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Alex Trebek’s mustache is making a 'Jeopardy!' comeback
Credit: Sony TV

Alex Trebek’s mustache is making a 'Jeopardy!' comeback

Alex Trebek’s mustache is making a “Jeopardy!” comeback
Trebek’s distinctive mustache hasn’t been seen since 2001. It’ll return for the new season kicking off on Monday.

Report: A doctor in Joan Rivers’ entourage performed a surprise biopsy on her
The NY Daily News reports that such a procedure shouldn’t have been performed outside a hospital. The biopsy, a source tells the Daily News, "caused Rivers' vocal chords to seize — a condition doctors call a laryngospasm — cutting off her air supply.” PLUS: Firefighters arrived at the clinic within six minutes.

Rumor: “SNL’s” 40th season will kick off with Bill Murray followed by Sarah Silverman and Chris Pratt
Although nothing is official, those three names surfaced yesterday on several NBC affiliates.

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<p>Franka Potente as Eleanor Nacht in &quot;The Bridge.&quot;</p>

Franka Potente as Eleanor Nacht in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

How ‘The Bridge’ rebuilt itself into the best show you’re not watching

Some frank talk from producer Elwood Reid about the bumps of season 1 and the highs of season 2

In this Golden Glut of TV drama, it's hard for any new drama to break through and find an audience, because there are so many options out there (not to mention easy access to most of the great dramas of the previous 50 years). It's harder still for a show that has an audience and loses it to get those people back, no matter how good it becomes.

Case in point: FX's "The Bridge," the current belt-holder for Best Show You're Not Watching.

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Victoria on Big Brother 16

Recap: 'Big Brother' Tuesday - Andy Herren's Final 5 Notes

We make our judgments about the Final 5 with Andy Herren.

No matter what way you slice it, we're down to five distinct characters on "Big Brother 16": the clear frontrunner, the clear frontrunner's gay understudy, the hapless beefcake, the even more hapless beefcake, and a perfect sliver of God named Victoria. That's what we've got. As the final week of "Big Brother" rolls by, it's clear it's going to take a miracle for a major turnaround in the game to occur. Who's capable of such a feat? Anyone? 

To help us analyze everyone's game this week, we've again enlisted the help of our friend Andy Herren, the winner of "Big Brother 15." Join us as we grade everyone in the house and basically just start applauding when Derrick's name comes up.



Victoria the Star

Andy Herren: I really want to live in Victoria’s version of reality. In Victoria’s mind, she has played a brilliant social game alongside Derrick, dubbing herself the Batman to Derrick’s Robin. To this I exclaim, “Thank goodness for Victoria!” Say what you will about everyone’s favorite nobody, but her delusions of grandeur, random bouts of crippling illness, and fantastic diary room sessions (funniest DRs of the season) have made her someone I find myself consistently glad to still see in the house. Remember when she made the biggest move of the season by cutting up Zach’s iconic pink hat and then gloating about it in her goodbye message to him? BRILLIANT. What about when she managed to be the only shoulder in which floundering Nicole could cry on, even though she had no interest in Nicole whatsoever? SENSATIONAL. Victoria is turning into the breakout star of "Big Brother 16," and by “breakout star” I mean “most glorious joke in the show’s history.” I imagine Victoria going into the Diary Room at some point soon and exclaiming, “I vote to evict Hayden!” to which the producers are like, “Victoria, Hayden hasn’t been in the house for a month,” to which Victoria replies, “There is a unicorn that lives in my room and it told me to vote out Hayden and I only listen to this unicorn and Derrick, and Derrick hasn’t talked to me in three days.”

