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Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Good premiere for 'Undateable,' steady 'Gang Related' numbers on Thursday

'Last Comic Standing' and 'The Big Bang Theory' also lead tight night

Fast National ratings for Thursday, May 29, 2014.

Buoyed by the aggressive promotional efforts by the show's stars and creative team, "Undateable" got off to a decent start for NBC, helping the network join a three-way tie for Thursday among young viewers. Overall, of course, there was very little competition as a CBS repeat of "The Big Bang Theory" was the night's most watched program by a wide margin.

NBC is boasting that "Undateable" had its best summer comedy premiere numbers since 2004 and the immortal "Come to Papa."

The "Undateable" premiere far outdistanced most of NBC's Thursday comedy performances in-season, built slightly on its "Hollywood Game Night" lead-in in the key demo and was steady between two double-pumped episodes. That's good news for Bill Lawrence and company. Of course, "Last Comic Standing" was NBC's top program for the night.

Similarly, "Hell's Kitchen" got FOX's best results and was the reason FOX also tied for Thursday's key demo lead, but the network has to be at least somewhat relieved to see "Gang Related" steady in its second airing, rather than plummeting like the second week of "I Wanna Marry 'Harry.'" 

The relatively good news for Thursday's summer scripted shows did not, however, extend to ABC's "Black Box."

On to the numbers...

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<p>Lee Pace of &quot;Halt and Catch Fire&quot;</p>

Lee Pace of "Halt and Catch Fire"

Credit: AMC

Interview: Lee Pace on 'Halt and Catch Fire' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

'Pushing Daisies' vet is excited for his TV return, his Marvel debut

Lee Pace doesn't do many projects that generate ambivalence. 

After making his small screen bones in the Bryan Fuller-created "Wonderfalls" and "Pushing Daisies" and having his earliest big screen exposure in Tarsem Singh's polarizingly unique "The Fall," Pace has been on an absurd franchise streak of late. 

He checked "Twilight" off the list as Garrett in the second part of "Breaking Dawn." 

His Thranduil has had an increasingly large presence through the last two "Hobbit" films.

And this summer, Pace will enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ronan the Accuser in "Guardians of the Galaxy."

It's unclear how many Lee Paces exist, because amidst these major franchise films, Pace also found the time for his return to regular series television. 

On the new AMC drama "Halt and Catch Fire," Pace plays Joe MacMillan, a former IBM wunderkind who recruits Scoot McNairy's Gordon Clark to work with him on an ethically murky project in the midst of the early-80s personal computing boom. 

MacMillan is part con man, part visionary and, watching the pilot for "Halt and Catch Fire," which has already been posted to Tumblr and will premiere on AMC this Sunday, it's unclear if Joe is on a journey toward becoming the hero of the piece, or perhaps a basic cable-style anti-hero.

Pace is excited about his new TV character, but as we talked last week, he was also very, very excited about "Guardians of the Galaxy," especially since the first extended trailer -- featuring at least two fleeting glimpses of his character -- had just debuted. 

So we talked mostly about "Halt and Catch Fire," but Pace also shared what he's looking forward to seeing from his Marvel debut.

Check out the full Q&A [And stay tuned for my interviews with McNairy, Kerry Bishe and showrunner Jonathan Lisco]...

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20 movies coming out this year that aren't on your radar yet

20 movies coming out this year that aren't on your radar yet

'Birdman,' 'A Most Violent Year,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2' and more

Sure, "Interstellar" is sitting at the top of the November calendar as bright as the North star, but did you know "Birdman," "A Most Violent Year," "Theory of Everything" or "Dracula: Untold" were on the way?  Did you know "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" will take you back to the future this Christmas?  I'd guess not.

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<p>David Tennant of &quot;Gracepoint&quot;</p>

David Tennant of "Gracepoint"

Credit: FOX

DVR Gridlock 2014-15: Thursday Nights

CBS gets football, ABC goes All-Shona and more

[As is my recent tradition, over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. It also assumes that you/I only have a dual tuner DVR (plus occasional access to a Slingbox on ET. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments and the DVR Gridlock segments for 2012.]


8:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Grey's Anatomy"
CBS: Thursday Night Football/ "The Big Bang Theory," "The Millers"
The CW: "The Vampire Diaries"
FOX: "Bones"
NBC: "The Biggest Loser"

9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Scandal"
CBS: Thursday Night Football/ "Two and a Half Men," "The McCarthys"
The CW: "Reign"
FOX: "Gracepoint"
NBC: "Bad Judge," "A to Z"

10:00 p.m.
ABC: "How To Get Away With Murder"
CBS: Thursday Night Football/"Elementary"
NBC: "Parenthood"

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Ask Alan about 'Better Call Saul,' pilots & 'True Detective' casting
Credit: HBO

Ask Alan about 'Better Call Saul,' pilots & 'True Detective' casting

HitFix's Drew McWeeny passes along your questions

As you may have noticed, there was no Firewall & Iceberg Show this week because Dan was in London on business. (Though we were able to just barely record a podcast despite his subpar hotel internet.) I then found myself coming to LA for a day of business, but a day when Dan was still traveling. But since I was within waving distance of the HitFix office, we decided to try a different kind of video, borrowing the gimmick from Drew McWeeny's Ask Drew series of having me respond to your questions without any prep time. And Drew was kind enough to pump me with those questions, which involved the pressure on "Better Call Saul," shows I'm looking forward to, and the eternal question of "True Detective" season 2 casting. Hope you like it.

