<p>Katharine McPhee</p>

Katharine McPhee

Credit: AP

Interview: 'Scorpion' star Katharine McPhee on stunts, fictional motherhood and her 'Smash' Tony loss

'American Idol' veteran hopes her CBS drama doesn't let her sing

Going back to my failure to get on-board with the Soul Patrol, I'm accustomed to supporting Katharine McPhee in ill-fated circumstances.

It's no wonder, then, that we're simpatico when it comes to Karen Cartwright losing the Tony to Ivy Lynn.

"That's a great question," McPhee says when I inquire about her disappointment regarding this fictional theater award. "I wanted Karen to win!"

"[M]y heart kind of like broke for her," McPhee admits. "I'm like, 'Really? She ends up with this loser guy who goes to jail and she can't even win the Tony?' And she has to have this nasty catfight with a girl who she could have potentially had a great relationship with? And she can't win the Tony. At least she got to play Marilyn for a little bit."

McPhee's two-year run on "Smash" taught her many lessons, which we discussed in July when we sat down to talk about her new CBS drama "Scorpion," premiering on Monday (September 22) night. The buzzy NBC musical shaped her approach to subsequent acting roles and also impacted what she was looking for in pilots when she looked at scripts last spring.

In "Scorpion," McPhee plays Paige, who begins as a diner waitress trying her best to raise a wildly introverted young genius. Through an odd set of circumstances, she comes to meet Elyes Gabel's Walter O'Brien and his rag-tag team of socially maladjusted whiz-kids and this somehow leads to car chases and a massive stunt involving an airplane.

In our conversation, McPhee talks about what attracted her to Paige and the challenges of playing both a young mother and also playing the "normal" character in a show about prodigies. 

She explains how much, or how little, she got to do in those huge stunt scenes and admits that she has no clue what "Hit List" was actually about.

Oh and how long before her "Scorpion" character takes the gang out karaoke singing? Or at admits her life-long dream has been music? McPhee hopes it's a while.

Check out the full interview...

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<p>&quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

"Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Producer Ken Olin on 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 and getting Timothy Busfield naked

Director discusses the different templates that make 'Sleepy Hollow' unique

WILMINGTON, NC. Ken Olin's giant dog has the run of his office in the gloriously air-conditioned oasis that is the "Sleepy Hollow" production offices at EUE/Screen Gems Studios.

This is a fact I had forgotten until I went back to the recording of my interview with Olin and discovered that the audio is a fine conversation with a steady background of occasionally deafening panting. 

While "Sleepy Hollow" production has the run of large chunks of Wilmington, plus a variety of outdoor environments, EUE/Screen Gems Studios is the home to several stages housing a variety of regular interiors, as well as frequently repurposed sets like the tunnels and caves and caverns and various subterranean chambers that our characters constantly seem to find themselves navigating. [You can check out some non-spoilery pictures from the various stages here, as well as the photo of a dog who is NOT Olin's dog.]

The production offices are largely Olin's domain.

TV viewers of a certain age will perhaps always think of Olin as Michael Steadman from "thirtysomething" or, for those with a love of the esoteric and quickly canceled, Cameron Quinn from "EZ Streets." However, he's been directing since "thirty something" and for around 15 years that's been his primary gig. He has been a director and a directing producer on "Alias," "Brothers & Sisters" and "The Mob Doctor."

He's now director and executive producer on "Sleepy Hollow," helming a trio of episodes -- "Bad Blood," "The Sin Eater" and "Blood Moon" -- last season and Monday's (September 22) Season 2 premiere. 

The premiere reunites Olin with "thirtysomething" veteran Timothy Busfield, who plays Benjamin Franklin in which is apparently a rather revealing turn. Olin immediately lights up talking about this latest collaboration with his longtime friend. [Like Olin, Busfield is also a steadily working director and producer, who happened to be local because of his work in those capacities on ABC's midseason drama "Secrets and Lies." Peter Horton has taken the same career path, with his own midseason drama as producer and director, making one wonder what, exactly, was in the water on "thirtysomething."]

During my day on the "Sleepy Hollow" set, I chatted with Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Noble, Katia Winter, Lyndie Greenwood and Matt Barr, but I relished the chance to talk to Olin, because I love the nuts-and-bolts perspective on the process. And also because of the air-conditioning.

In the conversation, Olin talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the early production start and the 18-episode order for this "Sleepy Hollow" season, as well as the unique challenges that "Sleepy Hollow" presents that he's never experienced before.

He also explains why getting Timothy Busfield naked was a career high point.

Check out the full interview...

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<p>Nicole Beharie of &quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

Nicole Beharie of "Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Nicole Beharie on 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 and North Carolina summer heat

What will a new boss and new bounty hunter mean for Abbie?

