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TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' leads CBS Sunday as 'Rising Star' dips
Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' leads CBS Sunday as 'Rising Star' dips

'Unforgettable' builds on its overall lead-in to help CBS

Fast National ratings for Sunday, July 20, 2014.

After a few weeks of stability and growth, ABC's "Rising Star" dipped on Sunday, allowing "Big Brother" and CBS to claim primetime victories in all measures. 

ABC still finished second overall, though "America's Funniest Home Videos" played a bigger role than "Rising Star" did. 

FOX, meanwhile, was second among young viewers thanks to animation repeats.

On to the numbers...

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Jocasta! She's full of ghosts.

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - Nominations, Chess, and Our 5 Theories About the Game

Jocasta spoke in tongues, and it was the most sensible thing said all episode.

We all know why we watch "Big Brother" -- to explore the dramatic possibilities of chicken wire.

Considering Sunday's nomination episode spent, oh, 40 minutes finishing up the chicken wire game from Thursday, we had no choice but to stare at that damn mesh and fall in love with it. The chicken wire got so much screentime that it is already a more compelling character than Victoria. I believe chicken wire could survive until at least week five. Week six if it stays on Caleb's good side.

The long challenge resulted in HOH grabs for Cody, who respectively nominated Victoria and Brittany, and Frankie, who threw up Jocasta (one of "the fiercest persons" he knows) and Amber. Her nomination had something to do with a lame-ass America's Game challenge that I'll discuss in a minute, but the bottom line is the nominations were both unsurprising and fine. Later, Amber and Jocasta won a chess-themed Battle of the Block challenge that was similarly dull. (L-shaped knight movements? BAD-ASS!) It appears that two of our most beleaguered players, Brittany and Victoria, may be headed for a stern exit interview with Julie "Yes, Frankie, You Look Fierce Too" Chen.

This was a placid episode with some spicy moments of dialogue, including a beautiful promise from Zach to Frankie ("Yes, I will bang you!") and an eye-popping moment of grace and mystery from Jocasta. We'll get to that in a moment.

But for now, here are five important notes I have about this episode and the season as a whole. It's time to call out some surly houseguests. 

1. Brittany just said the most unlikable thing of the whole season.

You know, I want to love Brittany. She rolls her eyes at a lot of the right people. Her social game isn't great, but she did once eke her way out of elimination by telling Devin, "As a mother? I have to win this petty game show." In a pinch, she's a player. Or she was. But now that she's back on the block and apparently sore about it, she's hit a wall and just said my least favorite quote of the season to co-HOH Cody. Ahem:

"I really don't care anymore to be honest. Yesterday was like my last day of caring. I don't why. I'm just kind of over it. I can't deal with the fakeness and, like, the lies and the bullsh*t. Maybe I'm just too old for all of it. I don't know. It's just exhausting."

I can understand feeling defeated after you've saved yourself from elimination only to find that you're back on the chopping block. Sure. But nothing is worse than a "Big Brother" player who announces that he/she is better than "Big Brother." It reminds me of people who criticize Ke$ha for being trashy; trashiness is the point. Juvenile pettiness is the point of "Big Brother," and if you tire quickly of deceit, you're pretty dumb for signing up to be on the show. Get in the game, "old girl."  

2. Cody's feelings about Zac Efron are secretly a beautiful poem.

Here is a sweet poem by Cody, who talked about how much he loves Zac Efron. It is entitled "Zac!: By Cody."

He is the man.

That's literally

My man crush

I decided the second I saw him

Zac Efron is the man.

This guy's probably got

The most swag.

He's completely shredded

He's hilarious

He's just probably a baller

On all sorts of levels.

A lot of people might think

Zac Efron is soft.

He was in High School Musical. Then he was in Hairspray.

But I'm going to be honest --

If you've seen him recently

And you run into this guy's chest

And abs

You might shatter

Into a million pieces.

3. It's depressing when Team America challenges interfere with nominations.

Was anyone else bummed to realize that the Team America prompt affected nominations? Frankie, Derrick, and Donny were tasked with getting a player who is deemed "a physical threat" nominated for eviction. Oh, come on! Is that really a thrilling task? Shouldn't the Team America challenges be more outrageous and difficult, like, "Make Caleb realize he is a horrifying predator" or "Get Victoria to utter a sentence with more than four words in it"? I hate that players are given petty rewards for essentially taking a viable game strategy and running with it. That's what they should be doing anyway. 

4. Christine is playing the best game.

Christine acknowledged it herself: By being in the right place at the right time, she has found herself in two different dominating alliances, first the Bomb Squad, and now a smaller Bomb Squad called (ugh) The Detonators. That's pretty great for her! She can chalk it up to luck, but the fact that her housemates are comfortable sharing power with her means that she's considered valuable. Now, it's possible that her unassuming niceness will become suspicious, particularly when you remember Shelly's exit on BB13, but it really seems like there are scores of hotheaded "threats" who will be eliminated well before her. Plus, I just like this girl. Easily the coolest and least headache-inducing member of the household (until Zingbot arrives). 