HitFix: It used to be fun for me to revel in the vacant Build-A-Bear glow of Victoria's big eyes, but I think her charms have peaked. This week we watched her sit in the diary room, call Derrick "the Robin" to her Batman, and "brag" about how strong a social game she's played all season. I don't know. It all sounded a little force-fed to me, like the producers are seizing on Twitter's ironic love for Victoria and forcing her to play into it. I'm not saying she isn't truly delusional, but is there any way she could possibly believe she's played a strong game? Any time she participates in a challenge, she announces she's "over it" within 90 seconds. Any time she converses with another houseguest, she doesn't even consider bringing up gameplay. She thinks tearing up Zach's (borrowed) hat was a brilliant strategic move. You can pretend like Victoria's been an endless pile of classic moments, but she hasn't been. She's mostly been terribly dull, and for some reason it's become entertaining to pretend she's given us anything except nervous confessionals about being a confident "princess." Victoria, you were fun while you lasted, but I'm not actually sure you ever lasted.

Frankie the Obstacle

Andy Herren: Derrick is the clear favorite to win "Big Brother 16," but he has one sparkly, attention-starved obstacle in his path: Pop sensation Ariana Grande’s great grandmother Frankie Grande. Frankie has proven himself to be a competition monster throughout the course of the season, and if he can win his way into the final two, my hat goes off to him. With that being said, Frankie’s only path to the end is through competition wins, as no other players want to be sitting next to him come finale night. Yes, Frankie’s crippling obsession with always being the center of attention is maddening, but you have to hand it to him: He knows how to play Big Brother, and he has definitely been playing all summer. A Frankie victory would also be neat because it would mark two years in a row in which smart gay men have been able to take home the $500,000. Frankie is nowhere near as brilliant as last year’s adorable winner, but he is definitely a strategist. For a show that tends to cast doomed gay guys (I love Lawon, but come on…), it is refreshing to see a sneaky gay who will do whatever it takes to win.

HitFix: To deny Frankie his props for a game well played is ridiculous. If anything, he's been the most strategic gamer of the season. He pairs an understated sense of competitiveness with a very charismatic social technique. Though he has a mixed reputation among diehard fans of the show, I guarantee their number one problem with Frankie is that his obnoxious antics successfully endear the other houseguests. People hate how much Frankie isn't a joke, even as he marches through the game in infantile shorts and a haircut that looks more and more like a demented birthday cake every day. You know why Team America succeeded in its mind-numbing task this week? Because Frankie committed to a terrific charade that forced his competition to pay attention. Yes, Derrick was a good actor too, but it was Frankie's delirium that riled up Victoria, bedeviled Cody, and forced Caleb to seem concerned (and therefore kind of human!). I wish Frankie had the guts to replace Victoria on the block with Derrick, but even a gifted strategist like Frankie is somehow no match for Derrick's plans.

Caleb the…?

Andy Herren: I’m not sure what Caleb’s role is in the Big Brother house. For much of the summer, he was the shocking misogynist; stalking Amber while the houseguests championed his behavior and shunned her for being uncomfortable. Then, once Amber was evicted, Caleb became the harmless buffoon, never really knowing what was going on yet showing slight moments of insight from here to there. Now, in the endgame, he has become the loyal knight, protecting his king (Derrick) and his queen (Frankie). I don’t think Caleb will win "Big Brother 16," but I could easily see him making the final two and receiving a few votes. For someone who really has no idea how to actually play "Big Brother" (he bases good game play almost entirely on competition wins), he has made it farther than I initially thought he would, and for that I give him credit. But has he made it this far on his own merits, or because the smarter players (Derrick and Frankie) know he is too stupid to see their devious master plans? I would argue a stronger case for the latter.

HitFix: We just saw Caleb's most inspired gameplay of the season. Did you miss it? Rewind. Check it out. Watch when he's standing around with Cody and slapping that mysterious button with comical karate moves. That's his "big" move. That has been the only time he's actively tried to affect the fate of the game. Caleb has been the essential pawn this game, a guy who congratulates himself for winning challenges while overlooking the real game at hand. I suppose we can applaud him for earning Frankie's trust, but the truth is it feels utterly random that he's still in the game. This is a man who has the confidence to call himself a near-gibberish nickname but no drive to unseat the house's true power players. It is a testament to Derrick's ingenuity that he's still here. I also think Amber called the authorities and they trapped Caleb in the house for her safety. 

