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Neal Justin

Columnist/Reporter | Media
phone: 612-673-7431
Neal Justin is the TV and radio critic for the Star Tribune. He previously covered music and nightlife for the paper.
Recent content from Neal Justin
St. Paul native works his magic, makes 'America's Got Talent' finals

St. Paul native works his magic, makes 'America's Got Talent' finals

A longtime magician and comedian from the Twin Cities hopes to pull a victory out of his hat now that he’s advanced to the finals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” competition.
PBS' other science guy makes lab experiments cool – without the fanfare

PBS' other science guy makes lab experiments cool – without the fanfare

Meet the unassuming brainiac who’s made TPT a powerhouse for kids’ science shows.
'Fear the Walking Dead' brings new blood to the zombie genre

'Fear the Walking Dead' brings new blood to the zombie genre

With a zombie spinoff, AMC hopes to feast on the success of its biggest asset, “The Walking Dead.”
'Blunt Talk-ing' Patrick Stewart sheds 'Trek' image

'Blunt Talk-ing' Patrick Stewart sheds 'Trek' image

Patrick Stewart substitutes gravitas for goofiness in his new Starz cable series, “Blunt Talk.”
Jamie Yuccas leaving WCCO for CBS in New York

Jamie Yuccas leaving WCCO for CBS in New York

The popular WCCO-TV morning anchor announced to views on Friday's show that she was moving to New York.
St. Paul's Ian Anthony Dale is a familiar face on TV, but eyeing bigger roles

St. Paul's Ian Anthony Dale is a familiar face on TV, but eyeing bigger roles

Ian Anthony Dale may have gone from St. Paul to “Hawaii Five-O,” but he’s still seeking a more scenic view.
10 moments of Zen from Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' reign

10 moments of Zen from Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' reign

For 16 years, Jon Stewart has used his “The Daily Show” to remind millions of viewers that they’re not the only ones frustrated by the shortcomings of journalists and politicians. His run ends Thursday.
How Jon Stewart went from frat boy joker to a giant of political humor

How Jon Stewart went from frat boy joker to a giant of political humor

Jon Stewart's unlikely reign as host of “The Daily Show” ends Thursday after 16 eventful seasons.

MPR cuts newsroom staff by 13%

The company said it will focus on investigative and feature reporting.
Michele Bachmann misses chance to swim with sharks in 'Sharknado 3'

Michele Bachmann misses chance to swim with sharks in 'Sharknado 3'

Even a cameo by the former Minnesota congresswoman couldn't save “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" But that didn't keep viewers from reacting to the Syfy movie's premiere Wednesday night with everything from confusion and mockery over its ridiculousness to sheer delight.
Minnesota native Michael Vickerman brings King Tut to Spike TV

Minnesota native Michael Vickerman brings King Tut to Spike TV

An Orono native talks about the Minnesota influence on his King Tut miniseries.
'Game of Thrones' leads Emmy noms with 24, but diversity is already a winner

'Game of Thrones' leads Emmy noms with 24, but diversity is already a winner

Nominations open doors for possible historic wins for actors and streaming platforms.
10 animated movies for kids that adults will love, too

10 animated movies for kids that adults will love, too

Like “Inside Out,” these 10 kids’ movies speak to all film lovers – but particularly Mom and Dad.
Denis Leary embraces sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll in his new FX series

Denis Leary embraces sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll in his new FX series

“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” creator Denis Leary tones down the swearing but not his enthusiasm for his latest FX series.
Hubbard's ReelzChannel picks up Miss USA pageant after Trump flap

Hubbard's ReelzChannel picks up Miss USA pageant after Trump flap

ReelzChannel, owned by St. Paul's Hubbard family, will air the event, despite controversial comments from Donald Trump, the pageant's co-owner.
Garrison Keillor done for real this time?

Garrison Keillor done for real this time?