5. Jocasta is filled with ghosts. 

Jocasta may be a shrieking ghoul outfitted by Brooks Brothers, but she is the best shrieking ghoul outfitted by Brooks Brothers I've ever seen. Here she is realizing that she and Amber have won the Battle of the Block chess challenge. 

That is right. She is speaking in tongues. The Holy Ghost is interacting with the other ghosts in Jocasta's body, and they are all waltzing and screaming and breakdancing together. You'll recall when Donny took Jocasta off the block, she reacted this way:

She is a pile of ghosts. 

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Will 'The Simpsons' kill off Krusty the Clown?

Will “The Simpsons” kill off Krusty the Clown?
The season premiere, in which a famous “Simpsons” character played by an Emmy-winning actor, will be titled “A Clown in the Dumps.” "I didn’t say I was killing Krusty,” “Simpsons” boss Al Jean told critics. "I didn't say I wasn't." PLUS: Bob from “Bob’s Burgers” joins “The Simpsons”-“Futurama” crossover episode.

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Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Lost Cause'
Credit: HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Lost Cause'

At midseason, 'True Blood' gives everyone a chance to set a spell. Take your shoes off. Tuck your fangs in.

After four episodes that, in terms of narrative development, largely amounted to the show clearing its throat, “True Blood” sets aside an hour for taking stock, giving its surviving characters a chance to appreciate what they have and how far they’ve come. In a few cases, this means that some of the actors get to collect a paycheck, and rack up some screen time, just by swaying to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” while swigging from red plastic cups. But along the way, there are some nice moments.

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<p>The Leftovers</p>

The Leftovers

Credit: HBO

Review: 'The Leftovers' - 'B.J. and the A.C.'

Kevin gets a visit from Laurie, while Tommy stays on the run

A review of tonight's "The Leftovers" coming up just as soon as I stop copping you...

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<p>Annaleigh Ashford in Masters of Sex</p>

Annaleigh Ashford in Masters of Sex

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Kyrie Eleison'

Bill and Virginia have to work apart, while Betty begins her fertility 'treatments'

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I look like I should be sitting on Edgar Bergen's knee...

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Fox on shortening 'Glee’s' final season: 'It burned so hot and so fast'

Fox on shortening “Glee’s” final season: “It burned so hot and so fast"
“It’s been on for over 100 episodes now in six seasons, and we want to go out in a way that celebrates it,” explains Fox’s Peter Rice. "And we thought that finding 13 episodes and compacting it and doing it in a straight run was a better way to finish the show.” PLUS: Chris Colfer is a NY Times bestselling author.

Nasim Pedrad on exiting “SNL”: "At some point you have to leave”
"Obviously there's nothing like that show and I was lucky to be there for five years,” the “Mulaney” star told critics. "At some point you have to leave, and I can't think of a better reason to leave than for this particular show and this particular cast."

John Mulaney mocks “Mulaney”-“Seinfeld” comparisons: “I just watched 'Seinfeld' and copied it”
But seriously, Mulaney wanted to do an update on the “cool” sitcoms he grew up on “with my sense of humor – my sensibility…Two years later we’re here (with) an updated version of an old-school sitcom with maybe a weirder bent to it, and I hope I accomplished that.”

“Gracepoint” will begin differing from “Broadchurch” after Episode 2
Producers of the UK “Broadchurch” remake couldn’t bring themselves to completely rewrite the first two episodes, so both shows will look the same through Episode 2. Meanwhile, David Tennant joked about playing both lead roles on “Gracepoint” and “Broadchurch,” saying “they both look quite like me and have similar heights.”

Children’s hospital drama “Red Band Society” won’t kill off its patients
"It is not a show that has a body count,” says exec producer Margaret Nagle. "That is not where the show lives. (It's about): What if you were able to learn what life is all about when you were old enough to do something about it?”

Fox’s “Utopia” has been whittling down 5,000 potential contestants to live 1 year on reality TV
About 5,000 applicants have been cut down to fewer than 40, four of whom were paraded today before TV critics.

“Gotham” boss: The show won't feature Batman
"If there is a superhero in the show, it is Gotham,” says exec producer Bruno Heller. "That's a larger than life character that's a central part of the show. To me, heroes are more interesting than superheroes because the difference is superheroes do the impossible and drama is really about the physically possible."

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Credit: FOX

Press tour: How will 'Gracepoint' differ from 'Broadchurch'?

