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Plenty of good reasons to watch 'The New Normal' on NBC

The New Normal
Tuesdays at 9:30 on NBC

The year is 2012 and yet, there are still groups out there protesting a sitcom about two gay men trying to have a baby.

A sitcom.

"The New Normal," debuting Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC, follows the efforts of a committed gay couple having a baby through a surrogate. A couple of weeks ago, a Mormon Church-owned NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah, refused to air the show, calling it "inappropriate." And the group One Million Moms organized a movement to bombard NBC executives and advertisers with complaints over the show, without even seeing it, saying that the sitcom's goal is to "desensitize America and our children."

After reading all that, I'd planned to watch "The New Normal" out of spite. Lucky for me, it's actually pretty funny and has tons of heart.

Today's giveaway celebrates a great creator

In the last decade, writer/director Ryan Murphy has made quite the impact on television.

And so, with this giveaway we salute him.

We have "Glee Encore," a DVD that features more than 30 musical performances from the show. Back to back! It includes "Somebody to Love," "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Vogue."

And we have an earlier Murphy creation: "Nip/Tuck," Season Five, Part Two. There are eight episodes of the show that featured plastic surgeons Dylan Walsh and Julia McMahon as they cut a swath through Los Angeles.

You can have them both. Just email by 7 tonight (12/16) and we'll have a random drawing.

THE NEW FALL SEASON: 'American Horror Story'

"American Horror Story," a freaky new horror series from the team who brought us "Nip/Tuck" and "Glee," is easily the most polarizing new show of the fall season. Among television critics, there's very little gray area: you're either into it, or you despise it.

I think I'm into it.

I admit up front I have no idea what Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are trying to do here. But I do know that "American Horror Story" is among the scariest things I've ever watched.

The series follows a couple as they move their teenage daughter to Los Angeles to try to heal their marriage and make a fresh start. The problem is they move into the most haunted house in the history of haunted houses. We're talking "gaping Hellmouth" kind of haunted. There are no romantic vampires or buff werewolves in this house. Right down to the last nail in the last creaky floorboard, this is a house of pure, ugly evil.

Murphy, Faulk impressive in Traverse City

The Canes will finished up play today in the Traverse City (Mich) rookie tournament with a 4-2 loss to the host Red Wings and finished eighth. But the event is more about talent evaluation that results on the ice.

General manager Jim Rutherford said today defensemen Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy have been the two most impressive prospects. That's not a big surprise  -- Faulk joined the Charlotte Checkers for the AHL playoffs last season after helping Minnesota-Duluth win an NCAA title as a freshman, and Murphy was the 12th overall pick of this year's NHL Entry Draft.

Murphy starred for the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) last season and arguably was the best offensive-minded defenseman in the 2011 draft. Many have wondered if he can follow the lead of his former Kitchener teammate, Jeff Skinner, and make the jump from junior hockey to the Hurricanes this year at 18.

Rutherford isn't ruling anything out but said the comparison was not "apples to apples."

Second-day draft picks

The Hurricanes kicked off the second day of the draft by taking Victor Rask, a 6-foot-2 center from Sweden, in the second round with the 42nd overall pick.

With their third-round pick, 73rd overall, the Hurricanes took defenseman Keegan Lowe, the son of Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe, a legendary defenseman himself.

Their fourth-round pick was another European, Swiss center Gregory Hofmann, 103rd overall, while their sixth-round pick, 163rd overall, was Plymouth (OHL) goalie Matt Mahalak, and the Canes wrapped up the draft in the seventh round, 193rd overall, with a third second-generation Sutter -- Brody, the son of Duane.

"It fell very nicely for us this year, especially in the first three rounds," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said.

Partly by circumstance, partly by necessity, Hurricanes go for D

So the Hurricanes finally took a defenseman in the first round, for the first time in six years and the fifth time since Peter Karmanos and Jim Rutherford took over in 1994. Ryan Murphy doesn't have to do much in a Carolina uniform to rank as the best of the bunch.

The Hurricanes’ refusal to take defensemen in the first round has always smacked of stubbornness. It’s almost as if they said, “We’ve been burned before and we’re just not going to bother anymore.” And maybe for good reason: Two of the Hurricanes’ four previous first-round defensemen were total, complete and utter busts: Nikos Tselios, 22nd overall in 1997 and Igor Knyazev, 15th overall in 2001.

Former 'SNL' star really doesn't like 'Glee'

Almost since it began airing "Glee" has provoked debate because of its satire, characters, music choices, even guest appearances.

Today's controversy involves former Saturday Night Live performer Victoria Jackson, a Christian, who wrote a column criticizing the kiss between two male teens, calling it 'sickening' and saying the producers of the show have an agenda of 'one-way tolerance.'
Whether you agree with Jackson's stance on the kiss is one thing, but let's ponder this: Does Jackson have a point about the show having an agenda? Is there anything wrong with that? And can Jackson, who still has that wacky, airy bearing she had when she was on SNL, get a fair hearing of her views? Should she?
Check out her appearance on Showbiz Tonight and see what you think?
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