WILMINGTON, NC. I sit down with "Sleepy Hollow" star Nicole Beharie at the end of a long day on the FOX series' North Carolina set and a cumulative sympathy has set in.

I'd talked to Tom Mison about his heavy coat.

I'd chatted with Katia Winter as she scratched at welts acquired on a night shooting in the woods.

I'd spoken to EP Ken Olin in the air-conditioned production offices as he explained the difficulties facing the stars in the muggy Southern environment.

And I experienced the tiniest taste of the "Sleepy Hollow" experience as an extra in an airless bar that started off comfortable and became rather less-so as the takes began to add up.

Normally, network TV shows are in production from the late summer through the early spring, but part of the reward for its early Season 2 pickup meant that "Sleepy Hollow" got to resume production in the late spring and plow through the entirety of the North Carolina summer. 

Perhaps that's why as late afternoon rolled around and Nicole Beharie sat down, my inquisitive instincts didn't go to the plight Abbie Mills found herself in at the end of Season 1. Yes, finding yourself in Purgatory after an act of self-sacrifice involving your time-traveling partner and his witchy wife is uncomfortable, but is it any worse than finding yourself in August in North Carolina in a leather jacket because you're pretending it's actually autumn in New York?

As with my interview with Tom Mison, a lot of my conversation with Beharie is predicated on the rather safe assumption that at some point -- they were on Episode 8 when I was there -- Abbie is extricated or extricates herself from where we left her in the finale. I don't know how. I don't know when. Beharie didn't say. 

She does, however, discuss how Ichabod's lie involving the map to Purgatory creates some trust issues and hints at the fresh dynamics brought up by new characters Sheriff Leena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey) and Nick Hawley (Matt Barr). 

Beharie also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of both the heat and the early ramp-up to Season 2 production and how comfortable she is or isn't feeling in her second season as a TV regular. 

Season 2 of "Sleepy Hollow" finally begins this Monday, September 22 at 9 p.m. on FOX.

Full interview below...

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<p>Ryan Phillippe of &quot;Secrets and Lies&quot;</p>

Ryan Phillippe of "Secrets and Lies"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '14: ABC's 'Secrets and Lies'

No, it's not based on the Mike Leigh movie. Yes, it has Ryan Phillippe.

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 247

Dan and Alan review 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion,' 'Forever' and 'Madam Secretary'

The

Happy Friday, Boys & Girls! 

Bonus Firewall & Iceberg Podcast time!

On Tuesday, we reviewed "The Mysteries of Laura" and "Red Band Society," but now we're starting to get into the meat of new series premieres.

In this podcast, we review "Madam Secretary," "Gotham," "Scorpion" and "Forever," which is to say all of your key new shows premiering on Monday, I think?

We also answered a bit of Listener Mail, providing a public service. 

And we discussed Thursday's season finale for "You're the Worst," which we hope will be brought back for a second season.

Today's breakdown:

"Madam Secretary" (00:01:10 - 00:11:40)
"Gotham" (00:11:40 - 00:23:25)
"Scorpion" (00:23:25 - 00:34:30)
"Forever" (00:34:30 - 00:44:20)
Listener Mail - How to Review a TV Show (00:44:35 - 00:52:00)
"You're the Worst" finale (00:52:00 - 01:06:55)

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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<p>Supergirl</p>

Supergirl

Credit: DC Comics

'Supergirl' takes flight to CBS with a series commitment

Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler are writing the pilot

Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler's high profile "Supergirl" pilot has already found a home and its destination may just surprise you.

"Supergirl," which comes from Berlanti Productions and Warner Brothers TV, has received a series commitment from CBS, which is making a slightly surprisingly leap into the superhero world. 

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<p>Devin Hester of the Atlanta Falcons</p>

Devin Hester of the Atlanta Falcons

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: CBS Thursday Night Football numbers plummet with Bucs-Falcons rout

'Mysteries of Laura' has a solid encore for NBC

Fast National ratings for Thursday, September 18, 2014.

Testing the limits of America's insatiable appetite for NFL action, a dismally one-sided Thursday Night Football game between the Falcons and Buccaneers fell hard from last week's telecast, though CBS still dominated primetime in all measures.

The game, which was essentially over by the end of the first quarter, was off by 40 percent from the Fast Nationals for last week's Thursday Night Football premiere.

Thursday's only other original programming was NBC's "The Biggest Loser," which was down nearly 20 percent from last week's premiere.

Some numbers will, of course, change due to the live nature of the football.

On to the numbers...

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'Gotham' star Ben McKenzie discusses Jim Gordon's evolution, promises no Rooney episode

'Gotham' star Ben McKenzie discusses Jim Gordon's evolution, promises no Rooney episode

'Southland' veteran reflects back on the 27-episode grind of 'The O.C.'

You may find other interviews in which "Gotham" star Ben McKenzie discusses the decision to go from a critically admired cop drama ("Southland") to playing a very different sort of officer-of-the-law in FOX's "Gotham."