Derrick the Winner

Andy Herren: By all regards, Derrick deserves to win "Big Brother 16." He has been a frustrating player, as he has had complete control over everyone and everything since the beginning of the season, and in doing so he has robbed the season of drama and controversy. Have we truly had any actual fights this season? No. What about shocking votes? Not even close. Thanks for that, Derrick. BUT with that being said, Derrick is playing the best game that suits Derrick, and I would argue that this game could be the best single game played in the history of "Big Brother." He has NEVER been a target, and he has influenced the vote to go his way EVERY WEEK. One argument that fans hurl at me when I claim that Derrick’s game may be the GOAT is that Derrick is playing with weak competition, and I find this laughable. Fans said the same thing to me last season as well, in a season that consisted of more huge fans of the show than ever (Judd, McCrae, Helen, Amanda, Spencer, myself). Let’s look at two case studies: Rachel Reilly and Dan Gheesling. In season 13, the season in which Rachel went from shrieking villain to comeback kid hero, she was up against arguably the weakest cast of newbies the show has ever seen, and there were blatant twists that worked in her favor. In Dan’s original season, he was competing against players like Renny and Jerry, who were each at least 150 years old, forcing competitions to be geared toward not allowing these geriatrics to kick the bucket at some point. Then, in season 14, Dan was given a pass for nearly a month in which he couldn’t be evicted, and he was also against players like Ashley, Chef Joe, and Jenn City, who I don’t think anyone would claim are powerhouses. Fans claim Rachel and Dan are some of the best players to ever play the game, and if they are at the top, Derrick deserves to be as well. In fact, he deserves to be above them. Let’s do this, Derrick.

HitFix: I have to second everything Andy just said. Derrick hasn't just played an exceptional game; he's duped a bunch of people who should honestly know better. With the exception of Frankie, Derrick is the only member of the house who is capable of looking a competitor in the eye, lying for 15 straight minutes, and earning that person's sympathy and confidence by the end of a single conversation. He is not afraid to ingratiate. He's not afraid to seem defeated. And he's not afraid to manipulate you in broad daylight. If Victoria has proven the virtues of playing the ultimate non-game, Derrick has proved the opposite: If you form a powerful alliance and rigidly organize that alliance's goals and machinations, you can remain in charge of the game from a stealthy, inconspicuous position. It's not exactly thrilling to watch Derrick operate, but he is nonetheless operating and fighting and sorting through his potential risks with the quiet precision of a mafia don. On top of it all, I appreciated the way he lied about the size of the rat's tail in the Team America challenge. Solid play-acting, sir. 

Cody the Cutie

Andy Herren: I had high hopes for Cody for much of the season. I thought he was brilliantly riding Derrick’s coattails, and in my heart I just KNEW that he would cut Derrick at a pivotal moment. He could still do this, but the likelihood is waning. If he in fact does cut Derrick, he will instantly become the best player of the season, but if he doesn’t, his claim to fame will be that he remained consistently adorable from June to September. His giggle is the type of giggle that makes koala bears self-immolate because they can’t compete with it. His coy smile is so f**king sweet and demure that it makes PEEPS weep. I don’t really know what else to say about Cody. I’m excited to give him a hug at the end of the season.

HitFix: I don't know why it's taken me this long to establish, but Cody is basically Shane from BB14. He's always been in a small huddle with the game's true power players, but he's never been mistaken for a real winner. And he seems really disturbed to realize he's the lowest-ranked member of the highest-ranking alliance in the game. But why, Cody? Why would you be surprised about that? Not to tout my cowriter's achievements, but this is why Andy Herren formed the Exterminators at a key juncture of the game last year. You have to be able to anticipate when the game will shift and you can become the most powerful player in a new alliance. For now, the only alliance member he can truly trust is Zac Efron, and it appears the DVD extras of "Neighbors" won't be enough to land him a top-two finish.

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'Gilmore Girls' is coming to Netflix
Credit: WB

'Gilmore Girls' is coming to Netflix

“Gilmore Girls” is coming to Netflix
All seven seasons of the WB and CW classic series starring Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and a pre-fame Melissa McCarthy will be available for binge-watching, starting Oct. 1.