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"American Restoration"

"American Restoration"

Credit: History

Exclusive clip: George Clinton gets funky for 'American Restoration'

The Grandfather of Funk can even find the funk in a ruined piano

While the work can be grueling, there's definitely an upside to doing restoration work for Rick Dale of Rick's Restorations in Las Vegas -- and it's not just being on television. In this exclusive clip from the coming episode of "American Restoration" (airing Thurs. June 5 at 10:00 p.m. on History), funk legend George Clinton drops by with a 1923 Chickering quarter baby grand piano. It's water damaged from a flood, but it holds four decades worth of memories for Clinton, who wrote and recorded some of his most memorable songs on it. In this exclusive clip, he proves that a piano doesn't have to be in tune to bust out some P-Funk awesomeness.

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'Sons of Anarchy' gets a new sheriff: Annabeth Gish

“Sons of Anarchy” gets a new sheriff: Annabeth Gish
Gish will shoot her “SOA” scenes will simultaneously working on FX’s “The Bridge.”

2 “Ghost Hunters” stars are leaving to star in a new paranormal series
Amy Bruni and Adam Berry are teaming to develop a new show.

Bryan Cranston: “I don’t know” if “Breaking Bad” killed off Walter White
"You never saw a bag zip up or anything,” he tells CNN. Will he reprise his role? “Never say never,” he adds.

To promote NBC’s “Undateable,” Bill Lawrence and his stars went on a comedy tour
"Luckily, our cast is composed of stand-up comedians,” says Lawrence, who's producing the summer comedy, launching tonight. PLUS: What is Lawrence’s reaction to premiering on May 29?

AnnaLynne McCord reveals she was sexually assaulted by a friend
The “Dallas” and “90210” star recalls allowing a guy friend to crash on her couch. "We sat on the bed and talked for a while, then I fell asleep When I woke up, he was inside me,” she tells Cosmopolitan.

CNN covers well-trod ground with “The Sixties”
The Tom Hanks-produced 10-part documentary premieres tonight.

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<p>Jen and Caroline of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Jen and Caroline of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Jennifer & Caroline talk 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars'

Country Blondes discuss their second place finish this season

For a fleeting second in last week's "Amazing Race: All-Stars" finale, Country Blondes Jennifer & Caroline seemed to have the million dollar prize in the sights. After Dave & Connor had a brief cab misadventure, Jen & Caroline's all-world cabbie had them in the lead heading toward the season-closing Roadblock. 

Then, of course, Dave & Connor's cab moved back into the lead and that was all it took to win the season, since the last Roadblock and, therefore the entire "Amazing Race: All-Stars" season, was determined based on which team reached that last clue-box in first.

Oh well.

It was another eventful season for Jen & Caroline, who won some fans with their plucky attitude, enthusiasm and humor, but lost other fans when they coined the term "Accidental Alliance" to describe the multi-team partnership that sprung up only to exclude Brendon & Rachel.

And, along the way, Jen & Caroline continued to do what they do most consistently: Complete Legs without winning "Amazing Race" Legs, something they've now done for 23 victory-free Legs. 

In their exit interview -- nearly done with these now -- Jen & Caroline discuss the Accidental Alliance, the uneventful Final Leg, the mean tweets they've gotten from the Brenchel Army and more.

Click through...

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Liam Neeson in "A Walk Among the Tombstones"

Liam Neeson in "A Walk Among the Tombstones"

Credit: Universal Pictures

'A Walk Among the Tombstones' trailer: Liam Neeson and 'Black Hole Sun,' together at last

Scott Frank's creepy Lawrence Block adaptation heads to theaters in September

Liam Neeson really could use something like Scott Frank's "A Walk Among the Tombstones." The word "paycheck" is becoming synonymous with his name lately (not that things like "The Grey" and Martin Scorsese's upcoming "Silence" don't do a lot to mitigate this), but it would be good to see some serious, solid, consistent flexing from him again.

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"Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives"

"Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives"

Credit: Discovery

Interview: All your 'Russian Yeti' questions answered here

Warning: Exclusive video has gruesome images

Ever hear about a mass murder and think, huh, I wonder if a yeti did it? Okay, probably not your first conclusion. Or second. Or fifty-fifth. But that was the one explorer Mike Libecki found himself drawn to in investigating the cold case of the Dyatlov Incident, a journey documented in "Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" (a two-hour special premiering on Discovery Sun. June 1 at 9:00 p.m.). Crazy, right? Well, hold on a minute. 

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Miguel, his girl, and their spirit animals find love in 'Simplethings' video: Watch

Edgy ballad gets equally edgy clip

Miguel just wants someone to smoke with and lie down with, as well as enjoy a disdain for  spaces between words, in his new video for “Simplethings.” In the strikingly shot black-and-white clip, he not only finds his match, but, apparently, he and his new love have the same spirit animals. What are the odds?

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Review: Walt Disney's 'Maleficent' asks tough questions but fails to answer them
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Review: Walt Disney's 'Maleficent' asks tough questions but fails to answer them

Is this really Disney's 'I Spit On Your Grave'?

All I could picture as the closing credits began for "Maleficent," the big-budget fantasy picture that Walt Disney Studios is releasing on Friday, was a whole generation of women explaining how deeply and permanently broken their view of men was by Angelina Jolie when they were just princess-crazy little girls.

It is safe to say I will not be taking my kids to see "Maleficent," a film that is so swollen with psycho-sexual subtext that I felt like I was watching a true hijacking of the mainstream. But… by who? Robert Stromberg, who directed the film, is a production designer who has been involved in creating some of the richest, most detailed fantasy worlds on film over the last decade, and who worked in visual effects for 20 years before that, and he certainly brings that skill set to bear on how he establishes a sense of time and place in "Maleficent." This is a world divided into the half that is run by men and the half that is protected by a much older magic, filled with powerful creatures, and it is lush, almost every frame packed with something new to see.

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