Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
'How I Met Your Mother' drops big for CBS
[Apologies for the lateness of this ratings story! I'm in Calgary and I spent the day on the set of FX's "Fargo." That means lots of "Fargo" interviews pre-premiere (April 15), but it also means I couldn't get to ratings the morning. On the other hand, these are National Live+SD ratings, so I got to delete my normal "preliminary and subject to change" caveat.]
National ratings for Monday, March 10, 2014.
Monday night's sneak of "Believe" basically equalled last week's "Blacklist" for NBC, but it couldn't keep up with the final hour of ABC's "The Bachelor" finale. The result was a narrow ABC win among young viewers and a comfortable NBC win overall.
Probably due to the stronger-than-normal "Bachelor" numbers, "How I Met Your Mother" was way down for CBS, while "Star-Crossed" and "Beauty and the Beast" also slipped for The CW.
Even if there was a slightly bigger audience watching "The Bachelor" and "Believe" than normally tunes in for "Castle" and "Blacklist," CBS' "Intelligence" got a small bump without its normal competition.
Over on FOX, "Bones" returned to Monday with familiar "Bones"-y numbers, but couldn't stop "The Following" from slipping back under 5 million viewers."
On to the numbers...
'Thor' veteran brings her Asgardian warrior to ABC on Tuesday
So far, ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." has been fairly restrained when it comes to tapping into the goodwill from Marvel's hit theatrical franchises.
Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill topped up in the pilot and hasn't been seen since. Samuel L. Jackson appeared in the tag of one episode as Nick Fury, but he hasn't been seen since. A November episode featured a tie-in to "Thor: The Dark World" and I honestly don't remember if the threads introduced in that episode have rippled forward.
The latest movie-to-TV crossover occurs on Tuesday's (March 11) episode, as Jaimie Alexander brings Lady Sif to ABC for an episode that also features Lorelei, a seductive Asgardian with a complicated relationship with both Thor and Loki.
Lorelei, played by "Magic City" veteran Elena Satine, was introduced at the end of last week's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." using her amorous wiles to charm a ride from the desert towards civilization, presumably with nefarious intent.
Will it be up to Lady Sif to stop Lorelei? Let's just say that Jaimie Alexander wasn't offering many hints when we talked last week. In lieu of spoilers, though, she discussed the difference in pace and scale of playing Lady Sif for TV and talked about the excitement of working on a set with so many strong actresses and strong female characters.
Click through for the full Q&A, with its few teases...
Greg Garcia-created comedy had been in a crater on Fridays
Given its consistently low ratings, it's somewhat astounding that "Raising Hope" managed to get four often terrific seasons on FOX.
It's still sad to report that "Raising Hope" will have its series finale on Friday, April 4 with an hour-long send-off.
Solid 'Cosmos' start, while CBS wins Sunday overall
Fast National ratings for Sunday, March 9, 2014.
ABC's relentless promotion of the midseason drama "Resurrection" paid off in a surprisingly huge debut on Sunday night, combining with "Once Upon a Time" and a boosted "Revenge" to help the network win the night among young viewers.
"Resurrection" had the second-biggest overall premiere for any new drama this year, behind only CBS' preview airing of "Intelligence" out of "NCIS." That didn't work so well. It was the top midseason drama among young viewers since the 2012 launch of "Smash." That also didn't work so well. The key difference is that unlike those two premieres, "Resurrection" was effectively a self-starter, building dramatically on its lead-in.
Overall, CBS got a bounce-back performance from "The Amazing Race: All-Stars" and an hour-winning return from "The Mentalist" to win the night in total viewers.
Sunday's other major notable was FOX's premiere of "Cosmos." The Seth MacFarlane-produced update on Carl Sagan's classic space-centric miniseries launched simultaneously on 10 networks on Sunday and FOX is expected to have overall numbers in a couple hours. The on-network component did reasonably well and was FOX's top show overall, but it ran into the unexpected "Resurrection" buzzsaw in the 9 p.m. hour. The FOX portion of "Cosmos" did top "Resurrection" among men 18-34.
[UPDATE: The 10-network premiere numbers for "Cosmos" are in. Including FOX and the nine satellite airings, "Cosmos" averaged a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49 and drew 8.5 million viewers.]
All of these optimistic numbers bely the normal declines associated with the start of Daylight Savings Time, which reliably lowers primetime TV usage in its first week or two.
On to the numbers...
The teams leave China and head down a rough river
I suppose that certain factors on "The Amazing Race" are out of the control of the producers.
If your teams are in China and you're determined to get them to Malaysian Borneo, if there are only two evening flights, there are only two evening flights. And if there's a three-hour gap between the arrival of the two flights, then there's a three-hour gap between the arrival of the two flights. And if there are only six tickets available on the first flight or perhaps only three tickets available on the second, then that's just what it is.
But if you then design a Leg in which the Roadblock is a straight-forward one-at-a-time task and the Detour includes at least one option that requires basically no effort at all, you've constructed a Leg in which six teams have almost limitless margins-for-error and the other three teams have no margin-for-error at all and could be eliminated based on one silly -- albeit pretty big and, apparently, pretty predictable -- error.
It took a lot of the drama out of a Leg with lots of really good elements, including the pleasure of watching several unappealing teams nearly drown (but the guiltless relief of knowing that if anybody had actually died, we wouldn't be seeing the season).
I'm probably gonna keep this recap brief, because I want to go watch the "True Detective" finale. Click through...