McKenzie has previously talked about the differences between playing a beat cop and a detective, though I think he does it extremely well in our video interview from last week.

You may find other interviews in which McKenzie discusses the difficulties finding resources on Jim Gordon's backstory and how that allowed him freedom.

I believe McKenzie has talked about his conversations with DC's Geoff Johns and the fact that Gordon won't be getting his trademark mustache any time soon, though he's very amusing in discussing it in this interview. ["At the end of the day, we all know a mustache on me would look ridiculous. It's only a look you can pull off later in your life," he explains.]

But I'm prepared to guarantee you with near absolute certainty that this is the only Ben McKenzie interview you'll watch in which the "Gotham" star promises that his new FOX drama won't follow in the footsteps of his previous FOX drama and dedicate an entire episode to singing the praises of L.A. rockers Rooney.

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<p>Octavia Spencer of &quot;Red Band Society&quot;</p>

Octavia Spencer of "Red Band Society"

Credit: FOX

Ratings Analysis: 'Mysteries' debut shines, 'Red Band Society' draws young women

'Extant' ends its first season with weak numbers for CBS

So America loves "CopMom MomCop" and critics should all stop whining about how its sexual politics are stuck in the '70s and its sense of tonal coherence is stuck in the spin-cycle, right?

Shrug. For one day, "Mysteries of Laura" is looking pretty good for NBC.

Although "Mysteries of Laura" dropped to 10.2 million viewers and a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 in Final Live+Same Day ratings, NBC is pretty giddy. 

Among other things, NBC is boasting this was "the highest 18-49 rating for any ABC, CBS or NBC program originating in the hour, excluding sports, since March 19." Presumably that's specifically the Wednesday 10 p.m. hour and not any 10 p.m. hours, so it's just evidence that Wednesday 10 p.m. hasn't been the best of hours for the major networks lately. It was also the most-watched debut on any Big 4 network since early March. [That debut was "Believe," which premiered after an episode of "The Voice." How'd that work out?]

NBC is pleased that "Mysteries of Laura" retained 80 percent of its "America's Got Talent" lead-in, the most for any of the four dramas that have aired after an "America's Got Talent" finale in recent years. Of course, two of those dramas were "Outlaw" and "Windfall."

But let's get some more detail on Wednesday's numbers, much include a less glorious premiere for FOX's "Red Band Society," after the break...

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<p>Tom Mison of &quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

Tom Mison of "Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Tom Mison on 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 and an odd 'Silence of the Lambs' comparison

Costume comfort, Ichabod-Katrina and John Noble's trickiness also come up

WILMINGTON, NC. Tom Mison doesn't roll with a posse, but Ichabod Crane's Revolutionary War attire does.

The last time I'd talked with Mison, he and co-star Nicole Beharie had dropped by the HitFix video studio and he was in civilian garb, which was at least a wee bit confusing. Oddly, the lack of wig/hair extensions on the 32-year-old Brit were less confusing at the time. Mison and Crane are closely interwoven at this moment and with Crane, nothing has proven to be more interwoven than the military uniform he wore for almost all of the first season of "Sleepy Hollow."

So it's reassuring that Mison strolls into the make-shift press holding area above a Wilmington bar wearing both the newest incarnation of Ichabod's costume and his familiar flowing locks. Before he can sit down, though, Mison's jacket has to be passed along to professional who surely has other chores for different occasions, but is only available for this one purpose now.

There are things I can tell you about where Ichabod Crane finds himself in the second season and things I cannot reveal, largely because I don't know them. When we left Ichabod, he was in what we could delicately call "a predicament." While visiting the set, I appeared as an extra in a scene from what will be the eighth "Sleepy Hollow" and I can tell you that the scene didn't take place in the confined space in which we last saw Ichabod. No, it was a confined space resembling a slightly hipster-y bar, but more on that as we get closer to the episode that I'm reasonably confident I briefly ruined.

How Ichabod extricates himself from the predicament and when Ichabod extricates himself from the predicament remain mysteries to me and Mison didn't share. If you want, however, to assume that there's a possibility he could spend the entire season in that predicament, you probably don't want to read any further.

Since our conversation began with the partial disrobing, Mison and I talked a bit about Ichabod's attire, before discussing how this season impacts Ichabod's dynamics with Katrina, Henry and other core characters.

How is the Abbie-Ichabod dynamic like that of Clarice and Hannibal in "Silence of the Lambs"? Mison explains that as well.

And what quality or characteristic is most central to playing Ichabod? Mison's answer is amusing.

The interview spoils nothing about Monday's (September 22) second season premiere of "Sleepy Hollow," but it does say things about the second season, albeit mostly thematic things rather than plot things. Tread accordingly...

Check out the full Q&A...

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