Already two weeks into its first season, this new buddy detective drama from USA already has the network shine on it. The idea of L.A. detectives going to couples therapy to work out their issues puts a new spin on the procedural. Snappy dialogue, funny situations, and two crazy lead characters played by Michael Ealy (Travis) and Warren Kole (Wes)–this show is already a hit in my book. Jack McGee is terrific delivering those cringe-worthy lines as the father-like Captain Sutton and who else wants to see Sonya Walger to find a long-term permanent TV home?

CLICK HERE TO SEE SHOWS 11-15

Premiere Dates Set for ‘White Collar,’ ‘Burn Notice,’ ‘Suits,’ ‘Necessary Roughness,’ ‘Covert Affairs,’ & ‘Royal Pains.’

While the networks are playing the shell game with what pilots they’re going to go forward with, USA is locking up the premiere dates of its entire summer lineup which includes heavy hitters like White Collar, Covert Affaris, and Burn Notice while series on the rise, Suits, Royal Pains, and Necessary Roughness also get time slots. Take note of new lead-in partners Royal Pains and Necessary Roughness on Wednesday nights to give viewers a lot of therapy and medicated troubles.

white collar season 4

Series Starting in May:
• Common Law finally debuts on May 11 and run on Friday nights at 10PM.

Series starting in June:
Royal Pains Season 4 kicks off on June 6, Wednesdays at 9PM.
• Necessary Roughness Season 2 will begin on June 6, Wednesdays at 10PM.

• Burn Notice Season 6 will see the first episode with Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) behind bars on June 14, Thursdays at 9PM.
• Suits Season 2 will begin the following week on June 14, Thursdays at 10PM.

Series launching in July:
Covert Affairs Season 3 in a time change will lead-in White Collar, Tuesdays at 9PM.
White Collar Season 4 will anchor USA’s summer lineup on Tuesdays, at 10PM.

Political Animals will air on Sundays in July but it has yet to be announced when the premiere date will be. This will be a six-part miniseries, from Greg Berlanti (Everwood) that stars Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish, patterned off of Hilary Clinton. Elaine keeps her plates spinning at work and at home while an ambitious D.C. journalist, played by Carla Gugino aims to ruin Elaine’s career.

‘Covert Affairs’ Season 2 Episode 12 Preview: Annie Takes on Germany in ‘Uberlin’

Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher) is back in the game as the Covert Affairs team takes the spy affair on location in Berlin.  Annie (Piper Perabo) will need his help as she targets a former Stasi agent named Elsa that Arthur knew at the end of the Cold War. Annie finds out there’s a strange dynamic a play here with this agent and it may just put her between Arthur and Joan (Kari Matchett).

Check out two preview clips and stills from the episode below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_saB9JxGYY[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teQDvNBaeNo[/youtube]

Tune in to “Uberlin” this Tuesday 11/8 at 10/9c

‘Covert Affairs’ Season 2 Episode 11 Review: ‘The Wake-Up Bomb’

Covert Affairs picked up the thread right where it left off this summer with its mid-season premiere, “The Wake-Up Bomb.” The half-season approach has worked well for USA shows like Burn Notice and White Collar, which have used these imaginary bookends to stage tantalizing cliffhangers only matched by their subsequent returns. Covert Affairs, back last night from its first mid-season hiatus, refrained from the do-or-die cliffhanger and the premiere felt a slightly less explosive than one would expect for a three month wait. All in all, when Season 2’s episodes are watched contiguously (say, on DVD), the mid-season pause will be less discernible than in other shows.

But that’s not to say that it wasn’t a good time getting reacquainted with our pouty-mouthed heroine. When we last saw Annie Walker, she was dealing with the fallout of “reading in” her sister Danielle with the news that she’s a CIA spy. The episode, which started with a nifty on-location Venetian foot chase, expanded on that fallout and also revealed just what Jai was up to when he made that clandestine call right before the credits last rolled in the Summer.

The biggest adjustment that we’ll have to make familiar with isn’t Annie’s change of residence, rather the effect is has on her. It can’t be pure coincidence that she fails her first mission just as she has the blow up with Danielle.  And yes, Danielle was for real when she kicked Annie out of her house – now she is set up with a new safe house that no one, not even Auggie, knows the location of. I can imagine that in the life of a spy, ‘reading in’ loved ones is merely one of several levels that need to be eclipsed in order to become successful at the profession. The flashy part of the job – the shootouts, the foot chases – are important, but mental dexterity is only for the best of agents.  For Annie, this process of telling Danielle, repairing her trust and then moving forward, however gut-wrenching it may be, is a necessary evil if she wants to be a legendary CIA Agent.