When reports began to trickle out on the Internet this past weekend that Garrison Keillor would be giving up “A Prairie Home Companion” next season,…
Queen Latifah hits a few flat notes in 'Bessie'

Queen Latifah hits a few flat notes in 'Bessie'

Queen Latifah goes through the motions in a musical bio-pic that’s short on soul.
Network plans for 2015-16 season include a farewell to 'American Idol'

Network plans for 2015-16 season include a farewell to 'American Idol'

Broadcast networks introduced their plans for the 2015-16 season, including the finale of a once beloved series.
Secrets behind the grind of 'The Daily Show'

Secrets behind the grind of 'The Daily Show'

With writers for the show headed to Minneapolis, Jon Stewart’s right-hand man gives a glimpse of life behind the curtain.
Shyamalan, Dillon bring movie-star status to 'Wayward Pines'

Shyamalan, Dillon bring movie-star status to 'Wayward Pines'

“The Sixth Sense” director tries to get his mojo back with “Wayward Pines,” his first project for TV.
Fonda, Tomlin score big in Netflix's 'Grace and Frankie'

Fonda, Tomlin score big in Netflix's 'Grace and Frankie'

In the new Netflix series “Grace and Frankie,” Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin prove age is just a number.
Top 10 reasons we love David Letterman

Top 10 reasons we love David Letterman

With David Letterman's retirement right around the corner, we look back at the late-night host's most memorable moments.
Who should survive? 6 shows to save – and 4 to scrap

Who should survive? 6 shows to save – and 4 to scrap

As networks get ready to announce their 2015-16 schedules — and thereby ring the death knell for a number of shows on the bubble — it’s time to make one last plea for our favorites.

Neil Patrick Harris can't produce any magic during Oscars

Neil Patrick Harris gave it a good shot, but the first-time Oscar host had a hard time Sunday night conjuring up any real magic. The…
Tatiana Maslany talks about a new season of 'Orphan Black'

Tatiana Maslany talks about a new season of 'Orphan Black'

Tatiana Maslany gives multiple personalities a new meaning in “Orphan Black.”
Up, up and away: Superheroes score big on the small screen

Up, up and away: Superheroes score big on the small screen

“Daredevil” is the latest to join TV’s hottest club: comic-book superheroes.
Louis C.K. lightens up after a controversial season of 'Louie'

Louis C.K. lightens up after a controversial season of 'Louie'

TV’s most provocative comedian said his series “Louie,” which starts its fifth season Thursday, will play for more laughs this year — a vow he keeps in early episodes.
'Why not?' Billy Crystal talks about his new FX series 'The Comedians'

'Why not?' Billy Crystal talks about his new FX series 'The Comedians'

The 67-year-old entertainer returns to fine form in FX’s “The Comedians,” a sitcom in which he plays an exaggerated version of himself.
Jon Hamm and cast look back on seven seasons of 'Mad Men'

Jon Hamm and cast look back on seven seasons of 'Mad Men'

Get ready to tip your fedora to Don Draper and “Mad Men,” which is heading out the door. The first of the final seven episodes airs Sunday.
Jon Hamm on 'Mad Men': 'There’s no version of this ending that is not super-painful for me'

Jon Hamm on 'Mad Men': 'There’s no version of this ending that is not super-painful for me'

Get ready to tip your fedora to Don Draper and “Mad Men.”
Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis talk about PBS' big 'Wolf Hall'

Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis talk about PBS' big 'Wolf Hall'

Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis team up to tell the story of one of England's most fascinating figures.
No cable, no problem: 10 shows to watch on new HBO Now

No cable, no problem: 10 shows to watch on new HBO Now

Cord cutters, get ready to binge. HBO Now, available starting Wednesday, allows subscribers to get unlimited access to the network’s series, movies and comedy specials for $14.99 a month. Here's what's worth watching.
Bill O'Reilly's 'Killing Jesus' comes to National Geographic Channel

Bill O'Reilly's 'Killing Jesus' comes to National Geographic Channel

Bill O’Reilly may be in hot water for allegedly exaggerating his exploits as a war correspondent, but that should do little to dampen interest in “Killing Jesus,” the latest TV movie based on one of his bestselling books.
James Corden prepares to take over CBS' 'Late Late Show'

James Corden prepares to take over CBS' 'Late Late Show'

He may be a star overseas, but James Corden is just starting to introduce himself to America as he takes over CBS’ “Late Late Show” on Monday.
Eden Prairie TV production company is ready for prime time

Eden Prairie TV production company is ready for prime time

An Eden Prairie film company secures national attention on prime-time TV.
Wendi McLendon-Covey rules the roost on 'Goldbergs'

Wendi McLendon-Covey rules the roost on 'Goldbergs'

Wendi McLendon-Covey shows who’s really in charge in one of TV’s most hysterical roles.
'12 Years a Slave' screenwriter John Ridley talks about 'American Crime'

'12 Years a Slave' screenwriter John Ridley talks about 'American Crime'

There’s nothing frivolous about ABC’s “American Crime,” which means that it has a limited shot at becoming a significant hit. It should.
Treat yo' self! It's the final go-round for 'Parks and Recreation'