Months later, they're still fighting over that darned backpack
Doing "The Amazing Race" with somebody you know and love certainly doesn't mean you're going to get along. Duh.
Facing the unique pressures of a televised race around the world, we've watched married couples, best friends, siblings and parents-and-children get lost in squabbles both petty and significant. Usually after the fighting is over, the partners profess to continued love and the relationships, either by blood or by choice, can be expected to continue as before. It's part of the charm of "The Amazing Race."
This All-Stars season, though, "The Amazing Race" bucked formula. When Bopper had to bail on the season just hours before it began, Mark was allowed to race with Mallory, of Gary & Mallory fame, already a two-time contestant. They'd met previously, but she claimed not to know his last name. [It's Jackson.]
The Mark & Mallory experiment lasted for two Legs. In last Sunday's episode, the mismatched pair ran into a problem in China that could have befallen anybody -- Mark's backpack was left behind as they moved from one task to the next -- but the subsequent argument stemmed heavily from unfamiliarity. Mallory, holding both of their passports, wanted to keep running, especially since they were in first at the time. Mark, who borrowed the backpack from a friend, refused to abandon his stuff and demanded they go back. The fighting and disagreeing caused some delay and the subsequent discombobulation probably insured their eventual elimination.
Months later, Mark and Mallory still can't agree on how the backpack came to be left, nor the correct response to what became a catastrophe. In fact, while their both plenty respectful, there's little question that contentiousness remains.
In this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview, Mallory discusses her short-notice decision to join the Race, Mark explains his initial hesitation to do the Race without Bopper and things get heated a couple times.
Click through for the full Q&A...
'Shark Tank,' 'Blue Bloods' are Friday's leaders
Fast National ratings for Friday, March 7, 2014.
Once again, Friday night returns were predictable: "Shark Tank" topped the key demo and led ABC to victory among young viewers, while "Blue Bloods" dominated overall and capped off CBS' primetime sweep in that measure.
There were some minor variations below the leaders, though.
Boosted by a strong installment of "Dateline," NBC's "Grimm" was up week-to-week overall and in the key demo, but "Hannibal" was down sharply.
FOX's "Enlisted" rose a hair in young viewers, but the military comedy couldn't boost "Raising Hope," which fell.
On to the numbers...
What leads to the quote 'I'm an actor, so I love to be degraded'?
[This interview contains spoilers for the current fourth season of "Shameless." Don't read if you're not caught up!]
Were there any justice or standards in awards voting, Emmy Rossum would already have a trio of Emmy nominations for her raw and fierce performance as Fiona Gallagher on Showtime's "Shameless."
She does not.
Fortunately, Emmy and Golden Globe voters should know that it's not too late and that Rossum has been doing some of her best work to date in the fourth season of "Shameless."
Although occasionally prone to questionable decisions, Fiona was always the glue that held the Gallaghers together, the responsible parental figure making sure lunches were made and utilities were paid. Sure she had questionable taste in men and she liked to get a little wild, but as the fourth season began, Fiona had her family on the verge of leaving the poverty line behind. She had upward mobility at a white collar job, a responsible boyfriend and a positive outlook.
Since that positive beginning, Fiona has been in a spiral that has included sleeping with her boyfriend's drug-abusing brother and, in a moment of unprecedented weakness, leaving a bag of cocaine out where wee Liam found it and overdosed. Jail and a plea bargain followed and when we left Fiona two weeks ago, she was realizing that even if she'd avoided prison, her life would never be the same.
Production on the "Shameless" season ended two weeks ago and I caught up with Rossum fresh off a brief vacation, where she tweeted that at least one fan accosted her on the beach to tell her she should be locked up for what she did to Liam.
And guess what? Rossum teases that Fiona has yet to hit bottom.
In the interview, Rossum talks about getting her mind around Fiona's descent this season and how she was able to convince herself that it all made sense for the character. She also discusses the maturation of young co-stars like Ethan Cutkosky and Emma Kenney and tells an unfortunate story about filming amidst the polar vortex this winter in Chicago.
Click through for the full Q&A. It's a good one.
Why was the 'beautifulest' Beauty such a threat?
The Beautiful People had to devour one of their own on Wednesday (March 5) night's "Survivor: Cagayan."
The Beauty Tribe held a big lead in Wednesday's Immunity Challenge, but squandered it and were forced to go to Tribal Council for the first time.
As votes were tallied -- twice, since there was a three-way tie the first time -- the power was all in the hands of Jeremiah. In a six-person tribe, he had the choice between sticking with an alliance of four and booting Brice, or aligning with Brice and Morgan to eliminate Alexis.
In the end, Jeremiah chose numbers and social worker Brice Johnston was eliminated, taking his purple pants with him.
The way Brice figures it, the other Beauty castaways felt threatened by him, specifically by his social game and by his effort in challenges and at camp. He left the game telling cameras that he didn't even remember the names of his tribemates.
In his exit interviews, Brice talks about his inner and outer beauty, explains why Jeremiah made the wrong decision and proves that he does, indeed, remember some Beauty names.
Click through for the full Q&A...
Dave Annable and Robert Buckley get in on the pilot game
It's time to squish together a couple pieces of casting news into one Friday (March 7) afternoon post, as Dave Annable and Robert Buckley have both landed potential series regular roles on network pilots.
Since both Annable and Buckley were last seen as regulars on ABC's short-lived "666 Park Avenue," it's almost like the fates wanted them to be mashed into the same story.