Danielle’s doghouse isn’t the only one that Annie believes she’s in, however: a failed mission has her second-guessing her ability to get the job done. And she believes that Joan notices the same thing. This doesn’t bode well for her latest escapade, where Joan sends her to woo a chef/former terrorist named Zavier, played by Heroes’ alum Santiago Cabrera, who has a brother that’s building a bomb. Scoring the guy is no problem for her, but reading him in and getting him to turn on his brother proves to be problematic and just as painful as disclosing the same info to Danielle.

Meanwhile, Jai was busy using his father to avert the exile to Arizona that Joan ordered. Just when we are led to believe he was unsuccessful in doing so, the twist appears that he was given a promotion, Director of the Office of Special Projects. Since he’ll now be reporting to Arthur’s boss, that means he’s no longer under Joan’s purview. What remains to be seen is if Jai will play a more prominent role in the main arch or if he’ll stick to the periphery as in the first season and the first half of this season. Aside from being on a few missions, he’s been relegated to background noise. That said, I’ve yet to see a compelling reason to root for him, other than the fact that he and his dad are about as slimy and conniving as they come. For shows like Covert Affairs, being slimy is always good for staging some drama for the real heroes.

Again, “The Wake-Up Bomb” felt like a middle-of-the-road episode, nothing too mind-blowing or grandiose for the fans . Its main purpose was to reacquaint fans with Annie’s saga and just how much of a mental game she’s playing as a spy. It will be interesting to see how far the writers ride the rift between Annie and Danielle, though they appeared to back off it in the tail moments of the episode. Danielle is far too nice of a person to continue being a jerk and I think she’s a necessary component of the narrative. That said, I don’t want Annie to regress and move back in, because I feel like her being independent is a necessary part of her growth as a spy. Hopefully, the writers will come up with a clever way to keep Danielle in the fold, without her involvement feeling too forced.

Case Notes
* The Venice scenes were impressive and I can’t imagine that the cast and crew complained about going on location in Italy, even if for a shoot for just the episode’s opening scene.

* There were no Arthur scenes at all. Boo.

* The show kept up the theme of naming its episodes after R.E.M. or Led Zeppelin songs.

Giveaway: ‘Burn Notice’ and ‘Covert Affairs’ Fall Premiere Spy Prize Packs

It’s November folks and that can only mean it’s time for the Fall premieres of USA Network shows Covert Affairs and Burn Notice! New episodes of Covert Affairs begin tonight, Tuesday Nov. 1st at 10pm ET, while new episodes of Burn Notice begin Thursday, Nov. 3rd at 10pm ET. We’re celebrating the returns of Annie Walker and Michael Westen with a cool set of giveaways. Get in on the fun below!

ENTER TO WIN a USA Network Prize Package!

There will be two grand prize winners, the first of which will have their pick of one of these two packs. The second winner will get dibs on the remaining prize pack.

Live like an International Spy with the Covert Affairs Jet Setter Pack! (Valued at $215):

  • Travel Tote
  • Passport Holder
  • Luggage Tag
  • World Travel Clock
  • Season 1 DVD
  • T-Shirt
Your Mission is Clear: Win the Burn Notice Super-Fan Pack! (Valued at $200):

  • Custom Tote Bag
  • Season 4 DVD
  • Bar Set
  • Mojitos 101 Book
  • Branded T-Shirt
  • Branded Hat

You can enter two times daily by:

1) Leaving a comment below telling us which is your favorite USA Network show and / or character.
2) Liking us on our Facebook page and commenting on the Covert Affairs/Burn Notice Contest Post.

Contest Rules:

Prizing provided by USA Network. Contest open to US residents only.

By entering, you certify that you are 18 years of age and that you reside in the United States. The winner will be contacted via email or Facebook private message and will have 48 hours from the point of contact to claim their prize. The contest ends on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 11:59PM PST. No Purchase necessary. The number of entries will determine the odds of winning.

For more info on either of these shows, make sure to stop by their Facebook pages (Covert Affairs, Burn Notice).

USA Network Announces Fall Sched – ‘Psych’, ‘Covert Affairs’, ‘Burn Notice’ Return Dates

As the summer winds down, television viewers across America will retreat from the outdoors and cue up their television sets for the Fall TV season. USA network looks to continue the strong momentum it built during the Summer months with new seasons of White Collar, Covert Affairs and Burn Notice. The network has announced their Fall TV schedule, which will get underway in October.

Psych fans will be happy to see that the sixth season is set to premiere on Wednesday, October 12.  Is it finally time for Shawn (James Roday) to ask Juliet to marry him? Will Gus (Dulé Hill) finally get a girlfriend? The answers are coming soon.

Covert Affairs fanatics will get another dose of Piper Perabo’s Annie Walker when the second half of Season 2 premieres on November 1. And for you Burn Notice faithful, the second half of Season 5 returns two days later on November 3.