Treat yo' self! It's the final go-round for 'Parks and Recreation'

Have a final helping of “Parks and Recreation” as one of TV’s greatest-ever sitcoms says its farewells.
Oscar nominee Patricia Arquette taps into a new 'CSI'

Oscar nominee Patricia Arquette taps into a new 'CSI'

Oscar-nominated actress is juggling her “little art movie” with the demands of a big network show.
How insulting: Robert Smigel returns with Triumph

How insulting: Robert Smigel returns with Triumph

Robert Smigel may not be a household name, but he is one of the great comic minds of the past 30 years and the creator of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Matthew Perry returns to TV with remake of 'The Odd Couple'

Matthew Perry returns to TV with remake of 'The Odd Couple'

The sitcom star takes another swipe at success with a remake of “The Odd Couple.”
Ex-St. Paul resident August Wilson saluted in documentary

Ex-St. Paul resident August Wilson saluted in documentary

August Wilson, the playwright who wrote his most memorable work during the 12 years he lived in St. Paul, will be celebrated Friday in a new edition of “American Masters,” the long-running PBS series.
Chuck Lorre says goodbye to 'Two and a Half Men'

Chuck Lorre says goodbye to 'Two and a Half Men'

Chuck Lorre is a producer with one of the most impressive streaks in TV history. Of the last seven sitcoms he has played a part in creating, none has flopped.
Minneapolis public access TV stars raise money for MTN

Minneapolis public access TV stars raise money for MTN

Mark Mallman, Fancy Ray and other local talents join for a telethon to benefit the Minneapolis Television Network.
'Breaking Bad' prequel 'Better Call Saul' tries to defy the odds

'Breaking Bad' prequel 'Better Call Saul' tries to defy the odds

“Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan returns to the scene of the crimes with “Better Call Saul,” premiering Sunday.
TV experiences new wave of diversity

TV experiences new wave of diversity

As networks struggle to keep up with cable and streaming video, they are reaching out to groups they once ignored — and the ratings prove they’re doing the right thing.
TV milestones for artists of color

TV milestones for artists of color

1949: “The Lone Ranger” co-stars Jay Silverheels as Tonto — one of the few authentic American Indians to break through on TV. 1951: Desi Arnaz…
Peter Krause, Erika Christensen say goodbye to 'Parenthood'

Peter Krause, Erika Christensen say goodbye to 'Parenthood'

Roseville-raised Peter Krause has too much stoic German blood coursing through his veins to get openly emotional too often. But even he got choked up watching last week’s episode of his series “Parenthood.”
Minnesota roots help ground young 'Black-ish' star Yara Shahidi

Minnesota roots help ground young 'Black-ish' star Yara Shahidi

Show business has a nasty habit of breeding brats. It’s too early to be sure, but 14-year-old Yara Shahidi appears to be headed in a different direction.
Ex-'Office' star Rainn Wilson returns to TV as 'Backstrom'

Ex-'Office' star Rainn Wilson returns to TV as 'Backstrom'

The former “Office” star and Guthrie actor returns as TV's most despicable detective.
'American Idol' episode to put spotlight on Twin Cities

'American Idol' episode to put spotlight on Twin Cities

It’s been four months since “American Idol” held auditions at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and on Wednesday night viewers will finally get to see what went on in there.
Late-night 'new kid' Larry Wilmore is actually the grownup in the room

Late-night 'new kid' Larry Wilmore is actually the grownup in the room

Larry Wilmore, at 53, isn’t exactly the new kid on the block. But aside from occasional appearances on “The Daily Show” and a couple of Showtime specials, he’s unknown to the general public. That all changes Monday.
Angela Bassett on 'Whitney': Love has everything to do with it

Angela Bassett on 'Whitney': Love has everything to do with it

Angela Bassett talks about the Whitney Houston biopic for Lifetime that marks her directing debut.
Ready for Season 5 for 'Downton Abbey'? Test your knowledge

Ready for Season 5 for 'Downton Abbey'? Test your knowledge

With a new season approaching Sunday, it’s time for the ultimate “Downton Abbey” quiz.
Dec. 4: Tom Barnard signs on for five more years at KQRS

Dec. 4: Tom Barnard signs on for five more years at KQRS

Tom Barnard, Twin Cities radio’s most popular personality, has signed a new contract to extend his run on KQRS by five years.
The most tantalizing TV of January and February

The most tantalizing TV of January and February

Battle the chill of January and February with returning favorites – and some new contenders, too.
2014's best TV wasn't on cable or networks