Ex-"Late Show" intern apologizes, drops class-action lawsuit against Letterman and CBS
Mallory Musallam wrote a “Dear Mr. Letterman” letter saying she was “approached by a beguiling legion of lawsuit-hungry attorneys who saw my Late Show internship on LinkedIn (which I had proudly displayed as a flagship of achievement.).” She adds that the lawyers "hastily coerced into a lawsuit masked in equivocal language and ambiguous pretenses.”

Liv Tyler is pregnant
“The Leftovers” star is expecting her 2nd child.

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<p>Charlie Hunnam of &quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;</p>

Charlie Hunnam of "Sons of Anarchy"

Credit: FX

Recap: 'Sons of Anarchy' Final Season Premiere - 'Black Widow'

Jax grows dark in 'Sons' final season return

If you still haven’t watched Tuesday night’s "Sons of Anarchy" season premiere then go do some naked pushups, get your canned stew aligned and catch up immediately or you might be angrier than a dude in a wheelchair being dragged down the street when you’re spoiled by this review. 

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Benedict Cumberbatch says finding Alan Turing's voice wasn't easy in 'Imitation Game'

Benedict Cumberbatch says finding Alan Turing's voice wasn't easy in 'Imitation Game'

He was much more than an 'eccentric genius'

TORONTO — Get ready to hear a lot about Benedict Cumberbatch on the Oscar trail this season, as his performance as legendary computer science pioneer Alan Turing in Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" joined an increasingly crowded Best Actor race when the film premiered in Telluride over the Labor Day weekend, and caught yet another stride with audiences at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

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How 'Sons of Anarchy' will probably end
Credit: FX

How 'Sons of Anarchy' will probably end

How “Sons of Anarchy” will probably end
With the final season kicking off tonight, Vanity Fair thinks it has all the answers. Option 1: “The Musical-Montage Ending.” Option 2: “The Mega-Happy Ending.” Option 3: “The Hamlet Ending.” Option 4: “The Real Hamlet Ending.” And Option 5: “The Time-Jump Ending.” PLUS: Why did “SOA” miss out on greatness?, Charlie Hunnam has been “having some pangs of sadness and also kind of panic,” and Malcolm-Jamal Warner on playing the villain this season.

NBC developing a “Pub Quiz” sitcom
The bar trivia comedy will revolve around a group of 20-something friends who team up once a week to compete in their neighborhood pub quiz.

“Gotham” named the “most promising show of the fall”
The TV Critics Association also named “Black-ish” the most promising comedy of the new season. PLUS: Study finds only 5 new shows are getting most of the online buzz.

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<p>&quot;Utopia&quot; host Dan Piraro</p>

"Utopia" host Dan Piraro

Credit: FOX

Interview: 'Utopia' narrator Dan Piraro explains his bizarro journey to FOX reality

The syndicated cartoonist explains how he's a different sort of FOX host

After Sunday night's premiere of FOX's "Utopia" much of the conversation was about embarrassingly alcoholic contestants, poorly concealed pregnancies and pixelated nudity.

But garnering nearly as much conversation as Huntress Hex, Drunken Buffoon Josh and Polyamorous Dedeker was the show's on-screen narrator, the immaculately dressed, carefully mustachioed Dan Piraro.

I chatted with Piraro on Sunday afternoon after seeing only a few early minutes of footage, which was enough to know that he could hardly be more different from FOX's legacy of reality hosts ranging from Ryan Seacrest to Mario Lopez to Monica Lewinsky to Cat Deeley.

It isn't just the infinitely twirlable facial hair or the fact that "Utopia" enlisted a frontman who has passed out of FOX's coveted 18-49 demographic. 

Piraro arrives on "Utopia" with an established career in a field rarely mined for reality hosting gigs. Since 1985, Piraro's single-panel comic "Bizarro" has been syndicated in hundreds of newspapers, offering a wry, absurdist and often politicized glimpse at contemporary life. "Bizarro" has been reprinted in 16 collections, while Piraro has also written books of prose and traveled the country with a one-man comedy show. So even if aspects of "Utopia" feel like a marginally less raunchy "Paradise Hotel," Dan Piraro is no Amanda Byram.