The network will also commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks by premiering the USA Original movie, The Space Between, starring Melissa Leo as well as the Oscar-Winning documentary short Twin Towers.

‘Covert Affairs’ Season 2 Episode 10 Review: Annie Comes Clean in the Summer Finale

“I’m a spy. This is my life.”

Those seven simple words sent Annie’s (Piper Perabo) sister Danielle (Anne Dudek) into a state of shock in last night’s Covert Affairs Summer finale. It was the inevitable moment that we all knew was fast approaching: Annie came clean to her sister, breaking the news that she is a covert C.I.A. operative and rendering Danielle’s trust as more collateral damage of the spy game.

Danielle: Why do you choose to do this?

Such a great question, Danielle, because it is ultimately about choice. For 20 episodes, we’ve applauded as Annie has been built into a veritable action hero, traveling the world, scaling buildings and bringing down the minions of evil. That’s the angle on the spy profession that TV and film always focus on – the sexy side. As such, we’ve been steered to ignore the true nature of Annie’s job: the deceit of others, including those closest to her.

Danielle’s hurt reaction was no surprise and kudos go to Dudek for impressively nailing this crucial moment of the series, expertly taking us through Danielle’s denial, anger, acceptance and ultimate support. To come to the realization that her younger sister has been lying to her all this time was a pretty tough cookie to swallow, especially for someone so family-centric as Danielle. I’d imagine this was a fun sequence to shoot for Dudek, whose character has been sold to us as the naïve and loving sibling that seemingly bakes cookies 24/7. Her about face featured yelling, screaming and culminated in the packing of Annie’s boxes. And despite how much of an inconvenience this is for our star, Danielle was justifiably angry, especially when the safety of her family might’ve been at stake.

But even more compelling than Danielle’s initial shock is the frustration of not being able to hear anything more than Annie’s declaration. Annie will still have to protect classified information and Danielle can never know just where Annie is going and what she is doing.  Imagine finding out your sister is this mysterious covert CIA employee and then she ends the conversation there. You can’t know what she’s done on missions, if she’s killed anyone or if she has anyone dangerous coming after her. There’s a whole cloud of mysteriousness that now floats above someone you thought you knew and there’s a huge part of their life that they can’t share with you. This will be a key element going further as Annie works to rebuild that trust, all the while keeping such a large part of her life secret still.

Annie’s fieldwork was about collateral damage as well: the new Chinese asset she attempts to extract (while he’s on American soil) catches fatal radiation poisoning. Again, another unfortunate side-effect of the job; people will get hurt and it’s all hopefully for the greater good.

At least that’s what Auggie believes. In the denouement, Annie takes him to a baseball game where she asks if the job is worth it. Wrong question to ask a guy that can’t live without being a covert operative. Of course, Auggie tells here that it is, but that she has to throw herself back into the field to see if still fits her.

Meanwhile, Jai’s frustration with Joan and the DPD has finally come to a head. It’s usually a bad idea when you say to your boss “this is bad management.” And Joan doesn’t take his insubordination too lightly. In curt fashion, she ships him off to the new Phoenix office, a move that undoubtedly infuriated him. Oh, but Jai is not done yet – he places a mysterious call at the end. Who was he talking to? His dad? Liza? Is revenge on the menu or will cooler heads prevail? Hopefully, the writers have something good in store, because Jai is underused at this point. I do like that they’ve been ambiguous as to if he’s good or bad, but it may be time to draw a line in the sand and explore him more.

Back to Annie, now that Danielle has kicked out her from her house, we have to wonder how the dynamic of her home life will change. Who will cook her meals and hook her up on dates? Hopefully, Danielle will continue to be a part of the narrative as she’s helped keep Annie grounded to the real world, where our connection with our heroine most resonates. In fact, the domestic aspects of Covert Affairs have been the perfect complement to the espionage side (hence, why it was great to see Arthur stick up for Joan tonight). Annie needs Danielle in her life as a person that’s truly in her corner, even if she doesn’t necessarily need anyone to protect her anymore.

With no cliffhanger ending, the Summer finale left us wondering how things will shift when the action picks up later this year. From the preview, it looks like Ben will be back in the mix and that Annie will take a trip to Paris. Hopefully, the wait until then won’t feel too long.

Spy Notes:

I loved how nervous Annie actually spelled out “Central Intelligence Agency” instead of defaulting to the well-known C.I.A. acronym when reading in her sister.

Arthur Campbell put the smackdown on the State Department guy and let out an uncensored “S” word. Note to Doug Liman, Matt Corman and Chris Ord: We need more of this!

Auggie’s “I can’t believe you’re pulling a Lando Calrissian on me” line was the ultimate geek moment of the night.