2014's best TV wasn't on cable or networks

This is the year I became a dedicated streamer. This is the year Netflix and Amazon truly became a force to be reckoned with — and embraced.
Foxx and Diaz flop their way through 'Annie' | ★★½

Foxx and Diaz flop their way through 'Annie' | ★★½

REVIEW: In director Will Gluck’s effort to be hip in the new adaptation of the Broadway favorite, he forgot to hire a cast that can actually sing and dance.
Twin Cities actors present 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Twin Cities actors present 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Twin Cities actors bring their voices to a radio production of a Christmas classic this week.
Lifetime asks viewers to step into 'The Red Tent'

Lifetime asks viewers to step into 'The Red Tent'

Lifetime's miniseries “The Red Tent” is less about the power of God and more about the power of women.
Bing Crosby's jazzy Christmas legacy

Bing Crosby's jazzy Christmas legacy

Pop music’s greatest crooner is profiled in a must-see holiday documentary.
Obituary: Sheldon Goldstein, an actor and TV programmer who led the U's media resources department

Obituary: Sheldon Goldstein, an actor and TV programmer who led the U's media resources department

  The term “Renaissance man” is often bandied about, but when it came to Sheldon Goldstein, it fit. To educators, he was the demanding, but…
Mary McDonnell returns to 'Major Crimes'

Mary McDonnell returns to 'Major Crimes'

Mary McDonnell proves there’s no crime in playing it straight on her TNT hit.
Adorable couple at heart of 'Marry Me' make it a winner

Adorable couple at heart of 'Marry Me' make it a winner

Casey Wilson & Ken Marino are oh-so-adorable in one of television’s best new series.
The road less traveled: Lisa Kudrow talks 'Friends,' 'Web Therapy' and 'The Comeback'

The road less traveled: Lisa Kudrow talks 'Friends,' 'Web Therapy' and 'The Comeback'

Lisa Kudrow is bringing back her richest character — and it’s not Phoebe.
Life with Lily: A backstage visit with 'Modern Family' scene-stealer

Life with Lily: A backstage visit with 'Modern Family' scene-stealer

Life is a cabaret for young “Modern Family” star Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who visited the Twin Cities last weekend for a fundraiser.
Viola Davis finally arrives as a star in 'Murder'

Viola Davis finally arrives as a star in 'Murder'

Viola Davis has plenty of awards. Now she's got something even more valuable: power.
From 'Scandal' to Guthrie: TV actor Jeff Perry takes rare role as director

From 'Scandal' to Guthrie: TV actor Jeff Perry takes rare role as director

Best known for playing a White House mastermind, Jeff Perry visits Minneapolis in a different role — director of “A Steady Rain,” which is being staged for the first time in the Twin Cities.
Are you still ready for Thursday night football? TV thinks so

Are you still ready for Thursday night football? TV thinks so

Despite allegations of misconduct by stars, public-relations fumbles and evidence of brain damage in former players, professional football has never been more popular — or more lucrative.
'American Idol' auditions bring celeb judges to Minneapolis

'American Idol' auditions bring celeb judges to Minneapolis

“American Idol” may no longer be a ratings juggernaut, but it can still get hearts racing, especially when the celebrity judges come to town. Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. were welcomed by 50 local finalists and their families Wednesday morning at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Faith Jenkins stars in new courtroom TV series

Faith Jenkins stars in new courtroom TV series

Looking for a new, more youthful courtroom show on daytime TV? You gotta have Faith.
Ken Burns gives us another history lesson with 'Roosevelts'

Ken Burns gives us another history lesson with 'Roosevelts'

With “The Roosevelts,” Ken Burns unspools another chapter in his never-ending history lesson. “It’s a family drama that brings in questions that are so contemporary,” Burns said. “What is the role of government? What is the nature of leadership? "
Ken Burns does masterful job with "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”

Ken Burns does masterful job with "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”

Review: Ken Burns does it again with one of the most populist documentaries of his career.
Jamie Foxx makes surprise cameos in Twin Cities

Jamie Foxx makes surprise cameos in Twin Cities

The actor was joined by Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis at a Brooklyn Center school in a promotional push for their movie “Annie.”
No more Mr. Nice Guy: Jimmy Smits talks about 'Anarchy' and his storied career

No more Mr. Nice Guy: Jimmy Smits talks about 'Anarchy' and his storied career

Jimmy Smits, one of the most likable actors in TV history, is shaking up his image on “Sons of Anarchy.”
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