In this Q&A, Piraro discusses the strange journey that brought him to "Utopia" and what he hopes to convey as the show's narrator and how he's different from Ryan Seacrest.

Click through before tonight's new "Utopia."

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Album review: U2's 'Songs of Innocence'

Band moves forward by looking back

Taking a trick from Beyonce’s playbook, U2 dropped its 13th studio album, “Songs of Innocence,” today without warning. The Irish band made the announcement at Apple’s event in Cupertino, Calif.

The aptly named “Songs of Innocence,” produced by Danger Mouse, with additional production by Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth, Flood, and Declan Gaffney, is a song cycle that draws on the band members’ past— a time when they first met and everything was possible. It pays tribute to their influences (The Ramones, The Clash, The Beach Boys), first loves, growing up in the shadow of IRA violence, and the fallout of tough economic times. Bono’s vocals sound fresh and invigorated and the production sparkles. It’s a lovely album that is sentimental without ever losing its edge.

Below is a first-listen review: my take on each song by only listening to it once as I play the album straight through.

“The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”: A chugging, mid-tempo track that recalls the moment that the members of U2 first heard and saw The Ramones and how it opened up the world to them. “I woke up at the moment the miracle occurred/I get so many things I don’t deserve,” Bono sings. It’s an intensely personal track. Musically, it’s not an homage to punk pioneers, but it captures the innocence of musical discovery. GRADE: B

“Every Breaking Wave”:  Gentle, mid-tempo track anchored by Larry Mullen’s steady drum beat then breaks open to a more expansive tune about chasing things we know will beat up.  The refrain echoes OneRepublic, which is not surprising given that Ryan Tedder produced the track with Danger Mouse. A very radio friendly effort. GRADE: B

“California (There is No End to Love)” The track opens with Bono chanting “Barbara Santa Barbara” in both a tribute to the city and the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann,” before giving way to a synth and beat-laden echo-y, propulsive track about how California/Hollywood dims your light if you let it. Written about the band’s first trip to SoCal, it sounds like it could have been on “No Line on the Horizon.” GRADE: B

“Song for Someone”: Sounds like another love letter from  Bono to his wife, Ali, whom he met when he was 14. “You’re got eyes that can see right through me/You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen…I don’t know how these cuts heal/but in you I found a rhyme.” The Edge gets some nice restrained solos in here. Deeply romantic. GRADE: B+

“Iris (Hold Me Close)”: Staccato, trademark playing by The Edge serves as the bed for this track about Iris, Bono’s mom, who died when he was 14.  She collapsed at her own father's funeral, only to die herself a few days later. It’s extremely personal, yet the love expressed is universal in its appeal. GRADE: A

“Volcano”: One of the most distinctive tunes on the track starts with a wicked bass line from Adam Clayton. It turns into U2 crossed with Oingo Boingo as Bono’s voice bounces all over the place in the electronic-fueled cautionary tale. Fun and quirky, especially as the voices rise in the background like ghosts of tunes past. New Wave is alive and well. GRADE: B

“Raised By Wolves”: Driving track framed around a 1974 car bombing that killed 33 people in Dublin. “I’m in a white van as a red sea covers/metal crash I can’t tell what it is,” Bono sings. “The worst things in the world are justified by belief,” he adds, a very strong statement for someone who has always worn his religious convictions on his sleeve. The skittering track is propelled by sharp keyboards and Mullen’s relentless beat. GRADE: B+

“Cedarwood Road”: About as hard rock/metal an intro as U2 has ever recorded, “Cedarwood Road” then transforms into one of its more traditional mid-tempo tracks (it’s a shame…it would have been interesting to see where they’d gone with the song if they’d kept the metal edge consistently instead of referencing it only occasionally as the song proceeds). The song, dedicated to Bono's childhood friend, Guggi, is about the street he grew up on and the tumult both out in the open and behind closed doors.  “And friendship once it’s won/It’s won…it’s one… A heart that is broken/is a heart that is open.”  GRADE: B-