With David Tennant and many of the same plot and character beats, holdovers will need patience

From the moment FOX ordered "Gracepoint," a remake of the acclaimed British mystery series "Broadchurch" (which aired here last year on BBC America), featuring "Broadchurch" star David Tennant reprising his role with an American accent, the prevailing reaction I've heard has been one word:


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16 legendary movie failures that worked on paper but not on screen

16 legendary movie failures that worked on paper but not on screen

You never know for sure until you get in front of the camera

Yes, it's a cliche to remark that the movie business isn't easy.  If it were Hollywood would be celebrating multiple blockbusters grossing over $300 million this summer and, if you haven't been paying attention, they clearly are not. What works as a pitch, a screenplay or a development package doesn't always work on screen.

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<p>Benjamin McKenzie and Donal Logue in &quot;Gotham.&quot;</p>

Benjamin McKenzie and Donal Logue in "Gotham."

Credit: FOX

Press tour: ‘Gotham’ team tries to balance Batman-less world

Promising thoughts from producer Bruno Heller and the stars

FOX's "Gotham" is one of this fall's most intriguing pilots, but also one of its most confounding. On the one hand, it has the full weight of DC Comics behind it; an interesting cast that includes Benjamin McKenzie as a young Jim Gordon, Donal Logue as his cynical partner Harvey Bullock and Jada Pinkett Smith as local crime boss Fish Mooney; and a fascinating look created by director/producer Danny Cannon that evokes '70s cinema classics like "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The French Connection." On the other hand, it is a Batman show that is never going to actually feature Batman, since the story begins with the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, with Bruce played by 13-year-old David Mazouz, while the show will feature origin stories for classic Batman villains like the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), making it a story heavily weighted towards the decay of Gotham, without any promise of true redemption so long as Bruce remains out of costume.

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'Futurama' cast to guest on 'The Simpsons' season premiere

“Futurama” cast to guest on “The Simpsons” season premiere
Jane Fonda and Willem Dafoe are also lending their voices to the Season 26 premiere. PLUS: New Zealand man sets a “Simpsons” tattoo world record.

Remembering James Garner: TV’s Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford won you over with their mind
Garner’s roles on “The Rockford Files” and “Maverick” "got through trouble with cleverness, charm and subtle wit,” says James Poniewozik. "James Garner wasn’t the kind of star who won love because he seemed so elevated above you: he made you love him by showing you that he was on your level–had in fact spent some time down in the dirt, brushed off the dust, and moved on with a rascally smile.” PLUS: “Rockford Files” was the perfect marriage of storytellers, star and genre, Kaley Cuoco remembers her “8 Simple Rules” grandpa, and read the NY Times obituary on Garner.

Fox exec blames the contestants for “Idol’s” woes
Fox Networks’ Peter Rice told critics “American Idol” is “aging gracefully,” but "We haven't found in the last two years a group of kids who've captured the imagination of the public.”

Hank Azaria to star in “Bordertown,” Seth MacFarlane’s latest Fox animated comedy
He’ll voice the lead on MacFarlane’s border comedy.

It took Matthew McConaughey a few seconds to realize only the winners attended the TV Critics’ Association Awards
McConaughey, winner for individual achievement in drama for "True Detective," had trouble spotting his fellow nominees in the TCA Awards audience. In fact, fellow nominee Bryan Cranston was in attendance for “Breaking Bad."

Kevin Sorbo is upset he isn’t in the new “Hercules” movie
The ‘90s “Hercules” stars said he asked for a cameo in the Dwayne Johnson film. "I think it's kind of stupid really," he told Dish. "To not put me in a cameo is taking the business out of show business."

Fox hopes this isn’t “Bones’” final season, will begin talks on “24’s” future
Fox’s Peter Rice says of “24," "they did a great job this year.” And of “Bones,” he said: “I hope it’s not the last year” and "I hope that will come back.”

Skye McCole Bartusiak, the little girl from “24" Season 2, is dead at 21
Bartusiak appeared in eight episodes of “24’s” 2nd day, with Elisha Cuthbert's Kim Bauer as her au pair. Bartusiak died in her sleep, but the cause of death is unknown.

The Coen Brothers had the right to remove their names from FX’s “Fargo”
Read the story of how the FX miniseries came together.

“Teen Wolf’s” Tyler Posey will host the Teen Choice Awards
This year’s TCAs is scheduled for Aug. 10.

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<p>Miss Piggy and Terry Crews at the Television Critics Association Awards, or TCA</p>

Miss Piggy and Terry Crews at the Television Critics Association Awards, or TCA

Miss Piggy, Armando Iannucci and Bryan Cranston highlight the TCA Awards

Singing pigs, joking Scotsmen, sincere actors and more

Saturday was an excellent night and a strange night to be a member of the Television Critics Association. On the one hand, we held our annual TCA Awards ceremony, filled with terrific winners giving terrific speeches. On the other, the power in the hotel (and the surrounding neighborhood) randomly went out late in the post-show reception, and then news broke that the great James Garner — who had won our Career Achievement award four years earlier — had died.

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