“Sleep Like A Baby Tonight”: U2 switches it up again on this slinky, electronic track that starts out with a hypnotic, programmed loop and benefits from a distorted, fuzzy switch up. “Tomorrow dawns like a suicide/ But you’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight,” Bono sings. Then he surprises again by going into a ragged falsetto. Probably the album’s most adventurous track musically. GRADE: B

This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now”: Dedicated to The Clash’s Joe Strummer, the standout on the track is Edge’s piquant guitar work. Just as “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” pays homage to the Ramones, this track is a tribute to The Clash guitarist-- a soldier, in Bono's eyes-- and, more specifically, the group’s classic, “Sandinista!” GRADE: B

“The Troubles”:  The title, of course, refers to what the fighting between the English and IRA was called, but this dreamy track refers to more than that. The lyrics address that issue obliquely but the song is more about how we give away our soul without even realizing it. Interesting choice to have backing vocals/refrain sung by a chorus reminiscent of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone.” GRADE: B





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Zachary Quinto returning to NBC to star in 'The Slap'
Credit: NBC

Zachary Quinto returning to NBC to star in 'The Slap'

Zachary Quinto returning to NBC to star in “The Slap”
The former “Heroes” star has signed on to play the slapper in the Australian-inspired NBC miniseries about the ramifications of a parent slapping somebody else's misbehaving child.

‘Scandal” cast members are dressed to the nines in Season 4 cast shot
Are they getting ready for Fitz’s re-inauguration?

OWN orders food truck reality show “2 Fat 2 Fly”
Cameras will follow a food truck devoted to chicken wings.

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<p>Volleyball star Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) on Friday Night Lights</p>

Volleyball star Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) on Friday Night Lights

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 245: 'The Leftovers,' 'Utopia' & more

Dan and Alan also review the 'New Girl' & 'Mindy Project' premieres and talk some 'FNL' volleyball


Happy Tuesday, boys and girls! Buckle up for a very long Firewall & Iceberg Podcast that runs the gamut, from our attempt to find anything redeeming in FOX's "Utopia," through some discussion of the "New Girl" & "Mindy Project" premieres, then into some important listener questions before we jump into "The Leftovers" finale and the start of the all-important "Friday Night Lights" volleyball arc. Only two episodes to go. Sigh.

The rundown:

"Utopia" (00:00:50 - 00:12:40)
"New Girl" Season 4 (00:12:45 - 00:22:40)
"Mindy Project" Season 3 (00:22:45 - 00:30:45)
Listener Mail: "Veronica Mars" viewing and TV paintball (00:30:50 - 00:41:30)
"The Leftovers" finale including Listener Mail (00:41:40 - 01:07:30)
"Friday Night Lights" Season 2, episodes 12 & 13 (01:07:55 - 01:44:20)

As always, send questions to You can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file, subscribe on IHeartRadio or stream it on Dan's blog.

There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 245

Dan and Alan discuss 'Utopia,' 'New Girl,' 'Mindy Project' and the 'Leftovers' finale


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!

After a couple weeks of Wednesday podcasts, it's back to Tuesday with a busy show. 

In this installment, we actually remembered to discuss the season's penultimate back of "Friday Night Lights" Season 2 episodes, we discussed the finale of HBO's "The Leftovers," we previewed next week's premieres of FOX's "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" and we spent as much time on FOX's "Utopia" as Alan could stand.

Here's today's breakdown:
"Utopia" (00:00:50 - 00:12:40)
"New Girl" Season 4 (00:12:45 - 00:22:40)
"Mindy Project" Season 3 (00:22:45 - 00:30:45)
Listener Mail: "Veronica Mars" viewing and TV paintball (00:30:50 - 00:41:30)
"The Leftovers" finale including Listener Mail (00:41:40 - 01:07:30)
"Friday Night Lights" Season 2 (01:07:55 - 01:44:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed or subscribe on IHeartRadio.] 


And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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